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Re: Standard Dimensions

Posted: 07 Jul 2019, 10:43
by Kellemora
No problem, I sometimes introduce her as Ruth, which of course produces the EVIL EYE, hi hi.

So true on not finding out the answers to things that took place back then.
It is just really odd that everything happened at the exact time in my life I needed it to happen. Sometimes right down to the very day or day before actually.

Even when we needed to hire an auctioneer, we found out after the fact that no other auctioneer does all the things this guy did for us, without charging us for getting the necessary items from rental places.
Apparently he had been doing it for many years and knew how to organize my chaos of stuff into specialized areas.
He also came with waist high narrow trailers which became the benches everything was placed on that needed to be off the ground. He handled everything, super fast and efficient as could be. It was a big surprise for us they way he did it. Sure not like any other auction I had ever been to, and I went to many estate auctions over the years.

I should tell you about a major pitfall which took place on my moving down here.
In St. Louis City and County, I was a licensed electrician, licensed plumber, and licensed general contractor. It took 5 years to become a Journeyman electrician, another 5 years to become a Journeyman plumber, and roughly 10 years before I was finally licensed as a general contractor.
The reason I never became a Master in the trades is because of the Unions. The electrical union would not let me join if I belonged to the plumbers union. So I only stayed with the unions long enough to get my license, then dropped out so I could advance my career, something unions don't allow.
The reason I brought this up is because BEFORE I moved south, I talked to Knox County and the City of Knoxville. Both of them said they would reciprocate on all of my licenses, because theirs are much easier to get, but still take the same amount of time to earn. AFTER I moved down here, they would not reciprocate on any of them, which was a major blow to my returning to my trades. In order to get all of my licenses down here active again, I would be 77 years old. So I told them, it is your loss not mine, I'll just retire, and that's what I did.
My main job back home was getting derelict houses renovated, occupied, and back on the tax rolls of the city or county.
Which is what I intended on doing after I moved down here.
But then with Debi's dad dying suddenly, and no one to take care of her mom, it was all water over the dam anyhow.

If it were not for my little tabletop business bringing in a lot back then, although now it is just a little, without it, I don't know where I would be. Probably homeless living on the streets. So yes, I do count my lucky stars, daily.

Re: Standard Dimensions

Posted: 07 Jul 2019, 16:05
by yogi
"Lucky Stars" are an interesting concept, particularly since I put a lot of effort into studying astrology at one time. Strange phenomena always attracted my interest but I knew there was a logical explanation for it all. That is, until I looked into my own lucky (or otherwise) stars. While most of what I knew about astrology at the time was pure bunk, there were some aspects that seemed plausible. Well, the long and the short of it is that most of astrology is myth. The charts used to plot one's horoscope are about as scientific as anything NASA would use, but to attach significance to those charts was another story. I'll just say that I did some amazing things using astrological techniques. Some predictions surprised even me. I never was able to establish a cause and effect connection, although something more than meets the eye is going on.

That brings me to your good fortune. Not surprisingly I've met people whose life is plagued with bad fortune. In both cases the net results appears to be consistent. Luck is always good or always bad for quite a few people. I've stated many times in these forums that I believe we make our own luck, fortune, destiny, or whatever you care to call it. The decisions we make determine the course our life takes. I see you as being an accomplished businessman. Yes, your family must have had an influence on you, but you also have inborn skills and talents that you took the time to maximize. Most likely you just went through life trying to make ends meet and not much more, but along the way you learned how to run a business, judge people correctly, and do the right thing at the right time. All those things are necessary to establish a successful business, or in your case several businesses. Thus there are some talents you have and/or learned which have become instinctive. You do certain things without even thinking about it just because you know it's the right thing to do. My suspicions are that you learned how to be successful intuitively. You created your own universe of lucky stars. Of course things don't always go as planned, but the right things happen at the right time because you know how to make it happen.

I have to be cynical when I read about stories such as the one you tell about your trade licenses. It is possible you simply talked to the wrong person in advance of your moving down there and were given bad information about your licenses. However, since you have been there and passed along some stories about the shady side of politics in your community, I'm guessing you simply did not grease the right palms after you arrived there. Paying somebody off to sidestep the system is not your style. Besides you probably could not afford what they wanted even if you made a deal under the table. So there is a downside to being straight and upright. Basically you must think like a lot of of poor people think, which is that good conquers evil. I got news for you. Evil won the battle a long time ago and they are now the masters of the universe.

Re: Standard Dimensions

Posted: 14 Jul 2019, 15:26
by Kellemora
Oh, there were a few times when I was not in the right time period for a business I started.
I spent a lot of money to develop products or systems that today do well, but when I did them, they were unheard of and frowned on. To many things to buck against to make a go of it.
They were all great ideas and products, but way to far ahead of their time.
Now they are commonplace, and often demanded rather than being rejected.

You are right about the Trying To Make Ends Meet, as my reason for trying so many different things.

But there is a secondary reason also. Diversification of Income over several sources.
If you have one job, you only have one source of income. If you get fired or the company goes belly up, you just lost your only source of income.
Nevertheless, you still need a job for the bulk of your income until you get several balls rolling.

You would be surprised at how quick, earning 50 bucks from one business project today, and 30 bucks from another business project tomorrow, and perhaps 90 bucks profit for the work you do the next day.

It all adds up by the end of the week into a nice tidy sum.

Re: Standard Dimensions

Posted: 14 Jul 2019, 18:31
by yogi
When I was still in high school the often asked question was about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I knew, but none of the relatives did. LOL I wanted to be a commercial airline pilot but knew we could not afford the education. The U of I had a flight school which would be cheaper than me going out of state, but still the expense at that time was prohibitive. So the next best thing was to enlist in the USAF. I talked to a recruiter and he dashed my dreams quickly. He told me I was too tall to fly Air Force jets and that the seat ejectors would whack my legs off. Dejected, I didn't enlist. A couple uncles told me that I should find a well established company and plan on working a long time; until I retired in fact. I did that when I applied for work at Motorola, but the whole world changed during my nearly four decades with them. Nobody in engineering stayed at one job more than three years. It was thought there was something wrong with you if you did not move around rapidly. Well, I wasn't an engineer so that I got away with not leaving the company for 36 years. The point is that when I entered the work force it was customary to have a single job for the rest of your life. The expectation was that you would move up in the company, but it didn't exactly work out that way for me.

Motorola is still around, and I am thankful. They are sending me pension money every month which might be in jeopardy if they closed down. My wife is also getting pension from two of her former employers. Together they don't add up to my single one from the big M. We both collect social security as well. And, to top it all off we have some investments that pay interest. When you consider all these sources of income, I am doing exactly what you recommend. It's just that I don't have to actually be working to enjoy the income. :lol:

And, yes, I do realize how fortunate I am. Wife and I spent our working years planning for this scenario, but, of course, there is not guarantee it will last forever.

Re: Standard Dimensions

Posted: 15 Jul 2019, 13:16
by Kellemora
I probably shouldn't say this. But at one time I had more than enough money to retire on comfortably, although it was all tied up in assets. Assets I could keep turning over making them more valuable with each new purchase.
I owned free and clear a four building apartment complex with seven units in each. One lower level was used for tenants to put washer/dryers, had the water heater, and seven storage closets. I had a management company taking care of it for me, which cut into my profits a little, but left me free to do home renovations.
I had twenty-one south St. Louis homes rented, but not fully paid for.
This is not counting the six I bought at one time with tenants in place, they needed work and were intended to become renovation houses. There is a tax loophole here for these six houses because they were purchased for renovation and I could not take possession until the tenant moved out, which technically could be a long time, since some of those tenants were already there for numerous years.
I also had houses I bought for renovation that I sold as soon as I finished each one of them.

I had planned on keeping the apartments and the 21 houses for retirement income.
But the best made plans of mice and men often go astray.
I sold the apartment complex to pay for my wife's 5-bypass surgery, the part the insurance didn't fully cover along with the rehab, and hiring a day nurse for her. That alone was expensive.
Then each time she was back in the hospital, I was hit with another bill for around 20 to 26k. Had to sell a house to pay for it, else they would ship her down to the state hospital. Then when her insurance capped out and I had to pay for everything myself, well, there went all the rest of the houses one right after the other.
I even swiped money from an SBA loan for my business in order to bury her, knowing I could get back to work and recover the money PDQ by selling the finished property.
I already mentioned what happened later after 9/11 caused all the banks to stop providing B-paper mortgages.

I do have a pension from when I worked for MRTC, it's a whopping $42.01 per month, hi hi.
I only stayed there 5 years, but I don't have to worry about it running out, it is in a trust account.

Re: Standard Dimensions

Posted: 15 Jul 2019, 16:43
by yogi
I don't think it's inappropriate for you to explain about the time you were a real estate mogul. The truth is that you were fortunate to be involved to the degree that you were because it ultimately allowed you to pay off those medical bills. Of all the income sources I have at the moment, the one from the Motorola pension is probably the most reliable. It's actually an annuity taken over by Prudential Financial group. Motorola is more or less out of the picture now. I worry more about Social Security which only has six more years of solvency left. At the rate congress is moving these days, that won't be enough time for them to figure out a permanent solution. I plan on living until 2037, but if I run out of resources before then ... I may have to depart early. :mrgreen:

Re: Standard Dimensions

Posted: 16 Jul 2019, 14:55
by Kellemora
Social Security itself could never become unsolvent, if the government would quit stealing their money.
I did my thesis on SS, and they were so far ahead of the game, if every baby boomer started drawing SS with no more income to SS from the later generations, they would not run out of funds for any living baby boomer.
But since the following generations are paying in, it would be impossible for them to run out.

Trouble here is, the government took their money, more than once.
Failed to pay back the money at the agreed upon interest rate.
Then cut the interest rate down to nothing, before they stole the rest of the money from SS.
So SS itself is solvent, it's our own government that is insolvent and about to fall.
When hyperinflation hits, 1000 dollars will only have the value of a penny, if that.
My own ancestors saw what happened with hyperinflation in Germany.
Let's say you earn 250 dollars a week, and go to the post office to mail a letter than normally cost 45 cents.
Only to find it is now 100 dollars to mail the letter, and you go back two weeks later and it is now 500 dollars to mail a letter. Or to the store to buy a loaf of bread only to find it now costs 1,500 dollars a loaf.
No middle or poor class can survive once hyperinflation begins.
And we are seeing some of it here, but at a slower pace that is escalating yearly at present.

In the past three years, I've seen a lot of products I buy skyrocket.
Soda has gone from 1.18 a carton to 5.40 a carton.
Bread from 89 cents to 3.12 a loaf, etc.

This is hyperinflation currently running in low gear, but inching up fast.

Re: Standard Dimensions

Posted: 16 Jul 2019, 16:44
by yogi
Social Security is a program set up by the federal government. As you so well know it had a great start and was well planned out for the future. Things changed and, well, the best laid plans of men and mice ... I think SS is a good idea and it should be provided by the government. Unfortunately, the Republican party of 2019 does not agree with me. They have an agenda to reduce the size of government and cut the costs involved dramatically. Sounds great. What could go wrong there? Well, Social security, Medicare, and Medicaid are the main targets. Add the reduction in tax revenue into the agenda and I don't see how the government could afford to pay SS benefits even if it wanted to. I am no economics wizard but should the government go bankrupt we will not be plagued by hyperinflation. Deflation and negative interest rates will be the norm.

Re: Standard Dimensions

Posted: 17 Jul 2019, 12:58
by Kellemora
You cut off social security and armed robberies will go up 10,000%, and I think they know that.
The government should have never stolen from SS in the first place. It was solvent, very solvent.
If the government does go belly up, our Fiat Currency would be useless. No one would take it.
One of the reasons I used to have several Krugerrand coins stashed away. But medical bills ate those up first.

From studying history, every great nation fell when their tax base crossed 25%.
The US has been over 50% now for many years, and propped up with a twig that's about to snap.

Most folks do not realize just how much money they pay out in taxes each year.
They only look at their Income Tax rate and forget about all the rest of the taxes they paid throughout the year.
Ironically, they squawk most about the income tax they have to pay, when the other taxes are much more.

Back when I earned enough money to take those taxes as a deduction, even I was surprised at the amount of taxes and how they added up.
The big ones of course are Real Estate, and Personal Property taxes.
Most folks don't think about the fuel taxes or how many gallons they use each year.
46 cents a gallon tax, at 10 gallons per week to get to work, that's $4.60 per week, or $240.00 a year.
Got tires on your car, about 15 bucks per tire is Excise Tax, which may not be anymore.
Sales Taxes on everything you buy, and I've not mentioned the hidden taxes you are taxed on.
Telephone taxes, end user taxes, utilities taxes, etc. ad infinitum.

I used to keep track of every single dime I paid as a tax, because it was deductible, and I needed those deductions.

Re: Standard Dimensions

Posted: 17 Jul 2019, 17:14
by yogi
I'd have to question some of your historical economic views. There was a time when I felt this country had the best chance of survival of all 195 of them. The fundamentals were sound even if not perfect. What I see happening now is a change in the foundations, and that ain't good. Messing with entitlements is always met with resistance, but in the case of Social Security there may be no viable options but to abandon it. The shame of it is that collapse is avoidable. The current policy is to favor the wealthy and let the rest of the population struggle on their own. This approach to governing creates class separations the likes of which we have not seen before in this country. At some point those who are without will become so discontent that civil unrest will erupt. That's when we will turn into a third world country led by a dictator. While a lot of people are unaware of this trend, the powers that be are not hiding their motives. The economy will not collapse if those oligarchs have their way. But the quality of life for us peons certainly won't be what it is today.

Re: Standard Dimensions

Posted: 18 Jul 2019, 14:03
by Kellemora
I started seeing it many years ago when our little home rule town turned to political control. The city may be richer now, but there are no more poor folks who can live there, and no small businesses anymore.

That's what I do like about down here though, we still have tons of mom n pop shops everywhere. And ironically, most of them are cheaper than WalMart. Perhaps this is to merely survive with the Big Guns cutting them down. But with them getting their products from super large major distributors to the small guys who can buy in volume it helps them keep afloat. For now anyhow.
But there is a limit to what the small guys can get too. Especially from Big Gun manufacturers who do not sell to distributors at all, because they themselves are distributors. An Example is Coke or Pepsi, so they can control their higher prices.
While Pepsi was making PepsiONE, I could get it for $3.99 a carton while WalMart was at $4.58. After Pepsi quit making PepsiONE, I switched to Diet RC, and my local grocer would order it for me for $3.25 per carton, his shelf price was $3.50 a carton, then his shelf price went up to $3.79. Still cheaper than WalMart at $3.98
RC quit making Diet RC so I had to switch to Diet Coke Splenda, the only brand on the market without Aspartame in it.
WalMart has it on sale for $4.88 but never has more than three cartons if they have any at all. And WalMart is a long way from me. My local grocer started ordering it for me, and was only charging me $4.00 per carton. Then the manager went to another store and a new manager took over. They also changed the Coke packaging to 24 can cases is all they carry. Diet Coke Splenda only comes in 12 packs. They ordered my usual order and said they had to pay $5.40 for it, and would not mark it up higher since I was a regular bulk purchaser from them. WalMart still has it for $4.88 and sometimes on sale 3 or 4 cartons for a price a little lower, but as I said, they are always sold out, so I can't rely on them getting it. So I agreed to the $5.40 per carton price from my local grocer.
In a way I'm glad I did, because they have dropped my price on other things I buy from them in bulk, enough so that it is like paying only $5.00 even for the soda. Some of the things I wish they could get for me they can't get at all.
That break I mentioned, the frau and I get a 12% discount on all fresh meats in their meat department, actually, anything from the meat department, so this includes chicken, fish, and other things sold in the meat department. And since they are on a computer system, I don't have to remind them. Same with the Diet Rite soda I still buy off the shelf which is marked $3.75, when I buy a few cartons it still comes up as $3.25 at the register. Sometimes a new checker will take a double take when it does that, hi hi.

Re: Standard Dimensions

Posted: 18 Jul 2019, 16:46
by yogi
There are a couple things places like Wally World can do which small mom and pops can't. One reason WalMart is so large has to do with the economy of scale. They deal in huge volumes of merchandise and can sell it cheaper. Mom and pop stores might actually be able to meet or beat the superstores in some situations, but they cannot sell the quantity. Thus their profits suffer. I think your situation with the soda is unique in that not many people need what you need. At some point the manufacturer figures that out and stops producing what you have grown to love. They don't care about you, of course.

I never was a fan of artificial sweeteners, particularly not in the soda I drank. RC made a fantastic cola, right there in Chicago. I found out later that the reason I liked it was due to the fact they put only half the syrup into the formula. To me that was perfect. My nervous system reacted negatively to Pepsi and Coke. When it comes to diet drinks, it's my taste buds that object. But, eventually, I solved the problem. I stopped drinking soda altogether and am much happier for it.

Re: Standard Dimensions

Posted: 19 Jul 2019, 12:24
by Kellemora
I loved RC, and although I was known as the Pepsi Kid for most of my life. We only bought the 12 oz bottles.
A lot of folks didn't know that 6-1/2, 10, and 12 oz bottles all had the exact same amount of syrup, so 12 oz was the most diluted with carb water.

If you accidentally gave me a diet drink, I would gag and choke and blow my stack at whoever did. That stuff was downright horrible.

Once I became a diabetic and could not have soda, and I hated the taste of any artificial sweeteners, I too laid off soda for a long time. Started drinking tea with Stevia, which can be bitter if you use too much. Then I tried Splenda and didn't gag and choke on it. Made the mistake of buying a soda with Aspartame in it and there came the gag and choke again. As long as I stuck with only Sucralose I could tolerate diet soda and tea.

Pepsi came out with PepsiONE so I went back to that for a short time. Never could find it in the stores, and I guess if they can't stock the shelves, folks can't buy it, so sales suffered and they quit making it.
This was great for me because I found Diet RC which did not have Aspartame or ACE-K. That was my favorite all time drink for all the years they made it. When they quit I started drinking Choke-A-Cola Diet Splenda, but like PepsiONE, you can't find much of it in the stores. If they carry it at all, they either have only one or two cartons left or they are sold out. So I figure CocaCola will quit making it soon too. There is no alternative out there right now either.

I go through about 15 cartons of soda per month, every month, and have since I was around 18 years old.
I weight 155 to 159 pounds, it varies up and down between those two weights. It is hard for me to try and get up to 160 pounds where the doctor would like me to be. Most of my life I only weighed 145 pounds, but had a year there where I became a chocoholic and jumped up to over 300 pounds. This only lasted for about 4 months, until I was banned from buying chocolate anything, hi hi. At least now I can have no more than two small bite size chocolates per day if I don't have anything else with sugar that day. Like hard candy drops or whatever.

Re: Standard Dimensions

Posted: 19 Jul 2019, 14:27
by yogi
Sugar substitutes became an issue for me when my doctor thought I had diabetes. I had to see a nutritionist which turned out to be beneficial for a few reasons. She explained what diabetes is all about and basically in my case it boiled down to my intake of carbohydrates which are turned into sugar as a normal part of the metabolic process. So, I ended up counting carbs for a few years, not necessarily avoiding sugar altogether. Apparently sugar doesn't cause diabetes but it's a huge factor in controlling it. It's during that time that I got interested in sugar substitutes. Nothing that wasn't derived from cane sugar tasted right until I discovered agave. Not only was it not sugar and tasted sweet, it has a fairly low carb content. I don't know if they can make soda using agave, but it's great stuff for just about any other time you use sugar, including baked goods and desserts. It made my day with tea as well, and I never used sweeteners in coffee so I can't speak to that.

Over the course of three years I lost 50 pounds and settled in around 185. That was my fighting weigh when I married some 50 years ago. They decided I don't have diabetes after all, but I retain much of the diet plan I stuck to back then. Basically 300g of carbs a day is all I take in over 5 feedings. Doesn't matter what produces the carbs, be it a bowl of ice cream or a bowl of Bing Cherries. Actually the cherries are better because they have fiber that counteracts the carbs. I gained back a few pounds and am now looking into strict compliance with the diet again. If I don't, I'll have to go buy a new wardrobe. :lol:

Re: Standard Dimensions

Posted: 20 Jul 2019, 11:40
by Kellemora
You are right, sugar don't cause diabetes, but it sure plays havoc with those who do have diabetes.
I've been able to maintain my daily readings in the 90 to 120 range which is good, nevertheless my A1C keeps going up.

At first they told me A1C was a 3 month average which means my daily should be reading around 180 to 250 now, but it isn't.
Now they say A1C has little to do with daily readings and is just an accumulation of something or other.

In other words, they don't know much either! They just do the tests they are told to do and record it for the government.

Re: Standard Dimensions

Posted: 20 Jul 2019, 15:10
by yogi
It was due to those A1C tests that the doctor misdiagnosed me. I think 7% (or something close to that) readings three times in succession indicates diabetes. The tests are intended to be done every 6 months. The percentage refers to how much of the hemoglobin in your blood is coated with sugar. That is not the glucose test you do when stabbing your fingers. Two different things are being measured there. The daily tests can fluctuate wildly, but that hemoglobin number takes time to change. Thus doing two A1C tests in a week is meaningless. I had a hell of a time keeping the glucose numbers around the 100 mark, but that was my target. As you point out, 120 seems to be when the doctors raise their eyebrows. What I did to "cure" my diabetes was stop drinking those Hi-C canned juices made by CocaCola. A1C came down the very next test after I stopped. Damned be CocaCola.

Re: Standard Dimensions

Posted: 21 Jul 2019, 09:33
by Kellemora
I keep a low carb diet, and keep my daily readings below 120, sometimes as low as 89, yet my A1C keeps inching up and up.
My doc checks my A1C once every three months, at least I think he does since it appears on my report after each lab visit.

I wish they would quit changing the high/low boundary numbers on things. One visit I'm within normal range on everything, next visit I'm over or under something, even though the actual readings are exactly the same numerical figure. They just change the high/low limit numbers on the report, hi hi.

Re: Standard Dimensions

Posted: 21 Jul 2019, 13:27
by yogi
Not only do the "official" numbers change from time to time, each doctor also has some latitude to evaluate each patient's unique situation. My blood pressure has been inching upward over the years and now sits around 160/90 without meds. The target was to get it down to 140 which is a number that might have made a visit to the ER necessary when I was younger. So it's OK for us old guys to have high blood pressure. Our days are numbered anyway.

I'm not too concerned about the thresholds varying over time. New research reveals new facts every day. What does give me pause is the accuracy of those lab tests. I get a PSA test to see if any prostate cancer is present. This is an important test given that I had the cancer a few years back. Went well for about 5 years and then the readings started to show up and increase for several months. The rate of increase was the same as what malignant cells do. Then it leveled off for a few months. The doctor said he doesn't understand what is going on because the readings were very unusual at my stage. It so happens they changed labs just before my reading started to go amok. I came down here and had the same tests done which produces a reading of zero. Same tests. Different labs. That sure makes me feel comfortable. NOT!

Re: Standard Dimensions

Posted: 22 Jul 2019, 10:51
by Kellemora
When my test strips expired, I used to do three tests in a row since I had all those strips going to waste.
If all three read the same, or within a few points, that's what I wrote down. If I had one that read unusually high or low, I would discard it and try another strip.
When the expiration date hit around 2 years beyond usable date, it was only then did they start getting too erratic to trust.

But dig this. Brand new test strips, taking samples from the same ball of blood on my arm after a stick, also gave different readings. Sometimes as much as six to ten points different.
Also, different machines the test strips go into give different readings. My One-Touch machine is always 5 points lower than my brand new FreeStyle machine. Not that only 5 points makes that much of a difference.

I can say that comparing my Lab Tests with each other every three months, there is usually very little change in any of the numbers. It's the comment behind the number that says, under, over, or something else.
How can an identical reading each and every test, come with saying over one time, under another time?
If you read the printed RANGE numbers on the form, you'll see they keep changing them, hi hi.

Re: Standard Dimensions

Posted: 22 Jul 2019, 12:00
by yogi
The equipment medical labs use is magnitudes better in quality than anything you can buy retail. For one, most of the readings are automated an analyzed by computers. Changing the algorithm will change the readings and I believe that is where any laboratory errors are generated. No test result is 100% accurate; we can't build instrumentation that good. There is always a margin of error. in the labs I'd expect something like a <.5% error possibility. Commercial equipment you and I would buy has a lot greater margin of error. Plus, the labs are consistent in how the test is performed. Home testing not so much. Thus the samples we take at home may not be as reliable as what the pros can do. I reported on three blood pressure devices some time ago and the readings from the lowest to the highest between machines varied by more than 50%. What does that tell you?

All the above is understandable. I worked with test equipment all my professional life and know something about how tests should be performed. True, I was testing radios not people, but the principles are the same. There is no excuse for medical labs to come up with contradictory results. You and I can easily make mistakes, but it should not be so easy for highly trained people using very expensive equipment that can determine the course of my life.