Do It Before it Becomes an Emergency

Hey smidlapper,  i’ll be you ate and drank too much at thanksgiving this past weekend.  i know i did.  Worry not, we’re both still here to talk about anticipating events and needs before they become an emergency.  Here’s some food for thought on the subject, Chubbs.


You may have read we had our roof replaced and that went fairly smoothly, although the first crew damaged our driveway and dinged up the neighbor’s house a little.  Let’s just say not paying in full until completely satisfied with a completed job should be obvious.  We have not paid in full as these things have not been addressed.

But back to the subject at hand:  If you want to own a big f’ing house then you need to anticipate that shit happens.  We had a little roof repair 5 years ago and the contractor told me the roof had about 5 years left.  Then something interesting happened when we changed insurance companies.  The insurance agent said she wouldn’t shop around our homeowner’s policy due to the condition of the roof she could see from google earth!  Imagine our chagrin at us letting it go that long.  Well, at that point we maybe could have squeaked another year or two out of the roof but the thought of needing this job on short notice would make your sleep less restful, to say the least, so we bit the bullet and spent the dollars.  Sure it was painful to pony up several 10’s of thousands of hard earned jack which could have bought a lot of wine or fun times, but the potential downside was worse.  The best and most reliable contractors are booked months in advance for a reason.  Let’s say we went for the big delay and for the cover our big ass 1860’s house to leak and then decided we needed it fixed?  This might have resulted in water damage and a litany of other poop that would have compounded something that could have and should have been avoided.  See how that went?  Hooray for us for acting like responsible adults.  Trust me when I say it hasn’t always been a guarantee.


We paid off our house about 4 years ago, so how nice for us.  One thing about this big life step is that you then own all the equity in your home.  When we suspected we needed this major repair I got to thinking we might not want to necessarily want to pony up the home maintenance fund along with the emergency fund and pay that back off, leaving us less liquid if a real emergency did come up like injury or job loss.  Enter the Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC).  Now I would never say we should borrow (even at a decent rate) BUT we went and opened the HELOC at least 6 months before we might have possibly needed to use any of that money.  It doesn’t cost anything to open the line of credit and allows some flexibility and liquidity but it takes a long ass time to get all that stuff approved.  I hope we don’t ever need it but I hope we don’t need the fire department either, for that matter, but it’s in place if we get in a liquidity pinch.


 This is the one that really got me thinking about doing stuff ahead of time.  We have no intention of leaving our palatial estate any time soon.  This is the best position from which to get the most for your valuable stuff when you’re not under the gun to do it.  We’ve been listing our crap near the maximum where we think it will sell and just posting up a ton of items.  If they don’t sell?  No pressure, just adjust and put them back up there.  The pace of it all is very manageable and we’ll slow way down during the holidays when Mrs. Smidlap is more busy selling her art.  Like that ballerina in the picture here.

This is a silk shirt made from one of MB’s images. Cool.

I really think the throwing away is going to more fun than the monetizing.  Hell, I can’t wait to get down to just enough stuff to stock a big 2 bedroom apartment.  We’ve been looking around the place and saying “I didn’t even know we had that” and other things like “I can’t believe somebody paid me 130 bucks for those sunglasses you got for free in the 80’s.”  I like these new hobbies like downsizing that at worst are cost neutral and at best can make you a little while you get on the healthier side of the “shit i possess” ledger.


It’s easy when you know how.


Streaming WWOZ 90.7 New Orleans.  When I lived there I had this on in my apartment 24/7 for two years straight and when we go to visit our friends have it on the same way.  If this music doesn’t put you in a better mood then seek help.

 Feel free to say your best or worst in the comments.  I can take it!


So, you like the idea of owning a big old f’ing house?

The Smidlap Estate in Full Bloom with Freddy and Bubsy

welcome, Smidlapper, to the mostly lower case (e.e. cummings) version of my babble.

you might want to consider cost of ownership regarding repairs on the old beast before they arise.  i think i mentioned mrs. smidlap bought this monster house before we met and we generally love and appreciate living here and doing what we like with it.  hell, we might even retire and keep it as a rental property, who knows?  i just wanted to touch on the home maintenance bucket of your regular split of your income.  i know you have your buckets set up, right?  these are those expenditures that regularly occur and you know they’re coming.  they never don’t come (like my grammar?).  we have ours set as vacation/gift/repair, emergency fund, Roth IRA’s, tax, FS overtime, and MB art income.

i mention this because we’re right in the middle of what could be a shocker for some. we have an 1860’s house in buffalo. it’s big and stone and generally awesome. well, it turns out we had an appox. 70 year old asbestos roof and it finally came time to replace and it is happening this week. well there are some funky rules around this type of work but i understand it boils down something like this. the owners are allowed to remove those roofing tiles themselves (death trap for unskilled on a high pitch, 40 foot peak on slippery old tiles), or have the roof repaired with no big permit. the problem with our place is these brittle old shingles easily break and are tough to repair. there was already an old layer of wooden shingle underneath so another layer over the asbestos was no option. well, let’s just say with the abatement the cost of a new roof in our case around thirty thousand american dollars! doh! if any readers want my takeaway, here it is. 1. know what is up there when you decide to buy the place so you can prepare and get the cash in place for crap of this magnitude. 2. if you already own an old house like this, adjust home repair budget accordingly, even if it hurts. 3. don’t blow all your hard earned repair fund every year on cosmetic wants, as you never know when a big ticket item like this eats up several years of that fund and you already spent it on granite countertops.

Free activity of the week

making a phone call.  you see, i never have owned a cell phone and can barely operate one due to my aversion and contempt for the antisocial devices.  i got tired of paying verizon for land line service as normal people still make the occasional call.  i ditched them in favor of a google voice account.  you do need an internet connection and i had to buy an OBI device for about 40 bucks.  but now with this set-up i pay zero bucks a month for unlimited calling in the united states of ‘murica.  it might even include canada.

Quote of the Week

“no good can come of this.” — i said this to a group of friends who wanted to save a recording of a bachelor party in the 90’s.  they took the advice and we destroyed the evidence.

What we did right and wrong

in the “right” column, mrs. smidlap started listing on eBay last week and even sold something.  i kinda huck finned her into that one but now we have 16 listings of stuff we don’t use or need.  i consider that a win/win as even if the stuff brought in zero dollars it’s still decreasing the crap and clutter in our house and taking up some spare time when that spare time could be spent on the other side of the ledger out in the world wasting dollars.  i also came to an agreement to see my drum set to Tequila Mick in New Orleans.  The stipulation is that he’s flying here and renting a car and i’ll help him drive it back to NOLA.  in other words, what could go wrong?

also in the “right” column, we ate a bunch of these.

in the “wrong” column, we didn’t need those giant 12 ounce pours of free bourbon at the tropical isle bar.  sometimes free is your enemy.  mark it down!

as always, feel free to comment on this substandard content.  blast away, i can take it.