Saturday, August 3, 2013

Republic Wireless - My little plug for $19 unlimitted everything wireless

Republic Wireless

OK, this may not sound very redneck of me, but let me explain.  I do believe part of being redneck is not buying something you don't need or re-purposing things you have.  My $15/month pre-paid cell phone plan was doing just fine.  I rarely talked to anyone other than my wife, so my balance was sky rocketing, and I always had the piece of mind of having that phone.  So why would I buy the phone and up my payment?  Well...easy.  I fully believe this little baby may help me score more business, that's why!

You see, it is a full up, semi-rugged Google smart phone.  After doing the research, I am more that able to accept credit cards for my businesses on this sucker.  AND I get the benefit of Google maps with GPS (gotta figure out how to get to the customers sites).  Not to mention calling them if I need directions, and email/text for those folks that would rather communicate this new-fangled way.

And the best part about this is is that it is only a reoccurring fee of $19/month for unlimited voice/text /data!

So if you have any questions, feel free to post a comment or contact me in other ways and I would be happy to answer them.  Otherwise, help us all out and get yourself a $19 credit by ordering it through my referral link:

Link to Republic Wireless Referral page.

How are they able to offer this stuff at this cheap rate?  It's pretty easy actually.  The phone they give you is designed to take advantage of existing wireless internet connections whenever possible so it doesn't have to eat up the cellular bandwidth.  This has many benefits faster speeds, clearer calls, and a LOT better coverage in the areas you need it most.  The down side is that it doesn't seamlessly switch from cell to WiFi (or back), and you must make sure you manually add all of your known WiFi access points to your phone list (for obvious security reasons).  But since I am by an access point for probably 75% of the time (like most people are) this is almost perfect!  And so far...I am really enjoying my new toy with some bada$$ data rates!

Again...if you do decide to order, please help out this blog and gain a $19 credit for yourself by going through this site:
Link to Republic Wireless Referral page.

Enjoy your new redneck telephone!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Trainin' a Water Girl

Before anyone gets any ideas, no, this is not a follow on to a Kevin Costner movie. Heck, my kids wouldn't even know who he is anyway. This post is more about a sense of pride a daddy gets from having a genuinely good helper around, including the fun that can ensue.

I don't know why this particular instance sticks in my mind, but it ranks right up there. I think it is simply that one moment when you realize your kids are not just a tiny little human that has not much purpose aside from a being a little toy that you can pick up, cuddle, play with, and when you set them back down they go back to doing whatever they want. You know...that one moment when you realize that your kid can actually be useful in the family environment. That one time when you give them something to do and they not only can do it, but for the most part they enjoy it because it is actually helping and not just "busy-work" to keep them out of your hair. The moment I am describing is the first time I took Middle Smurf out to help me get the water. She was desperately in need of some daddy time that was only with me, and this was a perfect opportunity to see if she could handle real responsibility.

When we got there I hooked up the water hose to the first tank in the trailer like I usually did. I simply tied the hose so it wouldn't come out. Next, I dug out the little step ladder I brought with me and set it up in front of the control panel. I went ahead and entered the login information and up came the big green button. I let her climb on the ladder and gave her the instructions about pushing the virtual button. Then I let her do it and it was basically a non-event. Then when the time came I hollered "1", "2", "3"..."STOP!". She pressed the stop button and all was done. No big deal if you exclude the fact that this was her first time with a virtual, touch screen button with no tactical feedback and she had all of the pressure of not letting the tank overflow while daddy was yelling "1,2,3...STOP!" at her.

Next I decided to give her a little more responsibility. I untied the hose and simply held it over the next tank with my bare hands. "OK...go!" A couple of seconds later here comes the flow. When that tank was approaching the top I started the countdown again.


Granted, this time I got a little wet because she didn't realize the amount of touch that was required (which the adrenaline gave her on the first go around) I took it for the big deal. The impressive thing was that she kept her cool, pressed again until it went red, and that was it.

To this day I still yell that familiar "1, 2, 3...STOP!" phrase, but instead of doing it every tank I simply carry the hose from one tank to the next and let her stank in the "splash zone". She then runs back over to the ladder in time to hit stop for me. This way we both get soaking wet!

Update: I originally hadn't actually posted this article, I don't really know why. Maybe because I felt it was a little to sentimental to share. But now that I have the more efficient, larger, single tank trailer we don't get the "splash zone" anymore. Maybe that part I miss a little. Sometimes increasing efficiency has its drawbacks and while I have no reason to regret my decision to purchase this, I have concluded that this sacrificing of "fun time" in the name of efficiency is decidedly unredneck like. I have no plans to revert back, but this should serve as a lesson that every decision has a consequence and all decisions should be made carefully.


Monday, July 29, 2013

"Redneck" - Racist???

Ok, Let's get the discussion game rolling a bit by being a little provocative for a change.  I never even thought about this until a recent news article about Queen Creek High School (very close to my stomping grounds) celebrating national redneck day.  My first thought was "Hey great!  Finally a holiday for me!”  Then I continued reading and discovered the federal nose-pickers...uh...government...was investigating the school because it determined that could have been a "racist" thing to celebrate.  Note that it wasn’t a state decision, but a federal one to investigate.

I never would have though this could be.  I head down to the water pipe to fill up my trailer.  I talk with a lot of my neighbors.  Most of those are Hispanic people, a handful of white people, and a few black people.  Notice the group I listed first in this list.  Hispanics are BY FAR the most predominant...and yes, I classify them as rednecks as much as any others.  Those guys probably redneck better than most just because it is so engrained into their beings!

Even in the picture I saw with that particular news story where a white kid was wearing a confederate flag.  The confederate flag is nothing more than a symbol of southern pride.  Where do the majority [not all admittedly] of rednecks come from?  That's right...the south.  Does the south have a history of slavery?  Yes, but that has nothing to do with the confederate flag.  As a matter of fact, one argument that has been presented is the mere act of associating the confederate flag with slavery is in-and-of itself an act of racism.  So congratulations all of you who associate the flag with that definition you are being racist whereas the white southern kid is simply showing pride from where he came.  This show of pride, by the way, is something we all do every time we fly the stars and stripes.  I will take it a bit further and point out that to many outside nations our flag brings hatred and ill feelings because of the things we STILL DO.  Does that mean we should get rid of this flag as well because it might offend those nations?  I highly doubt anyone would agree with that, so why destroy a piece of our past and history by removing the confederate flag?  BTW, even black people have been known to sport the confederate flag.

It is worth noting that along with the picture I chose above came the excerpt:
"Confederate Flag defender, political activist, former President of the Asheville chapter of the NAACP and 52-year-old black man, H.K. Edgerton was recently accosted by two black men while standing by his confederate flag in front of Asheville High School. Though he was appalled by the alleged violent actions of 19-year-old high school drop-out Andre Dewayne and 32-year-old Kevin Miller, he concedes, "I know and understand their pain because they've been lied to for so long. A lot of people know nothing about that time in history." Source:

So I ask you fellow redneck followers...Does the term "redneck" imply racist thoughts either directly or indirectly and if so, please back up your responses.

Could This be my New Religion?

Ok, so mustachianism doesn't actually exist. That doesn't mean it isn't extremely important!

Lately I have been following the Mr. Money Moustache blogs. This guy could be a clone of me in a different life. He is a Software Engineer that retired early (yes...I'm still working on that one...but getting closer). He believes that the way to financial independance is though frugality. He likes to blog. He found the book "The Magic of Thinking Big" to be life changing. And finally he writes in: "a scratchy and compact font done entirely in capitals" that are presumably difficult to read (since he is an engineer after all). Ahhh yes...a man after my own heart.

And so we don't get to wrapped up in a bromance with a guy I have never met: Let's just say that I have given him a lot of my attention and his "prechings" are after my own heart. I hope that by including a link in my blog more people learn from his wise teachings.

Thank you Mr. Money Mustache, and keep up the good work!

Visit his pages here:

Sunday, July 28, 2013

I'm Living the Liberal Life - Benefits of Living Like a Redneck

Ok, before people get all bent out of shape and say things like "Hey Tekno...that's not very redneck like!" or "Aren't rednecks typically supposed to be gun-toting, hard working hill-billies?" are correct.  And I'm not even going to argue it.  I'm also not going to try to convince anyone that I am liberal or conservative or any other dumb-a$$ political affiliation.  I don't like politics or discussions about them.  I know what I believe is right and wrong, and this blog is not going to "go there" deliberately.

With that nonsense is out of the way, let's get on with the good stuff...shall we?

Why the title?  Well...because that is the comment I made today that almost made my family spit water out of their noses.  It all started by me describing what it was like to have converted to redneckism.  I then went on to list some of the benefits that we have gained, which is in no small part a chunk of the reason WHY we are doing this redneck thing.

As I have mentioned before, we weren't forced into this lifestyle.  We were not forced out of our house; we were not going hungry because of our overblown payments or anything.  We had all of our cars paid off.  Etc. Etc. Etc.  We chose this because we wanted to.  The main deciding factors were (among other things):
1) We wanted to make sure that in the down economy, if I were to be laid off we could survive a long time on the savings we have accumulated.
2) I wanted to retire as soon as possible.  This means we have to have everything paid off and our bills as low as possible.  The only way to do this was to buy a house that we could get paid off A.S.A.P.  The market was ripe, so that was the time to pull the trigger.
3) I hate gym's and workout memberships.  If I need to wear myself out, I feel I should be doing it by using that energy constructively.  Yea...about 2.5 acres should cure all of my workout needs.
4) We wanted to cut back to a bit of a smaller domicile.  It turns out that two levels in a 3000 sq. ft. house was just not for us.  It was too much to clean, but not enough room to do anything.
5) Restrictive HOA's with double-standards were about to make me "go postal".
6) My garage "shop" and tool collection were just outgrowing that 3-car garage...I NEED LAND (and a barn) BABY!

So we found it and bought it while the getting’ was good.

Next came the unexpected part...and this is where I start going against some of my values, but only because it "makes sense" and fits right in with other parts of my values.

First we had to deal with the old house.  We have to sell this monster.  Of course it will be a short sale because before I wisened-up to the ways of living frugally, we purchased it at the height of the bubble.  Now it was worth less than half what we owed on it.  Well...short sale it is.  So we listed it and found a buyer.  Of course, the bank wasn't going to play nice...why would they?  So we put a stipulation on our realtor: "Do NOT, under any circumstances, request an extension to the short sale before the bank forecloses". Why would we make such a stipulation? all boils down to taking advantage of incentives that are available to us.  While I don't necessarily like the fact that all of this stuff has been made available and easy for the general public, since it is here I won't turn it down.  See my conflicting values at work here???  What we determined is that it would actually be MORE BENEFICIAL to go into foreclosure by the end of that year than it would be to have the bank drag their feet for that extra two months and foreclose the following year.  It was a simple tax decision.  If we unloaded the house that year as opposed to the next year, we would be taking advantage of the laws that said we would not be responsible for the taxes associated with the capital gains we would have acquired on the house price difference.  Basically, that would have equated to something along the lines of $30,000 to $40,000.  That is worth the credit hit since we don't plan to use credit anymore anyway.

The next thing we are enjoying as part of this new lifestyle is all of the "freebies" we are getting.  I know what you are asking: What...  How...  Why...?  Yes, I said it.  We are getting a lot more freebies.  I'm not going to go out and ask for anything. I actually find that very, very hard to do and it makes me physically sick to my stomach.  The way we end up with this stuff is because people, mostly liberally minded people, ASSUME way too much!  And I am certainly not going to pass opportunities like that up!

Why did this freebie parade start happening?  It's pretty easy actually.  All you have to do is pretend to be poor.  When we took on this redneck lifestyle, we sucked it in lock-stock-and-barrel.  I typically dress like I am working hard.  You know greasy shirt, torn jeans, and crap all over my face and arms...then I go to Wal-Mart and ask for a price-match on milk.  Eight times out of ten the cashier will go ahead and price-match every item they know about that we are purchasing.  However, if I stop by after work in my dressier clothes, this generosity rarely happens.  The same thing happens with Mrs. Smurf.  If she puts on makeup and is by herself there is not much cooperation from the cashier.  However, if she goes in wearing cutoff jean-shorts and a tank top with three kids and no makeup...bring on the unsolicited price matching!  I equate this to the begger on the street, but not to that extreme.  Again, I cannot go asking/begging, but if someone were to walk up to me on the street and hand me $5 and say “here…go have a hot meal”, I would probably not turn it down.

There are other things that happen as well: discounts on carpet installation, discount on kids classes, etc, but I don't want to bore people to sleep, so we will leave it at that.  Needless to say, when I say that we are "living the liberal life" I don't mean we are choosing political sides.  All I am saying is that I am going to take advantage of the generosity offered by not only our neighbors, but also our government.  I just can't bring myself to pass up some of these kinds of opportunities when they are just sitting there asking for me to bite.  I did not ask for them, or vote for them, but I would be a damn fool to not take advantage of what they want to give me.

The Fly Ninja

One of many things that has always fascinated me about Mrs. Smurf is her uncanny ability to kill flies and other bugs.  She has long become the de facto bug killer of flying things in our house.  While I maintain the official title of the crawly creature get-r-rid-r, she is definitely the more adept as knocking things down from the atmosphere.

Why the "Fly Ninja" designation?  Well...let’s just say the flies never see it coming!  Once she gets that fly swatter in hand, she has the perfect combination of grace and speed to very gently sneak up on a fly from any direction until about a foot or two away and then...WHACK!  That poor trespasser never saw it coming!

But it doesn't stop there...

I have seen her on numerous occasions walk by something that was flying and simply pluck it out of the air!  Not kill it...just grab it in one hand and toss it outside!  I think maybe I have done that trick one time my entire life and that was pure luck.  This chick does it repeatedly...maybe not perfectly, but certainly notably often.

And what if a fly does happen to get the best of her because it won't land anywhere "swattable"?  Well...that has a simple ninja-like solution as well.  Just knock it silly so you can subsequently swat it!  It's a matter of just swinging so hard you would think her arm would fly off. But wait, not only does it stay attached, that fly is now dizzy and falling to the ground like a vertically throw knuckle ball.  It must be those bony hands of hers.  I am significantly more strong/powerful than she is, but I have NEVER ONCE swatted at a fly with my hands and had it drop to the floor in a dizzy, almost blacked out state.  Yet I have seen her do it numerous times with her hands or fly swatters or slippers or rolled up magazine, or whatever was handy.  Granted, on a couple of occasions a light bulb has become an unwitting recipient of a pretty nasty beating because of this action, but it is only because of the Fly Ninja's state of hyper-focus when tracking the flying intruders.

I am not sure how Mrs. Smurf acquired her superpower.  Could it be the fact that she grew up as a kid in an area that did not have air conditioning, was forced to keep the windows open, and didn't have many toys to play with?  Could it be the fact that she blows up like a balloon with every mosquito bite and thus it is a self defense mechanism?  Is it maybe the sheer thrill of having ultimate power over an intruder that has invaded her castle?  What about the possibility of being bitten by a flying animal that was exposed to nuclear material and now she has the power of Fly Ninja?

Whatever the cause/reason, it is evident that she thoroughly enjoys combating these annoying dive-bombers and I am more than happy to let her.

Happy Hunting Mrs. Smurf!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Greasing the wheel [bearings]

As you may already know, we live on a hauled-water property.  What does this mean?  It means we have to bring our own water in.  No, it is not an area where we have to go down to the stream and bring pans of water up to the house just so we can heat it over the fireplace and use that for everyone’s bath that night.  What I am talking about is that we have a 2500 gallon water tank on our property that is pumped into our house just like city water would be.  The only difference is that we must keep that tank full ourselves.

There are two options for doing this.  1) We can pay $25 for every 1000 gallons to have it hauled in for us, or 2) we can haul it ourselves with our own water trailer.  I am not confident enough in having someone else provide this service of such a life preserving resource, nor am I confident that they won't piss in the tank if they get ticked at me.  So I handle this task myself.  It isn't difficult, I purchased an old water trailer, strapped a couple of IDC containers (totaling ~500 gallons) and a cheap water pump on the front.  From there I simply drive it about 1/4 mile down the road to the downspout provided by the water company, have my daughter, middle smurf, press the go/stop button for me while I hold the hose in the tank.  Then we bring it home and connect the discharge hose to the water pump, fire it up and wait 2 minutes for the transfer into the big tank.  Then repeat the process 3 more times. This takes between one and two hours depending on the amount of traffic at the downspout and how cool the weather is that day.

I have made many tweaks to the overall process since the beginning.  Small things like attaching the main hose to the tank and putting the quick connect end on the pump so I could simply leave the hose on the ground instead of rolling it up between every trip, putting a wooden pallet under the tanks to raise them about 6 inches to reach the hose easier, etc.

Unfortunately with all of my efficiency improvements it wasn't quite enough as I cannot get around the fact that I only have 500 gallons that I can carry and the fact that I can only fill one tank at a time (remember there are two on the trailer implying I have to pull the hose from one to insert it into the other on every fill-up trip).  What I really need is a 1000+ gallon trailer with a single water tank.  I don’t want much more than 1000 gallons because that alone would be 8000 to 9000 lbs.  That’s a heavy load for any truck, especially my lowly ’91 Ford F250.

After searching for about 2 to 3 months through Craigslist and on corner lots I never found one that was reasonably priced.  Then it an angel playing the violin after a rain cloud just passed...and it was on MY corner lot right as I was driving home.  1100 gallons for a VERY reasonable price!  I did a precursory inspection, called the number, made a run to the bank and met the guy at the trailer.  I looked over everything and found one of the four wheels was VERY wobbly.  I mean about to fall off wobbly.  It could only be bad (or non-existent) bearings.  After listening to the guy's "Yea, it was that way when we bought has been doing that for over a's a little wobbly going down the road, but it works just fine" BS speech, I talked him down some on the price and told him he had to deliver it to my driveway (which was just a few feet away).  He accepted and we were done.

After taking apart that wheel about a week later I found that while there were pieces of the bearing in there, it was reduced to a small handful of the rollers, hair thin strips of metal, and a pile of shavings that used to be something that resembled a wheel bearing.  There wasn't anything big enough for a part number in there!  The entire wheel was being held on by the inner bearing's oil seal and the nut and washer held against the outer bearing's race!  Luckily the axle itself wasn't abused too badly.  At least the situation overall was salvageable.

I was able to pull the races and inner bearings and seal out and take them to the auto parts store.  I won't mention which store I went to but it is very Irish.  Would you believe they actually had ALL of the parts I needed in stock!  Granted, I cleaned them out by buying a set for each side (heck, if I'm doing one I might as well do them both since the other can't be far behind if the first was that bad) but they did have them!

I took them home, got the one wheel put together and started the next.  When I dug into this second wheel, the bearings didn’t' look perfect, but might have been usable still (saving $50).  Unfortunately some numb-nut decided to mix greases when they did this wheel the last time!  It was pretty obvious because of the two different colors of grease present and the "boogers" that had formed into various harnesses of little rock hard granules as the two compounds reacted (apparently).  This would explain why the bearings looked pretty decent (compared to the other side) but not perfect.  This wheel WAS recently redone, but the boners that did the job goobered it up so bad there was no telling how much longer it would last.  Needless to say I made the decision to go ahead and do it anyway.

So...all you future rednecks: out the next guy.  I understand not wanting to do both wheels at the same time if you don't have the money.  Heck, I even understand using the wheel as-is when you clearly know it is thrashed.  But if you are going to take the time to do the job, AT LEAST do the job correctly enough so you don't have to do it again in the near future! Simply spending that extra half a penny on the extra grease it would have taken to make it single-type would have saved the next guy (me in this case) that extra $50 in bearings!