Wednesday, December 12, 2012

It is the Little Things

The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining. ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

My husband has been on a fix-it kick for the past month and I am very thankful for it. I could go into the long list of things he has been fixing, which would include the church media computer and a huge change in our Internet service provider with its router and more. However, I just wanted to write about two little things that have improved my life...just a little bit.

I finally have a handle on my refrigerator! Believe it or not, the handle on our refrigerator broke three years ago, when we were in some very financially tough times. After a year of opening the refrigerator door by our fingernails, I searched the Internet for a replacement. Being that our refrigerator is twenty years old, the only places I found on the Internet to replace it would tell me that they did not have it in stock, but to go ahead and order it (pay for it) as the manufacturer would do a run when there were sufficient orders for could be a few weeks or a few months.

All those places, by the way, were actually the same one company with different names, but the websites were nearly identical. Unlike most places, they would charge our credit card for the item immediately and ship it when it came in. It was rather expensive too. Something like $90 for just the metal part of the handle, not even the entire handle...oh, but shipping was free! (Probably because it justified the overcharge of the $20 metal piece of the handle.) However, one of the "other" companies--which was the same one--listed it for $15 cheaper. Things were just so tight then, I could not justify tossing money at or giving my credit card information to an untrusted source, who had a few companies with different price structures. Besides, we could still open the refrigerator!

Lately, my dishwasher has been leaving more stuff on the dishes than it is taking off and it needs a part replaced, which my husband ordered and should be here within a week. Also, its utensil basket was disintegrating at the bottom so the silverware fell though in some parts. Honestly, when you put your dirty silverware into the basket, you really don't want to be concerned placing them in a pattern that mirrors where the diminishing bottom is still intact. Why did not I order one before? Can you guess? Yes, it seemed to be from the same company as the refrigerator handle and, yes, they were never in stock. Let's not forget that it cost about $70 for this basket but the shipping was free! Oh, and one of the "other" companies listed it at around $15 less.

I have no idea what my husband spent for these items as he has his own money...that is, he gets reimbursed for his work expenses, which just pays for actual expenditures, except for car mileage. That is where they pay a certain amount per mile toward gas, maintenance, repairs, and the expense of buying the car, but not actual expenditures. We had only one vehicle for two years until he got a better job and then we had to buy a second one two years ago, which we paid by credit card. I never saw any of the mileage money go toward paying off that debt, even so we just paid off that credit card last month. I am still doing the happy dance over having no credit card debt!

Anyway, the extra money for vehicle expenses somehow never gets into my budget envelope for the vehicles, but my husband sometimes buys things for car maintenance as well as treats us to a dinner out and he did get me a new computer with it (months after he bought an iPad for himself that he mostly uses for work). So, I just work with the paycheck and he has his mad money to spend as he sees fit. Our marriage works this way: my budget pays the bills and necessities with some emergency money for those unexpected things and my husband gets to be generous or gets himself things without asking if we have it in the budget.

I think he used to think I was too strict with budgeting. However, he appreciated my budget when we needed new tires three years ago--this was also when money was so tight I would not buy a replacement refrigerator handle and my dishwasher was complete broke too. The tires literally were coming apart and I had built into my budget extra money for maintenance and repairs since we had such an older vehicle with lots of miles on it that became his work van. He looked nearly ill thinking about the cost of the tires, which is usually my thing, not his. He was apologizing to me about cost of new tires thinking I would lose it, which I can do when more is going out than coming in. I remember calmly asking him how much the tires would be and when he told me, I was the one assuring him that we could afford that expense. The look of surprise and relief on his face was priceless! Yeah, I can still dazzle the guy with my budget planning now and then.

Usually, my husband worries far less about money than I do, but that time of being out of work four years ago and then finding a job at 60% of what he used to make and the state of our government outspending its revenue had transformed his perspective about our finances. It has had a lasting affect. I doubt we will run up our credit card debt again. I would not even add the amount of a refrigerator handle and a dishwasher basket to our debt! I know it may sound ridiculous to you and it was not my plan to open the refrigerator by my fingernails for three years, but we all survived it. I saw those things as very nice conveniences, but they were not absolutely necessary to get by.

Now we are out of our credit card debt. Now we have a refrigerator handle and a dishwasher basket with a complete bottom. I have a new computer that thankfully did not have Windows 8 on it! My husband found his iPad that he misplaced five days ago. My daughter and I spent yesterday icing Christmas cut out sugar cookies.

This is one of the best Christmases I have ever had!

~ My Lord, thank you for the lean times so that I can better appreciated the times I can repair and improve. ~

1 comment:

  1. Yep, we live wth broken things because they are not absolute essentials. We had wire showing through the tires last time! Yikes! Replacing them had become a life & death matter. *sigh* Still our only debt is our mortgage & it is not overwhelming.


Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.