Generous Paypal Donations + Rad Finances & Learning Frugality

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Logged into my Paypal account today, planning to move fund$ (from my checking account) .. in preparation for paying this month's web hosting fee (with our new provider) .. when I noticed...

Sydney, Australia .. Home of Good Things.. there was already plenty of cash in the account. (Woohoo!) How did it get in there?

You might've noticed the small Make a Donation button .. found in the left side-bar (have to scroll down). As you know, I don't solicit donations. But if readers feel inspired, there it is.

Timely Donations

Several generous readers donated amounts ranging from $50 to $100 (less a small percentage Paypal keeps for their trouble). Boy, was I stoked!

Funny how donations always seem to arrive when they're needed most.

As a side note, I find it interesting that most donations (by far) come from » Texans. Why is that? Are they more generous than most? .. or drawn more strongly to the site? I have lived in many states, but Texas isn't one of them. So I can't say for sure.

Priorities & Sacrifice

Speaking of money .. all my life, cash was never a problem. I mean (not to brag), I was earning close to $100K fifteen years ago .. (back when 100K was still 100K). I paid ca$h for a Porsche (the Rad-mobile) .. back in the '80's. Even at age 11, I was delivering newspapers 7 days a week. So I've always had plenty of spending-cash .. for long as I can recall.

But ever since I started going to court a few years ago .. well, that wiped me out. And you can't work nuclear just any ol' place. Reactors aren't found on every street corner, or in every town. (Or even in every state.)

••• today's entry continues below •••

Since being discharged from the military, all my jobs have been "temporary" (by definition). Which means they all (eventually) come to an end. (The idea of passing thru the same portal every day 'til I retired seemed .. uh, unappealing.)

The world of rent-a-nuke paid well » offering lotsa hours (often 72/week) .. with lucrative hourly rates » and little time to spend. Enough time only to work & deposit pay checks.

So, what to do now? Go back East? And make the big bucks for a season? (Since no more nuke jobs here.) And leave the Bug in the process? .. and hope he'll be still here when I return from a stint? Uh, something tells me that's not a good idea. So he's my priority right now.

Adapting & Empathizing

I find this having-no-money phase a very different experience. I was certainly no millionaire, but if there was ever a new toy I wanted (like building a new computer for myself), cost was never a concern. I've never had to sacrifice before (not financially).

Long-time Rad readers may recall when the site's subtext (found at the top of the home page) read » Indulge Your Technolust. Now it reads Nuclear Grade Technolust. That's cuz I'm doing far more lusting these days than indulging. Fortunately, lots of cool technology is available for free .. as I'm finding.

Altho having-no-money definitely suks, it's not an altogether bad thing. Cuz it's forcing me to develop a new set of skills (frugality), which I've never had to do before. As you know, it's easier to make a bad decision if you never learn to factor in finances.

We all need, for example, to be able to work within a budget, and should be able to empathize with those less-fortunate .. something I could never do .. until recently.

The idea of a bad-thing, I learned, is nearly always worse than the bad-thing itself. We are more resilient & resourceful than we suspect .. and capable of far more than we imagine.

Just yesterday, for example, I stopped by Trader Joes .. to pick up a loaf of bread, chunk of cheese, soap, shampoo & toothpaste. I also wanted to get a bag of potato chips. (The Bug likes chips.) But I put them back, cuz they weren't necessary. (Priorities.) Never had to do that before.

I've learned to rent DVDs from the library (for a buck) rather than pay ten at the theater .. and to check out books there as well (for free), rather than buy them. I'm being forced to learn how to do more with le$$ (and I'm doing it).

I eat more rice-n-beans (and oatmeal). The prayer that says "Give us this day our daily bread," seems more meaningful now. These are skills others have developed long ago. I'm playing catch-up. And of course, I should note people have been more generous than I could ever convey.

Sure, I'd like to be able to take the Bug to Disneyland (Happiest Place on Earth, right up the road) for his birthday, and visit Mickey's fun-house, and go on the Pooh ride .. but at nearly a hundred bucks a pop, that's out of my budget. No, I'm not grumbling. Cuz I'm grateful for what I *do* have. (He is beautiful.)

Effects of Troubled Housing Market in SoCal

On a related note, the downturn in the housing market here in SoCal is causing financial hardships for many (along with the stress such hardship brings). Newport Beach is one of the country's wealthiest zip-codes.

At church Sunday, the worship leader mentioned how he personally knew several people who were losing their homes and filing for bankruptcy and/or divorce.

He asked those in the congregation, who might be in a similar situation, to raise their hands, so he could pray for them. I probably shouldn't have looked around, but I'm a curious guy, and couldn't help but notice how many hands went up. I have an idea what these people are going thru .. cuz I've been there for a while now.

Nevertheless, I'm confident the Bug would gladly go without potato chips, or a trip to Disneyland .. long as he can keep seeing his dad. (Priorities.)

Speaking of the Bug & church .. you shoulda seen him Sunday morning. I take him way up front .. to one of the first few rows. We stay only for the singing part. (The bongos are his favorite instrument.)

Praise & Worship with the Bug

Some people, as you know, raise their hands during worship. The Bug imitates them by pointing (quite emphatically) to the different colored stage-lights, mounted in the overhead above. He thinks he can make them change colors (like others around us) by pointing at them. Sometimes he cracks me up.

Standing in the row directly behind us was a (sharply dressed) black man (muscular) and a big momma (white) .. you know, like Momma Cass. Boy could they sing! .. especially big momma. She was wailin' her lungs out. Full tilt worship. What a voice. Thought I was in heaven. I wanna sit in front of her every Sunday. =)

While I held the Bug in my arms .. it was like heaven on earth .. especially when they started singing Shout to the Lord (final song, written by Aussie girl). The place was rockin'. (Can still hear it now.) Tears ran down my cheeks. Very moving. (Must confess tho, I take him there more for the great playgrounds .. than any spiritual reason.)

Afterwards the Bug whispers, "Is it time to go play now?" .. "Yeah," I say. "Lets go." He bolts.

Insight & Encouragement

Anyway, I could write volumes on this topic, but I'll simply leave you with a note from one of the contributors. (I ask them all where they're from, what they like about the site, and why they contributed. I also apologize for not writing sooner.) See here (I added the links):


Your site has taught me many things over the years. A little donation was the least I could do. I like the guides and software articles (especially the ones that highlight useful freeware tools and utilities).

It was your March 15th posting about resource usage that prompted the donation. In that post you indicated the site was pushing the 384-MB memory limit, and an additional 64-MB would be $7.50/month. I simply calculated an extra 64-MB for 12 months. Hence the $90.00 figure. But the donation is yours to do with as you see fit.

I'm an Australian who now lives and works in New York City (Manhattan) as a lawyer. (I suspect, not your favourite class of citizen these days.) Having grown up on the beaches of Sydney, I envy your location. I've been out of Australia for 17 years now, but still miss the beach.

I've followed your trials & tribulations with the Bug, and really do hope things work out for you such that you continue to have consistent, quality time with him.

Best Wishes

Couldn't help but notice Mr. D based his donation on » RAM .. obviously a man after my own heart. =) Thanks guys.

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This page contains a single entry by Rad published on April 1, 2008 6:20 AM.

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