love someone toniiiiiight

Every couple has those inside jokes and things they love to do together that no one else would ever find amusing. I can’t even believe how much Nick and I enjoy what I’m about to tell you, but it’s true, and it’s undeniable.

We love listening to Delilah together. Yes, she of cheesy music and commentary, and the schmaltzy tagline “Love someone tonight.”

image source

It all started last summer, when we spent many Sunday evenings driving home together after weekends spent down the shore. We’d be surfing the airwaves to find something good on the radio, and we’d happen upon Delilah. Soon enough, we were placing bets on what the next song would be (my dependable standby is “Wind Beneath My Wings”) and adding our own commentary to Delilah’s conversations with her callers. Sometimes we have to change the station when the actual music comes on because it’s just too cheesy to tolerate, but we always come back to hear more loves stories and Delilah’s advice. More often then not, one of us ends up in stitches of laughter when we’ve added our own little gems to the dialogue.

Dare I say, I now look forward to long Sunday night drives for a little dose of Delilah. I encourage YOU to love someone tonight :)

as much as he loves fishing

Nick is a fisherman. He loves everything about fishing and does it as much as possible. When he was laid off from his job shortly after we got married, he went fishing at local creeks as much as possible — it got him out of the house amidst the frustrating days of endless job searching, and I firmly believe it kept him from going positively bonkers. Rainy and snowy days were always more difficult for him to get through because he couldn’t go fishing. He loves the peacefulness and the skill involved, and he still comes home happy even if he doesn’t catch anything. (And even if he does catch something, he releases it, so he really fishes simply for the fun of it.)

Now that we have a shore house in the family and he’s been able to surf fish quite a bit, he looks forward to it for weeks if he knows that we’re headed down the shore for the weekend. The other day, he was trying to explain to me just how excited he is for an upcoming weekend down the shore when he can fish, but he had trouble putting it into words. He tried to relate it to something that I really love to do, and we both had a difficult time coming up with something.

I don’t think I love anything as much as he loves fishing.

my cute little fisherman…he started early (but he wears sunglasses now)

Don’t get me wrong — I love my job and I love designing. But that’s not a hobby…it’s my livelihood. And while I wake up most days and look forward to the work I have to do, it’s still work. That’s very different from doing something purely for the enjoyment of it — no money depends on it, and there is no one else you’re trying to please in the process. I love blogging and reading, but they don’t give me the same high that Nick gets from fishing. I tried to embrace running, and I like it so-so, but it will never be my passion. I tried knitting and got bored after making a few scarves. I love to dance, but good adult dance classes are hard to come by in the suburbs (and a bit of a burden on my wallet). I’m a tad envious that Nick has found something he loves so much and I’m not sure I’ll ever have that passion for a hobby.

Do you have a hobby that truly completes you?

mint condition

A few years ago I set up an account on Mint.com, but never really took the time to enter ALL of my bank information, credit card accounts and monthly expenses, so it sat kind of useless for a while.

While Nick and I have always shared financial responsibilities since we moved in together, we’ve admittedly been kind of lazy about completely combining our finances to make paying the bills and budgeting a bit more seamless. We have a joint bank account, but we use it only for saving for a house, and instead each have a personal bank account that we’ve always used on a regular basis for expenses, spending, and personal saving. I belong to a credit union that I love, Nick has belonged to the same bank for years, and neither of us ever wanted to switch, so we just stayed where we were. (Have I mentioned that we’re both stubborn Leos?)

I lived in our apartment alone for two years before Nick moved in with me, so I already had BillPayer set up for all of the utilities, which were all in my name; as such, I still just pay for the utilities and rent, and Nick writes me a check (yes, writes me a check!) each month for his half of everything. I pay for our car insurance and he pays for our cell phone plans. We each pay for our own car, and I pay off my student loans. We have separate credit cards that we use and pay off individually from our own accounts.

While it’s been easy to just stick with our old habits that began four years ago, this system is no longer working efficiently for us and it has become increasingly difficult to set goals for saving when our money is still somewhat separate. And, let’s face it: it’s time to stop being lazy. I always want to keep a bank account in my name, and Nick will do the same, but it’s finally time that we sit down and combine our everyday expenses so everything comes from one account. It may take a bit of time, but I’m pretty sure it will be way better than continuing with our current ridiculous setup.

Last week I revisited my Mint.com account and finally finished setting everything up; tonight, we have a hot date online to get Nick’s accounts added so we can see everything in one place, and to figure out how to move money to our joint account accordingly. Hopefully being able to track all of our spending together in one place will help us to make cuts where we need to, and it will allow us to save smarter for our future. While I know we’ll probably never have it together as well as my friend Catherine (seriously, she is my budgeting hero), I’m pretty sure I’ll feel a lot better once we’re all organized.

How do you and your partner share your money?

Monday music, vol. 33: the anniversary edition

Every Monday, I’ll be sharing a pick-me-up song with the hopes of helping you begin your week on a positive note. Happy Monday!

Nick and I got hitched two years ago today — time has flown by and I couldn’t have asked for a better support system these last two years. While it’s not the first song we danced to at our wedding, this, to me, always feels the most like our song… it’s just our style, and it’s the song that played as we entered the ballroom to celebrate with everyone we loved that day.

So glad we made it! Happy anniversary to my main squeeze. xoxoxo

is your husband immature?

Mine is. This is what he does when mailing things to his parents (who, fortunately, have a good sense of humor):

photo courtesy of my mother-in-law

When writing me a check for the rent each month (no, we still haven’t gotten our act together enough to organize our bills to pay from a joint checking account, shush), he also writes “*SEXUAL FAVORS*” in the memo line to embarrass me in front of the people at my bank.

Such a charmer, he is. Wherever did I find him?

bet your bottom dollar

I think it’s time I share with you all the secret to my marriage. Well, maybe it’s not the only secret to staying happy and minimizing conflict, but as equally stubborn Leos, it is one that Nick and I use often, and it works like a charm. It is…

the dollar bet.

That’s right: whenever Nick and I disagree over a fact-based matter, we bet a dollar that one of us has the right answer. If it’s something that IMDB, Wikipedia, or Google can clear up for us, we bet a hundred cents, and all arguments cease. We break out the iPhones and when one of us wins (ahem, usually me), the other can’t argue — he just has to hand over a buck and wallow in his wrongness. We even bet a dollar on the racing Septa bus competition (Red! No, blue!) that is shown on the jumbotron at Phillies games. It’s silly, but I have to say that winning a dollar is the ultimate satisfaction, because you have something to show for your victory. And believe me, we each like to gloat when we prove the other wrong. We’re very mature.

I only wish that when we started making dollar bets (years ago… I don’t even know how long we’ve been doing it), we had started keeping track of who wins each bet. I am pretty sure I’d be in the lead…

What’s your method for squashing disagreements?

thirty-five

Today marks a special occasion for my in-laws — it’s their 35th wedding anniversary!

35 years ago today, cutting their cake

Nick and I took a day-trip yesterday to visit and celebrate with them. We brought along some pretty tulips for the occasion.

We aspire to a marriage as long and happy as theirs. Happy anniversary, M & J! Here’s to many, many more years of happiness together.

conversations with a half-asleep husband | 4.01.10

Scene: I am sitting on the couch blogging and watching tv after Nick has already gone to bed. I hear the bedroom door open, he groggily walks by me to go into the kitchen, then comes right back into the living room and sits down on the love seat.

Brooke: “Hi, honey… you okay?”

Nick: “Yeah… I came out here to get a drink of water, because there were crocodiles in our apartment.”

Brooke: “Oh. Scary.”

Nick: “Yeah… Make a wish, it’s 12:12.”

Brooke: “That’s not how it works, honey. It’s when it’s 11:11, or 2:22…”

Nick: “That’s how it works in my book. I wish the night away.”

Brooke: “Okay.”

Aaaaand he gets up and goes back to bed. Uh, goodnight?

I want you to WANT to mail the card

Yesterday, Nick and I had a very Jennifer Aniston/Vince Vaughn moment. No, no — not in the sense that we’re breaking up, silly! But we sort of lived out the “I want you to WANT to do the dishes” scene from The Breakup. Except, I was Vince Vaughn and Nick was Jennifer Aniston…

… Let me start over.

Nick had a card that he had written out for his grandmother, and it was addressed, with a stamp on it, sitting at the top of the stairs in our apartment. That’s where we usually sit things that need to be remembered on our way out the door. The morning after he wrote the card out, I saw it still sitting there. Huh, I figured — Nick forgot to grab the card on his way to work. Guess he’ll mail it later. I went about my day and pretty much immediately forgot about it.

The following day, yesterday, it was still sitting there. Geez, I thought to myself, when is he going to mail that card? I ended up not leaving the apartment yesterday, so I didn’t grab it on my way out anywhere to drop it in the nearest mailbox, and it just didn’t occur to me that I should go out of my way to mail it.

Last night, Nick said to me, “Will you remember to mail that card tomorrow, or should I just walk down to the mailbox right now?”

Um, excuse me?

I barked very nicely said, “I was never told that I was supposed to mail that card.”

He immediately knew that the way he had asked his question sounded accusatory, and he backtracked a little bit to redeem himself. After a little spattering back-and-forth, he said I was right, he had never asked me to mail the card, and he apologized that it came out the wrong way; then, he walked down the street to mail the card.

But it occurred to me later in the evening — why didn’t I mail that card for him? No, he had never outright asked me, but I saw it sitting there for two days in a row, and I ignored it. The mailbox is half a block from our apartment, and yes, it would have been “out of my way,” but I work from home and it probably would have taken all of 90 seconds of my time to take care of it. But I didn’t.

He wanted me to WANT to mail the card for him.

He does nice things for me all the time without my asking, but I did not extend the same courtesy to him. I felt like a jerk.

Hopefully I’ll learn from this incident and go out of my way to be a little more courteous the next time. Next time, I’ll WANT to mail the card for him.

Do you and your spouse ever have the “I want you to WANT to do the dishes” moment?

open letter to Alex Trebek

Dear Mr. Trebek (or may I call you Alex?):

For a few years now, my husband, Nick, has been trying to get on your show. You know, that little Jeopardy project of yours. Frankly, I find your show kind of taxing to watch because of all of that fast-thinking involved — I mean, I’ve already spent nine hours at work; do I really need to spend 30 more minutes straining my brain? — but Nick lives for it. He watches it daily, spews out questions before you’ve even finished saying the answers, and calls his parents to let them know that he got Final Jeopardy right again. It’s annoying, yet endearing, all at the same time.

He takes your online qualifying test whenever it’s available, and I’m always amazed at how many answers (er, questions) he knows (since I stand over his shoulder watching nervously to see if he knows them). Sure, he misses a few, and occasionally puts “turd” or “turdville” in the response box when he doesn’t know the right answer (er, question), but you like a good sense of humor, don’t you, Alex? Isn’t it important for Jeopardy contestants to be smart and entertaining?

I know a lot of people think they should be on Jeopardy. But the thing is, I know that my husband should be on Jeopardy. He’ll probably get mad at my for “hyping him up” in this letter, but I just thought I’d give it a shot, because I think he’s really, really smart. And handsome… but that’s beside the point.

Anyway, please consider my plea. Oh, and if you need some new business cards or something, I’d be happy to design some in exchange for getting Nick on your show. It’s the least I can do. Think about it.

Sincerely,
Brooke

PS, have I told you how great you look without your mustache? Like a fine wine, you have only improved with age! (Too much? Okay, I’m done…)