You’ve probably heard about the earthquakes in New Zealand. I’m very thankful to be untouched and unscathed up here in Auckland – zero impact for me personally – but it sure has got me thinking about how we really should get an emergency kit together.
Sometimes a small town stirs something in you that mutters ‘man, maybe we could retire to a place like this’. While Kaikoura’s township itself did not hit that particular nerve for us, we did so admire the weathered old bloke who ran our chartered fishing trip and the lifestyle he clearly enjoyed – and the vibe he emanated was definitely of the ‘wow, one day I hope that’ll be us’ variety. And most memorably, the scenery around Kaikoura was just breathtaking. Here are a few photos from our 2013 trip (via this blog post)
I’ve been struggling with whatever heinous virus seems to be doing the rounds lately. All I can say is, good thing we have a pretty well stocked kitchen this week, with lots of soup! Otherwise I’d have been dropping money left right and centre on easy comfort food.
This week has me questioning the fragility of everything. Physical health. Mental health. Careers. Relationships. Life itself.
I’ve been left reeling, in particular, by the passing of someone I know, not very well, but who was one of the Good Ones. Universally liked. A net contributor to the world. The unsalubrious circumstances of his death, however, may overshadow everything else. It’s heartbreaking and so hard to come to terms with.
Another stranger appeared in my Twitter feed recently. Though not a stranger as it turned out, just another woman going through a divorce who had changed username. They were one of those cute couples who had the same last name and similar @ handles.
(What is the average divorce rate among celebrities? I’ve never understood celebrities who change their names after marriage – the odds are so stacked against you, and if you’re likely to change back in the event of a divorce, why risk the double hassle? And to a lesser degree, I think the same goes for us plebs. I know we all think we’re going to live happily ever after, but many of us won’t. After the mostly terrible past 2 years – even with the buffer of some decent months since – I’m still personally not 100% sure myself. But eh, call me cold.)
Maybe there is some truth to the theory that often, the people who post the most about their wonderful relationships are usually not that solid. The people who aren’t posting are actually busy living life and building their relationship rather than spending time crafting an online narrative about it.
I remember, in the wake of one of my darkest posts here, a reader raising the question – why stick around? What are you getting out of it?
Fair enough. There probably isn’t very much positive stuff on the blog. When things are good I feel no need to write and post. When things are bad, I work through it by writing. I could have said, trust me, there are good things, occasionally. I could have listed them, even. But I suspect they would have sounded weak and generic.
Because … generally the things that make you a good person and a good partner are fairly universal. Honest. Kind. Giving. Dependable. Encouraging. Perhaps good with kids/animals. That kind of thing.
But it seems to me there are many more ways in which to be a bad partner. Lazy. Unmotivated. Dishonest. Selfish. Volatile. Physically abusive. Emotionally abusive. Have an addiction problem. Controlling. Indifferent. Dismissive. Critical. Unsupportive. Unethical. Unreliable.
Maybe. Maybe that’s just my end-of-a-long-week brain going off on illogical tangents. Too many other thoughts swirling around about money and financial literacy and society and systems after the conference I was at, but that can wait till next week’s post. I need sleep.
I think this is the first time I’ve voted in my local body elections.
I can’t say I really understand how local boards work, but I plan to be staying put for the indefinite future and so, I’m more invested in my community than I ever have been.
Young candidates, at least in my area, have no idea how to sell themselves. I ain’t going to vote for you just because you’re young! Tell me something, anything, about your beliefs, policies, etc.
There’s so much pressure to keep rates (our equivalent of property taxes) low. It’s mentioned by so many candidates, and heck, there used to be a party called Citizens & Ratepayers (now changed to the more inclusive Communities and Residents)! Does anyone care about keeping rents affordable? I’m so glad I don’t have to worry about escalating rents any more – just interest rates.
Anyway. To the links. SO MANY GOOD THINGS TO READ THIS WEEK, YOU GUYS. Hope you have an hour spare!
It’s been a week since we put insulation into the roof and the effect has been instant! Temperatures through the whole house are consistent throughout and it seems to be holding more warmth, and for longer (based off the HRV console, which tells us the temperature in the roof and in the house).
I went with these ceiling insulation pads – local, nontoxic, precut to fit standard timber framing for easy DIY. We wound up with 3 bales left over; a product of having to guess at the size of the house/roof, and the way that the sunroom (dining nook) was added onto the original house meant that extension didn’t really lend itself to adding insulation over that part.
So, if anyone in Auckland is after some Greenstuf ceiling insulation pads, leave me a comment below and I’ll email you! (Your email won’t be visible to anyone except me.)
There are 3 bales, R 2.9, each cover 6.82 sq m. all untouched and unopened. They retail in the range of $107-$130 depending on where you go; happy to knock off a few bucks.
I’ve never had a performance review in my life. Between organisations not having any structure/process around that kind of thing, or the timing of my changing jobs, it just never happened.
But that changed this week! And I survived and it went fabulously. Whether it will result in more money remains to be seen (we’re publicly funded and knowing how much of a raise my manager got last year I don’t have huge expectations).
I’d been running on autopilot for a while and this was a good jolt to reinvigorate me. Now I’m looking into courses on Coursera and Udemy related to UX and digital (and this weekend many courses on Udemy are only $15!)
I remember the first time I learned that banks could charge you for the privilege of holding your money, when my ex’s mother spoke about the $10 monthly fee on her day-to-day account.
More recently, I got to hear about some of the stuff that regulators are involved in within the consumer protection space. Changes to the law last year put a much bigger onus on lenders to disclose, disclose, disclose – to be upfront about fees and costs associated with credit contracts, as well as be more responsible and ethical about how and who to lend to. Noncompliance can apparently result in borrowers not being liable for fees/interest if lenders don’t play by the rules. And one finance company has been caught out charging excessive and irrelevant fees – eg high loan establishment fees due to building in overheads beyond the scope of any work involved with actually setting up a loan. The view is that lenders shouldn’t be making huge profits off these kinds of fees, to which I say amen.
Another much more mainstream topic of late has been KiwiSaver fees. On average KiwiSaver fees are 1.3% per annum and now that the scheme has been going for a few years, balances are getting higher and thus providers are getting an ever-bigger cut each year. There’s a new provider, Simplicity KiwiSaver, launching soon that will be totally passive – the international part will be handled through Vanguard. Given that I might be paying up to $40k in KiwiSaver fees over my lifetime, I’ll be keeping an eye on this to see if it’s worth switching. Maybe other KiwiSaver providers will up their game and sharpen up.