On Building a Better Pancake

I usually make pancakes when I have a bunch of fruit (often apples) to use up. I do a double batch and stick leftovers in the freezer - they heat up fine in a toaster for a quick weekday breakfast. I use the recipe from Cooks Illustrated, but often I'm lazy so I don't whip the egg whites separately. I rarely have buttermilk (why oh why don't they sell it in pints?), so I clabber regular milk with lemon juice. Not the same weight but works fine.

Posted on November 19, 2014 at 3:16 pm 1

On How to Charge: By the Hour or By the Project

My sister is a graphic designer, and her company charges by the project, with an estimated number of hours to complete the job. Say, an email advertisement is billed for $1000 for up to 6 hours work, and anything above that is extra. Usually the designers complete it much faster so they just get the base fee, and are free to move on to the next project. But if the client wants a lot of revisions and goes above the original cap, then an hourly rate kicks in. I assume there's some additional fee for rush jobs as well. This makes a lot of sense to me, as it allows people to burn through simpler projects but protects them from having their rate drop because of delays if complexities arise. Plus, if their work queue for the week is clear, they can take Friday off. I wish I had such an arrangement.

Posted on November 13, 2014 at 4:45 pm 1

On The Cost of Getting Knocked Up (So Far)

Congratulations!

Posted on February 7, 2014 at 5:36 pm 1

On Friday Estimate

And Mike, these little foam wine glass markers from the MoMA store are my favorite gift for party hosts. On sale for $8.96.

Posted on January 24, 2014 at 10:57 am 0

On Friday Estimate

Happy hour tonight with colleagues will probably be $20. Tomorrow my man and I may head out to Jersey for some cross-country skiing. It'll be $22 each for equipment rental and passes, plus however many hours we have a zipcar (maybe $80). We probably won't stay overnight. On Sunday, I'll do the weekly shopping run for $75ish, depending on what I decide to make. So let's say $220 for the weekend for both of us. Unless we make an offer on an apartment, in which case this weekend could cost more than anything has ever cost ever.

Posted on January 24, 2014 at 10:54 am 0

On Here Is Your Open Thread

In Germany, usually tenants are responsible for installing a kitchen- everything from cabinets to appliances- in a rental. Most take the kitchen with them when they move!

Posted on January 17, 2014 at 2:40 pm 0

On Questionable Mailer Sent By Bank

@cuminafterall I know, right? It's crazy. Many co-ops (which maybe 70% of units on the market are in many areas), they require you to prove you have 12-24 months of expenses in the bank, on top of everything else. Since co-op buildings are corporations in which the individual tenants are shareholders with rights to live in a unit in the property, they're super careful about who they do business with. The liquidity requirements are case you lose your job or whatever, you won't be defaulting on your obligations to the co-op corporation. Many don't let you count 401K or other investments either. The logic here is that if you have to raid your 401K in an emergency, you're probably not that financially stable. It's insane, but pretty normal in NYC from what I can tell, though some boards are more relaxed than others. You basically have to have two down payments in the bank before you can play the game. Many co-op boards allow "gifting", though, which is getting enough money from a family member to clear the board's post-close liquidity requirements. But you can give that money back after closing, making the whole thing a bit meaningless anyway.

Posted on January 8, 2014 at 12:24 pm 1

On Questionable Mailer Sent By Bank

@Fig. 1 Thanks! I feel like I saw this ages ago but completely forgot about it.

Posted on January 8, 2014 at 11:40 am 0

On Questionable Mailer Sent By Bank

Also, I don't want to take the thread too far off topic, but I'm looking for good advice/resources on buying in NYC. Anyone have good suggestions? This rent vs. buy question is what husband and I are considering at the moment since our rent could pay a mortgage and we have some savings but not a ton. Since you can write off mortgage interest and, if you're buying in a co-op building, roughly half the monthly maintenance fees, it seems like a good move to buy if you can afford the down payment, transaction costs, etc. What stops us is the kind of post-closing requirements that co-op boards want to see- enough money in the bank after a down payment to cover between 1-2 years of mortgage and maintenance. Sometimes they even want this in an escrow account. It's killer in NYC. Sheesh.

Posted on January 8, 2014 at 9:46 am 0

On Questionable Mailer Sent By Bank

Has that mailer been stuck in transit since pre-housing crisis 2005?

Posted on January 8, 2014 at 9:43 am 4