*It’s HOT. We had one day of relief from the searing heat last week, but now we’re back to temps in the high 90s. And it’s not dry heat – here in the Midwest, we have only suffocating, humid, steam bath-variety heat. Last night was the first night of swimming lessons, and my husband and I tried to sit and watch the girls, but we only lasted about 10 minutes before we decided to go to Hardees, have some iced tea, and enjoy the A/C for the rest of their 45-minute lesson. When we drove into the Hardees parking lot, the thermometer on the dash of our van read 102 – at 5:30 P.M. I think that when our electric bill comes, it will probably say, “Envelope 1 of 2,” because it’s going to be a big one.
I’m quite certain that I’ve mentioned this before, but I can’t tolerate heat. Not even a little bit. It makes me physically sick, and I always joke about how when my husband asked me to marry him, I said yes, as long as he would agree to always provide me with soft water and air conditioning. I didn’t actually say this (it was implied. No, no, I’m just kidding!) but let me tell you, if we ever have problems with our air conditioner, he gets someone here to fix it johnny-on-the-spot, because he knows how difficult I am to live with when it’s hot in the house.
*Egress windows. We finally found a company who will install 2 of them in our basement for a reasonable price! For those who may not be familiar with these, egress windows are also called “basement escape windows,” because they’re large enough to allow for exit in an emergency, unlike our current glass block windows. In our state, the building code requires that they be installed in all sleeping areas. When my husband appraises houses, people often try to argue with him that their house should be worth more because there’s a room in the basement that could be used as another bedroom, but if it doesn’t have an egress window, he has to shoot them down. No egress = not a bedroom.
Anyway, we’ve been discouraged because we need to have these windows installed in order to put bedrooms in the basement for the girls, but all of the estimates we got were too high (between $8000-$9000), and the work isn’t something we can do ourselves because it requires digging out with a backhoe, cutting the concrete foundation walls, and then filling with gravel for drainage – none of which we have the equipment or knowledge to do. One day, while appraising a house with egress windows in the basement, my husband struck up a conversation with the owner, and got the name and contact number of the concrete company who installed them. Their estimate was only $5500, so while I kid him a lot about how chatty he is, sometimes his penchant for small talk really pays off!
Once this is done, we can go ahead with our plans to renovate 2/3 of the big room in our basement (currently my scrapbook/craft/sewing area, and part of the playroom) into 2 bedrooms. This is the cheapest, easiest way to gain more living space, while also adding value to our house. The girls’ existing bedroom upstairs will become my private office – something I’ve been dreaming of for 10 years. Of course, now I must figure out where to go with my craft tables, and shelves and supplies, because we need to have that end of the basement cleared, and the carpet pulled back before they arrive on August 8th to begin work. This is one of those jobs that is so big, I can’t even decide how to start.
*My dinner diary – I’ve been keeping one. I don’t know why, but one night I just decided to write down what we had for dinner….and I’ve continued to do so every night. Perhaps it’s the writer in me, or maybe it’s because I have a compulsive need to record everything for my children (as if they’re going to care what we had for dinner), but I enjoy this little ritual. It also helps encourage variety and prevent repetition at mealtime, because I can see, at a glance, if I’ve made too many red meat meals, or if we’ve not been eating enough veggies, (and how long it’s been since we had real dessert, instead of fruit). I also like to write down when the kids really like or dislike something, and their funny comments. For example, Cakes asked me to make “those ricey meatballs,” (porcupine meatballs) and when I put her plate in front of her, she said, “Oooohh….I remember how good these are!” Bee really likes what we call “fancy chicken,” and I recorded that she asked to have it for her birthday dinner this year. Those little positives are good motivation for me on days when I don’t feel like cooking.
*DJ’s no-nap phase – it’s making me crazy. He hasn’t taken a decent nap for at least a week, and for the last two days, he’s spent his entire nap time playing, talking to himself, and banging his heels against the wall. I’m at my wit’s end because I need for him to take naps! It’s the only break I get all day, and when he doesn’t sleep, it feels like the day just goes on, and on, and on, and on….
*Scrimping and saving – Last year was a tough year for us (as it was for most people), and we had to borrow several thousand dollars from our savings. This year hasn’t been much better because we had to buy a car, something we weren’t expecting to need for at least another year, so our car fund CD wasn’t quite big enough, and we had to borrow from savings again. Then our garbage disposal broke, and a burner on the stove went bad. We also need a new sliding door – ours is original to the house (1971), and it’s in bad shape – and we’ll need to buy materials for the basement renovation project. I’ve worked out a plan to cover everything, and repay all of the money we’ve borrowed from our savings, but it means that money is tight right now. Very tight. I’ve put us on a really strict budget, which means no restaurant meals, no entertainment that isn’t free (except for back-to-school pottery painting day- I already promised the girls), and no purchases of anything except necessities.
But am I bummed out about it?
On the contrary, I actually enjoy it, because it’s kind of like a game for me to see how little we can spend. If you’re facing this kind of financial challenge right now too, you might enjoy these articles:
And now, I must get children to swimming lessons. Have a great week, everybody!