I’ve become addicted to Amazon. Living in SF, without a car, is not a problem most of the time. However, there are times when not having a car is a royal pain in the ass. Grocery shopping and dropping off/picking up laundry can both be a huge hassle. Luckily, the laundry problem is solved by a short walk. We are just over a block from the place we take it. We have a fee based small washer/dryer in our garage but they are expensive and rarely dry a regular load of clothes in one cycle.

Grocery shopping comes with 3 options. Option 1 is to purchase a small enough amount you can trek on MUNI with them. Hell no.  Option 2, rent a car-share or Uber/Lyft home. Not a bad option but still a hassle. Option 3, order online and have them delivered. Here is where Amazon has really filled a niche. I had used Instacart for a while but their services is so hit & miss I got fed up and switched to Amazon Fresh. Being a prime member, I also get access to Prime Now, which does limited groceries as well. Between the two services, I find no reason to shop in person anymore. [1]I stopped by Safeway recently and I was annoyed I ended up just leaving with 2 items

Amazon originally only offered a yearly fee. I still use this option but they also offer a monthly fee now. The latter is in line with the several services out there that offer this service. The saving grace for Amazon is if you order an item, you always get it. There are a few very rare exceptions. With Instacart, you were always at the whim of what the store actually had and whether the shopper was diligent enough to actually care to get your order right. The only caveat for Fresh is the order has to be at least $50.00. [2]This has caused me some consternation as it started as $25.00 and has slowly gone up For Prime Now, the minimum delivery is $30.00. As long as you meet the minimum amount, there is no delivery fee and you can order as often as you like. And boy do I ever.

Between work and home, I order a lot. And best of all, I end up saving money! Instacart up-charges for many of the places I shopped. Amazon is pretty much on point with retail prices. And while I realize they are still over charging me since they don’t have the overhead a traditional store would have, I am saving money over the alternative options. I order food at least 2 times a week, usually more. I order for both work and home. The monthly (or yearly in my case) fee is easily worth it compared to what I would spend on Uber/Lyft or car-share.

Prime Now has the added benefit of being same day. And while they have now added all of Whole Foods to the options, WF is still quite a bit pricey. You also run into the problem I had with Instacart when ordering from your local WF. But for the staples, it is just lovely. I order from the app while I’m at work and it’s there when I get home. Fresh only offers next day service but that is still pretty damn convenient.

These are first world problems of course. I am fortunate enough to be able to use these services vs having to pinch every penny and trek my ass in person. If you are thinking of using it, especially if you are already a Prime member, it is worth it.


1 I stopped by Safeway recently and I was annoyed I ended up just leaving with 2 items
2 This has caused me some consternation as it started as $25.00 and has slowly gone up

Cut The Cord

WAVE-picsayWe did it! We cut the cord, so to speak. I ditched cable this last week and went internet only. I’ve been considering it for about a year or so. The idea of not being able to just absent-mindedly channel surf was of concern though.

I watch a fair amount of TV; however, it revolves around a very limited number of channels. And let’s face it, TV competes with my video games pretty often as well. Like many people, subsidizing a giant list of channels I never watch burns my ass to no-end. I watch 15-20 channels tops and that includes a couple of the multiplex movie channels. Cable and internet thru “Comcrack” was runing us roughly $170.00 a month. At $170.00 a month, the bloat clearly outweighs the benefit.

So after reading yet another news feed on how Comcast is constantly trying to break the internet while simultaneously screwing over it’s customers, I decided to ditch them all together. We signed up for Wave Broadband’s gigabit internet service. Some of you may remember I left Wave over a year ago after months of intermittent service and never ending home visits that amounted to squat. I was reticent to jump back into Wave but being the only provider so far to offer gigabit service to my address, I took a chance.

So far it has paid off. The service isn’t quite gigabit speeds and fluctuates quite a bit. It will go as low as 200 and as high as 800 Mbps. [1]megabits per second  It hovers around 500 Mbps consistently. They need a tech to work on the pole on my street to increase it (allegedly). And while that might seem rough, think about it for a second. My lowest speed is double what I was paying for Comcast.  It’s $70.00 a month for the first year including the modem/router. I’m saving $100.00 a month right off the bat. The savings will decrease as we add other necessary services. We already had Hulu so I am not counting it toward the monthly savings.

Shawn only cares about the pings, which hovers between 4-20. Again a wide fluctuation but still at it’s worst it isn’t bad. So I’m willing to work thru it at this point. And since they waived the first month of service and the installation fees, I figure they are trying hard to earn back my business.

The biggest struggle, as expected, has been the withdrawal from channel surfing. It bothers me. It’s almost always garbage TV or shows/movies I’ve seen countless times but having the option go missing is oddly disconcerting. Having a Tivo usually allowed me to avoid live TV for the most part. I loathe f**king commercials. Sadly, I bought one of the versions of Tivo that doesn’t support OTA broadcasts. FML right? lol  I invested in a digital antenna that works pretty good. Honestly though, I doubt we’ll watch much live TV.

I am adapting, albeit slowly. We signed up briefly for Sling TV, which for some is probably a good deal. However, unlike Hulu, you cannot skip commercials, even on shows you DVR’d to their cloud. [2]Yes, I know Comcast owns a chunk of Hulu. I can’t avoid them completely it seems  I got rid of it before the trial had even expired. I’d rather just buy the shows I like outright and watch them commercial free. And while that does add up in the short term, in the long run I still save more money. And frankly, I like spending money on things I value vs endless channels I never even tune-in once.

Buying a season of a given show runs between $15.00 and $25.00. At an average of $20.00 a season, even if I buy 10 different shows, that is only 2 months of previous cable service. I did add HBO and Starz thru my Google account so that knocked the savings down to $75.00 a month. Again, still a value to me. All of it averaged together I figure I’ll end up saving around $50.00 a month  For that I’m getting gigabit speed internet (for the most part) and the joy of never having to watch commercials. A much better value than I was getting before and the savings adds up to a whopping $600 bucks a year!

It isn’t all rosy though. Navigating which shows you can get where can be a royal pain in the ass. Some shows air the same season on Hulu as they do live. Some shows run a season behind. Some shows aren’t even available on Hulu at all. Premium movie channels like HBO are prevalent almost everywhere so they are relatively easy to find. Basically, you have to review all the shows you like or watch and chase them down. Once you get past that hurdle it’s pretty smooth sailing. And none of these services require a contract or commitment so you can add/remove anytime your favorite show airs.

If you don’t mind commercials, Sling TV and/or Vue are probably the two best for choice and flexibility. Hulu is decent but lacking in many areas;however, it allows you to watch almost everything commercial free. [3]A few of the most popular shows require you to watch a commercial before and after.  YouTube TV is pretty basic but if you watch the basics you’re covered. I don’t know if it forces you to watch commercials or not as I didn’t try it out. It was missing several of my favorite channels.

All things considered, I’m happy with the decision so far. I let Comcast overlap until I finalize whether Wave can deliver. The abrupt and jarring end to channel surfing is slowly wearing off. The are other ways to surf anyway and I’m happier with my options.


1 megabits per second
2 Yes, I know Comcast owns a chunk of Hulu. I can’t avoid them completely it seems
3 A few of the most popular shows require you to watch a commercial before and after.


I reached a new milestone at work this year. As of April, I’ll have been employed in the same job for 15 years! And with the glorious news comes an extra week of vacation moving forward. The fact I’ve worked in one place for so long is news in itself.

I bounced around a lot when I was younger from job to job and place to place. Without realizing it at the time, I was searching for a place to call home and it wasn’t until I hit San Francisco that I found it. While I had some good jobs over the years, some I liked, others I hated. They all benefited me in one way or another. It wasn’t until I landed in emergency services that I seemed to settle. When I took the job here, I had other offers on my plate and I took it almost on a whim. There were several very random occurrences or coincidences that helped push me into this line of work.

Fast forward, here I am 15 years later still at it. I’m fully vested here and consider myself very fortunate. I won’t have to worry about income or health benefits when I retire and I’ll be able to provide for myself and Shawn. For someone who came from such poor means, I’m so very proud of my accomplishments. I’m not rich and never will be but I’m proud of my work and it gives me comfort knowing I’ll be ok when I get older. It wasn’t always so easy. When I first started it was right after the PGE rolling blackouts and just before the bust. Even then, I had a hard time making ends meet. I made a lot less than I do now and eking out a living was tough. I stuck it out and thru several busted/broken relationships and 15 years I’ve reached some stability. I make enough to keep more than just the bills paid and can afford a few luxuries. The irony is I’d do quite well pretty much anywhere else on my salary. Of course, I also wouldn’t make said salary anywhere else either.

A few weeks ago I was discussing the old days with a former blogger and he mentioned the passing of my father. I was so broke at the time I ended up soliciting donations on my blog so I could afford a trip home. [1]He had sent me a nice check for which I was eternally grateful There was no such thing as gofundme or indiegogo stuff back then. All we had was the "tip jar" button that was tied to PayPal. I was a bit embarrassed and felt a little guilty when I did it but I sure appreciated those who reached out to help me. Several complete strangers offered money and it was just enough to push me over the edge to make the trip. Thankfully, I’ve come a long way since then.

So yeah, I busted my ass and stuck it out. There were several times I wanted to quit and just walk away. The stress, drama, and negativity builds up on you over time. Luckily, I persevered and I’m still here. And while the idea of living here for the rest of my life still appeals to me, the cost will eventually push me out of the city. Its just too expensive.

Either way, I’m stuck here for another 15 years. I don’t plan to retire until I reach the max benefit, which requires 30 years of service and be age 65. Plus, I like working and I want to max out what I can because once I retire I’m on a fixed income for the rest of my life. Of course, if you had asked me 15 years ago if I’d ever be happily engaged, financially stable, debt-free, and a plan for the future, I would have laughed at you. It was never even in the realm of possibilities for me back then.

So I move into year 15 of my career with an eager look to the future. I hope the next 15 years treats me with the same growth and progress that the last 15 have.

Hope springs eternal…


1 He had sent me a nice check for which I was eternally grateful


Are you sitting down? Are you sure?!




For the first time in over 15 years, yours truly is 100% debt free! Yes, you read it right, debt free!

I can’t even tell you have good it feels to be out from under my debt load. I came close once about 10 years ago but this time I made it all the way. I had to sell the land my dad left me to do it, [1]I sold it to my nephew but I finally did it. Back when I got close last time, I said I wouldn’t get into debt again. Well, easier said than done. I got way behind for a variety of very valid reasons. I say valid to clarify I wasn’t going on shopping sprees.

I mentioned a while back I got a consolidation loan from my credit union. That helped on the interest a lot, but I still wanted out of it. My brother reached out to me at just the right time to inquire if I’d be willing to sell my share of the land to his son. Fast forward, a few months and the paperwork is complete, money transferred, and my bills are all paid off.

But wait! There’s more! I also recently caught up on 6 years of back income taxes. And, I’m getting money back! I know, I know, your saying "Moby, how the hell did you get behind 6 years of IRS taxes?" Well, it is a long story and we can save that nut and crack it open on a rainy day. I also procrastinated the last couple years more than anything. I was afraid I’d get hammered and so kept putting it off. I didn’t want Shawn to be tied to anything like that in the future so I finally bit the bullet and booked an appointment to get the bad news. I went to a local H&R Block office prepared for the worst. I just knew I was gonna walk out owing thousands of dollars. It didn’t help that a series of errors had already delayed the appointment several times. [2]Including the original guy I booked with died! I was beginning to worry even more as if the universe was sending me a signal.

Let me just tell you Jim from H&R Block really saved my bacon! He wasn’t judgy or rude. He was actually an absolute dream to deal with and put me at ease almost immediately. He said it happens a lot and I shouldn’t beat myself up over it. He then spent the next 3 1/2 hours helping me find deductions I didn’t realize I could deduct. They really do try to get you a refund. lol We had a lot of time to chit chat and I discovered he’d been doing taxes for H&R Block for just over 30 years. (Actually, all 3 of the tax preparers were all easily in their 60’s). He went thru each return methodically and never once made me feel like I was wasting his time.

Even after forking over a hefty payment, I’m getting a nice fat check back! (Six years, state and federal, 12 returns) I walked out emotionally exhausted. lol Needless to say, I’ll be booking with Jim for my 2015 taxes. The down side is I’ll get hit hard for cash I got from the land sale. Luckily, I work in a job where I can just crank out some overtime practically whenever I want. (We are always short staffed)

Annyyyyyway, I can’t express the absolute joy in being debt free. Now maybe I cant start putting money toward my future. (And hopefully a home)


1 I sold it to my nephew
2 Including the original guy I booked with died!