Search found 523 matches

by coalcracker
Wed Aug 05, 2020 7:15 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Amex platinum retention bonus?
Replies: 10
Views: 1262

Re: Amex platinum retention bonus?

Does one have to call and speak to a rep to obtain a bonus?
by coalcracker
Tue Aug 04, 2020 5:27 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Planning for a future "gap year" with children
Replies: 10
Views: 1198

Re: Planning for a future "gap year" with children

Before you commit to taking a year off I would suggest doing something like taking two months off one summer to see how taking an extended trip works for you and your family. 2. Start month? makes sense to start and end in summer, kids away for one full academic year rather than parts of two. The b...
by coalcracker
Tue Aug 04, 2020 5:26 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Planning for a future "gap year" with children
Replies: 10
Views: 1198

Re: Planning for a future "gap year" with children

We had the exact same plan. We were inspired by a couple of traveling families we met in Peru and New Zealand (before kids) and always held on to the idea of taking a year off to travel with the kids. Now that the kids are 5 and 8, our perspective has changed. We've been able to build our careers w...
by coalcracker
Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Planning for a future "gap year" with children
Replies: 10
Views: 1198

Planning for a future "gap year" with children

When our first child was born, my wife and I fantasized about a round-the-world family trip at some point in the distant future. Now that our older is 6 and younger 3 (and no more are in the pipeline), we have begun to consider the logistics of such a trip. My wife and I are seasoned travelers to 6 ...
by coalcracker
Sat Aug 01, 2020 3:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Fruit/vegetable planning for winter cooking
Replies: 10
Views: 951

Fruit/vegetable planning for winter cooking

For a few months in the summer, the farmer’s markets around here (mid Atlantic) are overflowing with near endless fruit and veggie options. It’s easy to forget how bland and flavorless the produce from other continents can be the rest of the year :( Lovers of food: how do you keep dishes flavorful i...
by coalcracker
Sun Jul 26, 2020 12:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replacing structural components of roof (NOT just shingles)
Replies: 5
Views: 561

Re: Replacing structural components of roof (NOT just shingles)

The roof is comprised *entirely" of nine plexiglass bubble skylights bolted to an aluminum grid, and rimmed by box gutters. Could you just replace the 1980's Plexiglas bubbles with a new energy efficient skylights? We have considered this, but It would be tricky to retrofit the type of skylight nec...
by coalcracker
Sun Jul 26, 2020 12:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Driveway On Neighbor's Land
Replies: 139
Views: 4239

Re: Land Border Issues & Aggressive Neighbor - Help Wanted Please

Were you friendly with a neighbor before this? What are his motivations: he wants to use the land for some reason? He’s just being petty? He has a long-standing issues with you about something else? The motivation is that if you don't assert your rights as property owner you will lose the property ...
by coalcracker
Sun Jul 26, 2020 11:13 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Driveway On Neighbor's Land
Replies: 139
Views: 4239

Re: Land Border Issues & Aggressive Neighbor - Help Wanted Please

Were you friendly with a neighbor before this?

What are his motivations: he wants to use the land for some reason? He’s just being petty? He has a long-standing issues with you about something else?
by coalcracker
Sun Jul 26, 2020 10:19 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replacing structural components of roof (NOT just shingles)
Replies: 5
Views: 561

Replacing structural components of roof (NOT just shingles)

We love our home but will need to address a unique roof situation in the near future. The previous owner (an architect) built a two-story addition with a footprint of ~ 25' x 25'. The roof is comprised *entirely" of nine plexiglass bubble skylights bolted to an aluminum grid, and rimmed by box gutte...
by coalcracker
Fri Jul 24, 2020 1:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Can I (homeowner) pay roofer's insurance premium?
Replies: 8
Views: 856

Re: Can I (homeowner) pay roofer's insurance premium?

I see two areas of risk if you let this person do the work. He might hurt himself and sue you or he might damage your building. If you really think he can do the work you want done, why don't you talk to your insurance agent and purchase a rider that covers you for both risks. Is this possible? I d...
by coalcracker
Fri Jul 24, 2020 11:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Can I (homeowner) pay roofer's insurance premium?
Replies: 8
Views: 856

Can I (homeowner) pay roofer's insurance premium?

I'm having a h*$# of a time finding a mason to repoint a couple of monster chimneys. I've been told by a chimney sweep (and can see myself) that the mortar is in bad shape. Once during a deluge, water made it to the first floor fire box, suggesting the cement cap may need to be addressed as well. Th...
by coalcracker
Fri Jul 17, 2020 5:48 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Oddly Difficult to Find Items During the Pandemic
Replies: 203
Views: 14691

Re: Oddly Difficult to Find Items During the Pandemic

My local Home Depot and Lowe’s were essentially out of most pressure treated lumber for a few weeks. Everyone is building decks?
by coalcracker
Fri Jul 10, 2020 8:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?
Replies: 122
Views: 5767

Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

jacoavlu wrote:
Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:51 pm
Cormac McCarthy, border trilogy
His prose is extraordinary, almost poetic much of the time. Hard to pick a favorite, but I’d go with Blood Meridian
by coalcracker
Mon Jul 06, 2020 10:40 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Neighborhood Noise
Replies: 188
Views: 12668

Re: Neighborhood Noise

Try a few different white noise apps, most of them are free. I am fairly sensitive to noise, even some white noise is not to my liking. The app I have has a lot of different “white noise” options that are called by different color names. I found that Brown Noise was the most pleasing and calming to ...
by coalcracker
Wed Jul 01, 2020 1:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Elementary school in Fall - choose Virtual or In-person
Replies: 120
Views: 8388

Re: Elementary school in Fall - choose Virtual or In-person

From limited sampling of the opinions of a few dozen parents, it seems the younger the child the worse the virtual school experience. My rising first-grader had a mediocre home school experience: about 1 hour of face time with teachers, with the rest of the schoolwork burden on the parents/nanny. Es...
by coalcracker
Mon Jun 22, 2020 1:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Lexus Key Fob Issue
Replies: 42
Views: 1882

Re: Lexus Key Fob Issue

I can confirm that it is not the keyfob and not the battery. There is something wrong with the car and I will likely need to call the dealer. I have a 2013 Toyota Avalon that has a similar issue, although all the doors slowly stopped working one-by-one. Not sure how similar the electronics are, but...
by coalcracker
Sun Jun 21, 2020 10:23 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Stubhub refunds?
Replies: 1
Views: 202

Stubhub refunds?

I purchased 7 decent tickets (almost $300 total) on stubhub for an MLB game back in January. The original date of the game was last week, and who knows if/when it will ever happen. Stubhub’s policy states MLB games are still TBA and they will “email you more details if the game you bought or sold ti...
by coalcracker
Sun May 24, 2020 10:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What to do with Mother-In-Law
Replies: 31
Views: 3984

Re: What to do with Mother-In-Law

My maternal grandmother lived with us my whole childhood and died when I was in my mid 20s (I’m 41). In the last few years she suffered from progressive CHF, eventually became bed bound, and obtained home hospice care. She was on hospice for at least 6 months before passing. During that time she had...
by coalcracker
Fri May 15, 2020 3:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: "Fancy" drip/pour-over coffee makers
Replies: 54
Views: 3352

Re: "Fancy" drip/pour-over coffee makers

I’ve recently had a change of heart about this. Leading up to the change, I’ve always ground my own beans with a conical burr grinder and brewed in a Moccamaster. I got tired of grinder noise occasionally waking up the kids in the morning in recent months, so I’ve tried a few widely available pre-gr...
by coalcracker
Fri May 15, 2020 2:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Why do I have free ESPN (via app)?
Replies: 5
Views: 680

Why do I have free ESPN (via app)?

Feel like I'm getting old with a question like this :wink: I wanted to check out Last Dance (the Jordan documentary). I don't have cable, just a smart TV, so I thought I'd pay for the ESPN app for a couple of months or maybe get lucky with a free trial. Turns out when I downloaded the app I was able...
by coalcracker
Fri May 15, 2020 11:49 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What are your alternative plans this summer if it was travel?
Replies: 65
Views: 5546

Re: What are your alternative plans this summer if it was travel?

Had a trip to Singapore and Thailand plan for this March, was able to reschedule everything for January 2021 with minimal fees (travel insurance would not have covered cancellation, but did not have it anyway!) I’m cautiously optimistic it will still happen, but really I have no idea. Have plenty of...
by coalcracker
Thu May 14, 2020 4:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Secrets to a great lawn
Replies: 65
Views: 5449

Secrets to a great lawn

What steps do you take to get a thick, green, luxuriant lawn? Looking for recommendations on: -timing of applications (we have children and pets, but pesticides and herbicides are OK with me within reason) -fertilizers -Weed control (pull manually vs herbicide) -pest control -watering (I have a spri...
by coalcracker
Sat Apr 25, 2020 7:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Italian traffic fine with U.S. debt collector-revisited?
Replies: 26
Views: 2687

Re: Italian traffic fine with U.S. debt collector-revisited?

I’ve had two international incidents with fines related to car rentals: a speeding ticket in Spain and a cracked windshield in France. In the case of the speeding ticket, there was an attempt to charge to my credit card and it was flagged as a possible fraudulent charge. I was unaware of the ticket ...
by coalcracker
Thu Apr 02, 2020 4:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: PPP in CARES Act: What happens when income over $100k?
Replies: 18
Views: 7681

Re: PPP in CARES Act: What happens when income over $100k?

For what it's worth, here is how the payroll company ADP appears to interpret it. I can't tell for sure how exactly they're generating their new PPP-specific reports, but what it looks like to me is that the report includes the first $100K of compensation for each employee inclusive of benefits and...
by coalcracker
Thu Apr 02, 2020 3:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: PPP in CARES Act: What happens when income over $100k?
Replies: 18
Views: 7681

Re: PPP in CARES Act: What happens when income over $100k?

The $100k is a limit, not an exclusion. The calculation for what the business would qualify for is "average monthly payroll" x 2.5. If you have 5 employees who make $400k each and 1 who makes $30k, your calculation would look like this: ($100k + $100k + $100k + $100k + $100k + $30k)/12 x 2.5 = $110...
by coalcracker
Thu Apr 02, 2020 3:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: PPP in CARES Act: What happens when income over $100k?
Replies: 18
Views: 7681

Re: PPP in CARES Act: What happens when income over $100k?

jeam3131 wrote:
Thu Apr 02, 2020 2:46 pm
100k limit. Treat people who make over 100k as if they made 100k
Meaning, what exactly? Actually pay them as if they were making $100k?
by coalcracker
Thu Apr 02, 2020 2:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: PPP in CARES Act: What happens when income over $100k?
Replies: 18
Views: 7681

PPP in CARES Act: What happens when income over $100k?

I am part of a medium-sized medical practice with physician partners and several employees. In reading numerous articles about the paycheck protection program (PPP) loans, it remains unclear to me whether we can apply and/or benefit from it. We have seen our collections drop precipitously in the pas...
by coalcracker
Fri Feb 28, 2020 9:05 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Rebalance Schmebalance
Replies: 1
Views: 203

Rebalance Schmebalance

Finally got around to checking my portfolio balances this morning. After the sky is falling news all week, I was expecting to rebalance. But as it turns out, I didn't even hit my 5% rebalancing bands for equities: they should be 70%, I was around 73% last week and now around 66%. I guess I'll go wat...
by coalcracker
Tue Feb 25, 2020 12:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Postponed travel due to Corona Virus. Am I am overreacting ?
Replies: 232
Views: 24263

Re: Postponed travel due to Corona Virus. Am I am overreacting ?

I just postponed a March trip because of coronavirus. But we were traveling closer to the “hot zone“ (Singapore and Thailand), and taking our two young children along. We were not terribly concerned about the actual viral infection, particularly being young and healthy. There are many worse diseases...
by coalcracker
Fri Feb 21, 2020 4:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?
Replies: 67
Views: 6075

Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Love to see fellow family travelers on here :D My wife and I traveled extensively and lived abroad before children. Now that we have a 6 and 2 year old, the travel is more tame but MUCH more than our friends and family with kids. When we are catching up with friends, they almost always ask where we ...
by coalcracker
Thu Feb 20, 2020 2:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Exploring new hobbies before retirement: how to find time?
Replies: 16
Views: 1308

Exploring new hobbies before retirement: how to find time?

I've been inspired by some recent threads here on hobbies. I dabble in woodworking and blogging (and personal finance :wink:), but there are many other things I'd like to try. Early retirement is in the cards financially, but as the saying goes I will need something to retire to rather than from. My...
by coalcracker
Tue Feb 11, 2020 4:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tell me about your rooftop deck
Replies: 12
Views: 1092

Re: Tell me about your rooftop deck

Sandtrap wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 4:44 pm
Stuctural
Water integrity

j :happy
Are these more of an issue with a deck on top of a flat roof compared to just a flat roof itself?
by coalcracker
Tue Feb 11, 2020 4:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tell me about your rooftop deck
Replies: 12
Views: 1092

Tell me about your rooftop deck

A 2-story addition on my house has a flat roof which is about 30 years old and will need to be replaced soon. The footprint of the addition is ~25 x 25 feet. I am considering options for a pitched roof, but have been told that would present significant challenges because of the current design and ho...
by coalcracker
Wed Jan 08, 2020 2:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Miami in February: last minute deals?
Replies: 3
Views: 392

Miami in February: last minute deals?

I'm considering a long weekend getaway to Miami with my wife. We usually rent an AirBnb with the kids when we travel, but this time they are staying with Grandma and we'd like to live it up a bit at a beachfront hotel. Most of the "luxury" hotels near Miami beach are prohibitively expensive ($500+ p...
by coalcracker
Fri Jan 03, 2020 2:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Suing An Airline In Small Claims
Replies: 38
Views: 4853

Re: Suing An Airline In Small Claims

I’ve had good luck escalating to an executive email if the regular customer service channels fail. Check out these contacts for American Airlines:

https://www.elliott.org/company-contac ... -airlines/
by coalcracker
Thu Dec 19, 2019 5:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: yet another reason not to get a smart phone
Replies: 192
Views: 16099

Re: yet another reason not to get a smart phone

I recently heard Nick Bostrom (of Superintelligence fame) interviewed about his 2018 paper "The Vulnerable World Hypothesis," in which he proposes the likely (in his opinion) need for massive surveillance and global oversight at some point in the future. https://nickbostrom.com/papers/vulnerable.pdf...
by coalcracker
Thu Dec 19, 2019 2:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Traveling to South Africa - money tips
Replies: 14
Views: 827

Re: Traveling to South Africa - money tips

No Apple Pay as they have their own form in most areas. I just used Chase Sapphire and Revolut. Also used Ally to take out a little. Have a bunch of small rands like 2-5 rands for car guards. Don’t have anything visible in the car when driving or parked. Even in gated areas! Keep the doors locked w...
by coalcracker
Wed Dec 18, 2019 9:45 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Who is liable for slip on sidewalk?
Replies: 63
Views: 3444

Re: Who is liable for slip on sidewalk?

I had an attorney who taught a business law class while I was in college. He claimed he didn't shovel his sidewalks so pedestrians wouldn't have the expectation they were safe. Interesting. Perhaps this is the grizzled middle aged physician in me speaking, but some individuals will sue not matter w...
by coalcracker
Sat Dec 14, 2019 6:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Re: Amazon Echo, Alexa, and privacy concerns
Replies: 41
Views: 2595

Re: Amazon Echo, Alexa, and privacy concerns

I think people who are getting smart speakers like Echo and products from Google and Fakebook are fools. First it was things like Fakebook, which basically acts as an aggregator of passive data. Now they are getting into your real-time conversations and thoughts (many people think out loud when in ...
by coalcracker
Fri Dec 13, 2019 6:23 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: WWYD? - advice needed. 41 yr old in VHCOL, FIRE? thinking of leaving high stress job.
Replies: 54
Views: 4360

Re: WWYD? - advice needed. 41 yr old in VHCOL, FIRE? thinking of leaving high stress job.

On second thought, you are in a position of power with your employer/practice. You could easily stop working for an indefinite period time from a financial standpoint. Why not think about what you could reasonably offer your current job in a much reduced capacity? Something like occasional consultin...
by coalcracker
Fri Dec 13, 2019 3:44 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: WWYD? - advice needed. 41 yr old in VHCOL, FIRE? thinking of leaving high stress job.
Replies: 54
Views: 4360

Re: WWYD? - advice needed. 41 yr old in VHCOL, FIRE? thinking of leaving high stress job.

Since this is WWYD, here is WIWD: Figure out (1) what type of work is meaningful to you, (2) what is important to you in other areas of your life (e.g. family, hobbies, spiritual, lifestyle, climate, aesthetics, etc.) and (3) what your deal breakers are (e.g. I must live in a place with X, I cannot...
by coalcracker
Fri Dec 06, 2019 1:55 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: 2020 Plan for $45,000,000 in 2045
Replies: 81
Views: 14735

Re: 2020 Plan for $45,000,000 in 2045

You've obviously put a lot of time and thought into educating yourself on investing, and I think you're in great shape particularly with your presumed high income. I don't think my income is as high as yours, but I have been in a similar position (lots of free cash to invest annually) for about 6-7 ...
by coalcracker
Wed Nov 27, 2019 1:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New Phone Scam - Up A Notch
Replies: 59
Views: 5325

Re: New Phone Scam - Up A Notch

I never answer phone unless it is a friend and known number. Otherwise I let it go to voice mail. So, it is easy to avoid a scam if you don’t answer at all. It takes a commitment to do this as most people feel compelled to answer a ringing phone. It is a waste of my time. There is NOTHING that come...
by coalcracker
Fri Nov 22, 2019 9:06 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Spending money to make travel easier and luxurious?
Replies: 85
Views: 8637

Re: Spending money to make travel easier and luxurious?

I'll add to the chorus calling for a local guide. You can tailor this to you interests. We are foodies, and paid for full day culinary experiences on our past two trips to Barcelona and Provence. Both of them were just us and the guide/chef, and included market tours from individuals who knew a LOT ...
by coalcracker
Mon Nov 11, 2019 9:26 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What is this sound in the house?
Replies: 37
Views: 5071

Re: What is this sound in the house?

Agree with others that critters seems most likely given the timing and what you've excluded so far. Only other thing you might consider is some kind of expansion/contraction of the house in that corner if/when the sun hits during the day. We have plexiglass skylights that pop audibly whenever the su...
by coalcracker
Thu Nov 07, 2019 9:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home Automation Mavens - Need Some Help
Replies: 7
Views: 640

Re: Home Automation Mavens - Need Some Help

Coalcracker, the “not working well with each other” is real. I’m hoping that some broker (eg, Samsung ST, Alexa, whatever) can direct the dialog between the participants. A rabbit hole isn’t the worst thing for me to go down, but I pity someone with less free time than I have. I have a feeling that...
by coalcracker
Thu Nov 07, 2019 8:38 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home Automation Mavens - Need Some Help
Replies: 7
Views: 640

Re: Home Automation Mavens - Need Some Help

Oh boy, you could go deep down the rabbit hole on this one :D I recently gutted and remodeled a new house and installed whole home smart lighting (Lutron RadioRa2). It works fairly well on its own, but required hours of personal education, trial and error, questions on Lutron's forums, and in the en...
by coalcracker
Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:55 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Travel hacking international flights
Replies: 50
Views: 5629

Re: Travel hacking international flights

OP is flying with multiple people on a fixed route flown by one airline. You're pretty much at the mercy of Lufthansa in this case, especially if you have fixed dates. Credit card strategies and deal sites are not a reliable route for the OP. OP might get lucky but also might have to suck it up and...
by coalcracker
Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Your Fantasy Kitchen (Cookware-wise)
Replies: 65
Views: 6217

Re: Your Fantasy Kitchen (Cookware-wise)

I would buy (not invest) in a nonstick pan. I buy tramontina's (top wirecutter pick) for $20-30 and replace them every 4-5 years. I use them only for eggs which allows the pan to last longer. I would not recommend a high end nonstick pan; none of them last long enough to justify the expense. I woul...
by coalcracker
Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Your Fantasy Kitchen (Cookware-wise)
Replies: 65
Views: 6217

Re: Your Fantasy Kitchen (Cookware-wise)

Our kitchen ware consists of what you have already. For the eggs, we buy non-stick skillets and treat them as usable items to dispose of eventually. We buy the winner of America's Test Kitchen which is T-Fal. Other than that, we have a few seasoned cast iron pans for various dishes as well. Probabl...