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The First in the Deck Series

Our most recent DIY experience through the process.

Out With The Old, In With The New

Gotta love a new beginning, right?

Peppermint Shortage

Just a funny afternoon.

Coffeyville, KS

I loved this experience so much that I had to write about it. Then, through e-mails it spread to Coffeyville itself.

Photo Restoration

I had a lot of fun with this "old school" photo. It turned out too cool to not blog about it.

Kitchen Remodel (part one)

This is the first of a nine-part series documenting the remodel of our 50-year-old kitchen in our 100-year-old home!

Jacob's Birthday


Jacob's getting seriously old. He turns eight today. That's halfway to getting a driver's license! He's pretty excited about the birthday thing and very excited to be eight. You remember how it was as a kid. Once you hit eight, seven seems so childish and young. Kids who are still seven, all of a sudden are no longer your peer group, but instead "those little kids."
I'm excited for him, but I'm feeling a little old myself now. He drags me right along with him, despite his bad math. This morning, as I dropped him off at school, he said, "Now, you're only nineteen years older than me." I replied, "No, actually I'll always be twenty and a half years older than you." He came back with, "but you're twenty-seven." I'm hoping that if he goes on believing that I am twenty-seven, then I'll somehow magically stay that age with the power of his faith. What do you think? Possible?

Johnny Eddies


Great news!

On Monday, Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards came to Springfield to campaign and speak to voters. It made our local news, of course, and Jodi and I both watched with disgust as Edward's supporters were interviewed with obvious ignorance of political policy. These people said things like, "I just like him", and "I agree with what he says about health care", and my favorite,"he seems like he'd make a good president." His supporters are more vague about why they support him, than he is vague about how his proposed policies will help America.

But, I was highly pleased and tickled this morning when I ran across an article that informed me that John Edwards has announced today that he is stepping down from the presidential race. Of course, I saw it coming, but my smile was no less wide than it would have been if it came as a complete surprise. I can only assume that Springfield effectively did their part in helping to convince John that he won't win. Great job, Springfield!

Although, the article did bring me some good news, it also offended me. So, I wrote a comment. Check it out by clicking here. It's at the bottom of the page just after the article I didn't like.

Cakeface

Lyric's first birthday party was a big success. Lots of friends and family were able to attend and Lyric seemed to enjoy the attention. He even enjoyed playing in his very own Angel Food Birthday Cake as you can see from the video attached.

Jodi and I spent a week preparing for it by trying to finish up every house project we had. Almost everything looked great and we got a lot done. I'm glad that the pressure is now gone and we can work on our house without the headache of a time and day looming over us.

I still can't believe that he's a year old.

Lyric's Turning One!

It's almost unbelievable that Lyric could already be turning one year old. On the other hand, it's difficult for me to remember coming home from work to a baby that couldn't crawl up to me and raise his arms for me to pick him up. So, regardless of what it may seem, he is going to be having his first birthday. His party will be at our house on this Sunday, January 27th at 3:00 pm. We'll be having the classic cake and ice cream thing and everyone is welcome to attend. If you don't know where we live just give me a call and I'll give you directions. If you don't have my phone number, you can call Jodi. If you don't know where we live, my phone number, or Jodi's phone number, then maybe Lyric doesn't know you well enough for you to be coming to his party. No offense, of course.

Bigger Nerd

I fixed the Mortgage Calculator this weekend. So, just in case any of you actually tried it, it was wrong. Not by much, but it wasn't perfect. Now it is perfect to the penny. And, I added some cool new automatic information. I fixed the link from the last blog so that if anyone clicks it it will take them to the right document, but you may also click here.

Nerd


I'm a big nerd. I really am. I'm the type of mathematically minded nerd that will figure out something new on a program like Microsoft Excel and then will feel forced to test it out by putting together a large scale working model of an elaborate mathematical equation complete with multiple variables that is relative to life enough to be beneficial to myself and designed with ease of use in mind to be beneficial to others.

Did that last sentence make sense to you? Don't worry. It doesn't to me either.

I built an Excel driven mortgage calculator. I did this a couple months ago, but only this past week did I get enough education to complete my masterpiece. With my fresh knowledge of Excel I managed to finish the thing off during my lunch break today.

If you are a homeowner or if you are in the market to buy a home, this calculator may be the very thing that will quickly answer some of your questions about paying off your mortgage loan. This Excel document can be downloaded for free, my gift to you, by clicking here. You should definitely download and view this if for no other reason than to see how big of a nerd I am. Who knows, it may turn out to interest you, too.

To use the form: Enter your specific information into the blue boxes. Tip: Escrow is the amount that your mortgage lender will add to your monthly payment and save for you. They'll use this money to pay your property taxes on your home every year as well as your homeowner's insurance. Whatever doesn't get used remains "In escrow" the following year. Homeowners: This amount that you pay can easily be found on your mortgage statement or mortgage bill. Future Homeowners: you can estimate your escrow payment by doing this (Property taxes for year + insurance for year / 12). If you don't know what these numbers are for the house that you are looking at you can either call a real estate agent and ask them or if you are not looking at any house in particular you can estimate by throwing in $90 to $100. That's probably correct for most places in Missouri around $80,000. The "Total Payment" column will show you what the required mortgage payment will be. Now you can add the amount that you want to pay in the "Paid" column and see how it affects the "Actual Payoff Date" found just below the graph.

Have fun! And don't hesitate to ask me questions.

P.S. You'll notice that you're not allowed to venture outside the blue. I've set that up for your protection, however if you know your way around Excel and you would like to do more with this, then the password to unprotect the sheet is "password". If you don't know where to go to unprotect the sheet then you don't know your way around Excel and should probably not attempt this.

P.P.S. If you don't have Microsoft Excel, and you would like to check this out or would just like to have an Office Suite but don't want to buy anything then you're in luck! I've added a link to OpenOffice.org to the right side of this blog page. Open Office is a great open source program that is free to have and to use with no strings attached. It is arguably just as good as Microsoft Office and will work for all Microsoft Office file formats. Check it out!

Hottie


I love having a hot wife. It's great. To all the single guys out there, I have a suggestion: Don't settle for the "kinda cute" ones. Hold out for the hottie. You won't be disappointed.

Of course, you also want one that is cool. One that won't just let you do the things you like to do, but thinks the things you like to do are cool. One that is witty and loves to have a good time all the time. One that is agreeable and cooperates with decision making. And, of course, one that, for whatever reason, finds you attractive as well.

But, let's face it, gentlemen. Go for the looker first. You can find out all the rest of that other stuff later.

*Cover photo taken in the VIP room at Peabody's on Historic Commercial Street in Springfield, MO.

Renovation Station

I'm broke. Happy, but broke. My wife and I decided that while I was on vacation we would convert our mudroom and our random useless hallway into a salon, short transition hallway, bathroom, and walk-in closet. The original plan was that I would get my week off and we would just power through and get it done. However, we lucked out when the project that I was working on at work abruptly came to a cease and desist when the labor union in Chicago finally came to an agreement with the company that we were doing work for. The company decided that they no longer were in need of our assistance and we were to cease operations after the last of our build schedule. So, since I was about to change jobs within the company that I work for I thought, "time for some negotiations." I made a call and requested that I be able to take two weeks off instead of just the one and it got approved. The best part was that because of the holidays I was off work for 16 days and I only had to use one vacation day for this year. I won't go into the math on that one, but it couldn't have been a better blessing.

Even with the 16 days off, the project is still in the works. We can pretty much say that we're done, but there are a still a few things that we are waiting on. For example, the faucet that we ordered off of Ebay for the bathroom's pedastal sink just shipped yesterday morning due to the company's holiday schedule and since it is shipping out of Canada we won't get it until Tuesday. So, the best case scenario is that it will be done Tuesday evening.

It was a fun project and Jodi and I couldn't have done it without the help of Mike Imes. Mike was probably over at our house working right alongside us for about 60 hours during the two weeks. Also, I only knew how to run electric. But, Mike knew how to hook it all up and get it into the breaker box. So, once again, thank you, Mike.

Here is a little slideshow with some of the pictures.

Health Care


I read the following article on the front page of the "Voices" section of yesterday's News-Leader and I wanted to share. I have not added to nor taken away from any of it. Here it is in the exact context in which I found it. It was written by John P. Fitts from Noel, Missouri.

Hardworking John Doe will get stuck with health bill

All of the candidates for president (except one) are touting some kind of taxpayer-funded "universal health care."
What this means is that all these candidates (except one) want to saddle all of us with responsibility for those who have neglected their own responsibility in this matter. I cite the following three examples:
Example Number One:
John doe goes to work after graduation, enlists for a tour of duty in the military, honorably serves and is discharged. He gets himself a job immediately, eventually marries, has children, pays all the required taxes, signs up and pays insurance premiums at his jobs, works himself up the ladder, goes to church and does all the traditional things a good citizen would do.
Example Number Two:
Fred doesn't care to complete school, goes to work intermittently, finally decides to work doing odd jobs for cash (not declaring his income from these proceeds). However, Fred does work at a public job just enough to acquire "earned income" on his tax return. Fred has never paid into any kind of health care insurance.
Example Number Three:
Ernesto was born in a foreign country. He enters the United States illegally, works at jobs that pay him cash without paying any taxes and hasn't any health insurance.
Example Number Four:
Larry graduates high school, studies law under a government grant, takes out student loans. Upon graduation from law school he uses his expertise to file bankruptcy to avoid paying his student loans. He then goes into politics, gets elected to two terms in the House and one term in the United States Senate, therefore being guaranteed health care for life even though he has never toiled or paid into a health care plan.
Question:
Should hard working Example Number One John Doe pay for health care for Examples Two, Three and Four? This is what universal health care entails. Someone has to pay the bills!


This is not an article in which someone can disagree. It is fact, plain and simple. The presidential candidates (except one) would have you believe that the problem with health care and its rising costs is due to those that do not have it. They propose Socialist ideas and claim that we would all benefit. However, the opposite is true. Health care costs continue to rise for three main reasons: First, frivolous lawsuits and legitimate lawsuits with frivolous amounts of money being awarded to the "victims" and victims, respectively, have caused doctor's liability insurance to rise therefore forcing doctors to charge more to their patients. Second, the government is freely printing non-gold backed money saturating the market with more money that devalues the dollar causing inflation and prices of everything to rise including health care. The last reason for these health care cost increases and arguably the largest reason is that 200 million Americans do have insurance and they use it in excess and in total disregard for the effects that it will have on the economy. They don't shop around for the cheaper price like they do everything else that they spend their money on. They don't ask about cost at all, rather they ask whether or not it is covered under their insurance policy. Why should they care? They're not paying for it, right? Or are they? The result is that doctor's offices and hospitals charge what they want, the insurance company pays and then raises its premiums across the board to everyone. Now this example is ironic since the people doing this are generally the same people who are paying these rising insurance premiums. If this disregard is the case with the people paying for it, imagine what it will be like if everyone were just given "universal health insurance" and not paying a dime for it.

Also, I love how this guy left out names in his article. I, on the other hand, would like to point out the nameless exception in which this author refers. Just in case you don't know, Ron Paul is the presidential candidate who is against creating these government-ran, taxpayer-funded programs. The opposition will claim that he doesn't care about the welfare of the people and that is why he doesn't want to help them. They'll mention some sob stories about people dying because of their lack of insurance and how Ron Paul must, in turn, support these "needless" deaths. However, Ron Paul would quite honestly and eloquently explain to you that these programs force the very citizens who are already paying ridiculously high insurance premiums to pay for other people's as well. This would be catastrophic to society and their economic state. Hillary Clinton would say that it would be payed for by cutting this or that and that no one would see such an increase, however history has taught us that more government programs means more taxes to support them. She can cut something and their funding to fund another program, but that solves nothing. America is already in so much debt that it can barely be calculated. And in the words of John P. Fitts, "Someone has to pay the bills." The only solution is to cut these government programs and to not replace them with anything else.

The following is my view only and not necessarily the views of any presidential candidate: Why does anyone think that we have some right to life? The idea of having "rights" has been skewed over the years since the indoctrination of the Constitution. We do have rights. But, those rights do not include having people give you medical care that you cannot compensate for just so that you can force the cost on the rest of the hardworking community. I do believe that everyone has the right to not being killed. I don't believe that anyone has the right to being saved from natural death. That is not a right. It is an option that one can take if they have the means to pay for that option. Of course, you cannot stop programs like Medicaid and Medicare dead in the tracks, because a lot of these people paid into the system to get the benefits that they are receiving now. And, it wouldn't be right to take money from someone under a certain premise and not provide what was agreed upon. However, there are millions absorbing these very benefits that have never paid a dime into the system. These are the ones that make it so those who do pay won't get their share. Obviously, the system is warped and it's not dollar for dollar and therefore needs to be scrapped not added to by creating universal health care.

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