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Friday, July 19, 2013

Three Types of People

In my early years as a financial advisor I had a mentor who gave me probably some of the most valuable information and advice ever in my life.  It was meant in the context of being a financial advisor and how to deal with people with whom you are going to be trying to help achieve their goals in life.  A financial advisor doesn't just deal with people's money, although that is the main function.  Help people invest and become wealthy.  We also are to help them achieve their long term goals.  Do you want to retire at 58 and move to Costa Rica?  Is your goal to put your children through college? Is the goal to pay off your home and live a quiet life painting the landscapes in your part of the world?  Travel the world in your retirement years?  Write a book?  Start a new business?  Give an endowment to your favorite charity.   Our job is (was... now that I am retired) to find out what it IS that you want to do and to help you achieve it.   In order to help, it is a two way relationship.  The advisor ......advises and the client follows the advice.  Working together to help the clients live the dream.

So it is in this context that I got this advice and found that it is applicable to every aspect of my life. 

There are basically three types of people that you will meet as an advisor (and in all of your life as well)

The first is People You Can't Help.   You want to help them. They want to be helped. They know they need help.  But, they don't have the means or ability to achieve what they want or what you would like to do for them.  Instead of wasting a great deal  your time on them, give them what advice you can and refer them to another agency to get help.  Do what you can and sadly.....move on.

The second is People You Can Help:  This is the bread and butter of your practice (and in your life).  These people also want to be helped. They know you can help them and you can work with them.  They have the means. They have the desire. They will take your advice and give you useful feedback.  They will know that the path forward is not a straight one and will have some potholes and bumps.  The People You Can Help are a joy to work with and the feeling of pride and satisfaction in spending your time and energy to achieve their goals is immeasurable.  Spend your time with these people and your business will thrive and you, as the advisor, will have a wonderful life.

The third category is People Too Stupid to Help:   Here is where an advisor can go wrong, ruin their practice and develop ulcers.  These people are just too stupid to help.  Don't be fooled or sucked in because often they have a lot of means (money) and it is tempting to try to court them as clients.  They won't listen to you. Refuse to take your advice and when things go wrong will blame you.  They will suck up all of your time asking you to explain over and over and over the most simple concepts.  And still won't listen. They expect to be treated special if they are the ones with the deep pockets.  These people just cannot be helped because they are TOO STUPID TO HELP.   Run away from these folks.  Refer them to someone else.  Refuse to take them as clients and if you have taken them on as clients before you recognized that they are the third category.....nicely fire them and refer them to some other advisor.  

My stock phrasing, was something along these lines.   

"Mr. and Mrs. Client.  We have been working together now for some time (no we haven't because you just won't get your head out of your ass and pay attention or follow my advice....and you argue with everything I say), unfortunately I just don't think that we are compatible as a team. My philosophy as an advisor doesn't seem to be compatible with yours (I want to make you money and you seem to want to lose it and ignore all of my professional advice.)  So, I believe that it might be for the best if you found an advisor that can give you the time and attention that you deserve.  So I regretfully think that you should search for another advisor as I can't service your account any longer. (Find some other poor schumck who has more patience that I do and don't let the door hit you and your fat portfolio on the way out.)   Followed by a letter stating similar concepts.  

The three types of people concept has been invaluable in my personal life and in my time spent commenting on various blogs and chat rooms in the internet.  I thank my long ago mentor mentally all of the time for giving to me this pearl of wisdom.  Just realize that some people are just......Too Stupid To Help and distance yourself from them.  Time is too precious to waste on the stupid.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Knitting. What! There's Math? AKA. Swatching Sucks

Being thoroughly sick of making hats and scarves for gifts, I have decided to make a sweater for myself.   So...I'm sitting on the couch, swatching. Grumbling and cursing.  The Dumbplumber (my everlovin' sweetie of a husband) who rarely pays attention....I swear I could dye my hair green...but ....I digress......

He asks:  "What are you making"
"A swatch", I say or more correctly, bitch.

The knitters will understand and feel my pain.   Swatching is the bane of a knitter's existence and requires math.  (dun dun dun duuuunnn  scary music sound)   For those non-knitting people let me explain.   Swatching is when you knit a bunch of samples to find out if your knitting gauge and number of stitches will make your project be the right size.   Attempting to explain to The Dumbplumber, (ladies...don't attempt  this at home. Especially if you have both had a drink or two.)

Me explaining:  "You have a pattern like THIS one   ...that I plan to make.

There is a suggestion on the yarn, size of needles and the number of stitches per inch and the number of rows per inch.  If you can knit this are in like Flynn (whatever that means).  If not. Then your sweater will fit Godzilla or your sweater will fit a midget, but certainly not YOU.

For example
1. The pattern calls for 20 stitches to equal 4 inches on size 7 needles
2. The pattern calls for 60 stitches for a particular piece: say a part of the front.  Then the piece should equal  60/20 = 3 units   So...then 3 units should be 3 x 4" =  a 12  inch piece

All well and good, until you substitute another yarn and when you take into consideration that each person has a different style and tension in knitting.   Also if you use a different yarn, it may not knit up the same.

For example:  If my gauge works out to  16 stitches = 4 inches then the piece will be much larger.  

60 stitches/16 stitches =  3.75 units    3.75 x 4 =  15 inch piece.  

THREE inches too big on just one piece!!   Multiply this effect over all of the other parts of the sweater and you have a gigantically larger than you want sweater.

Go the other way and assume you have MORE stitches per inch and then your sweater  will be tiny.  All that time you spent knitting will have been wasted.

The only way to know your gauge  is to make a swatch, which is to knit, in the pattern, a 4 x4 inch (at least) section.  Boooorrrring.  But what is worse is to not make a swatches and make a sweater that no one born on this Earth can wear.  If you don't swatch you will be wasting hours upon hours of time. Even though this is boring beyond belief, it's better than not doing it.   And so on."  

Until the Dumbplumber's eyes begin to roll backwards in his head.

Dumbplumber having listened to all of this above reasoning (or rather bitching)

Asks: " So what do you do with this stuff you are knitting now?"
"I tear it up and roll it back into a ball", I say.

Staring at me in disbelief......"You are f***ing nuts.", says he.

I can't disagree.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

We Took A Sunday Drive and Had a Picnic.

This last weekend we finally had a beautiful sunny day.  We have had months of sub freezing temperatures.  Between Christmas and the first week of February,  we had only  20 hours where the temperatures were above freezing.  There still is snow and ice that are lingering in the shady spots.  But, as always, this too shall pass and spring is in the air.  So, The Dumbplumber and I decided to take a Sunday drive and have a small picnic.

Arriving at a client's house to sit on their overlook,. we borrowed  their view for a bit.   We have a lot of absentee or seasonal clients for which we do various plumbing maintenance services: like winterizing so the pipes and pumps won't freeze and break, then recharging the systems in the spring.  Sitting on a bluff of ancient lava rocks and looking at the beautiful view, we ate fried chicken, chips and fruit salad and tried to fend off some crows who felt that we should share.

The view is spectacular
Majestic Mt Shasta close up

Sand Hill Cranes
Next we decided to drive up to the next valley, over the mountain and at an higher elevation, to see what was happening.  The geology of the area is that these valleys are the remnants of glacial lakes.  Every spring the valleys are full of water from springs and are the perfect areas for the multitudes of migratory that come through. Ducks and  Geese are common in the thousands.   This time we had the exciting moment of seeing hundreds of Sand Hill Cranes in one place.  Unfortunately, I severely lack camera-foo abilities and was unable t see where I was aiming due to sun glare so this is the best photo I could get.

Driving along we also saw a sight that while unpleasant, is a fact of life in the 'outback' of rural Western living.   Liberal and urban heads are exploding everywhere.

Am I a really evil person, because one of my first thoughts was......what a waste of fur?   Coyote coats are the most beautiful things.   Yeah....I guess I am.   Life in the country.

Note: these photos were re-sized to be small enough to post.  The actual links are

Here: Majestic Mt Shasta 
         The Wider View
         Coyote on a fence

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

The Circle of Life: Sometimes It Just Gets Broken

The Circle of Life: Sometimes it just gets broken and there is nothing to do but to deal with it. 

By Circle of Life, I mean where you grow in several stages.  This is MY perception of how it works based on my experiences.  Your results may vary, as they say in the commercial disclaimers.

Stage One:  as child dependent upon your parents to guide and mold you. For a while your parents are as Gods. They are wise, all knowing, the source of comfort and everything else that a young child must have.

Mom and Me
Stage Two: Soon, you grow into a teenager straining to find out who you really are. Ah...the teen years. Teen age angst.  What a trial for the parents.  You go out of ways to assert your independence and to just be contrary to all authority.  There is an ongoing power struggle between teen girls and their mothers, sons and fathers.  At this point you realize that maybe the parental units are NOT perfect or God like.  You've seen the cracks in the facade in some ways.   Perhaps it is the party where someone got a bit too drunk, was having fun and became embarrassing.  Maybe an uncomfortable argument between the parents.  Everything your family does is now worthy of an eye roll or two.

Stage Three: Thankfully we grow out of that teenager stage.  You go out on your own.  College, maybe. Get a job and an apartment of your own.  Move to another town. Now you begin to realize that life is more than being a child or an obnoxious teen dependent.  The bills keep coming in and you suddenly realize that ....Woah.....someone has to clean the bathroom, change the toilet paper roll and buy the food and all that stuff. This means I have to keep going to my job! and I can't just spend all my money on fun things.  Maybe that home and family thing was worthwhile.  Still figuring out who you are you experiment will all kinds of things. You might occasionally think about your parents and the fact that they were young at one time and remember some of their stories, if your parents were of a mind to share their own youthful indiscretions.   But mostly, it us all about you and your new exciting life.

Somewhere between stage two and three,  you discover SEX.  You are sure that it has never been this way for anyone before.  You are special..... THEN suddenly it dawns on you that your parents have had sex too.   At least once or twice, depending on how many siblings you have.  Eeeewwww!  This may require that I rethink my views of my parents and think about why they dropped us off at the theater every Saturday so we kids could spend the afternoon watching bad B movies......  Naaah.

Stage Four:   The real relationship stage.  You find a boy or girl that you like a lot and you discover that the 'way of love' is not all that easy.  It might work out and turn into marriage or you might find out that it is just a way of woe.  Suddenly, your parents seem to be more understandable.  Those arguments and quirks that they exibited that were so embarassing to you, make some sense.  You might be able to confide in your mother or father and even ask for advice.  They aren't Gods like they were when you were small, but.....somehow as you have gotten older, they seem to have gotten so much smarter. Amazing how that can happen.

Stage Five:  Marriage and children.  If you manage to make it past stage four, you are now married and have children of your own.  There is a moment where it dawns on you, perhaps when you are changing diapers or getting up yet again in the middle of the night to feed the baby or walk the floor at 2 am trying to console your colicky child.....WOW.  My mother/father did this same thing for me.!!! And I took it all for granted.   As a new mother or father, you will now be able to reach out to your parents for advice and ask them.  How did you handle this problem.  What was it like for you?  (They THEY are now Grandparents and working their way through their own Circle of Life.) 

Now, you can talk woman to woman or man to man.  You parents are morphing into friends and confidants.  People.  Not just parents, but people who have pasts, likes, dislikes.  As your own children grow and you deal with the intricacies of a marital relationship, this friendship grows ever more strong.

Stage Six:  Finally, you have gotten your children through their teen years and you also remember just what a little prick or bitch you were to your own parents.  (I apologized to my father at that point.) Your children are in Stage Three.    Ahhhh.  At last. The empty nest.  Free at last free at last.  Adults without young children and you can do the things you put off while raising the family.  Travel. Go to resorts and experience fine dining.  Sleep IN on Sunday and walk around the house in your underwear without a snotty teenager rolling eyes at you.   
Three Generations

Stage Seven:  Finally.  Grandchildren of your own to spoil.  Now you are the valued source of information.   

Somewhere in these last stages, you begin to realize the mortality of your parents and yourself.  Life isn't eternal as you think it is in your teen and young adult years.  Friends, family are dropping like flies and you realize that time is precious.  You'd better spend as much of it as you can with your parents if they still exist and your children and grandchildren before the circle stops spinning..

Such is the circle of life.  Wheel within wheels.  We are all on the circle at various points.  But....sometimes the circle breaks as it did for my mother and for the rest of us.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Scanning the Past

I'll admit it.  I'm a compulsive clipper and saver.  I clip out recipes from magazines and file them away into categories. When I go to yard sales I buy old cookbooks.  I especially love the small books put out by clubs and ladies associations.  Interesting regional books.  Old cookbooks that are a view into what our lives were like in other times, like the depression or the roaring 20's.

I have binders and shelves full of crafting magazines.  McCalls, Better Homes and Gardens, Good Housekeeping, American Home Crafts.  I have clipped and saved crafting ideas and instructions from magazines for decades, since the 1960's when I started crafting.  Boxes and files full of old and yellowing clippings that I can peruse when looking for a new idea or an old idea that is new again.  Decorating and house ideas.  Yardscapes and gardening ideas.   We actually used many of those as inspiration when building our house.

Often I look at these old ideas and get great inspiration.  Other times I just laugh and wonder......what were we thinking?  Seriously.  Using styrofoam meat trays as an art form?   Who would want to wear
THIS or even spend a great deal of time making such a monstrosity.
OMG the 70's What were we thinking
What self respecting man would wear THIS.  Why in the world did I ever clip this and save it

Really Ugly Trout Sweater

Some ideas are still interesting and inspiring.  Classics that don't go out of style.  I think I will be making this sweater this winter for myself.
Aran Sweater

What?!!   What are you looking at??   I'm not a hoarder.   Everything is organized and neat.  ORGANIZED I tell you  :-)

Well.  Enough is enough with the piles of clippings. Now that I'm retired and I have time to get back into the things I love to do.  Cooking and Crafting, it is time to get into the 21st century already.  I am now in the process of scanning the craft clippings into PDF or JPEG formats.   Now I can clutter up my computer with files instead of my filing cabinet.

Scanning the past and saving the ideas.   Now if I can just bring myself to actually throw away the clippings after I have scanned them.   Nope.....not a hoarder.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Skip the Debates....Let's Have a Duel

This morning, Dumbplumber (my ever lovin' hubby) and I remarked how completely sick and tired we are of the never ending blather from the talking heads about the upcoming election.  Sick of all of them from Fox to CNN to NPR.  The latest is all about the debate preparations for Obama and Romney: who is going to be better at answering the stupid media questions, who has a more soaring oratorical style and who can blather more than the other guy.

In fact, one talking head said "We are awaiting dueling speeches from the candidates."   Hell.....why don't we just skip the speeches part and go directly to a good old fashioned duel.   It was good enough for Andrew Jackson.   Romney vs. Obama at 20 paces with pistols.  Or swords.   Ooooo  I know....Light Sabres.

However, since everything associated with Obama is racist,  and probably a white dude like Romney aiming a gun at Obama could possibly construed as racist, I suggest we use stand ins to take the place of  the candidates.

My suggestions:

Ted Nugent can stand in for Romney

Michael More for Obama

Put it on Pay Per View.  Watch the money come rolling in.

Genius.   Right????

Monday, September 24, 2012

Proof: No one is serious about the Green Movement

The "Greenies" is my name for the eco-nazis who want to save the earth by limiting our consumption of water, energy, food, lightbulbs and just about everything else.   They want us to watch our carbon footprint and save the Earth.  They nag us about everything and won't be happy until we all are living in a Luddite world, huddling in the dark and chained to our hovels by high gasoline prices, high energy prices and eating sticks and twigs.

Well, I have proof that they are not serious.  That they are full of shit and don't really mean any of the things they tell us.  That they don't live by their own rules and did I already mention.....full of shit.

When you check into a motel or hotel, you are gently chided ....nagged save the planet by conserving, turn off the lights, set the A/C at a higher temperature.  Hang up your towels and not have your sheets changed to save the water.  Don't take a long shower.  Don't let the water run when you are brushing your teeth.   Ok.  Not a problem.  I don't change my sheets daily at home anyway and I can use the same towel more than one time. is the proof that they don't really mean it and it is all just eyewash.  Proof that the Green Movement is all about controlling the proletariat and nothing about actually conserving or taking care of the environment.

A few days ago, The Dumbplumber, and I checked into a hotel we like to stay at for a little R&R.  It is next to a great steak house and we can have some cocktails, walk to the restaurant, have some more cocktails and not worry about driving or getting a DUI.

Coincidentally, we were booked into the very same room that we had 3 months before.  The same room that we complained about the toilet tank leaking through the flapper all  the time.  About every 5 to 7 minutes a gallon or so of water would leak and the tank would turn on.  Wooosh.   The Dumbplumber being an actual.....wait for it.....PLUMBER, informed them at the desk of the leakage and that a $4 flapper would fix the problem.

Did they fix it....HELL NO.  Again.  Water wooshing all night long, every 5 to 7 minutes.  Dumbplumber finally got up and turned off the water supply and in the morning the tank was bone dry.  So....not only is this annoying, we got to thinking about the amount of wasted water running down the sewers.   I'm all about conserving and not wasting, but I'm not making a religion of it like the Greenies.

Here's the math. 

24 hours a day X 60 minutes =  1440 minutes
1440 minutes / 5 minutes =  288  gallons of water down the toilet in one day
288 gallons X 365 days a year = 105,120 gallons a year

105,120 gallons x 10 (at least) other leaky toilets in this hotel = 1,051,200

Over a million gallons a year in just this ONE hotel.   There are probably at least 10 other hotels losing similar amounts of water so now we have 10.5 MILLON gallons of wasted water. 

So.....Not only are they wasting enormous amounts of water, the water bills must be enormous as well and the costs are passed onto the hotel patrons. If they were really serious about the crap they lecture us about, they would have taken the Dumbplumber's advice in the first place and fixed their leaking toilets. 

When the Al Gores of the world downsize their houses, quit flying around in personal jets.  When the Michelle Obamas of the world start eating what they expect us to eat and stop flying around in huge jets at OUR expense.  Then I might consider taking their advice.   But, THEY aren't serious and we can't take them seriously either until they start acting like it.

Hello Blog...Long Time No See

 Hello Blog...Long Time No See.

Wow.  It has been months since I have posted anything to you.   I know you must feel neglected as a blog so I promise to try to pay more attention to you.   But really, life has been rather busy so some things just end up on the back burner.  It doesn't mean that I don't care about you as a blog or want to make you feel unnecessary.   Seriously. I will try to do better and make it up to you by posting something new once in a while.