Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A Great Weekend in the Cities

When I left Minnesota last fall for the oilfields, it was my intention to visit the cities as often as I could. I was thinking once a month. That was realistic with me working on the oil fields. Obviously the oil fields didn't work out, and neither did my travel plans.

I've been tremendously busy in Memphis, working late nights at the office and on car deals. This experience been tremendously rewarding at times, and tremendously painful at other times. In other words, I needed a break.

I flew into Minneapolis, which is "God's country." It was great to visit friends and family, but it was a little difficult getting around. Note to self - rent a car next time.

For those that care, a recap of what I did:
  • Friday night - brief meal with Pastor Alan. It was so good to see him. I love that man like a brother.
  • Saturday - shooting with my friend Ben at his brother's house. It was a blast. He has a super nice family. Good people.
  • Saturday Night - Saw Vanman, looked at the house he's closing on. I think he can make some money on it if he keeps it a while and keeps it full of renters.
  • Sunday - Church in the morning, had lunch with Pastor Troy and did a little shopping, then had dinner with my cousin in the evening.
I stayed with Shawn Roehl, and it was great to see him. I put him right up there with Pastor Alan on the brother feelings.

It was good to get home - I'm now more motivated to work and get out of Tennessee, back to God's country.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The XD40

I'm doing a significant amount of business in less than safe areas of town. In fact, I was at a location about a week ago two blocks away from a murder - at the time of the murder. Now, I have to do what I have to do, but I don't have to do it without being able to defend myself. So, after renting and trying out several handguns, I've returned to my southern roots (full circle. OK, not really full circle) and purchased a Springfield XD40. I took it to the range last night and put 50 rounds through it. I'm waiting for an oil change at Walmart right now, and the XD 40 is at home, locked and in the safe. I'm signed up for the concealed carry class on April 7, and I will go to the DMV on the 9th to get my permit, and then I will start carrying.

The number of good, honest folks that have permits and carry a handgun in Shelby County is, honestly, astonishing. After 30 years of rising violence, TN passed shall issue concealed carry laws, and even now, the state is passing legislation to strengthen the right of the individual to protect themself. For example, a bill is being sponsored this year that would allow a citizen to shoot a carjacker even if they can't verify that the carjacker is armed. In other words, none of this, "Is the guy really armed, or is that a finger under that jacket." In the past, if you've fired in that situation, you've been liable for a lawsuit. Ridiculous. We need laws like this on the books.

Ultimately though, I'll end up never firing this weapon in defense of anything and only pulling it out at the range. But it sure is nice to be prepared.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Things Are Looking Up

Things are definitely looking up for me. In a way, my mechanic problems are turning into a blessing - instead of splitting profit on vehicles, I'm simply paying a guy by the job now. He's doing the work faster, better, and for less. I've sold the guy a ton of engines in the past for his customers, and I don't know why I didn't think to use him for my stuff. Irregardless of past details, it's a huge blessing to have his company do work for me.

Also, Dad and I are thinking of getting into remanufacturing engines. We handle a lot of newer, high dollar engines (late model Jag, Mercedes, BMW) and are pretty much wasting the "core" engines (some of these rebuildable Jag engines are worth $1500 bucks for the old core!). On Jag engines, you can literally quadruple your money - it's worth it, if you don't mind sitting on the engine for a while.

Today, I ordered several books on accounting and bookkeeping. I think we can cut our company accountant loose and save significant money by working more closely with our CPA and doing more in house... but I have to convince everyone else of this.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Baby Boomers - I feel Sorry For You

This morning, I figured out that I feel sorry for baby boomers. Most of them have decided they're going to let the government take care of them when they retire, instead of planning for it themselves.

Well, boomers, the government is broke.

Good luck.

Monday, March 05, 2007

It feels good

Last year, I had a cough that lasted so long my friends made fun of me and said I had an AIDS cough. Now, honestly, that's not funny, and it's tacky. But it did a nice job of underscoring the point that the cough would not go away. That same cough made an appearance again this year, about 3 weeks after I started running hard again, and pretty much wiped out what I had done in those three weeks.

Well, I started sort of tiptoeing around the gym about a week ago, but didn't do much. Last night, I hit the gym hard, and ran for 55 minutes. Let me tell you, it felt good. My back feels good, I hate tons of energy, and I'm ready to beat the piss out of the day.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Mississippi Burning

Saturday, Dad and I went down to the plantation to watch prescribe burning on the farm. We have a very healthy pine forest, but we haven't burned for a while. The fuel load was getting a little high, putting the forest at risk should an uncontrolled fire break out, and running burns kills the brush and leaves more food for wildlife. It's just a good thing to do from a conservation point.

Dad has only been to Weir (the town he grew up in and that the plantation is closest to) two times in the last decade. Interestingly enough, the funeral home buried my Grandfather in the wrong plot, and rather than exhume him just put a new tombstone over his grave. Dad saw the tombstone for the first time - which is strange, since Grandpa died 17 years ago.

We visited a man named Sambo, who maintained the homesite after Grandpa died and is very dear to our family. I had always heard about Sambo, but never met him until yesterday. He worked doing very manual labor well into his 70's - he was mowing our yard at the plantation until about five years ago.

Seeing the farm was just strange. Katrina created winds which knocked several trees down on the house - we had to have it torn down. Only the concrete slab from the car port remains of the house my dad grew up in. The picnic house and several storage sheds have all been rummaged through by thieves, and all the roofs are starting to have damage on them. Dad and I decided that, since we want to hunt and fish on the farm, we're going to fix up the picnic house. We plan on putting a tin roof on the picnic house, cutting the branches away from it, digging underneath it, and putting bars on the doors and windows to keep it nice once we get it the way we want. There is a nice pond there with good fishing (Grandpa actually dug the pond himself). We're going to cut back the trees, leaving several around the pond for shade, and burn around it. Basically, we can fit three people in that picnic house comfortably as far as existing bunks go, so we just want a nice place to hunt and fish out of.

Above are some pictures I took from a fun Saturday. The great thing is that I wasn't really cost a lot of work by being down there - the wireless card we picked up for my laptop gave me plenty of opportunity to get work done in the car on the way down and back!