Saturday, June 25, 2011

Ten Year Plan

Oliver and I had a long talk yesterday. We went through where we are at financially, where we want to be, what we want our future to look like, and how it all might play out. We've now mapped out a plan that will take us from now until retirement in about ten years.

It's been hard to plan until now. We've been so on the fence about sticking it out in the Navy. Now that we've decided on that, however, the rest is finally possible to debate.

Despite my penchant to do things last minute and my inability to schedule my days effectively, I like having a plan, goals to work toward. It's hard to do things without that. Sometimes it just feels like you're drifting and getting nowhere. The last time we really had any financial goals was back when we were married and facing down 30k of student loan and car loan debt (mostly mine). Two years later, the car was ours, and after another year, the loans were knocked out. We started saving for retirement and living small to save more, but it was more with the idea that we didn't know what was ahead and just wanted to be prepared.

Now, though, we've looked at what he's likely to make in retirement, what we'll have saved by then, and what we have to do now to make that all look better. He's got some career goals, I've got some goals of my own to focus on. Ultimately, my hope is that when his time in the military is done, he can have the freedom to choose whatever job he feels like without feeling locked into another job he doesn't love just to have the money it makes.

So, we'll see what happens. Obviously, there are plenty of things that could go wrong. But it's not worth stressing over those things. We'll just approach our plans again if we have to and adjust.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Just So I Don't Forget About It

On Tuesday, I dropped Oliver off at work, then took the boys to the beach after they had eaten breakfast. I didn't take a camera, and maybe I should have. It was cloudy most of the time there (we've been getting a lot of rain lately, which is fabulous). The water was calmer than I've ever seen it, which meant almost no sand was being kicked up in the waves. There is often seaweed floating around, too, but I didn't see any that day. Just beautifully clear water.

We spent a lot of time tunneling through the sand, building sandcastles, and burying Wyatt per his request. Oliver showed up at lunch time to get a ride home (the building he works in is literally steps from the beach we typically swim at), but we weren't ready yet. So, he took off to find us all some lunch while the kids and I took to the water.

Wow, so much fun! We saw fish, both tiny ones and larger ones as big as my hand. They were white with darker stripes on them that looked kind of like seaweed. Against the white sand, they were almost invisible. We sat still for a long time letting them dart around us.

After splashing around for awhile after the fish watching, Wyatt caught sight of a huge orange starfish sitting quietly a few feet from shore. I was carrying Oscar, as he is both short and uneasy in the water, and he started freaking out when I got closer. Apparently, he saw the starfish as something dangerous. Considering all the things in the ocean that truly are dangerous, I was okay with this even as I assured him we were perfectly safe.

Oliver finally got back with some food. He had to go to the store, then home to assemble a picnic lunch as the one eatery on base was unaccountably closed. (They do that when they can't staff it, is my understanding. That seems to be happening just about every time we want to get something from there lately.) We finished up our perfect morning making sandwiches and trying to keep the boys from getting sand all over the food. Luckily, the wind was much quieter than it normally is.

Then, it was back home to clean up and listen to the huge thunderstorm that rolled in a few hours later. Curiously, it seems to rain here at about 1400 every day lately. Oliver told me one of the chiefs in his office had made a joke about it, so we started paying attention to it. He was totally right, and we now look at each other and laugh when the clouds blot out the sun once more around 1330.

The one bad thing? The internet went out during a huge clap of thunder. Who knows why, but it was another day before it was fixed. I'm crossing my fingers it will stay fixed for a good long while now.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Internet, Welcome Back!

We got the internet back today, and I am so happy. Last Wednesday, someone somehow cut power to the wifi tower on our street. It took us a couple days to finally figure out who the right person was to call, and by the time it was actually looked into, it was Friday afternoon. Nothing happens here over the weekend. Nothing.

So, we had to wait out the weekend, then see how long it would be until it was repaired this week. Happily, it only took until this afternoon. Ironically, I was walking back from dragging both kids and our laptop to the playground so I could take care of some pressing business when I spied them finishing up the repair. Ah, well, it did get 'em out of the house (sometimes a huge feat - between the massive biting flies, the heat, and bright sun, they won't go out unless they have friends, we are entertaining them out there, there's running water involved, or we give them no option - or bribery; that sometimes works).

The net is my contact with the outside world. A few days of no internet has all of us pacing around this place. Luckily, I got a new book in the mail a few days before the net went out, so I had something to do when I'd otherwise be online. I am very sure, though, that we'll be ditching the cable when we move back to the States. There really is nothing on. I'm so glad I don't pay for it here.

Monday, June 6, 2011

House Buying

Every time I turn around, there's another article online about house prices being depressed. I knew it would happen; I mean, at what point do houses get so unaffordable that everyone stops buying them? I had no idea the banks would end up being such a huge part of that problem, but the high prices made us not even consider buying when we lived in WA for fear of what would happen there. Plus, we are military. The last thing we have wanted is to complicate our lives with a house that could be a huge pain to sell last minute.

I have to admit, though, my resolve has wavered a bit looking at home prices today. Especially since we will be at our next duty station for five years. I brought the topic up with Oliver the other day, thinking he might be warmer to it because it was more me than him that said "No way" to buying before. He surprised me, though, by kicking the idea to the curb immediately.

I was a little disappointed at first, but I'm thinking now that he's on the right track. We will be better off if we rent a house that's less than our BAH. I'm determined to find a place we can paint, but otherwise, I don't mind living in someone else's house. Ultimately, I value mobility over staying put. And why on earth would I want to do anything more than call the landlord when something breaks while Oliver is out to sea? That is not a stress I want in my life.

So, no houses for us until retirement. And even then, we might pass if we can find something more interesting. Like a job overseas. One can always dream...

Saturday, June 4, 2011

He Loves Me, This I Know

I love getting flowers, and all those traditional expressions of love. There are no florists here, so it's been a long time. Yesterday, though, Oliver gave me something better. We were walking home from Wyatt's graduation, and I took one bite of the chocolate cupcake I'd picked up on the way out. It tasted strongly of mocha, which I detest, so I tossed it in a nearby garbage can and bemoaned my decision of what flavor to pick. Oliver told me I should go back and get another one (we are literally a five minute walk from where it was being held, and we'd only gone halfway home). I told him I'd thought about it, but I was too lazy to go back. On hearing that, he turned around without saying another word and walked back to get me a cupcake. I watched his departing back and realized once again how much I love that man.

One of the first things that attracted me to Oliver (other than his dashing good looks!) when I met him was his willingness to jump in and do things when someone needed help. He doesn't hem and haw over it, ignore it, or try to get out of it. When someone asks, he just does it. Even if that desire is as small as a cupcake for his wife.

I love that man.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Traveling About - Spouse, or No?

I have a friend here who plans on spending most of the summer off-island. She's going to visit family, and travel around in between. The catch? Her husband won't be along for most of the trip because the Navy isn't so willing to hand out three months of leave. Hopefully, he'll join them for a few weeks along the way, but that's it.

Listening to her outline her trip for me, I was just a tiny bit jealous. I'd love to get off island for three months, and spending it traveling around? Even better. (Yes, we do like living here, but it's an island. There's a reason they coined the term "island fever".)

Leaving Oliver home, however, is not a happy plan for me. I'm very aware that we'll be back to a deploying command at the end of next year. Even though I could really use a break from here, I am not interested in a self-made break from my husband. So, I'm going to stay here, and we'll take a couple week long vacations this summer.

I'm also looking at it this way: when he starts deploying again, I'll be traveling with the kids on my own every time. I plan on taking a decent trip in the middle of every deployment, now that I'm over my fear of flying alone with them. Plus, they are a lot older now and much easier to take along. Having a trip in the middle of deployment helps so much in breaking it up. I wish I'd done it more in WA.