We have a new washer!

After most of the year having a crappy washer and DH fixing it once when it wouldn’t drain (an experience which will be giving him nightmares for decades), it stopped agitating.  So we emailed the landlord and zie emailed back a day or two later telling us to buy a specific model at a specific store and to deduct the cost from next month’s rent.  (The specific store didn’t take credit cards over the phone or online and was far away so I asked if we could just get the same model at the same price from home depot and zie said that was ok, so yay.)

This is very different from #2’s experience wherein when her appliance breaks, the apartment manager sends someone to fix it right away and then takes care of everything, but #2 lives in a really nice apartment building and we have a somewhat scattered landlord who sometimes takes months to cash our checks (which are still being made out to, “The estate of” the previous landlord because zie hasn’t told us to do otherwise).

The new washer actually gets clothing clean.  It’s pretty amazing.

What do you do when a major appliance breaks?

Link Love

This is a bit mind-blowing.  (Though it may take reading through a bunch of them before the full power sinks in.)

Tubmans!

Creeeepy

It’s about the MONEY

I have been on this precipice

I have a beta hat

I think I’ve been doing this too.  The pro-Bernie people (disclaimer: #notallberniebros) can get kind of scary and they do tend to shut down showing support for HRC.  It’s less cool and who wants to deal with being harassed for not feeling the Bern.

Clinton vs. Sanders on policy.   Also, pretty much all the economists I’ve been seeing (and I have been seeing a LOT of them this election season) are pro-Hillary.  What’s weird is that many of them think that Trump supporters and Sanders supporters are tapping into the same populist movement created from rising inequality.  (The only difference between the two groups is blatant racism?)  I’m not sure how true that is, but I mostly only see well-off liberal Sanders supporters, not the millenial ones.  (Personally, I suspect that Sanders supporters are like #2 who is voting based on greater levels of policy agreement, or are misogynists who can’t handle the idea of a woman president.)

On becoming anti-bernie

why bother?

Chuck Wendig agrees with me about Tiny Houses

In which #2 explains 420 to me

Ben and Jerry arrested

Ask the grumpies: Intra-family mortgage or wait to buy?

Sapience asks

Do you have any thoughts or recommendations for dealing with intra-family mortgages? I’m up for an academic job at a relatively stable school in a part of the country where I could afford to borrow the entire cost of a (very modest) house from my parents. My parents have offered to the possibility of doing an intrafamily mortgage so I don’t have to worry about as big of a down payment (probably what would happen is I wouldn’t do any down payment, but would use some of the money I would have spent on the down payment on renovations, furnishings that I don’t really have right now, etc.). I know it has to be registered and that there’s the minimum interest rate required in order for it to be taxes as a mortgage, but are there any other benefits or pitfalls that I should be aware of if we go this route?

I’ve got the 20% for a downpayment, but was planning on putting off any renovation until I had more cash. My parents were the ones saying that instead of delaying renovations till I have the additional money saved up I should just do it all at once before I actually move in.

If you don’t have a 20% downpayment, don’t buy a house. Period. Don’t borrow for furnishings. Include the cost of renovations in the cost of the house when you’re doing your budgeting (meaning you need more money rather than less money to get 20% down).

It’s very nice of them to offer, but I’ve been seeing so many people (online mostly) with really good incomes hurt by not doing the recommended thing when it comes to housebuying and renovating.  What happens is they get crunched on cashflow from the monthly cost of the mortgage added to the unexpected additional costs of homeownership, which means they can’t live on >100K in, say, Indianapolis or on 175K in San Francisco.

There are definitely benefits to doing renovations right when you move in (see: living with carpet in the kids’ bathroom for 10 years), but that would argue for putting off buying until you can afford them rather than having too much debt servicing during home-ownership. Because home ownership really does bring in a lot of additional required spending over renting that people just don’t expect. A little more hassle from renovating later (if you buy) is better than having to worry about your cashflow on a regular basis, just in terms of stress levels.

Also, as Rosa notes:  “there are also downsides to doing all the renovations up front. You might not like them as much, since you haven’t actually lived with the space to see the real deficiencies. You will probably still need to redo them in 10 or 15 years. And you may find other priorities that you didn’t see before you moved in, but have already spent your reno budget.”

In which I DGAF

This post contains swearing.  It’s behind the cut.

Read the rest of this entry »

Please use more topic sentences

In your technical writing.  Please!

What is a topic sentence, you ask?  Since they no longer seem to cover that in third grade…

A topic sentence is the first sentence in a paragraph that provides the main idea of the paragraph.  Essentially it introduces a paragraph and summarizes what the paragraph is going to say.  It isn’t, “Now we turn to Table 2”.   It isn’t, “[Author (DATE)] studies X.”  What does Table 2 say?  Why is it there?  Why are you talking about Author (DATE)?  What is the relationship to your paper?  Convey this information in the first sentence of each paragraph.

The topic sentence should tell you why that paragraph is there.  If you don’t know why that paragraph is there, then maybe it shouldn’t be.

This PSA brought to you by a grumpy rumbler who has had to do waaay too many referee reports recently.

Stocks and bonds, Writing and outreach

I had an idea.  Follow me, here:

For academic careers, writing is like investing in stocks.  Outreach and translational research are like investing in bonds.

Stocks and writing:  Get lots while you’re young.  You need to write prolifically enough to get tenure, and gain the national or international reputation you need for those outside letters.  Spread your name, become known in your field.  Start early.  Because the return is uncertain, put a lot of writing out there in the world (and buy stocks).  Stocks are a good investment when you have a long timeline until retirement; you have time to weather the ups-and-downs of the market and can have a higher tolerance for risk, in exchange for possibly higher returns.

Bonds and outreach/translation:  These are more effective when you’re older.  When you’re more experienced in your field, you have more experience and a reputation that you can leverage for influence.  Research-wise, you’ve got a better idea of what works and what’s worth developing further, as well as potential pitfalls and objections.  You also know people who can help spread your ideas.  You may have more time to devote to making the world a better place.  When you’re closer to retirement, you also want the safety and security of bonds: potentially lower return, but steady.

In financial investing, as in an academic career, you’ll need a balance and variety throughout your life.  You might want to be doing both of these things (and more!) at all times, but in varying ratios.  Diversify and rebalance your portfolio and life.

This idea: off the wall, or right on target?  Tell me, Grumpeteers.

Don’t blink, it’s link love

One of us is out of town and the other is recovering from Stupid Virus.  Let’s see what links we can dig up!

Don’t worry, racists. Really.

We continue to love Breaking Cat News and follow it constantly.  Now with twitters!

Speaking of twitters… Do you feel the BernMaybe not?

Make it easy to vote!

Got kitteh conflict?  try this: http://jacksongalaxy.com/learn/

Hey minimalists, come on now.

Mad props to the west coast!  Fertility control for all!

It’s Beverly Cleary’s 100th birthday and she’s still alive!  Woooooo.

FISHED IN

Literal food porn

A very awesome cartoon/comic.

Don’t tell my boss, but I watched this at work:

I blame the virus for the fact that I sent #2 the following message:

sorry, I just felt like sending this to you for no reason: BOOGER BOOGER BOOGER BOOGER BOOGER BOOGER BOOGER ok I’m done now

Well, Grumpeteers?  Booger.

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