How to become a grown-up in 468 easy(ish) steps.

Adulting email cheat

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For when you don’t really need to write a long email, but don’t want to sound curt. Just go ahead and type it in. NO ONE WILL KNOW!

15th Jul 2014 787 notes , Comments

Step 326: Pick up the bill when you go out to eat with your parents

This is a small gesture that works like a champ. You don’t have to do it every time, obviously, but it implies many things, all good:

a) You have enough money that a dinner is not a big deal;
b) You don’t treat your relationship with your parents as one in which resources flow in one direction, and one direction only and;
c) You are capable of pulling off sneaky but benevolent power plays. For that last one, go up to the host halfway through the meal and slip them your card, saying, “my parents will try to pay, so please just put the meal on this.”

26th Jun 2014 418 notes , Comments

PSA: Lock your stupid windows.

Seriously, go check your windows right now. Because if I had, I’d still have my laptop and all my pictures from the past three years.

Also, if you are the person who broke into my house, rifled through things, stole my laptop, perfume, rad vintage purse and general sense of safety in my home, I am putting the following low-stakes curses upon you:

  • I hope you stub your toe every single hour on the hour until you die.
  • You will have the highest expectations for every one of your birthdays and they will never pan out, but not for obvious reasons — it’s just that no one is really feeling it. 
  • May all your poops be disappointing and/or unsettling.
  • You will meet a woman (or man) who is so utterly perfect for you, and s/he will be your everything, and for a week or so they’ll feel the same but deep down something is nagging at them. And you can sense this, but you just push ahead because God, you’ve never felt like this before. But then, out of the blue, s/he will look at you, say simply, “I’m sorry,” and walk out of your life. And what you will never, ever know is that s/he finally realized what the problem was. It will never work out because you resemble her uncle. 
25th Jun 2014 896 notes , Comments

Step 325: Know how to find the right apartment

From the ole inbox: A friend (or two) of mine and I wanna get our own place. Aside from cost (rent is TOO DAMN HIGH), what do we need to look out for or know?

An excellent question! Here we go:

Before you are ready to move: Make sure to keep an updated document of your current and past addresses, landlord phone numbers and other info you’ll be asked on a lease application, including first and last names of other residents, current employment information and so on. Bonus: lots of these things are also useful on job applications! Also, start saving for deposits. Beyond the one on the apartment, you may have to put down deposits on your utilities. 

When you are ready to move: Figure out your price range — a good rule of thumb is no more than one-third of your income. Also, clean out your car — lots of landlords notice the small details, and how you take care of your other expensive habitat.

If you’re in a tight market, don’t send a flurry of questions to the landlord ahead of time; briefly introduce yourself, dropping in a detail or two that makes you sound put-together and responsible. Ask for the first viewing possible.

When looking at an apartment: Be sure to be on-time, looking tidy and presentable, then check the following:

1. Hot Water: Go turn on the shower and make sure there is sufficient water pressure and it’s nice and strong and not, as my mom once memorably said of my shower, like having an 83-year-old man pee on you. Also, does the water get hot? Is it the either scalding or frigid kind of shower? That’s nice to know.

2. Safety: Come back by the area at night, during the day, on the weekend and so on. Make sure you feel reasonably safe at all these times.

3. Volume: Consider whether there is something very loud nearby, like a fire station or train tracks or a high school with a sub-standard but enthusiastic marching band. Will this make you crazy?

4. Management: Does the landlord seem at least semi-reasonable? Landlords are tightly-wound people, generally speaking, so you have to give them a little leniency. But, real talk: chances are, if you are in a conflict with them, they will win. They have money and lawyers. They’re business people. Make sure they’re the kind you want to be in business with.

5. Electricity: Be sure to check all the light switches and, if you can, the electrical outlets, perhaps by taking along your cell phone charger. Otherwise, you could end up like my friend who had 14 decorative outlets and two that actually powered things. It’s also useful to check on how many and how well-placed they are. If you like to blow-dry your hair, look for an outlet in the bathroom. It’s nice to have several in your bedroom so you’re not constantly tripping over your bedside lamp’s cord that must stretch taut through the air. And so on.

6. Closets and Storage: Do they exist? Some old houses had bedrooms without closets. Having at least one big non-bedroom closet is a lifesaver, so long as you do not follow my example and allow it to become a dangerous and unstable mess, like a tiny DMZ right there in your apartment.

7. Appliances: Is there a dishwasher, or a washer-dryer? These things are luxurious, but if there is nothing you hate in the world more than hand-washing dishes, then you might make that a condition of your search. 

8. Accessibility: Can your furniture logically get up the stairs and into the apartment? It’s a good plan, if you have really large and/or awkwardly shaped things, to measure them in advance, then take a tape measure along with you.

9. Pets: If you have a pet, can they live here with you? The lure of a nice apartment is not justification for dropping your pet off at the shelter. Also, some apartments that say “no pets” can be coaxed into a quiet, well-behaved, neutered cat, particularly if you can provide a reference from a landlord as to your cat’s goodness.

10. Paint: Can you paint the walls? What if you agree to paint them back to the original, sanitarium white when you leave?

11. Parking: Is it extra? Lot v. garage? Remote for the garage? Assigned spots? Street parking at reasonable times? Where can guests park? (thanks, lexingtoncherry!)

12: Additional costs: Which utilities do you pay? Power, water/sewer, garbage, cable, internet …? Be sure to factor these into your cost calculation. (thanks, anserini!)

After seeing an apartment: If you know it’s the right place for you, express that when you see it and then send an email as soon as possible. Thank them for taking the time to meet with you, say that you are very interested, have the deposit money ready and would like to sign a lease ASAP.

Good luck! Anything I’m missing?

24th Jun 2014 4,632 notes , Comments

Step 324: If someone calls you out for saying something shitty …

Just own up to it. Seriously. Don’t freak out, don’t spend time trying to justify whatever you just said. And, HINT: the more of an urge you feel to justify what you just said, the greater the chance that it was indeed very shitty and this is your way of coping with your own shame.

Say, “Wow, you’re right. I’m really sorry, and thank you for letting me know that.” Then, don’t say that shitty thing again. 

24th Jun 2014 2,264 notes , Comments

A gentle Monday PSA

I’ve had to remind myself of this five times today. 

16th Jun 2014 821 notes , Comments

“I’m currently worth more dead (with my life insurance policy) …

… than alive (with my student loan debt).”

Here’s my take on the incredible Tumblr Q&A with President Obama. Student loans and college tuition are just impossibly difficult questions with very, very few answers.

The tl;dr — college should be way more affordable. Loan interest rates should be way more reasonable. Unfortunately, it seems like neither of those things are going to happen in the short term.

So at the very least, high school students should be super informed before they make college choices and take on huge debt loads. Financial literacy must become a component of every high school education. Not all of us are going to use calculus; every single one of us has to know how money works. 

Thanks again to the incredible Tumblr staff and David Karp for making this event happen. 

12th Jun 2014 440 notes , Comments

You have until midnight tonight …

… to ask the President a question about student loans, higher education, debt — really, anything.* Go, go, go!

In the meantime, I’m packing for DC, following this pre-trip checklist, and feeling infinitely grateful that a reader gave me this brilliant tip a few years back:

When you make your trip packing list, be sure to save it on your Google Drive (or cloud storage of choice). Label where you are going and how long you’re going to be there. Then, the next time you need to make a packing list, just open that one and modify as necessary. 

* I feel like to accurately represent the tumblr demographic, at least one question should be about whether or not the President ships.

8th Jun 2014 119 notes , Comments
staff:

Maybe you’ve just started to pursue a higher education. Maybe you’ve spent your adult life paying off debt from school. Either way, you’ve probably got questions about why college costs so much, what can be done about it, and if it’s even worth doing in the first place.
You should ask those questions to the President of the United States.
On Tuesday, June 10, our Founder/CEO, David, will head down to Washington to host a live conversation about education with President Obama. David will ask your questions. The President will answer them, out of his mouth, in front of the world.
(The White House will also be picking out a few question-askers to join us in person. If having the President’s ear isn’t enough, maybe standing on his carpet is.)
Submit your questions by midnight on Sunday, June 8. Then tune in to the White House Tumblr on Tuesday, June 10. See you in DC!

I’m incredibly honored to be a part of this. Please, please submit your questions.

staff:

Maybe you’ve just started to pursue a higher education. Maybe you’ve spent your adult life paying off debt from school. Either way, you’ve probably got questions about why college costs so much, what can be done about it, and if it’s even worth doing in the first place.

You should ask those questions to the President of the United States.

On Tuesday, June 10, our Founder/CEO, David, will head down to Washington to host a live conversation about education with President Obama. David will ask your questions. The President will answer them, out of his mouth, in front of the world.

(The White House will also be picking out a few question-askers to join us in person. If having the President’s ear isn’t enough, maybe standing on his carpet is.)

Submit your questions by midnight on Sunday, June 8. Then tune in to the White House Tumblr on Tuesday, June 10. See you in DC!

I’m incredibly honored to be a part of this. Please, please submit your questions.

7th Jun 2014 19,529 notes , Comments

Everyone does their best. Even though some people’s best is really shitty.

—My GrannyBarb’s mantra

16th May 2014 2,187 notes , Comments