Thursday, May 24, 2018

My investments

Hey.  Yesterday I had lunch with an orthodontist.  We ate at the Sunrise Bistro in Walnut Creek.  It was good.  I strolled in with my Alpinestars and he goes, "Another fellow cyclist." 

He has a 2002 VFR, a previous generation Yamaha R6, and at one point, had a CB350 Scrambler that he rode from LA to Northern California!  He said he could go 80 mph with it and that something must be wrong with mine.  I reviewed with him the stuff I've done and he said, "You might consider taking it in to these specialty shops to squeeze out a few more horsepower."  I asked about the dealership and he said, "Those guys suck.  They don't know what they're doing." 

I know I've written about taking it in, dropping a grand, and saying, "Here, make it fast."  I still might do that.  I like wrenching myself but lately my non-patient time has been busy running around the kids.  Last night I had enough time after arriving home to change my clothes and load the kids to go to scouts.  Not even enough time to eat.  We had Little Caesar's pizza, which is close to the chapel. 

Anyway, the orthodontist said, "I hope you're contributing to your kids' 529 plans."  I told him my investment strategies, including the 529's, and he said something to the effect of, "You have a level head on your shoulders."  I'm pleased with my investments. 

This morning Scott was arguing with us about why he shouldn't swim his best events against Crow Canyon.  Historically, Crow has been the best and wins every year.  Scott doesn't want to try his best and still come up short.  He'd rather not try but still lose.  I said, "No self-made millionaire achieved anything without giving it everything they've got."  He said he didn't care.  I said a few more "motivational" things which he brushed aside.  Finally, I said, "You're gonna end up working at a shirt factory that makes shirts for the winners."  I can say that because I used to work at the cookie plant.  Boy, those were hard times.  But no job has ever been harder than the treadmill factory.  What's sad is that I can bring in the same amount of money doing two or three days of dentistry as a whole summer at the treadmill factory. 

Blake's having a hard time, too.  Today he didn't go to school.  His teacher thinks he deals with anxiety and manifests in the form of anger.  That is believable since I deal with anxiety.  Anger, not so much.  I think it negatively affects him that each of us works so much.  Heidi doesn't like that I just tune him out but it's all I can handle.  When he doesn't respond to me, then I pick him up and move him to a location where he can't be destructive or instigate the other kids.  Of course it would be better if I had more parenting finesse but let's face it, I'm an average parent doing the best I can.  It's just like stupid people:  They can't help that they're stupid.  Not everyone can be above-average.  It's statistically impossible. 

Okay, bye.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

So far, so good.

We had some good songs on the playlist this morning.  I heard Coldplay's Animals, All I Can Think About is You, and the Pumped up Kicks.  The VFR was running well.

Yesterday I took the kids to open house.  Well, all except Scott, who was swimming with Heidi.  Open house was good because the kids were generally in good spirits.  We saw Tyler's, Kira's, and Blake's classes.  Then Mike Boudrero texted to say that Brad Folkman was in town.  He and Mike came over while I was making din din for the kids and then we went to BJ's for pizookies.  They were half off!

Brad had rented a V-8 Camaro convertible.  It took us about 10 minutes to figure out how to get the convertible top down.  It was not very straightforward.  We had to read the owners manual several times.  Finally we got it down and I sat in the back.  It's not a four seater.  It's like a 2.5 seater.  I expected the V-8 to really perform but it was quite underwhelming.  It seemed the automatic transmission was not geared right and there was lots of RPM flux while in gear.  Plus, there were lots of rattles.  The dashboard was real noisy.  The plastic looked cheap.  Even putting the convertible top back on was challenging.  You would think you'd just push a button and the whole thing goes automatically, but you have to manually roll up the windows and then get out and move this thing in the trunk.  Lame.

It was fun going out with my friends even though Brad is Boy's age and we haven't seen each other in over twenty years.  But still, Brad was in the choirs with me and my friends and we still did some Taco Tuesdays together.  In fact, Brad, Jake Jacobsen and I went to my very first Taco Tuesday, which was the first week of sophomore year at Layton High.  I was like, "High school is awesome!"

Brad and I were talking about being old.  I said, "I'm gonna be 40 this year.  I don't feel that old, though."  Brad said, "Yeah, I feel like I'm still 28."

I worked some more on the Lexus's center console lights.  The ECT/PWR switch doesn't light up anymore and that's why I thought it was a fuse.  Well, there's a bulb right in the switch.  I took it apart and it's a specialty item.  The stealership can get it for $14 but I have to go in person to pay.  So it would be two trips there and I have other ways to waste my time.  I found the bulb online for $7 but the shipping is $10, so I ordered two bulbs to offset the shipping cost.  At least I won't have to make two trips.  My time is valuable these days.

I'm really liking my show, 13 Reasons Why.

Okay, that's all for now.

Monday, May 21, 2018


That's the sound effect to describe how I'm feeling.  I'm just having a hard time with my self esteem.  It's silly to even talk about it since I think most dudes my age wouldn't talk about their feelings.  But whatev, this is how I'm feeling.

I had several birthday parties with several of the kids.  Some of my friends were at some of them.  It seemed they were too busy to talk to me.  I was bummed.  I'm sure they had other people to talk to and it wasn't intentional, but that's how I read it.  Then Mister peed his pants and we had to leave early from the last party.  I wanted to go back in and say bye to my friends, but it would have taken ten minutes to say bye to everyone I cared about.  So I just left without saying anything.

I'm watching 13 Reasons Why, season 2.  Heidi is usually asleep or on the phone with her co-workers, so I've been watching it by myself.  I really like it even though it seems the themes are inappropriately heavy for average high-schoolers, but maybe times have changed and I'm out of touch.

Anyway, on Friday I disassembled the GS400's shift console and replaced the bulb.  While I was at it, I cleaned up the bezel and everything underneath.  I made sure the new bulb worked, but it won't light up!  Neither will the ECT/power switch.  You would think it's a fuse.  I confirmed the old bulb was bad.  I couldn't find any blown fuses.  I was bummed but not too much since it doesn't affect the function of the car.  I picked up Scott from a sleepover in Clayton and the car was running real good:  real quiet, no rattles, smooth, and the stereo sounded great.  I love my car.

David Miller wants to trade in his Mustang 5.0 for the Lexus IS-F.  I told him that I'd been watching those for a while and said, "The thing I like about my GS is that it's quiet until you stomp on it.  Is the IS-F gonna be so loud that it'll annoy me?"  He said that the Mustang is obnoxiously loud.  I then said, "I just don't know if getting the IS-F would make me any happier.  It'd be faster, it'd sound cool, but I'm  not sure it'd make me happier."  He said that was a good point, as if he hadn't considered that.

He's real into high-end audio.  I've considered getting some better stuff but then Mister would destroy it and I'd regret it.  I even found my old JBL's on craigslist for $350.  I regret selling them when we moved to the new place, but now it's coulda, shoulda, woulda.

We had the Simmons over for din din last night.  Heidi was not in a good mood on Sunday afternoon.  I feel like I do a lot of the chores, and since I had a meeting early yesterday, I wasn't available to get the kids ready.  They arrived late to church.  I guess what I'd like to hear is, "Thanks for making breakfast and getting the kids ready.  When you have meetings and I have to do it myself, I can't do it all and we're late."

So I made teriyaki chicken in the crock pot, rice in the cooker, and broccoli in the pressure cooker.  It was pretty good.  The gravy was a win.  It was fun hanging out with Mike.  He and I have a lot in common.  He's a cool cat. 

Anyway, I'm having a hard time.  But so is Blake.  It seems he has oppositional defiance disorder.  I don't know how to manage him.  I think he needs professional counseling.  Yesterday I put him in the laundry room and said, "stay in there until I tell you to come out." 

I checked on him a couple of times and he was still grunting and stamping his feet.  Finally, after about a half hour, I said, "You can leave when you want.  But when you leave, you're not going to be able to yell or scream.  It's up to you."  Finally he simmered down and came out.  I just don't know what to do. 

I'm still trying to juggle my callings.  I did music time, then played the piano for priesthood, then did senior primary's music time, then went back to priesthood for the lesson.  One guy read from his journal from 30 years ago about how he was troubleshooting on his truck.  He felt to just check the other side even though he thought he'd found the problem.  When he checked the other side, the bearing was all disintegrated and if he hadn't checked it, perhaps he would have had a catastrophic failure that would have lead to a crash.  I'm telling you, the power of the journal is highly underrated. 

I was talking to Maria Hull at the stake youth fireside.  She talked about how the kids grow up so fast and to enjoy every minute of it.  I think that's nice and all but sometimes I can't stand my kids.  Hopefully I'll look back with mostly fond memories, but I still have this journal to account the daily drudge.  I doubt the kids will ever come back and say, "You were right."  I don't even know whether I'll be able to sit back and chuckle that they face the same parenting challenges that I do." 

Today I read an article about how much you need to have saved for each decade of your life.  It was rubbish.  They recommend delaying tax-deferred contributions to your retirement accounts until you get your student debt paid off.  It's garbage because I still have student debt that I've decided is cheaper to keep.  I even called last week to adjust the allocations.  I have one loan at 2.75 and one at 5.75.  Since they're serviced by the same carrier, I just pay $1200/month and they send half to each loan.  I asked them to send $300 to the lower interest one and $900 to the higher loan.  The lady's like, "Do you want us to adjust it retroactively?" 

With a pause, I said, "Why would I not want to do that?"  I was expecting her to describe the pros and cons but I think she was more offended.  I told Heidi about this so-called "refinance" and she said, "Why don't you just pay off your loans?"  I said, "To keep the low-interest loan is going to cost me a little over a grand in interest.  I figure I can make $2500 in the stock market."  And THAT is why I disagree with a lot of these silly internet articles.  If I had delayed my Roth IRA contributions, I would have missed out on the bull market of 2009-2018 and missed out on over 50k in growth. 

Therefore, my philosophy is to let time do the heavy lifting in the form of compound interest.  Sure, you should monitor your expenses by buying used, doing stuff yourself, and making things last, but there's no substitute for time in the market.  Once you hit critical mass, the rest is gravy.  For the record, I have not hit critical mass.  I still think that by 46 I will.  I suppose if I absolutely couldn't work, then I could sell my businesses now and maintain my same standard of living by drawing 4%.

Kira asked me for some money today for the book fair.  I asked why she didn't want to use her money.  Essentially, she didn't want the item enough to use her own money.  But she had no problem using mine.  I thought it was a good time to discuss how money works but supposedly Heidi had already promised her the money.  I don't think Kira's gonna have a hard time with money but I want the kids to be smarter than me.  I plan on gifting each one $3000 to a Roth IRA when they turn 16.  It would be nice if they contributed to it, but I think even if they let it sit for fifty years, it would turn into over $300k. 

Okay, that's all.  Bye.

Friday, May 18, 2018

CB350 work

Hey.  On Wednesday I felt pretty crappy.  When you're the owner, you have to go in to work since you don't get any paid time off.  That night I hardly slept.  I couldn't breathe out of my nose.  Thursday I was really dragging my feet about being out of bed. 

I still went to work.  By lunchtime I was feeling okay.  Maybe 60%!  I went in the garage at lunch without announcing that I was home.  I started working on the CB350.

I removed the carbs and the left one had the diaphragm without the holes lined up.  Also, the pilot jet was clogged.  I must have tried and failed to remove it so I just left it.  The right one also had a clogged pilot jet.  I used Joe Dandy to make a custom screwdriver to remove the pilot jet.  I was happy when I got everything back together and the bike started.  It seems to run pretty good but is still not powerful.  I guess I'm less upset about it not being fast as in months past because now I realize that's the best it's gonna get. 

Oh!  The other thing I did was order a new brake cable.  Alas, it was too short.  I measured the old one and the two sizes available didn't correspond, so I got the shorter one.  Bah.  I put the old one back on after cutting off a frayed strand of cable and the front brake worked way better. 

I took the long way home after work and was up to 62.  Not bad. 

The kids and I went to ACE for parts for my table.  Then we got a bulb for the GS400's shift console.  Then we washed the car at the pressure wash station.  All four bays were occupied.  I got out to get change.  Another truck approached and parked behind me.  Then a third car arrived, and while I was getting change, it went right into a bay that became available.  I stared him down.  He had 50 lbs on me.  His appearance was such that it seemed he was regularly cheating people.  He asked whether I wanted the bay.  Well yes, but you've conveniently cut in front of two of us.  Therefore, I'm not going to mess with you. 

I said, "Oh, it's cool.  You take the bay."  Tyler asked why we didn't take it.  I said, "People like that operate on a different set of rules.  They give you the bay but then they key your car.  Not worth it." 

We ran two cycles through and got the van pretty clean.  Oh, did I tell you that the van was hit while at the movie theater?  Yeah, some knuckle-dragging low-life mouth breather scraped up the right rear with some dumb big truck and left a huge black smear.  No note.  Come on, man!  Whatever.  Those people get their comeuppance.  I'm sure Heidi would say, "What if they didn't notice?" 

Have you ever hit a car?  It is super loud.  The whole car flexes.  There's no way you couldn't notice.  The van's at 199,100 miles. 

I want to buy some big expensive unwise foolish thing.  I don't know what, I just want to demonstrate my working manliness in some big way.  I suppose that's what people do when they have their midlife crises.  But then they get a dumb Miata and try to pick up girls half their age.  I wouldn't get a Miata or try to pick up girls.  I was thinking about some huge speakers though.  Since I got rid of the reptile cage (and no one seemed to notice), we have more room by the TV.  Aaron has some Bowers and Wilkins speakers that he's pretty jazzed about, and our current in-wall speakers are a little above garbage, but they still work. 

But then Mister would destroy them and I'd be angry and regret spending lots on something that most people would generally find a silly expenditure. 

Tomorrow's free dump day.  I asked the missionaries to come over and help me load the junk into the van.  I think I'll have them help me mount the new table too.  They can lift while I position it and screw in the screws. 

Should I get the fridge tomorrow?  It's a 42" Kitchenaid, but an older model.  The guy claims that it's still new in the box, and he doesn't seem like he's trying to scam me, but you just never know.  But suppose it is new, does that mean everything's supposed to work like normal?  When cars sit for a long time they don't work right anymore since the seals deteriorate.  There's a chance that we power it up and there's no more freon.  I just don't know.  Plus it's way out in Sacramento.  We'll see. 

Okay, bye.  Wait, there's more.  Scott has been giving us attitude about everything.  This morning he was arguing about which merit badges to take at scout camp.  I said, "You can throw a fit and take these classes or you can not throw a fit and still take the classes.  Your bad behavior is not justified." 

okay, now I gotta get back to worky. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Mr. Productive

Yeah.  On Sunday I wasn't in too much pain.  We had some guests for din-din.  I made French toast casserole for breakfast and Thai coconut chicken skewers with basmati rice for din-din.  It was tasty.  Then I rearranged the man cave by moving the white cabinet from the west wall to the north east.  Then I'll move the workbench and toolbox closer to the big door, move the paper towel dispenser and hand cleaner by the side door, and put the fridge under the Pioneer. 

I also got rid of some crap on craigslist.  And Saturday is free dump day!  I gotta get rid of the old table and some other junk.  Last night I gave Britton back the IS300 instead of going to the gym.  Since I wasn't in much pain, I removed the old table mechanism, sanded it down, and got it ready to use to mount the new table. 

Cynthia was talking about my cars and how great they looked for being so old, and that it's too bad that she gave away her Mom's failing Mercedes because she thinks I could have gotten a few grand for it.  I told her that we just stick with the Toyotas because they work and they last. 

Did I tell you about the junkyard?  I don't think I did.  My GS400 had a rattle in the sunroof and I diagnosed a broken piece of trim.  They put the part numbers right on it, so I removed it and checked the price.  Amazon wanted $33, the stealership wanted $66, so I went to the junkyard after work and found my car.  The piece came off with the tabs intact.  The guy's like, "Offer me something fair." 

I was willing to pay $4, but I only had three.  I said, "I'm gonna have to pay with the card because I only have three dollars."  He said, "Just gimme the three.  You can give me a soda next time."   Score!  That night I put it in and there's no more rattle.  I made sure to do a road test to Winco at 11 pm for Mother's Day dinner. 

Cynthia was amused at my car maintenance shenanigans. 

Okay, patient's here.  More later.  Bye.

Friday, May 11, 2018

I can smell the weekend

Well, not quite.  I have to work tomorrow.  Steve asked me to cover for him while he recovers from a procedure.  I suppose it'll be like old times where I'll do the hygiene checks and maybe a prep or two.  Who knows?  But I'll be working tomorrow. 

You know what's great?  Not being in pain.  One day this week I came home and had lots of energy because my back didn't bother me.  I was washing the dishes way late at night.  I even worked on my motorcycle a bit.  I had lots of pain today but now it's not too bad. 

Steve and I ate at Buckhorn Grill.  I like working in Walnut Creek.  It's like visiting another world:  a bustling, high-end metropolitan area that I can generally observe from the outside.  One of the specialists we refer to was going to eat by himself but he joined us.  He seems to do well but doesn't seem stuck on himself. 

Yesterday I took the kids to John's ice cream.  I was talking to Mike about his work woes.  I wanted to say something to the effect of, "As long as you're working for someone else, you're at their mercy."  Actually, I did say that, but I also wanted to add, "You can't get wealthy working for someone else.  You have to own your business to get wealthy."  Alas, that didn't seem appropriate.  He said he is too afraid to take risks and therefore plays it safe.  He thinks it's easier to take risks when you have money to lose.  I referenced Ga, who didn't have any money but invested in himself and worked hard to make it. 

Heidi had a board meeting the other night.  She was displeased at their inability to see her side.  I was like, "You could really benefit from the art of the restate."  I'm telling you, if I can learn social skills, then anyone can.  I attribute most of what I've learned to Dale Carnegie's work.  Then I was like, "The thing about dealing with idiots is that each party thinks the other is the idiot.  And when you're dealing with stupid people, they don't know they're stupid.  They can't help it."  Then I told Heidi about this interaction with the nitrous vendor in which I got a bill in addition to my yearly rental agreement.  I called them up and they're like, "You rent the tanks.  You pay for the gas that's in them." 

I think that's just the lamest way to deceive someone.  Like, "Our helium balloons are a dollar.  If you want them actually filled with helium, that's five bucks.  Otherwise, they're just balloons made to hold helium."  Know what I mean, Vern?  Yeah, so I said to this vendor, "Oh, I'm sorry.  We've had a miscommunication and I'm afraid that's gonna be a deal breaker."  You see?  They think I'm an idiot for not understanding that I have to pay twice, and I think they're idiots for double charging me.  At least I can look at it objectively. 

So to Heidi, I said, "When you restate, it assures yourself that you understand them and it assures them that you understand.  You say, 'So let me get this straight.  We're going to focus more time and resources on a failing program?'  And if they say yes, then you say, 'That's a stupid idea.'" 

We'll see.  She's pretty amped up about starting her swim business.  Okay, bye.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

My table!

I'm done with the table, but the table isn't done.  It still needs to be mounted to the base.  Last night I took off the old one and put on the new one to see its height.  It looks pretty good.  This is about five months of work.  Was it worth it?  I don't know.  I like working on my car and motorcycle more.

It's a pretty nice table, though.  Kim wants Devin to learn to do woodworking things because they would benefit her, but that's just not his passion.  It's not my passion, either. 

Heidi wants to remove the tile and our existing laminate and replace it with a vinyl material that looks like wood.  It's cool that it's waterproof, but it's not kid-proof, especially in our household, where the kids seem to have a higher degree of destructive force. 

I told her that we are not going to replace the floor until the dumb dog dies, because she keeps peeing under the piano and it's warping the wood.  That was the primary reason we had to replace the carpet:  The dumb dog.  It seems that I'm the only one that takes car of her, and yet, I despise her the most. 


I still think about getting another motorcycle or another car.  I found two Honda Accords on facebook marketplace for under $200.  If I couldn't get either to run, I could part them out.  But then where would I keep them?  On the street next to our neighbors house, since they have nine cars.  But let's not put the buggy before the horse.

On Sunday I took the older four kids to Heritage on bikes to drive the cars.  We had a pretty good bash and then the batteries started going dead.  Blake threw a tantrum and got a ten minute time out.  At first, I told him to just go home, but I didn't want some unscrupulous parent reporting me to the CPS because my kid's riding his bike alone.  After a while he simmered down.

I wanted to do a speed run with Bandit on the track.  Scott used my phone as a stopwatch and I did the 100m dash.  I thought it would take 4 seconds.  At the end of the race, I didn't slow down enough and hit a pole, which broke the transmission housing and spur gear.  Scott forgot to start the timer but says it was about five seconds.  If that's the case, then Bandit went 44 mph.  If it were 4 seconds, it's 55 mph. 

The apple tree is gonna produce!  I'm so stoked.  We also got seven tomato plants from Larry and at least one of them should produce.  In the window we have a ghost pepper, a thai dragon, and some anaheim peppers.  Jared would be pleased. 

Okay, time to get the day going.  Bye.