Well, a belated Merry Christmas to you and yours. I hope you had a great day, whether you celebrate or not, and that you have plans to celebrate the New Year in a way that brings you joy.
Things are going pretty well around these parts. There is much to report, so I will fall back on the bulleted points to get the job done. (I’m alternating bulleted paragraphs because I don’t like that you can’t keep a space between them otherwise. Sorry if this is distracting.)
- My husband and I have had the weekend alone, and it’s been tremendous. It’s been exactly what we needed. I promise to write more about it soon.
We left the kids with my parents on Christmas night, came home, watched the new Mad Max (Fury Road–crazy, but good) and then went to bed. Upon waking we picked up our disaster of a house because a cleaning lady I had schedule was set to come at 1pm. The chaos of the house had been driving me crazy and no matter how hard I tried to get it under control, with both kids home I just couldn’t do it. So we spent four hours just picking it up, so the cleaning lady could spend four hours cleaning it. Now it’s immaculate (or close to it) and I feel 100x better.
- Related: I really do think that a monthly house cleaning would go FAR in keeping my anxiety at bay, and at $140 a shot (that includes a sizable tip) I might actually be able to manage it. My goal is to spend the next three months closely tracking our finances so I can figure out if we can add that line item to our budget, because I think it would be more beneficial to my mental health than therapy at this point. If we had someone come once a month it would provide the impetus needed to pick up, and inspire me to get rid of stuff on a more regular basis. It would also keep the dust and cat hair under control, which is better for all our health. If the last few years have taught me anything it’s to know and respect my limitations, and keeping a clean house is one of them. If this could make it manageable for me, I really want to make it happen.
We have had considerable difficulties with our new tenant, which I’ve been so upset about I haven’t even come here to put it into words. The good news is that the issues have been resolved, and that the nightmare prompted us to get a second opinion on some plumbing issues we were told were unavoidable. $1,200 later (mostly financed by in my in-laws as a belated combined birthday present–they wanted to get us a new fridge but we never pulled the trigger, because the only problem with our is the inside light doesn’t work–and a combined Christmas present), a valve is keeping our water pressure in the ideal range, and now our pipes don’t hammer when the washing machine runs or our tenant takes a shower. Our original plumber told us we needed all new pipes to fix those issues, but that was not at all the case. I wish we’d sought a second opinion earlier, but I guess I usually assume people are going to tell me issues can’t be fixed, so I accept it when they do. I’m not sure where that attitude comes from, I suppose a general ignorance about house stuff. We definitely learned our lesson and will seek second and third opinions in the future.
- Oh, and the best news about the plumber is that he had to reconnect our heating duct when he added an expansion tank to our water heater, because the water heater and regular heater ducts were connected, so now we have heat again! This weekend it was getting into the low 30s at night and one night it was so cold that every time I rolled into a section of sheets that weren’t warmed by my body I jolted awake. Sunday we were out of the house long enough to run the heat with the windows open for a few hours and that night we got our first taste of sleeping in a toasty 52* (that is a good temperature to set for the night, right?) I’m definitely worried about what this will do to our PG&E bill, so we’re going to keep the thermostat low (or off completely when we’re not at home), but at least we won’t be freezing in the mornings. (What do you keep your thermostat at? I was thinking 60-62*.)
We were having a SERIOUS ant issue that was starting to get me really depressed. I read a couple articles about how ants in California come in to find water during droughts or escape the rain during storms, so we’re basically fucked and there is nothing we can do. I cried, a lot, about it, because it was getting to the point where they were EVERYWHERE, and massive in number. But I researched some bait traps and put them in strategic places and the cleaning lady got rid of any unseen food remnants and so far we haven’t seen an ant in three days. I know they will keep coming back, but I don’t feel so hopeless about the prospect of cohabiting with literally thousands of them.
- We got a letter from the water company authorizing a $500 credit due to us fixing the leak in our tenants’ toilet. The whole ordeal still cost us $500 dollars, but it’s better than nothing. We’re also hoping that the lower water pressure will keep our water usage down moving forward.
Christmas day was okay. My daughter was very much into “are there any more presents for me?” but she wasn’t too upset when the answer was finally “no.” My son was actually almost as into the present-opening as his sister, which I hadn’t even considered, as he wasn’t that interested two months ago at his birthday. He had a lot more fun playing with each toy he opened, and it was fun to watch him rip apart presents that weren’t even for him (with the permission of the correct recipient). All in all it was a fine day. I really can’t complain. (Except that my daughter had pink eye and my son ended the day with a 102* fever, but otherwise it was fine.)
- We finished the second season of Broadchurch (loved it, David Tennant is a master) and Interstellar, which we also really enjoyed. It’s been so nice watching good television and awesome movies.
We’ve been eating out strategically during our weekend without the kids, keeping the financial damage at a minimum (and using Christmas cash from our parents to pay for it). We’ve kept it to small food trucks and pop-ups, eating huge meals so we can skip a few or just eat a snack at home to tide us over. Oh, and we’ve been making all our own drinks at our place.
- My husband and I happened into the library the other day and then he randomly eyed some new graphic novels on a shelf, which prompted us to seek out the graphic novel section, where I found a ton of comic books I just saw at a store and really wanted to read. I felt like a kid at Christmas, only it was the day after Christmas and I was just borrowing books from the library. I brought home ten graphic novels and I’ve already read five. It’s been a lot of fun to lose myself in the comic book world again. It’s been a long, long time. And I’m stoked to know that my library has so many graphic novels. I had no idea they carried DC and Marvel comics in such vast quantities. It’s going to take great restraint to keep this under control moving forward. 😉
Last month I finally filled out the paper work to get my paycheck direct deposited to our new checking account. I have also changed all my auto payments to come out of that account. My husband is half way through those same steps. By 2016 we should be spending from the same joint accounts. I also have a new budgeting tool to help me in 2016. I will write more about it presently.
So yes, right now, things are good. I have a ton to say about my marriage and how important it us for us to get away from our kids for a few days. I have even more to say about the new year and managing expectations. There is much to say, but I’ve already said enough. And I need to keep exercising, so I can shower, drink a bloody mary and go see Star Wars at the new Alamo Draft house (complete with drinks and food).
I hope you’re all having a good time in the space between holidays. Thanks for standing with me through the past few months. I hope I have something valuable to add to the conversation in the months to come.