Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Golden Opportunity

So, things did not go as planned.

I went up to NJ. Bought the Jeep sight unseen, per the listing, and the thing ran like shit, unlike the title of the listing "1999 Cherokee 4x4**runs great**".

Honestly, I know better. I was too trusting of the process, figuring that the Jeep would not be misrepresented by an ebay seller who wants to retain positive feedback. With that said, I got most of my money back and returned the beat-to-hell xj. The body was clean, but mechanically, it was a crapfest. Lesson learned.

So what to do? As it turns out, Clare reminded me of a gent back in Harrisburg, who had a Jeep Cherokee for sale at a good price. It was gold and I gave him a text. With the remainder of my cash, my father-in-law and I went to down to check it out. It was clean and mechanically sounded great. I was comfortable with it and made an offer. The gracious seller took it, and I drove 130 miles home with the windows don into the sunset with my new Golden XJ.

Frankly, it totally kicks ass. To me at least. That's the one I wanted to begin with, but the seller was out of town in Alaska when I contacted him. It needs tires on all 4 corners, but runs great for a vehicle with 220k on the clock. I know. 220k. That's a lot, but it's all there.

There is some body damage and quirks to be worked out to be sure, but overall it's solid. The interior is very clean. Minimal rust. Newly tinted windows. Lift. 31s. I couldn't be happier with it, considering what I paid.

God draws straight with [my] crooked lines sometimes. Even though my journey to Hackettstown did not go as planned, I am overall grateful for things working out as well as they did.

Pictures will be forthcoming at some point. It probably looks like hell to everyone else, but to me, well, it's golden.

Peace Out. --Nick-Dog

Friday, June 21, 2013

Cherokee Dreamin'

So this past Tuesday, I found an ebay auction for a 1999 Jeep Cherokee XJ by a wholesaler
up in Jersey. Forest Green. 4.0. 4x4 Automatic. 177k. No noticeable debilitating rust.

The ebay post was thorough and included video of a walk-around and test drive.

As I watched, feelings of being and working at the dealership began to course through my veins. Desire for a new Jeep took hold of me. I talked to my wife--she could see the Jeep lust in my eyes--to obtain "permission" for a new Jeep. The auction was ending in 20 minutes. The opportunity for an ebay snipe
glistened before me. Current bid: $649.00. No reserve.

Hells yes peoples!

Max bid: $752.13. With less than a minute left, I became the high bidder and auction-sniped some poor bastard--another dealer I'm sure--out there on the interwebs, claiming rights to ownership at $685 as the clock reached zero.

Sure, I will be paying a $145.00 processing fee and $25 out of state temp tag fee, for a grand total of $855.00. And then I have to get it and bring it back.

Now the Jeep has some issues, but none that affect driveability. The interior smells like old pet, the windshield has a minor crack, and the bumper suffered an injury. It needs a stereo. There's a couple of other minor issues, but those are the main ones. Honestly, anything under 2k is going to need some work.

I have been staying up at night combing the Craigslist ads for Cherokees from Maine to Spain, looking for sweet deals like a man obsessed. All things considered, this seems like a good deal on the one hand.

So Monday will see my father-in-law and I heading up to Jersey in the AM to pick up the new rig. Hopefully, everything will go silky smooth.

Honestly, I've been wanting a Cherokee for 6 years. My plans for the thing are pretty much made. I will post periodic progeess here. The long term vision is to obtain a used pop-up that we can take camping on weekends, now that we have something formidable enough to tow.

The juice is flowing freely. I am so excited about this. We might even get to stop at Cabelas in Hamburg, PA on the way back.

Hells yes peoples!!!

Over and Out, --Nick

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Advice to those just starting out, or to my 21-year-old self....

When I was 21ish, I wanted guidance from wise people who had trod the path ahead of me, so as not to make theirs or common mistakes in life.

Honestly, I did find a few wise men over time, but what I found is that at the end of the day, no one has all the answers. Most people have very few of them, but those who've lived an admirable life are worth listening to, regardless of age.

From my 34-year-old vantage point, it is idealistic to think that a sage can tell you everything you need to know. They can be helpful to be sure, but ultimately, advice needs to be measured by what is within. Elsewise, it is effectively useless.

And with that, here is MY sage advice to a 21-year-old, for whatever it is worth:

1.) Hard skills are often more important than soft skills. If you go to college, get a degree that will make you bank, not one that will keep you in the poorhouse. Usually, that is a technical degree of some sort.

2.) Question the motives and wisdom of others. Keep your own counsel. Trust your gut instincts.

3.) Read the Book of Sirach.

4.) Question the system, then opt out by your life-style choices.

5.) Invest in rural/semi-rural land sooner rather than later. Obtain or build liveable accommodations, then build your dream place next to it if you want.

6.) I advise a life that looks like a homesteader. To that end, a massive shop on your property is one of the most significant and awesome things you can do for yourself. For the do-it-yourself type, it will save you money and give you space to do everything you want and then some. Few shops are too big. Seriously.

7.) Invest in quality tools. Learn to use them. Learn to plumb. Then see #6.

8.) Money attracts money (in my limited experience). If you have a ton, make it attract more by your lifestyle choices and investment strategy. Don't let it burn a hole in your pocket (which is what I generally do).

9.) Don't buy depreciating assets. Consider this with every purchase. Every time you buy a depreciating asset, you become poorer.

10.) Follow the K-I-S-S method in most things and save yourself some headaches.

11.) Theoretically, if you are an idealist, you can anything, right? However, realistically, one only has time and space (and energy/resources) to do several things well. Consider this before loading up your life with excessive projects. You can't do them/it all.

12.) Unless it is your passion/true desire to restore old things, start fresh. It is hard to work with what is old than to build from scratch something new.

13.)  Don't swim against the current. Get out of the river and walk your own way.

14.) Become an expert judge of character.

15.) Craigslist is your friend. Try not to pay retail if you can avoid it.

16.) Avoid people who love conflict. Avoid situations that could potentially bring about conflict. The great general is not one who wins 100 battles, but avoids a 1000.

17.) Make your bed every day, first thing.

18.) "Peace is the tranquility of order." If you seek peace, seek order, organization, and a space for all things.

19.) What you own owns you.

20.) Know your enemies. No matter how cool you are, some people are your enemies because they choose to be.

21.) Be concerned about personal security and safety. We don't live in la-la land.

22.) Do not play fantasy games that are violent if you yourself are not willing to purchase a sword (aka host of weapons) to defend all that is good and worthy in your life.

23.) Take care of your body, mind, and spirit. Rest when you need to. Develop a martial fitness.

24.) Character is more important than image, but to many, image matters more.

25.) Be honest to yourself about your own bullshit. Hold yourself to a higher standard than others.

26.) You are the company you keep.

27.) Dress for the occasion.

28.) Honor the Lord who honors you by maintaining your existence and holding you in being.

29.) Discipline is not a 4-letter word.

30.) Have a back-up plan, and a back-up plan to the back-up plan.

31.) Value is a state of mind. It is entirely subjective but seemingly objective. It is malleable and not fixed.

32.) Manage your own money like a persnickety housewife.

33.) Be your own bad-ass on your terms. You can't live someone else's version of you.

That's it for now. Just needed to get that out there for some reason. Hope you've enjoyed.

Over and Out,