Sunday, May 31, 2009
I built the deck at the back of our house eleven years ago. This is a nice redwood deck with plenty of room for events. The problem was, we hardly used the deck because the heat was too intense with the summer sun.
We tried tables with umbrellas, but it seemed that the umbrella could never shade the entire table. It just became more pleasant to have our activities indoors. So every couple of years I would re-stain the deck, but it was seldom used.
Last Summer we decided to put a 12' x 12' gazebo on the deck. What a difference it made. Hardly a day goes by without the deck being used in the summer and fall months. It's just about like adding another room to the house. It's pleasant, shaded, cool and a nice atmosphere where we can hear the birds in the morning and the dogs just about anytime. Right now I'm listening to mourning doves and robins.... no dogs.
Last evening we had a doings. There about 14 of us in all. There were always about 6 or 7 people in the gazebo while others found other places. There were a lot of comments by our company about how much they enjoyed the grilling out and the gazebo.
In the first summer that we had the gazebo, we used our deck more that summer than we had in the ten previous years combined. This is a pretty cheap addition for a lot of enjoyment. And it has saved us money. We now prefer to grill out and chill out versus eating out. And the food is definitely better, as is the environment.
I just heard my first dog barking today. My early morning coffee tastes great. Now a bird is scolding another bird. They are still defending their nests.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Does the stock market really suck? Most people would say, "Well Yah!" If you look at the DOW Jones compared to where it was two years ago, you would most likely agree. If you are a common investor you probably think it stinks. If you lost a lot of money, it sucks.... or .... does it?
I believe we are entering the healthiest stock market in years, maybe decades. At the bottom, stocks were greatly oversold because of fear. Since the market bottomed it has improved 35 percent. Some stocks have gone up over 100 percent. We currently own one stock, McDermott International (MDR) that we purchased at the bottom. It was less than $10 per share. Today it went over $20 per share. Goldman Sachs bottomed out at $49 per share. Today it is $140 per share. Many stocks are up 40 percent or more from their bottom. The bottom was about four to five months ago. Those are pretty good annual increases.
Stocks will continue to go up as the economy improves and people gain more confidence. Buyers always drive the prices up. Right now the short sellers are on the run. This encourages even higher stock prices. If you haven't bought into the market, you've missed a lot on the rebound. But there is still more rebounding to do along with legitimate growth.
Leveraging your money is a key. Buying call options is a good way to leverage. I have a small options account which has increased over 300 percent in the last three months. Just when I got really discouraged, good things started to happen. Mind you, options are much more volatile than stocks, but it is the volatility that helps them to gain value faster. To trade options you must be an active trader and not be afraid to buy and sell with the ebb and flow of the market. Understand what moves the stocks you are interested in and buy and sell accordingly. Don't freak out on a bad day. In these times, bad days are usually followed by good days.
The market did suck. But it is good to us now. Right now financials and energy are leading the way. Dirty energy is good right now. Oil service and drilling companies are doing just fine. refineries are weak. Coal is good. Steal will be good when people start buying cars again, which is soon.
There will be ups and downs. Sell your options on the ups. Buy them on the downs. 200 points down on the DOW is a great opportunity to buy. 200 points up, sell. You'll do just fine.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
I have a hard time picking up small objects. Objects like Jelly Belly, dimes, pennies, small screws, and things like that. rather than picking them up, my fingers just seem to push these objects away. I also have trouble turning a single page. Am I alone in this?
The trouble is, my fingertips are not pliable and have very little feeling. Over the years I have frozen my fingers many times and kind of killed off the nerve endings. Also, with my work the skin on my finger tips has gotten thick and sort of calloused. Thus, I can chase a jelly bean all the way across a table before I can actually grip it. But worse than that is getting into those little tiny sealable bags. I can't feel the little plastic lip and my fingers just won't grip it. Besides that, the little plastic lips are almost invisible.
My wife loves these little baggies. She takes a chocolate bar that is designed to be eaten in one sitting by any normal person who likes chocolate, and breaks it into many little tiny pieces and puts each of these little tiny pieces into it's own little tiny sealable baggie. One chocolate bar lasts her all month. It's torture!
She also makes caramels that are absolutely deliciously perfect! And guess what? She also puts those in these little tiny baggies which she puts into a larger baggie, then sets them on the kitchen countertop for me to enjoy! Now this is real torture! Try as long as I want, I cannot open these little baggies. I fumble around with them trying every which way to get into them and I cannot not. I don't want my caramels to last all month! The CIA should employ this torture method with the prisoners at GTMO. I assure you, they would start talking.
At least my Jelly Bellies are in a gumball machine and are easily accessible so long as they don't spill out of my hand onto the counter.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Starbucks grande brewed, straight up. Best thing in the world in the morning. Oils my system and gets me going. Writing to you from Starbucks at Kipling and Florida, just 6 minutes from my early morning destination.
I took a surprise trip to Estes Park yesterday. Saw some beautiful elk on the way. You can see the pictures on yesterday's Facebook entry. I also ate a Leo's Deli. You can see his picture on Facebook, also. I saw a new coffee shop there, too, but didn't try it.
Leo's is not real easy to find. You have to get off the main drag and fallow a path along the Big Thompson behind the indoor mall and next to the theater. Although it was the noon hour, there was no waiting. You can sit inside or out. You can get your sandwiches hot or cold. This was a nice change-up from Sub-Way. When you walk in the door he greets you, finds out where you are from, shakes your hand, and hands you a menu. Once you pick out your sandwich he makes it easy for you by asking all the right questions and verbally telling you all the options. Then he makes your sandwich and brings it out to where ever you are sitting. And the sandwich is really good, but more expensive than Sub-Way. The extra expense is worth it.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Thank goodness, my job seems recession proof. Right from the beginning of the year my business stepped it up a couple of notches. Actually it began in October of last year. There's work for every day of the week, including weekends. Weekends are for finishing and planning the up-coming week. For example, today I planned for the supplies for a tiling job that will last a whole week. This afternoon I will pick up those supplies.
So this week goes like this: Tile job Monday through Friday. Estimate Monday afternoon and pick up supplies for Tuesday's job. Roof repairs on Tuesday. Door installations on Tuesday and Thursday. Sprinkler system repair and electrical on Wednesday. Door installations on Thursday. Work in more bids throughout the week. Finishing up on Friday.
Right now I am scheduling one to two weeks ahead. It could all end suddenly, but when I think it is about to end, more work comes along. I hope it keeps it up. I know the Lord is faithful to provide.
Today, I had to "grande" cups of "Pike's", if you know what that is. Starbucks, my office away from home.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
So the Dems are now throwing each under the bus. The latest is Nancy Pelosi. CIA director, Sessions, says that Pelosi was briefed about water boarding. She denies it. However, the transcript confirms it. She still denies it. Sessions says Congress should investigate. That would be cool. Does this mean that Pelosi has committed war crimes and should be prosecuted. She knew about it, but did nothing.
I do think she should be investigated, but not convicted of any crime. Water boarding was not torture, therefore not criminal, and therefore not punishable. The prisoners ate GITMO are terrorists not protected by the Geneva Convention. Let them go and they will kill you. Ritter wants them in Colorado. Nobody else wants them, period. Maybe they can live in the guest room at the White House. Or maybe, we can just leave them at GITMO and keep water boarding them until they either drown or tell us what we need to know. At any rate, their miserable lives should be kept miserable.
Pelosi is deserving of what comes her way. I hope it drags on for a long time. i hope she has a sick feeling in her gut for many days to come.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Today I am sad. Tomorrow I will be more sad. I'm saying farewell to an old friend that I have known for the past five years. We've been many miles down the road together. This friend has been with me at work, play, and on vacation. My friend has never let me down. My friend has provided comfort, great music, scenic views, a sense of safety, and a sense of pride.
I feel as though I am betraying my friend by saying good bye. I'm sure my friend doesn't care, but I do. Another is taking my friend in and providing loving care. But I know I will be jealous when I see my friend with this other person.
Melissa, take good care of my Sequoia.
Yes, my readers, I sold my friend for 13,500 pieces of silver. I feel like Judas. I am such a traitor. I think I will go and.... and.... er..... well..... pay up on my new friend. My Ford F150.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
If there ever was an obnoxious jackass, it has to be Obama! This guy is the epitome of stupidity. He is changing the USA from a free enterprise opportunity country to a government controlled state that will soon become a police controlled state. We may have effectively fought communism overseas, but we have opened the main door to it, here, in the United States. And I am frankly pissed off.
Ya, ya, ya! I know. The Bible says to pray for our leaders, and frankly, this guy needs lots of it. A lot more than George Bush ever needed. This dumb ass wants to control everything. He wants to be the CEO of GM and Chrysler. He wants to be the CEO of the banks. And where he can't be CEO he wants to limit the pay of CEO's everywhere! He calls it "overhaul" but it is really government control. Did I say he wants to be CEO of GM, well, in reality he is. The acting CEO of GM can't do anything without his permission.
A revolution is beginning. We are now seeing banks and financial institutions repaying the TARP money because they have realized their mistake in taking it. They have found that Obama is now their CEO and they want to get from under that. Ford Motor saw the problem in time and refused TARP money. Their stock has gone up 300% while GM's continues to decline.
How is Obama reacting to this? He wants to extend government control over the paychecks of executives of financial institutions even if they received no government money. If he can do that to financial institutions, then other industries will follow.
The other day I heard a radio interview with some expert who has to be liberal. She was complaining that there were Tycoons buying businesses for the sole purpose of making money! Well, dah! Why else would someone buy a business. To make money is the sole reason for businesses to exist. If they don't make money, they go out of business. When they make money it is healthy for the economy.
The best way to kill the economy is to government control it to death. Money is still the incentive that makes business click. Take away the incentive and businesses will stop clicking. Thugs like Obama are bad for business.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
I am amazed at how busy my business is keeping me. By the way, the name of my business is "ROD'S HOME REPAIRS." I have a subsidiary (kind of) called 'ROD'S ROOF REPAIRS." The name isn't fancy but it tells people what I want them to know. I do home repairs. I also build decks and install or repair fences. I get calls every day for repairs. I'm also getting a lot of return business.
I thought this would be an 8 hour per day job with Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off. Instead, it has become a 6 day per week job. I hit the road at 5:30 AM and often work right up through 6:30 - 7:00 PM. I keep a sub-contractor busy full time and am training another one for certain jobs. I also do a lot of the smaller jobs myself. My volume is running over 100% ahead of last year. I hope it keeps it up.
My wife thinks I do a lousy job balancing my checkbook. She's right. I don't have much patience for that kind of thing. Perhaps I could hire her an hour per month to do that. I suppose it would be easier for her if I remembered to record all of the checks. I'll have to do better.
I'm selling the Sequoia. I love it, but we have no room for three vehicles. In our neighborhood we need to keep all of them garaged at night. The proceeds will pay down my loan on my pickup truck. Once that is paid off I will need to invest in retirement again. Retirement is creeping up fast. Although I may continue working my business on a limited scale. That's later. This is now.
See you next time.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
The economy stinks, but my business has been doing better than ever. Yes, there are times that I wonder if I will run out of work, but the phone seems to always ring and new contracts are signed. I haven't exactly figured out why my business is doing well during these hard times but I do know that part of the reason is that I have been building a satisfied clientele. I am getting more and more calls from former clients to do new work. That's pretty cool! But I am also getting more new clients. That's pretty cool, too!
On the negative side, I now have to consider renting a storage building for my inventory of tools and excess supplies. Ugh! I hate that. That means more overhead, and I will also have to drive extra miles, which takes extra time, which means more overhead in transportation expense. The other option is to buy a house with 3 garages. The $200 a month that I spend on storage could help with the house payments, of which part is deductible for business expense. Uncle Sam tries to cheat me and I try to cheat him (all legally, of course).
Well, it's pretty exciting and tiring at the same time. Work solves worries and creates worries at the same time. I'm putting in long days while not doing much of the work myself. I do a lot of the smaller jobs and sub out the larger ones. Simple roof repairs are the most profitable per hour work. Larger jobs are less profitable per hour. I guess not many people like to get on a ladder and be on their own roof. They're willing to pay someone else to risk their life instead.
I know nobody reads this, but if you happen to, leave a comment so I know you've been here. Thanks. And if you need your roof repaired, well........
See you next time!