Friday, December 16, 2005

It’s A Magic Month

You probably think I’m talking about the holidays but I’m not. Back in my 20s I lived for magic months, and then my position in life changed a bit and they were less important. Now, with my finances the way they are (you know who I am) they have become more cherished.

If you get paid every 2 weeks, and you budget based on that, then there are 2 magic months a year. Here’s how it works. There are 52 weeks a year. Divide that by 2 and you get 26 pay checks. There are of course 12 months in a year and if you get 2 paychecks a month that would only account for 24 paychecks a year. So 2 months in every year you get 3 paychecks. December is one of those months. This month paydays fall on the 1st, 15th, and the 29th.

My finances were a lot simpler when I was 25 so I would pay all non-rent bills with the first paycheck in the month and then rent would be paid with the second paycheck in the month. When those magic months came along it was like a had a paycheck that was unaccounted for in the bill paying scheme. At 25 that meant one thing and one thing only: Woo-hoo! Par-tay!

My finances are more complicated now but I’ve decided to treat this as a good old fashioned Magic Month. As I write this I’m feeling a little guilty that I didn’t go out and lavish friends and family with Christmas gifts. Instead I spent it on myself. I’m having a dinner party for a few select friends tomorrow. It is a way to showcase my fabulous new kitchen. After reading Minor Adjustments “Helpful Tips On Proper Party Throwing” (Oooo, I need ice!) I felt I was sorely lacking in a few areas. Actually, three areas to be specific: Plates, glasses, and heat.

The big problem with my plates is that there just aren’t enough of them. If I threw everything I had together I could come up with enough dishes, but I mean, I have this new kitchen. It’s just not the same. Six month a ago paper plates would have been acceptable….but the kitchen, come one….I had to. The same holds true for glasses. Jam jars and plastic cups just don’t cut it anymore. So I went out and bought service for 6 in both departments. That was after drooling over the turn of the century Lamoge service for 12 with all the bells and whistles that I saw on Ebay. Someday.

The parlors are nice and toasty thanks to the spectacular new pocket doors, but we’re not eating in the parlor. We’re not eating in the dining room either because I don’t have a dining room table at this point (I’m getting there!). We will be eating in the kitchen because that is where the table is. Not exactly an ideal dinner party setting, but that’s OK. Actually, now that I think about it I may drag the table into the dining room. If not, I will be cooking so that will bring some heat but there needs to be more. The chimney for the ultra-hip 1890s cast iron stove does not go out the roof yet, so I can’t use that.

So anyway I went out and bought the largest oil filled radiator heater I could find. When I was buying it the kid at the register kept telling me to be sure to crack the window because these things put out a lot of heat. I assured him it would not be a problem. He would say, “Oh I don’t know, my apartment gets pretty hot”. I didn’t have the heart to tell him I live in a 3000 sq ft unheated and uninsinuated home. I’m not even sure if this thing is going to make much of a dent. As it is, I think the only thing that will save me is the rain that is expected tomorrow. Rain means clouds and clouds mean warmer temperatures. With any luck it will be in the low 40s tomorrow.

The last thing I need to buy for the kitchen is pots and pans. There were other purchases included in this Magic Month check that I won’t go into, but pots and pans didn’t make the cut this time. I had already planned on making Jambalaya (1 pot), Cornbread (1 pan) and green beans (1 pan) so I’m just barely covered in the pot and pan departments, but I do need pots and pans. The stuff I’m using now I actually found in the woods about 10 years ago. I’m not kidding.

I was playing Frisbee Golf with some friends and one of my shots went off the course – to put it mildly – and in to the woods. While searching for the disk I found a box of pots and pans and utensils. They were all priced with little pieces of masking tape like you would for a garage sale. I guess some cheap bastard didn’t want to pay to throw it away so he dumped it in the woods. At first the plan was to take it all to The Salvation Army but when I got it home I discovered that it was actually better stuff than I already had. So I kept it all and dumped all my stuff in the woods. I’m kidding.

Anyway, again – to put it mildly – I need new pots and pans. Hmmm, let’s look at the calendar, when is the next magic month….


Jocelyn said...

We are actually facing a super magic month in January because we refinanced and no mortgage payment till Feb. If I didn't have any credit card bills, it would be more fun. But then soon those will be gone.

I wish you success with your party. I am looking forward to having both my parents over for a nice dinner on x-mas here. 1st x-mas entertaining and a tree to boot.

Those oil radiator's work pretty darn well too- we use it in the basement in Steve's office.

p.s. whenever you allude to El Broko I hear the theme from the good, the bad and the ugly in the background.

Kim said...

Oh, I so understand about being broke! Hear ya loud and clear! Remodeling on one income and three kids...ugh...we live for our tax returns, lol!

I have so much fun doing thrift store shopping. It's like searching for treasures - and sometimes you find exactly what you're looking for! Just today, I stocked on some really nice, new, heavy stainless flatware...for 29 cents each! Maybe you can find some great pots and other things you need for your party at places like this. I just about feel guilty shopping any other way, hehe!


Suzanne said...

I just get paid on the 15th and 30th, no magic months here. Damn!

Have a great time at your party.It's good to have people over, no matter how done or undone your house is. They are coming to spend quality time with YOU, not your house. As you well know, no one cares as much about your house as you do, so all of the things that drive you crazy and make you not want to have company don't mean much to most other people. (Except if the bathrooms don't work.)

Thank goodness you finally sprang for some new dishes, I saw what you had in your cupboard. (insert smiley with a snarky grin here.)

Enjoy your company and bask in the well deserved praise, and have fun!

Kristin said...

We had a magic month in November, at least for Darwin. It was AWESOME! Of course, then I messed up something with the checkbook and discovered we had $1,000 less than I thought. That wasn't so awesome.

derek said...

Christmas bonus makes this a bonus month... otherwise I'm in the semi-monthly camp. Although most of the bonus goes for gifts. Craigslist is a good place for pots and pans, dishes etc. It only works if you live in a major city though.