Shameless link to promote tool belt sales

June 26th, 2008 . by Jason

I have been selling tool belts online for the last four years. It has been quite the experience and has taught me a lot about how to run a business. In an effort to promote sales I am posting this shameless advertisement.

The tool belts I sell are an easy sell. They are great quality and most people have good things to say about them. The best part though is the pricing, right between the cheap belts that you would find at Home Depot, but below the price of top of the line belts. Most people are reluctant to spend a couple hundred dollars on a tool belt so when they see our prices its usually an easy sell.

If you or someone you know is looking for a tool belt take a visit to our online store and if you are looking for a deal send me a message or leave a comment and I will see what we can work out.

Tool Belt Store

Special Treatment

June 25th, 2008 . by Jason

Around September 29th 2002. I sat about 30 rows up in the soccer stadium of Bouake, which has been conveniently renamed The Stadium of Peace…. The last few days had been rainy and several people around me had hung their clothes on the railings and fences to dry. As I looked around I counted at least a hundred or more people. Upon arrival we were asked our nationality and divided into small groups. Most of the groups had a dozen or so people, the group I was in consisted of myself. I had arrived with three other missionaries that I was living with, a Togolais, a Congolais, and an Ivoirian. They were not assigned to a group so they joined me. Looking around it was evident that some of the groups looked nervous and uncertain, others had an air of confidence and relief, while one or two were proud and glad to be who they were. As for me I knew that it was the end.

(I didn’t take this picture, but it is the stadium in 2007 during reconstruction)

We were among the last people to arrive and it wasn’t long before a middle aged French man stood at the bottom of the stands and began to yell instructions to us. He said that time was running short and that they would only be able to take two transport trucks out before nightfall and that all those that were not selected to board a truck would have to leave and find other accommodations. It was the last day of their agreement and tomorrow they would not be allowed to bring anyone out of the city. Upon these words the nervous groups began to panic, people that were somewhat confident before began to show worry and others continued to show confidence and relief.

Just after he began talking a large covered truck pulled up behind him. A few french soldiers got out a placed a small stool at the back of the truck. The French man barked, “L’Americain.” It was my instruction to descend the bleachers and board the truck. Once I reached the truck and I was about to board a soldier stopped me and told me to wait next to him. My french skills at the time were still a little shady, especially since I had only been in the country for six weeks. I could hold my own talking with the Ivoirians, I was used to their accent and grammar. However, I didn’t stand a chance speaking with a Frenchman. Realizing that our conversation was going nowhere he waived another soldier over towards us. The soldier looked about the same age as me, nineteen. We were both a far way from home, in a situation that neither would have preferred, and our reasons for being there were both eerily similar. We were both there to save the city, although having a slight difference between physical and spiritual salvation. His English was much better than my French and we managed a slight conversation, talking as if we were meeting for the first time under much more normal circumstances. What’s your name, where are you from, o I’ve heard of that place are you mormon? and so on.

While we talked the man in charged continued to yell out different nationalities and people filed down and were boarding the truck. After the truck was about half full, or about a dozen people, he walked over to me, pointed up towards where I was earlier sitting, and asked if the three other people up there were with me. I said oui, to which he turned away and and called them down next. As they walked past me and boarded the truck you could see the relief in their eyes.

The young French soldier and I continued our small conversation while watching more people come down the bleachers and board the truck. It seemed as though those that had layed their clothes out to dry did so almost knowing that they weren’t going anywhere. As the truck reached its capacity the man in charge returned and told me to get in. I was the last one in and had a spot saved for me. The man in charge speaking more softly said that I would have more air sitting there and that’s why they had me wait. After I sat down they lowered the canvas door down over the back of the truck and tied it down. Only small slivers of light made it through the cracks around the edges. It was obvious that they didn’t want people outside the stadium knowing what was in the truck. Minutes later the truck was put into gear and we were on our way.

There wasn’t much talking between the thirty plus of us in the truck. I couldn’t see where the other missionaries were, but I knew that they were somewhere in the middle packed in like sardines. At least they were there. The truck moved quickly down the deserted streets of Bouake, although I couldn’t see outside I knew they were deserted. They had been deserted for the last ten days, the only vehicles that I had seen from our house were the occassional trucks loaded with armed men in the back. They would drive past our house once a day and fire shots into the air, probably to let everyone know that they were still around.

A man sitting next to me decided that he wanted to know where we were so he peeled the canvas door back a little to catch a glimpse. Sunlight tore into the compartment illuminated it and all of us inside. The man seeing someone outside started waving and a mocking smile spread across his face. Immediately everyone in the truck made it clear that we wanted the door closed and wanted that smile off of his face. The door was quickly released and and the light fleeted out of the quickly closing gap in the door.

The next forty-five minutes were spent in near silence. Occassionaly I would hear small whisper, but other than that the only noise was of the truck’s engine and its tires pounding on the worn road beneath it. The truck slowed down and it felt like it was being driven off of the road. Once off the road it came to a stop and the canvas door was pulled up to reveal what it was hiding. Being that I was the last one on I was the first one to get off. Immediately upon exiting the truck bed I was greeted by a foreign, but yet at the same time familiar face. I had never seen the lady before. She was a representative from the embassy and quickly began to assess my situation, asking if I needed water or food. I accepted a bottled water, but did not have much of an appetite for food. Once she determined that I was not sick or injured she started asking moreimportant questions.

“Are you going to Abidjan or do you want to be flown to Ghana?”

“Are there other Americans that you know about that may still be in Bouake”

I answered that I was not sure where I was going, but that I should probably go down to Abidjan and that I expected to be met in Yamoussoukro. I let her know of the three other Americans that I knew of that were in Bouake, it turns out that one arrived at the stadium just after our truck left and arrived on the next truck and that the other two were flown out on a helicopter the day before. Once her questions were answered she pointed at a nearby bus and said that they would start boarding it soon. The bus was extremely nice and looked almost brand new, it even sported a french license plate. The bus next to it was in a much more dilapidated state, as is typical in that part of the world. It had dents all over and the seats inside looked like they were hanging together by a thread.

By this time the other missionaries had exited the truck bed and were waiting for me. No one was there to greet them and no one had offered them any food or water. I walked over and offered them some of my water, and let them know that we would be boarding the nice bus soon.

All of this was took place in a small clearing on the side of the road. There were a couple dozen french soldiers walking around fully armed, and their jeeps close by. The main road was blocked off by two American Hummers. Each Hummer had a large fully automatic gun mounted in the back and were aimed down the road from which we had just traveled. A large American flag was hung from the back of one of the Hummers and a handful of American soldiers were walking around. One of the other missionaries make a comment about how much better the American army was than the French, vehicles are larger, guns are bigger, and soldiers more ripped.

After ten minutes or so we boarded the buses. A cool blast of cool air hit my face as I boarded the bus, something I had not felt since my arrival in Bouake. I sat down in a plush seat by a window in the back, one of the other missionaries sat next to me, the other two just in front of us. We pulled up onto the road on the other side of the Hummers and began travelling again towards Yamoussoukro, still escorted by French military jeeps.


June 20th, 2008 . by Melissa

As I suggested in an earlier post, much of lives for the next few months will revolve around our recent, very large purchase…the house. Things are finally falling into place. Much to our dismay the home buying process has been a grueling one. It started off very smoothly. We were preapproved for our loan in a day, Pefcu didn’t even require references. Considering our age and youthful credit we imagined this to be much more difficult. The bumps in the road didn’t surface until a little later. When we signed our purchase agreement with out realtor she forgot to have us check a box for asbestos. Two days later when the bank selling us the home received the agreement then declined it, sent it back, and asked us to resign. This wouldn’t have been a big deal except that week the interest rates began to rise. The bank couldn’t lock in our interest rate until they had the purchase agreement in their hands…Even later on, our realtor held our title insurance request papers for 2 weeks before even telling us that she had them. This is the lengthiest part of the closing period, as the title company has to pull records, organize the legalities, etc. On top of that, they want to have all of the completed paper work in their hands for at least 4 days. This put us back significantly. Jason almost died when he saw the fax date on the title company request, for a relatively passive person he was on fire. After this mishap our loan officer informed us that she gave us an incorrect quote for our already rapidly rising interest rate…because our menial sized down payment we would have to pay $250 extra for a point to have our rate lowered to what she quoted. Luckily, I am a stubborn person and willing to lose face for what I feel is “good” customer service. The bank is paying that $250, now. So, here we are, almost 6 weeks from when we first placed an offer on the home with another 1.5 weeks left until we close and an interest rate 4 points higher than when were approved for the loan…grr, no wonder most people wait until they are older to go through this, they are really procrasting torture and generating enough patience. Even still, we are excited! Tonight we are going deadbolt and doorknob shopping for our date. And I plan to get a lot of packing done this weekend.

Cheapskating through the Web

June 10th, 2008 . by Melissa

Jason used to be the worst one, he was addicted, and I mean hooked-up-to-the-source-with-a-needle-in-his-vein-addicted to I believe he still has some sort of compulsion to the website but his own preferred form of rehab must have been a semi-success. Unfortunately, I fell into the dark grotto known as spouse pressure and am the new self designated Slickdeals devotee of the Newly Newman Family. At first my interest in Slickdeals was only somewhat piqued, if my interest were a salsa it would be mild. Most of the daily deals featured discounts on computer supplies and car parts. It wasn’t until I dug deeper for the deals that I found myself a consumer consumed by the endless promises of discounts and savings. And now I scour the forums of everyday for sometimes limitless amounts of time craving the need for dollar off coupons and bogo codes. Here are a few of my findings:

Video Camera Tri-Pod $10 plus shipping or free using Google Checkout (FREE!).

Free samples of Caulking, the perfect amount to recaulk our kitchen sink.

Free samples of Arm and Hammer toothpaste, my favorite.

Free samples of Dove bodywash.

Free samples of Mach3 razor and razorblades (for Jase, although he is bearding it up these days.)

$10 off a $10+ purchase for (1 candle FREE with free shipping!)

2 years free of Fitness magazine.

1 year subscription to Redbook for $3.

Behr Paint, $5 off at Home Depot.

50% off plus, $25 off a $50 purchase at NY&CO.

Buy one shrub, get one free at Home Depot (great for landscaping our new home!)

Lowes, $10 off a $25 purchase.

$10 off a $10+ indoor tree at Lowes.

I took a survey found on Slickdeals for a $20 giftcard to Amazon.

My total profit: $207

The Road Less Traveled

June 9th, 2008 . by Melissa

I began my journey into the limbo between highschool and the real world (also known as college) seeking after a degree in elementary education. It only really took me 1 semester of child development and physical science to realize that teaching for me would be a glorified babysitting job. I lacked the patience, the understanding, and really the general appeal. All I had going for me in the teaching realm was my young high-pitched voice and my ability to fake enthusiasm for just about anything, including poop shaped play-doh. Think about it. So I jumped over to the English major. I was great at English in highschool. I loved to get lost in a story, I loved the history resonating from each classic novel, and most of all I loved to write up my own creative concoctions. I became an English major hoping to pursue a career in screenwriting. After a very sucessful semester of English my B- in elementary geology (sad, I know) had been replaced by A’s in linguistics and English Lit. I finally felt I was on the right track until one day, in German class…I was sitting next to Jesse Layman telling her (in the fine language of Deutsch of course) about my aspirations to one day become a famous Hollywood screenwriter. She, also an English major mentioned the BYU film program and their specific emphasis in screenwriting. And then the wheels began to turn………..and turn……and then I thought of my looming Shakespeare classes (I prefer Will outside of the classroom and only in moderation) and the 3 more semester of German I’d have to take to meet English major requirements……and decided to look into BYU’s film program. Turns out the film program at BYU was not only selective, competitive and intimidatingly liberal (for BYU) but also full of ridiculously talented writers, artists, and theorist. I worked everyday of that semester on my application and even still have no idea why they let me in the program. I learned amazing things about film and decided that I didn’t want to write a screenplay afterall, I liked editing and film theory. So I focused on theory as my emphasis and editing as my technical skill. I took a class about teaching students to use video as a means to express themselves. It was fascinating and made me realize that my perfect job would be teaching film (theory, history, and tech stuff) to highschoolers and then doing some freelance editing on the side….so I came full circle with the whole teaching bit. Unfortunately it took me 3.5 years to realize this and I missed my opportunity to pursue a teaching certificate or accredidation. It’s 6 months later, I’m bored to tears of my current job in the events industry…kind of ironic, the uneventful events job, and I’m realizing why I chose the major that I did…I was never meant to be an 8-5er.