A Peculiar guy named Geremy

AuthorGeremy F.

A Solo Retreat to the Happiest Place

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I went on a retreat. By myself. To Disney World. Weirdest “retreat” ever? Indeed!

Retreats are amazing…well, at least my definition of a retreat. The Geremy™ definition of a retreat is when someone travels to an unfamiliar place with the purpose of recharging, getting new ideas, and coming up with new strategies for the future. Early May was the perfect time to get away, so I spontaneously booked my trip to the happiest place on earth…Orlando.

Ok, it’s not the happiest place on earth, but it was the perfect place for my retreat for three reasons: 1) Disney, 2) Hotels and 3) SpaceX

Let me explain…

Disney World

Walt Disney fascinates me because he was a guy with a huge vision that he pursued all his life. Each time he created something, he would immediately make his vision larger and work to make the newer, bigger vision a reality. For example, when he opened Disneyland in 1955, he immediately started planning the bigger, more significant Disney World project the same year. This reminds me of when my parents gave birth to a beautiful baby girl in 1983 and immediately after her birth, they started planning a bigger, newer, more improved baby named Geremy who would entered the world in 1985.


When I read about Disney’s vision that started with animation and has now grown into an empire that includes hotels, TV networks, Venture Capital firms, real estate and cruise lines, I knew that I needed to see these things up-close. Like like Disney, I too have a vision of creating a conglomerate that includes a lot of different areas, including transportation, media, and hotels…except mine will be larger. Watch out, Disney Company!

By the way, I rode on Splash Mountain twice. Easily the best ride I’ve ever been on in my life.

Hotels

Speaking of hotels, I have visions of opening an amazing, world-class hotel one day. But before planning my own hotel, I wanted to visit a world-class hotel that I’ve admired for a while— The Alfond Inn. This hotel has won local and national awards for being a top 10 boutique hotel in the United States, so I wanted to include them on my visit to Florida.

Rather than wandering around the hotel like a nomad, I emailed the General Manager and asked to meet for a tour and to ask questions. To my surprise, he responded quickly and was happy to arrange it. So within hours of landing in Florida, I arrived in Winter Park and was able to tour a hotel that was similar to my vision. In addition, I booked a room at a hotel that opened a week before my visit because I wanted to see what the beginning stages of a brand new hotel looked like. These experiences were very eye-opening and I had a long list of “what not to do’s” from the hotel that I stayed at.


For example, someone almost, kinda burned down the hotel where I stayed. It happened at their make-your-own-waffle station in the breakfast area. Apparently someone made their own waffle and never removed it from the waffle maker, so it continued to cook until it burned to a crisp. All of a sudden, smoke started to pour out of the waffle machine and the restaurant smelled like that one time that I microwaved an egg for a minute just to see what would happen. If the maintenance person didn’t come to the rescue, the hotel might’ve been celebrating a “grand closing” a week after their grand opening. Note to self: Eliminate all make-your-own-waffle stations from your hotel!

SpaceX

I’m a huge “SpaceX” nerd. The only pictures that I’ve got on my wall of my home are pictures of rockets, and I’ve watched livestreams of every single SpaceX rocket launch since their Grasshoper rocket. So since Orlando is near the Kennedy Space Center where SpaceX launches their rockets to outer space, I needed to visit. Seeing the SpaceX rocket on the pad was the Geremy equivalent of your great-grandmother seeing Elvis perform live for the first time. I was starstruck…over a rocket…like a nerd. It was amazing and SpaceX was a big source of inspiration during my retreat since their growth in under 10 years was out of this world…pun clearly intended.

My solo retreat was very much a success and I loved it so much that I am making it an annual (or semi-annual) event! It was also helpful to disconnect from the outside world by limiting my use of technology in order to focus as much as I could. Now I’m making sure to make all of my ideas become reality because that retreat wasn’t cheap and I need something to show for it.

Feel free to hold me accountable! Also feel free to go on retreats of your own and share your experiences with me!

And remember to not overcook your waffles!

My Stellar Kids

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When my brother was 5, I hated going to his little league games because the parents would sit in the stands and boast about how their kid was better than everyone else’s. I’d cringe and try to ignore the stories about how Little Timmy is only three years old and already knows how to rebuild a transmission from a 1963 Chevy Nova. Stop talking about your son, Dianne!!!

Well, now I’m Dianne and I’m here to boast about my kids!

When I say “my kids,” I don’t mean kids that I’ve birthed from my own birth canal— I mean the teenage kids in my youth group who I teach life and empowerment lessons to every week. These kids are absolutely amazing and I’m immensely proud of them because they’ve done some stellar things.

While they’re all amazing, I just want to highlight the recent accomplishments of a few of them. Three of them not only got into every single college that they applied to, but they’ve received merit scholarships from every single one. Then there was another who got one of the leading singing and acting roles in her high school musical. Then there was another who decided to randomly buy gift cards for everyone in the class. Then there was another who became a near-expert at operating studio production video cameras within a matter of weeks. While accomplishing all of these things (and more), the majority of them have either gotten honor-roll or high honor-roll and are incredibly respectful and ambitious.

Much to my mom’s chagrin, I haven’t given her grandkids yet (with no plans of having kids anytime soon), but while I’m without an army of mini-Geremy’s, I’ve got these amazing kids. Each of their parents do an amazing job to raise them and maximize their opportunities in life, and I’m happy that I’m able to witness their growth and root them on. We meet every Friday to talk about life-lessons, meet on Sunday mornings for breakfast, and we go on outings every few months. Over the next few months we’re going horseback riding, doing a scavenger hunt, going to the movies, and going to an amusement park, and I’m looking forward to every single opportunity to be their biggest cheerleader.

I’m immensely proud of what they’ve done and what they will continue to accomplish!

TAKE THAT, DIANNE!! MY KIDS ARE BETTER THAN YOURS!

Lab 2

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You remember my lab, right? No? Well, let me remind you…

Seven years ago, I converted one of the rooms of my investment property into an office that I called a lab. It was called a lab because a laboratory is a controlled environment where research, experiments and development takes place, and the purpose of the space was to research, experiment and develop in order to create the future.

As time passed by, I began working from Starbucks more frequently and I dismantled the lab, but now that I have a renewed passion to change the world, I need a permanent space to work from. In the second episode of Geremy’s Peculiar Week, I had the idea of developing “Lab 2”, but I let the idea sit for while I worked-out the details. Now, I’m officially working out of lab 2 and slowly developing it into a high-functionality, well-equipped workshop until I outgrow it.

The Lab 2 is five times larger than Lab 1 and when it’s complete, the entire space will be 100% functional and beautiful. Lab 2 is a space that is completely dedicated to researching, experimenting, and developing, so everything in it will serve that cause, down to a granular level.

As of right now, the lab is almost completely empty. In it, there’s a table, two Steelcase Leap Desk chairs, an Ikea Poang Armchair with Ottoman, a bookshelf, a Harmon Kardon Onyx speaker, and a Canon MX922 printer. In the future, I plan on adding a video production area, an audio production area (complete with vocal booth), a workbench with power tools, and a photography area.

The goal for Lab 2 is for something great to come out of it every day that I’m there, and thus far I’m very happy with the results. I can’t publicly reveal all of the developments thus far, but one small product that has come out of Lab 2 is the “Peculiar PPL Stick to It” sticker, and there are many, many more developments to come.

Say hi to Lab 2!

Five Years After Buying a Car Online

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In 2012, I made an $80,000 online purchase for a product that didn’t exist yet. That product was a Tesla Model S and the entire experience was pretty nerve-racking from start to end.

First Time Seeing a Tesla

It all started when I was hanging out with my brother on June 9, 2012. We went to the mall and saw a car parked in the middle of a store. I thought, “who is the obnoxious person who parked their car here to show off,” but then I learned that a small American company was trying to promote their creation, a Tesla Model S. The car was one of the coolest cars that I’ve ever seen and I really wanted to own it. When I went to the sales rep and asked the price of the car, he said “$60,000.” I stared at him and waited for him to tell me that he was joking. He didn’t even crack a smile. Apparently he was serious. I made the “you must be kidding me” face and walked out of the store feeling offended—offended that he would quote such a ridiculous price for a car that was sold in a mall. The car didn’t even have an engine and they wanted $60,000?!

Tesla Model S from '13

I left the mall and continued with my life, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the car for weeks. Since it couldn’t leave my mind, I knew that I had to try to make the car mine. I brainstormed and came up with six different ways to make it happen, but none of them would work because one of them involved a rich uncle that I didn’t have and five of them were illegal.

Tesla Reservation Screen from '13

Instead of wasting time trying to figure it out, I took a step of faith and placed a deposit for the car. Tesla said that it wouldn’t be delivered until June, so I knew that I had time to figure out how to find $60,000. To make matters worse, at the time Tesla didn’t offer financing, so the only way to buy the car was to hand over a check for the entire vehicle price. When I checked my bank account, it didn’t have $60,000 in there, so instead of focusing on the facts, I ignored them because my faith was stronger than facts.

But it wasn’t all flowers and rainbows because there were times that I lost hope. I had six months to come up with $60,000 and from time to time I debated canceling the order. But whenever I doubted that I’d own the car, I scheduled a test drive and spent the entire drive picturing myself as its owner. This method motivated me and got rid of the doubt. By the end of 2012, I was excited because it was looking like I could actually make this work!

Tesla Purchase Order from '13

However, In January 2013 everything went wrong. All of a sudden, Tesla was running ahead of schedule and I was invited to configure my car in January instead of May. I chose all of the options that I wanted in the car and the total came up to $80,020. UMM…THAT IS TWENTY THOUSAND AND TWENTY DOLLARS MORE THAN I EXPECTED. Then a week later, I got an email telling me that my car will be built and delivered in a month or two. Then two weeks later they called me and said “great news, your car is on the delivery truck and will be delivered in a week!!” Firstly, that wasn’t great news, and secondly, where can I find $80,020 cash in a week?!?

I hung up the phone with the delivery specialist and called a bank to see if they were interested in financing the car. The first bank I called didn’t know what a Tesla was, so I spent 10 minutes explaining to them that a Tesla is an electric car that didn’t have an engine. They said that they don’t finance golf carts. I said “It’s not a golf cart, it’s a car…” They still didn’t understand, but they agreed to finance the entire cost of the car at a 1.49% interest rate. Two days later, they mailed the check to me and I handed it to Tesla when I picked up my car on February 19, 2013. I couldn’t believe that everything actually worked!!

This week is exactly five years after taking delivery of the Model S and it has been a phenomenal experience since day one. I’ve never struggled to make a payment at all and to this day, it is still the best purchase that I’ve ever made. It started as a dream car and I am happy that I was brave enough to take that initial step of faith.

Now it’s time to do it again…

A Mug Predicted My Future

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I got this mug as a gift and I love it because it summarizes my expectations for 2018.

On one side of the mug it says, “The Best Year Ever” and that’s what my 2018 will be. In my church, the pastor (who is also 1/2 of the duo who gave birth to me / my parental unit) said that he believes that 2018 will be our best year ever. I liked the sound of that, so I took it. This year will be my best year EVER, and now I’ve got a mug to constantly remind me.

Future-Predicting Mug!

On the other side of the mug, it has a picture of the newest Tesla. While I love my car, it has been almost five years of owning it and I need another mega-ambitious car-related dream to pursue. So, this year I want a 2018 Tesla Model X with all of the bells and whistles. I used to think that the Model X looked like a Prius that grew up in a rich household (and I still do), but I feel that it’s the vehicle that is best suited for the next chapter of my life. I don’t know how I’ll get it, but that won’t stop me from chasing it. The picture of the new Tesla on the mug is a reminder that I am also pursuing a new Tesla! When I get her, I’ll name her Judith.

The person who had the mug made for me either clearly knows my desires, or has a clear view into the future. Either way, I dig it!

So let’s see if this mug is right. We’ll reconvene by the end of the year, or sooner…

I Sold My Dream House!!

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After 10 years of being a landlord and a homeowner, I’ve ended that chapter to move on to greater and more massive things. Although I’ve owned the house for ten years, everything started with a dream 20 years ago.

When I was 12, my family moved into the house across the street and I was constantly bored because wifi wasn’t invented yet. Each day after doing my homework, my entertainment was to look across the street and make up stories about the people entering or leaving the house. Eventually, I had fake names and personas for all the people who lived in the house. “Oh, Eduardo is going back to the mechanic because his Toyota Cressida’s exhaust has another hole in it.” I wasn’t old enough to truly know what the word “stalker” meant, but unbeknownst to me I became one. An innocent stalker with no negative intentions. I was just a bored pre-teen who couldn’t afford a Gameboy Color, so he looked outside instead. Stop judging me.

Within a few months, the house was listed for sale and Eduardo’s family moved out. The new owner of the house immediately started a total and complete renovation. Suddenly, with all of the action happening in the house, I finally had something interesting to stare at. Each day, I saw contractors tirelessly work on the house and transformed it from an eyesore to a beautiful house before my eyes. Suddenly, Eduardo’s former house became the nicest house on the block and at the age of 13, I decided that I NEEDED to have it!

Many years later, I moved out of the area, graduated from college, and started saving all of my money to buy my first investment property. When I saved enough money, I started looking at places within my price range, but they all looked like crackhouses and some of them were actual crackhouses. I spent weeks looking at houses and none of them made my heart jump with joy until I looked at a house on the street that I grew up on. The house I saw didn’t meet my requirements, but as I walked to my car I saw my dream house that I admired for years. I was in awe when I realized that the house still looked as amazing as it did when they first renovated it, and to my surprise it for sale. When I did some further research, I found out that after the big renovation, the former owners couldn’t afford to pay their mortgage and the bank took it. I had to have it.

It was months before the housing crash and I made an offer to buy the house at a price that was almost embarrassing. Somehow the bank accepted it and also agreed to pay $5,000 of my closing costs. Months later, the deal closed and I became a homeowner!

From that day, I owned the house and experienced some of the most exciting moments of my life there. It was at this house where I mowed my foot with a lawnmower, met one of the worst tenants in existence, met some interesting people, established my lab (where Peculiar PPL was born), had a sewer line back-up into my basement, and so many more interesting things.

A decade later, I felt that it was the right time to sell, so I quickly learned how to become a pseudo-real-estate-agent and I handled the entire process. I marketed the house, took every phone call, conducted house tours, and negotiated the offers every weekend for the past four months. Now, after signing several documents at the lawyer’s office, I have closed on a deal and have completed my era of being a landlord.

While it’s the end of a chapter, it’s also the beginning of one. Greater things are coming and my 2018 is off to a great start. Goodbye dream house…now it’s time to pursue and accomplish bigger, greater dreams—like my dream jet, or my dream zebra.

Happy New Beard!

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Ever since I started growing facial hair at the age of 7, I’ve shaved every 2-3 days. I’ve never had any significant facial hair in my life, but that’s not because of my inability to do so. In fact, if I hold my breath my mustache and beard will grow at an average rate of .01 mm/sec. But now, 2018 is here and it’s time to get out of my comfort zone.

Five years ago, I did a comfort zone experiment of going one month without a haircut. It was very uncomfortable to me, but it helped me to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. The thing about being out of your comfort zone is that you’re forced to make a move— you can either move forward to overcome the discomfort, or move back into your comfort zone. For me, I am starting my year by putting myself into unfamiliar territories so I can adapt and grow. The first unfamiliar place that I’m going to is my beard.

I’m doing a repeat of my comfort zone experiment, except this time I am going to grow a beard. I have no idea what I look like with a beard, but as of today it has been about seven days since my last shave and, from the looks of things, I’ll achieve “Santa Claus” levels of facial hair growth by next weekend.

The worst part of all of this is that I just realized that I’VE GOT GREY HAIRS IN MY BEARD. WHAT IS LIFE?! I’VE NEVER FELT SO OLD IN MY LIFE. I’M UNCOMFORTABLE WITH THIS…but I guess that’s the point.

2018 is a new year, but for me it’ll bring a new beard.

What Version of Uno Was That?!

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I was at a desk minding my own business when I heard, “I’m bored does anyone have any games?” I saw this as an opportunity to add another Uno win to my career, so I took out my deck of Uno cards and asked her if she knew how to play Uno. She responded, “yes, you get seven cards and you match the colors and numbers, then I say Uno and win.” This explanation was close enough, so I agreed to play with her.

After dealing the cards, she went first. First move: a red 2 card placed over the blue 4. Wait…wait…that’s not how you play Uno! I said, “wait, you didn’t match the colors or the numbers!” She didn’t pay me any mind and without hesitation she put down a red 9. “Wait, it’s not your turn yet!” Instead of waiting for my first card, she searched through her cards and put down a blue 2. The game was suddenly slipping away from me!

I put a blue 6 down on the pile and she followed with a green 2. The game belonged to her at this point and I didn’t know how to recover. Do I compromise the integrity of the game and disregard my morals by quickly putting down five random cards at one time? No way, Geremy, you’re better than that!

I was thinking “morals” and she was thinking “victory.” She put a yellow skip on the pile and said “UNO!! I WIN, YOU OWE ME A DOLLAR.” I said, “I don’t have a dollar.” She said “that’s okay, you can go to the bank.”

I’d just been hustled. Bamboozled. Swindled. Finessed.

I was the man at the pool hall and she was Uncle Phil.

I owe her a dollar.

An Unlikely “Shot” with Mercedes

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When I was in 5th grade, I asked the most popular girl in the grade to go with me. If you’re not familiar with 90’s sayings, “would you go with me” is another way of saying, “would you give me the esteemed honor of being your boyfriend?” I anxiously awaited my fate as her potential boo when she gave her response on a paper to her friend to deliver to me. I unfolded the paper to reveal her answer: Nah. I sighed and thought, “oh well” and continued-on with my life.

I was completely unfazed by the rejection because I never expected her to say yes in the first place. The ten-year-old me wasn’t confident and had a speaking voice that sounded like a screaming rubber chicken, so it wasn’t as if I was a contender for “most desirable” in the yearbook. But the one thing that I had was hope, so I would always convince myself to attempt things that would make me overjoyed if they happened, but were highly unlikely. It’s like being on the basketball team and shooting mostly full-court shots because if you score it’s way more exciting than a boring layup. In my mind, the 2% possibility of success is better than a 100% guarantee of failure by never making an attempt to see if the shot would have been successful.

This method of “taking unlikely shots” has led to countless rejections since fifth grade, but I respond by taking more shots than ever before. Because, why not? I’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Recently, I took an unlikely shot with one of the world’s best automakers when my brother and I were preparing for our trip to Germany this summer. It happened when I sent this email to my assistant:

While this appears to be a simple task, it was actually quite difficult since the Mercedes AMG factory only provides tours to owners of their $100,000+ cars. At first, I thought about purchasing a Mercedes G65 AMG so I could get the free tour, but then I realized 1) I didn’t have a spare $222,700 in the bank, and 2) Do I really need a second reason?! It’s $222,700!! Let’s not be silly here…

After communicating with my assistant to iron-out details, I received this email:

Most people would be excited that the seemingly impossible just became possible, but I thought, “yeah right…I’ll believe it when I see it.”

Two weeks later, we arrived at Mercedes AMG in Affalterbach, and saw no one there. The place was dead silent and not a single person was around. I figured that the jig was up and this was an elaborate prank, but then the concierge told us to go into the Mercedes Lounge where a server will prepare a drink for us as we wait for the tour guide to arrive.

Mercedes E63 S AMG

Twenty minutes later, a Mercedes AMG training specialist introduced himself to my brother and me and took us to the visitors’ center to start the tour. He immediately spoke about the Mercedes E63s car and its inner workings. He had us sit in the car as he explained how the twin-turbo engine was meticulously tuned to output the maximum amount of power. Then after a few minutes, he paused and asked, “any questions?” I said, “yes…when are the other people getting here?” He said “which other people?” I responded, “the other people on the tour!” He said “there are no other people. This is a private tour for the both of you.”

WHAT?!

Mercedes AMG HQ

Then he walked us to the front of the building where he showed us the US flag that they mounted because they knew that we were visiting from America. WHAT?! Then we went to the AMG Engine shop where we saw every Mercedes AMG engine being built by hand and were able to see the people building the engine. IS THIS FOR REAL?!

By the end of the tour, we got an amazing behind-the-scenes tour of Mercedes AMG factory with a personal guide who was eager to answer the most challenging questions. As car enthusiasts, our minds were blown, and as a risk-taker I was amazed that the simple email that started with “I would love to take a Mercedes AMG factory tour” resulted in one of the best auto experiences that I’ve had in my life.

Mercedes AMG HQ

Now, it’s time to shoot more impossible shots. Brb, I’ve got to write an email to Elon Musk to ask him for a free Falcon 9 rocket to keep in my backyard.

A Peculiar guy named Geremy