Monday, December 27, 2010

I'm Waiting for Bullwinkle to Show Up....

We’ve had a new visitor lately, a Flying Squirrel that of course I’ve named Rocky. (You’re old enough to remember why, right?) He (or she) appears just about every night between 9:45 and 10:00 and only stays long enough to fill his cheek pouches with sunflower seeds just once and then disappears until the following night.

I haven’t seen one of these things in years and it’s quite a novelty to me. It has the complete opposite attitude to the daytime red squirrels that used to drive me crazy before they learned to stay away or else. Those characters would just keep hauling seed until it was all gone and were always nervous for some reason… heh, heh, heh. This little fellow will watch us, looking in through the windows while we watch him looking out through the windows. If I open the door to the deck he takes off fast enough but as long as we study him quietly he appears to be doing the same to us.

I hope he hangs around a while as he fits in quite nicely with the neighborhood. He's quiet, not greedy, minds his own business and is just a good friend so far. I hope it stays that way.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

I Never Kid About Money...

“It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark, and we’re wearing sunglasses… hit it.”I once worked up an entire presentation on proper planning for the Lions Clubs based on this quote from The Blues Brothers. Their methods were a little out of the ordinary but who wants to be bored and stick to the same old routine anyway.

You see, this is the time of year when I traditionally set out some goals for the period to come. I have to admit that I didn’t hit my 2010 targets but I guess I can’t complain too much… for a change. We helped some people make some extra money and made a couple dollars ourselves and that’s generally a good thing on the old balance sheet right? I had planned on moving up a rung on the ladder in my business but instead actually took a couple steps back. This was a bit of a surprise but still an accepted reality and there are no regrets because I know that this is one of the best businesses in the world to be in and just keeps on getting better all the time.

I worked for the same company for thirty-five years and have no regrets about that either but the reality is that if I’d started doing then what I’m doing now I could easily have retired in 1978 instead 2008. These days I set my own hours, determine my own salary, take vacations when I want, stay home all day if I want and at the same time I get to help other people move ahead in their lives.

So… what do we set down for 2011? I’m trying out a couple new advertising avenues that are really working out well. They are much cheaper and I’m getting just as many prospects coming into the chain as through the more expensive methods. I’ll be scheduling more time and effort to help others advance and will be concentrating less on my own bottom line and more on theirs. Their victory will also be mine and can you say WIN-WIN?

Anyway, regardless of who you are or what you are doing if you haven’t got some definite goals written down and preferably stuck up on the wall somewhere to be seen every day well… you just have yourself a nice routine year.

As for me… I’m moving ahead. See ‘ya there!

Friday, June 25, 2010

I thought I'd gotten away from this...

Just sitting around the market waiting for customers and trying to stay cool. With all the rain a couple nights ago there is still lots of mud outside it's very muggy.

We're going seven days a week now and I'm not too sure what my schedule is going to be. I jumped at early retirement to get away from those hours and I don't really want to go back to them in my old age. Maybe a four day week of Thursday to Sunday would be OK... we'll see how it all works out.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

First Glitch...

My preferred location of blog writing seems to be the end chair of the waiting room of Manitoulin Chrysler. That probably explains my lack of entries over the last few months since I traded in the Liberty, I just don't get over here much anymore. Not that the Jeep gave me any serious problems but it was always an oil change or tires or tie rod end or some other sundry thing.

I'm here today because I've just had my first problem with the Journey. When I got home from the market last night it refused to stay locked. No matter what I did after three or four seconds up the locks would pop again on all doors and of course the flashers would flash and the headlights would come on.

Pulling the door lock fuse didn't make any difference so I ended up disconnecting the battery for the night and now I'm at the shop while they try to figure out what the problem is.

My theory is that the key fob is putting out a constant "unlock door" signal but we'll wait on the official word and I'll keep you posted.

Monday, April 05, 2010

I Wish I Had Time To Read...

It seems the only time I read anymore is while I'm at the garage with one vehicle or the other, although this will change with the replacement of the Jeep. (blog entry and photo to follow soon) There I sit waiting patiently for the mechanic of the day to finish up so I can be on my way again a few dollars poorer.

It's not like I have full time work keeping me away from the books either. I "retired" quite some time ago but still can't settle into what I imagined retirement life would be like.

Am I not supposed to be sitting in the sun with a novel in my lap, sipping Planter's Punch while investigating how many hours I can make a good Cuban cigar last?

Instead I find myself up and making the morning coffee anywhere from 6:00 to 7:00, checking emails over the first cup, updating my websites and Facebook farms. I learned quickly that there are so many games... sorry, I mean "educational tools" on Facebook that you can easily fill up a 30 hour day just keeping up with only a few of them. Now I try to restrict myself to a couple farms and a restaurant that is probably going to get dropped any day now.

Somewhere in between crop rotations I squeeze in at least a couple hours for my Summit Group home business. This latter is something I really enjoy as I get to help people become financially independent and I wish someone had told me about it years ago.

If you enjoy working for someone else keep on... if you want to set your own hours, determine your own salary and have the time and freedom to do the things you really want to do then head over to my web site and we'll get you started. See you there!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Help me out here…

The original estimated cost of the 2010 games as forecast in 2004 was $1.354 billion. Actual costs are now estimated to be $6 billion with $580 million coming directly from taxpayers. Just for the fun of it I checked, and the number of Canadian taxpayers appears to be in the range of 22 million people who are of working age. This means that a whole $26.36 of my tax dollars went to pay for approximately 2,262 people to play games… competing for 86 gold medals in 15 categories.

(Actually $26.36 is a lot lower than I thought it would be and I guess I don’t mind making that token donation, but it would have been nice to have been asked first. I might have even donated more if I could get a receipt to claim at least a portion on my taxes. I can also think of many places I’d prefer my tax dollars to go like clean water or decent housing for a lot of the northern communities, or how about a cure for potholes! Why, a single tie-rod repair on my Jeep is about to cost me $360 so I’d be more than happy to donate to road repair if I knew it would save me more than that over a period of time. But I digress…)

So using the figures above the cost is about $400 million per category, or $2.65 million per athlete or about $428.5 million per gold medal won by Canada. These are just the costs to Canada… I wonder what the world wide cost comes to.

Alright, so maybe the Olympics make sense as a business proposition but I don’t see any other use for them, and it only benefits a very small location within the country. I wonder though, since the total revenue flowing into the Vancouver area is expected to come to around $10 billion… can I apply to them for my $26.36 refund?

Sunday, February 07, 2010

In no particular order…

First fish
First bike
First lie
First death
First par
First strikeout
First strikeout
First loss
First solo
First win
First flight
First job
First alone
First responsibility
First kill
First award
First regret
First realization
First truth
First kiss
First base
First strikeout
First song
First love
First child
First car
First home
First business
First epiphany

Each one a chapter for the book, and so very many more to come… which will tomorrow bring, and what are yours?

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Security Seeker or Fossil?

I was thinking today that it’s a little bit strange that I’ve worked for several of the oldest companies in the country.

I started in August of 1973 with the Hudson’s Bay Company which was chartered on May 2, 1670 making them 340 years old right now. The division of stores that I worked in was sold to a group of individuals and run under a couple different names until they finally rejuvenated The North West Company, which dates back to 1779 so they are 231 years old. TNWC was actually giving HBC a serious run for their money back in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s because of a quicker transportation system and a head office that wasn’t located on the other side of the Atlantic and the two companies amalgamated in 1821 under the HBC name.

Before becoming an apprentice clerk with the Handsome Boy’s Club…. sorry, the Hudson’s Bay Company, I worked several summers in the pro shop of The Old Lennoxville Golf & Country Club which was founded in 1897 so is now 113 years old. By the way, this was and still is my favorite golf course in the country for a few reasons, most of which will have to wait for the book if I ever get up enough nerve to put it together. (Oops) I also worked part time for Canadian Pacific Express and as you know the good old CPR goes back almost as long as Canada does.

In my retirement years I’ve now become an Independent Associate with the Watkins Corporation dating back to 1868 which makes them 142 years young. Does devoting most of my life to these 826 years of combined retail history (plus the 129 years of CPR transportation) mean that I’m a security seeker? Or does it just show that I hate change or maybe have a fear of anything new?

Probably the latter as I refuse run out to buy the latest gadget as soon as it hits the market. I don't have a plasma or HDTV. I still have an Intellivision, Atari and even a Pong in the basement. My Palm Pilot was out of date several years ago. I drive a 2004 Jeep that I bought at least second hand. I still prefer books on paper to a Kindle. I smoked hand rolled cigarettes when I used to have time to smoke. My laptop is ancient by computer standards with the finish starting to get worn off, two of the keys missing and a couple more that stick half the time. I’ve only had a cell phone for about a year and that’s all it is… a phone, no fancy built in camera or web surfer or music or anything else. I needed a phone, not mindless entertainment.

I don’t even have an IPod as I see no use for them. I turn on the radio in the Jeep, but only for the news and information programs and I turn it off when music comes on… except for CBC Radio Two Jazz sometimes when I’m driving in the evenings. If I’m walking in the woods I want to hear the sounds of the outdoors, not canned music. If I’m walking down the street I want to hear the traffic and world coming at me, not that soulless hip-hop or crap music… oh well.

You can call me a fossil I guess… but they say in order to see the future you have to know the past which means I do serve a purpose so there, here’s to me!

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Grand Tour...

How do house wives do it? (Or is the term “house wife” still acceptable or even exist?) I’m slowly (quickly) going nuts around the house in my retirement years. I’ve got the Summit Group business and the Watkins business and the web page business and lots of little (neglected) chores that I get to very slowly but the routine of sweeping, dusting, cleaning and all the other little things are getting very monotonous. I’m glad we live where we do because if I was stuck in some little city apartment like this it would be very hard to handle. As it is here I can go sit on the deck and watch the wildlife or tour the largest fresh water island in the world. One of my goals is to eventually hit every little back road on the island and I add a few new ones whenever I can. Let me know when you want the grand tour. Hmmm….. maybe start a little tour business next summer?

Yes, a tour guide… pick-up at the various camps and lodges, or the ferry… do a morning tour and stop at one of the many local restaurants for lunch with a leisurely drive back to the places of origin late in the afternoon with pauses at various gift shops and sight-seeing spots? What do you think?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Late Night Ramblings...

It’s fun being me… is it fun being you? (Denny Crane – Boston Legal)

She makes my friend smile… that’s all that’s important. (Alan Shore – Boston Legal)

Sometimes you’ve got to do something bad… just to prove you’re alive. (Chris Stevens – Northern Exposure)

Time you enjoyed wasting, is not time wasted. (T.S. Eliot)

Midway this way of life we're bound upon I woke to find myself in a dark wood where the right road was wholly lost and gone. (Dante)

Had an epiphany the other day, what a rush… and relief. It’s nice to realize a truth. Have to put it in the book someday. Hmmm…. maybe not.

If the men on Biggest Loser have to take off their shirts for their weigh-in how come the women don’t ?

How many chickadees would I have to eat to offset the cost of the sunflower seeds I’ve been feeding them?

I defy anyone to drive under the speed limit while listening to Tom Cochrane playing “Life is a Highway” on the radio. How about Lighthouse and “One Fine Morning” or just about any Tiesto arrangement bouncing off the insides of your windows.

How can anyone who lived through the 60’s not like Jim Morrison? And didn’t the 60’s only last like 5 or 6 years anyway? At least, that seems to be about all I can remember of them... All hail Janis and Jimmy!

What idiot made the Blue Jay a protected bird?

Lord, what fools these mortals be… (Puck)

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Another Old Timer Gone…

We lost a curling pin trading buddy this week. Lorne lived in the Ottawa area and used to travel to all the major bonspiels across the country. We knew him well from the Briers and I don’t know how many lapel pins he had altogether but he traveled with about 10,000 of them and set up his display with the permission and gratitude of the event committees. They knew that spectators would remember all the sparkles and rarities that Lorne would have on show and be the topic of many a conversation. He was also great publicity for whatever was going on and I can’t think of any time where he didn’t make the local newspaper with an article and photo of his displays as all the reporters knew what a treasure they had right there in front of them.

It didn’t matter what club or event you asked him about… he always knew exactly what the pin looked like and any variations that it may have. If you walked up with one of your own club pins, even a brand new one he would take a glance at it and say “Sure, I’ve got one of those” and walk you right over to the exact spot on his boards where it was displayed. I don’t know if anyone ever showed him a pin he didn’t already know about but I know I could never beat him, and I would have felt bad if I had.

Lorne, we’ll miss ‘ya buddy... and send me a pin from your new club, would you?