Friday, May 19, 2006
Sunday, May 14, 2006
My roses bloomed and the wind promptly destroyed the blooms, but I've been enjoying the spring weather lately with the windows open most of the day. I hope it keeps up. It usually does. My electric bill plus my gas bill is pretty close to $35 this time of year. . . because it's all turned off.
I played hockey tonight in the 3-on-3 league. We lost again. I'm on the "house team", which is essentially a mix of guys whose teams couldn't get enough interest in the 3-on-3 league and a bunch of misfit novices who have never been on a team. There are some novice players who can barely skate and just don't know how to pass the puck. Two of them were literally buying gear in the pro shop before the first game. It's frustrating when your team gets possession and you skate like a mad fool to open ice, and one of these guys lobs a granny pass or falls down and you have to turn around and go back to pick it up. . . if the other team hasn't intercepted it. . . not once, but every single time they touch it. Maybe I was like that when I first started, but it has been impossible for us to win even one game with these guys turning the puck over.
Tomorrow I have to positively go to the credit union and deposit the rents. I have rent checks I've been toting around in my wallet for a week plus while my bank balance shrinks so low I'm having to choose between gas or groceries or breaking out the dreaded credit cards. I'll sell all my stocks or refi my house or take the tax hit on a 401k disbursement before I run up a balance and pay credit card interest. I keep a Discover, an American Express, and a Visa for internet purchases, travel. and the odd emergency--like replacing a car engine. Overall, though, I hate the predatory banks who issue them and the concept in general, but they smooth out the rough spots when my tenants pay late (or I procrastinate making bank deposits). My debit card, though, I have a love/hate relationship with. On one hand, using a debit card is convenient. Knowing exactly what your balance is after you've used it a half dozen times a day, not so much. I have overdraft protection that allows your balance to go negative, but it costs $22 for every transaction that ends with a negative balance. . . and there's no warning until the statement comes. So, say, because of a misstep on the billpay site you pay the mortgages two days before pay day and the balance is slightly negative. That's one $22 hit. Then you use the debit card at the Wendy's drive thru for a $5 combo meal. . . I mean $27 combo meal, because the credit union took another $22. And I didn't even want the fries. I would rather be able to pick and choose. Like have the mortgage go through and just take the hit. That's my mistake, thanks for covering for me. But have the Wendy's charge declined, so I'd know to use a credit card until my paycheck hits. So, it got really expensive to not know my balance at all times. I now call the bank before I use the ATM, even if I'm 100% sure there's plenty of money. I think I've racked up more overdraft fees than I would ever have paid in late fees or return check charges, which the credit union's marketing purported that I could avoid by signing up for the service. I'm kinda done with that game. I'm resolved to pad my bank account such that it can't happen again. And no more 'crasting the rent deposits. :-)
Saturday, May 13, 2006
I interviewed in person today for a hot job and the interviewer and I agreed that I was overqualified, chatted for a while, shook hands, and that was that. I'm only passively looking, but opportunities are falling in my lap. At least I got a haircut and my resume is completely updated. I keep thinking of things I should add, but the key stuff is already there and I don't want it to get wordy.
The KMBZ business luncheon at the downtown Marriott with John Stossel as guest speaker was great. I've only skimmed the autographed book, Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity - Why Everything You Know Is Wrong. I liked his first book, Give me a Break. It pretty much boils down the difference between the real risks and what we're afraid of and how government regulation actually kills people. It's eye-opening stuff and really hard to refute, because the numbers he's compiled put things in perspective. The writing style reminds me of a Rush Limbaugh book, except that Stossel is more Libertarian and a smidge more sardonic. At any rate, I had a good time and it was intellectually stimulating. . . and the grilled salmon was pretty good, too.