Sunday, August 27, 2006

Selling Out & Moving On...Update

We have now been informed that the appraisal came back very fact, I am wondering how good? Did we ask enough for the old house? Not going to worry though. The insurance appraisal on the home we are buying came in at $150-175k, and we are getting it at 68k; all works out in the end.

I received a notice from the health department on the water test from the house we are selling. They had informed me that I had not paid the full amount for the test, so they threw the sample out! So...we are having another one done on Monday, and will make sure that the right amount will be sent in!

Other than that, all is going along very well, and hopefully sometime next week, I will be working on some changes to the new house!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Selling Out and Moving On...

After much debate, fear, anxiety, anticipation, and hope, we are finally being proactive in our efforts to move to a bigger house, and in this the work has become quite an undertaking!

Here’s the evolution that took us to where we are.

Deciding to sell:

When Samuel was born some 14 years ago, we entertained the thought of having more children and the need to add on to the house.

When Josephine was born, we had definitely decided that it was time to add on. As it worked out, we secured a second mortgage and promptly spent it on bill’s that popped up and that was that…no addition

When Aubrey Grace was born, it became imperative that we add on. Pam was trying to talk me into moving, but no! There was no way that I was going to leave here. Our first starter home… in fact, or only home. While everyone else we knew was moving about and doing bigger and better things, we were solid and set. This home and ten acres would someday become our family compound. Things would change and turn for the better. We actively talked about and planned on adding on.

When Katrina was born, I had already started gathering materials for an addition and the plan was in place. Pam was still dropping hints all over the place that it would be much simpler to just move, but I was like concrete and that was that!

I had finally gathered enough materials to add the 400 sq ft addition on. Actually I had enough material to put the floor and walls up and things were looking much better!

In the meantime, my place of employment had issues with management & a dysfunctional board of director’s and ended up shutting down. During the previous years, my body had also followed suit and was trying to do the same.

In the middle of all this one of our neighbor’s (druggie) had purchased and split some land adjoining ours and had it up for sale. With this came boundary disputes and the ensuing battle.

During this time I was in desperate shape mentally, and Pam was pushing for anything to happen. She decided that we had to do something so the addition was started even though we couldn’t finish it. We were doing something though.

In realizing that we were sinking both physically and financially, not to mention mentally, I finally decided that moving would be a good solution. I am the smart one you know!

After trying to survive for a couple of years with moving in the back of our minds, we finally hit bottom and ended up having to file bankruptcy. So much for moving…we would just have to try to save our money and add on as we could afford it. No credit means no moving, so… this was to be our home, like it or not!

Some six months later, Pam starts to look on the Internet for places to move and I knew that she was just being desperate and I would have to comfort her through it all. Moving! Not a chance in the world. I humored her and hoped she would get better…

A couple of weeks later, I hear her discussing our finances on the phone with someone and when the call is over, she announces that we are eligible for a home loan at sup-prime. Talk about shocking me!

Now she is looking at houses on the Internet and finds some she likes (normal looking houses without character), we go look and for some reason or the other, they we are not in a position to buy any them.

Finally she finds this place that seems different. It is two-story, which is totally not what one would think would work for me, considering that I have difficulty walking. We go look it over and everyone falls in love with it. It is quickly named the “tree house” and everyone plots and dreams how it will soon be ours.

We now start talking about selling our house and spring moves into summer. We talk, but pretty much rule the house out. It has three cash offers that were all accepted (heart sinks) and all for bizarre reasons do not go through.

During this time, Pam mentioned to one neighbor that we wanted to sell and move, knowing that her daughter was looking to find a place to buy, but nothing came of that.

We also have become proactive on getting our house ready to sell. Sam and me manicure the yard, cut down an offensive tree, and burn brush. We burn trash and just get things started in a good way.

We were getting ready to start on the house, which needed a lot of work. There was painting, siding and trim issues, and lots of work that to be done inside. The road would be tough, but we were determined!

This was towards the end of June. Summer was till young and we could get much done. Along about this time a man knocks on the door and asks if we would sell our house. I said yes, gave him a price and he said he wanted it.

A month later he’s been to the bank and I get a call from them asking for verification on me selling the house. Not much else has been done to the house due to a lack of money. Another few weeks and now we are all but ready to sell and move.

The details:

Termite Policy/inspection-I became quite anxious about this aspect of selling our house. When Sam was a baby we bought a clothes dryer and due to a lack of a good route to vent the dryer on the outside wall (the normal and accepted way) I decide to route the vent under the house. Everyone starts telling me about how wrong that is and that it would cause mold and rot. I ignore everyone and decide that because I am keeping the crawl-space vents open, that it will work fine. To top this, when the new heat pump was installed, they sealed the opening so I couldn’t even get under the house and check.

Part of financing for the buyer required a termite inspection and I became very concerned with the nagging feeling that everyone had warned me about. I didn’t want to look and see the city of termites living in a world of mold, but I had no choice!

I reluctantly get my hammers and cut a hole in the cement block and peek inside. Sam is working with me and asks if he can go under first. I said yes and under he goes! I asked how it looked and he said fine. I am surprised and relieved, but would he actually know what he’s looking at? I go underneath and it looks like new!

I call and schedule an appointment for an actual inspection and the man shows up and comes out with a look of concern on his face. Man! What had I missed? I asked how it looked and he said that he had never seen cobwebs so thick? I suddenly realized it was the lint from the dryer exhaust. He was happy for the explanation and to my relief, declares it to be as good as new! One down, two to go…

Appraisal- The loan is a rural development loan and is related to FHA, which is notoriously tough to pass. Now I am doing some praying…. lot’s of stuff to be done, not to mention stashing all the stuff that a family of six has acquired over the years. I did manage to get some stuff stored at Denise & Kent’s, but still so much more.

Sam and me fixed the bad spot in the siding, put up some new trim, fixed the stairs and added a rail. That was it! More to do, but no time or money… the hole/storm cellar/pond in the back yard was a big hazard and I fully anticipated having to fill it in. The roof is old, looks bad, but doesn’t leak and would probably cause problems. The shower needs work, the lower cabinets in the kitchen has some water damage, and many other that I would have liked to have time to fix.

The appraiser shows up and I go outside to assist her in measuring and inspecting the house. The cicadas are singing and she is more concerned with them biting her than the house. Measuring and a photo of the crawl space is all that we tend to. We go inside and she has me take a picture of the attic because she can’t reach it, she takes a picture of the shower curtain, and the TV. She does engage Pam in some conversation and that is about all there was to it. She didn’t see or mention anything I was concerned with. I did ask if there was anything I needed to do and she said to not worry about it, we were fine, and all was well! I gave her three packets of “Butterfinger” flavored hot chocolate, one potato, and one ripe tomato, smiled and she was on her way.

Water Test-In the past, we have used Reba Bailey with much success. This time she couldn’t be found so we ended up going with someone else. I dumped a gallon of bleach in the well and the next day they took the sample. It should be in Little Rock by now, and should show plenty of chlorine.

On the side, the bleach did do a number on the laundry, not to mention giving the house a very distinct smell.

We are now just waiting on the appraisal & water test to move forward. Hopefully everything will come out fine and when it does, things should proceed fairly quickly.

On buying the other house, it was listed at $74k and I offered $68.5k and it was accepted. We have the financing approved and are just working out the details…interest rates & such.

The plan is to close on this house and turn around and close on the other house within 48 hrs.

Do be, and we are, praying that all works out well.

Friday, June 23, 2006

A Letter To My Congressional Representative....

I am curious about the “North American Free Trade Agreement” (NAFTA). We were told that it would enhance economic growth and stability across North America. Is this happening?

I have seen relocations of American plants to Mexico as our fellow citizens have paid the price to support those to the south. I single out Mexico and President Vicente Fox primarily because he is encouraging his constituents to break into America illegally.

I have to beg, why are we seeing so many Mexican nationals (and Latino’s) illegally entering our country looking for work and better living conditions? Why are we also not holding Vicente Fox accountable for ensuring an equitable economy and opportunity for "all" his constituents? We do have a very strong vested interest in Mexico and it would seem that the direction that the money flows, is into the hands that already hold it.

I also believe that we should no longer call the Hispanic’s on an exodus from Mexico, illegal aliens. Rather we should consider them to be nothing short than refugees fleeing from a hungry and cannibalistic political machine.

I also beg why we even tolerate any relations with Vicente Fox and his government when his own policy on illegal aliens on his southern border is harsh and inhumane?

I realize that money plays a very big role in our own policy (China), but we have sold our moral and humanitarian soul to the lowest bidder it would seem. We never should have opened trade with China, and we should put the brakes on Mexico.

Once again, I ask, why are we receiving so many Mexican refugees?

Thank you for your kind attention and reply.

Most sincerely,

G. Redneck

Legal Illegal?

You know what? I am getting tired of all this illegal alien stuff and have come to some conclusions.

Defending the Illegal-Alien (Hispanics):
  • They have very little opportunity to afford their families such luxuries as housing, clothing and food.

  • They are coming to the U.S. in hopes of realizing a better future.

  • They come here for better health care

  • They come here for better jobs

  • They come here for better education

  • They come here to birth their children so “they” will be American citizens.

Charging the Illegal-Alien:
  • The lack of opportunity for the Mexican National is due solely to a corrupt government.

  • They are trying to realize a better future by breaking the law and strong-arming their host.

  • They are taking advantage of a health care system that is being paid for by taxing legal citizens against their will.

  • They are not taking jobs that American’s do not want; they are taking new positions as they are created.

  • They are being educated on the tax burden of legitimate citizens

  • Does the U.S. Constitution really support this?

Many would claim that this issue is one of a lack of charity on the part of those who want the immigration issue defined and enforced. This is not the case. Charity has nothing to do with taking from the funds of one in order to give to the lack of another. Charity is about giving from the heart, and not having something unwillingly taken.

Another big part of immigration, at least historically is the whole melting-pot idea. Foreign agents would migrate to this country in hopes of being a part of a bigger and better idea. A nation without color or prejudice that consisted of the many parts being melted into one entity, a nation of one, which is what the United States is. It is this mixing of cultures that has seasoned this nation to such a fashion that it’s savor is unique unto all the world.

In this concoction, one common ingredient is found in every success story. It is one of pride, hope, and connection. These people were moving to America to become American’s! To achieve this, they did all they could to become what they desired. They assimilated themselves into the land of opportunity. They did not expect this new world that change for them, but rather, they changed in order to be a part of it. They “wanted” to be American’s, not foreigners living in a land that catered to them, but part of the land. They asked little more than the legal opportunity to contribute and simply to be a part.

This new wave of “illegal” immigration has a whole different tone about it. The rights of legal citizens are being demanded without the “lawful right” to them. There is very little assimilation taking place among this group as they have managed to have “their” national language supported and encouraged by big business and marketing. It would seem that we are trading our nationality for a buck.

We are being criticized internationally and by the liberal thinkers for our isolationist attitude about our sovereignty, yet those casting stones are not willing to give what they themselves ask. What other nation is known as the melting pot? What other nation is willing to give the social support the U.S. is now giving to illegal aliens?

We have all seen our Nation’s Capitol and hundreds of municipalities marched on by a nation of illegal alien’s while carrying the flag of a foreign nation; A foreign nation who is encouraging the breech of our borders. A nation who’s military and police forces, which are present, that encourage this illegal activity against the United States, and is demanding this allowance diplomatically. Would this not be considered an attack in any other part of the world? Where are the diplomatic sanctions?

Why are they coming here? Work! I have to ask, as I watch another local manufacturer relocate to Mexico, what happened to NAFTA? Was it not supposed to fix this problem? It would seem that it has failed. We were told that enhanced trade would benefit all the participants. It would seem that the only beneficiaries have been big business. We hear nothing of major wage increases in Mexico, but we still are seeing industry run for the border! If NAFTA worked, the excuse of work would be no issue.

As I’ve watched our appointed representatives battle this issue amongst themselves, I have become disgusted. I must beg of them, whom are you representing? Is it the illegal alien? Did they elect you to office? Maybe it is big business that wants the dollar of the illegal alien. Have you sold your representation of me for a buck? It would certainly seem that it is not I nor my fellow citizens. If it were, there would be no debate. Read the law. Enforce the law. And lastly, hear my voice! Believe me, if you don’t, I will get someone else to listen.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Weird Weather

Here's a photo from one of the recent tornado's that hit western Tennesee.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


(also posted on the sister site

We’ve been having much rain, and it is this much needed rain that has stopped any progress. As I said before, we have been in a draught and the uncontrolled fires have been bad.

Along with this rain, bad storms have been very commonplace. We’ve had tornadoes for the last few weeks with increasing frequency. This first round hit about 30 miles north of us and did much damage, not to mention the pounding that Missouri took (I think 2 died in the storms there). This last round a couple of days ago, dropped something like 63 tornado’s and tore up much of eastern Arkansas and western Tennessee, with 28 confirmed death’s so far. The eastern Arkansas town of Marmaduke (opposite side of the state) was all but wiped out. The last report I saw, said that there was no building that was untouched, and many were destroyed all out.

It seems like these storms have been hitting our area on Thursday’s. The last one looked severe (tornadic) over Fort Smith, about 30 miles south of us. They had sirens and all going, but thank God, nothing touched the ground. The worst damage was from hail.

We are once again setting up for another round of storms, and yes, they are supposed to be hitting on Thursday. Wednesday is supposed to start with some thunderstorms with an increase in intensity on Thursday morning, according to the local weather guy’s. According to NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Association), The main brunt of the storms will be north into Nebraska and Missouri, leaving us with a slight threat of severe weather. While I am glad to see we will miss most of this, we will be praying for our neighbor’s to the north.

Time will tell. In the mean time, here’s a picture I just picked out of the blue.

Until next posting, be blessed!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Fake ID...

I became quite angry the other day while writing out a check at a convenience store. The clerk asked for my date of birth and drivers license. Not sure what triggered it, but I just got mad.

I ended up making up a driver’s license number and new birth date. I then went on to give her my eye color, weight, height, marital status, number of kids, and astrological sign, to which she gave me an odd look.

I do understand that people often pass “bad” checks and all, but do I really look like somebody who is going to stiff someone else? Does the fact that they have seen me twice a week for five years play into it? I don’t know…I just know that for some reason, I became angry…
Go figure…

Thursday, March 16, 2006


I forgot to mention the weather we had last Sunday. We were expecting some storms, and were really looking forward to it, as we desperately need rain (over 18” below where we should be in rainfall…draught). As the night progressed, the storms became very violent though.

We wound up with F3 tornado’s cutting a swath across one county in Oklahoma and another in Arkansas. They hit almost 150 homes, of which, I think 43 were total losses. About an hour later, there was another tornado showing up on radar where we live. I had everyone hunkered down in the hallway, and I’ll tell you that they were never a group of people who wanted the storm shelter done, more than we. Not sure if I mentioned or not on this blog, but we are digging our own shelter. We started it a couple of weeks ago in hopes that we could have it done by “storm” season, which is usually May…lol…wouldn’t you know it…the tornado season kicked off early this year! You can see our progress here.

A Busy Day

Today looks like it is going to be a busy one. My wife and son are going to Little Rock today with her dad who has an appointment at the VA hospital. They left at 4 am this morning and should be back around 2 in the afternoon.

We bought a ten gallon fish tank at Wal-Mart yesterday while out doing some audits in Stilwell. We really liked the seemed more like a Sam's club in layout than the rest of the Super Center's. I think I'm going to set it up this morning while the girls are still in bed, and when they wake, will probably head over the Sister & Brother-in-law's to help them install some cabinets in their rental. I think I'll take the Camera and maybe post some pics on the sister web-site, "what we're doing today" (in the links to the left).

Monday, February 27, 2006

Getting School Right

Defending the public school parents….yes that’s right! Me, a Homeschooling parent standing up for the rights of public school participants.

I was talking to my brother yesterday and schooling came up. He started telling me about all the cost of sending your kids to public school. They are required to have “branded” supplies, the top of the line crayons, scissors & such. They are required to bring enough candy for the whole class on a particular day, and the list goes on and on. If they choose to participate in sports, band, or some other activity, the parents have to dole out a pretty good amount of money.

Ok, now here’s my take on how public school works (or should work). First off I see it as Socialistic in structure and little more than a public welfare program, which by definition, it is. In this, and once again by my reasoning (flawed as it may be), a degree of equality should be experienced. All children should have equal access to all programs offered.

The way it is though, is very different. If ones parents can afford an instrument (either purchase or rent), can afford the extra supplies needed for sports, the cost of day trips and such, then their kids can participate in the “elective” classes. Through these classes, the children are trained in a special course, often go to extra practices or get outside tutorship, and if they show some advanced talent, become eligible and are offered specialized scholarships. To those kids who make the grade, I say good for them! Run with it.

Looking through the other lens, I see a great problem with this system. Remember our school systems are based on a specific philosophy. A philosophy that states: “It takes a village” to ensure that “no child is left behind.” My view would be one that all members of a particular village had equal opportunity to ALL activities, which is not the case. Not all families have the time or resources to see their children participate in any of the non-curriculum driven class of their choosing. Some families quite simply cannot afford the extra trips, clothing, instruments, equipment, or time required for their kids to be part of these programs. Some kids have much needed jobs, or have to help with the care of their younger siblings while the parents are at work, or a whole plethora of valid reasons that disallow their ability to be included in these programs.

In this, I would have to turn on myself and ask if it is fair to cause the children afforded the opportunity for advancement to forsake it because all are not able to pay the price required. I would have to say no. Would I want my child to give up something I can afford in order to ensure they have no advantage over another child whose parents cannot afford that same opportunity? I think not! I want all the advantages I can get for my children, as I am sure, all parents do.

I could simply stand on the old adage that states, “Life is not fair.” I could accept that mentality if the public school program was one that depended on participant support, but this is not the case. If we live in America then we are paying for the public schools through our taxes, thus we all own and support them without choice, and in this, we all should have equal opportunity for our children to fully participate in any program of their choice.

I once had a boss who would never entertain anyone bring him a problem. His response was always the same; “don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions.” In this attitude I have some thoughts on how to make a public funded institution fully accessible for all paying (taxed) participants.

  • All school supplies would be provided at the expense of the school district.
These supplies would be bought wholesale (the Wal-Mart way) in bulk and distributed from a supply depot on the school grounds. The teacher would be required to give any student a voucher verifying that the student actually needs it. This approach would allow for all students to be equally equipped in their actual academic school needs.
  • No formal participation in competitive school activities (sports, music, etc.) played against other school teams, until the junior and senior years based upon academic achievement in the prior four years of study.
This one would really be a tough one on many people, especially the parents! In this, I would beg one to question the reason for school in the first place. I would say it is to better equip them to engage the world with the most advantage as possible. In this, reading, writing, mathematics, the languages, and history should be the basis, and nothing else. All other activities should be intramural in nature until the 11th grade. They should be arranged in a course nature. They should be more for exploration than grade, with the focus of finding one’s natural talents. Then after the child has explored their options they can then choose their course for the last two years in school, with entrance based solely upon academic performance. None of this coach leaning on teachers to bump a grade so a kid can be on the team because the coach would have no prior knowledge of the child until they are eligible for participation. If you flunk you junior classes, you are out, and likewise if you have to repeat your senior year, you are out. Only two years.
In terms of reducing cost, the uniforms/equipment needed for participation would be more uniform in only being needed for a more specific age range, as well as, having a fewer number of students to outfit. Along with this would be the realization of savings in reducing the need for so many coaches/directors etc... These savings could then go into paying for travel expenses and such without having to burden the family with added cost.
Also, these limitations would be a good incentive for students aspiring wanting to be involved in such activities. This might be a good way to raise our academic standing internationally.

  • Limit all school activity to school time.
All practices, performance, or any other activity would need to be performed during the normal school day. This would allow children with other familial responsibilities to equally participate in any or all activities they were academically qualified for.

  • Have teacher pay based on performance as set by the local school board.
While I have to agree that many good teachers are underpaid, I have to point my finger at the fact that many bad teachers ore overpaid. If we would set a pay scale based on performance it would inspire many to be better teachers while weeding out the bad ones. I am sorry to say that many of our teachers have chosen their field more for a reason of a default last option rather than anything else. Being somewhat involved with the collegiate industry, I see many students who really shouldn’t be in college, being directed into elementary education for reason of not being able to excel in other disciplines. I think this is wrong! Our teachers should be the top level of college graduates…not the leftovers. For those teachers who are true scholars, I do feel bad and would not want to live in the trap that their passion has placed them in. Some people are teachers and should never be anything else. To these people, I have to apologize for such a pathetic system of compensation for them.
Along these lines, I would also advise that the community take the school systems they are paying for back. Get the government and NEA (National Education Association) out of their schools. The NEA does little more than serve their own agenda, while collecting dues from teacher members who receive little compensation. They are more politically motivated than educationally inspired, and they have no place in our schools.
In regards to teacher pay, I think by letting the local districts set their own scale, they will be making the decision on how much they want for their community as well as their children. If a district decides to pay well, they will attract a larger pool of teachers to choose from, thus allowing the best to rise to the top. This will also be cause for allowing more revenues through existing taxes, by attracting people concerned with their children’s education. In turn this will have children who are better educated, being graduated into our community, which will result in attracting more “brainy” rather than “brawny” industries to that community. In the end, a more stable economic base would be realized. Life would be better for all.
I found out that our local superintendent of our small school makes over 150k while the teachers earn around 30k. While I agree with added responsibility being rewarded with added pay, there should not be such a great degree of separation. If the “higher-ups” were paid in the same manner as the teachers, I think we would see a vast improvement in our public education system. We are paying these guy’s how much money to graduate our children into a world when they can’t read? It’s not the kid’s at fault here…it goes something like this. Student-teacher-superintendent, and it should be more along the lines of student-parent-teacher-superintendent. We as parents need to be demanding our superintendent’s hire a teacher who can get the job done, and one way to insure this is to pay him well for doing a good job, and likewise, pay him poorly for doing a poor job.

In short, our public school system is broken and the method of repair that throws money on them is not working. We need to get involved and decide what WE want for OUR children and the schools WE are paying for! We need to stand up and take responsibility for our children. Right now our schools have left scholarship as they have moved into an industry. It is up to us, but we do need to remember one thing…WE ARE NOT GETTING WHAT WE HAVE PAID FOR!

Makes me want to homeschool my kids….Wait! I do…maybe I am yelling out on your behalf?