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About Recycled

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  • Birthday 08/21/1900


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    solid waste consultant
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  1. Another Chamonix / Alps questions thread

    I forgot to mention: the apartment is obviously larger than you need, but you might be able to cut a deal. The back area is a bunk room and 2nd bathroom. They might just rent it as a 1 bedroom at a lower rate if they don't have a lot of demand. The apartment was a great refuge on hot days. When the rest of Cham was cooking in 90 degree heat, we were kicking back on the balcony overlooking a glacial melt stream. It was great.
  2. Another Chamonix / Alps questions thread

    Our family stayed in Chamonix for 3 weeks last August. We rented this place and would stay there again: http://www.holiday-rentals.co.uk/France/holiday-apartment-Chamonix/p12639.htm#photos-bar The owners are Brits and locally available. BTW, we found a better selection and better rates on the UK holiday rental sites than VRBO and other American sites. You probably already know that Chamonix is overrun by Brits and has been for a century - so most of the deals are on their websites. We rented a car on arrival in Geneva and were glad we did. There's a lot of great road tripping that you can do in the immediate area that you can't do easily via public transportation (e.g. St. Bernard Pass loop over the Italian border and through the Mt. Blanc tunnel), or a day trip to Zermatt. Prices vary a lot - keep checking. I was quoted rates from $300/wk-$1000/wk by the same company for a compact 4-door, depending on when I checked. Clear your cookies if you keep checking and they're fairly sophisticated at screwing repeated price checkers. I didn't check out the feasibility of daily rentals in Chamonix - depending on your mix of local versus road tripping, it might make sense to do short term rentals instead of what we did. Parking in Cham is a bitch, though that might have been partly due to being there during the big Alps footrace in August. If you rent in Geneva, make sure that you have Euro change for the toll road on the way to Chamonix. It can be a bit disorienting to hop in a car after an overnight flight from Seattle, so little things like having your toll change in order can help a lot. A word of warning: the Euro car companies are well known for charging for imaginary or pre-existing damage to the cars. They dinged us for $500 for a couple gravel marks on the spoiler that I'm sure were there when we arrived. The clerk at check-in walked straight to the spot, so I suspect they had it flagged and were waiting to run the scam. Visa covered it and their adjuster told me that this was common. Take a dozen photos from all angles when you check out the car.
  3. Bellingham Gig - Construction/Handyperson

    Normally I wouldn't bother replying, but just for kicks, here goes. First, I do hire regular contractors for certain work. Plumbing, electrical, framing, roofing, etc. They are all licensed and bonded. I know the drill. I also have a couple handymen on call. They respond quickly to quick fix-it jobs that last a couple hours or half a day. I gladly pay the $40-50/hr because I realize that it is a spot job and their whole day is not booked with work at that rate. They have access to renters' living space, so I'm very careful about screening and pay well. As a matter of fact, I'm a contractor (though not in construction trades) and I know how it works. I was advertising for something else entirely. It's a lot of odds and ends that I can make in to a temporary gig for someone. Some painting, fixing doors and windows, replacing locks, replacing counters, laying vinyl and odd jobs. It's not the sort of thing that involves GCs and subs. You scoff at paying "only' $21/hr for this sort of work, and all I can say is you're out of touch with the labor market in Bellingham. As far as licensing and bonding - well, mostly I care that they have medical insurance, report their income (I'll file a 1099 on it) and they can deal with the rest. I'm not asking for any work that is a licensed trade. That's all I have to say on it. I put myself through school doing this kind of work (and climbing on the side), and I was very glad to get it. It beat the hell out of working at McDonald's. Sorry for providing such a sub-par opportunity.
  4. Bellingham Gig - Construction/Handyperson

    Gee, thanks for the advice. The position's filled.
  5. I'm looking for someone with skills to do some construction projects at some rental houses. Work includes installing windows, vinyl flooring, bathroom/kitchen remodels, reposting a garage and house and a lot of other small projects. I probably have a couple months of full-time work. I'd like someone who can do fairly good quality work efficiently, but this isn't Bill Gate's house, so you don't have to be perfect at everything. The good news is that I'm fine with someone disappearing to the hills during good weather breaks - I'm very flexible with that as long as I know what's going on. I'd like to hire someone on a contractor - not employee basis - for about $3500/month. If needed, I might be able to provide a studio apartment as part of the deal while the work is happening. I wouldn't normally post this here, but I figured it might work out for the right person who wants to be in B'ham for Spring climbing. I need someone immediately. If you've got a lot of maintenance and construction experience, send me a PM outlining your experience, interest and timeline. Thanks - Jeff
  6. The next big cuts in Washtington

    Right, so that only rich people can afford to be in office. Fail. How do you figure? If it was a low paying job, then nobody would want it. Unless they had a large supplemental income with which to support themselves while they were in office. Ergo, rich people. Are you always so dense? Or, they want to get a large supplemental income while in office. Let's really get the bribes going now.
  7. Time to buy real estate?

    On the original question and with the caveat that free advice is worth what you pay for it: I would still sit out the single-family housing and commercial RE markets. Multifamily offers some good opportunities IF you know the local market, have a thick skin and can deal with the bullshit. One of the interesting developments over the past couple years is that plenty of small investors are facing a squeeze with multifamily (MF) properties. In some cases, they bought complexes with 25% down a few years ago with 5-year paper with a balloon (MF financing is like commercial - not standard single family terms). When some balloons have come up, investors have been told to come up with a lot more equity because lenders might not touch the property unless there's a 50% LTV ratio. Those owners might be forced to bail on the property, even though it's a good performing investment, just because they can't meet the new LTV requirements. Another option is fixer MF's. If you have cash, you can buy some non-financeable properties and then turn them around, just like the old days with single-family. Avoid ghettos. My favorite is old [legally] divided houses in areas that have been downzoned to single family. One thing to consider for retirement is cash flow. Having a stash of cash isn't enough if you are only able to reliably and safely crank 2-3% return out of it. MF should have a good return on investment, if you choose carefully. YMMV
  8. Shuksan grand central station NYC pic/mural?

    My all-time oddest glimpse of that mural was walking into run-down 60's style motel in the middle of the desert (Gila Bend, AZ) and seeing an entire wall (10x10 feet+) covered by a Shuksan photo-mural. That was probably about 15 years ago and now the motel is gone. It was truly a WTF? moment.
  9. HOW YOU FIX CONGRESS...... Finally the answer!

    It's obvious, but I suppose it's worth pointing out that the less experienced the legislator, the more power that staff, political parties and various outside interests will have to help "guide" the inexperienced figurehead. That is not necessarily a good thing...
  10. Setting up an s corp

    Maybe on the health insurance costs - I don't know. The usual way to do it is just to pay individually, then take the deduction on the front of the 1040. Of course you end up paying SS on that income, but at least it is shielded from income tax. There are a lot of tax angles to a sole LLC (including being able to do a solo 401k) that might weigh in to that decision too. If what you are after is being able to formally retain significant earnings within a company, then I think you would want a corporate structure for a LLC and you would want a really good accountant to ensure that the bases are covered. On the other hand, you can expense just about anything and if you use cash accounting you can probably figure out some ways to do what you want.
  11. Any car mechanics out there?

    You could also have a loose or wet ignition coil wire connection. Maybe the vehicle went through a puddle and died. Would be fixable with no tools and would apply to any gasoline vehicle (but not a diesel). You could work in some backfires and shudders, being unable to start, and then a miracle fix by mr. or mrs. studly. Woohoo!
  12. Setting up an s corp

    Yes, I've been involved with several over the last 20 years. They've fallen out of favor since Washington enabled LLCs a few years ago. Unless you have very specific tax (want to take huge initial losses) or formation requirements (lotsa people and corps would be shareholders) that would lead you in that direction, you probably want to consider doing an LLC. You can run a LLC as an individual, partnership or corporation and then report on the appropriate for attached to your taxes. Last time I formed a company a couple years ago, I did a one page LLC which provides the liability protection of a corp, but I use Schedule C on my taxes just like a sole prop and my wife reports the income from her partnership LLC as regular partnership income. It's a lot nicer than the Sub S tax forms. Note this isn't legal or accounting advise - just what I've learned over the years. I have my one page formation document (which you keep, don't file) in Word if you want it. PM me.
  13. Prius vs Jetta TDI

    Matt, I'm on my 4th TDI and I must admit that I'm frustrated with my new 2009 Jetta. I was used to mileage in the 45-50 mpg range, but the 2009 has a larger engine, heavier body and is only getting in the high 30s with a 6spd. I drive conservatively, so it's not my driving style. I think VW has really screwed the pooch on their products in the US. The base option package on the 2009 includes a lot of "options" that drive up the cost, maintenance complexity and failure rate compared with the older Jetta TDIs. Unless VW starts marketing their smaller, cheaper, simpler diesel cars, this will be my last VW. When Toyota gets an economical common rail diesel on the market in NA, I think VW will be toast. On the other points: -I've never had problems finding diesel. -Regarding the "premium" on the retail price - I laughed in their face when they told me that charged a premium over list due to demand. They called me back a couple days and said there would be no premium. -The car is very low to the ground, so it is pretty much non-functional if there's more than a few inches of snow. I use my Trooper if I need clearance or 4WD. I find that I use it rarely and almost always use my Jetta. Also, the Jetta has a low CG, so it's much safer at highway speeds on ice than my 4x4 SUV. -Finally, I've always used B100 biodiesel in my other TDIs. Not so on the 2009. Apparently they are very touchy about BD. I'm still in break-in, so I haven't experimented yet. If you have specific questions, feel free to PM me your phone # and we can talk. -Jeff
  14. Yeah, my kid kept asking me about the large naked woman on the bed. "That must have been photoshopped, right?. Ummm no... Good show!