Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

Don’t wanna work Monday

So I should be, at the very goddamned leastest, posting links to posts advertising my wares on FaceBook (two business pages, several “groups,” and my timeline: a half-dozen separate time-consuming mind-numbing actions), Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.

I should be hustling some new business for The Copyeditor’s Desk.

I should be writing new copy for Plain & Simple Press.

I should be writing some sort of personal-finance post for Funny about Money.

I should be trying, once again, to get into Goodreads so as to hustle my wares there, even though that cause appears to be too forlorn to waste more time on.

But y’know what?

Yeah. That’s correct:




If it looks like work, if it sounds like work, if it smells like work, if it feels like work: I don’t wanna do it.

That’s not to say I’ve totally diddled the day away, so far.

compostThe new cute little composter arrived. It’s “Cute” (the maker’s term) because it really is quite small: maybe a third the size of the one the fake beekeeper destroyed.

At first as I unpacked it from its cardboard box, I was disappointed. Then thought…waaaitaminit here. Let’s not be stoopid about this.

As a practical matter, smaller is probably better. First, it’s a lot more manageable. The old one, when it was full, could be almost impossible to turn, so it took forever and a day to compost stuff — and I had to reach in there and toss stuff by hand. This thing will be easy to roll even if it’s full.

Second, the manufacturer has made two exceptionally smart improvements in the thing’s design. a) The lid and its opening are MUCH larger compared to the overall size of the tub; and b) they’ve developed a hinge held together with a long, sturdy pin. If you remove the pin, you can lift the lid off the tub, making it easy to lift or dump the compost out.

So. I decided I don’t just like the Cute Composter, I downright love it.

The little guy is now in his place by the side of the house, with a pile of leaves, exhausted potting soil from dead plant pots, and kitchen trimmings in his belly.

Yay! We soon will have compost, and this fall we will have a vegetable garden again, for the first time since the memory of Fatlady runneth not to the contrary.

Gerardo just blew in and blew out; while he was here, he had the underlings gather up some relatively seed-free dry leaves and deposit them in the little composter. It’s full just now, but I expect those will pack down as they start to degrade and as I sprinkle a little water in there. By planting time this fall, there should be some nice compost for the pots that will hold chard, lettuce, spinach, mâche, and some LGOs.

The writer’s group I belong to puts out an annual anthology. They’ve put out a call for submissions — theme has to do with “celebration.” I have an essay that fits, though it fits in a distant way.

So I diddled away a fair amount of the morning editing and tightening that — their length limit is 3,000 words, and the lash-up runs to a little over 3400 words. Managed to cut it down a bit. Last year they accepted an essay of about 3400 words, but they had a different editor. WTF…we’ll see what happens. Nothing ventured…

My son has wondered if he should throw his $20,000 emergency fund at a refinance of his house, given that this could cut his mortage payment by about 300 much-needed dollars a month. His dad advised him absolutely positively not to do that. When the subject came up yesterday, I seconded his dad’s motion. Discussion ensued; the question was left up in the air.

So I called Wonder-Financial-Advisor today. He thirded the motion. We believe he should hang onto the cash, given the still amazingly low interest rates.

The dad has urged M’hijito to make no move until after his 102-year-old grandmother passes away. The suggestion, never fully articulated, is that money could be forthcoming from the estate. Said dad is in charge of the grandmother’s finances and so should have some idea what he’s talking about.

But the question is: WHAT estate?

The old gal has been living in a nursing home for many years. She’s blind and deaf. By now whatever money she might have accrued must have been absorbed by her care. How could there be anything — ANYTHING — left?

Well, I personally don’t think there is any such thing. But why the ex- would advise my son along those lines not once but several times…hm? It escapes me.


The immortal grandmother was the daughter — the only child — of a man who owned a lumber company that served Denver, Colorado. He was a prominent local businessman. When he died of advanced old age in 1977, his funeral was overrun by well-wishers from the business community. A LOT of people showed up.

I don’t know what happened to that business. But if he sold it, dollars to donuts he sold it for a substantial profit.

His background was Amish. As that factoid might lead you to imagine, he lived quietly and conservatively. Not sparsely, but frugally. I suppose it’s not outside the realm of possibility that there was a trust. That could have protected the estate from the clutches of the nursing home’s collection agents.

And if that’s the case, there could be a small amount of money there. It wouldn’t have to be much to solve my son’s financial problems, such as they are.

So I diddled away some more of the day on the Internet, trying to track down the old man and, mostly failing that, trying to find some trace of the business.

Total fail on the latter. Inconclusive on the first. Became bored and so brought that to a halt.

It’s now the middle of the afternoon, and I still do not feel up, in any wise, to working. and so…





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  1. These are exciting times at the “Funny Farm”…glad the composter met your expectations…. I think you’ll like it. And might just be a “game-changer” in your quest to get a handle on grocery spending. As for the son….maybe he should do his homework on the refi and what the costs really are. AND how long it will take to recoup his $20K. We may just look back with regret that we didn’t grab 3.5% mortgages ….when they are at 7-8%. As for “Grand ma-ma” it truly is hard to say…Much of her wealth may be tied up in a “Family Trust” after the sale of the business …. to avoid ….. capital gains, the required “spend down” of Medicare and provide for future generations. I had a “Dear Uncle” who made a boatload of money in construction and other businesses. I recall he set up”trusts” and other entitities to avoid taxes and provide for his brats. He moved South…bought a 300 acre spread for CASH..sold that made more cash …bought a large parcel and had it subdivided complete with the family name for the brats to build homes. When he passed no mention was made of the trusts and other entities. A couple of years later when his wife passed …. she was basically…destitute. MY question….Where did the money go? Everybody puts up their hands…..CRAZY….

    • Yeah, Son did exactly that the last time we considered refinancing. He decided the amount we’d have to put into it would be more than he wanted to have me pony up out of savings.

      That’s no longer true: with no extra money toward principal, a refi would cost him around $2000 or $3000.

      A-n-n-d…the trouble is, that house has a 30/15 mortgage on it. The 15-year balloon will come due in a few years.

      When we bought the house — before the crash — he had no intention of living there more than about five years, the amount of time he figured it would take him to get back on his feet after being laid off his job in San Francisco. Once he got back to something like financial normalcy, he planned to move back to the City or up to Portland, where some of his friends are.

      We didn’t reckon on the crash.

      He’s now been through two economic crashes: the Dot-com bust and the Crash of the Bush Economy. That kind of thing takes a toll on a young man’s thinking and confidence. At this point, he seems to be most interested in stability: hanging onto his job no matter what and just enjoying life day to day.

      So it looks like he’ll be in Phoenix for the duration, unless a miracle happens. He figures it will be about 20 years before the low desert becomes uninhabitable — I personally think it’ll be a lot sooner than that, and if I were a young person I’d be looking at relocating to cooler climes right now. But who knows? You take what comes, I guess. Anyway, that’s why he figures he’d better refinance while the rates are low.

      Well, when the old man died, X-DH was a very high-powered lawyer in what was then the most prestigious law firm in the American Southwest. And his grand-dad was a canny businessman. My guess is X-DH and some of his law partners set up a trust that could not be broken by some nursing home. It would have supported the venerable Grandma during all the years she worked as an NPR announcer (on the Western Slope: that would’ve paid near-volunteer wages!) and then as a librarian. She certainly never earned much. Though she lived modestly, she never seemed to have a concern about money. Bet there’s a reason for that.

  2. Hmmm….Can identify with “Dear Son”….Back when “dinos roamed the earth” I had a great job ….blue collar but great just the same….I was in my early 20’s making as much or more than my Dad. And with heavy back orders overtime was the norm….I can remember a stretch of working 68 hours a week for 3 months at a time. Did pad the bank account BUT then “POOF”…. a long strike….and then many canceled orders as a result of the strike….and then a down turn….a whopper. Jobs just didn’t exist….wound up landing a job at a start up grocer….Under $5 an hour. It takes a toll on you…glad to see DS has learned from this experience. Cost nothing to “shop” around for rates and see what his place is worth.