Monday, February 28, 2005

Launched an unprovoked snowball attack on my neighbors this afternoon. Made me feel old and young at the same time.

They have 4 kids and three of them were outside. The 10, 7, and 5 year old. I had a great time playing with them. It was a fun way to let off some steam. Made me feel young.

During the course of the "fight," I noticed they never really came after me. I asked why they weren't attacking me. The eldest asked, "is it ok if we come in your yard?"

Man, now I'm the old guy who owns the yard next door. Made me feel old.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

A new 'best practice' I discovered. Take digital pictures of the items you want to address before you go to Home Depot. I got a huge pat on the back for that one today.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Friends and Longevity

Read an article once on a research project indicating a link between elderly people who successfully avoided Alzheimers and who also maintained highly active social lives and many friends.

I look at my grandparents (85 and 83) who, thank G-d, are 100% with us and whose social life is more active than most college students. They go out, easily, 5 times a week and invest heavily in their friends and friendships.

Since Tamar and I moved to Silver Spring, we have been blessed to meet many, many wonderful people. Our primary socializing activity is shared meals on the Sabbath, either Friday night or Saturday lunchtime. We typically have 4-6 adults and the same number of children over. These obviously require a ton of preparation work and are not the most inexpensive things to do.

Today, we had one of those gatherings and I really felt a blessing. I saw 5 or 6 girls (all girls today) playing in the various rooms of the house and looked around the table at the adults, our friends, and thought about the investment we were making (in time and money :-) in these relationships and, honestly, it just felt good.

I'm very financial focus and tend to think in terms like ROI, payback period, and cost-effectiveness. Much like children, quantifying the ROI on the dollar investment isn't easy, but you just know it's worth's worth more than money, obviously (that's the thing I have to remind myself when I see the credit card grocery bill) and if it pays off in the long run in terms of longevity and mental clarity, well, there's another priceless ROI calculation.

Friday, February 25, 2005

"Life is a never-ending series of challenges, but I think it is designed that way."

We're getting close. She prances around the house with her little mini-walker device. If you hold her hand with only one finger, she can walk around. Yesterday, she took 4 steps on her own.

I have to say I love when she's awake, but when I'm putting her to sleep and I rock her back and forth in my arms and she puts her tired head on my shoulder...that's a feeling of eternity.

I get a bit emotional every time that happens as I think about the flash in time that will occur when she will be going to school, college, and getting married, which is why I cherish these moments all the more.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Taxes and Tahara

What are life’s only guarantees?


On Sunday, I dealt with both of them. I spent the bulk of the afternoon assembling all of the various 1099’s, W2’s, etc. and in the evening went to perform a Tahara as part of the Chevra Kadisha.


The Chevra Kadisha is the Jewish burial society which has the solemn duty of ritually preparing the deceased for a Jewish burial. The Tahara means the purification process.


I’d done it once before, but in a billion years, I never would have thought I would do it for a former teacher of mine. He died of a sudden heart attack in his 50’s and was ostensibly in good health. He was svelte and was an active basketball referee.


Anyway, it sure makes you think. Not only that no matter what you do from a health perspective are you not immune from the inevitability of death, but as we spend so much time focused on the day to day banalities that there are much larger forces at work and you never know when your time is up.


Balancing the need for accomplishment on a day to day basis with the looming inevitability of certain death…at a time which no human predict, now that is a worthwhile life goal.

Friday, February 18, 2005

The Epitome of Homeownership

A few weeks ago, it was pouring rain. It was early Saturday morning and I turned to Tamar and remarked about how beautiful and nice it was to have a warm house and a roof over our heads during this tremendous storm.

I walked over to the window to see how intense the rain was, put my hand down...into a pool of water. A small hole in the top of the window frame was leaking.

Homeownership in a nutshell.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

OK, a test of who really reads the blog (many claim to, but this should separate the wheat from the chaff).

We're having another baby. Due in August.

Friday, February 11, 2005

the price of heat...

When we moved into the house, I told myself that I'd take 3 months to just let things happen w/o worrying about money. I needed to get some sort of baseline.

I know that winter is obviously the time of the year when heating bills will be largest. I've prepared by putting storm doors on each entrance, adding insulation to the attic. We have 2 pane windows as well.

I got my first heating bill last month and it was 300. I was taken aback, but stayed calm-true to my word. I responded and set the thermostat to be lower during the day when we weren't at home and frankly, it was low when we were at home. Today, I am shell shocked. The bill came for 500! I am thinking "holy crap, I can't afford to live in this house." I have no idea how this happened and I wouldn't say I'm panicking, but I am quite concerned.

I'm open to ideas...or maybe this is just what heating costs these days.

I did put out a request for an energy efficiency audit, but the firm doesn't check the proper functioning of the furnace or hot water heater. Something is wrong, I think (I hope).


Saturday, February 05, 2005

Excerpt from a letter to a friend...

“I owe you an apology that it has taken this long to respond. As I am sure you know, once you have kids (and a house for that matter), most things you’d really like to do take a back seat. Just the other day, however, Tamar (my wife) sent me one of the fwd’s (attached) that said, basically: “appreciate your friends and do it today,” so that has motivated me to take a moment out of my Sunday (which is my 1-1 day w/Calanit, my daughter, since Tamar works) to write to you.

We’ve had a good day, but now I need some quiet time for myself. I am gearing up for the Super bowl, which means I’ll watch it as I work.

I think the thing I struggle most with these days is, plain and simple, balance. Though I guess that’s a constant, but now it’s more pronounced as I certainly don’t want to miss my daughter growing up and I realize that long term, the time I spend with her now is the best thing for her, but of course, I have the pragmatic considerations of bills and mortgage. I do my best to “be here now” and focus on her, but sometimes, I will admit, the more mundane aspects of life get in my way. Trying to keep it in perspective, not always successful.”