Where we live

by L

What is your favorite thing about your town? What is your favorite thing about your hometown? How are they different?

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204 thoughts on “Where we live

  1. Favorite things about Atlanta – the food, living in the city but feeling like you live in the suburbs (close to everything but I have deer and owls in my backyard along with a creek that my kids play in) and easy lifestyle (insofar as commute and work hours).

    Favorite things about hometown – Brewster, MA is my favorite place on earth (which may be because I don’t live there year round and only go in the summer). The beach, the natural beauty, the small town feel and friends and family.

  2. Where I grew up and where I live now are subdivisions in suburbia – not really home towns, The closest thing when I was growing up was the small town of Merchantville, NJ where our parish church and school were. That had just about everything you needed within walking distance.
    A bakery, small A&P, hardware store, five and dime, fruit store, some clothing stores for men and women, a bank, Bell Tel, where you could pay your bill, two pharmacies, post office, train station, several churches, homemade candy store and other small stores. I have been back a few times and it has a lot of restaurants,, coffee shops but not all the necessities of life like the small grocery store – you need a car to get to a market,

    Where we live in Central Jersey is great. We are 45 minutes to Philly and about 11/4 hours from NYC. If we don’t want to drive, there are trains 10 minutes from our house, east is train to NYC and west is train to Philly. We are eligible for the senior fare – $ 6.75 one way to NYC and $ 1.00 to downtown Philly,

    We are 45 minutes to our nearest shore – Belmar, Spring Lake area and 11/2 hours to LBI and AC and points south. We are about 1 hour to Lehigh Valley and 2 hours to Poconos,

    We have abundant wild life across the street from us . Deer, fox, wild turkeys, geese, bunnies galore, vultures, beautiful birds, love the cardinals, other small animals and the occasional black bear.

    I like that the houses are set back 65-70 feet from road, decent amount of space from neighbors and sidewalks.

    My husband and I are looking for a small town with restaurants and some shopping. However a lot of those towns in the NE do not have the type of housing we want at this stage of our lives – single story or at least master on first floor, basement for storage – we will look to add a dumb waiter to facilitate moving things to first floor and a two car garage.

    Our children are in this area and we don’t want to move away except for two to three months in winter.

  3. I’ve shared my love for NYC, and I still miss living there even though I currently live just about ten miles north of the Bronx.

    I go into the city several days a week. One of the things that I miss about working full time is that I am not in the city at least 4 or 5 days a week. I haven’t switched most of my doctors, dentists, and other service providers because I look for any reason to go into the city. I was invited to a dinner in Brooklyn when some friends were visiting the city a few weeks ago. I opted to take public transportation and walk even though I was very unfamiliar with this residential area of Brooklyn. I like discovering new places in the city even though I was born there 50 years ago. There is plenty to dislike – cost, noise and crowds, but I feel like it is a part of my DNA.

    I like my small town that is just north of the city, but it is just a place to live with a good school district. I don’t feel like it is anything special, and I don’t think I will miss it when we eventually move out after DD finishes college. The biggest difference for me is that everyone knows everyone here. I met 99% of these people through a connection to my community or school, and it is rare to go somewhere within a 10 mile radius without running into someone I know in a store or restaurant.

  4. Can we add one? Of everywhere you’ve lived, which was your favorite?

    L, what are your answers?

  5. Where we live: the ease of getting around this area (100% by car); even on days like today my drive to work was about the same as normal. In the scheme of things, it’s a relatively inexpensive place to live, especially for housing. I think the availability of very high quality health care is excellent. There is enough of a restaurant “scene” for us to get things we really like but don’t choose to cook for ourselves. We’re close enough to the college town where DW & I met, so it’s nice to do daytrips there every so often.

    My hometown: proximity to San Francisco and all it offers via rapid transit; same can be said for Berkeley. It’s a bedroom community east of the bay, so not much you’d go there for unless you live there. Not even ice cream.

    Demographically, I’d say both places (specific towns I live(d) in) are very similar.

  6. I love living in San Francisco because of its natural beauty, great weather and walkability. Every time I go on a trip somewhere I am so happy to come home.

    I did not move to the city I consider my hometown until I was 10 years old, and while it doesn’t have any of the above factors, I still love it because that is where the rest of my family lives and it is a growing metropolis, with something new every time I visit, and it is in the state of Texas! I also have the whole nostalgia thing going on – school, friends, etc.

  7. Of everywhere I’ve lived, I have to let Randy Newman say it for me…”I Love LA”.

    Yeah, Rocky, ssk, BAM, others, even over the Bay Area. We lived in the Southland as DINKs and it was great. I’d retire there, but I think that’ll be a no-go for DW.

  8. I like where we’re at. All I really need is a Super Walmart and a Chick-fil-A, but we do have some really good restaurants, also. We’re in good proximity to the recreation that we enjoy, and you can quickly be in the mountains and various historic small towns.

  9. I have no hometown and I have lived all over the country, so I have a good basis for comparing places. I like my current town because it is a high service, community-oriented town that is also very walkable. My kids can walk to many of their activities. We are also a close train ride into Manhattan, and a close drive over the bridge to the multicultural fun of Queens. The things I don’t like about this town – lack of diversity is the biggest one. We do have a significant Japanese population and a growing Korean and Chinese population, but I think there are only 3 black kids in the high school (and 2 of them are twins from the same family). I also often feel like an outsider because the town is still dominated by old school Italian-Americans whse families have been here for multiple generations. I like them, but am not part of them, and sometimes I feel like there is a bit of a groupthink here. On the other hand, I am friendly with all three French-Canadian families!

    When we lived in pseudo-rural MA, it became a lesson in everything I did NOT want in a town. I hated having to drive several miles to the nearest crap grocery store (as bad as anything in NYC), and dealing with well water and septic was just icky. I hated that you couldn’t walk or bike anywhere, not just because of the distance but also because the houses were all perched off these narrow 2 lane roads where everyone drove too fast. Much of pseudo-rural CT is like that too, which is why I refuse to live there.

    I was just in Seattle, a city where I lived as a teen, and it was really interesting to see what has happened to that city. I think there may be no place in this country that is as much of a polar opposite to Trumpland than Seattle.

  10. If Charleston had Fall and Winter, it might be my favorite. On the other hand, there’s no good lakes. I don’t want to waterski in a salt marsh.

  11. S&M, I would say my favorite place that I have lived is Hoboken NJ, but what it was then, I fear, has disappeared forever. I suspect I would hate it now. I also loved Boston, and living in Manhattan was great too.

  12. I love that NYC never stops. Even today, I’m in the office because my subway line is running. In my hometown, I often felt stuck.

  13. I love NY, but I feel the same love for London and DC. I get the same warm and fuzzy feelings when I return to either of those cities. I’m fortunate that I still have friends that live in both places because I really enjoy going back for frequent visits.

  14. That is how i feel about Paris. And everywhere in the Netherlands. I never lived in either place, but they are places that feel comfy

  15. I grew up in a mega city by the sea. I miss the sea and the tropical vegetation, flowers and fruits. I don’t miss the densely populated city, with increasing development and pollution and stripping away of greenery. Also, since the house I grew up in, is no longer there, my parents have moved and the old neighborhood is no more, the attachment is not there.
    My current city, I love. I like my neighborhood and the convenience of everything. It has been a good place to raise our kids and it should be suitable for us, even it retirement. (We can buy a condo by the sea).
    It has witnessed tremendous growth and I am afraid that it is growing too quickly.

  16. I love the fact that I live on a farm, but with a ten minute drive, I am Walmart, bank, library, etc-basically anywhere that I ever need to go. Shopping is limited, but like Milo, all I need is a Walmart (no Chick-fil-a in my town).

    MM-why the hatred of well and septic? Septic is no big deal-just have to hire someone to pump it out every five to seven years, and with wells, the taste and smell of the water depends on the individual well. Ours is fine, but the one across the street from us has to deal with the terrible taste and smell of sulfur in their water.

  17. Septic systems leak and the collective septic systems in our area were polluting the lake. The well was even nastier – we had to put filters on, which turned black within a month. And when the power went out, which was frequent because of the above ground electrical lines, you lost your water. Ick, ick, ick.

  18. Oh, and we had no municipal garbage pickup, so you had to pay this Mafioso hauling service to come and haul your garbage away once every two weeks.

  19. I loved living in Cambridge, MA, where I lived from 17 to 48. It was the right mix of urban diversity, great restaurants, walkability, open space and access to recreation, intellectual pursuits. No car required. If I downsize to a small apartment or elder residence and my kids don’t need me to relocate for their sanity, I’ll try to find a place in Cambridge even if it ties up more capital than I would like or requires a large monthly outlay for rent. My aspirational location would be Upper West Side of Manhattan, ain’t gonna happen. I grew up in Silver Spring in an inner ring suburb with a downtown (only lived in Bethesda for 2 years of high school), now live in a town/inner ring suburb with a town center, good restaurants, walkability and access to recreation. If I returned to DC area for the elder years I’d probably look at Old Town Alexandria if DD is on the VA side, or someplace short walk to Metro in Montgomery County. My current town is fine and is a good choice for this stage of life since we make good use of the square footage.

  20. “Septic systems leak”

    By design. The term is leech. But I’ve stopped trying to argue this point with you. ;)

    Our well water comes up fine–we have no water treatment whatsoever. But, like Sheep Farmer’s experience, it’s different for the surrounding neighbors.

  21. I love living in San Francisco because of its natural beauty, great weather and walkability.,

    It’s the only place I’ve ever been that I’d rather live. It sucks that it”s one of the few places that”s even more expensive.

    That said, I’ve never been to San Diego but I could imagine being very happy here (after a costly renovation) the pool area would be kept exactly as is:

    http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/3620-Curtis-St_San-Diego_CA_92106_M26443-47429#photo0

  22. So many things I love about our town: Natural beauty. Easy 10-15-minute drive to beautiful Atlantic Ocean beaches. A really pretty, historic downtown. Beautiful, varied architectural styles of the homes. A great community hospital right in town. Nothing we need is more than two miles away (e.g. schools, doctors, dentists, supermarkets, gym, pool, karate lessons,etc.) Friendly people and supportive neighborhoods. No complicated school applications or school lottery systems — you just enroll in the local schools. Helpful civil servants. Beautiful municipal amenities (e.g. library, park, playgrounds). Slower pace of life than the big city, but easy access to the big city. I could go on.

    It’s by far my favorite of all the places I’ve ever lived (and I’ve lived in quite a few).

    I grew up in one of the neighborhoods of Boston. It’s very chic these days, but it was sort of a dump when I was growing up there. I don’t miss it.

    In other news, it’s storming like crazy up here right now!

  23. I liked living in Boston but I definitely think we should have chosen a town closer in. I think L’s old location was ideal but home prices in good school towns and closer in are much more expensive.
    Here there is not quite the same demand for a good school district.

  24. I have learned about well and septic from the kids and if done right it is fine. The cul de sac was developed in proximity to public land. All of the 12 houses have individually owned septic tanks located in a commonly owned field, which also has 5 acres of commonly owned buffer around it for leaching. Each house has its own well. Power rarely goes out, and everybody has a small generator for the well and the heat. You do have to pay a service (ownership unknown) if you don’t want to take your garbage to the dump. DS did that for two years in the Chevy Truck, decided to pay afterward and get a small electric car.

  25. Milo, so polluting a lake is by design? It was a real issue when we lived there but fixing it would have required putting in a real sewer system. The town did not have the money and neither did the homeowners. I have no idea what ultimately happened. Anyway, a system that leeches or leaks or whatever is not a system I want to live with.

    I will admit that we are entitled here since we use the same water as NYC, which is consistently rated as the best tasting water in the US.

  26. Mooshi, Didn’t you live near Uxbridge or some other economically depressed former mill area? Infrastructure in those towns has been baaad for fifty years.

  27. We lost power for about an hour last night. It wasn’t dark yet, so I was just going to wait it out, but the kids, of course, were demanding backup generator power almost immediately. I relented and ran it for about 10 minutes before I could see lights on at my neighbors’.

  28. Its probably as expensive as Boston.

    $415 sq/ft average in San Diego vs. $589 sq/ft in Boston.

  29. What I liked best about my hometown, off the top of my head: the sledding hill, my childhood choir program, and the community theatre. Also, it was a safe place to grow up.
    What I didn’t like: it was really provincial and anti-intellectual, and it was REALLY FAR from anywhere (4-5 hours to Boston and 3+ hours to Canada).
    What I like best now: L’Abbey (of course), especially the giant kitchen and the gianter stone wall. ;) Nice small town feel, less rat-racey, and we are close to the small town center. People don’t cut you off in traffic!
    What I don’t like: Long commute when I have to commute and a real lack of restaurants, especially every kind of Asian food. We drive back to our other town at least every couple of months to eat at our favorite place, and I stopped on my way out of Boston yesterday and got Vietnamese takeout because I miss it so much. Also, I haven’t made any new friends here yet.

  30. Mooshi – it sounds like your systems we’re insufficiently planned/sized/installed, and/or something had changed and people weren’t willing to rectify it, and/or someone was just being hysterical about “polluting the lake”/fake news.

    Septics are strictly controlled by local governments.

  31. Not Uxbridge, but yeah, dying mill towns. But we were renting in an el cheapo housing development thrown up in the boom of the late 80’s, perched in the middle of nowhere on a lake. This was during the recession of the early 90’s, so every many of the houses were being rented out because the owners had to move to find jobs elsewhere. Like I said, it was an education in everything I did not want when we settled permanently.

    It is just my own taste, but I prefer to live in a community with good town services, and I don’t mind paying the taxes. My money either goes to the Mafioso garbage hauler in MA, or the Mafioso guys who run the town, but at least I have the illusion I can vote the town guys out.

  32. 3 inches an hour by my estimate right now. I am hoping for no more than a foot total.

  33. Bergen Cty NJ Hometown- I miss my family. It was nice always having people I knew around. Pop in to great Aunt’s house for tea, play with cousins. But I miss Taylor Ham and bagels more. I don’t miss the congestion, the traffic, or the amount of people.

    As I’ve aged I realize I also don’t miss my family. It’s like living in a microscope. Every move and decision is questioned. It’s too damn expensive too.

    Current City in RI- it’s very suburban for a city. Nice big lots for a quarter of the price where I grew up. Close to Providence but far enough that we don’t live in an urban city. Around the corner from the boys future grade school. Church down the block.

    Negatives- food is ok. Mostly chains. The local and state government are a mess. Though I think the government is probably a mess everywhere. I’m sick of paying tax for owning a car. Family is far and traveling isn’t easy anymore. We are thinking of moving one town over so that may solve some of our local government. All in all I like our new town.

  34. The folks in Flint can attest that individuals aren’t the only irresponsible actors on water issues.

  35. Hometown – very small city but because of a world famous cultural draw, had much more to offer than its size would suggest. Lovely and thriving downtown, many great restaurants, lots of culture – not only from the one big draw. Super easy to get around in. Very friendly. Very progressive (more because of the country/province than any particular thing about the city). A river runs through it with swans meandering about – really pretty.

    Current city – 3+ times larger than hometown but still a small city, though because of a world famous R1 institution, has much more to offer than its size would suggest. Tons of great restaurants, lots to do, easy to get around it. Super progressive – because of the town, not the state or the country. Obv. And a river – no swans but lots of kayaks and shells. It’s possibly as close to my hometown as I could ever find. And people here go to my hometown all the time, which makes me feel like less of an outsider here.

    I prefer my current place because it’s bigger than my hometown and has more to offer for that reason. It’s more intellectual as well, which I like to think will rub off on us by osmosis. (I have the same hopes about this blog, though since I still am too lazy to ever read the articles posted here, I expect my osmosis plans are unrealistic, likely in both cases). Also, world class healthcare here but not in my hometown. Far easier access to international airport.

    Now that I think of it, of the 5 members of my family of origin, none of whom lives in my hometown any longer, I live in the closest approximation of it, by far. This is the only place this side of the border that my family has liked visiting me in. These 2 things are not likely unrelated.

    This is the best place I’ve lived and though we will escape winters for a few months each year, effective soon, I can’t imagine us ever not having a place here and spending significant time each year here.

  36. Most people who are on septic also depend on either a well or spring for their water, so they are very concerned about ensuring that their septic sytem is maintained properly so that their own water supply does not get contaminated. We have our water tested for e-coli once a year, and have never had a problem.
    The sole purpose of a leach field is to filter the water before it goes back into the ground.

  37. Friends have a well and septic and they have to be constantly aware of the load on the system. You can’t take a shower and do laundry at the same time and if too many people take a shower in a row the tank overflows. I assume the well and tank aren’t the right size for the home due to some corner cutting in the past?

  38. Rhett – Something’s wrong there. It sounds like it’s partially broken, and/or way too small. It’s possible that the part that distributes the water to the soil is partially clogged:

  39. I like the small time vibe in which I am familiar with the majority of people I see on a daily basis. There is a bit of a Mayberry feel about the place, which has its good and bad points. I am comfortable with that level of whatever the word for the opposite of anonymity.

    There are next to no restaurants, services or grocery stores.

    I grew up in a small town, but not like this. In my hometown, we had three supermarkets, doctors, clothes stores, restaurants.

  40. Something’s wrong there

    I assume so. I can also assume that whatever it is it isn’t going to be cheap to fix.

  41. Friends have a well and septic and they have to be constantly aware of the load on the system. You can’t take a shower and do laundry at the same time and if too many people take a shower in a row the tank overflows. I assume the well and tank aren’t the right size for the home due to some corner cutting in the past?

    Something is very wrong with their system. We have a septic and well. It is a way of life to have laundry, dishwasher and multiple showers going at the same time.

    That being said, its hard to argue that city water and sewer are inferior to well and septic tank. If we lived close enough to hook up to those services, we would in a heartbeat. For us, the tradeoff is city water, sewer and next door neighbors versus well and septic and no one living next to us. If living next to other people doesn’t bother you, the choice seems easy enough.

  42. Milo, your diagram reminds me of Rhett’s fave concept – cognitive load that is beyond many people. Having to understand stuff like this is why people have bad septic systems. I personally don’t want to put my faith in the collective ability of a bunch of homeowners to figure out their septic systems.

  43. Milo, your diagram reminds me of Rhett’s fave concept – cognitive load that is beyond many people. Having to understand stuff like this is why people have bad septic systems. I personally don’t want to put my faith in the collective ability of a bunch of homeowners to figure out their septic systems.

    Septic systems have to be approved by the county building department. Installing one requires percolation tests to determine if the soil is capable of allowing water to percolate through. The systems are inspected when installed. Installation is relatively simple, but still requires extensive permits.

  44. In my hometown, I like that there are four seasons. There is always something changing outside. I also like the feeling of several chapters of history laid on top of each other. Of course, my life there occupied a very small space.

    I like March, and April’s weather where I am now. Maybe November’s too, although I miss seeing leaves change colors.

    I can’t answer my own question about favorite places, because every place I’ve lived has been tightly tied with the stage of life I was in. I really like having the amenities of a university, easy access to nature for recreation, and being able to live my daily routine car-free. I was happy in the small towns where we lived in Georgia and Texas, but maybe I wouldn’t if I weren’t involved with raising a preschooler. Both had just enough activities for us. After college I lived in Austin. For my PhD research I was in Berlin. Two well-known cities. I went through explosive growth in each and in the small town where my undergrad was located (yes, I got involved in life off-campus) (Growth in Berlin because for the first time I was living my life where my mother had no comment and I began to realize many things about me weren’t all that bad. My college town and Austin because of the usual college and after-graduation stuff). A DC suburb was great. I rode my bike to work there, needed the car for doctors apts and bigger shopping trips. Wish w/coulda taken advantage of all that city had to offer more.

  45. “I can also assume that whatever it is it isn’t going to be cheap to fix.”

    Are these the friends who are charging daycare to the credit card?

    Although costs vary according to the size of the leach field, soils and costs of local permits, expect to pay between $5,000 and $20,000 for leach field replacement. It is the most expensive component of the septic system. While areas with naturally sandy soil allow good percolation, or “percing” of the wasterwater downward, clay soils hold water. The price of replacing your leach field depends heavily on soil type, as the field does not need to be as large for porous soil conditions as it does for less porous soils. If the section of your property containing the leach field is inaccessible and trees or fencing must be removed, that will also add to your costs. You also will need to factor in the cost of replacing sod in the area or planting new grass seed after the work is done.

    My parents have lived in their main house for over 30 years now. I remember the leach field was repaired once when I was about 10. It was memorable mainly because there were backhoes digging up the yard, and the HOA president drove by to ask my mom if we had obtained the proper authorizations (knowing full well that the answer was ‘no’–my parents have no patience for that bullshit). My mom asked him if he would prefer that we let raw sewage flow down and across the street while the Architectural and Improvements Committee convened to review our request, or if he thought it made more sense to just get the septic system fixed. He drove off in a huff.

    Many years later, this same guy divorced his wife and married the 18-year-old with whom he’d been sleeping for a couple of years.

  46. Are these the friends who are charging daycare to the credit card?

    Nope, they have money. Maybe they are just used to it?

    But that does remind me of someone I used to work with who went from well to town water and it was the first time she had ever been able to take a shower for as long as she wanted. I guess I just assumed they were all like that. Then again soil type, water table, well depth, etc. a lot must go into spec’ing a system out properly.

  47. Meme – I would happily live in Cambridge. Maybe when we retire? It will need to be a place with a garage for DH, though (or a driveway with minions to shovel).

  48. “Then again soil type, water table, well depth, etc. a lot must go into spec’ing a system out properly.”

    For the vast majority of buyers, they don’t give it more than a passing thought, if that. The builder takes care of it all.

    But if you’re buying your own plot of land that you want to develop, it can become an issue. I know from looking at various waterfront land listings, you’ll often see statements like “perc test completed for up to four bedrooms” meaning that’s what the soil can support. (And even if you build an enormous house there, you won’t be able to legally claim more than four bedrooms.)

    However, I remember a This Old House episode from not too long ago and they replaced the septic system with a newfangled setup that was fully contained in the basement.

    http://www.alternativesepticsolutions.com/aqua-safe-septic-systems.html

  49. Risley, the people in Flint could not trust government officials to provide them with safe water. They are still using bottled water. So just a reminder that relying on municipal supplies isn’t necessarily going to keep you safe

  50. I grew with well water and a sewage system. Throwing in a load of laundry before getting in the shower still blows my mind.

  51. We have grown up with city water and sewer.
    So, we ruled out towns where there was no city water and sewer.
    Growing up in the home country though, there were still open wells around. We had one on our property. My Dad kept it and didn’t completely cover it over. It was like a backup in case city water failed and somewhat of sentimental value. Years ago, in times of city water shortages, people would ask to draw from the well.

  52. Everyone one of these things sounds expensive:

    https://www.des.nh.gov/organization/commissioner/pip/factsheets/dwgb/documents/dwgb-4-2.pdf

    Most of the time I complain about excessive California regulations. Every once is a while I see something that makes me understand how California started down this road. I’ve drilled a few wells in the past few years. Everything on that list that relates to new well construction or well refurbishment is dealt with in the well permitting process. The rest….I just can’t…clutching my pearls.

  53. “Throwing in a load of laundry before getting in the shower still blows my mind.”

    Why? What would happen if you did them at the same time? We weren’t as rich as you, and we never lived with such restrictions, or would have tolerated them if it were ever an issue.

  54. What would happen if you did them at the same time?

    Negligible water pressure? IIRC for the person who had never taken a full shower it was a GPM issue with the well. If you ran it to long the pump pumped all the water out and it ran dry ( I think this also damaged the pump) so you had to wait for the water to percolate back in around the intake area or whatever you’d call it.

  55. Milo, there wasn’t enough water. If someone was washing dishes while you were in the shower, you’d feel it every time they turned the water on & off. As I’ve told you before, I didn’t grow up “rich” You don’t grow money by spending it on consumer goods.

  56. We are on well and septic here but it’s been far less of a hassle than I imagined. The septic tank is huge and though we were cautioned about not doing too many loads of laundry back to back or using the disposal with abandon, we gradually reverted to our pre-septic water usage habits without incident. We have had the tank pumped out twice in 8 years. It costs about $200 and so I have them come every few years even though the guy said that 5?years was fine. We can run the sprinklers as often as we like without considering the cost because we’re not paying for city water. The only time that water pressure is an issue is when the sprinklers are on along with showers and appliances. Otherwise multiple people can shower while the washer or dishwasher is running.
    I would still opt for city water if available but well and septic is no longer a deal breaker.

  57. Negligible water pressure? IIRC for the person who had never taken a full shower it was a GPM issue with the well. If you ran it to long the pump pumped all the water out and it ran dry ( I think this also damaged the pump) so you had to wait for the water to percolate back in around the intake area or whatever you’d call it.

    A pressure tank, which I assume every well owner has, would fix this issue. The pump pumps water into the pressure tank, which you set for the appropriate water pressure. The water from the well goes into the pressure tank, there are some pressure things that happen in the magic box, then the water travels in a pipe to the house inlet, under pressure. Going directly from the well to the house…..causes all manner of problems, not enough pressure, the pump motor has to turn on and off, which wears it out rapidly, you have huge variations of pressure, which is bad for appliances.

  58. We can run the sprinklers as often as we like without considering the cost because we’re not paying for city water.

    You are paying for the electricity to power the well. You are not putting potable, treated water on the lawn, which is what happens with city water.

  59. So dig a deeper well.

    Rhett – I’m getting the sense, and you’ll probably agree, that a lot of these issues and hardships are perhaps a form of Totebag badges of honor. People like living with a certain level of hardship. I’m thinking, obviously, of people who can afford the necessary repairs but almost subconsciously would rather have to limit themselves to 10-minute showers and strategically timed laundry.

    As you well know, I’m a proponent of certain types of self-deprivation in a lot of areas of consumer spending, but maybe because I’m an engineer by degree and training, I won’t tolerate essential systems not performing up to par.

  60. “As I’ve told you before, I didn’t grow up “rich” You don’t grow money by spending it on consumer goods.”

    The town ophthalmologist could spring for a beefier well pump and pressure tank combo.

  61. We have city water but we have zilch water for faucets or showers whenever we run our sprinkler system, so we set it up to run at 4:am. And in order to have sufficient pressure to run the sprinkler system at all we had to install a supplemental pump.

  62. Milo,

    You could be right. I don’t know how much it would cost. Maybe $5k to $25k to do it right – new well, septic, pressure tank, etc. etc? I figure they just couldn’t see spending that so they could take a longer shower.

  63. Milo, you have made a big deal our of this before? Why? It’s not like most showers took place when Mom was doing laundry anyway–showers in the morning, laundry during the day, dishes after dinner. I don’t think it bothered any of us as much as it does you. You know how LfB talks about not having a lot growing up and being afraid she’s going to wind up eating cat food? That was my dad, except it was premature death, not a divorce, that gave him a single parent, and there were no step parents. When he began to be able to use his money to enjoy himself during his retirement, it was a big change for him, and one we were all happy to see.

  64. The water pressure does dip some when we run our sprinklers. It only bothers DH who wants high pressure in the shower, for the rest of us it doesn’t make a difference.

  65. Milo, whatever your opinions about what he “could have” done, you weren’t there to give your sage advice.

  66. SM – If people are comfortable and content with those tradeoffs, then I certainly have no objections. This tangent was based, in part, on your comments like:

    “Throwing in a load of laundry before getting in the shower still blows my mind.”
    and
    “the water pressure was low. Took forever to rinse my hair.”

    We’re just pointing out that these things were fixable.

  67. After the fact, I realize that I could’ve washed my hair faster. Didn’t know that for a long time, so “normal” to me is pretty slow, the way that some people think a “normal” shower is 10 or 20 minutes. It’s what you’re used to that affects how you see things.

  68. Among other things, I like the walkability of where I live. Everywhere else I’ve lived I’ve had to rely on a car much more. I miss the desert climate of where I grew up. Especially on days like today where I’m having to spend a few hours shoveling snow.

    “I love that NYC never stops. Even today, I’m in the office because my subway line is running. In my hometown, I often felt stuck.”

    Sometimes I have felt “stuck” and claustrophobic in the city having to rely on subways and elevators in contrast to being out in the suburbs where I can walk out the door and get in my car.

  69. I live in Dallas and I like how courteous and friendly people are – life here with kids is easy and we are glad we moved to Texas. Doing business here is also easier than other cities I have lived in. I like the spirit of Texans and love being in a big city where most things I could ever need are within 15 minutes.

    Grew up in Miami and I love the coast and salt air. Miami has a pulse – it is loud and busy and gritty and pretty all at the same time. The traffic is terrible, the people are awful and I wouldn’t live there again.

    I would love to live on the coast again – could be lots of places. I am meant to be near the water.

    I don’t get the big deal with septic. Nearly everyone I know in our little town surrounded by the city was on septic and there were few issues – and the water table in Miami is pretty high. Never heard of anyone polluting the groundwater or causing any environmental damage with their septic tank. We always had city water for the house and well water for the sprinklers – great combo. Our water bills were very inexpensive.

  70. I lived in New York for a time and I love the city – it gives me so much energy but DH doesn’t like it and I would not want to raise kids there. I love New York water and there is nothing like the water pressure in my sister’s pre-war building – fantastic!

  71. I was wondering about manners in the places people are mentioning. A few years ago, waitstaff in restaurants frequently made a fuss over how polite DS was–because he said “please” and “thank you”! He also says ma’am and sir, because he’s been to preschool and school in the South. When UPS drops something off for us, they often knock, set it down in front of the door, and start back down the steps. If I’m home and get the package right away, I yell “thank you” as I pick it up. The way they say “you’re welcome” sounds surprised, and they occasionally come back up a few steps to say it. Really? Is it that rare for people to use those basic manners?

  72. I love living where I do now. I love all the seasons, I love the parks, the bike trails, how close I am to downtown, to shopping, to the airport, I can walk to the schools. I love how this city embraces all the seasons and even when it is subzero people are out walking and staying healthy and fit. The only thing it is missing are mountains. I really wish we had mountains.

    I enjoyed where I grew up, but big suburbia no longer suits me. I’m proud of the big city I grew up near and love all the blue collar toughness, but I just can’t see moving back there. Too much time has gone by and although I have lots of family and friends there, it just doesn’t feel like home anymore. Even the house I grew up in doesn’t feel like home anymore.

  73. I want to live by the beach again too. If independently wealthy I would choose a nice small beach town, especially now that you can get anything delivered to you.

  74. “What about uber, cabs, zipcar and walking?”

    It doesn’t make logical sense, but I totally agree with CoC. “Sometimes I have felt “stuck” and claustrophobic in the city having to rely on…”

    Stuck and claustrophobic describes it perfectly.

  75. “What about uber, cabs, zipcar and walking?”

    Oh, I also mean having to rely on all those instead of being able to drive myself wherever I want. Obviously we all rely on “something” else to get around, but having a car at my disposal to drive on relatively unclogged roads gives me a more carefree feeling. It probably relates back to my youth and a general preference for wide open spaces.

  76. It doesn’t make logical sense, but I totally agree with CoC. “Sometimes I have felt “stuck” and claustrophobic in the city having to rely on…

    I agree with CoC as well. Being in the City just feels so difficult. Although it didn’t feel that way when I was younger.

    By the way, San Francisco only has decent weather in the fall. Most of the time, it is cold and windy there. I always feel the need for a jacket. It adds to the hassle that I almost always need to bring a change of clothing because the weather is so different between home and the City.

  77. Your definition of cold and my definition of cold sure do differ.

    I do regard a large section of the country completely uninhabitable.

  78. I like living within ~90 min of snowcapped mountains and the ocean, where the coastline is public land. I like hearing birds as the primary sound when I’m outside by my house. I like living in a slightly above average socioeconomically but not crazy-competitive area. I like not having very much snow ( but could stand with fewer days of clouds/rain).

    I miss the summer vegetables where I grew up- sweet corn and tomatoes were sweet there. Here, the weather isn’t hot, even in summer, so vegetables tend not to ripen or get sweet and special varieties are necessary. I’ve read the climate is similar in the U.K.

  79. Difficult how?

    Parking is difficult. Getting in and out before traffic becomes maddening is just getting harder and harder. I don’t know it well enough anymore to find fun restaurants and other nifty things to do. But mainly I suspect that I go there for medical appointments, which are stressful and significantly lacking in fun. If anyone has any ideas for fun things in San Francisco that could be done in a few hours, I would like to hear. Particularly things of interest to a teenage boy.

  80. “Difficult how?”

    Everywhere you go, there are people, and you’re always in someone’s way or about to be in someone’s way. You can’t avoid it. It’s just more and more people everywhere, all around you.

  81. Everywhere you go, there are people, and you’re always in someone’s way or about to be in someone’s way. You can’t avoid it. It’s just more and more people everywhere, all around you.

    Yes, that too.

  82. Funny, because I felt so claustrophobic out in the sticks. I hated that I had to drag the car out everytime I wanted to go anywhere. We moved there right after I had lived in Manhattan and Hoboken, and I missed the freedom of not owning a car. I hated having to figure out destination (this was pre-GPS of course) and navigate in strange places. And most of all, I hated driving in the eternal snow. So one of my most important criteria when we bought a house was that it had to be someplace where I could walk to the grocery store if it was snowing out.

  83. pseudonym, when I lived in Manhattan I didn’t have to park a car because I didn’t have to own a car!!!! No one in my building (5 story loft building) owned a car. Who needs one in the city?
    My best friend moved to downtown Chicago a couple of years ago, and ditched her car. She said it was one of the best moments of the year. She gets a zipcar sometimes to go to a suburban Target or out to the countryside.

  84. Everywhere you go, there are people, and you’re always in someone’s way or about to be in someone’s way.

    Maybe it’s because you’re visiting vs. living in the city? If you’re in a commercial/touristy area like Newbury Street there are lots of people but if you go one street over to Comm Ave there’s hardly anyone. This is literally as crowded as it ever gets.

  85. Rhett – You’re probably right that much of it is a function of being a tourist. As humans go, I tend to think that I’m one of the more adaptable ones. I’ve spent plenty of time with next to no personal space whatsoever. But through some combination of nature and nurture, I’ve come to favor a higher level of peace and quiet and solitude.

  86. “The way that some people think a “normal” shower is 10 or 20 minutes”

    Do you think a 10-20 minute shower is short? I think a 10 minute shower is kind of long. I guess I could be in the military. I don’t like hanging out in the shower.

    I like Chicago because it has everything you could want in a big city (museums, culture, sports, variety of jobs/industries), without being as oppressively expensive as some similar-sized cities. It’s also close to my family and has a Midwestern feel that I find comfortable. I also like the 4 seasons (even with the foot of lake-effect snow that dumped on us today). I like my neighborhood in particular because it is close to everything but still very livable. I particularly like that it is both very walkable/bikeable/transit-oriented, but it is relatively easy to get around by car too – parking and traffic aren’t a major issue outside of rush hour. I can both walk to the grocery store & do a Costco run easily. It’s friendly but not overly so with everyone into the details of your business. We have a number of great parks & it is an easy bike ride to the lakefront which is a true jewel.

  87. Yes!!! Everywhere you go there are people!! That’s what I love. And when I don’t want people, I can go for a hike a few minutes from my house and be surprised if I see more than 2 people with dogs and one trail biker in two hours. Or kayak on public waters in semi privacy.

  88. It is funny how different we all can be. I feel claustrophobic and unhappy when I am living in a place where there aren’t other people around. I could never live in a house with so much land that I couldn’t see neighbors. When we lived in pseudo-rural MA, we could see the neighbors but no one was ever out, and you only heard a car if it belonged to someone living on our road, so at night it might be 20 minutes or more between cars. I often felt lonely and sad in that house. When I lived in Hoboken, I was in a basement apartment in a brownstone, and I knew all the neighbors. If I felt lonely I could go chat with the Italian deli owner halfway down the block, or walk over to my friend’s apartment and hang out.

  89. Ivy, I love Chicago too, especially the architecture, and biking on the lakefront

  90. “fun things in San Francisco that could be done in a few hours, I would like to hear. Particularly things of interest to a teenage boy.”

    Exploratorium? Granted, it might be hard to leave after a few hours.

  91. I like that there are people everywhere, but they don’t all know my name or what my parents do or any of my business like in a small town or a suburban subdivision. I find it weirdly comforting and also interesting from a people-watching/chit chatting perspective (like MM said about the Italian deli).

    I get freaked out being way out in the country (the real country, not suburbia with big lots).

  92. “I like the walkability of where I live. ”

    Especially in the mornings and evenings, there are always a bunch of people walking in our neighborhood, but most of them aren’t going anywhere.

  93. “And when the power went out, which was frequent because of the above ground electrical lines, you lost your water. ”

    I’d get some sort of backup, e.g., batteries or a generator.

  94. “there are always a bunch of people walking in our neighborhood, but most of them aren’t going anywhere.”

    That sounds very metaphorical.

  95. RMS’ hometown was one of my favorite places to live, but it’s way too expensive for us now.

    It has a lot of walkable areas, and the entire city is quite bikeable.

  96. Pseudo – I don’t know what your teenager is into but almost by definition mine were only interested in their sports, then later, their PS2/3/4 in addition, so don’t expect him to necessarily be excited about going into the city just to wander and look and enjoy, especially if only with Mom & Dad

    Seeing the food hung in the shops in Chinatown was cool
    Fisherman’s wharf is still interesting, especially if there are any boats unloading their catch
    Alcatraz
    GG Bridge
    of course Giants games
    views from lots of places

  97. They’re mostly just walking for exercise, as opposed to walking as a form of transportation. If they need to get somewhere, they’ll drive.

  98. I like the weather where I am at. Each season lasts approximately three months. Just when you are about fed up with the heat, cold, rain and want a change you get one. It’s not six months of heat or cold or rain.
    I also like the density where we are. There are people around but there is enough space. Most homes are in neighborhoods where you look outside and can see people around going about.

  99. It is funny how different we all can be. …

    I have often thought that. This is one of the things that make this site fun.

    I could never live in a house with so much land that I couldn’t see neighbors.

    If I look out the right window, I can see the neighbor’s house, but most of the time I don’t. I like that.

  100. I don’t think this storm is a bust. DH cleaned off a car and I walked a block to pick up DD from a friend’s house. The snow fall totals might be lower than expected, but the winds are terrible. It is so windy that a lot of snow is blowing back on to the cars and the roads. It is really wet too since there was so much mixing on top of the snow. I hope the winds die down soon because the wind is the real problem now, and it is so loud. We just received the call that there is a two hour delayed school opening, but with a warning that they may decide to close schools if the conditions are not safe.

  101. OK, it’s past 4pm ET, so I guess I can hijack, mainly to Mooshi–

    A lot of kids are receiving college app decisions these days (today is 3/14, so MIT decisions will be announced). Over on CC, a lot of people are posting those, and there seems to be a lot of kids applying to CS programs who are receiving bad news. And it’s not just bad news on reaches; it seems like a lot of kids are getting bad news from schools they thought were matches or even safeties.

    Is there some systemic reason for this? E.g., is there an imbalance between the number of kids applying to CS programs and the capacity of those programs? Are CS programs becoming more selective?

  102. Fred,

    I don’t expect DS to be excited about going to the City. I just like to make it less unpleasant. He is into airplanes, I know of one aerospace museum. Fisherman’s wharf is a good idea. I’ll see about the timing on Alcatraz. We mostly do day trips, so we only have a few hours here and there.

  103. Ivy, I consider that crazy long for a shower. Milo has said in the past that he takes that long.

    Pseudo, if you want to spend $$ while you’re there, you could do this. https://m.viator.com/things-to-do/san-francisco/651-1-0-1-0/air-helicopter-and-balloon-tours.htm?groupName=Air-Helicopter-and-Balloon-Tours The Exploratorium is known to be great for all ages, including grown-ups. But I mostly agree with Fred–hard to suggest anything without knowing the kid in question

  104. “Ivy, I consider that crazy long for a shower. Milo has said in the past that he takes that long.”

    At least!!

  105. @Lauren – They closed our NY office today, and the conference calls that I had with NY were all people working from home. I had been wondering.

    We got a foot of snow here, but only in a few places (like my house) and only right next to the lake. We don’t usually get a ton of lake effect snow on this side of the lake, but today we did. It’s weird – it’s both sunny and snowing at the same time with big grey clouds over the lake. And 5 miles west – nothing. It’ll all melt quickly, so that makes it easier to take.

    @S&M – got it. I wasn’t sure if you were thinking that was long or short!

  106. Finn, CS programs are being OVERWHELMED by sheer numbers. We are running 3 times as many CS1 sections now as in 2010, and that is pretty typical everywhere.

  107. But I miss Taylor Ham and bagels more. I don’t miss the congestion, the traffic, or the amount of people.

    Rhode, I grew up in the same area and have the same feelings. We were in the area last year and went to a bagel shop, and DW asked me what Taylor ham is. I never realized it was such a regional thing.

  108. MM,

    Do you think it’s a bubble? I recall there was a surge in demand for Pharm.D.s with signing bonses and such but too many kids took notice and went into phamarcy and there ended up being a glut.

  109. I am still thinking of water and water pressure. In the home country millions of people’s schedules revolve around those two things. Getting up at the crack of dawn to shower, complete water intensive chores becomes routine. You don’t realize it. After years, comes an ad on TV which says “this water storage tank will change your life” and it does.
    My house growing up was grandfathered with no shortage and good pressure by the city water gods. When my parents moved, one of the first things they looked at was the water situation of the various condos they were considering. They bought in an older building because it had been grandfathered in also.
    The new buildings were great to look at but without adequate water they were not great to live in.

  110. “Do you think it’s a bubble? ”

    Isn’t the history of computer science boom and bust? What is different this time?

  111. @DD/Rhode – There was a podcast on The Sporkful recently about the Taylor Ham/Pork Roll Jersey controversy. I had never heard of either. But it sounded delicious.

  112. Yeah, we had the boom of the 90’s and then a bust. I really don’t know. There is something a bit different this time because companies are not looking for lowlevel coding grunts any more. Algorithms and data analytics have become core business intelligence, not a business cost as it was in the 90’s. On the other hand, bubbles have always been followed by busts in all of the engineering fields so who knows.

  113. More San Fran ideas, from a meeting I didn’t go to last year
    Wild SF Walking Tours
    Crystal Springs reservoir on Route 280 might be on your way into/out of town
    Themed walking and bicycle tours http://shapingsf.org/tours.html
    Bike rentals

    Lots of people in the US are becoming cyborgs with their cars, seem to feel almost as if they were part of them. I’ve never felt that way, although I have enjoyed a few drives along country roads. Generally, I dislike the things others have said–looking for parking, being stuck in traffic, which were attributed to there being so many people, but are really only problems if each of those people has a car. Weeks I spend too much time in the car, my body hurts! I have felt much more free in bike-friendly cities or cities with good public transit systems that I know well, so I can decide between several departure times each hour with multiple routes to get from A to K, and all the stops in between, Not needing to worry about traffic, being able to sit however I want & squirm around, passing up all those cars–those things make me feel free. I still recall renting a car when my parents came to visit in Berlin and feeling positively stymied, because there were so many one way streets and places where bikes could cross but cars couldn’t

    These pictures aren’t new, but keep popping up because they make the point about the space cars take up/how little room the people need if it is only people, not attached to cars.

  114. I really like not being able to see into the neighbors’ houses any more. At the old house we could see into their windows. Blech! :-P (That is another thing I like about my hometown street, they were all 0.75-1 acre lots, so it didn’t feel cramped. Now we have 4.5 acres)

    At the old house, when the kids were about 4, 2, and 0 or 5, 3, and 1, the older 2 used to line up all of the ride-on cars in a line touching each other. Then they would each sit on one of the cars and yell “BEEP BEEP BEEP” back and forth. I asked them what they were doing – “Mom, we’re pwaying twaffic!” :D

  115. I don’t know, it is about 72 in San Francisco, beautiful and sunny! Spring and fall are the best times to visit, because it can get chilly/windy/foggy in the summer.

    Suggestions for activities in SF: Exploratorium, Golden Gate Park (Japanese tea garden and Academy of Sciences) A bay cruise or water taxi if going to Alcatraz it too much time. Walking along the Embarcadero from Fisherman’s Wharf all the way to the ballpark is a nice walk, as is walking from Fisherman’s Wharf through Fort Mason and Crissy Field to the GG Bridge.

    Another good long walk is to walk up Telegraph Hill from the Embarcadero side to Coit Tower, then down into North Beach and Chinatown, then up Russian Hill and down to Polk Street.

  116. I really like not being able to see into the neighbors’ houses any more.

    Well…now that no one is living in the carriage house.

  117. I live 15- 20 miles from northern NJ, and I had to google Taylor ham because I never heard of it.
    Taylor ham is a big thing in northern NJ, and I never even realized that it has a name. If you really miss bagels, you can order them from Zabars or H & H bagels midtown east. Both stores will ship NY bagels, and I’ve sent their bagels to friends and family in other parts of the country.

  118. So I think some of the water discussion is conflating generations. We had the “don’t take long showers, and we sure don’t shower and wash dishes or flush or do laundry at the same time” rules because we had a small hot water tank and small water supply lines, so doing any of that would (a) cut the hot or cold water to the shower, thereby (b) scalding or freezing the showering party (not to mention getting me in trouble when my long shower meant my mom had only cold water left). It wasn’t conscious self-deprivation — it was sort of the way most houses were. When we built our first house with dual 40-gallon hot water tanks, it was a revelation. And I ain’t going back. 😉

    Hometowns: well, since I currently live in what I consider my hometown, that simplifies the answer significantly. I like the freedom my kids have to wander, meet friends, go to stores, get to and from school, etc. I like the nearby restaurants, which are generally pretty dramatically better than when I was growing up (except Pinocchio’s. There will never be a deli/pizza parlor as good as Pinocchio’s). I love having family nearby for my kids to grow up taking for granted. I like the tree-lined streets, the reasonable lot sizes/privacy given the proximity to the city, the different housing styles, the almost-grid pattern that makes navigation easy, and the relatively short commute. The big drawback is the lack of walkable grocery store, so the kids can do my shopping for me.

    Favorite place I ever lived was Colorado Springs. Loved the views and weather, and we built our house exactly like we wanted it. I probably wouldn’t love it quite as much if we lived there now, with the kids and all, but since we were forced away against my will, it shall forever live in mind as The One That Got Away.

    Ideal for me would be Manhattan. I don’t feel hemmed in by uber/taxi/subway/etc, because my default is that I can always walk anywhere I need to. I love that feeling of not having to depend on anyone or anything to get where or what I need. The crowds don’t bug me too much, except that they get in my damn way. So, you know, I fit in ok with the prevailing ethos. 😉 Couldn’t do it full-time, but the idea of an apartment downtown for the excitement and a place like in Taos or on the beach for relaxation sounds awesome. As long as both places have light and open views.

  119. “Couldn’t do it full-time, but the idea of an apartment downtown for the excitement and a place like in Taos or on the beach for relaxation sounds awesome.”

    Duh, yeah. :)

    I asked my family at dinner tonight what they like about where we live. Interestingly, safety came up. I’m not sure what that might indicate, but we do live in a very low-crime area. I really appreciate that. Also, we commented on enjoying the flavor (literally and culturally) of the Bronx without actually having to live in the Bronx. Many families here are one or two generations away from the Bronx. We’re kind of like an upscale Bronx. And we appreciate being 30 minutes by train to Grand Central Station while being two blocks from a beautiful green belt.

    “Maybe it’s because you’re visiting vs. living in the city?”

    Only partly. If you work or live in the city you usually have to spend considerable time crowded in by the masses.

  120. “Interestingly, safety came up. I’m not sure what that might indicate”

    Perhaps some experience in less safe neighborhoods?

  121. “I like the freedom my kids have to wander, meet friends, go to stores, get to and from school, etc.”

    I was under the impression that your hometown was having issues with crime. Safety was a concern I heard from parents WRT schools there (and Chicago).

  122. “Perhaps some experience in less safe neighborhoods?” — Hmm, could be.

    And I don’t mean to diss the Bronx. It has nicer neighborhoods and many fine qualities.

  123. ” some of the water discussion is conflating generations”
    I am old.
    Milo is young.
    Laura is right.
    :-P

    “At the old house we could see into their windows. Blech!”
    So many houses are built that way now! There are whole neighborhoods of $!M+ houses that have windows lined up exactly. I think I’ve mentioned the glass doors, open hallways, and views from the street straight into living rooms, and often out to the lanai. I can’t understand that. It is something I pay attention to whenever I find a new place to live. The apartment I lived in when Isaac was born had two windows onto the playground, and the floor was the same level as the playground. That’s the most “peekable” place I’ve ever lived, I think.

    ” If you work or live in the city you usually have to spend considerable time crowded in by the masses.” I’ve never felt that. Maybe some cities are different, but I’ve always found greenways and parks, and made time to go hiking or whatever out of the city. Living in Tampa has us indoors more than anywhere we’ve ever lived. It’s nasty sticky hot out there over half the year, Feb has significant pollen, and it all looks the same anyway–no significant hills or canyons. Not that we’re surrounded by masses–we’re in the car, surrounded by other cars.

  124. My son and I think about safety for him, but probably differently than most people here.

  125. @Finn: we are not in Baltimore proper (which, btw, has some completely awesome and safe neighborhoods, where many of my coworkers live). We are a first-ring suburb in the county, about a mile from the city line and just outside the Beltway.

  126. If you work or live in the city you usually have to spend considerable time crowded in by the masses.

    Keeping in mind that by “the city” you mean The City – NYC. It is, according to a quick googling, literally more than an order of magnitude larger than Boston or SF.

  127. Yeah, I’m not buying that the biggest grammatical mistake people make is accidentally leaving two spaces between words instead of one. :-P That’s a typo. If we’re going to talk about “mistakes identitied by computer programs,” how about “mistakes made by computer programs,” like the [expletive deleted] auto-correct that changes “were” to “we’re,” or the possessive “its” to “it’s,” so I look freaking illiterate? Grrrr.

  128. MM if you are still reading this thread what do you think of the boot camp coding programs? An extended family member has made the short list to get into one but it seems like many of these camps promise way more than they can deliver.

  129. I can’t see into anyone’s windows unless I am actively prying with binoculars. Bad or haphazard design is not the same as density.

  130. “” some of the water discussion is conflating generations”
    I am old.
    Milo is young.
    Laura is right.
    :-P”

    I used to be young.

    The thing about the older showers may have been mostly due to unrestricted water flow in the old shower heads. A modern standard shower is not going to have the flow required to drop the header pressure in a way that adversely affects other loads.

    And the HE washing machines–or at least ours–adds water in little spurts: Add some, stop, toss and turn, wait for the sensor to register it or not, add a little more. It’s probably not the fill-the-tub deluge of the old days.

    When the washer is starting and I’m in the shower, the cycling of the water just described is perceptible, but not significant.

    It’s like when the generator was running in the driveway last night, I pointed out to DW that pressing the button to turn on the Keurig perceptibly changes the audible RPM for a fraction of a second while it opens the throttle to pick up the additional load by sending more gasoline into the pistons. DW sometimes likes to leave the Keurig on standby all day — the design tricks you into thinking it’s just this innocent, clean blue light. But it’s certainly not worth fighting over, and someone has to help out the utilities, what with all these modern heat pumps and LED bulbs killing their demand.

  131. If we’re going to talk about “mistakes identitied by computer programs,” how about “mistakes made by computer programs,” like the [expletive deleted] auto-correct that changes “were” to “we’re,” or the possessive “its” to “it’s,” so I look freaking illiterate? Grrrr.

    I might hate it a teeny bit less if it were faster. I often have an inkling that a word might be changed, glance at it, see it’s OK & go back to the keys, only to see that it does change as my finger is on the way to “send” Grrrr.

  132. Now I’m so old, that even the young guy, comparatively speaking, no longer feels young. Great.

    …the design tricks you into thinking it’s just this innocent, clean blue light. But it’s certainly in league with the microwave, beaming surveillance audio-video to the nearest listening post cum repair center. This is why they don’t repair machines any more–those workshop spaces have been taken over by information-gathering services.

    I never thought about why those machines add water that way; checking sensors sounds logical.

    2 out of 3 are teasing, a ratio I think Milo can handle just fine.

  133. The city where I grew up is Tulsa, and I consider that my hometown now. It is the perfect size, in my opinion, and has a lot of pretty outdoor spaces. The people are really friendly, and I always felt very connected to the community in a way that I don’t here. It has a great cost of living, so you have less financial stress. There are multiple lakes nearby, a nice riverside walking/biking area, and other outdoor opportunities. College sports are a huge draw, so lots of opportunity to connect with old friends. It appeals to my sense of order – it is laid out in a square-mile grid system, like a giant tic tac toe board. It has pretty rolling hills, and nice woods (to which my kids would reply in monotone “you don’t see that in Houston”, so I must say that a lot when we are there.) I’m sure my fondness is nostalgia, because my closest friends and parents are there. Sadly, the thing missing is good jobs, so we’ll remain here for the foreseeable future.

    My Houston suburb is fine. I like my neighborhood, my home, my employer, but it’s just too big and crowded for our taste. People are a little more transient. I don’t feel the connection here that I have other places.

  134. I lived in NJ for 20 years and this is the first time I’ve ever hear of “pork roll.”

    My one experience with well water is I had a relative who lived in Western NY out in the country, and every time we visited, there were problems with the water. I’m sure it was due to the age of the system and likely could have been fixed very nicely if they were able and willing to shell out the money, but it turned me off of well water forever.

    As for the OP, I love living in Denver. The weather/climate is awesome. We have a lot of the city amenities – pro sports, theater, museums, major airport, etc. – without the traffic of bigger cities. The COL is reasonable. There’s a lot of recreational opportunities.

  135. MBT, my son went on a CoL kick a few years ago, looking up cities around the country. He finally found one in Oklahoma that he decided he/we HAD to live in. He talked about it for a few days, maybe a week. Then he started thinking about and looking up income levels. Oh. His interest fell. When he got around to thinking about the things to do that might not be there, he lost interest in those stats altogether (for now anyway. Might return in a decade when he can do something about what it tells him).

  136. “Miami has a pulse – it is loud and busy and gritty and pretty all at the same time. The traffic is terrible, the people are awful….”

    Yep.

  137. I’ve been traveling and see I missed some good discussions.

    What I like about where we live – being on the water. It’s a great place for boating. Lots of waterways for exploring, beaches where you can anchor right off and spend a few hours on the beach, restaurants you can pull up to on your boat and get a burger or fried shrimp…it’s pretty ideal if boating is your thing.

    I also love our neighborhood. Lots of families, lots of things for kids to do. We have made such good friends, and every time we talk about retiring some place else, we hesitate because of our friends.

    My favorite place ever is where our beach house is. It’s a small beach town that has a pretty good split between full time residents and seasonal renters. That’s a nice mix because the renters bring energy (I LOVE people watching all the happy families) but the full timers bring stability. And, it’s only 30 minutes (40 with summer traffic) from a real city with real amenities, if we feel like we need them. I’d retire there in a heart beat if I could pack up our friends and take them with me.

  138. We are back down to freezing weather here. My whole house is a sick bay. With hacking coughs and some fever. DS hasn’t been at school for a week now.

  139. I am not a fan of winter today because it is the last week of winter, but the temperature is 20 degrees with gale warnings. Most of the schools that planned for a two hour delay decided to close today because the road are so icy. One of my friends was stuck on metro north for an hour because her train got stuck. Feels like mid January vs. mid March.

  140. Lark, other than your friends what is different between your primary residence and beach house ? It seems like both are close to the water, beaches etc.

  141. Weather update:
    DS3 is home for his 4th weather day out of the last possible 5 school days. Th & F last week due to the winds that came thru here last Weds and knock out power to ~25% of the homes at the peak; yesterday & today because of the snow. We’ve probably gotten about 2ft in the last 36hours. Worked from home yesterday afternoon and at least till noon today…first time in at least 15yrs for that!

  142. Scarlett – those coding bootcamps suck. They either require such stringent entry requirements that they are only working with people who could essentially teach themselves, or else they are teaching “monkey coding” – the ability to spit out exactly one kind of software, by rote memory. As soon as the technology shifts, the monkey coders will be left high and dry.

  143. CoC, your observations on the town are spot on. Our poor police are bored to tears because so little happens here! Yet we are really close to the Bronx

  144. Back to the bootcamps – it is hard to generalize because there are a wide variety. Some are nonprofit and really specialize in getting underrepresented groups ready for further study. I just got contacted by someone who has a degree in Italian, who went to a bootcamp simply to learn enough programming (I hate the term “coding”, where the h**l did that come from?) to get into a technical masters program. We run a MS in data science, and he wants to apply. That is a good use of a bootcamp – just hope he didn’t spend too much money on it!

    We were approached last year by a for profit bootcamp. They like to set up partnerships with universities for legitimacy. After we heard the pitch, we all walked out laughing. Dang, if we could impose the entrance requirements these people are imposing, we could produce amazing technical geniuses. Basically, to get into this not-cheap bootcamp, you had to first pass an entrance interview, and then you had to PAY for a 6 week intensive program in which you proved your apititude, and only then were you given the privilege of spending thousands of dollars on a fulltime, 6 month program. Oh, and the requirement was 8 to 10 hours of programming each day.

  145. what is different between your primary residence and beach house

    It’s funny, they’re only a few hours from each other, but they’re completely different. Where we live is entirely residential, not really touristy (other than the closest city, which gets a lot of tourism). The geography is very different, lots of small islands, waterways, rivers. Lots of marsh, but very little easily accessed beach, except by boat.

    Where our beach house is has a completely different vibe. Permanent residents are mostly retirees, and it’s very much a vacation destination.

  146. Mooshi, what is it that makes writing code/coding so much worse to you than writing a program/programming? It clearly isn’t that a noun was made to be a verb, because that happens in both (and both nouns had secondary meanings as verbs before they were used in relation to machines that compute)

  147. Mooshi, I wish your police were busier because they are obsessed with giving out tickets to drivers.
    I often see unmarked and marked police cars in your town, and they seem to pull over a lot of drivers.

  148. Combining the threadlets on programming and appliances that spy on you, as discussed at DefCon, a “defense industry” conference.
    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/aug/10/vibrator-phone-app-we-vibe-4-plus-bluetooth-hack
    …at the Def Con hacking conference in Las Vegas, two independent hackers revealed that the way the vibrator speaks with its controlling app isn’t really secure at all – making it possible to remotely seize control of the vibrator and activate it at will…Potentially worse still, the pair discovered that the app itself was phoning home, letting the manufacturer discover some very intimate information about users. The app sends the temperature of the device back to Standard Innovation every minute, and every time the intensity of the vibration changes, that gets sent back too.

  149. MM,
    Thanks so much, that is very helpful. The young person in question has a liberal arts degree, some mental health challenges and personality quirks, but has evidently “taught himself” some coding. He’s working now in an entry-level clerical position that he describes as mindless, but probably pays around $35K and comes with full health benefits, which he needs to cover his medical issues. He made it through the first cut to attend Zip Code Wilmington (which is a Delaware camp run by a government-funded nonprofit), but if selected would obviously have to quit the job with health insurance, move to Delaware and find a cheap place to live, and then pay some $12K for the program. I offered to look into this for his mom, who had never heard of coding bootcamps, but it is very difficult to find objective reviews or evaluations online. For someone who doesn’t have the soft skills to sell himself to prospective employers even if he gets through this program, not sure it’s a wise investment.

  150. The term “coding” doesn’t describe the task well, that is why I hate it. It sounds like we are translating sentences into Morse code, which is NOT what is happening. It is a very recent term – seems to first appear about 6 or 7 years ago. The term “programming” is not optimal either, but it dates from the dawn of computing, and really means “write a program”. Yes, I know we talk about “code”, which is a term that refers to the sum total of all the programs that make up an application. We also say “codebase” and “code repository”. But “code” as a verb appeared recently and seems to have come from the kiddie summer camp world – I think it was a way to make learning to program sound easier.

  151. Lauren – lol – they have to justify those fancy new police cars that we taxpayers just bought them

  152. Scarlett – most hiring managers I know are deeply suspicious of bootcamps. Of course there are exception, and if someone comes in and really knows whatever is needed for the job, he or she will get hired. The problem is getting the hiring manager to flag your resume to start with.

  153. MM,

    Looking online it says a place like Hunter College offers the same basic program for a total of $4k with a schedule that may let you keep working. How do you think that would rate against a boot camp?

  154. Student whine time, since I only have a couple of minutes before class and can’t do anything useful. I have this one student in my CS2 class who is driving me bananas. He comes to every office hour, and wants his hands held through every last task. He is smart, so it isn’t an issue of being underprepared or lost – I would actually have more sympathy in that case. Rather, he is like my stereotype of the entitled private liberal arts school student who would rather have everything spoonfed than just think for himself. OK fine, he probably pays enough tuition, except that he is really hurting himself because he isn’t learning to problem solve for himself. I keep trying to show him that if I just tell him the answers, he isn’t learning. Instead I show him strategies he could use himself – read the darn error message instead of just throwing your hands up and saying “help”. Read the darn book – it is actually helplful (he admits everytime he comes that he hasn’t opened the book). Trace the piles of program examples I give you – I don’t write those things just for my own amusement. Today he had a really simple error – his program couldn’t open a file because it couldn’t locate it. He had never read the error message (“File not found” – couldn’t be more obvious), he had not put the file into the location I had shown them and had never stopped to check, and he had no idea that a simple way to check is to look in the Windows file system, locate the folder and CHECK if the darn file is there!!! Or so he claimed – as I said, he is smart – and my opinion is that he simply did not want to bother. Easier to have the professor do it. But he is sucking up time and making other students wait.

    OK, vent over. Off to class.

  155. Are you looking at a single course at Hunter or the CS major?

    Keep in mind the total hours required – a bootcamp typically requires 8 to 10 hour days over a long period of time. That is how they get the time to cram all that stuff into someone’s brain. A typical 3 credit college course is 3 in-class hours + 6 to 9 out of class hours, so up to 12 hours a WEEK, over 14 weeks. Obviously, you can’t cover as much ground in a one semester course. The value is in doing the degree, not just taking one course.

    For CS, I prefer Brooklyn College or Queens College to Hunter.

  156. Except that he is likely to drive his immediate manager bananas before he ever makes upper management. I have seen people like that get fired quickly. In tech, no one tolerates people who spend all their time bugging other people for simple answers.

  157. Are you looking at a single course at Hunter or the CS major?

    I haven’t read too much about it. They mentioned that places like Hunter are offering certificate programs that attempt to provide the same skills as the bootcamp for less money and with a more flexible schedule Of the top of my head the bootcamp might sound better to a pointy haired hiring manager but I don’t know.

  158. In tech, no one tolerates people who spend all their time bugging other people for simple answers.

    There is a happy medium. I saw someone get fired because they refused to ask questions and insisted on figuring it all out themselves.

  159. @DD – we went from a 9:35 start time last year to a 7:55. It’s great for working parents. I thought by now we would be adjusted, but mornings are always a rush, kids are always hard to pull out of bed (and they get to bed early enough to say,”I’m not tired” and toss and turn before falling asleep).

    I am in total agreement with later start times for older kids, and I realize that the 7 year olds are the best equipped for getting to school early, but it’s hard. Wah,wah, wah. And next year they are rolling it back to 7:30. Which is a soft reason for homeschooling, but it is definitely on the list.

  160. Louise, sounds strange, but Tyson was one of my clients and the process of raising chickens to eat is unpleasant. One of the bankers went with me for the due diligence, and he walked around the plant. I stayed in the office because he said that I would never eat chicken again if I went for the tour.

  161. “In tech, no one tolerates people who spend all their time bugging other people for simple answers.”

    So, any chance you can find a way to convey this message? E.g., my job is to help prepare you for the real world. That includes teaching you both the technical steps to solve a specific problem AND the skills to figure out how to solve problems yourself, because no employer is going to hold your hand and answer basic questions. You are focusing on the first part and ignoring the second part. Therefore, to make sure you are getting what you need from my class, I would like you to spend the next XX weeks focusing on your own problem-solving skills. This means, before you come to see me, you need to [insert list here — read the error code, etc.]. If you do these things and are still stuck, please come to me and I will help you over the hump. Etc.

  162. FWIW, I also have to say no one tolerates this in law, either. The skillset we value isn’t *knowing* the answer, it is being able to *figure out* the answer for a specific situation. Ergo, someone who starts every project with “how do I figure this out,” or comes back and asks more questions at every turn, is going to be shown the door very, very quickly.

    Honestly, most people I’ve met who do this are in fact lacking a critical skill/ability. They are usually very smart kids — that’s how they’ve gotten this far. But if a kid routinely can’t separate the wheat from the chaff after lots of training and support, it’s usually because they can’t tell which is which. If they can’t write a clear, logical argument that flows from A to B to C, maybe they are great on detail but just don’t have analytical skills. Etc. Smart kids, every one, but in the wrong job for their skill set.

  163. LfB/Mooshi – in all jobs I have been at there has been a balance between figuring out things for yourself and asking questions. This is very important for a new to the workforce student to understand. Also you can’t pester your primary resource (just like the student shouldn’t be going to Mooshi every time). He can ask his class mates .
    Usually by the time you are hired into a job the previous occupant has departed or can offer very limited training. Then there is a time limit to asking your resources the same questions. One woman was moved from her job because she was holding her primary resource hostage with her questions and he couldn’t do his own job.
    I think Mooshi should offer “skills to function in the work world” half an hour workshop.

  164. MM, If he consistently doesn’t read, maybe there’s a reason for that. If you refuse to answer questions until he shows you proof of having been tested, and the tests show a LD, you’d be doing him a real favor. Alternately, make him show you an outline of the chapter before you answer any questions.

  165. I think Rhett’s on the right track for Scarlett’s family member. Keep the job, but go to school part time to learn and possibly get a degree that will allow him to move to a better job.

  166. DD, I find it curious that HS will start (and end) earlier than MS. Any idea why? More time for ECs and PT jobs?

  167. “in all jobs I have been at there has been a balance between figuring out things for yourself and asking questions. This is very important for a new to the workforce student to understand. Also you can’t pester your primary resource (just like the student shouldn’t be going to Mooshi every time). He can ask his class mates .”

    @Louise – ITA – spot on. There is a balance, and the successful people ask their peers for help along with their managers. You can easily be unsuccessful for either not asking questions or asking too many (especially repetitive ones or ones that can be solved with our friend Google).

  168. “You can easily be unsuccessful for either not asking questions or asking too many (especially repetitive ones or ones that can be solved with our friend Google).”

    DH is constantly amazed at the number of students who come in with questions that can be solved by Google. They will ask him “I can’t figure out how to get the red thingy to move away from the green thingy” and, as they are speaking, he turns to his computer and types in the question, verbatim, to Google, which answers it. Now, if these were middle-aged clerical folks, it would be one thing, but they are digital natives at the top end of the IQ distribution.

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