For a Good Deal, Call Kevin

Kevin has become a hoarder.

Okay. No he hasn’t, but it sure feels like he has and if you look closely, it sure LOOKS like he has.

Kevin and Roy haunt yard sales every weekend. Every. Weekend. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, without fail. And to be perfectly honest, it’s sort of amazing how much junk stuff they have found that has actually been pretty useful.

For example:

Washer/Dryer $75 for the washing machine – they paid Kevin/Roy to take the dryer and they fixed the dryer for $12.
Pressure Washer: $30 – retail $275
Lights on stands: $10 for both – retail $35 for both
Hedger: $5 – retail $75
Dresser: $20 – retail $150
Six/Seven pairs of sneakers for Roy: $4 – retail: $60 (one was a pair of Nike Jordans)
Leather Cowboy boots: $5 – retail $150
Coats/Jackets for Roy, Kevin and the boys: $3-5 – retail: $40 average
Two ceiling fans w/ lights for Roy: $3 – retail: $75
Two ceilings fans for our house: one for $3, one for $.50: retail $75 each
56 inch TV (works perfectly) for $15 – retail: $200
Antique cabinet $20 – retail $100
Nightstand $5 – retail: $35
Two gamer chairs $2 / $5: retail $80
Two brand-new pairs of jeans $10: retail $35
Air mattresses for the pool $1: retail $5
Painting over our sofa $8: retail $30
IBM Thinkpad $1 (and it works like brand new!): retail $150
Countless DVD’s and XBox games: $.50 a piece.
StarWars DVD set $3: retail $80 (!)
TV FREE: retail $150
25 lb weights $12 total: retail $20 each
20 lb weights $10 total: retail $17 each
Free toolbox (it’s a red toolbox on wheels): retail $30
Shelves $5 each: retail $30
Powerstrips $1: retail $5
Laser printer $5: retail $150 (yes – it works great)

That’s what really surprises me about all of the stuff he’s gotten at these sales – they were all in new, or like new, condition. Whenever I think of garage sales, I think JUNK. And not just JUNK – JUNKJUNK. Like broken, missing parts, dings, scrapes, nicks JUNK. But honestly, God was watching out for Kevin and Roy. And here’s why I think that… Remember, Roy moved into the house with virtually nothing. NOTHING. And not a lot of money. He gets a monthly paycheck from the government every month and that’s it. And because our government welfare system is so messed us, he HAS to spend all of his money every month – he is not allowed to save any of it. And if he gets a job, he can’t work over a certain number of hours or he will lose his benefits.

Tell me that’s not asinine.

But I digress.

So, he has enough money to pay rent and buy food. He doesn’t have a lot left over for any extras. And remember, he’s not allowed to save his money so you can see our challenge – he’s on his own, doesn’t have a lot of things he needs and doesn’t have the money, or the permission, to save for said need.

Kevin and Roy started garage sale hopping. And it would ASTOUND me becasue not only were they able to find everything on their list and the things that Roy needed, but that the items they found were not only dirt cheap, they were in good shape. I think that’s a pretty big testament to Kevin and Roy’s faith. What are the odds that they found exactly what they needed, and it was in great shape, for dirt cheap?


No. I have not gone with them when they hunt for their goodies. Garage sales have left a bitter, BITTER taste in my mouth. I have nothing against garage sales, per se, but I grew up on garage sale stuff and hand-me-downs. Now mom, don’t take offense, you did what you had to do to feed and clothe three children. And might I add, you did a DAMN good job of it. Though I knew the stuff I had was used, second hand, I never wanted for anything, not really.

But when I left my family home to make a life for myself, I was DETERMINED I was not going to live on other people’s hand-me-downs. I wanted my own stuff, call it a pride thing, I guess.

So it seems almost like I’ve come full circle now that Kevin has been bringing home things from garage sales. And though I’m not entirely thrilled that he’s doing this, I have to admit, I’m impressed. It takes a lot of patience to go to ten garage sales every weekend just to keep an eye out for specific things. And he must be doing something right because he’s bringing home some pretty good stuff.

For example, the ceiling fan in our bedroom and the spare bedroom (Brandon’s old room) are from garage sales. He bought the one in our bedroom for $3 bucks. THREE BUCKS. And it’s brand-spanking new. And I like it. And it looks nice. And Kevin says every time he looks at it, he gets a thrill because he remembers stumbling across it at the sale and immediately knew it was a good deal and where he wanted to put it. If we had bought that ceiling fan from someplace like Lowe’s, it would easily be $70 bucks.

But I am concerned. He is wracking up quite a few things and though he finds places for these things, and a lot of times we need these things, we’re getting to the point that he’s having to be creative on where he’s placing these things. He’s talking about opening up an eBay store and running it with Roy which I’m okay with, but the problem with Kevin is, he gets attached to things. I mean REALLY attached to things. He has trouble letting anything go.

Hence my concern.

Kevin says he feels like a rich man because of all of the deals he’s found these past months. And now, every time we go shopping, I hear, “there’s no way I’m paying that much for that item when I can find it for a quarter at a garage sale.”

(Sound familiar, mom?? HA!)

I’ve married the male version of my mother. HAHA!

Whose Fault Is It? Yours, Most Likely. Own It.


It’s amazing how things have changed over the years, especially in the realm of education.

Once upon a time, there was this magical concept called personal responsibility and students were expected to do their homework, study, work hard, and get good grades.

When a student doesn’t do their job or work hard to get good grades it’s the teacher’s fault, not the kid’s incredibly flabby work ethic.

This lack of personal responsibility is why we have a future generation of self-entitled knuckleheads making a career out of being on welfare.

This applies to adults, too.

Breaking Tradition

We didn’t buy fireworks this year. I don’t know, we just weren’t into it this year. In years past, we bought fireworks at a place where Kevin’s parents knew the owners and we would get a really good deal. The owners would pack us a bag full of goodies (because let’s face it, fireworks look the same and you really don’t know what they are going to do, but the fireworks stand owners know and are a great resource if you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck. [pun intended]), and we would split the cost with Kevin’s parents.

We’ve gotten some REALLY good fireworks with that arrangement for the past several years.

We would then have a cookout at Kevin’s folks’ house then shoot off our awesome fireworks. Me, Kevin’s mom and dad would sit on their pergola and Kevin, Blake and Brandon would run their butts off and light the fireworks.

Then, when it was over, we would all go out with bags and pick up the aftermath.

Fun times.

We did this for two reasons: Kevin’s parents live outside of the city limits thereby giving us a venue to blow our money [pun intended] and it gave us a chance to spend the holiday with Kevin’s parents. Because for whatever reason, Kevin’s sisters have never included Kevin’s parents in their 4th of July festivities.

However, we broke tradition this year. Money is tight and having us over for a cookout is a lot of work for Kevin’s parents, who are getting up there in age. Everyone agreed with this plan except Blake – he was disappointed. I think 4th of July is his favorite holiday. He loves blowing things up.

(That desire has always sort of bothered me, to be honest).

This year, Kevin’s parents came over to Roy’s house (i.e. the rental house) and we, (i.e. Kevin) cooked hamburgers and curly hotdogs. Kevin, Roy and Blake swam and Kevin’s mom and I sat on the edge of the pool and chit-chatted. Kevin’s dad napped.

When it got dark, we drove over to the nursing school parking lot and mooched off the spectacular fireworks show at the country club.

I imagine that will be our 4th of July plans for many more years to come. Cheap and easy.

And now it’s way past my bedtime and my eyes are drooping. I have a lot of chores and studying to do tomorrow before the boys come over to swim and then have nachos with us.

Happy birthday, America. You’re not the same awesome country you were twenty years ago, but we still love you and haven’t given up on you. You’ll be great again someday …

God Bless What’s Left of America

We have our American Flag hanging outside our house and I can’t help but wonder, will someone report us? Will someone in our neighborhood be offended that we proudly display our American Flag?

To which I reply: Tough shit. good-morning-merica

I’m so SICK of people being offended by everything nowadays.

Get over it.

People are offended because some whack-job worshiped a confederate flag and was high on anti-psychotic drugs and shot a bunch of people in a church (notice I said PEOPLE – we’re all PEOPLE, color is irrelevant), and now the confederate flag offends people so we’re going to go completely berserk and obliterate every last trace of the confederate flag from the face of the Earth.

Idiots. The confederate flag didn’t MAKE that nut-job shoot those people, it was simply a trigger for his crazy delusions. What if his trigger had been a black cat? Would we suddenly want to eradicate black cats from existence? If you need to be “offended” by someone, be “offended” by the act and the person who committed the act, not an inanimate object.

Geez louise people …

You have the right to dislike the confederate flag – I’m not crazy about that flag, either. I think it represents a sad, mixed-up time in our history. I have never understood people who buy that flag and then proudly display it. Why? Do they wish they could go back to those times? Well too bad, it’s not happening. We learned our lesson the first time. Right?


But I’m not offended if they choose to fly it. It’s their right to do so. And it does serve to remind of us of the mistakes we made during that time period. This isn’t about me and my feelings, it’s about other people’s CHOICE to make bad decisions.

People need to grow a backbone and stop being such emotional cry babies.

The only thing I think of when I see that flag is slavery. And how that’s bad. And I’m truly perplexed that we thought, at one time in our history, that having one set of human beings serve another set of human beings was somehow acceptable. And then I roll my eyes and shrug my shoulders. I wonder more about the people behind these “offenses” than about anything else. People are idiots. What are you going to do?

Anyway, back to the American flag and our country.

I can’t get into this 4th of July. What, exactly, are we celebrating? Our freedoms? Our freedom to do what, exactly? Abide by the rules? Live under a supreme dictator or a group of tenured lawyers who have been given the right to make our decisions for us?

Freedom to “ignore its own laws and tear its Constitution to pieces?”

Freedom “to dismantle the institution of marriage in favor of legitimizing sexual perversion?”

What, exactly, are we celebrating nowadays? Our freedoms are slowly being taken away with each passing law and government decree.

If so, what’s so great about being great? Where is the optimism in that miserable greatness? Where is the hope for the future if moral bankruptcy, selfishness, confusion, stupidity, deviancy and failure are “great”?

This is why I’m surprised liberals are still out burning American flags. What are they upset about? This country has been reshaped in their image. They won the culture, the government, academia, the media, even the churches. This is their America. They own it. Yet they aren’t satisfied because liberalism, like its father Satan, is intent only on destruction and consumption. It will never be satiated.

You might say most of the examples I provided have to do with America’s people, not America herself. But the distinction is irrelevant because a democracy is only as great as its people. Meanwhile, our government is corrupt and feckless, and our political leaders are cowardly and self-serving. Yes, the Constitution is great, but it’s still just a set of laws. If laws are ignored, they might as well not exist. The Bill of Rights can’t make us great if we don’t follow it, just like your running shoes can’t make you fit if you don’t put them on and go for a jog.

So in what way is America great at the moment? Are we a moral beacon for the world now? Where is the rest of the world supposed to locate that shining light of moral clarity? Is it somewhere buried under the dead children and the perversion and the porn and the divorce and the drugs and the disease and the dependency and the Nanny State socialism? What about leadership in government, or education, or the home? Is American culture great in these respect

No, America Is Not a Great Nation. Not anymore.

I dare you to read Matt Walsh’s entire article. Read it completely through and tell me you don’t disagree. This country is slowly being flushed down the crapper. With every flush, we compromise another belief and/or ideal. Like a stone sculptor, decency is being chipped away, slowly, oh so slowly, and then suddenly, we see the finished product and wonder, what happened? How did we get here? What happened?

Like sleep walkers, we are suddenly shaken awake.

We got here by being outraged over the confederate flag. We got here by being distracted by Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner. We got here by not paying attention to what our educational system is doing to our children. We got here by being too busy playing with the newest and coolest electronic gadgets. We got here by putting all of our energies and time into being offended by the stupidest, most insignificant things.

It’s like people don’t WANT to really know what’s going on. It’s like people purposefully look the other direction in order NOT to see and/or deal with the bigger issues. Because talking about big changes is too uncomfortable, it’s too hard. And now we’ve reached a point of no return – can you IMAGINE trying to cut benefits to people who now solely rely on the nanny state to take care of them? Can you IMAGINE overhauling an education system so that we get back to teaching children and not indoctrinating children?

We’ve dug our grave, it’s time to lie in it.

Why should we celebrate the mess we created?

I think Matt summarizes this hopelessness best:

Here’s what I do know, and here’s the hopeful part: Our priority has to be our families and our souls. The fate of the country or the globe has not been put entirely, or even mostly, in our individual hands. But we have profound jurisdiction over the fate of our families, the spiritual state of our children, whether our households serve the Lord, and whether we serve the Lord. That’s our hope for the future. Right there.

We can find greatness if we strive for holiness. We have to. We are entering an age where only the great Christians will spiritually survive. It’s a scary time, but if we heed the call to holiness, we can find immense joy. That’s what I want for my children, though I fear for them quite a bit these days. I can’t imagine what this country will look like in 30 or 40 years. Maybe things will have turned around, but honestly I really doubt it. So all I can do is hold them close, try to be a better father to them and a better husband to my wife, and equip them as best I can for what comes next.

I believe strongly that real persecution awaits us down the road. I think my children will face hostility and opposition and maybe even violence on a level I haven’t yet seen. We are heading into very challenging times, but if we keep our families together and our hearts with God, we’ll be OK. No matter what happens, we’ll be OK. And, by extension, if we pour ourselves into our families and into our faith, we might be able to rescue this culture and this country from the clutches of progressive annihilation. It won’t happen quickly, and I don’t know if it will happen at all, but I know there’s a chance. America is not lost completely. Not yet.

So find strength in the Lord. Love your spouse and your children like Christ loves the Church. Be a leader in your home. Be willing to sacrifice everything for your family. Be unwilling to sacrifice your soul for anything. Confront the reality of our current state and accept that you will be asked to endure a lot of pain and persecution. Pray. Remember what America was. Remember who God is. Remember who you are and why you’re here and that you were put here in this time for a reason.

God bless what’s left of America.

And may God have mercy on your soul.


Flooded Trails

We’ve gotten a lot of rain this past week. And for the life of me, I don’t know why it didn’t dawn on me that the Nature Trails would be flooded but …

… they were.

We were able to cross smaller sections of water, Kevin took his walking sandals off, I did not and my feet are soaking wet in the picture above. But by the time we reached this section of the trail, we had to turn back.

We were supposed to be walking, not wading.

No. This doesn’t mean I’m back into walking. This does mean that I NEED to get back into walking. My poochy belly has baby poochies.

It sounds cute, I can assure you, it’s not cute.

I bought an armband for my Samsung Galaxy S5 the other day. That’s what you see on my elephant arms in the picture above. That was the first time I tried it out and so far, I like it. My phone didn’t completely fit inside it, probably because I have an Otterbox case on it to protect it. (Those cases are freaking expensive! But it would be more expensive to replace my phone … so my extravagant purchase is justified, I suppose). But I like that it doesn’t completely fit inside – I was worried it would get too hot and burn up. My last phone case (different phone) did that. It didn’t ruin the phone, but it got so hot that I didn’t feel comfortable using it anymore.

I’ve been researching hiking trails in our area. I’m sort of on a hiking trails kick. I actually saw a really cool one in Ponca AR, but I’m not sure I can talk Kevin into driving 1 1/2 hours to get there and back. We’ll see. I also saw one in Branson MO too, but again, not sure I can talk the old man into driving down to it. In fact, there are quite a few things I’d like to do at Big Cedar Lodge. Horseback riding, for instance. I’ve never been and would like to try it, at least once.

Maybe one of these years (months ..?)

Our Not-So-Epic 25th Anniversary Dinner Out

I usually make fun of people who post pictures of food …

But …

(And may I just point out – this picture was taken with my phone. Damn!)

Tell me this doesn’t look scrumptious.

And it was. Even though Kevin ordered it, I forked several veggies for myself.

The sauce drizzled on top looks like chocolate – it’s not chocolate, it’s some sort of soy sauce-ish thing. And though it was delicious, it was too much. I think if we ever go to this place again, (it was Bambinos – Italian food place), then we’ll likely order it on the side.

Kevin and I don’t eat out very much. We have “go git” nights and that’s usually about once/twice a week. Which actually sounds like a lot when I put it like that.

We eat out more now that the boys are on their own. In fact, if the boys didn’t practically come over every night to eat dinner with us, we’d probably eat out a lot more because who wants to cook for only two people?

It was a nice dinner. Bambinos was a quaint, quiet, intimate place and the prices weren’t too bad. We enjoyed ourselves. We might go back – in another 25 years.

And that was the extent of our 25th wedding anniversary. Since our gift to each other was a Hawaiian cruise and we felt like we had already celebrated our anniversary, we didn’t feel like doing much.

What? I haven’t written about our Hawaiian cruise yet?

Patience .. I’ll get there, eventually.