Friday, October 30, 2015

How I bought a Dump Truck worth $4000 for $200

I have found that there is always another angle to whatever you want. Does that mean you know all the angles, no. Will you get the best deal on your first rodeo, no. There is a chance though that you will learn something much more valuable. Live is about what you do, not the time that passes. That's why a grown man of 50 years can have the maturity level of a 12 year old. Experience matters.

Growing up with a extremely large family by today's standards. We never had anything super nice. The game of getting by had three main veins: Thrift Stores, Garage Sales, hand-me downs. As I became a semi-aware middle school kid I began to realize that my clothes weren't brand name clothes, and that mattered. Or I thought it mattered at the time. From there the mentality of feeling always behind in social circumstances really began to set itself in. As I continued into high school and beyond I started to develop my thrift store theory. Basically that this is a 1st world country, and we are an abundance nation. If you want something that is awesome, just be comfortable with the last awesome thing. There are plenty of people willing to pay the over inflated sticker price. Then go home and sell the last awesome thing at the craigslist price. A place where you have the power of negotiation and the power of cold hard cash.

The theory of how living in a abundant nation has expanded over time to much bigger things. There has been many influences to this expansion. Craigslist has some pretty awesome ones on bartering. Like this one. And then there is this one. Both are pretty amazing in there own right. I have also seen people just get rid (as in give away for free) of high priced items because they just wanted it out of their life. If you don't know what I'm talking about, go help someone that is moving out of state. Beware, your mind will be blown away. Then there is the calm drives through the country side where you get to see hoards of tools, cars, and barns full of stuff rotting away. Note that concealed within those mounds of junk are secret gems. They even have a show about going through it for the buried treasure. Those guys make great money. This is America, it is not a joke when you hear it is a land of opportunity. To further prove it to you I will share one of the craziest stories I have heard in awhile that came to me last week. There was a bum that pan handled to support his addition to hard drugs. One day in the dead of winter while on a corner he watched something interesting. A ice truck was stopped at a red light, what hadn't stopped was the mechanism that puts the de-ice crystals on the road. When the truck drove away there was a mound of de-icer in the middle of the street. He collected it and then proceeded to go door to door and offer to de-ice peoples driveways and walks. This endeavor would put between $300-$500 cash a day in his pocket. That is freaking insane. Now, realize at $25 per house that's only 12-20 houses. That is not a lot of houses. Abundance everywhere.

Needless to say, opportunity is out there. You just have to be hungry and humble enough to collect a pile of neglected de-ice in the middle of the street and then go door to door. That is not my story today though.

While wandering through my daily craigslist posts I stumbled upon a very interesting one about a dump truck. It was in the barter section. The description was really clear and concise. "Want to trade for firewood." I couldn't believe it. I mean the grunt worker inside of me jumped around like a little school girl at just the thought of owning a dump truck. On one summer when I was a landscaper I moved, with one other person, over 70 tons of rock with a shovel and wheel barrow. A dump truck was a awesome thing that always seemed out of reach for me. I never had an extra $4000 laying around to throw at it. Firewood, well that is a easy thing to get. Right about then the realistic adult came out of me to address the situation. It was too simple. The truck had to have serious issues, right? How much wood... how... much... wood? I couldn't answer any of those questions myself, so I sent the email.

The response came back, 7 cords of wood. I didn't really know what that meant, meaning I didn't know the definition of a cord. I did find out exactly what it meant. With that questioned answered. Now onto if the truck worked properly, and even if it didn't that was still a great deal in my mind. Just the dump system was worth the deal. If the truck was actually in working order this deal had the potential to be legen.... wait for it ....dary.

I took my grandpa when I went to check out the truck. I wanted someone with me that had a little more experience then me. Partly because at this point I still wasn't convinced that this was legit deal.  The realistic side of me was still flashing the yellow caution light. When we got there it all made sense. I was no longer worried about the truck or the deal.

Roy was a retired general contractor. I mean just look at this guy. I would love to just sit and hear his stories. I love old people, they have lived at my age longer than I have.

 He is at an age where he looks at all that he has and then thinks about what he really needs. He doesn't need all his old general contracting tools and equipment. He does need to heat his house. Especially since he lives at an elevation of 7,369 ft ( 2,246 m ). The task to collect, split, stack 7 cords of wood is a daunting task any man, young or old. Why not get rid of something I don't use anymore for something I have to have? Genius.

Business dealings are built on supply and demand. You give up what you have earned to get what you need/want. In America it is all about finding the extra surplus then delivering it to the demand. The surplus that I had found was with tree services. They have a machine that chips the tree. Making the tree a fairly condensed version of itself. Their issue is when they get to the trunk. It simply won't fit in a 12" chipper. Some tree services keep the logs and split them into firewood. Yet some don't, it is a hassle to them to get rid of the often very large logs. If you reach out to them and express your interest in picking it up, you may end up very overwhelmed at the sheer amount of wood you have access to. I sure was overwhelmed by it.

Its been 2 years since I have been collecting wood from tree services. The wood came in really handy for all sorts of things. From helping families in need to building projects. Couple words of caution if you decide to try this out. The logs at the bottom are HEAVY... they can get to over 500 pounds. They are filled with water. Bring ample strength and tools. Tools such as a chainsaw, landscape breaker bar, cum along, ramps, and chain sections.

To complete my end of the bargain. In all it took about 5 days of  personal labor to get everything done. The division of time was as follows.

20 hours splitting wood. 
18 hours stacking into a trailer for delivery and re-stacking wood on location.
2.5 hours driving

The money that left my pocket was only fuel, log splitter rental, and food. All of which was under $200. For me this was a amazing deal and great opportunity. What I love about sharing this story with all of you is that it can be a example of what is possible. The 4 minute mile was impossible, until it wasn't. We as people sometimes just need to shown that it is possible. 

I traded that pile of wood for this fully functioning truck. There is a demand for problem solvers in this nation. People who look at life differently. Step out of the box and see what life really has to offer. Then goes and offers to others a glimpse into that existence. I hope that this in some small way has helped you gain a new perspective on what can be possible.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Going Beyond Graffiti

Growing up I had a natural talent for putting on paper what was in my head. Won awards in elementary school. Went to the normal art classes throughout grade school. While in middle school and high school I realized that I hated the rigid requirements. It wasn't engaging for me. Luckily my art teachers seemed to understand the struggle. I think it came from them being creatively minded as well. They would see what I was working on and put the current projects requirements into my current curious works.

My creative desires took me all sorts of places.In high school I wanted to figure out graffiti soooo badly. I couldn't seem to figure out how to get more information about it on my own. My googling skills were lacking the knowledge of key word searching. After almost 2 years of frustration and bashing my head against the wall in the library. In the middle of social studies class I witnessed the new kids colorful paper caught my eye. It was real graffiti! RIGHT.IN.FRONT.OF.ME!

He must have thought I was crazy, I did not leave him alone until he gave me some direction and guidance. He finally relented after 2 weeks and pointed me to . Which was all that I needed.

For the next year solid I dedicated my time to learning and practicing graffiti. I completely filled a blackbook cover to cover with bright colorful drawings. I researched styles and color schemes. Once I felt competent in a specific style I would find another to try. Its what I did every day, in every class. This obsession consumed me and continued the next 13 years of my life.

It was a great run. A costly experience. From getting the materials to paint, to running from the law. Something many still fervently engage in, it is a lifestyle. It is a very strong and thriving sub-culture that impacts a must larger community. In the end I chose to leave it behind, my life is bigger.

The past couple of years I have been floundering to find a different direction/guidance/purpose.Within this duration of time there has been some real interesting attempts at several things. The whole mindset of 'it worked for them, it should work for me'. Now there is merit in not reinventing the wheel. There is also huge advantages to finding yourself. A treasure that seems to escape a lot of people. When you define your creative self in one avenue during your developing years, it is a task to redefine yourself. Heck, it is always hard to redefine yourself. Once I have finally accomplished this task people have thought I have changed, but I am still me. Just a better version. More enhanced version. Which isn't even my final form! There isn't a final form. There is change, the only real constant in life. Especially my life.

I am super excited about this development. I just started working with brushes and traditional paints. Learning curves all over the place. I ain't afraid though. It is about time I stretched myself like I did when I taught myself graffiti. Time to expand horizons, blow the dust off, ruffle my feathers to new heights.

Time to be defined by constant creation.


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