Life as a New Owner of an Old Home

My kitchen sink faucet leaked when I lifted the lever to the right to pour water.¬†A small amount of water¬†streamed out and down the faucet neck. I didn’t think it was a big deal, but would be nice to have working properly. My HVAC / Plumber guy Eric picked up his check for another job yesterday and I asked him to take a look at it. He pulled the faucet apart and showed me where the metal had corroded in the faucet neck causing the leak. Next he crawled under the sink and pulled more of the contraption apart… except he evidently could not figure out how to get it back together again. He told me I need to buy a new faucet / spray / level combo. These turned out to be quite hard to find online, but at last one showed up on Amazon for around $120. The only other options were $300! Eric didn’t tell me what he was going to charge, but I am sure that will be another hundred or so. I am not even sure how well this new faucet will match the rest of the sink and kitchen. I guess I will see when it arrives in a couple of days. For now, we cannot use our kitchen sink, so the dishes are piling up. Lovely.

AI Dream

Another night, another dream.

Google hosted a competition on artificial intelligence. The winner created an AI that could destroy all of the others. The tank that was the size of a wheelchair, amd the drone with a big machine gun were among the cruder entries.

Someone created a true AI though that could live in the cloud and seize possession of other machines and even people.

The competition turned into a desperate fight for the survival of the human race.

The first human possessed by the AI was transformed into an ideal person; all illnesses healed, physical strength improved, and intelligence enhanced.

I was unable to tell when this person was themselves versus when they were possessed by the AI. Somehow the AIs connection to the person was broken, then I knew this person could help.

The AI possessed another body and came into it’s bedroom to rest. It heard funny noises from the bathroom, and when it opened the door, it saw decadence. Two girls and the formerly possessed and myself in some sort of weird candlelit bathroom orgy. With a cry of rage, the AI lunged forward to attack. A massive explosion, and the four humans were stunned but alive. We had tried to setup the AI with a trap, filling the room with some form of explosive gas. We killed a body of the AI.

Combat Dream

I have never been in the military or anywhere near combat, but I had a dream about it last night.

Battle of Lake Adams

Seven eighteen year old men in a combat unit became surrounded in a farm house while a larger battle raged around them. They were dressed in white pants and red shirts and carried muskets. Lake Adams was reflecting the light of the hundred foot tall flames from the forest that had been ignited. The men were desperately shooting out the windows and one by one they went down. In the confusion, one fellow was able to sneak out of the basement and made off into the haze. He had left behind the greatest love of his life – his dead brothers in arms. Never again in life would he experience the same highs and lows.

Business Advice

I have built a highly successful service company with over a hundred full time employees by following these principles. I think you will see a lot of success if you do this too:
  1. Basic business practices:
    1. Provide every prospect a email estimate. Do your best to judge how much cost you will have in materials, labor, and any other costs that go into it. Try to estimate on the high side.
    2. Don’t start work till you sign a simple written contract and collect partial payment upfront. Tons of template contracts are online, you could find one in an hour and customize it with another hour of work. Not having a contract is very dangerous as a client could refuse to pay and you would have no recourse, or even an honest dispute might arise (for example I thought our project was 1200).
    3. If the scope of work changes from your estimate / contract, let the client know in writing via email. This keeps everything clear and will help you in event of disputes.
    4. Have designated points when the client needs their next payment to be paid. For me, you could have done it this way:
      1. 25% upfront for labor and materials getting started
      2. 25% prior to duct installation
      3. 25% prior to air filter installation
      4. 25% upon completion
  2. Basic marketing:
    1. Build profiles online on Yelp, Google Business, and other sites using lots of words related to your business… plumbing, hvac, etc.
    2. Ask every client who gets done for a review put on Yelp, Google Reviews, and other sites if they liked it.
  3. Basic personal habits:
    1. It is impossible to run a professional business if you don’t have your personal life in order.
    2. Do the basic things to take care of yourself – go to bed early, eat healthy, avoid drugs / alcohol / too much caffeine
    3. Look professional – basic personal hygiene, get a cheap coverall uniform you and all your guys can wear and keep them clean
    4. Hold yourself accountable to get work done – get to job sites at a specific time (8 or 9 am). Also make sure you have some healthy downtime – at least one full day a week doing fun stuff away from work.
Following this advice above has helped my business to grow massively, reduced my stress and worries, and ultimately made me much happier and more relaxed.

Auntie Em

My dearly departed Auntie Em was a treasure. When I was a little boy, living in poverty with my family in Spanaway, WA, she would take me on various field trips. I remember going to authentic restaurants from other cultures with her and trying many strange dishes. She would take my brothers and I hiking, or to science museums, and on other fun adventures.