Tag: car

My Fifteen Minutes

My Fifteen Minutes

Everyone seems to get his or her 15 minutes.

I made the front page of a small East Texas Newspaper twenty-four years ago, in a most austere way.

Driving home this evening I passed more than one person who was weaving in their lane.  Usually it is because they are texting or trying to see who called and of course, they are much better at this than every other driver is, so they can do it safely.  Sometimes the weaving is simply because they are drunk, or high.

In the year 1992, my life changed forever.

After a head on collision at freeway speeds involving an intoxicated 80 year old, I was forced to re-invent myself.  Managing to live through being treated in a small country hospital that doubled as an emergency vet… (Joking…, I think…) I was destined to do other things.

The broken bones and lacerations healed, but the scars remain, hidden just under the surface, pain is a constant reminder of that fateful day 24 years ago.  I have legs today because I happen to enjoy coffee.  Moments before the impact, I had stopped to purchase Gas and coffee. Filling one of those stainless steel thermoses, I had the thermos upright in the seat beside me.  Topping the hill to find a Cadillac, in my lane coming at me, my two options were to dive into the other lane or hit the brakes.  A red Truck was in the lane beside me so, in the split second that I had to utter the explicative “Oh Shit!” It was all over.  Literally, the accident was that fast.  I had locked up anti-locks breaks, and bent the brake pedal…He never attempted to hit his breaks.

The combined collision speed was 115 miles an hour.  How they got all that I have no idea however, my speedometer was stuck at 45…frozen in time.

The memory of that split second in time, indelibly etched into my brain is a constant reminder of what happens when idiots drink and drive.  Every detail lives with me in excruciating detail.  Time fascinates me today because of this, as I think time is not linear but relative. During the Nano second of the impact, the event turned into one of those films you see that was taken by a high-speed camera.  Bits of glass tumbled frame by frame, horizontally from my left to right.  The dash came up to meet me as the steering wheel crushed my face and chest.  The thermos full of coffee tumbled from beside me, launching itself to the floor, lodging between the firewall and the frame of my seat.  The hydraulic effect of the thermos filled with liquid, stopped the dash from severing my legs and most probably kept the shaft of the steering column from piercing my heart.

The driver of the other car was under his dash. He was hauled away first in the first ambulance arriving on the scene.  He had one small cut on his forehead and released from the hospital that day. He was not even wearing a seatbelt.   I never heard what happened with the driver after that. Since both of us had the same insurance company. I was lucky to be compensated for my losses.  I remember the claims person as being nasty to me on the phone…  They did not even replace my truck as it was now 6 months old.  I was upside down on the loan and they did not care…. It was a smaller truck, not one of the full size trucks like I drive today.  I understand that claims adjusters work for the benefit of the insurance company but I was surely not in “good hands.” Insurance is in fact unavoidable, if you are lucky; you are pissing your money away paying for something that you will never need. They do whatever they can do to keep from paying out.

The trip to the hospital started as I said, after they removed and transported the person who was responsible for the accident.

My vision was fading, as the pain in my chest was intense.  I made my peace with God as I knew that I was going to die and strangely enough, I did not seem to mind.  There was a strange peace about it as if the answer was at hand; this is how it will happen. God however had other plans… While waiting for the final sting… I tried to relieve the pain, I managed to remove my seat belt, but the pain was still there.

With what was left of my vision, I was able to watch as they pulled the other driver from under his dash and put him onto the stretcher.  A man came to my window talking with me as I told him about the pain and the vision issues.  It hurt to talk and my statements were short as breath was scarce.  My face had met up with the steering wheel, Or the steering wheel with my face, so talking “clearly, plainly” was not really an option; nor was it possible as blood was now leaving my body through every orifice that I had visible and some places that were not visible.

The engine and tires of my truck were underneath my seat.  Using the jaws of life I heard the popping sounds of the metal as they cut my door away from around me.  Finally, they got to me after removing my door and cutting what was left of the restraining device that was still wrapped around me.  By now, my vision was all but gone, but I could still hear the noises of the equipment, and the voices of the first responders.  You have heard people mention the white light.  My vision had faded from white sparkles to a blank white screen. One of the responders said, “It is a miracle that he is alive.” Placing that plastic collar on me, they then pulled me out of my truck.  Once they laid me down, my vision returned.  I could see the emergency vehicles, and the wrecker driver picking up my belongings as they were now strewn over much of the freeway. Steam was coming out from somewhere under my seat which was now where the engine was. The bed of the truck was warped; the force of the wreck torqued and twisted the metal.

Once in the ambulance the man told me that he was going to put some sugar water into me, the 18 gauge needle was going to hurt. Compared to the rest of the pain that I was in, that was a mosquito bite.

Arriving at the hospital, they were already working on the other person that hit me.  A curtain separated us, but I could hear him.  He was old, drunk and on medications.  His wife had just bought him another car as he totaled the last one.  He had badgered her about driving so she bought him this old big Cadillac so if he were in an accident; he would be protected. He bragged about how he guessed she was right because he was still there.

Laying there on the other side of the curtain, listening to him tell the story of his classic Cadillac, what was left of my blood boiled! It was not bad enough that they took the old person first, but I had to be in the same room with him!

It was now my turn to be treated like meat.

Cutting my clothing off me there was no shortage of witnesses to watch the story unfold.  Doctors, nurses, physician’s assistants (young attractive female with long curly brown hair) and a burly old cop who clearly had never missed a meal, were a few that made the cadre of spectators.

The report of the accident was read aloud to all that were present including the fact that my seatbelt was not buckled.

I tried to tell them that I took it off but, the cop was making notes, not interested in my wellbeing but who was at fault and if there was a ticket to write.  He looked down at me as if to say, yea sure…we have heard that one before…  I was pissed!  Arrogant son of a bitch!  If he could not see from the evidence what happened, he was a moron!

As they cut my shirt off, a large purple stripe across my chest and my belly that the belt left, told the tail, and at that; the cop put his ticket book away!  I was more concerned about living through this and he was looking to write a ticket.  I do not mean to sound churlish. I know many police who I call friends.  Thinking about this, I am still pissed at that asshole!

The doctor was wearing a black silky sports jacket with a yellow logo on it as he was at some sporting event and was on call.  He was not happy to be there and his bedside manner left much to be desired.  There were two hospitals in this town, one for poor folks, and one for people with means.  I had insurance and means and they brought me to the other hospital that was in need of so many things.

After examining my naked body in front of many people, the “doctor” flipped me over to stuff a finger up my butt as the final insult…  Now I had broken bones, crushed chest, face and legs and without x-rays or anything else, he treats me like a slab of meat to finish his exam so he can write up some orders for the nurses and get back to what he was doing before the rude interruption.  After he was satisfied with his initial exam, he left. They did a sonogram of my heart to find that it had been bruised.  Then they took me down to x-ray.  X-ray was close to the morgue, I could smell dead people, or was it me.

The ceiling tiles, stained from years of leaks and neglect told the tail of the financial history of this place.  The X-Ray machine would not stay in place.  After she would set it, get some distance to trigger it, the head would slide down, as its joints were old and loose.  We had to take several “pictures” before she was finished. No telling how much extra radiation that I was exposed to because of this antiquated relic that belonged in a museum.

Back in the emergency room, the man’s wife arrived.  He told her… “They said I was in the wrong lane.”

Laying there listening to him getting his three stitches on his forehead, it was not long before he was released to go home.  Before they left, his wife came over to me.  From what I could tell, I was covered in my own blood from head to toe. My beard was caked in blood.  She rubbed my forehead as she apologized… ”I knew better to get him another car.” She said…then she told me “I am not supposed to tell you this, we have good insurance…”

Even in my state of mind, I was too nice to tell her what she could do with her good insurance… I had to live through this day, this night and then another day before I could even think about getting things taken care of.

After hours spent in the emergency room; I was moved to ICU.  If you have never been in the hospital before “and I had not” this was not an experience that I would welcome or recommend.

Since I had a bruised heart, it was decided that I could not have pain medication.  A dentist came in and checked my teeth that had gone through my face.  Stitching up my face from the inside out, no pain medication was used.

The next fun thing was the doctor that set my broken nose.  This person reminded me of the professor on back to the future.  Pushing on my nose with his thumb, he could not get it exactly straight so again, without any pain management, he put these huge forceps up my nose and … got it straight.   The pain was unbelievable as the final crunching sounds of the bones ceased.

The machine that monitored my pulse echoed the throbbing of the pains in my body.

Listening to the beeping of the machine, I knew as long as it was beeping, I was alive.

The PA came in and tried multiple times to get me to tell her what I was taking.  “C’mon, we know you are taking something, what it is…we need to know…”  “Really…my word meant nothing… I don’t do stuff like that, never have!”  Several times she tried to get me to tell her what I was on…the answer was always the same. I maybe the only person on this damned planet who has never done it but…I don’t…

“We don’t know what you are on so we can’t give you pain medicine.” She said… What was I supposed to do, lie so they could manage my pain?

The next day, after the worst night in my life the toxicology report came back…my potassium was low…”What are you doing to cause your potassium to be low?” the doctor with bad bedside manners asked.  “Ummm, I don’t salt my food…” Never did get as much as an aspirin.

The days and nights blurred together as I could not sleep.  My nose was packed with cotton, and it throbbed for days. I could barely breathe as my ribs and chests were broken, breathing hurt!

Every few hours someone came in and jabbed me several times with a needle to get blood.  The phlebotomist, if that is who they were, sucked at it! I was still getting saline from an IV so peeing was the only activity that I could muster.  Lifting the sheets was near impossible and on several occasions, I had to get help…talk about humbling…

After the third day, glass from the accident was still imbedded in my hands left arm and face.  My beard was one solid chunk of caked blood and not so much as one person offered to get the glass out of me or clean me up.

For entertainment, I found that I could control the beats of my heart.  Using some biofeedback technique, I could slow them down to an eerie slow level or speed them up. I was hooked up with a remote telemetry gadget so someone somewhere could look at a screen and see my heart rhythm.  There was also a camera on the ceiling watching me.  At some point in time, I wanted a nurse and could not get one.  I pulled the telemetry leads off my chest.  The monitor went to a silent tone and … nothing.  Nobody came for close to 15 minutes! If this was ICU, I shuddered to think what care was like in a regular room.

The next day the hospital administrator came to my bed as I had asked to be transferred to Houston.  I personally knew Dr. Debakey and he knew me.  He even told me once if I needed his services to let him know.  If there was anything going on with my heart, I would much rather he and his team take care of me than this bunch of people.

The next day they moved me to a private room in the “best part” of the hospital.  Some wing of the hospital had been made via donations from someone.  It was there, with help from family that I managed to get myself into the shower, and stay there until I managed to get all the dried blood off me, out of my hair, and what have you.  I then dug into my luggage and used my own damned tweezers to get the glass out of me.

The doctor with the crappy attitude before releasing me was much nicer on his final examination.  I guess he was finally satisfied that I was not on anything…the wreck was in no way my fault or…he got lucky the night before…. Either way, I was happy to leave that hospital.  Holding a pillow next to my chest my friend of many years drove me home where I lost months of employment and finally had to leave the job I loved, as I was no longer able to do it.

One of the people that I missed was Dr. DeBakey and his team.  I had spent years taking care of the doctors in the Texas Medical Center and ended up in a small East Texas hospital that was a joke by any standards.

Loosing months of pay I got a call one day from MADD…mothers against drunk driving.  While I could ill afford it, I sent them some money anyway.

Today 24 years later I am often teased about my driving.  I am very defensive, leave lots of room in front of me and preach to those that will listen. I tell them to pay attention to what is going on at least 15 cars in front of you and leave enough room so you can see them.  I am often told, I drive like a grandpa…slow.  Slow translates to the speed limit or a mile or two above or below it, depending on the average terrain.

Driving a full size truck with many airbags is only a small part of my strategy.  When I see these people with their damned phones driving and messing with the phone, part of me really wants to scream at them.  Then the cops have radios, phones and a laptop computers and a host of other distractions while they drive through school zones…Folks, they are no different from you… Watch them; you will see them drift all over the road as they mess with their toys. I have seen them, and I cringe.

Keep your distance from them, big trucks and cheerleader types who think a selfie while driving through a school zone is smart.  They do it!  They are all over Facebook… Just the other day a young woman picked up her child from school and took off from the school, passing everyone doing 40 or better in a 20.  She was on her phone at the time…texting as she passed me.  “Where is a cop when you need one I said…”  With that, a cop pulled up on her bumper on his motorcycle.  She drove a long way without noticing him behind her, as she was texting on her phone.  That ticket had to be pricey!

Who do you think you are that you can endanger others with your BS?

I wish I could say that this is a story and “blah blah blah” but the truth is, that this is the truth.

This happened, and I am certain that by now, some of the memories have faded but I must tell you, most are still there including the pain.  Twenty-four years now, I have lived in unmitigated pain.  I take nothing for it.  I live with it, working out as best I can to help manage it…but there are no meds that would leave me mentally acute.

I do not know what happened with the man that hit me.  I know that if you have the same insurance carrier, you lose. By now I am certain he is gone, but there are plenty others to take his place.  There were no smart phones back then…Now everyone has one. Weed is legal in some states and I fear that those people will drive impaired as well. Even in states where it is illegal, I am certain that one of three folks is under some sort of influence.

Defensive driving if taught correctly, would be money well spent.

-Best

© All rights Reserved 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Profligates

Profligates

Profligates

The word of the day is profligate…”One who shamelessly pisses away money…”

I find it interesting that of the 50 states in this country, 11 of them are totally insolvent.

I also find it remarkable that of these 11, they are all run by liberal ideologues or profligates.

There is a 12th state, Delaware that is soon to join the other 11 which is troubling.

The amazing facts are that these states are losing their people who are traveling to states who are fiscally responsible and also run by conservatives.  Now these same liberal ideologues that have made their way to states that are not in any financial trouble complain.  What do they complain about?  That we are too conservative…

Really?!

If you look at Greece and then at the state that you left; and cannot draw the comparison between them, than you are not only so wrapped up in your ideology that you are lost…but you may also be … well … Bless your heart!…

Look, don’t come to a state that works with your troubled ideas and screw us up… When you come to this country…you fit it with us… You offer the best that you have and fit in…

When you come to this state…  You offer the best that you have, and fit in…

…When in Rome…

This is not rocket science… If you are fleeing a state or place because it is screwed up…something is wrong… Why in the world would you not examine what is wrong and accept that you might have been part of the problem…. Like maybe something as simple as the way that you voted?

We have a huge influx of people here in Texas from all over the country.  Amazing as it may sound, I find that the plates from out of state are the people who cut people off, honk, and drive like crap and so on.  This is Texas…Chill…. We are friendly people here but remember…Texas is one of the states where we carry concealed and soon not concealed…when you wave…use all of your fingers pardner… Just saying….

We eat BBQ that is made the way god intended, and we drink Iced Tea.  We hold doors for ladies, and we say please and Thank You… We teach our children to be polite, but we also teach them not to put up with crap.

-Best

© All rights Reserved 2015

 

Life, Wealth and Happiness

I chose the title carefully as the three can me mutually exclusive.

Stuff and Reality

Most of us grow up seeing a pattern of “wealth = happy.”  In fact some of the poorest people that I know are some of the happiest.  How is that possible?

The world today tells us that we “need” an expensive car, or the largest flat screen TV or whatever the newest gadget is.  Apple is doing their part by providing a new version of their products about every 18 months or so.

A few years ago a “car phone” was for the most exclusive and wealthiest of us.  Today, kids in grade school have a much more sophisticated version than I would have dreamed possible just a few years ago.

A simple automobile that cost a few thousand not too many years ago now cost upwards or $40K.  Of course you can spend $24K for the same basic car but it does not have the “logo” that the $40K car has.  Will the less expensive car do the same as the expensive car, probably; but it will not have the social status of the $40k car?  I cannot envision spending $150K on a car but there are many on the roads.

If you are a churched person you no-doubt know that “God will provide.”  Does that mean that if you pray really hard and give money to the church that you will get the $40K  or $150K car?  No.  It means that you will have the necessities of life.  The trick of course is realizing what the “necessities are.”

This is where the poorest among us have the rest of us beat.  They are happy with what they have.  One of my favorite song writers penned the phrase, “it’s not about having what you want, it’s about wanting what you got.”  If you think about that, it is so true.

“Failure to plan is planning to fail!”

Am I telling you to settle for less than what you have or want?  No, I am telling you to set your expectations accordingly, set your goals a little higher than your expectations, and take the actions necessary to achieve those goals.

Much like project management, your goals need to be fully planned.  What do you want, what does the end goal look like, and what does it take to achieve it?  What milestones must you achieve to get to where you want to go or be?   Goals should be on some sort of timed deadline.  If you set dates to accomplish certain milestones you are more apt to succeed at the end goal. Start with prayer for wisdom.  Praying to win the lottery is probably not going to get you anywhere.  If it does; please keep me in mind.. J  Realistic goals are part of the prayer process.  Few grow up with the goal of being a garbage man.  If you did, “bless your heart.” Many end up there because they failed to plan.

Do I look down on those folks, not on your life!  It takes all kinds of folks to make the world go round.  If more folks planned better, I think that finding a ditch digger or garbage man might cost more money.   I make a point to know my garbage collection folks.  If I can, I go out and tell them good morning etc.  The same is true of the mail person and even the janitor at the office.  They are all people and disserve the respect that you yourself would want.  If you think that you are better than them you are in dangerous territory.

Wealth or the lack thereof.

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I would seriously recommend taking the Dave Ramsey course for you who are just starting out.  After listening to his radio show for several months, I am convinced that he should be a required course in high school.  Credit card companies would lobby against that but, that would be just too bad.  Our progeny need to understand the fundamentals of his wisdom, and the sooner the better.

The good news is that if you are a parent you can go through the course with your kids.  It does not need to be mandated from the Ivory towers of DC.   Many churches around the country offer this course.  Why?  A tenant of the course is to be generous, think there could be a connection?  Too Cynical? Only they and God know their motives.

His mantra goes against current trends in advertising and indeed the way that we spend money!   His philosophy and wisdom really came from making mistakes and learning from them.  These are mistakes he made many years ago.  So, why make the mistake if you can learn from those that have already done it?  Like history, if you don’t know it, you will repeat it.

The jobs that you take should reflect some part of the path that you are on in order to achieve your goals.  Jobs can be milestones.  Let’s say I want to be a geologist.  I would start out learning everything I could about the subject from books to social groups that are like minded.  I might take an internship at a company that studies core samples.  Even if I have to wash beakers or crush rocks, I would be part of the process and undoubtedly something I learned would stick that I could apply later.

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The society we are in today has kids out of college with no practical experience looking for the big paycheck and the corner office.  Bless their heart!

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Many out there just take anything to get some sort of income.  Folks, this is ludicrous.  Letting fate decide your future is a formula for a life filled with dead end jobs being someone’s slave.  If you can’t afford to leave the bedroom that you grew up in, you are on the wrong path!  If you are forced to return to the bedroom that you grew up in because you are not making enough money to live on your own and be investing money in your future, you are certainly on the wrong path, or making bad decisions.

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Briefly, fast food jobs are for kids in school.  Those jobs will allow them to earn some spending money, gasoline and insurance money and if they are strict with themselves, some savings for college.  They teach the fundamentals of the working world and truthfully make one appreciate a real job when they get one.  I am a firm believer that everyone should have a fast food job as a child.

 

Retail jobs in general are the same type of job.  Most retail jobs are not a career choice that should be anywhere in your decision making process.  If those jobs are part time they are for kids living at home.  Unless your end goal is to manage some high end retail establishment, you have no business working there unless of course, you are a teenager.

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There is definitely a difference between adult jobs and “youth” jobs.  “Youth jobs are training wheels for life.”

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One job does not fit all.

I see way too many older folks taking retail jobs in places where there should be kids.  I think this is a direct reflection of the times that we live in.  The sad fact is that these older folks in these jobs allow their attitude towards that job to come through while dealing with the customer.  It is not hard to tell that they are not happy and feel that the job is beneath them.  Guess what; it most definitely is!  Staying in that job is mistake of monumental proportions.  Stay in it long enough to retrain and re-invent yourself if necessary, and then leave it for the teenagers that it was originally designed for.

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Some older folks are taking these jobs to get out of the house.  If you need the money, at least shoot for management.  Leave the kid jobs for kids.  Of course if you had planned correctly you would not need the money and could be spending your time out of the house, volunteering somewhere.

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The last few years, entitlement spending is at an all time high.  We are paying people to stay home and live on the government tit.  That money that the government gives away comes from those of us who are working, not living on the ignorance of a government run amuck.   If the politicians that think that what they are doing is correct they need to revisit it.

 

Anyone taking money from the government that should be working should be “reinventing” themselves.  Currently if you are attending school you are not eligible for unemployment.  What kind of foolishness is this?  If you don’t find suitable employment in X months you should be required to take some classes and I would argue that those classes should be subsidized by the government.  If you get an “A” 100% re-imbursement and so forth.  It is almost as if we don’t want you to ever work again, we want you to live on some small amount of money taken from those that are working.  Folks this is crazy!

 

If you know a politician or someone that you can talk some sense into by all means lets push this initiative.  People need a hand up, not a handout!

 

Business is not ignorant of this fact.  To get skilled workers to work for peanuts on a part time basis vs. dealing with kids who often have not developed a good work ethic is a bargain.  If they get college graduates to slave away at minimum wage jobs, that too is a bargain for them!  Keeping them at part time so they don’t have to screw with benefits, another win!

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We see the argument to raise the minimum wage so people can make a living at these part time jobs that school kids should be doing.  The pay is not the issue, the issue is that adults should not be doing these jobs!

 

Slavery is not Dead!

 

The problem is that these kids need those jobs as that is the next part of their training to become good workers.  A part time retail or fast food job is not for anyone that is serious about making a living.  Managing these occupations is another story however; it is slavery at best as you are most undoubtedly salaried and will work 50 or 60 hours a week and “it will be expected.”

 

Raising the retirement age was another mistake on so many levels.  Companies are shoving you out the door when you are 50 and looking for the college kids fresh out of school to bring in and abuse.

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This guy still votes too.  That is another blog for another time.

Very few companies see the value in bringing in older Americans as they would have to pay them a decent wage.  On top of that, these folks have experience and to some degree that experience might be askance of the job requirements and or environment of that company.  The phrase “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” certainly may play through their mind.  Mature workers are excellent employees most always as they are skilled professionals and are not the party animals that they once may have been.  Their children are most probably out of the house, so little will pull them away from their task.

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Mature workers indeed need a vocation as we were designed to work.  Those of us who linger in the couch or in front of the TV or video games all day are most probably going to expire way before our time.  “A body in motion stays in motion!”  Keeping a regular schedule, going to bed at a decent hour, getting up at a decent hour, greeting the morning sun for fifteen minutes in the morning will keep you healthy.  There is of course more to it but these fundamentals are all too often overlooked!

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If you take a look at the richest people in the world (which is out there on the internet) you will notice Bill Gates is number 1.  The Wallmart and Sam’s ilk are close to that and there are so many others.  What I would like to call to your attention is that none of these made it there because they are “nice people.”  They are shrewd business people.  One has to wonder if they are “happy!”

 

Some of you may try to extol the virtues of Mr. Gates as he gives money to different charities, “what a nice guy!”  When Bill was buying the first operating system from a guy for $4k and licensing it to IBM for millions, I was involved with computers.  When Mr. Jobs was a criminal, phone phreaking, making his first large sum of money, I knew about it and how he did it.  When Bill got the windows idea from Xerox who happily showed him their ideas and products and told him about it being open source he happily took it and ran with it.

 

I have kept up with Bill, not because I am angry with him, he is a shrewd business man. One has to wonder if they “the richest folks in the world” are “happy” and how much money is enough?  How do people get so rich?  I wish I could say it was by treating people right and practicing good “ethical” business practices…

 

Retail stores hire folks are minimum wage and then give them just enough hours so they don’t have to pay for benefits.  Some reward their slaves with a few more hours for extra effort while only giving a few to the people who are not really motivated to be there.  Folks, it is hard to be motivated for $8 and hour, especially when it takes more than that to get a hamburger.  If you are working for someone, even as a slave, do your best as you are gaining experience not just in folding clothing but in dealing with people, managers and situations out of your control.  This also should teach you the value of an education and setting goals!

 

What is your goal?  Money is not a goal, but a tool.  Like a hammer or saw, it is nothing more or less than a tool. Money is a common tool that everyone can use to pay for or gain enough of to obtain food, shelter and the other basics for life.  In some cases it can buy you an island or maybe a small country.. It is still a tool and a means to an end.

 

Your goal should be to be happy, that I would wish for you.  Deciding on what is (happy) is another story.  Some find happiness in stuff, and others find it in family and friends.  Some of the happiest people that I know find happiness in serving others and or taking care of the other creatures that live amongst us.

 

I think that happiness is nothing more than a state of mind and those that have little to worry about seem the happiest.  I guess if you’re rich enough to hire people to worry about things for you, so you can focus on being “happy” that might be one example of being one of the world’s richest folks might work for you.

 

Personal growth, understanding the person in the mirror, makes me happy.  Each and every time I learn something about me, I am a little happier. There are few things that are in “your control.”  Getting a good education, understanding that knowledge is power is a great foundation for being happy.  Using that knowledge in a way that is consistent with “enlightened people” to me is a mark of wisdom.  Serving others, in some way that is consistent with who you are is another way to become happy.  I find that helping others takes my mind off of “self.” Looking at the bigger picture, one can appreciate the complexities of life and sort out the small stuff that should be in the noise, and not artificially elevated to demand your full attention.

 

This is a lot to chew on.  Questions and thoughts are always welcome.

 

-Best to you and those that you care about!

 

Buying a car….

I finally decided it was time to replace the 12 year old mini-van with something newer.  Started shopping at the place where I purchased my last 3 vehicles.

 Upon parking I was greeted by two sales people.  My guess is that they were taking turns.  The weather was a balmy 33 degrees with a strong wind out of the north with scattered drizzle;  so it was probably not the best day to be walking all over a car lot. 

 I test drove a couple of vehicles; the first one was a two seater so the sales guy could not go with us.  The next was larger, four seats so he hopped into the back.  Immediately I noticed an odor from the back, this guy either had really bad breath, or whatever his diet consist of came right through his pores.  The issue with this is that I was not so much focused on the car as I was getting it parked so we could get out of that smell!  I digress…

 I really liked the second vehicle and the price was within my budget.  As a returning customer I expected a little better treatment than someone off the street.  He assured us that he would make us a great deal!  While he cajoled us and said we were part of the family, the numbers did not reflect any discount what so ever.  As the matter of fact the final price is what was on the sticker with an interest rate of 6.9% . 

 We thanked him and left.  Talking about it; we felt as if that was a slap in the face as this would have been the fourth automobile we had purchased through this dealer.

 We then went to a different dealer this time, to look at another brand.  Found a vehicle with 9 thousand miles on it via the internet and the price was less than the first.  The sales guy was nice enough and he was a “top performer.”  We spent about two hours there.  The vehicle we were looking at was in “like new” condition.  The difference in price between that vehicle with 9000 miles on it and a new one was 3000.  The color options were limited and there were no whistles or bells to speak of.

 We thanked him for his time and were about to call it quits for the day until we decided to try the place where I had purchased 4 cars before.

 Once there we asked to see the vehicle that we found on the internet.  There was some sort of pending deal however; we managed to get the keys as there was some issue with their credit.  After just looking at the car I noticed that it was really in great shape.  The factory tires had been replaced with new Michelins (about $800  worth)  The inside was pristine and the outside was the same.

 

While there was no navigation package there were enough whistles and bells to interest me.  The original driver had purchased it there 3 years prior and put 22K on it.  The depreciation on the car was $15k for 22 thousand miles and three years.  That is not counting the extras that he had included.

 

Normally I buy new cars however; I know that the depreciation is horrific so I decided to save a few $$.  The people were very nice, answered all of my questions and I did not have to haggle the price, as the internet price is what it is.  They discount them on the internet to the rock bottom to get people to come to the dealership.  A quick look at Edmonds and Kelly’s and a call to my trusted mechanic, I knew that I was being treated right.  Easiest purchase of a car in my life!

 

The point to this diatribe is this.  There is much information on the internet regarding what the car cost, what it should sell for, and interest rates that you should expect to pay.  Pushy sales people are a sign of desperation and the “game sucks!”  Each and every time we had to wait several minutes while the sales person went to talk with his manager “under the guise of getting us his card.”  My time is valuable so playing games is not my thing.  Some people enjoy it however; you are on their turf, they have all of the Ace’s and unless you do your research you will be getting screwed.  With the prices and information available to you today, you have a fighting chance of not getting taking advantage of.

 

This was my fifth vehicle purchased from these folks and I would imagine that it won’t be my last.  In retrospect I think that the day of the car salesman may be coming to an end.  I am not sure that this is a bad thing as up until this purchase I have always left with a bad taste in my mouth knowing that I had been screwed.  I don’t mind someone making a living for what they do however; taking advantage of people to the point of obscene is, well… obscene.

 

One of the reasons that I shop for my techie stuff at Best Buy is they are not commissioned, they are straight salary.  I don’t want to be directed to something that they make more money on, I want to be directed to something that fits my needs the closest and is in my price range.

 

Do your research whether it is houses, cars, or computer equipment.

 

Best to you and those that you care about!

Telecommuting: Good or Bad?

While I am certain that in some cases allowing an employee to work from home would work, I believe that we may be taking it too far.

 

Recently I was doing business with my bank and had to be transferred to a specialist. “Due to the overwhelming response all agents are busy, please hang on.”

 

After about five minutes of being on hold the phone is finally answered.  The girl that handled the call was somewhat disorganized and I know this as she ask me for the same information several times as she most likely was stalling while she got to the right screen or possibly off of Facebook.

 

Between the pauses I could hear a baby crying in the background.  I am not sure that allowing people to work at home with many distractions is a good idea however; commercial offices are sold or rented by the square foot.  The amount each department is charged is allocated by the square footage that they occupy.  Electricity used is divided up the same way.  I.e. if sales uses X square footage and accounting uses X and IT uses X that is all split up so the bean counters can accurately assess the cost for each department or cost center.

 

Many companies are trying to cut cost by having people share a desk, meaning that they work from home so many days, then the other person works from home.  Personally I think this idea is really poor as your phone, keyboard and lets face it; every surface is a harbor for germs.  The phone especially as it is close to your nose and mouth.  In this day of bacteria and viruses that are mutating and becoming resistant to the antibiotics that we have, I don’t think it a good idea to provide yet another way to transfer them.

 

So what kinds of folks could work from home?  I think people who are self starters.  There are folks out there who look forward to Monday.  I know this as I am one of them.  While most can’t wait for Friday to roll around I am one that looks at the clock not to see how much more time that I must endure but, how little time I have left to complete what I wanted to get done that day.

 

That is a self starter.  That person could work out of their car or where ever.  My office was the airplane and airport for years. 

 

I mention this as I doubt that the bank had an excessive surge of calls today and I doubt that the cable company does every time that I call etc.  While some of this may be to understaffing I suspect some of this is people being distracted at a home office. 

 

Customer service is part of your brand much like the poor customer service at HP is iconic of what not to do and has been immortalized in shows like Big Bang and of course the ever famous YouTube video where the Marine shoots his printer with an automatic weapon, as his HP support was so bad.

 

Whether your company is public or private you must protect your brand.  Think carefully about where your employees do their job and what kinds of employees are able to work from home.

 

Think really hard about outsourcing your customer service to “Peggy!”

 

-Best to you and those that you care about!