The Family Estate

More and more, I hear from my friends that when their kids go to college, they aren’t planning on immediately moving and downsizing to a smaller pad. They say that with real estate prices being so high, they can never imagine that their kids will have enough money to buy their own home.

So, they plan on staying in the house, until their kids get married, have kids, and need a bigger space in a town with good schools. Then they’ll give the house to their kids. Some plan on living in the house with the kids and their families; others imagine moving to another state with cheaper housing costs.

I got a cold call from a real estate agent last week, who asked if we were willing to move, because she had a client who wanted to move to our block. We do live on a good block. We’re the worst house here, which is awesome and fabulous. We’re the house with the cars that get towed away and is desperately in need of new siding. My neighbors back their BMWs into the driveway, so they are facing front.

And Steve wants to dig up the backyard to expand his organic farming project. Hahahaha. That’s going to go over well with the neighbors who hire professionals to light up their yards for Christmas.

But I’m rambling. The point of this post is a small trend alert. Middle class families don’t think their kids will ever be able to buy a house on their own. That’s sad.


Hostess Gifts, Tutor Gifts, and Other Littles: Gift Guide 2018 #6

Around this time, we are always in need of little gifts for school aides and therapists, as hostess gifts, and as Secret Santa gifts. Here’s the hit parade of little (under $20) gifts for this year:

IKEA’s Succulent plants in a cute pot

Crate and Barrel’s chocolates are all on sale right now. So are there adorable candles.

Wine. It’s always a good thing.

Wine or booze accessories.

Dish towels. With a wine theme.

Cute candles always work.



Kitchen Gadgets: Gift Guide 2018 #5

I’ve been a terrible gift blogger this year. Sorry about that. It’s because I’ve been a terrible real life shopper this year. My kids are older, so they don’t need or want that much. A few video games and a new sweatshirt and they’re good to go. Also, I’ve been way busy. I’m probably going to do everything next week.

Kitchen stuff is always a good gift, because stuff wears out. If you use your toaster and your coffee maker every day, it’s going to need replacement. Cereal bowls get little chips. And roaster pans get trashed.

Here are some things that have caught my eye or that we already own and love:

I’m desperate for a new pepper grinder. I want a super good one, because I’ll use it constantly. My old one cost $20 on Amazon. I’m upgrading. I like this one and this one and this one.

I’m planning on going back to work next year, so I’m going to have to learn the ways of The Instant Pot.

We got my mother-in-law an indoor herb garden.

Like our cars, all our cookware has decided to fall apart this year. So, I need new roasting pans, a new wok, tea kettle, baking pans. Wow. I really need everything. I need to get married again, so I can register for all this stuff.

A new set of wine glasses are good, because there’s always casualties in the dishwasher.


Car Crisis

We are not car people. If I have a choice of spending $30,000 on a car or on five cool vacations, I’m going to pick the vacations every time. That’s why our cars suck.

We have a 2008 Subaru Outback with 135K miles that we bought used about ten years ago. The was the first and only car that we ever purchased. Our other car that Steve drives a mile to the train station every morning is a 20-year old Toyota Camry with $155K miles. It’s a hand-me-down from my parents. There are rust holes in the trunk and deep gouges in the hood of the car from when the basketball hoop feel on the car about ten years ago.

Both cars have been towed to the car mechanic in the past two months. The Camry was towed away yesterday, after the brakes started failing when he and Ian were on the highway.  Jen the neighbor carried her one-year old son outside to watch the car getting hoisted up by the tow truck.

Jimmy the Mechanic said that it will cost $500 to fix the breaks. Is it worth putting more money into that hunk of junk? After some thought, we decided to pay the $500 bucks to repair the car with a plan to replace it within the next six months. We bought ourselves some time to think about what to do.

Should we buy or lease?

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Productivity was like at a C- minus level today. I didn’t go to the gym. I ate Ritz crackers and peanut butter for lunch, and probably will order pizza for dinner. I’m full of self-hatred at the moment. So, what’s a girl to do? She points to people more despicable than herself! Yeah!

I follow Nicole Cliff on twitter. I have no idea who this person is, but she tweets to lots of random crazy shit on the Internet. Today, she pointed me to a guy who finds out that his girl friend has been using …. well, you read it…. and here’s another tweet about with relationship question on Reddit.

This is what I did with my day.

There’s this story about Donald Trump snorting adderall.

I could have left the house and had lunch with friends, but nooooooo. I stayed in to WRITE!

But I really read articles about Ted Cruz’s beard.

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Domino is one of my favorite place for home decor inspiration. The house of the founder of Minted is pretty cool.

Good advice for writing a nonfiction book.

I love that writers are being invited to talk shows.

I’ve been completely haunted all week, by this story about mentally ill people who were deinstitutionalized and dumped into housing in New York City. Many died.


Photo: I scanned in some old negatives from our honeymoon in Morocco. Just playing with them this morning.

Steve’s Book Recommendations: Gift Guide 2018 #4

by Steve, Blog-Husband

Happy Holidays, Laura’s Fan Club!  It’s that time of year again where I share with you all the great reads I’ve enjoyed over the past year.  This year I’ve gone down the rabbit-hole of the 17th Century Connecticut Valley, binding together the various branches of my Puritan forefathers.  Golly, were they a fertile bunch.  But I’ve learned a lot about early colonial New England, and I urge you to learn a lot too.  Let’s take a look at The Great Migration, shall we?

Fraser, Rebecca.  The Mayflower:  The Families, the Voyage, and the Founding of America.  A pretty good read, relatively light.  Fraser follows the Winslow family over the course of the mid-17th Century, with their successes and failures.

Leach, Douglas Edward.  Flintlock and Tomahawk:  New England in King Philip’s War.  A classic. Published over fifty years ago, this history is still among the standard studies of the era.

Rowlandson, Mary.  The Sovereignty and Goodness of God.  The first bestseller in American history, becoming the model of one of the most popular genres in early American letters:  the captivity narrative.  Everybody at the time wanted to read about Mary’s harrowing experience of King Philip’s War.

Williams, John.  The Redeemed Captive Returning to Zion.  Another captivity narrative, this one occurring in the aftermath of the Deerfield Massacre of 1704.

Cooney, Caroline B.  The Ransom of Mercy Carter.  I haven’t read this one yet, but it’s in the queue.  The book is a little off the path for me; it’s teen girl fiction.  But it looks interesting, not only because Mercy Carter is my second cousin nine-times removed (yes, she is a real historical figure). It seems to be a well-regarded proper historical fiction.  Mercy was indeed captured at Deerfield, marched to Quebec, and voluntarily became a member of the Kahnawake community.  Tweens and teens captured by Native Americans did occasionally decide to re-identify themselves as members of a culture totally different from the one in which they grew up.