Streisels at the beach, day 4 and 5

•July 26, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Day 4 was a little bit dreary but the 5th day was spectacular! Body surfed for hours in fantastically perfect waves! All week the temperature has been in the mid 80’s but it feels like 90 which is great beach weather.
Our daughter Betsy, did not make it to the family beach trip this year so with the help of Thomas, her husband and Scott, my son, we conjured up a group photo to include them in the trip. Ain’t technology great!
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Tomorrow we join the lemmings and head for home. Hopefully there sre no cliffs on the way.

The Streisels at the beach day 3

•July 23, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Another amazing day in Frisco, NC! We are all loving the water and the weather continues to be great. Yesterday during my bike ride the wind got a little rough but that made for a fast ride home. In the evening Sue introduced us to a game called Farkle, a dice game, which provided a couple of hours of entertainment for us adults. Amy’s (Scott’s wife) parents joined us to add to the fun. One of my old students called me and as we talked about family, the beach and and other things he interjected, “you live a charmed life,” I have to agree!
We have been watching about 8 young cats playing in view of one of our decks and to our surprise a man (cat man or in reality, Dan Felix) showed up to feed the wild cats! Sue, (cat women) while standing on the deck got into a conversation with the man and learned that he travels around the island feeding cats. He makes 8 stops every evening! He has built several house habitats for the cats to live in and he has not missed an evening of feeding in five years! Hats off to Dan.
Yesterday I saw a sign while riding my bike that I just had to show you this photo, so here it is.
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My only complaint.

The Streisel.s at the beach, day 2.

•July 22, 2014 • Leave a Comment

The weather has remained good for our second day but the weather man says that the weather may turn sour tomorrow and we all know how reliable he is. Had a great bike ride this afternoon but the first five miles was with the wind and the return trip was against the wind. Here are some great photos of our family.

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Repairing the family unit

•July 22, 2014 • 1 Comment

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While lying on the beach in the Carolina’s talking with my daughter-in-law, I came up with an idea of how our country might mend the American family.  So many young families are put in a position in which they both have to work to maintain the household. This results in an unfair reality of putting an infant as young as 7 weeks old in the hands of daycare, adding another large expense to the household. In addition to separating the child from his mom and dad, daycare can cost up to a $1000+ a month per child.  If you have two children you may get a break but its not much.  A typical house payment can be between $1000 and $2000, so between daycare and paying for a home, eating may be out of the question!  

   Being a parent also requires a large amount of time.  For the majority of couples that are both working to make ends meet, this requires both parents to be away from the home and their family for the majority of the week, making it very difficult to spend time with their children.  Between working, running a house, cooking meals, shopping, driving to various events, being a parent, being a spouse, cutting the grass, fixing things, occasional recreation/vacations, and sleeping, there is little time to sit down and relax or spend some quality time with the children.  So back to my solution, and the tea party folks may have an initial negative response to this idea, but with a little bit more thought, they may come to my way of thinking.

   Lets pay a parent to stay home for the first five years of the child’s life.  This could be in the form of a tax break or a stipend and would be based on the income average of the spouse who is staying home and decreases on a sliding scale as family income increases.  Part of the program could require the parent to attend some parenting classes to help improve their chances of success. Your first response may be: another government give away that we can not afford. But let us look a little deeper.

    Many of the problems we face as a society are from the fracturing of the American family.  One of the problems with a capitalist form of government is the stress placed on the family!  Many family decisions are based solely on economic issues rather than what is best for the child.  If a parent were allowed to stay home and raise the children, the positive impact on our society would be enormous.  Of course, there would be those who would abuse the program but some simple rules may help curb the misuse.  There should be a limit of 3 children per family which would help keep the population under control and help control the cost of the program.   

The benefits of a program like this would be immense! Children would be raised in their own home by their own parents, not sent out as 7 week old infants to daycare centers to be raised by strangers. Parents would not be penalized for staying home with their children during the formative years and the decision to send their children to daycare would be personal reasons and not rooted in family income. Crime rates should drop, social safety nets would be under less pressure, hopefully we would nurture better citizens and the human condition, in general, would improve. I believe that the cost of the program would be a paltry amount in comparison to the long term benefits.
This blog was written with the help of my daughter-in-law Amy VanderWijst Streisel.

The Streisels at the beach. Day 0ne.

•July 20, 2014 • 2 Comments

 

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  Every summer, along with millions of other earthlings, we make our way to the oceans boundary to play in the sand, bask in the sun and wrestle with the ocean waves.  For us, it is a family affair and usually the whole family makes their way to a home at the beach that we have rented for a week in July, which is generally the best time to visit the beach.  The trip to the beach is a nightmare as we transverse  the distance with all the other beach goers. The closer one gets to the beach, the worse the traffic. Fortunately, all this is behind us now and our vacation has begun.

      Once we arrived, we unloaded the cars and decide what needed to be bought from the local merchants (scalpers).  Everyone found their bedrooms, made their beds and when it was all done, I took the kids down to the beach for our maiden visit. Tomorrow will be our first full day at the beach….I can’t wait! 

Don’t trust Quicken Loans

•July 8, 2014 • 2 Comments

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I am sure you have heard that Quicken Loans is one of the best home finance companies around. You should have, they tell us all the time on TV. If you would have asked me a month ago, I would have agreed that they are a solid, competent, company worthy of your business. That is why when they called me about a month ago and offered me a new lower interest rate on my loan for virtually no cost, I eagerly said “yes.”
I have used Quicken for many years and I have been quit satisfied. I have noticed lately that as they have grown into one of the largest finance companies, their service has been a little questionable. About a year ago I spent several hours on the phone along with emails and faxes attempting to secure a refinance of the house. They had called me and proposed a great deal that was hard to refuse. After shortening our vacation to get home and sign the papers, they informed us due to a technicality they would not be able to close the loan. Since I was not out any money I was not terribly upset, just disappointed that I did not get a better loan rate.
This time, after they assured me that the loan was ready to go, they asked me for a “Good faith deposit.” Having worked with Quicken for many years, I agreed to the “Good faith deposit.” Several days later the appraisal came back far above previous ones and everyone at Quicken who was working on my loan was happy about this.
A week later I received a phone call informing me that the loan may not go through due to laws in the state of West Virginia in regards to my house being appraised too high and having no comps in the area. I immediately asked them, “when are you going to send back my $500?” They felt that they could work around this and to give them a few days to figure it out. Several days later they called me to tell me that the loan was dead and they were not going to return my “Good faith deposit.”
The final chapter in this story is the best. Just recently I sent a email to Quicken asking them for a copy of the law/guidelines they used to determine that my loan was unacceptable. After a short rather intense conversation they informed me that it was a company guideline! My response to this was, ” you are deigning me a loan that was preapproved by your agents because of a law in your own books…seriously?!”
So, let your friend know, and friends of your friends know that Quicken Loans is not on your side! Send this to as many people as you can so that others do not get caught in this net! I may not get my $500 back but I hope I can set Quicken back a little…maybe more than a little.

The folks you meet along side the road

•June 19, 2014 • Leave a Comment

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Got a phone call several days ago from a young man by the name of Tony Ryu. Tony had used WARMSHOWERS.COM to contact me to see if he could spend the night. Of course I said yes. He was coming from the Hagerstown area on this particular day of his trip and his GPS had sent him on a crazy route through the lowland area between us and Hagerstown. Tony, who has had limited biking experience and was unaware of the mountain that stood between him and his final destination was a tad bit weary when I picked him up at the junction of 522 and 127. His initial plan was to ride down Route 50, but, when I told him the mountains he had just transversed were baby mountains in comparison to the mountain west of us, he let out a mournful sigh. When he first called I suggested that he use the C&O canal to avoid the cars and hills but he decided to trust the GPS. Chalk one up for me!
Like most of our guests, Tony was a fountain of youth and exuberance once he recovered from his dehydration. I told him he could spend an additional day if he choses to and he accepted the offer. Our timing was perfect and allowed us to watch the WORLD SOCCER game between South Korea and Germany, Korea won 2-1. It was a great game!
In our time together I learned that Tony was in a masters program at Columbia University of finance, but was not really sure what he wanted to do with his life. I believe his time in America was altering his views of the world in what I would consider a positive way. He has one more year of school. I think he is a little concerned about what he is going to do when he completes his degree. He decide to bike across the US in remembrance of the 200 students who died when a ferry sank back in his home country, Korea. Just before he left, he asked if he could tie a yellow ribbon around a tree as a tribute to those fallen students.
This morning, Tony headed off to Cumberland to catch the Great Allegheny Passage(GAP) to ride to Pittsburgh avoiding the killer mountains and traffic that would have awaited him, had he taken route 50. I talked to him this evening after he arrived in Cumberland where a Mormon church gave him permission to camp on their grounds. Tomorrow he will continue his journey on the GAP on his way to Pittsburgh.
You can follow Tony’s adventures on his facebook page.
http://www.facebook/pray4southkorea

 
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