A Confession, of Sorts

Over the last year I have read several studies that discuss how sharing your goals is an easy way to never complete them. Therefore I’m writing this with a bit of hesitation. That being said, I feel I need to come clean.

Several years ago, Cary and I were quite broke. As newlyweds with astronomical student loan debt, some credit card debt and lower paying jobs, we were a mess. And then Cary was unemployed. We realized we had to change the way we viewed money, the way we spent it and the way we saved it.

Dave Ramsey’s program was the most logical option. It’s encouraging and very no-nonsense. I highly recommend it for those with small debt loads that are trying to relieve themselves of a heavy burden even while making a modest income. This program helped us pay down quite a few debts, learn how to budget and prepare for emergencies.

And then our income grew. A lot. We are by no means outside of the middle class but we are considered DINKYs; Double Income No Kids Yet. This is a huge financial advantage over those who have families of 3 or more. The problem is, (and we were taught this in the Dave Ramsey program) when your income grows, you grow into your income.

Time and time again, we said it would never be us. That we would be responsible and continue to budget, pay down our loans, no longer borrow money and be out of debt in 7 years.

That flat out DID NOT HAPPEN, and it’s embarrassing. I used to be the resource that our church sent people to when they needed help with money management. Don’t get me wrong, we still handle our finances well, bills are paid. Our spending is what is out of control. Instant gratification is satisfied on a regular basis.

I had a conversation with a friend about Christmas gifts. She said something like this:

“My mother in law is pretty hard to buy for. So I’m getting her a potato peeler because at Thanksgiving I realized hers sucks! Honestly though, I’m pretty hard to buy for too. If I want something, I pretty much buy it. Instant gratification is my middle name.”

I could totally relate to this. (Also, a potato peeler is an excellent gift in that situation! I bet her MIL was thrilled) If I want Starbucks, I buy Starbucks. If I want Sushi, I grab Sushi. If I’m too lazy to pack my lunch, I go find a healthy option at Whole Paycheck (That’s Whole Foods, for the uninitiated) My spending is completely out of control.

I decided I need a different form of instant gratification. This year, every time I want something, I will have to make a choice. I will ask myself, “Would you rather have this ‘thing’ right now? Or would you rather put that money toward paying something off?” If I choose the latter, I will instantly transfer the amount I would have spent into my savings account. Then I will send that amount toward whatever I am currently trying to pay down/off. Either way I receive the instant gratification sensation. I’m either going to satisfy my craving or desire for that ‘thing’ or I’m going to feel awesome about lightening our burden.

For example, I started this on 1/2/16.

Around noon I had a craving for Mucho Mas, a local Mexican restaurant. Normally I crave their Shrimp Taco which is only around $3.50. That day I wanted their Stacked Enchiladas (mouth is watering as I type this)! Just as I was about to call my order in, I realized what I was doing. I stopped and said “Do you really want that? Or do you want $10 toward your goal?” I wanted the $10, so I made fish and brussel sprouts instead. Not even a reasonable facsimile but it still felt good!

Later that night, a friend invited us over to hang out. It was about 6:30pmnCary wasn’t even home from work yet and I knew we would want to head over as quickly as possible once he arrived. Normally, this would mean ordering pizza and taking it over there because we hadn’t eaten dinner yet, nor had I started cooking dinner. Instead we had leftovers which saved us approximately $25.

This means that just yesterday, I’ve put $35 toward my goal. I also wanted french fries, and didn’t run to a drive thru. That saved me about $2 and I made note of it. Any other small amounts like that will be noted and transferred once it hits around $20.

That’s the plan. I’m hoping that just writing about it doesn’t give me a big enough serotonin boost to prevent me from really getting going on this and completing it. If you have no idea what I’m talking about in this paragraph, Click Here and watch this short Ted talk.

Happy New Year! I hope you have made goals, and remember it’s okay to keep them to yourself!

 

 

 

 

Hey, mom…

Six years ago you were laying on the couch that now sits in my living room. I gave you a hug and told you I was going to hang with Robin for the evening and I would be back the next morning.  And then I told you the thing I thought you knew, but never said:
“You know it’s okay to go, right?”

“Yes.”

“I’ll be okay. We’ll be okay. You can go.”

“I know, I’m just scared it will hurt.”

Then we cried a little and I gave you a hug and a kiss and left. And the next day, you left too.

I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner. All of the pamphlets tell families to say that. I just kind of thought you knew. We talked about everything else. There were no elephants in the room with us. If I delayed your pain because I never gave you permission….this is a road I probably shouldn’t go down.

Life is going really well for us, mom. Cary is finding his way at work, becoming a great manager and I’m still loving my career. It changes constantly which, as you know, is exactly what I wanted.  We have incredible friends. Sometimes I look at them when we’re gathered together and wish so desperately that you could meet them. You would love them. More importantly, they would love you (especially Kelli, you two would probably be texting each other on a regular basis).

We laugh so much! Thank you for teaching me how important it is to laugh. My life is richer because I surround myself with funny and joyful people. We are also incredibly open about loving each other and I think I have you to thank for that as well.  I don’t ever want them not to know if they are loved. You were very good at making people feel loved, even without saying the words. I think it’s also nice to hear the words. I’m even making new friends. I told Cary that I thought it was lovely that at 31 I can still develop strong friendships with new people. He responded with “You’ll be doing that for the rest of your life, your mom did.”

Random things you used to say pop into my head every now and then. I remember you telling me as a child “Don’t put flowers on my grave, give them to me now, while I can enjoy them!” I’m tempted to buy them constantly, the frugal side of me wins mostly. Cary bought me the most beautiful bouquet for Valentine’s day. When I found out how expensive they were he said “Sometimes you need really expensive flowers.” I thought you would like that.  I also buy Mary flowers for any occasion I can think of, sometimes even if we’re just going over for dinner. They make her so happy.

I’m taking much better care of myself. I’m eating to fuel my body while still enjoying the things that I love. I’m exercising daily and training often. I wish we had figured out how important these things are when you were still around. We would be good workout buddies and you finally would have had an ass because, seriously mom, SQUATS are amazing!

Still no babies, mom. Everything they can test has come back “normal”. There’s no conclusive reason as to why we can’t conceive and yet…no babies. The whole process has helped us realize that while we know quite a bit about the body, we seem to know jack shit about reproduction. I’m using the “royal ‘we'” I mean society in general, not Cary and I. We know about as much (probably more) as everyone else that is not a medical professional. There are times in our life when I’m so thankful we don’t have children. I’m thrilled that I’m not identified as “Jimmy’s mom” it was bad enough being “Cary’s girlfriend”. I enjoy having an independent identity. I love our current lifestyle and our animals. Most days I can convince myself that our family of 2 (or 7 if you count the pets) is enough. But then I’ll hear about someone being pregnant or smell the top of a baby’s head and I revert back to the desperation of wanting my own. Sometimes I think it’s easier that you’re not here for this disappointment. Then I think having your support would make it easier. Then I realize it doesn’t really matter because you’re dead (Laugh with me, mom. I just added that to make people uncomfortable)

I’m sure I could ramble on and on, but this sums things up nicely for now. I miss you. I still have those moments when I want my mommy. Typically when I’m sick or tragedy strikes, I’ll have a moment where all I can think of is how nice it would be to have you rub my back and stroke my hair and let me cry. Cary does this for me instead. It’s lovely, but not the same. He misses you too.

I’m doing my best to make you proud.

I love you,

Cookie

The Life List: With the Greatest of Ease

Do you have one?

A list of things you want to do in your lifetime?

I have one. It’s short but I add to it on a regular basis. Everyone should have one of these. It keeps your eyes open to possibilities.

Last Friday I was able to check one item off my list and it was indescribable!

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She flies through the air

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With the greatest of ease

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That daring young girl

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On the flying trapeze

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Rather than try and describe it, I’ll just show the video. It compiles my first takeoff with a few other turns.

 

And now I’m addicted.

It’s a pretty pricy habit. I’m hoping to go twice a month. This particular rig is in Chicago at Belmont Harbor so that when you’re on the platform you can see across the lake. Anyone can sign up for a class, and you should.

Seriously, it’s life changing. I wish there was a better way to explain it. Instead, I highly recommend you experience it for yourself.

And start your own Life List.

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“It’s good for gluten free” Is Not Good Enough

Cary arrived home the other night with this beautiful pink box. One of my sweet friends had stopped at a bakery that all of the gluten-eaters rave about. Turns out they have gluten free cupcakes.

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Cary hands me the box and heads to the other room to get changed.
When he comes back to the kitchen I’m standing at the counter staring at the cupcake I had just taken a bite out of.

Cary: “What are you doing?”

Me: “I’m trying to decide if it’s worth the calories.”

Cary: “Then I think you have your answer.”

This was not a debate on “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels!” I feel sorry for people who say that! They have clearly never had really delicious food. This situation was more along the lines of “Is this good? Or is this good considering it’s gluten free?” It was the latter and barely even that. These cupcakes were borderline inedible. The frosting is what had me on the fence.

I tossed the cupcakes.

You read that right. I threw them out. While I can not express adequately the gratitude I have for the friend that purchased them for me (Lauryn if you’re reading this and it pains you, I’m sorry) I am finally at a time in my life where I refuse to treat my body like a garbage disposal.

Food should never be “Good for gluten free”. It should be just plain good. When my friends eat things that I’ve baked or cooked and say “OH MAN! This is so good you can’t even tell it’s gluten free!” it is the highest praise. In fact, some of my friends have stopped mentioning the gluten altogether. It’s just really good food.

This bakery is cherished by gluten-eaters. Interestingly, I know someone who works there. I was able to tell her the gluten free cupcake recipe needs work. Funnily enough I found out that the bakery uses box mixes for all their cupcakes. Of course they add flavors and such, as well as decorate them to perfection. Bottom line is, they’re not four dollars worth of fancy. I suggested a way to improve the texture. Regardless of the mix they’re using, these cupcakes need air.

This is my plea:
If someone you love can’t have gluten and you want to show them love in the form of food, don’t make them something that’s “Good for gluten free” make them something that’s just plain GOOD!
If you need a good gluten free cupcake recommendation, I know a woman who makes them out of her home that does a fantastic job!

Giving Up? Giving In?

Over the last three years, I’ve amassed an extraordinary amount of baby stuff. When we decided to start trying or rather when we were thinking about trying, our friends who already had kids became incredibly excited. They piled us up with a few hand me downs and we were grateful. Especially considering three years ago we were in a very different place financially. More and more friends began having garage sales and getting rid of their baby swag, much of it landing in our arms with no money exchanging hands.

I made the joke a few times “I feel like this will jinx us.”

All our veteran parents simply laughed and responded ‘Take the free gear, trust us!”

We did, happily.

But, after looking at this pile*

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through two years of disappointment, I’ve decided it has to go.

As much as I would love to have a garage sale myself …

It has to leave my house today. I’m done with it.

I don’t know what this means for us and how we will continue to try and quite frankly it’s none of your business. I know that’s a strange thing to say when you’re writing a blog but as far as our sex life is concerned, it’s ours. Adoption is a thing we talk about, but won’t be happening anytime soon. If you’re wondering why, you can read this, I think it sums it up nicely.

We have other things happening in our life right now. Things like the never ending home remodel, a car that’s on its last leg, a fridge that’s making strange noises, new and exciting work ventures and hobbies.  I would like to tell you it’s enough to keep me distracted from not having that third person who is missing from our dinner table.

It’s not.

All I know is that I can no longer stare at onesies and baby swings, pacifiers and breast pumps.**

 

*No the pile has not been in my living room for three years.

**yes I actually found a breast pump, can you believe that?

Dear Public Toilet Hoverers, Sit Your Ass Down or Clean Up After Yourselves

The other night I was watching Keeping up with the Kardashians (judge me all you want, it’s entertaining and mildly endearing) and the younger Jenner girls posted a video of their mom Kris going to the bathroom in the shared public restroom of her office building. It ended up on YouTube and Kris received a phone call from Khloe (I believe) asking her why she was sitting down on a public toilet. “Why aren’t you squatting?” she said (or something like that) to which I yelled at the TV “BECAUSE IT’S A PUBLIC TOILET IN HER OFFICE BUILDING AND SHE’S CONSIDERATE!”

Allow me to fill in my possibly clueless, male readers. Some women have a truly disgusting habit. When using a public restroom, they will hover over the toilet instead of sitting down in order to avoid the “doodie parasites” (10points if you get that reference). When they do this, they inadvertently spray urine all over the toilet seat, back of the toilet and the floor, rendering the bathroom stall even more horrendous than a urinal at the diviest of dive bars. Then they just walk out of the stall leaving the next poor, defenseless, non-germaphobe, toilet sitter to clean up after them.

It’s gross right? I’m sure you’re thinking, “Why don’t they just use the toilet seat covers that are now available in nearly EVERY public restroom?”

I have no idea. I also can’t fathom why anyone would believe that it would be OK for some other person to have to clean up their bodily waste.

I can’t possibly be the only other woman who is pissed off about this. I’ve only heard one other woman express disdain for this atrocity.

I generally like to give people the benefit of the doubt and used to think “They just didn’t notice.” Now I realize, there is ABSOLUTELY no POSSIBLE way of not noticing!

So, I am now resolute. I’m not going to take it anymore. If you exit a stall and I walk in after you, only to find a pee soaked seat, I’m going to call you out.

I will come back out of the stall and mention loudly “EXCUSE ME! It appears you made a mess in here! Maybe you should come back and clean this up.”

You’ve been warned, Hoverers.

February is Going to Be F*cking Fantastic

My friend Ben and I have decided “Will Power” challenges suck.*

I’m turning 30 in 6 days. I’ve decided to challenge myself in a different way, starting with February.
Every day I read twitter. I enjoy social media with strangers far more than I ever did when I was on Facebook. One stranger who inspires me is Lisa Bonchek Adams (@AdamsLisa) Every morning I wake up to this tweet:

For those of you who don’t know, she is in treatment for metastatic breast cancer. You can read more about her on her website. Her daily tweet is a wonderful reminder that we are responsible for the beauty in our lives. Every day I tell myself I’m going to heed her advice.

So far…I haven’t done so well.

I’ve decided to challenge myself to find a bit of beauty,  or create some, every day in February. I encourage you to join me on Instagram. Please use the hashtag #dailybeauty and tell your friends to join you. Let’s encourage and inspire each other to focus on the beauty. Hopefully, it will overwhelm the ugly, in whatever way that is being manifested in our lives.

I am also going to send “a month of letters“. Would you like to receive a letter? Text me your mailing address, or email me at rinniekirk at gmail dot com.

Lastly, I’ll be enjoying my meals. I read this piece by Gluten Free Girl. It really hit home with me. She asks one of her friends why she loses weight when she is on vacation. This is something I experience as well. It seems odd because I don’t restrict myself on vacation. The answer is basically because we “Enjoy the hell out of our food.” when we’re on vacation.

I’m going to do that more this month. It’s not measurable.** Yet, I still feel it is a very important goal.

Hopefully, it will become who I am. “The woman who enjoys the hell out of her food.”

There are worse things to be known as.

*I’m pretty sure that’s where he stands. It’s possible that the last time we discussed this he was drunk.
**Theoretically, it’s measurable on a scale which, I’m ignoring.

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