If you read the comments in Friday's post you would have seen Shelley
Saturday afternoon we took off to take care of some home issues that needed to be resolved - you know those things that you have put off just as long as you can. (These are also the things that are making finances feel tight so I was anxious to see what we could rid ourselves of!) First up was buying a new garage door opener. Ours broke in the spring and all summer we have been pulling the door up and down manually. However, our driveway is only 1 car wide so when winter comes and there's snow on the ground and we need to swap the cars around, it would be quite a challenge to not have the garage door working properly. We were delighted to find one that included installation for less than the amount we had budgeted! By the time I get home from work on Monday, the garage door should be working properly again.
Next up was to price out either a new vanity top or a whole new vanity for our bathroom. The people who owned the house before us used what we think was meant to be a living room or dining room console because part of the vanity had to be cut to drop the sink in and the top of the vanity is shellacked wood. Who on earth would put shellacked wood in a bathroom?! Yes, it looks nice - or it used to. Even when we bought the house 4 years ago there were already a couple spots that had worn away from water sitting on it. Over the last year, the wood around the faucet area has actually started turning black and splitting and the faucet started to drop back.
We've been saving and saving and thought we didn't have all the money we needed, but decided to at least price out what we want so we'd know how much more we had to save. We went to Lowe's and picked out one of those nice smooth surface tops with the sink. It was exciting just to do that! Our salesman asked us if he could place the order and we explained that we didn't quite have all the funds for it yet. He turned and said, "I can offer you 12 months, zero percent financing if you apply for the Lowe's credit card. Besides, in the future we run deals all the time where if you spend $299 you get anywhere from 12-18 months at zero percent. Why not borrow Lowe's money at no charge?" I sort of sucked my breath in because Mr. Helen is so anti-credit card (much more than I am) but to my surprise he looked at me and said "Want to?" (The only reason I even felt comfortable with doing that is because Mr. Helen IS so anti credit card that I know there's no danger of us abusing it - just like we don't abuse the one Visa we have). So we did! Since we already have a big chunk saved it will be paid off by Christmas but it should be installed within a month or so. Yippee!
As we were leaving Lowe's Mr. Helen looked at me and said, "Well, since we got such good deals today, I think we can afford to go to the Taste this afternoon." Yippee again! The taste is put on by the local YMCA and there are around 30 restaurants that serve appetizer sized portions of food. You buy $1 tickets and then walk around and choose the things you want to eat. It cost us less than the price of a movie with popcorn and provided some fun in the midst of all these other dreadful adult things we've been having to deal with. This year we tried samples from restaurants we've never been to. But better than that, we had the whole afternoon walking around in the beautiful (if a bit chilly) sunshine - talking and being with each other.
Sunday is my day to grocery shop and meal plan, especially as the cool weather sets in and I'm not wanting to be at the beach. Even though I kept thinking in the back of my mind that I would run, I never did as I got caught up in my cooking, which I love to do when I have the time.
I used the slow cooker and made steel cut oats for breakfasts; roasted bone-in chicken breasts with fennel, potatoes and red onion and seasoned it with thyme and sea salt; made a pan of baked ziti (Mr. Helen loves pasta, sauce, cheese); roasted asparagus; and made a Chicken Enchilada Casserole from a Cooking Light cookbook (this dish was for me!). I'll let you know later in the week how that came out.
I also finally got around to making Biz' Buffalo Chicken Chili. Usually I make recipes exactly as they are written, the first time. However, things conspired to make me create my own version of Biz' chili. When I got home from the grocery store I realized I had bought regular ground chicken instead of ground chicken breast. No biggie - I just eliminated the Tablespoon of olive oil from the recipe. Then, as I was reading I realized there were no onions! Of course, because Biz and Tony hate onions! I couldn't imagine chili with no onions so in they went. I replaced 1T of the chili powder with Chipotle Chili Powder and ended up using only black beans because I couldn't find "chili beans with sauce." What are those Biz? Can I tell you that it still came out soooooo good. I ate a bowl for lunch and will be eating it several times more for lunch this week.
As I contemplated the weekend and how much I had enjoyed it, a conversation I had with my mother last week came back to mind. I had been expressing all the stressful things that have been going on around us, including the finances, when my mom said, "Honey, whatever it takes, you need to take care of a couple of those house things. You need to keep setting aside your running time - it's YOUR time so don't let it go. You need to cook things you like to eat, not only things that HE likes. It's not selfish, it's really OK. You can't control the big things, like death, but you can get in control of the smaller things. I just think if you do these simple things you are going to feel better. Just go buy a new garage door opener, they're not that expensive!"
Mom was right. More than right. I do feel better and more balanced just from simple fixes of cooking good food, having a bit of fun, running with Shelley. And of course, the garage door opener. I'm beginning to think that procrastination may be the root of all evil, not money. The relief I felt also made me wonder why we (and I mean the royal "we") let stuff get so out of whack in the first place!