On Our Money Daydreams: Faith and a Truly Unlimited Bus Pass

@thegirlieshow Like the scam in Office Space, but without the scam.

Posted on September 19, 2014 at 4:39 pm 1

On Here is Your Open Thread

On Saturday, my brass band is playing on an actual stage as part of Hartford's big downtown arts festival, and we're getting paid actual money for it. Of course, there are twenty people in the band, so the actual money doesn't amount to much, but it's exciting to feel sort of like a legitimate musician. Also, there will be beer and poutine at the festival.

Posted on September 19, 2014 at 12:30 pm 2

On Tipping Housekeeping is Controversial? (No It Isn't)

If what we want is to help housekeepers make a decent living but we object to management's encouraging tipping because it feels like the first on the long road toward lower guaranteed wages, we should endeavor to stay in union hotels whenever possible. It is more expensive, of course, because the living wages are contractually guaranteed and, thus, built into the room rate, but that's the point now, isn't it? (Full disclosure: I used to work for the New York City hotel workers' union and I still sometimes translate their weekly newspaper into Spanish. But truly, I say all this because I firmly believe it to be true.)

Posted on September 17, 2014 at 11:36 am 1

On Job of the Day: Silicon Valley Home Stager

I originally parsed this as "Silicon Valley Home Stagger." I would very much like that to be the name of a dance craze that sweeps the nation.

Posted on September 15, 2014 at 12:03 pm 3

On The Delicate Nature of Asking Your Parents for Financial Help

@fletchasketch I don't think we have to haggle over qualifying a given moment as adult time or not in order to justify taking help from our folks, our lovers, or the government. I think the unspoken discomfort here is the recognition that merely having parents who can bail you out is a luxury and a marker of a certain privilege, and no one wants to rely upon privilege when they can help it. But saying that the proper response to the unforeseen is "to have money saved away for those eventualities" also bespeaks privilege: access to the jobs and salaries that make significant saving possible is heavily predicated on the accident of birth, and the magnitude of the calamity likely to befall someone is also correlated, albeit inversely, to access to resources: when you're poor, you're more likely to be uninsured and, consequently, wiped out by one serious medical emergency; you're more likely to be arrested and less likely to make bail, which in turn sets you up to lose your job, your housing, etc. (I have a client whose child was briefly placed in foster care because she was held on a very minor charge and couldn't raise $120 to make bail.) Broadly speaking, my point is that life is hard for a great many people, even those who can, once in a while, call on their parents, relatives, or kindly old benefactors for emergency help. Meaghan is right to say that we should endeavor to survive without assistance, and also that we should accept the moments when we have to rely on the help that is available to us. What's important is always to try to do for ourselves and to be aware of the enormous luxury that even a little bit of help is, and the ways in which the presence of that potential help, even in the abstract, affects our choices.

Posted on September 15, 2014 at 11:54 am 4

On An Illustrated True Saga of Costly Car Repair

@eatmoredumplings It was $3500, which is still great. We bought it from a good friend.

Posted on September 11, 2014 at 11:13 am 0

On An Illustrated True Saga of Costly Car Repair

@Worgchef FWIW, I talked to my regular mechanic, who's a super stand-up guy and also seems to know how to fix cars well, and he didn't know how to do a Prius battery. Her referred me to another shop in town that also didn't, who referred me to yet another shop that couldn't do it. I(I didn't include that in the calling around part because it was boring). So apparently, replacing a first-gen Prius battery actually kind of IS rocket surgery.

Posted on September 10, 2014 at 6:16 pm 0

On An Illustrated True Saga of Costly Car Repair

@Bruz Hey, go easy! It was eleven years old when we bought it, but had only 72,000 miles on it. Some of us attorneys work for the state, have two kids, and made bad financial choices earlier in life.

Posted on September 10, 2014 at 6:14 pm 2

On Thirtysomethings Just As Delusional as Twentysomethings

On the one hand (the Marxist hand, I suppose), it would be bad if people were reflexively content with their station and the crumbs that plutocrats saw fit to brush off the table for them to fight over. On the other (Buddhist) hand, there is a lot to be said for modest expectations. With a home I can afford and a job that covers rent and food (if not the eradication of debts), I feel like life is giving me what I need and what I'd hoped for. That makes the having healthy children and a kind, delightful girlfriend feel like bonuses. Is my job the perfect one and my love a soul mate? I have no idea. But I have enough and more, which seems pretty good.

Posted on September 9, 2014 at 12:46 pm 5

On Early Bird Special

No, no, a thousand times no. With a late, huge breakfast (which is, all told, the best kind), I can snack at 4:00 and do a proper dinner at 8:00, as god intended. I'd rather do like the people you talk about do, but start cooking some elaborate feast at the time when they get to the restaurant and eat at a sensible dinner hour. (Also, frankly, people should eat when they want.)

Posted on September 9, 2014 at 9:13 am 0