Real Estate Moves

One night back in 2009 we were driving on I95 to visit family in New York. As we passed yet another cop sitting in the median I had an idea: what if I could mark a cop’s location on the GPS map and share it, in real-time, with the cars behind us? Imagine how valuable would it be to have this information as you drive? As you approached the police trap your GPS could flash a reminder to check the speed. Smartphones were becoming widespread so how hard would it be to get them all connected? I had no clue how to get that idea off the ground so I filed it under “someday” and forgot about it… A few years later I learned about Waze – an app that had this and other crowdsourcing features built-in. Google bought Waze for almost 1 billion dollars in 2013.  Continue Reading

On STUFF and Costco’s Return Policy


Picture of how the dining room looked like before we bought the house… Our Costco set was even bigger!

Stuff expands to fill available space. You live in an apartment and yearn for a bigger place. You get a house but after a couple of years it feels cramped. You upgrade to a bigger house and find that while certainly more spacious than the apartment or the starter home, somehow every room is filled to capacity again. Our family is a good example of this paradox. Continue Reading

Drywall Ceiling Repair After a Water Leak


It’s clear now that I’ve mastered procrastination. When I noticed a loose shingle on the roof I waited several months to replace it. Water found its way into the attic showing up as water stains on a ceiling at which point I finally decided to risk my (and my friend’s) life to get the roof in order. You’d think that’d be enough to motivate me to address any water-related issues promptly but… not so fast. When a toilet wax ring developed a small leak I ignored tiny puddles of water on a tile floor until this small issue became a much bigger problem. Continue Reading

Nightstand – Creating a Story


I’m becoming obsessed with selling off our generic Tyler-Durden-esque Scandinavian furniture and replacing it with pieces that evoke emotion. Ikea furniture has no soul. The only story you can possibly tell when discussing a laminate coffee table is how easy it was to get to the house in a flat box and what a pain in the ass it was to assemble. I want more. I want a connection. A history. Something that required a bit of thinking and a bit of work. And I want it to be cheaper than Ikea. Continue Reading

Escaping the Death Pledge – The Ever After


This is a conclusion of the tetralogy that began with Escaping the Death Pledge – The History.

What’s with the fairy tale reference in the title, Insourcelife? Kudos on paying off the mortgage but come on now, save the fairy tale stuff for children books and wedding toasts. Well, guess what – it’s been two months since I cut a $60,000 check to my mortgage company and it still feels unreal. Having zero debt and a paid off home is a definition of a financial fairy tale, at least in my book. Continue Reading

Escaping the Death Pledge – The Reasons


It’s hard to fly with debt on your shoulders…

This is a continuation of Escaping the Death Pledge – The Plan

Let’s go back to May 5th, 2015. I woke up before the alarm, checked my bank account to make sure there was enough money to do what I wanted to do today, packed my lunch and headed to work. I thought I could wait until noon, but around 9:30AM I found myself sneaking out the back door to literally run to the bank. Payoff letter in hand I went straight to a teller who asked me what was it that he could help me with. Slightly out of breath I said “I would like to pay off my mortgage”. I’ve practiced saying this line in my head many times before but the real thing felt much more satisfying. Continue Reading

Escaping the Death Pledge – The Plan


Ultimate motivator – the birth of your child…

This is a continuation of Escaping the Death Pledge – The History

So here we were, a married couple in their mid-thirties living in a half a million dollar home. The house was less than 15 years old so it didn’t need much, other than adding a few personal touches like painting the walls and putting up pictures. With 5 bedrooms and over 3,000 square feet it could’ve turned into a money pit really fast, but we were lucky to inherit some furniture from family and friends. We did furnish 3 rooms ourselves: the master bedroom, the formal dining room and the sun room. I wanted to leave the formal dining room empty but that didn’t sit well with my wife who was taught that every girl should have a china cabinet to display family heirlooms. An online Costco order made that dream a reality. Continue Reading

Escaping the Death Pledge – The History


I woke up an hour before the alarm was set to go off. I was wide awake, unlike other weekday mornings where it takes a few minutes to accept that it’s time to get ready to go to work. I took the phone off a charger and logged into my bank account to make sure the check I deposited 7 days earlier has cleared. When I was in the shower a made up melody with a distinct Mexican flair began playing on repeat in my head. It was Cinco de Mayo so perhaps that explains the music of choice this early in the morning. Whatever the case may be, I’ve been waiting for this day 10 years and now it was finally here. Continue Reading

Cast Iron Memory Lane and a DIY


Insourcelife – the early years…

I have great memories of my childhood: hours of unsupervised play time on the streets of a big city, summers at my grandma’s place in the country and unlimited freedom of movement afforded first by a bicycle and then by a moped. Lots of fun with an occasional trouble or two and – looking back through my responsibility-filled 40-year-old eyes – completely carefree years. To top it off, at the end of each and every fantastic day a home-cooked meal was waiting on a kitchen table. Continue Reading