Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Left for St. Louis Friday the 27th to spend time and celebrate my father's 66th birthday. I took a friend who had never been to St. Louis. Our first item on the agenda was bowling. We watched the Cardinals win the World Series in the confines of my father's 2 car garage. I told my dad that I got him a World Series for his birthday.

Saturday we watched OU embarrass MU much to the delight of my OU supporting friend. I took this friend on a small tour of St. Louis. We had Ted Drewes for lunch and he just said, "It's just ice cream just like Dairy Queen. For dinner we had thin crust pizza. Fittingly I dropped a chunck of sausage on my white Rams sweatshirt and it bounced around on my light tan pants. My friend Jon supplied me with a pair of shorts. At night we played cards well past midnight, but didn't lose much sleep since it was daylight savings time.

Sunday was spend with family munching on salty fried foods. We had a mini-birthday celebration for my dad and ended up the night playing cards.

Monday I went looking for St. Louis Cardinals World Series stuff. I ended up getting a special made embroidered sweatshirt that both my wife and I can share. I did splurge on a Cardinal cap at the airport gift shop. We made it home about 5:30pm Monday.

All told I think my friend had a fun trip. I got to enjoy family and food from my hometown. I did sleep on couches 3 nights in a row so sleeping in my bed last night was priceless.

Today I got to stay home with my sick daughter.

Trick or Treat!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

No Caffeine

2 weeks ago I sat at a local bar and grill and had about 5 diet Pepsi's along with 2 baskets of chips and hot sauce while watching the Cowboys/Eagles game followed by the Cardinals/Mets games. It was at this time that I decided that I would forego soda altogether and give up caffeine along the way. I made it one week with no soda and no caffeine. I only had one or 2 days of mild headaches. I was feeling better overall too until I got on the scale. I hadn't lost any weight. It kind of disappointed me to the point that I started drinking sodas again, but with sugar and caffeine. Doing this I did drink less water.

Today I was all ready to give in to caffeine while we sat down at a local BBQ place until I noticed that they had caffeine free diet Coke. I didn't have to compromise my mission. Although the caffeine isn't the problem for me, it's the snacking. This I hope to address when I come back from my St. Louis trip. If you've read my blogs for long you know I add about 5 pounds each time I go back home. This time won't be any different. I will not deny myself.

When I get back on the 30th though I may need to call Jenny or go by Weight Watchers. A friend of mine has lost about 40 pounds drinking nothing but water. He was drinking a case of water a day=3 gallons. We'll see!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Bad Customer Service

I pay pretty close attention to things such as customer service and noticed 3 situations recently where the customer was definitely not #1.

1. LA Fitness: I parked my new truck out where nobody would park near me and I watched a car take the closest spot to the door. 2 of the trainers climbed out and proceeded into the gym. They were at the gym during my whole workout so they just didn't stop by. To me it is obvious that employees should not take the closest spots.

2. Taco Cabana: I went by one night this week around 6:45 pm to pick up dinner. I was about 3rd or 4th in line and I waited and waited and waited. The young girl at the counter apologized for the wait each time she helped a new customer. When I finally got to order it was obvious that she was new on the job. Why was she the ONLY cashier DURING rush hour? Do they only use the 2nd register during lunch?

3. WalMart: Upon entering the store one of the lot lizards was gathering carts and was ready to bring them into the store. Thing was, he was smoking. Then when we left the store 2 employees were sitting withing about 100 feet of the entrance smoking. Customers should NOT have to walk past smoking employees.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Easy Week

It has been an easy week thus far. Last Friday the students had the day off as teachers held parent meetings. We were off Monday and then Tuesday had a less than exciting staff development day. The kids came back today and it was really a catch up and review day since Thursday and Friday we are giving an assessment. I imagine I'll take the time while the students are testing to get lesson plans inline for next week. My trip to St. Louis will take place Friday Oct. 27th. I'm getting excited about that.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Call Off the Dogs

We finally purchased a 2nd vehicle, but what was it?
A. 2002 Saturn SL2
B. 84 Jeep CJ-7
C. 2001 Jeep Cherokee Sport
D. 2007 Chevy Silverado

Last weekend I noticed an ad for a Smartbuy(lease) purchase on a 2007 Chevy Silverado extended cab: $169 a month for a 3 year lease with $1500 down. I went into our local dealer Tuesday night to see if they could match the deal PLUS I qualify for the GM discount. They gave me a little bit of a run around so I left. Saturday morning I went in at 8:15 and after an hour of waiting I got a much better deal than I was looking for.

D. 2007 Chevy Silverado Extended Cab, Black, 6 cyl, work truck. It's called a work truck because it has rubber floors, manual locks and windows and just an FM radio, but it won't see much work. We've put about 70 miles on it in 2 days and I'm really confident that we did the right thing. For 3 years I have a CHEAP payment, I only put $500 down, and we'll not have out of pocket expenses for 3 years. All told here is how the deal ended up:

$22,300 MSRP
$20,200 Invoice
$19300 GM Employee Pricing
- 2,500 rebate
- 1,000 October bonus rebate
- 700 Smartbuy rebate
- 1000 Bonus certificate my dad had
$14,200 BUY PRICE!

That's over $8000 off retail or about a 40% discount! Once again, I'm frugal, NOT cheap! I bought a full sized Chevy truck cheaper than I could buy a Kia or a Hyundai!

I thank all of my RESOURCEful friends for the rides!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I Tried to Buy a Truck Tonight

I saw a Sunday dealer ad for a 2007 Chevy Silverado extended cab pickup, 6 cyl, automatic with AC for $169 a month on a 3 year lease with about $2500 total out of pocket including taxes, title, and license. I took the ad to a local dealer to see what they could do. We were met by a newbie salesman who knew less than I did and a few times mentioned that maybe we could take the truck home tonight. My family was there and my wife checked to see how the kids would do with the extended cab seating and it seems like the truck is a good fit.I took my family home so I could work on the numbers. I qualify for the Employee Discount plan because my dad is a GM retiree so I figured a little more discounting would be in order. I also would have $1000 additional incentives thru a certificate that my dad received from GM. After being there for about an hour my $169 aspirations with little or no down turned into a $200+ payment with about $1000 out of pocket. The payment went up about $50 AND I still had to put some money down. I walked!Guess I should call back the dealer who actually had the ad in the paper, although I prefer buying locally.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Day of Rest

Today in our bible study class we looked at Hebrews 3 and the topic of God resting on the 7th day was discussed.

What if anything do you do to keep Sunday a special day of rest?

My family has made a conscious decision to not turn the TV on before we go to church. We also only listen to a local Christian station that plays gospel music as we drive to church. As for the rest of the day I do think overall we treat it a little differently than we do Saturday. We try our best to have both kids take naps. This time of year I often relax with the newspaper and multi-task by watching football and eating snacks. I have rarely drink any alcohol on Sundays. There have been times when I've done yardwork, but that is a good time for me to meditate and get a little workout.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Ones That Got Away

I'm not talking about Becky, Brenda, or Michelle, I'm talking about cars. In my month long search for cars I've found 3 worth calling on. When I've called they were "just sold." The first one really crushed my spirits. I'll list them in order.

1991 Jeep Commanche pickup, 5 spd, 110,000 miles. This was listed by an individual on Autotrader.com for $1695. We could have definitely paid cash for that. We could have kept our Jeep tradition alive and even had a 6 cylinder vehicle we could use for hauling stuff.

1998 Saturn SL2, auto, 97,000 miles, very clean. This was listed by a wholesale dealer on Autotrader.com for $2950.

2002 Saturn SL1, 5spd, 89,000 miles, very clean. A dealer about 50 miles away had this one listed on Autotrader.com for $3900. Overall this one seems like it was the best overall deal. I did go to the dealers website and most of their cars are Toyotas and Lexuses over $10,000. They had a 2002 Honda Civic with MORE miles for $8900. It blows my mind that the Hondas and Toyotas have incredible resale value.

We did find a new pizza place today within about 10 miles of our house that makes St. Louis style, thin crust pizza, with provel cheese. It was a little pricey, but GOOD!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Latest

The Good
I've gotten to sleep past 7 most days this week.
I booked airline tickets for St. Louis the end of the month.
Still no car payments!
My family is healthy.
Card night is FRIDAY night!

The Bad
We've been getting 90 degree days.
My "clients" are really grating at me.
I need to break my daughter of her tantrums.
I need rides everywhere.
After hour "required" meetings are wearing me out.

The Ugly
I'm not enjoying work.
I have not been to the gym this week.
I've had a FAT week.

I did make chili tonight. IT IS GOOD! It will season a little more over night and I'll take it to card night. No real commitments this weekend. Might detail a car Saturday.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Bonus Sleep

I actually got about 8+ hours of sleep last night and it was refreshing. It doesn't end there because this upcoming week my wife is off school so I won't have to be at school until close to 8am so I'll get to sleep until 7am instead of getting up at 6am or earlier. This is a welcome change after having to leave the house every morning before 7am.

Still looking for a 2nd car. The car search is tough if you are like me and you refuse to go to a dealer's lot and pay about $2000 to $3000 profit to the dealer. I am treating buying a car like I treat food.....a 1/2 price deal or even one for FREE!

Good sports day for a St. Louis fan. The Cardinals limped into the playoffs and the Rams outlast the lowly Lions.