To see as much of the world as we can,
Using the smallest carbon footprint we can,
Spending the least amount of money we can,
Making as many friends we can.

Team Red Cruising


Epic snow. Cabin Fever.

We're fidgety because there was no hands-on boat work this weekend. There's much to do, but we couldn't get to the marina; roads are closed. The Chrysler Museum of Art, for example, didn't try to stay open in this icy, sloppy mess.

For my friends up north, the stories are true: there's no snow removal. Like tidal flooding, it will go away eventually. With bright sun and air temperatures right at freezing, we've got nightmare icing on every surface. The roads are packed piles of ice until -- in the normal course of events -- it melts.

We walked next door to church, never even thinking to check for closings. Of course, worship was cancelled. It was icy. By our old upstate New York standards, it was pretty nice: sunny, snowy, just about freezing. By local standards (no snow tires, no snow removal, etc.) it's dangerous out there.

How to avoid pacing around a 2 bedroom apartment all weekend?


First, it's important to understand that accounting is not boring. Read this important article on Why Accountancy Is Not Boring. "So far, as you can see, accountancy is not boring. During the morning there are a hundred and one things to do. A secretary may pop in with details of an urgent audit. This happened in 1967 and again last year."

The big, sweaty deal that made our day of accountancy not boring was finding expenses of a type we never had before. Each receipt was a new adventure in "What the heck was that?"

Quicken fills in the expense category based on the vendor. So, each receipt of Press 626 Cafe and Wine Bar goes under "Dining", automatically. We can total up all the money spent perched on bar stools at the end of the block. A number we don't really want to know.

Starting in October of last year (yes, we're three months behind in our bookkeeping) we had a flood of new vendors and all new types of bills and purchases.

Question One

It's fine to pile things up and talk about getting organized. But before too long, we have to actually pick a category. Oops. What is this, really? What's the right name?

Up until October, we had the "Hobbies:Sailing" and a "Vacations:Sailing" categories. As with most things in the real world, the simple hierarchical taxonomy isn't very useful (yes, I said "hierarchical taxonomy".) The real world doesn't fit a tidy Harvard Outline no matter how much accountants and lawyers wish it would.

Once upon a time, I made "sailing" a subcategory of "Hobbies". Back in '97, that made sense -- it was just an outing with YMCA Camp Chingachgook. In '98 I bought a boat; still a hobby. By '04 we were taking sailing Vacations; so I made a separate "sailing" subcategory under "Vacations". In retrospect, that was all dumb. Had I been able to foresee this, I should have created a category of "Sailing" with subcategories of "KaDiMa" and "Charters". Looking at Quicken, the "Hobbies:Sailing" is all expenses related to the Racing Buccaneer from purchase to sale; "Vacations:Sailing" is mostly chartering vacations.

Which is "right"? "Hobbies:Sailing" or "Sailing:KaDiMa"? The answer is that both are right. The universe is multidimensional -- you can read across the top of the table or down the side of the table and get to the same answer.

More importantly, Quicken doesn't allow me to easily rearrange the category taxonomy. The old organization is both ill-advised and hard to change. Sigh. Maybe I don't really want to know.

Start Fresh

So, all that's left is to start fresh with a new set of categories. The Red Ranger seems to be more than a hobby at this point; she seems more like a life-style choice. Like other Quicken categories ("Rent", "Insurance", etc.) the Red Ranger seems to be a category in her own right.

Proof -- if any was needed -- came Sunday night, when CA was pacing around the apartment lamenting. Except for a break to go skiing, we've spent part of each weekend up in Deltaville having a little picnic lunch in the Red Ranger. Yes, it's a pain in the neck to drive up there, get a ladder, and fire up the kerosene heater just to have cold pizza. Since we work at home, getting out of the apartment/office on weekends is important. Really important.

Starting a brand-new Quicken expense category is an apt metaphor for selling the suburban homestead, packing a trailer, driving off to the coast and buying a boat. We have to create new Quicken categories for our new life.

Okay, maybe accountancy is boring. Maybe we should have gone to Naro Expanded Video and bought a bunch of movies.