It’s officially spring now, although for me spring actually came a long time ago for two reasons.
A) Where I’m from, spring is said to begin March 1. It goes until May 31; then summer begins June 1 and ends August 31, and so on. I recently learned that Australia follows the same custom (except of course their seasons are reversed), which made me very happy for some reason. Probably because memorizing the seasons and visualizing them on the calendar is such as a key part of childhood, my childhood at least.
B) After an unusually mild and relatively dry and sunny winter, spring arrived early in Seattle. The city has been in bloom for at least a month, and my seasonal allergy is in full swing. I still love this season, though. Until last year or maybe even this year, I honestly couldn’t say what my favorite season was, but now I can confidently say that spring is the one. I wonder if it might be different in the Methow, though. Because the climate is so different – mostly a lot drier – there are likely a lot fewer blooming trees there, and few, if any, tulips, daffodils, and other springtime flowers that I love so much. Now that I think about it, there must be fewer plants in bloom in the Methow not even so much because of the climate, but first and foremost because it is not all landscaped like Seattle is with non-native plants. As much as I am a fan of native plants and in general keeping the existing landscape intact, cherry and plum blossoms are definitely things I will miss if we move.
We’re making some decent progress on the financial front, continuing to pay off debt as well as build our savings. We also just finished paying off a medical bill that we had been chipping away at in monthly installments for nearly two years. This is going to free up $85/month that can be used to further decrease our credit card debt and/or go into savings. We still have about $15,000 in credit card debt left, which is a huge amount of money for us, but it’s a long ways away from the $22,000 that was looming over our heads two years ago. Admittedly, a lot of the recent progress on the debt and savings front was due to my freelance income as well as a sizable tax refund. My freelance work is likely to dry up completely or almost completely until the fall, and tax refunds, well, they only come once a year… Also, our medical expenses are likely to go up soon as P. tries a new type of treatment. It is covered by his insurance, but we are still responsible for the deductible and co-insurance, and because the treatment is quite costly (I wish the hospital would return my phone calls and give me at least a ballpark estimate of the price), our 20% co-insurance amount is likely to be pretty high as well. This will definitely put a dent in our ability to pay off debt and increase savings as quickly as we have been doing in the past several months, but of course it will be worth it a thousand times if the treatment works.
In other news, I may be flying to see my parents in the next month or so. My mom is in bed and barely mobile for the next couple of months due to a nasty fracture, which came less than a week after she returned to work after surgery that had kept her in bed for the preceding two months… The timing really could not be worse for her. My dad is taking care of her, of course, working from home as much as possible and taking days off here and there. It seems to be working out well, and according to mom, she is well-supplied with books, movies, and yummy food that my dad (normally NOT a cook) has been churning out. Still, I’d like to spend some time with her to keep her company and give dad a bit of a break, at least in the kitchen. While he approaches his new cooking responsibilities (as all tasks) with quiet diligence and a tendency towards perfectionism, and mom (an AMAZING cook) claims that the results are really pretty tasty, dad will be the first to acknowledge that chopping and stirring is not the best use of his time. Ever the engineer, he says that mom is much more efficient when it comes to cooking, so it makes more sense for her to be doing it – once she is well again, of course. I’m just glad that she actually enjoys cooking, so she doesn’t mind this sort of division of labor.
There are lots of other, mostly small-time news, mostly unrelated to the topic of this blog, and, in all honesty, I’m not sure if they are worth cataloging here. And then there are not so much news, but thoughts, ideas, abstractions, moods that are floating around. There are probably worth writing about, or at least trying to, but will have to wait for another day, or, rather, many other days. For now, I’m off to feed the neighbors’ cat. I last stopped by more than 12 hours ago so he must be pretty hungry by now. Hopefully not hungry enough to attempt some fishing in the fish tank!