So said Phoebe Buffay when asked by Monica if she had a plan. And that is my answer too.
Yes, lots of people have asked what our plan is for the future. Usually this is in reference to debt management, living locations, employment...mostly long term type things. Apparently with the impending arrival of Peanut, we should have a better handle on a plan for our lives. I read alot of blogs where people clearly have a mapped out plan.They have plans for getting out of debt, plans for their family, plans for jobs....and they are all clearly mapped out and detailed.
I used to be a planner. I used to plan out every mundane detail, but then I would get upset if something threw off my plan. So I kind of stopped. Too many things were popping up out of nowhere, changing plans. I was a total control freak, and it really bothered me. I had to learn to loosen up. There were actually times that I was stressed out because I was not stressed about anything. True story.
Don't get me wrong, my husband and I have ideas for where we would like to be. And I do still plan things out...I can't quite embrace the "fly by the seat of your pants" mentality. This baby popped up pretty suddenly, and so our tentative plans were altered yet again. I have mapped out the months until Peanut's arrival pretty well, but mostly because they involve specific events and are quite busy. So for those concerned, here is what I have:
Debt management/reduction: I have mapped this out so many times, it makes me want to scream. We have sat down with financial advisors at the bank. I don't know if we just don't have the discipline to follow what they give us or what (the plans are pretty rigorous, and don't usually account for unplanned events...like husband needs a new car, which means another car payment and increased car insurance payments). I am not going to lie, we do have a fair amount of debt. From two car loans, moving across the country, 6 years of student loans, a wedding, a honeymoon, 3 months of living in an expensive city like San Francisco without a job, buying new furniture, emergency root canals, car accidents...it all adds up. And that number is fairly intimidating, and made me outright freak out a few months ago. We were never financially irresponsible, so to speak, but we weren't exactly always on top of our situation. For example, We made late payments on accident, which subsequently raised interest rates every now and then. We have good credit scores and good paying jobs, and it finally dawned upon us (well, me anyway), that I shouldn't have to pay interest up the wazoo, etc. I totalled everything, and started mapping out how each paycheck would be portioned to pay bills. I shuffled balances. I pay 2 extra car payments on each loan every year. I round each payment due up to the nearest hundred, and sometimes double the minimum payments. We try to put 10% of each check into our high interest savings, but that doesn't happen with every check. We stopped using our credit cards, except for what we pay off each month...like gas and groceries. Do these things make us debt free any time soon? No, most likely not. Am I incredibly concerned about our financial situation for when Peanut arrives and we aren't pulling in our normal salaries? Not really. We have a good amount of money in our savings, and we do have a small retirement account. And I plugged our information into one of those Net Worth websites, and with our shares in the tire store, both cars being worth more than what we owe, and that pearly white classic T-bird push us into a fairly high positive net worth. So I guess my plan for this is to just keep doing what I am doing.
Living location: Is is difficult to live thousands of miles away from family? Yes, especially with the baby coming. Do I feel alone at times when I shouldn't have to? Yes. But to be 1000% honest, I do not see a solution to this anywhere in the near future. We talked about moving to NC within the next year or so, and we would still like to do that. It is closer to the family and friends in the midwest. It is an area where we both have been many times, and have enjoyed. It is close enough to the ocean, so I won't go through withdrawl. Is this feasible for the near future at this point? Not so much right now. I realize having a baby so far away from everyone will be difficult. But moving back east to any location at this point would make it more so. I would lose my health insurance, my maternity leave (and California has the best maternity/paternity laws in the country)...not to mention that neither my husband and I have jobs out there at this point, and it would take a huge chunk of our money to relocate so blindly. We do need a bigger place, though. We need three bedrooms. And for what I would pay per month to keep all the guestroom things in storage, I could pay for a 3 bedroom in Peta.luma. However, our lease is not up until the end of December, and I would ideally like to move in November. The plan for this? Keep hunting for a new place in Peta.luma or the surrounding area and have the husband explain the situation to the landlord, who he is tight with. Put moving to NC on the back burner for at least another year, until we can really start planning for it.
Employment: I like my job. Ben likes his job. Ideally, I would love not to work after the baby is born. Is this reasonable at this point? Nope. As for now, I am going to take my maternity (praying that I am approved for a total of 4-5 months), and then come back to work. We will figure out childcare and such when we get there.
So that pretty much covers the three big ones. I don't have more to say on those than that. As for the time being until Peanut does make his/her entrance...it is pretty busy. August is pretty much half over. In September I have my training to become an MMC education volunteer. That takes up every Tuesday night and Saturday for a good portion of the month. The beginning of October I am going back to Ohio for a few days, and then to an out of state wedding. Then we are taking a little side trip to NYC for a few days. When we come back we will have to start registering. In November I want to move. Then starts the holidays. I have two planned baby showers, one in Ohio that involves me being gone for 6 days in December. The Californ.ia shower is in January. And then Peanut will be here.
So I guess my overall plan is this: To grow a healthy baby for the next 6 months. That is all that really matters to me at this point, and all that I am truly focusing on. I am going to be a mommy, and for me, that is a dream come true. All of my energy is going into that.