I agreed to give an annual State of My Home update to my family each year. Unfortunately, it was scheduled on the same night as the SOTU, so I wasn’t able to watch the President’s speech.
Actually, I finished with plenty of time to watch the President’s speech, but I decided to watch basketball for awhile and then tuned in to watch Paul Ryan’s hair. Man, I’m still impressed with that.
The SOMH is not a constitutional requirement in my home. My home doesn’t have a written constitution.
Since we are family, we mainly rely on unwritten rules of conduct or standard social norms that are similar to other families. Except we take off our shoes in our house, which seems to be outside the norm judging by the looks we get when we ask our guests to do so (or maybe they’re just worried about us smelling their stinky feet).
But I have decided to use the U.S. Constitution as guideline for my SOMH (Article II, Section 3):
He shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.
While I wouldn’t be so presumptuous to appoint myself to the Executive role in my house, I assumed my wife would allow me the honor of making this annual update.
What follows is my SOMH, which might have some parallels to what I believe would constitute a good SOTU:
We’re still here and in relatively decent shape. That’s good. Thank you.
We got along well as a family unit and we all contributed to decisions over the last year. (While our government seemed awfully interested in making decisions against the people rather than for the people).
We look for ways to add value for others outside of this home so they will continue to be willing to trade things of value with us and we can continue to enjoy the incredibly blessed standard of living that we have. (While those in government destabilizes the foundations of this approach to improving our standard of living).
We’ve taken steps to educate and establish productive social norms for the next generation in hopes those efforts will lead to productive self-sufficiency and a rewarding life (and none of that relies on the standardized test scores).
We’ve taken prudent steps to help secure our own future because, well, listen to the the SOTU. We have no illusions that government is going to make anything easier for us.
We saved for our retirement so we will have a better chance of not burdening the next generation. (While government continues to borrow copious amounts from future generations).
We contributed to our HSA, so we can make better medical care choices since we write the checks on the first $5,000 of medical expenses. We even learned a way to control costs from a mistake, which we would have not learned if we didn’t write the checks from our HSA. (While the government seems to want to take us back in the direction of disinterested third parties paying the bills, which will drive costs up further).
We didn’t contribute to any college funds (while looking at the next generation). Do I need to repeat that? Have you finished your homework? Better get to work. College seems to be a good investment – in signaling, credentials, learning to get along with others and network building, so there’s no reason you shouldn’t want fund it yourself. (While our government wants to give it freely to folks whether they want it or not).
We spent less money than we made and paid our bills on time. That sometimes required making tough decisions and delaying gratification, but as Dave Ramsey says on his commercial, we’re adults and adults need to make adult decisions (actually, I think he says that not being able to delay gratification is the definition of a child). Unlike government, we cannot make poor spending choices and then force our employers to pay us more or simply print more money to make up for it, so we think it’s prudent to live within our means. Sorry, we have only one flat screen TV.
We’ve faced uncertainty, considered back-up plans and saved for a rainy day. (While government adds to that uncertainty by playing politics and inserting their influence into our lives further so they can sell off their reigns over government power to pick winners and losers).
We made measured choices in spending our own money that we thought would best improve our house and property to keep it in good physical condition and invested in landscaping (for our own enjoyment, neighbors, future resale and better rain drainage). (While our government tried to stimulate the economy by borrowing from future generations to buy kazoos, well, not really kazoos, but things like kazoos, because when you’re spending other people’s money you don’t spend it carefully — see Milton Friedman — but it makes kazoo makers happy).
We kept the doors, windows, locks and alarm system in good working order to help protect against external threats. I could insert a joke about groping here, but Obama did that for me in his own speech.
We enjoyed the Old Spice commercials, now look back at me. (Which is the thought most politicians have when people look away from them).
The measures I consider necessary and expedient for next year include:
– Continue to follow prudent steps of last year.
– Continue to search for ways to add value in ways to encourage people to trade with us (editor’s note: if anyone has any ideas on that, drop me a line, I’m always interested).
– Fix siding and gutter that needs fixing.
– Finish the basement now that we made the investment to help solve some rain drainage concerns.
– Take a trip.
Thanks and good luck
My wife delivered the key response:
The youtube response from the younger generation:
When’s Wipeout on? Can I have some vanilla wafers?
Thanks for allowing me the indulgence.