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Family or Marriage Finances & Money General

Happy 5th Birthday to us AND What the heck have we been doing?

I barely remembered that just over 5 years ago, I posted my first article titled “Is Running Really a Bonding Activity for Couples?” on June 6, 2006. Back then, we were training for our first marathon (26.2 mile race), and not having run before, much less with my wife, I wasn’t sure how well we would handle the experience.

5 years later, I can say without any doubt that I cannot run with my wife 🙂 It’s simply that she’s a talker and I focus solely on running. Running isn’t a social activity for me, although walking is, so we’ve decided that we will now run separately. I’m happy to say that after years of inactivity, we’ve joined some local friends for runs at least once a week, and I’ve even gone out on my own a few times and done quite well. We even, as a group, ran the local “Warrior’s Dash” 5k, which was pretty much knee-high mud for the first mile, then 12 obstacles including rope mazes, barbed wire, walls, cargo nets, tires, jumping fire, and crawling through muddy, gravel-filled water. Fun!

Anywho, happy belated birthday to Clever Dude!

Catching up on the last year

There’s a few things that have happened in the past year that I never wrote about:

1. We took a road trip with my grandma and great aunt to Texas in April 2010. It was a gift to my gram (we brought her sister for conversation) for all she’s done for me throughout my life and the end of the trip was for them to see their cousin in middle-of-nowhere Texas. We had sunny weather the whole trip, but in front of us, sometimes just a few hours, were the Gulf rig explosion, tornadoes in Arkansas and flooding in Tennessee. We almost ran out of gas in the city of Nashville, but luckily a local report knew where to get some before we had to sit for hours in traffic on flooded roads to get to Kentucky! We got to experience dining and lodging in the New Orleans French Quarter, saw 10 states in 10 days (that corner of Georgia counts!) and 4 state capitols, and just had an amazing time. I even got my great aunt to try gator! The beignets at Cafe Du Monde and the oysters at Wintzell’s Oyster House in Mobile, AL were the culinary highlights of the trip and we all recommend going there if you pass through!

2. We took a road trip to a Disney wedding in Orlando, FL this past April. My cousin (groom) got married in the Wedding Pavilion near the Grand Floridian and I was in the wedding party (only 18 guests), and I felt honored. It was my first trip (Stacie’s first since high school band) to Disney,and I thought it would be a stressful event. In reality, I was the most relaxed I’ve been in the last 10 years because we stayed on property (a Value resort, the All-Star Music Resort…recommended) and got shuttle service anywhere we wanted as a result. We got extra time in mornings and nights at the parks, and even though it was the 2nd busiest time of year (and costliest), I didn’t feel ripped off. I would definitely go back, although I would love to take my older nieces when we do. It’s not the same without having kids with you (but it’s nice when it’s just you and your wife!).

3. I’ve taken a lesser role in managing the site and really just write for it now. I have someone else managing all my emails (he filters appropriate ones to me) and fills in with guest posts when I don’t think I can write for a while. When I started the site over 5 years ago, it was a hobby which was fun and exciting. A year or so later, it turned into a business and got more stressful and less fun. After 4 years, I was almost ready to give up and let the site rot away like another blogger who I won’t name (but still collect ad dollars). Luckily a friend stepped in and talked me back into writing while he does the tough work. Thanks!

4. Late last year, I took a new job. I won’t say what or where, but it was a major change from what I’ve been doing the last 10 years, and it’s outside of my comfort zone. I wasn’t on the market, but some connections I built talked me into testing the waters with this new position and then I decided to dive in. Nothing was pushing me to leave the university except the promise of the new opportunity allowing me to gain much more knowledge much faster, make tons more connections in the industry and be able to advance further in my career. Where I was, I pretty much could only be a system administrator or a manager, and the manager wasn’t leaving anytime soon. I miss the old place, the old team, and being able to say exactly what I accomplished each day, but I keep telling myself how much I’m gaining in knowledge, experience, connections (and a bump in pay I guess).

5. Still no plans for kids. With all the talk over the years of adoption and kids, nothing has panned out and both my wife and I are relatively happy just being with each other and enjoying our siblings’ and friends’ kids. However, I would like a dog, but can’t talk the wife into getting one (it would be from a rescue shelter). You can say “You’re not getting any younger…you need to have kids ASAP”, but we’re both pretty decided we’d rather adopt if anything, but ultimately it’s what God wants.

6. I’ve been very active in our church, and have been managing and coordinating activities for nearly 100 men, their families and the parish, when called upon, for the last year, and I’m renewing that commitment for the next year starting on July 1. It takes a lot of my time, but I love to see the happiness on the faces of those we help in the community, parish or within our group.

Finances

We’re still in the same house, but only have 1 mortgage left. Over less than a decade (more like 6-7 years), we’ve paid down over $200,000 in debt from credit cards, 2nd mortgage, student loans, and car loans. Now we’re just saving up and spending wisely. It’s tough to write about money when it’s not on your mind 24/7, but it’s true that I don’t think about our finances nearly as much because I don’t have that day-to-day worry. We’re not living paycheck-to-paycheck anymore and we can relax, although stay vigilant that we don’t grow into our old ways. It took just a few years to change habits I’ve had for decades, and I want to keep and foster my good habits.

I’d like to thank all my readers, whether daily subscribers or one-timers, for all the comments (good and bad), loyalty and love over the years, and vow to keep on writing as long as I have something to say.

About the author

Clever Dude

6 Comments

  • Good to hear that things are going well. You were one of the first sites I started reading and that inspired me to start my own blog, so it’s good to see an update from you every now and then.

  • Totally inspiring yo. I remember meeting you at the first Blogger Happy Hour in early ’08 when I was just a newbie! Really learned a lot from you and still to this day can’t thank you enough 🙂 you were like my mentor. Woo!

  • Congratulations CleverDude! I’ve been reading your site for a while and wondering where you were. I’m happy to hear you could transition the site into something that worked with your lifestyle. Blogging can be so time intensive, and it’s refreshing to see that you could transition away from that but still maintain your blog.

    I’m also thrilled that you enjoyed Disney! My husband didn’t believe that grown adults could have a fun time there. But he loved it when we went as a couple. And it can be surprisingly reasonable for the amount of fun you have.

  • I find your blog so inspirational. I still have an enormous way to go on my own journey to pay down my debt, but reading your story at least gives me the motivation to know that with hard work it’s possible.

    I’m finding my habits pretty hard to change, but I’m doing it nonetheless. As for running, that is something I KEEP failing at….

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