Hughes Family: November 5th, 2012 – November 11th, 2012

Some text here… a bit here, and voila!  A blog post.

Mike’s bike is in a perpetual state of disrepair from constant abuse & neglect. It seems like every month we have to repair a flat or make some of kind adjustment. We used to drop his bike off at a repair shop, but that got expensive so we started doing repairs ourselves. This last time I had Michael help me (I think Fran told me this fulfilled a scouting requirement). He was a pretty good helper.

And then we voted. The line was excessively long- I waited almost two hours- but I didn’t mind (thank you iPhone!). I would have gone later in the evening, when it turned out there was no line, but had other plans.

I have a few thoughts on the election. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but I’m not particularly pleased with the outcome (though not surprised). I don’t feel like we accomplished much as a country in the last four years. Obviously I don’t put the blame completely on our president, but I think he shares some of the responsibility.

What really worries me for the time being are taxes. I don’t mind if the Bush-era tax cuts expire, or if some deductions are eliminated here and there, but I do mind a tax increase. President Obama has made it clear that he intends to raise taxes on the rich. Maybe that, in and of itself, isn’t a bad idea. But to Mr. Obama I look like a very wealthy citizen instead of a business. My company is a pass though S-corp which mean that on paper my income is the same as my company’s income. So, to clarify further, on paper I appear very wealthy.

I’m already in the highest tax bracket. Paying more taxes would simply hurt my company’s ability to grow. If we don’t grow then we don’t employ. It is the small businesses that drive the US economy. I feel like treating small business income like personal income is a mistake. In the next year I expect to pay nearly $100,000 of additional taxes. That’s money I could have used to increase inventory, expand, add employees or stimulate the economy.

I also worry about health care issues. This coming year companies with over fifty employees will be required to provide health care coverage to their full time employees. We already do this and it’s very expensive. Premiums keep rising. I worry that a mandatory health care program will drive prices up even more and eventually become a financial liability for us.

In the meantime many companies are hard at work cutting hours of full time employees so that they don’t have to provide insurance coverage to them. The net effect is that many of these workers end up with less money and they will now be required to purchase their own heath care (that’s a double whammy). Sometimes I feel like the laws that have been created to help have unintended harmful consequences.

Sure, I’m oversimplifying some things and the thoughts I’m sharing are comprised of a limited issue scope, but my point is that I’m worried. When a county reaches the point where the takers outnumber the givers there is an unsettling imbalance and the future seems bleak.

Since my Vette has been gone I have parked the Camaro in the garage. I ended up reorganizing things again so it could fit. The kids are getting older so I pulled out one of the shelves in front of the car and pushed the remaining shelf back a few feet. I know this will seem like a funny thing to say about a garage, but it really opened up the place. I had to do a lot of shifting though.

All the garden stuff and the tools had to go in the shed ( I put a shelf in there- it makes me so happy). So then I had to take some of the shed stuff that we don’t use often to a storage unit (we actually don’t have any storage room in our house so I caved and got this unit… I am sort of ashamed, but mostly happy).
And here’s a glimpse of my super secret project. But it’s not really super secret. We’re giving the home office a makeover. We’re in a month in at this point. Slow and steady.

A quick update on Fran’s foot (toe, technically): The healing is going slower that we had hoped. Apparently all the walking around she was doing made exacerbated the wound’s bad mood. No more walking! On Wednesday we finally picked up some crutches. Thanks to those of you who have wished her well and sent money (which is, of course, appropriate in this situation).

On Saturday night I took the kids to see Wreck-It Ralph while Fran took it easy at home. What a cool movie! Visually appealing, good plot and right up my alley (8/10). All the kiddos made it way though without falling asleep or using the bathroom (that I know of).

On Sunday we went to the Lott’s new home for dinner. Despite not having a kitchen it went smoothly. Fran made pecan pie and pumpkin crème brûlée. Hopefully there will be more of those in the future. When we got back I was secretly planning to have a giant pile of pecan pumpkin crème brûlée covered pie, but alas it was gone.

“But he has two sports cars! Surly he can pay more taxes!” You know what? If I really thought the government would take additional tax revenue and use it to to pay down the deficit then I might not feel so unhappy.

Corvette: First Drive

I picked up my car from Premier today and drove it back to Lehi. Right now the car has a fairly rough base tune. The idle is set high (about 950) and it’s running with zero degrees of timing (there is an issue with the knock sensors being too sensitive).

Noise: I thought the exhaust drone was loud before, but now it’s nearly unbearable on the freeway. I’m going to have to explore a new exhaust system and some sound proofing on the car’s interior (if needed). Don’t get me wrong- the car sounds amazing, but it may just be too much.

Clutch: The pedal feels a little loose when it’s disengaged (up, down and side to side play). Once it’s pressed it actually feel really good. Getting the car moving initially does seem to be an issue (aluminum flywheel), but I think that can be overcome with some practice. The clutch is pretty quiet (although there’s a lot of extra noise coming out of the console- I’ll need to pull that and see about deadening the sound).

Suspension / Drivebility: The car felt a lot different than I remember. I dropped it off at Vince’s to get an alignment done and to tweak some of the shock settings. The car felt a little bouncy and less stable than before. But some of the change probably comes from the added weight in the front of the car (engine). The clutch is going to take some getting used to. Shifting seemed to be good. [Update- it turns out that the one of the steering linkages was loose and this was causing the sloppy feel]

Power: Premier dynoed the car and it put out 630rwhp at 6 PSI (with no timing). That seems pretty good, considering that’s about what I had before with 8 PSI. Driving home I could tell there was a lot of untapped power. I didn’t do anything crazy, but the car pulled hard in 3rd and 4th. Seems to be on par with what I remember with a lot of room to grow.

The Vette needs a serious cleaning. It’s been sitting around for months at this point and the inside and outside are filthy. A dirty car always diminishes some of the enjoyment. Can’t wait to get her back, do some cleaning and get the break in miles (500) put on. Then I can have some real fun.