My Stylist Nearly Tysoned Me

I got my haircut on Sunday as my hairdo was starting to get a bit unkempt, and also because gray hairs are more easily seen with longer hair.  It was a haircut just as I’ve had the last couple of years, and even with the same person, but this time she decided to cut off a little more than just my hair.

That’s right, my stylist nearly Mike Tysoned me – you know, the same Mike Tyson who bit a chunk out of Evander Holyfield’s ear?!  Ok, so it wasn’t so bad that an equivalent bite would require a “spit” to clear the mouth of said flesh, but it was enough to make me squeamish every time the scissors approached my ears again.

And Our Next Car is…

We bought a car!  If you read my last post, you knew our requirements were a car with good gas mileage that’s big enough for our dog, and that can handle snow.

My wife researched for weeks, so we had our choices narrowed down to a few different CUV’s and SUV’s.  The highest car on the list was the Subaru Outback because it hits up to 30 mpg on the highway and has all wheel drive, but we were also considering other midsize SUV’s.  After we found a couple of good options in Oklahoma City, we decided to go up on Saturday to check them out.

We started by visiting a Subaru dealership where we previously found a used Outback with 49k miles.  After we parked, a timid young guy approached us – definitely not taking the “salesman” approach as he talked under his breath and didn’t seem to know much about the car.  After telling us there was another couple already looking at the 2010 Outback, we agree to take a new Outback for a drive.

I know what you’re thinking – he talked us into buying a new car and we financed it!  Not quite; when we learned our salesman was on his third day of car sales, my doubts turned from him to the car.  It just didn’t have the driving feeling that I was used to, and I learned later it’s probably due to the Outback’s transmission.

Time to Test Ourselves!

Now that we’re getting back into the swing of things with jobs and not vacationing nine months a year (poor us), it’s time to really test ourselves against the money rules I always push.  Primarily, how much car can you afford and how much house you can afford.
That’s right, we’re about to experience two major “reintegration” expenses as we buy a second car and eventually buy our next house.  Before we left for the trip, we sold my car so we only have my wife’s Toyota 4Runner which now has 170,000 miles on it.  We also sold our house in New Orleans, and we’re currently posting up at a relative’s old house in a small town in Oklahoma.  As much as we actually enjoy the simple life, we’re quickly getting pushed back into the real world as my recent promotion requires us to move to Austin or Dallas.
Our Next Car Purchase

We have some basic requirements for our next car based on the things we like to do.  Basically, we want a great road tripping car with good gas mileage.  It needs to be big enough for our large dog to ride around with us (Lucy), and we want an all wheel drive to handle Colorado winters (for visiting and someday living there).
If you knew that my wife’s from Boulder, you can probably guess what car she wants… just think about it, what’s the state car of Colorado… that hippies drive (no offense, Susan)… and that you always see dogs in… Oh yes, she wants a Subaru Outback!  I fought it for a long time because I considered driving around in a station wagon as “giving up on life”, but I think she has actually convinced me that it’s the right direction.
You know, they look pretty cool now, they have great gas mileage (21 city, 29 highway), and they’re perfect for pets.  That’s right, I’m justifying it now because she’ll win in the end.

Outsourced: One Couple’s Story

His tenure at his company was approaching 35 years, and a well funded retirement and pension were just around the corner.  He sacrificed for the company, and they paid him for it.  It wasn’t just him who enjoyed this relationship, his wife also worked for the same company for 25 years and was looking forward to her pension as retirement was just around the corner.

However, this match made in heaven was about to end abruptly.  It all started when my former employer was brought in to the company to help implement some systematic improvements to make their warehouses better (consulting lingo).  As a consulting firm usually does, they continued finding work for the company while looking for areas to expand their presence and increase sales.

They soon found the answer:  outsource the IT department to my firm; who, in turn would decrease costs by outsourcing the jobs to India.  It’s a common model many companies have used the last decade.

Bob was a Director in the IT department.  Now that the entire department was outsourced to my firm, his employer changed and so did the benefits he would receive during retirement.  That’s right, he and his wife would no longer get the pensions they were ready to start collecting on because now they worked for a new company.