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Friday, November 21, 2014

How I really Feel

I'm going to interrupt our story for a couple of days because I feel the need to share some other things at the moment.

Today, I met someone for coffee that I really don't know that well.  I mentioned that K was at home with the kids and then later mentioned that his house is actually close to her house.  It seems so normal to me most of the time that I forget that the rest of the world thinks our living arrangements are weird.

She said " How do you live apart like that? My husband lived away and only visited on weekends for two months and that was hard!"

I felt liked I'd been punched,  Our whole marriage when I'd confide in people, I'd hear a lot of things.

  • "That's normal for YOU and that's what matters."
  • "He's just being a man."
  • "He just wants you to take care of him. That's your job."
  • "Things aren't really like that when you are married. You are expecting too much (a fairytale)."
  • "At least he's really nice."

I tried to take all of the advice in.  I stuffed my feelings inside but all around me, I hear and see the truth.  I see the way that couples look at each other. I hear conversations amongst friends about their marriages. I can hear the love in their voices as spouses talk about each other.   It's really amazing that even when friends' complain about their husbands, the love they have for each other shines through anyway.  It really can't be hidden and I wouldn't want them to.  I have children and I want them to see these things. I want them to see the way things should be and not what a situation prevents me from having with their father. 

Lots of people LAT for different reasons.  In my case, I'd be lying if I said I didn't want what those other couples have.  I'm not sharing anything I haven't told K a million times. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Aspergers/NT Expecting

I had always loved kids and babies.  Before we were married, I had wanted 8 and he wanted 2.  We unrealistically compromised at 6.  We decided to wait 5 years after marriage before we had kids. That was the original plan anyway.

It wasn't long before we had an infant and toddler move in next door with their parents.  I would be talking to K in the apartment and suddenly he'd stop responding. I'd go out in the living room where he'd been watching TV.  He was always gone.  He hadn't even let me know he'd left!  Ninety percent of the time I'd walk out side and I could already see him sitting in our neighbors' living room playing with those boys.  He loved seeing them.  I began to see this as my opportunity to bring him back.

Note: In high school, when they told you that having babies to save a relationship was wrong, they weren't just talking about before you are married.  It's also not a good idea to have a baby to save a marriage.  That did not occur to me at the time though and I love ALL of our children very much regardless.

One day, as he was talking about the kids next door I said "We could have some those, you know."

He looked stunned as if the idea had never occurred to him. He didn't say anything else until we were driving to visit family over Thanksgiving.  We were in the car alone

K:  I need you to do me a favor.  I've been praying that we'd get pregnant for two months and you just keep getting your period.  I was thinking if you pray too, then it would help.  You know that whole two or more thing...
Me: Oh, should I go off the pill? Or maybe we should start having sex??!
K: Oh no. Neither of those.  If God wants it to happen, it will happen.
Me: I'm pretty sure we are going to have to meet him half way on this one.
K: Well, let's just wait and see.

By January, he had conceded that we could go off the pill and have sex but only for two months to get pregnant.  I got pregnant on the first cycle. 

I'd just gotten a temporary job with full time hours. I was back in school to see if I could find an actual job, I'd volunteered to help out with the local track team and then I was pregnant.  I was starting to feel really stressed.  Track had not yet started when we saw the coach at the bank.  He asked if I was still planning to help out and just as I was about to say that I was reconsidering, K spoke up and said "Of course she is! She can't wait!"  So that was that.

I held up really well until we had a week off at Easter. I started to have panic attacks but I was young and didn't know what those were. I'd never had them before.  We were supposed to be visiting his parents.  I didn't last long there and made him drive me 4 1/2 hours home.  He left me there and went back to visit his parents. Thank goodness,  my mom came to stay with me so didn't have to suffer through the scary attacks by myself. Oddly, none occurred while she was there.  They were in full force once he returned though.

I was so scared of having these panic attacks that I didn't sleep at night. Things were finally going better with K.  He was starting to be some what loving again in his own way, so I'd lie down with him until he went to sleep and then I'd get up again.  I was averaging about 2-4 hours of sleep per night.  I was still having the panic attacks.  Almost all at night but it eventually turned into constant anxiety.

One day K cames to me and said "I'm concerned about you. I read somewhere that people can die without enough sleep." Thanks! That makes me feel a lot better.

On the fourth of July, I was about 6 months pregnant and felt HUGE.  I really wanted to go see fireworks.  K refused saying that it was too hot to go sit in a crowd.  I was very disappointed and we spent our evening the usual way. K watched TV shows that he knew I didn't like and I spent the evening on the computer trying to get social interaction from Internet forums since it seemed to be the best I could do in that small town.  When the 11 o'clock news came on, K got really excited and told me I need to come see what was on TV as he was just sure I was going to like it.

It turns out there were fire works on the 11 o'clock news. I was not impressed. K could not understand how it wasn't the same thing.  He figured it would be just as good.

Ten days later was our first anniversary.  His mom called.  He hung up the phone and said "Mom says I should take you out to dinner for our anniversary."  I was thinking.  After a year of being married to you, I deserve a lot more than dinner out!

Later that summer, we were sitting at the kitchen table.  I was chopping vegetables for dinner.  He was going on and on about how much he wanted a boy. 

Me: What's wrong with having a girl?
K: I don't think you'd make such a good mom for a girl.
Me. Why not?
K: Well if we have a girl whose going to teach her how to dress nice or put on make up.
Me: I wore make up at our wedding.
K: Yes, you looked beautiful. I meant to ask you who did that for you.
Me: It was ME. I did my own make up.

When I signed us up for childbirth classes, I asked him if the days  I scheduled would be okay.

K:"Why does my schedule matter? I don't need to go."
Me: Yes you do. You are the dad. You are going to be there.
K: My dad wasn't there when I was born. Why should I be there when this one is born?
Me: You're going.

He spent most of the class sessions talking about getting donuts from Krispy Kreme.  He never got them because I'd spent any extra money on the classes and the gas to get there. 

I had been about 4 months pregnant when K came home to find his very modest, flannel pajama loving wife sitting around naked. He was shocked. I explained that my clothes were uncomfortable so I just took them off.  This came up later in childbirth class when the instructor was talking about the stages of labor. She explained that if a woman was losing her modesty and taking off clothes it was time to go to the hospital.  K was very, very concerned about this and raised his hand. "How will I know when to go to the hospital if she lost her modesty at four months pregnant?" 

I went into labor after having a dinner guest one night.  My water broke and K was so excited.   When it was time to go to the hospital, I decided to wear a dress in an attempt to avoid wet pants as I wasn't really prepared for my water to break.  When I came out with my things, he said "Why are you wearing a dress? You are going to the hospital, not to church!"

He called his parents who said they would leave when his dad got off work at 2am.  This wasn't how I imagined it going. No one asked if it was okay if they came so soon.  Luckily, Cupcake was born about an hour before they walked in the hospital room unannounced leaving us with no bonding time as a family. They insisted that K make the hour drive back to our apartment with them because they had brought the crib mattress we needed with this.  That's what you get stuck getting when you wait until the last minute to ask what we need.

I had not wanted to go to the hospital at all.  The place scared me and I didn't want to be left alone. I tried to protest. I hadn't even been able to get cleaned up yet.  He insisted that he go let his parents into our apartment.  It took him 6 hours to return.  He decided to take a nap while he was there.  I had to leave the baby in the nursery which I was very against so I could get a shower.

That night, K did get up with Cupcake so I could sleep some.  He's been in love with all of his kids at first sight.  He doesn't always understand them, but he loves them very much.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

An Asperger's Newlywed

I struggled with whether or not to write this.  Society would say I should leave out the parts regarding sex.  However, when you talk about Asperger's and marriage, sex is a big area where the marriage differs.   According to Eva Mendes, MA, a psychotherapist and couples counselor, "Adults with AS tend to either want a lot of sexual activity or too little." If reading about this topic in relation to my marriage offends you, please skip this post.

Everything seemed great the month before the wedding.  K bounced back quicker than expected from the death of his grandfather and we were looking forward to our wedding.  I was handling last minute details and taking summer classes to finish up my degree.  K finally got a job in his field weeks before the wedding and they wanted him to be there just 10 days later.  We quickly found an apartment in the small town where he had a couple of distant relatives.

We were married in a church wedding as small as I could make it in his hometown.  We did the traditional pictures after the wedding and the photographer kept telling him "Look at me.  Not her."

I'm not sure I'd ever seen him look at me that way and I haven't since.  It all stopped when the photographer asked about taking pictures with grandparents and things were never the same.   After the reception, we left with people blowing bubbles at us and went to visit his Papaw who was unable to attend the wedding.  We went back to the church to change for the picnic following.

K's parents were loading the candelabra that his mother insisted we get (and that I pay for) into a truck to return. It was their sole job for our wedding other than the rehearsal dinner the night before.   Kendall insisted on helping them load it which was taking forever.  Even though I'd wanted to elope and have a honeymoon, I'd planned the wedding with very little help over the past 6 months.  I felt no guilt about leaving them all to clean up the church.  K on the other hand didn't want to leave his family (whom he'd see as soon as they were done returning the candelabra).  So I rode with a friend to the picnic without him.  Around 8pm, I told him it was time to go.  He stalled by talking to everyone he could in the parking lot.  He stalled by stopping to talk to every relative sitting on their front porch on the way to the hotel.  We were getting really funny looks. It took us three hours to make an hour trip.  By the time we got to the hotel at 11pm, I was exhausted.  He made it clear that we were only consummating the marriage "because we have to."

The next weekend we moved our stuff to our new town and then 3 days later, he was gone.  I sent him with a car of neatly packed and labeled boxes that we'd kept at our apartment a little longer. We talked frequently over the next week and a half.  He was in a panic over getting the utilities set up and told me he was completely out of money and that I needed to put some in his bank account so he could live.  I pretty much emptied my account into his even after the bank told me he still had $1000 in it. I trusted my new husband knew what he was talking about.

As I was driving to our new home 10 days later, I imagined neatly packed boxes or everything already put away.  What I actually found was K standing in the office with at least half the boxes empty; the contents mixed together into one big pile on the floor. He was frantically trying to put things away. He looked at me as I walked in and said "Let's go eat." He didn't have a lot to say.

He continued to not have anything to say for at least the next 6 months.  He refused to come anywhere near me.  He stayed up until 2am and was gone by 7am.  I was asleep when he came to bed and still sleeping in the morning since I'd stayed up until I couldn't hold my eyes open waiting for him.  On the occasion that he came to bed while I was awake, he hugged his side of the bed telling me to get away from him.  He'd tell me he'd be home from work at one time and arrive home 2 1/2 hours later even though he only worked fifteen minutes from home and there was no traffic to hold him up. I had to trap him in the car just to talk.  I'd ask about his day when he came home and he'd tell me it was fine.  Then he'd call his dad and give him all kinds of details he refused to give me.

I didn't understand what was wrong.  I was in a new town where I couldn't find a job because they just don't have jobs in my field in small towns and the other jobs seemed to be given to people they knew. Even basic fast food jobs.  This small town was an hour from any city of any size.  The only place I could really go was church.  The one human being who should have been my rock was completely absent from my life.  He was a roommate and nothing more.

I finally directly approached him about lack of action in the bedroom. Like most young couples these days, we had not waited for marriage so it wasn't that he had a reason to be afraid.  He had a million excuses which all seemed as if he was just putting me off. I now realize he may have actually believed some of those excuses since some of it revolved around stereotypes and he acted as if he was doing me a favor to relieve me of the stress of sex.  The absence of it was quickly taking down my self esteem and causing me to doubt the security of my marriage.  When discussing it didn't work, I wrote my feelings down and had him read it he said "This is the same sh$% you are always talking about."

My heart hurt more than anyone could ever imagine.  There was my husband. I wasn't allowed to touch him at all and I was barely allowed to speak to him.  All around me people chatted about intimate moments with their husbands.  I know they didn't think it was a big deal. After all, I was a newlywed, surely I was having those experiences.  Instead, it really hurt to listen to it and I cried myself to sleep every night.  K didn't seem to notice it.  Or at least he didn't care if he did.

We did the grocery shopping together shopping only from the circulars as it was all we could afford.  The first time I threw pads I needed in the cart, he said "Can't that wait until next month?"  I wish!  Still, after he protested again I put them back.  The same thing happened the next month and after that I used money I received for Christmas to purchase cloth ones so I wouldn't have to be without.

If I had felt like I had any support at all or even a job, I would have ended the marriage. I hated where we lived. I hated that I couldn't get a hair cut or even the feminine products I needed.  I wanted something to put my hair up with.  I wanted to go camping and travel with my husband.  Instead, we went to his parents house every month and it was like going from one prison to another.

I wanted my K back but it seemed he was never coming back.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

An Apergers Fiance

Not long after we were engaged, we decided that we'd done a really poor job at picking roommates in the past and decided we would be able to live together much easier.  We each called our parents and gave them a choice.  We could get married before we moved in together or we could wait until I graduated but we would be living together either way.  Both sets of parents unanimously agreed they wanted me to graduate before we got married.

I moved into our apartment first, while he went home for the summer to complete an internship.  He went ahead and moved his things from his old apartment into our apartment.  He set all of his kitchen stuff in the middle of the living floor and went home.  I walked around it for two weeks.  After he didn't pick it up the second weekend, I put it away and asked him about it.

Me: How come you left your kitchen stuff in our living room?
K: Because I wanted you to set up your kitchen the way you wanted it.
Me: How many times have I cooked for you?
K: Once
Me: And what did you do with it?
K: I threw it across the room.
Me: So what makes you think I'm going to cook for you again?
K: Oh

That was just the beginning.  Right away, we had a problem with the shower.  It had a nice window in it that opened to air out the bathroom. Gotta love those things.  He'd leave it open and shut the shower curtain so I didn't realize it was open.  He could not understand why I had a problem with this.  I tried to explain that I did not enjoy being undressed and then realizing the window was open when I opened the shower curtain.  To him, I should just remember to check first.  He refused to change.  I HAD to get a third party involved.  His mind was not going to change on this one.   Finally, he agreed to at least leave the shower curtain open if he was going to open the window so that I could see it was open when I entered the bathroom.

Then he started applying for jobs. One job at a time.  He refused to have more than one job application out at a time.  He waited until that job was filled before he would send another off. He pretty much refused to apply in a city of any type.  My degree was such that I needed a city in order to get a job.   When he did not get a job, he got angry like I'd never seen before.  He once knocked my recently arranged books off the shelf I'd just organized and another time broke the then expensive laser mouse my mother had gotten me for my birthday.  The mouse was never replaced and the books were never picked least not by him.

Everything was explained away by the stress of his internship and trying to find a job.

During the first semester, house work was easy to keep up with. He was gone for most of the day.  I could do my homework while I was doing our laundry and tidy up while he was gone. 

The second semester did not start well.  His beloved grandmother whom he thought of as a mother passed away at the end of Christmas Break.  This sent him into an extreme depression.  I tried to be there for him.  I understood when he woke up crying in the middle of the night for most of the first 6 months.  However, he mostly sat in front of the TV watching static because we were too cheap to pay for cable and the house became impossible to clean up since he was always in it and not even doing the basics of cleaning up after himself.  I tried to explain that they would be showing our apartment soon and he didn't care.  The landlord showed it a mess.  I had school work that needed to be finished and I ended up having to drop classes to plan a wedding all by myself and make attempts at house work.  This meant I would still be going to school for the first two weeks we were married.  During this time I also felt forced to quit training for the triathlons I'd come to love.  Taking care of him, planning a wedding, and trying very unsuccessfully to take care of our apartment left me no time.

In May, his grandfather passed away.  He had gone on a trip across the state with his job.  His parents knew this and still failed to inform him when things were getting serious with his grandfathers health. They left a message on our answering machine about the family being called in and I spent 6 hours trying to track him down.  He had ridden down with a co-worker and had no car.  He wasn't quite old enough to rent a car but since I'd had to go through multiple sheriffs/police departments to get his whereabouts (his work refused to help and he didn't own a cell phone.) they were able to  get him in a rental car.  I told him I'd meet him at the hospital.  He calls me from a pay phone an hour from where he started and tells me he's stopping to eat.  I was furious.  He said "What? Do they think he's going to die?"  Umm yeah.  That's why I spent my entire day tracking you down!

He handled this one much better since this grandfather wasn't a father figure to him.  And just when I thought things couldn't get any worse, they finally seemed to get better.

During this time, I began to think about backing out of the wedding and decided it would be a crummy thing to do someone.  I assumed that this was just a phase that was caused by a stressful year for him.

Monday, November 17, 2014

An Aspergers Engagement

Our engagement will be described in two separate posts.  This post describes the proposal and the first several months afterwards.

After going out for almost a year and a half, K and I decided to live together during the summer between my Sophomore and Junior years of college.  It was just for the summer and I put as much space between us as I possibly could.

I still wasn't convinced that I should be with K.  Being the innocent guy he is, he was eating lunch with a girl from one of his classes every single day while I worked at the campus pool.  He was kind of enough to bring me lunch most days but even so I had high hopes that maybe he would choose her.  She claimed to have a boyfriend but I did eat lunch with them on a day off and she didn't acknowledge me at all.  Either way, that one fizzled out and she was gone when the summer was over.

At the end of the summer, when it was time for me to move back into the dorm, he asked "We're looking for another roommate. Why don't you just move in with me and  we could get hitched next September?" 

I thought he was joking so I joked back.  He got a really hurt look in his eyes and said "I wasn't joking.  I was being serious."  Ooops.

He proceeded to ask me to marry him every two weeks from August to November.  Each time, I told him I wasn't ready.  Then one day in November, it occurred to me that I would really miss him if he wasn't in my life. I really did start to feel a connection and things did start to feel right.  I waited until he asked again which was when we were about to leave for Thanksgiving break.  He asked.  I said yes.

 He said "What?????  I don't think we are ready for that yet." 

 I wasn't prepared.  "But you said you were serious and acted so hurt the other times when I said, no."

 "Well," he said, "I talked to my mom about it and she told me I should wait and not be in a rush." 

It was a well known fact this his mother hated me.  She treated me like it and told everyone she knew that she didn't like me. They weren't shy about telling me about it and neither was she.

I decided that I knew him and I was sure I'd have a diamond waiting at Christmas.  For Christmas I received socks sand pajamas.  I started backing off and finding reasons to avoid him.  He obviously wasn't as serious as he claimed to be.

And for a month, he left me alone.  Then he convinced me that he was serious. 

I had a great idea for Valentines Day that year and he drove me to the mall to get what I needed.  I asked if I could borrow his brother since I wasn't familiar with the mall near his house.  He refused saying that he needed his brother to come with him.  I started to have high hopes that maybe he was looking for a ring so I took my time walking through the mall after I gathered what I needed.  I finally made my way out to the parking lot and saw him.  As I approached the car, my hopes were once again dashed as he bragged about picking out my gift and being back at the mall within 15 minutes.   He can't keep a secret so by the time we got to his parents house, I realized that he had in fact purchased the a 15 min. round trip to the jewelry store.

Once we got to his parents house, he asked that I wait outside explaining that he wanted to show his parents what he'd gotten me.  It took forever as I went to talk to the family dogs.  I was thinking, "His parents must be really upset.  That's why he hasn't come back for me."

I finally knocked on the door.  Someone opened the door and there was K playing video games on the computer.  He had not thought to come get me and let me know it was okay to come inside. 

Later that night, we went to dinner with his brother.  K had a little too much wine and described the ring perfectly. At one point, he realized he'd told me exactly what he'd gotten and had a shocked look on his face.  I told him it was okay and he asked if he could just go ahead and propose that night so he could show the ring to everyone at church the next morning.  It wasn't the proposal I'd dreamed about but since it was what he wanted, I tried to be okay with it.

I was allowed to wear the ring to church the next morning but after that he insisted on keeping the ring with him.  He was worried I would lose it.  Friends were worried every time they saw me without the ring thinking that the engagement was off until I explained that he wouldn't let me wear it.  I was sure that would change once we had it sized right since it was a little big.  

He continued to refuse to let me wear the ring after it was sized right. He said he was concerned that I would lose it or hurt it due to my active lifestyle.  Finally, a friend of my mothers very clearly told him that I was supposed to be allowed to wear the ring and never take it off. Suddenly I was allowed to wear it.

In case you are curious, the jewelry store confirmed that the ring was the fastest one they'd ever sold.  He was in and out within 5 minutes with the ring.  He hadn't thought to check more than one store and it was the only one in his price range.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Aspergers As A Boyfriend

I've decided to share our full story.  The truth about an Aspergers/Neurotypical relationship is really hard for people on the outside to understand.  When K and I were first married, I scoured the Internet looking for people with similar issues, not knowing about Aspergers Syndrome at the time.  No one talked about it. This stuff is supposed to be private but keeping it in really did more damage to myself.  Not that anyone would have believed me anyway.  Finally around 2008, I started to find people who were writing about the same problems on message boards.  All of their husbands had Asperger Syndrome.   Well, that sure wasn't our problem. I surely would realize if I'd married someone autistic, right?  It would be so obvious. He'd be mute if that was the case.  I've come so far in my understanding since then.

I'll start from the very beginning. I was approached by someone in my dorm early in the fall of my freshman year of college.   Over dinner one evening, she started to tell me she'd met a guy just like me.  He could even eat almost as much as me.  Entering college at 110 lbs, I could out eat all of the guys who lived on my dorm floor due to running about 50 miles a week.  She was interrupted by another girl asking how things were going with my daily breakfast date and the subject was immediately dropped.

Five months later, things had not worked out with "Breakfast Boy" and K came up again.  This time it resulted in a surprise meeting in this girls dorm room.  I still remember thinking as I was unpacking my things from my trip home that the jeans and t-shirt I was wearing were not my first choice of clothing.  I'm not even sure if my hair had been brushed that day.   Still, when the same girl appeared in my doorway asking if I'd like to meet K, I said "Sure, why not?"

It was a really short meeting meant apparently for him to make sure I was acceptable not some scary "feminazi."  I'd like to think he changed his mind about "feminazis" after meeting me; though I'm pretty sure he just didn't notice my personality at all.   I remember thinking that his hair which was thick and curly was kind of cute. She'd told him "She's just like you.  She's even almost as messy as you."

What were we thinking?  We now have messy houses and huge grocery bills!

He later called and asked if I'd like to go to dinner and a movie.  The night we were supposed to go out, the water went out in our twin dorms.  No showers, no problem. I just showered at the gym and finished getting ready in my room.  Then the phone rang and it occurred to me for the first time that the water being out might be enough for him to cancel. Nope.  I guess he wanted to make sure his I didn't show up stinky because  he offered to let me shower at his girl friend's apartment. 

Overall, he should have gotten an 'A' for effort. I almost didn't recognize him when he met me in the lobby because he'd cut off his beautiful curls for the occasion.  He cooked dinner, sang to me during dinner while he played his guitar, and then we went to watch The Titanic.  However, I didn't feel any real attachment to him and I wasn't looking for a boyfriend so when he asked what I wanted, I  said "I'm not looking for a relationship." 

He said he understood. But when we returned from Spring Break a little over a week later, he began calling and asking me to do something every evening.   I felt guilty going because I knew I didn't have any feelings for him but I felt like I should give it a try since we were supposed to be so perfect for each other.  We did all sorts of fun things.  Looking back, he had really planned it all out carefully to win me over.  I still thought of him very much as a friend. I finally caved after a month and we were a couple.

The first six months were full of breakups. All me breaking up with him.  All because I didn't feel a connection with him.  The last one was at six months.  It lasted two weeks. I was right to break up with him and would have been more right to stay broken up with him but everyone we knew took a side.  His side.  I was harassed by everything from "But he's so nice. You'll never find another one like him." to "Well, if you break up with him, we're still hanging out with him because we like him."  He called and e-mailed constantly which I ignored. My roommate told him not worry that I'd be back. The final straw was when my best friend confronted me.  I figured he'd get tired of me eventually. 

K was everything people say would make a good boyfriend.  He was loyal and happy to hang out with my friends.  He seemed to really care and my friends especially liked that he wasn't all over me the way the last guy had been.  He later confessed that he learned how to behave by reading a lot of Cosmo.

There were warning signs then:
  • K was extremely quiet.  We really didn't talk much.
  • He was rather awkward. His different walk was noticeable right away.
  • He does/did?  have a high voice.  It was noticeable to me then. Not so much 17 years later.
  • It was really hard to connect with him.  It took at least a year and a half before I felt a connection at all.  I was ready to give up. My friends weren't.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Budgeting Two Households

Today, we had a huge argument.  It was about money.

 With one household, we were really on top of our game.  Early in our marriage, I had nothing better to do and since we were two people living on one first year teacher's income, I pinched pennies until they bled. We never felt like we had to do without but I was very, very careful.  It was 2001 and  we only went shopping once per month.  We shopped the sales circular. Whatever was on sale the week K got paid was what we ate for the entire month. Our budget for feeding two and household items was $150.  We purchased certain bulk items like rice and flour from a warehouse store and then everything else as described above. We purchased no milk, eggs, fruit, or anything to drink.  We drank water and the rest I deemed unnecessary since we were childless and slightly poor.  After I had a job at one point, we had gas in ONE car and none in the other.  Debt scares me.  I don't feel like we are going to be making a ton later in life to pay off the debt.  So, I drove K to school and picked him up for the rest of the month.   Luckily as time went on and our family grew we were able to stretch out a bit not worry so much while still remaining quite frugal.

Fast forward to 2014 when we have separated into two houses and have maintained joint finances.  Things aren't quite as easy now. We put down most of our pennies on the second house.  For one thing, it's hard for either of us to monitor where the money is being spent since we aren't noticing new things walk into the house, we see each other's eating habits, and we have different views of necessities.  A common argument here is that I bought a house we didn't need.  I claim that he didn't sell a house that we didn't need.  Either way things can get pretty stressful and I would think this is a normal "growing pain" of the situation.

So, I sat down with our budget that I made.  It had all necessary expenses listed in one column.  The next column contains the amount spent on every item.  Then there is a column with each of our names and the expense amounts we are responsible for taking care of every month. We do what we can to make sure that we have the right amounts in each account.  I took another look at our bank accounts.  We should be fine.  It will be close because the fall is always hard due to being paid at odd times but we should be fine.

As a side note, things that are not included in the budget are fun expenses for the family because we try to pay those up front rather than installments.  We try to keep as few payments as possible so we don't have to tell one of the kids they have to stop an activity in the middle. Or me either. My hope is that if it comes down to not being able to afford something we will have some warning and will be able to think about how to handle it. Most of the time I feel like you'd have to pry my gym membership and swim practices from my cold dead hands but I know if I had some warning I could come up with a creative way to replace it.