When Alan and I were first married, we had precious few possessions. We bought everything for our first apartment with $100… $55 of which went for our fridge. It was early vintage Salvation Army all the way, plus a few pieces of furniture we rescued from Alan’s grandmother’s abandoned farm house…like the old iron bed that is still a favorite of our family’s to this day. At any rate, we had absolutely no extra money for years, due to graduate school and then medical school demands. Nevertheless, I had lots of time and energy, and so for the first few years, our apartments were pretty close to immaculate. Even after Aaron and Michael were born, I (we! they were great helpers??) scrubbed the walls every week as well as the floors and counter tops. When we moved out of our apartment after medical school, the guy who checked us out said he’d never seen such a clean apartment and was amazed that we still had the original paint. I smiled demurely and felt like a great success.
That was the last of my smug sense of being a well-organized mother. Alan’s parents died suddenly, and when we moved into our new apartment for residency, we brought an absolutely mind-stopping amount of “worldly goods” from his parents’ home that we had no clue what to do with but no heart to give away. That was the beginning of the end. The end of the end was two more babies and a husband who worked between 60-119 hours per week for three years. By the time Alan fiished his training, we were well into the negative column for both time and money. Homeschooling and three more children, dogs, cats, hamsters, birds, and a wonderful flood of friends over the years kept me totally behind in the house keeping column, and we managed to pay off our medical school loans exactly the same year as Aaron began college! From that day until this, we’ve been paying 1-3 college tuitions every year. The income was coming in, but it always seemed to be going out faster.
This week, I finally realized that I now have both time and money. Well…we’re still paying two college tuitions, but Joel will graduate this spring, and (Lord willing) Stephen will graduate in 2010. Of course, by then, Alan will be 60 and it will be time to be working very hard to save for retirement (what’s that??), BUT, we just might have both time and money. Our house is 20 years old and still sports its original paint and wall paper in the living room and in our bedroom. I am so looking forward to reorganizing, cleaning, and refurbishing our house! This week I reorganized our household linens and deep cleaned the three upstairs bathrooms. I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to start to make progress that may last more than a minute (which is all it seems to last when you have small children coming behind you). Hard to imagine, but I think I may just be on the verge of having time and money. May my dream come true, and may I use it well!