Thursday, January 26, 2017

Wake Up America!

You cannot run a country forever with deficit spending, porous borders, and; especially, a polarized government. That's only mentioning a few of the things ailing our great country. I consider myself part of the grass roots movement that swept Trump into office. My support and faith never wavered even to the point of sending financial contributions.

I find it almost humorous that the entrenched politicos and others potentially affected by Trump's stated policy changes are "running for the exits". All you "nasty women" (her words, not mine), enviro wackos and fem Nazis; to name just a few, your day of reckoning is upon you. We have pandered to the minority and ultra sensitive for way too long.

I'm against federalizing our police forces, but have tried for a long time to highlight the slaughter and semi anarchy in the streets of Chicago.

I feel for the anchor babies and others that have innocently been dragged into the immigration controversy. However, we cannot allow sanctuary cities and illegals to run the streets and rob our nation of its identity and resources.

I feel we cannot be the worlds police force and support a mobile, quick reaction military whose strength is second to none. We seem to have forgotten the painful lessons of Vietnam and continue to find ourselves mired in untenable situations.

I find myself extremely disappointed that our countries infrastructure has eroded around us while little seems to get done.

I am supportive of proven alternative energy sources. but feel proven fossil fuel sources should remain as a first choice.

I feel we are at war with China and Russia who continue to rob our country in innumerable ways; including, but not limited to technology.

For too long we have been a rudderless nation with the three branches of government seemingly unable to function as the founders intended. It is the Executive branch's responsibility to set an agenda and lead the government. We have lacked an effective manager and leader for this country for a long time. Hopefully, those that have lived off of the largesse of our corrupted government fear the impending day of reckoning. Instead of fighting change, perhaps we should embrace it and see where a well led, fiduciarily responsible country can go and what great heights it can achieve.          

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Lifestyle Changes

Just about every one of the past six years has found us on a gate as fulltime gate guards. This year, six plus years in the pucker brush finally wore us down. Eventually everyone grows tired of answering the bell or just says "no mas" and moves on. We are suffering from "gate guard burnout" and need to recharge our batteries. I have suffered through the yearly assault of mountain cedar, pneumonia, every type of bronchial infection you can imagine from the dust and a heart attack. Except for the heart attack, we managed to soldier on while remaining on the gate. Add to that, I "officially" became a senior citizen by tapping into my social security account, which also restricts the amount of income I can earn. We remain on the books at J&G, although their response has been tepid, at best. Our plan has been to work day gates and relief, but our phone has not rung much. We worked very hard as contractors and our reputation in the oil field was second to none. We also, for the most part, enjoy(ed) working for J&G. Missy and I are somewhat surprised because we expected that J&G would be more supportive of our lifestyle changes. As my friend says, "There is no sniffling in the oil patch", and the patch remains notorious for the ebb and flow of work, so hopefully things will eventually pick up for us.

The drop in income has caused some belt tightening around here. Along with being more cautious with our spending, we have also cut what bills we can. I have taken a part time job at the RV park where we are staying which pays the lot rent and puts a little jingle in my pocket. Missy not only works the flea market, she also has started working in the home health care business again. The drone business is growing and we derive income from that. We recently received our biggest shipment yet (150-160) drones and have been very busy inventorying and repairing them. Those of you hesitant to break away from the income stream that gate guarding provides should know that it can be done. You might even realize that you enjoy taking a break now and then.

We are both looking forward to 2017, especially with my health issues, which makes me value every day that I am given. We consider ourselves members of the conservative movement and supported Trump in his campaign to get elected. No matter the outcome we remain resolute that changes had to be made. It is telling that the Democrats continue to stall at every turn; even though they soon will be the minority party. Apparently eight plus years of infighting, along with a polarized Congress, has failed to make an impression on a lot of politicians. How ironic that just the threat of running our government in a fiscally responsible way has a lot of folks running for cover. For those of you with a different perspective, there is always impeachment, or you can take solace in knowing it can only last eight years. After all, we suffered through eight years of ineptitude...

Saturday, December 24, 2016

An Altered Meaning for Christmas

We have been in the drone business for almost a year and this will be our first Christmas as retailers. We are quickly finding out why retailers claim to make their biggest percentage of sales from Black Friday to Christmas eve. It has been difficult to get the traditional holiday tasks accomplished and keep up with the demands of the business. The difficulty is amplified because we refurbish store returns; so all of our drones have to be opened, evaluated, catalogued and finally repaired. We don't have a shop either and are doing this out of our 5th wheel RV. We have expanded slowly over the months; finally ordering a pallet load for the holidays, versus the boxes we had been getting. A pallet load of drones works out to approximately 140 - 150 drones; a daunting challenge, even for us. Today we will complete a five day marathon (out of the last seven) at our local flea market. Unfortunately, we do not have a storage space on the markets property, so we have to run by our storage locker and load and reload as needed. All in all it has been a rewarding experience. We have given and shared our products; the smile and gratitude we get make it so worthwhile, and also made money. That is success in business, in my opinion.

If; in all the hub bub, we neglected to wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season we apologize. We have done our best to keep in the spirit of the occasion and hope you have as well. Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Adventures in RV Buying

We have purchased six recreational vehicles; all of them used. We have owned gas powered, diesel pushers and 5th wheel trailers. I now know a seller will tell you just about anything in order to sell his or her RV. While this may not be surprising, buyers need to be especially wary because repairs can cost thousands of dollars. If you're a full timer this can be particularly concerning because you lose your home while repairs are conducted. Here are just some of the things we have experienced since diving into the world of RVing.

Water damage is the number one thing to look for. Walk away from any damage, indicated by delamination (bubbling of the gel coat or outer skin), stains, sealant in odd places and soft spots on the roof. By the way, an annual roof inspection and reseal will pay for itself over the life of the RV.

If you purchase a motorized RV, you really need two inspection specialists to help you. One to look over and inspect the drivetrain and one to inspect the RV side. They are two distinct specialties, like cardiologists and podiatrists.

Before you tour a unit give the outside a thorough look over. You should be able to tell pretty quickly if it has been cared for. The key here is that you do not want to buy a project.

Tires are especially important, with age being the dictating factor most of the time, due to RVs sitting so much. There is a date code on every tire and you can Google how to translate it. RV tires should be changed every 5-6 years, regardless of how good the tread looks. Two tips. Most trailer manufacturers put the cheapest tires they can get away with on RVs; usually a LT or light truck tire. Because of blowouts most trailers can greatly benefit from the installation of G rated tires (it means more plys or belts, making it a meatier tire). Get with a tire pro as you can sometimes up the tread width, giving the trailer a wider contact patch, which spreads the load and increases traction. Finally; purchase a TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) and/or check your tire pressure every time before you move. It's cheap insurance.

I believe that an inspection by a certified RV technician is a good investment, especially if you're not familiar with the inner workings of an RV. Make sure every major component works while connected to water, sewer and electricity. Then disconnect the unit and ensure everything needed to be self contained also works. You cannot take too much time conducting this inspection. Believe me, you will discover things you missed after spending some time in the RV and then it will be a lot harder to get them repaired.

There is a world populated by predators out there that take advantage of folks with limited funds and lower credit ratings. We went that route couple of times while we worked to pay off debt and increase our credit rating. It was very frustrating in many ways, especially because the selection is limited and the condition questionable. We are dealing with a reputable dealer these days and the change is palpable. We are treated better, the selection is better and the knowledge that we have a reputable dealer to lean on is invaluable. It would be nice if everyone selling RVs would just be honest and above board, but that simply is not the case. Ask a lot of questions and do a lot of research before making the plunge.