We're all different. Especially him. But there's something kind of fantastic about that, isn't there?

About Those Goals

A few weeks ago, I posted on Instagram about my pre-spring break goals.

Per usual, I have a lot on my plate this semester, and I thought that writing out some goals with  some accountability would help me out. For the sake of accountability (and honesty), I’m going to update you now seeing as my last official day of work before spring break was yesterday.

Also, let’s be really honest here, I have 15 presentations to grade before the weekend’s end, and I’m procrastinating.

  1. Actually do PT exercises. Yeah, no. This didn’t happen. I did them for about a week, and then things got even busier. I’ve actually decided for the sake of sanity to cancel my PT appointment next week and reschedule. I need a few weeks to recover from everything going on, and then I’ll go back when I actually have time to do my exercises. My PT is just strength progression at this point, so he’s not going to be able to do anything for me if I don’t do my exercises at home.
  2.  Start strength training I did this for a week. Then I got excited and did too much for my hip flexor, so I had to stop and wait for my hip flexor to recover. (It’s almost there).
  3. Yoga 1-2x/week I did this one!
  4. One new recipe per week I almost did this one too! I cooked at least two new recipes which I created myself. I might have cooked a third new one; I don’t really remember.
  5. Try a capsule wardrobe So, I did review my wardrobe and replace some items that desperately needed replaced. I also threw away a lot of unnecessary items (see below). I never actually got around to creating a capsule and sticking to it because I only did laundry once in the past three weeks and my potential capsule wardrobe was all dirty about a week and a half in (oops).
  6. Throw away 21 things I blew this one out of the park. I stopped counting around 40 or 50 items. Side note: I did buy a few things during this time, but I still threw out way more than I bought.
  7. Apply for a teacher development program I decided I wanted somewhat of a life this summer and decided to start a research project instead of a teacher program. I’m not sure if research is conducive to a life, but doing both is definitely not my preferred summer plan.

So there you have it: all the things I didn’t accomplish before spring break. Eventually, I’ll write a post about what I DID accomplish because that makes me look like less of a failure.


My Partner Thinks I’m Crazy (and vice versa)

Anyone who knows us knows that in many ways B and I are very different. I’ve always been friends with people who were different than me, but marriage highlights these differences in a way that friendships (without marriage) don’t. So, I figured I would highlight some of these differences for you. Perhaps you can relate.

B: needs time to relax before work – gets up two hours before he has to get ready to leave for work simply to have time to himself.

Beka: times out the morning as closely as possible to maximize sleep and minimize time awake before work.

B: doesn’t really worry about money and doesn’t usually know what is or isn’t in the bank account.

Beka: always worries about money, checks the account daily and creates spreadsheets to track and analyze spending.

B: loves chicken alfredo.

Beka: hates chicken alfredo.

B: avoids stress at all costs and only stresses over major events (i.e. 3-5 times a year).

Beka: stresses all the time over pretty much everything (i.e. at least once a day).

B: loves sitting down to relax.

Beka: loves being active and finds it relaxing.

B: likes to finish chores in a relaxed manner at the end of the weekend.

Beka: must finish all chores as soon as possible at the earliest time available.

B: likes most people and is disappointed when they fail him.

Beka: dislikes most people and is surprised when they come through.



I find that in many ways we balance each other out, but I still refuse to eat chicken alfredo and definitely do not get up at 4am.

2017 In Review

Married Conversation (New Year’s Day)

Me: Have you done any reflecting on this past year?

B: *gives me a confused look* No, why would I do that?

Me: Have you made any resolutions?

B: *scoffs* NO. I take every day as it comes.

I laughed – this is a great example of our personality differences – and proceeded to share with him some of my reflections and goals.

B and I started out 2017 hopeful. After moving to Raleigh, I had struggled with finding enough work  for us to pay our bills, and I was finally at a point where I had cobbled together four part time jobs, and we were making ends meet. Then, in the second week of 2017, B dislocated his knee, and our life quickly became very stressful.

I had to help B with almost all basic functions  – including going up and down the stairs, driving and showering. It was a tense few weeks as he regained the use of his leg, and I had multiple meltdowns due to stress.

I eventually reached my breaking point – I had worked almost a month straight without a day off, and I put in notice at one of my four jobs.

The rest of the year included a lot more change and stress – some good and some bad. We bought a second car. I was promoted to Studio Manager at the yoga studio I had been working at. We started regularly attending a church and began to build a community. B was in and out doctor’s offices with mysterious symptoms which eventually resolved themselves or were attributed to his prior health history. I was offered a dream job (FULL TIME) at Duke teaching ESL and no longer had to balance three part time jobs.

B’s mentor at work left, and he moved into a different, yet related line of work (at the same company). We found out that our foxhound not only had a heart murmur but also had significant ventricular enlargement putting him at high risk of a heart attack (he’s still around and relatively asymptomatic for now at least). B finished out his contract with the National Guard. I finally started addressing an old injury which had never healed properly thanks to more affordable insurance. We finished out the year with my family in town and a whole week of time off (which only happens once a year for us).

We are beginning this year with full-time work, two vehicles and one more potential change on the horizon. I’m blown away by God’s grace and provision in this past year. Although I am grateful for all of the changes that have come our way, there is a part of me that is hoping that this will be a year of settling and rooting. I hope to be able to grow within what has been given us and not experience so much upheaval (positive or negative).

When B heard this, he laughed and told me that I have no control over what happens to us.

He’s never one to shy away from the truth.


Another Horrible Date

B and I do not have a particularly romantic relationship. We don’t buy each other cards, we don’t go out on Valentine’s Day, there are no love letters, and I’ve only received flowers once. We are both completely fine with this type of relationship, so it works for us. Even when we were not married, “dates” were not something that we put a lot of effort into outside of the fact that they always involved travelling at least 400 miles because we never lived in the same city. Our last “date” or visit before we got married and moved in together (in the same city!) was our most memorable for all the wrong reasons.

Before our wedding, I was living in Atlanta finishing up my Master’s degree. B was living in Raleigh working full time. Our wedding was going to be in Florida where my family was and his family wanted to vacation. The plan was that when I graduated, I would bring the rest of my belongings up to Raleigh from Atlanta, spend a few days with B, drive down to Atlanta to pick up some wedding things, and finally drive down to Florida the day after to go to my bachelorette party and finalize wedding details. B and his family would then meet me in Florida for the wedding a week or so later.

Well, I presented my Master’s project, packed up the rest of my things, and stuffed them in my 16 year old sedan. As I got on the road, I started having issues with my car. Being the cautious driver that I am, I went to a mechanic on the outskirts of Atlanta – I had only driven about 20 miles at this point. The mechanic spent an hour or so poking around my car and basically determined that I was having an issue with a sensor and my car was safe to drive. So, I drove to Raleigh.

I spent about a week hanging out with B, unpacking my stuff, and organizing our apartment. B spent this week working on my vehicle with the input of his co-workers (all of whom are experienced mechanics). In the process, he burned the side of his face, which fortunately healed without a scar in time for our wedding. Other than the burn and the annoyance of fixing my ancient finicky vehicle which nobody ever has parts for, our time together was pretty uneventful.

Finally, I was ready to get back on the road. I was planning to drive to Atlanta, spend the night in my apartment there, and then make the rest of the trip to Florida the day after. After about three hours on the road, my car died. Completely.

It stopped working, I pulled over on the side of the road, and I couldn’t get it to start again. It smelled like burnt car. A helpful guy stopped and declared it dead for me (I already knew this). I called USAA to get the car towed to the closest mechanic shop. I freaked out.

It was about 7 pm at night. I was on the side of I-85 a few miles from Kings Mountain, NC. If you know anything about Kings Mountain – you probably don’t because there’s nothing there – it is a town with a small “mountain”, a McDonald’s, a Waffle House, three motels and one stoplight.

I called B. He, without even stopping to think, told me that he’d be there in three hours. He called his boss because he was working nights at that time and explained why he was leaving work. He also called the National Guard and asked if he could show up late for work the next day when he was scheduled to work for them. He drove home to get his military gear and drove to me.

In the meantime, I got picked up by a tow truck. I knew when I saw the “mechanic shop” that it was an oil change place and that we would have to move the car the next day, but I decided to not say anything at the time because USAA was only paying the guy to tow the car to the location we had determined on the phone. He was then kind enough to drop me off at McDonald’s.

I sat in McDonald’s with my suitcases surrounding me for almost three hours waiting for B to get there. I tried not to think about what was going to happen to my car. Eventually, the cashier started hovering and explained to me that they were closing at 11 pm. I told her that my ride should be there before then.

B pulled up around 10:40, right as I was wondering if I was going to have to sit in the parking lot waiting for him. We decided to find a place to stay. The only motel in the area that still had a non-smoking room available was the Motel 8. The next closest place to stay was Charlotte which was over an hour away.

The Motel 8 had already closed their lobby. You had to go in through a side door to a little room where you talked to the employee through a glass window. A drunk guy wandered in to buy candy from the machine while we were paying for our room.

We got the key to our non-smoking room and brought all of our belongings up. There was a cigarette butt burn on the side table. The  room smelled like smoke. The sheets were stained. We found a bug in the bed. We went to bed with our skin crawling.

We woke up the next morning and ate at Waffle House. We went to the oil and tire place and looked at the car. There was no starting it, and I was correct in my assessment that the guys there didn’t do that level of repairs. We called another tow truck and had it towed to the only mechanic shop in town. They looked at it and declared that it needed a new engine.

Now, my car was so old that you couldn’t buy a new engine because they didn’t make them anymore. We would have been paying for a junkyard engine for a 16 year old car plus all the labor required of putting in a new engine. There was a chance that the guys at the shop were lying  to us, but it definitely wouldn’t start and we were very far away from any of the other mechanics we would trust to look at it.

We called our parents for advice, and then we scrapped it. The mechanics were nice enough to give me some cash for it, I took the plate and the registration, and they said they would take it to the junkyard for us.

B and I then came up with a plan with the help of my parents. He delayed his National Guard service and drove me down to Atlanta. We spent the night there, and the next morning he dropped me off at the airport where I got on a plane with a ticket that my dad purchased for me through his rewards program.

B then drove back to Raleigh with the stuff that I had planned to bring to Florida to give to my parents, worked all weekend and then drove all the way down to Florida for our wedding with my stuff in tow.

I landed in Florida just in time for my bachelorette party without a car.

My Husband Forces Me to Buy Things

Part 3: The Bed

As I’ve written before, I am an irrational saver, and B is not. We have been married for a little over a year, and he has had to force me to make many purchases, big and small. I figured you might enjoy reading about these. You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

B and I received a lot of free, secondhand furniture when we got married. This was a huge blessing because it allowed me to not spend money on new furniture.

The bed we received was B’s bed which he had slept on for at least ten years although I think the bed might have been slightly older than that.

It was not a comfortable bed. It was full-sized and had a giant crater in the middle, so we always ended up on top of each other (and not in the fun way). Even worse, it was extremely squishy. I have back pain that is exacerbated by sleeping on squishy beds.

Before we ever got married, we agreed that we would get a new bed once we both had regular work and the money for it.

This past spring, we had the jobs and the money, but I didn’t want to buy the bed just yet. B came home one day and told me that he had seen signs for a a mattress store’s closeout sale. I grumbled about how even sale beds are expensive. (I had seen the signs too, but I had ignored them).

He finally convinced me that going to look wouldn’t hurt our savings. I was grumpy the entire car ride over. He called me out on it and threatened to go to the store without me like he did for my car. I started in on a rant about how “sale” doesn’t always mean that you actually save money. He mostly ignored me and told me to calm down because we weren’t even in the store yet and hadn’t committed to anything.

We walked into the store and a saleslady approached us. She asked us what we were looking for. We explained that B loved to sleep on marshmallows, and I loved to sleep on the floor. She told us she had the perfect queen-sized bed for us which had one firm side and one soft side. As she showed it to us, I noticed it was priced at over $5,000, and before I could protest, she told me she’d give us the bed and boxspring for $600. We had managed to go in on the very last weekend that the store was open, and they were practically giving away the mattresses that were left. B and I laid on it for about three seconds before we agreed to buy it.

We took it home. B slept peacefully on his mush, while I did not sleep. I did some research on the mattress we had bought and found all the horrible complaints about it and all the criticisms of boxspring mattresses in general. I eventually fell asleep. The next morning, I called my mom and asked her to reassure me that it wasn’t a horrible decision to buy a bed. She did just that, and I slept much better the next night.

It’s not the best mattress in the world, but it is worlds better than the one we had before and it didn’t kill us to spend the money.

Besides, where else can you buy a new bed that is both firm and soft for only $600?

My Husband Forces Me to Buy Things


Part 2: The Car

As I’ve written before, I am an irrational saver, and B is not. We have been married for a little over a year, and he has had to force me to make many purchases, big and small. I figured you might enjoy reading about these. You can read Part 3 here and Part 1 here.

Last year, on my way to Florida for our wedding, my car exploded on the side of the road. B had to heroically rescue me, and we said goodbye to the car that my parents had bought me.

It was very poor timing, and B and I decided that we could live with just his truck until I was working full time.

Although this was our decision, B started looking at cars immediately. (He continued to look for almost 11 months). Last January, I got “full-time” work, which means I cobbled together four part time jobs, and I started driving over 500 miles a week.

I was filling up our truck twice a week, and I died a little inside every time I printed my gas receipt.

When I was looking over February’s expenses, I realized that we were spending so much money in gas that we would almost break even by taking on a car payment and increased car insurance. That night, I came home from work and before I could say anything to B, he said, “We need to buy a car.”

I said, “Ok.”

“Well, I’m glad you said yes because I was ready to fight with you about it.”

We sat down and figured out how much we wanted to spend. He asked me what I wanted. I told him I wanted something fuel efficient that would last and that I didn’t really care about anything else. I then left the rest to B.

He had the time of his life (he is a diesel mechanic and loves machines and vehicles). He scoured the internet for almost two weeks and sent me a constant stream of cars which all looked the same to me. I looked at most of them to be polite, but did not find the process nearly as thrilling as he did.

Then HE FOUND IT. The deal. The perfect car. He was so excited I was at work at the time and took one look at about ten of the twenty five photos he sent me, which looked almost exactly like all of the other photos he had sent me.

(I’m not car savvy, and pretty much all cars look like this clipart car to me).

Because of my crazy work schedule, he did everything. He called or texted me at each step to check in. He called the seller. He test drove the car. He set up the loan. He bought the car. We met up after I was done working, and I drove it home.

I had a panic attack that night and called my mom the next day to have her reassure me that we weren’t irresponsible with our money.

Yet again, he was right. I don’t love the car as much as I love my dog, but I do recognize that it was a well-timed purchase which was a great deal – he got the car for almost $2,000 less than its sale price because the dealer was trying to get rid of it and accidentally mislabeled it. When I calculated our expenses for April (when I had driven the car for a full month), I found that our net vehicle expenses had risen by less than $100/month and that doesn’t factor in all the money and time that we had previously lost because we were limited to only one vehicle.

My Worst Second Date

I don’t write about my dating life that often because, let’s face it, I never really had one. My first serious, long-term relationship was with B. Plus, I don’t like sharing personal information that is too close to the present because I like my privacy. This date happened a while back, so I feel that it’s time to share it.

When I lived in Atlanta, I met a guy at Eddie’s Attic which is one of my favorite music venues. We exchanged numbers, talked for a bit, hung out together with some of his friends, and then went on a date. This first date involved burning trash, listening to records, drinking bourbon, petting a dog, and eating food that his mother had made (his mother was not present). It was the perfect mixture of strange and interesting where I wasn’t sure how it was all going to end, but I wanted to see where things would go because I knew it would be interesting. I got sick soon after this date, and he told me to call him once I felt better so that we could get together again.

Well, my body had the worst timing. When I called him to let him know I was feeling better, he informed me that his father had just passed away. Of course, I was sympathetic and offered my assistance, assuming he wouldn’t take me up on it.

Instead, he invited me to the funeral.

I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t really know this guy. We weren’t dating. We had gone on one date. I felt horrible for him, but I didn’t know if my presence at the funeral as an acquaintance was actually going to help him feel better. I did the only thing I knew to do in these situations – I called my mom.

She encouraged me that it would probably be a big funeral and that he wouldn’t invite me if he didn’t want me there. She told me I could go, sit in the back, give him a hug and walk out.

That didn’t sound too bad. I checked with her what was appropriate funeral attire, and then I planned for an uncomfortable experience.

As I drove up to the funeral, I realized it was at the cemetery. As I walked up, I realized that it was not a big, open funeral. There were less than 30 people there. Everyone had known the deceased well. Everyone knew each other. I slipped into a seat in the back and hoped no one noticed me.

After the funeral, I went up to give my hug and walk out. Instead, the guy asked me to come to the reception where everyone was going to eat oysters and tell stories about the deceased whom I had never met. I didn’t even know the father’s name before the funeral.

I felt trapped (and I couldn’t call my mother). I reluctantly agreed. He started introducing me to his family who all commented on how lovely I was. He introduced me to his three childhood friends who were present. I started sweating. Then I felt guilty for feeling uncomfortable. The guy had just lost his father after all.

I went to the reception. I sat with his friends. They asked me lots of questions and tried to determine if I was suitable girlfriend material. I didn’t know whether or not to explain that I was definitely not anywhere near being a girlfriend.

After a suitable amount of discomfort and good food, I felt that it would be okay to head out. I went over to say goodbye, and the guy asked me to stay. He made me wait until everyone had left and took this time to introduce me to his grandma. Then he said goodbye and thanked me for coming.

I drove away still very sweaty.

If you’re wondering how our third date went, there never was one. He asked me for some space as he grieved the death of his father, which I gave him. A few weeks later, he asked me for nude photos, and I sent him pictures of my skinned up knees instead.


My Husband Forces Me to Buy Things

Part 1: The Dog*

As I’ve written before, I am an irrational saver, and B is not. We have been married for a little over a year, and he has had to force me to make many purchases, big and small. I figured you might enjoy reading about these.

My timeline for May of 2016 was move my stuff to North Carolina, graduate, get married in Florida, go on my honeymoon and then live in North Carolina. Before May, I had become accustomed to an unsustainable and frenzied level of activity, and when I moved to NC, I did not adjust well. B worked nights, I knew no one in the area, and I had nothing to do except for some part time work. By July, I was sitting on the couch every day and refusing to get dressed while I endlessly searched for and applied to jobs.

One day, I made the mistake of sending B a picture of a shelter dog. We had previously agreed that we would wait to get a dog until I had more stable work. This picture changed B’s mind. He started seriously looking at dogs. I told him he was crazy.

Then, he found out that the next weekend was a huge event where all the shelters would waive adoption fees. He told me, “That’s it. We’re getting a dog.”

I protested.

He said yes.

I referenced the budget spreadsheet and said no again.

He told me that I needed something to care for because my part-time work wasn’t fulfilling enough.

I sighed.

He explained that my flexible schedule was perfect because it would allow our new dog to adjust to life with us.

“Fine, we can look, but we aren’t getting a puppy.”

“We aren’t just going to look. We are getting a dog.”

Then we saw Clark. Clark was a 7-year old American Foxhound with a type IV/VI heart murmur whose previous owner had passed away. Most importantly, there was something about him that looked like the dog I grew up with.

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The night before the shelter event, we went to bed in two very different states of mind. B slept peacefully, probably dreaming of all the happy moments he was going to have with his new dog. I did not sleep for hours. I was consumed by anxiety, wondering whether or not we were making a horrible decision.

The next morning, I told B, “I’m not sure about this. Maybe we should wait.”

“Let’s go. You need a dog.”

The story of Clark and his first day with us is too long for this post, but I will tell you that B was absolutely right. I did need a dog. I have never regretted B’s decision (because let’s face it, it was his decision) – not even when Clark ate my car registration, but again, that’s another story.

*Technically, Clark wasn’t a purchase. We got him for free from the SPCA of Wake County. That being said, dogs are big financial commitments, so I count him under “purchases”.

This Year’s Project

Anyone who knows us knows that B and I are two very different people. One of the ways in which B and I differ is money.

I am a saver to my very core. I track down every dollar that goes in and out of our account. I feel a great deal of guilt if we “break even” one month instead of putting money away in savings (no matter what the circumstances). I hate most forms of shopping, and I hate interest.

B, on the other hand, feels no guilt about money. He’s not a mindless spender nor is he obsessed with luxury, but he does not feel guilt when we eat out or he signs up for a monthly music subscription. He also does not watch our accounts. It drives him crazy that I regularly question his spending habits because I want to KNOW what’s going on. B loves shopping for household items. He dragged me kicking and screaming to buy a bed we desperately needed, he dragged me to the shelter to get a dog, and I wasn’t even present when he bought “my” car.

So, when it comes to finances, we have to compromise. I would happily go on a cash budget that limits all of our incidental spending and go without any form of digital entertainment to save a few dollars, but B would be miserable. B would love to buy more tools, but he knows that I’m not comfortable with his preferred level of spending.

Recently, we have come up with some goals that have pulled B further on my side of the spectrum. We have some things we would like to save for, and B is willing to make more cuts. So, I pulled out my spreadsheet of this year’s monthly expenses. B and I then discussed how we can save more. Without going into numbers, I’m going to give that to you here.

Expenses that we have already changed:

  • Internet – I dropped our plan to the bare minimum.
  • Cell phone bill – I dropped some of the fancy stuff off our plan a few months ago. We won’t be upgrading anytime soon. Once our contract is up, I have a company in mind that we can switch too.
  • Insurance – I’ve called and verified that everything we have is worth what we pay.
  • Dog – We aren’t giving him up. We pretty much just pay his medical bills and feed him at this point. He has enough toys and beds to last him a few years because he’s not destructive of his own things. I’ve learned to keep all my own things out of his reach because he will destroy them and cost me more money.
  • Digital entertainment – This is all B. I have already convinced him to drop quite a bit of this. He is clinging to what we have left.
  • Health care – B now drives out to the VA where he gets free healthcare every time he needs anything.

Areas that need to change:

  • Gifts – B and I can spend less on each other this next year. This means no more tattoos for a while (sob). We already only buy for each other for birthday and Christmas.
  • Household – Some of these things can easily be avoided (I now know how fast my car is and don’t accidentally speed anymore), and some of them are still necessary (I’m not living without toilet paper or cleaning supplies). This is an area we can work to improve because there’s a lot that we “need” but could probably live without especially apartment related. I plan to not buy clothing or shoes this next year. I’ve put a monthly limit on this area that should accommodate needs but not most wants.
  • Food – This is where almost all of our excess spending occurs. We are going to go on a cash budget that will be divided into three categories: groceries, food out together, and food out separate. B spends too much money on snacks and soda at gas stations, and I spend too much money at coffee shops.  We will also cut down on our “I don’t feel like cooking” expenses.

Obviously, another way to save money is to make more of it. B and I are both planning on picking up extra hours at work, but this is limited for us because we both already work overtime on a regular basis.

So there you have it. Starting July 9th, we will be working to spend less. Maybe I’ll update you on this, maybe I won’t.

Any suggestions on gluten free meals that are easy, cheap and healthy?

How I Said “No” to the Dress

Wow. It’s definitely been a while since I blogged. I would love to give a legitimate excuse, but I don’t have one. Perhaps I’ll start posting again; maybe I won’t.

Although I’ve now been married almost a year (!), I felt that this post needed to be shared.

If you followed my previous posts, or rants as I called them, you know that in many ways I didn’t want a traditional wedding. Plus, I didn’t want to spend the “average” amount on anything. I wanted to spend less.

So, I sought wedding attire that wasn’t poofy, reminiscent of a Barbie cake or more than $200. B decided he wanted to wear something rather formal, so I had to find something formal too because I did want us to coordinate.

I started with shopping online in the fall before the big day. I found a dress for about $120 that I liked. When I had it shipped to the store, it fit. I took it home to my parents’ house.


Enter a caption

A few months later, I had lost a few pounds and was nervous that the dress might not fit anymore. I tried it on, and the zipper broke. I returned the dress and freaked out about the prospect of a wardrobe malfunction the day of my wedding. I ordered a replacement of the dress, but I started searching for another dress.

While out with my sister, I found a dress that was even cheaper ($90). She convinced me to buy it, and so I took it home.


The problem with this dress was that it would have required Spanx and absolutely no weight gain before the big day. This sounded stressful. I left the dress in my parents’ closet next to the other one, but I kept looking.

Then, I found a skirt on sale that was perfect ($30). I bought the skirt immediately and soon found a shirt to go with it ($40). My poor mother was tasked with returning all my previous purchases, and she made me swear that I wouldn’t change my mind and buy anything else. I didn’t.


In trying to keep things simple and cheap, I may have over-complicated the dress process a bit…

Photo credit for the last photo goes to Small Things Photo Co. who is amazing.