Saturday, February 13, 2010

Today

I - couldn't stop myself. I went to work. But - it wasn't the kind of work that takes a lot of physical output. I'm saying this because I'm trying to put the lid on this sickness, bury it in it's coffin and say goodbye to it.

But there is just too much to do around here. I abandoned the idea of a fence around the plants on the southwest side of the house. I would have had to build the thing at least 4 feet tall and I just don't want that kind of thing back there. Instead, I put up chicken wire around each individual plant. The dogs want to walk along that fenceline - fine - they will be able to do it without trampling the plants.

Trampling the plants at this point would entail stepping into a circle with very sharp points sticking out the top. I'm not going to say it's dog-proofed, but I do have some level of confidence. They aren't after the plants, they could care less about them - they're after the fence. Someday - I'll either be off of this property and it won't matter or I will build a block fence there and the dogs will lose interest in whatever's behind the fence.

I then got to work on the travel trailer's bedroom. Specifically, cutting pieces of styrofoam to size and filling in the gaps. I was enjoying this work because I was nailing it. My cuts were just a little larger than the hole to fill - intentionally - to make a secure, tight fit. The bedroom is done - with insulation.

Now comes the difficult stuff. Cutting the panelling to size. This will be no easy affair. Windows/corners/outlets/angles. I intend on making cutouts for the angled pieces that simply defy my level of ability. I imagine precise measurements could be taken at various point along an angled cut to give precise cutting points - it would be far easier, imo, to simply take newspaper and tape and make a precise cutout of it, put it on the paneling, draw the outline and have a close enough cut. Any offage can be covered with molding.

I quit after getting the insulation done today. I will be in no hurry for the paneling. Meaning that yes, I will do the work, but no, I am not doing a rush job. I spent the money, I want it to look good. A pain in the @$$ - definitely - worth the outcome - definitely. These people living in it? The man has figured out I am going to get this done right regardless of the fact that they want to have it done. I would be pissed at myself for caving in to their desire to have the finished product. Won't they also be happy with a good looking, clean environment? Yes, I think so.
Done with this, long lapse - numerous things going on.
ben

Fry's Food Stores

Yes, another entry about Fry's Food Stores, but this time I give them kudos. I bought some chicken leg quarters there earlier this week which had an expiration date of - use by today, actually. I opened it 2 days ago and that fowl smelled REALLY foul.

I don't do rotten chicken, no way, no how, no nothing. I kept forgetting to take it back with me to exchange it. So, today, I figured I would at least try asking and seeing if I could exchange it sight unseen. I rarely - and I mean rarely - return anything to Fry's. I think this dude I asked was actually the newest general manager of that store. I do miss Kim, the guy that was running that place for a long time. Apparently - coming from several store associates - Fry's has some sort of policy to move managers around every couple of years.

I will not give them kudos for that. I like the idea of knowing the people that work there and having some sort of business relationship. In the 5 years I have been going to that store, I estimate I have spent a minimum of 25 grand there. $500 minimum per month times 12 months times 5 years. That's actually 30k, my estimates are on the conservative side.

Regardless, I asked the manager about the chicken - do I have to bring back the rotten stuff or can I just get a fresh package sight unseen? I was totally honest about it, it was a package of the cheap stuff at 74 cents per pound, a loss of a little over 3 bucks for the package I had purchased. He walked with me to the back of the store, picked up a package, took it to the front, bagged it and said have a nice day.

I consider that good customer service. Prolly he didn't even have to do that, in fact I'm pretty sure they want to see either the receipt or the rotten merchandise. So, Fry's, hats off to you for today's visit. Amazingly, in the last few months, even a couple of workers that usually have some pretty consistent, sour attitudes have also brightened up considerably. Nice job. I was going to complain the other day about their 93% lean ground beef on sale for less than 2 bucks per pound - a good deal for that kind of meat - but I didn't feel like going to the trouble. Fry's seems to make a habit out of advertising something at a great sale price and then - not having the product available when you show up. No, they didn't have any - at all.

Anyway, onto Fry's Electronics. My attempted trip there today met with a 3/4 mile backup of traffic on Baseline road. My keyboard failed - again - had to replace it - again. I couldn't believe the amount of traffic, like rush hour on a weekday afternoon with people coming home from work. Took an entirely back route to the store which is less than 2 miles from my house. That store was PACKED with people. You'da thought it was Christmas in February. The line was over 100 feet long to pay.

I can only say my trips to anywhere today are over with. I have no desire, whatsoever, to fight that kind of traffic. This keyboard is different than my old one and I am finding it troublesome trying to get my fingers used to the smaller keys.

Anyway, I'm off to the back yard to finish a fencing project I started this morning. For all you Fry's execs that read this journal - I know of at least 2 when I post anything about Fry's Food Stores - thumbs up for today's visit.

G'day.

ben

Saturday

I was reviewing my credit card statements this morning - I have been paying everything almost a full month in advance to ensure that I am not late on any payments - and am very nicely encouraged by the fact that 4 out of 5 of the accounts are coming to an end in terms of money owed and the use I got out of them for getting into this house.

There is one card, however, that has such high interest and loaded with so many fees - a $21.00 monthly, minimum payment only brings the principal amount down a few dollars. This - I find to be highly irritating. Not only that, but the card itself is no longer issued, the bank of Delaware or whatever the name of the company is dumped that card.

I have only myself to blame, of course, but still. I have tried several times to contact them and arrange a payoff on it. They refuse. Probably because I am talking to people in Delhi, India, not mainstreet America. I ended up contacting the bank itself to file a complaint. The complaint is simply that they had offered a substantial reduction to the amount owed on the card if I would simply make a one-time payment to get rid of the balance. Now, they are refusing to honor that deal. Note that at the end of the first year of use and the beginning of the second year, they dumped a $150 "annual fee" onto the card. THAT is what really got me cooking about this "card".

I will be calling that company - the bank itself, not the outsourced company that is being used to collect payments - until they get sick of my phone calls. They WILL, at the very least, respond to me and not dump me off onto a voice messaging system with a person that promises to "call back as soon as possible" - with ensuing phone call never being made. I am going to pay 2 of the other cards off - the balances are less than $100 now - and take the monthly payment money I was making on those cards and apply it to this card.

Even my Fingerhut account is getting close to a $100 balance. I usually pay more - sometimes much more - than the minimum monthly amount due. I want to keep my Capital One card; the Chevron-Texaco card; the Fingerhut account - but probably not the prepaid card. It only has a $200 limit - it's a prepaid account, I could just cancel the account, they would take the amount owed out of my "savings account" with them and that would end that card.

It was also nice to see that this month's monthly payments - including Direct TV and also Qwest high speed internet - are paid until next month. Child support also already paid and in the ex's account, the only other payment due this month is the car payment. Oh, water bill should be showing up sooner or later as well. Getting ahead feels so much better than always being behind.

I will be putting any more purchases for the trailer on hold until next month. The only exception would be if I could find a smoking deal on carpet. However, we are nowhere near the point of putting carpet in and there is enough material to keep busy for - weeks actually at the rate we are going. The walls - insulation and paneling - have to be installed and the leak-proofing has to be completed. Well, in order - leak-proofing before any new materials are put in there. The floor in the bedroom is done. Insulation in the floor, new wood, good to go.

Ex-Marine landed a new security job. The only thing that saved me from his lack of employment in terms of receiving monthly rent is the fact that he receives a check from the military every month for damage to his hearing while serving in the Marines. The newest guy? Seems pretty cool - I hope to be able to ask him today about anything that might be bothering him and try to address any issues - if at all possible.

Work? Who knows. I just continue to bust-@$$, keep a good attitude, work work work. I left early a couple of times this week - but only after all the deliveries were done - because I wasn't feeling well. Jury's out on how I feel today, I usually only start feeling it when I start working or doing something, and right now? I don't feel like doing anything. I sense that things are not all well in the land of my employer - numbers aren't exactly high - just the feeling that decisions are being made. What decisions affecting who, no clue. When companies do lay-offs, it's not like they broadcast that they are going to do it in advance or tell the affected individuals about the demise of their employment, either. That's standard, modus-operandi for most all corporations. I neither expect or want to be laid off from work. I can only hope the job situation continues, I'll take reduced hours over NO hours any day of the week, month or year. I can imagine the alternatives - not a pretty picture.

I do have a plan if such happens - ugly at best - to try and save my home from foreclosure if I lose my employment income. $1,000 per month in unemployment benefits to start with - but that's taxed, lol. I could easily see myself renting my master bed and bath out. My son wouldn't much care for it, but I would be moving into his room. I could get $500 a month for my bedroom and bath - it's large, a lot of room with a walk-in closet. I would still have a deficit to deal with - but at least I would be able to make the mortgage payment, keep the internet and satellite tv on (not for me - tenants will not stay without either of those 2 - either and both are equally important), water and electricity. The painted picture is actually not as bad as - people losing their homes and ending up living in apartments or - in many cases - having to move into someone else's house and rent out rooms. Craigslist is full of people advertising to rent a room - at a rate that is a give-away at best.

I understand these people are broke and destitute, but to take $250 per month for a room that is bringing $400 would not be doable in my situation. I am "giving" away help to those people in the trailer, that's as far as it goes for now. Even they are expected to pay for their own utilities - I demand that. No-one rides for free around here. I figure their $100 per month - $25 per week - pays for their usage of everything. They can figure whatever they want, but they would be on the streets right now and I am quite sure they understand that. If they stay, the amount they have to come up with will go up when they start running the AC on that trailer, and trust me, I have no doubts in my mind whatsoever that when it gets hot, they are going to cool that trailer. That is why I am making sure all walls and the flooring have a good amount of insulation going - try to get some kind of efficiency out of the use of it, but in the end, they are responsible and I will make sure that it happens - for payment for the amount of electricity they are using. I already know what my summer electricity usage is - I figure it to go at least $100 above that with that AC unit running out there.

Well, this entry grows long and I have some things I want to get done around here - mostly cleaning projects.

G'day.

ben

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