Author Topic: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it  (Read 24786 times)

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #50 on: June 29, 2015, 09:52:30 AM »
Also, the boy is simply more important than the animals are, and having a dog that hates men and a boy who will be jerky and boisterous but small is not a good idea.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #51 on: June 29, 2015, 09:59:21 AM »
Also, the boy is simply more important than the animals are, and having a dog that hates men and a boy who will be jerky and boisterous but small is not a good idea.

Framing it this way to your wife might help. Boys become men...

Bettis

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #52 on: June 29, 2015, 10:42:10 AM »
Well the dog point becomes a bit moot when I say that the man hating one will not be rehomed.  I'd be gone before that dog and she'd admit it (in a much nicer way than I make it sound, she isn't evil).  The other dog was half my fault.  It needed fostering because the owner was very ill so we did that for a year with all expenses paid for.  After she passed on, I was too attached so when my wife asked about keeping her, I caved.

The man-hater is just about 7 and is good with kids, including my son.  If she lived 8 more years which is likely pushing it, my son will be almost 9 and likely not an issue with the dog.  Believe me, I've thought of every angle in the book.  It's only me (or if I have male friends over which rare outside of football Sundays) that are affected by her.  I'd love to bring up the dog issue to help my sanity but I already know the answer and I've pushed enough with the cat stuff as it is.

ash7962

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #53 on: June 29, 2015, 11:36:55 AM »
I think you need to take the man hating dog in for a training class.  From what I've read in this thread the expense would be worth it for your happiness.  I'm positive that you could find a doggy training school that has dealt with this issue before and can help the situation improve.  I have spent time volunteering for a no kill animal shelter, and for the larger dogs it was always recommended or sometimes required that a new owner take the dog in for training classes.  Especially if you are involved in the training it will help the dog build some trust in you, or can help you at least train her to not bark at you so much.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #54 on: June 29, 2015, 12:18:56 PM »
I think you need to take the man hating dog in for a training class.  From what I've read in this thread the expense would be worth it for your happiness.  I'm positive that you could find a doggy training school that has dealt with this issue before and can help the situation improve.  I have spent time volunteering for a no kill animal shelter, and for the larger dogs it was always recommended or sometimes required that a new owner take the dog in for training classes.  Especially if you are involved in the training it will help the dog build some trust in you, or can help you at least train her to not bark at you so much.

+1. Training is always worth it. "Bite the mailman" sketches are funny in comedy, but in reality they often result in the dog being seized from owners and put down.

LeRainDrop

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #55 on: June 29, 2015, 09:44:27 PM »
2)  Definitely re-home the two cats.  They are not happy, otherwise they wouldn't have to be kept apart from one another and the other animals.  I would definitely push on this, and stress their unhappiness.  This will save you on cat food and the electric bill that you so desperately want to reduce.
I agree with this so much.  Even though you are keeping the cats comfortable with food, water, and temperature control, they are really missing socialization.  It must be very lonely for them.  I have two cats and can't imagine keeping either of them shut away for such overwhelming time.

DoNorth

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #56 on: June 30, 2015, 07:45:36 AM »
This string was pretty long so I'm not sure if it was mentioned, but I think the single most influential thing you can do is to take the $70K and put it toward the principal of your house.  This puts you within ~$35K of paying it off and you are getting a 4.625% return.  Open a HELOC and keep that handy as your emergency fund should you need it.  In fact, the rate would probably be lower...I've seen some at 2.5%  With only about $35K left, find a good 0 fee/0-2% balance transfer/convenience check offer over 15-21 months and kill the mortgage.    This puts $915 back in your pocket every month which you initially use to pay off the credit line over the next 1-2 years and then gives you flexibility to increase your 401k contributions to lower your taxable income.  At your level of income and mortgage balance, the difference between itemizing and the standard deduction should be negligible. 


Bettis

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #57 on: June 30, 2015, 09:50:03 AM »
DoNorth - Great point.  My wife is very risk averse (as am I) so doing the whole $70K won't fly.  What I try to do is put an extra $800 or so to slowly eat away at the slush fund that is getting virtually no interest.  Occasionally, I'll throw $5K at it to speed things along. 

She wouldn't go for a HELOC and I'm not sure I'm even comfortable doing that because of impending expenses.

I know a new car for my wife is on the horizon (her 03 Focus is surviving so far but it has had issues and I don't want to jinx it) so I know the slush fund will take a $10K+ hit there.  I'll be asking for advice when the time comes so that I don't get talked into a Rav4 she wants but doesn't need.  Plus she wants our yard fenced in so the dogs and are son can play without worry (we live on a 40mph country road and have to tie the dogs to ropes when they want to go out and we're busy at the moment).  I don't even know what that costs but at least she isn't too pushy on it.  We've got a long list of stuff that we keep putting off (gotta get to the attic insulation because at least that one will pay off fairly quickly) so throwing too large a chunk at anything might bite me in the ass

DoNorth

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #58 on: June 30, 2015, 10:29:52 AM »
funny you mention risk aversion.  My wife came from a very risk averse family and she went the opposite way so she tends to be with me when I recommend something that sounds aggressive or risky.

I would toy around with the payroll calculator and see how much more benefit you get from going higher on the 401k and cutting back on the Roth.

I don't think you said what your net take home is, but if you put the numbers in, you get something like this: Current check with 10% 401k contribution is about $2850.

If you bump it up to the max (about 29% or $1500/month), your new take home is $2146 or $704 less.  Stop the $460/mo Roth contribution and month to month you're only feeling about $244 less in take home since your withholding lowers by about $275 b/w state and fed (which you can easily cover with your big savings) yet you are putting almost $500/month more into your 401k account/month.  Yes its tax deferred, but if you're going to ER, you can convert it later using a Roth conversion ladder.   

TrMama

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #59 on: June 30, 2015, 11:03:09 AM »
Does your wife know how frustrated and unhappy you are? Have you told her, in terms that don't involve money, how you wish your life was different? How stressed it makes you to be barked at all the time in your own home? How you often feel like you don't even want to be at home most of the time? How you're afraid of not being a good dad to your son?

My husband is also sometimes guilty of bottling up his unhappiness. However, when he does open up, it makes such a difference. I can't help him, or change my own behaviour, if I don't understand what's bothering him. Your wife loves you, but she doesn't have ESP. You have to tell her how you're feeling and frankly the money issues are just the symptom, not the root cause of the problem.

I think it would be really, really helpful for the two of you to get some couples therapy. If you are depressed or think you have ADD, I'd also be open to the idea of taking medication for it. In the case of mental health, getting help doesn't just help you, it helps your entire family.

Once you've worked through some of the communication issues, if you want to invest the $70K in cash, see if you can find some sort of fee only financial advisor who can explain to her how much better it would be to put the money to work for you. Sometimes having these difficult conversations with a 3rd party can really help diffuse the tension. It also gives more credence to the idea since it's not just her crazy husband trying to convince her in terms she doesn't understand.

AZDude

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #60 on: June 30, 2015, 11:08:06 AM »
You have more than just money issues. 2 dogs, 2 cats, neither of which you seem to want, but the wife insists on them, yet you do all the care. Dude... I like cats and dogs, but no way would that fly. A few things, locking a cat up in a shed is not doing the cat any favors. Find it a home somewhere else, if the wife doesnt like it, tough. Just do it. Having A/C and a heater for a cat is insane. Other than that, same with the others on finding out where the rest of the money is going.

Make a budget that works, where you are spending less than you earn. Make a spreadsheet of your expenses and talk it over with your wife(probably have grandma watch the baby while you do it). Agree on a budget and go from there. If you two dont get on the same page, it will be resentment followed by divorce in 5-10 years.

TrMama

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #61 on: June 30, 2015, 11:19:26 AM »
Sign up with mint.com to figure out where your money goes. It even generates pretty pie charts to help you in your discussions with your wife.

Bettis

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #62 on: June 30, 2015, 11:53:56 AM »
DoNorth - Monthly take home is around $4150 combined after insurance and taxes and before 401K and HSA.  I'll have to find this payroll calculator and mess around with it.  I do the 401K and Roth IRA in conjunction because I wanted to hedge my bets.  I'm not confident enough that I'll be retired by the time I'm 59.5 although I suppose I only have to guarantee retirement by 70 when I'm forced to take the money out.  I'm not averse to stopping the Roth IRA and going higher on the 401K to compensate if that is really the best move considering tax brackets and all that jazz.

TrMama - Oh she knows but my problem is that I bring up money way too often that even if I give other legit reasons, she already assumes it's a bluff.  The times I do mention the unhappiness, she listens but doesn't want to make the changes.  Maybe it's because she figures I'll find something else to be unhappy about.  I have to work on better communication because something isn't getting through.  Maybe I'll start barking at her every time she gets up to go to a different room :)

Couples therapy sounds like a good idea although it's not easy to bring up in a conversation.  She was supportive when I tried therapy for myself a couple of years ago.  I was the one who put the kibosh on it because it didn't seem like it was helping(probably just not a good fit with the therapist)

I've never looked at mint although I've heard of it.  I'm not a fan of linking our account numbers to things and we're more debit card users than credit card which is why I've done the manual tracking.  It doesn't work well so I'd like to find an easy way that doesn't put all my information "out there"  I do like the idea of the charts that she'll likely understand better than just me trying to explain it.

AZDude - I only do the cat care and I do like one of the dogs but I see your point.  We've tried budgeting in the past but she isn't interested in being limited so I tried the tracking sheets.  She doesn't like those too much but I do all the work.  She isn't an extravagant shopper so she'll tell me everything that we spend is a need.  Clearly it isn't true but it's hard to argue a lot of the things we buy even when I look at the receipts.  Other than the extra food for parties and the pets, the overspending comes from higher than average bills (electric and gas) because of all the climate controlling.  The heat kicks on at 72F(yes the *%$& heat is going on at night in fn June) and the AC kicks on at 76-77F even when we aren't home (not sure what dogs can withstand but I don't want to be cruel)  Insulation is the low hanging fruit there because my attic has very little and the walls have none.

justajane

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #63 on: June 30, 2015, 01:11:53 PM »
The heat is going on automatically or are you saying she turns it on in June? If the latter, that's crazytown. If the former, there's got to be a way to stop that.

You seem to be in the enviable position in the NE that you can drop your house at night into the upper 60s, which means you don't "need" A/C until the afternoon. Some open windows with a cross breeze could do that. I would love to be in that position. We can get away with that in May and sometimes September, but most of the summer it doesn't drop down into the 60s at night ever.

Bettis

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #64 on: June 30, 2015, 01:23:14 PM »
She sets it at 72 at night despite (too) many nags requests by me to not do that.  I'm not sure how long it is actually running at night but she is almost always cold even if she puts on layers so she won't go most nights without keeping it at that setting.  Crazytown USA... sounds about right.  Originally it was more like 68 because of our son being a newborn.  At 9 months old, I'm sure he'd survive fine if it were 68 degrees.  I think it's probably worse to keep him in the same small temperature range because then he'll never want to be outside in *gasp* other weather.

Kris

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #65 on: June 30, 2015, 01:47:55 PM »
I know she's been to no-kill shelters before and one in particular really turned her off.  It was years ago so I don't remember the reason why.  I've tried to ease into the conversation Friday and again last night but she doesn't want to talk about it.  She knows it's the right move but doesn't want to be pushed so I guess I just need to leave it up to her to psych herself up to do it and be there for support when she needs it.  I'm so tempted to tell her to take care of them herself because I'm done but I'm in enough shit to fight any more battles :-P

So... I kind of hate to bring this up, but... I am catching a strong whiff of emotional manipulation in this situation.  You have phrased so many things with lines like, "she doesn't want to talk about it," or "she won't have it, so that's out," or " I'm tempted to say X but I'm in enough shit already."  Is this just hyperbole, or does she really just shut down things she doesn't want and refuse to even entertain your perspective?  Because that's what it sounds like, and honestly, every time you say something like this all I can think is how unhealthy your marriage sounds and how if I were you I would be telling her I wanted to start marriage therapy. And if she refuses, like it sounds as though she does whenever you bring up something she isn't 100% in favor of, I would say, fair enough, but I'm going on my own, then.

Bettis

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #66 on: June 30, 2015, 01:59:36 PM »
I don't intend hyperbole but it isn't easy to translate it into a forum post.  I typically get the "I don't want to talk about it" or she'll defend the things that I don't like (ie: thermostat, pets, etc) so I feel like there is no progress or compromise.  Therapy is likely a really good idea even if she won't go but I just don't see me being able to make any progress with or without it.  It's not like I can tell her the therapist told me we should compromise more and then *voila* she goes along with even one thing on my list.   I shouldn't be predicting negative outcomes but I see her seeing it as a 2 on 1 now.  Of course, I'm not perfect and I need to fix things too which I'd also bring up and try to do.  I don't want her to get even more defensive.

justajane

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #67 on: June 30, 2015, 02:22:13 PM »
She sets it at 72 at night despite (too) many nags requests by me to not do that.  I'm not sure how long it is actually running at night but she is almost always cold even if she puts on layers so she won't go most nights without keeping it at that setting.  Crazytown USA... sounds about right.  Originally it was more like 68 because of our son being a newborn.  At 9 months old, I'm sure he'd survive fine if it were 68 degrees.  I think it's probably worse to keep him in the same small temperature range because then he'll never want to be outside in *gasp* other weather.

I still don't understand your system. Most systems you either have the heat on OR the A/C OR nothing. To switch between the two you have to do so manually, i.e. push a button or two to switch systems. Do you not have to do that? Otherwise, I just don't understand how, if it dips below 72 at night, the heat would go on in June. With our A/C, it just means that the A/C won't run if the temp goes below what we have designated as our desired temperature.

velocistar237

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #68 on: June 30, 2015, 02:44:58 PM »
I still don't understand your system. Most systems you either have the heat on OR the A/C OR nothing. To switch between the two you have to do so manually, i.e. push a button or two to switch systems.

Some thermostats have an Auto setting that will turn heat on below a certain temperature and A/C on above a certain temperature.

Bettis

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #69 on: June 30, 2015, 02:59:13 PM »
Jane, it is a programmable thermostat but she does this temperature setting manually.  She will put it on 72 before bed so that if the temp falls, it will kick on.  Then during the day, she will put the AC setting(Central Air) on when she feels warm (usually at 76-78 degrees).  It's a question of heat/cold tolerance, not an issue with the heating/Central Air system.

partgypsy

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #70 on: June 30, 2015, 03:12:27 PM »
I know this sounds weird, but if these conversations become too overheated by talking about it, or one partner is avoidant, one way to communicate is to write it out. Not as a passive aggressive letter, but let her know, there are important issues and you are going to write them out and share them. And if she has things that are bugging her or wants to talk about, to invite her to write them out so can express them. And take turns reading the letters. The letters should not be demands or ultimatums, but framed like, "when situation x happens, I feel trapped. I am under the understanding the only options are a) , or b) neither which I am happy about." Frame it how you feel or what you feel is going on.
Once read, don't have to respond immediately. Just listen, and then can write responses.

justajane

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #71 on: June 30, 2015, 03:18:14 PM »
Jane, it is a programmable thermostat but she does this temperature setting manually.  She will put it on 72 before bed so that if the temp falls, it will kick on.  Then during the day, she will put the AC setting(Central Air) on when she feels warm (usually at 76-78 degrees).  It's a question of heat/cold tolerance, not an issue with the heating/Central Air system.

Thanks - sorry for being obtuse! You really have my sympathies. I lived with individuals who had no heat or cold tolerance, and it was very difficult. All my arguments about thrift fell on deaf ears. Usually you have someone who is cold intolerant but saves money in the summer by not using as much air. It's a double whammy if someone won't tolerate either.

Any chance a down comforter in the summer would help you not have to turn the heat on at night for at least those months?

Chrissy

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #72 on: June 30, 2015, 03:18:40 PM »
Tell her you're feeling overwhelmed, and would like to figure out better ways of communicating with her, so you are setting up an appointment with a couples therapist for the two of you.  'Cause here's the thing... a marriage isn't supposed to work for just one person.  If one of you says, "We need marriage counseling," then you both need it.

Therapy is likely a really good idea even if she won't go but I just don't see me being able to make any progress with or without it.

If you can't see your relationship getting better under any circumstances, it's time for a lawyer.

Josiecat

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #73 on: June 30, 2015, 03:21:10 PM »
There is a cat calming spray you may want to try called Feliway.  Yes, it works.  Stops cat fighting and calms them down so they'll get along better. You must spray it frequently for it to work.

I'd try that before I gave away my pets. 

www.catfaeries.com sells Feliway.  You can also get at Amazon.

little_brown_dog

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #74 on: June 30, 2015, 05:10:13 PM »
Don’t worry about the dogs overheating in the summer if your wife is at home with the baby to monitor the temp. Dogs in a shady room with fans and plenty of water may get warm/slightly uncomfortable just like a person would, but they will be fine unless your home is literally clocking in the 90+ range. If humans can happily survive in an 84 degree home, other than maybe feeling a bit sticky and sleepy, healthy animals can as well. When we go to work in the summer, we close the shades, put up 2 fans for the dogs to circulate the air/give some relief, and leave extra water out.

As for the baby – in Iceland it is actually a thing for babies to be put outside to sleep in the very cold (bundled up of course). The belief is that the chilled air is good for the children. So clearly keeping an infant at 68 in a home is probably not going to harm him.

Sounds like your wife may have some neuroses – only specific pet foods, specific animal care situations, specific money management strategies, specific temperatures in the house…does she have an anxiety disorder that you know of? Did the situation get worse after having the baby (maybe some residual PPD)? If so that could be contributing to her rigidity. Many times people who can’t let go of specific preferences despite logical arguments from others are actually very (irrationally) afraid of what might happen if they take a more laid back approach. They become convinced that the baby is going to get deathly ill if he gets a little chilly, the dogs might die if they don't get the most expensive food, etc.

MidWestLove

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #75 on: June 30, 2015, 06:23:59 PM »
So I kept reading and reading hoping for better resolution and still found none , so +10 to the message below - there are serious issues in the marriage right now and I think finances should be the last of yours concerns. You are really unhappy (whether you admit it or not), have crazy power dynamic (do you need her permission to breathe too?) , have woman that may prefer  a dog (!!) to her husband (friend, lover, father of her child). This is seriously screwed up and you suffocating while living with emotional  vampire and a control freak. Cat (potentially cats) need to go, the 'men hating dog' (whatever it is) needs to go, and conversation need to start focusing on us vs just her preferences or whims. and if you can not seem to fix it (which is much better than any alternative) then your marriage is at risk of going or your life/happiness is at risk of going (depression/suicide) . Why did you marry this woman to begin with? Why did she marry you if she is so set in her world and preferences? where is the partnership and union? no, house shores are not partnership.  Sorry for being direct.

"It's not about lazyiness. This is a communication/decision making process issue, and both of you are contributing in some way. You're under stress, I'm willing to bet your wife is feeling stressed as well. Never mind your finances, this could seriously damage your marriage. Fix the underlying issues and the rest will get better, because you'll be able to communicate and make decisions together."

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #76 on: June 30, 2015, 06:56:33 PM »
I know you don't have extra capacity right now, but consider if you have any bad habits that might be making her life more stressed unnecessarily. You arrived here together.

MMMaybe

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #77 on: June 30, 2015, 11:24:13 PM »

So... I kind of hate to bring this up, but... I am catching a strong whiff of emotional manipulation in this situation.  You have phrased so many things with lines like, "she doesn't want to talk about it," or "she won't have it, so that's out," or " I'm tempted to say X but I'm in enough shit already."  Is this just hyperbole, or does she really just shut down things she doesn't want and refuse to even entertain your perspective?  Because that's what it sounds like, and honestly, every time you say something like this all I can think is how unhealthy your marriage sounds and how if I were you I would be telling her I wanted to start marriage therapy. And if she refuses, like it sounds as though she does whenever you bring up something she isn't 100% in favor of, I would say, fair enough, but I'm going on my own, then.

I agree. This is a dysfunctional situation. If you are not able to have your own way at alll or arrive at meaningful compromises, it will breed resentment over time.

My mother is like this. Its her way or the highway. And WOW have I gotten resentful over the years, along with my father. Its pretty disrespectful when someone will not entertain another point of view out of sheer bloody mindedness.

Bettis

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #78 on: July 01, 2015, 09:45:39 AM »
First off, thank you all for your advice, support, face punches, etc.  I had been putting off a case study (or whatever this morphed into ) for a few months but it feels good to get it out.

I made it a mission last night to not talk about money at all and just enjoy each others' company.  Worked pretty well, just taking care of our son and then when he fell asleep, we played a couple of board games.  No anger, resentment, etc.  Obviously avoiding the issue at all times won't help but I don't have to say the same things everyday to remind her of the issues.  I could definitely lighten up a bit.

Jane - We haven't tried a down comforter.  We use a few blankets and a regular comforter.  I've tried a space heater so the room is whatever she wants but the rest of the house isn't being heated or cooled for nothing but she gets up with the baby the nights I work so even for just 10-20 min, she's set on feeling comfortable.

Chrissy - I'm leaning in that direction.  We're both stubborn people so an impartial 3rd party would really help us communicate better and learn to compromise.

Josie - I'm hoping we go the route of one or both cats being rehomed.  If I mention the spray, it might distract her from that and it wouldn't solve the issue of them being secluded.  They still would be in a room or shed rather than having run of the house because of the dogs.

LBD - She does feel anxious a lot.  I'm not sure if it's worse since we had our son or not but either way, there are some neuroses.

Midwest - No worries about being direct.  It's a pretty big elephant as to why we are married but we do love each other a lot and we never thought our bickering was an issue because every married couple we know does the same thing.  The cats came while we were dating but the dogs were after we got engaged(1 was after marriage) so I saw some of it coming.

I do feel like our marriage will fall apart if we don't start fixing our problems immediately.  I've even expressed that concern and she doesn't think we have any problems which is why I don't think she would go for marriage counseling but to be fair, I have not mentioned that in particular yet.  I've already had the depression for a while (even before I met her) but there is a small part of me that wouldn't mind "checking out" before my son is old enough to remember me since I lost my dad right before I became a teenager and it messed me up pretty badly.  Not a threat!  I would never ever follow through on something like that but the thoughts have entered my mind on occasion.  All it takes is looking at him or a picture of him and it gets me back to reality.

Shoulder - For the most part, I'm pretty lazy around the house because I have no energy after work and any day off I get, I just want to have fun.  I'll procrastinate, then start a chore and just kind of lose interest and half ass it.  That's the biggest thing I need to improve.

MMMaybe - It does breed resentment.  I could never wait to get home from work but now, I don't mind if I leave a little late or get stuck in traffic.  It's definitely not healthy so I'll have to find a way to bring up counseling.

Gypsy - I almost missed your comment.  Writing it out is a good idea.  It feels like taking the easy way out not talking face to face but I have tried that and it doesn't work that well.  I do tend to get passive-aggressive so I have to watch what I write but if I stick to the facts and the feelings they give me, I'm sure I can make it work.

Apples

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #79 on: July 01, 2015, 02:45:09 PM »
I'm going to throw a few thoughts out there as a person who has been married one year and is fairly certain that my marriage is going to go through a serious rough patch in a few years when we have kids.

Your communication styles aren't working.  And a baby makes everyone tired.  Which makes it harder to get good communication going.  Serious question-when was the last time you guys when on a family outing or a date for the just parents?  Did you reconnect at all?  My DH and I work semi-opposite schedules right now, and after basically saying "good morning, good night, and do these three chores please" for 5 or so days, it's easy to argue.  But one date fixes the feeling, or hell even just starting a backyard fire and having a drink together.  And we have a puppy that needs lots of attention.  I can't imagine your crazy animal situation.

In our situation, a budget helps with all of these things.  Some of the money you're not accounting for probably goes to random baby-related items, and probably some mom clothing for the crazily changing body of the woman you're married to.  Just guessing though.  But a budget says we have x to do fun family things this month, and y for hosting people, and q for baby things.  We also leave a buffer of $100 for "well we went over this category" instances or times when you just don't have a category to stick an expense in.  It really helps frame conversations about, say, heat and a/c for a shed for a cat costing a lot of money.  And affecting other things you do. 

Another thing that helps is sitting down and figuring out exactly what chores each person is responsible for.  You have a long day at work and just want to recharge?  Well all day at home with a baby is not exactly kicking your feet up, which you probably know from your Saturdays home with the kid.  But deciding that you'll take care of the animals is different from you ending up stuck with them.  And you committing do doing the dishes and dusting/vacuuming and then actually doing them goes a long way.  Same with her doing the breastfeeding/feeding the kid in general, laundry, errands, planning of events.  On a side note, I don't think my husband really understands how much time me doing our  mail actually takes.

It seems like you're both a bit resentful of the other person.  Being proactive about chores/responsibilities and money can go a long way to solving both.  Because now I can be mad at my husband for not taking out the trash because it's actually something he's supposed to do, even when he's tired after work.  Which is better than resentfully taking out the trash/feeding the dog/etc. every other day and over months building up anger.  Some good conversations, and possibly some counseling, can go a long way in fixing these things.

You've  mentioned a lot of things she doesn't want to change when you ask, from rehoming an animal to the thermostat.  Before counseling/a big discussion-what do you not change to her preferences?

LeRainDrop

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #80 on: July 01, 2015, 10:10:46 PM »
Jane - We haven't tried a down comforter.  We use a few blankets and a regular comforter.  I've tried a space heater so the room is whatever she wants but the rest of the house isn't being heated or cooled for nothing but she gets up with the baby the nights I work so even for just 10-20 min, she's set on feeling comfortable.
How about getting her a warm bathrobe?

MMMaybe

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #81 on: July 01, 2015, 10:57:06 PM »
All the best to you, Krambigmac. I hope you work things out so that life becomes easier and happier :)

N

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #82 on: July 01, 2015, 11:00:50 PM »
I have not seen this so far in the thread, but I love the YNAB program You Need A Budget.
You dont connect your accounts to it, although you can export from your accounts into it.

With YNAB, you plan how you will spend your money. You can plan for expenses that will come up months ahead, like new car purchases.
Perhaps if your wife saw that upcoming expenses were planned for, she would feel less pyschologically dependent on the huge emergency fund.

I know how challenging it can be to have a new baby. Lot of changes going on in your household.
I also know how challenging it is to have a spouse who does not love mustachianism.

Maybe talk about dividing up some of the slush fund for each of you to control how it is spent. Perhaps she can determine how half of it gets used, and you can invest half. Or consider future windfalls might be divided up some way similar. ??

about the cats..oy. you gotta solve that problem. Keep on that.

You guys have a lot to work out and I wish you the best.

waltworks

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #83 on: July 01, 2015, 11:22:24 PM »
You can actually put clothes on newborns, you know. Both our kids did great as newborns/infants/toddlers (that's as far as we've gotten) with the thermostat set to 58 at night.

But really, that's trivia. Your wife seems to be running everything into the ground here. Is there a mental problem involved? Is this the dynamic that existed before your son was born? Because honestly, I don't see this marriage lasting much longer. I know I'd have put my foot down about most of this stuff (cats, dog, thermostat, money slowly losing value in checking account, etc) a long time ago. Have you made it clear to her that she is quite literally destroying your entire family's future?

-W

She sets it at 72 at night despite (too) many nags requests by me to not do that.  I'm not sure how long it is actually running at night but she is almost always cold even if she puts on layers so she won't go most nights without keeping it at that setting.  Crazytown USA... sounds about right.  Originally it was more like 68 because of our son being a newborn.  At 9 months old, I'm sure he'd survive fine if it were 68 degrees.  I think it's probably worse to keep him in the same small temperature range because then he'll never want to be outside in *gasp* other weather.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2015, 11:26:16 PM by waltworks »

Bettis

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #84 on: July 02, 2015, 08:37:57 AM »
Apples - Besides my wife's root canal a few months back and a few other longer doctors appointments, no one has babysat our son so he has been with her at virtually all times.  She loves it but at the same time, I can tell it's stressful for her.  That means no family outings (besides running errands or a quick trip to the park) and no time without him.  We may start needing a babysitter soon if we go ahead with counseling.  We had a talk last night where I gently brought it up and she was sad but I think she understands it's a good idea.  My work has a thing called LifeScope where we can get 3 face to face meetings for free so if I can pair that up with a counselor that actually takes Cigna for future meetings (not that easy to find around here for some reason), we can get the ball rolling.  Not sure what you are asking with "what do I not change for her preferences" but I am not proactive enough with chores.  I've never taken criticism well so between doing something and getting nagged about it or doing nothing and getting nagged, I take the easier road because I feel like I have no energy.  It's definitely not a good thing so I'm sure being more proactive at home would go a decent ways.

LeRainDrop - That's a really easy idea that never came to mind.  She has a robe she doesn't wear often but I can see if she would prefer a new one that is maybe a bit warmer.

waltworks - Most of this existed before our son was born.  With the heat as an example, we used to have oil so the bills were larger.  I could convince her to keep it between 60-65 even though she didn't like it.  Then we got gas which is cheaper but "lifestyle creep" took effect and it went up to 68-70.  Then after our son was born, 72-73 became the minimum.  I am not good at putting my foot down even though I mentioned about it hurting our future.  I try not too be too hard on her because I don't want her mad at me but I'm slowly getting past that point so at least I'm not bottling everything up anymore.

N - She isn't into budgets because she doesn't want to feel limited.  I've always tried to focus on cutting out as much fat as possible but that might be what overwhelms her.  If YNAB will work on my Ubuntu PC, I could try that.  She is the only one with a smartphone and I know she wouldn't be interested in using it but I could at least ask before assuming.

cripzychiken

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #85 on: July 02, 2015, 12:11:26 PM »
Apples - Besides my wife's root canal a few months back and a few other longer doctors appointments, no one has babysat our son so he has been with her at virtually all times.  She loves it but at the same time, I can tell it's stressful for her.  That means no family outings (besides running errands or a quick trip to the park) and no time without him.  We may start needing a babysitter soon if we go ahead with counseling.  We had a talk last night where I gently brought it up and she was sad but I think she understands it's a good idea.  My work has a thing called LifeScope where we can get 3 face to face meetings for free so if I can pair that up with a counselor that actually takes Cigna for future meetings (not that easy to find around here for some reason), we can get the ball rolling.  Not sure what you are asking with "what do I not change for her preferences" but I am not proactive enough with chores.  I've never taken criticism well so between doing something and getting nagged about it or doing nothing and getting nagged, I take the easier road because I feel like I have no energy.  It's definitely not a good thing so I'm sure being more proactive at home would go a decent ways.

This is going to sound weird, but get your son away from your wife.  Seriously.  She needs some time to decompress.  Do something simple at first - take your son for a walk around the block.  Do this every day.  Then when she is ok with that (she won't be a first) then increase the time away - take him with your shopping or something.

My wife went insane when our son was born.  To the point I had to call her parents to drive 3 hours to watch him one night while we just left the house and take a mini vacation (stayed at the holiday inn like 2 miles away).  She was freaking out the whole time, but that was the first night either of us got a solid night of sleep.  She thanked me for it later (even though she cursed me for it at the time).

N - She isn't into budgets because she doesn't want to feel limited.  I've always tried to focus on cutting out as much fat as possible but that might be what overwhelms her.  If YNAB will work on my Ubuntu PC, I could try that.  She is the only one with a smartphone and I know she wouldn't be interested in using it but I could at least ask before assuming.

Mint/Personal Capital is another good option, especially if you spend primarily on a debt/credit card.  It can easily show you and her how much you are spending and in what categories.  Once she sees how much you are truly spending on pets each month, it's harder to ignore - you aren't "just making up numbers" you have it backed with actually spending data.

Also, at least for me, it helps us realize that we really didn't spend as much in some categories as we thought - like utilities.  And how much we wasted on useless things - like drinks at gas stations that we could have just brought from home.

Bettis

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #86 on: July 02, 2015, 12:28:10 PM »
I failed to mention she does work one day a week (Saturdays) so that's another time he isn't with her.  He's with me that day.  I think it would be nice to have a babysitter on occasion.  My mom has always been willing so it isn't like we can't find one.  Our anniversary is later this month so I will make sure we can do something that day, just the two of us.

We aren't perfect with how we spend.  It's credit card rarely, debit card often, and cash sometimes.  What these tracking things will likely help me with (if they do it) is itemize and categorize properly.  I would put Walgreens $26.45 in my notebook and then get rid of the receipt if I wasn't returning anything.  Well weeks/months later, I don't know if there was a prescription in there, baby formula, milk, etc.  Do these programs split that well?  If so, does it even split sales tax accordingly?  I know that's a minor blip but I'm just curious how they work.

Apples

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #87 on: July 03, 2015, 02:26:29 PM »
Regarding "what do you change for her preferences":  you have mentioned (rightfully) many things like thermostat, dog food, keeping of pets, etc. that you want to change but she doesn't, so currently you're doing things differently to please her preferences, but mostly because she realllly isn't interested in changing hers.  So I meant before you bring this up, figure out a few things that you personally are changing for her that you're fine with keeping that way.  Like, you now eat oatmeal every morning because she likes it, or do the dishes because she hates them, or something.  I know in my lower moments, when my spouse wants me to change something I do, it's helpful to be reminded on things he does differently for me; not in a nagging way, just in a way that shows how we both are doing things for each other.

Also, I agree with others above-babies make people crazy.  Your wife can handle a day away, and probably even a date night.  But I had a relative who basically regarded most decisions about the kid as "hers", as in her opinion mattered more, because/she/got/crazy/and/hormones/and/maternal/instinct/and/internet/websites and a lot of hours alone making decisions about the kid.  And this is a usually intelligent, not crazy person.

Final thought-if I'm the one getting up with the baby every night, the thermostat will be set to whatever I damn well please and you'll never convince me otherwise.  Though the space heater thing would have probably worked for me.

frugaldrummer

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #88 on: July 04, 2015, 02:23:10 PM »
One subject that hasn't been addressed is wife's income. 500 per month is very little and is coming at a high cost (you lose one of two weekend days with your wife).  Has she though about providing home daycare instead?  Not ideal but has greater income potential and weekends would be family time.
If she brought home$1000 a month instead of $500 that would go a long way towards balancing the budget.

Also, if she's motivated by the idea of paying off the mortgage, then use that.  There are plenty of arguments for and against this as a savings priority, but if it motivates her to save, that's valuable.
Also....try a supplement called phosphatidylserine for ADD, in one study worked as well as Ritalin and it's not a stimulant. 

justajane

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #89 on: July 04, 2015, 02:50:46 PM »
One subject that hasn't been addressed is wife's income. 500 per month is very little and is coming at a high cost (you lose one of two weekend days with your wife).  Has she though about providing home daycare instead?  Not ideal but has greater income potential and weekends would be family time.
If she brought home$1000 a month instead of $500 that would go a long way towards balancing the budget.

I don't know. If she os stressed by the baby and overwhelmed by spending almost 24/7 with children, throwing more kids into to the mix doesn't sound like a good idea. Just because you are a mom doesn't mean you are suited to paid childcare. And maybe she loves that time on the week-end when she is away from the home. Just a thought.

LeRainDrop

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #90 on: July 05, 2015, 01:22:07 PM »
One subject that hasn't been addressed is wife's income. 500 per month is very little and is coming at a high cost (you lose one of two weekend days with your wife).  Has she though about providing home daycare instead?  Not ideal but has greater income potential and weekends would be family time.
If she brought home$1000 a month instead of $500 that would go a long way towards balancing the budget.

I don't know. If she os stressed by the baby and overwhelmed by spending almost 24/7 with children, throwing more kids into to the mix doesn't sound like a good idea. Just because you are a mom doesn't mean you are suited to paid childcare. And maybe she loves that time on the week-end when she is away from the home. Just a thought.
Agreed.  My mom ran a family daycare from our home in Massachusetts for 20+ years.  She did a phenomenal job running this business and caring for the many children over the years.  Having seen this firsthand, though, I can tell you that a legitimate day care is a TON more work than just baby-sitting other kids.  It involves getting licensed by the state, certifications in CPR and other life-saving techniques, home visits to confirm proper child-proofing, fire extinguishers, fire escape plans, etc., having cribs in several rooms, high chairs, lots of toys, car seats, strict regulations for proper nutrition, limits on numbers/age combinations of kids, and many more things I cannot recall.  At least in Massachusetts, it was illegal to have any sort of day care without a license and meeting the requirements.

frugaldrummer

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #91 on: July 06, 2015, 08:02:42 AM »
I don't know about Massachusetts, but in most states, there is a staffing limit (ie 6 kids per adult) and usually an exemption or simplified licensing if you're only watchin 1-2 kids.  2 kids could bring in $1k a month.

An alternative is to develop some work from home business, although I personally found caring for a small child too distracting.

Bettis

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #92 on: July 06, 2015, 11:36:41 AM »
Hey everyone, back after a long weekend staying as far away from computers as I could.  We had a long talk the other night and I think we're slowly making a little progress.  Friday, she surprised me by putting the 2 cats on Kijiji and Craigslist!  I was almost in tears thanking her because I knew that was such a point of contention and a really big sacrifice for her.  Saturday, we got interest for the outside shed cat from an older disabled woman who shares a duplex with her daughter but unfortunately, she backed out a few hours later saying it wasn't into her budget.  Hard to complain with that reason.  At least she backed out before we drove the hour to bring the cat to her.  We did contact a few local no kill shelters and are on lengthy waiting lists so at least we got the ball rolling which is always the hardest part. 

frugaldrummer - I had actually started a post looking for work from home ideas for her but couldn't seem to do anything about it.  She did try leapforce and took the test, but has not heard anything back.  I've been listing more of my stuff on Ebay to get some other money coming in (I can't believe I have a GameCube game that goes for over $100)  Hell, if I really miss the game that much, I'll watch a YouTube video of someone else playing it.

Regarding home daycare as LeRainDrop said, there are so many hoops to go through in Massachusetts.  At first I didn't want her going back to work at all because with that $90/week (net) comes a 30 mile round trip commute.  Technically, the math works for her to work and she likes it there so at least she gets a baby break.  I do miss having that 2nd day with her though because Sunday ends up being a cleaning day until early afternoon when we might go see family later in the day.

Apples - As far as what I've given up from my own choices and am happy staying without, there are a few.  My family always had cable TV but when we bought our house, I knew I didn't want to fall into that trap so we use an antenna on the roof to pick up our channels (Fortunately we get about 50, I don't know why people need 500).  She wanted a little more selection so we got Netflix which I wouldn't drop unless she were tired of it.  I do eat oatmeal with PB almost every morning to save on meals (I went through boxed cereal and waffles way too quickly).  I never buy lunch at work and I quit going to any fast food/coffee shops unless we have a gift card.  I collected video games and sports cards which I am now selling 90% of because the space is so much more valuable.  I used to go to the bar every weekend after P-Bruins games but I cut the bar to once a month max and stopped going to the hockey games entirely.  I do try to lead by example and sacrifice in a way that doesn't look like I'm suffering.

The important part is that, although it's only been the past few days, we have been communicating better and this is the first time I really felt like we've been on the same team.  Rather than me nag when she wants to buy something or do something a certain way, we'll figure out what the goal is (warmth, saving time, a new toy for our son) and see if there is a way to achieve it without spending as much.  It's a start but at least for the moment, I feel a lot better than I have over the past few weeks.

Oh yeah, I got the okay to put a pretty big chunk on the mortgage principal($7K including normal payment) which gets us down to just a hair over $100K balance and took 11 months off the term if we never made another extra payment :)


Chranstronaut

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #93 on: July 06, 2015, 02:58:25 PM »
The important part is that, although it's only been the past few days, we have been communicating better and this is the first time I really felt like we've been on the same team.

Fantastic!

Friday, she surprised me by putting the 2 cats on Kijiji and Craigslist!  I was almost in tears thanking her because I knew that was such a point of contention and a really big sacrifice for her.

Wow!  I did not expect this!  This sounds like a huge gesture on her part.  Don't let her forget how much you appreciate this while you find their new homes.  I hope you can stay sensitive to her feelings as you celebrate inside -- it might be really hard to let the cats go even if she is the one that initiates it.  Good luck and keep going! :D

Amasa

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #94 on: July 07, 2015, 03:09:53 PM »
I can't believe I have a GameCube game that goes for over $100

What game is it?

Bettis

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #95 on: July 08, 2015, 07:38:12 AM »
It's a game called Cubivore, really good but with little time to play games and a need for $100+, I'm making the smart move.

N

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #96 on: July 08, 2015, 02:50:56 PM »
ynab is a budgeting tool, but its not about rigidity or arbitrary limits. it shows you how to spend the actual money that you have. its not necessarily for  your wife. you could use it too.

Bettis

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #97 on: July 13, 2015, 07:34:57 AM »
Quick update - The cats have been re-homed.  Yesterday morning we got two separate calls about the cats and sure enough ,they came by to pick them up.  I'm very glad we didn't have to resort to a shelter and it made it a lot easier for my wife to deal with it.  I sold a few games this weekend for about $125-130 after Ebay fees and instead of going out to eat like we we re thinking of doing, we bought some burgers and buns from Price Rite, made some homemade iced coffees, brought out the radio, filled up the little pool and had a mini cookout with our son under our carport.  It was a great way to spend a couple of hours relaxing and enjoying the near 90 degree day :)

I'm doing better this month itemizing our spending so it will be easier to see exactly what categories our money is going.

Our communication seems to be going much better too so hopefully all of this will snowball into success.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #98 on: July 13, 2015, 07:52:37 AM »
That's a great update. There will be days where you aren't kicking ass nearly as much as you did this weekend, but it sounds like you are getting a grip on things.

Are you selling the cat AC unit?

pachnik

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Re: Reader Case Study - Overwhelmed and losin' it
« Reply #99 on: July 13, 2015, 07:58:54 AM »
Yes, this is a great update.  I am so happy that the cats have new homes and so quickly too.  This should give you some financial relief.   :)

I track my expenses too and only started doing this consistently a year or so after I found this website.

Cheers! and have a good summer.