Archive for August 2011

It’s Gotta Go Wednesday

August 31, 2011

I may offend a few with this post, and I care. I really do, it’s just super deep down inside. In fact it’s so deep that it’s in a place that I can’t really feel it.

ANYWAY, on to this Wednesdays rant.

When I go to a fast food drive up window (which rarely happens these days, but every now and again I do it for my kids), I have this crazy expectation that I will actually be able to understand and be understood by the person on the other end of the intercom.

Oh stop… get off of your politically correct horse and quit crying. I have nothing against those from other countries OR the languages they speak. I do, however, think that in the United States, where English is still (I think) the first language, when in a customer service position, ESPECIALLY when 80% of your job is listening to and speaking with the customer, speaking English, even if it’s just enough to get you through, is kind of an important skill.

When I was in France, I spoke French. Really bad French, but French nonetheless. I didn’t expect the natives of Paris to speak MY language. And when I was in Mexico, I pretty much didn’t say much at all because, well, I don’t speak Spanish. But I DID let those I was with who COULD speak Spanish talk with the locals. And they spoke Spanish because, well, that’s the primary language spoken in Mexico.

I don’t want to debate you on the issues surrounding immigrants, tolerance, same-sex marriage, or why dogs are better than cats (or vice versa). It has nothing to do with people’s rights, respecting different cultures, or where you were born. I just want to order my kids some damn fries and a cheeseburger without pickles AND get what I ordered. Because HOLY HELL, if (insert evil child’s name here) has to eat pickles, or catsup, or whatever life ending item is mistakenly put on their burger, the world will blow up and we will ALL DIE! Or I will have to listen to them cry and moan, and that’s even worse than death.

All of this being said, my beef isn’t with the employee who doesn’t speak English. Like most people, especially in this crap economy, they are probably just trying to support themselves and their family like everyone else. My ancestors were immigrants, as were most who were born in the United States, and I love that there is diversity in this nation. Come one come all! Frankly, I think becoming a citizen should be more accessible and a quicker, simpler process, but that’s an entirely different post. My issue is with the manager/owner that felt it was a good idea for any employee who cannot communicate effectively with a customer, whether because of a language difference OR because the person is a big jerk with a crappy attitude, to hold that particular position.

This Message Brought To You…

August 26, 2011

This post is brought to you by the 5 minutes of free time that I have today.

It’s been a memorable week, to say the least. Not only was it the first week of school, but I sort of started my new job. I’ve spent a few days training, and a few “surprises” have surfaced in terms of where I am headed with this new position. There are still lots of unanswered questions and unknowns, but I’ve sort of resigned myself to whatever happens, and know however things turn out, it’ll be fine.

On the real estate front, things have been hectic in a way that I’m not sure I’ve experienced before. I’m still nursing along the deal with my client buying a cabin. Ahhh, how I wish for a smooth and trouble free transaction. But I have faith that all of the issues will be resolved in the end. In addition, I picked up another client(s) this week… a young husband and wife looking for their first home. This is the part of my job I love. I know there are a lot of agents who don’t like working with buyers, and tend to take listings with sellers instead. Working with buyers demands a lot more time and effort than selling, but there is something I love about helping people buy a home. Not only do I enjoy showing homes, but it’s really rewarding to find that perfect home and to see a buyers reaction and excitement about the prospect of it becoming their own. Working with this couple is and will take up a lot of time, both out there walking through home after home, but there is also a lot of work behind the scenes at home. This definitely won’t be a weekend of rest. I guess when it rains it pours.

The kids seem to be enjoying school so far, and all of them like their teachers. I’m so happy for one of my kids who had a tough teacher last year, survived it, and is now being rewarded by the scholar gods by having a much more laid back and nurturing one. I can’t believe that all of our 5 kids are in school, and next year I’ll be driving my oldest to Jr. High. I’m getting old!

 

It’s Gotta Go Wednesday

August 24, 2011

I love taking the kids to the school playground after dinner on a warm summer night, and it’s always fun to walk a great mountain trail. What I DO not like is stepping in a big pile of dog crap. And I’m not sure what it is about my kids shoes and dog poo, but they are like magnets attracting each other… soul mates that are always in search of each other until they can unite. I, however, do NOT give my blessing to this relationship.

We’ve got a dog, and our dog happens to poop. When we take him on a walk, we typically tie a “poop bag” to his leash to clean up any gifts he decides to leave behind. It’s the socially responsible thing to do. I don’t particularly enjoy cleaning up my own dog’s poop, and I especially don’t want to clean up the crap of another dog. But worse than picking up dog poop is trying to get it out of the tread of my shoes.

It would be awesome if the Tooth Fairy had a second cousin named the Queen of Crap Karma. She would put a steaming mound of crap under the pillows of those who don’t clean up their dogs shiz. Maybe I’ve just discovered the answer to our unemployment problem.

Not cleaning up your dog’s poop… it’s gotta go.

Oodles of Changes

August 22, 2011

This past week has been a full one, and life is going to be changing around here.

First, our 9-year-old girls have been bugging us for quite some time about sharing a room. My twins, Emma & Cooper, have been sharing a room for about a year, and while it’s been fine, in the back of my mind I’ve known that it would be short-lived. As much as they love each other, I think that at some point a brother and sister have to go their separate ways when it comes to the living arrangement. And really it made sense for the girls to room together. Not only are they the same age, but they almost never fight and they like the same things. Greg & I told them it would happen, but hadn’t really made any plans or preparations for the move. Last week I just sort of started the process one day, and 24 hours later, we had switched Alex & Cooper. Alex & Emma are now roomies, and for the first time since moving into this house, Cooper has a room of his own. Everyone seems pretty happy with the new arrangement.

All of this room swapping made me realize that we can never move. The sheer amount of crap that these kids have is overwhelming, and it’s only a fraction what is in the house. Guess we’re here to stay.

I’ve also been really busy with work. I’ve got a buyer who I’ve been working with for over a year and who this last week put an offer in on a house. It’s kept me really busy, but it feels good to be on the front line of negotiating a deal and seeing this through. Also on the “work front”, which is typically slow for me, I was offered a part-time job working with my real estate broker (already kind of my boss), assisting him with his other business. After Mr. N & I married, I put my real estate-ing on the back burner and focused solely on my family. Getting semi-back into a working state of mind is exciting and also a little scary. Luckily it’s only a few days a week and will be somewhat flexible around my schedule. There are still a lot of details to be worked out, but it will be interesting to see how this all unfolds.

Last but not least, today was the first day of school for the older kids (Kindergarten doesn’t start until next week). I cannot believe I have a child in 6th grade! I remember sending him to his first day of preschool, and it doesn’t seem that long ago. Now my babies are in 3rd grade, and my step-daughter, who I started caring for every day when she was only two, is starting school as well. My how the time does fly!

This summer has honestly been the best since becoming a parent, and I’m oddly sad to see it end. Most years I’ve been ready to have the kids start school and out of my hair for half the day. But I’ve enjoyed having them home for the past 2 months, and I’m not sure that I’m ready for the early mornings, days filled with volunteering, and hours of homework at night. UGH! But it will be nice to get back into our routine and have a schedule. I’m also pretty sure that their brains deteriorated over the summer, so getting a little cranial exercise will be good for them. I hope they all love their teachers and give their best efforts this year. If we could only get them to smile even slightly naturally. It’s the truest  evidence that they are getting older… they are too cool to smile :).

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You DO Have The Power

August 18, 2011

You wouldn’t know it to look at me, or maybe even to talk to me, but at times I can be a “political” person, and I have some pretty strong views about what should and should not be happening in this country (P.S. I love Ron Paul and I wrote him in during the 2008 election. I hope to actually have him as an option in the selection this time around). I don’t think it matters which political party most politicians associate themselves with, they are essentially all the same except on a few details that really don’t matter much in the scheme of things. You know what they say about insanity… doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. The same can be said of voting for the same (or same type) of politicians and expecting a different result for our country.

“When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.” – Thomas Jefferson

I’ve seen this before, but got this email again today. It’s worth the time to read it.

Charley Reese’s final column
Just a Friendly ReminderA very interesting column. COMPLETELY NEUTRAL
Be sure to Read the Poem at the end.Charley Reese’s final column for the Orlando Sentinel.He has been a journalist for 49 years.
He is retiring and this is HIS LAST COLUMN.Be sure to read the Tax List at the end.This is about as clear and easy to understand as it can be. The article below is completely neutral, neither anti-republican or democrat. Charlie Reese, a retired reporter for the Orlando Sentinel, has hit the nail directly on the head, defining clearly who it is that in the final analysis must assume responsibility for the judgments made that impact each one of us every day. It’s a short but good read. Worth the time. Worth remembering!545 vs. 300,000,000 People– By Charlie Reese

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.

Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?

Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don’t propose a federal budget. The President does.

You and I don’t have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.

You and I don’t write the tax code, Congress does.

You and I don’t set fiscal policy, Congress does.

You and I don’t control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one President, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.

I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a President to do one cotton-picking thing. I don’t care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator’s responsibility to determine how he votes.

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits. The President can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.

The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House? John Boehner. He is the leader of the majority party. He and fellow House members, not the President, can approve any budget they want. If the President vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted — by present facts — of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can’t think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it’s because they want it unfair.

If the budget is in the red, it’s because they want it in the red.

If the Army & Marines are in Iraq and Afghanistan it’s because they want them in Iraq and Afghanistan.

If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it’s because they want it that way.

There are no insoluble government problems.

Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like “the economy”,”inflation,” or “politics” that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.

They, and they alone, have the power.

They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses.

Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees.

We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess.

Charlie Reese is a former columnist of the Orlando Sentinel Newspaper.

What you do with this article now that you have read it is up to you. This might be funny if it weren’t so true. Be sure to read all the way to the end:

Tax his land,
Tax his bed,
Tax the table,
At which he’s fed.

Tax his tractor,
Tax his mule,
Teach him taxes
Are the rule.

Tax his work,
Tax his pay,
He works for
peanuts anyway!

Tax his cow,
Tax his goat,
Tax his pants,
Tax his coat.

Tax his ties,
Tax his shirt,
Tax his work,
Tax his dirt.

Tax his tobacco,
Tax his drink,
Tax him if he
Tries to think.

Tax his cigars,
Tax his beers,
If he cries
Tax his tears.

Tax his car,
Tax his gas,
Find other ways
To tax his ass.

Tax all he has
Then let him know
That you won’t be done
Till he has no dough.

When he screams and hollers;
Then tax him some more,
Tax him till
He’s good and sore.

Then tax his coffin,
Tax his grave,
Tax the sod in
Which he’s laid…

Put these words
Upon his tomb,
‘Taxes drove me
to my doom…’

When he’s gone,
Do not relax,
Its time to apply
The inheritance tax.

Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
CDL license Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Excise Taxes
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel Permit Tax
Gasoline Tax (currently 44.75 cents per gallon)
Gross Receipts Tax
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Inventory Tax
IRS Interest Charges IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax
Luxury Taxes
Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax
Personal Property Tax
Property Tax
Real Estate Tax
Service Charge Tax
Social Security Tax
Road Usage Tax
Recreational Vehicle Tax
Sales Tax
School Tax
State Income Tax
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone Federal Excise Tax
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
Telephone Recurring and Nonrecurring Charges Tax
Telephone State and Local Tax
Telephone Usage Charge Tax
Utility Taxes
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers Compensation Tax

STILL THINK THIS IS FUNNY?
Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, and our nation was the most prosperous in the world. We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.

What in the heck happened? Can you spell ‘politicians?’

It’s Gotta Go Wednesday

August 17, 2011

I’ve discussed sunburns, skin cancer, and sunscreen here a few times.

A couple of weeks ago I sent my oldest to his friends house. The mom did tell me they might play outside in their little pool, so being a responsible parent, I sent him with his swim shirt, sunscreen, and applied sunscreen before he left.

My son slept over at his friends house, so I didn’t see him until the next day.When I picked him up that morning, I was absolutely shocked at what I saw. Lobster red doesn’t begin to describe the condition of his back and shoulders. He had the worst burn on any of my kids that I’d ever seen. I was torn on what to do… Do I give him the idiot slap on the back of his head, or gently hug him and slather on the sympathy? I hugged him, but I made sure to let him know how dumb I thought he was for not reapplying the sunscreen but most importunately, NOT WEARING HIS SWIM SHIRT. My kids ALWAYS wear a swim shirt when they are in the water just so that what happened would NOT happen.

The mother of the other child called the next day to apologize  for the burned. While I do think that it was Ian’s responsibility to take care of himself, I was a little bothered that she didn’t make sure that they put on sunscreen and that she didn’t tell him to wear his shirt (what did I send it with him for if not to wear?!). Anyway, I think this was a very painful and uncomfortable object lesson for my son… one he will not soon forget. Here he is 1 1/2 weeks after the burn:

Yes, those are scabs. And every night for two weeks we got to hear about how it hurt, how it itched, and there were nights that he literally cried himself to sleep.

Kids not heeding the words of their parents because they are soooo darn smart, and parents not being proactive to protect others kids from themselves… it’s gotta go!

FIRE!

August 16, 2011

There was a touch of excitement this weekend when Corner Canyon, which is a few miles south of our home, caught fire. The smoke smell and ash falling from the sky led us to go for a little exploratory drive. Here’s what we saw:

What’s more exciting and entertaining than flames! That’s what I call a Saturday night. From what I know, there was no damage, even though the flames came within feet of people’s homes, and the smoke in the sky made for an amazing sunset!