18 April 2010

Economically Green

My husband is a rabid conservative. By that I mean that he is significantly more conservative than the average Republican. I'm wildly conservative on most issues, but there are a few issues on which I am rather moderate, even by societal standards. One of which is environmental conservation. My left-leaning tendencies, though nurtured by National Geographic, do take root in conservative beliefs; I certainly don't hold the Earth above the health and prosperity of humans, who are made in the image and likeness of God. I want to preserve the environment for hiking and camping purposes. I want to recycle so that there are fewer ugly landfills dirtying the water, making it unsafe to drink

To mention the word "environmentalism" to my husband would elicit a snarl followed by a tirade of hatred on philosophies that place excessive value on nature. The best way to win my husband over to the dark side is to show him the economics of environmental behaviors. We use reusable bags because they are sturdier than plastic ones. We recycle because trash and recycling fees are rolled into one at our apartment complex. We reuse (for example, buying used furniture or accepting free things from friends who are moving out of town) to save money.

It is in using this logic that I have found ways to both cut our expenses and save the environment while living in an apartment. I discover ways by first looking at our budget and determining where we are spending too much money (to the electric company). Then I list the things I do that use that resource (lights, stove, heat/a/c). Then I brainstorm ways to use these resources less. Some things we do that are green:

-We take marine-style showers (rinse, turn water off while soaping up, rinse again).
-When the temperature outside is 80* or more, we keep the a/c level around 77 and use fans to keep cool.
-We share one car. This is highly inconvenient, but we only have one car payment (the car is paid off, but we make payments to ourselves for maintenance and for our next car), one insurance payment, and one gas payment.
-Because it is fresher, we try to buy local when prices are comparable.
-Because it tastes better, we try to buy non genetically engineered food. (Sadly, it has never comparable to buy organic food).
-To cut utilities, we keep as many lights off as possible. We do not have night lights and we do not leave a light on when we leave the apartment in the evenings. I would love to keep lights off longer, by showering in the dark (with the door open to let in light from windows in other rooms) and using candles in the evening, when it first starts getting dark, but Matt is not on board.
-I buy natural cleaning products, for which I can often find coupons and combine with sales.

I would love to bike more, find a farmer's market, find local farmers from which to buy fresh eggs, make homemade bread, and make my own cleaning products, all of which are possible in an apartment--I just have to do the research! Maybe eventually, we will be able to grow our own vegetables and herbs, use solar panels to heat and cool our home, and compost food waste.

PS, if you've been bitten by the "economically green" bug, check out ">No Impact Man, which gave me many ideas. He also has a documentary by the same name, which is an Instant Movie on Netflix right now, if you're a subscriber.

17 April 2010

Camping and Weekends

I ended up neither sleeping nor watching Netflix. I instead went through a pile of mail, etc that was laying on the coffee table. In going through this pile, I realized that it was April 14 and I still had to file my quarterly tax stuff. We already did our 2009 tax returns, but since I'm 1099-ed at work, I have to file my 2010 taxes quarterly. The first return is due on tax day. It is fairly easy, just one form. Then write the government a check and send it in with a 1040 es voucher. Either way, I went to bed around 11pm and did nothing fun.

But on to more exciting things: our camping trip!

But we don't even know when we'll be able to take it. Right after finals end, Matt has an essay to write and a test to take to make it onto law review. But we aren't exactly sure when these things are due (sometime in the first two-three weeks after finals end) and every person in my office already has a week off at some point in May, which restricts my ability to take some time off. And remember that as of June 6, Matt is flying down to Arizona for two weeks for his internship. The ideal time period happens to be Memorial Day. When camp grounds are jam-packed. No fun. So, we know we want to camp, but we don't know when we'll be able to go. I'm still waiting on law school.

The good news is that my parents found some old camping gear in their barn that they are giving to Matt and I, particularly cookware. They also found a few other things, but they aren't as easily transportable, as we'll be picking this stuff up when we go back to Michigan for a friend's wedding in early May. Cutting as much out of the budget as possible sounds wonderful, as this entire trip will be coming out of our savings account. Right now I've got it calculated at $157. That includes buying all the food (assuming we'll be all out of peanut butter and have to buy a new jar just for the trip) and even gas, but does not include the $20 Coleman lantern (Matt and I decided to "rough it" with just flashlights), nor the day pack I wanted. I'd love to see this trip at $100, but we'll see what happens.

Other good news, it's only 11am on a Saturday morning, but I've already gotten a lot accomplished (include setting up our tent to discover that it is still in mint condition! It's a Coleman 3 person "sundome" tent that I got on sale for $23 up in Michigan last year). Anyway, this sets me up for a relaxing weekend.

I know, my life is very mundane right now. But that's kind of how life is a majority of the time, isn't it?

14 April 2010

Random Tidbits

There are a lot of Facebook haters out there, people who think it's cool to reject the trends in America. I think it is important to understand them, whether or not you embrace them. Anyway, that's a topic for a different blog. I am a Facebook fan because it helps me stay in touch with my friends while I am in this isolation that is the swampy. I recently reconnected with my Korean roomie from college.

On another note, I talk about going to the gym a lot as if I'm fit or something. I'm not. I actually struggle with my weight quite a bit, largely in part due to a couple of health problems that require strange diets, ones that are not designed to encourage weight loss. So I work out a lot to compensate and also to relieve stress from my job.

Today was very stressful. My boss chewed me out for something, but in the process, proceeded to discover that he was wrong, not me. He ended by telling me not to screw up again. He was completely serious. It was not the most uplifting moment.

My husband is MIA due to the approaching finals. I think there are 2.5 weeks left. He is up until midnight nearly every night. He is also spending less time doing non-homework things. I am certainly feeling the departure.

I am very tired. I have to get up at 6am. I am going of those people who needs 8 hours to function, but I really want to do something completely relaxing (besides sleeping). The decision: should I watch my new Netflix or get some sleep?

Hmmm. I'll let you know how it turns out ; )

08 April 2010

Counting Down

I was not a big fan of the last half of summer that we caught last year when we first moved down here, but I cannot wait for summer this year because I will have my (emotionally stable) husband back. And we will actually be able to spend time together in the evenings. Maybe we'll even go to bed at the same time. One month left.

In all honesty though, I should really disclose to you that the brief is due tomorrow morning, ie, in twelve hours. Ah yes, the brief. The one he has known about for months? Yup. The one he started in on a few weeks ago? Yup. The one he had to start over because he didn't like the first few drafts? Yup. The one he was supposed to finish over the weekend? Yup. I guess I really can't blame him for being so grouchy tonight, now can I?

I have a countdown on my phone. I have been in Naples for 248 days. I have been married for 713. There are only 16 days left until my two year anniversary : )

05 April 2010

A Day in the Life

The challenge of being a Law School Wife is in the mundane daily tasks.

6:30am-wake up, take showers (Matt shaves while I shower, then I put on makeup while Matt showers), make lunches, eat breakfast (when Matt has an 8:00am class, we wake up at 6:00am).

8:00am-leave, drop Matt off at school, drive to work (when Matt has an 8am, we leave by 7:40).

8:45am-arrive at work (or at 8:15 when you-know-who has an 8am).

12:00pm-eat lunch at my desk b/c no one in my office takes lunch breaks.

5:00pm-leave work, pick Matt up at school (he studies at school until I get off work), drive home.

5:45pm-arrive at home, go to gym while Matt continues studying at home.

6:30pm-cook dinner, eat dinner, clean up dishes, all while talking to Matt.

8:00pm-do some chores, read a book, or watch a movie and crochet/knit. Matt does homework.

10:30pm-brush teeth and go to bed. Lately Matt has been doing this step around midnight.

Sometimes I don't go to the gym and instead we eat dinner and I usually do a bigger chore, like vacuuming or laundry or something.

When we graduate, it will be a lot of fun to read this.

03 April 2010

Summer Plans, Phase II Placement

Matt got his assignment for Phase II of his internship: Naples, Florida! Yay! He'll be working remotely from home for a firm in Maryland. That is all we know so far.


This weekend, they say, is the last weekend for northerners. I can't wait!

02 April 2010

The Desert of Lent

It has been a turbulent week, but things are shaping up now! Here's the abbreviated list:

-The brakes on our one car started grinding the other day, so I took it into the shop. Turns out that both the front and the rear breaks needed to be replaced pretty badly. While they were taking off rusty rotors, an important piece called the spindle broke. Of course they didn't have any in stock and had to order one. Thankfully it came in the next day, although I had to plead with coworkers for rides home from the shop, to work then next day, and from work to the shop. I am soooo thankful that it only took one day and that I have friends enough to be there when my car breaks down. Although it includes 4 new tires, I was not so thankful for the $1200 price tag.

-Matt has an oral argument coming up, for which he had a practice session the other day in class. He did spectacular and his professor offered no critiques. The top eight or so in the class go head-to-head in front of a super-panel (which includes a former supreme court justice) to debate. I am really proud of him. It is pretty obvious that talking is one of his strengths.

-Work has finally calmed down. The phones slowed, the showings have slowed, the need for marketing has slowed. I have been catching up on those back-burner, long and boring projects that I've ignored for so long. I also finished the last over-time necessary photoshoot his past week, which means I should be back to 40 hours (plus checking messages every other Sunday).

-The weather is amazing! It has been in the 50s-60s at night and 76-80 degrees during the day with a slight breeze and hardly a cloud in the sky. My coworkers are telling me that this is what Naples is normally like in the winter. This is quintessential Dec/Jan weather. This past winter has been the coldest in recorded history. Pretty coincidental that it also happened to our first.

-Lent is almost over! After a long and painful Lent without chocolate and a good portion of sugar treats, I am ready for Easter! Matt and I each got a 4 oz chocolate bunny and a bag of jelly beans (to split) at the store the other day. Just two more days! We also invited some friends over for Easter dinner. There will be a total of five of us, which I think is a good number for such a small apartment. We will have some dinner, chat, and plan some games. I am looking forward to a good, relaxing time.

So anyway, yes, long, difficult, but it's almost over.