Monday, November 30, 2009

It Wasn't So Hard

Most people think that this is really a hard thing to do. I disagree. I believe that it is just something that happens to you if you live long enough..... and most people do. It usually happens with a certain amount of fanfare and celebration. Then there are the snide remarks, and..... oh, the cards. And even worse. The gifts! But, in reality it isn't so hard. In fact, It can be quite fun turning 60. 

After all, You get this little bottle of prune juice, something to soak your false teeth in, and a lot of birthday cards that shows no respect for the elders. The grandkids gave me appropriate videos of Dick Van Dyke, the Three Stooges, and, oh, I forget. My wife gave me a Christmas nutcracker for my 60th birthday (what was that all about?)  Amy and Nik, the champions or all gift givers, gave me a $60 gift card to Starbucks (which I promptly forgot to use this morning) along with an insulated stainless steel cup. It's worth turning 60 after all! 

The grandkids love to draw, so I got as many as three cards from one of the grandkids. Each stating the obvious, that I am the best grandpa in the world. I think that is pretty cool.

As for the false teeth solvent. I still have my original teeth with a few crowns and glittery spots, but all in good shape. But I'll save that false teeth soaking stuff just in case I need it when I turn 70, or 80, or beyond. I'll save the prune juice, too! Just so you know, my only medication is ibuprophin for my knees. And glucosamine, also for my knees. But I want all you young guys who make fun of me to know that these old knees, hurting as they do, still go up and down on ladders and walk across roofs carrying 90 pounds of roofing. 

So to all my birthday celebration attendees who have the wicked thoughts that I am about to kick the bucket, know this: I will be around when you turn 60 and I will remember your gifts! In fact, I can hardly wait. 

Now what could be better than this: Being 60 and in good health, a good job, a great family, a nice house.... paid for, a $60 certificate to Starbucks, and the Vikings winning on your birthday! Some people have it worse, like Chicago fans.

Thanks everybody! When Audrey turns 60 I think I will get her a doll of Mrs. Clause. Actually, I really like the nutcracker (fisherman). I get one every year. Pretty soon I will have a whole army of these guys.... and I will need them because the are a lot of nuts in my family to crack.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving at Brent and Sues

It started out that we were going to have Thanksgiving dinner at our house. Nik and Amy and the kids were to be here. Then Audrey decided to go to North Dakota to see her mom. So then, I was Invited to have Thanksgiving with Amy and Nik. Well, Brent and Sue invited Amy and Nik to their place and they accepted. So in the end, I also got invited over. It was a good time, but I felt a bit like, well, different. I was thankful to be there, but somewhat deflated.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Turning 60

What I want to do, I must do quickly! For I am turning 60 this month and statistics say that I have only 18 years left to live and the last few of those years I might wish I were dead. Time is running out. Procrastination is no longer a viable option. Like the Nike motto, I must "just do it!"

I'm not like Moses who died when he was 120, and his strength was not diminished. This year, shoveling the snow and lifting 90 pound rolls of roofing up a ladder have proven to me that my strength is slowly ebbing away. Yet, all-in-all, my strength and my health are good. My knees hurt but that reminds me that I am still alive. 

At 60 I still have ambitions. Over the next five years I want to build my business so that in the next 10 years it will provide an income without my having to work. I want Rod's Home Repairs to become a household word in the North Metro Area of Denver. Even now, my business is becoming one of the larger home repair companies in the area. But much more must be done.

I want to visit Alaska, Yellowstone, Bryce, and Nova Scotia. I want to see New Zealand and Australia. I want to do and African Safari. I also want to do Longs Peak one more time. I suppose by then I will have titanium knees. And.... I want to do lots of fly fishing.

But my biggest ambition is to be a soul-winner. Scripture says, It is appointed unto a man once to die, after that the judgement. How many people can I lead to make the right decision to receive Christ, I don't know, but I hope it is many.

The calendar tells me time is running out. I am speeding towards death at the rate of 60 minutes an hour. Three-fourths of my life has passed by. What kind of an impact have I had? More importantly, what kind of impact will I have from this time forward?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Give Thanks!

In everything give thanks, In everything give thanks, In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. This song is based on the words of the Apostle Paul. 

When we think of giving thanks to God, it is usually for the bounty and many other blessings He has provided. We ought to be thankful for those things. Just tonight as we sat at our evening meal I thanked God for the comfort of our home and the food we eat. There are many other things that I am also thankful for, such as my wife, my family, my friends and my church. I am thankful that God has provided us with good jobs and a degree of comfort. I am thankful that my home is in the United States of America, a country richly blessed by God. I could fill several sheets of paper with thanksgivings.

But Paul said, In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God  in Christ Jesus concerning you. I am glad that Paul did not tell us to be thankful for everything. I don't really think I could thank God for knees that hurt every step I take. But I can be thankful that even though my knees hurt, God still loves me and that I still have knees that work, even though they pain me. The same can be true in many situations of life. We may be challenged by things we detest, but we can be thankful that God gives us the wisdom and strength to meet the challenge. And we can be thankful that God is with us through it all.

One writer said: "I felt sorry for myself because I had no shoes. Then I met a man who had no feet." 

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for all the things I should obviously be thankful for.... and for the challenges that have been sent my way. I am thankful that even though my knees pain me, I don't have a condition that pains me more. I can still walk. I can still work, and yes, I can still sometimes play.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Black & White

It was as clear as black and white because that's just what it was. He was an elderly black gentleman who was wearing a pure white suit. And everyone noticed. No, not because he was black and his suit was white, but because he was standing on the corner playing the sweetest sax music I have ever heard. Kenny G had nothing over on this guy. He had talent, feeling, mood, and never missed a note. But it was what he was playing that really made people stop and listen.

I mean, people stopped and listened. As they walked out of the Westlake Center, they heard the music, sat on the concrete steps and listened. When they came out of Starbucks with their coffees, they sat down and listened. Passersby stopped, sat down and listened. The music was sweet and pure. It, too had to do with black and white.

He played songs like What a Friend We Have in Jesus, Amazing Grace, and It is Well With My Soul. The young ladies that sat to my left were there for over an hour. I know because Audrey and I sat there for a for over two hours, just listening and being ministered to, and wanting it to never end. The young lady to my left had tears streaming down her cheeks. She said to me, This is the most beautiful music I have ever heard. The music told the story of black and white. It revealed the condition of your own heart. It made you want to experience God's love and saving grace in your own life.

This event that we happened upon in downtown Seattle is perhaps one of the rememberable events in my life. I look back to it often. I think of how one man and his sax could have such a profound effect on so many people. 

The black man in white told us how he had been forbidden to be on that corner by Seattle authorities, but he was there anyway. His little American flag was by his side. He also told us that he was a prison chaplain and that he went there twice a week to minister to the prisoners. 

What impressed me the most was how he was there, all by himself...... or...... was he? I believe that God's Holy Spirit was there, and he was doing a work. A lot of people were touched, and moved. I can still see him standing there. And I can still hear the sweetness of the music. I can still see the tears flowing down the cheeks of a young lady. I can still hear the holy hush that dominated that outdoor cathedral. But most of all, I can hear the voice of the Holy Spirit asking me What will you do for the kingdom of God? Who's life will you touch? That voice haunts me even now, for I know I have not done nearly enough.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Dancing With Julia

Her dad is in South Africa, so I was asked to dance with her. That's right, me, a 60 year old guy who was forbidden to dance when I was a kid was now invited to dance with a seven-year-old. I, of course, had to accept. I was really nervous. This kid, Julia, really knows how to do the "Pug." I think that is some dance she learned how to do while playing with her "Webkins." But she is confident and she is good.

The dance I was invited to is a "Father-Daughter" school dance. Nik, her father, is in South Africa visiting his father. I, therefore, her Grandfather, was invited. Her face lit up when I said I would. 

The night of the dance I went to pick her up and take her and her mother and Cade, her brother to dinner before going to the dance. When I saw her, O man, she was so beautiful. She wore a beautiful dress with new sandals. She had a flower in her hair. Her hair was so fine! and her face just glowed. Anybody would have been proud to be seen with her. This was going to be an exciting night. The dance had a Hawaiian theme, so I wore my Hawaiian shirt that I bought when I was in Hawaii. 

So down to Red Robin we went for dinner. Red Robin must be the place where fathers take their little girls to eat before school dances because when we arrived there were Hawaiian shirts all over the place. We ordered, but Julia didn't eat much. Her mouth turned upside down and tears trickled down her cheeks. She missed her dad and she was really nervous about going to the dance without him. So what should we do? Well, there was only one thing to do! We scratched the dance and Julia and Cade came to Grampa's house to stay overnight. 

Of course, going to Grampa's house meant that the kids would see Grandma, and that's what really made them happy. Going to Grampa and Grandma's house is better than going to a dance. I did miss going to the dance with Julia, but, I have to admit that I'm glad I didn't have to try doing the "pug." Although at this stage in my life I probably look somewhat like a pug.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Best Invest

Are you looking for the best investment? Believe me, it is not your typical CD. Tie your money up in that and you will loose value as inflation kicks in. And inflation will kick in as the the Federal Government keeps printing bogus dollars that nobody else in the world will want. 

When I think of investments I think of things that will be in demand. Over the next several years the demand for crude oil will continue to increase. They drive cars in India and China now! And other countries, too. The rest of the world is also playing a larger role in manufacturing. All of this takes energy. As oil reserves are drained in many parts of the world there will be increased pressure to find new resources. Therefore, there will be increased pressure on drilling companies and especially deep sea drilling. The best of these companies is Diamond Offshore, Transocean, and Noble Corp. The stock price on all three of these companies is going through the roof. The most reasonably priced of these three is Noble Corporation. Additionally, every analyst has rated them as a "buy" or "strong buy."  

And guess what? Right now is the best time to buy. Oil demand and prices have stayed steady and my actually go a little lower through the winter. Then next spring..... up they will go! Demand will increase as the economy recovers and as the driving season begins. But corporations like Noble are contracting right now for more deep sea drilling services. Their deep sea platforms bring in over $400,000 daily, per platform. In the foreseeable future things look bright. 

We have owned their stock for about a year now and already the stock has doubled. It looks like a good investment to me. But stick with your CDs if you want to.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Made in..... Mexico!

Ford Motor, the only American auto maker to not receive a bail out appears to be turning the corner. They made over a billion dollars their last quarter. This, of course, was aided by the cash for clunkers program. Auto sales are up 3.4% over last years. And they are making some really nice quality cars.

But the UAW is not making it easy for Ford Motor. They voted down contract amendments that would make them competitive with GM. It appears that the members of the UAW haven't learned anything from the bankruptcy of Chrysler and GM. I believe they are committing suicide with their own jobs. They haven't considered that the best selling and best quality Fords on the market are actually made in Mexico where there is no UAW. Ford motor has more capacity to build vehicles in Mexico and may now be forced to do so.

I now believe that it would be best for Ford Motor to move the bulk of its manufacturing to Mexico. The UAW must be broken so that labor in the USA can once again get back on track and be competitive in the world market. Listen guys, if you don't like competitive wages in auto manufacturing you will lose your jobs! Don't you guys understand this? To keep manufacturing jobs here you must be competitive, and you must produce quality. 

I own a 2009 F-150. So I am rooting for Ford Motor, and I am rooting for you to have a job. But I will buy another F-150 only if it is competitively priced.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

It Just Keeps Coming

Everyday someone asks me how business is. I tell them that I'm doing great! Really. Revenues are up over 200% of last year's. And nearly every day I get new leads and sign new contracts. Most are amazed that I can do this during the current recession. There is a key.

First of all, I advertise to the market that I want, and I do so cheaply. These little community papers seem to work best for me. Almost everyone needs some kind of home repair. My ads appear on a weekly basis and are there every single week. Additionally, when I do an estimate I hand out my card and a brochure describing many of my services.

Secondly, I always try to save my client money by recommending less expensive repairs. The roofing company wants to sell a whole roof, I want to do repairs when it is the right thing to do. My client always appreciates this. This also applies to other types of repairs.

Thirdly, I do timely service. I don't let things drag out. When I need to I add another sub-contractor to get the job done. I always follow up to make sure the job was done completely and to my customer's satisfaction. 

Fourthly, I get a lot of repeat business. Because my company does a good job, my client calls me back when he wants something else done.

So, the work just keeps on coming.

So There!

Obama and the Dems keep repeating over and over that such movements as the tea parties do not represent the grass roots of America. They repeat over and over that these are a small portion of the American populous that is basically fanatical and out of touch with the rest of America. Of course, they haven't been able to tell the truth in any form since Obama took office and they won their landslide last November. They stated at that time that there was a new order in Virginia. They keep saying that Ronald Reagan Conservatism is dead. At least they want us to believe all these things.

Well, The good citizens of Virginia and New Jersey disagree. They resoundingly elected Conservative governors. In 2010 other states will follow their lead. So There!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

House Hunting

Well, we are at it again! House hunting! At least we were until about 10:30 this morning. That's when we both decided to take a nap. The realtor woke me up at 11:30. That's when I said we were no longer interested. I went back to sleep and woke up at 12:30. That was finally settled, we are staying where we are..... at least for..... now.

We go through these cycles. We have a couple of neighbors that park junk all over and it really makes us mad. We're tired of looking at their junk. Also, we live on the East side and both of us work on the West side. So, ideally, the west side would be nice. And guess what? I found a really nice house on the west side in a really good location, at a really good price! Ranch house, four stall garage, mountain view and all that! So I was told that one was already under contract - "but we have more." So we were going to look at "more." But as we reviewed the locations and the houses versus their prices. These other houses just didn't compare. So we decided once again to stay where we are at, and took a nap.

We like our house.... a lot. We just don't like where it is. We don't like the junk that surrounds us. But I think we hate payments worse. Our house is paid for. Hey, maybe we could buy out our neighbors and resell the houses. Now that's a thought. O well, maybe next month we'll change our minds again.