Saturday, April 02, 2005

Laying low

This rainy Saturday was perfectly timed. This week really took it out of me. There were numerous last-minute emergencies at work, and many very long days, plus several meetings and a workshop I had to lead... All in all, very taxing. So it was a relief to get out early yesterday, take the dogs for a stroll on the beach and catch up on some reading.

This morning, I headed off to the fancy gym, where I did my entire strength-training workout, plus 20 minutes on the elliptical machine. I've been having a really hard time with the treadmill lately -- even with a view of Mount Washington (about 50 miles away) out the windows and great tunes on the iPod, I am fighting to keep myself running. I quit after about 12 minutes the other day -- felt like crap and hated every minute of it. So I thought I'd subject myself to some different torture today. And while I feel like I can't quite catch the elliptical thing's rhythm, it was different enough to keep me on it at a reasonable pace for a while. I'm hoping that next time I run - Monday? - I'll have gotten my groove back.

As for the gym: swoon. I love it there. I love the shampoo and the Lothantique eau d' toilette and the perfectly temperate water in the fountain. I love the microfiber towels and the ergonomic equipment. And I love the fact that my two personal training sessions have left me with a whole-body workout that actually feels kinda fun... and not just because a lot of it involves those big exercise balls. If my free membership to this place (via work) ever ends, I am in trouble, because I think I am addicted. And it is verrrry expensive.

Speaking of money: Darren and I spent a few hours this afternoon doing a budget/cash flow analysis from a book I was given by someone I'd interviewed for work. I don't know how y'all set up your household finances, but Darren and I never really merged ours when we moved in together. We opened a joint savings account, for "special" things, and otherwise kept things pretty much the same. We split up the bills, so I pay phone and water, he pays cable and electric, etc.

It's worked for six years, but we realized today that we're not doing a very good job of planning for what our workbook calls "periodic expenses" -- things like car repairs, house maintenance, car insurance, etc. So we have made the Big Decision to open a joint checking account. We were able to figure out, with the help of these worksheets, how much we should put in per month to cover regular expenses (mortgage, bills, groceries, eating out) and incidental stuff (gifts, vacations, the aforementioned periodic expenses). Notice how eating out falls into the "regular expenses category...

So I'm going to contribute to that monthly pot based on what percentage of our total income my job, for example, represents. Money left over will go to my "personal" expenses -- my lovely student loan, clothes, my credit card bill, books, CDs, etc.

It'll be a big switch for us -- and it'll cause some pain in the first months as we get used to this new way of doing things, which also includes putting a higher priority on saving -- but I think in the long run it'll be very beneficial. And it was the perfect thing to do on a cold, rainy day when we were happy to be indoors.