The other week I had to fill out a form to get Smooshface's birth certificate. It has fields for father's and mother's occupation, so since wifey isn't working and isn't planning on working, I figured "awesome wife" would be a fitting description. I was only slightly disappointed when the birth certificate came back with "Home Duties" instead, I only hope that whoever's job it is to classify the occupations got a smirk out of that one.
I live in a state where you don't have to specify a gender on the birth certificate, I, even as a non-conformist (am I really?), don't buy into all that baloney, so little Miss Smooshface is officially a girl. Chances are, she'll be an ass-kicking tomboy of a girl, but a girl never-the-less.
She's about 3 weeks old now, and still doing great. After a week or so, she quickly switched from being a baby, into a little human, you could see the little gears behind her eyes whirring into action. Between the sleeping, screaming and feeding, there still isn't much time for interaction, but I try to play classical music in the background as much as I can, I also bought a set of alphabet flash cards, and have been annoying her with those as often as I can, I haven't had many chances to read to her, but the few times I have, she fell asleep after less than a page (I've been reading Asimov's 9 tomorrows to her since before she was born). Everyone says it's too early for both, I blatantly disregard them, though I will get some Russian kids books from the garage.
I haven't been speaking enough Russian to her, and a lot of those books have nursery rhymes which are easy to remember, so I'll have something to sing to her, instead of making up songs (or sometimes just singing random words when I suddenly run out of ideas, but have to keep the flow going to keep her from crying).
The work on the house and yard is progressing, slowly but surely. I found some photos of the house after the tenants left.. to think, that we turned that dump into a beautiful home! I'm still not sure if we'll stay here permanently, the house and yard suit our needs, but the area is not great. Unfortunately, to get anything remotely similar to our home in a better suburb would cost double what this house is worth. I don't think I'll be able to pull that off, not if wifey stays a lady of leisure. I'm still considering buying a second investment property in the near future (once I start saving money instead of spending it).
I would have to make sure I'd be at least breaking even this time though, then after a few years, I might be in a position to sell everything and get a house in a nicer suburb. A few people tell me that it's more about parenting than the suburb, I mostly agree, but I question how rough their childhood suburbs were. I'm also a firm believer that living in a suburb where people walk their dogs in the sunshine along nicely cut green lawns have higher expectations of life and are less likely to have 3 derelict cars in their front yard and 20 years worth of junk in the back. That's not to say that upper-middle-class doesn't come with its own set of issues, but having lived in a lot of different areas, I'd pick a suburb with $1m houses over $150k houses any day.
Since I'm on the topic, money has been tight, there have been a lot of large purchases recently. I've eaten into ALL of my "savings that I can use", and am trying to stay out of my "savings I shouldn't use". The big hotplate on our really old stove crapped itself, replacing the stove has been on our to-do list, but not for a while, however after this development it's now top priority. (I could spend $60 or so to try to fix it, but I'd rather just spend that money on the new stove). Ovens here are about $700-2000, we're looking at one for about $1300, I haven't been able to find any 2nd hand ones, not that I've overly keen on a used stove.
I'm not quite living paycheck to paycheck, but with all the extra expenses, I'm not far off. Having said that, given that I'm paying two mortgages, supporting an awesome wife and a kid, while getting paid a below-average salary, I feel like I'm not doing too bad, though a little overwhelmed at times. I started looking at freebies on Gumtree (our, nicer, version of Craigslist) and besides getting some useful freebies, I was able to pick up a broken turn table/record player, fix it up and sell it for $180. I haven't got time for a second job, but this could potentially be some sort of a money making hobby. Though I've noticed that due to the demographic, a lot of the things that you would see for free in Melbourne, are selling for quite a bit of money here. It was very evident and made me think of the throw-away society and how one doesn't notice it as much when living there.
In other news, I've been off the beers for about a month and planning on keeping that up, setting a good example for the little one 'n all that. I don't feel much different, and due to all the expenses, I haven't been feeling any richer. Even after all the cleaning, laundry, dish washing, vacuuming, looking after baby and gardening, I get pockets of boredom which would usually be easily filled with a lazy beer. The in-laws flew down for a couple of weeks, and they watch TV, so I've been doing the same. Once they leave, I'll have to find an in-door hobby to keep me entertained and off the booze during those bored times.
About a week after we brought Smooshface home, I was laying in bed in the middle of the night, baby sleeping on my chest, and my wife sleeping on my shoulder. I'm not sure if it was delirium from the lack of sleep, but a strange feeling came over me, and I thought "I think this is what happy feels like".