Yes, I did get a little testy there.
(no testes puns allowed)
I’m getting really annoyed with (and sick of) people that deride me for wanting an iPad mini (or a small tablet in general). “Why not just get the real iPad?” or “Don’t you already have an iPhone?”
Yes, I have an iPhone. No, it’s not the same thing. You can do more with an iPad and even do the same things more comfortably with an iPad because of its bigger screen. Yes, that matters. Compare watching a movie on an iPhone and an iPad. Compare using photo-editing apps. Compare games like the Scrabble-imitator Words with Friends or even Fruit Ninja.
As for “the real iPad,” my answer is much simpler: it’s too damn expensive. I don’t have $500 to blow on the cheapest option. Honestly, I don’t have $330 to blow on the iPad mini either, but it’s a whole heck of a lot more reachable. I certainly wouldn’t mind having a full-size iPad, but I’d be just as content with the mini. I like the portability of the smaller size, too. It’s nice. It’s roughly the same size as the Kindle (not quite 2 inches bigger), and I love the portability of that. I can take it with me anywhere and keep it out of sight if I don’t like the looks of the people around me. Try sticking an iPad in your pocket.
And finally, why the hell does it matter? “Oh, you see a shiny new product from Apple and you want it because it’s new.” A.) That’s not my reasoning. B.) What if that IS my reasoning? Why’s that matter to you? I’d be spending MY money on it, and last time I checked, I’m allowed to spend my money how I see fit. I don’t need approval, and I certainly don’t need mockery. Back the fuck off.
“When I’m worried and I can’t sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep, and I fall asleep counting my blessings.”
I’ve been freaking out for the past week or so. My depression has been at a high (low?) point, it’s hit me that I’m graduating in 11 days, I don’t have a job for after graduation yet, we move into our apartment in exactly three weeks, and other adult things. Mix in stress about the wedding that’s 81 days away, a fiancee that’s questioning why she came to college in the first place, and parents all around that are lacking in one thing or another… This whole “life” thing is a drag.
I’ve been planning in my head all the things I was going to rant and rave about here on tumblr. I was going to do a big long post listing all my worries, mostly to get them out there and probably at least partially looking for sympathy or support or a millionaire-tumblr-user taking pity on me or something. But I realized that none of that is productive (or likely in that millionaire case), and it’s certainly not good for my mental health.
So, I decided to do something a little different. Rather than focusing on what I’m worried about, I’m going to think about the things I do have, things I’m extremely lucky to have.
- A fiancee that is completely in love with me.
- A fiancee I’m completely in love with.
- Friends and family that care about me.
- Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.
- A working computer, a couple gaming systems, games that entertain me, and movies to watch — in short, free entertainment.
- Goals, and a vague plan of how to get there (at least for some of them).
- A relatively well-functioning body.
- An apartment that will have electricity.
- More money in the bank than most of our peers — not that I’m competing, I’m just saying we have money saved up for emergencies and the wedding.
- Enough music and books that I can fix or alleviate most of my emotional problems.
Obviously there are more than 10 blessings that I have, but these are just the first that come to mind. I think they’re pretty darn good, and I’m going to be a lot more thankful for them from now on. A huge part of the world doesn’t have these things, and I’m really lucky in that regard.
I hope this post might help some other people that are feeling down or stressed or whatever. I know it’s not easy to get out of a funk when you’re in one, and it’s even harder to get out of that horribly depressed, “omg why am I even aliiiive?” state, but maybe this idea — old as it is — can help. Just think of things you do have.
“If you’re worried and you can’t sleep, just count your blessings instead of sheep, and you’ll fall asleep counting your blessings.” - Bing Crosby
Rant: Hypocritical Mom
General rule of thumb in this house is that if one person cooks, the other cleans up. I find it fair. It may change every once in awhile, but that’s generally how it goes.
The other night, Meghan cooked for me and Mom while I was keeping the kids (niece and nephew) entertained and out of everyone’s hair. Mom, who works third shift, was sleeping and hitting up on the day off. I felt that since Meghan cooked and I kept the kids from bugging us all (or waking up Mom), Mom should have cleaned up afterward.
No dice. I cleaned up. Which also meant that I cleaned up the dishes that were already there when we actually got here FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE JANUARY. Dishes. Already. There. Not mine or Meghan’s, obviously, but Mom’s. Whatever. I didn’t complain, really, and just did them as asked.
The following night, Mom made spaghetti for us, which rocked. Since she had that night off and all of the following day (today), and since I’d done dishes after we had cooked the night before, I figured she’d have done the dishes from her own night of cooking. The order of “I cook, you clean” had been disrupted by that one night of “you cook, you clean.” I felt it only fair that she should then be held to the same expectation to balance things out — she cooks, she cleans. No big.
Yes big. Apparently.
Meghan and I start to cook dinner tonight, and I go in to ask Mom if there’s a bigger pan. She recommended using the big pot she’d used for the spaghetti last night, which hadn’t been washed yet. I said, “Ah, okay. I was hoping you’d wash that while we were gone today.”
“No, I cleaned, so you get to clean up,” she says with a smirk.
“Well,” I said, “I figured that since we cooked AND cleaned the night before, you’d have done the same thing last night.”
I walk back into the kitchen, Meghan tells me to calm down, I mumble something like “No, I’m not going to calm down, she’s being a hypocrite.”
Mom comes into the kitchen in a huff and tells us to get out so she can take care of things. I say, “No, Mom, we’ve got it. Don’t worry about it.” I was a bit snippy.
She continued to stand behind us for the next few minutes, me washing the pot out and Meghan slicing up chicken, and finally says “Okay, I don’t mean to be rude, but I’ve got a limited amount of time [before work] and I need you guys out of the way so I can do this.”
“Mom, seriously, I’ve got it.”
“No, it’s my kitchen. Get out.”
Ugh. I’m probably making too much of this. I’m probably being immature. Whatever. It’s shit. Life will be harder living without her and out of her house, but it’s going to be a lot better in some ways. I hate this crap.
Baby Step 1: Complete!
Since a blog is kind of like a journal, and some of the advice I’ve heard about going through any big plan in life is to journal about it, I felt that this was something worth talking about.
Meghan (mickeygnome) and I are already working on getting our finances in order. We don’t want to be like our parents (and most of America, it seems), living on credit, paycheck-to-paycheck, worrying every time a relatively expensive emergency comes up. We want to be comfortable. Rich would be nice, but we’d be happy with stable. We always worried that we’d have to be doctors or lawyers or whatever in order to have that happen. Then I remembered this guy named Dave Ramsey that my grandma was always going on about, and then Meghan reminded me that we both watched a video in our Econ class in high school of Dave doing a live event. So, I started looking around online. I found this video by him about being able to pay straight cash for cars for life and still retiring rich.
I knew right away that the video was idealized, and the idea of a “good” mutual fund being 12% is a little insane in today’s economy (although I later found that 12% is the market’s lifetime average). Still, the idea of never having a car payment was radical to me, and I was hooked. I found that my aunt had his book, The Total Money Makeover. I read it, then I got Meghan to read it. We both talked about how it was filled with common sense advice that we’d heard before but hadn’t actually seen practiced in our lives (with the exception of my grandma — the woman is amazing). It’s filled with success stories of people that got themselves out of ridiculous amounts of debt and are now living wonderful lives just by following and sticking to his plan. Some of those stories are by people making $180k a year, but some are by people making $30k. We knew it could be done, so we made a decision then and there to get our lives straight financially.
From that point on, we started doing our finances together. We made a budget and started following Dave’s seven baby steps. Because of leftover student loan money, we basically already had the starter emergency fund (which is $500 instead of $1000 because make [waaaay] less than $20,000 a year). Since we didn’t need to worry about bills yet, we started pouring money into saving for the wedding.
Suddenly, we found out that (thanks to unforeseen circumstances), we needed to come up with about $800 within 3 or 4 months in order to pay for Meghan to be here at IU this semester. We took stock of everything we could do and decided to not spend a dime we didn’t absolutely have to. This means we lived on meal points: we ate nothing but dining hall food, we bought groceries from meal point places, we didn’t go out and spend money on anything but essentials like soap and haircuts (and barely even then). We managed to save up $800 in around two-and-a-half months, though looking back on it, it seems a whole lot faster than that. Life sucked for awhile, but it was totally worth it. We learned that we *could* do it, and we did. The problem came when we ran out of meal points with a month or so left in the semester (before Thanksgiving). My mom gave us like..$400. There was a parent loan with leftover money that, for some reason, came to me instead of her. She told me to send her back all but $400, and we used that as our “cushion” fund. We still had money coming in from jobs.
Total disclosure: we spent every bit of that $400 and our paychecks by the end of the semester. We couldn’t eat in the dining halls anymore, so we ate out for everything. We bought “groceries” in the form of microwavable meals and what have you. We splurged a few times. We basically went crazy from not being able to spend ANY money for so long. That’s what told us that Dave Ramsey was right in that we needed to include a “Blow Off” section in our budget. We couldn’t have done it when trying to save up for Meghan’s school, but we knew right away that, when we didn’t have to worry about that anymore, we’d need to make a more legitimate budget.
So, all of that for this: we got back on plan and finally finished off our $500 emergency fund last night. It feels fantastic! I was giddy. I still am. We managed to do that AND save up almost $1,400 for our wedding at the same time. Now we can start dumping almost ALL of our savings into wedding savings, and we’ll be able to build it that much faster. I’m so excited for it. We’re actually still going to save some for “just in case we need to help Dad.” There’s this whole thing about my grandma having cancer, then we found out that it’s worse than expected. Doctor told them today that, of the 19 nodes he took from her, 17 were cancerous. Wee! So, my dad’s real worried about being able to pay for a funeral and medical bills and whatnot, and none of his SEVEN SIBLINGS are offering to help pay AT ALL. One offered to pay for a wig if she ever needs one, but that’s it. Anyway, Meghan and I are going to save what we can to help Dad out when he needs it. Scary times, but…yeah.
Anyway, the next step is marriage. Then, we’re gonna focus hardcore on paying off our student loans smallest to largest. It’s gonna take awhile, but we’re gonna do it faster than a lot of people do it. We we we so excited. We so excited. Gazelle intensity for the win!