Cheat Sheet: Why HOAs exist, and the role of the board

This is the first of the Cheat Sheet series, a primer for new HOA board members. The “Terrace House”, where my brother-in-law Patrick lives with ten friends. Patrick’s situation is why we have HOAs. Sharing: Mine, but you can have some According to The Banks™, the US has two categories of housing: (1) owner occupied,Continue reading “Cheat Sheet: Why HOAs exist, and the role of the board”

Electric vehicles in condominiums: Case Studies (Part 1)

Ratification: failed. I remember the board meeting, sometime mid-2019—before COVID—I was seated at the front table, where the meeting was about to begin, watching a group distribute mixed English- and Cantonese-language flyers opposing electric vehicles in our building. Something about danger—funny not just because the alternative is tanks of explosive gasoline under each car, butContinue reading “Electric vehicles in condominiums: Case Studies (Part 1)”

Electrification: a big shock

When a Midwestern Man swaps his lawn tools—take notice. The joke is that Chicago has only two seasons—“winter and construction”—but in my native land, the suburbs, “winter and lawn care” is more like it. From the time they can stand, Midwestern children receive training in lawn tools, beginning with the humble rake, advancing progressively throughContinue reading “Electrification: a big shock”

The HOA Financial Crisis—and what will solve it

In addition to Dials, I run the project committee at my condo, a 348-unit high-rise called City Center Plaza. As head of the committee, I oversee capital planning, the process of allocating our limited reserve funds toward the highest-impact projects, as well as advising the treasurer on how much funding we need budgeted for futureContinue reading “The HOA Financial Crisis—and what will solve it”

Internet marketing for contractors: an introduction

“Do you know anything about SEO?” my friend Ed asked, a few weeks ago. Growing up five houses apart, Ed and I did a lot of stuff together as kids. Our parents took us to Wisconsin Dells together for vacation once. And when my dad needed an addition put on our house, Ed’s dad, aContinue reading “Internet marketing for contractors: an introduction”


To medical professionals, “charting” is like flossing one’s teeth: tedious, and easy to skip. But invariably, something you’ll regret not having done. As a clinical dietitian, my mom was careful to chart each patient’s progress–how much weight they’d (hopefully) lost or gained, what seemed to be working, where improvement was needed. My dad was homeContinue reading “Charting”