I Lied About My Age….

I have a confession to make. I lied about my age. All day long, I have been allowing people to wish me a Happy 40th Birthday. As a matter of fact, we have been lying about my age on the 26th of March for the past forty years. For this, I apologize. Now, this apology isn’t necessarily from the bottom of my heart as that is reserved for apologies that are necessary and not done in jest. However, the apology exists for those who would like to claim it. Now, I will explain. Continue reading “I Lied About My Age….”

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It’s that Tin Fish…

So….

Tomorrow, I will be 40 years of age. Many people dread leaving their thirties behind but I am not counted among that number. I have high hopes for my forties. We will be starting a new job in a few weeks that will also place us in a new home and a new state. Spring is here and all things are new again.

Tonight, to celebrate my aging process, Elisa and I took a trip over to Newburgh, IN to try out a restaurant that we had never eaten at. We have lived in Carmi for six years now but never made it over to Newburgh despite many people urging us to give it a shot. I definately should not have waited this long to make the trip.

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Earlier today, I googled the best place to eat fish in the Evansville area and it listed this place, The Tin Fish, as one of the top two or three spots. It took me forever to find the place as the parking for the building is not on the main street. However, that was really the only downside to the evening as this place was amazing!

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When you first walk in, there are just a few tables for seating and the counter area where you place your order. I was unaware of all of the downstairs seating so this place looked super small at first. Elisa ordered a salmon & fries with a lemon drop martini. I ordered a lobster & crab bisque, some mini crab cakes & a grilled Mahi Mahi taco with a Coke. I was not nearly as hungry as I thought that I was.

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Once we discovered the downstairs seating area, it became a no-brainer where we would sit. This guy was playing “Brown-Eyed Girl” when we first got to our seats and continued to play a bunch of classic 60’s and 70’s rock. He played the harmonica as well as the guitar.

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My meal came to me in stages. First up was the Crab & Lobster Bisque. This was so good. I probably could have just had two or three more of these and called it a night. The flavor of the seafood was heavy throughout the bisque but there were chunks of meat on the bottom as well. Spectacular!

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Next up was the crab cakes. The white-ish looking stuff on the plate was tartar sauce. I think tartar sauce is pretty disgusting so I stuck with the cocktail sauce and was finishing this up right around the time that they brought out…..

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my grilled Mahi Mahi taco and fries. These fries were amazing. They were seasoned in something that gave them a very unique taste but the taco was on point.

I have to tell you guys, you need to find some time to make a trip over to this little restaurant. It was worth the drive for me.

Oh, and one more thing…..

Here’s a picture of my son hanging out with the Easter Bunny.

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Sushi & John Goodman

The boys in my house have been hounding me for a couple of weeks now for a trip out somewhere awesome before I move. Our schedule was empty for last night so we decided that it was time to take off. Now, one of my absolute favorite things to eat is sushi. It really doesn’t matter what kind of sushi. I will eat it all. However, my absolute favorite sushi is the Spicy Tuna Roll from Zuki in Evansville, IN.

This was my fifth trip over to Zuki over the last two years but none of the boys in my house had ever gone. For those of you who have never been to Zuki, you need to check it out. Here is an excerpt from their websites about page:

Zuki Japanese Hibachi Grill & Sushi Lounge has been in operation serving the tri-state area and beyond since January 2007. After its expansion in January 2010, it now has a total seating capacity of 200. The dining area is divided into 3 sections: the Hibachi, which consist of 8 hibachi grill tables, Sushi Lounge, and Yakitori. The second Zuki location opened up on July 2014.

Anyways, the boys loved everything else. The hibachi experience was awesome. My friend Scott went with us as well and we had an interesting conversation about a hidden blessing that comes from the hibachi experience.

See, when you sit down at a hibachi, you can plan on being there for quite a while. We sat down for dinner around 5:30 PM and were finish up our meal at 7:00 PM. You are also often seated next to people that are not a part of your dinner party so you are sharing a table with strangers. Some people would not look forward to spending an hour and half with people they did not know but I love it.

Most dinner experiences revolve around conversation leading up to the meal which often takes no more than 15 to 29 minutes at most. Then, you eat and leave. Here (unless you sit awkwardly quiet), you are given an opportunity to have an authentic and lengthy conversation, both with your own party and with those who are sitting with you. Another added bonus is the interaction that you have with your chef who is there cooking as you eat.

Long story short, the hibachi was a success with the boys.

After the meal, we drove across town to the AMC theater to catch JJ Abrams’ new film, 21 Cloverfield Lane.

I won’t say much about the movie here so that I don’t spoil the movie for anyways, It is sufficient to say, however, that I have never seen John Goodman in a role like this one.

It was nice to spend one more evening in Evansville before we head east.

Cable cutters

When I got my first house, back in 1994, I could not afford anything in my house other than my basic expenses (rent, utilities, ramen noodles, etc…..). Getting cable television in my apartment was out of the question, even if I wanted it. If I wanted to watch WWE wrestling, I went to a friend’s house. If I was bored at home, I just turned on the Super Nintendo and played Griffey baseball. This would pretty much be the case for the next 20 years. I just got used to not having television and then never went back.

Today, it is even easier to go without a ridiculously high cable bill with all the online streaming options that there are on the market. In our home, we stream Netflix through our Xbox 360 and that takes care of pretty much all of our entertainment needs.

It is amazing to me that people still pay so much money on television. In his article on cable cutting, Trent Hamm tells us that, “the average American cable bill is $100 per month.” That’s the average, mind you: many people pay more than that, and some pay substantially more. Such a bill adds up to well over a thousand dollars a year.”

All of that money for relatively little television actually worth watching. Just imagine what all you could do with $1,000 dollars extra at the end of the year. Having trouble imagining that? Check out this link. Personally, that money makes for a nice little mini-vacation. Living out here in Illinois, I would take that money and head to Chicago for a few days.

As I am preparing to move to Virginia, that money would make some nice beach money. Of course, I do not actually get an extra $1,000 because I do not have a cord to cut.

What kind of interest are you getting?

Three years ago, Angela Johnson wrote an article for money.cnn.com stating that 76% of America was living paycheck to paycheck. What this tells us is that over three quarters of Americans have very little savings and would be dangerously close to being homeless if they were to be put out of a job. In today’s world, this is not a safe place to be.

Most of my life, I counted myself among that majority. There were many factors that played into that. Before marrying my wife, I was very irresponsible with my money. My employer may as well have paid me with a Wal Mart gift card because that is where my paycheck went. I also limited myself in my employment opportunities by failing to pursue my college degree. On top of this, I accumulated debt despite being unable to keep up with the payments. If this sounds familiar, it is because this describes many Americans and might possibly even describe you.

Two years ago, I decided to get a handle on my finances. We work in a profession that gives us a little freedom financially that we might not otherwise have. It occured to me that I had a responsibility to do with this excess in a positive manner. So, I started reading. I picked up some Dave Ramsey. I started reading Kiplinger’s and Money magazine. I subscribed to financial advisory emails. Anything that I could get a hold of to help me better understand the financial world was of interest to me.

Shortly after that, it began to occur to me that putting my money in a traditional saving’s account at my local bank was going to get me nowhere in my pursuit of financial security. Interest on savings accounts today are so small that you might as well bury your money in a jar in the back yard.

I started looking into investing options. This began with a small account through Betterment. As I learned a little more about the stock market, I added an account through Scottrade as well. Many people questioned why I would take a chance with my finances in the stock market with today’s economy being so poor. However, I only buy dividend stocks. This is a long game for me that ends when I retire.

Anyways, one day I was thinking about the difference in percentages between what a bank charges a person on a loan and what they pay out on a savings account. Where are you going with this, you might ask. Well, according to Morgan Quinn at money.usnews.com, about the best that a person can expect to get on a saving’s account interest-wise is 1%. However, many loans that are issued by local banks start out around 7% and that is if you have excellent credit. The majority of the profit that is being made off of my money is going to the bank, not to me. I know…. I know….. Everyone knows this.

I was looking into some other investment options one day and stumbled across peer to peer lending. For those who are not familiar, peer to peer lending is pretty self explanatory. It is loans and interest that skips the process of being moved through a bank. People lend money to other people. The site that I started lending out through is lendingclub.com and I love it. I have been issuing loans to other individuals for close to a year now and I am averaging over 10% in interest on the loans.

My wife and I still carry a savings account with our bank that we use for a bit of a buffer on our checking account. However, the days of relying on the small percentage that a bank offers on my money is over.

Me vs. Me

Every time I go to Wal-Mart, I see about a million things that I think that I need to buy. Of course, I do not actually need any of these things (The $5 movie bin is a tool of Satan). Who really does? However, this is Today Me that needs his instant gratification. Of course, if I were to buy that $800 dollar television, it’s not like I wouldn’t enjoy it. Then, if I had that tv, I would obviously need to buy a new Xbox One to play games on it. See, the list goes on and on of all the things that Today Me wants to have in my house. Continue reading “Me vs. Me”

Ripple

Have you ever had one of those moments where you are super-aware of the impact that your own decisions have on those around you? You see your children performing actions or saying things that you know they got from you. Maybe something is being introduced at your job that you discovered. Regardless, this is your imprint on their lives. Something you did made a difference to someone else. Continue reading “Ripple”