Monday, January 25, 2010

No Means No! Croup Part 2 Fasting Update

3 Posts in One. It's a posting hat trick.

No Means No!

Dylan’s new found mobility has made him instantly independent. Dana and I have found ourselves constantly chasing him around the house, picking him up, carrying him back to his play blanket and repeating the process over and over again. We started to feel tired and felt that the power shift was beginning to swing in our 7 month olds favor. Something needed to be done.

During Dylan’s morning nap on Saturday, Dana had enough time to read Baby Wise Part 2. We attribute following Part 1 as the reason why Dylan slept through the night by week 10. Part 2 tackled the issue of creating boundaries and saying ‘no’. We embraced this with open arms and Dylan received a rude awakening when he got up from his nap. Instead of picking him up and moving him when he went ‘out of bounds,’ we told him ‘no’ while we moved him. The second time gets a squeeze on the hand and a ‘no’ and the third time gets a time out to his crib for 2-5 minutes.

We also added play time in his pack and play as a way for Mom and Dad to get some relief. He is not very happy about this new arrangement, but will grow to be more content over time. We are currently at 15 minutes and will extend his individual play time to 45 minutes.

Our nanny found a written ‘rule book’ on our dining room table this morning when she came over. Dana had 3 pages worth of the changes that had been made. Hopefully, Baby Wise Part 2 will prove to be just as effective as Part 1.

Croup Part 2

Last week, Dylan woke up having trouble breathing again. This time we were prepared and his nebulizer was up and running in no time. It took a couple of cycles (hot shower, cold outside air, and nebulizer) but we got him to calm down. His breathing problems didn’t start until 1am, so I got about 3 hours of sleep this time around. I stayed home with the big fella on Thursday and Friday, while working from home.

Guess who got sick? Dana. I could feel something coming on Saturday morning, but flushed it out via a rigorous workout at the YMCA. It’s probably for the best. Despite my high tolerance for pain, I am the biggest baby when I get sick. At least Dana can fend for herself when she feels under the weather.

Fast Update

We are in the last week of our fasts. It has really been great so far. We already have dinner plans for Saturday night after church to break our fast. I am going to tear it up! The spending fast will just have to take a hit.

You can go to our personal finance blog to see our latest update on the spending fast.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Spending Fast Update (through Jan 12, 2010)

In addition to the flea market, we made a trip to Winn Dixie to stock up on more fruits, veggies, and juices. We had to get tofu and nuts, which are all acceptable for the Daniel Fast (as per our interpretation.) I also bought some deodorant, for $2.00. I had to get the deodorant that said on the sticker: “Good Protection: For Late in the Day.” That sticker scratched me right where I itched. Literally, the Polo Sport deodorant also made me itch. If that part made no sense, please read this post.

Total damage from Winn Dixie: $51.95. Ouch. This better take care of our food needs for the rest of the month.

We had officially run out food to eat for a meal on Saturday and had to pay for our last real meals. On Thursday, we had macaroni and cheese along with Uncle Ben’s rice, for dinner. We bought a pizza from Winn Dixie for $5.99 for lunch (a part of our $51.95 bill.) What’s worse is that I went back to Publix to buy sushi and more tofu for Saturday night’s dinner for $9.84.

Without making any more rules or amendments, Dana and I are in the hole now for the month and need to find a way to make a comeback. I have added some books and basketball cards on ebay and hope to add some income at the end of the week.

As of Jan 13,
Income: $30.00
Expenses: $146.43
Profit/(Loss) – ($116.43)

Our Trip to the Palatka Flea Market

Early Saturday afternoon, Dana, Dylan, and I went to the St Johns Flea Market in Palatka to get fruits and vegetables for our 21 days Daniel fast, that starts tomorrow (Sunday, the 10th.) They always have the cheapest produce in town and it is always worth our time travelling down I-95 a few miles to get there. In addition to great produce, we always walk away from Palatka feeling pretty attractive and happy that we have a full set of teeth.

The produce section is in the center of the entire flea market, so you have to walk through the entire place to get there. The son, Ray (it’s called Ray’s Produce) is what looks like a 60 year old man with gray hair, but still looks fairly agile from the constant labor on the farm. What struck me as odd is that there are like 4 generations ahead of him helping out. Our favorite cashier, Carol, was referred to as ‘Ma’ by Ray. So, Carol, who is so spunky and always makes our day brighter, must be 80. What’s more is that she asked a question to her ‘Ma’ while ringing us up, who was sitting in the corner. How old is her Mom? And to boot, there appeared to be someone who looked older than Carol’s Mom in the same booth! Either Ray is a very old 20-something that looks like he’s 60, or there is a 125 year old lady in Palatka, Florida, that no one knows about.

Though the flea market is good for cheap produce, it doesn’t appear to be very good for anything technological. For instance, an old 19 inch TV for $100. Are you kidding me? Or, a Super Nintendo going for $55.00? (I actually found a picture of this on the flea market web site) I really wanted to see if they had Sonic the Hedgehog or NBA JAM for Sega Genesis, but it was too cold. It is like travelling back to 1990 there.

Total damage at Ray’s Produce: a record, $57.90. On the positive end, we have enough fruits and veggies to last the entire 3 weeks. We have the Debbie Meyer green bags, that will keep it all fresh for a long period of time, except bananas, which only last a few days. On the other hand, we are now behind on our spending fast. We will give you an update on that in a couple of days on how this is going. Stay tuned.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Spending Fast Update: Week 1

Our first 7 days into the spending fast and it is going pretty well. We purged most of the house this past weekend (while you were partying, we were in bed by 10 pm. We are losers.) and didn’t find much to sell on ebay or craigslist. I am confident that things will change in our remaining room, though.

We found stuff, but frankly, figured we wouldn’t make enough money to make it worth out time posting it on ebay. Instead, we’ve installed a new rule.

Rule #1. Whatever you donate to Goodwill/Salvation Army, you get to count the tax write off as money to spend for the month. We are in the 15% tax bracket and so far, have donated $200.00 worth of stuff. Money to spend: $30.00 ($200.00 X 15%)

On January 3, I was out getting gas for Dana when I got a text asking me to go to the grocery store. It said: Avocado, lemon juice, sour cream, and butter. I gave in because

1. I really wanted dinner that night and Mac and Cheese later that afternoon.
2. I didn’t want to start an argument, and
3. I had extra cash in my pocket from last month.

Reason 3 leads us to rule number 2 of the spending fast.

Rule #2. Whatever leftover cash that is in your pocket from the previous month can be used without counting towards the fast.

Therefore, I spent $4.05 on groceries, but the amount is off the books due to rule #2.

We did have one little hiccup in the first week. Dana went to Walgreen’s and bought $26.74 worth of ‘essentials.’ That was the answer when I asked her after finding the receipt.

I looked at the receipt and didn’t say much. After all, Dana’s a good shopper. I noticed that she bought 2 containers of dish soap for $1.00 each and picked up some photos that she got on sale for only $3.00. That $5.00 is not what I had the problem with. It was the other $21.00. The remaining $21.00 involved two items: 2 pkgs. of makeup remover and a package of skin moisturizer.

Any other month and I would not object. However, I had been making some sacrifices this past week.

Take for example, I ran out of deodorant this week and had been using my Polo Sport deodorant (that came with the box of cologne.) Just so you know, Polo Sport is a great cologne, but their deodorant stinks, both literally and figuratively. I take that back: it smells great for a couple of hours. After that, I start to smell like Polo Sweat. I sit at a desk all day, but it’s, evidently, exerting enough for the deodorant to completely wear off by the end of the work day. I have to reapply in the evening just for Dana to be in the same room with me.

I was going to run to the dollar store this weekend to buy some real deodorant, but was suffering for the cause all week.

Last night, as I was applying my nightly deodorant (yes, for a third time in the day) Dana asked me why I didn’t just go and buy some deodorant. This led to the ensuing exchange of words:

Bryan: Because I am trying to adhere to the rules of the fast. (For those of you that know me, I did actually say ‘adhere,’ an intelligent word by my standards.)

Dana: Well, you can still buy some deodorant and you can use my Secret in the meantime.

Bryan (in a raised voice): I would have bought some, but you broke the budget at Walgreens. So, while I have Polo B.O. all day, you sit on a mountain of makeup remover and swim in a tub of moisturizer.

Dana (defensively): I need that moisturizer. It’s the driest month of the year.

Dana: At least you smell good for a couple hours during the day.

Despite the Walgreen’s incident, we are doing well with the spending fast so far. We haven’t eaten out during this very busy work week and have eaten the groceries that we have at the house. For lunch, we have been doing PB and J’s as our main course. During the 21 day fast starting on Sunday, those sandwiches are going to really sound delicious.

Here is the score at the end of one week for those keeping track at home:

Total extra income month to date: $30.00

Total expenses month to date: $26.74 (remember the $4.05 is off the books)

Profit (Loss) $3.26

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Very Foltice Christmas

We are back to the grind this week after having a great holiday season. For Christmas, we packed up the rental car for Washington D.C. to be with Dana’s family (our cars can barely putter around town, so a rental was necessary). It was nice to see snow for Christmas, though for the past 9 years in Ft. Lauderdale we had started to get used to sitting by the pool after opening Christmas presents.
We left on the 23rd at 5pm and travelled straight through until 4:30am. On New Year’s Eve, I couldn’t stay up past 10pm, but when travelling, I become Superman. Actually, the two cups of truck stop coffee made me Superman. Despite taking directions from a “lady” for the last 90 minutes of the trip, we arrived with no issues (I am still not sold on Garmin). I think women must have invented Garmin so that men have to listen to a female voice give directions. All week I was looking for the Pierce Brosnan voice setting on the Garmin device. (Editor’s Note: Thank you Garmin for making the voice female. We would not have made it to my parent’s house without it and I found it gratifying that Bryan was at the mercy of a “female” direction giver. He had no choice but to listen.)
We had a great Christmas with family. Robyn and Dan made it in at 2 pm Christmas Day, which delayed our gift opening. It was a great week in the life of Dylan. He started to crawl the day Dana was trying to pack everything for our trip, making packing take twice as long and more complicated. He gets around quite fast, has his two bottom teeth coming in, and is piecing sounds together. We are telling him to slow down, but he is not listening (a sign of things to come).
I dominated in ping-pong the entire weekend and made sure everyone knew it. The only blemish came on the first night to Dana’s Dad. I made him pay after that. Ping-pong trash talking runs in my family and it usually ends with someone crying. This all adds to the family traditions. I can still hear my Dad saying (predicting) over and over “into the net” as he hit another shot with an obscene amount of backspin.
We hung around through Sunday night to celebrate Grandma Z’s 80th birthday. We went out for brunch at an Irish restaurant and I decided that I am in love with all you can eat brunch buffets. For my first plate, I went with a breakfast theme. The second plate was lunch food, and the third was a ‘best of’ plate (consisting mainly of bacon). The fourth and final was a dessert plate. I blacked out shortly after that and came to 4 hours later.
We woke up at 3am Monday morning and drove until 3pm. It was good to get home and Dylan was a champ. He just slept the whole way. I have never seen so many motor homes with Quebec license plates heading south. On a two lane highway, these are traffic cloggers. My blood pressure rises now whenever I see one on the road.
(Just to recap this post so far: I’ve insulted women and Canadian retirees. Who’s next?)
We had a great New Year’s. We purged the house and watched a ton of football. We are doing two fasts this month: one is a spending fast for the month of January posted on our financial blog,, and the other 21 day Daniel fast through our church starts on Sunday. We are looking forward to a great 2010.
“It’s gonna be a great year, Gilbert. HAAAHAAAHAAA” - Lewis Skolnick, Revenge of the Nerds