Saturday, July 21, 2012

Grand Plan Update

We are 3 months into our Commuter Family lifestyle choice. We expect an 8 month period (till December) of transition and a series of critical decisions.

Here are the things we do know and the things that are working well:

  • Commuter Husband 
    • Loves his job in Houston and things are going well on the professional front.
    • Still enjoying the generous hospitality of Commuter Husband's Sister and her husband in Houston.
    • Has a multitude of drink coupons to enjoy on his Southwest flights home.
  • Oldest Son 
    • Enters 7th grade and is in the intensity of preparing for his Bar Mitzvah. He is happy and looking forward to new experiences in 7th grade including playing middle school football.
    • Commuter Husband helps Oldest Son with Hebrew via Skype and telephone - Commuter Husband is way better at Hebrew than me!
  • Youngest Son 
    • Enters 4th grade and is his usual spirited, independent and "enthusiastic about all" self. He has many, many interests - so many that he definitely has to prioritize.
    • Commuter Husband doing weekend volunteering at Operation Kindness with Youngest Son. This has been true quality time for all involved including the dogs and cats.
  • Both boys have adjusted and responded to the Commuter Family lifestyle with flying colors. They are building life skills that are really not negotiable in our situation.  
  • Mommy with Commuter Husband (me) is still getting great work in Dallas area and things are also good for me on the professional front. I am holding up in the daily grind okay and enjoy the extra time with the kids.
  • Afternoon Nanny will be on board to help each afternoon this school year and will help a great deal during August - I am thankful for Afternoon Nanny!
  • Corporate Benefits and a 2nd income has relieved much of the financial stress. Enough said on that one. 
  • We have planned out Commuter Husband's travel schedule for the next few months so that he is with us for important family events (certain sports games, High Holy Days, etc.)
Things that are not great (other than the obvious of Commuter Husband gone during week):
  • Getting lawn work and household things accomplished in Dallas on the weekends. Not so bad if we are home in Dallas every weekend but we are often out of town on weekends so things tend to pile up.
  • Our life requires a bit more forward planning than most but many things in our kids' lives are not clear ahead of time (sports schedules, school commitments, etc.)
  • I feel the emotional weight of an unclear future direction (see below.)
Now what? Most of this is in the brain storming phase ...
  • Commuter Husband will get a little place in Houston area. We are considering renting a place on Lake Conroe so that the family can go to Commuter Husband more often and enjoy the lake and nature and a get-away from the Dallas rat-race (huge appeal for me!) Perhaps our friends could join us there too on occasion!
  • Look for ways to simplify life:
    • Instead of kids making their lunch and taking 4 days a week, we may put both of them on the meal plan at school. I actually did an Excel spreadsheet cost analysis (screams geek!)
    • We need to update our communication and technology family approach. We may provide Oldest Son with a smart phone earlier than anticipated. With one parent in Dallas and one parent in Houston who both work full-time, I think we are going to need more flexibility. We also need to consider laptop(s) or notebook(s) so computer needs are accessible from anywhere.
    • Do we sell house in Dallas and rent in Dallas area in order to have housing that requires way less upkeep? Though this is probably not the best idea because our home is where our kids were born, does create that one secure and stable place for all of us and we love our neighborhood!
  • Both our vehicles are a well into the 6 digits in mileage (1999 and 2003) and guzzle gas. With more driving, we probably need to consider new cars. I am not sure car payments are feasible although a cost analysis may prove otherwise (another spreadsheet coming.) 
  • We will need to make a final decision about Commuter Husband's re-location package and the 2013-14 school year.
The current sentiment from Commuter Husband and me is that we made a good decision to be a Commuter Family. The Pros outweigh the Cons but we still have a ways to go to get things stabilized ...  


  1. I have to admit that I signed Katie up for the meal plan this year. It's one less thing I have to do in the morning - especially when I'll have an infant to feed and get Rebecca to school in the morning too. At least the plan is more economical than daily meals.

    1. Thanks for the voice of support Sarah! I was surprised when I "ran" the numbers. When I factored in the meal plan with its 20% reduction + the fact that the boys bought once per week at regular price + the cost of packing then it made financial sense (I was not saving near as much as I thought.) The kids will have one less thing to worry about (making their lunch at night) and I will not have to think about the necessary groceries and cash weekly. Also, these growing boys are starting to eat allot - they will definitely enjoy the great choices and the "all you can eat" lunch!

      Hope you are feeling well - looking forward to seeing you soon!