Slowly Sipping Coffee

Summer Look Back and More!

This summer has seemed to fly by. We spent the first part of it researching and meeting with different homebuilders for our Canyon Lake property. That was followed by a month long road trip for Mrs. SSC and the kids, and I got to catch up with them for the last half in Montana and Idaho. I even got to spend a day solo exploring Seattle on my way out there.

The blown glass museum was awesome, the pics don't do it justice.

The blown glass museum was awesome, the pics don’t do it justice.

I even met up with a reader who was kind enough to let me pay homage to one of my childhood idols, Bruce Lee. Thanks again for the ride, Max!

I watched SO many of his movies over and over as a kid

I watched SO many of his movies over and over as a kid

We didn’t escape the heat of Texas, but you can’t match the beauty of Glacier NP anywhere in Texas I’ve seen yet. Coeur D’Alene was beautiful too and we spent almost a week there as well.

So hot, even in Glacier Nat'l Park!

So hot, even in Glacier Nat’l Park!

Lake McDonald - Glacier Nat'l Park

Lake McDonald – Glacier Nat’l Park

We were home just a short time before heading out to San Destin to spend a week on the beach.

Awesome week of boogie boarding and excellent waves!

Awesome week of boogie boarding and excellent waves!

With one of the kids in school, our vacation is now timed with every other family with school aged children. Sigh… On the plus side, we were able to not have either kid in daycare/preschool over the summer and that saved a lot of coin. Woohoo! Our spending was good for most of the summer, even including the big road trip and beach vacation, but man was August spendy! We had a lot of big expenditures hit as we are starting to prep the house for sale in a few years. Why start this far out? Well, we want to enjoy some of those things as well and not just make improvements immediately before moving out.

Home Costs Stay High!

The biggest expenditures of August were all home related. We installed new carpet in the entire second floor and the Master BR closet and that ran close to $5k. We’d been putting this off because we knew it would be a lot, but at this point, I can’t believe we waited so long. OMG, the difference is amazing in look, and feel on our bare feet. Well worth it! Now we don’t have to make an allowance for replacement when we list the house.

We also painted out Master bathroom, the guest bathroom, and the upstairs common area and man did that take some time. It has been SO nice not looking at a drab, light, milk chocolate brown on all of those walls, again, I can’t believe we waited so long. It’s amazing what a difference changing up the colors can make. We got all of our paint during a Sherwin Williams 30% off sale, so that stayed at a reasonable cost.

Our last section of fence got replaced. I could spend 300 words describing the boondoggle that ordeal turned into, but in short, it cost us nothing and we can leave it at that.

We replaced our side yard rotted deck with some more dirt and grass. Yep, our side yard had been covered with a deck, and after 13 years, it had rotted significantly. I removed it all and was left with a mud pit and a cluster of a sprinkler system. Who knew there was an open sprinkler line just pouring water under the deck the past 4 years? Not me… That took some spending to get those issues taken care of but now it drains well again and has grass on it. Hooray!

No more deck, just more grass to mow.

No more deck, just more grass to mow.

** Termites! I forgot to mention termites. Ugh, we found out we had termites, of the formosa variety and that was also a few thousand $$ to get treated. That event is what caused me to take out the side deck. They’re gone now, but man, what an unexpected cost.

** IRS snafu. I also forgot about an IRS snafu from MRs. SSC’s old megacorp. They screwed up some paperwork on their end, which caused our tax numbers to change. However, this was sent out AFTER tax season and AFTER we had already filed. With life being life, we got busy and forgot about filing an amendment and this ended up going by the wayside. Whoops! The IRS didn’t forget about it and sent us a $2k tax bill, d’oh! It was purely our error just an oversight, but still another unexpected expense we hadn’t planned on.


Home Building: So Much to Consider

We met with a couple of home builders over the summer and inspected some homes currently under construction and we were pleased with the level of quality in both companies. They both had great workmanship in everything from the ground up and especially all the workings behind the drywall. When we thought we had made our choice and started to proceed with Company B, we found out that what their owner thought they could build a house for and what their estimators came up with were WAY different. They knew our budget target up front and after spending multiple days with them discussing this and other building options, we found out that their price per square foot ($/.sq. ft.) was approximately $150-$160/sq. ft. Hahahaha, yeah that’s WAY outside our price range. They essentially started off saying that they couldn’t do it for our budget and the closest they could get would be $50k over budget with up to $25k possible expenditures on top of that. Yeah, thanks, but No.

We chose Company A, which was one of our favorites to begin with. They have a standard price of $130/sq. ft. which includes levels of trim, fixtures, countertops, and exterior finishes that we are pleased with. There is much more stuff covered in that initial price as well, and like Company B, they have great construction quality throughout the process. This past Friday we met with them and started the lot survey, tree survey and geotechnical soils report for our lot. We also spent an hour talking with the designer and going over the floor plan, layout, and design aspects of the house. So, exciting for that to finally be moving forward!

3 Years Blogging!

We also hit our 3 year blogging milestone! Yep, it doesn’t seem like it, but we have been blogging for 3 years now. Man how things have changed. Our initial timeline had us being able to leave our jobs this year or next year for sure. Instead of grinding it out for the money, Mrs. SSC quit corporate ’Murica and our lives and schedule has been way easier and happier. Our timeline was pushed to 2019 instead of 2017, but that’s perfectly fine with us. More money doesn’t equal more happiness.

This could've been our car and "family"?

This could’ve been our car and “family”?

Our plan changed from relocating to Virginia, to the Northwest’ish (MT or ID), in fact, this summer’s vacation was designed to be a scouting trip for Bigfork, Missoula, Whitefish, and Coeur D’Alene (CDA) as possible retirement landing spots. We were even tempted to go to some open houses in CDA, but ultimately stuck with the current plan. That plan is to retire out in Hill Country, in our house at Canyon Lake. Well, retire is a strong word, I’ll just switch from petroleum geologist to stay at home dad, and Mrs. SSC will keep teaching for an undetermined number of years. Retirement doesn’t quite fit the bill, which is why we refer to it as our Fully Funded Lifestyle Change (FFLC).


The summer came, the summer went, we spent money, we saved money, we made solid decisions progressing our latest version of the FFLC and the world kept spinning. While it’s great looking towards the future and what those plans may or may not be, don’t forget that life goes on, every minute of every day. Stop and smell the roses of the day you’re currently living, because you never know when those days could end.


** = edits made because evidently I forgot a few things. Not sure how I could forget almost $7k in expenses. Probably my mind blocking them out since they were all unexpected expenditures. 🙂


16 thoughts on “Summer Look Back and More!

  1. Miss Mazuma

    Happy 3 years!! I have only been along for the past one but you guys have managed a lot in that time alone so congrats. 🙂

    Curious if fixing that sprinkler system will save you some money…sounded like quite the leak! At least you didn’t have any damage to your house or the foundation.

    I can’t believe summer is over. Beautiful pics from your trip!! I haven’t spent enough time in Montana or Idaho but the few times I have been it’s never enough. Now, BRING ON FALL!!

    1. Mr. SSC

      Thanks! It’s been kind of a whirlwind even over the last year. I mean we didn’t even have the Canyon Lake idea in our heads until March of this year, and now we’re designing a house to go on the property we bought. Life sure does move fast when you want it to. 🙂

      I hope fixing the sprinkler saves money, but I’m a sprinkler scrooge anyway. I run it 3 days a week, sometimes 4 if it gets really hot for long, but we avoided that for all but 3 weeks this summer. Then it gets turned off from ~October until late May or June, whenever the heat turns back on. Yeah thank goodness there wasn’t a hole carved out under the foudnation from that, I mean, come on people… Who builds a deck over an open sprinkler line with no head on it?! mind boggling…

      The pics are awesome and I didn’t include many at all. I can’t wait for fall. We got a little cool spell after Harvey, and omg it felt amazing. Fingers crossed we have more than 5 days of “winter” this year. 🙂

  2. Mrs. Picky Pincher

    Woohoo, congrats on 3 years of blogging! Time flies, doesn’t it? 🙂 I’m super jelly of your summer travels too, but what a bummer that you didn’t get a reprieve from the Texas heat. I have daydreams hoping that it’s cooler everywhere else but here lol.

    1. Mr. SSC

      Man, you have no idea, especially blogging, time just whizzes on by! I saw a news story that Missoula, MT had 9 days in August over 90 degrees (this was mid Aug. when i saw the story) and Atlanta, GA hadn’t hit 90 yet that month. I said, “well, looks like we should’ve gone to Atlanta to escape the heat…” lol Crazy… It was still a great trip though.Awesome views, people, and icy cold lakes to swim in. Fun times all around. 🙂

      1. Adam

        Having grown up in Missoula and married into Central Texas (after spending over 4 years there), I can tell you that 90 degrees in Montana is MUCH nicer than 90 degrees in central Texas. The biggest difference: In Montana you go in the shade and it’s noticeably cooler due to lack of humidity. In central Texas, it’s just less sunny. Glad that you enjoyed the home country and best of luck in the future.

        1. Mr SSC Post author

          Yeah 90 degrees in MT is WAY different than down here. Plus, you still get the great views all around as well. I definitely had a great time there and would like to go visit that area again sometime.

    1. Mr. SSC

      It took a while for me to come around to that because it seems counter intuitive, but more money doesn’t necessarily mean more happiness. Now, always stressing about money because you don’t have it, oh man, that is sucktown. Been there, lived that. When you hit a point that your needs are covered and you’re at “enough” having a bigger paycheck just to have a bigger paycheck doesn’t pan out if it’s more negatives than positives associated with that.

  3. Mr.PIE

    Well done with the 3 yr milestone! We share your pain with summer expenses. Getting the mountain home driveway done and a new fridge freezer. Ka-Ching! Also going to need to invest in a quality snowblower. That could be $999-1400. We get a ton of that white stuff in NH. At MA home, we had meeting with a realtor so this retiring thing is getting real. Just scoping out what we need to be doing to prep home for sale. A paint job to the foyer / stairs was recommended to add some “pop” to the entrance. The list of to-do’s hopefully won’t get much longer. We’ll see……

    The plans for your home sound exciting. That blank slate for home design without the blank check (!!) will be a blast! Are you and Mrs. SSC joint chief designers?

    Our summer was full of NH hiking, biking local islands (Nantucket and coastal Maine ) and a week in Mexico. Stuff we are gonna do a whole lot more soon

    Meanwhile, spending a couple of days at corp HQ schmoozing with bankers, venture folks and biotech leaders. Gotta keep enthusiastic while they continue to pay me but it is darn hard…!!

    1. Mr. SSC

      Thanks! If you couldn’t tell from my drop off in posting lately, it’s been a bit of a slog to write. I feel like I’m over it now, and it’s been nice having time off and not feeling like I have to post every week, rain or shine. At the same time, I do get a lot out of it, I just realized I need to take pressure off myself to keep this blog going like I had. Especially because it’s not monetized, so what do I care about traffic and keeping it up, lol.

      Those home costs man, they add up quickly! Mrs. SSC read my post and replied, “You forgot the termites, and the tax bill…” I thought, How could I forget the termites, that was a huge bill, and even bigger freakout on our end. Fortunately we’d online researched termite horror stories and our anchor point for cost to remedy it was set way high. When it came down to be about $3-4k or what ever it was we were like, “That’s all, Thank God!! Do it, get it done!!” lol.

      Yes we’re definitely chief designers. We’ve reviewed hundreds and hundreds of plans, different layouts, styles, decks, patios, screened in porch layouts, garage/workshop layouts and more. We then compiled those into 4 different pinterest boards and a 30 slide powerpoint, because who doesn’t powerpoint? Hahahaha We never found the perfect layout, so we grabbed elements of all the different ones we liked and put them in the ppt for our design meeting. She was pleased to have so much detail and input and know our “dislikes” vs our wants and needs. Our only request was, “Please be creative, and think of these as legos, to be moved wherever you want within the plan. And Please, don’t just scale this plan we’ve given you to proper buildable dimensions.” 🙂 So we’ll see.

      You guys looked like you had a great summer with all the pics I saw on twitter. Yep, gotta keep up the work front for a bit longer, but at least you know there’s an end soon right? Right? That’s got to be really nice deep down knowing that, “Yeah, this doesn’t really apply to me” when they’re discussing 2019 and 2020 business plans. 🙂

  4. Mrs. COD

    Way to go with three years of blogging! We love your philosophy and the way you approach all of your plans so flexibly. It’s so true we have to embrace the present while still planning for the future. Appreciating the journey is key! Glad you guys got in some great vacation time this summer while doing all the planning on the new house! So many decisions, I can’t imagine. Enjoy the process as much as you can; it’ll be so fun to see the finished product eventually!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Thanks, I can’t believe it’s been 3 years already. We made the best use of summer that we could, even with the house planning. It is currently its’ own debacle and yeah, so many decisions, choices, and other things need to be thought out, planned for and reviewed to decide “is this a need or want?” The budget itsn’t changing and when we put it into perspective of “is this worth working another year for?” It’s amazzing how many things can get taken off, downsized, etc… It’s exhausting in its own way. 🙂

  5. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life

    Happy three years of blogging!

    Hattip to the Lee men’s graves – I grew up on Bruce Lee movies and was devastated when I (as a child) learned that he’d died (years before!) because I was convinced he was immortal. Of course, seeing his movies as a very young child may have set me up for lifelong nightmares reliving scenes from his movies. But it was worth it! Made me tougher 😉

    Our summer was a heck of an expensive summer too, so I’m hoping for a very low cost but fun fall and winter for all of us.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Thanks! I also felt the same way when I found out about his death. I’d already watched so many of his movies SO many times, that I too was sad there wouldn’t be anymore.

      Here’s to a lower cost fall and winter for all of us. Fingers crossed! 🙂

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