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Archive for June, 2020

Mid-year check in

June 27th, 2020 at 07:22 pm

June is just about over so I updated our portfolio spreadsheet today.

Year to date, we are up $29,687 which is about 2.23%. Back in April when everything was crashing, we were down a lot so there's been a nice recovery.

When you factor in new contributions, however, we are still down. We've invested $53,890 in new money so we're really down $24,203 when you count that.

Still, all things considered, that really isn't too bad. Plus, the market has been so outrageously volatile that our total can change by 10-20K in one day if the market has a big move up or down.

Hopefully, the second half of the year will bring some recovery to the economy.

The value of a to-do list

June 20th, 2020 at 01:38 am

A few months ago, I made a post asking people how they spend their evenings. And I really didn't just mean evenings but down time in general. More and more often, I was finding myself just sitting on the sofa watching TV or doing nonsense on the computer.

More recently, I've gotten a lot better about keeping a written to-do list. Mine is actually a physical piece of paper (usually the back of some junk mail envelope) that I keep on the kitchen table. Whenever I think of some task that needs doing, I add it to the list. If I think of something while I'm out and about, I'll email myself a reminder and add it to the list when I get home.

Now, when I have some down time and don't just want to be a couch potato, I take a look at the list. The things on there are generally quick little jobs, not big involved things.

For example, today I lubricated the flusher handle on one toilet that had been sticking and I glued back a piece of molding on my car that was peeling off. I also changed the filter on our AC. A few days ago I cleaned the bathtub drain and did a DIY improvement on our bathroom sink to help it drain better.

I have next week off from work so I'm trying to populate the list with as many things as I can think of to help keep me busy and help me accomplish as much as I can while I'm off. One thing I want to do is list a bunch of items on our neighborhood's "Buy Nothing" Facebook group. I've started a separate list of the items to give away through that.

I learned long ago - but sometimes manage to forget - that writing down the things you need to get done greatly increases your odds of actually doing them. I'd encourage everyone to give it a try if you don't already.

Tree removal - $2,400. Yay.

June 17th, 2020 at 07:58 pm

We've had a dead tree next to our driveway for months. I've been meaning to call our tree guy for that one. Then in the storm a couple of weeks ago, a large limb came off the big tree next to our garage. That's the 2nd time that has happened. It's time to get rid of that tree. And while they're at it, I'll have them prune the tree in front of our house.

Tree guy came today. Total damage is about $2,400. He's hoping they can come by the end of next week. Hopefully no big storms before then.

Little by little, we've taken out almost every tree on the property. Whoever plants all of the trees so close to houses clearly doesn't give any thought to what happens when those trees grow up.

If you have a newer property, the best advice I can give you is to tear out any tree that is close enough to hit the house if it falls in the future when it's 40 or 50 feet tall. Get rid of it while it's small and cheap. Also take out any tree where the roots could damage the concrete or the sewer line.

Stick to small shrubs and bushes and maybe ornamental sorts of trees that don't get that big and don't develop extensive root systems.

NJ slowly reopening

June 2nd, 2020 at 08:50 pm

They announced yesterday that restaurants can resume outdoor dining on 6/15 and that salons and barbers can reopen on 6/22. I couldn't care less about salons as I cut my own hair and have for years, but the two main things I've missed during quarantine have been the gym and eating out. Gyms are still closed but restaurants will start coming back in 2 weeks.

We are not typically ones to dine outside. My wife has bad allergies and it's rare for the weather to be cooperative. Either it's too hot and humid or too cool or windy or raining. I'm trying to think of the local places we like that have nice outdoor seating areas, especially ones that are covered. That way the sun and/or rain isn't an issue. There is one Italian place nearby that has a great patio space. With social distancing requirements I'm not sure how many people they'll be able to accommodate at a time but if DW is willing, maybe we'll do dinner there one night once things are up and running. They have short rib that is to die for.

Work seems to be gradually picking up, though some days not so much. We saw 22 patients on Thursday and I think they saw 23 on Friday, but then I saw 4 yesterday. However, 2 of our sites that had been closed reopened yesterday so that may have been part of it. I was only in 9-1 today but we had seen 8 when I left so that was decent.