Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Backing Away from the Ledge

Kevin and I have been zombies lately, due to a potent cocktail mix of grad school, first time homebuying, and our usual crazy lives. After figuring out some financing, we are 6 weeks away from being homeowners.

The whole process has really been the first step in our 291 day old marriage, and I'm proud to say that despite some setbacks, we've come through it stronger. I'm a fiercely independent, opinionated and stubborn person, and it has taken some work to accept the fact that I'm going to have to lean on my husband for some things in order to make the best decisions possible for both of us. For example, today we were discussing the amount of the loan our parents have so generously offered us to help us with our down payment. After reiterating about 822938 times that I'm not comfortable borrowing from my parents without a strict repayment plan in place, Kev reminded me that A) this is the only way we can come up with the 7% down payment we need to buy our now non-FHA finance-able dream home, B) he has done the math one trillion times, and has remembered to budget date nights, going out with friends, and my target shopping sprees into the monthly mix each and every time and C) that I really should just stop bugging him about the numbers because he is a numbers guy and does these types of things every day for a career. A career that he has been successful at for many years, and that pays him the money to buy the condo to build our life in so that I can continue to pester him for many happy years to come.

Point taken. One of the interesting dynamics in our relationship is that we have many opposite qualities. I tend to be flighty, Kevin's neurotic. I'm creative, Kevin reins me in. I come up with about 487 life plans for us every day, Kevin reminds me that we need to eat dinner and take things one step at a time. Sometimes I worry I am going to drive him crazy with my incessant impatience for the next BIG EVENT. What I'm learning though, is that we can use these dualities to meet somewhere in the middle, to make a cozy happy life full of Glee singalongs, book chats, floor hockey feistiness, and gawking at other people's cute dogs. It's like the Black Eyed Peas say- we just have to meet halfway. (I know I'm going to get made fun of for that quote- I don't care though. Love them.) It turns out that these things that I used to think would drive us apart are now making us into what every good marriage should be- a team.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Silver Lining

I haven't posted in a while, because things these days have turned out trickier than I previously thought. While we thought we had a condo, with accepted offer all set, it turns out that the condo didn't get FHA approved, which has made it more difficult for us to get financing. The eternal debate of "Should we buy or should we rent?" has been playing out in my mind for so long, it's become an old friend. Times are stressful. In the past week, while all of this has been going on, however, I've found that several things in my life that usually stress me out have brought unexpected joy to my life. Things are sneaky like that. So, to preserve my sanity, I am going to sort out my thoughts about some big topics in my life lately.

Grad School: Yes, I am still on track to graduate in under two years, and yes, I still have to leave work with the students two nights a week to make it to campus, but I've found that while I'm in class, I can just focus on the topics and discussions at hand instead of worrying about where we will live and our future finances. Doing my homework is currently becoming an escape from the endless pro-con list I am keeping. Better yet, I feel more productive, and I'm procrastinating less. I expect this phase to end abruptly once something more exciting comes into my life (37 school days left in my year!) but I'll also enjoy this dedicated student honeymoon while it lasts. Better yet, one of my classes is a children's literature course, so I have an excuse to retreat into my happy place, reading, for a good cause.

Budget: I never thought I would say this, because most things financial stress me out. Usually, I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing financially, and I tend to go through periods where I spend a lot of money (when stressed) and periods where I'm very frugal (when I'm not stressed about life, but stressed about money). Trying to buy a condo has forced Kev and I to take a cold, hard look at our finances. We've created a budget that we share and type things we buy into the various categories. (Love you, Google Docs). Seeing a plan in place makes me feel more confident that we can really do this, should the opportunity arise, and it's had the added bonus of forcing Kevin and I to make some healthy lifestyle choices. We're spending a lot less time and money at bars with our friends, and we've been saving the times we eat out for nights when we can splurge just for the two of us. In the past, Kev and I haven't always been very good at making time just for us, and sometimes I feel like I'm still in the 14 year old phase of only-going-on-dates-when-we-can-go-in-a-big-coupley-group-so-mom-and-dad-don't-find-out. By trying to save money, we've cut down on that and have spent some great time together.

Tackling this house issue has been the first big stressor our brand new marriage has faced, and I'm proud to say that we're doing well. I'm so glad I have someone on my side who understands just how stressful and crappy a lot of this process is, and I'm glad to know that when I pass on going out because it's too expensive, that I have a partner in crime to stay in with. I still don't know where this is all going to go, or where we'll be come June 1st, but I think I will be okay knowing that I will have some kind of home to share with my some kind of wonderful husband.