I’ll Take No Icky Water For 90 Cents, Please!

Our office campus is undergoing a multi-phase renovation.  We have two buildings, and essentially one half of a building is being remodeled, with the intent to expand our space and bring us from the 1970’s era furniture and layout to a more modern approach.

My desk sits in the recently completed first phase.  It’s much brighter, cleaner, and laid out in a much more open way, definitely more conducive to today’s collaborative approach for teamwork.

Phase two is currently underway with the other half of the building (where I used to be) in the midst of being gutted and re-built.

Last Monday, I got in at my normal time of slightly before 7am.  I made my coffee as normal.  A little bit later when I went over to rinse out a bowl, no water.  I checked and it was out.

Read moreI’ll Take No Icky Water For 90 Cents, Please!

Have We Learned From Our Past….Successes?

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
George Santayana

Most people have heard of that saying, particularly when it comes to politics.  Many politicians are accused of failing to learn from past mistakes, only to repeat them with just as bad of results as when the mistake was made the first time.

I wonder, then, if the same holds true for our successes.  Do politicians take the opportunity to learn from things that actually went well?

I ask with one man in mind.

President Bill Clinton

History has been very kind to the former president.  When he was in office, it seemed that more attention went to things like his philandering, his weight, a referendum on his presidency that led to the biggest Republican sweep in the House and Senate than had been seen in decades, and even his potential impeachment.  Things did settle down as his presidency went on, but now that he’s been out of office for roughly twelve years, most of his sins are behind him, and he seems to command respect from Democrats, Republicans, and foreign leaders alike.  He has become somewhat of a statesman.

Read moreHave We Learned From Our Past….Successes?

Planning For A New Roof

Our roof is around 13-14 years old depending on what period of the construction process in which it was installed.

In any case, it’s showing it’s wear and is probably not long for this world.

The deterioration of the roof has become apparent in three ways:

  1. Eroded valleys – This is a design flaw more than anything else.  Our house has two stories, and the second floor is a little smaller in the front of the house than is the first floor.  As such the downspout from the front portion of the second floor simply drains straight down into the valley that takes it the rest of the way.  All this extra run-off has rapidly deteriorated those valleys (there’s another around the garage area).  When I get the roof re-done, I’ll either have them install extensions to carry the water all the way to the lowest level of drainpipes, or have it doneafter the roofers are done.
  2. Shingle curling – The shingles are starting to curl along the edges, likely from all the exposure to the sun.  I had given thought over the last year or two to having the valleys patched to give it some time, but once I’ve seen the rapid pace at which the shingles are curling, that would likely be wasted money.
  3. Discoloration / mildew – The north facing side of the house typically doesn’t get as much sun, so the dew and rain don’t dry off as fast, which leads to many houses developing mildew.  We also have a few trees overhanging this, so this has reared its ugly head over the last couple of years, as the roof above our garage looks nasty.Had the shingles been in better shape I would consider power washing them to temporarily remove this discoloration, but as it stands, the power washing would likely just accelerate the deterioration of the already-wearing shingles, so it’s not even worth the bother.

Read morePlanning For A New Roof

Three Simple Steps to Recession Proof Your Business

The United Kingdom has been in a state of recession since 2008, impacting individual businesses around that country…and around the world.   In the time since the start of the recession, their gross domestic product (GDP) has flittered between minus figures, unable to escape the abysmal commercial challenges of the ongoing recession and debt crisis.

Local UK retailers such as La Senza, Pumpkin Patch, Firetrap and the Game Group have all fallen subject to administration in 2012. Just under thirty additional firms entering liquidation makes the first five months of 2012 one of the worst years concerning business deaths since 2008.

It’s not just retail. Businesses of all sizes are suffering. Insolvency Direct’s most recent Statistics Release confirms that ‘there were 4,242 compulsory liquidations and creditors’ voluntary liquidations in total in England and Wales in the third quarter of 2011’. This figure represents over a six per cent increase on the same period the previous year.

Read moreThree Simple Steps to Recession Proof Your Business

Budgeting Tips for New Parents

Few things compare in this world to the joy that comes with having a newborn baby enter the world. Parents will spend ten months preparing for their bundle of joy by purchasing toys, furniture, diapers, formula and countless other necessities. One basic fact that all parents should know is that children are very expensive! Before you continue spending money on endless amounts of toys and outfits, it would be wise to start thinking about saving your coins. All parents want the absolute best for their children, but sometimes the expensive toys and outlandish furniture cause financial troubles for families. New parents have a massive amount of issues to consider when it comes to raising children. A great way to start is to make sure you are financially stable enough to support a child. Here are a few great tips on budgeting for new parents.

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One Number Doesn’t Tell The Whole Story

Pretend you had two conversations with people about their net worth.

Person 1 reveals:

“My net worth went down by $200,000 last month.”

Person 2 tells you:

“My net worth went up by 50% last month.”

Chances are, upon first reading that you would think that Person 2 is making all the right moves and that Friend 1 is in trouble.  Big trouble, most likely, considering that most people would see most or all of their net worth disappear with that kind of loss.

Read moreOne Number Doesn’t Tell The Whole Story

Quick and Easy Home Improvements

Sprucing up your home doesn’t have to be a draining and expensive chore; simply take small steps in enhancing (or reviving) the beauty of your home.

1.     Replace Your Old Boiler

Old, G-rated boilers are a massive drain on energy and finances. Though it is costly to replace your boiler, if you do opt for an energy efficient A-rated boiler, government grants offer £400 off the total price.

A new A-rated boiler can save you in the region of £200 per year as well as significantly reducing your CO2 emissions. Shop around for the best deal; price differences of up to  £400 have been found, so finding the right deal can save plenty on your long term ecological investment.

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Happy First Birthday To Our Little June Bug

A year ago, our little baby girl was born.  After she was delivered and moved over to the baby warmer, she started testing her little lungs.  And they worked great.

“Oh, that’s perfectly normal,” said the nurse.

After a few more minutes of frenzied screaming, she said, “Well, most of them stop by now.”

That’s when we knew we were in for it.

Many of the things that came easy with our first were not so much with her.

Read moreHappy First Birthday To Our Little June Bug

Why I’ll Hold Off On A New Phone For Now

We have been customers of Sprint cell phone service for quite some time now.  My wife and I last renewed in August 2010 when we both got new Blackberries.

This was, of course, within days of the world deciding that they hated Blackberries and weren’t going to buy them anymore.  Everybody officially switched to either iPhone or Android based machines within days.

But, I digress.

Sprint’s program basically gives you their ‘best pricing’ on phones if you sign a two year agreement.  Two months shy of the end of your agreement, they once again offer you the best pricing they have, so that you’ll extend with them.   I guess they figure that those last couple of months are the time that you’ll use to start shopping around, so they entice you with a good deal and try to keep your wandering eyes off other carriers.

June 1st was the day that Sprint said I was eligible, so I looked around to see what the deals were.

Read moreWhy I’ll Hold Off On A New Phone For Now

This Michigan Local Lawn Company Almost Burned Me…And Likely Burned Living Social

My rule of thumb when it comes to buying things from Groupon, Living Social, or any other deal-of-the-day site is to purchase things that I would likely have purchased anyway.  Typically this has limited us to buying vouchers for restaurants (since we eat out sometimes anyways), and for stores where we do shopping anyways (e.g. Amazon, CVS, The Body Shop).

I knew I was stepping outside of my ‘comfort zone’ a little bit when I saw a Living Social for a lawn and garden company named Final Touch Lawn and Landscaping, based in Livionia, MI.  They were offering lawn aeration for $45.  This is a service that I had been planning to do sometime soon anyways.  For those who aren’t familiar, they basically come with a machine that pulls plugs of soil (about the size of a wine cork) out of your grass.  These create thousands of holes, and the idea is that it loosens the soil, it provides space for the roots of the grass to grow into, and allows space for fertilizer and water to penetrate.  The plugs eventually break down, and the soil works its way back in, though now looser.  It’s not an essential service but one that I’ve never had done and was hoping to do.

Read moreThis Michigan Local Lawn Company Almost Burned Me…And Likely Burned Living Social