Hark! Thou fairest of all Maids, Merry Maid, hath returneth from over a month of toiling 16 to 18 hours a day, 6 to 7 days a week. AND, if that were not enough to evoke pity in the hearts of our dear readers, Merry Maid is recovering nicely from minor surgery, which, conveniently enough, has spared our Merry Maid from the horrors of working so many hours.
To date, the debt of Dashing Knight and Merry Maid has been reduced from over 21,000 coins in June to a mere 4300 coins or so. This is over and above the non recoverable 1500 coins given to gifted doctors, hospitals, and apothecaries thus far.
But today is a celebration of Dashing Knight's day of birth! Much scavenging of coins from the sofa, bottoms of purses, and underneath carriage seats has occurred in order to facilitate a feast to be partaken at a local eatery. Dashing Knight is to be commended for his diligence as at this very moment he is attending to his studies with other fellow apprentices. Merry Maid is most impressed as she would have ditched on her day of birth.
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Thou dost have times in your life when numerous coins, a little over 500 in our Merry Maid's situation, are gladly given over to see loved ones. Merry Maid was desirous of attending her cousin's wedding, but was going to follow Knight Discipline's teachings and not attend. However, a little over a fortnight before the wedding, the leecher diagnosed dear cousin's mother with the most aggressive form of cancer.
Merry Maid does not have any regrets. Life must be balanced with goals. The last per diem coins from Merry Maid's recent business trip were used for the magic flying carriage (instead of these coins being put in the bag designated for wedding expenses). All is well on the path from the Land of Consumerism to the Land of LivingRight.
Hark! Thou hast the pleasure of celebrating with the heroes of our story the paying off of the debts owing to yon shopkeepers and the debts owing to those that apprenticed the handsome Dashing Knight! A celebration commenced forthwith by having food prepared by others at a local Inn. Then movie magic was enjoyed by our couple, which, dost thou know, is our couple's favorite pastime.
Three of the goals set out by the young lovers was attained by yet working extra hours -- Dashing Knight taking many short-term 2nd jobs to pay for the symbol of his love (that which rests on Merry Maid's finger) and Merry Maid's saving her per diems when slaving in another city and working overtime.
A summary of goals achieved to date:
*Monies with which to pay strapping young men to load up and unload household goods (the move to Houston)
*1000 coins held for emergencies
*Massacring debts owing to yon shopkeepers
*Massacring debts incurred from being apprenticed
*Acquiring an engagement ring
Goals expected to be completed by the end of January in the year of our Lord 2008:
*Acquiring wedding bands for each
*Acquiring enough coins for a decent wedding (1800 coins collected to date)
*Acquiring enough coins for a honeymoon
*Delivery from the hold several evil knights have on our couple in the form of a 4-horse drawn carriage debt (12,500 coins left to go)
*Monies equaling one month's expenses (an amount of coins separate from the coins stashed for emergencies) by the year of our Lord 2008, Spring
*Monies with which to attend Merry Maid's sister's wedding in Vegas in the year of our Lord 2008, Summer
*A graduate school education (tis better to be the lord and master) by the year of our Lord 2009, Spring
*A large keep by the year of our Lord 2009, Summer
*Monies with which to pay strapping young men to load up and unload household goods by the year of our Lord 2009, Summer
Hark! Dashing Knight, who doth not have young apprentices to instruct in the month of July, was scheduled to ride yon 4-horse carriage to Dallas to be with his lady love for two weekends and a week. However, he surprised his love by showing up early just after bedtime on Wednesday night with 2-dozen roses and a ring! On bended knee our favored knight formally asked our leading lady for her hand in wedded bliss.
Our lady love said.....yes!!!!!! And thus was solved the mystery of the missing coins. They were spent on our fair maid's betrothal jewelry.
Yon Dashing Knight. Sigh. He tries so hard. Thine paycheck is 1100 coins take home. He said apprenticing young squires would gross an extra 3000 coins. (Merry Maid assumed 2000 coins would be put in a sack to carry home.) Yet both paychecks he deposited in the new joint sack are 1100 coins each. He has no idea where the rest went.
Merry Maid can't wait for Dashing Knight's Awful Lord and Master to stop dragging its heels and making up excuses as to why THIS direct deposit application (the 4th? in a row) won't go through.
Hear!! Hear!! Shout the knights in the household of our heroes as they clink their mugs of ale. Merry Maid finally has a day off after a fortnight of hard work. Taking a job that pays more and earns incredible per diems (61 coins per day this fine trip) and overtime sounds good and indeed, truly is good for our fond couple. But slaving away the hours of 6:45 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (when she's lucky) with no break, 7 days a week ... well, it will all be worth it in the end.
Dashing Knight rode through perilous weather 4 1/2 hours just to see his leading lady. Feed for his horse, coupled with de-stressing/feelings of deprivation for working so hard and not seeing each other? Over 200 coins (not counting all the restaurant food for 2 weeks nor the wash and fold service for laundry at 10 coins per week). Our favored Merry Maid has slipped back into old habits and did not keep track of coins as she spent this fine day off. Merry Maid will have to devise a plan of checks and balances for times when she has no time to concentrate and pay attention to finances.
Luckily Merry Maid has partaken of meat and grog provided almost daily by yon inkeep this past fortnight, lessening the need to eat out. Seven hundred and sixty gold coins in perdiems and overtime (estimated) were earned this fine pay period.
Previously, Monseigneur Spending Plan taught Merry Maid that making Knight Stress go away by spending coins -- a.k.a giving him the taxes he thinks he's due -- will only make him grow stronger. Just like the King's brother's men in Robin Hood, Knight Stress and his small band of brigands will only increase in number from the coins you give them and will return more often in their greed, destroying things and hurting loved ones in their wake. Nay, bade Monseigneur Spending Plan, the true way to be rid of Knight Stress is to destroy him.
Easier said than done. Merry Maid's father came into town for almost a week and much merry making in the taverns was had, much to our heroes' pocketbook's lament. As fun as house guests are, Merry Maid succumbs to Knight Stress' wiles and will spend many coins, such as eating out, to make him go away.
All was not lost, though. Whereas before, no thought was given to the coins spent. This time, even though coins were spent too readily -- instead of Merry Maid slamming the door on Knight Stress' men -- Merry Maid at least tried to think of alternatives. Although no alternatives came to mind, Merry Maid learned that she can't think when she's stressed. Therefore, she acquired Knight Action Plan, who will help her plan ahead for next time.
Monseigneur Spending Plan has taken our young couple to task. Instead of modifying their behavior, they have been raiding Dashing Knight's jar of small coins in order to maintain their spending levels.
Our lovers have never spent much, its true, but the jar of small coins will soon be spent at this rate. The small coins in this jar have been collected by Dashing Knight for years and he is unwilling to cash in the almost $600 stash and apply it to debt. Dashing Knight smartly realizes that these small coins are his safety valve, something to delve into so that he stays on the path to the Land of LivingRight.
Once Dashing Knight is through apprenticing his young squires this week, our heroes will sit down and work out a strategy to make the jar of small coins last until the year of our Lord, 2008.
Dashing Knight, although recovering from a wretched illness, nobly and dutifully withdrew all the coins given unto him from his regular laboring (1100 coins) and also his stipends mentoring a squire (300) and gave them to Merry Maid to deposit in their joint account. Dashing Knight is nervous in doing so, but trusts Merry Maid with all his heart.
Merry Maid is very tempted to send these coins to the moneylenders immediately in order to reduce interest. But for the nonce, these coins are acting as a supplement to their existing 1500-coin emergency fund because the magical air cooling device in their rental keep is over 30 years old. Also, the repairman estimated a minimum of 5,000 coins would need to be spent to replace the: they-don't-make-ACs-like-that-anymore (it's in the ceiling) magical cooling device.
So for now, Merry Maid will not waver from the path and on the 1st of next month, her secretary, AutomaticBillPay, will pay all of the bills and will send what's leftover to the moneylenders.
Merry Maid and Knight Discipline rode their horses to the moneylenders this fine day. Merry Maid's insurance dividend check, refund from the electric company (from when she lived in a land far, far away), and money gained from items placed in a consignment shop equaled 145 coins!! Knight Discipline made Merry Maid deposit the checks immediately and she was happy to do so. Once the checks have cleared, all coins will be handed over to the shopkeeper.
Also, the dentist told Merry Maid over the phone that the copay for her visit would be 60 coins with her new insurance. However, when she went to hand over her coins, she was told there was no copay! It was 6 coins for fluoride, which isn't covered. What a nice mistake to make.
Knight Time Stealer ransacked the village again. Dashing Knight finally fessed up. While Merry Maid was still living in a land far, far away, Dashing Knight put the stone that was to make the engagement ring on his desk at home and left it there for weeks. This gave the fairies ample time to make off with the stone! If Dashing Knight wasn't so over scheduled, he would have had time to take the stone down to have it set. A new one must needs be paid for.
Now that Merry Maid is here, she is helping by doing her chores and some of his, too, while he learns at the knee of the Knight of Time Management. Merry Maid remembers the dark time before she was apprenticed to Knight Time Management: She was rushed and more harried, opening the door to Knight Stress, who urged her to commit impulse shopping to make her "feel better" because she "deserved it" for working so hard. Knight Stress also used her weakness to convince her to eat out more and buy more prepared food to ease time constraints. Knight Time Management will be a most welcome member of their keep.
Progress is being made! The money lenders have granted our heroes access to joint accounts via the web; and automatic bill pay/transfers have been set up, even though the debit cards may not be in for another month due to fairies having had their fun with the postal service people last month. Dashing Knight still paid some of his expenses from his own account, but once he calls to change the due date of his 4-horse carriage note, then all bills will be paid from their new joint account.
Our lovers successfully resisted the Knight of Stress and unpacked their own belongings (finding the missing computer power cord!) and even steam cleaned the carpet themselves (Evil Landlords refused to clean it, even though walking on it turned Merry Maid's bare feet black!). Our duo fought hard with the Evil Landlords and won coins totaling one month's rent for the cleaning and other problems encountered, bringing the monthly rent down to not quite 505 coins per month.
Good tidings!! The great darkness that had settled over our young heroes these past weeks has lifted, much to our heroes' relief. It is now much easier to see their path to the Land of LivingRight. The Knight of Automation is most wondrous. It is little known, but when he was an orphaned child, Monseigneur Spending Plan raised him himself.
The Land of LivingRight. What type of land may this be? Why are our lovers desirous of living there? Merry Maid wrote down her vision, her definition, of this Shangri-La. Dashing Knight, acting the rogue, cheated and made her vision his own instead of coming up with his own vision. But at least our duo are in accord this fine day.
The Land of LivingRight is vast and has many villages, each acquiring slightly different types of Knights. The village in which Merry Maid wishes to live will include the Knights of Self-Control, Living Below Your Means, Adequate Savings, Cash-Only Purchases, Simple Living, and Low Commuter Travel Time. This village fends off the Evil Knights of Temptation, Materialism, Impulse Shopping, Guilt, Peer Pressure, Workaholism, Image Consciousness, and Hoarding.
What knights do your villages house and with whom do they do battle?