Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We went on a road trip to Portland for Thanksgiving and then had Dave's parents visiting with us the week after that. They left yesterday, and we already miss them terribly. I've been blog reading, but not commenting, but hope to get caught up on that.
It's been so long since I've posted that I don't even know where to start. I think I'll just write what's been on my mind lately. Non-crafty content coming up, so if you're not interested, that's ok. I won't mind if you click away now.
This was the year we were going to indulge in a couple of things. First, we decided to get new sofas. The old ones were 9 + years old and we bought them before we had kids, so we foolishly chose white, and they just got uglier and rattier as the years went on and I just couldn't put up with them anymore. So, yay! New sofas. The second thing is that we decided to have the exterior of our house painted. It badly needed it. Our house (and original paint job) is 20 years old, and here in the PNW, where it's damp and moist, that's already past the limit, I think. So we had that taken care of too--early last month. Things started snowballing from there...
1. We had our ducts cleaned. Figured they were due, since we moved in to this house over 4 years ago, and who knows when that was last done. The duct guy had to go into the crawl space to reconnect a duct. He noticed some poopies.
2. We had to call an exterminator who said we had rats. He set up traps (no rats were found--thank goodness), but he went up to the attic and noticed some sunlight streaming in.
3. We called the roof guy to come out and do a patch job. He said to keep a close eye on things, and that we could maybe hold out for another year or two. In the meantime the painters stepped all over the roof (it's cedar shake and doesn't respond well to being stepped on), and now it turns out our roof can't wait, it needs to be taken care of ASAP. So that's on for next week...
4. In the meantime, our van broke down. The same stinkin' van that was in the shop the week before my due date. It's broken down pretty consistently--let's see. Mikey's 5 months old now. The van's been in the shop 3 times since then. Yeeesh. It's our only vehicle that can take all of us (Dave drives a Ford Ranger). So it stinks being stranded. We wanted to drive the old van until it died (have you ever read The Millionaire Next Door? We aren't millionaires, but the whole simple-living and the "living beneath your means" aspect of the book really appeals...more on that some other time.) So we bought a van last week, a gently used but reliable one. Sigh.
5. By the way, did I mention our dishwasher broke down a couple of months ago and needed to be replaced?
6. OK, here's the kicker. After the van, we were in a weird way feeling relieved. After all, we didn't have anything left that could go wrong. Right? Yeah. 2 days after the van, Dave came downstairs and tried to boot up the computer and the dang thing wouldn't start. So merry early Christmas to me. I'm right now typing on my new laptop.
Why after all this am I grateful on this Friday? I'm certainly not glad all of this happened. I'd much rather have the money in the bank than all the new "stuff." But I do recognize that for some people any one of these things could have been a huge setback--possibly affecting their livelihood, or ability to stay at home with the kids, or possibly even pushing them into financial ruin. We are and pretty much always have been scrimpers and savers. And now the scrimping and saving has paid off when we needed it to. I'm the type of person who balks at spending $9 for a yard of fabric and I hardly ever go to Joann's without my 40% off coupon. I sometimes feel like we're grown ups now and so maybe we should replace our IKEA table and chairs with a set from Pottery Barn. But you know what? I'm so over that. At least this month I am. From here on out, I'm going to stifle those jealous feelings I get when I go visit people who have it better than I do...great furniture, huge house, slab granite countertops...enough! I'm SO extremely grateful that when all these things happened and needed to be addressed we were able to address them. Being grown up isn't all about buying the good stuff. It's about being able to take care of yourself.
I'm grateful for parents (on both sides) who weren't ashamed to buy store-brand, who taught us the value of a dollar and the value of hard work. And I hope that we can pass that on to our kids as well. And yes, we're approaching the Christmas season when money seems to flow like a river, right out of people's wallets. Not much is left in our wallet this Christmas season. But who really cares? That's not what Christmas is about anyway.