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December 12, 2021 AsktheBuilder Newsletter

Quote of the Day January 2022
Quote of the Day January 2022

Christmas is now less than two weeks away. It's hard to believe 2021 vaporized as quickly as it did.

Two mornings ago, I woke up at 5:00 am thinking of you. You may find this really hard to believe, but it's true. It was pitch black here in New Hampshire as we're so very close to the winter solstice.

There are now less than 9 hours of daylight each day here in the great Northeast Kingdom.

All this past week, I was struggling with my own feelings about a laundry list of items. As each day passed, I was becoming more and more disturbed. I know these tiresome and troubling thoughts were gnawing away at me during the night.

In the pre-dawn darkness, I was gazing through the glass door next to my bed. The lake water was as black as the ink in my fountain pens but I could clearly see the twinkling lights on the distant shore.

I thought, "I'm sure many others, including my newsletter subscribers, are feeling similar pressure and stress - especially around Christmas. What in the world can I do to help?"

Many Many Sunrises

Many years ago when I was in my 30s and even in my 40s, I was asleep. By that I mean I was not aware, nor interested, in all the external forces that had a direct impact on my life. I was crazy busy trying to scratch out a living for myself, my lovely wife Kathy, and my three wonderful children that depended on me.

Having not witnessed enough sunrises yet, I was hyper-focused on my current jobs and what jobs I would get in the future that would allow me to put food on the table. Maybe you used to be like me.

My dear father-in-law and a handful of others I knew had seen enough sunrises and were awake. So was my best friend Richard, who we had to send back to Heaven fourteen months ago.

I distinctly remember Richard coming to the job site on many a day and he'd share what he had seen on C-Span the evening before. He was passionate about this new cable-TV channel.

I tried to look interested but I wasn't. All I could think about while he talked was if I was going to finish that job on time and not encounter problems that would gobble up the profit.

I don't know if Richard was also tuned into national financial news, as I have no memory of him sharing that with me.

I'm now wide awake and realize what's happening. Perhaps you are too.

No doubt you've seen food, fuel, and other prices rise 20, 30, and even 40 percent in the past twelve months. Inflation is just one of the things that's bothering me and it's my opinion that it's going to get far worse.

Along the way in the past twenty years, I've also become a student of history. Just seventy-seven years ago, world leaders met at the Mt. Washington Hotel a mere 68 miles from my house for the historic Bretton Woods Conference.

If you want to see where you're going, it's easy. Turn around and see where you've been. History is a mirror-image road map.

If you don't know what happened at the conference and WHY it happened, I suggest you get up to speed.

Too Late to Start Over

Back in the late 1970s, I was trying to help my father-in-law cobble together a big business deal. We were trying to put together a limited partnership to develop a 240-acre tract of land he owned with another man.

I was so wet behind the ears that my shirt collar was soaking wet. One day, we were driving to meet with some attorneys. While my father-in-law was a super-smart man, he often posed riddles instead of just saying what he meant to say.

For example, two of his favorite sayings/riddles were:

Success breeds success.
A tiger hunts best when it's hungry.

On this particular day, I asked him why he just didn't fund most of the deal with his own money. He responded, "It's too late in the game for me to start over."

That was all he said. I understood it, but it took years to fully grasp the meaning.

My Life-Preserver Business

Each day, I receive incoming emails generated by a form on the Ask Tim page on my website. Well over ninety-five percent of the messages are folks flailing in the deep frigid water of failure screeching at me to fling them a life preserver.

The most common causes of their misery are:

  • They failed to research a project before starting
  • They failed to read the product installation or label instructions
  • They placed far far too much trust in a contractor

I've also started to notice a few very disturbing trends in many of the messages. For starters, I'm seeing more people stating that they're on fixed incomes. That relates to what my father-in-law was talking about.

You might be on a fixed income. For a host of reasons, it's no doubt too late for you to start over and make more and more money each week.

I get it. I really do.

Another trend I see is both fear and frustration. You may be a homeowner not able to find really good contractors to do work for you.

Just over a week ago, I did a consult call with a young woman in upstate New York that had this problem. She has to have a dormer put on her house and no one will bid the job. She's decided to do it herself and she will succeed with my help.

The other big trend in my incoming emails is anxiety. It doesn't matter if you're on a fixed income or not, you might be anxious that the contractor you hire might not do the job right.

Nothing but bad happens when bad workmanship and/or the wrong products are used on one of your jobs.

The work might have to be ripped out and you have to start over. Imagine what the final bill might be. In many cases, it's well over $10,000.00.

My New Neighbor

Here's one final example of what I witness each day. Just a week ago, I was driving back from getting two smaller Christmas trees to decorate our front porch.
Christmas lights around door
I was traveling on a back road that parallels the lake shore near my house. Lo and behold, I saw the gate guarding a private road was wide open. The narrow gravel road leads to a new house that's being built just above mine. No doubt the homeowner was there checking on the progress.

As the afternoon light was beginning to fade, I drove down the half-mile-long driveway. The husband/wife owners were inside the recently framed house. We said hellos, he helped me up onto the front porch, and I marveled at the recently completed roof framing.

"When does the roof go on?" I inquired.

"Hah, they were supposed to start today. With snow in the forecast on Monday, it might not happen now until spring." The husband let out a heavy sigh and shrugged his shoulders.

As I walked up to the front porch, I had spied the bundles of shingles on the pallets. The brand was a popular regional one. It was the same brand that was on my own home until I ripped each wretched crumbling shingle off five years ago drenched in sweat and fuming with frustration.

A few years tends to temper one's emotions.

"I see you're using the same brand I had on my home. How would you like this roof to be the last one you ever put on your home?"

"Tim, I thought you have a metal roof on your home, right? Those are asphalt shingles on the pallets, not metal." He has seen my house by looking at it from up in the cul-de-sac and in the right light my roof might look metal shingles although it's synthetic slate.

"No, I've got DaVinci Roofscapes synthetic slate on my house. There was no way I was going to put asphalt shingles back on my house again after my 30-year shingles went bad in nine years."

I then shared with my new neighbors what they could do to make their new shingles last for 40 or 50 years.

As you might expect their eyes lit up at this good news. The wind was pouring through the squares and rectangles in the walls where windows will soon be. It was biting us like the black flies in the spring telling us it was time to get home and warm.

We took one last look down at Lake Winnisquam and peered across the distant shore to see the Ossipee Mountains. This unusual circular feature on NH topo maps is a rare fully preserved ring dike.

Here's a photo I took of the Ossippee Mountains from the new home site on a warm June day when blasting was underway.
ossippee mountains
Realize the ring dike is the basement of a huge volcano that got uplifted from under the surface of the Earth Ball many years ago.

The three of us carefully walked up the crusty snow cover to our vehicles, shared our goodbyes and Merry Christmas salutations and drove away.

The Fuzzy Idea

So what's all of this have to do with you?

I'm sure you've got a clue, but here's another one.

Hours before I went to bed just two days ago, I was in the middle of one of my new LIVE stream videos.

For just a brief moment in the LIVE stream, I mentioned that I had sent my son one of my PDF documents that would help him save spending $750 on a house inspector.

One viewer immediately typed into the chat window that's part of the stream, "I WISH I would have known about this document before we bought our house last year!!!"

As I lay in bed two mornings ago I pondered, "What magic Christmas or New Year's prize could I give to all my subscribers that could save them thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of dollars?"

I'm positive that simple comment made by the viewer helped trigger the thought tsunami that washed over me at that moment as I lay in bed.

In that place between sleep and awake, a fuzzy idea started to take form in my tiny gray cells. I crawled out from under the warm covers to jump into the shower to see if I couldn't refine the notion.

I don't know about you, but over the years, I've had some great shower moments where I think through an idea or two.

I'll share more with you next Sunday. I've still got to put some things in the box and wrap it before it's ready for you.

I hope your week goes well and that you can manage any and all stress.

Tim Carter
Founder - www.AsktheBuilder.com

Do It Right - Not Over


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