Friday, January 27, 2012

I'm Not Crying.

So, the cat is out of the bag...we've been house hunting. Don't get too excited though, because I really have no idea if this means we'll be able to buy a house. There are just too many variables still unsettled to know for sure. However, this is the first time we've EVER looked at houses, so things must be moving in the right direction.

Which brings me to "The One". We found the purrrrfect house. It's close to our current apartment, great schools, 4 bedrooms, massive backyard, extremely good condition, lots of curb appeal, beautiful, well-lit, great value, and on and on and on...

Only one problem. It already has an offer that looks like it will go through. So the perfect house for our family? Gone.

Sure, I could be bitter and start crying about it, but I'm too smart for that. Instead I have a plan:
  1. Rent a house close to "The One" to run covert operations listed below.
  2. Toilet paper the house every other weekend.
  3. Spread honey all over the porch every Monday.
  4. Snake Pit Tuesday.
  5. Poison the hedges on Wednesday.
  6. If they install security cameras, cut the electricity.
  7. Buy snails. LOTS of snails.
  8. Run...
  9. Fast.
If my plan goes as anticipated, we'll be making an offer to the disgruntled owners any day.

That's right, I'm not crying about it...


In case you've never heard of Flight of the Conchords, here are a couple more of our favorites:

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Money, It's a Gas!

I read the webcomic, xkcd, faithfully. Any comic with the following warning is a-ok in my book...
Warning: this comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors).
The author, Randall Munroe, is another entry in the fine line of geniuses-who-turned-to-cartooning-instead-of-saving-the-world. If I were half as smart as Randall, I'd be a ba-jillionaire...or I'd draw cartoons...who knows!

Anyway, every once in a while, Randall will produce a graphic that is so intricately detailed and mind-blowing that I can't stop thinking about it for a few days. This time around, he produced an infographic all about MONEY that has blown my mind for at least a month. The poster-sized image covers everything of a monetary value that you've ever wanted to compare. Everything. From $1 all the way up to the aggregate value of mankind, $2.4 quadrillion dollars.

I realize this graphic is way too small to pick up any useful knowledge, so go to the website if you have an hour to spare. You'll be amazed.

However, if you don't have an hour, below is one tidbit that I can't stop thinking about. Keep in mind that all values in the graphic are adjusted to 2011 dollars to facilitate comparisons. Each green box represents $1.

Wow. Good golly, an increase in wages of  0.5% over 42 years. I think I'll go buy me somethin' nice!

Apparently it pays to be "The Man". A 1965 CEO was making 25 times more than his production workers. I'm not sure if Randall bases CEO pay on actual hours worked, but even if you try to compensate for an assumed 8 hours per day by reassessing that CEOs work an imaginary 24 hours a day, that's still a salary of 8 times more than his laborers.

But that's 1965. Surely CEOs earn a little more in comparison to laborers in today's complex world. As the laborer wage increase was 0.5%, I'll be generous and say that a reasonable CEO wage increase would be 20 times that for the same period, which would be an increase of 10%...

I'm setting you up...

Because here's what CEO pay is like in 2007...

Try an increase of 1005%
There is no way on earth to convince me that this disparity is ethical.

This is just one lesson from xkcd's amazing infographic. And I'm too shocked to say anything else right now.

Worth Something

I'm hoping most readers are completely unaware of this post. I would hate to feel like a braggart or prideful. However, reaching some milestones (no matter how small) requires so much time and brute force that failure to acknowledge that milestone would make me feel ungrateful.

The Lovely Cynthia (TLC) and I did not come from great economic backgrounds. Malcolm Gladwell would probably write us off to the ghetto with a knowledge of our past histories. In an effort to get us away from poverty, I decided to become a first-generation college student and make every effort to receive a marketable degree. Raising a family while attending college and financing it with a part-time janitorial job almost turned out to be disastrous, but we made it through with a HUGE mound of debts; public, private, and personal (we got the trifecta!).

Because of those debts (which we will still be paying over the next 9.5 years) we will never have the same financial opportunities as our peers...ever. However, it certainly beats the alternative of not earning a degree.

So, the milestone...for the first time in our 10 years together, our net worth is greater than zero. Meaning, if we were to liquidate all our assets (at book value) and pay off all our debts, we'd have enough left over to buy a cappuccino or two. I know that may seem paltry, but I've been praying for and working toward this for brings tears to my eyes to finally be in this position. I can finally feel like I'm worth something...

...on paper, that is.