Home Recommended Reading Workshops About RSS

Posts Tagged ‘finances’

THE EXILES: A Novel ~Allison Lynn

Friday, July 19th, 2013


To be in a state of EXILE one must be in a state or period of forced absence from one’s country or home according to Webster’s Dictionary.   It was interesting to be reading THE EXILES while our news is full of a young man, Ed Snowden, who is currently experiencing an exile on the global stage.

Nate, a middle range employee on Wall Street, and his girlfriend Emily are moving from the wealthy lifestyle in New York City to a position in Rhode Island and a house that they have purchased and believe they will be able to afford.  This is a young couple in financial exile and in shock about losing their dreams and friends.   They load up their Jeep to the brim with air mattresses, clothing, their financial papers and baby arriving in their new city on a holiday weekend in time to pick up their house keys.  When they exit the reality office with their key, baby, stroller, diaper bag, and cell phones they discover that the Jeep has been stolen.

The police are helpful but the “shocks” keep rolling in as they discover they have very little cash, no credit cards or bank money available and maybe no motel room available on this holiday weekend in October.  With an officer’s assistance and because Nate had stayed at one of the fancier hotels when he was job hunting; they were able to stay in a suite, raid the mini bar, and use their bit of cash for diapers and baby food.  The first steps towards finding home and ending THE EXILE experience.

Whenever we are in shock, humans need to search their history to find relief, to open the channels for recovery towards a future.  Much of Lynn’s story is the back story of childhoods of Nate and Emily. What were they hoping for, what are they giving up and how their future hinges on caring for baby Trevor.   Thus begins a secondary story about Nate’s father George, a fairly successful international, Chicago architect, who has distanced himself from his family because buildings are just more important to him and what they will say about him in his future.  George is also on the road heading to his father’s home in Rhode Island.  George has chosen his EXILE.

The author actually understands the finances of the practice of architecture, and I truly enjoyed reading about how the money flows in and out; that there are times of feast and the corresponding famine during the rhythms of any given year or season.  There was little mention of the CFO’s role in an architect’s life, I think it could have added more dimension to Nate’s character and his review of his mother’s experience.  I was happy I could read between the lines, interpret and maybe the reader does not need to make this connection, though it weighted my analysis into the plus column.

The novel is also about Huntington’s disease and how we all fear the loss of control or having our mind controlled.  How we do not want to pass any of our weaknesses on to our children and how those fears can propel our responsibilities and our outlook.    Too many secrets, which of course improved the telling of the story and the reader turning the pages; the writer is skilled at her craft.

I found myself on the third page hoping that this story would have a happy ending and as in the way of great storytellers I was satisfied with the last pages and wishing the characters well.   I enjoyed reading THE EXILES.

Allison Lynn Books  
About the Author page 

If you purchase anything from the site from Amazon or Powell’s I will receive a few blossoms in my bouquet.  Thank you.  Donations also welcomed.

tlc logo I received an uncorrected proof copy from TLC online book tours and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishers.  I appreciated the good read and am pleased to share that there will be a giveaway copy of this book offered for a comment.  Yep!  A Free BOOK.

Related Reading:
The Fault In Our Stars
I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag
Lunch with Buddha & A Little Love Story (Cystic Fibrosis)
Our Love Could Light the World

Expensive or Inexpensive?

Monday, December 5th, 2011
510interiors

510Interiors

Our local environmentally friendly interior design store is going out of business.  Three people have responded to me and said, “Oh, they are just too expensive, particularly in these days.”   This is always, without fail, accompanied with that little “know it all” smile;   I know you know the one.

After 35 years of being with an environmentally GREEN architectural firm, I can tell you without a doubt this is not true.   It is the local, little guy who is doing the green work that is too expensive for us to lose.

We are replacing our 20 years old professional range, which has no replaceable/fixable parts available any more.  We have taken 3 months to work out all the details, to find a truly energy efficient, fuel efficient range, with replaceable/fixable parts and will last over 15 years.  It took a great deal of research and only one brief visit to a big box store to know we would not be purchasing anything that they have to offer.

Yes, they appear to be cheaper and they are all standard sized.  But not one of them has good enough energy efficiency ratings for our house.   They pollute the inside environment at unhealthy levels when is use even with their star ratings.   Every 5 years the company stops making replaceable/fixable parts – one would need to purchase a whole new range about every 7 years.   And we do just that and expect that to be the way.

“No one fixes these things anymore!”

One of the nicest parts of IT Girl’s apartment is her 1947 O’Keefe and Merritt Gas range.  Still working with amazing efficiency – people are hunting for these workhorses all the time they are so good.

A local small appliance retailer has been working with us for the past 3 months.  He assisted us in finding the range that we eventually chose and which met our standards and goals.  This range will not be in a landfill or appliance recycling center within 7 years and we will not be living with parts of a range that do not function properly.  It was not made in China from materials we shipped there.  We have found 5 local construction workers who know how to work with an environmentally friendly home.  Each has found a way to create greener standards for their own homes. We all have done our research and our homework.

These local people form a network and they are willing to come back until everything is working right.  These are all people who are dedicated to making the environment healthy and being wise in how they spend their money.  We will continue to share our knowledge and expertise, because we not only want to get the best deal, we want to keep our world healthy and friendly for those next generations.  When stores go under which are dedicated to helping us do the research and stay healthy – this is a tremendous loss to a community.  It can cost us all.

In the process, we have found a company just 60 miles away that recycles materials into the most efficient, beautiful, useful kitchen countertop material we have ever seen – and their factory employs a large number of people and it meets our environmental standards.   Now I know it is not a slab of Brazilian granite, polished and formed in India and then shipped here to be installed – and yet it has a healthier lifespan and tremendous beauty.

In most cases, I think we will pay more upfront for the product, and if we add in the health and environmental cost then I think that choice will prove to be the more cost effective.

None of the individuals who judged us about our purchases from our local store had ever been inside the store, it just looked too expensive.

I think we need to change our thinking and not be so thoughtless.

Have you experienced having to make long term decisions on a budget and yet still getting exactly what you want?   Do you know the health risks of your appliances?  How deep do you dive when researching for something needed?

If you enjoyed reading here, you might also enjoy reading at The Biking Architect or Wise Ears.

If you purchase anything from Amazon or from Powell’s, I will receive a few beans in my bucket.

Related Reading:
Walking the Green
Oven Dies – Don’t you Just Hate That?
Living Building Challenge
The End of Overeating