April 2012 archive
Recently, I spent a week without my iPhone. Or any phone at all. It was kind of like losing a small body part. Perhaps a finger. I coped, but it was annoying.
Image via CrunchBase
After five days, I went out to the mall and bought myself a $39 cheapie, an LG that weighed practically nothing with chunky buttons and did nothing, basically, apart from text, call, play radio and do calculations. I didn’t know quite what to do with it. So I didn’t do anything at all. It was an epic chore just to figure out how to turn off the keypad tones. I resorted to the occasional text speak because typing was so tedious. Everything about it was hideous and horrendous. But at least I was contactable. (I believe a cellphone is a necessity for most people today. I use mine to contact T when I don’t know where he is; when I need a ride in a relative emergency; for work; to keep in touch with friends who aren’t big on social media, and of course, all the other things that web access on a phone enables.)
Here’s what I use my iPhone for in a normal day:
- The alarm wakes me up
- I sneak it under the covers and read the day’s news
- I check my social networks, including work accounts if feeling diligent
- I receive news alerts direct to my phone
- I do a spot of social networking while waiting for my computer to unfreeze
- I receive Twitter alerts – monitoring my work account and my two personal accounts
- I read blogs over lunch
- I make myself notes in the Reminders app
- I use Google Maps and remote email if I’m leaving the office during the day
- I make notes in Evernote if, while walking to and from home, I come up with ideas for either my blog or work (which is often)
- I add items to our grocery shopping list in my Pak n Save app
- I occasionally listen to music or podcasts (rarely – I’m terrible at focusing when it’s solely audio. My mind wanders like crazy)
Hence why I would never make it on Survivor or those dreadful reality shows where families live like they’re back in the 1800s.
Are you a smartphone addict? What do you rely on your phone for?
When I have kids, you can bet that they will be a good few years apart in age.
T and I spent Anzac Day with his three nieces and one nephew. The older two are in double digits, just, and the younger two around 1 and 2. The littlest is EXHAUSTING. He runs absolutely everywhere and doesn’t seem to tire; most of our excursion to Western Springs (a park surrounding a giant pond/lake filled with ducks, swans, eels and other aquatic life) was spent chasing his speedy little person as he hurtled toward the water. His sister is about a year older, and, thankfully, a little calmer. One adventurous pair of pattering legs is tiring enough to keep up with.
My brother and I were six years apart, which I think was too much. I have to admit, I was kind of a bad sister. I had (and still have) pretty much no experience with younger children. And I was horrible to him; for the most part, I didn’t want anything to do with him at all. I remember lots of yelling and hitting, though for the life of me now I couldn’t tell you what one of those fights was about. So every time T berated one of the older girls for not helping out with their siblings, I couldn’t help but feel guilty for how selfish I was back in the day.
CARNIVALS THIS WEEK
Thanks KNS Financial for hosting last week’s Yakezie carnival! He included my post on employment and independence.
And Jacob at My Personal Finance Journey hosted the Totally Money carnival, along with my post ruminating on how winning the lottery (even though I don’t play) would change my life.
Scary, sobering, craziness over Klout. *smh*
Lindy at Minting Nickels shares some lessons on buying a new car.
A sweet chili chicken rice bowl from Closet Cooking.
Poor Girl Eats Well shares a recipe for spicy Thai basil beef.
Smitten Kitchen whips up some classic ice cream sandwiches.
I was approached by Alan Akina of Hawaii’s 101 Financial this month, who’s launching an e-book on personal finance for the working middle-class. It’s short, digestible and comes with worksheets and links to videos (warning: there is, IMO, excessive life-storying to wade through before the practical stuff kicks in, if you want to skip the narrative). It’s very much for beginners looking to get the basics down and nudge their finances into shape. I do like his top five money principles: money in, money out, money we owe, money to grow and money to share. Snappy, huh? You can grab a copy for free on May 1 at SuperDuperSimpleBooks.com.
And in other news, I cracked 100,000 all-time blog views this week!
Thanks so much for reading along; I appreciate each and every new subscriber, follower and commenter. If you’re a lurker, why not choose today to de-lurk and say hi?
You learn a few things after being plunged into the world of media.
(For me, it’s been the need to be absolutely ruthless with my time, because I could easily work 24/7. That’s hardly industry-specific, though.)
But there are a few other things that are totally applicable to everyone.
There are no stupid questions
Okay, maybe you’ll look stupid or feel stupid for asking for clarification for what might seem a really basic concept. But you’ll feel even stupider if you don’t, and end up getting the wrong end of the stick. Remember, “When you assume, you make an ass out of u and me.” So never be afraid to ask simple questions – WHY? HOW? Unless it’s due to you not doing any research of your own, most people will appreciate that you’re genuinely trying to understand what’s going on, whether it’s in reference to a scientific idea, a financial concept, a new hi-tech product.
The power of silence
People chatter when they’re nervous. They want to fill the empty airspace. Silence is used by salespeople as a tactic to get what they want. Know when to shut up and use it to your advantage, i.e. in negotiations.
Ask “who else should I talk to?”
Sara Ganim won the Pulitzer for breaking the Penn State scandal. And it all started by asking a regular source, “Anything else going on?” This applies to everyone – if you’re looking for work, ask everybody you know, and ask them to put the feelers out. When dealing with a customer, ask for referrals.
Start easy, and ease into the heavy stuff
I’m not a big fan of small talk, but accept it’s a necessity. Sometimes I am even quite good at it. Getting things done is often about greasing the wheels. It’s about setting people at ease, getting them used to you, and warming them up. You wouldn’t march into your boss’ office, sit down without greeting and demand a raise at the top of your voice, right? Before getting into the nitty-gritty, hard-hitting stuff, smooth the path and lay the groundwork.
Just do it
It’s all too easy to put tasks off, to feign that you “need to do more research”. God knows we all did that countless times at journalism school. Nope. What you need to do is pick up the damn phone or send that email. I still occasionally suffer from phone phobia (and sometimes can’t help but wonder, as a die-hard shy introvert, if I’m in the wrong business) but I have no choice but to suck it up and deal to it. It’s usually a lot less scary than you imagine. Whoever is on the other end is just a person – another human being, like you or me. While the worst that could happen can be pretty embarrassing (BEING HUNG UP ON), it’s less daunting having put it behind you, rather than have it hang over your head.
I recently had the chance to interview Monica Leonelle, a Chicago-based writer, and review her latest e-book, Socialpunk (the first in a trilogy). Read on for some of her insights, and scroll down for my book review!
Many authors find writing a creative outlet from an otherwise uncreative job. Can you talk about balancing writing a novel (a creative pursuit) with a marketing career (also a rather creative pursuit) and keeping those juices constantly fresh?
I would go crazy if I just did one or the other. I like that marketing is all about strategy, and that I’m able to provide a ton of value to would-be writers. For example, I have free email consultations that are killer—they are getting really popular, actually. One allows you to ask three questions about writing, publishing, and/or marketing a book. I send back detailed answers. The other is for writers with a manuscript—they can upload their first 1000 words and received detailed feedback on how to make their book more hooking.
Novel writing is what I do for fun, but it also ties into my business nicely, I suppose. I am working on a better balance between the two at the moment, and considering doing more serialized fiction so I can get my fiction out and into the world faster. I spend a lot more of my time on my writing consults and editing services, at this time.
Tell me about the differences between writing a novel and business/nonfiction – the process, how you approach it?
They aren’t that different for me. I use Scrivener to do detailed outlines, regardless of what I’m writing. And in both, I try to create lots of tension. Though, I guess with non-fiction I really try to give detailed information, which isn’t always tension-based.
What was the inspiration for Socialpunk and what message do you hope to deliver through it?
I don’t do messages, really. I can’t honestly understand authors who try to give a message. I prefer to present the world through my viewpoint and let people decide what they believe for themselves. As for inspiration, the book is inspired by Chicago winters, technology and digital media, and the Terminator series. James Cameron continues to be a huge inspiration for me as a writer.
The book publishing industry is going through some massive upheaval and very fundamental changes – what are your thoughts on the future of publishing?
I don’t know that books will really be around, to be honest (in the far future). In the Socialpunk universe, people don’t have books anymore. All media is interactive and visual. Text isn’t needed as much because thoughts are communicated without words.
Tell me about your book marketing strategy – did you start blogging first to build a fan base? Are other authors adopting a similar strategy?
I don’t believe in blogging to build an audience, at least not in its typical form. I’m still building a fan base for my novels, but one of the ways I do so is via an email list. I have about 500 people who are willing to hear about my new releases… of course, the more the better. I haven’t launched a campaign to increase this number, but I’m definitely thinking about how to do so.
Your one piece of advice for would-be authors?
Patience! It’s not just for would-be authors, but also for authors. And also for myself . I want to speed things along whenever I can, but books are a slow business.
Socialpunk – Monica Leonelle O’Brien
A little bit YA, a little bit sci-fi, Socialpunk follows a teenaged Ima living in a post-apocalyptic America. The novel opens as she, along with her best friend/something more Dash, sneaks out under her abusive father’s nose to a rave in the city. Her night begins to unravel as Dash abandons her to hook up with beautiful, catty Lia (urk. Granted, sci-fi isn’t always strong on characterisation), and takes a definite turn for the worse when the entire club blows up.
And thus, she learns her entire universe – The Dome – is a lie. Along with the mysterious Nahum and VR “tester” Vaughn – who’s just as surprised to discover that real people exist in this dimension as Ima is to realise that her Chicago isn’t all it seems to be – she travels beyond the boundaries of her train line to a place where the line between human and machine is blurred; the currency of choice is Clout (does anybody else now find it strange to see the word spelled correctly?); and art and creatives rule. I particularly liked that.
As Ima plunges into the real Chicago, she must piece together a puzzle much larger than she could ever have imagined. It’s a world where, in order to survive, she has to undergo a Terminator-style makeover to fit in, emerging bigger, faster, stronger (it’s a bit Bella in Breaking Dawn post turning – and yes, I read all those books). On the plus side, in this new phase of her life, she has not one but two guys vying for her affection – every awkward teenage girl’s dream.
While slow to start, the author does eventually pick up the pace and from then on it’s all action action action. Admittedly, some parts are clunky and unpolished, and from about halfway through small grammatical errors and typos start creeping in. And personally, I think it would have been stronger without the very last chapter. But I think the key question is: would I read the sequels? The answer is yes.
Want to win stuff? There’re giveaways going on around Socialpunk’s release – click here for more details.
Are you much of a sci-fi fan? An aspiring novelist? (I bet a fair few of you are – I used to want to write a YA novel, but now I think I’d be more likely to write something non-fiction. Can non-famous people write memoirs?)
Tags: books, writing
Today I’m over at Cordelia Calls It Quits, with a guest post on blogging jealousies and dealing to the green-eyed monster – getting back in touch with what I love about blogging and saying fuck it to the endless game of numbers.
I’m ALSO featured at Girl with the Red Hair, where Amber interviewed me about what I do for a living.
These are two of my favourite blogs, so be sure to head on over and have a peek round.
To new readers, greetings! Hope you’ll stick around for a while.
By way of introduction, I’m a 2o-something from New Zealand. As an introvert in the creative industries, a blog was a natural outlet (seeing as I’ve been messing around on the internet for over a decade and writing for publication for a little less than that) occasionally (okay, once) sharing cool things I’ve worked on elsewhere.
I blog about money, careers, relationships, travel and all the other spices of 20-something life (with frequent forays into recipes I’ve tried or books I’ve read) and you can check out some of my top posts here. While I have a particular passion for personal finance, money isn’t everything; I’m trying to live for today while saving for tomorrow, finding some balance while still getting ahead. Right now, I’m dabbling in a spot of wedding planning, but my eye is on the bigger prize – travel and eventually buying a house.
Roll up, roll up. Welcome one and all to this week’s carnival of personal finance!
This week’s a short one for me – it’s cleaved neatly in half by Anzac Day.
For those not familiar with Anzac Day, it’s a national holiday commemorating our soldiers who fought at Gallipoli during WWI.
They fought for a mission, a cause larger than any single one of them.
While most of us will never be part of something on that level, we are united in a common journey – that’s what this carnival is all about! We’re all on a quest to achieve financial savvy, stability and independence. And as always, here are the links to the best of this week’s writing to prove it.
Should kids have to take a minimum wage job when they’re teens? Nicole, Maggie, and the grumpy readership weigh in on whether grunt work is worth it. (My general feeling is that unless they’re genuinely tied up with other things – Olympic training, practising for a performance at Carnegie Hall, prepping for early entry to uni or other pursuits at that level, why not?)
Want to pick up your blogging game? Here are 12 tactics to build up a money-making blog, via The Financial Blogger. (I have a post tomorrow on why I’m doing the exact opposite.)
Eric from Narrow Bridge Finance explains why he hates bad tippers. (We pay our hospo staff a living minimum wage. I’m very glad tipping is not part of our culture, though most places now have tip jars – and the higher-end places usually offer an option to add on a tip when you pay by Eftpos.)
Some fees just can’t be avoided. Boomer & Echo presents 10 Fees that are actually worth it. (Sometimes it pays to pay for a privilege.)
According to the Weakonomist there are only six kinds of employees. (I’m fortunate to work with great people – that’s such an important element when it comes to a satisfying work environment.)
MISSION: Rock the search, the work and the exit.
There’s been a lot of brouhaha over employers asking for Facebook passwords. Obviously these are a very select few. Still, Glen Craig from Free From Broke presents Should You Give Human Resources Access to Your Facebook Profile?
Some jobs are downright awful. Everyone’s heard stories about people who stuck it to their employer and stormed out of the office. Jeremy from Modest Money presents Avoid Burning Your Bridges, and reminds us why that should always be a lst resort.
MISSION: Minimise charges, maximise rewards
Apparently there’s a new credit card fee making a resurrection. Beware!, Matt Schulz from InvestingAnswers.com says.
And on a similar note, Liana from Card Hub presents Get Ready For More Credit Card Fees – watch out for offers that require you to pay a fee before your account is even open.
What do you really know about credit cards? John from Wallet Blog presents 6 Fun Facts about Credit Cards.
We’ve all heard the typical advice for a healthy credit score: Pay your bills on time. Don’t max out your credit cards. Don’t close your oldest accounts. But the problem is, this advice is just that: typical. Bethy from Credit Karma Blog presents 4 Ways to Get a Better Credit Score Now.
MISSION: Kill it
Ryan Yates from Deliver Away Debt presents The Fine Line of Debt Refinancing – Rescue vs. Ruin, and says, “Talking with a bank is a lot like being on a first date; if you don’t shave your financial legs, you won’t let them get too far the first time you meet.”
Danesh Parhar from The Financial Rebellion says there’s more to worry about debt than just the amount of debt you have – consider the monthly payment.
In Debt Consolidation Programs, Ben from ReadyForZero Blog explains the different types of debt consolidation available.
MISSION: Forewarned is forearmed
The Pareto principle states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes (or effort). FMF from Free Money Finance suggests you should 80-20 Your Finances, too.
Since the GFC, the US government has increased the insurance limits on deposits. Jim from Bargaineering elaborates further in FDIC Limits.
MISSION: Do more with less
Hosting people can be expensive (and exhausting). Amanda from My Dollar Plan presents How to Host Out-of-Town Guests Without Breaking the Bank.
Babies are a blessing, but they are also a target for materialism. Don’t get sucked in, warns Everything Finance! Here are some Baby Essential Costs You Can Skip.
What’s a good car to own in your 20s? Green Panda from Green Panda Treehouse presents Best Cars for College Graduates to Drive.
Don’t be foiled by food labels. Sandy from Yes, I am Cheap presents Food Labels And Terms That Fool You.
In Buy Current Technology, Not State of the Art, Ryan at yourlifeforless says it’s important to focus on your needs, and avoid buying state of the art technology just for the sake of it.
Jason from Live Real, Now reminds us in Be Happy with What You Have that it’s not possible to buy happiness, either directly or indirectly, through the accumulation of “stuff”.
Once upon a time, the two-income household was virtually unheard of. Justin from The Family Finances asks, Is It Still Possible To Raise A Family On One Income?
Money Thinker from Money Thinking presents Sifting through Needs and Wants, with a few handy questions to ask yourself before whipping out your wallet.
MISSION: Work smarter, not harder
Acronym alert! Is SIPC like being FDIC insured? Not so, says Evan from My Journey to Millions, in What Is SIPC? Recent Sanford Case Should Lead to Interesting Results.
James from Short Road To Retirement presents How To Invest Your 401k Plan, with a link to a calculator that will tell you how to allocate your assets based on your age and risk tolerance.
Bonds have a place in many an investment strategy. SB from One Cent At A Time reckons Bonds are Paramount in your Portfolio; Even with Room for Volatility.
Over time, tax treatment can make more difference than net returns or expense ratios. Dan from ETF Base explains What Makes an ETF Tax Efficient.
How much do different investments really return? Drew from Objective Wealth presents Investment Asset Classes, Start Your Engines! with a car racing twist.
In Sprint in $300 Million Tax Fraud Lawsuit, Flexo from Consumerism Commentary says, “Sprint says it was just “looking out for the consumer” when it failed to collect and pay $100 million in taxes.”
Thinking of joining the IRA bandwagon? Mike Piper from Oblivious Investor presents Where Should I Open an IRA?, and says, “With all the new commission-free offerings in the last couple years, the answers to this common question have changed.”
MISSION: Keep the ship running smoothly
Gender roles often influence the division of household tasks. Ray from Tie the Money Knot asks, Who is the Financial Driver? in your relationship.
Mike from Do Not Wait explains Why Simplicity is Key For Retirement – as it is in many aspects of life.
Laura @ Frugal Follies on what a 1940 census taught her about saving. Digging into your ancestry can be uber-revealing!
Robert from The College Investor shares his Top Apps for Finance, Investing and News.
Would You Rather Live a Little More Now? Or Have a Pile of Cash Later? Smart on Money wonders if we have to sacrifice everything right now to save up for the future.
MISSION: Educate yourself
Learning to handle your time wisely must be one of the hardest things about adulthood. Miss T. from Prairie Eco Thrifter lists 7 Time Management Tips that Will Help You Work Efficiently.
Is ProvisionRX a Scammy Pyramid Scheme? Lazy Man and Money says ProvisionRX looks like the most basic of scams.
In Shopping for Health Care, Money Walks offers some tips for buying health insurance.
MISSION: Learn from the property gurus
In Home Mortgage Pre-Approval Letter Received, PT Money Personal Finance reaches a new chapter in the journey to buy a new home and become a landlord.
Family Money Values presents Real Estate Investing – Get Better Cash Flow from your Rental Properties, and says, “Here are some suggestions on how to evaluate your properties to make sure that you are keeping a taut ship.”
PK from Don’t Quit Your Day Job asks Who Decided 417:1 Leverage is a Good Idea?, and wonders if another federal bailout is imminent.
MISSION: Crunch those numbers
Those deductions can really add up when you run your own company. Teacher Man from My University Money presents Claiming a Business Loss – Losing Money Never Felt So Good.
Left your taxes to the last minute AND made a boo-boo in the rush? Peter from Bible Money Matters has 8 Tips for Amending Your Tax Return When You Make a Mistake.
Darwin’s Money explains Obama’s proposed ‘Buffett’ rule and why it’s a horrible idea for America in Senate Rejects Buffett Rule – Fighting Stupidity with Logic.
Believe it or not, the IRS offers installment plans. Rob from Dough Roller presents Can’t Pay Your Taxes? Read This.
Thanks all for taking part! Be sure to get your submissions in to next week’s Carnival when it is hosted by My Personal Finance Journey.
Tags: blogging, money, personal finance
You know the great thing about conferences these days?
If you can’t afford to make it, there, these days you can soak up most of the talks for free afterward. Lately, I’ve been catching up on SxSW podcasts and Webstock presentations.
At one of the events I was at recently, David Lawee, a VP at Google, talked a bit about the early days of the internet industry. That took me right back to my early days of running a website, submitting it to Lycos, Altavista, and all the others for indexing – meta tagging, and other primitive SEO.
Yep, back when Google just had a funny name and it seemed the search game was overcrowded. So when exactly did it all consolidate and how did Google overtake all the others? I don’t personally recall – I just know that at some point, Google became the default for me and everyone else I knew. (Anybody remember this period more clearly?) Those guys really had a clear dream – that information is everything, and that organising it could do great things for humanity. Another speaker, Dev Paitnaik, recounted a great anecdote in which Sergey Brin told the story of a person who managed to save his father’s life (the dude had a heart attack) by quickly Googling CPR and clicking I’m Feeling Lucky. What a powerful, persuasive argument.
But as corporations do, it seems Google is losing its way, and Gizmodo had a great piece on why this is.
You know what else occurred to me?
At these kinds of seminars, you hear about the power of storytelling – that we forget how to tell stories and have to relearn it as adults. I’m fortunate that I get to do that every day. And you hear all about how to be a better leader, inspire a workforce, etc. Conscious capitalism. Social responsibility. Ethical business. All the buzzwords, and more.
But really. Is it so hard to act decently? So hard to be human? Do we so quickly forget? Corporate douchebaggery, as I alluded to the other day, is pervasive. Surely it seems obvious to any sane person that we treat others how we want to be treated. Business shouldn’t be any different.
That said, I’m optimistic. Companies as old as IBM are getting into social innovation. Gen Y is entrepreneurial and effecting change from the ground up. Eventually, the old guard will fade out – and, hopefully, responsible, ethical, sustainable business will be the norm, not the exception.
To the links!
Thanks to Money Q&A for featuring my post on finding meaning in your work in the latest Yakezie Carnival.
How many financial ‘ladders’ do you have? Via Bucksome Boomer.
Aloysa at My Broken Coin reckons Pinterest could help you save money.
Miss T offers up some down to earth advice on networking.
How freelancers can keep in touch with professional contacts, from Dollars and Deadlines.
At Ms Career Girl, three tips for figuring out when it’s time to quit the ‘dream’ job.
And Zen Habits has a ‘do what you love’ guide.
Thinking of entering a helping profession? A guest post at So Over Debt explains what you need to know.
Brazen Careerist has four mistakes we often make in changing jobs.
Yes and Yes features a financial dominatrix (something I’d never heard of before) and also explains how to get a job with a liberal arts degree.
Ever feel overwhelmed by all the good things happening to you? Jess at Makeunder My Life does.
Suba at Wealth Informatics explains how to use a Not-To-Do list to get more done.
Excellent advice for sensitive types at Smart, Pretty Awkward (and if you have any tips on learning not to sweat the small stuff, please let me know!)
As I mentioned in this post, the housing market in NZ is rather unique. Crappy stock, sky-high prices.
I thought it might be fun (in what sense of the word, I’m not quite sure, actually) to recount all the places I’ve lived in since leaving home.
Student life is, of course, meant for building up horror stories about bootstrapping. Two-minute noodles. Walls of beer bottles. Bongs and one-night stands and other awful flatmate escapades.
The boarding house
My first place was .. an experience. Along with one of my best friends, we set out to find somewhere we could both live. Nobody would rent to 17-year-olds, and no flats were advertising two empty rooms at once. Eventually though, we found a special situation: a six-bedroom townhouse/boarding house where each tenant paid the landlord individually. And he didn’t mind if we weren’t 18. (He actually also proposed us living in the basement apartment of his own house, with cheap rent in exchange for help with chores and cooking. That was a bit too weird, though.)
The first night my cell phone was stolen off the coffee table. Everybody locked their rooms when they weren’t home. Flatmates came and went, including the P-addict who used my soap and shampoo, the crazy old lady who threw dishes into the bin if they weren’t washed immediately, the girl who slept with the middle-aged body builder who lived next door, the guy just out of jail, and more.
The family townhouse
Next was another terraced house, with my friend and her grandad. Nothing much to report there. It didn’t last long; her mother came back to the country and I got the boot so she could live there instead.
The quiet suburban house
This is the furthest I’ve ever lived from public transport – a good 20 minute walk at least. Very inconvenient. Again, only lasted a few months.
The old bungalow
This was the oldest house I’d ever lived in, but it did have mixer taps (this is a requirement for me in any house). Flatmate had a few dope plants growing in the cupboard, but otherwise was sweet to live with. My first experience living on a main artery road, in which I learned to factor in road-crossing time in my walk to the bus stop, T had a major car accident just outside, and I vowed I would never buy a house on a busy road.
The suburban apartment
Apartments are rare outside of the CBD, but this was one of the notorious blocks. We were here for about a year. You pretty much couldn’t make any noise; the big communal rubbish bins were always overflowing and the pool was usually kinda grotty. Our dishwasher was home to cockroaches and for some reason half our mail never made it to our letterboxes, which were inside the lobby (I was a student then so had plenty of correspondence from Studylink to deal to … or I should have had, anyway).
The ghetto house
Nobody would rent to students. So we ended up in the ghetto. Our street was nice at one end, but at the other end was a state housing enclave – and that’s the end we lived at. Our room was a converted garage. There was mould in the closet, on the ceiling, and I could see my breath in front of me in the winter. Our landlord lost his job and when the hot water cylinder went, he took over a month to fix it. That was coming into winter, too. He also then tried to pin a bunch of things on us when we left, like the roof caving in. Oh, and we got burgled… three times?
Other fun things: nightmare flatmate still owes me nearly a grand from this. He was a terrible drunk and broke a couple of panes in our door while on the piss. Similarly, the boys used to wrestle all the time and managed to break a couple of windows doing so. I got half decent at painting/puttying. Nightmare flatmate also got his car rear window smashed several times, mostly by the shits down the road who also burgled us, and once by his girlfriend.
The thoroughfare house
Weed got sold. People came and went. One of the flatties literally had a walk in closet for a room. Another had a bit of casual polygamy going on. Lots of Naruto was watched.
The bottom floor studio
A really nice small place, albeit a tiny kitchen with old cupboards. But brand new bathroom, gorgeous built in cupboards and drawers and a cute little patio-type thing. It was a quiet, affluent neighbourhood handy to everything – and really cheap.
The bad: the yard was always in the shade so I hardly ever used the patio and our clothes took forever to dry on the line; it got a little too small for our liking (even the apartment we lived in had a living room); the landlord’s kids upstairs were often loud and the floor was thin; it was always dark because we were on the bottom floor and surrounded by fence/trees; T’s first bike got stolen, after which he hated the place; and it was just that little bit too far away from the west, where everyone he knows lives.
Also on a main road, but not at the same level as the other bungalow. We have a garage, a deck, lots of sun, a 20-minute walk to work for me and a spare room for junk, among other things. After moving in, we also found the previous occupants had been growing cannabis in the space between the roof and the house, hacking a power point to run electricity up into that space, and apparently using the hall cupboard (now my wardrobe) for drying.
The house itself isn’t all that nice, I’ll be honest – it needs work and it’s very much a rental (but all the cosmetic things, like the carpets and walls, are pretty well hidden once you move in with all your stuff). It’s at the low end of my standards, but it does well enough.
The house itself is split into two dwellings; the back one is a one-bedroom, and the tenant is a lovely older lady who’s rarely home. In fact, we haven’t seen since Christmas and just found out she’s down south caring for her sick mother. Hope she can continue to pay rent and keep her place – quiet neighbours are great!
So, that’s my woeful housing history from 2005-2012. What does yours look like?
Tags: about me, housing, renting
Lately, I’ve been letting tiny little niggly things get to me.
The kind of things that I know the other party doesn’t give a second thought to.
I love the Eleanor Roosevelt quote: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
And likewise, the small stuff is only bugging me because I let it. I let it through and I let it stick around and fester.
You know what, small stuff? You’re overstaying your welcome.
It’s true. Some people are douchebags. Nothing I can do about that. Letting that get to me is fruitless. And we don’t want the douchebags to win.
Sometimes something or somebody is a priority for you, but not vice versa. That’s the way of the world. There’s only so much you can do, and beyond that it’s out of your control. Nothing to be done there.
Sometimes shit just happens.
And thus, I will quote another fantastic saying, the serenity prayer:
“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.”
Words to (try to) live by.
Are you a sensitive type like me ? Or do you let things roll off your back? How?
I happened to stumble across this infographic earlier this week.
Facts that stood out to me (as being either surprising or interesting) were:
- Lower high school graduation rates today
- Fewer teens getting their driving licence
- Fewer teens using cannabis
- Many more teens using contraception
- Creative and social degrees featuring more in today’s occupations of choice
Did anything on the list surprise you?
Tags: Adolescence, infographics, random, Teenagers