Booked.

yea, she wrote a book

This is a celebratory post.

As I write this, there’s a Fedex box on the kitchen table and in it are the the contents of BW’s first of many books ready to be sent off to her publisher.

Yes, you read that right. Her publisher. As in, published author. As in – you can soon buy the book on Amazon.  I mean how cool is that? Really cool, that’s what.

A bit of a backstory:

BW is a professional.  As in career. You know, day. job. ( I still shudder when I hear those two words together ) and unlike you know who, there’s diplomas on the walls, and more books here in the house than I ever thought possible. To summarize, she’s smart.  Pretty too.

And to you, you might just see a pile of file folders in a box, but to us – this is a pretty big deal. This is like, life changing big deal. (professionally anyway).

So you can imagine, my surprise when she told me on date one that she’s writing a book. This was before my blogging carreer here and the most I had written was my online dating profile and how I love pina colodas and walks in the rain. And, ever since that day, it’s been the book, the book, the book. Chapters and introductions and rewrite’s – oh my.

I won’t lie – this hasn’t been easy. There’s been tears (mine), and lots of reads and error checks (me, for starters -and  then it went to the higher ups) and sleepless nights getting this pile of words accepted, and ready for publication. This is a far cry from starting a blog let’s say where all you need  is ten bucks, a cup of coffee and a half  an hour or so to bang out pearl after pearl of wisdom and hope you don’t get sued.

Nope, this is different. We’re talking footnotes and appendixes  and stuff I don’t even know. Accents and quotes and formatting and chapters and introductions. Now, I don’t want to  burst your bubble, but this book is more technical in nature and will appeal to a very specific  readership. This aint’ no ‘shades of gray’.  More, like ‘define dry’. : )

But it’s done. Finished. Gone.

And now that this monkey is off our backs and in the Fedex box awaiting pickup,  we’ve got nothing to do but ask ourselves…

What will the next book be about? (Lord, help me)

Seriously though:  I’m proud  of you, BW. You told me you were going to write this book, and you did. Just like you said you would, on date one. Thanks for letting me stick around to see the you send this book of yours out the door.

 

 

Deccaffienated

I love coffee

If you know me you know I have a wee bit of addiction problem. I’m not addicted to love (well, okay..maybe I am), or drugs or booze. I am flirting with an eBay addiction, but that’s a story for another day as it would take me tomes and tomes to write about all the crap I’ve bought on eBay (Oh, Hi Honey – I didn’t realize you read this)..

Back  to the  story: I like coffee. Maybe like is too tame a word. Saying that I like coffee is like saying that Bill Clinton didn’t inhale – both are lies. I love coffee and thank goodness there’s a Timmy’s down the road or the transition to the ‘ol red white and blue and oh say can you see would be even harder for me, but thankfully I’m only a mile down the road to salvation and there’s another church of caffeination opening up even sooner. Better yet, the mediums here a huge.

Now that we’ve got established my love for the black nectar, I have a confession to make: I broke the Keurig Machine.

This woudn’t be that big a deal if it weren’t for the fact that this is the second Keurig machine that can’t handle my 20-cups a day habit (too much?). That’s two $150 coffee machines I’ve burned out in just over a year.  Needless to say, there won’t be a third.  I’m thinking a french press might be able to handle the abuse but time will tell.

Now, before you all go call 911, It’s OK – I have everything under control, and  I have backups. I have an espresso machine and a coffee maker to get me through these hard times. It will be rough adjusting to life without on demand hot coffee by the cup, but as I am learning there are sacrifices when one gets married, and we all have to say goodbye to our carefree single days and make do with just three coffee makers in the house.  It will be hard, but I think I’ll be able  to manage.

Now, any recommendations for replacements would be great, or better yet – If you know of any place where I can buy a caffeine patch for my arm, that might work too. Also if anybody wants a Keurig coffee maker for parts or repair – I have one. Two, actually. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We Buy Things We Don’t Need With Money We Don’t Have To Impress People We Don’t Like

Pretty freaky title, eh? This is  just a test of my odd little skillset with this article. The phrase above is what gets searched for on Google the most so far out of all the other stuff  I have written to date on this site.

 

This, my friends is called the long tail in the land of internet marketing  –  I’ll never rank for the word husband on Google. (I think I should rank for number 1 husband, but then hey, I am biased. ) But I will rank for this title once I hit the submit button.  I’m already getting searches for it, yet this topic has never appeared here before.

Imagine what would happen if I actually wrote about the above? So with that in mind:

 

If there’s one thing  I have learned since being married is that you don’t need a lot of stuff or to impress a whole lot of people. Ever wonder how you see those old guys with socks and sandals on the beach, or just checking the mail or doing yardwork in the front yard and you think – who dresses these guys? You see, they don’t care or don’t need to impress anybody. They are happy not spending money on stuff they don’t need to impress strangers.

This is one thing to say all this, but in practice – it’s harder in real life. We want to  live in the  cool place, drive the cool car and wear the cool clothes. We want to fit in. Well, most of us – some of us are happy being the odd ball – just ask me how I know. Back to my point : I’d love to buy a new Hyundai Veloster, and one of the reasons is pure vanity  – it looks cool. Besides, I’m middle aged, and I’m due for something sporty. But, here’s the thing: Despite that the air conditioning is gone, and BW seems to think that due to this fact we need to buy a new car (we don’t)  our  little car gets around town just fine.

Eventually we’ll have to buy a new car, but when we do we’ll buy the car we want to fit our needs, one we can afford and one where we could care less what the neighbours think. Why? Because here’s what happens when you buy a new car: You get one, maybe two nice comments about your new set of wheels when you park it in your driveway, but after that the only one left to impress is you. And the thing with new is that new becomes the new old, and within weeks you’ve got cheerios behind the seat cushions on the new car. You’ve become acclimatized to the new. The new, is  no longer the new new, but the new old. You’re bored with the old new. But, you’re making payments on it –  for another 72 months. Ouch

But what if you stopped spending money you don’t have on stuff you don’t need to impress others? You spend less, you save more. Maybe you travel more and because you do, and can afford to, because you stopped buying crap –  your wife now thinks you’re the world’s biggest hero.

It’s time to start impressing the people that matter to you, and not some stranger at a stoplight.

 

 

show your wife  you can  do it

See? about 200 words or so on the topic. I could keep going, but I made my point: Stop buying crap you don’t need – take your wife to Paris instead. (note to BW:  this is not a promise – just saying)

I do this all day long. I write articles just like this. I try to answer a question if  I can, because everybody’s always searching for something and me too – you’re never too  old to learn new things. Here’s a few questions I have in my head from just today:

  1. How to keep your wife from losing her marbles?

  2. How to replace a concrete front porch

  3. How to get the dog to stop barking at the UPS guy

  4. How to convince your wife you need a new lens for your camera

  5. How to tell your wife she doesn’t need to buy more shoes

and on and on and on..

What happens, is that after a bit of time, all the articles I have written start to make me money. On one site I’ve written 440 articles and have made over ten thousand dollars this year to date. In my underwear – at five in the morning (apologies for the mental image). The math works out to about 36 dollars a year for every article I add to my site on average. Some, make me no money but others make me lots to make up for the ones that don’t. This works the same as the movies or the music industry – the hits pay for the duds, and then some – but until you make them, there’s no guarantee what will be what.

The solution? Write more.

The $1000 challenge

What I love about what I do is that once you have data, you can make more money.  I know I will get some visitors here based on the title of this article alone.  I also know that if I’m making ten grand with 400 articles, I can make 30 grand with 1200, or thereabouts.  So, that’s what I intend to do – make 30k a year in brand new income. This won’t take me too long. I’m a third of the way done. I can’t say it will take me 90 days, or even 3 years, but eventually if you throw enough mud at the wall some will stick.

Why am I doing this? For one reason, and one reason only: BW doesn’t believe I can, and she’s the only person I need to impress. I can talk about  how I’m going to make more money, but until she actually sees the cash-ola she’s not going to believe me. You know the saying: “Money talks, bullshit walks”?  And right now I’m producing more of the latter and less of the former.  I intend to  change that, and a grand a month seems like a manageable goal to start with.

A grand a month works out to 33.00 a day or so, and assuming I make $3/month for each article, I need to write about 350 or so more and what better way to make myself accountable to this half baked idea than to write it down here? Assuming each one takes me an hour, there’s no reason why I should not be able write 5 a day x 5 days = 25 articles a week. Somedays I may write more, some less, and I could even cheat and outsource the work to India, but for this first thousand bucks I won’t – I’ll do the work myself. So 100 articles a month = 3.5 months = $1000 a month in new income by Christmas 2012  – that’s the goal. If I push myself I want to have 1000 articles written by year’s end published

The beauty of this is the more you write, the more questions you can answer. I never knew that somebody was searching for this, but I do now. Here’s a few other searches I rank for on Google with this site: (the numbers are how many times this site has come up in Goog;e’s search results). God, I wish I knew the answer to the second question. 

Screen Shot 2012-08-21 at 7.58.53 PM

 

Pretty funky list eh?  If I wrote how to buy cheap weed,  how to feed the dog, how much is a  mazda CX-5, where can I see a dog  drinking beer. – one article on each, I’d get not only more visitors for those terms but those articles would produce even more terms and add to this list.  The idea list is pretty much nonstop. I have a spreadsheet with over 25,000 keywords to write about – that should keep me pretty busy. 🙂

That’s it. I need to make a $1000 a month by the holidays in new income. All because of a pretty smile. (and to prove to her that I can do this)

Also, when people ask us what we both do – We can both say ‘we’re writers’. Aren’t you impressed? 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

B is for Botanical

Today, we went to the Buffalo Botanical Gardens for a wander and to see how the rich people live. I mean, look at the sunroom in this place!

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and BW is really, really jealous of their front garden. I thought ours was pretty good, but holy smokes will ya have a look at this. Can you imagine their tax bill? or water bill?

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And once inside, boy I thought we had a lot of plants but these folks sure do have a lot, and look what they have in the middle of their living room:

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A very big globe. I told BW ‘no touching, keep your hands in your pockets’ but she didn’t listen. (Sigh, wives) 🙂

But..we did see some very very nice flowers out and about today. Let me show you around…

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As you can see, these folks must have a gardener, where here at home it’s just us to toil away at our garden we bought on eBay.  But, at least we got to go out into the world on a nice summer day and see some sights and flowers, and for Buffalo –  and all the jokes this was a really nice place to visit and we’d happily go visit here again, and will.

Enjoy your weekend!

 

Terra Firma

I thought I was a goner.

fast truck

A new wide angle lens, a nice summers’ eve and a bridge to walk up seems like a good idea, yes?

Until you do it.

Things I must remember before walking up to the top of a bridge above the niagara river:

  1. I can’t swim

  2. I’m afraid of heights.

It started off as a nice little adventure.  I left BW at home reading a book, grabbed the camera and my old school manual focus lens and I was off.

boat sunset

And from the bottom of the Grand Island Bridge, this wasn’t such a bad idea…

But as I walked up to the top I realized something else: the bridge shakes! A lot! The sidewalk is designed for passengers and all but boy can you feel every shake, rattle and roll the bridge makes as the traffic whizzes by.

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and I sure as heck wasn’t going to look down over the railing at all that water Boaters

But I soldiered on and made it to the top of the bridge.

blue bridge

and then before you know it, it got dark.

headlights

And I rode off into the sunset…

sunset on grand island bridge

The End.

Nice Melons

We have some. Melons, that is. As in fruit.

We have big ones:

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and we have smaller melons.

small melons

But as the photo above shows, the bigger melon has been, um, appreciated by other non family members. My guess is they have big floppy ears

And that’s too bad because we were really looking forward to growing the melons, and although off to a slower start than our peas and beans, it looks like  – if we can keep the bunnies away – we may have some fresh fruit in a few weeks.

What we’ve learned so far in our 2012 gardening adventure: 

  1. Your friend’s dog will enter the backyard and make a bee-line to pee on your garden
  2. You need more than an inch or so of topsoil. It’s a tad too early to tell but the beets and carrots we planted haven’t really done all that hot. I don’t think there’s enough deep dirt for them to grow. Beneath our $100 of topsoil is just clay.
  3. Our dog, oddly enough could care less about the garden.
  4. Our tomatoes were plum, of which we saw three  – or about  $33 per tomato,not including labor.
  5. Bunnies like melons
  6. Weeds will grow pretty much anywhere
  7. We can grow green beans with ease. Next year, it’s looking like an all green bean garden.
  8. Our neighbour took the stone that covered the garden and was the floor of the dog kennel meaning I didn’t have to deal with getting rid of the old patio stones.
  9. I’m not sure we have the amount of water/sun ratio down pat. We may be drowning some of our efforts.
  10. We sure are having a lot of fun with this – more than I had imagined.

 

And…that’s really all the news that’s fit to print here. I start shooting for the new job next week, and much to my surprise I survived getting a tooth yanked, it seems.

We’ve got a lazy anniversary weekend (six months!)  planned here, and I plan on taking my beautiful bride for a fancy $13.00 dinner to celebrate, and afterwards we may go to the Wegmans. Beat that for excitement. 🙂

Until Next Week,

TH. 🙂

Shutters, Soup, Strolls and Scoops

I’m on the soup diet. Also, the antibiotics and pain killer diet. Also: I’m missing a tooth.

Soup Diet

This was a planned event, this toothless-ness and long-term, this is all for the better so all’s well that ends well.

A few tooth extraction notes: All things considered, it wasn’t all that bad to have a tooth yanked out of your head. Not that it was like a Saturday afternoon with my lottery winnings in my back pocket at a speaker store, but with the help of modern medicine and more importantly, a patient wife –  she’s had to put up with my sorry toothless-nes. She still loves me even though I now feel I could act in the next episode of the Beverly HillBillies.

Enough crying in my soup – we had a great few days even with the dental trip.

First up: Ice Cream! 

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On Sunday Night, we went to Lockport for Ice Cream! Lockport is about half an hour away from us and even though BW has lived here for five years she hadn’t been there. This goes to prove one thing: We’re meant for each other ! We don’t stray away from home much if left to our druthers.

Soo.. I had vanilla (plain, boring and predictable) and BW had some whiskey and brown sugar concoction. Afterwards we wandered around Lockport a bit and looked at the..wait for it..Locks!

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New Shutters! 

The big news here is that the front of our house has a new look thanks to Tim the Handyman ( Hey, I blog  – she can’t have it all) and despite the fact that these have been sitting in our freshly painted garage for a week, they are now up and installed and look great.

Goodbye salmon colored shutters and hello to a more classic black:

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We Walked In The Woods 

Sunday Night, on the eve of my much dreaded tooth yank, we walked off my final steak dinner for a while and went exploring the island. Who knew there was so much fun in our own backyard?

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Fresh Biscuits!

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Lastly, due to my soup diet I am on the lookout for softer foods for the next few days – what could be better than fresh baked biscuits by yours truly?

What a week so far. Thank goodness BW took good care of me and went to the Wegmans and bought me lots and lots of soup. I’m a lucky guy, tooth or no tooth.

 

Floored

Oh Good, more painting.

In case you missed it, there was also a bit of painting here and here too, so I guess you could say if there has been a theme for the summer of 2012, it’s been the summer of the paintbrush, and today the tradition continues with the garage floor. Compared to the deck and lawn furniture this was a relative breeze except for one small minor thing we overlooked:

Do not prepare or paint a garage in 95 degree heat! I know in February when I come back and read this, I’ll be thinking and dreaming about a 95 degree day, but when your’re in what’s essentially an easy bake oven (or so it felt) even 95 feels much much hotter.

BEFORE

Garage unpainted

As you can see the four seasons in the Greater Niagara Area have not been kind to our garage floor and this job was due to be sure, and today was a good day for painting, if you don’t factor in how hot we were.

Now, we knew it was going to be hot, so the plan was that we would get up early. Yes, the both of us. I had ‘wake me up’ authorization and everything. I started by scraping the paint and then giving things a quick sweep and then went in to see how the beautiful assistant was doing in the waking up department. I talked to her, she answered back.  In my world, if I am talking and making sentences it usually means I am awake, so I assumed that BW would be getting her act together shortly…

Apparently not. It seems some of us fell back into the land of falalalala while some of us were outside workin’ and a sweatin’ away. Now, to be fair there wasn’t  much to be done until the actual painting later in the day anyway… so.

So. Much. Power

In the wish I’d have known that before department, I now know that the power washer we bought earlier this summer has probably been the best money we ever spent and that after I spent an hour in the heat on my hands and knees scraping up loose paint bits, I learned that using the power washer is a much more effiecient use of our time and energy and makes short work of preparing the floor for painting.

And.. after a quick lunch, the floor was dry and ready to be painted, and with the two of us doing the painting we were done in under an hour:

AFTER

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I think the best part  is how thrilled BW is with the finished project. I may paint a lot, but with the money I save on rose bouquets… 🙂

We sat down after we cleaned up, had a snack:

hard work snack

And that’s when I heard it.  At first I thought I was mistaken, so I listened again and there it was again:

“I want to paint the living room”

To be continued…

 

 

Work Authorization

Nikon 35-70 mounted

When BW and I first met, we met halfway because, as BW said at the time – “it’s equitable”, and it has been except for one part where things are lacking significantly on my part: the money. She makes the dough, I get the glory. 🙂

If you’re reading this, you know me and you know the small business I started over a dozen years ago is shrinking. Blame it on the economy, the technology – whatever you like  – but the long and short of it is the numbers at the end of the year aren’t going in the right, or at very least the desired direction lately.

So, it seems that despite the fact that BW keeps me in the way I’ve become accustomed and I haven’t had a real job in over decade, all that changed today and if Bjorn Borg can come out of retirement, so can I.

I got a j-j-j-job today 

It’s OK if you want to stop and read that again. (Hi Dad!)

I start in the next week or so.

I am now (or should be soon) an action and team sports photographer for a local photo outfit. It’s essentially school photos, but for local team sports. Finally, after 25 years since I graduated from photo school do I get an actual job as a photographer. All that college education hasn’t gone to waste afterall, Dad. 🙂

How It All Happened 

The other morning I was browsing craigslist looking for a j-j-j-j…(I’m still having a hard time with this. It will take time) and saw an ad for “action photographers”, so I sent a note that I’m new here, but I do have a photo diploma and a couple years under my belt in the ‘digital darkroom’ domain and then comes the hard part – they wanted to see a portfolio. Because I wasn’t really looking for a photo job I didn’t have a portfolio to show. So…

I sent them photos of the dog.

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It was the only action photos I had.

oh – and this one:

hummingbird feeder

 

(and a few other recent ones that you’ve seen) and said I’d love to chat further and that I’m pretty flexible with hours, am reliable, etc.

The phone rang later last night, and I popped in to say Hi earlier this morning. Training starts next week. 

Essentially, I shoot kids at hockey games, cheerleading competitions, some football and so on. You know that photo of your niece with a soccer ball and a smile on the fridge? or group shot of your son’s hockey team? If you’re now in the greater Buffalo area, there’s a small chance that will be taken by me.

This job clicks with me and fits to a T because it isn’t really a job at all. It’s some evenings and some weekends. It’s part time, at best.

I’m going to get paid for photographing people. Granted, the average age of the subject will be seven years old and the hourly pay isn’t much higher than my subjects age will be, but it’s not some crappy office job and the only resume I sent was a paragraph in an email reply.  I sold myself, and got a job the same way I’ve gotten every job I have ever had – without a resume, but with an email instead. 

I’ve done this before in Canada about 20 years ago – but I don’t remember shooting the action photos. When I did this right out of college, you would drive to a local hockey arena and shoot the kids posing. I did this with film cameras. I imagine this is a breeze to shoot with digital.

This sounds like fun. This gets me outside, brings in a bit of dough (happy wife), and allows me to use my unconventional skillset. Win Win Win.

Or, should I say: “Score!” 🙂

 

 

Shut In

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I was afraid of this. What happens when life, is just – life? Do you keep the world up to date (okay, six readers)   with the daily updates about all the lint you found in the dryer and how many loads of laundry you did and that you bought new underpants at Target? Or do you wait until something else interesting happens?

Compared to weeks where we’ve had boxes on our heads, this week pales by comparison – even if I did get some new skivvies and bought a new wide angle lens on eBay.

Anyhoo… other news:

  1. It’s August 1, so that means it’s a holiday weekend!  Oh, what’s that? Only in Canada you say? I should figure as much considering that here in the good ‘ol USA it’s all about the dollar. We Canucks, we like our weekends long and often. Here, we’ve got to wait until labor day. It figures the next US holiday is about working.

  2. Because it’s summertime, we leave the door open. Great for a breeze but, cause the dog constantly barks at every kid biking by or dog walker it makes for a long hot summer. I know this is normal but, still. drives. me. crazy. 

  3. And speaking of drives me crazy, we went to Home Depot the other night. I am learning that BW and I are far different when it comes to planning. Take for example, Monday night: BW wants shutters for the house and calls our handyman to come install them. He says, the best way to install them is for us to go buy them at Home Depot and then he’ll install them. This conversation happend at 8pm.  Want to know where BW wanted to go at 8:05pm? Yah, you got it.

I tried, in vain to explain that:

a. buying new shutters at 8pm is not an emergency.  A heart attack is  (that’s what she’s giving me) 

b. our handyman is handy, but he’s not the fastest in response time. even if we got the shutters right away,  they still wouldn’t be installed for a few days – so what’s the rush? You know the saying.. you can  have good or fast? He’s the first one.

c. At 8pm, I’m starting to unwind. I’ve been up since 5, walked the dog, did umpteen loads of laundry, took the garbage out , cleaned the bathroom, and sundry other duties and in the late evening I’m thinking about reading a book with a cup of tea, and not shop for window decorations.

Our new shutters are black and waiting in the garage for the handyman to install them. We finally have house numbers too. And paint to paint the garage floor this coming weekend. I didn’t get home until 10pm!

No boxes on heads, new flower gardens or painting the last few days – just some time to relax and go for a stroll or hang out in the basement where it’s cooler.

Hope you’re doing the same (and staying away from Home Depot  – it’s expensive!)

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PS. See that flower? We have an entire front garden full of ‘em. We bought the seeds on eBay.