No, I'm not describing Noel in the blog title honest! Although it's safe to say he probably is feeling a little stiff in the old joints today. Yes, as of Sunday November 1st my hubby became a fully fledged marathon man after crossing the finish line in Auckland; 42km from where he started and in the very respectable time of four hours and 34 minutes. He can't quite believe he's done it (although his poor feet are a constant reminder!) but he has a very large and impressive medal to prove it. The boys and I are extremely proud and I couldn't wait to tell everyone within earshot when we got home, which included Mr Patel. 'That's true love, that is!' said the shop assistant from Mr Patel's when I told her what he had done. As you may know, it was originally supposed to be me running the marathon but when my health prevented me from doing it, Noel took on the challenge and said he was going to do it for me, sacrificing two months of his life to train for his mission. You know, until then I hadn't really thought of it in such a romantic way but put like that, it did make me feel pretty special I can tell you!
Mission accomplished, Noel can now forget about training bless him, and spend his time doing all the things he loves instead, such as catching fish and pottering about in his vege garden. And decluttering, amazingly enough! It may have had something to do with the fact that he could hardly walk yesterday but I found him sorting out his office desk and drawers. I reckon he must have got rid of 100 items in one hit; he filled up three rubbish bags! He also gave me 14 notebooks to drop off to the local playgroup for drawing and writing in. I have to admit I'm getting really motivated too. I've still got to sell the trampoline and I've decided the exercise bike has to go too. Even when I'm exercising regularly I don't use it, I just walk or run so there's no point pretending I'm ever going to get round to using it. We also have a whole cupboard full of limited edition Labrador plates and prints! Way back before we had kids, our dogs were our 'babies'. We used to breed and show Labradors and our whole house was full of Labrador wall plates, paintings and ornaments. Once the kids came along, they got replaced with baby photos and these days we only have one old, soppy Labrador left. At $50 a pop I dread to think how much money went on those plates over the years! Can't imagine we would get much for them now but after six years hidden away in a cupboard what does it matter? I'd much rather they went to someone who wanted them. I shall make it my mission for the weekend, to list them on Trade Me. That should get rid of almost 20 out of the 100 item challenge for starters!
One thing's for sure, any extra dollars we can get from the 100 item challenge will be helpful and most appreciated. The money from Noel's Jersey cows came out of the bank account yesterday and we can now officially not spend anything until goodness knows when. I don't actually mind too much; after all we have enough food to feed an army for quite some time. If it wasn't for Christmas I wouldn't be in the slightest bit bothered. Still, I've been picking up the odd gift for relatives here and there and I'm not doing too bad. I know I have complained about 1-day being addictive in the past but it's been a huge help lately. It's all about getting the balance right and only buying what you need. It's saved me traipsing around the shops and has meant I'm able to get some really good presents I would never have bought otherwise.
And broke or not, I'm happy to announce that at the ripe old age of 36 I have finally put steps in place to save for our old age. My mum has been nagging me about this for years and like many people we have thought 'Nah - plenty of time for all that!' but the older I get, the more it has crossed my mind. We have no pension scheme. We have no superannuation. How are we supposed to get by in the future? Then I came across an article which really struck a chord with me. Hideously expensive as it was, I purposely bought a copy of the US Woman's Day (August '09) magazine so that I could read a special feature by Suze Orman. I had never heard of her before SS but had heard many members speak highly of her so thought I would see what she had to say. The feature included Suze's best money moves for your 30's, 40's and 50's. Her advice to fellow 30-somethings like me was to put aside $200 per month into a high interest account and leave it growing there for 40 years or thereabouts. Based on 8% interest, by the time you hit 70 you should have around $700,000 in the bank waiting for you. Of course you can do the same at any age, but if you wait until 40 you get $300,000, or around $120,000 if you start in your 50's. What could be easier? Strike while the iron is hot Penny! So I went into the bank, opened an 'old and grey' account and have started putting away $200 per month. Unfortunately things as they are at the moment, I'm only getting around 3% interest but heck, at least I'm doing something productive!
Have you ever noticed how good you feel when you do something SS for yourself or your family? I know I do! So I started keeping an SS diary last week. It's just a notebook which stays in the kitchen and every time I do something SS style, I write it down. It helps keep me on track and makes me feel really good! I wrote my first entry on Sunday, when I made a batch of Easiyo yoghurt. I was really chuffed with myself because I had discovered it and used it just two days before it was due to expire. 'Good on you Penny!' I thought to myself and wrote it down. The same day I also wrote in how I made a Five Cup Loaf, Fudgy Choc Cookies and Happy Fruit Crumble from the $21 Challenge Book. Since then I have written in all sorts of things, from making new bench spray to not using the tumble dryer. It's amazing how much us SS'ers do! Talking of the $21 Challenge Book, I can't believe how much I have been using it myself since I held my first copy! Almost everything we eat these days comes from the book and I was delighted to see other members trying out and enjoying the recipes too in this thread. Our whole family went mad for Kate's Savoury Mince (with hidden vegetables) and I had great delight in telling Liam that he had wolfed down a huge plate of carrot, celery, mushroom and silverbeet in with his dinner. I never thought I would say this, but it really has turned out to be my absolute favourite cook book!