“Take it or Leave it” – Joys of Home Ownership

I’ll preface this post by saying, yes, I agree, I’ll call the “waaaaambulance”.  There are people really suffering right now with this housing crisis, so by contrast, our problems are quite insignificant.


I have railed in the past about how the real estate market is another bubble and how I wouldn’t make the same mistake I made in 2007 when I bought a house at the last peak of the real estate craze… well obviously I’m full of shit. We bought the worst house in the best neighborhood of Seattle in August 2016. This is the house in the neighborhood that is currently being torn down at a breakneck pace and replaced with a beautiful/modern/million dollar box. It’s small and beat up, but we love it.

When we bought it we didn’t have much leverage. To say it was a seller’s market is a massive understatement (we put 7 offers in before this and lost every single one). Sure the foundation was sloping 8 inches in the front; and in the words of our inspector, it had “the oldest working furnace” he had ever seen (in 40 years of doing business), but the sellers basically said, “take it or leave it” and we took it. They on the other hand took a 160% return in less than 4 years of owning it.

Recently we’ve been doing things to make it either nicer (adding an external dwelling) or routine maintenance that comes with an old house (backed up drains from years of buildup). In both cases we’ve been dealing with a ton of “take it or leave it”. There isn’t an opportunity to “leave it: when it comes to plumbing issues, so I’ll start there.

Fina called a bunch of plumbers and all of them are so busy that they either a) wouldn’t  commit to coming and giving a quote or b) wanted a ton of money just to come out and give us a quote. It was unpleasant to say the least. So she went on the Nextdoor app to see if there were any recommendations from neighbors or amateur plumbers looking to help us out.

Jim’s wife contacted us letting us know that he was a recently retired plumber, doing a little daylighting and he’d like to help us.

Everything started out fine. Jim came and checked out our place and was able to figure out that we were totally screwed, but fine, he could help us. This was after quite a bit of time spent by me trying to plunge the sink-in-question, and I was not about to try any more DIY. Fina is home on maternity leave so she had been dealing with him and there was something a bit off – so she asked that he call me.

“Jim hereereree. The plumber.”

“Hi Jim”

“So, I fsjdlkfsdklfj took a looook. Loooook it’s real bad. It’s gonna be $680. Take it or leave it.”

“Uh, hi Jim. Nice to meet you. Can you explain a bit more about what  you found out.”

“Oh, sure kaj;fjsdfkljsdaklfjsd (incoherent mumbling – sound of a juke box in the background)…. and the pipe is completely backed up. And you gotta lot of problems. So it’s gone be a LOT more than $700.”

“Wait, Jim, you just said it was going to be $680.”

“Fine, I’ll do it for $675. Whaddaya want to do (more incohherent mumbling)?”

I had been out of town on business the week prior and our bathroom sink had been out of commission for over 2 weeks, so I said: “Jim, do you mind coming by so I can meet you in person and you can show me what you plan to do?”

“sdjaflksdjfaklsdjflasdjklfajsdlf (which I took as an affirmation”

Jim and his wife, Sonja showed up reeking of cigarettes and only mildly less incoherent than he had appeared on the phone. For most people, that would have been when conversations ended, but I was feeling desperate and hired him anyway.

Fast forward 3 days, he appears to have done great work and everything is fixed. Sure, he may have left the job site both days by noon to go get drunk, but he fixed it for the price we agreed to, and after a couple of days feeling like I’ve made a huge mistake and endangered my family, it seems resolved. Not pleasant, but resolved.

Next, I’ll tell you about the time we tried to build a sleep shed/guest house, hired a “fixer” to get us the variance so we can keep it when we eventually tear down our house like everyone else, and it ended up costing 3 x as much and taking 5 x as long as our “fixer” said. We are still dealing with it, so those numbers are just preliminary estimates and will probably take waaaay longer. Again, I realize this is some first world problems.


It’s Mourning in America Again (Or, when is it ok to go back on tinder?)

For students of history, they know that Ronald Reagan’s famous commercial in the 80’s titled “It’s morning in America again” was designed as a dog-whistle and not too dissimilar to the recent MAGA mantra.

We are all tired of hearing about how upsetting this week’s tragedy is, and I really want to find a way to move on — which I know is completely ridiculous. It’s way to soon and raw to move on. I know this.

Then again; when will it be soon enough and who decides that? When the world devolves into chaos and anarchy? Yeah, that’ll probably be just about the most American time to move on.

Please go to that Youtube clip and thumb’s down it and realize that the idiot that posted this terrible commercial doesn’t know that the caption should read IT’S not Its. Don’t read the comments unless you want to be more depressed.

I was in Vegas during the election for a conference, and I really can’t think of a more dismally accurate place to be when the world decided to go completely batshit. Surreal doesn’t begin to capture the feeling  of being slathered in loud noise, blaring lights, cigarette smoke, and desperation. Tacky, guady, and overpriced is what we are now. That is, until we run out of money. Then maybe we can make Vegas great again: Quiet, dark, and peaceful. Continue reading

Can I Get a Witness? We are in Another Real Estate Bubble

I’ll tell you what NOT to do when you are thinking about buying your first/next house; DO NOT read The Big Short. “Who reads a book after the phenomenal movie comes out?” may be your first question, and look, I get it and completely agree, books are for nerds, but my wife and I are seriously considering buying our first house together.

We even recently made an offer on a house we were very excited about that we saw as not a starter home, but a place that we could live forever. It was a fixer (though mostly cosmetic) in a very desirable neighborhood of Seattle, had great bones, and a lot of space to grow into. Sure that house sold for close to 25% more than asking and had 15 offers, but we were pretty disappointed when we didn’t get it. They are not making more land (as they say), but how can we not be repeating some of the same stuff that happened less than a decade ago.

Continue reading

Is Authenticity Unnatural?

I didn’t watch any recent Republican debates. This is not because I didn’t¹ think it would be entertaining, or for any political objection to our democracy being made mockery-of; I didn’t watch them because I don’t have cable. Is that an authentic revelation or am I just cheap? I’m certain I missed a lot of zingers and whole lotta intentionally inauthentic behavior and I’m also certain it would have been pretty boring.

While I did have a nightmare that Trump was marrying my wife...

Revealing that I had a dream that Trump married my wife and that it didn’t bother me would have been a pretty authentic revelation, but like most things having to do with Trump, it would have been made up. Photo credits: Ninian Reid – Flickr (for the stock Trump face photo), Peter (for our wedding photos in Copenhagen), and me (for photoshopping Trump’s face on my body to what we all must admit is a pretty accurate scale).

Continue reading

2nd Time’s a Charm – Fomenting Modern Love & Marriage in the Digital Age

I am getting married this summer to the love of my life and I couldn’t feel luckier about it. She is an amazing person, a kind partner who puts up with me even when I’m terrible, and a great step-mom. We have adopted a hashtag on instagram, #makingpeoplebarf, that is supposed to be a joke, but definitely could be construed as “braggy” — humblebraggy, but braggy nonetheless¹. Believe me when I say that I am genuinely not trying to brag, it is my dumb way of alleviating guilt with a joke.


Her selfie got 356 likes and 100+ comments - so go ahead and feel bad about yourself now.

Speaking of guilt; her selfie got almost 400 likes and 100+ comments – so go ahead and feel bad about the fact that none of your posts have ever gotten anywhere near that many.

Coming from someone that was definitely in the romantic toilet for years at the end of my marriage and beginning of my divorce, I have mixed emotions about the happiness I feel. I feel guilty for romantic happiness. Not a Catholic-guilt in the romantic sense per se (but I probably have that too), but more a feeling of empathy for people who are giving up on love².

I get the feeling talking to some friends that they feel like it’s never gonna happen for them and that by talking about how much I love Fina, I am rubbing salt in their wounds.

I know when I was single-daddying at the beginning and feeling like I’d never again find anyone that could love me, that I didn’t actually feel jealous of romantic love. I didn’t feel anything hearing stories of conquest and it wasn’t some buddy out there with a ton of game that made me feel inadequate. I was definitely jealous of what I perceived as stable, happy unions. I hated my brother (who coincidently has never had any game), because it felt like he had made a successful family and partnership with his wife³ and I thought I would never have that. Perhaps I felt I didn’t deserve that.

I have many friends that desperately want to find “the one” and social media just exacerbates all of our feelings of inadequacies. I’m a realist and not going to tell you to quit compulsively checking what only makes your feel worse. It’s not advice I could give myself even though I knew it to be true.

What I will say is that there is a chance, a random encounter, something that could quite possibly happen when you least expect it that will turn this around. So go ahead and believe that it’ll work out for you. It did for me. Considering all of the cool things that are happening with marriage now, there’s never been a better time for that either.

Love you Jo and can’t wait to marry you.


¹ How do you like all of those 4 year old social media cultural references all in one sentence?!!?

² Reading that sentence kind of makes me want to punch myself in the face. SHUTUP YOU BLOWHARD!

³ That’s sick, I know I should be jealous of my friends that are crushing tinder. What’s wrong with me??

Don Charisma

because anything is possible with Charisma

Middle-Aged Martial Arts Mom

Loving a crippling compulsion....


"A critical, independent and investigative press is the lifeblood of any democracy." - Nelson Mandela

Amai Afreeka

Changing the world one smile at a time

Playing Your Hand Right

Showing America how to Live


clues to successful interpersonal & professional communication


Liberate the thoughts


Digital musings from @kegill

The Blog of Author Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss's 4-Hour Workweek and Lifestyle Design Blog. Tim is an author of 5 #1 NYT/WSJ bestsellers, investor (FB, Uber, Twitter, 50+ more), and host of The Tim Ferriss Show podcast (400M+ downloads)


explorations of mindful fatherhood


restrictions turned creative


Children's Book Reviews

%d bloggers like this: