Thursday, September 6, 2018

My Book of Life

A major incident happened recently that jarred me to my core. After the initial shock faded a bit and I could start thinking clearly again, an idea, or maybe more appropriately a necessity, took hold in my mind. What follows is a bit off-subject for this blog, but I believe it should be said and also read by as many as possible. I can start by telling you what did not happen. Death, death did not happen. As we all know there are fates worse then death, such as total paralysis, strokes, Alzheimer's disease, etc. Perhaps Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best: "Of all the ways to lose a person, death is the kindest." The fate known as stroke came in the early morning hours one Sunday and tragically struck down my mother. The cold shock of discovering her, many hours later, haunts my mind constantly and makes my conscience affix every thought with "what if". Life goes on and so must mine, but time, usually the healer of wounds, is the enemy here.

Major incidents happen every day in people's lives, life changing events that force us to see a side of life that most don't like to think about. Most think that these type of incidents will not happen to them, some are in denial, and others obtuse. The fact of the matter is that this can happen and may even happen to you, yes you! Nobody is exempt by choice, only by fate. Aside from estate planning, funeral directives, living trusts, wills, power of attorney, and the such, there is an often overlooked area in your life that usually only one person knows about - you! The area that I'm referring to is the day to day stuff, or the things in your daily life, hence the title My Book of Life.

My Book of Life, aka Your Book of Life,  is a fairly simple idea that will fill in the gaps and could answer many questions should something major happen to you. Personally I am going to use a 3x5 note book, because I am old school, and update it at least twice a month, but an electronic device works just as well. Notations in your "book" can vary widely but in my case will include updates on projects I am working on, as well as what I want done with certain stuff. It can also contain directions or hints on where to find certain things that only you may know about. If I was to leave this life tomorrow or become permanently incapacitated, my family wouldn't know that I had just finished buttoning up the top end on my '56 Chevy project and got it running again. That makes a huge difference if they had to sell it to pay medical bills, etc. They would not know what to do with my massive model train collection, what it's worth, or what is broken and what just got repaired. I know that it is common practice to list personal items in Living Trusts and Wills, but most folks don't have either and even if you do, unless you constantly update them there will be many questionable items. Information can be as simple as pointing them in the right direction to providing step by step instructions.

Your Book of Life is a perfect way to communicate what is happening, what has happened, and what you want to happen. Of course there is no guarantee that your wishes will be followed but at least you have communicated them and let them be known. Nobody knows when something tragic is going to happen, but when it does it is always sudden and usually without warning, leaving your loved ones in the dark about a lot of things. Shed some light on that darkness with your own Book of Life, you won't regret it and neither will your significant others.



Saturday, March 3, 2018

I Forgot My Anniversary, But I'm Not In Trouble!

I totally forgot my anniversary! Which anniversary you ask? My web page! Ten years ago I decided to put all my automotive experience and thoughts swimming around in my head on the world wide web. Back then I was quite the novice with the interweb as some of my early posts clearly show, especially my first one. Oh well, live and learn. The internet has changed dramatically in ten years but the Amberlight Garage has remained status quo for all intents and purposes. I hope to keep it going for another ten years or more, God willing.

For those who don't know the story I will indulge your curiosity. I have always wanted to be an automotive journalist. I love writing about cars and mechanical things in general. When I graduated high school the internet had not been thought of yet so print was still alive and doing well. Back then, in order to land a gig at a automotive publication you needed one of two things: a college degree, experience, or preferably both . At that point in my life I had only a few years of experience and was not a fan of higher education, so I had to seek employment elsewhere. Fast forward 26 years to the year 2008. With a lot of automotive experience, ample speciality schooling, and just living life under my belt I felt I was finally ready to seek out a career as an automotive journalist. I soon realized that I was missing one crucial element, writing experience. So with nothing more then a basic computer course and a head full of stories, I set out to create my very own web page. Blogging was all the rage so that's the format I chose, a la Frank's Classic Car Blog.The "hosting" page for my blog is the Amberlight Garage, which by the way is an actual garage that works on classic cars for exclusive clientele. (me) Forget about getting your classic worked on there, the waiting list is over 10 years long! Most folks don't know it but the Amberlight Garage was actually named after the middle light in a traffic signal. Yea, that's not yellow, it's amber. Early on I thought opportunity came knocking for a automotive writing gig but fate had a different plan. I always try and listen to my gut when it comes to major decisions and the choice I made here was spot on. As we now all know, Popular Hot Rodding magazine (which was the "major publication" referred to in my story) went the way of the Dodo bird and most if not all print magazines are switching to online content, some exclusively. Is print dead? It might be dying a slow death but writing is alive and kicking, thanks to all you readers.

So here I am, present day, still blogging along and still hoping to land a writing gig and get my first article published, dare I say it, in print. I know someday it will happen, probably when I retire from my real job, and that's only six years away! I think I will put it on my bucket list, right between "attend Viva Las Vegas" and "move the hell out of California". In the meantime I'll be looking forward to my next anniversary, so stay tuned for plenty of cool content in-between. 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

FranktoidTM No 18 - Carma With a "C"

We all know Karma's a bitch but what about her step-sister, Carma? Carma, spelled with a "c", is the vehicular version of Karma. I believe I have experienced a little bit of Carma and it all started when I decided to sell a car...

Regular readers of this blog will recall when I wrote about selling one of my project cars. Well, writing and actually doing are two completely different things so I thought I would put my future money where my mouth is, or more accurately, was. The decision to sell was a tough one with each project car having it's pros and cons. For a moment or two I thought a flip of the coin would be the deciding factor when all of a sudden the solution came to me. I would list the car for sale at a price that was, in my opinion, a little high. If it sold, great! I would get my investment back and then some so I really couldn't complain. If it didn't sell, oh well, I tried! So I listed the car and Carma came a knocking on the door. It sold. Wait, which car sold? Oops, I guess I sort of left out that portion of this story. Unable to come to a decision on which project car to sell I decided to sell my daily driver, a 1967 Olds Delmont 88. Part of this decision was based on the need to retire the Olds from daily driver status. The Delmont has been the source for many stories on this blog and has served me well. I really didn't think it would sell, I mean, who wants a 4 door sedan now-a-days? Boy was I wrong.

I really should have done my homework better, as in research homework. For the price I sold the Delmont for, I can't replace it, and I thought I got a really good price for it! It turns out that daily driver, rust free, 4 door sedans that have working A/C are worth a little more then what I thought. Oops! Now what? Besides juggling work schedules and cars so I can get to and from work, I had to formulate a plan. After searching for what seemed like an eternity I was unable to find a newer daily driver (big surprise there, see Carma above) so I decided to move forward with a plan to make one of my project cars a daily driver. The '56 Chevy, appropriately named Time Warp, got the nod. Now I need to put my money where the project car is and get it on the road. Will I succeed or will Carma get it the way? Stay tuned to find out what happens...
Goodbye old friend...