No TV’s In Our Castle

Most of the time I feel 100% normal. Well, scratch that. I know we live our lives a little far out on the bell curve with things like aiming for financial independence, doing major DIY renovations on our house, biking to work, and buying solar panels to power our house. But most people around us can’t see that (literally – the solar panels are on the back of the house!) and instead see a young couple that has a small house in a nice neighborhood and leads pretty normal lives going to work, going to the gym, hanging out with each other and our cat and seeming pretty vanilla all around.

So it kindof smacked me across the face when I read a headline in one of the Houzz* newsletters this weekend.  “How High Should Your TV Be?”

“Really?” I thought.  “This is a problem people can’t seem to figure out?” I squinted at the headline and clicked through to the article, mostly because we don’t have a tv and I somehow needed to understand what the fuss over a tvs height was all about.

But then the article proceeded to slap me in the face with its opening paragraph.

“A home without a television is like a castle in the clouds — it exists only in fairy tales. And that’s only a slight overstatement. The Nielsen Company reports that 96.7 percent of U.S. homes have television sets. In my experience, over the course of hundreds of home construction projects, I can’t recall a single instance in which one of our clients designed a home without the television’s location in mind. “

Now my face really scrunched up. Seriously, Mr Interior Designer? Out of hundreds of homes, there wasn’t a single one without a television? Or even a home with a television but without particular regard to its placement in the final design?

We’ve Never Had a TV Since Moving In Together

Continue reading No TV’s In Our Castle

Yet Another Reason To Love Bicycling

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Bikes FTW!

I recently crossed my two-year anniversary of “bringing back the bike” to my life as one of my favorite modes of transportation. Since then I discovered:

But recent events have me adding one more tally mark in the bike’s column – There’s simply less to break on a bike than there is on a car.

A Car Curse

Continue reading Yet Another Reason To Love Bicycling

Pregnancy And Remodeling A Kitchen

We are DIY-remodeling a kitchen. My best friend (NOT ME – I swear!!) is pregnant.

You would think there wouldn’t be a whole lot of similarities between the two endeavors, after all:

  • She’s building a human being (though I still call it a gremlin) whereas everything we’re building will be inanimate.
  • BFF’s progress can be measured weekly by the similarity of the gremlin in size to various fruits and vegetables*, whereas ours is better measured by the number of nails going through the nail gun or the number of staples used to install batts of insulation these days.
  • The ongoing costs for her gremlin will continue for 18+ years, whereas I don’t expect us to have any significant ongoing costs with our kitchen.

But given that so much of my friendship with BFF has seen us going through similar things at the same time (in college, we got inadvertently dragged in the same direction so often that we joked we had an invisible rope that connected our hips), I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised to discover there are actually a ton of similarities between pregnancy and remodeling a kitchen (what I’m calling our respective “2015 projects”) and we’ve had quite a bit to relate to with each other lately.

Here’s our list so far: Continue reading Pregnancy And Remodeling A Kitchen

Reflections on Building Inspectors and Code Enforcement

Now with insulation!  And LED can lights!

Between our DIY kitchen remodel (now with insulation!) and the solar panels that we had installed in March, we’ve had quite a few inspectors stop by our house over the last month or so.

In our city, the building inspectors act as check to make sure that construction work is done to code and is properly permitted. Talking with other homeowners we know, it seems some people think building inspectors and code enforcement are  an unnecessary nuisance and don’t bother with them for DIY or even some non-DIY under-the-table projects. Heck, we’ve probably done some work over the years that probably should have been permitted*, so can’t judge those thoughts too harshly. But with bigger projects, we’ve always gotten a permit and here’s the big reason why.

We think we’re getting our money’s worth by permitting big projects.

For this kind of value determination, there are two factors:
1 – How much it costs
2 – What we get out of it

How Much Is A Permit?

Continue reading Reflections on Building Inspectors and Code Enforcement

PoP – An Unintentional Namesake of a Very Fine Man

IMG_5171Nearly three years ago, we did what we often do – walked on the beach and had a good long talk about our goals and progress and different things we see for our future together. It was during this walk that we decided we could start a blog together to chronicle some of these more financial goals. But what to name it!?!

Seriously. The naming thing was an issue for us! It actually delayed starting the blog for a solid month because we couldn’t pick one that we both liked and that didn’t seem to sound dirty out of context. (You’d be amazed at the number of websites that do… Seriously, try it out with some of your favorite blogs thinking with the mind of a twelve-year-old boy.)

Finally, we settled on Planting Our Pennies. It was a name that we both thought was okay – we like pennies and plants and growing them both! – and it also met the non-dirty-sounding criteria*. And to top it off, the name gave us an easy abbreviation that we could turn into the online pseudonyms we still use three years later – Mr & Mrs PoP.

What we didn’t think about until much later was that we had unintentionally created a namesake of a very fine man, my maternal grandfather, known to those that loved him as Pop or PopPop**.

Continue reading PoP – An Unintentional Namesake of a Very Fine Man