Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Praises to God

YES!!! We get to stay where we are, for now! DH will be working in a great store with some great people, and while it's about 20 miles from where we live, at least it's not 2000 miles! What an answer to prayer, because this area is home to Dear Hubby and me, and the kids wouldn't think of moving away--and darn it, I guess it would be up to them. So, at least we don't have to deal with a big move, but we do still have to move...

Gotta get outta the big mortgage. It's just silly to think that mortgage brokers would do what they do--and regulations are starting to come into place so that they don't do that anymore. I remember when we were looking at financing the castle, and our mortgage guy was insistent that we should get an adjustable rate mortgage, "because you're going to refinance in a couple of years, anyway," he said. Well, we knew better, and we were insistent that we get a fixed-rate first mortgage, and can you believe it? He had to look into a different loan program than what he ever had used in recent history. We wouldn't even have had to use this guy except that with my work history (only being self-employed for a short time), we were looking into otherwise unconventional stuff. We also had to insist that the mortgage payment escrow the taxes and hazard insurance--I mean, this guy was unconventional! Anyway, the payment goes up when your taxes go up (and where we live, they just can't wait to bump our assessed values--even though the market is taking a dive), and we're just not that into having the big mortgage payment and big house. Too much to clean!!

So, where are we going to move? Somewhere close to where we are now. We definitely want the girls to stay in their schools, and if we end up out of the school district, we'll have to take BOTH of them to school every morning instead of just the one right now. Speaking of school, Princess #2 has decided that she wants to go to the HS just by our house, instead of the one over by her Mom's. This has been a matter of contention for Mom & Princess, but she has decided that she really wants to be in a school around her friends. We have discussed it, and Mom agrees with us that she can transfer but only after the semester is over, and only after she can prove to us that she can get her grades up and keep them up. Once she gets back into our local HS, she will be surrounded by the same friends and distractions that she had in middle school when she was getting very poor grades (due to said friends aka distractions, according to every single one of her teachers--and we tend to agree!). Anyway, Princess doesn't think it's fair that she should have to wait until the semester is over, and we have explained over and over to her that 1) she made the decision to go the other school. Yes, we know that it became a matter of being able to see her mother or not, but she still made that decision, and we expect her to respect and honor that. 2) She simply must prove to us that she can get good grades before we can allow her to be back in an environment that has historically fostered such poor academic performance. She insists that she can get good grades there (we don't believe it yet), and that we can't begin to understand how bad it is. Yeah, well, 'tis better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all... She doesn't know how good she has it (and don't all parents say that?). Unbelievably, she had all A's just a couple weeks ago, and then when we met with her teachers last week, the report we got was just more of the same stuff that we had heard all through Jr. High, and the grades had all slipped but one of them. We keep praying for her to understand that she is going to need to stick it out, and then have the resolve to do it--otherwise, she's not going to be transferring, and that would probably not help the situation either!

We also started the family on a bonafide written spending plan (aka: a budget. Oooh, is that a bad word?). When I was single, I managed just fine--I knew how much I had and where, and I also knew when I didn't have it. Here's the kicker: the cats don't ask for money to go to the football game, or Starbucks, or get hair and nails done for Homecoming. So, it's been a lifestyle adjustment for me--one that has not gone as well as it's "fixin' to". Now we are married, and we have family finances, as well as cats (and dogs!), and of course, three princesses that wreck cars, go to the doctor, play sports, go to the movies, like to buy clothes, and MORE (did I mention Starbucks?)!!! I had already been familiar with Crown Financial Ministries (and I highly recommend EVERYONE check them out--God knew that money would be a tough area for us, and He talks more about it in the Bible than about Heaven and Hell combined), and had heard of the "envelope" system. Well, we started the girls on the envelopes last night. They had just recently had an "incident" with the mall cards that their Mom gives them, and Princess #2 wasn't able to purchase several much-desired items due to technical difficulties with the card. The girls thought that all that cash looked pretty cool--and we admonished them to be sure to budget it that it will last all month, because they're not getting any more until next month--and no "cash advances" either! We explained that it may look like a lot now, but by the end of the month, it's gonna be getting smaller and smaller. I fear that it will all be spent in two days, but they will learn life lessons this way--and better now, when we know that we will still feed them rather than later in life when it becomes an issue of ramen and tuna and Visa bills. Oh, we hope, anyway. We certainly have learned, and it seems that we'll get some "buy-in" for our overall family spending plan if they understand that it's budgeted, and that's it; when it's gone, it's gone!

Anyway, my lunch break is over, so I'm gonna get back to work before the boss comes around and cracks the whip (she's such a meanie!). Praying everybody is having a great week, and we'll try to make more frequent entries!

~Dear Wifey

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