Saturday, September 24, 2016

One of my LONG @SS posts coming at you!!

Once or twice a year I tend to put something down on the the blog that is more that just a dividend update or a photo of some stocks I recently bought. This will be one of those posts.

WARNING ---- Longer Post Than Usual Ahead!!

Also, if you are looking for smooth, organized thoughts with logical transitions please stop reading right now. Fair warning. I'm going to write straight through with no editing.

For most of the past year, my investing activities have been in relative hibernation after dealing with a divorce late last year. In fact, the few times I tried to get back into the investing groove I got out of the market very quickly. It was NOT because I was jittery about the market or was jittery in general. I just was thinking as clearly as I should have been and didn't want to invest while in a fog.

Another reason I was not investing was I let my Sharebuilder $12 month automatic Tuesday investment program lapse. I'm definitely a creature of habit and really enjoyed picking up 3 or 4 companies at a time each week. Whether I make 3 $500 purchase or 1 $1500 really should matter in the longer run. I'm getting it's some kind of fucked up OCD thing. I think I am finally cured of that that problem! By the way, I do know that a Costco membership does afford me the opportunity to make those weekly purchases at a discounted rate. I just don't feel like dealing with another membership.

So here is the summary of some of the things that have been going on this year.....

Houston Oil Slump     How good are you at musical chairs, MDP??

During 2008-2013 those of us fortunate to live in Texas had the great fortune to experience life under the protective umbrella of $100 oil prices. While many down in Houston were busy stacking up $100 bills and patting each other's backs during the great oil boom, many across the country were dealing with very challenging economic situations while spending a ton of fucking money at the gas pumps.

As oil prices started falling in late 2014, Houston was still rocking throughout most of 2015. Most people viewed the slump as temporary. By January of 2016, the realization of $30 oil was a punch to the gut for many people. As dividend investors, it simply meant seeing energy holdings lose 50-75% of their value along with dividend freezes and elimination. 

As a resident of Houston, like when the tide recedes, it was time to see who was wearing their underwear. More importly than wearing underwear during a low tide event, what happens when a big ass tidal wave comes at you?? 

Well since I had sold off all of my holdings late last year and was in 90% cash, I was wearing a fucking badass scuba suit with multiple oxygen tanks. So quite honestly I was kind of enjoying the show. I probably shouldn't have written that last sentence down. It makes me sound like a psycho. So be it...

Now don't get me wrong, the enjoyment didn't last too long as I realized I still had to make up the lost money in the divorce and rebuild my dividend castle. On top of that the business I work at started to lose money! Time to start releasing the hatchets...

So how good am I at musical chairs?? Not to brag, but I am fucking great at it! 

As someone who has taken literally one sick day in 16 years and has worked 6 days a week during most of that time, I'm a wolf among sheep. When you are in a sales industry, it's dog eat dog every day, every month, every year in good times and bad. 

With that said, things that were relatively easy, became HARD!!  While I still had a ton of money in the bank, as was 90% cash, most around me were 90% broke or worse overloaded in debt. 

There is a common belief that when you are in sales in order to become a sales beast you must buy a ton of shit and bury yourself in debt. I've learned over the years that anytime you bury yourself you usually end up in a cemetary ---- financial or otherwise.

So the first five months were a real challenge, but in June things finally started easing up a bit.....or did they???


In June for my girlfriend's birthday, we decided to spend a few days down in Galveston at a beach house. Sounds like fun right? It was for the first 24 hours.

If you have never spent the weekend at a beach house with 15-20 friends, I highly recommend it. You get to experience bonfires, 4 wheelers, fishing, endless amounts of beer, and unfortunately a not so harmless game of volley ball.

My nature is highly competitive, but I wish I would have just kept drinking Coronas in the lounge chair. 

During one game, the guy in front of me totally ignored a ball hit right at him so I decided to make a move towards the ball like I have hundreds of times before. I heard a snap and felt a ton of pain in the outside of my right calf. 

Initially, I though I just pulled a muscle or maybe sprained something. I was fully intending on resting for a few plays and then getting back into the game.

After 30 minutes of sitting I knew that I was done for the day. A few hours later I climbed slowly back up the steps to the beach house and was limping around the rest of the day with progressively worse pain in my leg. 

Luckily the next morning was Sunday and it was time to leave. By this time my knee was really swollen and in order to climb down the stairs I had to "inchworm" my way down while on my butt.

I still managed to drive us back home. Actually the leg felt ok as long as it was outstretched and there was no weight on it. Unfortunately legs are weight bearing limbs. Ugggghhhh

Soooooo MDP what about that 1 sick day in 16 years???

If you would like the answer to this question, simply refer back to the musical chairs reference or the wolf among sheep statement.

When I got back home, my wolf picked up a brace at of all places Walmart and I was back in business. I'm not going to lie, the pain was excruciating. In order to take a shower that night, I could only put one leg in the tub as my bad leg could bear no weight. I showered with brace on and quickly went back to bed.

Later that day my step dad came over with a cane he had used after a hip replacement surgery.

When I walked through the front door at work the next day, it took me about 5 minutes to walk 50 yards to my office. Somehow I made it and it was time to go to work.

I did go visit the my doctor that afternoon and he prescribed some steroids along with pain killers and also suggested an MRI. Of course I also advised to use the RICE (Rest Ice Compression and Elevation) regimen. I modified the RICE to ICE and completely ignored the Rest.

The first week was a total bitch and the pain pills made me groggy and sleepy so I stopped two days. I did see progress after week 1 and felt comfortable skipping the MRI.

By the third week, I was walking without the cane and even started to get walk a few laps around the track.

By the end of July (6 weeks after the injury) I was walking three miles a day and felt comfortable without the brace on my knee.

August 8th Disney World Trip.....What could go wrong??

On August 3 I decided to unraveling my water hose from the back of the house so I could spray some bug killer on my back yard. Underneath the hose reel, unbeknownst to me, a yellow jacket nest had formed. The next thing I know there are about 4 or 5 yellow jackets on my hand stinging the shit out of me.

Anytime you are getting stung by anything, the initial reaction is to haul ass out of there. I did and ended up paying the price for it.  It wasn't the stings on my fingers that bothered my, it was the softball growing out of the top of my knee that had me freaking out!!

I immediately scheduled an appointment with my doctor to have it checked out and to see if I could still make it to visit Mickey. 

He drained the knee and a lot of blood came out. He was concerned and told me to monitor it. I walked into the Dr's office without a brace feeling good and walked out without a brace feeling even better. 

Within 4 days I felt good, but took my heavy (Walmart) brace and proceed to drive to Orlando and had the time of my life!!!

We literally walked 50 miles that week and rode every thrill ride we could. My knee felt great and in fact I was more concerned with blisters than with my knee injury.

When we got back to Houston after a detour around Baton Rouge (Heavy flooding), I immediately went to the track and started my walking rehab program. This was in the middle of August.

MDP, maybe you should have gotten that MRI....

There are no maybes about it. By the beginning of September my knee started getting worse and the swelling was coming back. I continued doing things, but nothing out of the ordinary. Well shooting a 60 pound bow was probably not the best idea. Still there was no event like the previous two times that should trigger any further problems.

I did go back to the doctor again and wanted my knee drained. This time nothing came out and I thought that it must be good news because there was no blood in my knee just swollen tissues. He AGAIN told me to get an MRI and I decided to wait a week and see if the swelling would go down.

During the first few weeks of the injury I discovered that when I used a lot of iced packs the swelling would diminish and the joints would work better. No swelling, no pain, and more flexibility.

I just couldn't get the swelling to go down. I succumbed and got the MRI last week.

The following events are completely true!!

Three months have now passed since the initial injury and I am finally getting an MRI. Again, I felt good after the first 6 weeks and only when I reinjured it after the yellow jackets stung me did I have trouble. I literally was able to walk 50 miles at DW, so I continued to think the injury was not THAT severe. 

This post is dragging on so here is what happened.

When the results were sent to my doctor I couldn't believe what I was reading. Torn ACL, MCL, and Lateral colateral ligaments.....fortunately only Grade 1 but STILL 3 torn ligaments including the ACL.

Next 2 Grade 2 torn meniscus tendons.

Finally I have what is called a nondisplaced Fibula fracture.


He looked at me and said "How are you even walking right now?" I shrugged and said I don't know.

One day when I reveal my true identity you can follow my Facebook timeline and you will see pictures of me in July at work with a 5 pound ice pack on my knee. You will see me at an Astros game, a soccer game, and target practicing. You will also see me at four different theme parks at Disney World with my leg brace. You will also see the post about the yellow jackets and the syringe full of blood days before the DW trip.

Finally you will also see the complete MRI I posted this week with the above injuries. 

One last thing, as I was in Walmart last week, I saw the brace that my girlfriend got me 3 months cost a whopping $20. LMAO!!!

It's been a fucking crazy year so far and I am truly loving every minute of the highs and lows that I have experienced. 



  1. Seriously, you must have a low pain threshold or just an innate ability to ignore pain! Wow!

    You remind me of an ex-colleague of mine. His body produces kidney stones. Lots of them. Last time I spoke to him a few years ago, the count was up over 100. He would be at work and look kind of pale. When asked what's happening, he'd say, somewhat embarrassed, that he's passing a kidney stone. He never took sick days.

    FerdiS, DivGro

    1. ferdiS,

      I think it helped that I never fully understood the magnitude of the injuries until recently. I just bought a hinged brace at Academy yesterday for $69. I feels much more stable and hopefully I don't increase the injuries before I see the orthopedic surgeon in a couple of weeks.