Monday, November 19, 2007

I did astonishingly well this weekend, productivity-wise. I cleaned, baked, did laundry, made ice cream (we've had no ice cream of our own in the house for weeks and weeks! Travesty!), worked in the garden, shopped, ordered Christmas presents, got an oil change, bought antifreeze and de-icer, finally decided the design for Mom's quilt, and got Eric to throw away the cough drop wrappers that seem to follow him everywhere. I feel like I have practically nothing to do this week, though that's exceptionally not true. I've got two knitting projects and one quilting project, more cleaning and cooking for Thanksgiving, and some writing to maybe someday kind of think about doing.

Eric and I were talking about money again this weekend, what we had and what to do with it and what we expect to have in the next few months. We like to do that. We like it, in fact, as I posited on Saturday, more than we would like having the things we would otherwise buy with that money. He agreed. It helps that neither of us is terribly interested in really nice cars or TVs or clothes or whatever, and it probably also helps that we have enough money to be comfortable but not enough to be extravagant. "We indulge a little," he said, and that sounds about right. As I told him, when I went shopping at Meijer I saw plenty of things that I thought would be cute or I'd like to have; I'm not immune to marketing or covetousness; but I almost always say no when I think about buying something. Which is why I came home without a pie server or butter dish or large tea strainer, even though I went out intending to buy them. (Well, in the case of the pie server, it's because I want a pretty one. I can't help it. Now that we have our cool pi pie plate, we're going to be making pies, and I don't want an ugly or plain server to serve them with. And I don't plan to go somewhere I can get a pretty one until after Thanksgiving.)

And then there's my fish bowl experience. When I was in college I often went with my friends X and M to the dollar store on the Ave. We got cheap Christmas candy and mechanical pencils and things like that. One day, I bought a plastic bowl shaped like a fish, for no reason other than I thought it was kind of neat and it was only a dollar. Several months later I sold it at a garage sale for twenty-five cents. I had never used it. That bothered me a lot, and it helped me stop buying useless frivolities (most of the time, anyway...I now own another bowl shaped like a fish, in fact, but it's stoneware and I use it for dipping sauces and I agonized over the $2 purchase until Eric just told me to buy it already). In retrospect, that was the best seventy-five cents I ever lost.

So I'm very glad Eric and I have similar attitudes towards money. Yesterday the mothers came over to look at the ductwork in our house, as they're thinking of putting in central heating and it would require similar ductwork, and we talked about the servant stairs that used to be where the coat closet is now. Apparently they're now being put into new houses again, but for kids rather than servants. One of the mothers said, "If you still have this house when you're making $300,000 a year (??) and having catered parties (???), you should consider putting them back in." The other mother said, "What makes you think they'd keep this house?" Eric said, "Why not? It's a nice house, big and well-made," and I said, "We could pay it off and keep the extra monthly income," and she said, "Do you know how many people your age wouldn't even consider that? They're all about the bigger house, the best everything," and we felt very pleased with ourselves.

Then I went to bed thinking about all the things we'd do to this house if we had the money and were staying. Eric's mom recommended we replace the patio in the back, as it's cracked as badly as our driveway was and slopes toward the house. I had actually thought about getting a quote from McMillan for it, but figured we'd see how the driveway turned out. We discussed putting in pavers ourselves, since Eric should have actual free time next year. We'd only get another year to enjoy it, but it would be good practice and would help with house appeal for when we sell it. And then, if we were really making $300,000 a year, we could put in another half-bath and put better carpet down and improve the master bedroom closet and put in more light switches and clean up the basement...but it's still a good house as it is, and I’m fairly happy with it, and I think the new garden and new driveway and patio are probably good enough.

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