Sunday, February 23, 2020


It's been 3 months since the last update of  my portfolio..  So I refreshed it. 

Yes, there is quite a bit of cash in the CASH available line.  I'm storing some there for some major upcoming costs that I mentioned in earlier blog post about unexpected expenses. Mom care, dog surgery, annual property tax, car tabs, and car insurance.   And now a new gas range and toilet.

Our gas range just died.  It was 20 years old.  Old ones can last forever but the ones made since 200 are not the same.  Too much stuff going on.

It had lost its ability to clean.  The burners kept getting weaker even after cleaning them up.  The storage drawer lost all of its plastic tabs so it was laying on the floor.  The final straw was the spring to the door broke off.  The oven will no longer close.   The repairs would be over 50% of the cost of a new one.  And we already spent $600 fixing it. 

So we sunk $750 on a new Samsung gas range.  The repairs better not come for a decade.   This was highly rated on Consumer Reports.

Another calamity was the replacing of the toilet seats.  My kid had broken the upstairs one by standing on it and slipping.   The lower level one had corroded posts and was loose.  So we got 2 new seats.

Fail.  It was impossible to unscrew the lower level toilet seat on the left side.  So I tried to cut the plastic nut off.  I proceeded to bash into the porcelain and put a hole in it.  Water gushing out on a flush (clean water..). 

Had to go get a new toilet.  And of course since the old house has a 10" rough in and over 90% of toilets are 12" from the wall, I had to order one online that fit.  $250.00...

I need a drink...  Went and got a Vieux Carre.  Mmmm..   And a second one.  Then a third for good measure.  Drink the toilet troubles away.

Vieux Carre.  Yum.

Here's a chance to experiment.  We covered the hole in the bowl with some duct tape.  It works for a few flushes, then begins to drip before replacing the tape.  I'm going to use some silicone caulk I have over the duct tape and encapsulate it completely.  That should prevent it from leaking.  If it works,
I will return the new toilet and run with that for a while.

I'll update this in the next few weeks to let you know if this works.

Friday, February 14, 2020


One of the main goals of mine was to maximize my income in order for a more comfortable life down the road and to pay for my kid's college and to retire without having to freak out about outliving my fixed income..

Today, I want to talk about cutting some of my expenses.   With every dollar I save, that's a dollar I can put to something more tangible in the long run.   These posts keep a good record for me to look back on as well as motivating me to stick with it.  Doing this online and failing and crashing and burning is not an

It was my Satellite TV bill.  It's a massive sinkhole.  I have 185 channels, 180 of them are total crap most of the time.  On top of that, the receiver takes about 15 seconds to change a channel.   That results in screaming.  The only saving grace is live TV rewind.  For $100 a MONTH.  SCREW THAT...

But I do have a lifelong love affair with TV.....

3 years old and loved TV

So my better half and I decided we will cut the cord.  And live with over the air (OTA) and a box that can record and rewind live tv.  I went to Best Buy and bought a Tablo box that streams the over the air channels on my AppleTV.  It's a $125 one time purchase and a $5 a month forthe OTA schedule feature.  That is $180 this year and $60 next year versus $1,200 per year.

The bummer is I am going to miss watching the Seattle Mariners lose.  I have religiously watched the Mariners play for my whole life.  I think I have seen over 90% of the games aired since 1977.
It's ONLY on ROOT sports, which is only on DirecTV or on Comcast cable.  No streaming without having one of those two.  That blows.  I could get the MLB league pass, turn on a VPN and go around the blackout range, but I the speed is spotty and it freezes...  OH well..

Here's Ken Griffey Jr. in one of his last at bats..

Ken Griffey Jr right before retirement

I did get a SlingTV subscription for $30 a month.  I do like watching some shows here and there, like Family Guy, and the national news shows as well as some house flipping stuff.  $30 is a ton better than $100 a month. 

So I made the call to DirecTV to cancel after having it for 21 years.   I knew they were going to try to sweet talk me.   I was put on hold (frustrating) and after a minute the c.s. guy returned with an offer of taking $70 a month off of my bill.  Essentially making it the same price as Sling....
And they offered to give me a new receiver for free overnight shipping..

I gave in.  I took the deal and get to keep watching my Mariners miss the payoffs for the 19th straight year.  I went online and cancelled my sling.   I will keep the Tablo.  I like it.  I can record the OTA stuff and watch later.  Nothing like recording an old Star Trek or X-Files show.  Or Julia Child..

So I saved $840 over the next year and still get the Mariners!

I celebrated by wearing some gold jewlery, sunglasses and having  some deviled eggs....


The plan is to call them in a year and try to cancel again.  Either they extend the deal or I will actually cancel.  I'll let you know what happened.

I highly recommend threatening to cut off your cable/satellite TV and see what they offer.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020


How about shrugging and moving on?!?!?  

At least that's what I do most of the time.  It makes no sense in beating myself up over Murphy's Law...

Shit...Stuff happens.  .  I always do my best to avoid getting in a situation where I would need to hand over a ton of cash for something.  I also try to save up a rainy day fund for these situations.


You will survive...

Recently, I have had to spend a bit more than I had saved up.  Two little things, but a tad spendy.  Especially for the Holidays.

My main computer decided to finally die.  OR at least is in the final stages of old age.  Got it back in 2011 right after my baby daughter moved out of what is now my office / man cave and into the upstairs bedroom.  So a solid 8 years is not bad for a hard drive.  Lately, it's taken about 5 minutes to wake up from its sleep.  I know the BIG SLEEP is coming sooner than later.

The kicker.  It's an iMac....

Going over to a Windows machine is a non starter.  Yes, I live in Seattle.  Mr Gates is right across the lake.  But I have created music on Logic on my iMac for over 15 years.  Tossing that away and then having to get a Windows machine and all new software is just not going to happen.

So I bought the current "entry model" iMac a few days ago.  That set me back $1,200 after tax and Apple Care.

Second little thing:   My dog got surgery on her hind leg.  She's been slowly getting worse and worse over the past few weeks and needed a procedure to fix her displaced knee cap that is now growing onto her shin.   $1,600.

Shrug and move on with a happier dog.

So what else can I do? Let her suffer? No no.

I don't need sympathy.
I am not looking for pity.
Just feeling better by venting.  In 3 months, this will be all gone.

Yeah, I know.....First World Problems.  Feel fortunate I can deal with them.

As I am writing this, my wife calls and tells me the sunroof on the car broke.  Well.  F....

At least I have a savings plan for 2020.  So it's all credit card debt.  It will be paid sooner than later.

One of my no no's...  I pledged not to have ANY debt.  No credit card debt.  No mortgage.  No debt at all.   Until.....I have to fix the car and get a computer and mend the pup.

And we need to have a car with my child, and where we live versus public transportation.  No option other than quitting a job, selling our home, and putting my kid in a new school and ending all of her after school stuff.  So car it is.

So I start over.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Here's a tip.   Save up for unexpected things.  Also, don't let them happen to you..
...yeah sure.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020


Last month, I posted some lofty goals for my 2020.   Here's the link.  Financial and personal These stock purchases are the share buys to match my 2019 spending

This month FLEW by, but I did work on my goals, both personal, and financial.  And had some fun in the meantime.  Took the kid to the Seattle Aquarium and Great Wheel.

Here's the view of Downtown Seattle from the Great Wheel on January 18th.

Seattle Great Wheel looking East.

This is looking at Pike Place Market and the Belltown neighborhood. Seattle waterfront at 175'.

Seattle Waterfront from Great Wheel at 175 feet.

Back to the goals.
So far, so good...  kind of on pace to succeed.  Other than AAPL, which is the Herculean goal of my year..

Financial progress:

$5,000 to Fidelity
$‎ 5,000.00
$‎ 600.00
$‎ 4,400.00
Save $16K for bills
$‎ 16,000.00
$‎ 1,500.00
$‎ 14,500.00
AAPL (+ iTunes)
$‎ 9,695.46
$‎ 0.00
$‎ 9,695.46
$‎ 270.14
$‎ 265.60
$‎ 4.54
$‎ 1,395.80
$‎ 0.00
$‎ 1,395.80
$‎ 754.01
$‎ 0.00
$‎ 754.01
$‎ 172.63
$‎ 175.19
$‎ (2.56)
$‎ 3,006.81
$‎ 858.37
$‎ 2,148.44
$‎ 4,085.92
$‎ 0.00
$‎ 4,085.92

$‎ 40,380.77
$‎ 3,199.16
$‎ 37,181.61

I am PINK with satisfaction for fulfilling the Starbucks goal.

Personal progress:
1. Take a spring road trip.  Yellowstone would be ideal.  STILL PLANNING THIS.  NOT CONFIDENT THOUGH

2. Exercise more.   I was doing well until my right knee and left achilles acted up.  Fell out of routine.  LOL.  NEXT.

3. Drop about 20 lbs.  5 LB DOWN SO FAR


5. Sell off some of my record collection.   It was a long term goal to sell eventually.  Well, I have run out of room.  I think I would rather sell than keep some of the ones I rarely listen to.  GOT A FEW SOLD.  WILL POST ABOUT THE SIDE HUSTLE MID MONTH

6. Improve piano skills and improve guitar skills. LOL.  NEXT.


8. Enjoy more oysters like these.  YES!  HAD THEM TWICE IN JANUARY!

Difference between try and triumph is 
a little umph
How cheesy is that!


I never experienced a faster moving month.  I am barely used to typing in 2020 on any documents.

I always heard that time appears to be faster as one ages since each successive day is a progressively smaller percentage of one's life.   Stoney.   When I hit 100, a year will feel like this month.  Stoney...

I also use ellipses too much...

The highlight of my month is watching the amazing progression of my daughter in her gymnastics skills.  Here she is at her gymnastics showcase.

The other highlight of my month is my dividend income. 

Getting paid for surviving the month!  There is no better income than passive income.

Last month, I earned a total of $1,321.91 from 29 companies.  A bit of a dip for 2019, but that is due to the  major rebalancing I did last summer.   In January of 2019, I earned $1563.14.   Yes, it is a 15.43 decrease, but in the long term, I will come out much further ahead.
BTW, I gained 17% last month from the year before, so it's just a reshuffling...

1/2/20 HBAN $1.65

1/2/20 NKE $11.27

1/2/20 PPL $52.80

1/2/20 WMT $10.60

1/3/20 KMB $38.11

1/3/20 WHF $431.33

1/7/20 PEP $47.75

1/7/20 BBY $34.50

1/8/20 MRK $29.89

1/9/20 OMC $33.80

1/10/20 CB $10.50

1/13/20 VTR $52.31

1/14/20 BBBY $40.97

1/15/20 APLE $11.00

1/15/20 MAIN $20.50

1/15/20 O $15.24

1/15/20 PEB $15.20

1/15/20 STOR $47.60

1/22/20 CSCO $26.95

1/24/20 AMNF $39.93

1/24/20 TWO $141.60

1/24/20 SYY $28.35

1/24/20 ORCL $18.48

1/28/20 CM $40.85

1/28/20 BNS $36.48

1/30/20 RTN $19.79

1/30/20 IEX $5.00

1/31/20 TD $38.01

1/31/20 CLDT $21.45 $1321.91

Big one is the Whitehorse Financial. WHF has been a part of my portfolio for over 5 years now.  I earn a 10.10% return.  No increases, which I really wish would happen, but a FAT dividend. And the equity has remained steady over time.  It is the last of the crazy fat divided companies I own.  I will ride it until they begin a pattern of cutting that dividend.
I am only down 1.22% since late 2014, with that occurring in the past 2 weeks.  So I can hold for now

See y'all next month!


Monday, February 3, 2020


January came and went faster than I ever thought possible.   I think I only posted 5 posts all month, much below my expectations.   But I did have a busy month.

I began selling my horde of records to gain room.  Maybe to only get more records in the future..
Part of that resulted in re-organizing my stereo setup, which gave e the room to place some cassettes near my badass Marantz cassette deck from 1976.

Meanwhile, I earned a few dividend increases.  I was hoping for more of a bump, but I will never complain.  The next few months will have a higher quantity of increases.

My big gainer was Air Products & Chemicals (APD) with a 15% increase in their dividend from $1.16 to $1.34  par share.  I now earn 6.6% annually in comparison to the 2.29% it earns at this time.
Increases in the dividend will increase the percentage of return of my original investment.  That really beats inflation!

Overall, I gained $40.32 to my annual dividend income, a raise of 4.98% for these 7 companies.

That beats inflation.  And that is the bottom line and exactly why I am doing this.

Here it is:

% Gain
old annual
new annual
Yield on Purchase
KMB $1.0300 $1.0700 3.9% $152.44 $158.36 $5.92 2.96% 3.92% 1/23/20
APD $1.1600 $1.3400 15.5% $41.76 $48.24 $6.48 2.29% 6.61% 1/23/20
IMTC $0.3200 $0.3300 4.8% $108.80 $112.20 $3.40 2.1% 2.77% 1/23/20
WTFC $0.2500 $0.2800 12% $6.00 $6.72 $0.72 1.75% 1.62% 1/26/20
CVX $1.1900 $1.2900 8.4% $180.88 $196.08 $15.20 4.64% 4.82% 1/29/20
ADM $0.3500 $0.3600 2.9% $119.00 $122.40 $3.40 3.28% 3.03% 1/30/20
LVS $0.7700 $0.7900 2.6% $200.20 $205.40 $5.20 4.96% 5.19% 1.30

$809.08 $849.40 $40.32

Next month I am hoping for some more, and some larger, increases.