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The great TP debate (and other relationship compromises)

This is going to be a controversial post:

Are you a toilet paper goes over the roll person, or a toilet paper goes under the roll person?

This may seem like a frivolous question, but when you start living with someone, it’s little things like these that can literally make or break your relationship. Because they’re little tests of how much you’re willing to compromise, how much you’re willing to let go, and how much you’re willing to laugh at silly little differences instead of letting them get on your nerves until a fight happens.

When The Hubby and I first started living together, I was a born-and-raised under-the-roll girl. It just made sense…under the roll, you could more easily rip the TP off. Over the roll just felt weird.

But, The Hubby had been raised in an over-the-roll household, and after enough silent battles where whoever changed the roll put it on their way, I gave up. The way the TP holder was positioned near the toilet in our first apartment, over-the-roll actually gave me better leverage for ripping. (Does this qualify as “TMI”?) So, I gave in to The Hubby’s ways. It still felt strange for a while, but now, it’s what I’m used to.

Actually, I think it’s become an asset. I’m kind of like someone who’s bilingual…if I find myself in a “foreign” (i.e, under-the-roll) situation, I can understand. It makes perfect sense to my brain. If I find myself in an over-the-roll environment, that, too, makes sense. My horizons (and preferences) have been expanded by being introduced to a new way of thinking.

Learning to Compromise

Yes, this is kind of silly topic to be debating…but so are so many of the things that can get on our nerves when we first start living with someone.

My mom taught me to fold socks by rolling them up into these cute little sock-balls. (Nice and neat, and so handy for chucking at younger siblings.) The Hubby’s mom always folded his socks by just turning over the ends of the cuffs and tucking them, so that the rest of the socks hangs loose. This seemed much less adorable and space saving to me. But, I do the laundry in our household. (My sock-balls win.)

My parents used to put everything possible in the fridge…peanut butter, bread, syrup, baked goods. The first time I came home from grocery shopping with The Hubby and he put the peanut butter in the pantry, I was thoroughly confused. It took me several weeks of reassurance (and eyeing the pb jar warily) before I could accept the notion that maybe it wouldn’t spoil and it might be OK to eat it. Now, I find the concept of cold pb and cold syrup gross, and I wonder how I ever ate it that way. (Hubby’s upbringing wins.)

It’s little things like this that you have to tweak and give in over when you combine two lifestyles into one. The bigger differences, the things that really take some getting used to, can be tough enough at first. There’s no point in getting worked up over silly little differences in the grand scheme of things.

What differences do you and your s.o. have, and how have you overcome them? (Or are you still debating over who “wins”?) :)

~Heart,
Em

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photo credit:  qBaz

Blog Roundup (11-30-12)

I always love sharing my favorite blogs with people, so each week I’ll be giving you guys a roundup of the posts I’ve really enjoyed reading.

If you like them, make sure to subscribe and follow these great bloggers on Twitter and Facebook to share the love!

~Heart,
Em

  • As you do your holiday shopping, keep in mind My Pennies, My Thoughts’ warnings in her post Are you an online shop-aholic?. I know I can relate to the allure of browsing ModCloth’s adorable dresses only to have a wish list of hundreds of dollars within minutes!

Are there any great posts you came across recently? Share them with us in the comments!

The Top 5 Cars for Girls

[This is a guest post by Jennifer Meyers. Think you've got what it takes to be a guest poster? Contact Em at em [at] blondeandbalanced [dot] com to learn more about becoming a guest poster yourself!]

Along with beer, sports, and red meat, cars are a stereotypically male interest. Yet women are just as interested in driving as men, if not more so! In fact, a study just released by the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Bureau shows that there are now more licensed female drivers on U.S. roads than male drivers. And a car doesn’t have to be Barbie-pink to be attractive to female drivers.

So what do women want?

We want a car that’s stylish, of course, but we also look at safety ratings, carbon emissions, fuel efficiency, and value for money. Family-friendliness is also a bonus when we’re looking at car reviews. Following are five of the top car contenders for women:

Volkswagen Beetle

The Volkswagen brand is mighty popular with female buyers, managing to be both reliable and stylish. The VW Beetle is one of its most iconic cars, with 54.6% of new Beetle owners being female. The older version of the Beetle was even more popular with women, due to its retro looks, but the updated version is courting a more balanced audience. Still, the VW Beetle has plenty to offer for both genders, including precise steering, a surprisingly spacious trunk, and a powerful engine for such a small car.

Honda CR-V

Crossover SUVs are big business these days. While the minivan was ubiquitous in suburbs throughout the 1990s, and the SUV took its place in the 2000s, the crossover vehicle is now the new standard family car. The Honda CR-V is attractive enough to appeal to younger women, while practical enough to be a great fit for growing families. It offers plenty of room in the passenger and cargo areas, an array of tech-savvy features, and is priced under $25,000.

Subaru Forester

Another hit crossover, the Forester is extremely popular with women. It’s a fun car to drive, with great performance on highways and in the city alike. It also boasts an extremely high safety rating, handling slick roads with ease. In addition, female drivers tend to prefer to sit lower to the ground than men do, which is why cars like the Forester are a hit. They offer the size and range of an SUV with a lower, sleeker build that’s closer to a regular car. Although it’s not the most fashion-forward car on the market, the Forester offers good value for money and plenty of cargo space.

Mazda 3

Both the 4-door and 5-door versions of the Mazda 3 are a hit with the ladies. Mazda’s compact car offers ample space for groceries and family belongings, while still managing to be sporty and fun to drive. It’s the perfect blend of practicality and a little bit of edge.

Fiat 500

Let’s face it; the Fiat 500 is one of the cutest cars on the road today. It has vintage flair, a petite size, and rocks colors like pale blue and pink. It even plays dress-up in Gucci and Diesel with promotional fashion tie-ins. This makes it irresistible to women and a brand name consistently seen in car news. Yet it’s also a car that retains its value well and offers decent fuel economy at 65 miles per gallon, giving it added substance beyond its good looks.

By combining style, smooth handling, and good value, these cars are ahead of the curve when it comes to attracting female attention.

Photo credit:  bibendum84

Why I will drive my car into the ground

On Monday, The Bumblebee died on me.

What on earth is The Bumblebee? It’s my well-worn, (well-loved), glorious 2004 VW Beetle. Actually, it’s technically “Sunflower Yellow,” but The Hubby likes to tease me for owning a bug, and a bright yellow one at that (did he expect any less from me?), so “The Bumblee” it has been since I brought it home.

Anyway…

The ’Bee is still in good condition. I keep it serviced on schedule, drive pretty conservatively, and don’t put a ton of mileage on it. It’s got some dings from stray parking lot shopping carts (and one jerk at the pharmacy who backed into me as he was pulling out of a space, paused for a second, and then sped off). It’s also got some bumper stickers on it. And also maybe some nose prints inside the back windows from carting Little and Big Dog around.

It doesn’t look like a new car by any means, in other words, but it’s my baby. And on Monday, that baby had some issues.

Why my mother is every car salesman’s dream

What happened? The battery died.

That’s it. The car is 8 years old, and things like this will happen. At the time (stopped at a red light and suddenly unable to go), I didn’t realize this was the only thing that was the matter with it. I just knew that I was blocking traffic and hopefully I had my roadside assistance card on me (I did). So as I waited for the tow truck to come, I called my mother to ask if she could drive me into work the next morning if I needed it (my office is on the way to hers).

My mother’s first reaction? (After “are you OK?): “I think it’s time you start pricing out new cars.”

Here’s the thing you need to know about my mom: In the 8 years I have owned The ’Bee, she has leased 4 (count ’em: 4!) cars. All shiny new red cars that look sporty and cool, which she then turns in for another sporty new red car and another 2 years of car payments. Meanwhile, I’ve been payment free for the last 2 years.

I did not get my frugality from my parents, as some people do. I got it from watching the way they handled their finances, and resolving that when I grew up, I would do the complete opposite.

Even when she found out it was only the battery, and not some huge internal problem that would cost hundreds, my mom still kept pushing the argument that it was only a matter of time before my car died altogether, so I might as well just get a new one now. She even sent me links to dealership sites and offered to help me with a down payment. My mom does not have that much money herself. And it is decisions like this that are the reason why.

I will drive this car into the ground. Because I care about my finances.

On the day of our wedding, as he was helping set up chairs with his groomsmen, The Hubby got a call from his car guy, who was doing an inspection on his 1992 go-cart of a Ford Escort. The verdict? It needed so many repairs to pass inspection, and was bound to keep getting worse given its age, that it would probably cost less to buy a whole new car.

(The Hubby likes to joke that we weren’t even married, and the expenses of married life already started rolling in!)

That’s the kind of scenario in which I will give up The ’Bee to take on regular car payments again. Until that point, I will drive it until its Sunflower Yellow is chipping and rusting, its bumper stickers are falling off, and it has more replacement parts in it than original parts. It’s only when the cost of keeping it running outweighs the cost of a new car that I’d ever consider taking on more debt.

Because in the meantime, those non-existent car payments are going straight into savings…something my parents, in my 30 years of living, have never yet accumulated.

Do you lease or own your car? At what point do you decide it’s time to finally give up on your car?

~Heart,
Em

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photo credit:  Rachel Ford James