This is a blog for "people". You're not defined by your latest & greatest. You are you and that's great enough.
By: ricderr, 3:10 AM GMT on October 29, 2008
I’ve got to thank Texans because they are some of the most polite motorists I have come across. From moving aside for faster traffic to allowing someone to move in front of them, to when you notice someone quite often they will offer a smile and even a wave, it truly is contagious. For myself just those little acts which will never get them awards or mass recognition makes me smile and makes my day far better and isn’t that more important than an award? This morning I noticed a stalled car in a busy intersection and I pulled over and along with some other good citizens we pushed the car out of the way to the side of a lesser traveled street. As I got back in my car I laughed at myself when I thought, did I just do that? Don’t worry I’m no less of a donkey than I’ve ever been but something must be infectious in the water.
One of the benefits of driving throughout the day is listening to the radio. Now I’m not much of a music listener and I can only hear so much sport talk but not to worry, I can hear the same things I read on here from the Rush and Hannity shows. There is not anyone here on WU that can match these two individuals. I loved how last week they both took the word from Biden, “challenge” and turned it to the likes of “crisis” and “trials.” They are truly wordsmiths when you think of how we perceive these different words. We rise to challenges, we overcome them, but trials and crisis have bad connotations for most and sound far more sinister.
I also listened last week and so far this week to the thoughts from these two concerning freedoms for talk shows on the radio. Now prior to the last two decades, give or take, there was a law that said media operators had to give equal time for opposing viewpoints. Now, I’m against that a business must offer both sides for the most part. I liken it to a restaurant that serves Chinese food and then being told they now have to offer Italian cuisine. A company should be allowed to offer programming that best allows them to collect the most advertising and pay the profits to their share holders. There is a difference though in my mind and that is when it comes to the political arena to the point that you must give the same opportunity to all sides and I believe there are laws in that respect and this leads to the QOD:
Are shows like The Rush Limbaugh Show and the Hannity or any other show regardless of left or right which lends itself to one side of the political spectrum, entertainment or in essence politically motivated and should be treated as such?
By: ricderr, 3:04 PM GMT on October 27, 2008
OK, just as a preface, you must keep to the question and I would hope you can keep it factual. Many on WU seem to be good with the catch phrases and sound bite recitals of the candidates, ok in my opinion most are good with the slants and lies against Obama, but i will preface that with I've supported the man for a year and a half so I'm smart enough to know I carry a bias, but do you really know of what you speak and that leads to the QOD?
If I make 150,000 dollars a year, under who's proposed tax plan will I pay less income tax? With the current and expected make-up of the congress and senate which candidate has the best chance of getting their proposed tax plan through with the least amount of changes? Lastly, I hope we all know that the current tax codes with or without any presidential influence will soon expire unless congress legislates differently, under the current economic conditions do you feel congress will let them expire?
By: ricderr, 3:56 PM GMT on October 25, 2008
At the end of last week our tarp crews traveled back to Austin to put on a few roofs before we go hot and heavy into construction here in Houston this coming week. Of course we get 4 tarp jobs for Thursday & Friday and so I and another volunteered to play tarpers. The pay is good and it’s actually easy work as long as the roof is not steep. The guy, Grant, I was going to work with however made me think I was in for a long 2 days. Picture me, with a multi-generation, meat eating, gun toting, far right Republican, kill anything that moves, set in his ways Texan. Of course he was thinking the exact opposite about me.
He thinks a GPS is a total waste of money, but of course my little voice from a box kept us from getting lost a couple of times. I would get called a dumb Floridian for having to consult my GPS to tell which way is north when Grant was dead on every time. He would shake his head about our activities of rescuing animals and I’d see red when he talked about killing this or that. We argued, laughed and at times thought each of us was sitting or working next to the biggest oddball to inhabit the planet.
We did find that we shared in common a love for our family, a pride for our kids that makes our hearts swell and a desire to do what it takes to provide for them. Most importantly for me at least I found that because of our commonalities, our differences were just that, different and most importantly I would gladly call him a friend and that leads to the QOD:
Thinking about one of your friends what quality or ideal do they hold that is totally opposite of yourself?
By: ricderr, 2:06 PM GMT on October 23, 2008
Hola and good morning, I don't have to leave the house until 9 this morning and although I have a little bit of paperwork, I'll catch it later tonight.
We've named our house, the Frat House, well sometimes we change that spelling to the Fart House, but you have to understand 16 guys living in a 4 bedroom house it's not always savory. There's no privacy. You can expect someone to knock on the door anytime you're in the bathroom, night time is choir practice of the Waller Texan Snorers and don't expect someone to knock when they enter your room and for those guys that are only here a few nights a week it's grab a bed wherever one is free. We have 7 picnic tables along the wall in the dining and family rooms and a typical night will see all of us sitting down, dinner at the side, laptops in front and fingers flying cranking out the paperwork.
Some of it is a pain in the butt. Don't leave any food around if you don't want anyone to take it. One morning I popped out of the shower and my towel was damp. My towel on some strange guys butt, it sure wasn't going to dry my hair and face. I have not let my soap out of my sight, the though of where that might end up turns my stomach. In many ways I'm a private person and guys looking over my shoulder, seeing what I'm typing or taste testing the dinner I fix or commenting on the brand of underwear I am attired in, well one day when you hear all the boys in a Waller house were hanging on the barbed wire fence you'll know I finally lost it.
Of course, not all is bad, it wouldn't be a frat house if the fridge wasn't always half filled with beer, two TV’s are always playing and from somewhere you'll always hear the radio playing, no one knows how to clean up any mess they make, fast food is the meal of choice and the jokes and hijinx are non stop. The guy who left his underwear on the bathroom floor found them hanging on the antenna on the roof top. Adding hot sauce to coffee has been done a time or two and anything left anywhere is typically moved and you once you notice it missing everyone are all innocent. The poor guy who fell asleep in his room with his laptop open tuned into a porn website, we of course like 8 year olds had to sneak in and see what he was viewing and then when he woke up and was in "the office", we all had to toss jokes until it finally dawned at the guy that we knew. No one goes by their real name, we've got nicknames for everyone, I would give you some of the nicknames but admin does not appear tolerable lately. Crank calls are common place and the best was when one guy assuming the role of a Farmers administrator asked the guy if had walked on the customers driveway. When he said yes, he told him that the customer had called and complained that he had cracked their concrete driveway. He went on and on for 5 minutes and I'm afraid the guy on the other end of the line was about in tears when we finally couldn't contain ourselves any longer and we all busted up. It' dumb, it's grade school humor, and it's childish but it does alleviate the long days, the stress and the missing family and that leads to the QOD:
What is your favorite living with multiple people story?
By: ricderr, 7:42 PM GMT on October 20, 2008
I wrote this yesterday and just now had the oppurtunity to post it.
A different day and my perspective changes, passing my Service Writers test helped, oh and finally some decent sleep and of course taking most of today off and finally I feel human again.
I do have some good news about the customer I saw that has a deductible that is higher than her roof and doesn’t have the funds to pay for it. I talked to her about the programs FEMA offer and if that doesn’t work I’ve talked with the big wigs in our company and we think we can finagle our suppliers to donate the material and then we salesman and crew members will rip off her old roof and put on a new one free of charge.
I still miss home. Yesterday was Kyle’s ninth birthday and he and the rest of the family celebrated at a local restaurant and they called me on the way home. They were all enjoying fits of laughter, you know that infectious one person laughs over nothing and everyone else has to jump in. I so much wanted to be there and join in. I guess second best was just being able to listen in on the phone. God bless cell phones.
One thing about Texas, I have had the pleasure of talking with 27, ok, just for her, Mary. I have to laugh, we all have these preconceived notions of people and I have my own and Mary is proving me wrong on a few, well more than a few but if you expect me to admit to that, you don’t know me very well. Do you hear that admin? Do you hear that management officials who practice unfair unbanning practices? Dumb Donkeys. I might even help her with a new roof, but that is her decision, I’m the no pressure salesman.
The funniest thing this weekend, I don’t know if I mentioned this but a friend of mine was also hired and he and I had talked about cleaning the house a bit since we’re the ones that are hereon the weekend, but on Friday our boss pulled us aside and offered to pay us to clean the house. So I guess maid needs to be added to my total, but it was nice to get paid for something I wanted to do anyways and that leads to the QOD:
What is the strangest thing you’ve been paid to do?
By: ricderr, 6:52 PM GMT on October 17, 2008
Some days just SUCK. I like my job, I like what I'm learning and I like the end result when the paycheck comes rolling along, but days like today make me question all of it.
I went to my first appointment this morning, a home for grandmother, mom, both living with the mother's 4 children ranging from 8 to 16. Now it's not the best form of lead as it is a ladder assist, you allow the adjuster to use your 28' ladder and since we're all nice guys we also help measure and evaluate the roof. Afterwards we'll make our sales pitch and try to sign the customer up with our program. Of course you have no clue if the roof is severely damaged or even damaged at all and the insured may already have a contractor or may not want to utilize the First Choice services, so it's a crapshoot if you will even have a chance to make a sale. Oh well, it pays 75 bucks and it's easy, so 4 to 5 a day and a sale or two works out well. The house I went to was valued at 150,000 in a somewhat decent area but as I got out of the van I could see it needed to be painted and that it needed a little care. As I walked the roof with the adjuster it was apparent the roof was totaled. The owner complained of leaks inside and it was evident it also needed to be tarped. No problem, my next appointment was a tarp job and I just happened to have the tarp crew with me. Add another few dollars in the kitty for that one. As I talked with the customer, the interior of her house while neat and clean showed the same signs of neglected repairs. I'm sure you get the picture, here is a family struggling to make the mortgage and the luxuries of fixing anything but the necessities isn't an option. Well, she likes our services, she likes the fact that we're an approved vendor in this program and Farmers will back up our work. She doesn't know her deductible, the only amount out of pocket she will have to pay, but that's not a problem since the adjuster will have that in their report and the adjuster will be back from their car shortly and explain the report. So I tell the customer I'll be taking pictures to verify our tarping work and after the adjuster leaves I'll have her receipt and we'll look at the deductible and then I'll leave her be and call back on Saturday and see if she wants to sign up with the program. So, once I'm done, the adjuster is also done and I knock on her door once again. She answers it crying. Great, do I hug her, offer assistance or beat feet for my car and leave and after a moment she tells me she found out she had a 5 percent deductible, which totals at 7,500 and of course the cost for replacing her roof is 5,000 dollars the total bill is out of her own pocket. She doesn't have an option of waiting to fix her roof, but she also doesn't have the money to get it done and what a kick in the teeth for her. It makes you feel miserable for the personal suffering so many affected are going through. Ike, you SUCK.
And the QOD:
How do you fix a bad day?
By: ricderr, 6:18 PM GMT on October 15, 2008
Well, here I sit in my second day of Service Writer class, enjoying a lunch break. Notice I’ve said service writer and not adjuster. I’ll be doing the role of an adjuster but not titled as such. So far, it’s fun. Our angle on the whole thing as a contractor is that we can sell the repairs under the preference as being a preferred provider by the insurance company and have a qualified customer who wants to use to use the service. Hopefully it ends up a happy marriage, between customer, contractor and of course me as a salesman.
As for Houston, I still hate the traffic. I love the diversity and you can’t believe the home prices once you get away from downtown Houston. I was in the small town of Magnolia where a newer 3 bedroom, 2 ½ bath, 2 car garage home, complete with formal dining room, game room and a master bedroom of 16’ x 21’ and a total square footage under air of 2208 is listing for $130,000. That’s freaking incredible. (Becky, we need to move.) I hope that in the future I can have some free time to see some of the sights of the city in depth. There’s an area that I’ve had the pleasure of visiting a few times that reminds me so much of Berkeley except for lacking street vendors and street performers. Maybe I’ve just missed that but either way it’s still a place I want to visit.
On the home front, Cassie has started soccer practice. Kyle and his football team have won their last three games by a cumulative score of 74 – 0. Tim has been invited to join the National Honor Society and this is not one of those where you give them money and you’re in, so I’m a proud daddy. As for Becky, well she may say she’s interviewing pool boys but she’s busting her butt keeping the home front going.
As for the question of the day:
What do you like most about the neighborhood that you live in.
By: ricderr, 5:20 PM GMT on October 10, 2008
Well here I sit at Panera’s Bread in lovely Conroe, TX, waiting on my 3: 00 appointment. My 12: 00 cancelled which is fine, as I’ll still bill for it. Looks like I have a very good chance of turning my 9:00 into a sale. Working as a consultant for Farmers is working well as it takes the pressure off of a hard sell since I’m a preferred provider and many people are either too busy or want the protection of staying under the Farmers umbrella getting their storm damage fixed. So, the money is good, but I really miss home and family.
I do like Houston; once you get over the massive traffic jams the city is beautiful and quite diverse. I’ve been in areas that remind me of home, remind me of Berkeley and remind me of where I grew up as a child. Of course once you get out of the city proper you’re in the heartland and the acreage and homes are nice. I might talk to a realtor just to see if I can convince Becky we need to move. And yes I’ve seen quite a bit of the area. Yesterday saw me start in Spring, then two appts. in Houston, then Pasadena and finally over to Conroe and back home to Waller. Thankfully I found gas for $2.89 a gallon. it‘s nice to be able to fill the tank for less than $50.00.
There are some things that do drive me insane. Fema announces this week that they will pay 7.6 million dollars to fix the roof of Reliant Stadium and I’ve ran into so many people who are working, paying a mortgage and insurance, have storm damage and can not afford to pay their deductible to fix their storm damage. Maybe someone with a brighter mind than mind can explain this to me. All I know is the current market and economy scare the heck out of me and I’m thankful I’ve got this opportunity to sock some money away. I’m thinking storing it in the mattress might be best.
Next week I take a three day class to learn Exactimate an insurance estimating program and go through the basics of insurance adjusting. This way I can act as a service writer for Farmers and we just inked a deal with USAA and are supposed to have something signed with State Farm next week.
Well, that’s it about me. I don’t have a question and honestly I don’t have the time to keep up with it. I do miss many here and I miss the foolishness of the blog. Hell, I even miss some of the dumb politics and even believe it or not, PANTIES.
Enjoy your day, enjoy each other and just for the heck of it, enjoy Obama, we’ll be getting to know him very well in the next 4 years
By: ricderr, 1:55 AM GMT on October 02, 2008
Well, hi to everyone and I hope you are doing well. You know, this working for a living is killing me. Climbing ladders, meeting and greeting and running tarping crews is a whole lot harder than sitting in an air conditioned office doing plan take offs and making sales over the phone. I've been putting in 12 to 16 hour days between working and training. By the time I lay my head on the pillow, I'm dead tired.
For those that live in Florida and went through the hurricanes there the damage is different In Florida, the damage was fairly spread out among the affected areas. Here
You can be in a neighborhood where only one house is damaged and then you can be in another where all the houses are damaged and then smack dab in the middle is a perfectly fine home. Now of course it's different in Galveston where all the homes have been devastated and we've all seen the pictures.
Now as for Houston there have been some things I truly enjoy and others which make me want to grab an Uzi and rid the world of idiots. Well, not that bad, but pretty darned close. First, they have these great u-turn areas off the freeway that I can't fully describe, but they keep you from crossing traffic and hitting traffic lights. The inventor of this concept needs a gold medal. The other great thing that shocks the heck out of me is the politeness of the drivers. In Florida turning on your turn signal to change lanes in an invitation to the traffic behind and in the lane you are turning into to speed up and block access. Here people wave you in, slow down and practically jump into your car and turn the wheel. Another thing I enjoy is all the texas and American flags. I guess its true Texans love their state and their country. They love God too if the amount of churches you see means anything.
Now the downside. I've seen way too many people treat Mexicans like crap. I know not everyone is like that but the open disdain shown by some is truly hurtful. Also, oh my God, the traffic is outrageous. I spent 10 minutes trying to get through a traffic light this evening in rush hour traffic. I promise you I will steer clear of that intersection in the future. Of course the worst part about Houston is my family is too far away. I miss them terribly and although my hours are long, they are sacrificing just as much as I am.
Well, all this leads to a QOD:
What has struck you as unique about an area, city or country you have visited?