Monday, September 12, 2011

Summer 2011 Update

I have not posted to our blog in some time. We have been living in our home at Hidden Valley Airpark since June of 2008. We love being part of a community that has similar interests and people enjoy getting together with each other. Many times we have stumbled onto what we call instant-parties. Someone will be out for a drive on their golf cart and will note that we should get together and have something on the grill. Or a couple of us will end up on someone's patio enjoying an adult beverage and we call our friends and invite them over, instant-party.

Recently a string of about 40 100+ degree days broke and we had a Saturday night in the 70's so we invited friend's over and I cleaned the dust and leaves from our patio and we had a great meal listening to a few take-off and landing while having some great conversations. It is a great place.

A few more things that we have been doing this summer: We finally had a sprinkler system installed. I had been using hoses and battery-powered timers, but I was not keeping up with very dry weather that we had this summer and we have lost some of our plants. The new sprinkler system had a drip zone around the hanger for its foundation and two drip zones in the planting bed around the house in addition to the 14 rotor head zone for the rest of the lot. It is nice to see a bit of green return to the landscape.

I also had to rebuild one of the cylinders on the Cherokee and replace the propeller. I sent the propeller to have it re-built and it was too worn and had been re-built a least once before and would not passed the specs. So while we were are Oshkosh this year I ordered a new one and I am in the process of completing the installation and annual inspection now. My guess is the airplane will perform better with the new propeller.

We also bought a new car to make the 60-mile+ round trip to Plano and back every day. We shopped for about 4 months and settled on a 2012 Ford Focus. It is a neat car that will carry 5. The back seat is a little tight, but OK if Cindy wants to take friends to lunch. We are averaging about 31 MPG and I have seen it as high as 40 MPG in hi-way driving. The Ford MyTouch and Microsoft Sync electronics are pretty good and have a lot of features. It takes some getting used to, but once you figure out the voice commands that work well, it is easy to use.

Anyways, we have been busy and I will try and post the blog a bit more often than once every years!

Monday, October 6, 2008

And the credit card companies have not helped us either

Here is another good article about how we have become a nation addicted to debt:

It echoes the stories that you have seen. I have not done everything "right" financially, but we have not fallen into the debt trap like so many people have. You, Rick and Kara need to pull back a little bit and get your non-mortgage debt paid off. The mortgage is fine and is almost a fact of life. The rest is a way for credit card companies to bleed money away from you.

Think about this. Every time you use a credit card the credit card company takes 2 to 3% of the transaction. And we all pay for that. The vendor does not say I want $1000 for this and if you pay cash I will give it to you for $970. No they say I need to get $1000 for this to make a reasonable profit but most people use credit cards and I (the vendor) will have to pay the credit card company $30 on each item, so I will charge $1030 and let my customer pay the extra $31. Pretty neat for the credit card company. But it does not stop there. The credit card company, out of the goodness of their heart, say you only have to pay 2% of your outstanding balance each month because we are willing to loan you’re the remaining $1009 at %20. Next month you own $1009 + $15.45 interest and pay $20.60. Guess how much the credit card company will make and how long you will be paying before the original $1030 charge is paid off? Over 19 years! And the credit card company will get about $2,020 in interest plus the original $30.

Go to this web site and play around with the numbers:

If instead of making the minimum payment you pay $100 each month it will be paid off in 1 year and the credit card company only makes about $105. The credit card company really does not want you to pay extra. But it gets even better for the credit card company if you miss a payment, then they get to charge you a $25 to $45 late fee and the interest.

Just remember that when you are paying interest on credit cards you are also helping support a couple of other families in addition to your own. You are much better off putting off instant gratification, saving your money and buying what you truly need and can afford with cash. Then all of your earnings will go to support you family and its habits instead of god knows who and their habits.

I am mad a hell about the mortgage crisis

This is the best explanation that I have read as to what the root cause is of the current mortgage/credit issue.

The summary is that liberal journalists and editors pressured our government to ease long standing mortgage lending standards like the traditional debt-to-income ratio that had been used. They lowered the standards so that more minority and low-income borrowers would quality. The standards were lowered so much over the past few years that borrowers that were clearly unable to keep up their payments were given loans. Loans were granted with no documentation, no down payments and for more than the true market value of the property. Liberal legislators pushed these ideas on Freddie Mac and Fannie May. Even people of some means have taken advantage of these questionable lending practices by buying homes that were much higher that what they could afford hoping that they could refinance later as the home's value increased.

I saw this happening earlier this year when we sold our rental house and to a lesser extent 3 years ago when we bought it. I thought it was interesting when we bought the house that we could get what is called an 80/10/10 loan. (My previous experience in buying homes was 25 years earlier when you had to have 20% down, no exceptions.) We got 30-year mortgage for 80 percent of the purchase price and then that bank had a sister bank loan us another 10% for 15-years and we wrote a check for the remaining 10%. I thought that was creative and it was interesting that the bank was the one that suggested it.

When we sold our house the young couple that bought it had not saved enough for even a 5% down-payment let allow 20%. They bought the house by writing a $500 check and signing their names to a mortgage. I have paid more than that to get into an apartment! The deal they got was that we raised the price of the house by $5,000 over what they offered and we would accept. Then they got a loan for the original agreed upon price and at the closing the extra $5,000 went to the bank for the down payment. Pretty neat, huh? I was assured a number of times that the couple who purchased the house always paid their bills, credit card, etc and there was no problem with this approach. It seemed almost illegal to me. But once the house was sold and the closing was done, it was not my problem.

It now appears that is was not the banks problem either because they were able to sell the loan to Freddie or Fannie or someone else and pass the "risk" on. Neat, or so I thought.

I am sure this couple does pay their bills and may still be making the mortgage payments. But it appears that there are a lot of people in this country that are no longer paying their bills and mortgages because I and many others are being asked to pay part of the $700,000,000,000 to bail out the stupid banks, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and god knows who.

For the first time since this mess started, I understand why there are so many people mad as hell about this and not willing to allow congress to pass the previous bail-out plan. For one thing the cost of this is not going to be carried by "everyone" because 40% of the potential tax payers do not pay any taxes at all! And the next 40% paid hardly any taxes. So what is happening is that a small percentage is going to have to pay a great deal and work a great deal harder to pay for the mistakes of congress and social meddling that is being pushed on us by a few.

The current credit issue is the best reason that I have seen for voting for a John McCain. Someone who will work to clean up the root causes of this mess and get the government out of our lives.

Here in Texas it is very likely that McCain will win, but those of you in other states need to think hard about voting for and suppporting McCain instead of the social engineering that we will get with Obama.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

New house pictures

We had blinds and shades installed yesterday and it really seems like the house is complete now. We still have some stuff to do; lots of landscaping (that can wait for the 100 degree weather leaves us); moving Nanny and Poppy in and getting their furniture distributed around;  moving a few more things from the hanger to the house and setting up the media room. Here is a link to some photos of the house:


We have been in the house a month now and really enjoy it.  Once the weather cools off we will have an open house in invite everyone. If you are in the area, please give us a call and stop by


Cheers, Steve & Cindy



Monday, June 16, 2008

We have moved in!

Cindy and I, with the help of Nanny and Poppy and Mike and Patti, moved into our new home this last weekend! We moved a fair amount of stuff from the apartment into the house, our bedroom, one of the upstairs bedrooms and most of the kitchen stuff and most of the clothing. We still have most of the furniture to move, but since our lease on the apartment goes until August 20th, we do not have to be in a hurry.


Poppy and I finished up a few things and we discovered a few more that need to be done. We installed a door stop in the travertine floor to stop the front door and one in the carpet for the deck door. The electricians did not connect the in floor temperature sensor for the heated floor in the master bath, so I did that and now we have a heated bath room floor. I can hardly wait until winter to get the full enjoyment of the floor!


We decided that we needed a couple more towel bars. One for the utility sink and one inside the outside garage man door for the outdoor shower.


I did care my bride across the threshold. Pictures later. We are very excited and hope to have the house ready for an open house in the near future. But if you want to stop by, please do.  Attached is a map that shows you how to get to our house from I-35E.


Cheers, Steve

Steve Aughinbaugh

Manager, Plano Engineering Sustaining
McAfee, MS 3S099
5000 Headquarters Drive
Plano, Texas 75024

972-963-7496 (office)

972-989-6770 (cell)


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The end is in sight

Today we are getting the electric meter and the final building inspection. The oven will be installed today and the travertine tile is down. The last three holes the electrician cut into the walls will be fixed today and the painters will come next Monday to re-paint those areas as well as a few others that have been nicked by the subcontractors. All of the plumbing is installed. We have phone service already. But I have not completed the interior wiring. We should have air-conditioning this coming weekend and I should be able to complete the interior data wiring that is needed for us to move in. The cable is being installed on the 6th.  The only remaining major item is the carpet that will be installed next Wednesday and Thursday. The mortgage company will do their final inspection next Friday and a week from Monday we sign the mortgage. We will move some of our stuff in on the weekend of 6/14-15 and the rest over the next couple of weekends. We are very, very close to the end of the project.


Cheers, Steve

Steve Aughinbaugh

Manager, Plano Engineering Sustaining
McAfee, MS 3S099
5000 Headquarters Drive
Plano, Texas 75024

972-963-7496 (office)

972-989-6770 (cell)