Thursday, December 08, 2011

Another Dump...Just When You Thought You Were Safe

I am perched on the most precarious of ledges.

Today has been a good day but I'm also halfway to crabby pants for a relatively silly reason. I've got a few things to share so this seems to be shaping up into a mental dump of sorts.

1) Today, I did a very grown up thing - a RESPONSIBLE THING - voluntarily. *gasp* I know, right?! This is fairly Earth-shattering but I think you all can take it.

Today, I took my car to the emissions testing center all by myself. I did not panic. And then? I mailed off my check to the Department of Revenue for my license plate renewal...7. Weeks. Early. I KNOW!

This is the part where, if you know anything about me and auto maintenance and repair, you applaud wildly.

*bowing* Thank you. Thank you very much.

2) Contributing largely to the accomplishment stated above is the fact that I've finally FINALLY understood a particularly important concept about budgeting.

Budgets are living, fluid documents. I'm somewhat strict with myself given my goal of becoming debt-free. However, each pay period, I tweak, adjust, divert funds for whatever is coming up in the near future. I roll over extra funds from the prior pay period - something that's becoming more and more frequent - and apply that to outstanding bills or put it toward extras. Extras like getting my emissions test done and paying for my car tags...a month before I'd budgeted for it. I've learned budgets are not black or white. They are guidelines that should be adhered to as much as possible all the while knowing sometimes life happens - in bad ways but in also excellent ways!

3) One of the excellent ways life happened last week in a way that impacted my budget is, not only did I realize I had enough in my budget to pay for my car maintenance early but, I also had a little extra to buy some desperately needed clothes!

I don't clothes shop often. I've never liked it. It does nothing for me except add to my already sky high anxiety. I avoid it as much as possible and have ever since I was 10. Growing up, my mother took us shopping twice a year - once for school clothes and once for summer clothes. After awhile, the summer clothes excursion fell by the wayside and clothes shopping became a once-a-year torture session.

Likewise, as an adult, I clothes shop once a year - twice at most - spending around $400 on basic necessities and calling it good. I don't donate much to Goodwill because most of what I have gets worn once a week or so until its threadbare and full of holes.

I'm dead serious. And yes, I am a girl. Just not much of a girly-girl.

Anyway! I knew part of my malaise recently was due to the fact that my winter wardrobe was meager and, frankly, pitiably hole-y. My bras were shot, panty elastic worn out and saggy, tops and bottoms reduced to two black skirts, two black pair of pants, and a smattering of black and brown tops. I knew I looked frumpy and I felt horrible about it!

But I didn't want to take money designated in the budget to paying down debt.

Then! Then the skies opened up. Acr0nym generously helped me with November dinner party expenses (both the Beaujolais Nouveau Day party and Thanksgiving) and that, in combination with my budgeted expense savings, gave me a few extra dollars - in addition to the extra I had for car tags. When the e-mail from my relied upon clothing store (Lane Bryant - whose clothes always seem to fit my freakishly long waist and my extra-wide hips as well as my short legs) came through announcing a 1-day storewide sale - spend $200 and get $100 off - I was sold. I went to the website and, in 10 minutes, added 3 new tops, 2 pairs of pants, and a new bra to my shopping cart. When I checked out, my total, with shipping and tax was $123. WOO HOO! Painless. The tops (at least) were red, deep purple, and a heathery purple. Look, Mom! I bought colors! Not all black!

*bowing* Thank you. Thank you very much.

4) I wore the red shirt today. I believe it contributed to my ability to belly laugh along with my assistant over the most horrible facial tissue EVER!!! I don't think I've belly-laughed for that long over anything in months. It felt tremendous. Note: It also might have been maniacal laughter given that we were laughing about facial tissue but, you know, at this point, laughter is laughter is laughter. I'll take it.

5) So why was I wearing crabby pants?

Dishes. Specifically dirty ones and the fact that, even though Lex is working sporadically and was napping when I came home from working a long day toward the end of a very long week during which I haven't felt particularly well, the dishes - two days old - were still sitting in the sink waiting to be washed. By hand because we don't have a dishwasher - at least, not one whose name isn't Jane apparently.

So, as I did the dishes, I was steaming a little from out my ears. And then I realized, you know, that's not fair to Lex. He doesn't actually care about a sink full of dishes and I know this about him - have known it for years. I'm the one who cares. And if it's really REALLY bugging me that he hasn't taken on more of the upkeep of the house without asking since he's been, largely, unemployed? The onus is on me.

So I got over it.

6) And that, mostly, is what's on my mind (the other HUGE thing will do for a post all its own). So, to leave you on a lovely up-note, I present you with Address is Approximate, a little video TC posted to Google+ today. A video that tickled me as only stop-motion animation can. If you've got 2 minutes, this is really wonderful stuff! My favorite part is how the other inanimate objects help to create ambiance - like the desk lamps doing their thing when he's going through a tunnel. (I'm not going to explain that. I'm going to make you curious enough to watch! HA! See what I did there?)

Address Is Approximate from The Theory on Vimeo.

And now? As Simply Frances says, much blog love to all of you! Ciao!


Shari said...

that video was so cute:)
*applause* for doing grown up stuff. I know how loathsome it can be, but it can feel so good to have it done and out of the way. :)

Gaelyn said...

Applause, applause! How fast you learn grasshopper.

Belly laughing can be the best part of a day. Everyday.:)

Anonymous said...

I'm all sorts of impressed with you today. :O)

alienbody said...

I had to share the video, that was just the most awesome thing! And congratulations on the car done did good. :-)

And I'd still love to know what the outcome of the Beaujolais Nouveau tasting?? What do I buy?

Anonymous said...

Loved the video, and the music that went with it. Thank you!

Just Jane said...

I just watched the video again! So cute!

Lucy said...

The video was good!
It feels good to get ahead,reap rewards and benefits from the getting ahead!
Oh, how we forget that a really good laugh does wonders for the soul:) BUT, it sounds like you need a little venting too, let it out somewhere or with someone you trust, a good vent goes a long way too!!!

modchen said...

super proud of you.

as per usual.

Julie Jordan Scott said...

I am grateful to have found you via your comment on my Reverbing... I am feeling your words as well.

I am trusting our birthdays and our new, significant years will rebirth more of what would serve us, and the world, best.

Thank you for inspiring me today.

The Shiftless Wanderer said...

Love the video! And I was struck by a bit of synchronicity - I am totally sweating over a screwed up checking account because I don't budget. I have been fretting all morning and then thought, "Enough fretting. *Do* something about it for god's sake!" I click on your blog and there it is - someone else trying to be a grown up and succeeding! Go, you! I'm inspired!!!

Masked Mom said...

So glad you "tricked" me into watching the video. :)

Re: the dishes not being done. I think I have that exact conversation in my head two or three times a week about the three other adults sharing my house. Clearly, it matters more to me than them that dishes be done, SO I can spend my energy nagging them about it or internalizing resentments about the dishes not being done or I can just do the damned dishes. It's a brilliant, though not long-lasting strategy for me--or I wouldn't still be reminding myself about it a couple times a week. :)

Dianne Juhl said...

I love this post, and your other blog too! I'm a follower now!

I totally empathize with you re: clothes shopping (your childhood experience is so similar to mine!) and I think are right on re: money. Budgets are LIVING, FLUID touchstones.

I actually think you've stumbled into an even more important insight: Being creative with a budget takes on a whole new life when you shift your mindset to see it as power tool instead of a whip.

There's nothing worse than being stuck in a literalized, static budget that’s not working as anticipated, and there's nothing worse than giving your budget a backward glance.

On the other hand, there's nothing better than possessing a forward-thinking system which keeps you in tune with what's working and what's not; protects when times are tight and offers you options to spend when you have extra pocket change and save-"grow" your money when the money's rolling in.

Jane, you're the embodiment of the women of independent means and mind who hang out at The Feminine Face of Money. Thank you again for this post!