Saturday, December 31, 2011

Child Support

My husband was in the doctors lounge this afternoon and met an ENT he didn't previously know. He described their conversation like this:

ENT: Hi, I don't think we've meet before.
DrH: No we haven't, I'm xxxxx.
ENT: So where do you go next?
DrH: I start a fellowship in July at xxxx.
ENT: What are you going to do with your first paycheck?
DrH: I told my wife she can have it.
ENT: Do you have kids?
DrH: Yeah, we have 4.
ENT: Oh, then she deserves it.
DrH: I think so.
ENT: What kind of car are you going to buy?
DrH: My wife is looking at a Honda Odessey.
ENT: Those are really nice. How about for yourself?
DrH: Um, I don't know a BMW maybe.
ENT: Did you know that child support starts at 25% of your income and goes up 5-10% per each additional child. In your case that could be almost 50% of your income.
DrH: No, I didn't know that. It doesn't matter, I plan on staying with my wife.
ENT: Oh.... OK. (DrH says his tone was like "sure you will").

Awkward. What kind of crazy person brings that topic up out of the blue? I am dying to know if he is married, divorced, or scared to death of being married and having children!

And for that matter why do men think that just because they might do something stupid like cheat on their wife means that all men will. ARHGGGGG. I should give him the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps he wasn't implying that my husband would be unfaithful, but rather that I might grow tired of the absent husband and leave him. Of course I would never do that either. If I can make it through residency (and I will) I can make it through anything!

Happy New Years Eve!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Year End Rush

I am no policy expert but I am smart enough to know a problem when I see one. The reason I know about this particular problem is that my DrH has been missing in action all week. No technically missing, because I know where he is and there is plenty of action there.

You see in the surgical world there is mad rush of people "needing" surgery the week following Christmas up until New Years Eve. What a strange phenomena that so many people would require attention that one week out of 52. Not so strange when you realize that they are manipulating the system to their advantage. They probably needed surgery earlier, but who wants to be in the hospital during the most exciting time of the year (Thanksgiving - Christmas)? They could probably have surgery scheduled later, but they don't for various reasons. No, everyone wants to have their surgery performed at the end of the year before the clock strikes midnight.

OK, in all fairness not EVERYONE. Just the ones who have already met their deductible for the year and want to squeeze in a freebie. And this is what is wrong, in my opinion. I wonder if there have been studies done on this year-end rush. I love google. I put in year end deductible surgeries and this article came up. It's not a study, but apparently everyone is aware of it.

Of course much depends on which side of the operating room you are on. What a rush of patients in November and December means for my family is that DrH probably won't be able to take time off during those months, when the rest of the world wants to take vacations, unless he wants to lose patients.  Well, at least not for the first several years at least.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


I have held the anti-gaming position for my entire adult life. We had one when we were kids, a Nintendo I think. I don't ever remember playing it. EVER! I vaguely remember my brother playing it. And I have more vivid memories of my dad thinking it was a complete waste of time. It was. And now I am the owner of yet another piece of time-wasting equipment. Yes it is. As if the iPhone, iPad, and other Apple products didn't rob us of our productivity already. We are die hard apple fans, but they don't make gaming systems... they might be on to something.

My husband would have me believe that the future of medicine can be found in the science of video gaming. That his eye-hand coordination will improve by playing these games and thereby make him a better surgeon. Don't I want him to be a good surgeon? For years I have been telling him to show me the evidence that such research on the subject exists. He said there is a study showing that surgeons who played video games prior to operating had xyz, a good something or other. You can tell that I didn't really listen to that. He did show me this article recently that makes sense, but I am convinced that it could be learned in 5 minutes  - it's not rocket science. Wasn't Kinect targeted to kids?

I have images of a grown man sitting on the couch for hours with drool pooling below him, unshaven, and in a state of hypnosis, game controller in hand saying "just until I get to the next level". The kind of guy that suddenly loses his desire for the OR by the same device that was supposed to make him better in the OR. Sounds really attractive. I have no intention of enabling that kind of behavior. I have four children to take care of, one of which already drools and wears a diaper. I don't need another one.

Well after years of denying my husband what every male wants, I have finally given in. We are the owners of an Xbox Kinect gaming system. I am a practical person who respects a good deal, and I suppose we needed to buy something for Christmas with the money that the hospital gives us. It was supposed to be for the kids. Yeah, right. I suppose every man needs a way to decompress after a long day in the OR. And I suppose that because he is playing Lego Star Wars with his son that can count as male-bonding time that was previously lacking. But so help me, if I find him sitting up in the middle of the night in his underwear playing games I'm going to pull the plug!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Merry Christmas

Today is Christmas. Today is also Sunday. The best part of today, and yesterday, is that I was with my family. My DrH, and my four kids for two days:-) Today we went to church and listened to beautiful Christmas music and visited with other members of our church who were just as excited as we were to be there. I wish I could bottle that feeling. A couple of times during the opening songs I thought I could just cry. I don't usually cry at Christmas, it's a jolly holiday! But when I think of what Christmas really means it touches a place in my heart that I usually keep closed, tightly.

Regardless of what was, or wasn't, under the tree this year I have been blessed beyond measure. I know this, and in the back of my mind each time I complain about this or that I know that it is really just a small thing. All the big things I have in my life are amazing.

I am so grateful for this time of year. The only reason I have been able to make it this far in this journey is through my faith in Jesus Christ. I know that he is the Son of God. I know that he fulfilled a divine purpose that was laid out from before the beginning of time. I know that he is the perfect example. I know him as my brother, my friend and my Savior. I am so glad that God loves me, and each of you, enough to have sent his son to prepare the way for us to return to Him. I know not everyone believes that Jesus Christ is what I know him to be. If I didn't know that I would feel lost and alone. He gives me hope. Hope that what is happening now is for my good. Hope that even though it may be uncomfortable at times, it will be better. Hope that something bigger awaits me if I can endure my trials well. Hope that at the end of my life I will be found a good and faithful servant. Hope that what I do matters.

This is our last Christmas with our congregation, in this particular city. This is the place where we have raised our children. I am going to miss this place. I am going to miss these people. I am going to miss this part of my life when it is over. And yes, it will be over soon!

I've been thinking a lot about Christmas traditions and what our Christmases might look like one day and the thing I keep coming back to is love and generosity. I don't care what we get, I want to give. I know of a family to wakes up early Christmas morning to make and serve breakfast to residents of a senior, low-income housing building. Another family who quietly gives wonderful gifts in secret to people they know who are in need. I don't know the giver, but I do know the receiver. I want to be someone like that. That is what Christmas means to me. That is the spirit of Christmas that I want to be able to teach my children. Instead of wondering what Santa will bring for them, I want them to be excited about what they might be able to give to others.

Merry Christmas!  I hope that you had a wonderful day and that you were able to feel the spirit of Christmas and the joy of the season. I am looking forward to a wonderful New Year.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Our Christmas's are really lame around here. Very ungrateful sounding of me, isn't it?

You know what it is like paying the bills month to month, there isn't a whole lot left to save for Christmas. Add that to my obsession with keeping a zero balance on our credit cards doesn't leave many options for gift giving. At this point I have come to grips with the fact that Christmas isn't about gifts anyway. Isn't the purpose of Christmas to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ not sending the best cards, making the best treats, or getting the best presents. One day we will have a Christmas that looks perfect. This is just another one of those years when we dream about the things we would like to buy for each other.

This time of year is always so stressful, mostly because of the financial strain we have been in for the last several years, but in addition to that we are separated from our family - it's almost like we are being shunned. We aren't, but a couple thousand miles exist between us. It's more like exile.

I've been making an effort to be more honest and this year and had to tell my sister that my family didn't want to participate in our annual gift exchange and had to defend our position. She was a little surprised. It didn't make me happy to do it, but it was the logical thing to do. Would you like to hear our position?

In the past each child has purchased a gift for one of their cousins. I have 4 kids, 4 gifts at $7-$10 each plus shipping means that we will spend upwards of $50 on gifts that we will not see opened, from cousins who don't know each other, and we will never receive a thank you call or note saying they received it and how they liked it. We will spend another $40 plus shipping on a gift for my sibling and their spouse, that they probably won't even like. We still won't get a thank you call or note. So I can spend $100 on "stuff" that will most likely be thrown away and forgotten or I can save $100 and use it for something that I know will get used: like groceries. By exempting myself from the exchange it also means we will have even less under the tree this year, because I don't want their stuff either. I tried to explain that we are DOWNSIZING. Our family of 6 will probably be in an apartment for a year and we can't bring everything we own, and I certainly have no intention of storing anything (that costs money, too!) Whatever they give us will end up donated to Goodwill. So please just save your money and let me save mine.

I have labeled myself SCROOGE, no one did that for me. In an effort to keep things simple and economical this year we:

1) removed our family from the gift exchange, noted above.

2) will not be sending out Christmas cards. Remember we couldn't' get a decent picture which turns out to be a blessing because now I won't print cards or buy stamps for them - I'll send an e-mail.

3) I am limiting holiday baking. If I receive as much as I give I will gain 10 lbs this year, or have to throw away stuff. We don't throw food away, so I will have to eat it out of principle. What comes into the house goes back out. My husband is a little upset that I "re-gifted" the baked goods given to us. But I know he cares about his weight too, and now I have one less person to bake for. That is, if I decide to bake at all.

4) I re-gift other things too. Like Monday my son's school had a Christmas party. I realized I didn't get a gift for his teacher until 10 minutes before the party. He is in the first grade so we are still new at this. Luckily, we had just received a gift card to Starbucks (we don't drink coffee, I know they have hot chocolate) so his teacher was the new recipient of a $25 gift card - nice gift, huh?

5) I have sold some of my children's other toys. Yes, I am paying for this years Christmas by selling Christmas from the past. That is also part of the down-sizing. We don't have room for all these toys. I made $75 bucks so I am happy.

6) The grandparents all buy a gift for our kids so I know that they will have at least 3 things under the tree and some cash. My DrH has extra parents from divorces and re-marriages, which works out well for us at Christmas time.

I often think that these lean years will help us appreciate having money some day in the future. It will either do that or turn us into those people who are unable to control their desires and buy everything they see just because they can. Please let me be that latter person for just one day, it doesn't even have to be on Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What We Have Is A Failure To Communicate

Is that any surprise? I discovered long ago that we do not communicate well on the phone. Why? Because one or both of us is multi-tasking and not really listening. Then why did you even call? We have had disagreements in the past over things that the other thought they heard that weren't actually spoken. I understand that DrH has a limited amount of time and that using 5 minutes to just talk on the phone without doing anything else isn't practical. For that matter I don't usually just sit and talk either. I am feeding kids, cleaning the house, etc.

With our last argument this week, after giving him the silent treatment for 24 hours, I sent him an email. That's right. He can't interrupt me mid-sentence, I won't get all emotional, I can remain strong and say what I need him to hear. This may become my preferred method of communicating with DrH. It isn't the speediest of methods, but I could hear him the next morning pounding out his response on the computer.

All is well, but there are still a few things that really annoy me that we didn't get a chance to hash out as much as I would have liked.

1) Don't tell me that you were tired and not in your right mind. I know that! But, you don't get to use that as an excuse whenever it is convenient.

2) Don't talk to me about "do you know what I do for a living". If anyone knows what you do it is me! Do you know what I do?

3) Don't go getting all high and mighty on me, you aren't the only one with a stressful job around here.

4) Just because your boss might rip into you doesn't give you the right to take it out on your wife and kids.

5) If you are sick don't go shopping. That is a no-brainer in my book.

I think what really gets me is that he knows how good he has it. He tells me about the wife of an attending who dictates when he operates. She will call the OR during surgery to yell at him for not being where she wants him. If my DrH is operating, it is what it is and I can deal with that. I would never ask him to move a patients surgery to fit my needs and wants. So if he says he knows how good he has it, he best not tick me off because I am a time bomb waiting to explode.

To his credit he did apologize and recognized the foolishness of his actions. Now I feel better.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Last night my son ran into a door that was being closed and cut his skin above the cheek bone right where the soft tissue of the under eye is. It bleed and bleed. When we were able to take a closer look at it, I thought he might need stitches, or maybe just one. We tried to clean it up and apply a butterfly bandage but had to modify it to fit the amount of skin we had. It bleed. I thought, when DrH gets home he can look at it. I sent him a text with pic. And by "we" I mean me and my MIL who was a nurse.

DrH didn't get home until 9:30 pm last night. The kid was already in bed. He went in with a flashlight to look at it. But you can't see the cut because it is under the bandage. Diagnosis: he is OK. DrH says he has some derma-bond in the closet and that he will fix it. Well he can only fix it if he is home. I probably should have woken the little guy up so he could do it just then, because now he is back at work and I had to clean the wound up again and put on another bandage.

Isn't it ironic? I am married to one of the most qualified people to deal with cuts that require a stitch, or something more, and he isn't home to do it. Sure I could have taken him in, but with DrH in the OR I would have had to pay the co-pay for the ER and it is Christmas after all. I don't have money to spend on things that could be done at home.

It doesn't look too bad, and if it scars it will be in a crease that will only get deeper as he gets older and more distinguished. He is 7 so that might take a while. And talk about double standards, if it were my daughter who had a cut on her face, I wouldn't be waiting around for the DrH to get home. But he is boy, a scar or two will be good for him.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Irate, Irrational, Irritated

I don't know if these three words (irate, irrational, irritated) all share the same root, and I'm in no mood to look it up. Today has been rough. In all honesty, most Fridays are. By the end of the week my nerves are fried, I am tired, I need a break. Today is Friday, and my moods are pretty predictable on Friday, but today my mood is begging for me to hit something.

We have out of state visitors, that we asked to come and paid for airline tickets. It was mostly selfish. I needed someone to help me fix up my house, I needed a Christmas gift for my kids and for their grandparents. Flying them out seemed to be a great gift for everyone. And it has been.

However, this is our second week of visitors and it falls upon me to do the entertaining. I am tired. But I've discovered something else. What started out as an irritation has lead to some irrational thoughts (although right now I don't see them as irrational), to full on irate.

Yesterday the DrH and I went out to dinner. It was nice. I told him that I was becoming easily irritated. He responded with "I should be home early tomorrow, the attending is having a staff Christmas party at 1:00 and he needs to be out of the OR by then. You can have the whole afternoon to yourself."

Maybe it was a self-fulfilling prophecy, but I didn't even bother getting dressed and ready to go. Why? Well because my DrH has a habit of over promising and under delivering. I can usually handle it and get over it quickly, but not today.

DrH indicated this morning when I talked with him that he wasn't feeling well, maybe something he ate last night. OK. DrH told his parents that we would all go out to dinner tonight. I wasn't really thrilled with that (does he remember what it's like to take 4 little kids out), but was OK. Then when he called after the time he was supposed to be home to say they hadn't even started their last case, I was OK. When he called at 4:58 to say that he was getting in the car and on his way home, but still didn't feel good, I said OK, and suggested that instead of going out he should just pick up a pizza on his way home. I preheated the oven and I was OK.

Then 90 minutes passed, and my simmering irritation became a full boil. He's not on call. Remember that we have 4 kids and we usually eat dinner at 5:30 and his commute is only 10 minutes. Stopping for pizza would add maybe another 10 minutes. The oven has been preheated at 425 for the last hour. We should have had dinner ready, eaten, and have been in our pajamas. Instead, DrH comes rolling in at 6:30 pm and when I ask him where he has been he gets all put out with me. I wanted to scream "I don't care if you aren't feeling well, you felt good enough to leave the hospital and go to the sporting goods store to exchange a pair of running shorts while your wife and children are waiting at home for the food you are bringing." But his parents are here.

And the pizza he was supposed to be picking up still needed to cook, and the one he selected happened to be a stuffed pizza that takes twice as long to cook as a regular pizza. I don't want to eat, I just want to get out.

His parents come to the kitchen for dinner and he starts looking pathetic. Sure go ahead and lay down, I'll feed your kids the food you brought home an hour after their dinner time. I'll get them ready for bed while you play sick. I am not doubting that he doesn't feel good, but if you don't feel good you don't go shopping. Especially when you previously told your wife she could have some time out today. If you are sick you come straight home. I have no sympathy for him right now. In fact as soon as I fed the kids and the baby I left. I didn't say where I was going or when I would be back. I don't want to talk to him.

Where do I go? The grocery store and I wasn't even gone long. But when I come back he is laying on the couch covered up under a blanket. He doesn't' even stir when I come in. I can tell he is pretending to be asleep. I have never had violent thoughts, but I'd really like to walk over there and slap him. That is awful!

The only words I want to hear him say are "I was wrong. I should have come home, I am sorry." Maybe I will get it. Maybe not.

I wish he would understand is that I am a reasonable person, and I put up with a lot. I give him the benefit of the doubt in every situation. I don't ask questions. But when you tell me you are in the car on your way home and you show up 90 minutes later, I have a problem with that. Especially when it is dinner time and we are waiting for you to bring us our food. I am mad and hungry, that is never a good combination.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

200 Days and the 5 Stages of Greiving

I just looked at my residency count down ticker and we only have 200 more days.... yeah!!!! Good thing I opened up my blog to look. I've had a great week visiting with my grandmother and mother. It has been so good. We are now on round two of family visitors, this week it is the in-laws:-) I am sure I'll have more to blog about soon.

My intention as I signed on to blog tonight was to follow up on my previous post, the vomit or cry post. I've come to the conclusion that I am grieving and I have nearly passed through all the phases.

First: Denial. How could this be happening to us? We do the right things, we are good people, we are financially responsible, this can't be happening!!!!

Second: Anger. This is the stage I was in when I wrote the post:-) I was mad at everyone. Why do I have to pay for other peoples mistakes? I know of people who could afford their mortgage who walked away from them just because their home had lost so much value. Is that right? I know it might not feel good, but if you can afford that house you agreed to buy, and there is no reason to move, pay what you agreed to pay and get over it. If I didn't have to move I would stay here and keep paying my mortgage. How much worse has this housing crisis been made by those people who decided that it wasn't fair that they were now the owners of an investment that lost value. Not everyone can be a winner every time.

Third: Bargaining. I think I even tried to bargain with the realtor. It went something like: I can't just walk away from the closing table with nothing. We have spent all our savings fixing this house up so we could sell it. I can't just give it away. I have to walk away with something, even if it is less that I would like, but I can't give it away. After all we have done we deserve something, anything! What do I have to do to make sure that happens?

Fourth: Depression. We aren't ever going to have any money are we? Just when things start to look good something happens to slam us back down. I am tired of fighting this uphill battle. I am tired of doing what I think is the right thing only to wind up on the losing end of every situation. I just want someone else to take care of this and I want to forget it ever happened. I don't want to own a house again for a long time, and certainly not until we know we will never move again.... because apparently that is the only way owning a house makes sense.

Fifth: Acceptance. And this is where I have found myself. You know what? It doesn't make any difference how I feel about this situation. So, I am the loser again. I am not the only one. So, I am feeling sorry for myself.... is that really new? Is it really that bad? NO.

It always helps getting some perspective from your family and from history. When I picked up my grandmother and mother from the airport I was telling them about the awful day that I had. It was the same day I met with the realtor and the contractor, bad day.

When my grandparents married 62 years ago they lived in an old railroad car. My grandpa worked for the railroad and those were the living quarters they were assigned. They lived. Not only did they live, but I doubt they really ever complained about it. She said that no matter where they were, as long as they had each other it felt like home. I am sure having recently lost her husband she would gladly live in that railroad car again if he could be with her.

My grandparents made and lost a fortune not just once, but a couple of times. In all the time I've been with my grandparents never once did they complain about what they had lost. In fact, I didn't even know they had lost so much. They didn't dwell on the past, but just moved forward. My grandparents didn't have anything to speak of when my grandpa passed away this year, and she still doesn't have much. But she is one of the happiest people I know. It is just money.

One of my favorite lines from the movie (and it's probably in the book, too) Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is when one of the grandparents says that there will always be more money but there will only be one golden ticket. I am paraphrasing, but every time I hear that it speaks truth to my soul. Money is not as important as we think it is. I give money too much power over me.

This weekend we visited some historical sites. There was a time in our country's history, not that long ago, where a group of people were persecuted beyond anything I am able to comprehend. An extermination order was issued in Missouri in 1838 authorizing the legal murder of a group of people, men, women, and children who were found in their state. They were given warning and forced to leave or face death. The federal government did nothing to prevent that order, and provided these people with no protections. They were forced to leave their homes, their property, and their possessions. Not just a few families, hundreds.

As they crossed the country one mile at a time they buried infants, children, husbands, wives, parents, grandparents along the way. Not just a few, but too many.

Being in the place where they set off across the Mississippi River made me feel rather silly and insignificant.  It's just money. It's just a house. I have a place to live. I have children that are not starving. I have good health. I live free of persecution. No one is trying to kill me. I am good.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Vomit or Cry... which one first?

The posts over the next several months are probably going to be consumed by my angry rants about home ownership. If you would rather plead blissful ignorance, don't read them. If you want to know that truth about what it means to own a home, keep reading.

There is nothing glamorous about owning a home. Let me be clear on a few points:

1) you do not actually own the home - the bank does, and you pay a ridiculous amount of money for the pleasure of having them rent it back to you.
2) a home may be an investment, but not all investments are good, and all investments involve risks and "hidden" costs.
3) a home is a thousand little things that could go wrong or need replacing. They will start breaking the minute you take possession.

We have been good home "keepers". We have fixed what needed to be fixed, replaced what needed to be replaced, and in general took very good care of our home. Our realtor used the phrase "over-improved" for the area to describe our home. Seriously, this is over improved? Cracked laminate counters in the kitchen, 1970's bath vanities, linoleum flooring, indoor/outdoor stained carpet in the basement, oak trim everywhere, brass. Goodness what kind of condition are our neighbors houses in? Regardless, our home hasn't taken nearly as good care of us as we have of it. Well, yes, it has provided us with shelter and warmth for which I am grateful. But it has consumed much more than it has given.

I haven't posted much recently because we are in HGTV mode at our house. By the way, don't watch anything on HGTV... you will just spend money and it won't make a difference anyway. That's right, I said it, and I mean it.

And this is where I want to vomit, or cry, maybe both and the same time. Reality is starting to hit, we have to move in 7 months! We meet with a realtor today to discuss what we could possibly sell our house for and when to put it on the market. You can imagine how much fun that is even during a good economy, its practically a funeral during a bad one.

Almost 6 years ago we bought a modest home for $145,000. Today we owe $128,000 and have spent about $20,000 in needed repairs/updates (roof, garage door, appliances, water heater, a/c, driveway). So the realtor told me today that she wouldn't list it above $150,000 (I was hoping for more than that) and that $145,000 would even be tough for this market. Not terrible you say, the math indicates that we'd still walk away with our equity as profit on the transaction. Right? You would be wrong.

You see when you own a home there are big and little fees that come with acquiring one and selling one that eat away any profit you might see. If we were to sell it for $145,000 after all the fees and commissions have been paid we would walk away with about $2,000 maybe less. It looks like we will be giving this house away and will be lucky if we can close without having to pay someone to take it off our hands. 

All we need is enough to pay for a trip to find a place to rent, our moving expenses out of state, security deposits, first and last months rent, connection fees, etc. We have poured every bit we've been able to save into this house. I am sure the moving truck alone will be more than $2,000. Where is all this money going to come from... apparently not from the sale of our house.

See what I mean about being better off renting? If we had rented we would only be out rent. That used to be a bad thing, like throwing money away. Turns out owning is home is exactly like throwing money away. Even if that rent equaled our mortgage payment, that is all we would be out. We would not have been responsible for, or compelled to fix or replace anything! We would still have the $20,000 we spent. What could you do with an extra $20,000? How about get a babysitter occasionally, take a vacation, celebrate holidays without home-made gifts, get a decent family photo taken. I could go on. Instead we have just given whoever buys this house a very nice gift. Do you think they will appreciate our sacrifices? No. Will they care that we spent our money on their house? No. They are going to get a great deal. Me, on the other hand, will probably have ulcers and other related health issues thanks to all this stress.

I can only see three options

1) DrH moves for fellowship by himself and we stay here for another year until we have a paycheck to get us out. That would still be expensive. That's not really an option. We have four kids! I did it off and on for 6 months, but don't think I could do it again. It about killed me (mentally, that is). 

2) We could scrimp and save so that we could write a check at closing getting us out from under the house with pretty much nothing to start with.

3) We say a prayer and hope that some way, some how, some person will love our house and want to offer us more than what our realtor wants to list it at. Maybe they will feel sorry for us (not likely).

We could really use a miracle here. But this isn't where our story ends.

Last week I was tackling our bathroom in the basement. I hated it when we bought it, we don't use it much, and in an attempt to make it appeal to the masses (just like they brainwashed me into thinking on HGTV) pulled up some baseboards to replace them with some thing nicer only to discover rotting wood.  At some point, before we owned the house, they had some water damage that was significant. But we found it, and now we have to fix it. Replacing drywall, studs, etc when all I wanted to do was put in some nicer baseboards. I am not allowed to pull anything else up!

And because this house knows that we are trying to get rid of it other things have started breaking. Like the pump from the a/c to the whatever unit in the house. It started making a hideous noise last week so we unplugged it (at the direction of our local HVAC man) only to have a puddle of water and a slow dripping leak as the result. This house is either trying to make us hate it or convincing us that it will continue to break down unless we agree to stay. Either way I am out of here!

We also have overnight guests coming tonight, my mom and grandma, no stress. Now I am crying. It is nearly impossible to vomit and cry at the exact same time. I don't recommend trying, just trust me on this one.

And seriously if you think buying a home during residency is a good idea, try thinking some more until you realize it is a gamble. Do you have extra cash you are willing to risk? I don't. Whether you choose to make the bet or not is up to you. Learn from my experience. If I had to do it all again, I would choose renting.

I can already hear the arguments forming in your head because you don't believe me. Let me counter with this:

You say buying is better because of the home mortgage interest deduction on your taxes. Well and good until the politicians decide to do away with that deduction. It could happen this year, next year, two years from now. Who knows? See they get to control things that like when you don't buy something with your own money.

You say that a mortgage payment is cheaper than a rent payment. Maybe, but when is owning a home only about a mortgage payment? Something breaks, you fix it. Property taxes, another thing the local politicians control and have raised every year that we've lived here. Your mortgage payment is only one of several expenses that come with "owning" a home.

You say the interest rates are too low not to buy. Really?  The fees, commissions, and closing costs ate up all our equity built over 6 years, nearly $20,000. Most residencies aren't 6 years. If you own a house for less time, good luck.

You say the housing market is at a low and it will probably just go up. Really? Can you be sure? NO! Are you willing to bet that it doesn't go down any further, or ever again. What if it does? I think we've just seen some long-standing beliefs about owning real estate shatter over the last few years. What people thought were good investments are showing to be really poor investments. I suppose we are lucky that we'll only lost a little versus a lot. Although, today it feels like a lot.

Come on, our husbands are going to be doctors one day! One day they will and when that times comes (I mean not when they have their degree, but when they are practicing) buy a house. What is the hurry? And don't say because everyone is doing it.... would you follow them off a cliff? Yes, it is more sacrifice, but isn't that what we do? I'm getting kind of good at it now. And the cliche is true, the time really does go by fast. I wish I had the money I put into this house instead of the major headache I have now.

More crying. I am going to be dehydrated at this rate.