Archive for November, 2009

I may be getting a job. Since I left me last job in August, I have been watching my son two days a week and working on the house the rest of the time. Also lazing about a bit. Since my wife had 15 months off while I worked, I don’t feel bad about this.

I had planned on looking for a job after I  finish my degree at OCC in December, but after talking with a friend, I submitted my resume to the place he works. I went in for an impromptu interview last week and got a job offer today. Unfortunately, I have to watch my son these nest two days, so I was unable to act immediately. This may have cost me the job, but the manager said that he has a few other positions open as well and I may still be able to start Monday.

During the past few years, my wife and I had gotten used to never worrying about money. She had a teaching job and I was making a much as I could hope for with only a High School diploma. We had saved up quite a chunk for a newly married couple ($25,000) and planned on using this when she took a year off with the baby. This saved us because midway through that time, my position was cut to part time. We basically lived off savings for the rest of the summer. Now she is working again but I am still home. Money is still tight although we have never missed a payment on our mortgage or school loans. I wouldn’t say we argue about it, but we can order anything off the menu at restaurants anymore. We can’t go out to eat at all anymore. Maybe twice a month, max. No movies, only free DVDs from the library.

But now I have a chance at a job. I realize that this is rare in this economy, especially for someone who has no practical experience in the field that this company is in. So when the interviewer asked me what salary I think I should receive, I told him that any dollars/hr is better than no dollars/hr.

This job will be different than anything I have done before. More of a factory position than working at a desk. This is part of what attracts me to it. I enjoy working with my hands and want to be able to leave work at work at the end of the day.

I am looking forward to the sense of security that this will bring to our finances. I would also like to say that I never worried about money because I knew God would take care of our family. There have been a few times we were low on funds and out of the blue, a check would come in the mail from some obscure thing we were not expecting. Like an alumni fund or extra cash from our escrow account. Anyway, I hope to post a positive update soon.

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Along with my new roof, I just installed a Solatube skylight. Our bathroom is the only room in the house with no windows. It had one originally, but someone covered it up with a tub-surround years ago. The room is a cave. Even in the middle of the day, you need to turn on the light. So I thought it would be an ideal application of a small tubular skylight. Now it’s bright enough that we only need the light in the mornings and at night. Hopefully we can recoup the money in energy savings, but it will take some time. I went with Solatube and not Suntunnel by Velux or another brand because from everything I’ve read and seen, Solatube is the best. I was certainly impressed with the quality of their product. The inside of the metal tubing is like a mirror! I thought it would just be painted silver or something, but it is literally a mirror. Plus they have good customer service. The day I got home and opened the box, I found that the dome had been cracked in shipping. I called and they were very nice over the phone and I received a new dome in two weeks, free of charge. I got the more expensive model because you can take a 30% tax credit this year. So really, the $300 model is less expensive than the $250 model that does not qualify for the credit. Here are the before and after pictures. Each picture was taken around noon without a flash. Keep in mind this is November in the Northern hemisphere and the Solatube is on the North face of the roof. I imagine it will be brighter come summertime.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We just got a new roof! The previous owner of the house bought it in 1983 and never put a roof on, so we know that it was at least 26 years old. It had three layers of shingles on it and the original boards, no plywood. So we got six quotes. Some were as high as $15,500 and the one we eventually went with was $7,500. Our house is 1,500 sq. ft. and we’ve been told our roof is 17 squares. We got Barkwood (color) 30 year architectural shingles made by GAF Elk. It’s nice having a new roof over our heads, but not so nice having hardly any savings left in the bank. We got kinda used to having a $10,000 cushion. Well, not anymore! Here are some pictures. Before and after. Now we just need to paint. I put in a new skylight too, but that will be its own post. If anyone has any questions, just let me know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So after my bike was stolen from my garage last month, I now have an insurance check to get a new one. But which one? I had a Globe commuter bike that served me well, but it was like a tank when I took it out for long (25-40 mile) rides. Especially when my companions have racing bikes.

Now I am deciding between this:Specialized CrossTrail

And this:

Specialized Hardrock

The first bike is the Specialized CrossTrail. $580. It’s a hybrid with a mtn bike frame, a locking front shock, and medium sized tires that are flat in the middle for easy riding on the road, but knobby on the sides for grippage on the trail.

The second bike is the Specialized Hardrock. $610. This is a straight up mtn bike with large knobby tires, a locking front shock with a larger travel, disc brakes, and slightly better components like derailleurs, shifters etc.

So…which one should I get?

My riding style for the last two years has been primarily inner-city road riding. Lately, I had taken the globe on some light trails. My usual ride would be 3-6 miles around our park and neighborhood streets with the baby in the carrier on the back. One of the parks we ride through has some trails, but they are mostly smooth. Sometimes I have an urge to ride down the steep sides of the hill though, but I obviously can’t because of the baby on the back…and I had a commuter with street tires.

If I got the Crosstrail, I would get a bike that fits my needs perfectly now. But maybe not in the future. It would be easier to keep up with my dad on long road rides, but hard trails would be beyond my reach.

However if I got the Hardrock, I could still ride around the neighborhood, but have potentially more fun going off little jumps and taking some gnarly trails that I used to ride several years ago. Skytop anyone? I think that a mountain bike might fit my idea of outdoor fun a little more than a commuter bike.

So…cyclists out there, what do you say?

Nephilim

a novel

By Dan Mumford

 

The screen flickered to life, showing blips and graphs. Six different sets of vital signs sprang into focus. Tom watched the soldiers they belonged to move about the small room through the feeds in their headset cams, preparing equipment and re-checking their gear. Sun shone in from a window onto a bare dirt floor. Little swirls of dust swished about the room as the team readied themselves for the upcoming operation. (more…)