(Last updated: 1-20-2017)
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Welcome to my crappy website. It truly is a bootleg bunch of crap, but I don't care. Not at all. I'm not doing it just to entertain you scumbags; I'm doing it because writing is fun but I am too lazy to actually write a real book. Don't laugh because I'm serious.
If you want to know who the hell I am and why I spent my hard-earned $8.42 to register this domain and to share my thoughts with the world then you can click here to find out. I have no update schedule so if you don't like it then you can ggggggggggeeeeeeeeeeetttttttttttt oooooooouuuuuuuuttttttttttttttt!
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ANOTHER DISCLAIMER: Why are you still here? Chances are pretty damn good that I WILL insult you in some fashion if you choose to continue beyond this point. The purpose of this site is to entertain me, and I am often entertained at the expense of others. Therefore, prepare to be slandered. A lot. It's still not to late to leave with your feelings intact!
Friday, 1-20-17: Make America Great Again?
Is America really not great now? I think it is not, and that is unfortunate. However, we are close and we can get it back if we all work hard and do good. Sadly that ain't happening because too many people are comfortable taking more than they give. Trust me I see it on a daily basis at the tax office in the WalMart. The shit I see there would make a sane person insane. Yesterday some chick wanted me to put her 21year old son on her tax retutn as a college dependent. She said he was going to Husson University, but when I asked some more nosy questions (when did he start, what is he studying?) her lie unraveled and she admitted he didn't really go to college and she just wanted more refund. I gave her the boot and told her to geeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeetttttttttttttttttttttttttt oooooooooooooooouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt! What a bunch of crap!
I turned off the Fox News coverage of the day's inaugration (that is a hard word to spell after two drinks) events and opted for 80s hair rock. Queensryche sings about not believing in love, and that was me until I met Kat. I once almost believed in love two times before Kat, but in hindsight that was fucking stupid because neither of those other chicks packed the gear to serve in my beloved corps. Now I believe in love because my wife is awesome and I do love her.
Trump has big plans for this country, and I hope he delivers on at least some of those plans. He is already working to repeal the ACA (Affordable Care Act) because that thing is a broken smelly turd. It serously is a bunch of crap. A penalty for NOT having health insurance? How in the fuck is that shit legal? Fuck you Obama for doing that, and fuck you for putting our country so much further into debt. Obama will probably be recorded in history as a good president, but I never liked the guy because he was Santa Claus with our precious... precious collective money. Bush was a bad president as well (younger Bush) so I don't just say that as someone who generally leans Republican. I just want a president who can balance our budget and apply some common sense. Can Trump do that? Probably not because he wants to build a fucking wall across the Mexican border. What a bunch of crap! Did he not see Pacific Rim?
HEY TRUMP I GOT NEWS FOR YA, WALLS GENERALLY DO NOT WORK DUDE. NOW GO BE A GOOD PRESIDENT AND DON'T CHEAT ON YOUR WIFE LIKE SCUMBAG BILL CLINTON DID.
Why can't Stallone be our 45th president? Maybe he can be #46 in four years. One can only hope! White Lion is a vastly underrated hair rock band. You should listen to a few of their songs including Little Fighter. Great stuff and if you disagree with me I hate you. I probably hate you anyway, but I'll hate you more if you don't like it.
Obama seriously makes me cheat on my own taxes. I never cheated on my taxes, ever. I just do now because I refuse to pay a PENALTY for not having health insurance. Half my tenants pay their rent in cash and I claim it all so the IRS should be thankful that I don't do real bad shit on my taxes like so many others do.
Speaking of taxes, the JH office is getting busy lately. Tomorrow looks to be a busy day as well, and I work 49 hours next week. What a bunch of crap! Oh well, at least 9 of those will be OT hours and maybe I can get off early a day or two when Lucas and/or Bill comes in to work with me. Most of the time I fly solo there, but they do staff a second desk a couple days a week. I think? Seems like Fri and Sat they have two of us there. This week our hours M-F were 1000-1900, but next week we stay open until 2000 so that sucks to be me. Oh well, at least it is only a seasonal job. In three months I'll be all done and I can go back to my apartment stuff full-time. Thnankfully the apartment business has been easy lately. Hopefully it stays that way for three more months!
Kat texted me they just had to throw some Giblet-Head out of the bar because he was calling wommens the C-word, and when he called my precious... precious wife that word he was out like a fat kid in dodge ball. Not cool to have someone there who acts that way. Normally it is a good crowd there, but every now and again a turd appears in the punch-bowl. Kat said she kicked his ass and I believe her because she is tough!
In other news the weather lately has been a win. Well, it sucks because it is winter, but Jim Witt on 100.3WKIT morning weather said we are 3.5 degrees above average for the month and check this out:
Tuesday is shaping up to be a turd, but I have that day off so no big deal. We might get a lot of ice before it turns to rain. What a bunch of crap! We haven't had a ton of snow this season, but my latest plow bill was $660 because sand and salt costs $75 a time at my office/gym apartment complex. Years ago I didn't even pay for salt and sand in that big parking area, but I do now because it is the right thing to do. 4 sands at $75 each = what a bunch of crap!
I remember years ago one time that parking lot was a skating rink after an ice storm and I was out there with my little Scott's fertilizer spreader trying to use it to put out sand and salt. It didn't work out so well for me but hey, I wasn't paying $75 at least! One time a tenant fell down but thankfully did not sue me. I have a clause in my lease now that says "tenant is responsible for his or her own snow and ice removal" so maybe that covers me anyway. I hope! I guess if it doesn't and I get sued and lose I'll just burn the building down and go buy a red Swingline Stapler...
Monday, 1-16-17: A couple of classic old movies,
a new gig for Kat, Jason's birthday.
Yesterday was a nice, relaxing day off with my Sweet Pea. We watched two movies and some NFL playoff games. We also ate pizza and played a little bit of trivia. If not for the pizza-run I would not have even left the house. The first movie we watched was Time Bandits. Neither her nor I had seen the Terry Gilman flick in so long that we had forgotten many parts. It is by no means a great movie, but it does have some cool scenes and interesting themes throughout. The basic concept is a bunch of hilarious midgets steal some world map that identifies "glitches" in time and space. These glitches allow the Time Bandits to hop to different eras to commit the greatest of thievery. I do love the concept, but sadly the execution is at times flawed. The movie was released in 1982 so I give it a pass for all it's dated special effects (which actually are not always terrible.) The Time Bandits themselves are scumbags in a very entertaining way, but the evil bad guy is kind-of a joke and the ending of the movie is a total WTF.
Here is the YouTube of the last 80 seconds:
Seriously did that just happen? The neighbors don't seem too concerned that two humans just exploded in the yard. Epic ending fail, Gilman. I give this movie a 7 on a scale of 1-10, and if not for the nostalgia and acid-trip feel of the whole thing I would probably give it a 4.
The second movie we watched yesterday was Labrynth. Again, a flick I've not seen in a great many years. Too many years to even recall. Labrynt (1986) is a Jim Henson movie with influences from George Lucas (back when he was still good at his job) and a great soundtrack by the late David Bowie. Bowie was also the bad guy in the movie, the eccentric Goblin King Jareth.
Labrynth is a very good movie, but I hesitate to call it an all-time classic. The puppets are all excellent; Jim Henson was a god among men in that department. I'm pretty sure Henson would roll over a few times in his grave if he saw a lot ot today's hot-mess CGI trash-fests because his work was amazing in the largely pre-CGI era. It semed to me that every single character in Labrynth is a puppet or a person in costume. I appreciate that; it is done well.
Labrynth is a flawed movie in a couple very noticeable ways. First, the reason why David Bowie steals babies is never fleshed out. What is his motivation? What is the back-story for his labyrnth-world? How did a young Jennifer Connoly know to say the phrase that gets her kid-brother abducted by muppet-goblins? Thankfully the end of the movie is uplifting and not some exploding lump-of-coal shit show like Time Bandits. I give this movie a 7.5 out of 10 as a rating with nostalgia contributing a point or two to that rating.
Kat had her first ever gig at the Eagles Club on Saturday night, and that was a success. She played both dance music and hosted a few rounds of karaoke during her 4-hours of DJing. She had people telling her how awesome she was, and she had an 82-year old dancing to the last song just before midnight. I went with her and helped her set up and break down, and during the gig itself I found a comfy spot to watch the Patriots-Texans playoff game when it was time for me to stay out of her way. The Patriots won, 34-16, but they didn't play a great game. Defense was good, but Houston has a flawed rookie QB so the Pats were lucky because the offense had three ugly turnovers that would have cost them a game against a good opponent. Next week they play the Steelers in Foxboro for the AFC title and a trip to the Superbowl. Go Patriots!
It's nearing the end of my JH shift on this Martin Luther Jr. holiday. I don't expect any more customers today, but cool if I get an easy one and can still leave at 1900. I actually have tomorrow off, a rare weekday off from JH, but I work Saturday to make up for it. As expected we are getting busier each day and today I had several clients. Working in the WalMart tax office is an adventure in itself. One chick came in with a w2 showing she made $900. No kids, no nothing. I told her great if she wants to file for a $71 refund awesome, but then she didn't know if she was going to get claimed as a dependent and got into an arguement with her mom right in the office. What a bunch of crap! Disappear, scumbags.
Later this afternoon I had some giblet-headed chick from NC come in to file her 2015 taxes. Guess she was too busy to do it last year? (It's 2016 tax filing season now!) I get several clients each year who want to file past taxes to no prob, but this chick dumped about $100k worth of 1099 forms onto my desk for self-employment plus another $38k earned as an employee. OMG CHICK PREPARE TO PAY. At one point I had her worthless, ADD-ass owing the IRS over $30k, but we found some expenses so in the end she "only" owes a bit over $15K. She took it pretty well, but her credit card got declined, she came to the appointment late, and worst of all she was on the phone for 30 fuckin' minutes with her vet right in the middle of my trying to do her taxes. WHAT A BUNCH OF CRAP! She acted like she was in a huge hurry because she had some other appointment to get to, but gods damn you'd think she would want me to spend some time to do a good job and reduce her massive IRS debt. All she seemed to give a crap about was needing taxes done to buy a house, but her credit card was declined. Seiously? I hope the bank does't approve her ass for a $350k house (seriously, she has a $350k house picked out.) Oh well, not my problem.
In conclusion, Time Bandits and Labrynth are good but not totally great movies mostly for the nostalgia of them both and this job as a tax preparer in Walmart is a friggin' cicrus half the time. What a bunch of crap! I do like the job here, though.
Friday, 1-13-17: Friday the 13th and the new
CNBC is airing the new Celebrity Apprentice, a rerun from last week I suppose. Since Donald Trump is our president-elect he can't do the show anymore, and Arnold Schwarzenegger is the new "boss." I have not watched an episode yet, but I was channel-surfing and saw it so I decided to check it out. I like some of The Apprentice back in the day, especially the non-celebrity ones that Trump did many years ago. This new one... it might be a turd. I love Arnold, but this show just isn't doing it for me at all.
There are two teams of "contestants." One is the wommens team, and one is the men's team. All of the contestants are celebrities. Maybe? I don't know who the hell any of these slapnuts are. What a bunch of crap! Oh, that guy is Boy George. He was relevant in 1983. Oh cool, there is Vince Neil lead singer of Motley Crue. Works for me! John Lovitz, an actor whose work has never blown me away. Not sure who the hell any of these other guys are.
It shows the wommens team and I am even more confused. These are celebrities?! I have no clue who these chicks are. I think NBC had to scrape the bottom of the "celebrity" barrel to get these chumps to come onto the show. I changed the channel and watched the Celtics just beat the Atlanta Hawks. The Celtics were up big earlier, but the let the Hawks tie it with 20 seconds left. Thankfully the Celtics scored 2 points to win it. Not a huge NBA fan, but I like to see all my Boston teams succeed.
Back to Celebrity Apprentice. the chicks are arguing. A fat chick in pink is called Carrie Wilson. I only know that because it put her name on the screen. Is that the chick from Wilson Phillips from the late 80s and early 90s? If so I like that song Hold on for One More Day so good for her. WTF is a Snookie? Is that a spoof of a wookie from Star Wars?! There is seriously a chick named Snookie on there. What a bunch of crap! That name seems familiar to me somehow. A talk show? Reality show? Guy Googles it.
Oh, that whore was on The Jersey Shore. I never watched it, but I heard it was a shit-show. Some MTV show about Giblet-Heads being giant douches and making America look weak. Fuck that show and fuck this show I am out like a fat kid at dodge ball. Time to go to Jester's to watch drunks sing karaoke and to see my awesome wife. Goonies never say die!
Wednesday, 1-11-17: The real financial implications
of winter to my business bottom line.
I've been looking at my heating costs for each rental property that I include heat, five of my six buildings, since 2013. Going back further than that is futile since I converted to natural gas in 2012 so comparing prior years would not be apples to apples so to speak. Four years is a good enough sample for me to work with.* I hope! Since heat is my biggest cost I focused on that one for now. I might take a peek at my snow plowing and salt/sanding costs next, but probably not because by then I will be sick of looking at it.
My four-year average natural gas cost per property is as follows: $3308, $2121, $2243, $2338, and $2448 for a total of $12,458. It is a lot of money, but I do plan ahead so the rent covers that plus enough for the other expenses and a little extra. Mostly. Usually. Interestingly enough, my single-family house that I heat is the $2448 number and is actually more expensive on average to heat than the three duplexes. The most expensive one to heat annually is the 4-unit where the gym and my office is. My old apartment!
I think the reason the single-family house costs more to heat than the duplexes is the layout. I've had the same tenants in that house for close to five years and I know they aren't the type to be wasteful. The house is pretty big, and it used to be a duplex years ago before the building fell vacant, switched owners a couple times, and then reverted back to its single-family status. I knew this before I bought the place in 2009 so I planned accordingly.
There was a huge difference in the weather from winter of 2015 to the winter of last year. 2015 was a fuckin' shit-show and a bunch of crap all rolled up into one whereas last winter was much more mild and tolerable. The cost of gas was much lower last year as well. 2015 was a giant FU from both mother nature and from the gas company. In 2015 I went a total of $3197 above my 4-year average whereas last year I ended up a total of $3165 below my 4-year average for the five properties. That is a huge difference of $6362 from one year to the next. OMG. What a bunch of crap!
$6362 is a very large number. I haven't even made that much in some years working as a tax preparer (after taxes get yanked from my paycheck.) Will this winter be a huge swing for me on the bad end of the scale? It is too early to know for sure, but the price per therm of gas is lower than it was last year and the year before right now. December was around 2 degrees below the normal for average temp, but my heating costs were not bad as compared to last year's December. I pay the December heat bills in January so the December heat used starts off my 2017 tallies. Tthis month is looking to trend above average overall. It's damn near 50 outside right now. Oh Jesus, hell ya! We will be colder than average this weekend, but back to well above normal by midweek next week and supposedly above normal for most of the second half of this month.
Unfortunately, Jim Witt, the weather guy who does a very good comprehensive forecast in the morning on WKIT, said this morning that long-range models show February as being very cold. What a bunch of crap! I hope he is wrong, but that guy is damn good at long-range projections and normally gets it right. Winter of 2014-2015 we started off okay, but then in February we got crushed with record cold and snow. If that happens again this year then it sucks to be me. If not I'll probably come in under my average and under budget and then I can pay off most of the special financing deals on the Home Depot and Lowe's cards by spring. I hope!
*Only was able to do three for my Bangor duplex because natral gas was not available for that property until the end of 2013. However, the data I have for that property falls in line with the data I have for the others.
Tuesday, 1-10-17: Movies coming out this year
(and one from 2016 I still need to see.)
Last year I can only think of a few good new movies that I saw. Even though critics flamed it, Independence Day: Resurgence entertained me. Was it as good as the first one? Nope. However, it was decent and I am a sucker for those types of flicks anyway. Star Trek Beyond was decent, too. Deadpool was passable I suppose, and I guess that's it. Really? I thought there were more, but apparently not. What a bunch of crap! Oh, that Insurgent one was pretty good, the one where they go beyond the wall to the scorched future Earth beyond and the guy from Dumb and Dumber is in charge.
Edit: I just looked at a more complete list of bigger-known 2016 movies and came across 10 Cloverfield Lane. I forgot that was 2016, and I think that was my favorite new movie of the bunch. The Shallows, The Nice Guys, and Passengers were all decent as well from last year.
For every good flick from 2016 there was an equally mediocre and/or bad flick. Batman vs. Superman = I give no fucks. Capain America Civil War = I give no fucks. Dr. Strange = I give no fucks. Suicide Squad = I mostly give no fucks, but that one was a little better than the other three I just listed. All would rank around 5 out of 10 on my scale. Not good, but not horrible either. Just sorta there and all very similar in many ways. They all look good and have their moments, but I don't look back and think fondly of them at all.
I guess I only saw a very small percentage of the big-release new movies last year, and more than likely this year will be the same. We seem to get to the theater several times a year, but mostly when we watch new movies it is from the comfort of our own couch after the flicks are available either on demand or on DVD/Blue Ray. The theater can be fun, but the novelty wears off fast when the movie is not great and/or when there are a lot of other Giblet-Heads sitting around you.
Now I am looking at a Google list of new movies coming out in 2017. There are some good ones from the looks of it. I have seen previews for a lot of these movies already, but Google helps me remember what I saw and what looks the best of them all. First, I actually still need to see one huge movie from 2016: Star Wars Rogue One. It looks fantastic, but we never got around to seeing it in the theater. The movie was #1 at the box office again last week and is still in the theaters, but at this point with the JH job I think it's best to just wait and see it when it comes out on video.
First on my list is a sequel:
Next on the list is a new movie in the Alien franchise:
^Alien: Covenant. My excitement for this one is about a 9. From what I have read it is set to take place between the events in Prometheus and the original Alien. Ridley Scott, director and/or producer of the original Alien and Prometheus, is involved. I think this could be totally awesome! Not everyone liked Prometheus, but I thought it was very good and added a lot to the Alien mythos.
Next we have a Stephen King adaptation:
^The Dark Tower. Oh Jesus, hell ya! There have been rumors swirling for years about this epic book series becoming a movie, and now it is happening. My excitement for this is around an 8.5. It would be a 10 because The Dark Tower is a fantastic read, but I am worried Hollywood will F it up and it will not reflect the tone, mood, or story of the books. The Dark Tower is currently 8 books so how is that squeezed into one movie? Maybe this one will only be the first with more to follow? I could read more about it to find out, but not now.
Another Star Wars is coming later this year, too:
^Star Wars: Episode VIII. Does it have a name or is that really it? Either way I don't give a crap if they call it Star Wars Steve Markwith is a turd-eater, I will want to watch it because it is motherfuckin' Star Wars and not one of the shitty prequals. My excitement for this is about a 7.5. The putrid, fetid, rotten stench of the crap-tastic prequals still leaves me skeptical, and eventually the market will suffer from Star Wars saturation and the new ones will not have any more luster. Sadly, Carrie Fisher passed away last week so this will be her last role as Leia. I do think it will be a good movie, and I am excited to see it.
Disney owns the rights to the Star Wars franchise after they paid something like $4 billion for the rights from George Lucas films company a few years back. I'm sure Disney has already made most of that investment back with the last two Star Wars movies dominating the box office. Plus toys, games, etc. It is a huge cash machine.
The last movie I will list today is the one I know the least about:
^God Particle. This is somehow tied into the mythos of the Colverfield series. Maybe? At least that is what I read. My excitement for this is a 7 mainly because I don't know a whole lot about it, but what I do know seems fascinating.
Other movies that look interesting for the year still-to-come include a new Thor, Kong; Skull Island, War for Planet of the Apes, Beauty and the Beast (live action adaptation by Disney of the cartoon), and Fist Fight (looks pretty funny.) There appear to be tons more turds in this pixelated punch-bowl of a list including a continued oversaturation of comic movies (another Spiderman. Fucking seriously?) I see something called The Emoji Movie and all I wanna know is why? Why does anyone think that is a good idea? It seems like a bunch of crap to me.
Hey awesome, I get to leave work in just about an hour. I'm off at 1430 today; Lucas agreed to take half my day because he wants more hours and I want less (for now.) By giving up the hours I will still be at 40.5 for the week, and I'm sure later this month I will bump up to 45-55 for a bit. Who knows, if they don't hire anyone I might be looking at over 60 one of these weeks. I hope not, but if it is busy I will do it because that will give me a bigger season-end bonus plus a lot of overtime pay.
Monday, 1-09-17: The Golden Globes and old movies.
Before last night I didn't know exactly what the Golden Globes were because I never watched the show before. I knew it was some awards-thingie, but I didn't know for what exactly. Now I can assume it is a show that gives out awards for movies and TV. Maybe music, too? Hell if I know, and I don't even care... whether or not I care.
We didn't watch the entire Golden Globes show, but we saw enough so I feel comfortable flaming the hell out of it on this bootleg site. That show sucks. It's a bunch of crap! I don't even know who half the actors are, and I don't even know what 90% of the shows and movies are that win. The big winner last night was some thing called La La Land, and that is essentially how I feel about everyone involved in that hot mess of a show. They all live in la la land where they can buy $10,000 outfits and sit around and pat each other on the back for all the great work they did in their movies and TV shows. Most of the outfits that the chicks wear are really horrible. Their cans are half-hanging out all over the place, and the dresses sparkle so much that people there live should use sunglasses to reduce all the glare. Some of these chicks think they are dressing elegantly, but I would call this 10 pounds of shit stuffed into a 5 pound bag right here.
Those five dresses probably cost more than my total income for all of 2016. What a bunch of crap!
I guess 10 years ago I would love to see so much cleveage on one show, but now I just think it is tacky. Most of the acceptance speeches were the same repetitive monolouge, and the people giving out the awards try to make jokes that are only sometimes funny. I saw Goldie Hawn and thought she was baked out of her mind because she couldn't seem to read the teleprompter. Or maybe she was trying to be funny? Neither Kat nor I could tell for sure. It doesn't help that I've never been a fan of the overall host, Jimmy Fallon, either. He was ok in that romantic movie about the Red Sox, but other than that I think he is very overrated and the less I see of him the better.
In conclusion if you liked the Golden Globe type award shows then I hate you. I probably hate you anyway, but I'll hate you a little more.
I am in the JH tax office, and I did have one customer earlier today for a refund advance. That advance program has generated some good interest so I am not always bored, but most people will wait until they have w2s from their jobs before they come in. Now it is early afternoon and I have nothing going on except of course writing my useless thoughts on this bootleg site and sometimes standing outside the door to say hello to people and maybe pass out a flyer. I did go to Amazon.com to find some old movies, and I have some classics that I've not seen in many, many years added to my digital shopping cart right now:
The only one of those seven movies that I have never seen is Starman. Who knows, maybe I did watch that when I was a kid? It comes with Close Encounters as a package deal. Time Bandits, wtf is going on in that movie? I saw it when I was a kid and maybe once again many, many years ago. It is listed as a fantasy/comedy but F that when I was a kid there were several parts of the movie that scared the hell out of me. That kid's bedroom wall starts to move and then there is this evil face and I probably just about crapped myself. Didn't help that Mom let us watch fucked-up movies like that and Poltergeist when we were under 10 years old. No joke either. I honestly remember watching Poltergeist when we lived in Thomaston in an apartment on Rt. 1 near the center of town. I was in second grade at age 7 and, even worse, Jason and Doug were 5 and 3 years old. What a bunch of crap! I can't say for sure that both Jason and Doug watched Poltergeist that day, but my cousin Risa was there and screaming so my guess is we all were there. Pretty sure Mom and Aunt Taresa thought our screams of terror were funny, too. All I wanna know is why? Why did she do that? I'm pretty sure it is Mom's fault because Dad was at work just up the road at the prison. (As a guard not making license plate decorations as in inmate!) No wonder I am a defective human in many ways. Thanks, Mom.
I'm pretty excited to see some of these movies even if half of them did mar my childhood. The trivia games that Kat and I play led us to wanting to rewatch some of these flicks. We play 80s/90s movies, TV, sports, music, and pop culture cards. Some of the questions are easy like last night's "What is Rambo's first name?" but others are ridiculous like "Who won the FIFA world cup in 1982?" A question about Time Bandits and a few other the other movies in my cart pictured above led us towards their purchase. Hopefully at least a couple of the movies I ordered today live up to my expectations and don't totally suck.
Thursday, 1-05-17: A look back at 2016 (part
In 2016 I worked a lot. Too much a majority of the time. I did take two great vacations, the first of which I wrote about in May of 2016 on this bootleg trash-heap that almost no one reads, and I also covered it yesterday during part of that update. I also wrote about the work I did in the first part of 2016, mostly at Jackson Hewitt from January until April 18 and also on the rental properties. I also worked on our massive home addition for the first part of 2016, but not nearly enough. When I began the huge home-expansion project on August 12 of 2015 I had intentions of finishing the interior by the end of 2015. Sadly I did not even come close to reaching that goal. What a bunch of crap! It was ambitious to decide to cancel the separate garage (attached only by a cheesy breezeway) and to add 1000 square feet of living space onto the house, that's for sure. However, in hindsight I would have done it again because it is totally worth it now that the interior is done.
Most years blueberry raking seems to divide the year for me, and 2016 was no different. Before raking is unofficially my first half of the year, and after raking it's the second half. The first half is tax season, lawn mowing, and apartment turnover. The second half is supposed to be a lot less lawn mowing, gearing up for hunting, a little apartment turnover (not as much as in the spring and early summer), and saving up for the winter expenses of heat and plowing. Unfortunately, I can never seem to save up anymore for the winter expenses so that needs to change in 2017. Once the house addition pictured above is paid off that will be a lot easier to do. I hope!
Blueberry raking season last year was good. For the first time in 12 years Gavin and I stayed at MicMac campground instead of the usual Camden Hills. In hindsight MicMac had some advantages (closer to Cliff's field) but some disadvantages (not as nice or private as Camden Hills) so I am not sure what we will do for this coming season, if there is a season at all. One of these years Cliff will retire for good. He is 65 or 66 now, and last year he said he got paid a paltry amount per pound (25 cents I think) so he lost money on the blueberries. What a bunch of crap!
I had my best season ever physically for the 2016 blueberry raking. Normally I beat the shit out of my body and get pretty sore, but this season I felt relatively great for the duration. Of course there is always going to be body stiffness because it is hard work, but I was prepared and that paid off for my body. I never would have guessed that at age 40 I would have my best season ever from a physical standpoint. From a money standpoint, there were times it was great and times it was simply mediocre but overall I made $1745 in 72 hours of work so I'd take that any year. Especially on the year when we had to rake part of Cliff's field and the steeper part of Bull Hill.
After blueberry raking ended around August 10 I had to get my ass to work on my Bangor duplex. During raking the tenants moved out of the front apartment (they gave plenty of notice before they moved), and I was excited because I planned to put some money into the place and then have Jody list it for sale. I remodeled the kitchen, I installed some new windows, and all that work took me most of post-raking August and into early September. The kitchen came out looking nice, but overall the property is kind-of a turd so no one wanted to buy it. What a bunch of crap! It was the second time I listed the building for sale. The first time I tried to haul on the place I had Jody list it for $115,900 and got no takers. (fall of 2013?) This time I started at $109,000 and then, after no serious buyers showed interest, I dropped the price to $104,900 with Jody's input. Unfortunately, even the price drop did not lead to a buyer. What a bunch of crap!
Not selling that place cost me about $2000 (not including the roughly $2500 cost of the new kitchen, windows, and Bruce doing some of the plumbing.) What a bunch of crap! I had the apartment vacant for all of August, all of September, and half of October before I finally gave up on trying to unload the duplex so I found new tenants instead, and we pulled the listing. I guess I would have had the place vacant in August anyway to do the kitchen so the real cost of the listing was the vacancy in September and half of October. That's about $1500. Plus I gave the back tenants about $100 off total rent for the burden of dealing with several showings and I gave Jody $100 because it cost him money to put it on the MLS that led to no sale for the second time. Fail!
I could have had Jody fire-sale the place down to about $95k, but that would have been stupid so I think in hindsight I am better off doing what I did. I obviously would not have even offered the building for sale if I knew no one would like it, but hindsight is always 20/20 they say. Next time I try to haul on that building I will start at a much lower price point so it actually sells. Eventually I'm sure I will haul on it because I plan to reduce the amount of rental for which I am responsible. 14 units is just a couple too many for me right now, especially with the Jackson Hewitt job going 3.5 months out of each year. I could try to sell another building or give up the one I manage, but everything else is quite frankly better and closer to home so it makes sense to keep all those for now.
I had hoped that after blueberry raking and the work I did at my Bangor duplex I could spend a few weeks finishing up the interior work at our own house. The upstairs second room/kitchenette and hall still looked like this in September:
Sadly I had more apartment turnover, three more units in September and October, so I was pwned. Then Kat and I took a vacation to Arizona in early November. The vacation to Mesa was fantastic, and we enjoyed perfect weather and breathtaking scenery in the Tucson area, in the Superstition Mountains and at the Grand Canyon. We got to visit Tommy in Tucson, and we relaxed and soaked it all in. Will we go back to the Phoenix area again, perhaps as a winter getaway in future years? It is too early to say for sure, but I loved the weather and all the sun so it's a definite and strong maybe at this point. Kat and I still have a lot more exploring to do before we make a final decision such as becoming snowbirds, and it ain't cheap to up and leave for three months either, so that one can sit on the shelf for a while more.
Once we returned from our Arizona vacation November was half-over. That gave me some time to do more deer hunting and to keep working on the house. Apartment work did come up, but nothing that pulled me away for days on end. I was finally able to get the interior work done by the end of the year, and I also got my deer late in the hunting season as well. The house got done a year behind schedule, but it did get done. (Well, I still have a few more things to do so it is not 100% done, but 99% works for me gods damn it.)
The Red Sox had a good year; they finished in first place before an early playoff exit. What a bunch of crap! Oh well, it happens. The Patriots went to the AFC championship game last winter before losing to the Broncos and the retiring Peyton Manning. Manning did win his second Superbowl last winter before he retired so good for him. This fall the Patriots were awesome and went 14-2 on the season so hopefully they can win the 2017 Superbowl.
I'm hoping to not have as much tenant turnover this coming
year so I can spend time adding a larger back deck onto our house. I also
have plenty of landscape/exterior projects that I can tackle for the apartment
business. I want to get a lot of exercise, and in the fall I want to do
more deer hunting. These past couple years I have not gone hunting enough,
and that is a bunch of crap. I enjoy deer hunting very much, but I struggle
to find the time. I hope in 2017 I have more free time than I have had
in recent years. As long as I don't plan to start another $25,000 massive
5-room, 3-closet, 2-hall, and 1 kitchenette addition then I should be
in much better shape. I pretty much spent the last 1.5 years adding a
second house onto our own house in my spare time. The thing needed everything
from foundation footings, electrical, plumbing, and heating so it essentially
was adding a second house onto our own house. I just stuck it
on there! It took me over 700 hours, too. Wow.*
Wednesday, 1-04-17: A look back at 2016.
Copper came into our lives just after two other puppies, Crowley and Castiel, found new homes. We still had Cheza, and only a few days after we got Copper I started what would be a busy season at Jackson Hewitt. Last year the Bangor WalMart "office" became my primary base-camp, and I made the most of it by doing a lot of taxes and by getting a nice season-end bonus in May. The latter half of the tax season wasn't so busy last year, but the first half was very busy. This season I am already working since they decided it would be a great idea to set me up in here to facilitate refund-advance options. The early start is great for the money, but not so great when it is slow.
Last year winter was not so bad. All Maine winters fuckin' suck, but comparatively it was tolerable. I was able to even go for a few outdoor jogs. Unfortunately, this winter so far has been quite worse. What a bunch of crap! I was reading earlier today that we were 2.3 degrees below average for December temperature and 4 inches above average for total December snow. Gods damn it! I do have a new plow guy who has done great, but on top of plowing I have had to pay for several sandings because a lot of our storms have been a mix of rain and snow that has frozen into a sheet of ice. Epic fail. Last night we were supposed to get a little ice followed by mostly rain, but it stayed all ice all night. What a bunch of crap! Thankfully we did not lose power. I did have to go bash away an ice-dam on a roof before work this morning, though. The tenants let me know the kitchen ceiling was leaking so I knew exactly what the problem was. Stupid gods damned ice.
I saved a lot of money on the heating and plowing bills last winter so that extra money helped towards the home expansion. I was only able to work on the house a very little bit last winter, but I did finish Kat's studio, the new bathroom, the laundry area, and Katherine's new upstairs bedroom. I did get a lot of the sheetrock work done as well, but finish work, trim, insulating, and exterior work remained incomplete.
During the winter last year Kat worked a lot, and together we were able to save up money for an awesome family vacation to northern Cancun in Mexico. We took that trip in May, right around the time my Jackson Hewitt season-end bonus came in. Tax season ended for me April 18, and we took the vacation in the middle of May so in the weeks between tax season and our vacation I worked on the house some in between doing apartment work, getting the mower going, etc.
The vacation in Mexico was truly a great experience, and it was much-appreciated after a very long winter and early spring of work. We stayed at this resort:
My plan when we returned from our awesome vacation was to finish working on the house remodel, but that plan kept getting shot to hell when I had more and more work pile on from the apartment business. I went from a tropical vacation paradise to dealing with crap like this:
I had a lot of turnover last year for the rentals. Out of the 12 units that I own I had 6 different units turn over from May through October last year. I also had another October turnover at the duplex I manage. That is seven different apartments/houses in half a year. Literally 50% of everything. What a bunch of crap! Turnover is not unexpected and will happen, but what made some of these suck so much is the fact that some of the units needed a bit of work before they were ready for the next people. Thankfully everyone who moved gave me at least some notice, and I didn't have to do any evictions.
The 3BR apartment I had to prepare in May both before and after our vacation took a lot of work. That apartment had the same tenants for years so things were in need of an overhaul. I had to replace a lot of flooring, the toilet floor pictured above, and many other things along the way. Thankfully it came out looking great and the tenants who live there now are fantastic.
Not every apartment needed as much work as the one pictured above, but even little things like painting and showings take up precious... precious time. I did have a bit of free time in some of July before blueberry raking began to work on our house more, but from raking until later in the year I was super-busy again with the apartment stuff. What a bunch of crap!
Sadly last year we lost Cheza, Kat's older Golden Retriever. Poor Cheza, she was only 10 years old but her health declined rapidly. Cheza passed away in the spring, and not long after we returned from our Mexico vacation we found another Golden Retriever to join the family and to be Copper's companion. We got our little peanut and named her Tiger-Lily on June 27 of last year:
Also in the spring of 2016 Katherine graduated from Bangor High School. She got her driver's license in September so now she is quite independent. It is nice not having to drive her to and from either work or school; at this time last year her and I would leave for school around 0730 and I would get to the gym around 0800 after I dropped her off, but now I can go straight to the gym around 0715-0730 and still be done with a little time to spare before I start work at JH at 1000. When JH opens at 0900 later this month I am pwned, though. Especially since the only person they can seem to find for this office is me, myself, and I right now. What a bunch of crap!
I think I'll break up my look back at 2016 into two parts, two separate updates, because I have reached a point where I am sick of writing on this bootleg thing. It is 1256 right now, I am at work, and I still have another six hours to go here. So far I have had zero customers all day. What a bunch of crap! I'll spend some time this afternoon at work doing some training and maybe working a crossword puzzle in between surfing the web and playing with my Nintendo 3DS. I am in level 2 now in Yoshi's Island. Maybe I can get to level 3 today!
Monday, 1-02-17: Stupid gods damned
Sadly the FitBit that Kat got for me is going to have to get hauled on. It will not install on my computer, and I cannot even get past this point:
HEY ASSHOLES WHO INVENTED THIS SOFTWARE, I AM NOT USING A BOOTLEG WINDOWS OR A BOOTLEG COMPUTER SO ALL I WANNA KNOW IS WHY? WHY WILL IT NOT WORK? I HATE ALL OF YOU. WHAT A BUNCH OF CRAP!
No problems, only solutions. Plan B, to install it on Kat's
fancier laptop computer that runs Winders 8. (Mine has 7.) Hers at least
went through the software setup, but then it kept asking for some dumbass
"dongle." Um, wtf is that? I did not know my fancy wrist-watch-tracker-thingie
needed a dingle-berry to connect. It has a USB cord, but that is not the
right one. Sadly, this magical dingle-berry does not even come with the
Thankfully Kat saved the receipt, and she bought it right here in the WalMart where I now sit so once it is less busy I will head over to the customer service desk and get a refund. Store credit is just fine; I plan to swap it for a different brand one that hopefully is not a piece of crap. I do want a little fancy watch-thing that keeps track of distance, time, and other fancy stats. When Phil came up to visit in September we went for a jog, and he had a watch-thingie on that said when we went each mile, and it also showed the pace per mile/total distance/etc. Awesome! I do want one, but I want one that actually frigging works. This ShitBit was advertised to do a lot of other things like monitor sleep patterns, but I don't need that because I don't want to sleep with a watch-thingie on my wrist. I did wear watch when I was in high school, but ever since I left the nest and entered the great-big world I've not worn one. I do use a watch now when I jog, but I just start the timer and stick it into my pocket and look at it when my jog is done.