Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Updates - New Year's Resolutions (Number One?)

Today is the day of updates.  I went back to see if I had actually kept any of my New Year's resolutions, since here we are almost in June and I can't find the post!  Wouldn't it be cool if I could actually link you to my resolutions here and then you could tell me how I'm doing?  But somehow, conveniently, I'm having trouble finding that blog post.  So I am having to go from memory here.  If you are bored enough to go looking in my archives for November-December-January of 2010-2011 and happen to find the post, could you let me know what I called it?

Two resolutions seemed to want to mix together in writing this post.  I had resolved to spend some "couples" time with Justin and to work on my spending problem.  Well that has and hasn't happened.  If you've been reading, you know what's going on with the spending diet.  So, here's what's happening with the couples thing.

We did get to go up to New York in March to see our friends when Justin did the St. Baldrick's event.  So that was a weekend away for just the two of us.  And we are planning on going to the S2000 car club drive in August in Gettysburg together, although I've had thoughts of staying home so we don't have to pay to board the dog and for my meals (spending diet).  Justin has to go (and obviously wants to go...okay, I want to go too!) because he is president of his chapter and he has been planning the meet and, well, it's fun.  Plus, he didn't start this whole spending diet thing, so he shouldn't be bound by my spending "rules." 

I am weighing the dollar costs that we would save by my staying home against the benefits to our marriage of having four days away from the responsibility of house, Justin's job, animals, and kids, and the benefits seem to be winning the fight.  I'm just wondering if I'm walking the walk with the spending diet if I go along...but it was supposed to be a diet and not a fast and we need time together to keep the marriage healthy.

If we've paid off all of the major credit card debt and we can pay cash for the trip, then it's a temporary setback in putting money towards that other debt, which isn't disappearing anytime soon.  Justin's job has been absolutely overwhelming and that really limits the time we can spend together.  Plus, after 23 years of marriage, I have finally admitted that we really just have a lot of different interests that don't often allow us to do things together that we both enjoy.  And he is feeling the crunch of having clients from all parts of the globe in all different time zones and sometimes his work day goes from 5:30 in the morning until 9:00 at night.  So that's stressful both for him and for us.  But luckily, 23 years of marriage, being best friends, and the fact that he works from home makes this doable. 

In keeping with the spending diet resolution, I decided recently to sell some of the things that were just sitting around the house being valuable, but not being used.  The day before yesterday, I sold my beautiful keyboard for cash.  Ouch, that hurt.  Because the keyboard was, in a way, a symbol of "couples" time that we no longer have.

A little background so you understand why I cried when the keyboard left.

Back when Justin and I moved to Winchester in 2005, he started learning to the play the guitar and, like with everything he tries, he learned how fairly quickly.  I also had a musical background, playing piano from ages 7-11 and then the flute through middle and high school.  Because of my stage fright, I didn't make it into Mary Washington's symphony when I flubbed the audition.  I took one semester of flute at college and then quit.  But I missed music.

I think it was the first year we lived here when we went into a local music store and I noticed the keyboards.  I thought, in my normal impulsive way without really thinking it through, "Hey, maybe Joey would love a keyboard and want to learn how to play!"  Of course, we walked out of there with one of those small keyboards and I wrapped it up for Christmas, anticipating Joey's pleasure and willingness to put in some practice and learn to play.  Um...wrong.  Joey has absolutely zero interest in music - either playing it or listening to it. 

So the little keyboard sat somewhere in the house until a few months later when I suddenly remembered we had it, got it out, and started fiddling around on it.  Darned if some of my early piano training didn't start coming back and I soon had Fur Elise down pretty good.  Not good like you see on YouTube good, but I was playing it and hitting the right notes.  I decided that hey, playing the keyboard might be fun and it would be something Justin and I could do together.  Guitar and keyboards...and maybe I could sing too!  Um...

Okay, I do not have a great singing voice.  I would have been one of those American Idol contestants that they kicked out and then later played the audition for the entire United States Fox viewing audience and everyone would laugh hysterically.  But I could sort of stay in key within a limited range.  I started taking both piano and voice lessons from Justin's music teacher and was really enjoying myself.  We started to do some musical stuff together and then our teacher formed a band.

Justin's musical history was playing the drums from the time he could drum his fingers on a flat surface.  He and his brother, also a percussionist, used to drive their mother crazy banging on things constantly.  He still does it.  The music teacher was amazed at how good Justin is on the drums and, even though what he really wanted to do was play the guitar, the teacher decided Justin should play drums in the band he was forming.  He used to do fun stuff like that, this teacher.  The band had members ranging from age 12 to the age of the teacher, who I believe is in his 50's.  And after awhile, he also decided I should do some backup keyboards.  The band was an extremely fun thing and it followed all of the rules for "couples" time.  We had a common interest, we spent time both at home and at the studio rehearsing, and we ended up playing for the block party a couple of years ago.  Justin was fantastic, I held my own on the keyboard parts, and sucked when I sang.

But what I forgot to mention in there was that between the time when I started relearning Fur Elise on that little keyboard and that block party performance (our swan song - the band broke up and the teacher moved to South Carolina), Justin had gone out and gotten me a beautiful, extremely expensive, 88 key electronic keyboard, stand, and bench.  I had a piano again!  A cool piano that did neat electrical things that I never did quite figure out because, as with so many things, once I had it, it lost its charm fairly quickly and eventually I stopped playing completely.  Which is sad because I love music and I was fairly talented at the keyboard/piano thing.  I miss our teacher.  If he hadn't moved, I might have kept with it, but I didn't and so out the keyboard went on Monday.

The point of all of this is that I just sold that keyboard on Craig's List for cash.  To pay our bills.  I have to admit to a few tears after it went out the door, but I held out against the first creepy guy that called and wanted to give me $50 less than what I was asking.  And I was asking for a lot less than what Justin had bought it for and it was practically brand new!

Creepy guy with the accent called me 7 or 8 times and texted me a couple of times, trying to get me to give it to him for almost nothing.  I went back onto Craig's List, upped the price, said no calls please.  If I was going to get rid of this lovely gift to help pay the bills, I wanted someone nice to have it.  Not someone looking to get something for nothing.  That keyboard was not only was something precious that Justin gave me, it was also a symbol of "couples" time that we had spent together.

The afternoon after I had increased the price on Craig's List, I got a text from a lady who was looking for a keyboard for her church's new band and could she come get it for the price I had upped it to?  Now that was more like it, but keyboard is now gone and I know the money will be shortly.  So, I'm a little sad.  I won't be playing keyboards anymore.  I guess I could still try to do work on my voice with Justin while he plays the guitar, but he's a busy guy and unfortunately, he doesn't get to play as much as he would like to.  "Couples" music time seems to have come to an end...which makes me sad.  I miss it.

Funny that I started this post about the resolution to spend "couples" time together with Justin and ended up talking about selling my keyboard to keep the resolution to try to help solve my spending and debt problems.  But I think that as a couple, we've reconnected in other ways over the past year and I am almost 100% sure I will go to Gettysburg.  Because I can't stand the thought of missing those four days of alone time with my husband and catching up with people we don't get to see enough.

Sometimes, you just have to spend money in life.  I'd rather have to spend money and have a rock solid marriage than stay home and miss the chance to spend time with  my husband.




  1. How much do the kids watch cartoon network? Or any other tv for that matter? I'm guessing like when i had Tommy & Philip they spend most of their time playing video games and/or on their computers watching youtube. If you get netflix back they can watch movies galore. There are alot of anime and cartoons from cartoon netwrok on instant play. You could afford your trip with Justin in one months savings I bet! How much is your cable bill? Home phone line bill? Plus netflix? How much would you save? I'm doing it! I ran it by kent and we decided to cancel basic cable. That was $120/ month. Home phone $45/month Netflix is $20/ month which we are keeping.

  2. This is exactly what I need to figure out. The triple play for Comcast - internet, phone, and cable - totals $171 a month. It's all bundled together so I have to see what cutting the cable and thee phone line would do for the budget. They won't break it down for me so I need to call.

    I'm not sure how much of the cartoon network the kids watch, but it seems like every time I go into Ben's room, that's what's on. But he is also on his computer or on his XBox too. And Netlix streams through all those fancy video game things we got them.

    It boils down to can I give up cable, really. And I'm not sure I'm quite there yet, but I'm getting there.


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