we already got one, thanks

I’ve been getting so much flak lately about when we’re gonna have kids, and it drives me nuts. I’m okay right now and forever, thanks. You know want to why? Well, maybe because I’M ALREADY RAISING A KID.

 

Anything you get with a kid, minus the first year (which I do at work plenty, thanks), I’ve experienced with Stepson. And right now we’re in the midst of “teach this kid everything because nobody at home is”.

As I type this, he’s filling out three Math sheets from a curriculum book Husband’s stepmom gave us. He’s horrendous with Math and half the time either gives up or just guesses. At first I was crazy about stories and manipulatives to make it easier for him to grasp.

Then with the past couple of visits, I realized that what he really wanted was for us to sit down and “work with him” — aka do half the thinking and basically do it for him. Here’s how he wants it go.

“What is 4 + 4?”

“I don’t know.”

“Look at the number line. Where’s the four?”

“Here.”

“Keep your finger there, now count four down to the answer.”

“One … two … three … four … it’s eight.”

I’m okay doing a couple with him like that to get him going, but I feel like since he does number line in school as well, he should be able to take it from there and apply the concept. He doesn’t want to, though. He wants us to sit there and walk him through to the answer. When we ask him to sit and figure it out himself, he sits there and talks aloud about the wrong answers, side glancing us, baiting us (mostly Husband, who always wants to jump in with the answer) to come and help him.

I know he’s got a brain, and knows how to use it. He’s good with words — a few weeks ago his homework was to come up with words that start with a particular letter, and he did it all without any help from me. It was great the words he was coming up with … year for y, violet for v, etc. But he just struggles over his Math.

I am hard on him.

Last weekend we took him to Husband’s dad and then Husband’s mom. At my FIL’s we were messing around with some lacrosse equipment and they were just like, ‘Oh, he has such a great arm. He’ll be a fantastic lacrosse player.’ Then at my MIL’s he was playing with the T-ball set he got for Christmas, broke it because he was messing around and whacking it with the bat, and they were like, ‘Wow, such strength. He really knows how to connect with the ball. He’s going to be amazing when he’s in baseball this summer.’

I can’t even. Like, that shit doesn’t even matter to me and honestly, who can tell that stuff about a six year old? HE BROKE IT. He’s so aggressive because at home they just let him run wild and destructive because it’s easier than discipling him. And because he’s six, he can understand what they’re saying, so he’s all like, ‘Yeah, I’m great at it. I’m great at this.’

The generation of privileged, special beings, ladies and gentlemen.

This is just the skill related portion. He still needs reminders to throw trash away, clear his plate, wash his hands, flush the toilet, etc. So many people are like,”He’s a boy! He’s a kid!” Um, he’ll be seven before you can blink. First grade in the fall. Please tell me what first grader is seen as ‘cute’ when they can’t wipe their butt or leave a mess on the floor?

This morning he peed the bed and walked around in urine soaked pajamas for half the morning before we realized what happened. There were subtle clues that I was just not connecting, btw. Anyway, he could not have cared less. Oh, we had to wash the sheets and scrub the mattress? What, he needed a bath because he smelled like piss? Who cares. Wait a minute while I shit my pants for no reason. We were both so angry and frustrated. He doesn’t get computer/Netflix for the rest of the weekend, and he had a ten minute time out.

In conclusion, I’m good. I’m raising a kid. I’m teaching him subtraction, taking him to the park, buying him gifts from the Easter Bunny. I’m getting all the fundamental business you need to experience as a human being, apparently. I have no desire in me to do this all over again, boy or girl. I got it. I got the concept. I already worry enough with this one, thank you very much.

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best for you.

We got our car and I love our car. It’s small, it zips, it fits the bike in the back, and I just love it.

Our car is also cheap — low priced, good monthly payment, etc. It’s perfect for us in every way.

And then someone I know — makes less money than us, has no trade in, barely any credit — talked about getting a new car.

Took a test drive in a car.

Pretty much settled on a car.

A car that’s $10,000 more than ours.

I read all this and I’ve been … not upset, but just confused. Irritated.

How can they get that car? We couldn’t get that car?

And then I started wondering.

We have a lot of mutual friends on Facebook. Do people see our car, and now their car, and think we’re cheap? Do they think Husband and I are poor and can’t afford anything else?

I spent more time than I care to admit mulling over this selfish inquiry the past few days. Especially when people who wrote nothing about our car told this person that they were getting a nice car, great car, what an awesome buy — did we not make an awesome buy? Is there something wrong with our car? Our car is lower on U.S. News Best Cars list, do people see that and think we got a lame car? Or do they see through the superficial standards for a good car (i.e., built in navigation systems)?

When I told Husband how I was feeling, he got a little upset. ‘I feel like you think these things,’ he says to me. ‘Why don’t you like our car? Do you think we have a cheap car? Do you think we made a bad buy?’

I love our car. I love how it take 3 point turns and makes them u turns. I love how we can fit into any parking space and parallel parking is a breeze. I love how a guy walking his dog told me he loved our car and that it seems like a great city car (it is). I love how what we pay for gas is cut in half.

So why do I care what other people think?

Husband pointed out that other people don’t know anything about us, and we don’t know anything about other people. Maybe the person I know has been saving money, maybe they don’t care about a big car payment, maybe someone behind the scenes is helping them buy the car. Maybe that’s what they’re choosing to spend their money on, or … maybe they aren’t even going to buy the car.

Husband pointed out that when we went on the test drive, we fell in love with the car and bought it that night, no questions asked. We had the money, the resources, etc. We had a plan, done our research, and we knew what we wanted. The person test drove the car, claimed to love it and be all over it,  but hasn’t bought it yet. Why? We don’t know, and it’s not really our business.

‘I want people to think we’re poor,’ Husband tells me as he pours syrup on his waffles. ‘I want them to think we’re struggling over here, while we’re doing just fine. We bought that car even though we could’ve afford a $400/month car payment. But we didn’t want to pay that, we wanted a smaller car so we could use that money elsewhere and save it. Everyone makes that choice differently.’

FYI, I did not know that we could have a $400 car payment. I mean, we were doing the $363, but I felt like that was kind of stretching it for us. But I think that’s because that just felt like such an astronomical amount and we felt pushed into that amount by his dick credit union. There’s so much that Husband understands about what we can afford and where we’re at money wise. I still feel like $40,000/year is that greatest salary ever.

I was raised by parents who fed off the same principle as Husband. My dad was making six figures and they still made us pay for half of any used cars we bought (like, the Cavy was $4,000, my parents paid $2,000 and my sister and I each chipped in $1,000). They live in a two bedroom one story, they rarely went out for dinner or see movies, we didn’t have cable until I was 20, and they just replaced their 30 year old living room TV this year (and only because it stopped turning on). The only reason I ever knew how much my dad made was because I peeked on a FASFA form (he vehemently tried to keep it from us for years).

I have an uncle who owns a bunch of property and is basically the Monopoly man in real life, yet he drives around in a Cadillac from the 90’s and lives in a half complete house on the wrong side of Joliet. He is one of my favorite examples of how money shouldn’t define your life.

So, in conclusion, I wish this person all the best. They may have the money for this car, or not, it’s really none of my business.

I really have been striving to focus on my life and my priorities, and not look at anyone else’s, but damn is that hard sometimes. Glad I have Husband to nudge me back in the right direction.

we got our car!!

Oh man!

Is there anything better than getting something after waiting soooo long for it? I contest that there is not.

Husband and I, we had a whole plan mapped out for the month of March. We were going to spend some money fixing a few things on the Subaru, pay it off, get the interior cleaned, test drive a variety of cars, then choose the best car and buy it towards the end of the month.

But here’s what happened instead.

First of all, if you’ve ever compared a line of cars, you see that there’s not much difference between them. We were comparing the Toyota Yaris, the Nissan Versa Note, the Honda Fit, and the Mazda2. Besides a price point difference of a couple hundred, and the fact that the 2015 Honda Fit wasn’t out yet, they were all pretty much the same car. In fact, Husband and I had confused the Toyota Yaris and the Mazda2 when we saw them out on the road. So we were really going into this just trying to find a car that we liked, since everything else seemed to be the same.

Last week, we had an appointment to fix the Subaru’s windshield on Tuesday. That was one of the many things wrong with the car, as well as the clutch, the steering wheel, the brakes, the shocks, the air conditioning, the left headlight, the spark plugs, and the tire alignment. The car needed about 3-4 thousand dollars worth of work put into it, and it had about 180,000 miles on it.

Basically it was a hunk of junk and we were ready to get rid of it, but we did want some money from it. It’s a long winded story, but when Husband originally bought it he was young and in crisis and not too smart financially. We had poured a lot of money into paying it off.

Anyway, we decided to get a jump start on test driving and so we went to look at the Mazda2 on Monday. We had sat in the Mazda2 at the auto show and I had gotten a really strong ‘feeling’ that it was the car I wanted. We went for the test drive and the car salesman was super, super nice — stayed quiet for the majority of the ride and let us talk things out. We were listening for noises we had read about in reviews online and were checking to make sure the review mirrors and such were okay. There was no pressure and we looked at the Sport and Touring options. When we got back to the lot, the salesman asked if we wanted to talk about buying the car that night.

I immediately put the brakes down. I had never bought a new car before, and was immediately suspicious of buying a car right away when we had to still pay off the Subaru. It all seemed too good to be true. We agreed to sit down and talk about what was happening next, but we made it clear that there was a lot of issues with the Subaru and trading it in was maybe not something the dealership would want.

We sat down and laid everything out. We had the money to pay off the Subaru, we just hadn’t done it yet. The manager took the Subaru for a drive and we talked about monthly payments. Truth out, we were paying $363/month to get the Subaru paid off and so were looking for a car payment closer to $200. Numbers were tossed back and forth, 0% financing was secured (yay!) and we made a deal about the Subaru. Basically we only “rolled over” a couple hundred leftover from the Subaru (which will get paid off with our first payment anyway). I talked about it with my parents later, who are like my financial gurus, and they agreed we did everything exactly right. Our down payment pays off 40% of the car, which was so, so exciting to do.

I feel really good about this. I had been worried about it because the Subaru was such a hassle, between the large financial burden and the fact that I couldn’t drive it. So many options are open now that we have a reliable car that we can both drive.

here and there updates

I’ve been a little quiet around here as we’ve been working on a few things, and I wanted to see how they panned out before I made any serious talk on “paper” about them.

Husband got a new job! He is working hard to figure out what is expected of him and what his day to day tasks entail. They created the position and then sought him out to come work for them, which is unbelievably awesome, so they’re still working out the kinks of a true ‘job description’. There are talks of trips out West and to China in his future, which would be a great opportunity for him. I’m so proud of him, and I know he’s proud of himself too.

Financially, things were a little sketchy. We were expecting bonus money from his previous job until his boss told him the company might not want to give it to him because he quit (even though, contract wise, he didn’t do anything wrong). So we had to deal with that disappointment and look for other avenues (aka our tax returns) in regards to paying off the Subaru. We had fully accepted this and I had stopped thinking about it. Then yesterday we checked the mail and there it was — a full bonus check. Money we’re putting into savings, but money we were surprised and relieved to see. We are doing well financially because his new job came with a significant leap in salary. Right now Husband is making monthly what he and I made together monthly back in 2011.

So, yes, all kinds of blessings right now. We’re looking at this surplus in money as a blessing to do things we couldn’t afford but needed — mainly, my dental work.

Yes, I made it to the dentist! I found an amazing dentist who advertises on my sister’s radio station. Going to the dentist for the first time in about four or five years, I was nervous and scared. She was amazingly patient with me, explained everything that she saw and what needed to be done. Yes, I had serious issues in my gums — but my teeth were perfect (no cavities or anything like that). Turns out I have strong teeth but weak gums. Plus my permanent retainer was causing all sorts of trouble, catching plaque like a full time job. The second time I went (and I’ll go again at the end of March), I met an amazing dental hygienist who did the procedure — mainly, numbing my gums and then digging all up in them to scrape out the plaque. I was crazy scared, but she explained everything, repeatedly asked if I was OK, let me listen to headphones while she worked to keep me calm, and showed me how to floss the retainer so it stays clean. I’m actually fine with going again to finish up the other side, and the every six months appointments I’ll have to do from now on to keep my gums healthy. My last dentist was ridiculous and his hygienists were some of the meanest and constantly degraded everyone, so I’m grateful for a place where the people are nice.

What else? Stepson is doing good; we’re working on simple Math with him because that seems to be his main struggle at school right now. Next weekend we’re doing an overnight at an indoor water park and I can’t wait. I started a ‘project’ on Instagram where I take pictures of Stepson every weekend we have him and post them with a few thoughts. I plan on turning them into a book at the end of the year, just so we have some momento of this age.

Husband’s dad wants us to go with them on a RV road trip to Yellowstone over the summer. I’m not sure if this is actually going to happen or not, since his dad hasn’t mentioned it since, but I hope so! What an adventure!

Finally, work is going really well. We got a new director and she has more confidence and appreciation for us than the previous two directors combined. I’ve been leading a lot of tours for my room, which is positive for the center (they all basically have been enrolling) and positive for me because I feel more confident in my abilities and knowledge. I’ve been doing some serious thinking about what the next step is for me in this career — I’m fine with my job as is, but I know that physically I probably won’t be able to do this forever. Husband and I have been discussing a few options, and we’ll see what I can make work!

back to a good place.

Without realizing it, Husband and I hit a rough patch. We were roommates and friends, snapping at each other and rubbing elbows without really acknowledging each other.  Our physical relationship took a complete nose dive.

I can’t really explain how we came out of it.

I’ve written and deleted about seven paragraphs trying to articulate what happened.

When really all I want to say is this: Husband and I had a rough patch for about three months, and we recently fell back in (deep, deep) love with each other.

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It’s been all kinds of strange and unsettling. I actually cried a couple weeks ago because I was feeling things for him I knew, quite clearly, I hadn’t felt in awhile. I read so much about how when you have kids THAT’S when your marriage is in danger, that’s when you have to schedule dates and be vigilant. But it’s what happened to us — we became roommates, we became people who passed each other in the night. And that’s natural, the ebb and flow of a relationship, but what was scary was that I didn’t even realize it had happened until we were through it. I thought we were okay, I thought we were good, but I see now that I just saw mediocrity.

Anyway, we’re here. Great and stable and loving on each other like it’s going out of style.

the reality of things

I’ve been reading a lot lately about how we only post the highlights of our life on social media. People are saying that this isn’t good, because it gives others a false idea of what our lives are really like. It breeds jealousy, it causes us to document over savoring moments.

I think that posting the ‘highlights’ is a good thing — it helps with self esteem, causes us to be grateful, and lets others know what’s going on in our life. Supporting each other is a big priority on Instagram, and it’s turning into a community setting. I use Facebook to let my relatives who I don’t get to see too often what’s happening in my life, and to connect with them in an easy and quick manner. Tumblr boasts itself as a mecca for community and friendship, but I see a lot more outrage, negativity and mindless reposting there instead.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’m leaving out when I’m posting the highlights. What really got me thinking about this is that one of the bloggers I follow talked about this — but didn’t reveal anything she was leaving out. Isn’t that funny? She spent all this time pouring into a post about how just because we may think her life is amazing, or perfect, but we don’t see everything. She has a lot of hardships we don’t know about it. Just remember that — end of post.

This kind of upset me. I understand that in some regards, a blogger is like a very, very, very, very miniature Internet celebrity, and they have to be careful what they post. Everyone can see it, including friends, family, coworkers, etc. But on the other hand, I don’t feel like you should claim something without evidence to back it up. I would have felt better if she would have said something like, ‘I have hardships you don’t know about — I’ve been struggling to lose weight and my car needs a repair I don’t know if I can pay for.’ The honesty would have been more connecting than just a vague reference to some “troubles”.

I got upset, but I know that in some regards, I do the same thing. On Instagram, on Facebook, in real life, I act as though my “troubles” are just a shrug away from being solved. I hide the things I don’t want people to know.

I post a before/after of my weight loss on Instagram, but don’t say how that same day I got a terrible stomachache and diarrhea from overeating.

We tell people we’re ready to pay off and repair our car to sell it … but neglect to add that we’re still figuring out how to afford either.

I post on a Facebook wall about the new jeans I bought, leaving out the part about how I struggled internally with the fact that they’re an 8 and not a size 6.

I smile and joke at work about when we’re having a baby, because I’m too afraid of people’s reactions to tell them we’re never having one.

My smile is big and bright in every picture I post … you would never know that I freak out every night because I have gum disease.

 

Yeah, that last one was probably the hardest one to type. I feel like such a loser and idiot for having it, because it’s totally preventable. But I’m awful with dental health, and I haven’t seen a dentist in four years. My gums have been bleeding when I brush since the spring. I freaked out, attacked them with a toothbrush every chance I got, and it finally slowed to a stop last month. Last week I had some pain in my one tooth, and Husband looked at and determined it was because the gum was receding and the root was starting to show. The pain is gone but nothing’s changed with the gum line, obviously. I finally, finally made a dentist appointment for the beginning of February. I’m terrified to face the reality of this and what I might have to go through to repair it. I acknowledge that it’s no one’s fault but my own, and I block any thought of what I’d say or do if other people found out. Honestly, it was hard enough to sit down with Husband and let him know what was happening. I felt so ashamed. He, as always, was very rational about it, explained that he’s had plenty of cavities and such, and pushed me to make an appointment even though I don’t have dental insurance right now.

Facing the reality is tough. I unfortunately possess the mentality that if I don’t think about or look at something, it will magically resolve itself. As a teen I was constantly hiding things from my parents, hoping it would go away before they would find out, and procrastination was (and is) my biggest flaw. I’m working on it, but it’s hard. So so hard. I knew I needed to go to the dentist for a couple years now, but I rationalized that I wasn’t having any tooth pain, so everything was okay. Now I researched and read that 30% of people have gum disease and don’t know it because in the beginning, there are virtually no symptoms.

I’m taking this as a lesson and hoping to learn from it. I’m trying to face hard situations and conquer them.

glimpse of an alternate future

I sometimes wonder if I’m covering too much of the same topics over and over on here. Then I realize I’m the only one reading this thing, so it’s okay. YAY!

Yesterday Stepson had a wicked case of pink eye in both eyes and since Husband had a day off on Thursday, I had to call in to work so I could stay home with him. The original plan had been for him to come to work with me, but obviously that was off the table.

After I called off, which until that point I had a one and a half year streak of NOT doing at all, I had to bit my tongue before I said, ‘That sucks. I really don’t like doing this.’

Now, a lot of people may call me crazy. So many people would love to stay home with their kids, and seriously, the fact that he only had pink eye meant he was really on the up and up everywhere else. (It’s really the main reason pink eye sucks so much: only 10% of your body is infected, but 100% of you has to stay home.) But I like work, I had been getting my babies on amazing schedules, and I really didn’t want to lose any of that momentum.

Plus, I have four months left before my personal time renews and this was really putting a dig in that.

So we spent the day together.

And people … *big gulp* … it was all kinds of boring.

Not for him, of course. We played games, did some worksheets, crafts, trains, and some of the educational games for his Tag. I kept the laptops (our ‘tvs’) closed because we had rented a movie for that night and I figured that would be enough screen time for one day.

But doing all that was not enough for me. On top of that I was also baking cookies, running a load in the dishwasher, washed and folded four loads of laundry, and keeping the house clean as we moved from activity to activity.

And I was still having this anxious, ‘what’s next what’s next’ feeling inside me.

I think the big highlight of the day for me was when I decided (this is how much I needed something to do) that he was going to have a bath. Unfortunately I am a terrible person and put bubble bath in there. And he threw a tantrum. So I gave him the bath while he sobbed, then dried, dressed him, and carried him to bed for a nap. He slept for an hour 45 and I had to wake him up.

((I think the holidays have been crazy for him, because he went to bed at 9:30 last night and he’s still passed out.))

I’m getting to a lesson, promise. I read so many mommy blogs – stay at home moms, working moms, work at home  moms, and they all seem to fight to keep their lives balanced and take care of their kids.

(Can I just say though that I have no sympathy with stay at home moms when it comes to saying they can’t get any work done because of their kids? This is a cop out. I do so much at work while I watch the kids, and I have done so much at home while Stepson is around.)

So anyway, with everything that happened yesterday I realized that having kids really isn’t for me. It’s enough that I have to go through it with Stepson. I don’t want to stay home all day with a kid (even though I would probably have things planned and a car yada yada yada) and I also wouldn’t want to have a job because it would mean spending all my personal/vaca time on sick days and the like. Boring!

I just don’t see kids in our future. I feel like there is supposed to be some sort of tug within me anytime I’m around kids to make me want my own, and I never have it. I think it’s because for me, personally, I’m with so many kids all the time and with Stepson, so I know what I’m getting into and I’ve already done that, thank you.

Husband and I were talking about how nice it felt to be the hip couple in Chicago, and how nice it’s going to be to invite people over, to have our niece and nephew come for a weekend, to have Stepson come with friends (maybe?) someday, and how we’ll be able to say ‘yes’ to so much because of no kids.

That’s a future I’m looking forward to.