Tuesday, March 28, 2017


Hey.  I've been having nightmares.  On Sunday I dreamed there were intruders in the home and they had guns.  I think Mister was with me and we were trying to hide without making any noise.  Now that I think about it, that's weak.  I should have been more confident in my dream, but I guess that's how I was feeling at the time:  weak.

Anyway, I woke up and my heart was pounding.  I had a hard time falling back asleep.  Last night I dreamed that the office had a water leak that was rotting the ceiling tiles in several places.  I thought it would just be like fixing the home's broken roof tile, but when I removed the ceiling tile, I remembered that it was a commercial building and wouldn't be so easy.  I was stressed.  Weird.

So that's that.  Yesterday I had a great ride on the VFR.  She was running fab.  I went up to 9k in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd and she pulled strong.  When I got home, I noticed the exhaust was extra noisy.  I got down and saw that part of my JB weld repair had fallen off.  I had to order some more on prime.  It'll be here tomorrow.

I'm a bachelor for the next few days.  I woke up early this morning and went to the gym to swim.  When I got back home, I cleaned the floor, straightened up some things, and now I'm waiting to sell the lawnmower on craigslist.  Then I'm gonna wash my car, drop off the van's cat for recycling, then go to Winco for my favorite cereal and the stuff to make homemade snickers.  Oh, I gotta make a goodwill dump run and maybe hit the bank, too.  Lots of stuff to do.

I worked on the CM400 last night.  I couldn't get the brakes to bleed right.  You might ask why I started working on them again.  Well, they were leaking at the MC.  There must be a leak somewhere that's letting air in and fluid out.  So I ordered a new one.  The old one was ugly anyway.  I also ordered a carb kit on amazon.  Good old prime.

Okay, gotta get my day going!  Hope this lawnmower guy pulls through.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Daddy's Home

Now that we have amazon prime, the kids and I have been watching the shows on it.  On Friday we were watching Daddy's Home, with Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg.  The whole premise was that Mark, the biological father to Will's two step kids, was way cooler than Will.  So then you wonder why his marriage didn't work out.  He rode a motorcycle, told great stories, was in good shape, and was a good singer.  An all around great guy.

In my head, I'm a great dad.  I'm only an average husband, though.  I just wonder where all the data come from about all these other great husbands and what they're doing that makes them so great.  You know, if I have standards to meet, I can meet them.  But I can't meet ethereal arbitrary expectations.

I got the bunk beds.  They were in super good condition.  The guy wanted to sell the whole set as a package but I only wanted the bed.  Then, when I saw the nightstand and the lamp, I wanted it too.  I had only brought enough for the bed plus $41 that I already had in my wallet, and I said, "You gotta do what you gotta do, but all I have is $41, so take it or leave it."  He wanted an extra $100.  He threw in the lamp and the nightstand, too.  I was pleased.

I had the kids help me take apart the old bunk beds with the drill and they liked it.  We put up the new one and I'm pleased.

Heidi took the kids to LA for the week.  There's some things I want to do while I'm by myself but I gotta take my nap now so I'll have to make my list later.

Okay, bye.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Long Way Home

On Friday afternoon I took the CM400 to work.  I wanted to take the long way home.  Before leaving, though, the motor barely started.  Usually it fires right up.  It cranked and cranked before firing and it was the same after work.  I was nervous that it would cut out on bypass.  Well, no.

But when I accelerated on bypass I couldn't go faster than 50 mph.  Cars were stacking up behind me.  I went down a gear and got up to 55, the speed limit.  Still, something was wrong.  It was like at wide open throttle, one cylinder would randomly cut out.

Finally I got up to 79 mph.  Top speed.  I had the throttle wide open the whole time.  I turned onto Marsh Creek road and then took Deer Valley.  It still wasn't running right.  When I parked it, the master cylinder or reservoir was leaking brake fluid.  Hmmmm.

I had a rebuild kit anyway, so I tried a few times to get it to work right and it's still not pressurizing.  So then I removed the carbs and there was a bunch of rust from the gas tank in them.  I soaked the main jets in methylene chloride and assembled it.  We'll see how well it runs.

Tonight I pick up the Vermont Tubbs beds!  I followed them on craigslist from $2700.  Each week the ad was reposted with a lower price.  Today I called and we agreed on $550.  Still high, but I figure they'll last at least 25 years, they look nice, and they match exactly the other set!  Cool.  I'd been looking for about five years.  Now I gotta get rid of the cheap bed Scott's been sleeping in for the past two years.

My fridge is still working!  Nice.

I did some sod transplanting from the backyard to the front.  Now that we're out of the drought, we can irrigate without fear of a fine.  Okay, that's all for now.

Monday, March 20, 2017

On early payoff of mortgages

I've been reading some talks from the brethren about their standpoint on debt.  They all seem to agree on minimizing debt, consumerism, and keeping up with the Joneses (not their words, but still).  They don't set a limit on when to pay off your mortgage, but they do encourage us to be thrifty and industrious.

Unless I'm off my rocker, I don't feel I'm going against the grain by not paying off my mortgage for a few reasons.

1.  Our home is relatively small for our family of 7.
2.  We put down 25% on a 15 year mortgage at 2.99%.
3.  We're not leveraged to the hilt, like, if worse came to worse, I have enough capital that I could pay it all off.
4.  I don't have a problem spending surplus money.
5.  My investments in the 2009-present bull market allowed me to pay cash for my business.

I think that since a lot of people live paycheck to paycheck--where they're leveraged to the hilt-- having an extra 3k/month would really help out.  If I had an extra 3k/month I'd just continue to invest it without any change to my lifestyle.  That's what the millionaire next door does.  But what would I know?  Ask me in 30 years and I'll let you know how this strategy worked.

Boy called yesterday and said his Camry needs a new cat, new spark plugs, and a water pump, to the tune of $1300.  I looked up the cat online and said, "Those are direct fit.  You just remove the old one and bolt on the new one."  He wasn't excited about doing it, and I said, "Well, I enjoy stuff like that.  So either you do it yourself or pay someone to do it."

Chris texted me and said his daughter's boyfriend is looking for a car for $2500, preferably 4 doors.  He's a high-schooler, so I recommended an Accord.  I said, "Basically, you look on craigslist for Honda/Acura or Toyota/Lexus in neighborhoods where people generally keep up their cars.  If he finds five ads, I'll rank them."

I guess I just take for granted that I can fix all of the maintenance things that come up on high-mileage vehicles, like the steering rack, shocks, suspension components, or even the timing belt/water pump.  That's industry.  That's thrift.  So yeah, I'm not gonna speedily pay off my mortgage.

Okay, bye.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Defroster thermostat

Friday night I decided to troubleshoot the freezer again.  I thought for sure the heater coil would be bad, but it tested good!  Then I found this website with detailed troubleshooting instructions for the board, thermister, thermostat, and heater.  I was checking continuity with the voltmeter on the board between connectors.  It was not hard.  There was a picture in the troubleshooting guide and it said, "If the thermostat looks like this, you don't even need to test it.  It's bad."  Mine looked exactly like the picture:  the bad one is on the left.  It's good I didn't have to test it because you have to test it at 40 degrees fahrenheit.

I called the local retailer and they didn't have one in stock but could order one by Tuesday for $18.
I said, "I'll just order it."  The only convenient thing about the retailer is that I could have it today.  But wait!  Amazon prime could deliver it same day!  I signed up for prime, found the part for $7.49 and paid an extra 5.99 for same-day shipping.  It arrived the same day.  A no-brainer since it was cheaper and arrived right to my home.

There were no connectors; it arrived with cut leads.  I soldered it right into the harness and covered it with heat shrink tubing.  Easy.

Here it is, right under the thermister.

There may still be other bad components but I wasn't willing to just haphazardly replace parts.  Heidi said, "I've never known anyone who'll spend so much time on a hundred dollar fridge."  I told her that we paid $375 for it (on craigslist) and that it wasn't at the end of its service limit.

I was bothered by that comment.  Why not a friendly "good job," or "Thanks for saving us $800?"  Oh well.  Even if I have to get a new fridge, this one will have to go to the landfill and thus my carbon footprint increases.  I was glad to have done this repair myself because I learned a lot about fridges and feel more confident with future endeavors.  It seems a bit silly to fix old things but our society is increasingly more disposable and I don't want to contribute to that.

This week we contemplated purchasing another business.  I was up late in the night thinking about it since I couldn't sleep, and I woke up at four and couldn't go back to sleep.  The last time I thought about this business it seemed right.  This time, it didn't, but Heidi kept hounding me.  I told her to just contact the owner herself and talk it through.

I said, "If we do this then I'm back to six days a week, back to commuting, I mean, why do you want this?  Is it about the money?"  I was talking to Jason about it.  I said, "I don't want to look back and wish I'd taken more risk."

He said, "Sounds like a work-family balance thing.  If you choose family, I don't think you'll look back and wish you'd worked more."  There's a lot to be said for that.  So I told Heidi, "Would you rather I retire with 25 million and no relationship with the kids, or 5 million, and a good relationship with them?"  I'd rather do five, because beyond a certain point, any extra zeros or commas don't matter.

We met Rummage and Angie in San Francisco yesterday.  It had been years since we'd last seen them.  We talked about our careers.  He was glad that I enjoyed mine so much.  I talked with him about people who want to pay down their mortgages fast.  He said, "I know, they have no debt, but now they're paying the IRS for the next 20 years.

I think the reason people encourage living debt-free is because most lack the discipline to put the leftover money into savings.  Someone hassled Warren Buffet about having a mortgage early in his career (and I can't find the reference), but he said something like, "I thought my money would do better in the stock market than in the real estate market, and it looks like it has."  But I don't condone having a credit card balance.

We ate at Ghirardelli.  It was expensive but I really enjoyed my chocolate shake.  When it was time to leave, it took us an hour just to get from the pier onto the bridge.  By the time we got to Walnut Creek, the kids were all starving.  I stopped at Chipotle and got some burritos.  Mine was okay.  I used to really like Chipotle but now I think my own cooking is better.  Nice!

Okay.  Now I gotta get music time ready and repair my broken thumb nail.  Bye.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017


Yahoo had an article on this guy who paid off his mortgage at age 30.  Cool.  Well, not so much.  Lots of people are stoked to have no debt, but consider this:  Unless this mortgage had an obscenely high interest rate, it would be better to save in the stock market, especially in the last few years.  For one, the market is in record high area.  For two, now that he doesn't have a mortgage, he can't claim the interest as a deduction on his taxes.

Our mortgage is at 2.99%  It makes no sense for us to pay it off since that figure is even lower than inflation.

Lately I've been into these blogs about real frugal people, like the Frugalwoods.  They had a link to another guy who talked about getting a used Sienna and how great that was.  Nice!  Finally, someone who has sensible things to say about a remarkable vehicle.  He talked about how growing up, he was always an entrepreneur.

So yesterday I encouraged Scott to offer to mow the neighbors' lawns for $5.  One lady took him up on it.  Heidi was like, "No, just charge them a dollar or do it for free."

Scott's like, "I'm not going to do it for a dollar.  That doesn't even cover the cost of the gas."  On the one hand, it's nice to do service.  But if I can teach him that working brings money, and to him, money brings happiness, then working = happiness.

We fired up the Honda (that I have for sale on Craigslist) and he cut down the 10" high grass.  We had to unload the grass catcher twice and we swept at the end.  I was pleased at my little entrepreneur.  He said, "It's better than watching TV."  Yes.  There are a few other neighbors that he needs to hit up, but I want him to learn to work like I did.  And I never had a problem with money.

So don't pay off your mortgage without careful long-term scrutiny.

The end.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Stake Priesthood meeting

I'm happy with my new calling.  Yesterday we did four corners.  Even the junior primary was way into it.  I stayed after for choir and sang tenor.  I'm usually in the bass battalion, but when the tenor troopers are underserved, I sing with them.  This time it was just me and Harrison singing tenor.

We fed the missionaries.  Heidi helped with the din-din, which was nice.  I had a little nap before stake priesthood meeting and then I took the CM400.  I had asked Will to ride his motorcycle, and he did.  I was up to 75 on bypass and that's about all the CM400 has.  Maybe I could have ducked down and gone faster, but even Wikipedia claims a top speed of only 97 mph.

Still, I was pleased with my little Honda.

I was pretty tired at the meeting but didn't fall asleep.  They talked about how the youth can fellowship other youth.  One kid was like, "We were gonna do this service activity of replacing some baseboards but I wasn't excited about it since the last time we did baseboards, my dad said some words that I can't repeat, so yeah."

There was ice cream and pie after.  Everyone likes treats after a meeting.  Then Will and I took some pictures in front of the motorcycles (I wanted to bring my little point and shoot but it was at the office, so the iPhone will have to do).

On the way home, we rode side by side, like how Dan-o and I used to do.  It was great.  Good old CM400.  

Mister woke up when I got home.  Maybe he heard the bike pull up or the garage door open, but he let himself out of his crib and came downstairs, saying, "Dada."  He should be talking more than he does, and it's mildly concerning, but I'm not going to worry.  There are other things to worry about.  

This morning my alarm went off at the usual time but I was in the middle of a dream.  I felt like a zombie.  The hour change really threw me off.  But the VFR ran great to Vacaville.  It is waaaay more powerful than the CM400.  It's more comfortable too, but that's just because my silly back doesn't allow certain postures.  

Okay, I gotta have a nap before tackling the afternoon of patients.  Bye.