Photo by Diego Jimenez / Unsplash

I've Never Tested Myself Like With This Move

Journal Sep 25, 2022

This month, I successfully survived a cross-US car move that took over 65 hours of driving. My dear lady has now officially joined my household!

I discussed the move preparations in my last journal entry, along with other happenings:

I Saw Some Unicorn Hunters, and Other Events This Month
I met some unicorn hunters at a kink social, I’m arranging a cross-country move for my dear lady, not to mention my side projects, and more!

Last month saw me work on side projects, get a promotion at work, go to some local community events, and process a lot of emotions.

Well, there is always more work to do on side-projects. I finished some, plodding along on others, and have ignored others still.

I've spent this past month socialising more than working on my projects, which is a change in priority that I cannot regret. There's a lot of fulfilment hanging out with people, even if I'm not showing tangible progress on the other things I care about.

Especially when much of my time is going to my dear lady.

This month I've also lost a high profile project, started an anti-frugality experiment, and saw off my roommate.

Plans Change, Planning is Essential

Originally the plan was one week with my dear lady on her side of the country, then one week with her on the West Coast, and then finally the cross-country move.

That's not what ended up happening.

It started off with the realisation that my dear lady did not have an ID to board a plane with. We shifted plans around, and realised that her going-away party would potentially get cancelled if we committed to that.

I talked with my mom-in-law about that, and she counselled me that "You have enough money, what do you want to do?"

Thus I decided to forgo the "one week visit" plan entirely in favour of spending three weeks with my dear lady, so that I could attend her going away party in person.

Then I flew back to California with my dear lady, got picked up at the airport by my dearheart, and drove us back home. We spent a couple of weeks there "visiting" just to see how my dear lady liked it, then we committed to the road trip to pick up all her belongings.

The original plan was for all three of us to go on the road trip. This quickly hit some reality checks, and it became an adventure for myself and my dear lady without my dearheart.

I also decided to do all the driving myself. This, despite detesting cars and my decrying driving as the most dangerous activity that I partake in regularly.

Thus the burden was all on me.

I've Never Been Tested Like With This Drive

Thousands of miles and a week full of driving have made me proud of my abilities.

We saw a significant swathe of the US this way, and in one day drove from a place where it was 103 F to a place where it was 39 F outside. We saw such diversity of land, it makes me pleased to live on such a beautiful continent – beauty inspires greatness and all.

I have never organised and led a trip of this scale before, and I pulled it off successfully. There were lessons learned along the way, and some tight scrapes, but no disasters or real incidents.

Learning by doing is my usual mode of operation. For some things, there is no real preparations that can hold a candle to doing it for real.

Like getting seventeen hours into a drive and being dead exhausted but unable to find any place to sleep – how do you prepare for that? How do you recognise that that is a possibility without first experiencing it?

Now I know better. Yet it is scary to face the enormity of stuff that can go wrong.

Yet I am not afraid of taking the hard path, of doing what is difficult. I'm willing to put myself to the test.

It's simply how I grow.

In Other News, My First High-Profile Project Got Cancelled

In the last journal entry, I briefly mentioned that my promotion came with a high-profile project. It was the first time I was in the room where it happens.

Tragically, the project got cancelled just after I got a working proof of concept going.

On the whole, I'm not too shook up about it. It's frustrating to be outcome oriented and to "lose" all that working time to something that'll never get off the ground.

Yet it's still superb introductory practise to being in the senior boots at work. I got to see up close how decisions were made, how points were clarified, and how dozens of people got moving in the same direction.

The other angle is that I'm largely a salaried employee – instead of being super invested in outcomes, I'm partially content to just clock in, clock out, and a project getting cancelled means less stress due to freed up deadlines.

I'm a fan of employees with ownership stakes and profit sharing in their work, which is what enables them to be outcome oriented. Success for the business means success for the employee too.

Whereas, employees without profit sharing can just be there to run out the clock each day. Unless there's some other motivation driving them to be outcome oriented, like a mission tangential to profit.

I'm in a good place where I get some profit sharing, though it's so far removed from my day-to-day work that it's really just random. I also receive variable compensation that my manager assigns based on my performance:

What Is Variable Compensation aka Variable Pay?
One form of variable pay, known as a performance bonus, is a tool employers use as an incentive for great performance at work.

Experimenting With Spending Freely

In the same vein as a few other FIRE bloggers, I've decided to take an anti-frugality month. Instead of ruthlessly keeping spending to a minimum, I've elected to keep spending money this month – mostly on food, and some tech toys.

There are others who've talked about the "guilt free spending" experiment before, like Financial Mechanic:

The Results of My Anti-Frugality Experiment of 2021 - Financial Mechanic
I had a unique New Year’s resolution this year for a frugal financial blogger. While many people vow to get their spending under control, create budgets, or start investing (all very noble goals), I thought I could try something new. After living extremely frugally for years, I wanted to try somethi…

In my case, there's life factors driving this: I just had an expensive move cross-country, and now I'm showing my dear lady around all the expensive places every week.

I didn't wish to make her first month in California be driven by my frugal anti-budget of "we'll pay for that next month" indefinitely. My dear lady deserves to enjoy her time here, especially in contrast to her poor home state.

Let's talk numbers!

We hit our budget for the road trip itself. I aimed for $800 for food and refueling, and $200 for hotel rooms/incidentals. We met this goal, but with more in food and less in refuel costs than expected, so my model was not ideal.

We've spent somewhere in the neighbourhood of $400 beyond that on dining out and going to restaurants to explore the local scene, and somewhere in the neighbourhood of $200 for added grocery expenses – both because there's a new person, and because we're doing stuff like experimenting with mixing drinks.

Then there's the big ticket items: around $1,100 in tech and upgrades for her computer.

This has come at the expense of not investing during a massive market dip. Perhaps it will keep dipping further? Who knows! Not I, of course. I can only hope that when my cashflow replenishes, I can invest in a still-cheap stock market.

Despite all this spending, despite the net worth hit due to the market correction, my household has technically made progress towards our FI goal this month. Less than 1% progress, but it's still forward momentum!

For all this delay to my eventual FI goal, I've enjoyed my time with my dear lady getting out of the condo. It's made me feel more confident in my abilities to guide her and navigate our lives, especially as an introverted Dominant.

She loves it when I order food for her, or decide where to go, and we do cute things like go to the local ice cream shop frequently.

My Dear Lady's First Kink Social AKA Kink Munch

Besides going out for food, we've also had a first for my dear lady. She went with me to the periodic kinkster munch.

I'm proud of how she did! We lasted two whole hours before anxiety overwhelmed her, and then we bailed for one-on-one time (we got churro waffles). In that time at the munch she met a lot of people, initiated several comments into conversations, and got hugs from my friends.

I also am reaching the comfortable point of munches, where I've gone to so many over the years that I know enough people to last the whole night without feeling lost for company.

Sadly, my dear lady and I were the only people still masking. At least everyone is vaccinated and boosted, and some even got the bivalent booster just recently too.

I'm glad masking is so normalised now, it's comfortable for people like myself and my dear lady who enjoy being masked in public. That's one of the few silver linings of the pandemic: before lockdowns, I only saw a handful of people masking at university.

I was never brave enough to do that on my own. Now, it's so normalised I don't even call attention to myself by doing it.

None of my household have caught Covid-19 either, which I remain thankful for. There's been plenty of close calls, but our diligence and luck have held out thus far.

It feels like that can't last forever, though. We're going to catch it eventually, aren't we?

Roommate Retrospective: One Year Was Worth It

A year ago, I got a roommate. She just moved out this month. The succinct summary of the experience is thus: I'm glad we did it, but being a landlord does not suit me.

The extra cashflow was useful for the year, and our roommate took very little interaction to get along with. Yet the responsibility and spontaneous problems to fix were not great for peace of mind.

Still, learning by doing is well worth the year-long experiment, in my eyes. I would not wish to do it for much longer, or indefinitely.

I'll write an article going in more depth about the topic, soon. When I find the spare time, amidst all my responsibilities and demands.

For now, I have the original article here about getting a lodger in Cali:

Getting a Lodger in California AKA a Roommate
Recently I got a roommate, marking the first time I’ve dipped into landlording on my own. Here’s how I did it, and lessons I learned along the way.



Mistress of the Home, responsible for all matters financial. A loving Domme tempered with ambition and attention to detail.