Friday, October 10, 2008

Meet MMA

Last night MMA took charge, like the man that he is, and rocked out a big decision for us: who would be replacing the roof Hurricane Ike knocked off our house. This particular repair has been wearing on us both, but mostly him, because we have internal damages that can't be fixed until the roof is secure.

Now, when it comes to making important decisions, especially for big purchases, I get all indecisive and agonize over it for as long as he will let me. He is type A, pragmatic and ready to move forward. The fact that roof prices have almost doubled in our area is of no consequence to him because "we need a roof and it costs what it costs."

I think its time I formally introduce MMA to you girlfriends, from my point of view. After all, he's such a major influence in the delicious chaos that is Superstar. We met in college at Texas A&M University when I was still technically a teenager. We've grown up together and come a long way, doncha' think?

MMA got the nickname because he loves the sport of mixed martial arts. He's been following it for a couple of years as a spectator, then decided to switch from boxing in our garage gym (which is totally decked out) to taking classes and sparring at Elite Martial Arts.

My Manly Athlete has a day job, but would like nothing better than to make a living as a professional athlete. Not for the fame and fortune but because he's got the heart of a champion. He loves the hurt of a good workout. In fact, he makes grueling workouts look so easy, I wonder if it hurts him like it does the rest of us. He's in the best shape of anyone I know. Sound too cool for me, yet?

Then there's this whole Freudian thing I've realized over the years. I married my dad...a guy just like dear old dad. On first impression, he seems all serious and tense. He's a man of few words and doesn't favor small talk. But those who know him see a lighter side, a juvenile playful side, a terse sense of humor. Most strikingly like dad, MMA is a family man, a hard worker and a good provider. There are some differences of course, but then dad and MMA had vastly different childhood experiences.

Also worth mentioning, MMA has great genes. My brother's wife commented to me at my wedding shower how good-looking all of his family is. Its true. I knew we would have beautiful children, but what I didn't know is that his genes would so overpower mine as to edge them out in Only Child (Exhibit A.)

Three random things I love about MMA:

1. He enjoys almost every meal I put in front of him (or makes me think he does.)
2. His shaved bald head.
3. He loves his Mom. It's a simple thing that says volumes about a man and how he was raised.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Last Political Post for a while

I am cynical enough as it is and I think I would turn into a shriveled old prune if I was forever talking about politics, but I can't stop. Just when I thought I could move on, there was another debate last night. Its like a pulsating pimple and I can't leave it alone.

Oh the mud-slinging and the ambiguous diatribe, I want in! And I will play devil's advocate on both sides.

Sure, the candidates have noble ideas, but let's talk implementation. After all, there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. We are the wellspring and each program, mandate, entitlement, surge, foreign policy, bailout or whatever that I hear about makes my butt cheeks clench. Here's an idea straight from Middle America, create a budget and stick to it!

I'm hoping my concerns are way off-base so I can sleep at night knowing that the best minds in Washington have it under control and there will, in fact, be social security for my golden years.

So here are some questions burning in my mind this morning:

In regard to bailing out the mortgage industry, does the buck really stop with the American tax-payers? What happened to private mortgage insurance, did that industry not assume some of this risk?

Are we really going to buy up people's bad mortgages and renegotiate so people can stay in homes they cannot afford? And if so, how can I get that deal...I'm tired of being a first class SUCKER with good credit.

Why is there such a thing as an interest-only loan? What purpose does this serve except to allow the homeowner to assume all the risk of owning a property, but never own the property. The first time I heard the concept of an interest only loan, I was flabbergasted. "How is that a good deal? You mean, you never pay toward the principal? How is that different than renting?" I was so pure back then. But digress...

How will this plan of forcing insurance companies to cover preexisting conditions work? How can you force companies to take on a risk that is not profitable and stay in business? By creating a new government entity to back up any losses, that's how. Obama's website is calling it "reinsurance." Guess who pays the premium on reinsurance PLUS numerous layers of administrative cost?

In regard to a proposal that would mandate that small businesses must provide insurance for their workers...How many small businesses will you crush with this one blow? Can we really afford to diminish our tax base right now? Besides, there are so many ways around this like hiring part-time or independent contractors or sending jobs overseas or cutting jobs altogether.

Let's talk about this 250K line in the sand that has been drawn to classify the wealthy from the middle class. To clarify, Superstar falls well within the definition of "middle class" but can reasonably hope to achieve wealth by this definition in great country such as ours. But why struggle if this immediately puts me in a club I don't want to be a part of?

Also, let's not forget about the difference between "wealth" and "income." You see, an income of 250K doesn't tell the whole story if you are burdened with small business loans, graduate school loans and you fall into a higher tax bracket. Just as an income of $100K doesn't either, if your home is worth 1.5M and you have significant assets overseas that are untaxed. Net worth, not income, is the more important factor; sorry homeowners.

We need small business to be profitable and NOT eliminate the incentives for our best workers. It is the very income from the sweat of their brow that keeps our economy moving. Can I get an Amen? And I know trickle-down theory is scoffed at these day, but I like "trickle" better than "pour."

One last point, I would be remiss if I overlooked some of the comments made by Sarah Palin over the weekend after singing her praises. Sarah, quit with the "paling around with terrorist" comments already and just say what you want to say. Let me say it for you (and if you would like to clarify, please honor me with a guest post.)

Don't you mean, "C'mon America, are we really going to elect a half-Muslim when we're in a war against terrorism? Who is the real Obama?"

Oh ya, the gloves are off.