One Woman's Attempt At A Simpler Life

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When I was working in the corporate world, I had two very distinct selections of clothing:  “work” clothes, and “weekend” clothes.

If you opened my closet, you would have been easily able to identify which items belonged in which category.  Work clothes consisted of lots of dry-clean-only type of stuff from Gap, Banana Republic, and Nordstrom in shades of black/brown/gray/cream– things like slacks, pencil skirts, suits, button down blouses, blazers, nice dresses, nylons, and lots and lots of high heeled boots and pumps.  Weekend clothes were comfy and colorful things like jeans, t-shirts, sweaters, hoodies, socks, flats, and sneakers.  Having two totally different styles of clothing for the work and non-work parts of my life were part of the reason  why my closets and dressers were so jammed full of stuff–the other part being due to my unfortunate shopaholic tendencies.

I recently got an email from a clothing store advertising a sale on “weekend wear”, and it occurred to me that I no longer have a wardrobe that distinguishes between the two styles – pretty much most of my daily wardrobe is weekend wear, with a few slightly more dressed up options.  As a full time actor, there are some mornings when I have to get up, dress presentably, put on makeup, fix my hair, and either go to auditions, a recording studio, meetings, rehearsals, or other events that put me out in public.  But there are more mornings where I get up, put on workout clothes, walk Stella, eat breakfast, work out, answer email, and then start working from home on recording/auditioning/reading scripts/memorizing lines and before I know it Ron is almost due home from the office and I’ve yet to shower or officially get dressed or even stop to eat lunch.  I may talk to a lot of people via phone or email during the day, but no one actually SEES me, so I don’t spend much time worrying about what I look like or how I’m dressed, especially if I’m on a deadline.

This means that things like my slippers get a ton of wear.  I used to have (unsurprisingly) about four pairs of slippers, but in one of my early decluttering sessions after I started this blog, I got rid of all but my one favorite pair.  They aren’t particularly expensive or fancy, but I really like the style and how comfortable they are.  I’ve had them for easily 10 years, and have worn them a LOT (I am one of those people whose hands and feet are often cold – just ask Ron, who has to endure me getting into bed at night and putting my icy fingers and toes against his perpetually heat-radiating body to warm up).  Last year, while we were still in debt-pay down mode, I was sitting on the couch with my feet propped up facing Ron, and I saw him stare at the soles of my slippers and then gently say, “Uhhh…honey, I know money is tight, but I’m sure we could figure out a way to get you a new pair of slippers.”

I knew why he was saying it.  From the top, my slippers looked totally normal:

slipper top

But from the bottom, they were definitely looking a bit worse for wear:

slipper bottom

And you have to see the side view too, to really appreciate how gross loved they were:

slipper side

The thing was, I knew I could have afforded a new pair – Fred Meyer, Kmart, or even a Walgreens sell slippers very inexpensively, and often offer coupons as well.  But since my mission has been to buy fewer, better things, and because slippers are something I knew I would wear really often, I wanted them to be a high quality pair that I LOVED.

Which made the process of finding a new pair become way too important and painstaking.  It took me MONTHS.  Well, to be fair, some of those months were in the summer, when it’s way too hot for slippers, but I cannot tell you how many online and in person searches I did to find a good replacement.  I scoured countless websites, read hundreds of reviews, stalked various shoe departments, and still couldn’t find anything I felt was right – or more accurately, “perfect”.  I was even wiling to shell out a lot of money for them – I saw some really similar but ridiculously expensive ones by Ugg, for nearly $90, and was seriously considering them, until I noticed that most of the reviews said the sizing was consistently either too big or too small if you’re a half size, like me.

And then, I finally had to remind myself that no matter how much I loved my new pair, or how much money I spent on them, much like my old pair, the new pair would wear out someday, and I’d have to buy new ones.  And while I was wasting all this stupid time fretting over finding something “perfect”, I was spending every day of my present life walking around with holes in my soles.

A day after I had this thought, I happened to be walking past J. Crew, and they were in the midst a huge sale.  In multiple baskets on the display tables were pretty pastel piles of cozy slippers.  Next to the baskets were signs that said, “Additional 40% off.”  And in the lavender color that I liked the most, they had exactly one pair left in my size.  So I bought them – for a very reasonable $27.

I LOVE my new slippers.  They are cozy, pretty, and sooooo comfortable:

new slipper top

And even better, they have non-slip rubber soles, with no holes in them:

new slipper side

And even better than THAT, I have them right NOW, and I am wearing them every day.  (And yes, in case you’re wondering, I did throw the old ones away).

In the end, of course, we’re just talking about a silly pair of slippers.  But the experience was a good reminder for me that if seeking perfection becomes your entire focus, you’re a) probably never going to achieve it, and b) you will spend way too much time during that process living with circumstances or things you really need to release.

What about you?  Is there an area in your life where you are seeking the perfect something, to the point where you’re living without something you could really use right now?  Share in the comments if you feel so inclined!


Happy 2015 everyone!!!!

I realize I have been absent for a looooong time.  I have good excuses though – I was in a play, then went to France for a couple weeks, came home to a ton of work due in a very tight timeline, and then the holidays hit and well, that pretty much brings us up to date.  I’m hoping to blog at least once a week if possible this year, but I know I’ve said that before and then…you know…life.

Another reason for the inactivity is precisely that – inactivity.  For the past few months I haven’t really done much cleaning, decluttering, or reevaluating.  It’s been all I could do to just be where I needed to be and make deadlines on time.  And while my house, purse, and car have been a MESS all fall and winter, I’m also happy to report I did very little purchasing either, so it was sort of a zero sum game on the whole lagom seeking mission.

I am proud to say that we did not go into credit card debt for our vacation, and while I did buy a few things in Europe, I didn’t go nuts either.  I bought a few, carefully curated, carefully planned items that I had done a lot of research on before our trip, and all in all, I spent VERY little time shopping – which was weird and great all at the same time.  Instead, we explored beautiful places, ate amazing food and drank tons of wine:

But for the most part, over the past few months when this blog has been silent, I’ve just been sitting with my stuff as it is, not really thinking about it one way or the other, and therefore have made no real changes.  With the launch of a fresh new year though, I have begun to feel a renewed sense of wanting to lighten my life.

For Christmas, Ron gave me a copy of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, and reading it has newly inspired me to think about what I truly need, use, and love, and what stuff I’ve just grown accustomed to seeing in my space.  Ms. Kondo is a bit more of an extreme minimalist than I aspire to be, and I’m not 100% sure I subscribe to everything she suggests, but I still really enjoyed her book.  It’s made me start looking around with a keen eye again, and let me tell you, when that happens…nothing in my path is safe.

Even though Ron did not read the book and I haven’t really talked to him about it,  he seems to be on the same wavelength as well.  Yesterday morning, as we were putting away all the Christmas decorations, we were moving the armoire that holds our tv, stereo, dvd player, cable box, phone, etc. back into place, and he asked me how I would feel about getting rid of the stereo, since we never really use it.  We own a couple high quality smartphone speaker docks, and we just tend to plug our phones into one of those and listen to our music that way – I can’t really remember the last time I got out a CD and used the stereo.  So I agreed, and from there we also decided to get rid of the dvd player we have upstairs (it’s fairly old and had not been working properly, and we still have another one that does work in another part of the house, and I can’t say I’ve been missing the broken one since we usually watch movies on cable anyway).

photo 2

Then we went through the rest of the armoire, clearing our dvd collection of any movies we no longer cared about, our cd collection of music we no longer listened to, and I tossed about 60 (seriously) empty cd jewel cases I had been saving for oh, NO APPARENT REASON.  I even found a small stack of old VHS tapes that somehow survived the last purge, despite the fact it’s been about three years since we’ve owned a TV with a VHS player on which to use them:

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I particularly love the two that are titled “Laura – Misc. Tape”, with no further indication of anything else that is on them.  Especially since I don’t own anything to play them on in order to find out.  Genius decision making right there, folks.

And when I went to get a couple bags to hold the stuff we were getting rid of, I found myself plowing through a bunch of those well intentioned reusable shopping bags that multiply like rabbits in the closet because I always think I’ll use them, and then, of course, don’t.  Ron and I picked through them and each chose a couple to keep that we liked best, and the rest we got rid of.  In the process, I also I found not one, but TWO lost scarves I’d been searching madly for over the past couple weeks tangled up in the mess.

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As anyone who has been reading the blog for a while knows, I have been at this process since January of 2013, and with each area of my home I’ve decluttered, I’ve always gotten to the point where I’ve thought “That’s it – I can’t pare it down any less.  Everything that’s left is something I need, use, and love.”  Fascinating how time can change that perspective, isn’t it?  I think I maybe needed the past few months to just sit quietly with some of my decisions, before I could revisit them with a clear head.  If the first day of 2015 is any indication, I’ve still got a ways to go, but I’m excited to discover what’s important to me in the new year.


In my last post, I talked about the gifts we exchanged for our anniversary, but I neglected to talk about the celebration itself.  We didn’t do anything elaborate, just a nice bottle of champagne at home, then dinner at a nice Italian restaurant we wanted to try, and then we stopped by Papa Haydn’s (VERY popular Portland restaurant for decadent desserts) and got a couple pieces of cake to go, which we demolished along with the rest of the champagne when we got home.

The restaurant we went to was Mucca Osteria, and I have no beauty shots of the meal, because we were too excited to eat our food to take time to photograph it.  But it was delicious – we shared a fresh burrata and heirloom tomato caprese salad, then we each had the seared sea scallops appetizer with truffle parmesan fondue, and then Ron had the steak with pancetta kale and green beans, and I had the wild boar ragu pasta.  We knew we wanted to go to Papa Haydn’s for cake, so we didn’t order dessert, but when the server realized it was our anniversary, he brought us a complimentary glass of a grappa type dessert wine to share and two little biscotti to dip in it.  The portions were perfect and the pacing of the meal was leisurely enough to keep us from eating before we knew we were full.  We left completely satisfied but not stuffed – in other words, it was lagom ; ).

But the best part?  We had the satisfaction of knowing we could completely afford it, so every bite was guilt free (well, maybe not calorically, but let’s not even get into that).  We did not have to go into debt for it, and that made it all the more delicious.  The  restaurant was not outrageously expensive – I think we spent about $100 before tip (which included all the food mentioned above plus a glass of wine each), and then I think the cake (which is kind of ridiculously expensive) came to about $18.  Totally within what we had budgeted for the evening.

This is also the first month since we’ve gotten out of debt where we have actually felt the difference.  If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that in both June and July we still had some big enough expenses that we were having to come up with close to what we had been paying monthly on our credit cards, but this month we were finally able to breathe a little.  And so breathe we did.

And let me tell you, it felt gooooooood.

Ron & Laura 063

We forgot to take any anniversary pics this year, so here is our wedding day nine years ago – newly husband and wife. Newly in wedding debt.


It hasn’t been my intention to turn into a once a month blogger, but I was just looking at the dates of the last two posts and realized that’s pretty much what I’ve become!  I’m going to try to get back into the swing of things, but if my current trend of busyness continues, I might only be able to up it to about twice a month.

I haven’t done anything interesting or remarkable when it comes to my stuff lately – I’ve parted with a few things here and there, but nothing major.  There are still areas in my home that could use some help, but with the amount I’ve been working, the last thing I’ve wanted to do at the end of the day is come home and sort through all my crap.  It’s been all I can do to continue to keep things like incoming mail and magazines under control.  Overstuffed drawers and closets?  Forget it, they can wait.

Actually, I was pretty proud of myself for throwing something away the the other day.  I reached into my purse for a lip gloss, and grabbed the first tube my fingers found.  I put it on, and noticed that it smelled kinda chemical-y, like maybe it was past its prime.  Then I looked in the mirror and wasn’t happy with the color.  Or how sticky it felt on my lips.  And  instead of just putting it back in my purse like I usually do, I actually THREW IT AWAY.  That may seem like the obvious choice, but take a look at the tube:

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I’ve had it so long, all the identifying brand information has worn off the tube.  It’s still mostly full.  I have probably hated the color multiple times, but I do remember that this lip gloss was expensive, so I’ve just hung onto it, hoping someday I would like it, use it, and get my money’s worth out of it.  I’m happy to say that I am finally able to toss stuff like this, leaving my purse a little lighter from unnecessary stuff.  And unnecessary guilt.

Other than that, I guess the main thing that’s been on my mind these days is that for as jubilant as we were to be out of debt, I mostly feel like we’re still in it, because nothing about our financial life is more fun than it was before.  Part of this is due to us having a lot of expenses in June, so to be fair, we haven’t had a month yet where we weren’t trying to come up with an extra $1,000 or so for bills.  But both Ron and I have been kinda bummed that we’re still scrimping and saving like usual, and we still can’t afford to do anything but the basics.  In fact, we were supposed to celebrate our birthdays in June since we couldn’t afford to do it in May, but June was so freaking expensive we couldn’t do it last month either.  We’ve half-heartedly talked about doing it this month, but our anniversary is in August and we need to save money to be able to celebrate that, so we may just take a pass on celebrating birthdays this year.

Obviously, these are total first-world problems.  We are not suffering.  My point is just that I keep finding myself wondering why after the initial high of reaching our goal, it really doesn’t feel better.  Even though I logically knew it would take us time to be able to bolster our finances back up, and that we couldn’t just run to the mall or start going out to eat on a regular basis the second we paid off our cards, I think a part of me WAS craving some sort of  shopping-related reward for our hard work.  For the past year I’ve kept all sorts of lists of the things I would buy when I was out of debt, and Ron and I even kept a list of things that we need to replace around the house once we are financially able.  And those lists have not budged, because instead of just charging stuff like we usually would, we are holding off buying anything that we can’t pay for in cash, or pay off in full if we were to charge it.  And that makes the whole shopping thing a sloooooow endeavor.

The one thing we did purchase this month was a replacement for our nonstick frying pan, because the coating has been chipping and peeling off on the old one over the past year, and I’ve heard that toxins can be released into your food when that happens, so we knew we needed to make it a priority to replace it:

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Mmmmm….toxins

We actually would have put it off even longer, but Williams Sonoma was having a good sale on the cookware we use, so it seemed like an opportune time to buy it.  We have a smaller nonstick frying pan from the same cookware line that is also peeling, and we considered replacing that too, but ultimately talked ourselves out of it.  Technically, our “splurge” this month was Stella’s annual shots and vet exam, which we charged last month and will be paying off in full this month.  We hadn’t really planned to replace cookware this month, and if we keep buying new pieces, we will suddenly find ourselves back in the same situation of having to come up with an extra $1,000 beyond our normal expenses and I am sick to death of that process.  So the new pan is our one purchase for July, and we’ll have to wait until next month before we can get something else.

I hate this process.  I hate waiting.  I hate not being able to get what I want or need when I want or need it.  I hate knowing that there are things I want right now that will be sold out by the time I’m able to afford them.  But even as I type these words,  I know there is nothing special about me that says I shouldn’t have to wait – lots of other people have to wait for things they want, and many of them never even get it.  And I know that if I REALLY need something important, like medical attention or food or shelter, I  have a wide open charge card that can help me get it in the blink of an eye.  And I know that for all the hundreds of items I either sold or gave away over the past year, there was a moment where I felt I wanted and needed each one of those items too, even though most of them didn’t really provide a great return on my investment.

So I suppose I just have to work my way through this part of the process, and get comfortable being uncomfortable with all the stupid waiting.  But let me tell you…it totally sucks.


I’ve been asked a lot lately how it feels to finally be out of debt.  And my first response is always the truth – that it feels amazing, great, a total relief!

But what I usually say next, because it is also the truth, is that life doesn’t feel that much different yet.  In fact, we’re guessing it will be a few months before we really start to feel like we can relax financially.  To get out of debt, we put every spare cent we had towards our credit cards, which means we were frequently down to our last couple dollars at the end of the month.  As a result, there is no extra “fun” money cushion available to us at the moment, and we actually had some significant expenses this month that were planned and expected, but need to be paid all the same.  For instance, we had to do some repairs to the duct work in our house after we discovered one had come loose and we were paying to heat the crawl space instead of the house, which cost about $500.  We put off Stella’s annual shots and vet exam for a couple months due to our finances, which we felt really anxious and guilty about, so we said we’d make it happen this month no matter what and we did –  to the tune of about $250 bucks.  So we may not have to come up with our usual credit card payment anymore, but we still do have to come up with close to $1,000 this month.  I’m just grateful we don’t have to come up with the credit card payment ON TOP of that.

So yeah…life is not all that different for the most part.

But there is one effect of being debt-free that HAS surprised me – knowing we will soon have some discretionary income again has made me want to get rid of more stuff!  I had felt pretty plateaued out on the whole purging process, and felt like maybe I had finally reached my lagom in certain categories.  But right after we got out of debt, I suddenly felt this surge of of wanting to get rid of things, especially where my clothing was concerned.  Weird, right?

Well, maybe not.  Because when I think about it, much of the reason I was holding on to some items was because I wasn’t sure how long it would be until we were out of debt and I was no longer on such a strict shopping lockdown.  I was hesitant to throw out too many of my clothing options when I knew I couldn’t buy something new if I got bored.  And that fear made me clingy.

But knowing that it’s now an option (within reason) to replace something that is worn out, or to add a new item to my closet that I really love and think I will use, made me start to reevaluate things I’ve hung onto that I don’t love as much.  Also, the weather in Portland has been absolutely glorious, so a couple weeks ago I took my spring/summer stuff out of storage and retired my heavier winter clothes.  As I was about to hang each stored piece back into the closet, I really took a minute to decide if I still loved each garment, and in several cases the answer was either “no” or “eh…I dunno.”

This time, instead of doing what I’ve always done – which is to just shove everything back in the closet anyway – I decided if the item wasn’t a definite “I love it” piece, I would test drive it. I would wear the item as soon as possible, and if it was uncomfortable, or didn’t really suit my lifestyle anymore, or made me feel frumpy, or dove me crazy in any way, it had to go.

It proved to be a great exercise.  Some items I only wore half a day before I couldn’t stand it anymore and changed into something else.  Some things didn’t even make it past getting dressed in the morning and checking my reflection before they landed in the giveaway pile.  In truth, I was probably being super duper extra critical of everything, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing in my case.  As someone who has been prone to emotional and impulse buying, it’s good for me to practice being really, REALLY critical of purchases, whether that’s before I buy them (preferably), or admitting that they were mistakes after the fact and letting that acknowledgement make me more cautious moving forward.  I found myself learning a TON about what I really love and want, and what I need to carefully consider and avoid the next time I’m about to buy.

For instance, I’ve been a such a sucker for a sale in the past, that I’ve been known to buy things that aren’t my actual size, thinking I may take them to a tailor, or that the fit isn’t as bad as I think it is.  The items I test drove reminded me that I will pretty much NEVER take something to the tailor (because I’m lazy), and the fit is absolutely as bad as I think it is.  As a result I barely wear the item.  Like this very cute blouse from Anthropolgie:

blouse

It was on sale, and I loved it.  But it was one size above my usual size.  I bought it anyway, and then every time I wore it, I spent a lot of time checking to make sure the neckline was still in place (it often wasn’t).  It looked great if I stood perfectly still, but as soon as I did something crazy, like, you know, move around, I was showing the world my cute blouse AND my cute bra.  Classy.

Also, both these skirts have been hanging in my closet for years:

skirs

I don’t wear them that often.  Why?  Because despite the way I WISH my body was shaped, my actual shape does not look good in a skirt that’s cut like this.  Again, if I stand perfectly still, it looks great.  As soon as I start walking though, skirts like this start inching up around my hips and I spend all day tugging them back down.  They’re meant to hit just above the knee, but frequently on me, they scrunch up to miniskirt length.  I did make it through a whole day in the brown skirt, but it made me miserable and when I got home, I immediately took it off and threw it in the giveaway pile.

This shirt is a perfect example of how shopaholic crazed I can get sometimes:

pink top

I saw it online, and it was on sale.  I dawdled about buying it for a couple days, but then decided I was going to get it, because it was the style I was looking for, I loved the color, and it was on sale.  But when I went back to the website to purchase it, they no longer had it in my size.  Suddenly I went from wanting the shirt in a nonchalant way, to an obsessive, white hot panic to track down another one just like it at any cost.  I trolled the web for a couple days and found another one for double the price of the one that had been on sale, and was just about to buy it, when I happened to check back with the initial website, and they suddenly had it available in my size again.  I triumphantly bought it, and was so excited to get it…until it arrived.  It was much cuter online than in person – in person it was much boxier, and the neckline was a lot lower than I’d realized.  Much like the blouse mentioned above, every time I wore it I found myself checking to see if my bra was showing.  I kept it for longer than I should have, trying to convince myself I liked it, because when I thought about the fervor with which I’d pursued it, I felt stupid.  But that’s the trouble with keeping things that make you feel that way – every time you look in your closet, they mock you and remind you of your mistake.  I decided it was better to admit my error and get rid of it, rather than have to look at it every day and feel guilty.

In the end, the size of the pile I amassed really surprised me:

pile

But I didn’t feel hesitant about getting rid of any of it.  I took it to resale and walked out with $84, which I’ve used to replace some of my worn out basic summer staples like shorts and t-shirts.  Everything I bought I found on incredible sales ($8.99 for some summer t-shirts at J. Crew, are you kidding me???), and I love the colors I chose, the quality of the items, and how they fit.

I have less stuff in my closet now than I’ve ever had, and while there still may be a few “on the fence” items lurking in there, I am pretty thrilled with everything I’ve kept, and still feel like I have a lot of stuff – maybe even too much.  It may not be be lagom yet, but it sure has been a pleasure to get dressed in the morning.


I’ve got a new guest post up at the tiny homes site:

http://tinyhomes.com/what-if-your-home-away-from-home-was-at-home/

It actually went live yesterday and I forgot to post about it.  You know what else I forgot yesterday?  That is was Ron’s birthday, until I looked at Facebook and saw people wishing him a happy birthday there.  The best part is, my birthday was two weeks ago and Ron did the EXACT same thing – we were up and about for a couple hours before he went on Facebook and then realized it was my birthday.  

We weren’t trying to be callous.  It was an honest mistake on both our parts, because we decided to delay celebrating our birthdays this year until June, when we’ll have more money to celebrate with.  So we agreed that we wouldn’t do anything for each other this month on our actual birthdays – no card, no cake, no nice dinner, no gifts.  We’ll do a joint celebration in June instead.  As a result, when both days hit, they felt like any other day.   I’m totally looking forward to our celebration in June, but I have to say, getting out of debt this month was the best present ever!


As of today, May 16th, 2014, Ron and I are officially out of credit card debt.

Let me just say that again….

WE ARE OUT OF CREDIT CARD DEBT!!!!!!!!

(Gee, it feels good to type that sentence!)

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you might recall that it was May of 2013 when we took my dad’s advice about a process for paying down our debt and finally got really serious about digging ourselves out of the financial hole.  A year later, we’ve accomplished it.  I know I probably sound all braggy, but trust me, it was a long, crappy, depressing year filled with a lot of work, cost cutting, saying no to things, and very little fun.  So I’m gonna brag a little, because I feel like we’ve earned it.  I couldn’t be prouder of us.

A year ago this time, between my personal credit card, Ron’s credit card, and a joint household credit card, we were $26,000 in debt.  It took me a long time to be able to admit our debt number to people, because I was ashamed of it.  I knew we’d racked up that debt with some legitimate costs, but most of it was the result of a lot of careless spending, on stuff we didn’t need or love.  Whether our number was more or less than anyone else’s is irrelevant – what matters is that we don’t have the income to support carrying that kind of debt, so for us, it was a really bad idea.  Not to mention, the interest those cards were accruing was DISGUSTING.  In order to pay it off in a year, we have been trying to come up with roughly $1,300 just in credit card payments every month, which let me tell you, was no easy feat with my variable actor income, and all our other bills.

But it’s over now – we have paid off every single penny, and it feels amazing.  A week ago, when I asked Ron what he thought it would feel like to finally have it all behind us, he said, “I imagine it being like when the main character in a fairy tale is finally freed from the spell of an evil witch or wizard or something.  That’s what this past year has felt like – like we’ve been under some kind of bad curse that couldn’t be broken.”  That’s actually a pretty accurate description.  Now we just feel…FREE.

I’ll write a post sometime soon with more specifics about our pay down process for anyone who is interested, but today, we are just going to celebrate. Ron took the day off work, and I don’t have a ton I have to do so we can spend some relaxed time together.   We have a fancy bottle of champagne we’ve been saving for a special occasion, and I can’t think of a better time to drink it.  While we still haven’t bolstered our account up enough to go out to dinner to celebrate, we’ll make a nice dinner at home, and the character I play on Grimm is in tonight’s episode (season finale!), so we’ll probably stay home and watch that.  And we won’t have to feel guilty about any of it, because we aren’t charging anything to make it happen, and it’s totally within our means.

Best.  Day.  Ever.

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