Tuesday, July 14, 2009

That's all folks!!!


... everyone for reading the blog. Knowing there were people out their taking an interest in what we were doing helped us keep going when times got really tough.

Thanks Mum, thanks Dad and thank you Hannah. Thanks for putting up with rubbish birthday and Xmas presents.

Thanks to all my friends for their support.

Thank you ?WhatIf! for stopping me from starving and paying me a slalry to do something i truly love

And the biggest possible thank you goes to Amy. You are truly my best friend. Thank you for loving me even when I’d been a total overbearing, penny pinching, control freak idiot. Let's do amazing things together.

(I can't believe typing this made me cry - boy has it all been emotional)

Goodbye and happy saving xxxxxx


NO one..

I can't believe writing this made me laugh! (boy it's been emotional)

Ok ok...

I would like to thank the people out there that posted wise, smart, funny and inspirational comments when life was incredibly hard.

I'd like to thank Gareth's family for being so supportive, considering I don't think anyone from my family read the blog even once ;)

I'd like to thank Gareth for forcing me to to this because now it's OVER and we're really happy so it makes it all worth it.

I'd like to thank blogger (it's a dope app that's free ;)

I'd like to thank Gareth again, you have changed my life, become my best friend, made me laugh through all the tears, been an amazing support system and a fantastic partner.

Fair well and we'll miss you ;) xxxxxxxxxxx

Monday, July 13, 2009


Getting engaged
The trip to Morocco was amazing and I loved the party we had in the UK to celebrate (the ‘help I’m in debt’ ‘and engaged’ t-shirts still make us laugh). The proposal itself might not have been perfect but when we finally splash out and get Amy her real engagement ring I’m sure I’ll find myself down on one knee somewhere (no smutty comments Steve).

Learning to love writing
There have been a few unexpected side effects from ONB. The main one is my new found love of writing. Forcing ourselves to try and write something everyday on the blog ignited a passion in me that has resulted in loads of poems, short stories and comedy sketches. They are all a bit odd and not everyone’s ‘cup of tea’ (edible children and pork loving pigs) but writing them keeps me out of mischief. My aim for between now and Xmas is to try and get an agent.

The readers of this blog
We have had over 20,000 visitors to this blog which is a huge amount. Seeing that number creep up has always given us encouragement and we loved the comments people posted. Seriously these small sentences did no end to lift us up when we were down. Those of you who have ever posted a comment probably have no idea of the impact you had ☺
In addition to the blog some people were very kind to donate money to the cause! We put the button on jokingly. In total we kindly received – drum roll please - $60!!! Thank you – you didn’t have to but every time we got $5 or $10 we felt ten feet tall.
Now that we are through the whole experience we have decided to donate your $60 to someone who needs it much more than us. We hope you don’t mind. It’s going to go to a young mum whose mother passed away this week. They are as poor as church mice and sadly haven’t got enough money to pay for the funeral which must be a truly horrible situation to be in.

Watching Amy grow
I thought Amy was pretty amazing when i met her and she just keeps getting more and more so...

...the way she has been kicking ass and taking names at work - building a team from scratch and earning numerous payrises in the process
...the way she has got her art back on track and is being the most productive she has been in 3 years (and the work is good, very very good)
...the way she became a mortgage expert overnight and fought tooth and claw to get us the best deal possible - one mortgage broker actually asked me if Amy worked in finance because she seemed to know so much
... the way she has managed to climb the Everest that is giving up smoking

With Amy I know i've backed a winner!!!

Learning to appreciate everything
From all this financial fasting my ta$tebuds have intensified!
Every magazine I now buy is more glossy and interesting
Every beer tastes more beery
Every meal is a special treat.
You get the idea – the list goes on and on!
Right now I’m not taking anything for granted!!! Long may it last.
I think this experience is going to be a great story to inspire our kids with. We won't ram it down their throats but hopefully it will have the same effect my dad's 'sunglass selling' story had on me.

Ending it in style
About a year ago I think we realised there was a real chance we could crash out of ONB and end up owning our own place (especially when the housing market collapsed). We wanted it to be a real ‘we’ve made it’ moment and it was. Signing the largest check of my life was a real rush when it came time to put down the deposit - It was the most zeros I have ever put on a check!!!!
It has truly been the happy ending we so wanted it to be ☺

Sunday, July 12, 2009



Meeting Gareth.... for only $40 bucks!

Living with Gareth - knowing that we could cuddle up every night with each other and that no matter how many trips he was on he'd be coming home to me.

Watching Gareth grow emotionally, he's always been very responsible but watching him learn to ground himself in reality was/is magic.

Getting engaged - even though Gareth thinks 'he did it wrong' it was very magical and I will treasure the first time he asked me to marry him forever!!!

Traveling to Morocco, Costa Rica and Panama and having the most amazing adventures for really really cheap!

Learning to bake apple pies - yeah!!

Learning to budget my money - I've never been HORRIBLE with money but I must admit I did want to ignore my student debt. Gareth taught me how to face it ;) And now I feel more than capable and responsible with my money; instead of wasting it on a 'this and a that' and finding out you have no money at the end of that month and nothing to show for it ;)

Doing everything we said we were going to do - when I first me Gareth I think I said, "I can't stand people that are all talk and no action!" Ha ha Gareth proved to be ALL action, yeah!


On a side note: Serendipity and synchronicity:

Unbeknownst to us we: had JUST enough money to pay for the down payement, litterally it left us with $74.00 in out accounts.

Unbeknownst to us we took a storage place six months ago about two blocks away from our new home.

Unbeknownst to us we emailed our broker "Is their any chance the apt in Park Slope will become available again, it's still on-line posted' the very same moment he called my cell and told me that the other buyers in Park Slope had pulled out and the apartment was ours!!

Unbeknownst to us I have a childhood friend living a half a block away!

Unbeknownst to us, at the time, we are expected to leave our current sublet on the exact same date we are expected to 'close' on the apartment.

It really does feel like someone somewhere was looking out for us :)

Saturday, July 11, 2009


AMY SAYS... (Ok this went up blank cause I was being too reflective and the automatic post that GARETH scheduled went up too quick before I could think of my low-lights!!!)

Living at 'ass-juices', really her name was Anju, she was a french model with really long hair extensions that stole our money.

Living in the Ethiopian crack den in Brooklyn for 3 months.

Losing some (pretty lame) friends cause I kept saying 'no', guess they weren't really friends anyway if they took off so easily ;p

The 'Big Wobble' sucked, lot's of tears :(

Living at my moms, but in hindsight it really wasn't that bad - in fact I kinda miss her ;)

Feeling like we lived on a mattress, similarly to the grandparents in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory (the original ;)

Sleeping on the air mattress for 8 months.

Getting Salmonella ON AN AIR MATTRESS ( I think my toxic gas broke it ;)

Gareth traveling something like 108 days during ONB and having to do it alone ;)

Eating tuna fish everyday and thinking I had mercury poisoning.

Quitting smoking during the whole thing - this ended up being a good thing but the giant mountain I had to climb during ONB I think made me a little looney tunes (that's over now thank god!)

Friday, July 10, 2009


Cycling in the rain
There was one day that really sticks out as a lowlight of ONB. It was pissing it down with rain and i had to cycle home with a trash bag of leftover food over my shoulder. Wet and eating a meal of scraps was not a particularly great day.

The two sublets in Brooklyn and the East Village
We hated hated hated these places - crappy crappy crappy. Hanging out in the office at weekends because it was nicer than home was pretty depressing. I guess you get what you pay for.

Lack of privacy
The hardest thing about living at Amy's Mum's was the lack of privacy. I remember getting very excited when i hired a tiny locker at the YMCA for $10 a month. My own little bit of Gareth space!!! It made me feel kind of pathetic.

Having to say no all the time
Ohhhhhh that was so depressing. No you can't come and visit. No i can't do ot for a drink. No i haven't got you a present. Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

The reveal
When I first heard the total figure of the debt I think i went into shock! My brain went blank - not one single idea in it not even having a Plan Z. I was totally stumped.

Tax back
The government changing the tax laws for foreigners on New Year's Eve and making it retrospective for last year was a bit of a blow. We had been hoping on - make that relying on - a big chunk of change coming our way. The accountant had actually done all the sums and told me i could expect $8000. The next week he called me up and said it had all changed and i actually owed teh government money!!! Arse.

The big wobble
We never wrote about this on the blog but there was a big almost relationship ending wobble last November. We survived. We moved on. We learned. We grew.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Lesson Number 13 (errr unlucky for some): Agree the boundaries


Most of the arguments we had during ONB came from us not talking about things enough.

Make sure you are on the same page about how you are going to save.

One person’s essential is another person’s luxury.

Just talk loads* and you won’t go too far wrong.

*(Yes male readers we have to learn to talk more!!!)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Lesson Number 12: Get creative


Great ideas cost nothing.

If you asked yourself questions like:

“How could we eat for free?”
“How could we live for free?”
“How could we have fun for free?”

… and if you got really creative with your answers you might just surprise yourself (and save you a lot of money).

We ended up...

... collecting leftover food from friends who worked at meeting venues.
... winning food in free raffles
... gate crashing parties
... living in the world's smallest room at Amy's mum
... blah blah blah - you've been reading the blog you know the lengths we've done!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Lesson Number 11: Share the scare


There is a lot of stigma attached with being in debt.

ONB would have been impossible if we had tried to keep it from our friends and family.

So we were very vocal about it!

We even started a blog ☺

The more people who knew the better as the fewer awkward situation we found ourselves in - it can get very depressing saying ‘No’ to things all the time.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Lesson Number 10: Know why you’re doing it and remind yourself constantly


Regular readers of this blog will know that I decided that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with Amy after only knowing her for six weeks.

It was this desire that drove me to push for ONB (Amy wasn’t too keen about living at her mum’s) – I knew how I wanted my future to be like.

I wanted to have Amy as my wife.
I wanted the debt gone.
I wanted to live a life filled with adventures.
I wanted us to start a family.

Know why you are doing it and carry a bright Technicolor picture of it in your mind.

The brighter the picture the easier it is to put your head down and keep crawling forward.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Lesson Number 9: Be open to the lessons


One of my bosses said to me recently that ‘you keep learning the same lesson until you learn it’.

We learned so much stuff during the past year and not all of it came from the experience we ourselves were going through.

We saw what was happening to people close to us and would often ask ourselves…

“How can we make sure stuff like that happens to us?”

… or …

“How can we make sure stuff like that doesn’t happen to us?”

The chats these two questions inspired are going to prove invaluable going forward.

Life comes without a manual but if you look around you hard enough (and keep your mind open enough) you’ll quickly learn everything you need to know.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Lesson Number 8: Take it in turns to be at the front


ONB was exhausting and draining.

The way we got through was to carry one another – sometimes Amy was at the front leading the charge and sometimes I was.

We both got down doing it but thankful the ‘down-ness’ never overlapped too much – there was always one of us with enough optimism to dilute the others pessimism.

I think that’s what a true partnership is all about.

Afterall, you’ll never find two people who are always in the same place emotionally and physically – if you do… RUN - they are probably androids.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Lesson Number 7: Keep it light


When you start worrying about things like money life tends to get very serious and the more serious something becomes the more you worry – it becomes a vicious circle.

So keep it fun.

Here are a few things we did to inject some lightness into the whole scheme…

We gave it a name. Referring to ‘the debt’ all the time would have gotten very depressing. We called it Operation Night Brace because of what Amy used to do as a kid. She’d wear her night brace to school so her teeth got straight faster. ONB was all about doing something unpleasant as fast as we could so the name worked ☺

We made our save-o-meter. At the start we had a large thermometer that we would slowly color in the amount we had paid off.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Lesson Number 6: Embrace planning


Spontaneity is the enemy of saving and I think that is what I missed the most during the whole Operation.

Every penny mattered so you couldn’t just jump in a cab or go to the cinema whenever you fancied.

Plan ahead and you’ll find it easy to save – it is not as sexy as spontaneity but fear not that will always come back once you’ve achieved your goal.

PS Learn to love spreadsheets (they’re awesome at maths so you don’t have to be)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Lesson Number 5: Pad the ride

When you are going to trying an intense period of saving make sure you don’t go straight into it. You need to prepare.

We decided in early April to do ONB starting May 1st.

That meant we could set up a few things to look forward to over the summer and autumn.

We brought tickets to a number of gigs and paid for a holiday.

These things were the spoonful of sugar that made saving easier.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Lesson Number 4: We’re all works in progress


Living together in quite an intense situation has helped me to realise that we are all ‘works in progress’ – nobody is perfect and nobody is ever finished.

Everyday we are shown ways in which we can be a better person.

We can either ignore or embrace these opportunities.

But it's not easy.

Sometimes you have to be shown something several times before you embrace it.

This all sounds a bit hippy dippy but it really helped me to roll with the punches knowing that everyone is simply a 'work in progress' (including myself)

Lesson Number 3.1: Reflection


Wow it has been a crazy journey - up and down left and right. I remember an email Gareth sent me after, I think our third date or so, it read, "You've turned my world upside down." To which I responded "Inside out and upside down ;)" Well, we really HAD NO idea how upside down and inside out our world was about to become!!

It's been filled with excitement, fear, relentlessness, tears, laughter, breakdowns, break-ups, make-ups, shake-ups, raises, courage, adventures, escapes, mistakes, successes and failures....

...but through all of this, one thing is certain Gareth and I took a deep breath, jumped head first straight through the center of the earth...we refused to let go no matter how big the frown...

...'and came out the other side, where people walk upside down...'

Monday, June 29, 2009

Lesson Number 3: Go as fast as you can for as long as you can (but make sure the wheels don’t fall off)


Do we regret doing ONB?

Looking at where we have ended up – a flat of our own and only $60k left of the debt (with a clear calm plan of how we are going to pay it off) – I’d have to say no but there were certainly times when we came close to a disaster.

It was (in places) just a little too extreme.

We became so obsessed a lot of things suffered in our lives.

We kept pushing ourselves harder and harder.

The initial plan was to pay of the private debt and then stop but we kept going and going.

We’re lucky to have made it through.

This has definitely been a relationship forged in a fire – we’d only been together 5ish months when the madness began.

Living on less than $20 a day in one of the world's most expensive cities was ridiculous!!!

Be inspired by our story but don't do it the way we did.

Chunk it down.

Take baby steps.

How about one month of saving every other month?

How about having a different spend target for weekdays and weekends? You get the idea!!!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Lesson Number 2: Don’t ignore it


Debt thrives in the dark.

The less you think about it the stronger it becomes.

Get it out on the table.

Shine a light on it and come up with a plan of action.

When I met Amy she was paying $15 a day in interest!!! If we’d have done nothing the debt would now be about $9k more – yikes.

Whatever you can do today - no matter how small - will make life tomorrow a little easier.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Lesson Number 1: You're amazing!!


No matter how tricky the situation is you will find a way out of it.

When I first heard about how big the debt was I totally freaked and had no idea what to do.

But if you don’t give up and take it little by little a solution will appear.

It’s like escaping from a prison by removing each break – the first one is the hardest and then it gets easier and easier.

Before you know it you are outside breathing fresh air.

Always have faith in yourself and know that that the cliché is true – "if you really put your mind to something you can do absolutely anything".

So what now for Operation Night Brace?


Operation Night Brace will soon be officially over.

And with that this blog will end to.

We started it to share with our friends and families our journey to getting of rid of $180,000+ of student debt.

Living on little more than air for over a year made for some interesting stories!

But now things are returning to normal and we are just like everybody else with regular jobs and a 30 year mortgage (although the people who know us probably wouldn't ever associate us with the word 'normal').

We can't really see how saving up for a sofa can be quite as impressive as trying to pay of all of Amy's debt in a year. We will spare you the dullness. Ha ha ha.

It has been an absolute blast and over the next two weeks we are going to look back on the amazing adventure we've had since May 1st 2008 when it all officially began.

We managed to save $183,500.

We paid off $120,00 of the debt and put $63,500 down on a home!

We feel like we've won a gameshow and it makes everything we did worthwhile.

"But what about the rest of the debt???" I hear you cry.

We have a plan.

Everything we make above and beyond our regular salaries is going to go towards the rest of the debt.

At a regular steady SENSIBLE pace we should be student debt free within two years.

But the irony is we now have a mortgage - which is a far bigger debt than the student loans!!! It adds an strange symmetry to the story.

Now if only we could pay off the mortgage in a year.

Hmmmmmm Operation Home Free! Now there's an idea!!!

Only joking. We've had enough of 'Operations', 'Nights' and 'Braces' to last us a lifetime.

Enjoy your last few posts from us. Thanks for being part of it!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009



PS it's not as big as it looks - that is trick photography by the sellers!!!

PPS That's a communal garden - it's not all ours!!!!



"The Contract is signed and on the way back to me (voice mail form seller's lawyer)"

We're so excited, We just can't hide it
We're about to lose control and we think we like it
We're so excited and we just can't hide it
We know we know we know we know we know we want you

We added the lyrics - they weren't in his email!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Two hurdles left???


According to the brokers website the property is 'In Contact' although our lawyer hasn't heard that the Sellers have officially signed yet.

It's looking good but we are still holding our breath.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The three hurdles


Before the apartment officially becomes our love-nest three things have to happen...

The Sellers - They have to sign the contract we signed on Saturday. Hopefully this won't be a problem as the price has been agreed. As soon as they sign the property is officially off the market.

The Banks - They have to give us a mortgage. We've been pre-approved so hopefully no problems here.

The Co-op - They have to say that they like us and think our financials are healthy. Fingers crossed here but i think paying off the debt and doing Operation Night Brace will certainly help here.

Phew. We're so close. We've done everything we can and now the ball is in everyone else's court.

Fingers, toes and teeth crossed.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

We just signed a contract on an apartment!


We can't believe it!!! We have landed on our feet but are shattered by the whole experience. If you remember back in February we stopped paying off the debt but kept saving. Between then an now we managed to save just over $60,000 which is pretty much the remainder of the loan!!!!

We had managed to save enough money to pay of the entire debt in just over a year - we had done what we set out to do with Operation Night Brace. But rather than pay off the debt we decided to do something to bring some much needed stability to our lives and that something was buying an apartment.

We have so much to tell but for now we are exhausted and curled up in bed watching bad movies - it's 3pm on Saturday here in NYC.

(Long) Drum Roll Please!!!


Just a few more hours!

Monday, June 15, 2009



Something amazing has just happened!!!

We are pinching ourselves and wanting to make sure it is 100% definite before we share it with you.


Friday, June 12, 2009



This is disturbing on so many levels I don't even know where to begin!!

Considering that Gareth and I conserve food like it's going outta style... this is pure insanity!

oink oink

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ash or grind?

Amy says...

Well our new home is great. It takes me exactly 6 minutes to get to work on foot, not like the asshole that is spending 7 hrs commuting!!!!! Sorry dude - that's just dumb ;)

Anyway...we live inbetween one of the best coffee houses in Manhattan and a funeral home.

Yesterday, I bought a thermos so that I can enjoy a cup of coffee during my 6 minute commute...I went to the back of the coffee shop and asked the guy behind the counter if he could wash out my thermos and fill it with coffee. He did it gladly and when I handed him two dollar bills he grabbed only one and gave me $0.40 BACK!!

$0.60 for a whole thermos full of coffee? WTF??? are they using the ash from next door?

There's gotta be something wrong with it...but nope, an amazing cup of coffee for $0,60 is on my block as long as you bring your own cup! Ha!

What a deal!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The crazy things people do for love!


Sunday, June 7, 2009

£150 a minute


No that's not the cost of the new sex line Amy and I are running! It's the money you can earn writing material for comedy shows - sweet!

My friend Chris is working on a pilot for a new sketch show and he needs material. If i manage to write something that makes it on to the show they will pay £150 for every minute that the material features.

I've got a few ideas so we'll see what happens - my fav is a character that speaks really slowly and takes 15 minutes to tell one joke (hmmmmmm somehow i think the producers might see through that one).

It is time to put pen to paper or rather finger to keyboard to see what i can make happen.

I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The joy of spreadsheets


I love spreadsheets. Amy doesn't quite share my passion for them.

We are now entering a brave new world and it involves spreadsheets.

In the past the $20 a day budget was pretty easy to remember but not much fun to do.

That's gone.

A moment's silence please for the $20 budget...

Now we have a new budget but it's a bit more complicated than the old (and very extreme) 'any spending = bad' model.

We have created various pots for various things - rent, bills etc. We even have one called 'fun' which is the one we are most excited about.

Our fridge has been converted into budget central with various sums and scribbles stuck up on it. It's a bit 'Sleeping with the enemy' but it's just to get us going i promise.

I think amy is a bit overwhelmed by it all but i'm pretty confident that (when we get in the groove) it will be pretty painless.

We'll be able to save (at a sensible rate) and have a life.

Hello brave new world. It is very nice to meet you.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Amy says...

We're in!!! We have:
Cable TV
a comfy bed
bed side tables
a couch!!!!
plenty of closet space
sun sun sun and more sun light
a huge bathroom
a toilette that flushes
a shower that works!!!
high speed Internet
plenty of storage
a kitchen
peace and quiet

this is AMAZING!!!!!!!!

holy shit!!!!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

We're in!!!!


So far so good :)

We survived the move in up the 5 flights of stairs thanks to Dave! Thank you Dave.

We had our first bit of luck in the new place - the place we ordered some dinner from got the order wrong and gave us almost double!!!! We ate and drank like kings for $18 ;)


Moving day


Amy and I are both sick.

It's as though our bodies knew today was moving day and have gone on strike.

The flat is awash with scrunched up toilet paper. Amy is asleeep next to me with toilet paper shoved up her nose!!! It looks very funny and i am half tempted to take a picture and share it with you but i think she'd kill me.

Our clothes are all bagged up in trash bags. Or books and pots and pans are loaded up into cardboard boxes.

We're ready to leave. In fact we have been ready to leave this place since the first week.

It feels like we are coming up for air :)

The next place is a fifth floor walk up so i just hope their is enough oxygen up there. I'm not looking forward to carrying all the stuff up the stairs. Ohhhh i can feel a bad back coming on and Amy is too sick to be my Florence Nightingale.


It feels like every-time we move I get incredibly ill - when we moved to Prospect Park, I had a horrible cold, then I caught salmonella - which had me in bed for almost 2 whole weeks. Then when we moved to the East Village and we've been cold sick and miserable ever since. Now we're moving to Bleeker street and Gareth and I both have the flu it seems.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The bounce back begins


The easy thing to do last night was go home, get into bed and be miserable.

But we didn't!

Instead Gareth cycled over in the rain to Amy's work with flowers, frozen yoghurt and a can of diet coke.

Big hugs were had.

We thought about booking ourselves into a hotel but decided against it - only two more sleeps until we move out and $150 is $150 :)

We cycled home together in the rain.

Cooked pasta.

Had a hot bath.

And then feel asleep.

Onwards and upwards.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

No fairy tale ending :(


"Hi guys,

Please don't shoot the messenger...

We didn't get the apt.

The other offers were considerably higher than ours. .

I'm so sorry. It looks like we'll be drowning our sorrows in beer tomorrow. :(

But after tomorrow, let's get right back on the horse. The good news is that there ARE other apts on the market that will work for you. I know it may sound trite, but we are one step closer to finding you a home. I would even dare say that each of your selections has been progressively better than the one before. I'm confident we'll find you an apt that is superior to all the rest so far.

Hang in there and try not to get discouraged. This is a huge learning process and you're learning very quickly. You're also getting very clear about what you want. But maybe the biggest part is developing a thick emotional skin and bouncing back quickly from setbacks. You're definitely more resilient than at the outset.

So keep your chins up and prepare your bellies for lots of beer.

I'll check my searches again and email you listings tomorrow.


Needless to say we are both gutted :(

But fear not we have a nice place to go home to tonight - oh on seconds thoughts - we hate it there :(


Wednesday, May 27, 2009



Our life is always a bit mixed up.

BAD STUFF: We are staying somewhere we hate. A sign went up in our lobby from the police saying the building is under 24 hour surveillance because of drug trafficking. Blimey!!!! Thank goodness we move out on Sunday to Dave's.

GOOD STUFF: We have just found somewhere we love and we have made an offer on it. It's so close to being ours i can almost taste it.

BAD STUFF: Sadly we aren't the only people who want this flat. It had 8 offers!!!!!! We made it through the first round and are down to the final three for a 'best and final' showdown. We find out tomorrow so keep your fingers crossed.

GOOD STUFF: If we get it it will be like the fairy tale ending to Operation Night Brace and over a year of extreme saving!!! But fear not it won't really be the end we still have $60k to pay off though so it isn't the end end, just the start of a different phase - a nice relaxing, comfortable phase where saving takes second place to living.

AMYS SAYS........
I got this in an email today. I'm not the type of person that would go to something like this but WTF - ping pong, free drink!!!


Hi #{first_name}#,

We know it's been awhile since we saw you at our last mixer. This warm weather has inspired us and we're throwing another one for you tomorrow to celebrate the arrival of summer!

This month's Zipster Mixer is at Fat Cat (75 Christopher St @ 7th Ave in Manhattan) on Thursday, May 28 from 5:30 - 8pm. The first drink for Zipcar members is on us (we'll be dressed in Zipcar gear and easy to spot; just flash your Zipcard and select your cocktail of choice). And if you bring along a non-member friend who signs up for Zipcar, we'll slide you both $75* of driving credit. Oh, we should mention Fat Cat has ping pong and billiard tables. So bring your game, because we will!

See you tomorrow,

The team at Zipcar New York

*Offer not valid in conjunction with other offers, promotions or corporate accounts.

zipcar | wheels when you want them (TM)

Need help? Give our member help center a whirl.

Did you know your membership works in all Zipcar cities? Zip in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, London, New York, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Portland, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver and Washington, DC.

NOTE: This e-mail was sent from a notification-only address that does not accept replies.


Monday, May 25, 2009

What the fuck is going on?


The weirdness continues with our sublet in the East Village but fear not we only have to survive until next week and then we are out of here (and out $500 in the process - arghhhhhh).

Here is a list of the weirdness (and it is growing everyday)...

It turns out the woman we are renting from hasn't paid any rent for 4 months and owes the landlord over $8000.
This is surprising because we paid her in cash to stay here for 2 months.
In turns out the rent is $1700 and she is charging us $1875
This is effectively $175 for bills of which the internet doesn't work and you can't really use the electricity because the circuit trips - so thats $175 for bugger all.

And that's not all...

Even though it is early summer the flat is freezing and infested with ants.
We have weird people ringing the buzzer at odd times (i'm guessing it's the landlord after his rent).
And the shower is going to kill us the first time we turned it on the head fired off into our faces and we got pounded by water that is either too hot or too cold

We have effectively paid up until the 15th but we want out on the 1st. We are trying to get our last weeks money back but i'm pretty certain we can kiss that goodbye.

It seems like everywhere we have lived this year people have tried to shaft us :(

Hopefully the next place will work out. It is for 3 months and we're going to be subletting from a friend from work rather than a weirdo from craigslist. What could possible go wrong? Watch this space and find out...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

"30 days on minimum wage"


The guy who made Super Size Me has a TV series in the states called 30 days where he (or someone else) gets to live in someone else's shoes for 30 days. Here is the description of the first episode...

"Morgan Spurlock and his fiancée Alex leave their fabulous New York lifestyles behind for the heart of the Midwest, Columbus, Ohio. Morgan and Alex work at multiple minimum wage jobs for 30 days earning $5.15 per hour. They get to experience first hand the struggles minimum wage earning families face as Morgan’s niece and nephew come to live with them."

It was a pretty painful experience. We saw a lot of ourselves in them - every argument them had we'd had (in principle) at some point - "Hey i walk to work so we can save money and you just wasted $1.20 on doughnuts"

But i'd like to think we have moaned less. Boy did they moan and they only did it for 30 days. ONB has now been going for 12 months! I guess there are several things that make it easy(ier) for us to cope with it all...

1. It is our choice - we are choosing to do this we could stop tomorrow if we wanted to
2. We have jobs we enjoy and find fulfilling
3. We live in NYC not Columbus, Ohio

So it is heads down and ploughing forward with the plan.
Morgan: "I have seen how hard the struggle is. I have been here. And I only did it for a month, and there's people who do this their whole lives."

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Why wasn't this us? ;)


NZ hunts accidental millionaires

Police in New Zealand are searching for a couple who disappeared after a banking blunder deposited NZ$10m (£3.9m, US$6m) in their account.

The couple had applied for a NZ$10,000 overdraft but received NZ$10m in their business account instead, part of which they withdrew, local media report.

They are said to have run a service station in Rotorua, North Island.

Police believe the couple have left the country and Interpol has been alerted for assistance.

The deposit was made by the Australian bank Westpac, which has about 10 million customers.

Police said that part of the money had been recovered, without specifying the amount.

"The individuals associated with this account are believed to have left New Zealand and police [are] working through Interpol to locate those individuals," said Detective Senior Sergeant David Harvey of New Zealand Police.

"Westpac Bank has recovered some of the money which had been inappropriately withdrawn."

Westpac media relations manager Craig Dowling said the bank was "pursuing vigorous criminal and civil action to recover a sum of money stolen".

Adding that the incident had prompted a review of how it had occurred, he said he would not comment on the specifics of the case due to the police investigation and court actions requiring confidentiality.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A (free) night out


Last night was a good night. It felt like the type of night we should be having more of in NYC rather than sitting at home in a cold miserable flat watching Hulu over a crap internet connection.

Here's what happened...

Amy's sister's boyfriend works in PR and has got lots of connections in the artworld so we decided to tag along with them for the evening.

First stop...

Gallery opening in Chelsea
This is my first gallery opening i have ever been to in NYC. The people who had drifted out of the woodwork with the promise of free alcohol were sadly more interesting than the work we had all gathered to see but at least the wine was white and not too warm.

Second stop...

Bubble and Bubble University (yep the hairdressers!!!)
Having checked our names off at the door we climbed into a lift the size of one of our meeting rooms at work and went up to the on of the top floors of a rather mysterious building. The lift opened into a big loft space filled with people getting drunk and enjoying free food from the event's sponsor - Wholefoods YUMMMMMMYYYYYYYYYY! The night had a few highlights - my favorite was the weird fashion show with people wearing outrageous costumes such as...

The Firing Clown - A dude in a suit with a weird clown mask made out of office equipment (post-it note skin, calculator ears, sellotape eyes, a pointy hat made out of pens). He ran round with a briefcase and when he opened it we saw it had a birthday cake in it that said: "Your fired" on it written in frosting.

The hairy woman - A rather large woman who wore nothing but a bikini made out of long dark hair which flailed out when she spun round

It was all very odd but odd in a good way.

It ended early but that was probably a good thing.

I cycled home and Amy went off to another party.

I was exhausted from work and full of meatballs, chips and dips and beer.

Thank you New York. We had a great evening.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Amy says...
I found these quotes....and as an experiment I interchanged 'happiness' for 'money' and 'money' for 'happiness'...some of them work better then others ;)

Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.
Carl Jung

Even a lot of money cannot be without measure of darkness, and the word rich would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by poverty.
Amy Globus

Money is like manure; it's not worth a thing unless it's spread around encouraging young things to grow.
Thorton Wilder

Happiness is like manure; it's not worth a thing unless it's spread around encouraging young things to grow.
Amy Globus

Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Money is not in the mere possession of happiness; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.
Amy Globus

Sunday, May 17, 2009


I think there's really nothing perfect about life, except maybe that it's messy :)

It's how people roll with the punches; how they get up and dust themselves off that makes them truly amazing.

So after a few crazy emotional highs and lows on this roller coaster of life, Gareth and I are dusting ourselves off and moving forward hand in hand.

Yay :)


And as part of this dusting off process we are ... drum roll please ... booking a weekend away to see our friends in Montreal. To hell with the budgeting!!!

Saturday, May 16, 2009



Since we moved into our new apartment in the East Village I no longer have to rely on the train, I can almost walk to work in under and hour!

So I fixed up my bike an bought one of those heavy duty chains and now I cycle every morning and evening!!

It's AWESOME - a total life changer!!

No more wrestling for a seat, no more getting elbowed by 'suits'...

I'll be saving $81 a month and it only takes me 10 minutes to get to work!!!

It's amazing, I highly recommend it!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Random thoughts about love and money


Martin Luther King Jr. Said
"There can be no deep disappointment without deep love"

So last week when Gareth and I went to make hyman's with pita bread an laughed our asses off all eve--the stress just melted away and it felt like we fixed what was starting to break from all the stress!

Also, for the first time in about 1.5 years I have a project that I am jumping outta my skin to make!! It will involve some pretty heavy duty 3D animation work though. I told Gareth that I found someone who was interested in helping me build the project, I was worried that he'd freak about how much money it would cost to make BUT instead he said,

"If this is something you really want to do and it will make you happy, WE will find a way."

I think that line will go down in my top 10 favorite things Gareth has ever said to me.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Do you want dog shit with that?


Last Sunday was Mothering Sunday in the US so Amy and her sister volunteered to cook their mum her favourite meal – clams and spaghetti, followed by roast leg of lamb with artichokes and roast potatoes, finished off by chocolate cake. Yummy!

The food was ordered and the meal was cooked perfectly!

One of the funniest moments (but also the most disgusting) happened while we were eating the lamb.

I’m not the greatest carver so I was making a bit of a mess. Amy’s mum saw a piece of lamb on the floor and picked it and put into next to the plate of lamb I’d carved (thankfully not on the plate as you will soon see).

While we were cleaning up afterwards I had a closer look at the dropped piece of lamb – it turned out that was no piece of lamb!!!!!! It was a rather hard piece of dog poo courtesy of either Teddy of Kiki – we’ll never know which ☺. It is amazing how similar a tasty little bit of roast lamb looks like a piece of shit.

Oh my god – that was a close one!

Someone could have been given that to eat.

We cried and cried with laughter.

Amy’s mum is still convinced it was a piece of lamb – I bet her $30 to eat it.

Needless to say – she threw it in the bin.


I just wanted to say that this has been a wild crazy adventure, and whenever I read a "Comment" from someone it warms my heart to no end. (I NEVER thought I would say shit like that) but it's true.

Every comment that I've read, when I've posted something heartbreaking or painful, has been thoughtful, insightful and kind!!

I would mention names but YOU KNOW who you are...so THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!!

Love Amy

Pitart bread


As you may have noticed - Amy and I were in need of a date night to cheer us up!

Last night we went to our local bar and ordered a pitcher of sangria and drank it all - all 2 liters of it!

With every glass the worries got less and the laughter got more.

One of the highlights was when we ordered humus and started nibbling shapes out of pita bread and getting Marty the barman to guess what we had tried to create.

Here are some of the things we nibbled for Marty to guess.

Amy nibbled.... a Jet plane - Marty guessed this correctly
Gareth nibbled .... a cherry - Marty thought it was a hymen (the fold of mucous membrane which surrounds or partially covers the external vaginal opening)
Amy nibbled ... a hymen - Marty had no idea what it was
Gareth nibbled ... a slice of pizza - with a bit of mime Marty guessed correctly

Marty then did one for us. I can't remember what it was - it was some sort of Mexican snack which i'd never heard of so Amy walked away the winner.

I don't know what he really thought of us but he did say it was the funniest night of bartending he'd had in 4 years.

Somehow our bill only came to $30 - i guess he liked us.

We are both hungover this morning and feeling sorry for ourselves.

I'm off to the airport to fly to Texas for work.

Amy is still in bed.

It was a Chimmychanga!!!

Monday, May 11, 2009



Gareth and I have become obbbbssseeessseddd with money.

Everything we seem to do or say revolves around that nasty green stuff.

Our lives are, seemingly, on permanent hold because of that crappy paper.

Our relationship is crumbling because of that shit we stick in our wallet.

We don't know how to fix it.

I know I love him.

I know he loves me.

But right now, it all seems:

Thursday, May 7, 2009



I feel like someone has put a curse on me...

I have broken a giant mirror
I have broken a clothing stand
I came home last night to NO electricity in the pouring rain
We didn't get the apartment we loved
I was almost killed by many truck drivers cycling to work
My new computer system at work crashed and died....
I have no heat, no internet, no kitchen, no TV, no Gareth at home...

It seems like every which way I turn I should duck...

Cause recently, I aint got no luck!! :(

Will work for popcorn


I recently met the owner of a popcorn company in a bar while away on a business trip.

He was having a problems with a particular area.

Being a loud mouth i jumped in to help.

"Oh you could do this ... or this ... or this ..."

My suggestions went down pretty well.

We swapped cards and disappeared into the night.

One week later a massive box arrived at work.

In the box was more popcorn than i could possible eat.

6 giant bags and all of it delicious.

Thank you Doc Popcorn!!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Odd questions


Living Operation Night Brace throws up many interesting questions.

Here's a classic from Sunday morning...

Amy: How much would you charge someone for sex?

Gareth: Er ... um ... $500 i guess.

Looking back on this two worrying things emerge:

1) Why was Amy thinking about this?
2) Was $500 selling myself too cheap?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

There is always someone worse off than you


... cheer up!

No matter how gloomy things are for you there is always someone out there worse off than you and here is a website to prove it. It is soooooo addictive.

It's called FML as in 'f@£k my life' and is designed to be a place to share your every day life unfortunate moments.

It is cheaper than going to a shrink and it's good to know that no matter what happens someone in the world will be able to have a good laugh at your expense.

Here's the link

Here are some highlights...

Today, I ran for my school's elections for President. I thought I was popular enough to win. I lost, by 61 votes, my grade is only 62 people. I was the only one to vote for myself. FML

Today, I had my first real meeting with my girlfriend's parents. We had dinner at a pretty upscale restaurant and everything was going great. When the check came, I offered to pay and I stood up to take out my wallet. When I opened it, 3 condoms fell out on the table in front of them. FML

Today, I went downtown to pay my speeding ticket. After standing in line and arguing with a rude woman behind the desk, I get back to my car only to find an expired meter and a parking ticket. I got a ticket while paying my ticket. FML

Monday, May 4, 2009

Refurbished Phone


After my costly accident with my phone and an apple pie i had no choice but to buy a new handset this weekend.

I went along to the local AT&T store and had a look at what was on offer.

Ohhhhh how sexy the iPhones looked but they weren't cheap.

A salesman saw me drooling and came over.

I think he must have seen the state of my sneakers and said that they offered refurbished models for half the price.

Half price??? Now that's a word i love.

But hang on a minute doesn't refurbished mean - 'owned by someone else who broke it?'

The sales dude told me that the phone had been fixed by apple and was offered with a 90 day guarantee just like a brand new iPhone.

It was a no brainer.

With a quick swipe of a debit card i was the proud owner of a new(ish) iPhone.

Happy days.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Mark Twain


I'm a dork but I have a 'love quote of the day on my phone...here's the one i got today:

"Love seems the swiftest, but it is the slowest of all growths. No man or woman really knows what perfect love is until they have been married a quarter of a century."

Damn!! 23.5 more years and $60,000 to go ;)

Thursday, April 30, 2009



I was told my raise would start May 1st...

so today I looked at my bank statement and no raise!!

Apparently, I have to work for the 2 weeks in May to get paid for May...

So I won't get my raise until May 15th


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bargain Bikram


We have found a place that let's you try a week of unlimited bikram yoga classes for $20.

Never of us had done it before and boy were we in for a shock when we had our first attempt.

It is not only the hottest place we have ever been it is also smelliest!!!

It absolutely stinks of BO. You're more in danger of fainting from the stench than the heat.

It's pretty effective though - the weight just falls off - well actually it runs don your body.

Neither of us realised that even our toes could sweat that much!

AMY SAYS.......

And to add to that they give you free work out clothes (most people think that's gross - I'm ok with it for some reason ;)

My HIGHS and LOWS of yesterday


Going to Bikram Yoga and getting in shape - HIGH
Gareth being away - Low
Getting a massive editing suite upgrade at work - HIGH
Walking to work for the first time in my life - HIGH
Loving our new neighborhood - HIGH
Anticipating getting the apt - HIGH/LOW
Anticipating how much my next pay check will be - HIGH (Could turn into a low though)
My 4 month anniversary of NOT smoking - HIGH

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

$9 baseball


Last night we had a bit of free time on our business trip so we went of in search of something to do in Baltimore.

We ended up at a baseball game where the local team was playing the Texas Rangers.

We brought the cheapest possible tickets and went in but as no-one was checking the tickets on we ended up sitting in some great seats right near all the action.

It pays to be cheeky sometimes.

In case we got caught it was decided that i would have to speak to the staff members in my most english of voices and claim to be lost!!!! Dave with his New Jersey accent probably wouldn't have got much sympathy from the guards.

Highs and lows


Yesterday was a bit up and down.

We held a pie making competition at work - high
Amy and I worked hard on an apple pie to enter which was a lot of fun - high
When i carried the pie to work the juices leaked out and destroyed my cell and blackberry - low
We didn't win the competition - low
I had to go off on a 5 day trip away from Amy - low
Arrived at the hotel and got an upgrade - high
The suite i'm in is f***king massive, we could fit three of our current apartment into it - high high
Having run the sums we realised it is only going to cost us $200 more to buy an apartment then rent one - high
The apartment has another 4 offers on it so there is a good chance we won't get it - low

Keep you fingers crossed we should find today at lunchtime.

Friday, April 24, 2009

A Blast From The Past


I got an email from an old friend the other day. It made us laugh - especially this bit...

"I was going to pop over and see you, but while you're doing your saving scheme i thought you wouldn't be fun."

Thanks Phil. One day we will see you in NYC :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ha ha ha


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

New Commute


I finally understand why people become violent murderers!!!

Life has beaten them to a pulp and they SNAP!!

Ok - I'm not snapping just yet, but had we stayed in Brooklyn I just might have.

We have moved to the East Village and for the first time in 12 years I don't have to get on a horribly crowded subway, fight for a seat and get elbowed by the 'suits' for about an hour each morning!


I can walk, ride my bike or hop on the M21 bus that's a few feet from our door!!

All for actually less then what we were spending on rent in the armpit of Brooklyn!!

Woo hoo - smiles and giggles in Spring again here we COME, it really is the free simple pleasures in life that keep you going.

Broken Mirror, Broken Back or Broke Back Mirror (Amy says ;)


As we were moving out of the old place we managed to break a mirror in the bedroom. IT was a pretty crappy thing with a plastic frame and a cardboard back. We reckoned it wouldn't cost more than $50 to replace so were happy for it to be taken from our deposit. When we meet up with the lady she said the mirror was actually going to cost $225 to replace. We were flabbergasted (I love that word). She gave us a check for the deposit minus the $225.

We were gutted but not defeated. We rang round a load of mirror and glass places and found out it would only cost $35 to replace the broken mirror. So we hatched a plan...

Yesterday at 7am i got up and headed from the East Village back to Brooklyn.
The trains were messed up so this took about 70 minutes.
I then proceeded to pull all the broken mirror out of the frame - a surprisingly tricky (and dangerous) job.
Got back on subway with empty frame and headed off to the mirror shop.
Handed over the $35 to have it fixed.
Wandered off and got a coffee.
Collected mirror - which was now very heavy - and carried it back to the flat.*
Ran to work.

The whole operation took a little under 4 hours and a lot of sweat! But now will be getting a check for $225 back which was well worth all the effort.

*(It was pretty funny seeing how many people checked themselves out in the giant mirror as i walked by! Vanity is a common affliction)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009



I'm not completely sure what the definition is in British but in American it means :

a sexually promiscuous woman; or a prostitute.

I think in British it means:

a person who travels on foot from place to place, esp. a vagabond living on occasional jobs or gifts of money or food.

Anyway, Gareth said I looked like a 'tramp' last night - it hurt - especially cause I don't have the $$ to go out and but new nice clothes.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Easter Bunny Poo


For those of you who have been reading the blog for a very long time you might remember that last year i organised a rabbit poo treasure hunt around the Lower East Side with three boxes of raisins.

We have decided to make this a tradition!

Last weekend we laid out a trail for Amy's niece Isabel.

At the end of the trail (which ran round the block at Amy's Mum's) Isabel found me sitting on a fence.

I told her that i had just met the Easter Bunny - or EB as he preferred to be called - and that he wanted her to do something special for him. He wanted her to make a balloon animal bunny. If she did then he might return to meet her in person.

Isabel's eyes lit up and we set about making a balloon bunny which was very very hard. The balloons were impossible to inflate so we just tied them together deflated.

I then told Isabel that EB was very shy so if she wanted to meet him she would have to wear a bunny mask so he thought she was a bunny. Check out the picture - it's not bad improvised mask using a pillow case and two elastic bands. It did look a bit KKK though.

With the masks on it was time for the Bunny to appear to talk to her on the terrace, which gave me an excuse to do an impersonation of the easter bunny, which ultimately sounded very much like Jimmy Stewart ;)

Isabel was completely enchanted by the whole experience. She screamed "I love you Easter Bunny," and then asked the bunny if he would like to come to her's for a sleepover - soooo cute!!!

Sadly i don't think she will be so gullible next year. Don't you hate it when kids grow up?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Wood shop


I have been doing some Spring cleaning in my studio, trying to make more room for some more work! Anyway I had all of this wood, huge pieces that cost loads to throw away! So I coordinated with the local wood shop and told them if they could come and get it they could have it all for free!

That way not only did I save the cash, and my muscles, but I also felt so much better about recycling the wood!!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Frogen like yozurt

Gareth brought be a frozen yogurt after work today with a special spoon that said “You deserve this” I had just had a hard day at work.

It doesn’t cost much to show someone you love them!


$4.50 to be precise!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Don't try this at home!


When we tell people about ONB a lot of the same 'ohhh we need to do that'. Everyone seems to need a big chunk of money for something or other - decorating their bathroom, paying of their credit cards etc.

If the truth be told i would never ever recommend that someone do something as extreme as ONB. It is so emotionally draining. You feel every little bump on the road of life - without cash your tires are flat.

I would recommend that you try one month on and one month off. The constant grind of 12 months of living as cheaply is exhausting. Moan moan moan - ohhhhh how good it feels to moan.


Don't do it! Be cautious with your cash consistently, but even Gareth and I, who have been told we are both crazy and relentless, are struggling to make it outta this one in one piece!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sleepless nights


We haven't been able to contact the woman whose place we are renting for the next two months - her voicemail is full and she isn't responding to our emails. Argghhhhhhh. We have given her a big stack of cash to secure the place and it has made us feel pretty nervous. All we have is one set of keys, a move in date for a few days time and a bit of paper that we all signed. Keep your fingers crossed folks. Let's hope we haven't been taken for a ride :(

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

This flat is sponsored by Rachel and Chris


We have friends who are moving to Australia and had loads of stuff they didn't want to take with them - chairs, tables, bedding, food - and they asked us if we wanted it! Of course we said YES and descended like vultures on their apartment.
We walked of with boxes of cutlery, plates, an AC until and tons of other stuff so that when we finally get a permanent housing solution we should have a pretty well equipped pad.

Thank you Rachel.

Thank you Chris.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009



I had coordinated with Gareth’s friends at work to throw him a Surprise Party with a few pranks ;) Gareth, ever since I’ve known him, has been the ‘ultimate’ jokester/prankster – from putting snakes in my bed to filling the sugar bowl with salt – yuk!

Anyway, he’s also gone on and on about how he wished that SOMEONE would play a prank on him and all of the effort that goes into a prank just proves how loved someone really is.

I contacted his friends Matt,Dave and Lisa from work and asked if they would help me pull a prank – I told them I was struggling with the ideas because they were either too mean or too soft. Immediately, Matt and Lisa responded with a bulleted list of what we should do – and a side note saying “I think Gareth can take a lot so we should start with the most f**ked up and work backwards."

That’s what we did but we never really changed the pranks from the initial ones we came up with. I had a special cake made. I hacked into his emails and collected all of his friends email addresses, I bought special party favors, and coordinated the pranks with his entire office!!

Each prank was devastating! Truly – I would hate it if someone did it to me, but every one of his friends said ‘Gareth is going to LOVE this, it’s the stuff of legends!!’ So, we went full steam ahead.

Only one of the pranks ended up happening in the end but it was enough to send Gareth off the deep end.

Prank 1: Gareth to wake up and find a positive pregnancy test in the bathroom (taken by Gareth’s pregnant friend at work Ara!)

Prank 2: Gareth to receive cryptic email from Julia (a co-worker) saying that she heard that Amy was NOT paying off her student loans with the money Gareth has been giving her – rather she’s been hoarding it.

Prank 3: Gareth to be pulled aside by his boss Dan and told that he must take a rather large pay cut!

Gareth would then be escorted to McSorely’s, the oldest pub in NYC to a bunch of drunken smiley faces screaming HAPPY BIRTHDAY and turn what seemed like the worst day in his life into a legend!

I ended up making Gareth a T-Shirt with ALL of the emails between me an his friends here are a few of the best quotes from the T:

“The pain will be short live and just think how loved he’ll feel knowing all of the effort that went into his misery” Lisa

“Too mean too mean? Gareth in a puddle of his own tears with us drinking them thru spiraling colorful straws? It al seems too unreal for him to take it too seriously, I’m a willing accomplice and as Gareth has said in the past “The amount of effort is evidence of how much we love him.” Matthew

We had a brilliant night of crazy cake and Karaoke singing till 2am!
My voice still hasn’t recovered!


I loved it all.
I felt like Michael Douglas in 'The Game'
I can't believe i didn't see the pregnancy stick that Amy left out in the bathroom that morning!!!

Birthday day


To celebrate we are going to the movies where we will be having a LARGE popcorn, LARGE drinks and a packet of twizzlers.

We had booked to go to Gordon Ramsey's NYC restaurant as a surprise but decided to cancel it and use the money to hire a small storage unit to make life a little easier over the next few months. It is not as romantic as a meal for two but it is far more practical.

We have promised one another that we will splurge on a posh meal when we are finally out of the woods of the debt.

Aching all over


We are in the process of moving to our new sublet. To avoid being ripped off by removal guys like we did three months ago we decided to do it all ourselves and boy are we in pain today!!!

We had to carry a ton of boxes filled with bricks - sorry i meant books - a load of clothes and a surprisingly heavy mattress. We hired a U-Haul van (just like the one in the A Team but without the paint job) and Amy drove it round Brooklyn with a rather nervous Gareth sitting next to her with a map.

The van cost us about $48 a day which is very cheap - they charge a flat rate per day then a dollar per mile on top of it. U-Haul rocks!

Friday, April 10, 2009



Yesterday was a very odd day! But i'll let Amy tell you all about it when she sobers up. All will be revealed :)


Wednesday, April 8, 2009



Surfing the internet for free in an Apple store!!!

And very nice it is too :)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Free chocolate


You can find free stuff in the most unlikely of places.

Amy and I went to a Memorial Service the other day at Cooper Union. It was to celebrate the life of one of her father's friends who had passed away. At the end of the service they said there was a treat for everyone at the back of the room.

Apparently Lou loved Hershey's Chocolate from when he was just 5 years old so his family had got big baskets filled with hundreds of chocolate bars for the guests to take home with them.

Don't worry - Amy and I didn't fill our pockets and cheeks with chocolate like the greedy little urchins that we are. We took one bar each and thought about Lou as we ate them.

Monday, April 6, 2009

"Me too"


I was walking down the street after work on friday and a woman leaned out of a cab and shouted: "Me too" at me.

Just another weird New York experience i thought to myself.

It was only when i got to the end of the block that i worked out what on earth she was talking about. I was wearing my 'Help - I'm in debt' t-shirt that Chris brought me as an engagement present last summer.

Ha ha ha.

I'm guessing she wasn't that in debt - she was riding round NYC in a taxi ;)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Eddie Fly The Sailor


This weekend I had to do a bit of basic DIY so off to the hardware shop we went for the bits and pieces we needed.

Although a box of screws doesn’t cost much it reminded me of a thing we used to do as kids.

Every time we went down to see my Grandpa and Grandma in South Wales we’d collect up any nuts, bolts or screws we saw lying in the street. We always found a small handful of shiny things that would then be given as a gift from us kids to own of my Grandpa’s best friends – Eddie Fly The Sailor.

Now I don’t know much about Eddie.

I don’t know if his surname was Fly and I have no idea if he was ever a sailor.

All I know is that he loved the nuts and bolts we’d find for him.

This was about 20 odd years ago so I can honestly say Eddie was at the forefront of the eco movement – Reuse and Recycle!

It’s Earth Month folks so keep your eyes open for any interesting things you see lying in the street. You never know when they might come in handy.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Stand back - this is a brainstorm


We ran a little brainstorm session last night to try and come up with solutions to all the things going on in our lives! We severly underestimated how long this was going to take. We spent most of the time listing everything out...

Short term housing solution

Long term housing solution

Getting married

Having a kid

Amy's Art

Our goals for 2009

Our careers

The debt

Saving for a house deposit

Holidays (Gareth's best friend is getting married in NZ next year so we need to save up for the trip)

With the list complete we decided to call it a day :)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The world's longest happy hour


Last Friday we went to a bar near Amy's office after work. It took us a while to find one that was still having a happy hour - most places finish their's at 7pm and it was 7:15. The bar we settled in had $4 dollar Coronas until 8pm.

We then proceeded to make one beer each last 2 hours!!!

That must be a record for the world's slowest drinkers.

It didn't feel a long time though - we were swapping silly stories and making one another laugh. Amy does an amazing Finnish accent and i have been working hard on my South African accent. I have no idea what the people on the tables next to us must have been thinking!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Gareth has left his job!!!

This is what went out in the recent work newsletter....

"Hello fabulous friends, we hope this edition of the Freshness letter finds you safely past the Ides of March and gearing up for a joyous Spring.

But before we dive in, we wanted to share some important news regarding the team here at ?What IF!. Our beautiful and talented friend Gareth Miles will be leaving ?What IF! to pursue a career as a naked trapeze artist with his fiancé Amy. While we are disappointed that we won't have Gareth around to play with every day, we are excited that he has found an opportunity to combine two of his biggest passions - adrenaline pumping circus acts and nudity. Gareth and Amy are leaving next week to join the West European league of the Cirque d'au Naturel in Paris so please reach out to send him some love and keep your eye out for "The Baron and Baroness of Bare, Gareth and Amy Miles, and the Adventures of their Flying Trapenis" coming to your town soon. "

As you are probably aware this is complete BS! At the end of the newsletter we revealed it was an April Fool's but some of our clients didn't read that far and have been sending in emails wishing me well in my new career! What must people think of me and Amy if they genuinely think that this is true. Ha ha ha!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009



We came across this great article today on the web. It shows you what $150,000 buys you around the world.

For some funny reason Manhattan doesn't feature on the list - now i wonder why that is?!?!?!?!?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Silver Sneakers


I am the proud owner of some new rather fancy sneakers - probably a little bit too fancy for Gareth!!! I'm more of a battered sneakers kind of guy. I wear them until they stink. Talking of stinking sneakers - this guy just won loads of money for having the smelliest trainers in the world.

But enough about his footwear - let's get back to mine.

"My Gareth those are fancy - they must have cost lots of money!"

Over $200 to be exact(ish)!

"Whattttttt you supposed to be saving!!"

But i didn't pay anything for them.

"Sweet - how did you swing that?"

They are unwanted leftovers from a shoot that Amy was working on.

Thankfully the actor had the same size feet as me. Result.

The only down side of the footwear is the people who are pointing and laughing at them. They are a bit space age as you can see from the picture.

PS I impressed myself with my flexibility taking that picture. I think i strained a muscle.

Sunday, March 29, 2009



To see the Wizard, not really we're off to the East Village. We found a sublet for $1875, which is pretty darn cheap for the city!!

We are so excited but also a little tired of moving around.

Gareth has mapped out my bus route to work everyday already - cute!!

I plan on getting a chain for my bike and cycling to and from work, well, on nice days :)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Peelander Z


This is Peelander Z - a crazy japaneses punk rock cartoon band. It was at their concert a year ago we decide to ask Amy's Mum if we could live with her! A crazy idea what was probably influenced by watching this crazy band. Enjoy their video!

The Longest Days


The 'Speed of life' is forever changing!

Some times it flies by at 100mph but right now it feels very slow.

It seems to be taking longer and longer for each payday to come around.

It is a weird feeling wishing your life away.

We both are feeling a little stuck in a rut.

Everything is little out of reach.

The saving is going so slowly.

I want to jump forward to having nice kid and stinky home - on second thoughts flip that, reverse it! A stinky kid and a nice home.

Can someone please hand me the remote control for life so i can skip the boring bits.

March Madness


I have spent $5 on the office basketball sweep stake for March Madness.

Last year I came in last.

I'm hoping i do better this year!

If either of my two teams win i'll make about $50!


Both my teams have now been knocked out - pants.

Friday, March 27, 2009

"Can you smell burning?"


I've been making the most of the bits and pieces we had ying around in the fridge and made two rather tasty dishes.


Dice up and fry the following in a tiny bit of oil for delicious breakfast...
2 onions
3 par boiled potatoes
A chunk of pepperoni
An apple

Stir it until all the bits are crisipy and then stir in the following...

Some cherry tomatoes
A handful of parsley

Serve with ketchup and a fried egg.


Boil up some chunks of potato and pumpkin.
Cool them down and mix it with some mayo, lemon juice, parsley, some fried diced onion, salt and pepper.

Both were very very cheap to make and tasted grrrrreat :)

Thursday, March 26, 2009



It seems that there has never been a better time to get on the property ladder!

"Home price declines are already approaching those in the Great Depression, when they plunged 30% during the 1930s. With prices already down almost 20%, it's not a stretch to think we might exceed that drop this time around."

For the past two months we have put the money we have saved into a savings account rather than pay off the loans - that's why the totaliser on the right seems stuck at $60k. We are watching and waiting. When we have got the nest egg up a bit we are then going to decided what is the best thing to do...

A) Pay off more of the debt
B) Jump into the house market

! It feels great to have options. It is pretty exciting - especially after doing some sums and working out a mortgage is going to be cheaper than renting!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Fears and Tears


It seems as though both Gareth and I have been working ourselves to death over the past 6 months.

My company officially launched last July and we are very doing well, but I have taken on the following roles:

Creative Director
New Business Director
Art Director
Film Editor
Film Director
Head Hunter
Talent Management
Human Resources
Account Manager
Financial Advisor
Mama + Papa


So I had a 'mini' breakdown and met with my boss...I told him that I was totally overwhelmed and that if I was going to continue to work 14-20 hours a day I need to be compensated. I was terrified, especially since I am lucky to even HAVE a job, but I was at my breaking point... so I went for it!

ANYWAY I GOT A RAISE AND A BONUS - unfortunately, it's contingent upon a client signing a retainer agreement for 2009... but it could be the answer to out debt problems!! Watch this space!!!

Official car of Operation Night Brace


"India's Tata Motors will launch its extra-cheap 10 feet (3 metres) long Nano car in Mumbai on Monday, selling for 100,000 rupees or $1,979 (£1,366).
It will enable poorer citizens in developing countries to move to four wheels for the first time.
The four-door five-seater car has a 33bhp, 624cc engine at the rear. It has no airbags, air conditioning, radio, or power steering."

this is how we could roll!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"Ever feel like you have been had?"


So the new flat hunting has picked up quite a bit of speed we have realised that we have been had at our current place. We are currently paying $2000 for a one bed place in Brooklyn. It is small and not very nice. We've just been looking around and found some nice one beds ON MANHATTAN for $1800. They are closer to work and cheaper.

We should have done a bit more research before jumping on the first thing that came along back in January. Ahhhhh a valuable life lesson has been learnt. I think we were so keen to get out of Amy's Mum's we jumped on anything.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Operation Nightmare


A friend last week asked me how 'Operation Nightmare' was going. She genuinely thought that is what we had called it. I guess on paper it might look that way to most people but for us it has really been 'Operation GettingCloserAndSortingOutSomeImportantThingsThatMeanWeWillHaveALongAndHappyLifeTogether'

Sunday, March 22, 2009

£5 a day


Last night we watched a show on Hulu called AMAZING ADVENTURES OF A NOBODY. The blurb below explains it all..

"Amazing Adventures of a Nobody is a documentary/factual entertainment TV series that follows Leon Logothetis, the presenter, on his travels around the U.K. on just 5 pounds a day. The 5 pounds have to cover food, accommodation and travel; the 5 pounds reflecting the average hourly wage, according to the Department of Trade and Industry in the U.K.. Leon had certain cities he had to pass through and was only ever allowed to stay for 24 hours in each city. The 5 pounds could not roll over and had to be spent, with each morning being presented a new five pound note for each new day. The public could buy him things and he could work for goods, but was never allowed to be given money directly"

Perhaps Amy and I could do a couples version. Now that would be fun!

Friday, March 20, 2009



Today was a big day.

Today saw the 15,000th visitor to our blog!!!

Blimey :)

Thank you for following our story.

What now?


We will soon have to move out of our sublet - April 15th to be precise!

Hmmmmmm what to do?

We could go and rent somewhere for a year back on Manhattan. Prices are dropping on rentals. No-one is wanting to commit at the moment which means landlords are offering crazy deals like...



The world is our oyster although i'm not looking forward to moving again. I'm a creature of habit and it takes me a while to dcope with change.

Hopefully we will be viewing some places tomorrow. We'll keep you posted.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Selling sunglasses


When my parents were young and i was about 1 foot tall money was pretty tight.

My dad had to supplement his work as a teacher to pay the mortgage. He'd get up early at the weekends and go off and sell sunglasses at various markets. Somedays he ended up making more selling sunglasses than he did working for 5 days as a teacher!

I think the story of selling the sunglasses at the weekend have helped inspire me to do ONB. We are almost a year into it. The loans are now a third of what they used to be. We have built up a little bit of a nest egg in case anything happens to us with the wobbly economy. Time flies when you are spending bugger all.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"While you're away..."


I'm now back in New York and it feels great.

I got asked a question by Lisa and Sarah yesterday that made both me and Amy laugh.

"While you're away does Amy keep to the $20 a day?"

They thought that Amy might run out and buy Ben and Jerry's as soon as i walk out the door with my suitcase.

They thought that she might go and get her hair and nails done and then go for Brunch at Jean George.

They thought that she might spend her time lying around in a day spa sipping champagne.

Ha ha ha - if only!!!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A new poem



No-one knows how it happened. It just did.
A child was born with a balloon for a head.

No nose, no mouth, no eyes not even an ear
Her face was no more than an inflatable sphere

No hair, no flesh, just bright shiny rubber
A child so odd only her parents could love her

The doctors had gathered at the news of the birth
For as far as they knew this was a medical first

Her head was quite empty, zip, zilch, not a thing
Ear to ear air where her brain should have been

Now your career path is limited with a head filled with air
So her parents sold her off to a travelling fair

Folks came in their hundreds to see the never seen
The child with a balloon where her head should have been

It was the most marvellous thing they all did admit
But looking wasn’t enough they wanted to touch it!

With prods and pokes the folks jabbed at her head
went the balloon and girl dropped down dead.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A metaphor for life???


While waiting for my luggage to arrive I was hypnotises by two cases going round and round on a conveyor belt.

The one in front was all bright and shiny.

The one behind was all old and battered.

Round and round they went.

Never getting closer.

I thought to myself: “Perhaps this is what life is like. Perhaps I’m the battered case. And no matter what happens I’ll never become the nice one. It is always out of reach”

Hmmmmmm deep. Feels like some inspiration for a new Cure song.

Perhaps I’ve been spending too much time on planes.

(FYI I’ll have spent just under 40 hours on planes by the time this trip is over)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The best bit about business travel


The fact that work pay for all my food and drink. It saves me a small fortune.

Going out for dinner in NYC is a real treat.

Going out for dinner on a work trip is the norm.

On work trips you don’t have to split a starter.

On wok trips you don’t have to say: “Let’s have dessert at home – it’s cheaper.”

On work trips you can have a second drink.

And on work trips you don’t end up paying with coins and small bills – you just hand over the company credit card.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Three weeks away


I’m in the middle of a three week work trip. It is all a bit bonkers. I have managed to escape the cold of New York and visit some rather hot places like Mexico, Panama and Brazil. All the work I’m doing is in Spanish. The one big problem is that I don’t speak Spanish!!!!! I’m trying to learn but I’m having to get people to interpret for me. It is like watching one of those foreign movies where you have to desperately stop yourself from falling asleep!

Despite the lovely sunshine and warmth it is hard being away from home for so long. I miss Amy. I looked into getting her a flight down to Sao Paulo for a weekend but the cheapest I could find was $900 which is certainly not in our $20 a day allowance. Thank God for Skype. It allows us to talk for hours for free.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Say it with a flush


Amy has been so busy at work recently that every time I ring her she multitasks by going to the loo while chatting to me.

I only realise at the end of the call.

“I love you Amy.”

“I love you too.”


“What are you on the loo again?”

“Errrrr yep. I’m just so busy.”

I’m looking forward to the day when things will calm down and Amy will be able to talk to me from other places like…

Enjoying the sunshine outside the office
Relaxing in the lobby
Eating a nice lunch and enjoying a full 60 minute break etc

Tuesday, March 3, 2009



Gareth's and my work schedule have gone ballistic!! Both of us are doing double time..Gareth's traveling the world and I'm working all hours in NY.

So the other day I sent him a 'poem' (if you can call it that ;) because I missed him but didn't what to make him feel too guilty for not being around much...here's what I wrote:

Subject: YOU









So yesterday I received this from G:

My turn for a poem...

For Amy by Gareth

If I could pull hard enough I'd pull new york and you to me

If I could see far enough I'm make sure you were safe while sleeping

If I had arms long enough I'd hug you every night

If I had legs long enough I'd leap home for a cup of tea

If I could whisper loud enough I'd make sure you heard the words 'I love you' all the time

G x

How unbelievably, ridiculously, retardedly cute is THAT!!


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Studio Living


We are going to have to move out of our sublet on April 15th which leaves us with a bit of a dilemma…

We will still have a chunk of the debt to pay off
We will have no financial safety net and want to be able to buy a house

We saw an ad for a studio flat near where we are currently staying. It is $900 a month which is seriously cheap!!!!!

We are going to look into it and arrange a few appointments to see what you get for $900.. 6 months in a studio would sort out the debt and help us make a start on a deposit for a house. The money is the big pro but there are also lots of cons like lack of space.

We will keep you posted.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Crisis of Credit

For those of you that are perplexed by the origins of the credit crisis, this Is the best video I’ve seen that easily explains how we got ourselves into this mess.

The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.

Friday, February 27, 2009

It is all good in the ‘hood


Amy and I have always got on really well but now we are in our own place we are getting on really really well.

It feels great.

The smoking demons have been tamed.

We are getting to spend lots of quality time together.

We are able to make tea in our underwear.

I think living with Amy’s Mum has made appreciate the very simple things – things we might have overlooked if we had moved in together straight away and skipped the whole ‘living-on-an-air-mattress-for-nine-months’ part of the relationship.


Nah Gareth, we would have loved the simple things either way - I feel like now we are living like a real couple - it is SO SO SO nice not to mention NORMAL!! :)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lasagne – Our new best friend


Lasagne has become our new best friend.

It is so cheap to make mainly because the owner of our sublet said to help ourselves to ‘anything in the cupboards’ and it turns out she has enough lasagne sheets to roof a brownstone!

We have experimented with a load of different fillings. Currently in the fridge we have one that is eggplant-tastic and probably involved us spending $5 on ingredients. Not bad for 4 servings.

Here’s how to make a basic cheese sauce…

Melt some butter – a quarter of a stick should be fine.

Pour in some flour and stir over a gentle heat until you get a paste.

Slowly pour in some milk and stir like crazy.

Keep adding milk until you get a consistency that you like the look of.

Stir in a handful of grated cheese – you can add more but you will need to keep some for sprinkling over the top of your lasagne.

Season to taste.

It’s simple and much better than buying it in a jar.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


This is me and Gareth in about 5 years if we keep up the freelance work...

Fuck you American Tax System


I choose to get taxed heavily throughout the year to ensure I don’t end up owing the government anything.

Last year I got a nice stack of cash back as a tax refund.

This year I went to my accountant and he said I could expect to receive roughly the same amount.

A week after my appointment, my accountant phoned me to tell me the law had changed regarding foreigners and that I actually owed the government $400 because of the money I got back last year - What???? That’s fucked up!!! Taxing me on a tax refund. Why doesn’t the government come round and eat the food out my fridge and sleep with Amy?


I was expecting $10,000

I’m now out of pocket $800 when you take into account the accountants fee.