Monday, September 20, 2010

Nip the Tip

So, a big decision each family needs to make when having kids is "If I have a boy, should I get him circumcised?". Even if you know you're having a girl, sometimes they make mistakes and this is something you should do your homework on before having your child. We are going to be surprised on the gender so need to do our homework.

Our main priorities (probably in order of importance) as we make decisions related to our child are:

1) The child's long-term health & well-being
2) Minimize the stress & pain inflicted on the baby
3) Take a natural approach

While this shouldn't be something to consider, you wouldn't want to child to be the 'odd ball' without a good reason. That being said, I was really surpised to learn there has recently been a big decline in United States with the number of circumcision's performed. Many European countries have a less than 20% rate.

"Just 32.5 percent in 2009 from 56 percent in 2006" -

Another great resource with tons of information is Wikipedia (obviously, take it with a grain of salt and check the resources). and

With regards to the health and well being of the child, all of my reading leads to believe that the impact of not having versus having a circumcision are fairly negligible. There is either contradictory evidence or the risk factor is very minimal and there are other, more effective means of control which do not require the procedure. Complications of the procedure did sound minimal as well though.

That leads us to the "hippie" viewpoint of remaining natural. There are lots of ethical questions about the child not having a choice, inflicting pain on the child for what appears to be trivial or ritual reasons, etc. The fact is though it's a part of their body and without a good reason to remove it, it seems that it should stay a part of their body. There are other parts of our bodies which have more sound scientific evidence supporting the lack of necessity for that part or the higher health risks which warrants removing the body part. A great example, though not the only, of this is the Tonsils (though even that has opposing viewpoints and evidence).

While this will ultimately boil down to a personal decision that my wife and I make, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the topic or what decision you made and why. This is a topic people shouldn't be bashful about discussing. There's a lot of you who's input I highly value and respect, and hopefully the responses from the rest of you will be amusing. =)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Mirchies Indian Eatery

Just did a write up on Mirchies Indian Eatery on my Lake Lotawana Blog

Very tasty place in Lee's Summit by a fellow ex-Cerner person that some of you know, Naveen! Anyways, definitely recommend you check it out and tell your friends. It's always hard to get the word out early on for something new, local, and original.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Planning Ahead When Selling Your Home

As per suggestion of a reader & Facebook Fan Dani we've decided to address the topic of "I'm probably going to sell my house next year, what can I do to start preparing?".

This is a great topic, because even though it might seem like there isn't much to do, there is plenty! Also, many people often begin discussing the sale of their home long before actually putting it on the market. Hopefully this article will help those still discussing as well as those who are just waiting for their planned timeline.

So, what's the first thing you should do when thinking about selling your house? Talk to anyone else involved!!! :) That's right. Ensure that your spouse, business partner, etc. is on the same page. It's possible the topic was mentioned in passing once and one person ran with the other idea and the other one just thought it was hypothetical. It's very important when dealing with big decisions like this, and before wasting time and effort, to ensure everyone is on the same page!

So now everyone is on the same page, the next steps don't really need to occur in order:

Talk to your Realtor. This may seem too early, but there are a couple of things you can ask your Realtor for even at this point.

One is a Market Analysis of what your house is currently worth. While this may change in a years time (and probably will) it will at least give you a rough idea. It maybe that your house has depreciated to the point where selling is no longer an option or it maybe that it's appreciated so much that you'd like to sell ASAP. Let's all hope it's the latter.

Another is to get information on your neighborhood. Most Realtors should be able to set you up with an automatic search to get weekly notifications of what's going on (new listings, prices changes, etc.) in your neighborhood. This will help you be familiar with the current market conditions. If there's 20 other houses for sale it might not be a good time to get yours listed (unless you can list it down near the bottom of that range).

Last thing I'll mention on this point is current trends. While these can also change in a year, what is it that buyer's are looking for? What are the current priorities? Maybe there will be some small projects you could do in your house that will make a big difference. Having a year to get them done instead of a month will help you a ton.

Re-prioritize and finish your TODO list. Everyone has one, if it's not on paper then it's in your head taking up mental space and causing stress! Write it down. Take a good look at it. What on that list will make your house sell quicker? What is just stuff that you would like? The latter should no longer be a priority or even on the list if you're really going to move in a year.

Now, walk around your house inside and outside. Are you sure you got everything on the list that should be done? Not the 'we'd like to do this' stuff, but the 'man, my yard looks really bad because of this' type stuff.

Once you've got the list re-prioritized and probably comprehensive, start tackling it. Try to get to one project a month. There's a good chance just one weekend a month (or even just a week night here and there) you'd be able to get a ton of stuff done! For some people, this won't be a big list, if so, congrats!

Lastly, start de-cluttering. This is imperative during staging and I think you'll be surprised how much it can help you clear your mind by having less clutter around also. Have a wall full of picture frames? Consider taking half of them down. Have a shelf full of nick-nacks? Would 1/3 of them be okay? Box it all up and put it in a storage area (closet under the stairs, attic of the garage, where-ever). This really can take some time and by tackling it earlier you're going to make your task of getting your house ready for market that much easier. As a side note, I'd suggest clearly labeling these boxes. When you do sell your home and move, take a hard think if you really missed any of the stuff over the year. If you didn't, maybe it's time to unload some of it and have a light start in your new home!

This is not an all inclusive list, just some ideas to get you going. Hopefully they'll keep you busy enough! I'd love to hear suggestions from our readers, what would you do?

Friday, May 14, 2010

NBC Cancels Heroes

TV shows are another thing you won't often find me blogging about as we really don't watch much TV at home. We get movies from the library (hey, they're free!) and do watch an occasional thing on the Internet, but there really isn't much we looked forward to.

Heroes was one of the few (not even a few really) that we actually followed. Now what are we going to watch?

Update: Sounds like NBC is trying to find a way to wrap-up the show, but still disappointing.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Elana Kagan vs David Mitchell

I tend not to blog about politics, but I just couldn't pass this up. You may have recently read about Obama's nomination of Elana Kagan for Supreme Court Justice. If you haven't here's a quick video on it:

But more importantly, has anyone noticed the striking similarity of Elana Kagan to English Comedian David Mitchell. Now, I think David Mitchell's work is brilliant, but I'm not familiar with Elana Kagan's work.

What are your thoughts on all of this? Is David Mitchell simply trying to infiltrate the mainstream in America? If so, this is an interesting tactic and seems to have taken years of effort to develop. Well done I say.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cell Phone on the Cheap

So, my wife and I are frugal. Not ridiculously to the point we won't go out and eat or hit up a bar with friends on occassion, but we're frugal and we enjoy it. The less money we spend, the less money we have to make, the more we get to enjoy life. It really is that simple.

Cell (mobile, in German 'handi') phones are one bill we all have in our lives that we did not have 15 years ago. It's an unfortunate necessity considering this fact. For most people though, it is a necessity and it is handy to have one in case of emergency even if you don't use it very often. I had to have one for work (tax deduction), but my wife probably would have rather gone without one. We did end up both getting them, but we took a different approach that a lot of people don't even consider.

We went the route of prepay phones.

How much do you pay for your cell every month? No, not how much is your plan, what is the total cost with taxes, surchages, etc. Let's assume it's $50 for an easy example (though, it's probably more, isn't it?). Every single month you pay that to them. Now, take that times 12 and you're looking at roughly $600 a year. That's a nice chunk of change.

How do prepay phones help with this? Two ways: One is that you don't have a monthly bill, you buy new cards as you need them. Two is that you can buy the cards online, tax free, usually at less than value price.

On the first point. Look at your cell phone bill, how many minutes do you use in a month? I have a T-Mobile phone, there are others, but I'll use their information for this point. Let's assume it's 300 minutes. Now, that might be really low compared to what you use, but if you used a prepay phone you might pick up the desk phone at your work a little more often. With T-Mobile they have several pay options, I prefer the $100 card for 1,000 minutes because it doesn't expire for 12 months. That means you would buy a new card roughly every 3 months, or $400 a year. Right there is a savings of $200 in this example (most cases will probably save more).

But then comes the second point. I don't pay $100 for the $100 card. In fact I just bought 2 (one for me and my wife) from (formerly With no taxes, and 10% off with the discount code 'ecoupon88' (or 7% with 'everyday') I only spent $90 a card. This would mean an annual savings of $240 in our example.

A prepay phone is not for everyone, but give it some thought. You might have to give up your snazzy iphone or andriod and you'll probably text less often, but you can save some serious money and you can step away from your phone more often, both leading you to live in the moment much more often.

What approach have other you taken or what experience have you had with prepay phones?

TIP: If you find yourself using up minutes on customer service calls because you don't have a home phone, try Google Voice or Skype.

TIP: With T-Mobile cards when you get your next card, your current balance rolls over into the next expiration period.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Remodeling & Roleplaying

I'm not talking about our house, though we are doing a lot of work on it. I'm talking about my website,

This site is more of a portal, than a full fledged website on its own, to the different sites of mine and the different roles I play. This blog is the amalgamation of those persona and that site is the portal to them.
If you think about it, we all play a lot of roles in our lives, but what defines us? Just because you work in Real Estate does that mean you are a Realtor? Just because you work as a Nurse that mean you are a Nurse? Well yes, and no.

A great quote I've used on my site is:
Remind Yourself: I am a human being before anything else. -Frank Chimero
We can all get caught up in titles. When you meet a stranger it's easy to just ask "so, what do you do?". That tells us some about the person, but what we do at a job isn't who we are, only a reflection. It's very similar, if not the same, as stereotyping. These roles we play and categorize people into help reduce the amount of thought we have to put into understanding the person.

If you have children, you're a parent. If you live on the streets, you're homeless. It's similar with religious labels: Christian, Atheist, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, etc. Those roles that we play as humans are part of who we are, but first and foremost we are all human. If we all took that a little more to heart and looked at our fellow humans that way I think the world would be a better place. Yeah, I know, sappy.

So, what are you?