28 February 2010

Spring Break 2010

I've never really taken a Spring Break, although I always wanted to. One year in college I went to Chicago. It was cold, but I had fun anyway. I would LOVE to take a Spring Break now and explore this new state, but Matt has sooooo much work to do and with my being in full season at work, I just don't see it happening. So for Spring Break 2010 (which technically started at 5:30pm last Friday), we decided to do a few key things:

First, Matt made a goal list of school things and fun things.
Then he decided to work from 9-5 every day.
Third, he made a schedule and filled it in hourly with what he would work on. Lots of outlining, working on briefs, and, of course, reading.

When I get home at 5:30, we'll go to the gym, have dinner, and clean up. Probably around 8:00, we'll have fun time and he'll do things on his fun goal list until bed around 10:30pm.

Then the fun began.

He's given himself this past weekend and next Sunday off for pure fun. We decided to pack in Saturday with a week's worth of Spring Break fun. Here's what we did:

-We had fun in the morning ; )
-We went hiking (FINALLY!) It was a TON of fun. We found a state park about 40 minutes away with some trails.
-We went to a duck race. The shopping plaza where my office is located had a charity event where people could sponsor a rubber duck for $10, then they dumped 10,000 rubber ducks into the bay where the office is located (did I ever tell you that my office is located on a Bay and I can see the water from my desk?). They outlined a race-track with crazy noodles (pool toys) tied together with rope and had some kayakers follow alongside the ducks to keep them under control. The ducks then float down the bay. The duck winner's sponsor wins gift certificates to area restaurants, or some such deal. Anyway, my office (me and 4 other co-workers share it) has a private balcony that overlooks the water. Matt and I watched the race from the balcony with 2 of my coworkers.
-Afterward we went to Borders Books, we each got a book, went to a coffee shop and read for a little while.
-We went out to dinner at Applebees (which is a very happening restaurant down here) with a gift card we got from Christmas and had been saving for such an occasion.
-We watched The Blind Side at this super fancy movie theater with leather seats, a wine bar, and uniformed attendants. It was pricey, but worth it for a one-time date night.

Today after church:
-We went to a festival that our church was sponsoring (way fun)
-Then we toured a $13M house at an open house (one of our new listings; I work for a Realtor), it was AMAZING.
-I hit up Victoria's Secret and got $50 worth of stuff for $10 (yay sales+coupons)
-Then we came home, watched some basketball, did some chores
-Now we're relaxing and about to go watch a movie

A great spring break weekend. Now it's back to the grindstone, but I feel like I've been on vacation!

25 February 2010

Uniqueness

I think part of what makes my blog so unique is that compounded atop the law school wife-ness is that I'm actually 1300 miles from home. I was born and raised in Michigan. I've either lived or worked in most of the cities between Detroit and Lansing. I'm used to 80*s in the summer and 10* (negative with windchill) in the winter. My favorite season is Autumn, I prefer to be cold over warm, I like the snow, I like scarves and mittens, I prefer sweaters over tank tops. I have red hair, pale skin, and freckles. I wasn't designed to live in heat and humidity. But I currently live in Southwest Florida. It's in the 90*s in the summer (100s with humidity), and 60*s in the winter is unusually cold. This is a much different world than I've ever been used. And I don't really like it.

But at least today's high is 62*. And yes, I wore a t-shirt.

20 February 2010

How far we've come

Back when school first started, I didn't have a job and I spend every moment helping Matt. I would make his lunch, ready his breakfast, pack his backpack. I enjoyed it because I didn't have much else to do and I felt very useless. I was jealous that he got to go to school with clean notebooks and multicolored highlighters and read things. Now Matt packs lunches while I blow-dry my hair, he makes his breakfast while I make mine, and he packs his bag while I read the Wall Street Journal headline and play with the cats. I hardly even know his schedule anymore.

But it's okay though, because I still ask him every day how classes went and we swap stories on the car trip home. Every morning we pray for focus (for him) and patience (for me). It's funny how life changes so quickly. It's also funny how even adults go through phases.

18 February 2010

Health Insurance

is very different than health care. But we use the terms interchangeably.

Ways to get health insurance while in law school

Get a job that offers benefits
I missed the memo on that one. I'm 1099-ed at my job.

Be a stay-at-home mom and use Medicaid
The half-dozen women I've befriended down here who chose Option #2 say that the Florida version has worked great for them.

Be in perfect health and get an individual plan
I missed the boat on this one too. I owe mine to a colon disease.

Pay through the nose
The one plan I've been approved for was so expensive that my health insurance agent didn't even bother forwarding me the quote. The maternity rider alone was $500/month and I would need it for 2 years before it would cover me.

Use a shady student-based company
American College Student Association has an affordable 80/20 plan for grad students. We're looking into it now.

Talk to local hospitals about pre-paid options for maternity coverage
Designed for women/families without health insurance. This is almost for-sure the option we're going with. Even though we haven't decided what we want to do about kids yet, we don't want to be up a creek without a paddle in the event that we are given an unplanned blessing.

Get a time machine and fly back to the 1800s
Back when the hospital was the neighborhood Doc, he accepted bushels of corn for payment, and you died around age 50, therefore not needing insurance long-term.

17 February 2010

Silence

I am sitting in silence with my two kitties in the bedroom. Matt is working on a paper that is due tomorrow. Tonight will be a late night for him. Did I mention that he has an 8am tomorrow as well? I've already pre-made the lunches and packed my bag for work tomorrow. I am planning to wake up when the alarm goes off the first time tomorrow and let Matt sleep for a little while, since I take longer in the mornings. I will make his breakfast (not that cereal is all that hard), and pack his backpack (he'll still have to double-check it in the morning). It will all be worth it when we run out the door on time, we'll pause as we lock the door, he'll turn to me and say, "Thanks, Babe" very sincerely and heartfelt. I'll feel like I truly am fulfilling my wifely duties to build him up.

PS, in the end he ran to the store at around 7pm and bought me some candy on Valentine's Day. Nothing spectacular, but at least I didn't get forgot on V-Day.

14 February 2010

Distractions and Debt

Matt is having a hard time focusing. A really hard time. Internet, football games, books, computer games, all are calling to him and they are very hard to ignore. I am contributing to the problem too, talking to him when he should be working is my biggest problem. I do not blame him at all. I'm sitting over here blogging on a Sunday afternoon. I'll probably watch a movie, do some crocheting, read a book. If I want, I can take a nap, run an errand, look something up online. But he has to sit there, at his desk, and read. Read cases, read opinions, read books about writing papers. He is behind in some of his classes, he has two papers he should be working on, there are a few chores I asked him to do that he hasn't done yet. And have I mentioned that today is Valentine's Day and he didn't even write me a cheesy note, yet alone spend some precious money on a card, flowers, or candy?

Anyway, it is so hard to resist talking to him! Oi! I doesn't help that I am bored or in a bad mood. I desperately wish I could spill my financial guts to someone. I need advice on this baby vs debt issue.

Have I talked about what we're facing at the end of this year yet? Two weekends before finals is the Barrister Ball (a formal for law school students hosted by the school--all of my law school wife friends are going) on Saturday and our 2 year anniversary on Sunday. The next weekend, the weekend before law school finals, we are flying home to Michigan for Matt's best friend's wedding.

That's a lot of crap all at once, which means no study time. So he has to work hard now so that he won't fall behind. If he falls behind, he'll have to make up the work. He doesn't have time to make up work because he has to work ahead. And now he can't concentrate.

And the neighbors are blaring music. And I'm grouchy. And should we have a baby or be debt-free upon graduation? I posted that question along with some financial details on the discussion section of Dave Ramsey's MyTotalMoneyMakeover.com (I recommend the book). As we speak, the unsentimental bastards are ripping me to shreds for daring to say that we would accumulate some debt while in law school and it's depressing me.

I KNOW it is the financially smart decision not to have a kid! Is it the MORALLY smart decision? Won't it ALWAYS be financially smart NOT to have kids?

Note to self: don't blog while grouchy. Ah, the many sides of a law school wife trying to be honest.

07 February 2010

Live Like You're Dying

What exactly does it mean to live like you're dying? It doesn't take much to realize that it can't mean the obvious: to act like today is your last day on earth. We can't just quit our jobs, spend all our money, every day of our lives until we actually do die. There are consequences to our action and chances are that we'll be around tomorrow to deal with them.

But what if we take it a step deeper? Live without regrets, without hesitation. "Care-free," if you will. Well, it doesn't take much more brain power to realize that that isn't exactly the best lifestyle either. Every day will bring errors, fights, mistakes. There will be things you'll have to fix, adjust, and, more importantly, learn. How can we learn if we never dwell on the past? Living with regrets is a part of life - it's how we mature. If you don't regret the stupid thing you said to your friend, what will stop you from doing it again? We have to take responsibility for our actions in order to progress forward.

Well, if the expression does not mean neglect responsibility and ignore consequences, than what does it mean?

These are the thoughts I have been contemplating lately. My husband ventured a guess: live with a heightened awareness of our sins and our relationship with God. I think this is closer to the mark, but I think it's impossible to do while still living in this world. If I spent every day dwelling on these topics, I would realize that I need to go to confession and Mass every day. There would be no point in going to the zoo, baking dessert, doing my hair because these things do nothing to further my salvation. That won't work either.

So what does it mean? Well, my interpretation, and one that I think I can live with, ties in closely with my earlier thoughts on a simple, stress-free life.

The keys include:
-Remembering that God and my salvation are more important than going to the zoo or doing my hair
-refusing to stress-out or entertain drama on a daily basis or over little things
-never going to bed angry/tying up loose ends
-saying, "I love you" often/building people up
-balancing work with play

In the movie Reign Over Me, Adam Sandler's character Charlie, spends most of the movie remodeling his kitchen. He'll finish it and the very next day, he's back at the Home Depot picking out counters and re-doing his floors. At the end of the movie, it is revealed that he and his wife were re-doing their kitchen years ago when one morning, they had a fight about picking out cabinet colors, or something equally petty. Later that day, his wife died unexpectedly. As a result, Charlie had spent every day working on the kitchen, haunted by his angry last words to his wife.

This movie demonstrates my theory perfectly. If we spend every day telling people we love them, building them up, etc, then whenever we die, we'll know that the last thing our loved ones heard from our lips was loving. That will be their last memory of us.

By not stressing and balancing work with play, we'll feel more at peace with our lives when we die. Imagine that you found out that you were going to die in five minutes. What did you do with your day? Did you freak out at work because someone yelled at you? Did you spend the entire day working on a report? Is that really what you want to have done with your last day?

But if you plan out your week so that you spend 2 hrs working on your report and 1 hr playing cards with your spouse, for example, how much better will your last day be? How much happier will you be if you don't yell at the car in front of you on your way home on your last day?

I think live like your dying is best done by embracing those around you and exhibiting a strong inner peace.

Okay, back to normal law-school life in the next post. These are just my thoughts as of late and as I am striving to include them in my personal growth, I think it is important to talk about them. Law school life for a wife is about growing. That's what I am doing.
Anyway, this coming week I'm working 3, maybe 4, 10-11 hour days, (not to mention the normal 1 or 2 nine hour days I'll also have) so I doubt I will have much energy to post when I get home. I'll see you all next weekend!

04 February 2010

The Key to the Other Side

So, the more clothes I have, the more laundry I have to do, right? Well, yes, but, as I thought about later, I didn't want people getting the wrong impression either. I think today's society over-embraces a care-free nature. It emphasizes a lack of responsibility and encourages an ignorance of consequences (I plan to discuss this further in my next post). Anyway, I don't want people thinking that I'm encouraging this behavior with my emerging philosophy.

My thoughts can be surmised in this sentence: I do not want to look back on my life and remember all the times I washed my windows.

However, this is also true: I also do not want to look back on my life and remember that I couldn't see out my windows.

So I have two options. I can either not have windows, or I can have a moderate amount of windows that I clean. I vote for the latter. What I was trying to get at was that I want to have a simple, modest house. I do not want closets full of clothes, walls full of windows, or tons of square footage. I want enough clothes to dress nicely for most occasions, but I don't need a different dress for every event or a new purse for every season. I want to pool my time and resources into my family and my leisure life, so instead of owning a big house with new cars, I'll own a modest house with slightly used cars and a kayak (for example). But I want my simple, modest life to be very clean and organized. I want to put a huge emphasis on leading an organized, clean lifestyle. I will spend less time doing laundry because I will have fewer loads to do, NOT because I wash my clothes less often.

For those of you who don't know me personally, I am exceptionally clean and organize. Almost to the point of disorder. Whenever I feel an excess of emotion (be it boredom, anger, or happiness), I clean. Organizing is enjoyable for me. I have spent the last three weekends reorganizing my apartment for fun. Every Monday I clean off and rearrange my desk at work. When things in my life are messy, I feel suffocated and frustrated. One time I freaked out and almost cried because Matt would not organize his monopoly houses when we played. I realize that I'm a freak. I don't care, it is how I stay sane. Although, I do seriously worry about how my kids will develop if I never let them keep their toys out.

Anyway, so yes, I am a believer in simple, modest, and CLEAN. It is such a huge part of my life that I didn't think to express it in my developing philosophy, but some things just can't go without saying.

02 February 2010

Leaving Work at Work

So if I want to spend less of my life on chores and complaining, then I need to stop dwelling on work when I'm at home. I've only got so many hours of release at night and I don't want to spend them complaining about my job. Don't get me wrong, for the most part, I love my job, but we're extremely busy right now and it's quite stressful.

I understand that venting is an essential part of a healthy mental life. I also understand that since I spend sooooo many hours there, that it's silly to try at ignore that aspect of my life when I'm at home. But I spend too much time complaining and I spend too much time taking my anger out by over-critiquing my husband. I do not like the person that I'm becoming. I'm sick of telling this to the priest at confession. Time to move on!

1. I will not let my coworkers frustration get to me. Or, more positively, I will focus on my inner-calm when the world around me descends into chaos.

2. I will remember that I love my husband and that I want to spend our few precious hours together as blissfully as possible.

3. My harsh critiques when I am angry tear my husband down and it is my duty as his wife to build him up.