Today I got paid for the first time by my new employer. They pay monthly (like my employer two employers ago) rather than every two weeks (like my previous employer). Given the transition time, that meant more than a month since the last full paycheck. Plus Brandy was not ever able to go back to work after New Year's because her back just would not allow it. So she was not getting paid either.
(Had I not mentioned that? We had tentitively planned on her quitting in February to concentrate on getting the house ready for sale anyway, but when it got to the point where she had missed three weeks of work and there was no end in sight as she still couldn't be up for more than an hour or two at a shot, she went ahead and told them she was not coming back... at this point, more than a month after her back got aggrivated, she is once again mostly functional, but still not to the point where she could do 8 hours a day at a desk job.)
Anyway, this last month was pretty tight because of the paycheck gap. But more so, the last two years were almost always tight because first in 2004 there was the one month gap between jobs that time around, then there were extensive moving expenses that were paid out of pocket and only later reimbursed, then there was savings for the down payment on the house, then there were moving in expenses at the new house (and many other things needed at the new house like washing machines and furniture and such) and then that is about when (cough) issues started happening with the inflows of cash being significantly less than had been planned on, and then there was a huge tax payment (because I had underwithheld in 2004) and then there were (cough) even more issues with getting even less cash inflow (significantly less once again) than expected... etc. So really, things have been in one way or another, to one degree or another, "tight" since about February 2004. I of course blame this 95% or more on what I was coughing about above. We were budgeted (primarily meaning our choice of which house to buy) in a way that was fine for what was promised, but which was barely sustainable with what was actually delivered, which was very significantly less.
As of this morning for the first time in essentially two years, I feel like I can breathe some... We can't go crazy. We'll be paying both rent and utilities for me in Washington, and mortgage and utilities for Brandy and Amy in Florida for the next five to six months. So expenses for the short term will be much higher than what will eventually be "normal". But there is enough to deal with that and with a few things (like a new computer) that have been delayed for years now.
We'll still have to plan and be careful (not TOO many large discretionary purchases... me ordering the new computer to replace my five year old G4 Powerbook will probably the only one short term) but for the first time in it seems like ages, we won't be worrying about the small purchases, and if we can even afford to order a pizza without putting us at risk of not making the mortgage. Or having to go to the coin star to make sure there was enough to pay for food for the week. Or having to get loans from family or friends to pay for needed household maintenance that could not be put off. It hasn't been exactly THAT tight the entire time, but it definately was more than a few times.
It is good... VERY good... to be able to breathe a bit again.