Weeknote for 2/14/2021



My elastic habits are still going well. I’ll get into specifics in the finance and housekeeping sections. To keep the blog from getting too repetitive, I’ll make this the last Elastic Habits update until something changes.



I updated my budget spreadsheet to reflect my current spending. Not surprisingly, I spend more on books than I thought. My next step is to set up the budget in Quicken, and then I’ll start working through the advice in these financial books.

I got a sense of the big picture of personal finance from Douglas McCormick’s Family Inc. In contrast with the piecemeal way I’d been thinking about the issues, McCormick systematically applies the tools of corporate finance to the household, treating your whole financial future as a unit and strategizing to optimize and protect it. It felt like a revelation, and McCormick’s book quickly became my favorite in this project so far.

I started reading the OpenStax textbook Principles of Economics. This is partly to get a general understanding of how money works, but mostly it’s because I’ve discovered I think a lot in terms of economics, which I’ve learned isn’t so much about money as about decision making under scarcity. So this book is part of my decision making project, along with Making Hard Decisions, which is about decision making under uncertainty.

I extended tendrils of understanding into finance by reading many articles.



Last week’s housekeeping project was digging my car out of my parking space. I had an office party at work to drive to on Friday. We’d had a couple of snowstorms in the past few weeks, and since I hadn’t moved my car at all in that time, the plows had surrounded my car in a mountain range of snow, not to mention the foot-thick blanket covering the car itself. I spent three half-hour sessions brushing and shoveling away the snow, but at the end of all that, the car would barely budge.



My friend Tim saved the day with his snow removal skills. I called him Thursday night once I knew I couldn’t do any more for my car. He does this kind of thing for a living, so I knew he could help. I was going to get a ride to the work party with a coworker and worry about my car later, but Tim said he was free that night, and he came over soon after. His first idea was to tow my car out of the space with his truck, but after not finding a good hitching point on my car, he tried putting salt behind the tires. That’s all it took. I drove my car to a temporary spot, and we spent a while shoveling away the extra snow around my space. We weren’t expecting to get together till the weather improved, so my conundrum worked to our advantage.


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Friday was my work department’s delayed Christmas party. This was the reason for all the shoveling. We ordered from McAlister’s Deli, which I’d never heard of but immediately added to my list of places to eat with friends, and congregated in our floor’s large conference room so we could spread out. While eating we guessed which answers were whose to some ice breaker questions. My alphabetically ordered guesses scored surprisingly well. Then we played charades with titles of books we’d published. I found out I don’t mind charades as much as I thought, which I partly attribute to my interest in visual memory techniques. Finally was a gift exchange, which due to circumstances I wasn’t able to contribute to, but they gave me something anyway, a steering wheel desk for my parking lot picnics. It was a fun time.



For Lent I’m going to self-facilitate some Immanuel prayer, possibly via Immanuel journaling. Lent goes from Wednesday the 17th to Easter on April 4. It’s been a long time since I’ve conducted Immanuel, so I’ll try it this week and then decide whether to continue or switch to some other practice.

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