Remember when I told you that my minivan had died (blown a head gasket) and it was going to cost about $3000 for the repairs. I decided that it wasn’t worth it to fix (actually my wife decided for me) a vehicle that had over 185,000 miles on it since I figured that the transmission probably only had about 30,000 more miles which would have been about a year and another $2500 or so.
So I decided to sell the minivan online. I did a Google search and found a website where they would make an offer within a few minutes. I put in all the information and by the time I had toggled through each page ended up with an offer for $435. All I needed to do was accept the offer and arrangements would be made to have the van towed away from my driveway.
Well, I really was hoping for about $500 for it and thought it was a reasonable price after looking at Craigslist. I probably could have gotten more listing it myself as a mechanic’s special, but didn’t want to deal with the hassle or have a bunch of strangers coming over to look at it. But I did search the net for a second opportunity to sell online. Of course free towing was a must since it could barely go 3 miles without overheating.
I managed to find another site, put in the information. This time, I received an email with a number to call in order to get an offer. I called the next morning and spoke with someone stating that I really was hoping to get $500 for my trouble. She agreed on that price and arrangements were ultimately made to have the minivan towed away.
There was a bit of confusion and hassle regarding the towing. We were going out of town at the end of the week so it had to be done by Wednesday or no one would be home. The third party towing company apparently didn’t get the message and instead of calling the next day to set up a time, called later in the week and had difficulty getting in contact with us. When we got back, I had to call the company again to let them know that I was still planning on selling and to get the number for the towing company.
We called the towing company directly to set up a time, but they still had someone show up at a different time when my wife wasn’t home. Finally, on the third try, it got done and we got our $500. Even though it was a little more difficult than it should have been due to lack of communication between the online site and the third party towing company, I would still do it again. I believe I got a fair price for a van I no longer wanted nor could drive and got it out of the driveway fairly quickly.
If you have been reading my blogs for a while, you realize that blogging is more of a hobby for me. I certainly keep track of the revenue and expenses like a business, but I certainly don’t devote time on a daily basis like I would a business. As a result, I don’t make a ton of money from maintaining a blog, but at least the expenses are covered.
Since I treat it like a hobby, I am not too upset if I have more important things that I need to get done and which require my attention. In this regard, my blogging hobby is a lot like my golfing hobby. I have only managed to play 3 full rounds so far this year (although my most recent was one of my best ever).
The Busy Life
You may have noticed that over the past few months, my blogging activity has taken a nosedive. Needless to say, I have been quite busy. Some of the things that are happening:
- The most pressing issue has been with the commercial building. My (former) partner is in the process of declaring bankruptcy and did not do a good job of managing the funds from the partnership. We now have 100% ownership. He says that he wants to make it all right. My wife is skeptical. I am busy dealing with the banks and trying to come to a resolution that will minimize our damage to even worry about that right now. Dave Ramsey is right about partnerships not sailing.
- We are busy trying to get some work done around the house. A new roof is being started today. It is being replaced due to hail damage from last year. Insurance has covered the majority of the cost, but getting through the bidding and scheduling is a hassle. We are also simultaneously working on finishing the final portion of the basement and fencing the backyard for the dogs. Dealing with all of this takes time and money. Ugh.
- The final big headache is dealing with a tenant that has not been able to maintain one of our rental houses. The grass does not get cut in a timely fashion and we suspect that the inside of the house is not the cleanest either. We are in the eviction process and will probably be replacing carpets and painting the whole place after massive cleaning. More time and money. Double ugh.
So, blogging has taken a back seat to all of this.
Also, it has been some time since I posted carnival links so I will be doing that now as well:
We spend approximately eight hours of our day staring at screens—whether it be the screen of our smartphone, our television, or our computer. Over our lifetimes, that’s roughly 30 years—longer than most marriages. Considering how much time we spend with our computer, the process of choosing The One starts with one basic question: Apple or PC?
Some say that once you go Mac you never go back. Others complain about the significantly less budget-friendly Apple empire. Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages to both. Here’s a quick list of things to consider when committing to your computer.
If you want a MacBook Pro, it will come as an all-Apple package—Apple hardware, Apple software, Apple everything. Microsoft, however, partners up with various companies to bring you your PC. There are Dell, Asus, Toshiba, and Samsung varieties of PCs, just to name a few, giving you many more options to choose from.
The trend doesn’t stop with computers. It’s in the smartphone world as well. If you want an Apple phone, there’s one option: the iPhone. If you want a phone that runs Microsoft software, you can choose from Nokia, Samsung, HTC, Huawei…the list goes on. Microsoft simply provides much more choice.
There are not only a lot more customization options with PCs, they’re also cheaper. You can inexpensively get a one-or-two terabyte hard drive put into your PC, versus the steep $700 it costs to upgrade your Macbook hard drive from 256 to 768 gigabytes. For the most part, Apple computers will be more expensive for comparable tech specs most of the time.
However, with the laptops of the moment—the PC ultrabooks and the MacBook Air—the prices are beginning to even out.
The tech world is trending towards thinner, smaller, and faster at the expense of the CD/DVD drive. The ultrabooks and Apple’s MacBook Air are both on the pricey side of the spectrum, but are a worthwhile investment for their lightness and efficiency. You can substantiate some of the high price tag by selling your old CDs and DVDs on sites like musicmagpie.com.
Since you are spending so much money, you may want to make sure it’s going to a responsible company.
Apple is part of EPEAT, the environmental ratings system for electronics, and is consistently ranked highly as environmentally friendly technology. However, Apple has never made it onto the list of the World’s Most Ethical Companies—which Microsoft has done consistently for the last few years.
While Microsoft maintains a blog on its corporate and ethical responsibility, Apple is notoriously secretive about its inner workings, and suffered some bad press in 2010 when eighteen workers at Foxconn-outsourced factories in China attempted suicides, allegedly due to 76-hour weeks. Microsoft seems to win the ethics contest.
Whatever you prioritize when choosing your computer, go with your instinct for what will suit you best. Remember, you’re the one that will be stuck with either the Apple or the PC! When it comes down to it, what’s most important is that your new computer is one you’re happy with.