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Starting Over at 40

August 23, 2013


Rodney, this is your mother.

What’s up?

Your dad and I have given your situation a lot of thought. . .

We knew that living in the barn was not a permanent solution, and in hindsight it almost seemed funny.

What, were you raised in a barn?

Ah. . .

While we looked for housing, I got busy. It gave me something to do. I started consulting. (Your Bill Is HOW Much?) I went to work as a satellite dish installer. (I Let Him Walk All Over Me…Until I Called the FBI) I delivered the Tacoma News Tribune. That’s got to be one of the hardest jobs ever.

You get up at 2:00am so that you can be at the warehouse at 3:00 when the papers come in. You bundle them, and since this was Seattle, you also bag them. Then, you put them in your car and drive a specific route.

The more routes you took on the more papers. The more papers the more money. But, there was a limiting factor. You had to have all the papers delivered by 7:00am. Sunday’s were the worst.

So, what do you do when you’re a software guy and no one is hiring in software? You do whatever you can.

We weren’t totally out of the woods. While we had some money coming in it wasn’t nearly enough to keep our kids fed and pay all our bills. You prioritize right? You pay the car because you have to have a car to deliver papers, but you stop paying the credit card, or pay them a portion. Unless. . .

We had a credit card and our car loan with the same bank. There is fine print in those unreadable “These are our polices, please read them” pamphlets, that says they can use assets from one account to settle another one.


Mr Bliss this is your bank. We have dispatched a repo truck to repossess your car. Even though your car payment is current, you are behind on your Visa. If we get a payment of $346, we will recall the tow truck.

Now we kept the credit card current too.

Being a man of faith, I believe that God has a plan for us. It doesn’t overtly influence my business decisions, but it’s part of who I am. I realized that my life would be so much less complicated if I simply didn’t have any debts. I resolved that if I ever got out of this mess. . .no, wait. WHEN I got out of this mess I would get out and stay out of debt. Without any debt my income requirements were low enough that I would have many more employment options. Perhaps that is what God had for me to learn.

Sitting in the empty barn that was our current house I talked to my mother.

You know that was a pretty stupid thing to do; moving to Wisconsin, right?

Yeah. It seemed like a good idea at the . . .

No. It was stupid from the beginning. You just got in so much of a hurry for a job that you ended up taking a bad one!

Yes, mom.

I think we can help you. Tomorrow I’ll swing by with Karen, our realtor, and pick you up to go look at houses. I’ll buy it. You rent it and Karen will manage it.

Thanks, mom.

Try not to make any more stupid decisions.

This ends my five part series on my attempt to run a rafting company in Northern Wisconsin. I learned a lot of lessons from it. It was an incredible learning experience. Like an athlete whose muscles grow back stronger after being broken down, I came out of it much more determined. We spent years paying back every one of our creditors. This story happened years ago, but the lessons stayed with me. My wife and I no longer buy anything on a credit card. If we can’t pay cash (or use a debit card), we don’t get it.

I’ve also learned that there is always a tomorrow. During the worst of this time people asked me how I managed it. First, most of the credit goes to my lovely wife. For me, I took advice from Tom Hanks in “Sleepless in Seattle.”

I’m going to get out of bed every morning and breathe in and out all day long. Then, after a while, I won’t have to remind myself to get out of bed in the morning and breathe in and out. And then after a while, I won’t have to think about how I had it great and perfect for a while.

And just like Hanks’ character by the end of the movie, I’ve recovered. It was by the grace of God, family and great friends, all of whom have been thanked many times over, but again: Thank you.

This is the fifth in a five part series on an experience I had trying to run a rafting company in Wisconsin and the aftermath. Monday I explored why sometimes “Following your Bliss” isn’t exactly the best choice. Tuesday I described a really dysfunctional company and how quickly the lies started to appear. Wednesday I talked about how my former partner fired me after 23 days. Yesterday I questioned the Worst It Can Get.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, blogger and IT Consultant. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife and thirteen children.

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  1. Reblogged this on Rodney M Bliss and commented:

    Best of 2013. This is the 3rd most popular blog entry from 2013. It’s the 5th installment in a story of faith, betrayal, heartache and finally redemption. Next week, I’ll share the second and then finally, the most popular blog entries from the past year.

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