Frugal Hound is a champ with babies! We had the distinct honor of hosting Cat from Budget Blonde, her awesome husband, and their adorable (beyond adorable, really) 1-year-old twins, Bean and Beannette, for several days last weekend.
I confess I was a tad apprehensive as the babies and Frugal Hound scouted each other out for the first time, but, turns out that our dog is a natural born nanny. That might be slightly overstating it, but she didn’t even lick them, which I consider a serious plus.
Frugal Hound did, however, manage to destroy not one, but two soft little baby toys. She nabbed them with her fangs when we weren’t looking, absconded with them into the other room, and savagely ripped them apart. The babies, for their part, were incredibly understanding and only put her tail in their mouths a few times. I’ll give it to them that her tail is right at baby-mouth level.
What made the Budget Blonde family’s visit so unique is that we’d never met them before in person. Cat and I connected online a few months back and, as she’s a seasoned and successful veteran of the personal finance blogging world, she has been extremely supportive and helpful to me in my journey of writing Frugalwoods. I’m so thankful for her friendship–online and now offline too!
The wonder of the internet never ceases to amaze me. We had a family of perfect strangers come stay with us for the weekend and it was perfectly delightful. It’s such a warm feeling to connect with another couple that’s so very similar to Mr. Frugalwoods and me. They’re frugal, smart, funny, and totally on board with spending mindfully and on the things in life that actually matter. Plus, we had a fabulous time with the babies! Watching Frugal Hound stand over them and paw their little baby heads reassured us that she’ll do just fine with any future mini-Frugalwoods.
If that glorious weekend wasn’t enough, a very dear friend of mine came to visit me last week! I felt lucky to have her all to myself so I took a few days off work. She cooked us her famous chicken spiedini for dinner and I baked a cake from scratch (never using a box mix again I tell you!). Old friends bring such a soothing presence.
Grumble (but not really)
Frugalwoods-mobile sprung a flat tire the other morning on my drive to work. Poor old Frugalwoods-mobile has occupied a spate of grumbles of late, for which I am bereft. She’s such a brilliant 19-year-old minivan and I hope her days are not numbered.
I feared the noise I heard might be the engine literally falling out of the car, but fortunately, twas merely a flat. I called my trusty flat tire crew–consisting solely of Mr. Frugalwoods–and minutes later, he pedaled up. My knight on shining bike. We proceeded to pull Frugalwoods-mobile into a nearby parking lot and get down to business.
This was an epic frugal weirdo moment and an ideal distillation of how we approach life. I think most people would’ve called Triple A and waited for them to arrive and take care of everything for them. But not us. Not only do we not have Triple A, we probably wouldn’t even call them if we did. Why, you might ask? Because to do things yourself is to learn, to grow, and to become increasingly self-reliant. And before you heckle me for calling Mr. FW, I do, for the record, know how to change a flat tire myself. But since he was home, I much preferred to involve him. Good thing too, as this turned out to be no simple tire change.
We loosened the lug nuts, positioned the jack and started hoisting the ‘mobile upwards. All was going swimmingly. It was a warm (by our standards) morning in the low 40s and the sun was shining. We were both terrifically late for work at this point, but completely unbothered by it. We were spending time together solving a problem–our favorite thing to do!
I was also deriving no small amount of pleasure from the fact that the parking lot we were in happens to be for a chic design firm, filled with the lifestyle-inflation vehicles of every paycheck-to-paycheck schlub’s dreams: BMWs, Audis, Mercedes, some other cars I don’t know the names of… And, it was circa 9am, so the fancy employees were parking their debt-mobiles and strolling into the office with their mouths agape at us. I am positive they were thinking “check out those poor people changing their own tire! schmucks!” I was seriously reveling in this and started taking photos for Frugalwoods to just, you know, add to the atmosphere of hilarity. Life is more fun when you just don’t care what other people think.
Ok back to the ‘mobile’s wheel. The car was jacked up, the lug nuts were off, and Mr. FW went in to seal the deal by taking the wheel off. However, it didn’t budge. Tried again, same non-result. He then began to slightly jostle the wheel to knock it loose. No dice.
So, we hit up the internet on our phones and discovered that you can gently roll the car back and forth to loosen a tight wheel. Obviously we did just that. Nothing. We did it again. Zippo. Mr. FW then resorted to a clever endeavor of prying the wheel off using none other than our anti-theft club (yes, I labor under the delusion that maniacs want to steal my sweet ride).
Time was elapsing and the wheel remained steadfast. While Mr. FW first kicked the wheel (yes, backwards like a donkey) and then flung his entire body at the car in vain attempts to disengage the wheel from its socket, I mapped out the nearest auto body shop. We were too far afield from our favorite mechanic and we certainly didn’t want to pay for a tow truck. I mean, it’s just a flat tire!
So, I went on an exploratory trot around the neighborhood and lo and behold, not two blocks away I was greeted by the miraculous sight of none other than… the Good News Garage! Yes indeed NPR fans, this is THE garage of the famed Car Talk guys. This was some good news. I scurried back to the parking lot to find Mr. FW gamely trying to lever the wheel off with the lug nut wrench. We had a quick conference and determined we’d drive reallllllllllyy sllooooooowly over to Good News Garage.
In case you’re not familiar with the intricacies of driving on a flat, suffice it to say it’s not a smart idea for long distances. The tire can rip off and destroy the wheel in the process, resulting in a much costlier situation. But we were desperate. An hour of efforting hadn’t pried the wheel loose and we were resolute in our desire not to pay for a lousy tow truck. I voted for Mr. FW to drive (’cause I’m no dummy) and he crept the ‘mobile down the street and right into the garage.
The excellent folks at Good News Garage lived up to their reputation and immediately jacked the ‘mobile up and proceeded to use a 3 lb sledgehammer to shake the wheel loose. They assured Mr. FW there was no way he could’ve gotten it off (which I know made him feel better). They popped the spare on for us and we were on our way. Best of all? They didn’t charge us a dime. We tried to pay them, but they said it was no big deal. What an amazingly kind thing to do!
We’ve had a number of encounters with mechanics who didn’t charge us for work on Frugalwoods-mobile. I don’t know if it’s because she’s an ancient, dilapidated beast of a vehicle, or if Mr. FW and I look that scraggly/homeless. But either way, it was definitely the universe telling us that we need to pay it forward as soon as the opportunity presents itself.
We’re off for a date to the junkyard later today where we’ll be scoping out a good used tire to replace the dead one. We’ve had great luck at this particular junkyard in the past (plus it’s walking distance from our house!), so we’re hopeful for a winner.
This scenario isn’t really a grumble for us because it wasn’t a dreadful experience. We laughed, we enjoyed each other’s company, and we got to spend time outside in the sun during an hour when we’d normally be apart at our respective jobs. The joy of insourcing strikes again!