Freeform Friday

One and one and one is three…


It should not come as much of a surprise that houses in America have become larger over the years. From this article by Michael Batnick on The Irrelevant Investor comes this chart with data from the US Census Bureau:



Is the decline in median square feet since 2015 meaningful? Batnick doesn’t address this in the piece, but writes “Houses are getting bigger, and thanks to HGTV, they’re definitely getting nicer.” He also writes:


“Houses today are bigger and nicer than the ones we grew up in. I’m not going to get into interest rates in this post, but obviously, this is a critical part of the story.

It seems like there is an island in every kitchen and granite on every counter. These things did not exist when I was growing up. What I remember were old wooden counters and walls all over the place. Open concept is the thing these days. There are no more walls.

Crown molding is now standard. Bathtubs are separate from the shower. Houses are turning into hotels.”


Of course, as the population ages the median square footage for houses could decline as people often downsize as they grow older. Our Arizona house is 2,000 square feet smaller than our house in the mid-Atlantic. That fact is due primarily to the housing market here and what we wanted to spend and not necessarily due to a strong desire to downsize, though. Yes, Batnick is talking about new homes, but wealthier, elderly Americans could have new homes built that are smaller.

I grew up in a rowhouse–they weren’t called townhouses in those days–in Baltimore. I can’t find the square footage on the Baltimore City website, but I can tell you the lot is just 18 feet wide. Zillow to the rescue…according to them the house is 1,152 square feet. I’m guessing that counts the finished part of the basement, but I could be wrong. That house was built in the 1950s. From the Maryland Historical Trust a less than stellar picture of a rowhouse block:


See the source image


For most of us, our house is the single most significant purchase we make. It is where memories are made. I have been remiss in not writing about this topic more often.


From Hemmings is this article about automobile restoration dos and don’ts. Here are most of the don’ts:


DON’T: Be afraid to ask questions

What kind and/or brand of paint does the shop typically use? Is it going to media blast the body or chemically strip it? If it doesn’t do its own engine work, who does it typically use? Get into the weeds of your restoration, so you’re clear about hows and whys of the work.

DON’T: Hover over the restoration shop

Let the shop do its work. Helicoptering over the project, because you live nearby, invites stress on your part and the craftspeople doing the work. A few in-person visits to track progress is fine, but don’t make the shop your weekly haunt. You’ll annoy the staff and interrupt the shop’s workflow.

DON’T: Change course midstream

It happens often: A simple repaint turns into a full-blown restoration, or standard resto turns into a concours-ribbon-chasing project. Changing course midway through the project inevitably requires the shop to backtrack and redo work. That adds time and money. Make your plan before the shop starts and stick with it.

DON’T: Expect to make money

Only a fraction of cars are worth more than what it costs for a full restoration. If you’re committing to the project, do it for the love of the car and thrill of the project itself. If it’s because you’re harboring notions of turning a profit after the color sanding is completed, don’t bother. For the vast majority of vehicles, it ain’t going to happen.


Of course, most of these tips do not apply to people doing the work themselves. The last “don’t” is something about which I have written before. I don’t believe in buying a car as a financial investment, but as an investment in the enjoyment of life. Some people think they can make money buying, restoring and flipping cars (of course, that’s similar to what many people do, or try to do, with houses…I am not writing about car dealers). I think if you can afford it and you want to restore a “classic” car, then you should do it “for the love of the car and thrill of the project itself.”

What I am doing with my Z06 is not a restoration in the traditional sense, but it is an investment in the enjoyment of my life. I will quote “Ferris Bueller,” “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Enjoy your holiday weekend!







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12 thoughts on “Freeform Friday

  1. It’s crazy in that how square footage is used is more important than total amount. We live in a 2350 sq. ft house with just the two of us. It has three beds, three baths, an office/fourth bedroom, and a basement/club room. The kitchen does not have an island but we can eat in the kitchen. We have two walk in closets, but they are smaller than we need.
    Optimally, if our closets were bigger and we had another room in the basement in which to put our workout gear we would be primo. The things that have become “have to have” in houses today are interesting: fireplace, dedicated office space, workout space, separate shower and tub in at least one bath, island and two stoves in the kitchen. And that doesn’t include the three season room.
    Folks are cocooning, and while the McMansion has lost some of its charm, the pandemic has highlighted the desire if not the need for “dedicated space”.


    1. Yes, Doc, it’s like most things in life. It’s not just “how much,” but “how.”

      I will be interested to see if, in 5-10 years, people return to high-density urban areas or if they stay in single-family homes away from the city.


  2. “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

    I appreciate that sentiment more today than I did on Monday. How’s that you ask? I have been hospitalized since Tuesday morning (had a friend bring me my laptop yesterday). I will possibly be discharged tomorrow. How did I end up here?

    Sunday evening I noticed a small swollen area on my upper thigh. By Monday night it was approx 6 inches long, 4 inches wide and about 1 1/2 inches taller than normal. At 3am Tuesday I couldn’t stand the pain any longer and headed to the local ER. Doctor looked at the swollen area and immediately requested some blood tests. He came back in about 45 minutes later and told me I was being admitted RIGHT NOW. Gave me a gown and put me back on the table. Told me he was putting a drain in the swollen area NOW, and did. Then pulled out a needle and gave me a shot in my upper arm. The drain was for a blood infection that was going sepsis( white blood cell count was over 23,000), the shot was insulin as my blood sugar reading was 512. WTH?

    I had surgery Thursday afternoon on the infection, which a CT scan showed went deeper than initially thought. I have since had as many as 4 IV’s pumping different antibiotics and a saline solution into me, I cant remember how many units in insulin but plenty. The blood sugar is down to less than 100 now, but the white blood cell count is still to high to be released.

    So how did I end up like this? I honestly have no idea. I eat decent, not super healthy but decent ( rarely eat pies candy cakes, rarely drink soda, little bread or its variants, etc. Lot of fruit and fresh vegetables) As for the infection in my blood? I had been feeling a little “off” for about 4- 4 1/2 months but nothing I thought to be serious.I guess i was way off on my self diagnosis.

    So now, once I’m healthy and back outta this miserable hospital room, I believe it’s time to reexamine my priorities. I think a good bit less work, and large bit more DDM time, ie; “looking at life”


  3. I’m still a bit loopy, I came to the hospital WEDNESDAY morning, not Tuesday morning.


    1. Holy sh*t, DDM! PLEASE take care of yourself.

      Feel free to correct me, David Banner (not his real name), but a severe infection can induce the body to release a hormone (cortisol, I believe) in the fight against the infection. However, the hormone released is really a steroid, which raises blood sugar. Your infection was obviously quite acute.

      I am honored that you would take the time during your travails to post a comment. Once again, my sincere wish for a speedy and complete recovery. Check in only when you can. Be well, sir.


      1. You are correct oh wise one. DDM, on discharge, go see your dentist to rule out a latent oral infection as the culprit.


      2. Thanks for the input David Banner. As for it being dental related, I guess it’s possible even though I have full upper and lower plates.

        I will inquire though as I would like to try to narrow down the source.


  4. ” Your infection was obviously quite acute”

    According to 2 of the doctors, including the surgeon, if I had waited as little as 5 more days, I would likely have went straight to the ICU, or worse.

    Interesting about the blood sugar being affected by the blood infection. Nobody has brought that up to me. Now I have questions for the Dr in the morning.

    Thanks for the info.


    1. I appreciate your confidence in my “knowledge,” but I am not a doctor. I cannot say that all of the elevated blood sugar is a result of the infection. It could have been a bad feedback loop.

      Please take care of yourself.


  5. DDM, I will address the situation with the one I know who can assist, i.e. prayers. Thank you for your wisdom to take yourself to the ER. Many thanks to those regular readers with the wisdom, education and training to offer their advice. For anyone else reading these comments, take the wisdom expressed here and apply it to yourself to keep yourself safe. Do NOT wait on a questionable medical condition and seek assistance as soon as possible.


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