life: the epic road trip

Stats: duration: 23 consecutive days driving distance: 6747 miles longest single day: 856 miles, 15 hours driving (not including breaks) total hours driving: 112 average mpg: 29.1 gas consumed: 321 gallons number of kids upon departure: 5 number of kids upon return: 3 (2 left at college) family groups visited: 9 Monuments / Parks /Continue reading “life: the epic road trip”

life: going to college with financial responsibility

Now that my second child is on their way to college, I think my wife and I have narrowed in on an approach to higher education that is sustainable. Here are the principles we’ve been teaching and doing with our children. Go to a school that is affordable. It would be great fun to driveContinue reading “life: going to college with financial responsibility”

food: the North Carolina Historic Barbecue Trail

I stopped by a recommended BBQ restaurant recently (Hersey’s in Graham NC), and noticed a plaque on the wall. Part of the plaque reads: NCBS (the North Carolina Barbecue Society) has designed a barbecue trail from Eastern North Carolina to Tennessee. The trail will meander across the state with stops at 24 NCBS Historic BarbecueContinue reading “food: the North Carolina Historic Barbecue Trail”

life: extending the life of a household water heater

My home has a gas-powered hot water heater located in the walk-up attic (3rd floor). I’d like to give the architect a dope-slap for doing that. Especially when the master bath directly below the water heater takes the longest to receive the hot water. But the real reason why the attic location is an issueContinue reading “life: extending the life of a household water heater”

life: confessions of a LASIK patient

It’s not something I was originally looking to do. We had been using our pre-tax health savings account for the kids’ braces, and miscalculated the payment schedule, so we are at the end of the year with $2000 of unused money in that account. Use it or lose it. (I checked, when unused the moneyContinue reading “life: confessions of a LASIK patient”

fun: recipe for cinnamon rolls

Almost as good as that expensive store in the mall, which I won’t name. These are less expensive and you don’t need to stop eating at one. There is a recipe in our house that I’ve been playing with. So far, everyone loves these and they are reasonably easy, especially if you have a breadContinue reading “fun: recipe for cinnamon rolls”

personal finance: credit bureau freeze

Be careful of how much debt you carry. A mortgage is OK, but creditors will generally give you a bigger loan than you can really afford. An automobile loan is OK, but recognize that an automobile can depreciate faster than you can pay the loan – it sure isn’t an investment, it’s pure expense. OneContinue reading “personal finance: credit bureau freeze”

cars: replacing the dash lights in a Honda Odyssey

I have a 2000 Honda Odyssey, and although it has been a wonderful vehicle, it is at the age where the dash lights are starting to burn out. So my clock backlight has failed, along with the lighting of several buttons on the dash. When I went to get parts at the dealer to replaceContinue reading “cars: replacing the dash lights in a Honda Odyssey”

tips: the “newspaper” test for decision making

Have a decision to make at the office, and it isn’t obvious what to choose? Usually we look for positive confirmation using tools such as rationalization. But it can be often helpful to try negative confirmation. This approach can open up a whole new world of insight. Use this handy little tool that I callContinue reading “tips: the “newspaper” test for decision making”