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Saying goodbye, and trying to move on.

March 27th, 2013 No comments

It’s been an extremely busy week filled with a ton of activities.  Even my days off weren’t really days off so much, as they were busy filling mundane activities and driving people around and running household errands.  But we survived the week and then some, and we’ve had our share of joys and sorrows during the events.  When last I blogged, I wrote about the whole Time Warner Cable fiasco.  Since then, we’ve experienced a death in the family, a vacation, an interview, a resolution of the Time Warner Cable situation, Open House at the kids school, and tonight we’re heading to see Beauty and the Beast at the Pantageous Theatre in Hollywood.  There’s a lot to pack into a blog…most likely too much for one, but I’m going to do my best to catch up so that I can reflect.

I want to begin by finally wishing a farewell to Traci’s Grandmother Lucille Jaeger.  Lucille has been holding onto life for more than a year, suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia and being bed ridden for that entire time frame.  Finally early on Friday morning, she breathed her final breathes before passing away at home, where her husband of roughly 60 years was with her, as was her son Phil (Traci’s dad), and her daughter Sue (who had been staying with them for nearly the last month or so. Read more…

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Time Warner Cable’s Second Epic Fail

March 13th, 2013 No comments

“Fool me once, shame on you;  Fool me twice….”

 

Back in December Traci and I switched our home telephone, cable, and internet provision from AT&T U-Verse to Time Warner Cable.  The transition was absolutely brutal and was filled with countless flaws.  I wrote a blog about the complete mess that Time Warner made of the transition, posted it on PablosPlace (you can read it here) and when it hit online, I immediately got a response from Time Warner via their twitter, apologizing for the mishaps and “escalating our matter to corporate.”  The subsequent escalation resulted in a conversation with a lady named Glenda, who did what she could to make the situation better, and for the most part, she was able to put a band-aide on the situation.

Bottom line, Glenda addressed the issues that we had point by point, scheduled a technician to come back out to the house to provide the correct equipment, and adjusted our bill to a closer to promised rate, and we made peace with the fact that they weren’t going to own up to the $89.99 per month rate that the flyer clearly indicated.  It was a concession on both of our ends, but ultimately we were going to have the service that was promised to us at the beginning, and we’d be ok with the rate that we’d be paying as it would still be saving us roughly $20 a month by switching services.  If we’d only have known how much of a bargain with the devil that we would have made…. Read more…

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Finally, a Friday night home game…and some coming news.

March 10th, 2013 No comments

After what has felt like months, probably because it actually has been, the gang assembled here at PablosPlace for some Friday night poker action once again.  It’s not as if we’ve abandoned the home game altogether, but rather that I have been bust working most Friday nights, and there are a lot of us that just seem to have different things happening that make it tough to convene.  But the stars aligned for this past Friday as Tim, Andrew, Ben, and Robert joined Traci and myself, dusted off the thick layer of dust on the chips, and got some action together on the felt for some poker.

I feel like I’ve lost my lust for playing the last year or so, where I just don’t have the same passion for it that I once used to.  This blog was originally put together with the intent on sending out messages to everyone about the home game, and reporting about the results.  This was long before Facebook was a dream in Zuckerberg’s head, and long before we really communicated in mass texts or through GroupMe.  In the beginning, PablosPlace was somewhat of a joke that happened to manifest itself as my private little sanctuary that became a public journal of sorts that everyone seemed to enjoy.  And so I continued writing whatever was on top of my head, and people seemed to like it, presenting me with inspiration to continue writing here and sharing my life experiences when I was motivated to write about them. Read more…

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What’s ahead in the next two weeks

March 3rd, 2013 No comments

I mentioned in my previous post that the next two weeks could present some change in life, and it may a little.  Firstly, our Federal Tax Return is set to be deposited on Wednesday according to the “Where’s My Tax Return” app that I uploaded.  Traci and I filed our taxes on February 7th, but it supposedly takes 21 days to get the return back, even when filing electronically.  In actuality, it’ll take closer to a month.  But we’ll be happy to finally have it.

We’ve been putting off the repair work on our cars until we had the money to actually repair them.  We borrowed some money to repair the van the last time that it had some troubles, and we also need to repair that one.  But now, all three of our vehicles are screaming for work, and it’s way overdue.  But when you’re short on cash, there isn’t much that you can do other than hope that they last, and that when the money finally comes through, fix them up again.  The 99′ Nissan Maxima needs new brakes and rotors, as well as some engine work and spark plugs.  The 02′ Ford E-150 needs to have some belts worked on, as well as check the suspension.  And the 02′ Mazda Protégé needs the same work as the Nissan.  In all, we expect the repair work and the loan repayment to exhaust roughly 70-80% of our return.  It’s a huge chunk, but hopefully this will get the cars all healthy enough that they’ll continue running for years to come on regular maintenance.  Read more…

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Giving up on a dream

March 1st, 2013 No comments

Over the past week or so, there really hasn’t been all that much change in anything in life, but the next two may be a much different story.  I’ll chat about that more later and in another blog, but here I want to talk about being letdown, and giving up on a dream.  This week, we went out to visit Traci’s Grandparents in Camarillo and the visit was as good as could be expected.  Lucille, who is clearly closing in on her end with us on this earth was actually in very good spirits.  She was smiling and responsive, and was actually asking for things with clarity to Traci who spent the majority of the time of our visit at her bedside.  There was a moment when Lucille asked Traci if she could teach her to speak Spanish, and it came pretty much out of the blue considering that Traci doesn’t really speak more than a couple of words of the language.  But it was good for a chuckle nonetheless.

The visit was somewhat marred for us as we finally came to the realization that the house that her Grandparents live in really wouldn’t be a reality for us.  Traci’s Aunt Sue is staying with her parents while her mother is in her final days, and had told us that she has received an offer of $575,000 for their home.  The home itself is a beautiful house that was built by Traci’s Grandparents themselves back when Traci was born 35 years ago.  It has some structural problems with the foundation, and had a bout with termites that would require some fixing, but overall, it’s something that has been lived in for the past 35 years, and continues to be done so today. Read more…

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A new business idea

February 21st, 2013 No comments

I’ve always found it amusing how inspiration for writing hits me in waves.  I’m sure that I’m not alone on this either, as there are those blogs that I read that has amazing content for a regular period of time, and then they’ve got absolutely nothing for a period.  Just crickets.  You’ll see that if you look at the timeline on this blog as a theme as well.  I’ve gone long stretches since I’ve had this little ole’ blog without the time or motivation to get to it.  But in many ways, it’s therapeutic and I’m glad when I’m consistent about it.  I’ve also found that as I continue to blog about my life, it seemingly improves when I’m able to get things down, and just get through my thoughts. To that degree, I’ll be chatting about money a little today.

Last year was my worst year financially since I was 17 years old.  I actually looked it up, because when I got my W-2, I couldn’t believe how little I had made.  It turns out, I actually made more money when I turned 18 than I did this year.  The year prior, I had the benefit of nearly six months of unemployment that I was able to collect, in addition to the money I made at Best Buy, and I also had the writing income and some poker income.  But this year, none of that ancillary income was available.  It just all dried up.

I’ve had several chats with Traci about the need to add additional revenue into our family household, and we haven’t had a means of doing so.  Between the odd hours that I keep as a result of working retail, it’s tough to pin down a second gig.  I just don’t have the time to do it.  Traci simply can’t find another gig because she’s on disability, and there really isn’t another gig that she’d be able to find that would pay what she makes from Uncle Sam anyway…and lets face it, there are not exactly a ton of places that are looking to hire a lady in a wheelchair that has limited physical capabilities.

So between Traci’s meager fixed income, and my extremely meager income in 2012, we struggled to get through the year, but somehow we made it.  But this year, we need something extra to help out, or else we’ll be in a heap of trouble if we have something unexpected come up, and with four kids, unexpected should really just be…expected.

We have a mutual friend Amanda Hawes, who has been selling Jewelry at various parties for a few months now, and gathers all of her girlfriends for these functions where they get together, play a few games, and try on while eventually purchasing jewelry.  This past Saturday, Amanda hosted one at our house and because I was home, I got the chance to really see how the business worked.  They’re very reasonably priced, and more for casual wear items, and I was surprised by the collection and how well the ladies actually liked them.  Most girls love jewelry to begin with, but it was interesting to see the responses that these pieces actually created among the women that were here.

Now, living in a house with five other women, I have a different appreciation for the opposite sex and slightly greater understanding of their overall makeup than I think that most men do.  I’m far from understanding how women think, or how they operate.  The reality is, they don’t know how they operate or why they operate either, so it’s impossible to figure them out.  But I will say, that it was an easy way to gain a sense of interest, and women tend to spend a hefty sum on things like this.  That led me to thinking that maybe, Traci and I could partner together and do what Amanda was doing.

We investigated the potential startup costs, and it was hefty up front, but the ROI would be pretty immediate.  In addition, we have a massive pool of females that we could pool from all of the female friends that we have in this family, and setting up additional parties of our own would lead to a fairly sizeable ancillary income.  It seems like a surefire way for us to make a few bucks on the side, and it seems like it would actually be a fun way of doing it.  As long as everything is setup in my name, than it becomes 100% legit as well.  Which leads me to believe that this may be our next venture.

I’ll have a little more on this as we iron out the kinks on it.  It’ll be a few weeks, likely waiting until after Uncle Sam decides to finally send us our refund, before we seriously begin to tackle whether or not this makes real fiscal sense for us.  But I think that this is actually something that could help dig ourselves out of this financial mess that we’ve been swimming through.  I’ll chat about this in another blog.

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The interview that never was.

February 20th, 2013 2 comments

I’m a believer that good blogs should be kept in the 600-800 word range.  That’s about the attention that they really deserve for the most part before they become stale reading, and its more than a chapter in a book than a blog.  They should be short, concise and to the point.  It was Shakespeare that once said that “Brevity is the soul of wit.”  As a writer, I’ve always taken that to heart, and its why at 1200 or so words in yesterday’s blog, I hit my ceiling and decided to hang it up as opposed to continue on to what I want to chat about today, my job.

When I last talked here about my gig, it was talking about an interview that I was only half-heartedly interested in.  The Best Buy Mobile Lead position is a lateral move from the standpoint that it was just another sales floor position, but it is one that has a lot more prestige as they label you as the “go-to” sales guy within the team.  That position is a virtual stepping stone to other leadership roles within the company, and it was the ultimate reason that I submitted the application for the job.  But it wasn’t something that I had my eye on as a must have, and it turns out to be the interview that never really was. Read more…

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What a week

February 19th, 2013 2 comments

Last week was a tough week, and hardly one that I was inspired to write about.  When I last got a chance to sit down and bang out an blog post here, I talked about Traci’s grandparents, and how their end was nearing.  Last Tuesday, Dan Darling passed away quickly, and peacefully at the West Hills Hospital, just a few days after having been admitted from a fall he’d taken in his home.  He was hooked up to a breathing apparatus and being slowly weaned off of it, when his heart suddenly stopped, and it was decided not to revive him.  He was an outstanding man, who had an unbridled love for his family, his birds, and of course his wife Barbara. He is survived by his wife, their four children, Seven grandchildren, and four great grandchildren.  He had a fantastic life, and he’ll be greatly missed.

That was the beginning of the week, and while Dan will be missed, it was time to continue on at our house.  Things that are a major stressor at the moment is the sheer volume of work slugging through all of the Girl Scout Cookies has been.  It’s that time of year again where all four of our daughters, who are all active Girl Scouts, are selling their cookies in hopes that they will raise enough funds to help them reach their goals to offset the costs of their trips with their troops and other activities.  It’s a lot of fun for them, and a lot of work for us as we manage the cookie boothings, the pickup and drop off all the cookies, and their replenishment in a seemingly never ending cycle of cookie mayhem. We manage a small cookie distribution process that has immense popularity, and we do so with some real experience.  I believe that this is the 7th year that our kids have sold them, and it’s just as challenging each time.  Thankfully, we have only one month of the season left, and it’ll be another year before we see it again.  Read more…

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Yet another interview

February 12th, 2013 No comments

I got a call last evening about interviewing for another job that I applied for.  About two weeks ago, I saw a posting for the Best Buy Mobile Lead sales spot, and I threw my name into the hat for it.  I don’t think that I can be considered the favorite for this particular post, which perhaps means that I’m a shoe in for it.  This whole concept of “upward growth and mobility” seems to be completely foreign to me, and I’m just plain giving up on trying to understand it for the time being. So with that, why not apply for this job, which I don’t have anything more than two days worth of experience in.  Maybe that’s what will land me the gig.

In all fairness, the BBM Lead is actually a good slot to fit into.  Lead positions are directly under the department supervisors, and in effect running the department in the supervisors absence.  They are responsible for team building and held accountable for the performance of the group just as much as the supervisor is, and in chatting with my supervisor, as well as the supervisors in other departments and the store managers that I’m friendly with, the lead positions are really more like stepping stones to the supervisor positions.  You act as a supervisor, so you basically become the “next in line.”  So consider the position holder to be Luc Skywalker, and the supervisor to be Obi Wan Kenobi.  After all, it’s been a while since I was able to throw in a good Star Wars reference. Read more…

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When the end is near

February 8th, 2013 No comments

“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, “I used everything you gave me.” – Erma Bombeck

 

Getting old sucks.

There just isn’t any two ways around it.  I’m not talking about transitioning from your 20’s to your 30’s, or moving up to some arbitrary age that makes you “feel” slightly older.  I’m speaking of when you become so old that your body simply doesn’t work any longer, and it begins to fail, and you begin the process of dying.  It’s a miserable thing to have to endure, and it’s a painful and terrible thing for those that love you to have to watch.  Read more…

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