January mortgage update: How long does it take to furnish your house?

Last month (December):

Balance: $87,234.63
Years left: 7.083333
P = $863.05, I =$351.35, Escrow = 621.66

This month (January):

Balance: $85,701.59
Years left: 6.916666667
P = $869.10, I =$345.30, Escrow = 621.66

One month savings:  $2.62

Most Christmases I don’t tell DH what I want and he comes up with something thoughtful and often whimsical that he pays for out of his own allowance and not the family funds.  This Christmas I was feeling the pinch of the expectation of him leaving his job at the end of the year.  So deep down I wanted to repurpose some of his allowance for things we needed (that’s my selfish thought).  Also, there’s been something that’s been annoying me slightly for six+ years and mindful of our post on fixing minor annoyances, I figured that would make a great Christmas present from DH to me.

Several years ago we bought a house that has an open floor plan.  DH had visions of working in the kitchen while future children played in full view in the great room, or did their homework on the counter in the informal kitchen next to the sink.

For the first year we couldn’t afford furniture for the great room.  In the second year we didn’t have time to shop for any so we put our dining room set in the great room and made the dining room into a second or third playroom.  In the third year we realized that if we broke up our living room set from our old apartment back in graduate school, not only would it furnish both the living room and the great room, but I would also stop walking into the loveseat at night during nocturnal water missions.

In year one, after a few months of salary, we bought a w/d set.  We bought 6 bookcases on a close-out sale and a really cheap guest bed.  We saved up and bought a really nice Amish chair and a less nice glider (that I don’t use but the mother’s helpers love) and one of those Stokke Trip Traps and eventually a desk for the guest bedroom.  Year two we bought an Amish filing cabinet.  It is the prettiest thing in our house.  Year three we bought pictures for the walls.  Year four brought DH a new desk chair and DC got a desk.  Year five we got another two bookcases (which cost more than the original 6!) and a chest of drawers for DC2.

And now, for year six, we finally have bar stools.  Two of them.  So that the DCs can sit up at the counter while we’re in the kitchen and work on their homework.  Not that that’s ever going to happen because DC1 is training to work in the kitchen too and prefers doing homework on the living room floor, and DC2 had many years before sitting up on the bar stool is safe.  But you know, the dream is no longer an impossibility.

I think that’s it.  After 6 and a half years of living in this house, we finally have bought all the furniture that we think it needs.  Sure, DC2 may need a desk of hir own one of these days, and there’s always the possibility of buying more bookcases.  Some day my graduate school paste-board desk may finally fall apart.  And my MIL is slowly replacing our vertical blinds.  But for the most part, we’re set.

And it only took 6+ years of living here.

When folks move into a new place and go into credit card debt to furnish it… I don’t understand.  The place will get furnished eventually, and without taking on debt.  (And hey, for the couple that has to get/give Christmas presents but doesn’t know what to ask for each year… furnishing the house can provide years of ideas…)

How long did it take to furnish the place where you live?  Did you do it all at once or in drips and drabs?  Where did you get things?

Link be-lovin

We’re out of town.

We were in this week’s carnival of personal finance.

We always love when The Little Professor narrates her adventures.

Kitten overload.

Samuel L. Jackson and Anne Hathaway face off in the Christmas Movie Sad-Off.  Watch this video and laugh.  Not safe for work!

Ask the grumpies: Find awesome steampunk pictures

First Gen American asks:

I want a steampunk room in my soon to be new/old fixer house. I humbly request another steampunk article specifically around home decor. I was thinking an office space or guest room to be steampunkalicious.

Oh, good, an excuse for a linkfest!  First: Offbeat Home on Steampunk.  Click around the vendor links and stuff.

An awesome house in San Francisco (seriously, click through you guys).

An Octopus chair from Maximo Riera:

black octopus chair

Do want!

A steampunk house print available on etsy:

house

Wouldn’t this be nice to hang in your room?

Lamps like this are popular:

lamt

You need light, anyway.  Though I think this one is more fun:

lampbot

If you’re doing an office, definitely think about doing a steampunk computer.  Mary Robinette Kowal has a tutorial…

Check out this desk made from an old organ:

steampunk-organ-1

Or, this more modern desk is from a whole article about steampunk decor:

steampunk-desk_SqCZ8_24431

If you want a lighter look.

If it’s a bedroom, you’ll need a bed.  DarkerLighter but still naughtyWhimsical

Steam-punk-house4

For the young at heart

Bed1a[1]

Or classic!

victorian-bed-1862-granger

In any case, click around the pages linked.  Lots of cool stuff is on etsy.  Amazing art is on deviantart and other sites.  Fashion is the most fun; look at Clockwork Couture for inspiration.

I could go on forever, but I have to eat dinner now.

Share cool things you find in the comments!

DC1 on DC2

For my Christmas present from DC1, DH and DC1 made an mp3 that was full of awful awful puns (mostly penned by DH).  For the blog, and to keep you from the pain of all the Gnu Year wildebeast puns, I am transcribing just the part that DC1 wrote all by hirself with no help from DH (the transcription comes directly from the script– I have changed the names).  I think ze captures the essence of DC2′s personality perfectly, and DC1′s reactions to it.  (DC1 also voiced DC2 in the broadcast as DC2 is not actually talking much less reading.)

Gift Ideas for mommy
DH: I don’t now.
DC1: maybe a picture
DH: maybe one with decorations for Christmas
DC2: want want want play
DC1: maybe a decorated box for mommy on Christmas
DH: with fancy decorations
DC1: some food?
DH: I would love some
DC1: lets all eat some while [baby] drinks milk
DC2: milk!! yummy!!!
DC1: theres [baby]
DH: [baby] needs a diper change
DC1: okay Ill play some more,
DH: were done
DC1: its Christmas
Mommy: what do you have for me
DC1: [An mp3]
DH: let’s go!
(And what brilliant thing did DC1 get DH, you ask?  As of Dec 24th, when I’m writing this, I have no idea because I outsourced helping out on that to my sister this year.  Usually DC1 gets candy for DH.)

Merry Christmas!

Here’s a picture, as requested, of the tree DC1 and DH made:

011

Here’s what we got for people:

DH:  $350

DC1:  a prism, a cd, a Japanese balance hand game thingy, a gyroscope, some books, candy

DC2:  a few toys ze has never seen before to keep hir occupied in the car on our interminable drive up North.

BIL+SIL 1:  A bunch of Mexican spices from Penzey’s, including fancy dried chilis, and a Mexican cookbook.  (I totally had this awesome idea to do this with my new favorite Indian cookbook and Indian spices, but we called BIL up and asked if they liked Indian food and he said he didn’t know, they’d never had it.  Despite going to college in a town with a great Indian place!  Shame.)

Nephew:  Castle Logix

Niece:  A Melissa and Doug stackable train that B&N recommended (and was highly rated) when we picked out the Castle Logix.

SIL + BIL 2:   A check for $100.  When we wrote it, they were in contract for a house, so this was going to be for unexpected homeownership expenses, but they backed out after failing to be able to negotiate with the owner after a bad inspection.  We decided to send the check anyway.  We’re also bringing a big bag of baby clothing as they are expecting.

Grandma-in-law:  A set of Dominoes inlaid with turquoise.

FIL:  $50 giftcard to Cabela’s

MIL:  $250 plane ticket because she’s helping us out

Father:  A bottle of applejack of the kind he admired when he was here last Christmas.

Mother:  A ticket to a play she wants to see and one for my sister to escort her.

Sister:  A bunch of books on career transitions (she hates her job), including YMoYL.

#2:  A bunch of books on her Amazon wishlist.  This year I went crazy with $4 used books.  ($3.99 s/h baby!)  Shhh, don’t tell her.  Also *she* got the Indian cookbook though not the spice basket.  She has, of course, eaten Indian food.

#2 would like to add:  nom nom nom, and thanks to #1.

SPECIAL PROGRAMMING NOTE:  We’re both out of town partying (#1 says… partying? ha!  Try family and work obligations in the middle of cold snowy nowheres), so we might not comment much until January, but we’ve got posts queued up so you won’t be too lonely without us.  We’re counting on you to make sure the blog doesn’t die a sad miserable death while we’re MIA.  Stay safe, folks!  We’ll be back soon, and we promise we’ll read everything you’ve left us when we get a chance.  :)

It’s Christmas Eve and a random reminder to invest for retirement

Because it’s not like anybody is going to be reading our blog today anyway.  Heck, *we* won’t be reading our blog!

Next year is kind of exciting for IRA lovers because the amount you can save in an IRA is going up.   In 2012 you could invest $5000 per person.  In 2013 you can invest $5500.  How cool is that?

401(k) and 403(b) limits are also going up.  Last year, a mere $17000.  This year, a full $17500.

With time and compounding these extra $500 tax-advantaged contributions will start to add up, especially if you’re married and it’s more like $1000.

Of course, with our state-employment options there’s no way we’ll be maxing out all our tax-advantaged accounts (457 limits are also going up another $500), so getting the additional $500 room isn’t helping us because we didn’t have the $39000 ($17000 + 17000 + 5000) to put away last year, much less $40500 this year (wouldn’t it be neat if we could get raises?  hahahahahaahaaaa *sigh*), but for all you folks that don’t have access to that 457 plan, try to use that new extra room to its fullest extent!

All I want for Christmas is link love (and books)

Both of us dearly love this advice from Offbeat Home about How To Throw a Solstice Party.  Keep it in mind!

FeMomHist with an academic serenity prayer.

Female Science Professor has a year end writing contest.

CNN talks about how big guns are supposed to make up for tiny penises.

Tiny Cat Pants points out that republicans need to make up their minds about teachers.

Funny about Money talks about how she deals with irregular pay.

Reach financial independence asks how much you spend on Christmas gifts.

Dean Dad points out how his savvy daughter handles holiday dilemmas.

Cnn and last minute gifting psychology.  We <3 Dan Ariely.

A delightful find:  Ask Comrade Cockroach.  In this edition, he answers the age-old question:  Pirates or Ninjas?

So… exactly how *did* we get to this video from Carol of the Bells?

Answering questions posed by Christmas carols

Is it far to Bethlehem City?  How long is a piece of string?

May we touch the gentle oxen?  Yes.

May we pull the curly sheeps’ wool?  Please don’t.

Do you hear what I hear?  The question you should be asking is, Do you smell what I smell?

Oh sisters too/ how may we do/ for to preserve this day/ this poor youngling for whom we do sing / by by lully lullay…?  National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Who is the King of Glory?  Duh, it’s the Lord of Hosts, pay attention.

What child is this, who, laid to rest, in Mary’s lap is sleeping?  Once again, you’re not paying attention.

I wonder as I wander… Sorry, that’s not a question.

What was in those ships all three, on Christmas Day in the morning?  Probably smuggled rum and spices.

How shall I send thee?  I’m gonna send thee right to the campus writing center because you don’t know what a topic sentence is.

Won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?  F*ck you, pay me.

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This is why we can’t have nice things.

This [grant thing] that [redacted] has is really stupid.  So much bad science to “further women and minorities”.  Reading through their annual report and it’s thing after thing of, “We had this workshop, but nobody came.”  They’re also not checking to see if anything works even when people do come.  There’s not even data collected before and after to see if there’s even a change, much less a treatment effect.  There was one thing where they’re like, “we were going to do this survey but…”  They sent the report to me to evaluate, but the entire campus was “treated” and uh… the treatment seems to have been nothing.

Bad science makes the baby Jesus cry.  Poor baby Jesus.
They seem to have a lot of meetings too.  So basically, trying to further the careers of women and minorities at this school consists of making them go to pointless meetings.
See, this is why women and minorities can’t have nice things.

Argh!

(Note:  Some details in the above rant have been changed to protect both the stupid and our own rear ends.)
Are you ever astonished by the amount of bad science done for a good cause?  Have you ever noticed that it’s always the under-represented who have to waste time in meetings?

Thoughts on in-laws and Christmas presents for the kids

I’ve mentioned before that we don’t buy Christmas presents for our children other than stocking stuffers.  This year is no exception– I still need to buy candy and I picked up some fun smaller items to stick in the stocking, but other than that we’re done with shopping for the children.

Why don’t we buy Christmas presents?  Because my in-laws are insanely generous and they seem to be able to pick out stuff that DC1, at least, loves.  (DC2 hasn’t been around long enough to know how ze feels about the in-laws’ taste.)  They buy tons and tons of presents and if we added more it would be even more overwhelming.

Some people get upset at grandparent generosity.  They resent the buying etc.  I mentioned my in-laws’ habit the other day on a blog and someone said they had the same first-world problem and it made her angry.

It doesn’t make me angry, because the in-laws are getting joy out of picking presents and they live far enough away that we don’t actually have to show them the gifts. And some of the gifts are pretty spectacular– the kinds of things I dreamed of growing up (train sets, a giant wooden castle, a bicycle, a real microscope, a wii, etc.). But some portion of the presents end up unopened in our gift closet for other kids’ birthday parties because there’s only so much space and only so much a child can play with over the course of a year.

It’s weird because they give more to my kids each Christmas than I got from my entire extended family and Santa combined growing up. My own grandma would give one really nice present to each of us (like a porcelain doll) at Christmas when we were kids.

My FIL is stuck in a job he hates where he has to work a lot of unpaid overtime. I can’t help but think that if they were a little less generous with the grandkids, that they would have more financial freedom now. But it isn’t my place to say anything, and if they cut back it would also affect the other grandkids whose families have different values about Christmas and presents.  They are scrupulously fair about these things and each grandkid gets exactly the same dollar amount.

So we make up for it by not doing any Christmas gifts ourselves. Except the stockings.  We save what we would have spent and it will be there in the future should the in-laws need it.  (Though they probably won’t given that they’re in the last generation of generous pensions.)

Did you get a lot of stuff for Christmas as a kid?  Are things different today?

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