Mon. Aug. 9, 2021 – back home, stuff to do (‘natch’)

Maybe raining and hot today, maybe just raining and humid, or maybe just sunny and hot. Weather liars. I can be one of them…

It was a bit cooler at the lake with the breeze coming across the water, but in the sun, and out of the wind? It was STEAMY.

We did learn some things on our trip. We want trees on the lot. The difference it makes is dramatic. Many of the lots we’ve looked at online are as bare as a golf course. The grass grows better, but that’s about the only plus. Trees and shade are very important for comfort…

There are a lot of really sketchy decks and porches on lake houses. Especially given that the building code for decks has been dramatically upgraded in the last decade, the decks I saw were terrifyingly under built. Not a lot of code enforcement at most lake communities, and a whole lot of DIY.

I know very little about marine architecture, but I can recognize deferred maintenance and weather damage. Everyone I’ve talked to confirms that anything having to do with boats costs a LOT, and docks are no exception. One of our friends told us at the very beginning of our search to get a property with a good dock. Having talked to a bunch of lake home owners, I now have a better idea of why. And I can say with relief, at least we’re not looking at salt water. Bulkheads- improving the water’s edge with steel or concrete panels to prevent erosion/wave damage, are apparently $2700 PER FOOT. Yep, you want a property with good bulkheads. The takeaway is there is a LOT of money ‘hidden’ in the infrastructure. You buy the house and especially the view, but you PAY (through the nose) for the stuff most people overlook.

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There are lots of people out in web land making very good arguments for getting away from the cities to avoid what seems to be inevitable at this point. Lot of other people are making very good arguments that for work or access to healthcare or other reasons they need to stay close. I’m inside the second ‘ring road’ of a ‘purple’ city. I feel a lot better about Houston than I would about Chicago or Philly, but I still would like to have somewhere to go if need be. The simple thing would be to just get some cheap property, or a small lot in a small town, and maybe put a trailer on it, but that wouldn’t pass the spouse test.

The end is always nigh, but it usually doesn’t actually come. That means that any out of town property will have to fill an ordinary need or want, not just be a BOL, or “only if things get really bad” retreat. That does complicate things, but life is complicated. Add in the crazy run up in prices for anything outside of cities and it’s even harder to balance needs vs wants vs making good choices.

Think about where you’d go if you couldn’t stay where you are. Think about family or friends, or owning your own property. Think about what would make you leave, when or if you’d come back, what you’d take, what you’d burn on the way out… Even if you don’t do it, thinking about it is helpful. A lot of prepping is asking ‘what if?’ and answering to the best of your ability. For most things, you need to go ahead and take the next step and actually DO some of the things you’ve identified, or you don’t get the benefit.

Some things are so expensive or difficult that doing the thought experiment is the closest most people will get, and the benefit STARTS with the thoughts. Mentally rehearsing can be very useful, and having a plan is always better than trying to think something through under stress and ‘in the moment’.

Ike said that “in preparing for battle, plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”

Get to planning. Think about what might be coming and what that will mean for you personally. Do what you can. Stack it high.

nick