Thursday, May 31, 2012

Do your job - home inspection edition

One of Bell Belichick's favorite lines for his football team is "do your job." (Side note - I don't like Belichick at all, but that doesn't mean I don't think he is a brilliant football coach.) If you are a quarterback then make the right throw and if you are a receiver then catch the ball. It seems like a pretty simple concept, but then again a lot of people seem to worry about things that are outside their area of expertise. Also, on the flipside there are plenty other people who seem to be incompetent at their chosen profession.
Continuing on with that theme, I am livid right now because of what I think is complete incompetence on something that should be routine. Today we were supposed to have our home inspection. M had *lined this up with the inspector and talked to the contractor on Monday to make sure that today was a good day. We both made arrangements and took time off from work to be there for the inspection. Everything looked to be going well in preparation for our closing next Friday.

*Shouldn't the real estate agent do this?
I show up at the house and the inspector is just shaking his head. Immediately he told me that this house was in no way ready for an inspection, and a quick walk through reveled all the obvious reasons why. It still looked like a work site with many, many things left to do. There would have been no point in starting an inspection when the house was so far removed from actually being finished. The inspector said the home should be "98% finished" by the time he should be there, and I have no idea how our contractor could think this home was 98% finished.

What is really baffling to me is that this isn't the first home our real estate agent has sold or the first home our contractor has remodeled. How do they not know this home isn't ready for inspection? I don't mean to be indignant or unfair in any way, but these are the questions in my head. Maybe that makes me mean - I don't know and I don't really know if I care. All of this is making me question the big decisions that we've made. Was it the right decision to buy? Was it the right decision to pick these people? Was it the right decision to sign a contract on this house? I know that right now is a low point, and that I will calm down about the state of this home, but this day was (as you can probably imagine by now) very frustrating.

On our end we saved enough for a down payment, secured a loan and met every single deadline that has been given to us. I know we have a lot less to do than actually remodeling our home, but then again it isn't our job to remodel homes. It is just upsetting to me for us to be so close to buying this home, but also to feel like things just aren't working out in a way that I expected.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Good News / Bad News update

I have done this in the past, so here is another round of good and bad things going on:

Good - Brian Dozier is a major league shortstop. After watching him in the college, seeing him get drafted in the 8th round by the Twins and making his way through the minor leagues it is wonderful that he has already played in 21 games.

Bad - He started off well, but has really trailed off. His overall line of .238 / .258 / .357 for an OPS+ of 70 (100 is an average batter) adds up to a WAR of -0.1. Basically Dozier rates as a slight worse than average triple A shortstop.

Good - I saw my first Twins game on Thursday against the White Sox. It was a well-played game with 8 home runs, and I had great seats thanks to my lawyer friend Ben. Mauer and Morneau combined for 3 home runs and Dozier had a two RBI single. Also, M and I are going to Cleveland this weekend to see the Twins play the Indians.

Bad - The Twins gave up 5 home runs (one being a grand slam) and lost. They are still the worst team in baseball despite the Cubs losing 12 straight. It is a lost year for the Twins.

Good - Our contractor thinks the house will be finished for a closing date of June 8th. The house is looking really good and should be exactly what we wanted.

Bad - The amount of time it has taken to get a house has lessened my excitement about actually owning our first home. It is really unfortunate, since this is easily the biggest purchase in my life, but it probably isn't a good sign that I no longer really like answering questions about the house. Also, it is disappointing that  something that M and I have prepared for by saving, investing and budgeting now seems to be somewhat anti-climactic.. This whole process was supposed to the culmination of our plan, and right now I am just kind of tired of it. I am hoping it changes when we actually move into the home, and get to enjoy what should be a wonderful house. 

Good - I really enjoy my job and am happy that I made this move. It doesn't hurt that I keep finding out that the SAP project I was working on has been pushed back again. I had signed up for October 2011 go live, and it is right now projected to go live in September 2012. 

Bad - I still have a ways to go in actually understanding my work at PINK. I like pulling the reports and managing the Swim forecast, but just when I think I am fully up to speed I have times like today where I realize how far I still have to go. It is a cliche "learning process" and I just need to work harder and more efficiently. Also, one side note that is bad about leaving the Well is that Obama is going to be there on Friday. How is it that I get to see Al Franken and Tim Geithner and a few months after I leave they see Obama?

Good - My vote counts in Ohio.

Bad - Since it counts I am already starting to get a lot of ads from both sides. I don't care about Romney's experience at Bain Capital or how Romney is going to restore "confidence in this country." For the record I don't think Romney's experience running a business should either be a that big of a pro or a con in determining him as a candidate. Also, I don't think Obama can magically make gas prices decline or improve the housing market (which is what Romney suggests). 

Side note - Do people really blame Obama for the recession? It is a fact that it started before he was inaugurated. He possibly could have done more to help the recession, but I haven't heard anything specific from Romney that makes me think of something he did incorrectly. What I disagree with (extending the Bush tax cuts) aren't exactly points that Romney is making against Obama. Also, I feel like I need to spend an entire post talking about the national debt over Obama. 

Good - I beat M in shuffleboard in 6-5 in an epic two day shuffleboard match in Lakeside, OH.

Bad - There isn't really anything bad with that.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Reasons why I am voting for Obama

Despite the subtitle in this blog's title, I rarely talk politics on my blog. Why? I know this is an open blog that is only a google search away from being read by whoever. Politics is a sensitive subject, and I didn't want to offend anyone. It is much easier sharing updates on buying a house or what I think about the NBA draft. Still with the upcoming election, I wanted to write down the few reasons why I will be voting  for Obama.

1) Gay Marriage - Obama is for it. Romney is not. I support gay marriage because the arguments against it seem to be irrational at best and hateful at worst. In no ways do denying the option of marriage to anybody help strengthen my marriage. It is the same way that Kim Kardashian divorcing Kris Humphries after 72 days does anything to weaken my marriage. The reason is that my marriage to M is between the two of us, and I really don't care what other people decide to do with that decision in their life. If Romney or other Republicans think that the are on the right side of public opinion then they have no clue how this world is changing. In 10 years it is likely that their opposition to gay marriage will come across as very strange to the general public. The world is becoming a more accepting place, and I would rather have a President who embraced that world.

2) Taxes - I'm a big fan of Miami University, and because of that I love talking about any Miami alum. One exception to that is Representative Paul Ryan from Wisconsin. His tax plan is crazy. In a time where taxes on the rich are at a near low, it makes zero sense to try and lower them more. I think cutting spending on things like "education, training, employment and social services", while cutting tax rates on the rich is a terrible reverse Robin Hood idea. Romney has supported this plan, instead of something more sane as the Bowles-Simpson plan. Now if Romney would have said that he would have supported Bowles-Simpson, then we might have an actual debate on who is better candidate on this issue.

Personally, I would rather have more taxes if those taxes meant things like great public schools, national health care and bridges that don't collapse. Now will Obama do that? Will he be able to cut the deficit?  It is unlikely with the cliched gridlock in DC. There needs to be a compromise on both sides, and when I look at the debate in DC I see one side willing to compromise and one side that isn't. It appalled me that every single Republican said that they would walk away from a 10 to 1 spending cuts to tax increase deal. That shows that none of the Republicans candidates (Romney included) are willing to compromise. I would love for President Obama to do the following:
  • Convey to the public the need for taxes. Also, try to point out that taxes historically right now are very low. Basically do what no politician will do and tell his voting public to stop complaining.
  • Let the Bush tax cuts expire. If the Republicans are going to play chicken on that issue (Obama wanted the Bush tax cuts to be permanent just for people making less than $250k. Republicans wanted everyone included.) then call their bluff. The Bush tax cuts on capital gains and dividends have helped investors out (like me) and helped rich people out in general. How President Bush was able to propose a budget with massive tax cuts AND an increase in spending through the war in Iraq and Afghanistan is beyond me. It is like LBJ all over again with Vietnam and his Great Society. If you want to increase spending then there should be a subsequent increase in taxes. Maybe more people would have cared about the war in Iraq if they knew they were going to have to pay for it.
  • Keep pushing the Buffett tax. It is fair and makes sense. Someday I hope to make enough money to pay the top marginal tax rate, and if I ever do get to that point then I won't mind having my capital gains/dividends tax at my ordinary income rate.
  • Support Bowles-Simpson.
I have more confidence in Obama doing any or all of the above than Romney. Obama might get a C in the way he has handled, but that is a much higher grade that I would give a Romney presidencey.

3) Life changes - While, I don't think there is much President Obama has done that has directly affected my life, I do know that in the past 3.5 years things have gotten much better for me. I think the economy's recovery has been primarily because of things outside Obama's control, but I do give him credit on the stimulus bill and for bailing out the auto industry. And while Republicans like to blame him for the poor economy, it actually has been a very good economy for me. Since he took office, I have found no shortage of good jobs and the stock market is up 50% since he became President. Again, I don't think there is much that he actually did to affect the stock market, but it isn't like I can fault him for what he has done to an economy that has been very good to me.

There are other reasons to vote for Obama, and if you want to talk about other issues then just let me know. The three big ones for me are above, and unfortunately for Mitt Romney this Ohio vote is going to President Obama.