A Little Bit About Me…

Random Stuff about me…

I use “…” A LOT

I’m not a professional writer.

Go Cubs, Bears, Bulls, and Blackhawks!

I love golf…The best wood in my bag is my pencil.

I love 80s music.

Amazon > any other store.

I like to sell stuff on eBay.

I collect autographs and ball cards.

I recently got my MBA.

I love a good stereo system, but I’m not an audiophile.

I’ll do anything for my kids… but I won’t pay for them to get on the crew team.

I believe… whatever you’re going through, someone is or has gone through it too.

Christian Fellowship is the key to life balance and faith. 

I like to learn about personal finance. seedtime.com is a good faith-based personal finance website. 

I have a man cave, but Barbie took it over.

That’s Dad Stuff

5 Steps To Better Golf

What steps do you need to take in order to play better golf? Maybe you need to step back and think about what steps needed for better golf. Practice makes perfect, especially for golf. The more you play, the better you get. Are you a driving range hero? Love showing off how far you can hit the ball? How about on the course? Still hitting it long? 300 yards, straight like on the range, or 300 yards hook into the trees? Do you go to the driving range, get a large bucket and just crush your driver, over and over again?

Thatsdadstuff.com @thatsdadstuff

At my driving range, a small bucket has 34 balls, medium 68, and a large has 102. I usually go with a medium bucket. I would take half of the bucket and crush my driver. Then switch to a 7 iron, hit a few, then switch again to a wedge and before you know it I was out of golf balls. I was going about it all wrong.

I’ve been golfing for over 25 years, and about 5 years ago I change my driving range routine. The following steps were a big change for my driving range routine but changed my overall golf game… for the better.

Steps needed for better golf.

Have a limit.

How many times do you actually use your driver on a course? Why hit your driver 30-40 times on the range when you are only going to use it 10-15 times on the course? Cut back on the range and hit your driver 15-20 times.

Take Aim!

Use your 7 iron, aim for something in the range. I hit my 7 iron 155-160yards. I find the 150-yard sign/marker and I try to hit that sign. But mix it up. Aim for dead center 150 yards out, then aim to the left 150 yards and then again to the right 150 yards. Do this for a total of 10 times. Then switch to your 100-yard club and repeat.

Visualize.

Visualize your favorite golf course. Dogleg left? Choose your club wisely. Creek running through the hole about 240 out? Laying up? What club are you choosing? Visualizing your favorite course/holes and will help you in real situations. However, don’t get away from using the driver only 15-20 times.

Breathe, relax and slow down.

In reality, the course. You are not swinging one after another after another for 60-100 swings. You are either walking or riding in a cart right? On the range, take a practice swing, hit one, admire it or cuss at it. Take a breath, what went right, what went wrong, try and fix it on the next one.

Have fun!

It’s OK to have a distraction. This one may rub people the wrong way. Some people are pretty serious on the range. I completely understand and respect that. My golf game improved when I started having fun on the range. I occasionally meet a friend at the range, bring the kid(s) (teach them the game!), or listen to music. Have fun! It’s just a game.

The 5 steps to better golf are pretty simple. It’s not rocket science. This worked for me! Try it. Drop me a line and let me know if you liked this post. Hit me up on Facebook or on Twitter. Let me know how these steps worked for you, or better yet, tell me about your driving range routine!

My Yard Sucks…

Yard Work Help

I need some yard work help. My yard sucks. I am not remotely close to a green thumb. I need some yard work done! My neighbor’s yard is like carpet; no crabgrass, no dandilons, nice and green!. They also work at it… I… well, Don’t. Thats probably why I am in need of some major yard work help.

This fall I am going to start giving my yard a little TLC. Who knows if it’s the right time of year, but I figured I should do this now before the winter.

I recently had a tree cut down and had the stump grinded down. That area where that tree was located is now really torn up. I cleaned up the area and raked up the leftover tree shavings/bark. I filled the area with topsoil and seeded the area. After a couple months of watering on and off, and unfortunately, we had a really dry summer; so area didn’t grow squat. What did grow dried up and died in a hurry.

I also have a spot in my backyard where my dog always went pee and poop. It is about a 4-5ft diameter area that is absolutely TOAST- Burnt, dead, dug up; there is absolutely nothing left.

Since then, we had a little bit of rain, but now that fall is here, its cooler and there is more moisture in the air, I’m thinking I should have better results compared to what I did with the grass in the tree area. This time I wanted to use Scotts Patch and Repair

Thats Dad Stuff

What To Do, What To Use?

I have had great success in the past with  Scotts Patch and Repair… Last fall, my kids raked up a pile of leaves, then failed to bag the leaves, leaving a nice 4ft diameter dead grass circle in the middle of my back yard. In the spring, I raked up the dead grass and spread an entire 3.75lb bottle of Scotts EZ Seed Patch & Repair over the area. It’s my backyard, so I really don’t care how it looks for the time being, so I didn’t bother throwing some straw on it. Well, I have you to know in only a matter of a few weeks, the spot was full of grass. Nice tall fescue! Even without covering the area in straw! I was really impressed.

This past weekend I bought 2 – 10lb bags of Scotts EZ Seed Patch & Repair. Yup! Two, Ten-pound bags!… and Yes, one for each spot, the tree area, and dog area. This go around, I also covered the area in straw. It is Fall, after all, straw is pretty easy to get, especially in October.

Let’s see if it works… Stay tuned, I’ll share my success.

Dave Ramsey for Kids?

Dave Ramsey for Kids?

Saw a deal on Amazon for Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace for Kids… It’s called Financial Peace Junior. Seriously… Financial Peace…. For KIDS.

So I ordered it…

When it arrived, the kids opened it, and they thought it was a board game..HA! WRONG!… My oldest daughter is always asking for money and recently started babysitting. I figured this may be a good idea…

I’ll let you know…

Has anyone used it for their kids?

That’s Dad Stuff

Card Collecting Starts with Dad… Part 3

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A kid’s card collecting starts with Dad. Continuing from my previous post… So after all the drama with the lost package, my cards finally arrived. I submitted 5 Michael Jordan cards, 2 Ryne Sandberg Rookies, 4 Derek Jeter rookies, 2 Ken Griffey Jr Rookies, and a Dennis Rodman Rookie.

Thatsdadstuff.com @thatsdadstuff 

What Did I Get?

Remember from my previous post, one of the Derek Jeter cards I submitted was a 1993 Upper Deck SP Foil Rookie. A Gem Mint 10 sold for $100,000!!!

The grade I received… after all the shipping drama… after all the waiting… all the grade guessing, … after thinking about what I was going to buy when I sold my card…. my card was graded at a …

5

WHAT!? IT can’t be! A FREAKIN 5!!? Man, what a gut punch. I was so disappointed. Actually, to be honest, I was pretty pissed. In my opinion that card was flawless… come to find out, there were some surface scratches that ruined the grade. My other Derek Jeters graded at a 9, not bad. I’ll take those.

So what about the other grades? One Griffey Jr graded at a 9, the other at a 6.

One of my Ryne Sandberg rookies came back as an 8 and the other as a 9.

Anything Good?

My Rodman was a 9 as well. My Jordans all came back as a 9 except for one… The Fleer Ultra Nicknames “Air” Jordan Card, came back as a perfect Gem Mint 10.

As bummed as I was, I finished going through my cards and now all I could think about was, can I sell a couple of these to help offset the cost of grading. (By the way… WOW is it expensive!)

After researching eBay sold listings, I realized I could sell my Jeter SP rookie for $100, one other Jeter rookie for $30, a Griffey Rookie for $30, and one of my Jordans for $50. So with selling 4 cards, I was able to recoup most of my money. Not all of it, but most of it. I also decided NOT to sell my Jordan Gem Mint 10…

I learned a lot from this experience. Obviously, I need to be more careful when inspecting my cards before sending them off to be graded. The slightest little ding, or scratch, or the slightest bit off-center can really ruin the grade.

But guess what?! Those frustrations didn’t stop me… I did it again… the next submission should arrive this week… Wonder what grades I got… stay tuned.

That’s Dad Stuff

Collecting Starts with Dad Part 2

Card Collecting Starts with Dad… Part 2

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Card Collecting Starts with Dad… Part 2

Continuing from my first post about card collecting … So…. fast forward twenty-some years… and here we are. I read an article about a Derek Jeter card that sold for a cool $100k. When I saw that card, my heart picked its pace up a bit… and thought to myself… I HAVE THAT CARD!.. After work, I ran to my basement, I dug out my cards and there it was… The 1993 Upper Deck SP Foil Derek Jeter Rookie. So I did some research, joined some forums and Facebook groups, why was this card worth so much?

Thatsdadstuff.com @thatsdadstuff

What I didn’t know about that card was, the card that sold was “graded.” So since the time I collected, and in order to get the best price for your card, or to drastically increase the value of your card, you now need to send your card to a 3rd party grader. The card that sold was a perfect 10, my card… not so much. I know it wouldn’t get a 10. I researched more, asked around in some FB groups, what to do, who to send it to, how much, etc. Once I got my answers, I sent it off with 14 of my best cards. I got my tracking number and I waited…

I knew to go into this grading adventure it was going to take some time, 30 days! Thirty days of impatiently, anxiously waiting. After a week, I checked my tracking number, and it said in transit. A couple more days later… in transit. It’s still in transit? It was only going to take three days. The next day the tracking said status pending. Rut Roh! I called the shipping company… IT WAS LOST. Fifteen of my best cards were lost!

I went back to the location I shipped the package from, asked them for help, they contacted their regional manager, I had 2 different people from the 1800 customer service working it from their angle. After 3 weeks, the customer service team said to consider the lost and to file a claim. I was crushed…. CRUSHED. Then my wife came up with a great idea…

In the world of social media, we went to the shipping company’s Facebook and Twitter pages and asked for help. After some basic interactions, no new information. My wife did some internet searching and came across the CEO’s email address. I instantly sent him an email documenting the whole issue. Then the unthinkable happened…

Within an hour of my email, I got a phone call from the CEOs office. Go figure, I didn’t have the phone close to me, and it went to voicemail. I was told they escalated my case and had their top tier team looking for it. By the end of the day, they found the package, and it got to its destination 2 days later.

Now the question remains… What grades did I get?

That’s Dad Stuff

Card Collecting Starts with Dad part 1

Card Collecting Starts with Dad.

Card Collecting with Dad

When I was little, my Dad traveled a lot for his job. In 1987, my Dad went on a work trip and came home with a box of 1987 Topps… And that folks, was the beginning. I collected baseball cards from that moment on.  Back when I was younger, (7-8yrs old’ish) I only knew the Cubs thanks to WGN. I wasn’t in Little League, never played T-Ball, I just liked watching Cubs baseball and playing catch with my Dad. Looking back, I realize, that Card Collecting Starts with Dad. 

Thatsdadstuff.com @thatsdadstuff

What Fueled the Fire?

I loved the Cubs. So did my Mom. Then we received news that we were moving… to… CHICAGO! It was around this time, my card collecting really picked up. I would ride my bike to the White Hen Pantry (basically a 7-11) just down the road from my house; this place was my go-to spot for buying cards. At .40 cents per pack, any opportunity for chores or spare pocket change from Mom or Dad went straight to the White Hen Pantry.

As I got older and started cutting grass for my neighbors, I found myself buying boxes of baseball cards and starting to trade with friends and even having Baseball Card Sales in my front yard. I still really didn’t know much about business, let alone profits or losses. All I wanted were Cubs cards, especially Andre Dawson, Ryne Sandberg, and Mark Grace cards. Looking back, I know I made some really bad deals just so I could get a Dawson or Sandberg card that I didn’t have.

The Mistake

One gentleman came by and tried to set me straight on some deals. I remember it just like it was yesterday. For sale were several 1989 Donruss Ken Griffey Jr Rookies. I wanted $1 for each one. He told me, “you could ask for more ya know.” He told me about this great magazine that had prices and values. He didn’t buy the Griffey, he actually came back to my sale and brought a Beckett with him, and showed me how to look up cards.

It Grew Over Time.

For the next 10 years, my collection grew. I started collecting more than just Cubs. The Big Hurt, Griffey, Ripken Jr were some of my favorite players outside of the Cubs. Then I really got into basketball and this guy named Michael Jordan. Did my focus go from baseball to basketball cards? No, was just buying that much more. My Mom would drive me to our local card shop and he took me under his wing and taught me about card conditions, centering, corners, etc. We would do some trades, and it got to a point he would give me a discount here or there.

The End… Or was it?

Fast forward to my senior year of high school, I went to my local card shop and the owner was really excited about a new set of cards that came out and each pack was $4. Thinking to myself, “man, thats expensive!”; I begrudgingly bought it. There were only 5 cards in the pack and all I got was common cards. Now, I’m ticked. The shop owner kept asking me to buy another pack, “You can’t buy two duds in a row!” So I bought another, and yes… I got another dud. At that point, I said I was done with collecting. I literally didn’t buy any more cards …. For 20 years.

Coming soon, Part 2… Getting Back into it after 20 years.

Update: Part 2!