Jim

We Run

running feels  good.

The 2012 running season has begun.

Last year, about this time we started running in anticipation of the big day and I was put on a strict “wedding diet” and we did really well with the running until Mid October where we quit running for two reasons:

It got cold.

B’s work schedule got pretty wild and did not leave a lot of room for running.

But now that the birds are singing and getting the early worm and the grass is green we really have no excuses left about running so it’s time once again to lace up the shoes.

We’re already happy, and if we don’t do something we’ll be fat fatter as the year grows and so will our mid sections.

So we run. After a false start when we  had the early spring in March, we’r  back at it again now for a few days and we have the running down to an exact science. We have in the past used the GPS on the phone to track our runs so we could share with friends but every five minutes the voice would interrupt to tell us how slow we are, so we gave up on that.  We know how slow we are thank you very much.

I find the hard part about running is getting out the door. Once I’m warmed up and around the corner it’s easy to keep a managable pace and just run away.

For B, she hates every inch.

I don’t know that I love running and would much prefer ice cream, but  once I’m out the door I am good and I really enjoy when you stop running and are freshly showered and it feels like  you moved and are alive.  It’s my belief  that regular exercise is way more effective than any happy pill you could  take.

This is not the case  for B, who enjoys being  out together doing a shared activity but could  do without the running part.

We also differ  about shoes. She’s happy in her shoes from Target, where I need to  have brand  name running  shoes that actually look like they would  help than hinder.  But, her shoes cost $19.99 and mine cost more.

We haven’t tried the toe running shoes or  barefoot running or whatever it’s called. That looks like it just hurts and so we’ll  stick with running shoes for now. I would like to try a pair of the lower profile, closer to the ground shoes with less cushioning to see how they feel but for  now my New Balance shoes seem to have a lot of life left in them.

Another reason we run, is that it’s cheap. You need  comfortable shoes, preferably designed for running and that’s it. You don’t need fancy tights or running clothes or GPS watches. You just need to toss on some loose comfortable clothes, some  shoes and  out the door.

For timing our runs I mentioned above we have tried our phones, but I found the easiest way to track your running time is with the COTS  system. This stands for clock on the stove. As we go out the door,  we glance at the clock on the stove and when we come back  we do the same. We then measure the time difference between when we left and when we  got back and that’s  how long it took to run. I find it’s accurate every time.

About the weight loss when running. 

A lot of people start to run so they will lose weight, but we’re quite happy with our weight and I’ve been married long enough to know that I’m not asking B any questions about weight ? .  We’re running in hopes of dropping a pound  or two, but really  it’s a great way to  spend quality time with your  spouse.  It’s like a date night every evening.  We can talke about the day, our plans, the dog - all of it - without any distractions from the phone, the TV, email and all the other stuff that happens. It’s our half hour.

It’s not the only time we spend together but it sure is nice.

What Car To Buy? New Car, Used Car, or Somewhere In Between?

B and I have this discussion all the time about the next car and whether it should be new or used.

First I need to state that we both agree that any car is a huge waste of money to sit in the driveway. I have no desire to impress anybody with my wheels. We’d like something safe and as economical to drive and due to the suburban location we really do need a car each. I’d love to stick to a one car family but we do need to buy a car in 2012 or early 2013.

**Our Car Buying Options Are

**

Buy a used $2000 wonder and hope and pray we get some time out of it. This could be a really good idea and we get lucky or we could have spent $2000 for somebody else’s problems.

Double that amount and get something in the $5000 range. Again, this could be a really bad idea or a really good one. We would, or could get some life out of the car, but now we have two aging automobiles in the driveway instead of one.

Buy something new-ish, but still a used car. **Off lease models **would still allow us to save money on a car vs buying a new car and still get a reliable vehicle.

The plan is to drive the mitsubishi to work for B, and use the new off lease car as the car for longer road trips. The mitsubishi is starting to show it’s age and we’d feel better driving something newer. Assuming we wait until 2013 to seriously consider shopping for an off lease or pre-owned vehicle, that would mean we could get into a 2010 car if we shopped around.

**What Car To Buy?

**

We want something roomy enough to be able to toss the pesky dog into and still have room for our stuff. We both have family that live far enough away that overnights are involved and we’d like to buy a small SUV. I’d love a full sized SUV but I don’t think we could afford the fuel it costs. $4 a gallon hurts at the pumps.

Over the next few months we’re going to seriously have to start shopping for an additional set of wheels. If we can swing it, we would love to save and pay cash for our car but the reality is we may have to arrange a small loan for all of this to happen and I guess we’re OK with that, but paying cash is better.

Does anybody have any suggestions? 2 door coupes are out due to the dog, and we’re not sure if we really need a full sized SUV or even a Mini Van. We’re thinking perhaps a small SUV like the Honda CRV or the Kia Sportage. We’re not really too brand loyal and if we’re shopping used we may have toe open our eyes to other possibilities too.

The Great 2012 Car Hunt Begins..

The Money Tree

As of this post or blog or article or whatever else you want to call this I will have been blogging for a week. The purpose of tidy husband is really just to document and remember and share the everyday and not make money. Yes, there’s an ad or two on the site but that’s really just to fill out the design I use, rather than make any money with it.

But wouldn’t you know it - ** to date I’ve made a whopping $2.81 so far with this website already **.

Of course and because I am who I am, this got me thinking - is it still possible to earn a living online in 2012 and beyond? I have no idea how I made 3 bucks to be honest, as the only visitors have been a few family members. I’m sure you’ve read the ‘local boy does good’ stories about bloggers or websites that started with just their mom’s (happy mother’s day to all, BTW) reading the site to later become dot com millionaires over time.

I have no gradiose ideas about millions, but I wonder - could I make enough telling stories (which is all we’re really doing) to pay the mortgage? I guess time will tell.

**In the meantime..

**

It’s too bad the tree in the backyard isn’t a money tree, because boy could we use it. I know there’s families in more dire straits than ours and we’re really lucky. I’m typing this on a notebook computer while B slurps tea across the room. We’re happy. really happy .

But the fact that I’m only allowed to work as of earlier this week has taken a toll on our savings. In a perfect world, I’d stay home and work while B goes off and engages the minds of today’s youth, but we’ve been living off of essentially one income for months and there’s not much water in the well left right now.

Why am I sharing this? Because this is real. It’s not all sunshine and unicorns and keeping the bathroom clean. It’s gas in the car, and groceries in the fridge, and buying birthday gifts and the million other expenses life throws at you. There may even be a real day job in the future. I have no idea when we’d do laundry (which reminds me, there’s a load of darks I need to deal with), but we need to improve our fiscal situation - even if it’s just ever so slightly.

One thing I’ve learned since being married, and probably the best part is you don’t have to do it alone. This is new to me. I’ve been doing it alone for so long, I find it difficult to to get my mind wrapped around the fact that we’re two now. We’re like a small company or corporation (I’ll let you guess who’s president) with budgets and planning and forecasts for the future.

**Doing the Math.

**

Let’s assume I make 3 bucks a week with this site (I’m dreaming because it never works that way and I’m really not interested in the money with this site. This is for me - this is the ‘sit on the couch and write, or get up early and write site, not the website designed to make money. This is for fun.)

But suppose I do make a bit shy of 3 dollars a week? That’s close to $150.00 a year. Not a lot of money, but enough for a nice dinner out in Toronto at our favorite restaurant

Again, time will tell - but sometimes it’s nice to dream. Now, if only I could do something about the tree in the backyard..

What is the Best Selling Laptop Brand of 2012?

A lot of times, the best selling notebook of the year is also going to be the cheapest notebook of the year too as you can get a lot of notebook for very little money these days, and if you’re just going to be surfing the internet or writing documents with your laptop you don’t need to buy a high powered gaming notebook for that to happen. If this is the case, then all you need to do is buy the cheapest notebook you can buy.**

PriceWhen shopping for a new laptop, one way to decide on what laptop to buy this year is to take the easy way out and **just  buy the laptop everybody else is buying.  This sure takes the guesswork out of having to decide on what notebook to buy but there are other factors to consider when notebook shopping in 2012:

Screen Size 

The best sellers in the notebook department also tend to be those with the smallest screens as screen size determines price more than any other component on a notebook computer today. If you want a bigger screen notebook, be prepared to pay for the additional  screen real estate.

Power

Fast  Processors are going to cost more and likely not as popular due to price, than if you were to buy a cheaper notebook computer with a slower chip.

RAM and Hard Drives

When notebook shopping you want to  be sure to buy the notebook with the most RAM and hard drive space. In 2012, that translates to RAM with 4GB and about 500GB hard drive space for entry level notebooks – especially when you’re shopping for notebooks under $500.

Best Laptop Brands in 2012

I’ll try to keep this updated, and this will easily change over time, but you really can’t go wrong with the following notebook computer brands:

Apple 

You’ll pay a premium for this brand, and it’s arguable whether an Apple notebook is worth the extra money  but these notebooks are constantly on the best selling notebook lists year after year.

Lenovo is another brand that’s popped up recently and it’s probably doe in part to the fact that you can buy their laptops so cheaply – some are priced as low as $399. Try getting a Mac notebook for that little.

Acer ranks number  3 currently and I really don’t know why as they tend to have a very extensive lineup of notebooks this year – from more traditional notebooks to the ultra light ultrabooks. If you had to pick any notebook brand, I would say that Acer  will have a laptop that would suit your needs.

**HP **Personally, I have had bad luck with a HP notebook so  I am reluctant to recommend this brand, but I suppose I shouldn’t let one bad apple ruin the bunch

Asus is a brand of notebook I haven’t used much but they are in the top ten best selling notebooks  right now so I must include this brand too.

Unless you consider Apple, all the others ship with Windows 7 as the defacto operatings system and of course, I suggest  you max out the ram in all of them.

Where To Buy The Best Laptop Brands?

I have a hard time beating  any price on any notebook and suggest you buy your 2012 notebook at Amazon as they stock every item under the sun and have the best notebook prices I have seen this year to date.

What is a Good Amount of RAM?

8GB  of RAM is enough for most of  us.

There was a time when ram mattered more and I’m loathe to say this  because I feed my family with the stuff – there’s a good chance the RAM installed  is enough. In 2012, and on a notebook computer that means you’ll usually have about 4GB of ram installed, or if you end up buying an older computer you may have 1GB of RAM or maybe 2.

Netbooks are another story. In an effort to keep the cost of the netbook down  the computer manufacturers skimp on RAM and if there were ever an increase in performance for your netbook that’s  super cheap  then adding RAM is the ticket.

But if you’re surfing and blogging and maybe running a small video or photo editing with your notebook (or desktop too) than you will be OK with 8GB of RAM.

What about 16GB? 

**Some notebooks today ship with 4GB and could be upgraded to 16GB. The Apple MacBook Pro is one such notebook. The problem I find with buying and installing 16GB of RAM  into your notebook is that even with the recent **price drops on 16GB notebook memory you still end up paying more for 16GB of RAM.

A case study that’s far from scientific is I am writing this on a 2011 Mac Mini   and with 8Gb installed I still have 3GB of RAM free. I have over a dozen applications  open and to be honest I find no need to buy more RAM than 8GB.

This will change over time as the 16GB prices keep on dropping and dropping, it’s only a small matter of time before you can buy 16GB of RAM, but for now – 8GB of RAM will do you just fine.