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Time To Tighten The Belt

August 16, 2008 - John Whittaker

Things That Are More Fun Than...

The Yankees finally won a game today, 3-2 in 12 innings against the Royals. I'm not sure if it's worth celebrating a win over the Royals, but the game did help me think of a new idea to launch in my blog: Things That Were More Fun Than…. Without further ado, here are some things that were more fun than a sloppy 3-2 win over one of the worst teams in baseball.

4. The Olympic Shot-Put competition. Jillian Camarena needed three throws to reach the distance required to move on to the finals. Congratulations!

3. Taking pictures at Skate Chautauqua. I looked up and saw that the score was 2-2, the Yankees had two men on and none out, and proceeded not to score. Disgusted, I went to the Jamestown Savings Bank Ice Arena and took some pictures for our Sports Department to use in Sunday's edition. It was much less stressful than watching the Yankees not hit with runners in scoring position.

2. Bathroom reading. This might sound funny, but reading Now I Can Rest In Peace, a collection of Bill Simmons columns collected over the years and culminating in the Red Sox' 2004 World Series title, was more entertaining for 20 minutes of my dinner break than the Yankees game. By the way, I've read the book cover-to-cover at least eight times. The columns are vaguely familiar to me by now, but it was still better than Saturday's Yankees game.

1. Top 100 Songs of the 1990s. When I went home for dinner, the Yankees squandered yet another scoring opportunity with runners in scoring position. Enter VH1. Did you know Informer, the 1990s hit by Canadian Reggae rapper Snow, was written about his year in jail for attempted murder? Now you know. And knowing is half the battle.

Nine months.

It's enough time for baseball to play the last month of its season and its playoffs, take five months off and start another season. It's almost a hockey season. Syracuse will play its entire college basketball season. It's a ways down the road. It's enough time to have a baby.

When you're talking about a wedding, though, nine months might as well be a day.

I've said before that the News Gal gets hit with a lot more of the wedding-related craziness than I do. She has to deal with finding a dress, keeping everybody happy and making the church and reception hall look the way she wants. She has found more little things that will help set the mood perfectly -- things I have no background in or talent for spotting, but things she does unbelievably well.

It doesn't mean my hair isn't a little grayer, though, looking at that date nine months down the road. It sticks out on a calendar like it's in bright yellow print. The reception hall is almost paid for. There's still $800 for the disc jockeys, $900 for the photographer, $450 for the videographer. We aren't even talking about the food yet, or my tuxedo, or the rehearsal dinner. Since we're paying for much of the wedding ourselves, it adds up. We have a little money in the bank, but we still have to buy furniture for our apartment, and we'll want to have a rainy day fund in case there's the need for a new car or major appliance. We don't want to run through the savings now.

And so, you're looking at the new, belt-tightening Whitless Wonder.

When you think about it, it's easy to waste money. The News Gal and I used to eat out for lunch three days a week, at a cost around $60 or $70 a week. I used to buy SportsWeekly ($1.75 a pop), the Sporting News ($3.99 an issue) at least once a month; ESPN The Magazine at least once a month; snacks (Fat Guy likes Little Debbie's!) and coffee (I probably spend $15 a month, and probably closer to $25, at Tim Horton's and Kaldi's). Those days, at least until the wedding costs are more under control, are gone. My buddy Bussman warned me that this would happen -- and he was right. Even a little less than a year away, and the wedding starts to weigh on your mind. Not in a bad way, but in a "I really want this to be great and don't want to screw it up" kind of way.

That also means the Whitless Wonder and the News Gal aren't likely to be going out to any movies in the next few months. Heck, we're probably not buying movies unless they're in the $5 bin at Wal-Mart. Ice cream sundaes are probably out this winter too (we're probably the only people who love sundaes in the middle of January!). All unnecessary spending is gone, at least for a while.

What does that leave? Quite a bit, when you think about it.

There's snuggling under a blanket watching our favorite TV shows -- we'll probably even start watching the News Gal's favorite soap operas if they ever move it back to a reasonable hour on the Soap Network. We like to read, sometimes, and there's nothing better than looking up from a book and sharing that look that two people in love have -- no words necessary. I'll write some blog postings at home and the News Gal will edit them.

I'll whip her like a government mule at Yankees Uno (yeah we did), and she'll return the favor at rummy. I'm sure Rudolph Monopoly will make a reappearance in the Whitless Wonder-News Gal evenings sometime (I call the Abominable Snowman!). We've played Sonic the Hedgehog on my Playstation 2, and she took at turn hitting on MLB 07: The Show (that way, we can both be the Yankees). Those nights might have to make a reappearance.

The News Gal will, I’m sure, watch some Syracuse games with me. Hopefully, there'll be a long run in the playoffs for the Patriots. We won't be cutting Lena's out of the budget because it's required at least twice during football season. We'll make chili together for the first weekend of football.

We might drive ourselves crazy getting everything we want for the wedding, and go broke paying for it, but one thing's for sure. If you can cut out all unnecessary spending and not drive each other crazy spending time together, you've found the right person.

So far, I'm perfectly sane. As for the News Gal ….. check back May 24.


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