Monday, June 30, 2014

Stick With it Marriage Day

Friday, June 27th was “Stick With it Marriage Day.”  There were articles on MSN and Yahoo about famous couples (Tori & Dean) who chose to stick with their marriage after conflict.  It is ironic because Todd and I were having a horrible argument pretty much that entire week!  After seeing that Friday was Stick with it Marriage Day, I thought about how fitting it was.

People often say that they married their best friend.  Admittedly, I am a bit jealous when I hear this being stated because I did not marry my best friend.  Not at all.  If Todd and I were not married, I don’t feel I would associate with him.  I am not saying this because I am being mean or because we are in the middle of some rough times: I am saying it because it’s the truth.

Over the past several months I have learned of several people that I know through work and through friends or family that are getting divorced.  Their reason?  “I just don’t love him like that anymore.”  Are you kidding me?!?  That is not grounds for divorce in my opinion.

Todd and I are going through a really rough time right now.  I am COMMITTED to making this marriage work as I have for the past 7 ½ years.  It would be so easy to walk away (and I believe that there are grounds in our marriage for divorce), but I CHOOSE to stick it out.  Just like I CHOSE to marry this man: for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. 

I have been working hard on taming my biting tongue while in conflict and trying to be more subservient in our marriage.  This has pretty much gone unnoticed but I know deep down that I am being the best wife to Todd that I can by serving him...whether or not he notices.  It is difficult because I am so selfish and I will not say that I succeed in doing this all.the.time, but I try.  And really, what more can I do?

I am not looking for praise or approval, I just wanted people to see that not every marriage is a happy one, not all times are bliss.  What may be portrayed online with smiling photos of fun outings with the hubby is not how our marriage is 100% of the time.  Marriage is a lot of hard work, a lot of sacrifice, a lot of pain.  But in the good times, it can be so rewarding as well: Even if he’s not my best friend.  I choose to stick with our marriage not just on Friday, but every day.

And just as a side note, I highly recommend reading this article about sticking it out even when marriage is difficult.   

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

2014 Garden: June

This year, I decided to keep the garden simple.  I have been overwhelmed over the years with too many plants, too many weeds, and not enough motivation to spend time out in the garden giving it the care and attention it needs to thrive.  My goal this year was to spend less than $50 on the garden, and to attempt to grow my garden in pallets we had picked up for free.

I will tell you that so far, I am really enjoying the pallet garden.  We had to get four times the amount of soil we needed because the nursery did not have the type of soil we wanted - we had to make our own.  Instead of getting just a ½ cu ft of soil, we ended up having to get 2 cu ft!  The price for that alone was $31.03!  I ended up using much less soil than expected in the pallets so we decided to use the rest of the soil to fill in low spots in our yard.  Waste not – want not.

This is what the pallet garden looks like (after 3 straight days of rain and no time to mow the lawn!) 

The zucchini and summer squash were planted by seed and took off almost instantly after I planted them mid-May.  I have 4 pallets of zucchini and summer squash planted.

I also planted yard-long green beans and cucumbers.  They have taken off as well! (the are the ones closest to us in this picture.)

I have 1 ½ pallets full of cucumbers planted – I am going to have to add a pallet tee-pee for the cucumbers to start climbing soon.

 I gave a friend several packs of Roma tomato seeds last year that I wasn’t going to use and this spring, she gave me several seedlings!  Unfortunately, the cats decided to use the pallets as a litter box and killed many of the seedlings before they could get established, but I have at least 4 Roma tomato plants that are difficult to see in this picture but believe me, they are there.

If I were to do the pallet garden again, I would put all the pallets together.  I did not space them to give enough room for the lawn mower to go through, so every month I have to take hedge clippers and cut in between the pallets when the weeds get too tall!  Also, if I decide to do a pallet garden again next year, I will be putting cardboard or weedblock under the pallets.  I still get weeds though they nothing compared to our garden last year.

Total cost of the vegetable garden in 2014: $38.88.  
This includes the price of soil and the cost of the seeds.

Now onto the fruits around our property.

I have no idea how to take care of concord grape vines, but I trimmed them back pretty far this spring.  Other people leave their vines as they are and new growth comes in each year.  I can see where the grapes will start to produce on the vines, and the vines have taken off like crazy since mid-May!  I joke with Todd that I can sit on the front porch and watch them grow.  I am hoping to propagate several of the vines to take over to the house next door to get established before we hit the road full time in the RV.  Plus, I don’t believe you can ever have too many concord grapes– they are probably my favorite fruit!

For the first time since we purchased the pear trees (5 years ago, I think it’s been), we finally have pears growing!  There are 5 of them!  I am beyond thrilled about this!


We purchased a blackberry plant last year at a flea market and it has just taken off!  We have a lot of these beautiful white flowers and I look forward to those plump, juicy sweet berries in the next few months!

I neglect our red raspberries every single year, but without fail, they always produce for me.  I didn’t even trim the red raspberry plants from last year and they are taking off!  It looks like we will have a bumper crop this year from the canes I transplanted two years ago. 

These are our cherry trees – we bought one along with the blackberry bush last year and we’ve had the other in the ground for a couple of years now.  It does not appear we will be getting cherries this year, but hopefully next year!  These are rainier cherries which are yellow and red in color and so sweet! 

There you have it.
This is what our vegetation looks like so far this year, and we’re just getting started!  It amazes me how things grow from seed and how quickly!

How is your garden doing this year?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Unrealistic Expectations

I have said it before, and I will say it again: I am a dreamer.  I dream big.  The only problem is that what I dream and what actually happens are two different things.  

Take, for example, our budget.
I like numbers.  I like planning.  I have always taken on the budget in our marriage.  By doing this, I have taken on quite a bit of stress because I am married to a spender. 

We bought an RV, and though I do not regret the purchase, I hate that we have a loan on it.  I had all of these great plans on how to pay it off and pretty much live like paupers until October to do it.  Well guess what?  It’s not working.  Again, because I am married to a spender.

Now, when I say that Todd is a spender, please realize that I’m not talking big ticket items.  He buys things that we need around the house and a couple of frivolous items once in a while (or what I think are frivolous such as an extra set of pots and pans for the RV when I was OK with trekking the pots and pans for the house back and forth).  I call him the spender because he spends more than I do.  If it were up to me, I would not buy anything but gasoline, groceries and dog food!  I am good with “making it do.”    

After a week of stressing out about finances, having a car break down, a garage door spring pop, and a couple of medical bills to be paid, I threw my hands up and said I was done with scrutinizing each penny that comes into our home.  I am done worry and stressing about how we are going to pay off the RV by October.  It will not be the end of the world if we don’t get the RV paid off until December!! My marriage may actually benefit from putting off the payoff date by a couple of months!  We have had over a $12,000/year decrease in our income this year – I cannot have the mindset that we can still put away the SAME AMOUNT as we had in previous years based on our previous income.

I have decided that it is time to loosen up a bit when it comes to the finances.  As long as we are accelerating our RV payments, squirreling money away into savings and not “pissing away” (for lack of a better phrase) our incomes, I am content with lightening up about our finances!  We have worked hard for years to pay off our debt and pay down half of our mortgage: it is time to enjoy ourselves (within reason)!

Are you hard on yourself when it comes to finances?
Do you have unrealistic expectations as I do?