Trouble with Things

When it rains, it pours. The electric meter box at the new house had been tampered with and the electric company would not re-install the meter until I had it replaced. No big amount of work but it was a $175.00 expense. The rental house air conditioner went south and that was another $100.00 service call today. Oh well, I should be glad that I could afford to have both of them fixed. I did meet a couple of nice guys and we did have a nice chat. Note - Went back over to clean the carpets and found the air conditioner dead as a door nail. Another visit and more parts. Another $128.00 visit. Oh well...
After looking at the roof on the new house, I am pretty sure that it will take a complete re-roof and I am looking at just what to do. One of the plans I saw called for a metal roof over a wooden grid and some sheet insulation.
Better run and get some things done.


Dum, Dah Dum Dum, DUMB!

Yesterday Barb worked and then took a cake decorating class. I went over to the new house and worked inside and outside until after 3 PM. Yes, it was in the 90's and the heat factor was near 100. I didn't throw up but I did make myself sick by getting too hot. Thank god for air conditioning here at Rabbit Run. I cooled off with a shower and then sat in front of a fan for about an hour. OK, anytime I sit anywhere for an hour a nap happens. I like the way that sounds. A Nap Happens!
One part of retirement that has happened to the Mrs is that she watches way too many programs about making things and changing things. Add to that the weight watcher diet suggestions and you wind up eating low fat crescent rolls. Aren't they supposed to be rich and tasty with pats of butter on them? Barb has the blue bottle of some butter substitute and they each get a squirt to make them taste like they have real butter in them. "Bravo Sierra" or just bs. There was a painting left at the rental house and Barb had to bring it home to see, "How it looks" in the living room. It wasn't enough that she put that one up, she had to look at all the pictures and next thing you know, I'll be moving them all. Oh well, at least she has good taste and is not artistically challenged like I am.
I think I am going to rent one of those big green trash containers this week to yard off all the trash left in the rental house and the new investment house. You just can't imagine the amount of junk that you can accumulate and then not haul off. I can but the only thing I can do is fill trash bags and wait for the trash container.
Oh well, better go and get something done before it gets too hot. 4832


I will be a little slow Posting for a while

I am right in the middle of preparing my rental house so I can rent it and working on the new investment house getting it ready to start the rehab. I worked outside today in the heat until 3 PM and I'm glad I quit when I did. It was all I could do to load the mower back in to the pick up truck. Help is on the way but I have a lot to do so I'll be kind of sporadic here.
You all have fun out there but be careful.


Problems With Plans

One person that commented said that he did not do much planning because in his life things quickly changed and his plans went in the toilet quickly. I was reminded of several things about planning I failed to mentioned. Here are some:
  • The rule in Combat is that a plan is often good until the first round is fired. The Murphy's law is if the plan is easy, it is wrong. You are either lost or about to be ambushed.
  • Plans last longer if they have input from more people and are formulated over a longer time so more input can be incorporated. If you are in a combat unit and enemy is in the wire of your position, you don't call a staff meeting and discuss what to do. Grab your rifles and go shoot the som bitches. On the other hand looking at the factors of Enemy, Terrain, Weather ,time distance and personnel on hand just might be the start of a good plan if you have three hours to plan, give two of those hours to the subordinate to plan how he is going to make your idiot ideas a reality.
  • A really good plan poorly executed is often better than a bad plan executed with skill. (Unless the guy is lucky as heck)
  • In a lot of cases, trying to figure out what to do as a training exercise will help develop way of doing things that save time, money and lives.
The final point is that if you think through what you are going to do you will often find ways that just don't look obvious on the surface. I don't know how many times I worked on something one day and the next day over a cup of coffee the answer would just occur to me. Those are the Ahhhhh! moments as opposed to the Ah Shits when things happen that you didn't think about or expect. MUD


A Plan for Life

Today I went to the barbershop for my monthly trim. My barber is totally bald. I wonder if what they say about cooks applies to barbers. You know, never trust a skinny cook or a bald barber. On the counter was a book he was reading. It was a book about having a Plan for God to run his life. I asked him if he had a plan to help in the issue or if he was going to leave it up to God? It kind of took him a minute to reply. Now I know I had him, this guy has an opinion about everything including a good joke now and then.
He mumbled some things about being a good father and husband. I said those things everyone should do their best to be, but what is he going to do to make his life better.
The basic way to build a plan is to first assess where you are. If you can't find where you are, there is just no way you can figure out where you want to be. n case you haven't figured out step two, where is it you want to be? The last step is to figure out how to get from where you are to where you want to be.
I think this works out if you break it down into areas. Education, finance, personal relationships, housing and transportation. Your goals in these areas should be near term, mid term and long range.
The one area we did agree on was that real estate was a good place to start building. I think if we had spent a little more time we could have also agreed that education is a great base. I had to go meet Barb for lunch so we didn't continue any deeper. Your Thoughts? MUD

One More Thing

Right now seems to be a good time to refinance or do a second mortgage to improve your property. The local credit union was more than happy to loan us $60,000 with no closing cost or fees at 6.6%.
It doesn't help the bottom line on our balance sheet but in the long run it should make for a better life. 4748


Ground Truth in Financing

OK, if you think you understand what it truly costs to borrow money, you can skip this lesson. If you want to see what I think it truly costs to borrow money, read on.

Just today I saw a refinance your home at $300,000 for around $900 a month. Lets see

$300,000 at 7% per year is an interest payment of $1750 per month. Somewhere it doesn't compute. If you pay it off in 5 years the principle payment would be $5,000 or 6750 per month plus taxes and insurance. If it was paid off in 30 years the principle payment would be between 800 and 900 per month for a payment of $2650 or $2750 per month. (plus taxes and Insurance)

What scares me is that when I see houses on the West Coast they are so grossly inflated that how could anyone buy one. I see the homes that would sell here for less than $100,000 selling for $800,000 to $900,000.

So, if you think you are in the market to finance or refinance be sure you are armed with the complete information. Hey, don't forget the inspections, title search and closing costs. If you have less than 80% of the price of the home outstanding when you close the deal you can generally close for little. More than that expect the costs to be $2,000 or $3,000 and in some cases points on the loan. (points are percentages so three points is 3% of the total of the loan)

Confused? Just do your homework.


Friday the 13th?

OK all you triscadecaphobics out there, I missed Friday the 13th entirely. I guess my overly busy schedule just got in the way of reading what was really going on in the world.
Did I tell you about the latest watermelon? We were on the west side of town and they had a fruit stand near the mall and sitting on the counter were some of the best looking watermelons. I selected one and gave it the thump test. It was right on the top of its game and about as ripe as you would want it. When they sound a little slosshy, beware that they are overripe. This 50 lb melon was only $6.00 and we ate on it all week. I finished the last piece last night and I'm pretty sure that I won't want another one for at least, well, until tomorrow. Barb noticed how much room there was in the refrigerator after the beast was gone. I swear that uncut it just fitted on the entire lower rack. Lovely large round light green melon with dark green stripes. Sweet and cold.
Our new couch is so big that Dave and I had to work hard to get it in the house. Thanks to his hard work it came in. I had him so late that I didn't have time to carry off the old recliner.
The house deal is still working and we are about to finish the financing on our end. We'll see how it all works out in the end. More to follow tomorrow.



Either we have ghosts or someone just came into the house upstairs while I was downstairs. I kind of expected Barb but was not sure of the time she is due home. She worked this morning at Michael's and is attending a cake decorating class for a couple of hours after that. I heard one of the doors close upstairs and hollered Hello like I always do. No dog barks, no one in the driveway. Do you believe in Ghosts? I would like to but I really don't.


Well, Double Crap!

We went over to NFM to pick up a brown sofa and after a half hour wait to get the paperwork done, went over to the pick up point to get the sofa. The brought it our and put it on the truck. I went to get Barb and when she came out to the truck, she looked at it and it was the same black sofa they had tried to deliver yesterday. I don't know why they thought it was any more brown today than yesterday. Another line, another wait and finally they brought out a brown leather flex steel couch. YES!
When I got it home, I found that the great big heavy som'bitch is a monster and I'm not sure if Dave and I will be able to get it off the pick up and inside. I will know in a little while when he gets here. If we can't, I'll put it in the garage and figure out a way to sucker some big guys over to help. I think about 4 will be the right number.
You know what, I think I should have bought it from the local company and had them put it where I wanted it. Double Crap!


Well Crap!

After 27 years of faithful service our couch needed replaced. We went to Nebraska Furniture Mart in Kansas City and they had a beautiful "FlexSteel" leather couch on sale. It was almost $500 dollars cheaper than here in Topeka so we wrote them a check. I yarded out the old couch today in preparation of a delivery.
When the truck got here, I saw the couch and it was the black floor model we saw at the store but didn't like the color. We ordered the Brown one and was told it was in stock. They took the new one back and will deliver the correct color next Thursday. I busted up the old one so now I am without a couch to nap on until then. Well Crap!
Oh well, what the hell, what the heck do I care! MUD


Morning in the Heartland

I started the first post with some heavy political rant and decided that even I didn't give a damn about the 2008 election. Why have you suffer through my narrow pointed view for a few nuggets of my BS.
Barb and I are in the middle of a Real Estate deal to acquire some property near us. It is about a mile and a half north of our house and sits on three acres. Typical of Barb's searches, it appears to be a darned good deal and looks like we are on track to close by the end of July. It is kind of rough but has a lot of potential.
When we watch TV, we see programs from LA where they buy a house and "Flip it". They start with 1400 sq ft homes and pay $700,00 for the old place. They strip out the guts, replace everything and sell it for $900,000. Are they crazy? For that kind of money here you could buy the biggest and best house in Topeka.
Have you noticed that car problems seem to run in spurts? We had to drag Dave's car out of the garage because the Olds transmission shot craps. He put in a new heater core and still has a leak somewhere. I'm not sure what's wrong but it will have to be replaced by winter. The olds will probably go to the salvage soon. I love how that car looks but it just isn't right. Seems like one of the check instrument lights is on constantly. Get one fixed and another pops up. I guess when you drive a car in excess of 150,000 miles you should expect problems.
It is rainy here today. Just what we need, more rain. South of here there are flood watches again. Just what they need. Oh well, gotta run.


What do You Do?

This is the rear view of our investment property. It is not too far from our house and we think we are getting a good price. The nice thing is that it has a lot of potential and is in our school district.
This is the front view and don't pay attention to the objects in the yard or the lack of mowing. It will be given a lot of attention soon. It needs a place in the roof fixed and a lot of cleaning and maintenance. The deck in the other photo needs to be jacked up and a couple of supports put on it.
Barb is always looking for a good deal and I think she has stumbled into a great one this time. e'll see but I have high hopes this will be a good place for someone to live in. Perhaps Dave and his wife Barb will be the lucky owners when the work is finished. Yes, it will have a locked gate and a security system soon!

Some of my Pictures

Guess who is coming to dinner at my house? My pal Grissy and her person. I can't use his name or post his picture. I have been sworn to secrecy.

What happens to old fools in Vegas? They meet people from far away lands and strange costumes.
Two of my favorite people and their new friends. Some more Las Vegas people at the Hilton. You have to go there sometime. Their Monorail shuttle is neat and the Startreck Experience is great.
Gotta run. Have fun out there.


Beginning of the End

Lat night on "60 Minutes" the Comptroller General of the United States said that we are spending ourselves into a debt that can ruin our economy. He said the biggest problem is that the Politicians seem to want to spend more and that the people our there in the US just don't care. In the last election here in Topeka only 16% of the people got out and voted in the election. That meant that just a little over half or 9% (the majority of 16% is 9%) of the eligible voters decided who was going to lead our Political battles.
So, boys and girls, it is not action by our Government that is the problem, it is the inaction by the electorate.
What scares me about the future is not that Social Security will go away, but that it will scale back or be eroded by inflation so that the pay down of the National Debt is in inflated dollars and the future of us all will be at risk. Yes, you will get $12,000 a year but it will be worth what $6,000 is today. Medicaid and Medicare is going to expense itself into the biggest budget item and eat a hole in the National Budget.
Oh well, that's the future and I am going to go live today. 4546


Another Good Idea!

William A. Ward:
"Before you speak, listen.
Before you write, think.
Before you spend, earn.
Before you invest, investigate.
Before you criticize, wait.
Before you pray, forgive.
Before you quit, try.
Before you retire, save.
Before you die, give."

Some other thoughts:
From Murphy's rules of Combat:
If the going is easy it is an ambush.
If you are making good time, you are probably lost.
Friendly fire isn't.
If your flank is important, don't count on someone else to guard it.




By Charles Swindoll
" The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life
Attitude to me is more important than facts.
It is more important , than the past, than education,
than money. than circumstances, than failure , than successes,
than what other people say or do.
It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill.
It will make or break a company... a church... a home.
The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day
regarding the the attitude we will embrace that day.
We cannot change our past... We cannot change the fact
that people will act in a certain way.
We cannot change the inevitable.
The only thing we can do is play on one string, we have
and that is attitude...
I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me
and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you...
We are in charge of our attitudes. "




Watch your thoughts;
they become your words
Watch your words;
they become your actions
Watch your actions:
They become your habits
Watch your habits;
They become your character
Watch your character;
for it will become your destiny

Hillel the Elder, Jewish Rabbi and teacher

I beg your Pardon?

I think it is way too funny that the one time President Bush has used his pardon ability everyone cries big wet tears. Where was the protest when President Clinton pardoned 120 people the last few days of his presidency? Do you all remember that President Ford pardoned Nixon? At least people should study history and get it half right. I hope they do have a panel examine the Presidential Pardon issue and make sure that everyone has the right information. The Constitution should be the final answer.
Another example of stupid things people say is the 9-11 theory that President Bush conspired to blow up the Trade Center Buildings in New York. Rosie and her conspiracy buddies continue to rant that it wasn't planes full of people and gas, but explosives that took the buildings down. Then, they turn around and say that president Bush is dumb and incompetent. Now, boys and girls, either the President is dumb or he was so smart that he was able to carry off one of the most complex hoaxes in the history of mankind. "Ain't happening McGee"
My final and closing statement is concerning people that make a living saying things that confuse and amuse others. Rush Limbaugh and Michael Moore are people that have a job making things look different and make money from that process. Neither are a fly on the ass of important things in our lives and should be considered entertainment. Listen to their programs or attend their movies. But, remember that they aren't the final answer in any argument. Kind of like reading the Readers Digest as the final answer on any issue. They can condense things into cohesive statements but just because it makes sense doesn't mean it is the only or correct answer. Have a great day out there.


Things to see in Vegas

Topless Babes. About a 1950 Model Ford

1955 2 Dr Chevy w/ blower hole in hood

$100,000 spent on a 1957 Chevy 2 door Belair.

These are the kinds of things an old guy loves to see in the City of Secrets. What happens in Vegas often is forgotten and it is not until I re-look at the pictures that I can remember what happened on Fremont Street.

Next year it will have been 40 years since Barb and I tied the knot in the Chapel of the Bells.


Damn Tags,

I wil do this only because I'm bored. I hate these and the idea that I can't come up with something worth reading/saying without them. Oh well, Here goes.

What were you doing 10 years ago?
I was in the process of retiring from the National Guard. It was a time of change for me and I was unsure of what I wanted to do. I was too young to really retire but too old to work as hard as I had in the past.

What were you doing 1 year ago?
Spending the summer with Barb and trying to figure out what we were going to do.

Five snacks you enjoy:
1. Ice Cream
2. Salty snacks like peanuts and chips
3. Chex Mix but I have to add dry roasted peanuts because when they took them out it really left the taste bland.
4. Licorice
5. Cup of coffee, black, hot and in a big mug.

Five songs to which you know all the lyrics:
1. As a former barber shopper there are several songs I not only know the words but can sing most of the four parts. Just know that you don't want to know them as they are all OLD.

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:
1. Invest..Invest..Invest
2. Change my phone number
3. Make sure Dave gets his college finished
4. Buy a new old car. Try to imagine a 57 chevy with a new v6 motor and gets 25 MPG
5. Take as many of the family as wants on a trip.

Five bad habits:
1. Not bing able to suffer fools gladly.
2. Being convinced that everyone wants to hear the truth.
3. Old Cars
4. Being Judgmental w/o enough compassion
5. ......

Five things you like doing:
1. Car Trips w/ Barb when her back doesn't hurt
2. Working on old cars
3. Reading
4. Riding my recumbent
5. talking w/ Barb

Five things you would never wear again:
This is such a girl thing. I have absolutely no taste in clothes and other than go naked, I'm pretty much OK with about anything. I hope to have Barb buy most of my clothes for the rest of my life.

Five favorite toys:
1. Computer
2. Digital Camera
3. 57 Chevy
4.53 Chevy PU
5. Dogs


4th Of July

For almost 60 years, I have been alive to witness the enthusiasm children have for the 4th of July. For me it started on the east side of Wichita in the early 50's and the summer fun with firecrackers. We would wake up on the 4th all excited and spend the day blowing up things with firecrackers and eating. Dad would grill hamburgers and we would eat them with mustard and potato chips all washed down with Pepsi. We were pretty poor so the nighttime fireworks was mostly limited to a package of sparklers or two. While they are pretty, the chance of stepping on a hot sparkler wire took a lot of fun out of it.
During the 60's, the United States was as confused and war torn as today. Seems like the entire world wanted the era to be symbolized by the US flag flying at half mast or in a burning pile somewhere. I remember the fireworks but not near as much the firecrackers as the fireworks displays in the evenings at one drive-in theater or another. By the late 60's, I found myself in uniform and during the darkness we wanted it absolutely dark. If there were bright lights and rockets screaming, it was for real.
It took a few years f the 70's to settle the war and the gas lines made it an interesting time. By the late 70's the main worry for most of us was how to make a living and pay our debts with inflation kicking in. 12% for a home loan was about average and wages weren't keeping up. But, the 4th of July became a fun holiday with the birth of our son and his wide eyed amazement at the fireworks.
During the 80's, I was again in uniform but in the Guard and trying to live the good life as best as we knew how. I was a proud American and took great pride in saluting the flag each morning as I went to work. We did have a little excitement in 1983 as a tornado ripped our house off the foundation but hey, we were OK and the house was only things. I'm pretty sure that if I look hard there are still a few things that have dirt on them in the storage room that date to 1983. Our son continued to grow up and he really discovered fireworks for the wonderful way they blew up things. One of his favorites was the little paper tanks. He could take three or four of them and a small package of fireworks and spend hours setting off the tanks and then blowing them up. During this time we did a lot of grilling and hamburgers were still high on my list of favorites. For a couple of years we spent the evening of the 4th over at my sisters watching fireworks being set off in their back yard and at the lake Sherwood by all of the other neighbors.
The 90's were mostly a blur as our careers kept us busy and the events of life kept our attention. We all waived the flag as our troops came home form that border war to free Kuwait from Saddam's illegal incursion. The local veteran's group also sponsored a welcome home parade for the Vietnam Veteran's and invited us to be in the parade. Finally got to walk in a parade proudly and be recognized for my service.
As the 90's ended, so did my wearing of my uniform. From 1966 to 1997 I wore the uniform of my country proudly. The flag is a symbol of my nation and I have the same pride today as I did when I first wore green.
We have let the politicians again return the flag to a less respected spot. It flies as a symbol of Freedom and remember that the walls are to keep others from coming here, not to keep us in. It must be a pretty damned special place to attract the hatred of the rest of the world. I think they want exactly what we have and are as willing to die to get it as we are to protect it.
Today I hope you can be as proud of our country as I am. It never was perfect but it is damn near as good as it gets. The price of freedom is high and we need to be glad we paid the price.


What do you do?

The question of the day is what do you do when you have everything you need and most of what you want? Buy Real Estate! Looks like the Petty's are signing a contract to purchase some land with a mobile home on it. The home is on a foundation but it needs a lot of work to bring it up to speed. The good news is Barb in her usual style has found a piece of property at darn near wholesale prices. I swear that woman has bargain stamped on her soul.

For all you planners out there, have you stumbled on the basic breakdown for a life plan? Start out with where are you? Do a real look see at everything from finances to education. Find someone that can do a simple balance sheet and put your finances on it. (I use Quicken) Ask yourself realistically where do you want to go? Where do you see yourself if five year increments. Then the hard answer is "How Do I get There from Here"? Like the journey of a Thousand Miles it begins with the first step. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Once you know what you need to do, those become your visions. Look at each vision and set the major step you need to take in each vision. For example - If you need a better job, do you need more education. Vision, better Job. First Goal get more education. Program? what do you need and how to pay for it? Steps, 1 apply for the school you need, Step 2 look for finding methods, 3 attend school (while working hard) 4 pay for it.

I think a lot of people are doing this but not in an organized fashion. Competition for assets and attention often dissuades us from achieving our goals. It would be easy to buy that new car with available credit but the assets used for that could be really essential to the accomplishment of a later goal.

Most of us have sufficient income to live the way we desire. It happens that a lot of us don't understand what we really want. It was easy for Barb and I to start out in a 38 foot Mobile home while we went to school. The cheap housing allowed us to accumulate education so we could then get paid for our work. Then we worked to get additional education and qualify for promotions. (If you think going to the Officer Advance Course, Command and General Staff College wasn't education, you just don't understand) Now that we are near the end of our working careers, we have a lot of time and resources to now live the way we desire.

The old saying was that a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. I think it starts with a good plan, then the first step. Get out there and attack life like it was your life! No one said you couldn't win!


It has stopped!

For a little while the rain has stopped. It is still cloudy and dark so I won't place any bets that we are completely out of the rain. I estimate that we got another 3 inches in the last 24 hours. There isn't a lot of standing water in the yard but I can hear the stream at the bottom of the hill running. It is normally only a trickle to dry this time of year.
Barb and I are looking at an investment property north of here. It is priced a good amount under the appraised value but in need of a lot of work. After seeing the home our nephew bought in Spring Valley, NV we have high hopes. The trash makes the house not show well at all. It needs to be secured against entry but that's no big deal for a locksmith like me. It might give Dave and his wife a chance to move into our school district. Probably will sell their home once we get this deal done and them moved.
Pancakes on the table, gotta run. 4385