With the one-day delay in turkey overdosing (the second effort was fabulously successful – 2 lbs. worth of personal weight gain, lol), there was enough tryptophan load to keep my blood pressure and motivation on the zero peg most of Saturday.
Made a few Christmas scribbles before addressing a tractor issue…plotted my revenge against conformity. The usual arm chair and wine stuff.
Santa is All Happy Now
Yes, money can buy happiness. Though most people don’t know what they’re really shopping for. The great joke, you see, is on us humans.
An oddity exists in the UrbanSurvival mindset, other than living ridiculously below your means such that no one would ever imagine – wildest of fantasies – that you could cover a six-figure check. This comes to play when seasonal spending disorder (SSD) sets in.
Sure, there’s a cure, but you ain’t gonna like it.
I call it?
Here’s how it works:
Let’s say you live life, as a sincere happiness-seeker. You chase the bag (of money) and roll into the (storming, norming, conforming) of corporate life for a while. Then, all of a sudden-like, shit all blows up on you; you get divorced, lose a million bucks worth of net worth and life-effort…
Sinking into a Budweiser-powered funk even with sunscreen and steaks, you are delighted to discover that living on a sailboat for 10-plus years isn’t a bad thing. Shortly thereafter, you figure out that adding a trophy bunny to the boat is just about the cherry on top of life, er, so to speak. Achievable? You resort to targeted marketing to find out.
Then one day, while sipping a hot buttered rum, on a mooring buoy at one of the Washington State Parks (this one up around the corner from Bremerton, WA) and the deer are walking down to the water’s edge on freshly fallen snow, you figure it out; that happiness in life is a total “Consumer Rip-off! There is no convenient “Unit Pricing.”
If you wonder why America’s in collapse? It’s because we don’t teach Bill & Ted (“Be Excellent to one another!”) and we don’t explain the art of “getting happy.” Make gender random, math racist, and everyone angry, then just see how a lack of focus on happiness has screwed up the works…
Important context, especially over the holidays.
When I bought the sailboat (circa 1990?) it was about $67,000. When we later sold the boat in San Diego, it still fetched $55,000 in 2002.
In other words, more than 11-years of a wild, gregarious, fun-at-all-costs living, including what was functionally my “apartment” had cost me about $12,000 out of pocket. Putting this into perspective:
- 11.5 years of somewhere to live for $12,000. (That doesn’t include moorage, but that’s like the add-on for a parking spot in the city…)
- Throwing in cruising all of the inland waters of Puget Sound…
- …and the Gulf Islands of British Columbia…
- …plus, beyond there to the tip of Vancouver…
- …and winding up happily married…
- …then spending weekends antiquing and literally living in a different small town on the water every weekend…
Life, dreamscapes of mountains and Nature, Elaine, not to mention our adventure taking the boat to (and living aboard) in South San Fran? That was a trip as well as the onward adventures in San Diego at Kona Kai marina and then off to write algos and back to that six-figure bag-chasing… wow. Trip, huh?
Eventually, it has all worked out. I could not be happier with life. Because 4,197 days of, if not sailing, at least having the competence-building enjoyment of living on an ocean-capable boat? The experience couldn’t be beat. And it wasn’t that bad on the pocket when the numbers were pushed out.
Happiness and “the numbers” mean something.
Midst of Ure Old Man Story?
Afraid so. Those 4,19o7 days cost $12,000.
Comes out to $2.86 per day. We won’t count sleep time – because those are whole other cost-benefit calculations. Point is that for 17.9-cents a waking hour, I was having the time of my life.
Seriously, I think several employers in that period were envious. Not only was I making decent money, but my cost of enjoyment was 17.9 cents an hour. Honestly, I’ve never been even close to this low “Cost of Happy Per Hour” (CHPH) before. It became the better way of living. The F.U. way.
Other End of the Scale? Take our airplane for example: Bought it for about $22,000. Put in an additional $18,000 in heavy maintenance, ADSB-in, vortex generators, and updated LED strobes and top-end work and…well, you got the idea.
While we owned it (6, almost 7 years) the fact is we put about 600- hours on that plane (I had a fair bit previously).
Now, having “matured a bit” (z’at why the aches and CBD?) I can almost rationally look at $40-grand and divide that by 600-flight hours. Works out to $66.67 per hour. Expensive fun, for sure.
Then again, ever price several drinks, movie, dinner out, plus Lyft for two trips or three? Per hour basis that’s not free either. And often, the most enjoyable part of the evening isn’t even on the clock…
See where this is going, yet? Living on a sailboat, going to the Seattle Singles Yacht Club meetings and races, doing the Bake on Blake, being one of the “real sailors” acknowledged by other salts at the Sloop Tavern Yacht Club? 17.9 cents an hour. Oh my God what a deal!
Plane Silly: The other calculation is similar to economic suicide. Except instead of divorce or bankruptcy being generally painful, the flying was one of the most liberating experiences ever. When you can impress a check pilot, well, says something. Puts death, daring-do, and first-class decision-making on the line.
We also put nearly 80,000 miles on the plane. Not quite three times around the world. Happily, here, it came out at 50-cents a mile. Just under the IRS allowance, though we never wrote off any plane expense. Not a “usual and customary” business expense. Neither is time machine instrumentation, but then we’ll see how that filing goes in 2022…
Somewhere in this ramble, I need to get back to the chestnuts roasting deal…where were we?
Apply this Thinking to Christmas
Oh yes! We can do some pretty accurate “Santa Training” with what we know so far.
Here lately, are some of the tools I have used a lot:
- 12″ compound long-throw miter saw on a first-class miter stand. Plugged in to the big central shop vac. Might be $450 bucks, but it’s been a workhorse. Did the cheap Harbor Freight 12″ tool. Discovered the blade was “extra” (BS, but let’s keep it Sunday). And the stand was a hundred and some. Had it for 4-5 years and it maybe actual “saw time” has been around 15 hours of run-time per year. Figure it’s good for at least 10 years; meaning 150-hours and $450 so $3-bucks an hour. You can’t even drink at those rates.
- 12″ metal-cutting Chop Saw: This is a little more: $99 for the tool and several bucks for abrasive cut-off blades, masks, ear protection, beer, and so forth. But most years it only runs an hour a year. 10-when doing big steel projects. It’s likely a 25-year tool (tantamount to lifetime for me), so 35 hours of use out of a $99 saw? $2.82 per hour makes home metalworking affordable.
- Down at the cheap end of tools? Just ordered two items: A set of SMB 28 Precision Concave Carving Hobby Blades (5/25/50/100/300 pcs) (5) for $7-bucks. Exactly the right blade (hook bill) for insulation cutting on everything from #8 up. When you start working #6 and larger conductors in cable, you’ll want to tell the fat guy to bring a special electrician tool for larger wire (this is a great idea for Santa!) KNIPEX Tools – Dismantling Knife, 1000V Insulated will cost $40-buckeroos, or there abouts.
See the calculation change? The dismantling knife moves up into the airplane arena of cost per hour. Even with the solar installation here, the actual “time spent dismantling #4 four-conductor cable has come to less than 30-minutes in the tool’s whole lifetime. Somewhere north of $80-bucks an hour for the tool. Sliced finger was an add-on.
Santa! GO Large, Not Stupid!
We’ve done a fair bit of 3D printing this year. Honestly, something on the order of a Creality Ender 3 (*around $240, be sure to get the glass heated bed and parting compound!) will work dandy. I use the larger CR-10 because there are some things, I can print, that are just too big for the 220 mm. square Ender3 print bed. The bigger printers are more money (duh…) but they also do a lot more if you are not living a miniature’s life.
Same thing with the CNC machine. Picked up the basic 3018 Genmitsu, but almost immediately bought the expansion kit to 6040 (and the laser and the rotary engraving turner). Reason? CNC machines are about size.
Notwithstanding Ray’s bargains at surplus sales, I don’t have room for a much bigger machine, either. But I want something big enough to make useful things with. Again, the very smallest of CNCs or 3Ds will get you going initially. Just like that 14″-wheel bike. Eventually, you’ll want at least a full-sized Cannondale and maybe a Nishiki and then you’ll have to lose money on the first bike. You can skip that part. It’s OK. Especially in tools.
Gets us to the dirty-little secret of Life revealed here this morning. It’s about the most subversive thing you can whisper when there’s a bunch of crazy Antifa and anarchists taking over Portland (and wherever) on the one hand, and duplicitous reactionary government issuing “mandates” in a formerly free country. Australia, but with guns. Which is why no lock-downs here, yet.
This most subversive of all declarations will change you at your core if you’re able to embrace ’em?
“I enjoy whatever I do. Or, I simply won’t do it. My happiness doesn’t depend on money. Money depends on me for its value.”
If that’s not crystal clear? For $10-bucks you might get one shot of a passable single-malt scotch. Or, for the same dough, a jug of fortified vino. BYOB to Muscatel Meadows and how popular you’ll be. Your values drive how you buy happiness.
Yes…run the numbers: cost per hour, cost per hour of enjoyment. Definitely dangerous knowledge to be walking around with. Domestic terrorism this time of year.
Because, in reality, happiness is priced at however much you have.
Which is only a razor’s edge from how government is priced: However much they can get away with.
Unless you’re smart. Which doesn’t happen until your 70s…
Don’t live for money. Live for happiness.
Write when you get rich,