I guess tomorrow is tax day. I originally thought it was Friday, but who knows. I have an accountant. I don’t know how I have an accountant. She should fire me. I haven’t paid her for last year yet. But she had her guy call me on Tuesday and say “We’re filing an extension for you, do you have some numbers for us?” You mean I’m not fired? I put together numbers for last year for her. I know why last year was so tough now. I thought it was the no closings from May to November thing, but really, I made more than the average American did last year. It’s my expenses that buried me.
I am still not upside down on my house. I attribute that to dumb luck rather than business acumen. The house is by far my biggest expense chewing up 57% of my income last year. I carry health, auto and pet insurance here. I also pay E&O. While our compliance officer sometimes makes me want to stab my eyes out, the fact that we have one is what keeps our E&O one of the lowest in the business. Our office actually showed a decent producer the door for compliance issues. It’s nice to work around real integrity. Every clown out there in this business wants to attach that word to their name to the point that it’s kind of like “gourmet” to me, but my OP walks the walk and I appreciate that. I paid $6k in health and auto insurance last year and used neither. Auto is going up this year because of that failure to appear thing. And my broker wants to be named on my policy which meant I could no longer pretend like I’d told them I was driving for business and they forgot to write it down. On the pet insurance, they have paid me more than I paid them. Over Beauregard’s lifetime, I made money on his policy. I’m on track to make money on Rita and Bubba too. That’s one expense I will pick up shifts in a strip bar before I’ll let go. Bartending. Jeezus.
Speaking of pet insurance, it’s that time of year when the meerkat makes her appearance. I went out to hack down the weeds earlier this week, got about 10 square feet done and zzzzzzz. The grasshog went to about 1/4 speed. I put it away, fretted over it for several days and pulled it back out two days ago. Zzzzzz poof! The poof resulted in smoke spewing from the motor. I fretted a little more knowing the grasshog was dead. Then I remembered that it cost $358 to have a foxtail pulled out of Rita’s nose. Rita and Bubba are insured, Ike is not. A new weedwhacker is $100. That math was simple. I could have gotten another electric one but really with this much property, it was time to move up to gas. I’m about halfway done taking it all down and then I have to rake it up and get it out of here, but that’s what you get when you can’t afford to landscape. I saw an amazing garden in Lafayette on broker tour last week. I was thrilled that my fava beans looked just like this guy’s did. He had amazing chard or maybe it was rhubarb. The agent said it was rhubarb but it looked just like my chard. Only amazing. And a kiwi tree.
I’m hoping to have some of my garden issues worked out here. Only time will tell. I actually managed to eat last year for a total of $8.20 per day, $246 per month. I suspect if I analyzed that I’d see that costs went up towards the end of the year, but I’m not that interested in the result. I’ve had to spend a lot of windshield time recently, business is taking me repeatedly to Hayward and San Leandro. Once in San Leandro, it’s a quick jaunt to Berkeley Bowl before heading through the Caldecott. I loved their old location, I love their new location. The lighting is better and it doesn’t smell the funk like that old place. What’s cool about Berkeley Bowl is that they have such a following that they can have 7 varieties of oranges, 6 troughs of organic salad mix, and 9 different varieties of sweet potatoes. And they don’t bend you over a barrel at the check out like Whole
Wallet Foods does. Their bulk aisle is epic and they carry every variety of mochi you could imagine. This little sweet rice product really helps keep me out of the things I shouldn’t get in to. Like ice cream. Once you bake it there’s a warm gooey inside and a crunchy outside. Now there’s a brownie version. I was on the cinnamon raisin ones for a long time and the cashew date ones are pretty damn good too. It really helps tame the beast in the evening. It’s not like anyone who has ever stayed here would tell you that there are snacks here. There aren’t. There is on a very rare occasion ice cream, but it’s shelf life in measured like light in a vacuum.
The real backbreaking number besides insurance was gasoline. I spent $4222 on gasoline last year and I don’t commute. Oh, and in spite of the BMW’s new propensity to go through oil, it still averages 24 mpg. Averages. On the subject of radical theories, I believe the original mortgage meltdown was brought on by the spike in gas prices that occured in 2007. What? Yep, that’s my theory and I’m sticking to it. Gas prices spiked and all those people who were living in godforsaken places like Brentwood, Tracy, Lancaster, Corona, Temecula and the like, had their monthly commute expenses double. Except they were idiots and bought big SUV’s before they moved out there and started commuting. Now $200 a month gas expense on a tight budget becomes $450 and it’s over with, the house of cards collapses. Now just imagine if we took all the money that we’ve spent in Iraq and Afghanistan and put it into R&D on clean energy? Because neither of those wars had to do with freedom but had everything to do with capitalism and oil. And oil. And oil. 1.1 trillion dollars so far. It would have been a lot cheaper to use the Wine Dog approach with the Taliban back in 2001. Hello Taliban? We’re on our way, like in the air on our way, we’ll be there by nightfall. We can pick up Osama bin Laden or we can turn your landscape into glass, your choice. Yeah, I know it doesn’t work that way, but somebody needs to think outside the box. You know what they say in 12 step…repeating the same thing expecting different results is the definition of insanity. No, that’s not why I know that.