Monday, January 26, 2009
When I was younger, one of the neighbor kids had a paper route. He would deliver papers in our neighborhood after he got home from school. I helped him out a few times and it seemed like a fun way to earn a little extra cash. Between that time and the time I started throwing papers, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune changed from afternoon delivery to morning delivery. Afternoon delivery is col and fun; morning delivery sucks.
When I started, the route in my neighborhood was taken. I got a route that covered some condominiums and apartments about a mile from my house. I've been by since and they are pretty sketchy. Not the kind of place I would let my twelve-year-old ride around.
Every morning (7 days a week, 365 days a year) I would wake up at about 5:00 AM to find a stack of newspapers and inserts on the driveway. I'd lug them inside and start folding the papers. I'd put the insert in the paper, fold it up and secure it with a rubber band. On rainy days they gave us plastic bags to protect the newspaper. I'd load up my canvas bag, put it on the handlebars of my BMX bike and ride to my area in the dark.
I tried to get every paper on the porch believing that I would earn better tips that way. I got good enough I could throw the paper up to the porch from the street. This worked great unless I hit the screen door. The only sound louder than a hammer falling on an empty chamber is the sound of a newspaper slamming into a screen door at five thirty in the morning. After about an hour of throwing papers, I would ride back home, shower and go to school.
After I got home from school, I would pick up my stack of perforated billing cards, and go to all the customers in my area to collect for the month. I'd knock on the door, hope that someone would answer, and then pray that they had the money to pay the five dollar bill for the month. If they didn't have the money, I would have to come back another day.
Sometimes I would get a tip. Tips ranged from a quarter all the way up to a full dollar. I don't remember how much I earned for the month but it was probably about 50 dollars - not bad money for a twelve-year-old but not much for the amount of work.
There were no days off. Rain or shine, holidays, sick or well - the papers had to be delivered intact to the doorstep of the impatient, demanding customers. If the paper was wet I'd get a complaint. If it was late I'd get a complaint. If it was too far from the porch I'd get a complaint. Fortunately, I didn't get many complaints.
My sisters got a route a while after I started. My Dad drove my sister around while she delivered the papers. A little while after that, we consolidated the route. Judy and Sara got up early and folded the papers. I did the delivery. We did this for about a year and then we wisely quit.
I appreciate the responsibility a job teaches a young man. However, kids have a job. It's called school. My school work suffered when I couldn't stay awake in class. I got my first "F" in junior high.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
The mill arrived earlier this week. I immediately fed it two cups of hard wheat which yielded about four cups of whole grain flour.
The process was a little slow. If the mill builds up too much heat it can damage the flour.
I used the flour to bake a couple of loaves of whole wheat bread. Unfortunately I didn't knead the bread long enough so it wasn't very attractive, but it sure was tasty. I'm almost out of wheat but Judy is going to send me a bag next month.
I'm going to try using the soft wheat to make honey whole wheat pancakes. I have high hopes.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Change a diaper, clean the cat box, change a diaper, clean the cat box, wash stinky clothes after a diaper leaks, take out the smelly trash, change a diaper...
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Somebody will regret this later.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Wind not visible
The tacos are about six-inches across and are stuffed with the most savory steak you have ever eaten. The tortillas are tender and chewy just like Grandma used to make (well, not my grandma). The salsa is hot but won't peel the paint off walls. The beans are delicious. I guess the rice is good too but I've never tried it.
I love this place. It's a little bit of a drive but well worth it. I think they are open seven days a week from 11:00AM to 7:00PM. They are on the north side of the 10 freeway at the Fields Road exit.
Monday, January 12, 2009
That's a big chunk of change.
I'm confident that the housing market will eventually rebound and values will start to climb again. And I won't owe what I owe now forever. I'm paying down the principle on the mortgage a little bit every month.
What if I wanted to move? What if I had to move? We can't. We're stuck. For a while anyway. Fortunately I like my neighbors. I hope they like me because we are going to be here for a while.
If I had known the future, I would have sold our previous house and moved into an apartment, saving our profits and putting a little more away each month. And then when the bottom fell out of the market, I would have swooped in and purchased a really nice house, in a great location, for a bargain price.
But I can't see the future.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
It gets hungry. It needs a place to stay. It likes fancy clothes and jewelry. At least it doesn't have a litter box.
You can also play games to earn Neopoints that you can redeem for Neofood and other Neoneeds.
Abigail is getting a little frustrated with me. She can't play the games because I'm always playing them.
Maybe I need my own Neopet.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
It might be mulled wine.
To Abigail's credit, she thought it tasted horrible and couldn't rinse out her mouth with water fast enough.