Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix 2019

Spanish Grand Prix 2019

Another race, another Mercedes 1 – 2 and Ferrari look further off the pace than ever, 0.8 – 0.9 seconds a lap off the pace set by Mercedes. This will probably be a short write up of the events of the Spanish Grand Prix 2019, like the Azerbaijan GP two weeks ago, which I didn’t write about, it was a snorefest.

So, the start, Lewis Hamilton got a better start than teammate and polesitter, Valtteri Bottas to lead into turn 1 with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel also getting a super start to squeeze Bottas between himself and Hamilton, only to drift wide while Bottas had an armful of opposite lock on as he stepped on the gas. As Vettel recovered from his off-track excursion, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen drove around the outside of Vettel’s Ferrari, to claim third place and demote the German back to fourth place going into turn 4.

There was clear discontent in the Ferrari pits, cracks are starting to appear at Maranello. Charles LeClerc was clearly being held up by Vettel who was suffering from a flat-spotted front left tire, but Ferrari took four laps to make a decision to let LeClerc pass Vettel, all while losing time to the Mercedes duo. And again, later in the race, Ferrari did the same thing, with the roles reversed, taking five laps to decide to allow Vettel to pass LeClerc, who was on the slower hard tires, with Vettel on the medium tires.

For me, driver of the Spanish GP was Toro Rosso’s Danill Kvyat, who finished in ninth place overall but was the most entertaining driver of the race, literally every time I saw his Toro Rosso on screen, he was making an overtake. The safety car was deployed on lap 47 to cover the recovery of Lance Stroll’s Racing Point and Lando Norris’ McLaren after tangling through turn 2, ending the race for both drivers.

This did bunch up the pack, but other than a spirited attempt to overtake on the restart by Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly, who got a run on LeClerc’s Ferrari, but was ultimately rebuffed by the Monegasque driver and that was the top six finishers set. Bottas had no answer for Hamilton, and likewise Red Bull and Verstappen, were just not fast enough to overtake the Mercedes and the same goes for the Ferrari’s.

One point of controversy, which the race stewards elected not to investigate, was HAAS’ Romain Grosjean’s use of the escape road on the outside of turn 1 as a means to defend. On lap 58, McLaren’s Carlos Sainz was alongside on the inside of turn 1, and Grosjean took to the escape road, rejoining the track after the bollard, as per the race directors instruction, clearly having gained an advantage. Maybe the stewards didn’t take action because Sainz did overtake Grosjean on the very next lap before turn 1?

And that’s the highlights, if you can call them highlights, in what was a ZZZzzz race.

Spanish Grand Prix 2019 Results

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:35:50.443
2. Valterri Bottas (Mercedes) +4.074
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +7.679
4. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +9.167
5. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +13.361
6. Pierre Gasly (Red Bull) +19.576
7. Kevin Magnussen (HAAS) +28.159
8. Carlos Sainz (McLaren)+32.342
9. Danill Kvyat (Toro Rosso) +33.056
10. Romain Grosjean (HAAS) +34.641

Snooker Nation Championship 2019

Snooker Nation Championship 2019

A friend of mine, James, A.K.A. Copper Ice and I have been playing Snooker Nation Championship, originally released in 2016 for almost three years online. We play online because we are on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean, which makes in-person gaming somewhat troublesome as you’d imagine.

James and I have always liked the game, which should be obvious as we have played it almost weekly for three years. But, it does have a few issues, the first of which is the AI, which frankly is barely intelligent. For example, in one game, on the hardest AI level, it took the same shot, a simple snooker escape, more than 40 times, giving me the frame without me potting a single ball. In general, the AI would miss so many simple shots, giving me chance after chance, after chance with absolutely zero safety play.

The other issues were related to online play, first of all, no matter what settings you used, the guest, non-hosting player would have “Snooker Nation” overlaid on the table, which was highly distracting. Another issue was a weird echo through the guest players headset like a secondary, delayed mic feed was being sent through the Snooker Nation game while using Skype. And, finally, the game would randomly crash, indicating to both James and myself that it was the other players turn, leaving the game hung.

Now, yesterday, in our usual Friday chat and game, there was an update, which we immediately downloaded and installed from Steam. Immediately upon loading the game, the experience was much more polished, no more coming soon placeholders, which had been ‘coming soon’ for three years.

The differences in online play are that all the things mentioned above have been fixed, and we experienced no crashes, although the 3 – 5 second pauses after each shot made me nervous.

Gameplay changes are mostly related to mechanics and physics, the ‘cloth’ is much faster, making it possible to hit the ball more than twice as hard. A new, what James and I have dubbed the black hole, appears on the table, which we soon worked out was where the cue ball would end up, assuming there was no contact with another ball, and we found this to be accurate. The shot guides are less accurate than previously, it’s harder to assess shot power, which I do not mind, it makes the game more interesting.

Finally, the AI is improved, it now feels like a challenge, especially at the higher levels, like the semi-final, and final, during the first round games, the AI is still dumb, like the pre-patch game. I played a best of 11 frame match and the AI, set to hard level in the final, and the AI won 4 out of the 10 frames played, including three clearances, not allowing me back on the table after I made a mistake. The safety play from the AI is also better, but still not great in my view, after 3 – 4 safety shot exchanges, the AI would break up the pack, leaving multiple balls on. The AI still leaves me wanted an uber setting for us better players.

So, overall, after a three-year wait, I’m very positive about the changes, I want to play single player now, which was not the case before the update, because it was stupidly easy to beat the AI and win the championship. I also like the new physics, making me have to work harder to win frames, allowing for the potential for mistakes because it’s not so easy to predict what will happen when you strike the cueball.

So, a shout out to Cherry Pop Games for the update, it was a long time coming, but it was worth it. That said, I cannot finish this write up without mentioning that I believe this unexpected update was a reaction to the release of Snooker ’19, which I tested and wasn’t very keen on, so I got a refund from Steam.

Read James’ remarks about the changes on his blog, Copper Ice, Blogger, Gamer, Nerd.

UPDATE [May, 9 2019, 12:38]: There has been a further update to Snooker Nation Championship 2019, which has rolled back some of the changes, including the restoration of shiny balls and the cloth speed, back to pre-patch levels. Which is kinda annoying as I had gotten used to the new cloth speed. The table brightness has been fixed, although, at least on my monitor, it feels too bright [click for screenshot], and room lighting has been improved, which might be why the table seems brighter. None of these changes really changes what I have written above, us players just have to readapt to the table speed.

UPDATE [May, 10 2019, 20:10]: After playing just one frame of Snooker Nation 2019 online with my friend, James, after the 5/9 update, we abandoned playing, as the game was so buggy playing over the Internet. First of all, the Snooker Nation logo is overlaid on the table for James, who is my guest, with me hosting as I have the superior upload speed, regardless of decals setting. This was previously fixed in the 4/30 patch, only to be undone in the 5/9 update. Second, is the glitchiness, the balls appear to be moving sluggishly, and between shots, even for the same player, there was a 3 – 5 second delay, with the game displaying, ‘waiting for other player’. I think a little more internal testing by Cherry Pop is needed..

The glitchiness was bad enough for us to roll back to the 2016 version to have a truncated best of 5 frame game as we had lost so much time faffing about rolling back to the previous 2016 version. I appreciate that Cherry Pop is trying to improve the game, but it seems they are having an issue with premature release, the game should get better, not worse, I had high hopes, but feel disappointed instead.

Here are my friend, James’ views of the 5/9 Snooker Nation Championship 2019 update.

Why Do American’s Fear Gun Regulation?

Why Do American’s Fear Gun Regulation?

The BBC posted a video entitled “Family fire: When children find guns in the home“, to which I commented about how parents should be held criminally responsible, and that the US needs real gun regulation. For which, I got a lot of positive responses, but all the 2nd amendmentists went on the attack as I expected, this is not my first time at the rodeo and the same tired arguments ensued.

I truly fail to understand why some people think that owning a gun makes them safe? I don’t understand why anyone would be opposed to any laws that make us safer, a law that will reduce the risk of mass shootings. No-one is coming for your guns, but we want to stop any Tom, Dick or Harry from purchasing a lethal weapon, some people, simply should not be allowed to have a firearm, it’s really that simple.

The second amendment states “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” A series of individuals with dozens of guns each does not equate to a well-regulated militia. The second amendment does not need to be amended, it just needs to be followed as written, not to mention it was written for a different time.

Certain commenters in response to me continued to say “because, the constitution”, which is something some people like to either follow or ignore based on their own beliefs. but that’s another story completely. The constitution was designed to be a living document, the founding father’s understood that the world changes, so they built in a system to amend and update the constitution as America evolved.

One commenter, who clearly had no counterargument, said “Yeah, you should prolly [sic] head on back to England then mate. You guys are good at submitting”. I’m submitting to nothing, I do not concede to any of his arguments, and of course, he thinks that insulting me will make me concede to his infinite wisdom [sarcasm]. Honestly, I would love to take my family back home to the relative safety of the UK.

Organizations like the NRA love to propagate the tired old mantra of “they are coming for your guns”, while using every mass shooting to push their fear agenda, claiming gun ownership as the only way to keep yourself and your family safe. And, of course, there’s the classic argument of a good guy with a gun, with the good guy always killing or incapacitating the bad guy, more guns is never the answer.

Yet another commenter on the BBC’s Facebook post suggested that because I am from the UK, I don’t understand the way the states work, which is of course nonsense, I have lived here in the US for over 10 years now, I understand just fine, I simply do not agree with the nonregulatory, pro-gun stance.

Just in the last 8 months, three times I have got a notification from my son’s high school about a gun being brought into school. Thankfully, the weapon was not discharged, but the probability of someone being shot and/or killed is high. Another bullet came flying through my garage door and embedded into the firewall at the back of the garage. Every day I fear for my family’s safety in this gun crazy country.

Bottom line, the facts are that countries that have lax laws on gun ownership have a higher percentage per capita of shootings, many of which are fatal. The UK basically outlawed guns after the Dunblane school massacre and since that time, gun crime and gun related deaths have been almost non-existent.

So, back to the question of why Americans fear gun regulation? Maybe it’s because they know that if we had regulation, they would not be able to buy guns. We always hear after every mass shooting, about mental illness being the cause. I wonder how many people with mental illness legally own a firearm?

I would argue that anyone that thinks they need a dozen guns and semi-automatic rifles to protect their family, has a paranoia complex, which is a key indicator of mental instability. If we can save one life with laws to regulate and control gun ownership, it’s worthwhile, but sadly for many Americans, the right to bear arms is more important than a person’s life, including their own family members in rare cases.

Finally, while looking for a featured image for this blog, I see this article, talking about how school teachers can now arm themselves on school property, Sigh! How long before we hear about a teacher panicking, pulling their gun and shooting a student, because they thought that student had a gun, which turned out to be a cellphone, it will happen, to quote Cenk Uygur, hear me now, quote me later.

A teacher from the Florida school where a recent mass shooting happened, Parkland, left their loaded gun in a public bathroom, which was found by a drunk homeless man, who discharged the weapon. Another teacher in California accidentally discharged his weapon in class, injuring a student.

Sure, arm teachers, watch the accidental killings happen. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to an experienced trained person, maybe former military, being armed onsite, to protect the children and teachers, but do not arm teachers, who are not trained to assess the situation and determine a threat.

ARGH! I’m Taking Control Of This Situation

Money Down The Drain

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my wife’s spending habits, causing me significant stress, spending close to $1,000 on her Discover card, causing the minimum payment to jump to $122/month with almost $100 of that being interest payments. I requested that she cancel the card, she said she would, then completely failed to do so. I tried to cancel it myself, but Discover would not do it as I am not the account holder. So I have done the next best thing using the online system, freeze the card and report the card as stolen.

When the new card arrives, I will be confiscating it to stop the spending, giving me a fighting chance of clearing that debt over a number of years paying the minimum payment and using tax refunds to significantly pay down the debt, with a plan to have it paid in 2 years. I took this action, because, the card was not canceled and another $80 of charges were added, which given that only $22 was credited after interest last month, the balance has increased by $58 and the minimum payment is now $139.

The charges made were recurring charges for her real estate career, for Supra Key and Keller Williams. Obviously, if my wife canceled the card as I requested she do, these charges would not have been added. My wife decided today that the real estate career is a non-starter, 3 years after that career started, we have spent three times more on fees than the income we have generated from the real estate venture.

My wife did stop spending on the Discover card, with the exception of the recurring charges, but spent around about $500 on the VISA card instead, outside of the usual $220 of charges and a $170 for a new health system my wife is trying. So the balance on that credit card is now $959.19, it had a zero balance on April 1, 2019, so the trip to Colorado is now in question, as the money I had set aside for that will be used to pay off the VISA credit card, leaving $2,000 in savings which are slated for repairs to my wife’s car.

I plan to go to my credit union, Meritrust and attempt to cancel the VISA credit card, to stop the spending of money we don’t have. Whether Meritrust will allow me to cancel on my own without my wife’s consent I don’t know. I want to cancel it because it’s a joint credit card and I’d rather not have my credit score dragged down when we inevitably default, as wifey seemingly is unable to live within our means.

We are losing hundreds of dollars every month because of the extortionate interest charges from various credit cards. Until I moved to America and got married, I had avoided credit cards like the plague. And I really wish that I had kept to that mentality, instead of going down the road of credit, even if it was initially supposed to be used as a buffer, to use in case of emergency, like unexpected bills and costs.

Update [Apr, 28 2019, 17:02]: Today, I check the online banking and what do I find, yup, another $96 spent on the VISA credit card. I tell her today what I plan to do; she asks if she can buy a burger, I check our account balance ($64.43) and say yes, instead she spends another $20 at the movie theater after dumping the kids with me. Do I need to just cut my losses in this relationship, separate our finances and let her manage her own money? It honestly feels like she is taking the piss out of me, she asks me what I want her to do, I tell her and she doesn’t do it, continuing the same reckless spending behavior.

Also, upon further inspection of the wife’s Discover statement, I find the actual balance increase is $219.23 because of the now, $119 interest charge + purchases – last month’s $217 payment I made.

Wife's Discover Statement, April 2019

I do love my wife, more than words can express, but when she is working against our best interests financially, and seemingly not taking what I say seriously, my thoughts veer towards not just separating our finances, but also our relationship. This constant financial stress is making me so unhappy, when it does not have to be this way, my wife needs to live within our means, I spend next to nothing on myself, maybe $15 on Pepsi and snacks per week, and only when we have disposable money in our checking.

It’s Official! My Body Has Developed A Negative Reaction To Beer

Killswitch Engage, The Cotillion, 4/23/2019

Last night I went to see the Killswitch Engage show at The Cotillion and they were freaking amazing live. But my suspicions that my body has developed some sort of negative reaction to beer was confirmed.

As my wife was also attending the show and I did not need to drive home, I took the opportunity to have a few beers to help loosen me up a little before Killswitch Engage took to the stage, and about halfway through their set, I felt the rumblings of something bad happening in my stomach.

I tried my best to ignore the rumblings in my stomach and enjoy the rest of the show, which I managed to do successfully. But, while I was sat down waiting for my wife to get out of the bathroom, that’s when the nausea kicked in and on the journey home, I was doing my best not to throw up all over the car.

We arrived home and I laid down to try to get the nausea under control, but the worst was still to come. I spent the next 3 hours with my head in the toilet bowl vomiting. I eventually got to sleep a little before 5am, still nauseated, which was still present at 7am when I had to get up to take my son to school.

Even as I write this; 24 hours later, I still feel nauseated, finding it hard to eat anything without the fear of seeing the food again. This is the third time after drinking 5-6 Bud Lights that I have felt like this immediately afterward, so I will stay clear of beer, it’s not worth feeling like this for a handful of beers.

I Hate Living In A One Utility Company Town

70% Water Bill Increase

I seem to be on a roll this week in regards to rants about life. This one is about the fact that Wichita, KS has one electric company, one gas company and one water company, which also happens to be the local city council. Without competition, utility companies can do as they please and charge what they want.

This particular blog is about Wichita Water, run by the City of Wichita. As I went to pay my water bill, which is usually between $62 and $67, I get a shock when I see $111.32. So, naturally, as you do when your bill makes a significant jump upwards, you call the utility company and ask what the hell is going on?

The rep immediately went into “I have a leak in my home”. Yes, our toilets do run from time to time, maybe 2 – 3 seconds, every 15 – 20 minutes. The toilets have done this for years and there has been no frequency increase. I pointed this out to the rep and she said that if not fixed, the leak can get progressively worse, but a 70% increase would be exponentially worse, and I’m damn sure we’d notice.

The other thing that the rep kept repeating is that if I paid to get the [non-existent] leak fixed and send them a copy of the repair invoice, they might partially refund some of the difference. Notice the might in the above sentence; in my head, that means they will find any reason to not credit my account. She wouldn’t even entertain the idea that the meter reader might have gotten the reading wrong.

And I learned something else while talking to the Wichita Water rep. After you use what they, the City of Wichita consider to be average/fair usage amount of water, they charge a premium on the excess over, in this case, 7,320 gallons. And it’s a hefty premium, a 248% increase over the average base charge.

Unfortunately, my options are limited, I cannot switch to another water provider, because Wichita Water has a monopoly. So, my options are, pay the bill, suck it up and hope next month will be lower, or cancel the utility, which is not an option really, we need water and also, because we live in a rental, we need to have utilities connected, believe it or not, not having water connected is a rental lease violation.

As I said, I hate living in a town with monopolized utilities.


Pure Shred Fraudu·ent Charges

On Saturday while catching up with some banking stuff I needed to do, I noticed that my account was overdrawn by a little over $20 when I knew it should not have been. Yes, the balance was low, about $60, but more funds were due to be deposited on Monday and no money needed to be spent at this time.

We think that all this stemmed from a singular purchase of Zenergy Fat Burner, which was a trial, however, the order page, on a different URL to, made no mention of further charges, if not canceled. When I went to and read all the terms and conditions, the amounts charged to my wife’s debit card was exact, from the trial charges to the monthly charges.

I wasn’t there when my wife signed up for the trial, but what I can say is that after the trial bottle of Zenergy Fat Burner, we have not received any more deliveries of whatever Pure Shred Cleanse is. This company has billed us under two different brands, PURESHREDCLEANSE.COM and PURE-SHRED-ADVANCED.CO, both out of Georgia, for a total of $359.62 in charges between 2/28/2019 and 4/15/2019.

The charges that were made under PURE-SHRED-ADVANCED.CO was in addition to what the terms & conditions stated on the website. Again, these terms and conditions were not shown or linked to on the original order page, that was hosted on a third party seller domain.

My wife tried to call, on the number provided on our statement, and she was greeted with a generic recorded message that said something similar to “thank you for calling customer service.”, continuing “all our representatives are busy, please hold.”, after an hour we gave up and headed to Meritrust, to stop more charges, a red flag for me is the lack of company name in the greeting.

We visited our credit union, Meritrust, who was amazing in dealing with this, Zac was friendly and exceptionally helpful in resolving this issue. My wife’s debit card was immediately canceled and a new card issued. And Zac sat down with us going through our statements to identify the fraudulent charges, passing this information onto VISA, who will follow up and refund the charges within a few days.

We used this opportunity to create a separate bill pay account with no overdraft protection, so charges like this will be rejected in the future instead of going overdrawn. Also, this secondary account will help us manage money better as all bills will come from this new account and only have funds for bills deposited.

Moral of the story, be careful what you sign up for online. A virtual credit card, which is a card number that can be created and deleted readily is one solution to limit your exposure to fraud. Another option is a pre-paid VISA card, which you can load with just enough money to cover your purchase. Or at least use a credit card, not a debit card as credit cards have inbuilt protections. We were lucky that our credit union is amazing, not all banks will be as helpful with fraudulent purchases on your debit card.

Disclaimer: I am not saying that, or SPH Media Group, LLC, all named on the terms and conditions are fraudulent companies, what I am saying is based upon a single purchase, we have been billed five times for products or services we never agreed to.

Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix 2019

Chinese Grand Prix 2019

As Formula 1 celebrates its 1,000th race, we were treated to a disappointing race where Mercedes claimed a third 1 – 2 of the season with the lead Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel a distant third. I know Mercedes were lucky in Bahrain two weeks ago, but they were there to take the plaudits when it counted with their second 1 – 2 of the season, while Ferrari has technical, strategic issues and driving errors.

The start saw Lewis Hamilton get the jump on polesitter Valtteri Bottas to lead the pack into turn 1, meanwhile, on the second row, Charles Leclerc took advantage of Vettel having to get out of the throttle behind the slow-starting Bottas to slip up the inside of turn 3 for third place. Racing Point’s Sergio Perez made a monster start to come out of turn 3 in eighth place, four places ahead of his grid spot.

The ‘torpedo’ Danill Kvyat did what he does and clattered into the McLaren’s of Carlos Sainz first, then Lando Norris in the space of 2 seconds through turn 2, for which, Kvyat was handed a drive-thru penalty, for causing a collision. And amazingly, all three drivers continued on after pitstops for running repairs, although Norris and Kvyat did retire later in the race after it was clear no points were in the offing.

Ferrari ordered Charles Leclerc to allow defacto #1 Vettel through on lap 11, as the Scuderia believed that Vettel was faster, which turned out not to be true, Leclerc stayed with the German while Vettel himself could make no inroads into the gap to Bottas. Because Vettel was the leading Ferrari, he pitted first in response to Red Bull pitting Verstappen for hard tires, leaving Leclerc out for a further 3 laps, which put the Monégasque driver on the back foot. Ferrari doubled screwed Leclerc in the second stop, hanging him out to dry, bringing him in for medium tires 7 laps after Vettel, costing him a 4th place to Verstappen.

Honestly, after just three races, I’m ready to hand the drivers and constructors titles to Mercedes. Ferrari is woefully inept, bad strategy calls, technical issues, and driving errors have cost them big time and they are not fast enough, it seems the gap from Mercedes is 0.3 seconds. Today’s bullshit with switching drivers around and then sacrificing Leclerc for Vettel has cost themselves 4th place. Ferrari made more personnel changes over the winter and Ferrari are still out in the wilderness compared to Mercedes.

There was better news for my favorite driver, Daniel Ricciardo, who started 7th, had an anonymous race and finished in 7th place, which is a welcome change after two zero points scores in races 1 and 2. It’s a shame that he does not have a car underneath him at Renault to really challenge, to be able to make his trademark overtakes into corners from way back. Also, an excellent drive from STR’s Alex Albon, who started from the pitlane to battle up to 10th place to claim the final world championship point.

Red Bull chose to pit Pierre Gasly two laps from the end to fit a set of soft tires to his car as he was safe in sixth place, to challenge for the fastest lap point, stealing the point from Vettel, with a time of 1:34.742. I still don’t much like the point for fastest lap, in this case, it added nothing, no places were gained or lost in the effort to win the fastest lap, but I guess, it also does no harm, it’s just another gimmick in my view!

Overall, a very forgettable race to celebrate F1’s 1,000th race, disappointing.

Chinese Grand Prix 2019 Results

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:32:06.350
2. Valterri Bottas (Mercedes) +6.552
3. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +13.744
4. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +27.627
5. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +31.276
6. Pierre Gasly (Red Bull) +1:29.307
7. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) +1 LAP
8. Sergio Perez (Racing Point) +1 LAP
9. Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo) +1 LAP
10. Alex Albon (Toro Rosso) +1 LAP

And My Wife Wonders Why I’m Depressed!

Financially Induced Depression

I’m going to start by saying I am not talking (writing) behind my wife’s back, I have discussed this with her many times, but she refuses to change her spending behavior, so I am writing this for my own sanity, or at least what’s left of it. This blog was inspired by my wife complaining about how my depression affects her, she will often ask what she can do to help my depression, I request that she reduce her spending, especially on credit cards, she might change for a week, then it’s back to spending as normal.

Our combined income is roughly $3,700 per month, which should be enough to live on, and it is enough without having to pay multiple credit card minimum payments, her Discover minimum payment alone is $122 per month, of that $98.59 is interest charges. This balance, assuming no additional charges are added will take 25 years to pay off, if only paying the minimum payment, paying a total of $23,284 on a current balance of $6,075. in the last billing cycle she added $919 in charges, do you see the issue here?

Honestly, I am seriously considering letting her default on that card, that will at least stop her adding more charges. I recently wrote another blog article about irresponsible lending by credit card and loan companies, read it here. I have zero faith that my wife can reign in her spending habits, as she continues to say “I can’t live like you, I need to have a life” as a justification, which I call bullshit on, if your finances don’t allow for the lifestyle you want, you have to change your lifestyle, to live within your means.

I have canceled all my monthly services I liked, like Spotify, WWE Network and the VPN service I had to watch UK TV programming, to save money. I don’t see the doctor, or take the medication that I need to control my diabetes because we don’t have the money to cover the cost without leaning on credit cards. Frankly, I isolate myself from my family because of my stress and depression caused by this situation.

I don’t even get to escape from this misery as the thing I love to do, attend live gigs is not possible, I can’t even spare $20 – $35 for a ticket to shows. I feel trapped by this situation, and honestly, every day, my motivation to get out of bed and go to work dwindles to the point that I wish I would not wake up at all.

Our debts amount to $12,500, which includes my wife’s car payment, her Discover balance, and my Discover balance. This causes me massive anxiety and depression. 18 months ago, I paid off over $60,000 using my inheritance from my father’s estate, then set my wife up in business, with an initial outlay of over $10,000, with ongoing expenses of about $50 – $100  per month. Not to mention her second real estate career, which costs $1,000+ per year in fees and dues, without any sales to recoup those fees.

I just paid off $4,000 of debts, most of those being store cards my wife had signed up for, using part of our tax refund. I have kept aside $3,000 to pay for repairs to my wife’s car ($2,000) and finance a trip to Colorado to see Korn in August. I bring this up because, today, my wife asks me to transfer some of that money to the checking account, so she can go to the renaissance fair with her friend and her kids. She has gone to the fair anyway, so no doubt, I’ll be seeing more charges on credit cards in the coming days.

Is it time to separate our finances? and pay equal halves of the household bills, I’ll pay my cards, approximately $1,600 and my wife can manage her own cards and payments. I cannot continue to support my wife’s chosen lifestyle, managing our joint finances. Maybe she’ll understand the dire situation we are in if she has to pay her own bills, clearly talking to her about it makes zero difference.

The most worrying thing, I will be 43 years old in October and we have nothing in place for our retirement, no savings accounts, no 401k’s,, we don’t own a home, we have no collateral other than our cars, which amounts to maybe $15,000 – $18,000 currently, of course, that value will depreciate. We are going to be working until the day we die, unless things change in the immediate future. And, buying a home is out of the question, I will not commit to such a large loan with my wife’s spending habits.

I dearly love my wife, but I am questioning whether this marriage is good for my health. The direction we are heading is bankruptcy when my wife spends anywhere between $500 and $1,000 per month over our income level, this is not sustainable in any way, shape or form. My wife keeps on suggesting that I go back home to the UK, and if it were not for my kids, I probably would have done just that, but no matter how depressed I feel, or how much I dislike living stateside, I cannot simply abandon my children.

Credit Card Companies: Irresponsible Lending

Irresponsible Lending

Back in mid-2015, after finding out that Costco wouldn’t accept my Discover card, I signed up for an American Express Blue Cash Everyday card with a $6,000 credit limit. Within months, this was doubled to $12,000 and within a year, it was increased again to $20,000, neither of these two increases was initiated by me. The more I used the card, the more the limit increased, obviously higher limits mean more interest charged. This is how they make money, but knowing my income, it was also very irresponsible.

At the beginning of the month when I paid the balance of a little under $500, I noticed that I only had $9,500 in available credit, which is a big drop from $20,000. I correctly assumed that it’s a case of “use it or lose it”, this was confirmed today when I received a letter from American Express saying due to my low usage over the past 12 months. they had decreased my credit limit by half of what it was previously.

It doesn’t affect us financially, as I barely use the AMEX, but what it does do is damage my credit score, as my overall credit card utilization percentage increased, as my total credit limit has been reduced by about 20% across all my credit cards. During a time, when we were less financially secure, leaning on credit cards to make ends meet, with balances increasing by hundreds of dollars monthly, AMEX was happy to give me more credit when we just cleared the minimum payment, which was 2/3 interest charges.

I’m annoyed because American Express has said, we are unable to make any significant money out of you, so we are going to penalize you for being a responsible credit card user. For all they knew I might have been about to pull the trigger on a large, say $12,000 purchase. That was not the case, having gotten out of significant debt, more than $60,000 just 18 months ago, I don’t plan on getting back into unmanageable debt, I’d much rather change our lifestyle than continue to support a lifestyle using credit.

I am now evaluating whether to keep the American Express card. Average monthly charges are $35, for Google Services and my children’s school meals which are automatically debited as needed. These could be easily switched to my Discover, meaning one less payment per month, albeit no less money going out.

The point I am making is that credit card companies need to be held accountable for their, in my opinion, irresponsible lending practices. Why would they automatically increase credit limits, when a customer is paying, just the minimum payment, which is made up mostly of interest charges? Clearly, the customer is struggling to pay the balance when minimum payments are being made, and overall balance increases.

The target of my ire is American Express because of their actions this month, but all credit card companies, basically rip off their customers, with increasing balances, minimum payments, and interest charges, forcing them into financial servitude. Never being able to pay off the balance, without a major financial windfall, like inheritance in my case, likely increasing limits to allow for more spending. This is wholly irresponsible lending, financial institutions need to be regulated better by our government.

But, this is the United States of America where bribing of elected officials is perfectly legal through ‘campaign donations’, meaning banks/lenders are allowed to use such practices and when it goes wrong, they are bailed out by the same people that they are ripping off, the credit card holder and taxpayer.