I’m unpopular

As you all know, Girl Ninja and I spent an epic weekend playing tourist in San Francisco (I’ll be posting about the trip tomorrow). You also know we’ve been wrestling with a major life decision. You can read about this decision here and here. In my last plea for help, 88 of you commented on what you would do. Of those 88 comments, about 84 recommended we take the dream job. I’m glad to say, we have made our decision…

We are moving to Seattle!!!!

I know, I know. Seattle was definitely the unpopular option. So why pick it? Well, I’ve come to realize a few things over the last week…

1) I use the word “dream” way to loosely. Instead of calling it a dream job, I should have been calling it “a really unique/once in a lifetime opportunity.” Honestly, I have no clue what the heck I want to do with my life. I got so caught up in the exclusivity of the position, I started to convince myself it was my dream. I think about it like this. Say you apply to Yale. You don’t really think you have a shot at getting in, but you apply anyways. Sure enough, a few months later, you hear back and find out you are accepted. At first you get super stoked that Yale picked you as one of the 6% of applicants they make offers to. Suddenly, Yale becomes the school of your dreams. But then, after the initial excitement wears off, you remember you never actually planned to, or dreamed about, going to Yale. No, you’ve always wanted to go to UCLA. Is it really cool that you got in to Yale? Yes. But does it mean that you should go to Yale? Probably not.

2) Things change. When I applied for the dream job, I was single. Now I’m married. As you can imagine, my life is way different than it was two years ago when I first sent my job application off. I mean, I’m still learning how to live with a girl. I’m learning that no matter how bad I want Girl Ninja to, she will never laugh after I fart. But most importantly, I’m learning how to be less selfish. The mobility agreement the dream job required simply asked too much. If I wanted to be told where I had to live, and how long we would be able to live there, I would have joined the military. We love Seattle. A great opportunity came up to move there, and we jumped on it.

3) The job is crazy dangerous. While bad guys and guns sounds really cool (probably because it is), I had to remind myself there was a reason I would be carrying a gun: I might find myself in a situation that I’d have to use it. Now, I’m 100% sure if someone pointed a gun at me, I would have no problem pulling the trigger and taking their life before they took mine. I don’t have an issue with carrying or using a gun. But never, under any circumstance, would I want a gun pointed at me. I have no desire to leave Girl Ninja a widow or single mom. As I browsed through the agencies database of agents that have been killed in action, I couldn’t help but think…what if that was me? Do I really want to do this work bad enough to potentially leave Girl Ninja husband-less? Sorry, but I’m not sure I do.

Those three factors are reason enough to turn down the dream job, but at the end of the day, our decision really came down to one crucial fact. Our hearts are in Seattle. Many recommended taking the dream job, because if we didn’t, we would maybe end up regretting our decision. That was probably the best advice I could have asked for. When I thought about moving to Seattle, I never once found myself wondering “Would I regret passing up the dream job?”, but as I thought about going with the dream job I consistently found myself thinking “Did I make the right choice?”

I know our decision to pursue Seattle is an unpopular one, but it’s the right decision for us. Besides, we still have a whole slew of adventures ahead. For example, moving all our stuff 1,200 miles. Finding a new apartment. Eventually buying a home. Probably having a couple dozen baby ninjas. And I’m sure I’ll be applying to a ton of new “dream” jobs over the coming months/years. Ha! Who said Seattle wouldn’t be an adventure? Bring it on!!!!

My favorite frugal move

It’s gonna be a short one today kiddos because life creeped up on me yesterday and ended up busier than I anticipated. So today, I thought I’d share with you my most favorite frugal purchase of all time: my wedding ring.

As you know, I spared no cost when it came to picking out Girl Ninja’s ring (actually that’s not true at all, I definitely had a budget set up for the purchase). I sold my motorcycle….tear….and saved up a few grand more so I could buy her something that not only looked awesome, but also fit the ring styles she liked. I set out on my mission, and $5,500 later  I had myself an engagement ring for her. Here’s the bling…

Today’s post isn’t about how epically awesome her ring is though. Nope. It’s about how glorious my ring is. We went to a local jeweler, while we were engaged, so I could get an idea of what kind of rings I liked (style, material, size, etc). I ended up deciding a tungsten ring was my destiny. It’s a pretty cheap metal, super durable, and looks great. There’s an urban legend out there that says if your finger swells, you can’t have the tungsten cut off because it’s so strong. That’s not entirely true. Yes, they can not cut the ring off, but there are medical clamps that can shatter the ring to remove it. As soon as I learned that a tungsten ring wouldn’t impede on the functionality of my finger, I was ready to pull the trigger.

Problem was the jeweler only had tungsten rings that were either UGLY or EXPENSIVE. Since, I knew Girl Ninja and I would soon be combining our lives (and finances), I figured it was best to go the way of the miser. We turned to the internet. Specifically, Amazon.com. Amazon not only had a ton of ring choices, but they were SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper than the tungsten rings at the jeweler. Thirty two dollars and ninety-nine cents later, I had my ring…

Doesn’t that ring, just scream “I’m a freakin’ ninja!!!” No, okay maybe it’s just me. Seriously though, the jewelers rings were priced between $300-$400 for something similar. I’m really glad Girl Ninja and I could save some coin and end up with an awesome ring. Five months later and I still love it!

What’s your most favorite frugal buy?

Real life soap opera

I seriously feel like my life is a soap opera right now. Minus all the infidelity, murder, and poor acting that is. Okay, maybe I’m being dramatic. My life is not really all that soap opera-ish, but the last few days sure have been crazy.

As you all know, I’ve been in a two year application process trying to get in with a HIGHLY competitive federal agency. I wont share which agency, but I will tell you the position involves guns, undercover work, and bad guys. Pretty freakin’ sweet huh?! I am one step away from completing all the prerequisites to receive my final offer

Next Wednesday, I will be taking my final physical fitness test. Assuming I pass (which I should), I will receive my final offer from the agency. I already know they have me slated to attend academy from late March through August. In my third month of academy, I will be told what my division office will be. It could be anywhere in the country. New York, Houston, Detroit, Boise, no city is ruled out.

Upon academy graduation,  I would then report to the field office of their choosing and start my life there. As exciting as the job seems, I find myself wondering if it is really the best choice for me and Girl Ninja. What if they station us somewhere we don’t want to live? The agency has made it very clear; you go where they tell you and we shouldn’t expect to be able to transfer for at least five years.

Some of you are probably thinking, “Why don’t you just quit if you don’t like the city they locate you to?” I’ll tell you why I couldn’t just quit. I don’t want to be unemployed! If Girl Ninja and I decide to pursue this dream job, we have to accept the fact we might be relocated to a part of the United States we don’t want to live in. I just don’t know if Girl Ninja and I are as flexible as the position may require us to be.

To make our life even more exponentially confusing, I received an email from my current employer indicating there was an opening in the Seattle field office and my agency was looking for anyone that wanted to transfer. Our DREAM city is Seattle. That’s where we both grew up and that’s where our parents live.

I love my job, I work from home, and I make a decent salary. That said, there is little room for upward movement in my current agency. I can’t imagine I’ll still be doing this five years from now.

So here is our dilemma. Do we take a huge risk and accept the dream job, not knowing if we will like the city we are located to, or even if I really would like the work? Or do we take the opportunity to transfer to Seattle (our dream location) with my current position.

There is something enticing about going on an adventure together. We will never be as flexible as we are now (not having kids or a mortgage payment). If the dream job is as COOL as it sounds, I’d way rather do that for the rest of my life, than what I currently do. Heck, there is even a small chance dream job would locate me to Seattle. But what if the dream job isn’t anywhere near as sweet as it appears? What if we live in Houston (no offense to those in Houston, but 100+ temps and 99% humidity does not appeal to me in the slightest)?

Seattle is the safe choice. I know I already like my job. We know we love the city. And we know we will be happy there.

Do we take a risk, or play it safe? We have about 10 days to make our decision!

Living the high life (limo style)

Every winter, when Girl Ninja and I head north (to Seattle), we try and see as many of our friends as possible. Many of them are married, so we are frequently double dating. Last week, however, we stepped things up a bit and went quintuple dating (five couples). One of my good buddies suggested we take the ladies out for a cruise around downtown Seattle….in a limo. Yeah, that’s right, we are taking high school prom baby, limo status baby. No shame!!!

We ended up renting a ten person stretch limo, to take us on our Epic Date of Epic Epicness. First stop, was at a neat little salad/sandwich shop in Capitol Hill called Homegrown. It’s a completely all-natural, organic, and local eatery. I had a meatloaf BLT (minus the bacon) and it was absolutely INCREDIBLE! It reminded me that as gross as meatloaf looks, it tastes wonderful. Girl Ninja got some vegan sandwich that, in my opinion was mediocre. Total damage for dinner: $25. Here’s a picture of the joint…

With our stomachs full or healthy goodness, we figured it was time to step the romantic meter up a notch and take our lovely wives to one of the more famous look out points in Seattle, Kerry Park. If you ever plan to visit Seattle, YOU HAVE TO GO TO KERRY PARK. It’s seriously one of the best spots in the city. We stayed at the park just long enough to take a handful of pictures. Any longer and I’m convinced my nipples would have fallen off (yes, it was that cold). Instead of just talk about how awesome the view is, it’s probably best to just show you…

After the stop at Karry Park, we hopped back in the limo and cruised around for a bit before we ended up at this fun little dessert shop in Seattle called Dillettante Chocolates. If there is one thing you need to know about me, it’s that I hate chocolate! It’s too darn rich. Nonetheless, I was able to scour the bajillion different dessert options and was quite content to find a very exotic dessert available… vanilla ice cream! Girl Ninja got some chocolate lava cake thingy majigger. We both enjoyed our desserts 🙂 Total damage for dessert: $9. I’ll show ya a picture of the place if you promise me one thing, you won’t drool all over your keyboard.

After an amazing dinner, a great photo opportunity, and some delicious desert, we decided there was only one way to end an almost perfect evening…play Catch Phrase (boys vs girls). The final 45 minutes of the limo ride resulted in an absolute massacre as I don’t think the girls won a single game. Not one game! I couldn’t have dreamed anything better 🙂

Seriously though, for just under $100, I got to spend five hours with some of my closest friends, in a limo, eating healthy food, taking sweet pictures, scarfing down ice cream, and dominating the girls in Catch Phrase. It was probably the best $100 I’ve ever spent. EVER.

What’s the best $100 you’ve spent? When’s the last time you took your significant other out on a non-typical date? What are some clever date ideas I need to explore for Girl Ninja?

Seriously Girl Ninja?

Every now and again I like to rant about some of the funny things Girl Ninja does that I don’t think I will ever understand. Some of my past rants have discussed her inability to keep her hair to herself  (I have found it in my toothbrush and on my clothes), or the 85 million blonde bobby pins that I find in every nook and cranny in our apartment. I’ve got a few more to add to the list…enjoy 🙂

Returns:

Girl Ninja LOVES to buy things, only to return them a few days later. It will never, ever, EVER make sense to me. We go to Christmas Eve service each year which typically means dressing up a little. Girl Ninja headed off to Target to go look for a new outfit for the service. She came back with three outfits. Instead of deciding on them in the store, she decided to buy them and decide on them at home. She came home, tried them on, asked for my two cents, and then picked the outfit she wanted to keep. A few hours later, we were back at Target, standing in the return line. I rarely return things. Girl Ninja ALWAYS returns things.

New Outfits:

Ha! Did you see this one coming after the last example? I will forever be amazed by the excuses girls can come up with to buy a new outfit. Christmas Eve Service…new outfit. Good friends wedding…new outfit. Easter Sunday…new outfit. The Bachelor season finale episode…new outfit. Okay that last example was made up, but I’m not kidding, any chance Girl Ninja has to by a new outfit, she takes it. I’ll never understand how her closet can be jam packed with clothes, but she can still look at me and say “I have nothing to wear.”

Chocolate after dinner:

Nothing makes me laugh harder than Girl Ninja giving me pouty lips, looking like she’s dying and about to cry all because she desperately needs a piece of chocolate after dinner. It’s quite sad really. It doesn’t happen very often, but there are definitely times nothing can get in the way of Girl Ninja’s mission to obtain a chocolate treat. Maybe I should start storing M&Ms in my desk so I can bribe her with them when I need a favor 🙂 I’m convinced, if Girl Ninja ever became homeless, she would hold a sign that read “Will work for Chocolate.”

Ahh, yes. The funny things I never knew about the opposite sex. I’ve only lived with a girl for five months now and can’t imagine what other quirky things I’ll discover over the coming years. What about your partner makes you laugh? Any things you didn’t know you were signing up for? Why do women love chocolate more than men?

What do you do with found money?

I have some great news for you all…well, actually… it’s just great news for me and Girl Ninja. We’re expecting!!!! A $3,000 check that is…not a baby. It was money that we’ve been hoping for, for a very long time, but weren’t sure we’d ever see it.

You remember a few months back when I blogged about getting a $40,000 raise? Well apparently, I jumped the gun a little bit, because that raise was delayed nearly two months.

Girl Ninja started a K/1 split classroom at the beginning of the school year as a substitute, but with hints that it could turn in to a contracted position (meaning she’d get a pay bump and all the benefits of a normal teacher). We thought that contract would come, sometime in late September. It didn’t. We were then told to expect to hear no later than Oct 31st. We heard nothing. November came around and other long-term substitutes were being offered temporary contracts. Things weren’t looking good.

But then, last week, GN got an encouraging email that indicated she should be signing a contract sometime in the next couple weeks. If that happens (which it better or I will be slashing some tires…just sayin), she will be compensated back pay for the three months she’s already worked at the school. Basically meaning she’d get a one time, $3,000 check.

I’ve come to notice a recurring theme in our relationship when it comes to unexpected money, we NEVER agree on what to do with it. When we got $2,500 in cash wedding gifts, I thought the Roth IRA was a perfect avenue, Girl Ninja thought a trip to San Francisco. When I found out I was receiving an award at work that came with a little financial bonus, I figured I could add it to our savings, Girl Ninja thought we could use it for things around our house. We never quite agree on what to do with these little windfalls. That’s why she is my jelly.

My assumption is, of the $3,000, at least $200 will go directly back to her classroom for decorative purposes (we haven’t spent any money on the room as we were never guaranteed she’d be able to stay). Another $300 will be given away/donated (stayin’ true to 10% rule). And the other $2,500 is…well…we haven’t figured that out yet.

This leads to today’s question? What do you do with found money? Do you have a rule like 50% savings, 50% spending? If you have debt, does bonus money always go 100% to it? If you got $2,500 today, how would you allocate it?

Peanut Butter and Jelly

Girl Ninja and I live in a very unique neighborhood. About 20 years ago a couple decided to begin a marriage Bible study in their home. Over the last two decades that Bible study has exploded. There are now over 60 couples (spread out across 10 different bible studies) that meet together each week. As I’ve mentioned before, Girl Ninja and I joined the “young couples” study. Last night we had the opportunity to attend a marriage seminar. And let me tell you, It. Was. Awesome.

The speaker said some really profound, insightful, and down right funny things. There were some incredible nuggets in his message and one of them was this… “Your spouse will never be you, and you will never be your spouse.” Seems pretty simple right? Well, if you’re anything like me, you often forget that.

Girl Ninja and I are completely different. I’m loud, obnoxious, impatient, apathetic. She is compassionate, reserved, and gentle. While our personalities are different, I’m convinced we are perfect complements. Like peanut butter and jelly, we are unique creations that work together to form a divine combination.

Last night was a much needed reminder that I am peanut butter. Girl Ninja is not. And as much as I want her to be peanut butter, she is jelly. She will always be jelly.

So what does this mean for us financially? It means that while I may be an excessive saver, it would be ignorant of me to demand Girl Ninja share an equal zeal for investing, saving, and all the other nerdy PF things I love.

We shouldn’t be trying to CHANGE each other, but instead work towards COMPLETING each other. She teaches me to give money, so we aren’t bound by it. She reminds me that we save money, so we can spend it. She is my perfect complement. She is my jelly.

How has your significant other impacted your personal and financial life? Is your partner your jelly? Any peanut butter with peanut butter relationships out there?

p.s. Men, never call your woman jelly, I don’t think it would go over well.