Saturday, July 24, 2010

Box Elder Bugs

These bugs are pretty much my arch-nemesis. They are all over around our fourplex. I kill about 50 a day, and I think I am still losing the battle.

Everywhere I look online, it just tells me that box elder bugs aren't anything to worry about - they won't mate indoors, they won't bite, they don't carry diseases, etc. Basically they are supposedly harmless. But I don't believe it; I think it's all a conspiracy, so I am continuing the fight.

A couple of years ago, the bugs were all over in the Business building at USU. One of my classmates decided to jump up and smash one on the wall with his feet. He successfully got the bug, but lost his balance in the process and ended up with stitches in his head after a run-in with a table on his way to the ground. Not fun for him - but at least we got to postpone the Labor Relations test we were supposed to have that day.

So my only rule for fighting box elder bugs is to keep both feet on the ground.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fantasy Football - WEPCO League, version 6.0!

For the sixth year in row (which is weird since Deidra and I have yet to celebrate our 5th anniversary), the WEPCO free fantasy football league is back on Yahoo! Sports. Click on the image below to join in:

You will need to create a profile, if you don't have one already. Once you do, here is the league information:

League ID#: 146846
Password: roxor

Monday, July 12, 2010

15 Years!?!

Last weekend was my 15 year high school class reunion (go DHS class of '95!).

It was a low-key, potluck dinner and I think I counted about 20 class members (along with spouses and kids) in attendance. That may not seem like many, but it's not a bad percentage when there's only 69 people in my graduating class.

The evening started out a little rigid and formal, as we all went around and took turns telling about where we live, what we do, our families, etc. But it was good to hear about everyone and learn what everyone has been up to.

Once everyone got their dinner and sat down, the conversation was a lot of fun. Hearing stories about classmates' children and spouses, remembering memories from our school days (from elementary through high school) and learning about other classmates who weren't there was really enjoyable. It was like old times again, and I remembered how much I really enjoyed school in Declo and the classmates that I graduated with.

It was a little bit strange being the only one there without kids. And when someone mentioned "Hey, do you realize that we've been graduated long enough to have started over at Kindergarten and graduated all over again?", I had a dose of reality as to how old I really am. But, for the most part, it was a great time and made me feel like a young buck again.

I certainly looking forward to July 11, 2015. 20 year class reunion, here we come!

Friday, July 02, 2010

Some Thoughts on Debt

I came across this article the other day about when you should and shouldn't get into debt. I applaud the fact that it called out our own government as acting in a way that the normal person shouldn't:

"The federal government is a good example of what ordinary folks should not do -- pile debt upon debt forever, taking out new loans to pay off old ones."

Next, the article discusses the potential need to incur debt in a true emergency:

"In a real emergency, you can justify almost anything. A legitimate emergency is a serious illness, or a car problem that will keep you from getting to work, a leaky roof that will ruin your home.

The need for a vacation is not an emergency. Basically, an emergency is something that will seriously undermine your life for years, not something that will put a little damper on your lifestyle."

The author of the article then goes on to give this wise counsel:

"The best policy: borrow only for a home and an education, two purposes with benefits outweighing the costs. If necessary, borrow to get basic, essential transportation, not to get luxuries like leather seats and navigation systems."

All-in-all, I thought it was a pretty good article, and it reminded me of similar counsel that those of us Mormons have gotten from our church leaders for years.

From Bishop J. Richard Clark (serving at the time as a member of the Presiding Bishopric) in 1980:

"Debt is always a burden, but some debt is necessary. Sound business debt, home mortgages, and other forms of 'secured' debt are unavoidable for most of us. However, extravagant use of credit, which comes from yielding to our emotions rather than reason, creates burden . . . Our guide for credit management should be: borrow only what we must, at the lowest rate available, for the shortest time possible."

From Elder Robert D. Hales (of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles) in 2009:

"[S]ome debt incurred for education, a modest home, or a basic automobile may be necessary to provide for a family. Unfortunately however, additional debt is incurred when we cannot control our wants and addictive impulses."

In 1987, President Ezra Taft Benson (as Prophet and President of the Church), prophesied of a deep recession, similar to what we are in now, and then offered his counsel:

"Many people do not believe that serious recession will ever come again. Feeling secure in their expectations of continuing employment and a steady flow of wages and salaries, they obligate their future income without thought of what they would do if they should lose their jobs or if their incomes were stopped for some other reason. But the best authorities have repeatedly said that we are not yet smart enough to control our economy without downward adjustments. Sooner or later these adjustments will come . . . 

"In the long run, it is easier to live within our income and resist borrowing from future reserves except in cases of necessity—never for luxuries . . . If you must incur debt to meet the reasonable necessities of life—such as buying an automobile, a house, or furniture—then I implore you, as you value your solvency and happiness, buy within your means and use credit wisely. Resist the temptation to plunge into property far more pretentious or spacious than you really need."

I am grateful for these principles that have been taught to me throughout my life. I may not have adhered to this counsel as much as I should have at times (particularly as a bachelor), but Deidra and I are much happier in life because we try to stay close to this counsel in our marriage.

As the initial article suggested, our own government is a horrible example when it comes to managing finances and staying (or getting) out of debt, and he goes on to explain it further:

"The federal government shows what happens when common-sense rules are broken -- trillions of dollars of debt. Digging out will cause pain for many of us, if not most, through higher taxes or reduced benefits on things like Social Security and Medicare.

Economic recovery can help, as it brings in more tax revenue. But when the federal government uses rosy growth projections to argue its debt will come down, most people laugh. But then many of us turn around and do the same thing, assuming pay raises and investment gains will somehow produce money to pay off our ever-growing debts."

I know it is getting close to July 4th, Independence Day here in the United States, and we should all be paying tribute to this great nation we live in. But I can't help but think that our country is paying the price for bad financial decisions made years ago. And, as a nation, I don't know that we are learning the lessons that we should.