Friday, March 20, 2015

How much is enough?

Let me tell you about a friend of mine. He grew up in LA and has honestly done really well for himself, he's a couple years younger than me and runs a the news organization for a  TV station in Chicago. Before he started in his current job he was a specialist for one of the big networks traveling all over the world to all the big hot spots, Iraq, Afghanistan, Japan for the Fukushima nuclear disaster where he actually heard the reactor go. Considering the kid of jobs he's had it shouldn't be any surprise that he makes considerably more money than me. I don't know for sure but I'd guess double or nearly double anyway.

It got me thinking, some years ago I was offered the opportunity to move to LA and I turned it down. I wasn't ready to move that far away from my family and the life I had known. These days I might consider moving but we're totally locked into where we are. We owe more than our house is worth and Angie's business is doing well, it'd be a really big deal to leave. Even if we left now it would be a couple years before the money made it to the point where it'd really be worth all the hassle although by about the ten year point I think I'd end up considerably ahead. I suspect that by that time we could move back here and I'd be considerably ahead of where I'll be in ten years if we don't leave.

I remember my dad telling me that if he'd moved away from Maine he could have made a ton more money and had a lot more options. The thing I find funny about it now is that when he was talking about moving away he meant Massachusetts which is where I live now. I'm sure that I make more money now than I would have if I didn't move away but thats not why I did it.

I've been telling this story to people trying to work it up into a bit and I've been disappointed that people don't laugh when I say that he would have moved *all the way to Massachusetts* and then I have to explain that we're talking moving 400 miles where if I was going to LA it'd be 2500 miles. This of course ruins the joke. I need to figure out a way to explain it without actually explaining.

Anyway it all got me thinking that I really like my life. I like my little house, my ridiculous girl car (come on, a white A3 Jetta is totally a girl car), my dog, snowmobiles and such. I married the right woman whom I couldn't love more. I love going to camp, I love the travel that I get to do both for work and for pleasure. All in all I'm pretty much satisfied.

Are there things about my life I'd change? Sure, I'd like to lose some weight, get a new snowmobile, the house needs a new roof and I'd like to have a 2 car garage but really thats all window dressing, my fundamentals are good.

I don't know who said it but happiness is not about having what you want, its about wanting what you have. There is ALWAYS some other thing or some hot woman or job with some fancy title. While that stuff is cool and all I'm just not that excited about it. To the people who want to go out and chase that dream, rock on! I'll be here keeping the beer cold for you when you get back.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

I didn't win but...

I buy a lot of my VW parts from which is located right here in MA which makes for quick shipping for me.
Recently they had a cold start contest where folks were challenged to start their car in the cold and make a video, the prize was a $200 gift certificate so of course I entered:

and while I didn't win I had a good time making the video. It reminded me of the days spent working on the cooking challenges and made me realize that something like a cooking challenge was a really good way to get motivated to actually do something. I guess I need to spend some time researching other video challenges.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Now is the winter of our discount tent.

With apologies to Red Green.

I haven't been keeping up on my writing very well. I was very proud of myself for writing a couple little poems in my Pizza John notebook but I let that go to my head, so back to the grindstone.

A couple weeks ago my neighbor Bill's water froze up. Sadly for him it froze up in the street. He badgered the town and they finally sent somebody to free it up. He had water for a couple days and the dammed thing froze up again. Whats happening is that since the town plows the street theres no insulating snow over that area so the cold goes really deep into the ground. In both cases the freezeup is starting somewhere right around where Bill's branch line comes off the main pipe. The only real way to prevent this problem is to use more water, moving water is much harder to freeze than stuff that sits still. We've been lucky that I've been home a lot and Angie and I stagger our day pretty well anyway so our water gets used during the day. Also out water pipe into the house is much lower than Bill's is which hopefully (for us) means that our hookup is lower too. After the first freeze up bill left his water on a trickle but apparently it wasn't enough. The guy from the town said it had to be "a pencil width".

This time the town said no-way no-how they aren't fixing it. They contend that Bill's responsibility starts at the joint where his pipe comes off the main line. I think this is complete BS, every other water district I can find information for says the resident's responsibility starts at the shutoff which is also called the "curb stop". Since Bill's line was frozen beyond the curb stop it should be the town's responsibility.

Anyway yesterday Bill hired John, a local plumber, to come and check it out. John got some thin hose and pumped water into the hose so he could shoot it at the ice in the pipe:

The water of course drains back out of the pipe, in this case it falls into the red tub where John has his pump which shoots it back into the pipe.

Every minute or so John pushes the hose a little farther into the pipe. This worked but was slow, eventually the pump got moved into a metal pot on a propane burner to keep the water hot. That worked well enough and eventually John got the hose some 40 feet from Bill's cellar into the street. At that point he could go no farther and quit for the night.

Today he got the guy from the town to loan him the pump they use and their special, even smaller hose and within a couple minutes finally had things flowing. I wish I'd been around for the success because the water must have come shooting out of the pipe into the basement. We'd set up a plastic table to divert the water since Bill's furnace is right in line with the pipe.

Anyway its good to see our neighbor with water again. I'd told him that if John couldn't get the water going we'd help him out. We could run a garden hose from our house to his but it would have been a mega PITA to keep it going, we'd have had to cut a trench in the snow and insulated the hose to keep it from freezing. Even so we'd have had to bring it in most of the time since its been so cold. Today was actually above freezing but they're saying we'll see -3 before the week is out...