Time to Winterize your Home

Was just looking for something like this! Thanks Mark

Edmonton Real Estate with Mark Wilbert

You’ll get a season’s worth of savings and peace of mind by taking a few steps in the fall to get your home ready for cold weather.

So you’ve pulled your sweaters out of mothballs and found your mittens at the bottom of the coat closet. But what about your house — is it prepared for the cold months ahead?

You’ll be a lot less comfortable in the coming months if you haven’t girded Home Sweet Home for Old Man Winter.

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6 things I’ve learned in 7 days with 2 kids

I’ve heard it said that it’s the difficulties in life that provide us with the best learning opportunities. One week into 2 kids, here are a few things I’ve learned:

1) 7 day beards are itchy as hell. It takes rock stars like Sam Roberts, Adam Rozenhart (@bingofuel), or Nathan Box (@nathanbox) to make them work. I am definitely clearly neither.
2) Newborns are not cute. They are hairless monkeys (unless they are my child, in which case it’s just deferred hairlessness).
3) Having kids isn’t a silver bullet for a bad relationship. Kids will make a mediocre relationship worse, not better. Don’t settle. The best decision you can ever make is to choose a phenomenal spouse.
4) Girls poop.
5) People can say what they want about spanking being a legitimate tool of parenting and discipline. Like the U.S. in WWII, it is the nuclear bomb that parents drop to end the war more quickly than the alternative, and probably with greater pains on both sides. I wouldn’t want it made illegal, but in hindsight, it’s always been in my interest not in my son’s.
6) Single parents deserve way more respect than they get. I’d be a terrible parent without my wife.

To share or not to share…

Our second child – the adorable, wrinkly-old-man-faced baby girl I affectionately call Baby P – was born just 3 days ago. It’s been a pretty fantastic week. When our son was born 2 years ago, I was so stressed out with trying to figure out what the hell I was doing, combined with being constantly stressed about my still-a-baby, 2-year old financial advisory practice, that I don’t remember much outside of many sleepless nights.

But there’s also been a lot more that’s happened in just the past 2 years than me becoming a better father. Twitter, for example, has grown from 26 million users to over 500 million users in just 2 years (http://ow.ly/e4uPZ; http://ow.ly/e4uH0). Facebook has had well-publicized run-ins with its members as well as privacy commissioners (http://ow.ly/e4uWv). And on some level I think we’ve all become more aware of the privacy issues involved in social media.

Or at least I thought we had. Then I decided not to post our new baby’s name on any social media. I thought people would understand pretty easily, and I didn’t think it was out of the ordinary. But man did I got a lot of tweets and FB posts complaining about the fact that I thought our baby’s name should be kept private!

I understand: it’s fascinating to find out what other people feel is a cool enough and important enough name to endow it on a new baby. For us it was a long process deciding on a name – not too ordinary, but not too different, has to be cute, but she has to be taken seriously as an adult…it’s a tough task.

But here’s the thing: through twitter, facebook, and linked in I’ve chosen to open up my personal life to a whole group of total strangers. I have over 1900 followers and over 500 LI “connections”. I don’t mention that now to brag, but to prove a point. At the very most I probably have 30 or 40 close friends. Double that for family, i have somewhere between 400 and 1800 relative strangers that can read my posts. I’ve decided that there’s enough value for me in being able to connect with those people and the information they spread. But my kids have never made that decision. And I can’t help but feel that 1800 strangers means I’ve got a lot of potential creeps following me. Most people aren’t, I’m sure. But I only need one creep to ruin our lives by finding my son or daughter’s name, realizing in the past i’ve posted what neighgborhood we live in, take a look at our pictures, and then when we’re not looking or are out of ear shot, introduce themselves to one of our kids BY NAME.

Don’t get me wrong: I know that most kids are abused by someone they know (http://ow.ly/e4v3b). But that doesn’t mean I want to be any less diligent about protecting my kids from strangers. Or being a good role model for my kids on how to deal with new technologies (or the real world). I’m not a worrier, and I don’t want to stop living our lives. But I’m a planner in my professional and personal life. And that means preparing for the bad and the good.

There’s a great passage out of “The Parking Lot Rules” by Tom Sturges that really opened my eyes to this issue. It’s called Anonymous Clothing / Anonymous Cars and here’s an excerpt:

“Put a child’s name on his clothing [like a jersey] and you have given any dangerous character an advantage: They know the child’s name! Too easily they can cross the first line of defense: familiarity.”

To all my friends, family, and friendly acquaintances: my apologies but I won’t be putting my kids’ names on twitter, facebook, linked in or any other social media. Our kids don’t get to decide how much loss of privacy they are comfortable with, and even if they could they’d probably make a dumb choice (see: sexting – http://ow.ly/e4v8H).

So please do me a favor: Don’t put my kids’ names on the web. Hell, let’s protect the privacy of everyone’s kids and commit to not putting any kids’ names on social media. Use their initials if you have to. The important people will know who you’re talking about, and the creeps will have one less tool.

Here we go…

This week has been one of birth and beginnings. With the birth of our second child, and some inspiration from Todd Babiak (@babiak), I give you my first blog post.

What will this blog be about? At this point I think it will look a lot like my twitter feed (@CaryWilliams). I originally got involved with twitter for a couple of reasons:

1) Smart people I know like Adam Rozenhart (@bingofuel) raved about it.

2) I thought it was an interesting way for my clients and potential clients to get to know me better. Clients share a lot of personal stuff with me and more and more they want an advisor that shares both professional knowledge and personal experiences.

As a lot of people know, however, large financial firms like my employer Edward Jones aren’t terribly excited about financial advisors and planners being on social media. Advisors that speak their mind have had a habit of doing stupid things that either get them in trouble with regulators or with the instituational brand. In the end, our recommendations have to be based on an individual client’s goal, and tolerance for risk, which simply can’t be done throughg a mass medium. My financial posts then will likely focus on relatively benign advice like ides for saving money, etc. 

It doesn’t mean that I won’t be trying to share valuable information. As most people know, one of my great passions is my town the fair city of Edmonton. I expect a lot of my posts will focus on the happenings of mighty E-town, and the good the bad and the ugly. In addition with 2 kids under 2 and half, and two parents working full time, it’s impossible for me to escape the trials of parenthood as a thirty-something.

So there you have it: finance, Edmonton, family, and probably a pinch of architecture or design. If you find that boring as snow melting, there are lots of other good blogs!