So... the blog. I feel that I should write something, I'm certainly thinking lots of things. But there is no time- I've been working until nearly midnight every night (with a 3-4 hour break for Landon time, dinner time, and JP time) and have been absolutely swamped during the day. Yesterday I forgot to eat lunch until 5 minutes before our cafe closed at 3. I may forget my tea- I never forget my lunch. But I'm really blissfully happy with my job. I like what I'm doing, I love knowing how to do it. A feeling of competency is vastly underrated as an indicator of job satisfaction- or at least I underrated it when I first picked my legal specialty.
The biggest thing on my mind right now is one I wasn't sure I should blog about. It involves money. Tomorrow my firm is having their all-associate meeting to discuss our compensation and I'm very unsettled about it. We have yet to freeze salaries or conduct lay-offs, but the general consensus is they're going to announce 10% pay cuts for the first years and freezes for everyone else (basically taking them back to what they made before they moved up a salary class on January 1).
With a husband in grad school, a child in daycare, and law school loan payments equal to 70% of my monthly mortgage bill, there's not a lot of financial wiggle room. We live frugally. Our cars are 10 and 11 years old (with a combined 300,000 miles- and they better last for a while longer!), we don't go out to eat more than twice a month, we don't eat chicken more than once a week (I know that sounds odd but I noticed a few years ago it was always the most expensive thing on our weekly grocery bill, so it's special; we eat a lot of pasta and rice and save meat for things like soups that last more than one night), we don't have a Starbuck's habit, we don't go on vacations, I don't meet colleagues for drinks or dinner -- basically, we're careful. I like having a nice house and nice clothes, but I shop at discount stores and never go anywhere without my stack of printed coupons.
We've lived even more frugally in the past- it's how we got through our first three years of marriage without failing to pay off the credit card each month. I remember two weeks during our second month in Chicago where we ate the same vegetarian bean chili (basically the world's cheapest stew) over rice because it cost less than $10 a week, and that stretched our dollars until JP's next pay check. I didn't mind that, it was actually kind of fun- being newlyweds, spending our nights walking around the city, never spending a penny, just soaking up all the free sights. But it's a little tougher now- there's a Landon and loans and an ever growing list of expensive things that threaten to pop up each month.
Of course I'm lucky to have a secure, well-paying job. And I know that. We've been carefully setting aside money each month for our online savings account (GMAC bank, paying 2.25% right now, way better than our regular bank's paltry percentage), so I know we can live on a reduced amount, I just find it very stressful to lose the financial cushion we're building. I couldn't sleep last night thinking about it. I'd really prefer a year's worth of expenses to be stuffed in my mattress just so I know it's there (I'm the type of person who wants every dollar safely in the bank and avoids the stock market like the plague, according to JP I invest like I'm 65). I wonder how much money I'd need to stockpile to stop stressing about it entirely, I know it's a lot more than I would have guessed pre-family.
I'm probably going to read this tomorrow morning and delete sections of it for being self-centeredly whiny, but I do feel a bit better. We'll be fine, we'll find more ways to cut back. I will place a complete moratorium on shoe shopping (though I'll note that Landon's $42 pair of Stride Rite shoes are more expensive than any pair I've purchased since I bought black leather boots when we first moved to Chicago in 2005).
Alright, It's almost midnight and I need to get back to work. I have a 17 page privilege log to review before production tomorrow, and I'd like to feel secure about my job performance when the firm's managing partner beams himself onto my computer monitor. I tried to think of a way to incorporate the picture below but decided to save my few remaining brain cells for the priv log. It's from Tuesday night last week when I was so sick. Landon made a big stack of all his books and read through them one-by-one while periodically checking on his mama, pathetically lying on the floor nearby. He may have thrown a huge temper tantrum on the sidewalk by the mailboxes today and then tried to bite his own toes in fury (yeah, I don't know where that came from), but my goodness he can be a sweet little guy.