Thursday, October 16, 2008

we have been doing a lot of “Fall” things lately – cuz it’s Fall...

This has been an extremely nice year - all year it's been mild; sunny enough and rainy enough. I bought our pumpkin and a corn stalk to decorate the front yard. Put up some of the Halloween décor earlier this month.

We’ve done the obligatory apple picking at the apple orchard (Westview Apple Orchard). We went with Roberto, Agata & Francesca, Pratap, Deepa & Calvin. Even went to the Apple Orchard Inn for an early dinner. Some ordered the hot cider which all seemed to have crud floating around in the glass – I think it was from the cinnamon stick.

We’ve done the Haunted Hayride. We were supposed to go to Slaughtered at Sundown, but you would not have believed how crowded it was, so we had to quickly decide on another one. We went to the Blake’s Apple Orchard (Nighttime Spooky Hayride) and only stood in line for around 45 minutes. Even though I believe I’ve done this particular hayride 3 times in the past, it was still scary, with people jumping out from the corn fields, the weather was nice and clear, the donuts and apple cider were delivered to the wagons by witches! Bill, Denise, Fernando, Jen and her boyfriend joined us. We went out to dinner first at the Golden Buddha in Romeo. That was not the greatest experience – VERY SLOW service. My food tasted good, but didn’t like me very much starting around 2AM that morning. I’m still feeling a little ill.

Jerome did the Cedar Point “Halloweekends” last Sunday. He went on nearly every roller coaster. I was planning on going too, in fact, drove all the way there. But with the whole Thai food thing happening and having to stop 7 times in 3 hours – I decided to drop him off so that he could enjoy it with some MINI friends. Chad, Tori, Ed and his girlfriend, Kristee and her friend Colette, Paul and Molly and Chris. They had a great time and Jerome arrived back home just before 2AM on Monday morning. He was sick for the next 2 days...unrelated.

This weekend is our MINI clubs Fall Color Tour (Blurrr). We will be driving nearly 100 miles. We’ll start in Ann Arbor and drive a nice scenic drive – first stop Hell, MI. Maybe we’ll be able to see the haunted house in Hell…I’ll have to mention that to Rick. The final stop will of course be a restaurant; Creekside Inn. Right now it looks like the weather will be on our side. Sunny and 62 degrees. Very nice.

Other than that – we have the 1st Romeo Haunted Tour on the 26th and then Halloween and Tillson Street on the 31st.

Also, planting 100's of tulip bulbs that we aquired on Mackinac Island from our B&B. According to the proprietors, every spring the hotels on Mackinac Island plant thousands of tulip bulbs, and when they are done flowering, they dig them up and dump them. The owners of our B&B rescue hundreds of them and put them in potato bags. We were fortunate enough to be given one of those bags with at least 100 bulbs. I can't wait to see if they really bloom!

Yep, this Fall has been totally jam-packed with fun-filled Autumny stuff to do.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON????

I have a long time to wait for my money in the stock market to come back around, but it still upsets me incredibly how it is tumbling. Freefall.

We watch it all day long; on and off. One co-worker will announce “it’s down 200 points”, then a little while later someone else will say “it’s down 350”!

Today it dropped 680 points for another record breaking fall.

This has to do with that really bad idea of the presidents’ (ooohdéjà vu) – the bank bailout plan. I’m not pretending to know anything about how Washington and Wall Street work, but I had a gut feeling* that this was not a good idea. In fact, when I thought it was to bail out individuals that got themselves into trouble because they purchased a house that they couldn’t afford, it pissed me off even more.

Why should the American people that take care of their bills and have good credit be held responsible for the others debts?

Back when Jerome and I were purchasing our house, we were told by our mortgage rep that together, we could afford a house that was three times more than the one that we ended up purchasing. Our thinking was that if for some really bad reason, one of us would lose our jobs, then the other would still be able to afford the house. We've all learned now who is the more likely to lose their job. We didn’t want to get in a situation where we could lose it. Yes, it’s a smaller house than some of our friends have, but it is WAY sufficient. Another thing that we did was put 20% down on the house. This is something that used to be standard, but the U.S. has gotten away from that way of thinking lately…but I believe it should once again become the norm. If you haven’t saved money in order to put down on a house, then maybe you shouldn’t buy one.

Owning a home is a privilege, not a right.

*Other "bad" gut feelings:
  • in 1999, I felt that the market was getting way too large and that something had to happen to make it come “crashing” down.
  • do not get into a war in Iraq.
  • end of last year felt that I needed to stop putting so much of a percentage into my 401K – we needed liquid assets, so I started putting money in a Money Market account that had a very nice interest rate.
  • something fundamentally wrong with the “interest only” loans and the “no money down loans” and the “we’ll give a loan to anyone, no matter their credit”.
  • all the building that has been going on for the past couple of years – mostly for environmental purposes, but also economic.
  • all the bankruptcies.
  • people feeling like they need to purchase or build the huge McMansions.