The KEY to health.


Took this pic today, June 6th, 2020. 180 lbs.

Was 200 lbs just a MONTH ago, been using intermittent fasting, daily swimming, weights and rollerblading to slim down.

Goal is to get to 170 and stay there.

I don’t eat until 7PM. Every. Single. Day.

Drink water, tea or coffee during the day.

My low back was really problematic at 200 pounds, at 180 it feels 90% better.

I crashed my motorcycle back in 1995 in Taiwan a few times… so my low back will never be at 100%, but I’ll take 90% improved vs. fat and in pain.

7 days a week.

Don’t eat until 7PM.

Until I hit 170 lbs.

Intermittent fasting also decreases insulin levels and reduces inflammation. Anyone can do it. You just have to have an IRON will.

After I reach 170 I’m planning to experiment to see what it takes to maintain that weight for the rest of my life.

More later.


The Rickety Chair.


This chair might be the oldest object I own.

When my Dad was growing up in the 1950’s and 1960’s he sat in this chair to do his homework. When my Grandmother passed this chair wound up in my childhood bedroom, me and my brother George did OUR homework in this chair in the 1980’s!

I inherited the chair and took it from New Jersey to Maryland to Florida, where it sits today in the corner of my bedroom. Over the years the wooden supports had come unglued, and the wood stain was faded, so I used some gorilla glue to make it sturdy again then painted it with layers of white and blue paint. I was originally going for solid blue, but the white and the blue layers looked kinda cool so I kept it that way.

The old wooden chair is no longer rickety, and the blue adds some pop to the muted tans and browns in my bedroom.

Seeing the refurbished chair makes me happy every time I walk into my bedroom.

Sometimes there are things in our lives that sit in the corner, rickety and broken, yet we don’t take action to fix them.

When I was 40 years old I realized my finances were a total mess.

From 40 to 43 I read financial fitness books, chopped up ALL my credit cards, paid off a ton of debt and permanently changed my financial habits. Currently I teach the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace course at my local church.

I transitioned from operating a failing business to selling for a larger entity (Tampa Bay Solar) and succeeding. My income tripled.

I went through a divorce at 43, which delayed my plan to pay off my mortgage, but I was on the right track.

From 43 to age 46 I began to fix and update my home (see my previous blogs).

Today I have a home that is sale-ready… or I can live here and not worry about fixing stuff because everything is new, from the roof to the entire HVAC to the remodeled bathrooms and kitchen. If I sell this place in the next few years I’m in great shape to get top dollar. It feels great to live in a place that LOOKS great!

So finances were a rickety chair, then a house that needed work… what next?  

Recently I went through a break-up, with a woman that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with… she didn’t like my ego, and the fact that I was 25 pounds overweight.

She did me a favor, by pointing out my NEXT rickety chair.

Pain can be a catalyst for ACTION.

I cut alcohol out of my life, started fasting until 7PM every single day. Started swimming every morning… even dusted off my roller blades! Been lifting weights as well.

Just after a few weeks I’m already lighter, stronger, and on my way to better health!


From 46 to 49 my goal is to slim down to 170 pounds and establish the lifetime habits that keep me there. I’m tired of being 25 pounds overweight with a bad back.

Once I get to 170 pounds I’m NEVER going back to fat and slow ever again.

I might get old and slow, but at least I’ll be trim.

Rollerblading actually reduced my back pain, who knew? Something about lateral muscles and developing the core? I don’t know.

Bought a Chirp wheel and use it to stretch a few times each day. Great product!

Spending some time every morning in meditation… my stupid ego has been a BAD thing in my life for far too long. We all need internal work.

In seeking awareness I hope to identify the issue and hopefully eradicate it.

The goal here is to lose 20 pounds of fat and 400 pounds of ugly ego!

Even though I’m single now I’m NOT focused on dating. If I get my health optimal and focus on the growth of Tampa Bay Solar the rest will fall into place.

Put yourself in God’s hands.

God knows about all the rickety chairs in your life, but He won’t fix them, you alone have to take action!

Ben Alexander

May 26th 2020



Never thought I’d go Harley…


This past week I got a great trade price on my 650cc Kawasaki Vulcan and picked up a deal on a 2013 (1250cc) Harley-Davidson Nightrod. I know, that name sounds like a porno star who wears black leather… but it is what it is.

I NEVER thought I’d a get a Harley. In general Harley-Davidson cycles tend to be creaky, air cooled, unreliable pieces of junk…. but THIS bike was engineered by Porsche, in a joint venture with HD back in 2001.

Looks like a cruiser, accelerates like a crotch rocket.

I’ve test driven traditional Harley’s and they rode like John Deere tractors from the 1940’s; Slow off the line, no hydraulic clutch, wildly vibrating engine, all “show” but very little “go”.

The Nightrod is altogether different; Brembo brakes, hydraulic clutch, 124 HP engine… all wrapped in a 670 pound frame that feels as tight as anything German I’ve ever ridden or driven. Before I bought this bike I talked with my (German born) mechanic Reinhardt, he told me the Nightrod is popular in Europe because it can run all day on the autobahn!

Europeans love it, that’s a good sign.

When I test drove the Nightrod I was impressed in the first 2 miles, and sold by the end of the test drive. There was nothing wrong with my Vulcan at 650cc’s…. but a 1250cc engine is better, with ample torque all over the rev band, no matter what gear you’re in.

The Vulcan I traded is a great bike for a new rider, but I’ve been on 2 wheels since 1995, and I don’t mind riding a more powerful machine that requires a higher skill level.

BUT…. this bike is a sonic menace from hell. I have to wear earplugs when I take it out. Riding the Nightrod home from the dealership I experienced the same hearing loss as a drunk Motley Crue roadie.

This damn bike rumbles with power.

I feel bad firing it up in my quiet little neighborhood.

I still have my Honda CB1000r, pictured below on the right:


The Harley is 670 pounds, my 1000cc Honda is only 485 pounds, fully fueled.

The extra 185 pounds on the Harley actually gives it ample road stability and tracking through a curve, it rides like a lead sled and pulls hard all the way up to about 130 mph, but at that point the aerodynamics start oscillating the front wheel in a manner that does NOT inspire confidence.

Cruisers are not designed for triple digit wind resistance.

Even with the long wheelbase and the high weight the Nightrod still corners nicely.

The Harley has a stated top end of 137 mph, but this bike is far more fun below 100 mph.

In contrast the Honda is electronically limited to 145 mph. The engine revs up to 12,000 rpm easily, so the Honda feels lighter but less powerful than the Harley across the gear range.

I could get the Honda reprogrammed to go faster than 145 mph… or I could trade it for a faster crotch rocket?

BTW, I would NEVER go that fast. I’m a law abiding citizen who stays below 55 mph at all times, even when I’m skydiving.

Both cycles have plenty of power, but they feel totally different. It’s always fun to hop from one to the other just to feel a back to back contrast!

Some motorcyclists are “cruiser” guys, some are “crotch rocket” guys… I like being both.

Keeps life fun, albeit a tad dangerous.

Ben Alexander

May 25th 2020




You are the sky.

You are the sky.

Endless, Boundless, Eternal.

There was a You before you were born, there will be a You after you die.

You were created in Love, you will die in Love, you will know Love through eternity.

Your entire life here is just a cloud, passing through on a sunny day.

Your greatest joy, your greatest sorrow… mere raindrops.

Everyone you meet in this lifetime, everyone you’re connected to?

They are a part of this eternity with you.

Nothing is Permanent.

You are the sky.

7 days, 7PM, 170 pounds.

My health has not been as good as it could be.

Every guy my age gains weight, and I lost a little bit by doing some intermittent fasting….

I gotta do something hard core, so for the last week or so I’m doing intermittent fasting until 7PM every night. NO food until 7PM.

Water, coffee only.

I’m 10 pounds down from my 200 a week ago.

I’m hitting this hard, 7 days a week, until I get down to 170.

Let’s see how long it takes.


May 17.



1900 square feet of metaphor.

I just had my house repainted last week. This pic was taken a day later:


Looks snappy now. I had to cut down the rosebushes to make a path for the painters, but they’ll rebound fast with the summer rains. We have lotsa gardens in the back; citrus trees, bananas, veggies, flowers, etc… My youngest Grace has been (unexpectedly) home from college and she’s been busy in our backyard.

My home was built in 1999, I moved in with my wife and daughters in 2003. Girls grew up here, went through a divorce in 2017… and I kept it because I could easily afford the mortgage and I wanted my daughters to still have their childhood home.

After the divorce I remodeled all 3 bathrooms, bought new furniture, put up a new roof, then a 10kW solar array and a solar hot water heater… repainted 40% of the interior, cut down both of the 50 foot palm trees that were leaning towards my house, planted more gardens….

The solar on my roof powers my Chevy Volt, and we’ve got 4,000 watts on tap during a power outage… bring on the zombie apocalypse!

My 20 year old HVAC finally died at the end of 2019, and I knew it was due for replacement…. another 8 grand spent…

During this 3 year period that I’ve been fixing my house I’ve also been reading about relationships, and working on myself as well. I’ve come to peace with the end of my marriage, recognized my role in that, and I’m determined to do things differently in the future.

I have a really clear vision for the rest of my life. I’m determined to live my life as a man of integrity, character, responsibility and purpose. This is a high ideal to meet, but why not strive for high standards?  

I love working in the solar industry, and at 46 years old I have a great shot at doing this until I retire. Solar has become my mission and my passion, and this makes everything just… flow…. in the right direction.

I want to stay healthy and spend time with my friends and family. My parents are in their 70’s, and I love that they live near me in Wesley Chapel so that I can help them out as needed.

I’d like to be married again, but it takes time to find that special person. I might be single for another 10 years, who knows?

I’d like to buy some acreage and build a nicer home…. maybe with a garage big enough for more motorcycles….

I’m not going to settle for someone just to be married. I’m looking for someone who can love me and accept me 100%, just as I’ll do the same for her.

I’ll know her when I find her… but I know these things take time.

Happy Mother’s day y’all!

Ben Alexander

May 10th / 2020





Easter Sunday, 2020. Oy.

Got up at 4AM this morning. In normal times I’d be going to church, probably hosting dinner tonight… but these are NOT normal times.

Last time I kissed my Mom on the cheek was over a month ago.

I had a solo in the church cantata scheduled for today. Hopefully we’ll get to sing it for the congregation at some point in the future. There are lotsa retired folks at my little church, including my parents… and I’m happy to report that there have been NO Covid19 victims thus far.

My daughters have been home with me the last few weeks, Grace came back from England March 17th, coughing and sick. She got better, I got a very mild dry cough for a few days… and then tested for Covid19 and got back a negative.

My other daughter stayed at her Mother’s house for 2 weeks.

Did me and Grace have it? Did we recover?

No way to tell until the antibody test becomes available.

There seems to be a positive correlation with Covid19 resistance and having O type blood, so I’m glad I have that in my favor. I rarely get colds, flu, etc.

I think one of the reasons NYC and North Jersey have been hit so hard is the prevalence of shared transportation; bus lines, trains, even elevators. One person coughing in an elevator in a 20 story apartment building puts everyone at risk.

Many of the North Jersey infections probably came from the NYC area.

It looks like Philadelphia is going to get hit hard, especially the poverty stricken  neighborhoods like Germantown / North Philly. In the late 1990’s I ran door to door sales crews in some of these rough zip codes… these folks are already struggling with poverty, drug addiction and violent crime, now they have to worry about Covid19 as well.

I’m a numbers guy, and looking at the numbers in Italy, Spain and New York state I’ve concluded that most of the world outside of Europe and North America is engaging in a cover up when it comes to this pandemic.

Nigeria is reporting 30 deaths per day and they have 206 million people….

273 million people in Indonesia, and they only have 400 deaths so far?

Less than 100 deaths in Pakistan with 220 million people in that country?

Mexico did not even shutdown until last week and they only have 233 Covid19 deaths?

I don’t buy it.

All these numbers from authoritarian regimes are bullshit.

In countries like Mexico where they can’t even control their drug cartels how the hell are they going to holdback an invisible virus?

Don’t even get me started on China, their numbers are so wrong we need to go after them for war crimes.

In Spain and Italy they’ve seen about 250 deaths per million people of population. This means that we can predict death rates for other countries; 1.43 billion people in China times 250 = 400,000 deaths.

Even if China totally contained Covid19 they would see 100,000 deaths, at the minimum, not UNDER 4,000, as they’ve reported.

Because the Chinese government was NOT reporting factual data back in January the rest of the planet continued to go about business as usual, probably 3 weeks too long…. a global lockdown on February 1rst would have prevented thousands of needless deaths.

And them there was the Orange Idiot, telling Americans Covid19 was a “democratic hoax” as recently as February.

So what now? We have to work with what we got. Lotsa restaurants won’t weather this. Savings will be destroyed. Marriages will crumble under the stress, homeowners will face foreclosure.

Some folks will be unemployed for a few months or longer.

If you make it through this alive you’ll find a way to pay your bills again.

I just hope and pray that when things get back to normal we don’t see a huge resurgence of deaths.

That’s all I guess.

Ben Alexander

Easter Sunday…………… 2020


Live on $3K a month.



(on the set of Shark Tank: Los Angeles, September 2013)

When I went on Shark Tank back in 2013 my finances were a mess; too many business loans, too much overhead, and our gross revenues were actually going down!

I started reading all the financial fitness books written by Dave Ramsey and Orrin Woodward, and I simplified my life. In a few short years I paid off over $300K in debt, put $30,000 in a college fund for my daughters, and I sold Balloon Distractions for a modest profit.

I joined Tampa Bay Solar while I still had an income from Balloon Distractions, and it was one of the smartest things I’ve ever done. Instead of running an entire business (which I suck at) I could just focus on selling solar deals and developing a team.

When I finally sold BD it was with a sense of relief, I was closing the door on a chapter in my life that had great memories, but was also financially stressful.

In the last few years I’ve been teaching a Debt Free / Financial Management class at my church, and the most recent course was interrupted by the current Covid19 crisis.

Since my income is from sales commissions (on electric solar as well as solar pool heaters) I was worried about how I would weather the next few months. I’m a single Dad, no spouse to help me out here… and when I looked at my expenses I realized that I could cover all my costs until JUNE, even if I sold nothing until then!

I live on $3,000 per month. As my income from solar increased I kept my EXPENSES level and continued to pay down my debt. 

I still live in the same 1900 square foot home that I bought back in 2003. I drive a used Chevy Volt…. charged by the solar on my roof. I spend very little on energy, and I paid off my solar array last year.

When my HVAC needed replacement a few months ago I paid the $7,700 cost with cash.

As Covid19 hit and we went into quarantine Tampa Bay Solar started advertising for pool heaters, since everyone is home.

I’ve been closing pool heater deals consistently over the last few weeks. Covid19 decreased my income a little bit, but my expenses are still below my income, even during this current lockdown.

I hope Covid19 is a wake-up call for all the folks living “high on the hog” at the limits of their income. Live modest; no one is impressed by a leased luxury car or a home with a mortgage that you can barely cover.

Perhaps this crisis is also a wake up call for people who are working in low skill / low wage / non-essential jobs. Maybe this is the time to go to trade school, learn sales, learn some type of skill that will increase your income!

I’ll be looking to hire in a few months… if you have a talent for sales maybe that is a way to increase your income.

When this crisis is over and solar sales pick up again my main focus is paying off my home, and getting to a place where I can live on LESS than $1,500 a month.

Stay safe out there!

Ben Alexander

April 8, 2020



Bringing Sunday dinner back….

Pictured: my dining room, with new dishes and silverware my parents gave me for my 46th birthday…..


In the last few weeks I’ve been hosting a regular Sunday night dinner at my place.

Last night we had Eggplant parm with salad and garlic bread, it was great!

My Sunday started with singing in the church choir, teaching the Debt Free class, then shopping for groceries and cooking most of the afternoon. I’m not a great cook, so I try new things and they tend to work out 99% of the time.

My parents are automatically invited every Sunday, they’ve cooked me about a gazillion meals in my lifetime, so now I get to return the favor. This also allows me to invite over friends who have lotsa kids, we have plenty of room and its always fun when multiple generations are at my table!

My daughters are always automatically invited, when they are in town, not working, etc.

My table can seat up to 12 people, if we get add chairs!

I’ve been reaching out to friends I haven’t seen for awhile and inviting them over as well.

Why not, right?

These are not stuffy dinners; wine will be opened, music will be played, things might get loud, you can never predict what might happen.

It takes work to straighten up my house, plan and cook a meal, and clean up after…. but the memories are more than worth it.

At the end of the day all we really have are memories anyway.

The great thing about this is that I’m becoming a better cook, and Claire and I have leftovers for days!

Not everyone is an extrovert, many people never host anything… but I’m having fun doing this, especially that moment when everyone is around my table and we all start to eat. This makes me happy at some profound level; providing for people I care about, seeing them enjoy each other’s company…. perhaps in many ways I’m a deeply traditional guy!

Let me know if you wanna join us next week!


March 2020




The Brevard Solar SCAM.

For the last three years I’ve sold over 350 residential and commercial solar deals for Tampa Bay Solar. Tampa Bay Solar is run by a retired Navy SEAL named Steve Rutherford, and all the systems I sold were installed within a few weeks of contract.

For example, this past week I sold a residential deal on Wednesday, that system will be installed by February 17th, finished by February 19th and turned on soon after.

Tampa Bay Solar did the solar array on my house, pictured below:

house with solar

Tampa Bay Solar also did an install on my parents’ home in Wesley Chapel, and my Dad (retired engineer) was very happy with the quality of their work.

We compete with many other installers, and two years ago I started seeing competing bids from a company called Brevard Solar. I was suspicious about these bids because they were several thousands dollars LESS, with the same exact equipment we were installing.

It would be like if you were buying a used Honda, and everyone priced it at $22,000, but one competitor was selling it at $15,000. Where were they cutting corners?

I showed some of Brevard’s quotes to our owner Steve Rutherford and he immediately said “They’ll go out of business selling systems at this price point”.

Looks like Steve was right. Brevard Solar went out of business last week, holding $10,000 to $15,000 deposits on over 280 jobs!!! Before they shut their doors they were taking 8 to 10 months to install… and Brevard Solar only did cash deals, so all the Brevard clients who got ripped off will never see their $10 to $15K ever again…..

For the last 12 months Brevard has gotten a bunch of complaints lodged with the Better Business Bureau, but their clients only looked at price….

The Florida Attorney General is now on the case, and I hope Brevard’s owner, JAMES SPANN, gets thrown in a jail cell for a long time.

Some of the potential clients that I sat down with over the last 5 months went with Brevard and lost their deposit… and I warned them about Brevard, but they went with CHEAP instead. Ironically they will now spend MORE than if they had just listened to me and gone with Tampa Bay Solar 3 months ago.

I get it, they just thought I was a salesperson blowing smoke, but they should have listened, or at least looked at Brevard’s complaints online.

Tampa Bay Solar has ALWAYS completed their installs, and if a client changed their mind before install we refunded their deposit the next business day.

I’m 45 at this writing, and I’ve found that “cheap” might look good in the short term, but it always cost more in the long run. I’d rather pay more and get quality, when I was shopping for dining room furniture I went into a “discount” furniture place and the quality was not there, but the cost was lower. Instead I bought dining room furniture at Haverty’s, and it cost more, but the quality is there:

NEW dining room_resized

When one is making a long term purchase, like a solar array that lasts 30 or 40 YEARS, it makes sense to hire a quality installer who will get the job done RIGHT, and on schedule.

If you want solar on your home, at a fair price, with a great warranty…. reach out to us.

Ben Alexander

February 1, 2020