Well, the good news is that we did pretty well with Feb under our “new normal” budgeting process.

I was very proud of us and DH in particular, because our instances of eating out (a particular weakness for him) went from “every day” to only three times, and one of those three times was our wedding anniversary. The other two times were a cafeteria meal for him when bringing his lunch didn’t happen for a variety of reasons. Some folks will recall that I hit the roof a few months back when I learned he was spending amazing amounts of money somewhere. It turned out that most of that was spending on food, so last month’s challenge was to eat from home, every single day. I think we did pretty well given it was our first month on that new plan. I’m also pleased that we hit most of the rest of our goals too – I nailed all my categories in terms of expected vs actual spending, so that feels pretty good. Even came in under by a smidgen in a few. Haven’t seen DH’s numbers yet but at least now we’re starting to share information back and forth. As recently as early August I wasn’t sure that was ever going to happen.
The bad news is that we have a major blowup brewing this very morning, and the ridiculous part is that it’s unnecessary. At least I think it is. The couple from whom we bought our combine, is liquidating their entire collection of farm equipment, along with a bunch of other shop tools, household furniture, gun collection, hardware supplies, etc. That auction is this coming Saturday. If money were no object, DH and I could easily each spend several thousand $$$$ during that auction and come home feeling like it was Christmas morning. Ahh, but we can’t and we won’t and we’re already trying to figure out if we can spend anything there at all. The disagreement right now is two-fold; 1) whether to go to the auction at all, and 2) if we go, how much are we going to spend? Given our fragile financial situation, I’ve been tending to think we shouldn’t go at all. The thought of buying some really useful pieces of equipment, at pennies on the dollar, is certainly appealing. Appealing enough that I went ahead and prepared a “spending plan” just to see what the opportunities were, and if the long-term savings would justify the unexpected short-term expense. I should clarify here that this money would come out of a general savings fund which was earmarked for other stuff. So if we spent money on this auction, it won’t be available for those other anticipated future needs. (note to self; should start some kind of “liquidation/auction/estate sale sinking fund” for this type of situation!). After working the numbers, I’m actually OK with simply not going. Keep us from temptation, and we can buy the equipment we need, when money isn’t so scarce. DH, on the other hand, is stuck in the very uncomfortable place of knowing we shouldn’t spend money, yet wanting to anyway. More specifically, I can tell after being married for 12 years, that his inner kid very much wants to go that morning, with no plan in hand, and just spend whatever he wants to spend. He also wants to be able to spend for me, sweetheart that he is, particularly since it’s two days before my birthday. But that’s exactly the type of spending which has gotten us both into trouble in the past.
As prep for our planned meeting on this topic this weekend, I had a list of the items I’d be bidding on if we went, along with the minimum/maximum market values, and how high my bid price would go before I’d stop. His “plan” was to not have a plan – to just go that morning and see what he felt like. When we talked about it yesterday, I presented my plan, and said clearly several times that if we fundamentally don’t want to spend the money, then let’s just not go. He said maybe three sentences during the whole meeting, and they were all asking me to clarify some part of my own spending plan. But he didn’t say a darn thing about what he wanted, what his priorities were, what his concerns were, none of it. He just got more and more mad, and we ended up not making a decision. So, that’s hanging over us for the week. We’ll talk about it in our weekly marriage counseling session this Wednesday. I guess he has more to work out on this topic than I do, so I’ll just be the watch-n-wait person on this one. I just hope he arrives at a decision he can live with. I guess next Monday we’ll have our answers.
I was frustrated with this situation last night after the meeting, and again this morning. But I think now these are “growing pains” as we move away from who we used to be, towards who we want to be. Yea, there’s going to be some squirm factor as we run up against situations where our old selves are so sorely tempted to just “give in” and spend whatever we want. Hopefully this will be a good exercise in choosing not to go that route again, and instead making well-considered decisions, then sticking with them. So, perhaps folks can send us warm fuzzies of “resist temptation!” all week this week. We may need them.

This probably has absolutely nothing to do with finances

but it was enough of a “wow” story that I figured I’d share. I was driving along home from the field, and had just turned onto Bunk Foss Road from Hwy 9. I saw a Snohomish County sheriff’s cruiser coming towards me, normal speeds, no lights or anything. My first thought (of course) was to glance down to make sure I wasn’t speeding. But when I looked up, I saw something horrible – I saw the silhouette of a handgun being held to the officer’s ear as he drove past me. Holy Crap?!?!?! It was just a split second but the shape was very distinctive. And then he’d gone past me.

My first thought was “hmmm, maybe they simply carry a spare handgun on that plexiglass panel between front and back seats……” I thought about that for just a moment and it seemed very implausible to me. I thought another second or two, and thought was there anything else that shape could have been? And I started to get a sick feeling that there really weren’t too many other things it might have been. So I pulled over and called 911.

The guy on the phone was very good, he got as much detail as he could, what I’d seen, what I hadn’t seen, what the cruiser looked like, which agency, etc etc. And within about two minutes, I heard sirens screaming towards me from two different directions. I said “I can hear sirens. Are they coming for me?” And the guy said yes, they’re coming to check this out and they’re going to want to talk to you. So when they get there, tell me and I’ll get off the phone and let you talk to them.” Alrighty then.

In the next two minutes, I had no fewer than a dozen cars show up and surround my truck. When I heard the first one coming I thought I’d just go ahead and get out of the truck, with empty hands, so that there was absolutely no question what my intentions were. The first guy on the scene came up to me and started to ask me, very nicely but intently, to repeat what I’d told the 911 guy. So I did. As I told the story again, more cruisers and SUVs and other LE vehicles continued to pour in, and a police helicopter appeared overhead and just parked there. Several other officers came up and they started talking about various rollcalls, and whether I was SURE it was a Snoho County car, or perhaps another black/white car. I said I was sure it was black and white, but I didn’t see the city/town/county on the side. A King County car, with very similar markings, showed up and the guy was on the radio the whole time. The officer who had first talked to me stayed with me as folks continued to report to him.

I’m glad to report that we think we know what happened, and it has a happy ending. A Snoho county sheriff’s deputy, in his car, was on Bunk Foss Road at the time of the “incident”, and he was on his CELL PHONE talking to the guy who was actually talking to me, at the approximate time of what I saw. He was definitely on that road, at that moment, and we would have crossed. And here’s the kicker. For whatever reason, police officers tend to hold the phone away from their heads while driving, and most agencies have folding phones. So if the phone was held at the right angle, at the right distance, with the right back lighting, it would have looked a heckuva lot like a handgun being held to the ear. PBCLoans Inc. payday loans, bad credit OK! All said and done, I was there for about 10 minutes as we sorted out what happened. Most of the cars drove off as the roll call continued, but by the time I left we were pretty sure everyone was accounted for. My new BFF, Deputy Poole, was a very nice guy and he thanked me repeatedly for calling it in. He said they’d always rather that folks call in something like that, and have it be a false alarm, than have someone not go home that night.

So, I have a new friend. Heck, I think right now most of the sheriff’s dept is pretty pleased with me. Perhaps I interrupted their normal afternoon, but they were pleased I thought enough of them to call in a possible officer in distress. As he was leaving, I told Dept Poole to make sure to tell that guy, DON”T DRIVE AND TALK ON THE CELL PHONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Possible refinance

I’m on an ARM with a current interest rate of 3%. I spoke to a lady from Churchill Mortgage yesterday and I can get a 15-year fixed at about $1070. My current payment is $805. So that’s a big jump, comparatively. My other alternative would be to get a 30-year with a payment of about $740. The lady said that if I got the 30-year, I could always pay more. But I know the tendency is NOT to do that, so I’m leaning towards stretching to make the 15-year payment. Opinions, suggestions?