More adventures with opossums, or, this is how marriage works

drishism:

This is what I did for Mother’s Day

Originally posted on Ranting About Rectangles:

This morning started out like any other morning. I was half awake, in my pajamas, outside feeding the rabbits and chickens. And then my husband shouted from the garage door “There’s an opossum in the cat food!”

It was suddenly not an ordinary day, and I was very awake.

Turns out a very young opossum had gotten into our garage and into the cat food bag. The cat and dog food bags are stored in an aluminum trash can with a tight fitting lid, but it must not have been put on correctly last night. It happens; I’m just glad hubby looked into the bag before reaching in.

opossum in bag of cat food

Small opossum at the bottom of a bag of cat food

The ‘possum wasn’t going anywhere, so hubby went inside to put on something more substantial than pajamas. I got the pitchfork and decided to make sure THIS opossum never graduated to eating my chicken’s…

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My Wife and I are having a “Discussion” about F-O-O-D

My wife, the woman I dearly love, wrote:

My hubby and I are embroiled in a “discussion”. ;-) Yep, discussion. On how much food I like to keep available at any one time vs the available space in the kitchen. The food has rather taken over the kitchen, and even taken over part of the garage. I’m not one of those end-of-the-world preppers! But I do believe in buying things when they’re on sale so that I don’t have to pay full price later. But there have been some good sales lately, so everything is rather overflowing with food. read more…

I like to walk though the house without stubbing my toe on something random left on the floor. Granted, that freedom will not be there on a regular basis when we have kids. But stubbing my toe on a can of green beans is not cool.

Stuffed: Food Hoarders

Our house is not this bad, but it is also not as clean as I want it to be. (PHOTO: Inside the Kitchen of a Food Hoarder, cookingchanneltv.com)

I like to walk into a house, sit at the table… and not have to clean the table. I do not feel like my wife is a hoarder… but I do feel like we have too much food (and too much other stuff). Part of our problem is that my wife and I moved from an 1800 square food house, into a 450 square foot house… so every inch of our home and garage are already maxed out.

We have plenty of canned food. And plenty of dried food. I would like the space for just emptiness actually. I am a minimalist. Less is more.

I feel like a safe amount of food is enough for a month (4 weeks) if there was no income to buy more food. We have at least 10 frozen chickens in our freezer. My wife and I easily have more than a month of food (except for milk and fresh foods). So how much food is too much? If you are brave enough to wade into this “discussion” then I would love to hear your thoughts.

Marriage Before Cars

I miss my Honda Civic. It was a 2007 Honda Coupe, and when I took it for a test drive it only had 18 miles on it. The picture above is similar to the one I owned.

But now I am a graduate student, and my wife and I share a 1998 Oldsmobile.

My wife takes me to school in the 1998 Oldsmobile. We had to get rid of my Honda because it had a car payment, and we would not be able to afford it with me in grad school.

I can bike to school, but I live 5 miles from the campus… and there have been car to bike accidents in town which makes biking to school, especially five miles, feel unsafe. So my wife drives me. Most of the time I do not even think about the Honda Civic (aka, the best car I ever owned). It feels better to know the only debt we have is my college loans. And for our marriage it was financially responsible to get rid of the car payments, which I was falling behind on because they were so big.

Occasionally I got stuck on campus for a few extra hours, or had to go in early. But in general, I have not really thought about the Civic. And in general I have not thought as much about even having a second car.

So what prompted this sense of car loss? Last week, my wife and I went to Seattle for a bucket list event… we saw the Irish Rovers. She has wanted to see the Irish Rovers her entire life. Not only did we have front row center seats, we were able to get autographs and our pictures taken with them. It was amazing! And we rented a car for the drive because of the age of our car… and the car we rented was a Toyota Camry. It was similar to my Honda Civic, and I enjoyed driving it. That reminded me how much I miss my Honda Civic.

I am sure in a few days the sense of car loss will dissipate. But for now, I miss the independence of having my own vehicle, I miss how new the Honda Civic felt… and I miss how nice it felt to drive. Dear Honda Civic, whoever is driving you now… I hope they appreciate you as much as I did. Miss you!

Wife of the Year

So, today is my one year wedding anniversary. I have been so busy with graduate school that I have had little or no time to blog. But today is a special day because of my amazing wife.

We moved here last August. My wife quit her job, left her house, her church, her friends and drove an awkward Penske moving truck (which had repair issues twice with the car trailer) 1600 miles to the Northwest. As I approach the end of my first year of graduate school, there are a lot of things my wife has done to make life easier for me. If you have never been to graduate school…here is a brief sample of my life:

  • I typically read 400 to 700 pages of “intense reading” every week. No cool pictures or anything, it’s all words.
  • I typically write one paper every two weeks. These are double-spaced and are normally 10 pages or longer.
  • I grade papers, tests, and other homework.
  • I teach
  • Plus, allegedly, I am supposed to use my extra time to focus on my research.
  • Sometimes it feels like I study 36 hours a day, eight days a week. If you are considering grad school don’t let this scare you. It is perfectly doable… it’s just A TON of work.

During my first year of grad school my wife has been very supportive of my insane study load. The two main reasons we haven’t had a major blow up are communication and communication.

We have a budget that we discuss every couple weeks because we use the cash system advocated by Dave Ramsey. Being a graduate student I do not get paid millions… and my wife is still unemployed so living on a shoestring budget has been a challenge. But our communication has helped keep the budget under control.

Our communication has also helped us eke out a few of our goals. We had discussed that we wanted to have a backyard farm, which is not easy. My wife does most of it… and I am happy to say that we have 21 hefty cornish cross chickens. Well, we did have 21. Twelve of them have already found their way into the freezer because of the hard work of my wife.

My wife and I pray together… although we do not pray as much as I would like because I study a lot and I’m tired a lot. We attend church together and volunteer together (when I have time).

I reserve one day each week that I devote to her. We sometimes hang out around the house, sometimes we go to Portland or Seattle. We are hoping to go out fishing for the first time within the next couple weeks. She likes fishing, how cool is that!?

My wife is amazing, and I am training her to like football : )

With me poorly estimating how much time grad school would actually take, I am very fortunate to have a wife who does so many things to help… errands, drive me to school, cook, laundry, butcher the chickens, grocery shopping, manage the budget… there are probably many other things I am forgetting. What do I do around the house?

  • I fix things around the house
  • I help feed the chickens
  • I do the dishes
  • I empty the kitty litter boxes
  • Sometimes I go with her to do the grocery shopping just so we can spend some time together.
  • And, that’s about it… I do basically nothing to help around the house. She does a lot.

I love her. I would not trade her for $1.5-Trillion dollars. She is clearly Wife of the Year … and I hope this next year allows more time to be with her!