15:06 PM 10/09/2011

So this public post is to inform all concerned among family and friends that I'm currently not working again. I will not go into details but likely something will come along soon. With the feedback I got from my previous client my recruiters will have NO problem finding another position for me. I told them for now that I just want to take short jobs again for a while. (I really really liked that last position. :-( It'll take me a while to recover from that.)
We're OKAY. )
First - we're fine mom. The recent tornados and stuff just kind of blew right past us.

I haven't been taking my vitamins this last week and it's of course taken a toll on me. I stopped for a bit because I orally returned my vitamins to the porcelain bowl one morning when I didn't time taking them with food properly.

So thus things like the physical depression have set back in a bit making me a little tired. I'm planning on getting back in the swing of things this week.

Speaking of which there was a left-hand/right-hand thing with the unemployment people. Turns out that we're still going to be on a weekly pay schedule between my unemployment and my wife's check. This makes things a hell of a lot easier for us right now and I'm glad.

I'm dogsitting at the moment and gladly. Two very cute furkids (an American Eskimo and a Basset Hound/Border Collie/Hungarian Water Dog mix) in a family of very good friends. Once I get done here and de-fuzz I'll be headed home to handle some things there and then be off to class.

Figured out that part of the truck hard starting in the cold is related to gas not spark. I sprayed some carb cleaner into the throttle body this morning and it helped immensely getting her started this morning. I'm still putting her in the garage until I can figure out what's going on with both the fuel and the gas gauge as well. Thankfully I have enough space in there right now though I'll have to put the lawn tractor outside with a tarp over it so I can leave the truck in there.

Means I need to pick up a tarp. *sigh* More money spent.

Anyway at least the netbook and Xpostulate seem to be working properly right now. I'll likely post a review of both after I use them a little while. There are little "wants" in both but for now they're quite usable. :-)

Off to the races...
March 3, 2009 11:15 AM 3/3/09

So my back is still killing me thanks to one Mr. Stone, Kidney. I’ll get through it but along with other things happening recently I’m more than a little cranky.

No fries or pie today. I really need to stop eating them. )
January 22, 2008 11:14 AM

...but sometimes it feels like it would be easier.

Tension is ramping up a little between my wife and myself because our pre-qualification runs out in about two weeks and might be problematic to be renewed.

We’re waiting for at least two of the estimates for the sewer hookup today but we’re still seeing other houses this weekend.

My mind is telling me to be cautious though because if they come back with a low quote they might be low-balling the quote. And since our broker told us that some of the hookups can be as bad at $30k it might really not be worth the gamble.

And who knows - there might be a considerably better house out there for us this weekend. Just have to wait and see.

I came up with a wonderfully inexpensive way to make the round Doctor Who like panels from the Tardis and even how to make them glow in any color I want. Better yet these things are blindingly simple to build and won’t cost a fortune AND can be made free-standing so that you don’t have to leave them with whatever house you make them for.

In fact just sitting here I figured out how to make them modular so that one circular panel can be attached to any other in whatever amount is needed. The trick though will be getting the lighting just right. You don’t want something pinpoint or you’ll see that behind the panel. You don’t want something too bright because then the place will look like a science lab. (Which might not be a bad thing if that’s what you want.) It’ll require some tweaking.

But that brings me right back to the house. I need a house to have room to build this stuff and time to create this stuff.

Of course creating doesn’t necessarily need space. Many many many people create things in smaller spaces than a single room or a single chair or a mote of dust in their eye.

I create words here but some of the things I want to create require my hands and wood and metal and glass and electronics and a whole host of other things. But right now I only have the space for words.

Oh to have infinite materials and infinite time and infinite space at my fingertips. That would truly be a joy. But realistically it ain’t happening. ;-)

So I have to bide my time and wait. Hopefully for not much longer. The feeling is very similar to the one I got waiting for our daughter to be born.

That strange timeless feeling where you feel like you are not moving forward and all the stress of the world is on your shoulders and you can do nothing but sit quietly and wait for it to ease into existence.

Damn this one’s taking a long time to be born...
January 21, 2008 11:11 AM

So we’re still waiting on the quote for the sewer hookup of the one house but it’s taking time we don’t have really. So we’re going to continue looking at houses this weekend and see what else is available. After crunching numbers with our mortgage broker even with PMI involved our upper limit is about $175k. That including taxes, insurance, PMI, etc. gives us a monthly payment of about $1450.00 which is well within our ability to pay.

We don’t want to waste time either so if the sewer estimate comes in heavy then we’re going to drop our current contender like a hot rock. There’s plenty of other things out there...

Truth be told both my wife and I just want this to be over. We want to buy a house, move, and then settle in for the long haul. We certainly seem to have enough to look at but honestly buying a house in this market shouldn’t be so damn hard.

Of course that puts our current contender in a new light. It’s been on the market a while and probably because of the sewer connection issue. (Recap - it needs to be connected to the village sewers 90 days after you buy it. That could cost quite a bit.) That means that either they need to seriously drop the price, pay closing, AND credit the sewer connection costs if they want to sell it.

Our broker is probably right - it’s probably too much trouble and a waste of our time. But I’m going to keep it on the table just in case...

So we’re going to be looking at houses again this weekend and within our specifications I easily printed 5 or 6 out of the one real estate site. It irritates me a bit that I can’t get direct access to the MLS. Seems to me that _all_ the data on a house should be available to buyers at any time. Hmm...it’s probably a violation but I bet you could make a pretty penny by having a real estate license and setting up a server that queries the MLS data when a particular number is entered and gives all the data back to a buyer who pays a fee. (Too easy - there’s gotta be a suitly law against it.)

Our broker mentioned that there are a lot more foreclosures out there than before and quite a few of them in our area. She offered to put us in touch with an agent who specializes in them but I want to give our agent a chance before going with someone else. But she’s right in that there are a ton of bank owned properties out there now.

And we need to move faster since our lender has been bought. (You can guess which one if you read the news.)

And if we don’t find anything and our funding disappears? Well then for now we put everything in storage and rent a small apartment somewhere.

Whatever happens we _will_ survive. And who knows? Maybe that’s what’s supposed to happen.

I’m going to keep my optimist’s hat firmly on my head though. In this market we can’t help but buy a house and well within our timeframe too.

A friend of mine made a joke about making up a web page “Pick Mike’s House!” with flash animation and everything. I think he’s got the right idea and we need to laugh at the situation. If we get too stressed out then we’ll certainly screw it up. And we definitely don’t want that...
Tags:
January 18, 2008 11:25 AM

In case the above makes no sense to you it means that you need to listen to more Robin Williams. It’s from a joke on being cold in Chicago.

It truly isn’t that cold really. At least not compared to previous winters. It just seems cold because we’ve had relatively warm winters for several years now. (And they say there’s no Global Warming...)

My mom’s coming down to visit this weekend and bringing her computer with her for me to look at. (Along with her wireless antenna from the back of the computer as well I hope.) She’s having the usual Windows problems so I think she has a bit of spyware/adware/crap on there that needs to be cleaned off. No biggie.

She’s due for an upgrade anyway. Her new printer isn’t supported under Windows 98 (a buttload aren’t any more) and she needs more RAM among other things. I think while she’s down here we’ll see if we can’t pick up RAM for her system and a copy of Windows XP. I’d like to switch her to a Mac but her knitting machine software might not like that. Also no biggie. At worst we should be able to get both things locally or a bit out of the way and then she’ll be fine. One way or another we’ll figure something out.

Crap. The router is down at home so I can’t get to my mail. Well that sucks. One thing I’m hoping to rectify with our house purchase is my connectivity. Even if I get the exact same bandwidth I’ve got I’ll be happy so long as it stays up and running all the time. I don’t mind the occasional outage but this once a month to once a week crap gets old really fast.

That reminds me that I still need to purchase the ADSL card for my Cisco 2610. I hope to be able to buy that next week but we’ll see how the finances go.

*pings router*

Damn. Still down. I was hoping it would reset itself like it’s done in the past but it doesn’t look like that’s happening. That means I have to go immediately home and power it off and back on. I really need to set up some sort of automated way of doing that to bypass this issue.

And I still need to do a ton of other things as well. The most immediate ones are laundry and packing the kitchen stuff up so that we’re ready when the ginormous china cabinet returns from its stay in California. I suppose I should call them and find out when they are going to start shipping the large stuff. Hopefully last but I can’t count on that.

And I need to get my Sun E450 out of the basement. And I need to get all the stuff in the garage organized. And I need to tear apart all the wood I’m going to use for closing up the bookshelves. And I need to ship boxes. And I need to have an old TV crated up and shipped. And and and and and and and....A BILLION OTHER THINGS!!!! AUUUUUUGHHHH!!!!

*ahem*

Sorry...overwhelmed there for a moment. I need more hands and more time. Or one or the other. I wonder if I can order Oompa Loompas on the web somewhere...
January 17, 2008 11:14 AM

So one of the things that people in this world don’t handle well usually is stress. I took _me_ years, literally, to figure out how to deal with the damn stuff.

In case you haven’t read anything else please understand that I’ve worked in the I/T field for almost 20 years at this point. And there has been a literal ton of stress for most of those years.

Stress is a nasty bugger. It can leave you confused, tired, and in general in pretty bad shape if you let it. And that’s really the key - if you let it.

Way back when I learned something very important. You might _never_ be able to control the things around you but you can _always_ control how you react to them. (I know I’m being a bit “repeato-boy” here but please bear with me.)

The problem is that most people don’t ever believe that. They’re so wrapped up in things they “must” do that they don’t understand what they _can_ do.

You can’t easily change that person that is bothering you.

You _can_ change your environment most of the time so that it’s harder for that person to affect you. And you _can_ change your viewpoint so that person doesn’t matter and doesn’t affect you.

You can’t easily change the weather.

You _can_ see snowmen and kids throwing snowballs and sledding instead of slush and sleet and ice. (Most of the time anyway.)

It’s all about viewpoint.

For instance I know many people that get stressed out over their job and unless your job is a truly stressful job like police work, underwater welding, etc. there is no reason for that. (Even then there are ways to deal with this stuff.)

I’ve had some crappy jobs and I’ve had some good jobs but the one thing that is consistent about all those is that they were all temporary. Period. Even the one I have now is temporary. Even if you work for yourself that may only be a temporary position. This too shall pass.

About the only permanent jobs on this planet are those of being a parent. You have that job for life no matter how old you get. And even that job goes away when you pass on. (That depends a little on your cultural views too though - some parents hang around after passing to keep helping out.)

But eventually ALL jobs go by the wayside. We’re not immortal - at least not yet - so there IS an end to any job that you have now.

Close your eyes and repeat after me:

“This job is only temporary.
If I like it or I don’t this job is only temporary.
I will stay as long as I choose to or until they let me go.
During my time here I will do my best at my job regardless of the conditions.
If this job is no longer acceptable to me I will look for another one.
This job is only temporary.”

So...if the job is only temporary...why are you letting yourself stress out about it? Why do you let that annoying co-worker bother you?

If your job is giving you a problem then find another one. It may be hard to find one. It may be hard to find a better one. But in the end you’ll find something that is enjoyable if you keep looking.

And then you’ll stay at that job until you find something else that you want to do or until that job is no longer available.

Our time here is limited just by virtue of being what we are. Why would you want to spend that time doing something that bothers you?

I firmly believe that there is a job for everyone on this planet. No matter what you’d like to do, with some exceptions, you should be able to work your way to that job so that you can do it. You might not get there right away but you certainly _can_ get there if you try.

So many people put roadblocks of their own making in front of themselves, myself included, and they really don’t need to be doing that because there are so many opportunities out there.

And to the asshats telling everybody that they need to remain being a slave to your nasty-ass self or your nasty-ass company? Fuck you. There are literally a ton of things out there that can replace your nasty-ass and your nasty-ass company. What you are is the wife-beater in disguise and should not be allowed out of a small corral without a shock collar until you learn to treat people like the human beings that they are. A worker under you is in an abusive relationship. And like any abusive relationship the worker should get out or get you removed from the equation. Period.
nimitzbrood: (Default)
( Jan. 15th, 2008 11:05 am)
January 15, 2008 11:05 AM

So we’re still in the housing market. Still looking.

The contenders from the weekend had some problems but two out of the five we might make a serious offer on. The farmhouse behind the restaurant needs a washer/dryer hookup but we’re wondering why one isn’t in there already after all this time. And the cedar one might require some immediate sewer hookup done once we buy it. If the sellers can find a way to get us cash to do that I’m fine with that. And putting in a washer/dryer hookup in the one house, provided there’s not a reason we can’t have one, isn’t all that costly. I think that the cedar house has a little more going on for us space-wise but the farmhouse has more class. (The ranch was bland and boring and didn’t really have enough space.) I’ll have to seriously talk it over with my wife as this is not a decision I can make alone. At least not without serious consequences.

And stress is still keeping me off my feed. I’m working on it though. Last night didn’t help because I didn’t get out of work until 9:30 p.m. and hadn’t had any serious food all day. Not good but since I ate on the way home it was ok.

Still a lot of packing to be done at home. I’ve got several empty boxes and totes to fill so I better get moving. And I’m way behind in shipping things out to people. Need to take care of that pronto! It’s going to be cold this week too so working out in the garage is not going to be easy either. I’ll need to fire up our housemate’s turbo-heater if I want to get anything done out there. No biggie really as there’s plenty to get done inside.

The spam problem is getting worse. When I check the main Ameritech account that goes with my ADSL I now get 100+ messages. All of them spam except maybe one status update from SBC. And I’m now getting daily spam on my main personal account. Bummer. :-(

I vote that we take any spammer we find, string them up in a harness above a giant wood chipper. I’m thinking extremely high up. Then give them a cell phone with a half dead battery. Then tell them that the winch will lower them into the wood chipper at a rate of speed depending on how much spam their servers send out. If their servers cease operation for 7 days they will be released. If they resume spamming the cable starts at half the length it was previously. Eventually some spammer is going to be stupid enough to get himself shredded and that will put a serious damper on the others out there.

(Ok I can dream can’t I?)

Regardless something has to be done and fining them doesn’t seem to be working...
January 11, 2008 11:09 AM

So our real estate agent told me today that the one house sold for $137k. I think what’s going to have to happen here is that we’re going to have to re-evaluate what we’re giving as offers on these things.

We’ll see some more tomorrow but I did manage to do drive-by views of three of them. The 100 year old farmhouse looks ok...except...that it’s right behind a restaurant right off the main drag in town.

The second one looks like your average ranch on your average street in your average neighborhood. It’s an average shade of blue and has average pine trees _right_ in front of the small windows in the front. Still...average exteriors often contain interesting things and it _does_ have enough sunlit space for me to do solar stuff.

The one cedar place looks, oddly, exactly like the picture except for the weather yesterday. Not a lot of sunlight there because of trees so no solar stuff for me but maybe the space is right. And maybe since it’s on a hill there’s some wind I can use. That and I couldn’t tell if I could put a satellite dish up due to the trees. Likely not. Still wondering why that one is so cheap...

I’m starting to get a little concerned about time here. It’s entirely possible that if we’re not careful we could miss our funding window. But I’m not sure what’s going to happen there either because the lender we’re pre-qualified with has just been bought. And due to our marginal credit scores nobody else will touch us. I think I’ll try and get a hold of the one mortgage lady at our bank and set up and appointment. It would be nice to have another possibility under our belt.

Probably should run the credit reports again just to see where we stand but I really don’t want to do that too often because when _you_ do it it supposedly lowers your score. Or at least that’s how our mortgage broker explained it to me.

How fucked up is that?! A lender or store or employer or ALMOST ANYBODY ELSE can endlessly check my credit score without really affecting it but if I check it regularly to monitor it I get screwed in the process. More proof that the credit reporting agencies are fucked up.

So anyway we’ll see what the houses this weekend look like. We’re two down from the original list so we’re only seeing four. The one was in a town/village that my wife does not want to live in - she thinks the police are corrupt. (Note - that’s speculation and I have no evidence of such and reserve judgment.) The other one’s listing expired so we can’t go see it.

So that’s one more house than I did a drive-by of yesterday. Well at least I know how to get to three out of the four.


Still a little tired today. I need to start sleeping more and eating better again. The cold medicine I’ve been taking the last couple of weeks has made me really hungry so I’ve been eating more. Not good. But then I’ve also been under more stress than usual so between that and the medicine and the cold I’m not all that surprised that I’ve been slipping into old habits.

Maybe I’ll go out and get a tank of propane this weekend so I can grill some stuff. I’ve got a nice pan for grilling vegetables over open flame that I’d like to try so maybe I’ll do that. I need to get back on track with that. I’ve had entirely too much bad food here in the last month or so.
nimitzbrood: (Default)
( Jan. 7th, 2008 11:17 am)
January 7, 2008 11:20 AM

So with the exception of the one sump-pump house I don’t think anything we saw this weekend was a real candidate. So rather than “reverse Walnut Tree” myself I’ve increased my upper limit to $165k. And after getting a bunch of listings from our real estate agent today it seems that was the right choice because the listings I printed out today appear to be much cleaner and a better deal than the ones we’ve already looked at.

Oh and the “reverse Walnut Tree” refers to an episode of Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares where the owner of the Walnut Tree restaurant refused to lower his prices to bring in more business. So a reverse of that would be refusing to raise my upper price limit to get a better house.

So we’ll likely do some drive-bys of the properties I’ve printed out today just so we get a feel for them before asking to see the insides. The one property I’m wondering why it’s so cheap because it’s huge, is a newer house, and is considerably less than what I’d expect to pay for that property. If it’s truly that good then I’ll probably make a serious offer on it as quickly as I can. But we have to see it first.

Y’know it’s funny how things shake out of the woodwork. My wife suggested that maybe I should quit my job and just take pictures of real estate for buyers so they can make decisions on the house without having to see it. And previous to this I had a dream that I was doing just that. I had started a business doing just those types of things - taking pictures for both buyers and sellers. So maybe that’s in the future. *shrug* But right now I don’t have time to consider that path.

Time’s a-wasting and we need to get something bought here soon. I’m fairly sure that we could get pre-qualified again without too much trouble but I don’t want to take that chance in this market. The annoying thing is that this whole thing is an inverse proportion problem. The longer we wait the chances of finding the perfect house increase while the chances of us getting finances for that house decrease.

Incredibly annoying from my point of view. We’re creating our own pressure for when we want to move and here is this OTHER pressure on top of everything that we really don’t need.

The worst part about it is that if we do lose our financing then we’re almost certainly renting until we can sock away at least $10k for a down-payment. And that will massively delay our search because renting _eats_ money without really giving anything but a place to live back. That makes it almost an order of magnitude harder to save money in that kind of environment. You become “rent poor” without having the benefit of at least gaining equity. Sucks big-time.

So we’ll try and look at more houses this weekend but since I’m off on Wednesday I’m hoping I’ll have time to do drive-by pictures at the very least. I can maybe get some drive-by pics for my wife and then we can decide if we want to see those houses. Nothing beats an in-person visit but the pictures can at least give an idea of the current curb appeal before we make an actual appointment.

Personally though I’m of the opinion that curb appeal means little as long as the house is solid and/or acceptable to us. I’m willing to live in what some would consider an “ugly” house until we fix things up. Most of what I’d be doing would be in the garage or inside the house anyway so the outside being “ugly” for a while doesn’t bother me.

But then I’m not your average appearance-obsessed humanoid on this planet... ;-)
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Mike Hebel

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