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What You've Done Today - As the World Turns


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1 minute ago, Malcador said:

Large houses means its easier to avoid family members.

My impression is that Americans (and I assume Canadians) have larger houses than Europeans but not necessarily more rooms, so the hiding possibilities are the same. I mean the individual rooms are large, but not so large that one can hide behind the horizon.

Looking for houses in, say totally randomly, Irvine,  CA on Zillow there are hundreds of houses for sale that seem to have more than 2400 sq ft. For us normal SI units people that's 220 m2. Some houses are like 800 m2. This is pretty damned huge by European standards. For reference, in my local area of residence, there are 4 houses for sale that are more than 200 m2. That's out of 85 current listings. The largest is 300 m2.

I assume American families don't have 11 children on average or something, nor do I assume that most American households have a bowling alley next to the kitchen. I understand that bountiful land has always been a characteristic of the US, so you guys can unironically say that, I dunno, 10m2 feels too small for a full bathroom.

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9 hours ago, Azdeus said:

Ouch, yeah, there are many things I envy americans, but your infrastructure generally ain't one of them. I can usually rely on my internet connection, but power does come and go through windstorms.

Where I live has bad infrastructure by american standards. We've been without power for 13 hours now and I just got phone service 20 minutes ago.

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I live a bit north of Hurlshot and our 3bd/1 bath/1 car garage, 980 square foot house would sell for around 1.3 million right now. The house was built in the 1950's as cheap worker housing, looks cheap, and is not "updated" to the nines. I call it a "postage stamp house."  At least the area is pretty decent (eg, "safe" and pretty 1st time buyer/family attractive), that's about the best thing. Hurlshot's area he might get something newer/bigger but it won't be a mansion for $800k. 

For us personally, 980 sq. feet, combined with a cramped layout (not a lot of "communal" living space) feels like a glorified apartment.  Hubby and I don't have kids but we're space hogs, what with our two dedicated PC/offices. It works and we're used to it by now but it's amazing how much difference even another two or three hundred sq. feet can make in terms of function and feel.  Smallest I've lived in was a 675ish sq. ft. 2 bd apartment, which was ok when I was 19 but would drive me nuts now.  On the flip side, if it was much bigger than 1600-1800 sq. foot my response would be "Ok, but I'm not cleaning it."   😛

I understand where Hurlshot is coming from - we struggled with that same issue/thought we'd never buy, living here - and we thought that way even back in the late 1980's.  For most, income won't increase faster than housing inflation.  I assume it's like this mostly everywhere, only in some areas, like popular or business centralized urban/suburbian, the rate of increase is so magnified it eventually drives people out of the area if their jobs/lives allow it. 

House size wise - the average size of American homes has been increasing since the 70's or so, I think.  Nationally it might've been around 1500-1600 sq. feet once, it's probably closer to 2500sq ft. now.  But like everywhere, it vastly depends on the richness of the area and/or the age/region of the area, even down to what block.

As far as hiding - well, in some areas, more modern/newer houses 2500+ sq ft might have more bathrooms than bedrooms, so, y'know, they can all hide in those?  :lol:

And yeah, inventory vs. demand/population is always problematic, as well.  If it wasn't, the prices wouldn't get quite as crazy.

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“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts
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6 hours ago, Pidesco said:

 

What does "modest house" mean in your context?

1300 square feet. This isn't Texas. 

The 2000-3000 square foot houses around here are well over a million. Everything new is built in the 2000 square foot range, so there is also very little inventory under a million and they are all older.

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1 minute ago, Hurlshot said:

1300 square feet.

Yeah that's about the size of the house we rented near Morgan Hill.  It was a nice size for us.  I miss that house, rental or not.  Sigh.  :lol:

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“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts
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3 hours ago, KaineParker said:

Where I live has bad infrastructure by american standards. We've been without power for 13 hours now and I just got phone service 20 minutes ago.

Damn, we had a storm a bunch of years ago that left me without power for 3 days, 1 hour short of having free electricity for a month, but there was still mobile phone service. I imagine that if something like that was to happen around here today, the only people left alive around here would be me and my mother.

Take care!

Civilization, in fact, grows more and more maudlin and hysterical; especially under democracy it tends to degenerate into a mere combat of crazes; the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary. - H.L. Mencken

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1 hour ago, LadyCrimson said:

I understand where Hurlshot is coming from - we struggled with that same issue/thought we'd never buy, living here - and we thought that way even back in the late 1980's.  For most, income won't increase faster than housing inflation.  I assume it's like this mostly everywhere, only in some areas, like popular or business centralized urban/suburbian, the rate of increase is so magnified it eventually drives people out of the area if their jobs/lives allow it. 

For us here it's been spiralling out of control for a while, with the zero interest policy of the ECB housing has become a prime investment with very little risk attatched, because even if the bubble bursts at some point, banks are too big to fail anyway.

So when Hurlshot talks about a modest home he can't afford that is actually just as expensive a a similar house here, and you factor in the average income difference, then...

Spoiler

...then you suddenly become really glad that all the dillweeds in your country don't want inheritance tax and you're not going to pay any for the estate you're going to inhert. And it has a pool. So I'm good.

And once that's done and over with I'm going to pretend I got wealthy through some serious bootstrap pulling and start voting for our version of the libertarian party. :p

 

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@ majestic - yeah, no inheritance tax here either.  Which is definitely a nice thing.

I have too many ... issues ... for persistent employment that's worth much of anything, and after hubby's income grew higher and higher I just stopped trying.  So I haven't officially worked in a long time.  I made up for it in the long run tho, I guess, by having parents with a surprising (to us kids) amount of money to pass down, in the end. :shifty:

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“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts
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8 hours ago, Azdeus said:

Damn, we had a storm a bunch of years ago that left me without power for 3 days, 1 hour short of having free electricity for a month, but there was still mobile phone service. I imagine that if something like that was to happen around here today, the only people left alive around here would be me and my mother.

Take care!

Thanks. Powers back for me after maybe 22 hours out, I've heard of some people who were out of power for over 36 hours so I got off lucky. More storm tomorrow so we'll see how it goes.

8 hours ago, majestic said:

And once that's done and over with I'm going to pretend I got wealthy through some serious bootstrap pulling and start voting for our version of the libertarian party

Inheritance is one of the most important bootstraps to pull, good life choices begin at conception.

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"I am the expert, asshat." - Hurlsnot

"You need to be careful, lest I write another ten page essay on mythology and how it relates to Sailor Moon." - majestic

"I won't say what just in case KaineParker is reading" - Bartimaeus

"Oh no! Is there super secret ending as well? I don’t care." - Wormerine

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It’s seriously bloody freaking cold out there and the damned snow is shin high. 
dammit I chose to live in the south because I don’t want to deal with this kind of weather! But at least we still have power. It went out for a little bit yesterday but I have a generator so that’s no big deal. I shut the solar system off to protect the batteries. Small good in this weather anyway. Even if there was sun I’m not going out there to clean the damn snow off of it

"The man of virtuous soul commands not, nor obeys. Power, like a desolating pestilence, pollutes whate'er it touches; and obedience, bane of all genius, virtue, freedom, truth, makes slaves of men, and of the human frame a mechanized automaton."

P.B. Shelley

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the talk o' home values reminds us how much we don't wanna continue being a landlord. overall, housing prices were flat in our county in 2020, but in our specific area there were marked increases. seems that living in a relative remote bit o' civilization far from the maddening crowd sudden had appeal during the pandemic. go figure. the couple local rental properties we own saw significant increases in value this last year, but as a landlord there is always something to worry 'bout. am tired o' the headaches. am more motivated to sell.

if hurl doesn't mind a +1.5 hour commute, we can likely get him into a nice 1-story, 3br/2ba, 1800sqft which backs up to greenbelt in a gated community a bit east o' sacramento. available this may.  other than the prohibitive commute, downside is you would be living literal a couple hundred meters away from Gromnir. 

am always shocked by just how many people in our neighborhood make the commute to the bay area for work. our morning jaunts to the office were only in the +40 minute range depending on traffic. soul sucking.  however, the shift to telecommuting is making it much more viable to live somewhere not the bay area even if that is where is your job... though not for hurl we s'pose.

'course the sac valley/foothills summer heat and predictable wildfires is also becoming unbearable. can't get away from it.

we know a bunch o' folks who moved from ca to tx the last couple years. tx were just so much cheaper. a couple such persons never quite recovered from the great recession and retirement were gonna be either texas or mexico.  other acquaintances moved to tx specific for the tax situation. am recalling one ca ex-pat bragging to us 'bout how much cheaper were their utility costs w/o the rolling summer blackouts. am a smud customer, so we didn't have any blackouts. regardless, am thinking we give it a month or two before we remind our friend o' his utility boast. probable a too soon faux pas if we needle today.

HA! Good Fun!

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As I've mentioned before, this whole covid thing has most of hubby's employer's employees not only working from home, but moving ... one of them to FL.  While still working for the employer.  So we've thought about it - his employer has even half-pushed/suggested it to him - but hubby's particular duties, he'd be less valuable/effective if he couldn't just hop over to work in 5 minutes (or 25, if one of the other offices south or north) when there's an actual physical problem, and he's done the hour+ each way commute thing before and never wants to return to anything like it.  It's horrible.  Some people may think it's worth it/can handle it, but ... yeah.  You better really like the car alone time because after a year or so you'll start thinking about all the wasted time.  Not to mention the extra cost of car gas and care.

Edit: TX as a place to retire to definitely has a tempting appeal, altho I'd still prefer rainy vs. over-heat and t-storms.

Edited by LadyCrimson
“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts
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4 hours ago, Gromnir said:

am always shocked by just how many people in our neighborhood make the commute to the bay area for work. our morning jaunts to the office were only in the +40 minute range depending on traffic. soul sucking.  however, the shift to telecommuting is making it much more viable to live somewhere not the bay area even if that is where is your job... though not for hurl we s'pose.

I honestly don't mind spending 40 minutes driving to work, what I really mind is that it costs me 300€ in just petrol. 🤬

Civilization, in fact, grows more and more maudlin and hysterical; especially under democracy it tends to degenerate into a mere combat of crazes; the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary. - H.L. Mencken

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On 2/16/2021 at 10:01 PM, Hurlshot said:

1300 square feet. This isn't Texas. 

The 2000-3000 square foot houses around here are well over a million. Everything new is built in the 2000 square foot range, so there is also very little inventory under a million and they are all older.

For well over a million you could build 10k square feet house over here, and it wouldn't be a "wooden" house like you build in the US but steel and brick. I always thought it was the land that was expensive in the US and not the houses themselves considering how they are made.

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6 hours ago, Hurlshot said:

But won't the brick crumble when the earthquakes hit?

That is what the steel rebar is for. It's a mix of reinforced concrete for the floors and foundation, while bricks are used for the outer and supporting walls. We mostly have troubles with pre war buildings and the ones build before the 60s.

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I am working on a couple of applications for small business grants. I have what I believe is a workable small business plan. 
 

so let me run this by you guys. Because I think it’s a niche that is not being filled. Companies that sell homes stand by generators are a dime a dozen. You can buy them for most hardware stores. You can also buy smaller portable generators from most hardware stores. The former are prohibitively expensive and out of the reach for the middle class homeowner and the latter don’t do that much. But I have an idea that could change that.
 

To run a complete average sized home on backup power you’re going to need about an 18,000 W generator. That’s to cover all the appliances the air conditioning at a reasonable use level. But in an emergency situation you don’t need everything to have power. To power a midsize refrigerator, a space heater, and maybe a TV or radio you can get by with a 600 to 700 W generator. So the idea is to sell small permanent power systems connected to large fuel sources. For example a 100 gallon propane tank. That’s what my 20,000 W home generator is connected to. A 650 W generator could run on 100 gallons of propane for a year with normal use. Rather than be connected to the homes electrical system the idea would be to install a set of auxiliary outlets connected to an external plug the generator would be plugged into. The homeowner would be required to plug whatever they want powered into the auxiliary plugs. The idea would be to provide complete power to just one room for example. Say a living room. Since it is not going through the home electrical system there are no impediments with the building code and since it is an isolated system within the house there is no need for transfer switches or backfeed protections. It’s a quick, clean simple solution that would cost the average homeowner under $1000. A large permanent generator will run you around $4000.

"The man of virtuous soul commands not, nor obeys. Power, like a desolating pestilence, pollutes whate'er it touches; and obedience, bane of all genius, virtue, freedom, truth, makes slaves of men, and of the human frame a mechanized automaton."

P.B. Shelley

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8 minutes ago, melkathi said:

So basically you unplug a room when you are not using it and plug in the room you are using?

 

Sort of. The business would install two power outlets in the room of choice that will only be powered by the small perm generator. Two 15 amp services that will only have power while the generator is running. That would be adequate to run a television, a space heater, and refrigerator refrigerator for example. Or a small air conditioner like a window unit.

larger backup power systems have automatic transfer switches. They sense when power is lost and they will turn on the generator and automatically transfer from utility power to generator power. But convenience is costly. In this model it would be on the homeowner to unplug the TV for example from the outlet it’s usually in and plug it into the back up outlet.

"The man of virtuous soul commands not, nor obeys. Power, like a desolating pestilence, pollutes whate'er it touches; and obedience, bane of all genius, virtue, freedom, truth, makes slaves of men, and of the human frame a mechanized automaton."

P.B. Shelley

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That reminds me, Ive always wanted one of those backup generators that runs on NG and is permanently wired into the home. It even turns itself on when it senses a power outage. But alas, Im cheap and my utilities almost never go out. Even when they do its measured in minutes, not hours/days.

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15 minutes ago, Gfted1 said:

That reminds me, Ive always wanted one of those backup generators that runs on NG and is permanently wired into the home. It even turns itself on when it senses a power outage. But alas, Im cheap and my utilities almost never go out. Even when they do its measured in minutes, not hours/days.

Can I interest you in a smaller more cost effective solution? You could be my first customer

"The man of virtuous soul commands not, nor obeys. Power, like a desolating pestilence, pollutes whate'er it touches; and obedience, bane of all genius, virtue, freedom, truth, makes slaves of men, and of the human frame a mechanized automaton."

P.B. Shelley

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14 minutes ago, Gfted1 said:

Sorry, you lost me at "get up and move the plug". :p 

Kidding aside, they start at around 3k and go up from there. What is the price range of your idea?

I haven’t worked out firm numbers on material cost. I have made inquiries on what the bulk purchase rate for required equipment will be. I have worked out permitting, inspection, and other administrative costs as well as labor cost. I’m looking at a price point of between $1000-$1200 for a full system.

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"The man of virtuous soul commands not, nor obeys. Power, like a desolating pestilence, pollutes whate'er it touches; and obedience, bane of all genius, virtue, freedom, truth, makes slaves of men, and of the human frame a mechanized automaton."

P.B. Shelley

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^ I could see such being interesting/useful in areas that tend to lose power often or for long periods (places with a lot of t-storms, tornadoes, unreliable power for some reason).  I don't see a huge market for such in cities tho.  I can't even remember the last time power went out for more than an hour or two.  And unfortunately the average citizen tends not to want to spend even $500 on the small chance of an earthquake or something maybe meaning no power for a week.  Some business places might like it if it was cheaper and their business/servers would take hits even with short outages.

But yeah, if we ever moved somewhere less citi-fied, backup power would be one of the first things on my list.  I'd probably want both a generator and solar batteries.

“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts
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