Here Is Your Open Thread

One day Will and I rode past a white Queen Anne in Poletown on a quiet corner. Next to it sat two empty lots, plenty of space for a dog and a garden, a shed and a pond. The neighbors were friendly and kept their homes well-maintained, but there were four other abandoned houses on the block. The neighbors said the Queen Anne had been abandoned for a decade, simply left behind by the previous owner like a shredded tire on the highway, anything of value stolen long ago. It had a mangy wraparound porch and a big kitchen, but no chimney — I could build one of those — and the first time I cautiously walked inside, I knew it would be my home.

Drew Philp has a nice essay in BuzzFeed about buying an abandoned house in Detroit for $500 when he was 23, why he did it, and what his neighborhood and city means to him.

Photo: Jessica Reeder


32 Comments / Post A Comment

Bill Fostex (#573)


frushka (#1,207)

i miss Logan :(

joyballz (#2,000)

@frushka I almost emailed her yesterday to say the same thing and I then I thought she might feel guilty so I didn’t, but ditto to you.

AitchBee (#3,001)

@frushka [Not that Meaghan isn’t great! I’m really enjoying her! Yay Meaghan!] But…me too

LookUponMyWorks (#2,616)

@frushka Does anyone know if she’s gone or just hasn’t posted in a few days?

…Or did I miss a post somewhere?

CubeRootOfPi (#1,098)

@LookUponMyWorks According to the Sick Days post, she’s been ill though seems to be doing better.

laluchita (#2,195)

Man, that was the best written, most thoughtful article Buzzfeed has ever publish! Not what I was expecting at all!

Derbel McDillet (#1,241)

@laluchita That was my thought exactly! I was not expecting a beautiful essay when I clicked the link! That is the style of writing I would love to see more of on the Billfold.

Derbel McDillet (#1,241)

@laluchita I think part of why I loved it so much, is that it was about a young person setting out to do something, and doing it. It wasn’t yet another essay by a young person looking back at the mistakes they made, or the things they wish they had done differently, or the things that happened to them.

I love the content on the Billfold, but it would be great to see more essays about people actually taking action.

WayDownSouth (#3,431)

@Derbel McDillet yes, you’re right. It certainly is a lot easier to make snide comments about capitalism than do physical, difficult work

EvanDeSimone (#2,101)

@laluchita Buzzfeed has actually been stepping up their game editorially recently.

Meaghano (#529)

@WayDownSouth We welcome your stories of physical, difficult work!

DebtOrAlive (#5,233)

@Meaghano YOU. I like the cut of your jib.

WayDownSouth (#3,431)

@Meaghano it’s an interesting idea. Do people send in stories to the Billfold about their financial decisions or work in general? What stories do you like and not like? A healthy percentage of the site’s content is comprised of brief intros to links to other websites (not saying that as a bad thing). How many of your posts are contributed by your readers?

Eric18 (#4,486)

@Derbel McDillet Definitely!

echolikebells (#3,272)

I am finally, after months of knowing I needed to and weeks of saying I was going to, going to set first appointments with two different therapists in my city in efforts to try to find the therapist for me. I didn’t realize this was so hard and so expensive though?! My insurance is supposed to be better than average, according to friends, but I have to get to $500 paid out of pocket to the therapist before my insurance will begin to cover any percentage of it. Frustrating! (Yes, I am lucky because it could be more/could be worse/etc. but it feels like a lot of money to me.) Going to a therapist about depression and anxiety is going to make me stressed out about money, which seems silly?

laluchita (#2,195)

@echolikebells All of my therapists have been willing or able to negotiate their prices. Be upfront about what you can handle financially. Deals I’ve worked out include paying cash out of pocket at a lower rate because it saves them the trouble of dealing with insurance, and/or having them quote a higher fee to my insurance, who paid a percentage, and then me paying them a smaller chunk out of pocket on the side, if that makes sense. Also, even if they prefer to see you weekly, if you can only afford twice a month, that is better than not at all, so say that if that’s the case.

Edited to add: Good for you for finding therapists! That is seriously the hardest step you will take! Don’t get discouraged, you’re doing a really good job.

DebtOrAlive (#5,233)

Hi Everybody! So it looks like I will (very soon) have to buy a laptop to replace my current 6-year old MacBook Pro which I broke one too many times.

Moment of Silence.

Trying to follow Tess Vigeland’s simple money rules, especially that whole “Don’t spend more than you earn” part. And unlike 6 years ago, when I was flush with (grant) money to buy an obscenely expensive top of the line Apple product, I’m on a budget.

But I don’t want a non-Apple laptop (Steve Jobs’ Reality Distortion Field is Real and Strong, ya’ll), so has anybody had experience purchasing a used Macbook? What say you?

echolikebells (#3,272)

@DebtOrAlive Condolences on the laptop dying. I went through the same thing recently.

My roommate bought a refurbished Macbook from eBay, and I do NOT recommend that. Personally. His is sad and tired and needs replacing and he only got two years out of it. I’ve heard great things about going through Apple for a refurb. I myself ended up blowing my budget and my credit card to get a brand-spanking new Macbook Air, but I’d been asking for cash for it for a Christmas and a birthday, so I had some saved up.

jquick (#3,730)

@DebtOrAlive You blew grant money on “an obscenely expensive top of the line Apple product”? Doesn’t anyone save for a rainy day, or show restraint? I’ve got some free money, so let me blow it?

WayDownSouth (#3,431)

@DebtOrAlive I wouldn’t buy anything electronic on eBay. If you’d like to buy it used, I’d buy it refurbished from Apple directly.

Do you many IT people? My wife and I turn over our laptops every couple of years and hand the old ones to family or friends who could use them. I doubt very much that we’re unique. You may be able to work something out with friends in IT (who I suspect buy new computers more often than others, since they’re part of their jobs).

How much do you actually want to spend? Why do you want to buy a mac? (Note that I’m a mac user as well and don’t want to start an o/s religious war. I’d just like to understand what you need in order to provide some suggestions.)

DebtOrAlive (#5,233)

@jquick Please let me know how you would spend a line item in a grant that is specifically to be used for a technology purchase. And since said purchase lasted well after that grant ended, can we acknowledge that it was money well spent? No? My B!

Last I checked, the NIH doesn’t give you gold stars for spending under budget. And about that rainy day, was I supposed to squirrel it away in my bank account? Pretty sure that violates numerous federal laws and my own university’s ethics policies, but I may be mistaken!

I welcome your input on this matter. Thanks!

DebtOrAlive (#5,233)

@jquick Also, thanks for your answer, it’s really helping me solve my current computer issue!

DebtOrAlive (#5,233)

@WayDownSouth I can’t think of anyone who’s in IT unfortunately. The closest I get to that are people who are doing straight software engineering or friends who work in tech news.

Looking to spend ~500-600 preferably. And why do I want to buy a mac? Honestly because I’ve gotten spoiled with OS X and after having my personal computer be a Mac and my work computers be PC’s for the past 6 years I just plain prefer the user experience that Macs offer.

Mind you, not an Apple fanboy. I passed on the iPhone for a Galaxy because it was both less suited for what I was looking for and more expensive.

WayDownSouth (#3,431)

@DebtOrAlive sorry for the delay in getting back to you. Does it matter if it’s an iMac or a laptop? I think you’ll get better value from an iMac, but only if you’re happy leaving it on a desk. A used iMac is probably going to be less risky than a used laptop, since it hasn’t been moved much and has less opportunity for being dropped or knocked.

The Apple website has a refurbished section in the store (where the company fixes up returned items, then re-sells them at a discount). Even though the item has been repaired, it’s still covered by the standard warranty.

Do you live near a university? If so, the universities often run out their existing computers when they introduce a new generation. The only downside is that I suspect that you wouldn’t get any sort of warranty on them.

Your friends in tech news may be able to help. It’s not unusual for reviewers to receive equipment for review purposes. Sometimes these review items are loans and sometimes they’re gifts (obviously with an intention to influence the review). If it’s a gift, the writers may sell the item — I see this happen with cameras and lenses regularly (since I’m always looking at used camera lenses (not bodies)). You may want to consider talking with your friends about it (delicately, as selling review items may not be entirely above-board…).

I agree with you about Macs. They’re so much easier to use and maintain that I completely agree with your intention to get another one. If I see any sales on Macs, I’ll try to remember to post on here (in case you hadn’t seen the same sale).

pixiesuperhero (#3,951)

Where is Logan?

la_di_da (#1,425)

Okay, crowd source time. Who’s moved cross country and how did you do it? Alternatively, has anyone rented a uHaul and returned it to a neighboring state, and if so, how much did it cost?

These are the things that are taking up all of my thoughts during these last few moments I should probably be workings. TGIF, peoples.

Hope Logan feel better soon! Strep throat is the worst.

kstohl (#3,094)

@la_di_da I have moved from CA to Maine and then from NY back to CA. The first time I was moving for a grad program so I just filled my car with things I wanted (no furniture, etc). When I moved back to CA after living in Brooklyn for a few years I had accumulated a few large items I wanted to bring (bed, dresser) so I used this service called, I believe, mini movers, which takes a few smaller loads from people and consolidates them into one big load (it wasn’t terribly expensive, but it wasn’t super cheap). So my 2 items were put with other people’s stuff and eventually arrived in CA a few weeks after I shoved everything else into my car (a station wagon) and made the drive. The cool thing about the movers was you paid by the item, not weight, so we shoved a whole bunch of junk into the dresser drawers, taped them shut, and then tipped the 2 guys a bunch for carrying that heavy ass dresser down 5 flights of stairs.

flickafly (#4,808)

I’ve done it a few different ways a few different times.
1) Move from Houston to Chicago: put all my shit in one of those you-pack-it-we-move-it containers and had it delivered to me about a month after I moved (by choice). Cost for one container I think was around $600-$700, plus i had to actually rent a in-town uhaul to unload the bin at the bin place in the suburbs, because in the city of chicago, they do not allow the bins in streets or alleys.
2) Chicago to Austin TX: I sold all my huge belongings and shipped my super personal stuff UPS and books via media mail via UPS. Cost was around $250-300. Only 1 box got lost and it was insured – UPS. Drove a rental car 1-way from Chicago to Austin with the rest of my stuff. Cost of that was around $200
3) Houston to Chicago (again – don’t ask) – I did a uhaul 1-way. It was around $900 for the rental plus a hotel stay plus gas. They really seem to not like you to drive them that far and make it more complicated to do one-way rentals
I had a friend do a Chicago to LA move with a big truck moving service. It cost her around $2K and those folks took almost a month to get her stuff to her.

jquick (#3,730)

@la_di_da Look up uhaul costs to/from various places on their website.

Beaks (#3,488)

@la_di_da If you already have enough stuff for a U-haul, I strongly recommend also pricing out traditional moving companies like United or Allied. They estimate for free, so there’s no reason not to at least get a quote.

We did a 2400 mile move (both ways over three years), and the cost of hiring professionals was not very much higher- and we didn’t have to carry our stuff (we have lots of books). Plus if you’re driving over continental divides and the like, doing so in your own car (which is not loaded over its weight limit) is a much more pleasant experience.

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