Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas

What a wonderful time of year.  I know that there are many, many distractions from the spirit of the season.  Ironically in our attempt to celebrate the season, we are found rushing to shop, attend get togethers, finish work projects before our PTO kicks in, dealing with travel, traffic, rude people, haters of Christmas, and on, and on..................................all before we wake up that Christmas morning.

I have had my struggles with Christmas, usually because it was so commercialized, and as a kid I thought Santa Claus was the ultimate discriminator, I mean, why was my buddy deserving of the newest slot car track and I was only deserving of a wood burning kit, but I digress.  My struggles have greatly dissipated over the years.  This was an all too slow transition for my poor wife.  I'm so grateful for her patience with me, more on that in a minute.

My transition to loving this time of year has to do with gratitude.  When Lora and I started having children, it was a lot of fun to see their faces on Christmas morning, and as our family grew, we watched them join with cousins and friends to perform the Nativity as we read the story of that day from the New Testament, I was so grateful for children and family.  As we progressed to having a young adult aged kids, they became more involved with the preparation, and I was grateful for family traditions.  When my daughter got married, I was grateful for future blessings and a new son-in-law.  Now, I have 4 grandchildren...difficult to write this without a lump in my throat and damp eyes...what a blessing.

I'm grateful for the ability to recognize all of God's blessings in my life.  It is so difficult to notice blessings as they come sometimes, for me, I have often looked back at my life's journey and recognized his hand in my life, and I have to repent that I was bitter during many of life's challenges because, it was those challenges that produced some of my greatest blessings and personal development in my life.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

"Lacks a firm grasp of the obvious"

In an imaginary game of Jeopardy, a contestant says, I'll take, "Politics of Change" for $500 Alex.
Host: "And the answer is, Lacks a firm grasp of the obvious....";
Contestant: "Who is the Republican Party"
Host: Ding, ding, ding, ding; "That's correct, pick your next category"

This morning I saw an interview with the former majority leader, Republican congressman Eric Cantor, who lost in his primary race a few years ago because of his unwillingness to stand up for our values.  He was extolling the benefits of presidential candidate, Jeb Bush for our next president; claiming that the anger the American people are showing is because of the bombastic campaigning of Donald Trump......really?  So, you're saying that I'm too stupid to know when I'm angry and unless a candidate gives me a reason to be angry, I would otherwise be as happy as could be, I should be grateful for all that Republicans have done for me; what are you, a Democrat?

I am so sick of the establishments on both sides telling us who we must vote for.  I am not a Trump supporter, per se, but I am happy for the dialog that is now being discussed during this election cycle because of him. The establishments on both sides DO NOT want the people in control of these elections.  They have set up systems to ensure this.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Horse Pucky!!!!

My wife and I enjoy watching HGTV and all the renovation projects that they do.  For me, I get good ideas for my own little construction company, and see different techniques, good and bad, that are fun to watch (beware of anyone who claims to know it all), but mostly I like to see how utterly unrealistic the budgets are.

I just watched an episode where the reno budget for an older home was $177,000.  for this money they would take out a huge all brick fireplace and chimney, build a new fireplace and chimney in a different location (large view through with expensive hearth and mantle.  Doing this opens up the kitchen to the living room.   The new kitchen will require all new cabinets, appliances, flooring, etc.  this will also require relocating the plumbing and tearing our a lot of concrete to do it.  For these two phases alone I did my own little estimating:
Demo fireplace and kitchen-$5000
Build new premium fireplace-$15,000
Patch roof-$500
New roofing-$10,000
Custom cabinets-$15,000
Granite counter tops-$8000
High end tile back splash-$4500
Viking and Subzero appliances-$20,000
New high end flooring through out-$25,000

This totals up to be $103,000.  This is assuming no complications and no profit for the contractors on most if not all of it.  So your probably thinking, "yeah but, there is still $74,000 left in the budget", yes, yes there is.  Now, if only I had pictures of the Master Bath and Bedroom remodel.  All I can say is, WOW!  Beautiful stone tile on the expanded bath areas that went up the walls and, in some areas, covered a new arched ceiling.  The large soaker tub, wet shower area, custom antique cabinet and stone counter tops, This could have easily been a $70,000 bathroom.  Everything was high dollar.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Process is DEAD!

Have you ever been involved with a project?  From planning a party to enacting policy change in a large company, there is a process involved.  The process usually the least enjoyable part, but is necessary to achieve a successful end.  I've been involved with lots of these types of projects and I'm here to say that the process is necessary.  It is the way that we debate the best means to achieve the best end, it follows and reports on the progress of reaching that end, and holds accountable those responsible for the means needed to accomplish the goal.  Some projects are an ugly, tedious process and others not so much.  Any great project follows this minutia in order to reflect the vision of the group.

America, has a process.  It was laid out for us from our founding, and we no longer follow it.  Our government has successfully removed the American citizens from this process.  If you have to ask how we are even involved, then you are proving my point, but, we are involved by voting in representatives to go to Washington DC and represent our personal best interests, and the interests of our states.  The process of passing bills, especially budgets, is an ugly process, AND IT SHOULD BE!  In our current situation we have a government that is overtly governing against the will of the people and the states.  I just watched our congress pass a spending bill that funds everything the president wants, and continues to inflate the deficit and put money in the hands of organizations and people that have no right to the hard earned funds of we the people.  

Here's how we have been shut out of the process: our president says he will veto the budget (or any other bill he doesn't want to pass) if it doesn't have everything he wants and will blame the congress for shutting down the government.  The congress knows they WILL be blamed for a shut down (which is not correct in my humble opinion) and instead of fighting with the representatives of the people and the states that want to debate and go through the process, the feckless leaders go behind closed doors and make deals to pass a bill that is never debated, and never open to the American people.

Yes, the president has been elected and re-elected to the office, but since his first election, he has lost seats in the house and senate at every election.  To me, this means the people of this country are sending a message that we do not want to continue to go down the road we are on.  As an example, pole after pole shows that, Obamacare, has never been liked by the American people and they want it stopped.  Instead of doing the will of the people, they force this horrible law down our throats to avoid a controversy.  They like their cushy jobs with health care that is NOT governed by the laws of the Obamacare.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

May the Force, force you to pay too much to see it?


I still remember the first time I saw Star Wars.  I was 14, I went to the Tyler Mall in Riverside, CA with my cousin Rob and Aunt Betty.  The movie absolutely blew my mind, it was visually stimulating, had a great story line, it was good vs. evil, a beautiful princess, AND, it was all done in space with the most amazing (at that time) special effects.  It was funny, lots of cool characters, I could go on and on.  Truly one of the most influential movies of all time, in my humble opinion.

Now, brief disclaimer, I'm not a collector or an Star Wars expert or anything like that, but a fan, absolutely.

So, about a week or so ago a story of someone paying $700 bucks to be able to see the movie on opening day surfaced.  You read that correctly, $700 bucks, dollars, dinero, benjamins, fun tokens, etc. and now Disney (the new owner of the Star Wars franchise) is trying to hit up the theaters for more of the box office take.  Typical Hollywood greed, which is socially  far more acceptable than larger corporate greed, but I digress.  Hey, I am all for capitalism and if they can get it, good for them, and I hope my retirement fund bought into Disney.  But, $700 dollars to see the movie?  Wow!  And all so he/she can view it on opening day.  You go man.

As for me and my house, we will see it after the opening day.  I will go see it, but at this stage in my life, if I have to wait several weeks I'm okay with that.  My frustration with the whole thing is that I did not get online and buy up a bunch of tickets to auction off to the all the chumps in the world that would pay $700 dollars for an opening day ticket, what a great Christmas we would be having.  Oh well, you snooze, you loose.

So, here is my wish for all the Star Wars, opening day goers; may you be able to purchase a ticket at the booth to see the show, then, turn around and scalp it to the dork behind you for $700 bucks.

Was that out loud?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Presidential Debate?

Okay, I am going to bite the bullet and delve into politics for a moment.  I am a registered Republican, but struggle with aligning with the establishment of the party of Lincoln.  So, am I a Democrat? ..................Sorry, I was laughing at myself for a moment...................okay, I'm finished.............No, seriously, I'm finished now, no I'm definitely not a Democrat.  Libertarian?  Well, perhaps, but there are many positions within that party that I struggle with.  Basically, I'm a fish out of water, and I am getting the impression that many of us are feeling the same way.  I even sense this in many of my friends, who are Democrats and voted for President Obama, are feeling a similar sensation.  This leaves me with a thought, idea, or perhaps, a conclusion?  Perhaps.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

It's like, totally, like, ya know?

I'm around a lot of youth, I have 3 teenage boys at home, I am a volunteer in the Boy Scouts of America, I work with the youth of my church...and...we have failed them!  I would love to blame today's teen language on them, but, it's actually our fault.  Do you remember the song, Valley Girl from Frank Zappa?  The lyrics were not very appropriate, but they included Like, like, I dunno, like a million times.

So, like, have you ever been around someone who, like, uses the work like, like, all the time?  It like, totally drives me, like insane, or something.  It's like listening to someone, like, giving a speech and um, like, saying um, like all the time too.

Don't get me wrong I like, like the word like, but like, it totally gets like, overused, right?  Okay, okay, I'll like stop, okay?

Not long ago I was listening to a young group of high schoolers and I could not believe what I was hearing.  Their conversation would have taken half the time if they had just eliminated a quarter of the hesitation words they used.  I've done my fair share of public speaking, mostly church or work presentations, and I know I am guilty of saying, um, once in a while, but seriously our youth need help, and the people of my generation owe it to them, because it's our fault.  This Valley Girl talk has been around since the early '80's, we had plenty of time to correct it.  Talk about unfortunate staying's like a silent but deadly lingering around long enough for the investigation to uncover the guilty party.

So, what's my point?  Well, I'm not like, totally sure, it's just that I am so like, sick of this language.  I don't believe there is like anything that can be done, ya know?  I guess I'll just have to endure it and like, persevere, ya know?  Hopefully they will increase their language skills as they grow older, but then again, I watched The Voice and like, 46 year old Gwen Stefani and like Pharrell Williams were like bad at talking good and stuff, ya know?

Anyway, thanks for listening...oops, Was That like Out Loud?

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Expand and Reduce? Yes!

Okay, I told you that I saw a chance to expand and reduce, so here is what I meant by that; our family room was 15' wide and 30' long, a long and narrow room, roughly 450 sq. ft.  We decided that by taking out the built ins would wide the room by 2' which would allow me to build a 9X17 room at the end of the family room, and while this would shorten the family room, the added width would keep it a decent sized family room.  to sum up, we end up with a storage room of roughly 153 sq. ft. and a family room of roughly 357 sq. ft. Sold!

Let the framing begin!

My boys and I began to frame the wall that will separate the family and storage rooms.  I also had acquired a fireplace from a remodel that I was doing, thanks Cody, so I decided to incorporate this into the remodel.  It is a gas fireplace and I will be able to vent it out the side wall, Lora is very happy about this, and we just hope to have it ready for the 2 or 3 days we may be able to use it in our Arizona winter ;-).

The framing continued:

 We added some can lights and I framed in a little window box under the return of the stairs which will be easier to see in the next photos.

On to drywall; all the wiring has been rerouted, no new circuits so it was all pretty easy, just tedious work.  Had my good buddy Sean, at Maricopa Electric give me a hand on this.  He is truly the Master of all things electrical.  So, we put up some wall board and hooked up the can lights.

If you look closely you can make out a framed section under the stair return.  This is where will will hang a picture of Christ that we love, or we can use if for a nice family photo or whatever.

I decided to cut down the stairs so I could add a railing with open sided treads and risers, I'm exited to see this when its done, I'll bet you are too, huh?

Friday, December 11, 2015

Demo Days clarification

My last post (Demo Days) I didn't clarify the timeline.  It was about a year ago we began discussing the remodel, but didn't get serious until the spring of this year.  Needless to say this project is still ongoing, but I will post more about that tomorrow.

Demo Days

The Family Room
Demolition Phase

About a year ago my wife and I started discussing the need for more storage.  Our family room was very long with built in entertainment shelving extending from our stairway down to the corner on our longest wall (not necessarily a fan of built ins).  So, I saw opportunity to expand and reduce space in order to accomplish our desire for more space.

Photo 1 shows the built ins that had to go, this is the beginning of the process.  "Disclaimer Alert!" Please note, this is not necessarily a project for the beginner, as a builder I know I have potential structural issues, electrical circuits that will have to be relocated, and lots of surprises that will need  to be dealt with before I demo this, so please seek out professional advise if you've never done this before.  So, I made a plan in my head and decided to proceed as soon as I got caught up on some work....

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Democratic vs. Democrat

Democratic or Democrat?

I've always been confused why Democrats insist on be called the, "Democratic Party", and not the "Democrat Party".  According to the dictionary, the word democratic is an adjective, not a noun.  It is used to describe something.  Now, far be it for me to say what a party, club, gang, etc. must use as a name, but wouldn't a person who is a member of the democratic party, refer to themselves as democratics?  Not, I am democrat, rather, I am a democratic...see how confusing that is?  I do not see the condemnation in calling the party the democrat party.  To me, this is grammatically correct and makes better sense.  Now, try to tell a democrat (funny how that is a correct use of the title now) that his/her party should be called the democrat party and they get furious; "IT'S THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY YOU HATEFUL PERSON!"  Okay, so, you're a democratic....excuse me.

Was that out loud?

Was That Out Loud?

An Introduction to, Was that out loud!

Do you suffer from UAR?  UAR stands for, Unintended Audible Release; It is a little known subconscious phenomenon usually found in deep thinking, passionate people.  UAR's can occur in any of life's situations, driving a car, alone in an office cubicle, walking away from an argument, or my personal favorite (tongue in cheek) while on the toilet (which reinforces my call for all bathrooms to be sound proofed for a slew of reasons, but I digress).  My point is that free flowing cerebral conversations with real or imagined people can occur at any time for people suffering from UAR and thus leading me and my fellow sufferers to say, "was that out loud?", thus the title of my blog...

So, who am I?  My name is, Keith Loomis, I was born in Hemet, CA in 1963 and if my math is correct that makes me 52.  I am married to my very best friend and sweetheart for 31 years, Lora Latimer, and together we have six children.  My oldest is my daughter Lindsay followed by 5 boys in a row; Tyler, David, Jared and our twins, Camron and Jacob.  My fondest dream from my youth was to marry a girl like my wife and stay together forever.  I wanted to have children and create an environment of faith and a strong family.  This dream in progress can only be achieved if Lora and I are united in our efforts, and we are. 

I have 4 little grandchildren from my daughter and her husband, Trent.  Together they have 3 boys, Lucas, Levi, Nathan and my little girl grand baby, Tessa.

I am a general contractor by trade and been involved in construction related fields for most of my adult life.  I have tried my hand at other fields like selling insurance, or delving into the financial and investment field, only to discover that I suck at soliciting which, if you're going to sell insurance or financial products, you've got to be great at soliciting; I think my biggest problem is that I don't like being solicited myself.  But, I do respect people who earn their living in a commission based industry.

I am a Mormon, I mention this because it is part of the fabric of my life.  I served a mission in the country of New Zealand, "Kia Ora" to all my Kiwi mates, and loved it.  I loved and still love speaking (not debating) to people who had different beliefs, I never felt threatened by them, in fact I felt empowered by these discussions.  I loved serving them, getting to know them and realizing that most of us on this earth have more in common than we have differences, we can love and respect one another.  I also love to teach people when they are curious and am not too proud to proclaim that I do not know it all, therefore I must walk by faith.  I believe that God will speak to all of us because we are all His children.

It is my intention to write about those things that I am passionate about, yes that includes politics, but it also includes things that are not necessarily political, but could be I guess, like: 

  • Family,
  • Men and women
  • Children and grandchildren

Also those things that are part of my everyday life:

  • Construction projects
  • Tricks of the trade
  • How to's
  • Sports
  • Hopes and dreams
Really, whatever I want...let's see how this goes.  I hope to make good friends, engage in passionate discussion, express my personal desires, passions, hopes and dreams, and through it all I hope we ask ourselves, "Was that out loud"?

Thanks for reading