Saving Money + Healthy Living

I’ve always been pretty active. My wife will tell you I can’t sit still, which isn’t far from the truth. I completed my first half-marathon this April. On Saturdays, I’m always working in the yard, on the house, or on the pop up camper. I started thinking and then talking to a few coworkers about commuting to the office on a bicycle.

When I was a kid, I biked every day to school. It was about four blocks of freedom. I knew every crack in the sidewalk that created a mini ramp and every curb that would jolt me through the bike frame. I’ve always loved bicycles. I searched online for several days and found a good road bike in good shape for a good price.

Last Saturday, I took a test ride from home to the office. I wanted to make sure I could do it, and I needed to know just how long the commute would be. It took me just over an hour – only 20 minutes longer than it takes to drive. I couldn’t wait for Monday.

Monday I made it to the office, and I felt great! It was a long, hot, sweaty ride, but I felt great that I did it. On the way home, my chain popped loose, but that was an easy fix. It delayed me only a minute or so, and I was back on the road.

Tuesday came around, and I had to stop by the jewelry store to pick up my wife’s ring that had been repaired. The store is only just off my route to work, so I biked again. As I left the store, I decided to take a shortcut through the local college campus. As I turned into the parking lot of campus, I couldn’t hit the curb head-on. This popped the tube in my back tire. Luckily, the first thing I did when I got my bike was to purchase a helmet and a repair kit for my tubes. A couple minutes later, I had a new tube installed, and I was once again back on the road.

Today I drove to the office since an early meeting would have had me waking up too early to make the trek via bicycle. It has also been a welcomed day of rest. Tomorrow I’ll be back on the bike.

Doing some math, I save almost $7 per day that I ride my bike. I also get a killer workout. I’m hoping to keep biking about three days a week. I want to the bike to pay for itself, then start saving for A/C for my truck. I get some savings, I get my workout, and I save on my carbon footprint. Hopefully I can keep it up for a while.

A Fly-Fishin’ Musician

I got into fly fishing in August of 2016. It has quickly become my escape from music; my outlet to help me clear my head. More on that in a different post.

Jessie and I had a great weekend this weekend. It started off with playing for a private event on Friday night. We had a great time, and it seemed that everyone else did too! Then it was off to my parents’ lake house for the two of us.

We got up to the lake around 2 am and settled into bed pretty quickly. We were the only ones there, so we had a quiet house to sleep late into the morning. Saturday afternoon, we joined my cousins for a birthday party for their two year-old’s birthday party. We had a blast sitting around and watching him play on the inflatable water slide.

We headed back to the house for some afternoon naps. Well, Jessie napped. I cut the grass. We laid around the house the rest of the evening. It was so refreshing to get some much-needed rest! We finally felt like we caught up on sleep!

Sunday was a very lazy day. We did take some tome to go fishing. I had been fishing already on Saturday, but on Sunday, Jessie and I fished together. Jessie took a fly fishing class with me a couple of weeks ago, and she was ready to try out her skills on the water. We spend a little time by the boat ramp with no success.

Later in the afternoon, just before sunset, I took her out in the canoe. I hit some spots that usually hold fish, but nothing was biting. Finally, after about 45 minutes, we found one! Jessie caught a little bluegill all on her own on a fly! She loved it! A few minutes later, she also caught a small bass. I think she got the hang of it.

Monday morning rolled around, and our weekend of relaxation was over. We woke up early and drove to Knoxville for WDVX’s Blue Plate Special concert series. We had a blast and met some really great people. Then it was back home where we are preparing to jump back into our “normal” routines. Nothing is normal when you’re a musician.

What a great weekend! It was a much needed respite in between gigs, and I’m glad we took advantage of it. Bring on tomorrow!

College Football at Tennessee

Fire Butch Jones if you think you can find someone better.

I don’t think you can find someone better.  There is only one Nick Saban.  The closest thing to another Saban that I have been able to find is an Urban Meyer, and he is closely followed by a Jim Harbaugh for now.  After that, there is a gap before a Jimbo Fisher.  They don’t make those kinds of coaches very often.

Butch Jones is a good coach.  If the coaches above are the only great coaches, then Butch is a good coach.  I’m perfectly happy with a good coach!  Not-good coaches for Tennessee have looked like Lane Kiffin and Derek Dooley.  Kiffin took a program that was already in a little bit of trouble with the NCAA and made it worse.  Dooley didn’t really do anything wrong – he just didn’t do anything.

Then comes Butch.  He coached some boys and helped make them men.  He did what he could to make sure they were doing the right things like staying out of trouble and studying.  I haven’t looked at numbers of arrests, but it seems to me that there have been fewer during Butch’s tenure than during Phillip Fulmer’s.

Butch started recruiting star players.  He recruited ones that he thought would fit his program – ones that had character and talent.  Sometimes you get a player in that doesn’t buy into the coaching philosophy.  One of Tennessee’s players who best exemplifies that is Alvin Kamara…when he was at Alabama.  The problem comes when you have someone who doesn’t fit, who took up a scholarship spot, and there are not enough qualified young men to step up into the roll.  With only being able to sign so many players a year, it takes a little while to stock-pile the roster like an Alabama – they have a senior go down, and there is a junior to replace him.

Then the injuries.  I really believe strength and conditioning only goes so far.  When multiple players all go down with shoulder injuries (like 2015), I understand how that can be strength and conditioning.  When the injuries are all over the body (2016), I’m not sure who to blame.  That feels more like we, as humans, are passing our limit of the abuse our bodies can take.

Our defense wasn’t supposed to win championships, not from what I was told.  I was told our defense was supposed to beat Florida, which it did.  After that, we dwindled down to zero defensive tackles.  I’m not sure how many football fans out there actually know the difference between a defensive end and a defensive tackle – it seems like most who talk about Tennessee don’t know the difference – but they aren’t interchangeable.  Tennessee had to interchange them, and look where that got our defense the last three games.

Would I have gone for it on fourth-and-four?  Absolutely.  Score a touchdown, get a two-point conversion, and then you just have to get within field goal range to have a chance to tie.  That, I thought, was playing to win.  If Butch had kicked a field goal and not been able to score a touchdown at the end, I bet the same people saying he made the wrong call by going for it would say he made the wrong call by kicking a field goal first.

So fire Butch Jones if you think you can find a better coach.  Tom Herman lost a game he should not have lost to Memphis, yet he’s still heralded at the second coming of Christ at Texas.  I don’t think Herman could do better at Tennessee.  I think Tennessee fans, and any fan of a college football team, should realize that these things take time unless your name is Saban, Meyer, or Harbaugh.  Butch is a good coach, and I wouldn’t trade him for any other coach out there – not even Saban, Meyer, or Harbaugh.  If Tennessee lets Butch do his job, and think we will all be happy.  If we let him finish what he is only starting at Tennessee, everything will be just fine.

It’s Valentine’s Day

It’s the last installment of my Valentine’s blog series. The first time I heard this song, I instantly thought of my wife. She works so incredibly hard chasing a dream, and she sometimes has those days when it all seems like too much. Break on me. I want to be that place for her.

Happy Valentine’s Day, dear.

There’ll be days your heart don’t wanna beat
You pray more than you breathe
And you just wanna fall to pieces
And nights, those 2 AM calls
Where dreams become walls
And you just need a break
Break on me

Shatter like glass
Come apart in my hands
Take as long as it takes, girl
Break on me
Put your head on my chest
Let me help you forget
When your heart needs to break
Just break on me

There’ll be times when someone you know
Becomes someone you knew
But you’d do anything to change it
And words you wanna take back
But you know you can’t
When the page just won’t turn
And it still hurts
Break on me

Shatter like glass
Come apart in my hands
Take as long as it takes, girl
Break on me
Put your head on my chest
Let me help you forget
When your heart needs to break
Just break on me

Oh, when you need somebody
When you need somebody right now
You’re where I’ll be
Break on me

Shatter like glass
Come apart in my hands
Take as long as it takes, girl
Break on me
Put your head on my chest
Let me help you forget
When your heart needs to break
Just break on me
Break on me
Break on me, baby

Keith Urban’s Valentine, part 1

I’m a huge KU fan, and this is one of my favorite songs that he has recorded. I love it now because I love making memories with my wife – road trips to gigs, vacations, walks through the park, etc. This song took on new meaning when I met my wife.

 

I’m gonna be here for you baby
I’ll be a man of my word
Speak the language in a voice that you have never heard
I wanna sleep with you forever
And I wanna die in your arms
In a cabin by a meadow where the wild bees swarm

And I’m gonna love you like nobody loves you
And I’ll earn your trust making memories of us

I wanna honor your mother
And I wanna learn from your pa
I wanna steal your attention like a bad outlaw
I wanna stand out in a crowd for you
A man among men
I wanna make your world better than it’s ever been

And I’m gonna love you like nobody loves you
And I’ll earn your trust making memories of us

We’ll follow the rainbow
Wherever the four winds blow
And there’ll be a new day
Comin’ your way

I’m gonna be here for you from now on
This you know somehow
You’ve been stretched to the limits but it’s alright now
And I’m gonna make you a promise
If there’s life after this
I’m gonna be there to meet you with a warm, wet kiss

And I’m gonna love you like nobody loves you
And I’ll earn your trust making memories of us
I’m gonna love you like nobody loves you
And I’ll win your trust making memories of us

 

Lord Valentine

I remember a few poems vaguely from school, and I seem to think this is one we read. It tells of the dark mystery and beautiful radiance that is a woman. My wife is both wrapped up in her beautiful skin, and this poem makes me think of her.

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow’d to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair’d the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

– Lord Byron