Ben and I sat down today to do what every newly-married couple probably has to do at some point or other: make a real budget.
Back in September, we put a budget together based on numbers we gathered from our friends and family centering around bills we expected to have but didn't actually have yet. We didn't have a house or health insurance yet, for instance, so we had to guess on taxes and utilities and insurance and so on. After a little over a month of marriage, we got and paid our first set of bills this week and so it became time to sit down and make the real file. In passing, Quicken is a wonderful tool.
Our pile of important papers has gradually become neatly organized in a little file box complete with labeled tabs and a file that already looks suspiciously like "miscellaneous". It turns out one of the things that can make a person feel officially married is creating a "Bills to Be Paid" folder and another one labeled "Grocery Receipts".
Something in me loves organization: I have the feeling if things are lined up neatly, we won't lose things. Nana informs me this is my German blood showing. Oh well. When you're a mutt like me, you never know which nationality is going to pop up with some distinctive characteristic.
At any rate, our papers are sorted and we sorted them again while we were creating our budget ("What was the health insurance cost when I get added on again?"). Lacking a house payment and a car payment, our living expenses are surprisingly and gratifyingly low, which is good for self-employed business owners taking care of Grandma. The final total of what we needed was actually lower than we projected back in September, though many of the costs are surprisingly accurate. Our grocery bill, for instance, is right on; though it turns out we're spending less on gas, health insurance, house insurance, and fast food than expected. On the flip side, we got a ginormous electricity bill after all our home improvement work last month and we still don't know what the normal bill is going to be (hey, we blew out every fuse in the fuse box at least once and it was usually a couple per evening. Since we've been married, we only lost one and it got blown out when an interrupter switch in the furnace failed).
One of the big projects Ben is working on will probably involve a lot of what's considered "grunt work" - basic data entry that doesn't take any programming skill whatsoever to do. Since that is one of my strong suits, I will probably be doing that in the next few months - which will allow me to work with Ben and actually be adding to our income (hopefully, straight to our savings!) at the same time. Normally I work for free, so this is a pleasant new phenomenon. We're so blessed: most couples starting out are both working, but not together on the same projects all the time.
And in other "blessing" news, we were offered a new washing machine today.
Well, not new to the people looking to get rid of it, but new to us. Some friends' grandparents decided to get front-loading machines and wanted to give away their top-loader. Ours is working okay, but is showing unmistakable signs of being 20 years old and on it's last legs. One of the more amusing signs is that the agitator has a habit of coming loose while in the spin cycle, resulting in a series of giant bangs from the basement that sound like there's some terrified monster in the washing machine fighting to get out. We're getting a lot of involuntary exercise running downstairs at top speed to rescue the washing machine before it self-destructs or something. I always wondered where that sock monster stayed during the daytime - you know, when he isn't coming out at night to eat just ONE sock out of a perfectly good pair.
And that is the very exciting news from our house today.
It's been a long time since I had a minute or a stable Internet connection to write an update here: this afternoon I have both, so hopefully they'll hold up long enough for me to finish. I already had one entry nearly done and lost it when I hit the 'home' button on my computer and accidentally went to iGoogle. Note: be careful with elbows when writing on blogs.
It has been extremely busy around here.
That is a polite way of saying I have a lot of moments when I say, "Breathing? What's that? Oh yeah - it's that thing you do so you can get oxygen!"
Grandma has been home for almost 2 weeks now. She's doing well, but it's taking a lot of adjustment on all our parts. Ben and I are taking over from two shifts and a kitchen crew at assisted living; and Grandma is getting used to living at home again, which means you do things kind of a lot differently than at a home. Instead of entertainment, we're running a household and doing more normal life things like folding laundry and preparing meals and hanging curtains (finally!!! Hooray!!!). The good part about this is Grandma has gotten a lot more motivated to walk because everyone around her us able to walk and do brisk, energetic, everyday things, whereas before she had a lot more people around her who were incapacitated. It's funny how people don't tend to have a lot of ambition to do way more than what the norm is around them at the time.
Ben and I have been trying to establish a routine, but we still haven't been able to do a lot of our normal-living things yet. Grocery shopping has been tricky to squeeze in, as has been even simple things like dinner with either of our families. My dad said last week he thought we sounded like a couple with a new baby; but Grandma is not much like a newborn. I understand handling new babies; but when you need to go somewhere and you have a baby, you plop them in the carseat and take them along. Grandma can't do that. She's also a grown adult woman and our grandmother, so she has definite likes and dislikes we have to work around whereas a baby does whatever the parents think best.
Ben is being a wonderful man, like usual. I'm having a tough time sleeping right now - years of being the big sister have conditioned me to wake at every sound that seems a little out of place and Grandma is pretty vocal when she's sleeping - so this morning Ben got up with Grandma when I usually do and then brought me breakfast while I tried to unglue my eyelids. He has also taken over Grandma's morning get-out-of-bed routine since he has to go to the office in the afternoon and that's when I'm on full duty; and he's the official physical therapist of the - and it isn't just the physical stuff, either. He's been keeping me on track when I start to get scared or worried. It's a lot to take on, getting married, moving, and learning to care for Grandma all at once. I feel pretty foggy a lot and I'm hoping that gets better as everything settles in.
At the moment, I'm celebrating small triumphs like finally getting a garbage can for the kitchen. Hey, when you're this busy, every little project you can finish is a Big Deal. Oh. Curtains for the living room. We are officially no longer a complete fishbowl. If we got the blinds on the doorwall, we would really be out of the fishbowl; but as I said...small triumphs. One little thing at a time.
Speaking of which...time to swap laundry from the washing machine to the dryer. No sense in adding Mount Washmore to the list of projects!
Wife of Benjamin and mother to two wonderful little girls who are getting bigger every day. Enjoys writing down thoughts and discussions we are having within the family and sharing them with whoever is interested in reading.
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