Monthly Archives: October 2008

This ain’t Vegas.

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We flew back and forth all over the country last week in an endless flight to Las Vegas. At one point I was convinced that I had died before getting on the plane and that this was my purgatory- to forever fly on Southwest Airlines with their eerily cheerful crew forever and forever.

But all good things come to an end and we eventually landed in Vegas.

Coming into the city from the desert seeing its bright, shiny, billion watt grandeur is amazing. But ya know what? I just don’t get the whole Vegas thing. Except for the endless free cocktails, (Yes’m on the free alcohol), I’m at a loss why anyone would want to sit in a smoky casino wasting money all day and all night long.

I did my best to fit in, drinking and pulling the slot machine handle, watching the thingys roll around, wondering when and if I would win something and people watching.

The Vegas vampires are pale, shaky, scary creatures seeking forgotten sleep and don’t even get me started on the Lounge Lizards. Where do these people come from?

So I pulled and I drank and I thought.

Vegas has drinking, gambling, shows, and great food. Basically, oversimplistically (made up word). 

The restaurant across the street from us at home has plenty of beer and cocktails, football and NASCAR pools, drunk fucks doing stupid shit, and some of the best pizza south of the Mason-Dixon line.

So why did we leave?

I’m a Homer. I know. It’s the salt air.

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An accounting.

A couple of day’s ago while reading iambossy.com I read about her Daily Poverty Party and decided to add my two cents, which today is worth much less. 

Two years ago, after Carol and I had finished a centuries long renovation of our home and the workers had all taken their tools and gone home, we looked around as the dust settled and realized just how much in debt we were. And then we both died.

Our debt was huge and our salaries were exhausted from trying to keep up with our spending. We were working 25 hours a day and falling further behind. Sound familiar?

Short of winning the lottery, increasing our income was not really a viable option, nor was hiding and hoping the debt would go away and bother someone else. We had to somehow control our spending.

Enter the humble little spreadsheet. Every Mac and every PC has them just sitting and waiting to help the helpless. I admit I was a tad skeptical when Carol first suggested it but, hey, I’m an oceandoggy kind of guy so what the hell? I’ll try anything once, twice if I like it.

We decided on how much we could spend and still service the debt and save a little and then we each built our own simple little spreadsheet to track monthly spending. Emphasis on SIMPLE. It it’s hard or a pain in the ass I’m not going to stick to it. I may try. I may even feel bad when I don’t. But I won’t.

My spreadsheet has all of four columns- Gas, Materials, Food & Beer, and Misc. There is a daily Total column and a column for any explanation of expenses I may need. There are 31 rows, one for each day of the month, a row totaling each column and a Grand Total. Thats it.

At the end of each day when I turn on my Mac, before I read e-mails, or blogs, or whatever, I empty my pockets of receipts and enter the amounts. The calculations imbedded in the cells take care of the rest. Now I can track my monthly spending and know right where I stand and if I can buy that new fishing pole or surfboard.

And you know what? It works.

Walk now? Please, kind sir?

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Is there anything more heartwrenchingly pitiable than dogs, epecially our Labs, shredding any and all dignity for their daily walk?

Every day, precisely at 5-ish, Tug (that’s him on the left) and Cutter (on the right, right?) check their wristwatches, nod in agreement to one another, and trot into my Me Only Room to make sure I haven’t forgotten them.

And there they will stand, ears pinned back, tails wagging their entire bodies, mewling and yelping, until I get up and take them out. There is no saying no because they know. (see what I did there?)

Every now and again they’ll be a little early and I’ll sit in my Me Only Chair pointing to the clock and patiently trying to explain that it’s not time yet but their argument is irrefutable and unbending. 

Move your ass, mister, or we chew your legs off.

Mommy, mommy, it hurts.

I know, I know, nobody really cares. Hell, nobody really reads any of this nonsense anyway.

The auction ended yesterday exactly when Ebay said it would and we sold Black Magic for roughly half of what we were asking which means Carol’s new car will be a little older. I can handle that.

What I’m having trouble handling is that what should have been a simple conversion of boat to cash to car has morphed, for me anyway, into the death of a dream. 

They say that the happiest two days of a sailor’s life is the day he buys his boat and the day he sells it.

What they don’t tell you is that when you sell her, you also sell a chunk of yourself.

Gone.

Dry your crocodile tears, but I’m having a tough time with this.

We need to sell our sailboat and buy Carol a new car and the broker talked us into putting her up for sale on Ebay with no reserve to attract the maximum number of bidders. So we did. And we did. There are, at last count, 363 people lurking, watching, and waiting, biding their time.

For most of the last week I have been following the bidding activity, not really making the connection. I’m retarded that way.

And then, tonight, it hit me. Tomorrow night, one way or another, for whatever price, my Black Magic is gone. 

There is no going back, no saying no, no, wait a minute, I changed my mind.

She’s gone.

Ooh baby, baby.

Sometimes it seems that maybe, just maybe, everything will be all right.

Nice Try.

From time to time the city trots out a new advertising scheme to spin the tourist problem, hoping to get us locals to love our tourists.

And we do. 

Personally I love mine grilled with an aioli dipping sauce and hot buttered bread.