Wiring Up a Solar Power System to our Home

For years I have wanted to do something a little more environmentally friendly in terms of our power consumption.  Sure, we’ve replaced all our old incandescent light bulbs with CFL ones, bought new energy efficient appliance and even installed an efficient furnace as well.

But I’ve never felt that it was enough.

So this year we have decided to install some solar panels in our yard and wire them up to our home.  While we won’t be running entirely on the power of the sun, at least we will be making strides to consume less energy generated from burning fossil fuels.

I have setup the solar panels out in our backyard, and I have a Rockingham electrician coming to wire them up to our breaker box.

While it is a small start to getting off of the grid, at some point here in the near future, I would like to see all of our electricity generated by ourselves.  It will take a bit of an investment in solar panels, but the savings should be worth it.  Truthfully, I like the idea that I will be leaving the world a better place.

But before I jump in and buy a whole bunch of solar panels, I’m going to give the ones that I have bought a try first.

Performing Preventative Maintenance on Rental Properties

One of the things that I have learned about owning rental properties is that it pays to do preventative maintenance on them.  I have a schedule that I have created over the years to keep me on track with each rental unit we own to make sure that we keep up on each one of them.

This year there are quite a few things that need to be done to a number of properties, but I’m starting with our units in Novi.  We replaced the shingles on each of the two rental houses about ten years ago, and therefore we need to check both of them to see the condition of the roof and whether or not they need any maintenance.

I’ve arranged to have a company specializing in roof inspection in Novi MI to visit each house, inspect the roofs, and let me know their condition.  Based on the inspector’s report, we might replace the shingles on the roof, or leave it for a few more years.  I just want to make sure to catch any problems before they happen, which will save us money in the long run.

The inspection is happening on Wednesday – I just hope that it is all good news.

Personal Shoppers Find what you need in Japan

As many of you know, I am an avid gamer, and one of my favorite video games systems would have to be the Super Nintendo.  I love the Final Fantasy games that came out for that gaming console, and have put thousands of hours playing them over and over.

But what I have always wanted to try was to play the games in original Japanese on the Super Famicom.  The Super Famicom was the Japanese version of the Super Nintendo, and while the cartridges and system look similar, they don’t work on each other’s machines.  I was able to find a system over here, but I have had no luck finding an old cartridge.

I did have some luck finding a copy of Final Fantasy 6 on Amazon.jp, but they are not willing to ship it to our house.  So, I hired a company that would buy from Amazon Japan and ship to US.  They will order the game for me, and once they receive it, they will ship it to my house.

It is as easy as that.

I can’t wait to play the original Final Fantasy games in Japanese – sure, I won’t be able to understand the writing, but I know I will be able to follow along with the story.

It is going to be fun.

Updating Our Ecommerce Site

For years I have made hand-crafted cards and sold them to friends and family.  But when my employer was downsizing the workforce, I really looked at my hobby as a means to support our family.

At first, I saw it as items that I could sell in a local market, and I made sure to go to any local tradeshow I could find.  While I did make money at these trade shows, they required me to be present at them, so I missed out on our family life.

I knew that there had to be a better way.

It wasn’t until Chuck introduced me to the Kartrocket Seller App that I felt that I had finally found a way to support my family and stay at home with them at the same time.  I could create my own ecommerce site right from my phone and list all of my products for sale worldwide.

It didn’t take me long to get my first products listed online and I sold more in one week with my ecommerce site than I ever did at the twenty tradeshows I attended.

I loved it!

Now, I log on every day for a few minutes to update my site right from my phone.  Running a business online is easy with the Kartrocket Seller App.

Arranging Internet Access While in Japan

While I don’t get to travel much for business, I did have the opportunity to go to Japan for work.  You see, we opened up a new corporate office in that country, and they needed someone to set everything up and train the new employees.

That was me.

While I was there, I was able to rent a Wi-Fi router in Japan from Japan Wifi Buddy, a company that provides a convenient way to access the internet for travelers in their country.  While I didn’t know what to expect, I was very happy with their pleasant service in English, and they were happy to answer all of my questions.

Picking up my router was easy as all I had to do was pick up my package at the post office in Japan when I got off the plane.

Using the router was easy, and I had no problems getting it to work with my laptop and tablet.  The access speed was good and I never noticed any problems with lagging websites or videos.

Overall I was very happy with the service, and should I ever travel to Japan again, I will definitely use JapanWifiBuddy.com as my internet provider of choice in that beautiful country.

Our Plainfield Plumbers Deserve a Pat on the Back

For the last month or so, we have been working on a house that we bought with the intention to flip.  I don’t know if I have ever worked so hard in my life, but for this project, we didn’t want to take more than a month to complete.  Like many construction projects, ours took longer than we expected, but we rushed to get everything completed in the first two months.

When it looked like everything was going to come together, everything fell apart.  We still had to redo the plumbing before we could list the property for sale, but our buddy that was going to do it for us became ill and was unable to help.

We didn’t know what to do.

On a whim, we started calling plumbers in Plainfield Il to see if we could find one that would be willing to help us out at the last minute.  As it turned out, we managed to find one that came the same day we phoned, and we were able to get everything done and the house listed on time.

That plumber deserves a pat on the back, and thanks to him, we are having an open house here this weekend.

Putting Together Baby Gift Baskets

One of the things that I started doing when I moved to this small community is giving a gift basket to every family that had a new baby.  Since the town was small enough to know everyone, it was a great way to help the parents out with some things that they would need for their newborn.  In every basket I include some handmade soap (as it is healthier for the baby since there are no dyes of chemicals in it), baby wipes, diapers, and an outfit.

Making these baskets brings me back to a time when I had my own newborns, and the feelings of excitement (and fear) that I felt.  Being in charge of a little one seems like a big responsibility, but most of us make it through just fine.

This month there are a couple of new babies – one boy and one girl.  This means that I get to shop for outfits for the both of them, and honestly that is one of my favorite things to do.  Baby clothes are so cute, it can be hard to pick just one.

The handmade soap that I ordered for the baskets from PaperStreetSoaps.com should be here in time for the first baby shower next week.

I can’t wait to welcome these new babies to our town.

Drinking Coffee from our Personalised Coffee Mugs

When my wife and I received some coffee mugs as personalised gifts from the kids this past year for Christmas, I had to smile.  It was the perfect gift for us as the only real time that we ever had together was when we were sitting in our living room drinking coffee.

Sitting together for coffee was something that we started back when the kids were small.  No matter how hard we tried, the only time that we had together was at the end of the day once we put the kids to bed.  So, we started a tradition where we sat and had a cup of coffee (usually decaf) every night and worked on our relationship.

It was the right choice for us.

More than a decade later, we still take the time out of our day to sit, have some coffee, and visit.  We always need to spend some time together to ensure that we have some kind of relationship beyond our children.  These coffee mugs that the kids bought us remind us of them (even though they are sleeping), and while it is nice to have this quiet time away from them, the mugs remind us of how blessed we truly are.

How to Get Free Gems in Clash of Clans

For the better part of the last two years I have been playing Clash of Clans on my phone.  It is the perfect game for me to play when I have some downtime or on the commute to work.

But one of the biggest challenges I have faced recently is having enough time to play.  I’ve been used to having a lot of gold, gems and elixirs because in the past I used to play all of the time.  Life is a lot busier for me now, and I just don’t have the time to commit to playing the game as much as I should.

So, it seems that I am always short on gems, elixirs and gold.  This has made playing the game a lot harder lately, so I decided to find some way to get more of these resources that I need.

After a bit of digging, I discovered a clash of clans hack that would allow me to have unlimited gold, gems and elixirs.  It was easy to install – all I had to do was download the software, hook up my phone to my computer and then run the hack.

It was as simple as that.

Now I can enjoy the game as much as I want and I don’t have to worry about not having enough resources to train my troops, upgrade my buildings and defend my village without having to spend money.

I Love Going to Weddings

I can’t help but love attending weddings.  I love the fact that love brought all of the people together for one couple’s special day.  I love the attention to detail, the amount of socializing going on, and the atmosphere is always so positive.

Call me a romantic, but wedding days are my favorite moments of the year.

They are fun, and you get to see the journey that many of these people took to get to where they are committing to a life together.

While the goal is always the same (getting married), the way it is done is varied.  I’ve been to weddings in front of a JP in a park, a few weddings on the beach, and a few big traditional ceremonies in a church.

This variety ensures that they are never boring.

But the one thing that really stands out for me are the receptions.  They vary a lot, from people making it a magical night hosting a dance and having gold bottle sparklers on every wine bottle, to weddings where there is no reception to speak of.  I really think that the reception is where memories of a wedding are made as people have so much fun at them.

So yeah, I love weddings.  I go to them every chance I get.