I Must Be Adopted

I am truly hopeful that I am adopted, and thus not as messed up as the rest of my family.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

My new name

As promised, whenever a paystub is received, new letters will be given.

Today's letters: k o

Given so far: ! c t h

The end of an era

Today, marks the end of my 9.5 years of employment with my company -- I realize that it's Saturday morning @ 02:30, but since I haven't slept yet, it's still Friday to me.

The company was sold to another larger company. We were a private, family owned company, and long story short, the next generation of owners wanted their money, and ran. The deal will officially close on Sunday 4/30/06.

Some of my fellow colleagues were let go as a result. I will miss working with all of them, and wish them the best in the future. Who knows, perhaps somewhere down the line, we'll work together again.

Short of that, we'll do our best to stay in touch and gather for poker and pool parties.

Goodbye era. Hello future.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Guess Who's Back - Chet

Well, he's not officially, completely back yet, but in the span of less than 2 weeks, he's gone from scum of the earth to at the house almost every night.

He was living there before, and he's not back to that status yet, but it's only a matter of time.

Oh well. I have promised my brother and Traci that I would speak with Laura about the Chet situation, but she's never sought my advice before nor taken it. Why would she start now.

I believe my problem is that I try to use logic and/or use her own statements to remind her about why she choose to do A or B, or swore to never do C or D ever again.

My opinion is that she makes decisions totally unencumbered by the thought process, and then tries to manufacture reasons as to why she made the decision.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Sequoia Story

Alright, here it is... Short and sweet.

My sister at the time (Summer of 2002) had 2 large dogs (rottweilers), and decided that she needed a vehicle to help transport these dogs around. Understand that these are not the typical from home to vet trips, but actual vacations to the beach, mountains, etc...

She was getting rid of a Toyota Sienna mini-van and wanted to maintain the ability to comfortably transport the dogs.

She was leasing the Sienna, and as such had no equity in the vehicle, nor did she have any money to use as a deposit on anything. She was even financing tax/tags/title/etc...

She went back to the Toyota dealership, and started looking at their SUVs. Toyota has several, and I honestly don't know/remember which ones she looked at. She had several things on a list of "must haves" and she found 2 that matched her requirements.

The first must have been a 4-Runner (I honestly thought it was something else, but looking at Toyota's website, that appears to be the SUV one step down from the Sequoia). Upon pricing it out with all the options and features she wanted she wound up with a vehicle payment of $650/month for 6 years.

The Sequoia, fully fitted with her wants, came to a monthly payment of $780/month for 7 years.
We all know which one she choose, but can anyone guess why?


Because as she pointed out to me, "the Sequoia is only an extra $130/month."

I replied, "Yea, but only for the first 6 years. After that it's an extra $780/month for another year, or a little over $9000." -- $9360 to be exact.

I'll spare you the rest of my views on this subject, suffice to say, I do not agree with her thinking.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Letters for my new name

Given so far: ! c

Today's letters: t h

Note Worthy News Items

There are two news items:

1) 76 year-old Florida man is going door-to-door giving free breast exams... Wanna guess whether this is legit?

You are correct the old man was just a perv trying to cop a free feel... But get this... two women actually took him up on his offer of a free breast exam.

Apparently, one of the women became suspicious when he started his genital exam of the woman, and didn't put a rubber glove on.

She called the police, and they police caught the man in another woman's apartment giving her the complimentary free breast exam.

Free Breast Exams

2) Can't find the article on this one yet, but on my way to work this morning, I heard this story on the radio...

A man in Britain goes to a party, and hooks up with a woman there. She invites him back to her flat. Not sure what happens at first, but eventually both the man and woman are in bed sleeping. The man gets up, goes to the bathroom, and mistakenly climbs into bed with the woman's flatmate.

Feeling amorous, he initiates sexual activity. The flatmate goes along with it, and after the deed is done, the flatmate turns her light on.

She becomes hysterical when she realizes that the man she just had intercourse with was not her boyfriend (who was still asleep on the sofa at this point).

The man is now being charged with rape.

Here's my problems:

1) Your eyes become accustomed to the lack of light in a room. Even in pitch black, I gotta think that I could make out some facial feature of the person I am having sex with.

2) For the woman who is accusing the man or rape, I gotta believe that the man did not have the same techniques as her boyfriend, or that his body shape/construction is the same. She would have had to be able to tell the difference between the two men.

I just don't buy either person's story that they thought it was there partner they were having sex with AND I don't buy the rape charge at all...

Wrong man or not... The woman consented to the sex. According to the news story on the radio, at no point did she try to say no, or put a stop to it in anyway... She agreed that the act at the time was consensual, but because it turned out not to be the boyfriend, she was raped.

Not buying it.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Chet No More

Well folks, just as I was going to write a posting outlining again how big an idiot Chet is, I learned that Chet is no longer in the picture.

Apparently, several things came to a head this weekend between Laura and Chet.

So I won't detail how Chet was (and I suppose still is) driving 70 miles one-way for a job as a trashman. How the cost of gas for each one-way trip was equal to 1 hours worth of pay.

No friends and fellow readers, I won't regale you with those tales.

Instead, just the as the world of T.S. Eliot's Hollow Men ended, so too will this tale end...

"Not with a bang but a whimper. "

As an added note, the most disturbing thing that came of my conversation with Laura was that she refuses to say that she'll never get back with him. Meaning, there's a chance Chet will be back.

P.S. I know I still owe you a story of my Sister and her Enviro-Killing, Gas-Guzzling Sequoia purchase.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The problem with kids these days

I blame pretty much all problems with kids these days on their parents.

I recently read a story recently about the need for heftier car seats for children. Come on... These are 2, 3, and 4 year olds that need bigger car seats because children now adays are bigger than they used to be.

It's not that our genetic code has changed over the last generation or two, it's that parents are passing on their bad eating habits on to children. Now, I can almost understand your child having a weight problem as the child gets older, but at the age of 2? Are you kidding me?

Another problem. Kids these days are much more spoiled and have a greater sense of entitlement than any generation before, and I again blame the parents.

Case in point. My neighbor has two kids, ages 10ish and 15ish. They live 80 yards from the bus stop. No matter what the weather, the mother drives each kid to the bus stop and sits there with the car running (wasting gas), for 5 minutes or so until the bus comes.

This morning was a simply perfect morning. The sky was clear and the temperature was probably in the mid to upper 60's at 7:00am. I'm taking my dog for the normal morning walk, and I pass by the bus stop. There they sit. Car running, windows rolled up, waiting.

It was a beautiful morning. Yes, probably a light jacket would be required to keep the chill out if you were standing still waiting, but that's all.

Not only is each child dropped off in the morning now matter what the weather, but each child is then picked up in the afternoon, now matter what the weather. It's not even that mom walks down to the bus stop to greet the children and walk home with them. She picks them up in the car.

Now, I honestly can't say that she does the whole car thing EVER day, because I am at work 80% of the time the children arrive home from school, but the 20% of the time I'm at home over lunch playing with/walking my dog, she picks them up in the car and drives them the 80 yards home.

Sad part is that she's not the only mother/parent in the neighborhood to do this. At my count there are about 5 who use the car method. Others simply walk to the bus stop and wait with the children, or meet them at the stop in the afternoon. This I can live with. I think it's great that a parent can be home for the children after school and connect with and spend time with them.

Just leave the car in the garage. Please?

Monday, April 10, 2006

Introducing the (future) In-Laws

As promised, there will be occasional stories about the (future) in-laws. Brief background:

Erin has Down Syndrome, and while she is very high functioning, her and Bev are pretty much inseparable. Growing up, Bev spent countless hours working with Erin on her homework, school projects, and just general life stuff. As a consequence, they have pretty much developed a symbiotic relationship.

And now the story...

Last year about this time, Bev and Erin (will be referred to as mom and sis from now on), went on their first ever cruise with some other family friends. Dad is pretty much a home body and didn't go. Not a big deal.

Leading up to this cruise Grandma (paternal grandmother) was very ill. To the point where the family had come to terms with this, and we had all said our good-byes. Miraculously, she made a recovery, and was actually discharged from the hospital. Mom and sis left on their cruise the day following this, as grandma was up walking around and seemingly on her way back.

The first day into the cruise, grandma suddenly took a turn for the worse, and the following day passed. Now what? Mom and sis are cruising around the Carribean for 10 days, having the time of their life. What do we do? Can we get them home in time for the funeral?

We know the ship and we know the route. Midnight the day grandma passed, I'm talking with the captain of the ship, explaining the situation. We can get word to them (mom and sis), but it's really up to us/them to arrange transportation back to the states, but they (the captain and crew) will assist in any way they can.

I start to contact the airports in the next couple of ports of call, arranging for flights back. Short version of these conversations. Nothing is guaranteed, but if I slip some extra money in, I can buy an almost guarantee.

Needless to say, we let them finish the cruise. Dad and Traci met them at the airport upon their regular return. Upon seeing Traci, they immediately know what happened. The situaiton was explained, and they were OK with it, and agreed with our decisions.

I tell you that story to tell you this one.

Mom and sis just took another cruise in the carribean again. This time, the first night of the cruise, mom slips and falls on the way to the bathroom. She's not as mobile as she once was to begin with, but she doesn't fall on a regular basis either.

The outcome of the fall is that she has 5 hairline fractures in her leg. Being the trooper she is though, when given the choice of having the captain turn the boat around (they were only 4~5 hours at sea), air lifted back by the Coast Guard, or continuing, she chooses to continue the cruise in a wheel chair (not the on-board doctor's first choice).

She is now home, and this is when the family learns of the situation. Dad doesn't deal with this stuff all that well. He's a planner, and doesn't like to have things sprung on him. Picking up a wife at the airport in a wheel chair with 5 fractures and no advanced notice is springing something on the man.

Knowing how Traci would react, mom calls me specifically and tells me the story. Also telling me to inform Traci when the time is right, meaning when we can come and visit, and not before, and to make sure Traci is in a good mood before I tell her. Traci is very close to her family, and doesn't take bad news all that well.

I have to admit, Traci took it better than I thought she would.

Mom wants to take a cruise next year. If something bad happens next time, I will counsel her that perhaps her cruising days are done.

I'll let you know.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Awkward Moments

My current employer is being purchased by another company. Because of that there are obviously several things happening, including the closure of the 401K and ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Program).

Because of all this, my company sponsored a gathering for a number of the financing companies in the area. The idea is that they come in and pitch what they have to offer to everyone. It was actually a very good idea, and I appreciate the effort the company went through to set this up.

While I was at this gathering, I wound up talking with someone from Merrill Lynch. Realizing that this gathering was not the ideal place to pitch what they offer, they had arranged two other gatherings outside of this event. These gatherings would be Merrill Lynch only; no other financial institutions would be there.

The first was on a Thursday night. Can't go. I have school on Thursday nights. So I made arrangement for my fiance and I to attend the Saturday morning event.

Wanna guess how many people showed up? Just her and I, oh and 6 employees from Merrill Lynch.

The good news was that we got a very personalized presentation.
The bad news was that is was pretty awkward at times. The unspoken embarrassment that nobody else showed up for their event, except the two of us.

Financing Genius

I haven't explained yet, but my sister is an accountant. In fact, she's an assistant finance director for a government agency for a state in which I don't live -- thank heavens!

Well, as part of her life story, she's in the process of getting a divorce from husband #2 -- Brad (I'll tell you a story about him later).

To get his name off the house and vehicle, she decided to refinance the house and pay-off the original loans.

My brother called the other day to tell me she finally got the refinancing done. I could tell from the excitement in his voice this was going to be good.

Having never refinanced a house, and since I forgot how much my fees for my mortgage were, Jeff didn't get the reaction from me that he wanted when he told me how much she paid, so he was a little disappointed. I told him I would investigate and get back to him.

So I hung up and went out to talk to my collegues. After talking with several people I learned that the typical fees for refinancing a home should be some where between $500 - $1200. The range is so wide depending on whether you want title insurance, your credit score, etc.

Wanna guess what my sister paid for her refiancing? $18,469.

I didn't flip until my friends told me what the typical fees were. I immediately called my brother to verify that he had told me the correct number. He originally told me $19,000; I wanted to make sure he didn't mean $1,900.

NOPE! That's when he told me the $18,469 number.

After I tell you more of my sister's financial decisions, you'll see that this is not all that unusual.

I hope you are beginning to see why I believe "I must be adopted." There is no possible way I can be related to anybody in my family.

Up Next: The Purchasing of her Toyota Sequoia.
On Deck: How many days in a year, years in a decade, and decades in a century...

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Here Cometh the Repo Man

As promised...

Monday morning, I get a call from my brother...

"If Laura calls asking to borrow some money, tell her no."
"OK. Why?"
"Chet's truck is about to be repoed, unless he can come up with $1,350."

Turns out he's 3 months behind in payments, and having ignored the first two letters sent to him by his finance place, he now faces repo.

The best part is that we (Jeff and I) don't think Laura knows he's about to have his truck repoed. Chet asked my brother to read the letter from his finance company.

I haven't explained yet that my brother has worked in one form or another in the collections industry for years. Basically, you do NOT want to hear my brother's voice on the other end of a phone call. It won't be good news. Knowing this, he knows the in's and out's of the business and is pretty good at reading between the lines on letters sent from financial institutions.

As another little tid-bit to the story, Chet purchased, or more precisely, is in the process of purchasing a high-def, big-screen TV from one of those rent-to-own places. It's a very nice TV. BUT, if you don't have the money to pay for something that you already have (truck), and that something is somewhat important to you, what are you doing going out and purchasing a big-screen, high-def TV for?

Again, please explain the logic to me. Please.

P.S. as of Wednesday night, no call from my sister, and Chet still has the truck. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Business Man of the Year - Chet

I realize that I'm jumping right in with a "Chet story" without providing any back information about this guy, so I will give you a brief background. Consequently, this first post might be a little longer than normal, just so I can provide some level of background. Trust me though, it's worth it.

Chet (short for Chester) is my sister's latest boyfriend. I don't want to say latest with the connotation that she jumps from guy to guy in short periods of time, but she does jump from guy to guy after spending longer periods with them.

I like to say that Chet doesn't stutter when he talks. He's just not smart enough to know what word comes next in the sentence he's forming in his mind. Get the picture?


When Laura met Chet it was because he was trying to start his own business -- a trash collection company. In addition to this, he was also working as a prison guard for the state in which they reside.

Laura is an accountant by trade and does some books/taxes for small companies and some individuals on the side. Chet was one of her customers.

I can live with all this. Chet had 14 or 15 years of service in as a guard and could start drawing retirement benefits after 20 years. Being that he'd only be in his late 40's at this point, I can understand the desire to have another job, and possibly own your own company upon retirement. In fact, I think this is a rather intelligent line of thinking. The fact that it was a garbage collection company is beside the point. I could care less about that. Somebody has to pick up the trash, and if your eventual goal is to run the business from the office, it might mean you have to start at the bottom by doing the work yourself. No Problem.

So, here's where his true brilliance begins. June of 2005, he was switched from 3rd shift at the prison to 1st shift. This might sound great to everyone reading, but this meant that he could no longer operate his business, as he needed to collect the trash during the day, so as to be able to take it to the dump while it was open. That and the fact that people tend to like to have their trash picked-up during the day while they are at work.

The reason for the transfer: "My supervisor and I got into a difference of opinion over some things, and to be spiteful, he transferred me." His reaction to this transfer: He quit. He's only 5 or 6 years from retirement, and he quits. OK. Perhaps he wants to dedicate himself to his business, really get it going.

Great! He's got passion and a belief in himself. You need these qualities when starting/running your own business.

Late August of 2005 (8~10 weeks later), he sold his business to a competitor. ?!?!?! Didn't you just quit a job 5 years away from retirement to concentrate on building this business? Fine.

The selling price, you ask (I did). Here's what he got. A guaranteed job for 3 years at the following salaries:

1st year - $60,000
2nd year - $62,500
3rd year - $65,000
4th year - probably fired as I can't imagine paying a garbage man that kind of money (they live in a town with about 45,000 people... not a real metropolis).

And just to be clear, he got no other monies for this transaction... just the job for 3 years.

OK. Not a real good deal in my opinion, but I honestly don't know any of the financials of the business, nor do I know exactly how many customers he had. I do know that he employed 2 other people in addition to himself.

It's now April of 2006 and I learned that he quit his job at the new place on March 22, 2006; about 7 months into a guaranteed 3 years of employment at those wages. Are you kidding me?!?!?!

I learn all of this from my brother Jeff (who lives with them in my sister's house). I've got to talk to her and see what she has to say. Problem is she won't answer my calls or return them. For days and days, I try... Finally last week my brother calls and tells me Chet has a new job working for another trash company, making $37,000. Guess who calls this past weekend? My sister.

In a casual, passing comment she mentions that Chet has a new job (I can't directly ask her about it, as she'll know Jeff is my mole and that will cause problems for him).

-- Edited Conversation with Laura --

"So Chet has a new job."
"Wait, didn't he sell his company and in return got a guaranteed job for 3 years averaging $62,500?"
"He's still going to get his money from them, just like before. Weekly payments, same check as when he worked there."
"So, he was basically working there for free?"
"What do you mean?"
"If he quit and is still getting the same check every week, why did he work there to begin with. Wouldn't it have been more sensible to get another full-time job, and then in effect have two paychecks every week?"
"Well, no... It's because he quit that he continues to get the money. He had to start working there to get the money."
"OK, why work for 7 months before quitting then? Why not quit after the 1st day/week/month, and then get another job?"
"It just doesn't work that way. He'll continue to get his money."

She gets short when I back her into a corner with logic. She's like that.

Can anyone explain the logic in Chet's actions, please?

Next time -- Chet's truck is about to get repo'ed. Again, must thank my brother for this gem!


Welcome to my little corner of the blog world.

This site is mostly setup so that I can chronicle the continuing misadventures of my family, and document their sometimes just plain stupidity for myself, my friends, and future generations.

Hopefully someone somewhere will learn from their mistakes, because they sure as heck do not. As evidenced by the fact that they continue to make the same stupid decisions over and over...

Every once in a while, just when I think that they could not possibly make any more bad decisions, I get a phone call, and suddenly learn that someone has proved me wrong.

So, sit back, and relax. Prepare to be entertained and sometimes shocked.

P.S. Occasionally I'll post about my fiance's family. For the most part her family just does crazy, but not necessarily stupid things. The exception to this rule is her extended family, but Mom, Dad, and Sister are all pretty intelligent, just a little hair-brained on occasion.


Me/myself/I - Me
Laura - Sister
Chet - Future Brother-in-law
Dave -1st Ex-Brother-in-law (will not appear often)
Brad - 2nd Ex-Brother-in-law
Jeff - Brother
Amber - Ex-Sister-in-law
Traci - Fiance
Troy - Fiance's Dad
Bev - Fiance's Mom
Erin - Fiance's Sister