A Ninja Love Story

The story of how Girl Ninja and I came to fall in love is not the typical fairy tale that we all read about. We’ve had our ups and downs, but after four years of dating we are excited to commit our lives to each other. I hope you enjoy our love story.

It was spring of my Freshmen year. I, like most single college guys, was interested in two things. Food and girls. Five months in to my Freshmen year, I received a voicemail from my best friend (let’s call him Blake). He said “Ninja, I just got done hanging out with my girlfriend (let’s call her Ashley) and one of her friends…” He went on to tell me about how Girl Ninja had blonde hair, blue eyes, and was an amazing person. After speaking with Blake, I also learned she was only a junior in high school.  And to make matters worse, she lived in Washington state (I attended college in San Diego). I thanked my friend for looking out for me, but told him I was on a mission to find a girlfriend and wasn’t about to wait two years for Girl Ninja to begin college.

Nine months later (and still single), I flew to Seattle for Christmas break. Blake and Ashley insisted Girl Ninja and I meet, so they planned a double date for us. We baked cookies, played board games, and had an all around good time. Although Girl Ninja and I enjoyed each others company during the date, I don’t think either of us were convinced we were destined to be together. We wished each other well and I headed back to San Diego to finish out the school year.

Fast forward another nine months. I’m frustratingly still single and Girl Ninja starts her Freshmen year at my college (I’m now a Junior). About once a week we would chat online or wave to each other in passing. That was the extent of our friendship.

A few months in to the school year, I learned from Ashley, that Girl Ninja was not adjusting well to college life. She was feeling pretty homesick. I decided to ask Girl Ninja out, on a date, to hopefully brighten her spirits. We went rock climbing, shopping, to dinner, and watched a movie together. It was a lot of fun, but there was still no spark between us.

Immediately after our date, Ashley and Blake, called to see if I fell in love with Girl Ninja. I’m pretty sure I could hear their hearts break, when I told them I wasn’t interested. They finally got the point and realized maybe Girl Ninja and I weren’t supposed to be together.

One night, during spring semester of Junior year, I invited Girl Ninja over to my apartment to watch “24” with me and my roommates. When she came over she sat down on the couch next to my friend Nate. The oddest thing happened, I felt jealous. Why didn’t Girl Ninja want to sit next to me? I didn’t know why I was jealous, it’s not like I had a crush on her. Did I? Turns out, I did.

After a few weeks of trying to convince myself I shouldn’t date Girl Ninja cause it would be too weird, I finally gave in and asked her on another date. We went to the mall, walked around for a bit, and eventually sat down for dinner. Before our meal came, I decided it was time to tell Girl Ninja how I felt. I said, “I know we have hung out a few times before, but today I asked you out for a different reason. Over the last two years I have had Blake and Ashley tell me how wonderful you are, but instead of hear it from them over and over, I’d like to get to know you better myself. I know there is this awkward pressure of us getting married, I’m not interested in that. But to be perfectly honest, I do like you.”

At this point, Girl Ninja turns bright red with embarrassment because she just thought we were going on another casual date. I totally caught her off guard and she didn’t know how to react. Let’s just say she didn’t necessarily respond by confessing her undying love for me. She was, however, open to the idea of getting to know each other more.

This is where things got interesting. I learned, over the next few weeks, that Girl Ninja had actually been seeing another guy. I realized it was time to step up my game and force Girl Ninja to fall in love with me. I wooed the crap out of her, frequently surprising her with flowers, her favorite Starbucks drink, and other little presents.

After four months of intense pursuing on my part, she still had feelings for the other guy. I had fought a long and hard battle, but realized I just couldn’t convince her to be my girlfriend. I decided to write her a loooooong letter (yeah I know, kind of an emo thing to do) telling her I tried my hardest to show her that I respected/appreciated/cared for her, but I had to throw in the towel and move on. I was ending my pursuit.

A week after I sent that letter an awkward thing happened. We had to fly to Seattle together to participate in the wedding of my friend Blake, to her friend Ashley (we were both in the wedding party).  Let’s just say the plane ride home was a little uncomfortable and not much was said. The next day, at our friends rehearsal dinner, I literally ignored her all day, because it was too hard for me to pretend like I wasn’t frustrated with her.

The next day, at the wedding, I pushed the bitterness aside and just enjoyed myself. Turned out this worked to my favor, Girl Ninja loved watching me interact with my friends, and she definitely couldn’t resist my awesome dance moves. That night, I had unknowingly won her heart.

A few weeks after our friends’ wedding, we had the DTR (Define the Relationship) talk when I officially became her first, last, and only boyfriend.

Our relationship has been slow moving from day one. Eighteen months of hearing about each other, but never hanging out. Followed by, five months of friendship. Another five months of winning her heart. Heck, we didn’t even kiss until three months after we became “official” (I’m GN’s first and only kiss). Now after four years of dating, we couldn’t be happier and are super excited to embark on this new part of life together. If it wasn’t for Blake and Ashley’s annoying persistence, Girl Ninja and I would probably never have met, and I’d probably still be single. I freakin’ love the heck out of this girl and can not wait to show her that every morning, day, and night.

Booya for love!

p.s. We were both in Blake and Ashley’s wedding party, and they will now both be in ours 🙂

Do we really need china?

Gentlemen, I have some words of wisdom to share with you: Pick and chose your battles wisely. I am no relationship expert, but I have definitely learned a few things. Particularly, when to wave the white flag and admit defeat.

Getting married is a pretty humbling experience. I am constantly reminded that life is not just about me anymore. I’m learning to be less selfish and more selfless. I am far from a”perfect” fiancé, but I do my part to love Girl Ninja as best I can. Sometimes that requires me to step outside of my comfort zone. The ability to compromise doesn’t always come easy, but it is an essential piece in any healthy relationship.

Here are a few areas were I had to learn to bite my tongue…

China

Apparently girl ninja is part Asian ’cause she has a strong affinity for china. No, not the country. The dishware. You know, the really expensive plates, bowls, and cups that you only use once a year. I’m willing to bet just about every dude out there (and probably a bunch of you women) don’t understand the concept of having extremely expensive dishes that only get used a handful of times. I’m right there with you. That said, it is extremely important to Girl Ninja that we have a set of china in our future home. Growing up she loved the days that family gathered around the formal dining room table and sat down to the fancy plate-ware (typically holidays and special occassions). To Girl Ninja, china is not just about expensive dishes. It has a much deeper meaning. China to Girl Ninja means enjoying a special meal with those that are most important to her. As silly as I think the expense may be, I can’t argue with the significance. Thus, we registered for this china set….

Our first place.

Yeah I know. I’ve blogged about it many times and I’m sure you are sick of hearing about it, but this is definitely an area where I have to learn to compromise. I’m currently paying 11% of my gross income towards rent each month. I have become so acclimated to minimal rent expenses that the idea of paying more for a place totally freaks me out. Although my cost of living is low for my income, it definitely has its downfalls. It’s not in the safest of locations. It’s pretty outdated. And it gets almost no natural light. It’s a total man cave and Girl Ninja would drop dead if she had to live here. We recently started apartment shopping and have been looking at places that are around 28% of my gross income. With the addition of Girl Ninja’s income it would really be about 21% of our household gross income. It’s nearly double the percentage I’m currently paying, but it’s still a totally reasonable number. If GN is going to feel more safe and comfortable in a place that costs a little more (but is within our budget) then you better believe I’m gonna provide for her.

Flowers

I know just about every guy out there reading this is shaking his head in agreement with me. What the heck is it about flowers that women love so much? Sure they smell nice, but so do brownies, and at least brownies taste yummy. Okay, maybe they can brighten a place up, but so can a 52″ flat screen TV. For as long as I live, I will never understand why Girl Ninja loves getting flowers as much as she does. She’s messed up in the head, but ya know what? If that’s how she feels loved, then I’m more than happy to drop $10 every now and again to make her day a little brighter. Do I like spending $10 on something that dies a week later? No. Do I like making Girl Ninja happy? Yes. Flowers it is then.

These are just a few of the areas of I’ve been learning to put Girl Ninja’s needs before mine. I’m slowly picking up on the art of compromise, but still have a long way to go. The old saying “Happy wife. Happy life” has never rang more true.

What are some areas of your life that you sacrificed for your partners benefit? Can one of you women please explain to me why you enjoy getting flowers so much? Ever seen a relationship fail due inability to compromise?

What are your financial commandments

As I mentioned before, Girl Ninja and I are going through premarital counseling. We are three weeks in and it has been totally awesome. We meet with a local couple that has been married for 25 years. At the end of each counseling session GN and myself are usually tasked with homework assignments. One of Girl Ninja’s  assignments, this last week, was to initiate a conversation about finances. Girl Ninja is not the biggest fan of talking money, so this was a GREAT exercise for her.

A few nights ago we had that talk, and it was absolutely wonderful. We shared with each other what financial commandments were most important to us. That’s right, financial commandments, kinda like the biblical ones (thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not murder, thou shalt not eat pop rocks and drink soda at the same time).

We each came up with a few of our own….

Girl Ninja’s Commandments:

  • Thou shalt tithe 10% of gross income before any spending occurs.
  • Thou shalt not take on any debt, except to purchase a home
  • Thou shalt let me take yoga classes even though the membership is $80/month

My Commandments:

  • Thou shalt not take on any debt besides a mortgage
  • Thou shalt put 15% of gross income in to retirement
  • Thou shalt talk about money together at least once a quarter

It was really cool to hear Girl Ninja’s commandments. Obviously there are other things that we think are important, but these commandments are CORE to our financial principles. The best thing about our commandments is that we are more than happy to embrace each others.

Girl Ninja is a dedicated tither. I, however, have always struggled letting go of ‘my’ money. I’m excited to learn from Girl Ninja how to become less emotionally attached to cash. She is going to encourage and model to me what a faithful giver really looks like and I can’t wait to delight in that with her.

I can’t tell you how sexy it was to hear her say that debt was not an option….purrrrr. Knowing that she hates debt just as much as I do, allows me to sleep easy at night. I don’t have to worry about her pressuring me to finance our next car or worry about her charging up a ton of money on the credit cards behind my back.

Lastly, she really wants to stay involved in yoga class, even though she knows it’s kind of pricey. Umm excuse me Girl Ninja….what’s that…. you want to know if I’m okay with you taking a class that is going to give you buns of steel and rock hard abs? Let me think about it…. YES PLEASE! If you want to spend a little money so you can get your sexy on, by all means GO FOR IT. It will be a cold day in hell before you see me take sexification away from the wifey 🙂

Like I said before, it was totally awesome getting to listen to GN as she shared her fundamental financial beliefs. I’m going to give those of you with significant others a task. I want you to ask your partner what their HONEST financial commandments would be, even if you weren’t a part of their life (I don’t want them feeling pressured to say things they think you want to hear, but only things they truly believe). You might be surprised by some of the things that come out of their mouth. I sure was.

So, reader, what are you financial commandments???

The less glamorous side of marriage

I’m gonna be completely honest. There are a few things about getting married that kind of stress me out.  I get so caught up in the fantasy of marriage, that I sometimes forget to take a good hard look at the reality of marriage. And the reality is, marriage isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. Here are a few of the things that will change once I get married, that I’m not super excited about…

Cell Phone…

Word on the street has it cell phones can cost a pretty penny. I’ve been fortunate enough to leach off my parents’ family plan, meaning I have never paid for my cell phone. Girl Ninja is also on a plan with her family. Apparently once I get married, Mom Ninja thinks it’s time to give me the boot. She thinks that because I’m old enough to get married, this MUST mean I’m also old enough to pay for my cell phone bill. She’s crazy right? You hear that Mom, you are sick in the head (I still love you though and can’t wait to see what snarky comment you will leave on today’s post). Being that I basically have a huge crush on my iPhone, I couldn’t imagine giving it up. After some intense research, I’ve concluded an iPhone family plan for GN and myself would run just shy of $200/month, an expense I’m not excited about taking on. (side note: family plans only allow 5 lines per plan and GN and my family are both too large to just join on with one of them)

Hair…

I thought it was only dogs that shed their hair, but I’ve learned that’s not exactly true. Girl Ninja has the most beautiful NATURAL blonde hair. I’m talking like real blonde, not dirty blonde. Here’s a picture of the top of Girl Ninja’s head…

While I do love her hair. It seems to also love me. I have black interior in my car and every time Girl Ninja sits in the passenger seat, her hair tends to “stick” around (haha, get it…STICK around!). I don’t know if I’m quite prepared to share a living space with her and her hair. Just about any guy I’ve asked (that lives with a girl) has told me their S.O.s hair ends up everywhere. The shower, the counter, the carpet, the kitchen, the milk carton. Their is no escaping it. Maybe one night, while GN is sleeping, I will replace her shampoo with some super glue. You know, to ensure her hair stays on her head…where it belongs. Ladies, can’t you control your shedding issues?

Growing up…

I guess when I get married I’m going to become something I’ve dreaded for a very long time… an adult! If you haven’t noticed, I tend to be slightly EXTREMELY immature. I still thinking farting is funny. I laugh at really dumb videos on youtube, like this one. And this is a shirt from my closet…

I’m doing my best to face the reality of marriage. I mean, I’m going to be responsible for another person’s well being. That’s a huge freakin’ deal. While growing up is definitely intimidating, I know that I’m at a place in my life where I can do just that. I have a good job (with benefits), a decent financial footing, a desire to provide for my family, and a love for GN that I have never experienced with anyone else. I guess I need to start getting my news from the newspaper and not MTV.

Okay, I think my list ends here. These are a few areas of marriage that I’m not quite yet prepared to face. I have five months left before the big day, hopefully I can figure something out before then.

For the married folks, What are some other “not so glamorous” aspects of marriage you have faced? If you aren’t married, what would be on your list?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=weomAnZPLsY

Who pays $4,000 for a honeymoon!?

As Girl Ninja and I approach our wedding day, we have began the honeymoon planning phase. I have alluded to the honeymoon cost ($4K) in a few posts and have received my fair share of criticism. Especially after this article got picked up by the Consumerist. After reading some of the “not-so-nice” comments I can’t help but think this is what some people are saying….

Pam: Ninja must be off his rocker. Who does he think he is, spending $4,000 on a honeymoon?

Deb: I know. It’s like he thinks he’s one of those millionaires or something. Seems pretty stupid to me.

Pam: Yeah. I totally agree. I can’t believe he thinks he’s qualified to have a personal finance blog when he clearly lives a life of luxury.

Deb: I know right. He’s totally hypocritical. Plus, he probably smells weird.

Am I planning on spending $4,000 on a honeymoon? Yes. Do I care if some think that is too much money for a vacation? No. Sorry, but I don’t. Girl Ninja and I are looking to head somewhere in the Caribbean, possibly Aruba or Puerto Rico. I have made a spreadsheet with some of our favorite places, and the cost of each trip….

As you can see, the estimates run from $3,500-$4,200 for a seven day vacation. Now that you know how much we are looking at spending and where we are planning on going, it’s time to roll my sleeves up and put the boxing gloves on.

Here’s why I’m okay “blowing” 20% of my savings on a “silly” vacation…

1) Girl Ninja and I both have a relatively limited exposure to the world. Mexico, Canada, and the Marshal Islands are the only places I’ve been. GN’s experiences are pretty similar. We figure our honeymoon is the perfect excuse to gain some insight in to a different culture. Sure we could probably spend $2,500 and a cash advance on a week long vacation in Hawaii, but we aren’t just taking a honeymoon to sit on a beach all day and do nothing. We want to interact with the locals, go on some tours, and take advantage of all that a foreign country has to offer.

2) I have the money to do it. I don’t think anyone who reads my blog regularly, would say I have a problem saving money. In fact I’ve increased my net worth by over $30,000 in the last year. I save diligently, so that I can afford to do fun things when the opportunity arises. Yes, my savings account will take an 18% hit, but at my current savings rate, I will be able to recoup the loss in a couple of months. I bet if I said I had a $10,000 emergency fund and a $10,000 vacation/fun fund, instead of $20K in savings, people wouldn’t give me any grief. Sometimes people, including myself, forget it’s okay to spend money. I think I’m due for a little treat.

3) This honeymoon is going to be a big deal for our relationship. Our honeymoon will be a time of many firsts. I’ve shared reasons why GN and I do not live together, but I should also note, we have never even stayed the night in the same room. Thus, we have never vacationed together, not even a weekend get-away. The honeymoon would be the first time Girl Ninja and I sleep in the same bed together, the first time we wake up next to each other, the first time I have to remember to put the toilet seat down after going potty. It will be our first taste of the married life, and we want it to be AMAZING. If you haven’t caught on by now, let me spell it out for you…

Even though we have been together for 3.5 years, we made a choice early in our relationship to NOT participate in any “adult” activities until we got hitched. (wow that felt awkward to type)

I know some of my critics have my best interest at heart, and don’t want to watch me throw away a good chunk of change on a one week trip, but I hope you see that this is much more than “a vacation”. It’s going to be a time of many firsts and I’m totally fine splurging for a nicer vacation to ensure the week is awesome.

Okay, now that I feel totally awkward for sharing point 3, let’s open the floor for discussion.

1) Where do you think I should go on my honeymoon?

2) Where did you go (or want to go) on your honeymoon?

3) Do you think I’m spending too much on “a vacation”?

4) What’s the coolest thing about the honeymoon experience?