Friday, October 17, 2014

Our New Normal

So life has altered this week with new chores and challenges:


1.  Driving my 17 year old (birthday today) stepdaughter to school.  The school is just a little too far to walk and we don't qualify for free bus passes for kids in the school district as it is past September 15th deadline.  We are driving her to school in the morning and picking her up after school.  Fortunately, we are self-employed so this is not a huge issue.  It is only 1.5 km away so not a huge drain on gasoline (gas just went down to $1.13, we are enjoying the lower gas prices thank you very much:).

2.  She has had her learners license for 2 years but not taken the driving exam.  She must retake a learners quiz here but they will recognize her 2 years and thankfully she can immediately take lessons to get her license as quickly as possible.  My mother-in-laws car will be purchased for her with her own money (money Grandparents gave her for education but as that is fully funded they allowed the kids to put it towards a car).  My mother-in-law turns 80 in December and she doesn't want to retake the driving exam so is giving up driving (thankfully so,we had hoped she would give that up many months ago) therefore her low mileage car is available for purchase.  We will likely do so but I hope hubby is willing to wait until Spring otherwise we will be driving it over the mountains in the dead of winter.

3.  Our small house has shrunk.  We own a 3 bedroom house, one of the bedrooms being our office that we run the company out of.  First thought was should be sell and buy bigger?  We decided to wait and see what happens.  I doubt it, both of us love living here and kids have this tendency to grow up and move out(eventually).  We currently believe we can last here until then - we will discuss this again in 6 months if things become unbearable. We used to live in a house twice the size and had loads of unused spaces.  We love our cozy home now and there is no wasted space, we just have to be careful about where things go.

4.  All of the items that were in the 3rd bedroom have to be removed or rearranged.  That room was our spare room (hide-a-bed loveseat), band room for my husbands electronic drum kit and guitars, workout room for the treadmill, and relaxation room - massage chair purchased many years ago still going strong and used daily by hubby.  The drum kit is going into the crawlspace for storage, the massage chair and treadmill have gone into our bedroom, the guitars make nice living room adornment.  Fortunately, our bedroom is large and, although no one really wants exercise equipment in their bedroom, it is working for now.  The loveseat will remain in her large bedroom as a small hangout area as that room is also large.  Maybe one day when she moves out she can take that piece of furniture with her for her first place.  I hate to sell it because it is 2 years old and we invested good money to buy it which we would not recoup.  The only thing that has to be purchased right away is a bed and frame-we have been so tied up this week with surviving a busy work/life schedule that this will likely occur early next week.  Fortunately, she is sleeping on the hideabed for now and it is pretty comfortable.

5.  You would think that adding a human to the household would be a financial drain.  In fact, we are now officially free of all large bills=FINANCIAL FREEDOM.  We were paying child support on 3 kids up until April when my 2nd eldest stepson graduated from College.  My youngest stepson graduated highschool in June, is working fulltime at a car dealership and just moved out on his own so then we were down to paying on only my stepdaughter - no more child support!  Unfortunately, there will be no child support coming into our household either since the other parent refuses to get a job(*so much more I would like to say but will not).  Anyway, we are way further ahead (think large mortgage payment or two) each month although will still have some costs like driver training, clothes, etc. but as the kids education account is fully funded(might even be overfunded) and we have no mortgage and own our cars outright we will don't really have any large expenses anymore - Yipee!  I am upping the grocery budget from $450 to $500 per month although this month we will likely be a bit over as we had to go buy all the personal items necessary to stock a bathroom for a 17 year old young lady - in future I can buy these things on sale but as we had no notice we went to Superstore (cheapest store here for most items) and just did a gigantic shop.

6.  Our travel wings have been clipped temporarily, at least likely for the next 6 months.  We can still travel within Canada but as we need her Mother's permission (signed legal document) to take her out of country and no one wants to ask for that right now(*think bang head against wall 100 times and insert swears) we are going to be sticking close to home for the next 2 years.  We are not going to Mexico in December as planned, which is disappointing but family comes first and she will be in school in that timeframe.  The money is still in the travel fund as we had been waiting for a selloff so I will just continue to add more so that when we are able to travel out of country again, there will be lots of money there to do so.  We are going to be changing our Christmas flights that we booked to Alberta to instead travel there and back for 3 days early December to give the boys their gifts and do our Christmas visit with my mother-in-law.

7.  We are still going to Quadra Island for a 2 night weekend getaway next weekend - all 3 of us.  She has never been there and we hope to do some exploring/relaxing away from work.  We are all looking forward to it.  It has rained nonstop for the last 7 days - welcomed after a really dry summer but I would love it if the rain let up for those 3 days.  We intend to have fun no matter what as have umbrellas and are a hardy bunch.

Phew!  The end of a really long post but as  I am not posting as much had a lot to say.  Tonight we have a Mexican dinner at home planned to celebrate her birthday and have invited Mom over as well.  Everyone have a great weekend!



18 comments:

  1. Keep your chin up...it all seems to be sorting itself out!
    Jane x

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    1. Actually things are going much better than any of us thought - but we are still in the "honeymoon" period :)

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  2. Good luck with it all - changes to family dynamics take time to get used to, but you sound like you have it all under control xx

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    1. Just trying to convince ourselves. It certainly helps that we are self employed - gives us so much more flexibility

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  3. You sound like us with all the Step kids. Our boys just got a card saying Happy Birthday love Mum L and A ?????? we didn't know if A was a cat or a Sister and the card was a day late. As you said there is so much more to say but I won't so we just carry on as normal.

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    1. For all our sanity there are certain topics we are avoiding for now - but I am sure they will come up in future. I just am trying to maintain peace in the household and get her situated so she feels safe, secure and has a routine again.

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  4. I don't think there's such a thing as normal. Everyone has different challenges with their family dynamic and, as long as you all love each other, you can deal with anything that comes along. As far as getting a bed goes, we got our daughter a spa sensations memory foam mattress and metal bed frame from Walmart back in March. Both items were very economically priced and have held up well so far.

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    1. Hubbys back has gotten worse and our current new bed (since the move) isn't cutting it. We are giving her ours and investing in a better bed for his back which we had talked about before all this came up. It is still a decent bed - just not great for someone with a terrible back.

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  5. To the new normal. I'm sure it will all sort out (like the clothes from the dryer). - Margy

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    1. Exactly - you have to roll with it. Stuff happens and we are a family and will deal with it.

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  6. Wow this post brought back memories...step kids, exes, driving, fitting them all into a small house. But they do grow up so quickly and pretty soon you will have another new normal.

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    1. Exactly although we would like her to stay if she goes to the local college here before moving out on her own. We just have to work out the relationship dynamic and things will get normal again

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  7. Major life changes for all involved! Is your step-d in Gr. 11 or 12? And will she be going to college/university locally do you think? Time will whiz by not that you're complaining or anything but it is a step in to another "unplanned" direction. It sounds as though things are going well.

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    1. She is Grade 11 but started school just before she was 6 due to mid October birthday. We have a good local college that we will encourage her to pursue if she wants. It is only 2 km away and where most kids go around here

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  8. You are a wonderful person! I know that you will make it all work and save money! You are just that impressive.

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    1. Gee shucks, you are good for a persons ego :)

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  9. That is sure a big change! I'm sure every thing will work itself out for the best....we just need not to worry too much!

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    1. We are trying not to worry, just taking it one day at a time. 2 weeks in and so far so good!

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