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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Love Without Spending

Posted by Tim Stobbs on February 14, 2014

So today is the big day to express your love for that special someone in your life and by now you have been reminded by a few thousands commercials that you should get them something.  So what am I buying my lovely wife of over 13 years of marriage?

Nothing.  Not one flower, chocolate, card, dinner out or movieUtterly nothing.

You see I realized something a while back.  If I only remember to express my love to my wife only one day a year, I would be divorced years ago by now.  So I don’t wait for a particular day to show her that I love her.  I tell her when ever it crosses my mind and I show it by daily displays of affection.

Yet it doesn’t stop there I’m also nice to my wife about the little things.  I’ll remember some days to bring her up her first cup of coffee so she doesn’t have to get out of bed.  I’ll fill her a wine glass without being asked or I’ll get something for the kids at supper so she can continue to sit down and enjoy her meal.  Or I’ll play with the kids so she can finish her book with only a chapter left.  These aren’t big things, but they mean something to her so I do them because I love her.

Another factor for both of us is we have never made a big deal out of Valentine’s Day.  It was never anything important to either of us growing up so we don’t make a big deal out it in our house.  Our kids won’t get any presents from us today, but they will have no doubt when they fall asleep that they are loved.  With every giggle, joke, touch, hug and kiss they are told repeatedly every day that we love them.

So yes, celebrate love, but don’t worry about the stuff unless if matters to your significant other. When in doubt, ask BEFORE that big day on what matters most and focus on that. Perhaps a single rose and you singing badly to their favorite song is more meaningfully than two dozen roses. Or instead focus on being nice and showing love daily, you might find that just pays off and they will even forgive the occasionally lapse of flowers. ;)

Hibernating

Posted by Dave on February 11, 2014

I had a very exciting December – I went on an all-inclusive vacation to Mexico for a week, then took part in several festive parties. From Festivus to other holiday gatherings and New Years, I over-consumed both alcohol and food at a volume that me 10 years and 60 pounds ago would have been proud of. I’m usually more of a “everything in regulation” sort of person, which allows me to maintain a healthy weight and hopefully good long-term health.

In late December, I read a small medical study (because that’s what I do), which took some sort of liver reading from casual drinkers at the beginning and end of a month. For the month in the study, the participants gave up alcohol of any kind. There was a significant improvement in most health markers over the study period, including significant declines in liver fat levels (which are an indication of liver health). After the December I had, I decided it would probably be beneficial health-wise to give up alcohol for the month.

I mostly drink at social occasions, besides the odd homemade beer I have on a weekend night, so giving up booze didn’t put a major cramp to my lifestyle (The dance clubs didn’t miss me and my one and only dance move – jumping vertically). I consumed more coffee, tea and pop on weekends, which I’m not sure is healthier, but got me through my month of sobriety.

Most of the year, my wife and I will go out a couple of nights a month for a few drinks and to grab some food at one of many local bars. This January was so cold, we seemed to have spent most of our free time holed up in our warm house being grumpy because our faces freeze off anytime we hit the open air.

Between the lack of going out, and the no-drinking, my spending plummeted to almost nothing, other than one tank of gas and the odd miscellaneous purchase, nothing really came up that cost me anything.

I’m not sure what my retirement is going to end up being, but I would say it’s probably closer to the “boring” January I had, rather than the exciting and expensive December. When January was done, I was (probably) healthier, and definitely lighter than when the month started. These days, in the middle of February, I’m starting to get cabin fever, counting off the days until I will be able to hit the golf course – or at least not have to wipe ice out of my beard from the walk into my office from the parking lot.

Have you had a no-spend or sober month?

The Carless Report

Posted by Tim Stobbs on January 31, 2014

So after going a week without a car I thought it would be appropriate to give you all a report on how that went.  Overall I have to admit I didn’t actually mind most of the experience.

Ok, I won’t lie.  The one day it was a -44C windchill during my walk to the bus sucked…there is utter no way to sugar coat that.  Yet if you dress properly for it (like minimum of two or three layers just about everywhere) and only have a small area to allow you to see you can endure it.  I had no frostbite during any of my trips.

I think what I noticed the most about going careless was having to plan more about my trips.  For example, taking the bus to work was fairly easy, but when I headed out one night to a meeting I had to look up which bus to take to get there.  Not a big deal, but a different mind set.  Also I noticed a loss of convenience, I just couldn’t stay later at work to finish something up for 10 minutes…I would miss my bus, so I had to consider if I was willing to wait for the next one in 30 minutes.

The experience also made me grateful for the friends who offered me the occasional ride.  Often it wasn’t a big deal for them to help me out (in one case it was literally a one block detour), but it often could save me a half an hour or more on my day.  I also enjoyed walking more to get some of my local errands done like picking up some books from the library.  I did notice I had to watch how much I was carrying around since anything heavy could be a problem to walk around with for too long.  I noticed the backpack helped a bit, but doing our major grocery run would require a cab ride home as there is just too much to haul.

So could I go careless on a permanent basis?  In theory, yes, but given our transit system I would likely avoid doing that in Regina.  It would be too big of a lose of convenience for us, given a lot of places we go on a regular basis aren’t well served by the transit system.  Yet the experience did make me consider how much I am driving and make me appreciate what I do have.  That old line from Big Yellow Taxi  by Joni Mitchell seems to cover it “Don’t it always seem to go. That you don’t know what you‘ve got. Till it’s gone.”

So what have you went without?  Did you ever go back or did it change your you?