New Week Resolution – Week 1

Here are some quick items I know I want to get done this week.

1) Set a budget for the family and continue tracking it for this week.

2) Schedule appointments to look at houses upcoming weekend.

3) Get my car cleaned.

4) Do push ups every single night.

5) Get caught up with laundry and cleaners.

6) Get through the work week with a positive attitude.

7) Do not spend money on eating out (exception Friday lunch).

I have the remainder of the week to get all of this accomplished.  Of course, I do not want this to interfere with spending time with wife (priority #1), spending time with kids (A & Z), and doing all the regular chores of the household when I get home from work.  I know to be able to get all of this done, I will need to find additional time in the day or sacrifice time that is usually when I am doing something else.  I will provide progress updates, obstacles, achievements on a weekly basis.

Max 11.11.2013


My Wife Wants a House

My wife told me yesterday that she wanted a house.  After being married for a day over a month, she is ready to move.  After living together for five years in our condo with our two daughters, she wants out.

Can I blame her?  Well, we have a two bedroom, one bathroom condo which is definitely feeling a bit crowded, especially with our daughters growing up.  We are making mortgage payments, association fees, real estate taxes for a place that is worth half of what we bought it for.  In addition to that, our oldest daughter will be five next year.  She is getting closer to her 1st day of 1st grade and she needs to be in a better school district than we are at right now.  Our neighborhood seems like it may be getting worse and worse with people moving in that just don’t seem as friendly.

So here is my problem.  I obviously want to move, but I wasn’t ready for her to be so antsy like this so soon.  She sprang on me, when I least expected it, and automatically began sending me pictures of houses and neighborhoods she is interested in.  After having the stress of planning a wedding behind me, and putting this bachelor party behind me, I felt semi stress free Monday morning until I began receiving text messages.  We got into a text message war about getting a new place.  I just began my first week of quarter close for my company and now in the back of my head, I have the added stress of needing to buy a house.  In addition to all of this, I need to start cutting an additional couple of hundred dollar check for a business I tried starting up that just hasn’t worked out (which I can write about in another post).

So why can’t I buy a house or why can’t we move?  I purchased our condo five years ago for about 135k.  There are now multiple units being sold as short sales between 45k and 55k.  Our mortgage is completely upside down and we can’t sell the place.  An option we may have is to rent our place and purchase a second home to use as our principal residence, great plan, right?  Well unfortunately, I would need 20% of a down payment to be able to afford a place.  Since the 1st place is an FHA loan, I can’t have a second home be the same.

So where do I find additional money?  I am already working 60 hours a week at my current job.  Mrs. Z works part time because she needs to watch the kiddos.  Perhaps I can get a second job, a night job and try to save up.  Who knows, all I know is this is one of those couple of days where… just when you thought you were out of the tunnel, it seems I’m pulling right back into another one.

Perhaps I’ll buy a lottery ticket…. all I need is about 100k to be able to figure myself out of the mess I’m in right now.  Maybe my big break is coming soon…  What I do know, is no matter what, I will do whatever it takes to make sure my kiddos are going to a good school and my wife is happy.  Till Blog Do Us Part.

Max 10.08.2013

Wedding Planning Guy Advice (Part 2)

I began a post yesterday about planning a wedding from a guy’s point of view.  So I wanted to continue with Part 2 today – click the link to read Part 1.

Wedding Planning Guy Advice (Part 1)

So my wife did most of the planning and organizing of our wedding but believe me, I was involved in plenty and did experience all of this first hand, especially since we already live together.  Although this may be changing currently, I assume most couples don’t live together prior to getting married, but with us living together, having combined finances, having kids already – I was there for most everything.  As mentioned, I don’t believe my opinion really mattered unless she agreed with it but I did know a couple of things which was important to me that I wanted to make sure happened.

Open bar.  I wanted to make sure that the guests had an option for premium beer and spirits.  I am a fan of consuming adult beverages, especially on special occasions and I wanted to make sure that everyone had exactly what they would like to drink.  Since I felt like Mrs. Z dismissed most things I had to say, she did agree with me on this particular selection and we went to the next topic.

Another discussion we needed to have is the flower girls at our wedding, I was initially nervous about this, mostly about the older one, who has been shy on multiple occasions and I was afraid she would chicken out.  We discussed this multiple times leading up to the wedding day, but we ultimately decided on having her do it which was an excellent decision and she did great, more on this on the wedding day post.

DJ selection?  We had multiple options and Mrs. Z had done more research on this than I had.  I did have a recommended DJ through my network, but Mrs. Z had decided on this which I was a bit apprehensive about as well.  This was a conversation my mom brought up numerous times because she had multiple suggestions on the DJ and wanted specific DJs that were recommended to her.  She wanted to make sure that certain Russian songs were played and that “my” Russian side of the family had fun.  Mrs. Z had made a deposit on based on her own research and we ignored this subject up until a week before.  We had so many obligations with jobs, kiddos, daily tasks that once the deposit was made, we ignored this and the online organization chart for the wedding day (basically what we expected from the DJ).  Thankfully, we met with him a week before, and went through a lot of information that made me feel more comfortable about the day.  More importantly than the songs he would play, and other details – I felt he had a great personality and seemed like a fun guy, another decision that I applaud my wife on.  Although I think she just got lucky on her selection.

And since I mentioned the DJ, think about all the things you need to select.  What song the bride comes out to, the song groom comes out to, what song you walk out to during introduction, first dance song for bride and groom, first dance song for daughter dad dance, first song for son mom dance.  Although I thought these would all be easy selections, I was wrong.  I had to second guess myself, we often debated on our first dance song up until the day of the wedding.  As a guy, be sure you prepare yourself for solid arguments and what songs you want heard, its not as easy as you may think.

Another guy task was selecting the Groomsmen Gifts.  Although my wife had hers selected and bought months in advance, I’m a guy and procrastinated this until the last possible moment.  I actually picked up the gifts the day of the rehearsal dinner which is when we gave our bridal party favors.  It’s not that it was difficult to select this for my boys, but it got stressful to have to run around and do this type of thing when I knew 9 months in advance that I needed this done.  For those of you interested, I bought glass decanters engraved with their initials which were not super expensive but looked outstanding, very happy with my decision on this.

The one item I did select ahead of time was the tuxes for the groomsmen and I.  As the day got closer, I changed my mind.  I was at Men’s Wearhouse multiple times changing my mind.  Although I had selected what I was wearing, I had worn a complete different shirt to the wedding, more on this at the Wedding Day post.

What about the photographer?  Katie had selected this and made a deposit months in advance.  However, as the day came closer, and after talking to several people, what about a videographer?  At first we had both chose that we needed to save as much money as we could, since we were making all the deposits and payments on credit cards, and a video was something we could live without.  The conversations I had though, made me think differently.  This wasn’t a traditional wedding, we were going to have our daughters there.  This was going to be a memory they would not remember since they are both young (4 and 2), so a wedding video would be perfect, making sure to let our video guy know that we wanted as much footage of them as possible.  I told Mrs. Z to place a phone call to our photographer company and see if they had any available, fortunately they did.  Once I received the various package information, I made the choice and called and made all the payments.  This was done less than a week before the big day.

I talked about adding more stress to the big day and leading up to it.  Well, to add more to the pile which was growing rapidly already, I had to give a ‘Thank You’ Groom speech since nobody else was doing it.  I wrote a draft of the speech a week before.  I reviewed it, I read it, I memorized it – kind off.  But the closer the day got, the more I felt it needed to change.  The more nervous I got about what I was saying.  Although it was simple ‘Thank You’ that I have written about previously of my speech, I was getting over-worked up about it.  Want to know how it turned out?  A wedding day post coming up from me point of view.

So Guy Advice?  Don’t wait until the last minute.  I guess that would be the right advice to give you all.  After going through everything, I may have another.  If you wait until the last minute, you will be going with your gut choice on most everything and I believe all the choices I made were perfect.  If I could go back in time, I wouldn’t change a thing.  So how did the wedding turn out on September 6th, 2013?  How was the rehearsal dinner?  How was the honeymoon without seeing our kids for 4 nights?  All of this and more from the husband point of view coming soon…

Max 09.24.2013

My Wedding… 2 Weeks Away.

Our big day is coming up.  A day that perhaps I never thought would happen.  A day that really snack up on me.  A day that is almost here… 2 weeks away.  My fiance and I are getting married after ups-and-downs of our relationship of 11 years and 2 beautiful daughters.

11 years and counting is quite the accomplishment, especially in society today and we are ready to make it official in the State of Illinois.  After I proposed last year, I did not expect this day would come so swiftly.  I remember getting down on one knee, choking up, trying to calm my nerves and asking the “Will you spend the rest of your life with me?” like it was yesterday.  Now, we are about to walk down the aisle and say “I DO.”

What I believe is we made the commitment to each other a long time ago when we moved in together and were getting prepared for our first child, unexpectedly.  We have stuck through thick and thin, we have had our fights, we still disagree, we still annoy each other, BUT… at the end of the day – we have each others back.  Here is an article my other half wrote recently which impressed me and made me shed a tear or two as I read it on my Bachelor Party (awkward) but I definitely think you should give it a read, much better than my writing Damn You or Thank You Walt Disney

So reason for this post, I never understood the planning leading up to a wedding until you actually go through it.  All the arrangements and decisions that need to go into it, for just one day, is unbelievable.  ONE DAY.  A day that I imagine will flash so quickly, I won’t even know what happened.  Now with less than two weeks away, we need to get the following done and finalized – meeting w/ DJ and decide on song choices, meeting with reverend, table chart, party favors, flowers, multiple visits to reception hall, financial obligations for all items that need to be paid for, tuxes, dresses, rehearsal dinner, photography, speeches and other things we need to decide and/or finalize.  I always wondered why people are so anxious and stressed for their big day but now I get it.  But for me, I need to prepare myself to take a 5 day honeymoon w/ the lover and leave my kiddos for 5 days which I have NEVER done – I believe mentally preparing myself for this will be the most challenging thing yet.

So it is now 2 weeks away and I am at work on a Monday morning after yet another productive weekend of getting just a “few” things of many done.  However, with all of that said, I will still follow my own beliefs – stay positive, keep calm, stay relaxed, don’t over think, enjoy each moment.  I know it’s easier said than done but I know the wedding will be a day I won’t forget and it’ll be over before I know it.  So much to be thankful for in life and no matter how busy the next 2 weeks may be – I will enjoy each moment and anyone in a similar situation – YOU should too!

08.26.13 – Max

I’ve got more to come about planning, more tips to help you stay stress free, post about my bachelor party and point of view from a GUY who is about to say I DO.