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Showing posts from 2017

Back From Vacay

And, it was lovely.

We traveled through Erie, PA, before the snow started coming, which was a good thing, as they are around 70 inches accumulation on the street right now.

70 inches!

Christmas was all that I wanted:

Family and friends aroundGood food, but not too muchFun - we went to see the new Star WarsTime on the trip for DH and I to talkRest I'm ready to take up my regular schedule, starting next Tuesday. Until then, I'll be spending time at home, getting back into regular workouts at the gym, and clearing out temptation from the kitchen.
Next week, I'll begin regular posts again.

Some Ideas for Christmas Gifts for Seniors

No one needs handkerchiefs anymore. Many people would love to come up with better gifts, but have trouble thinking of something both appropriate and indulgent. Why indulgent? Because many seniors can afford what they NEED, but hesitate to spend money on something unnecessary.

Here's some ideas:

Gift certificate for a plane trip, or transfer your Frequent Flyer miles to their account.Gift cards at nearby restaurants.Gift card for an Uber or Lyft ride. There are times you just can't drive - after visits to the eye doctor (particularly if they have to have drops put into their eyes), when recovering from injury or illness, when roads are unsafe, after dark.1 year's free fitness club membership.Time and help - make a date to come over to help them wrap Christmas gifts, address cards, bake cookies. Let them set a date for a get-together with friends, and be the caterer and clean-up person.Lawn service. Find a younger person to help them with weeding and gardening.Window cleaning…

Making, and Keeping, a Household Schedule

I'm not an organized or particularly neat person. As a kid, I cleaned up my room immediately after my mother pitched a massive fit about its disgusting condition.

Well, she was right - I only cleaned up when absolutely necessary. I did the same after marriage.

In my slovenly ways, I was encouraged by my husband, whose unspoken motto is:
If there is a flat surface, that's where I will put my stuff It wasn't too bad when we were first married. There is only so much clutter that 2 humans can make in a 3-room apartment. A quick pick-up a couple times a week, deep cleaning once a week - we were good to go.

Even after we had kids, the mess was SOMEWHAT controlled by the fact that we moved - a lot. Some of the clutter never got unloaded from move to move, staying in boxes stashed in corners.

It got bad - REALLY bad once we stayed in the same place for more than 10 years. Fortunately, that house had both an attic and a basement, where a lot of the junk ended up.

When I moved to SC…

Attention Issues in Later Life

ADD and ADHD have been studied in schoolchildren, and adults in the working years, as well. There are medications for those individuals whose disability is manifesting at a level that hinders their coping skills. Meds have their place, but use over a lifetime is still a question mark. Long-term studies indicate that there are many side effects, and the effect on brain and body health over time is still unknown.

Seniors are in a unique place. Few of those with attention issues were diagnosed or treated. Most developed some coping skills. Sadly, some fell by the wayside. Those people with supportive spouses, who fill in with assistance, may not even be aware of the extent of their disability.

Things change as we age. For some, that helpful spouse may no longer be with them, either through death or divorce. That spouse may be suffering memory issues, and not be able to assist.

Life in retirement is different - the things that helped keep many of us on track - schedules, secretaries, coll…

Lessons From Maria

Number One - don't be in a hurry to dump your landline.

On Puerto Rico, the cell towers are GONE. If the island were still using landlines, part of the service would still be available, even if some of the lines had gone down.

Some other things that have come out of that nearly complete disaster:

If your government is a total disaster before the incident, it will take even longer to recover. PR's economy has long been in the toilet. Roads, electric, water, and other infrastructure were known for blackouts/unavailability long before Hurricane Maria.If you want the US Federal Government to believe that you're serious about distributing the aid that is ALREADY THERE, you have to come up with a way of persuading/forcing your truckers to cooperate. Only about 20% of them have shown up for work. The rest are allegedly on strike. The Feds didn't cause that problem. The Trucker News has more on the story, which has been disputed by both the PR government and the Teamsters.The p…

Unsolicited Testimonial

Finder for Fitbit - available for IPhone, and for Androids.

I've used it twice in the last week - it's absolutely AMAZING! I've bought 3 Fitbits (one got washed and died, another was lost somewhere at school before I found this app). It's one of the few products that does EXACTLY what it's supposed to do. It works like You're Hot - You're Cold, with a meter to indicated how close you are to the device.

FREE! for the Lite version.

This is an absolutely indispensable product for owners of the devices.

Tricks for Travelers

I've done a lot of business (and, some family-related) travel over the last 15 years. I've learned a lot about streamlining the process. Below are a few of the things that can make the experience better.

Air Travel:
If you have a bag that is on the cusp of being too big to be a carry-on, DON'T check in at the gate. Instead, go through using your home-printed passes or phone app, and just get in line. IF it's too big, they will tell you to check it - but, generally, WON'T charge you for it. I didn't do this on a recent trip, and found a half dozen people with bags that were bigger than mine either being permitted to put it in the overhead, or just having it taken on the boarding ramp (again, no charge). The closer you are to your plane, the less likely they are to charge you.Ziplock bags are your friend. Use the Freezer type - they can make it through multiple trips without damage. Use for unmentionables, small electronics parts/cables, shampoo/conditioner/lotion…

Tuesday's Money Savers for Seniors

I've been working improving our financial situation, and have been looking at two major ways to do it:
Spend lessSave more I've been doing a combination of the above. It's meant that I have been working to get the spread in what I bring in closer to what I take out. I'm not there yet, so have been dipping (lightly) into savings. I planned on using those savings over the next to keep us going until my writing income picks up, or until I get a part-time job that bridges the gap.

And, the Net is what is left over to PLAY with. I want a LOT of Net to play with.

So, on Tuesdays, I'll be passing along information that I've tracked down for spending/saving. Below are some of the first suggestions I've found: Free Coffee at Cinnabon - Found via Freebies 4 Mom - Sept 29thFree admission at museums for customers of Bank of America and Merrill Lynch credit cards. Oct 7 & 8Need to de-stress? Try these free adult coloring pages.And more coloring pages, this time from B…

Putting the Love Back In

Long-term relationships sometimes can stall out, for lack of emotional warmth. It's not that the partners DIS-like each other, they just feel lukewarm towards their mate. Or, so says Dr. Finkel, author of the "All or Nothing Marriage".
Many people are looking to their partners to replace the companionship and emotional support once provided by extended families and local institutions like churches, bowling leagues, bridge groups, fraternal lodges and garden clubs. Meanwhile, though, many couples are so busy with their jobs and parenting that they’re actually spending less time together by themselves. The post at the link above has some suggestions about how to turn up the fires - the ideas are called "Love Hacks". They seem to be based on some degree of evidence (although recent investigation of many social science research suggests that throwing darts at a target would produce similar results). They couldn't hurt, however, and might be useful.

White Space - NO, It's NOT About Race

It's about using a portion of the broadband that is not currently in use, for the purposes of accessing faster speeds for Internet. It's probably most useful in rural communities, but, inner-city communities might find it useful, as well.

Why should seniors care? Many of us are located in relatively isolated parts of the country - rural areas, temporary housing, senior housing, etc. Having low-cost access to fast Internet could go a long way towards keeping us mentally active, connected to family/friends, and allowing us to receive information that could extend or enhance our lives.

Read about it, here.

The Frugal Mindset

I've been putting off needed purchases for days, even weeks, since I retired. In some ways, that might be a good thing - many purchases are unnecessary, and delaying a purchase might result in deciding not to buy.

But, that's not what's happening here - these are purchases I've already thought about, decided were worth the cost, and had put on an order.

Only to hang there, in that online cart, for weeks. I'm finding infinite reasons to NOT make a decision to buy.

This type of behavior is new to me, since I've been retired. When I could count on an income twice a month coming from work, I didn't do this. I didn't hesitate to make immediate purchases. There was always a surplus in the account, and I felt free to dip into it.

What are other seniors doing? Put your best tips for managing money in the comments.

3 Months into Retirement - How is it Going?


That's not me, but it expresses how I feel.

I've spent a lot of the past 3 months clearing up old tasks, unloading accumulated junk from my house, and enjoying NOT having to put off needed medical appointments because the time off wasn't convenient to my employer.

I've developed some good habits, like:

Making my bed every day. Of course, it helped that my husband leaves so early, but, he has also jumped on board with this during his summer break.Keeping the kitchen spiffed up (Is that a phrase? My mother used it). I've been deep-cleaning and organizing (which, of course, makes it easier to keep it clean).Walking - not every day, but most. Outside, if possible, otherwise, in the house. My FitBit is registering meeting goals every week.Laundry - no longer with piles in front of the washer.Writing - every day, something. The novel is not progressing as fast as I would like, but I am making progress. I'm starting to reach out to various markets with queries, …


Due to the holiday weekend, I'm not posting my usual Sunday stuff. Instead, I'm co-posting a Sunday reflection I had written for Right As Usual.

Link here. It won't be available until 9 am, so I'll likewise schedule this post for then.

Shoring Up the House

Recently, we've been working on getting our house in shape. And, no, that is NOT a metaphor.

We called in RamJet to drive pilings into the ground, so the foundation could be shored up. Cost: $4200. Not cheap, but necessary. We may bring them back again to do the other sides of the house (which are not in bad shape). We'll see.

We are also going to be bringing in people to repair/improve some windows. After the tornado ripped through Rock Hill, we had several windows broken. There is a deal going on now, and we want to take advantage of it - Buy 1, get 1 free. Plus 36 months to pay, same as cash.

If we had planned better, we would have done this before I retired. But, we put off the decision, and have to manage it now.

If you are in the pre-retirement phase, walk around your house (inside and out), and make notes on things you'd like to change/update. Consider:

Gutters/roofTaking down aging trees (unbelievably expensive!)FoundationsDriveways/sidewalksInsulationWindowsMajor a…

Clearing Out the Junk

I've been REALLY busy this morning (Thursday 8/24/17). The RamJet people are here to shore up our foundation. I've been working to get the bedroom cleaned up and cleared out.

I started by tackling Den's stuff - he does have the tendency to drop what's in his pockets anywhere. Over time, the junk has built up - pens, receipts (mostly not necessary to keep), cough drops, change, etc.

He also tends to use meds/lotions/razors/etc. in the bedroom, but not removing them again. Together, with the habit we have acquired of eating while watching TV, that has made a huge mess.

I started at one end of the room and methodically moved through it. I put some of the 'probably important' stuff in a lidded container, for him to sort out later. I dusted, wiped, and swept as I went.

A funny thing happened when I got near my chair. Suddenly, the junk started to be MINE. I was amazed at the sloppy habits I'd gotten into, as I had to confront them for the first time in weeks - O…

Deal for Today, Only

The cost of a National Parks Senior Lifetime Pass goes up to $80 on Monday, meaning this is the last day to purchase one for TEN DOLLARS. The catch - you have to go, in person, to one of the many National Parks to buy it. Bring ID, including proof of age.

However, the pass will cover entrance fees for up to 3 adults in the same car (kids under 16 are free). So, if you travel together, no problem.  Keep in mind that the pass covers entrance fees - certain Expanded Amenity Fees, such as camping, swimming, or boat launch will not cover guests, although they will provide discounts for the pass-holders.

Many of these parks are within driving distance (1-3 hours) from major cities. I'm going to head out in a few hours, and snag one for myself.

Anyone from the Cleveland area that is reading this, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park is one of those sites.

Can't manage to travel just now? You can also mail in or sign up online - there is an extra $10 fee for either of those methods, thou…

Advice for Old Age From a Navy SEAL

Not Much Useful to Say

I've been preparing for the Solar Eclipse, trying NOT to get too caught up in the They-Said, They-Said News, and working on getting life back on keel.

Also trying to finish the book for my Catholic Book Club meeting this Thursday. It's interesting, but, by the time I get to it late at night, my eyes are gritty and starting to cross.

For those weary of serious, and somewhat depressing, everyday life, here is the lighter side:

No, there is not such ban - YET.

 Can we just agree that voter's registration should be validated?
I'm HOPING - HOPING - that this is a joke. If not, we're all in trouble.

Busy, Busy

As promised, I got back on track this week. I cleared up a lot of paperwork early in the week, and, today, I am working on planning, financial stuff, and getting my radio receiver ready for the Eclipse.

I had a good visit with the Chiropractor yesterday, about my shoulder problem. I've had increasingly more difficulty moving my left arm, and a lot of pain. It's also affected my sleep, as anytime I turn over, I wake up in pain. I got a new treatment - based on Sonic Waves - that breaks up scar tissue and brings in increased blood flow to old injuries. I can't say that I immediately felt better, but I felt no worse. I'm planning on 6-12 visits, at $39 a visit. Not a bad cost, considering, and - if it helps - will have been worth it.

I've been working on getting in better shape, but I probably overdid it when I injured my shoulder. Serves me right - I'll definitely take it slower next time.

I'm slowly making headway in the house. I'm limited in the amount …

Getting Back on Track

I started off strong - really, I did. When I first retired, I had the strength of 10. But, as the summer passed, I lost my Mojo.

The first thing to go was my dedication to daily upkeep of the house. I found myself weakly saying, ma├▒ana.

Then, I began raiding the fridge. I packed on a lot of the weight I had lost in the last semester I worked.

Lastly, I began skipping my revision schedule. I read aimlessly, both on- and offline.

I started taking naps. Like a 3-year old.

So, unless I want to become this:

I need to re-boot my life plans.

I started Tuesday morning by getting cleaned up and dressed. I got to work with revising my Chem book, planning my week, and cleaning up the kitchen.

Together, Den and I planned a healthy breakfast, conferred about our schedules, and made the bed (that last is not easy to get done early, if you have a partner - like mine - who likes to sleep in).

I didn't manage to check-in with the Ham Radio NET today, but I did re-set my radio for the local repeaters (I ha…

Changes to Medicare - How They Will Affect You

Obamacare has a wider impact than the people who are forced to comply with its many provisions. It will have an effect on Medicare, as well.
Despite the constant political rhetoric that Medicare payment reductions affect only providers and not beneficiaries, funding cuts for Medicare services will directly affect those who depend on those services. If Obamacare’s major reductions are implemented by Congress over the coming decade, seniors’ ability to access Medicare services will surely diminish. Obamacare can be considered a success, judging from the OMB's reports.

Unfortunately, those reports can only work from data/constraints they are given. Such limits mean that, depending on the questions/framework/data comprising their analysis, ACA looks like a raging success.

Which, it isn't.

In too many Americans' minds, debt of a government should just be paid by all those high-earners who greedily grab all the available money in an economy.

Funnily enough, a substantial number of…

Bouncing Back From Setbacks

I was reading (nothing much, just noodling around), and found this link to Bouncing Back After Setbacks, and the resilience needed to do so.

Resilience is the (according to
abilitytorecoverreadilyfromillness,depression,adversity,orthe like;buoyancy One factor that is not fully appreciated by many parents is the importance of experiencing Failure - AND recovering from it.

Some lessons from a school that has studied the successes - and failures.

I'm going to start a regular post on At Last - Retiring for Good, that focuses on Things Kids Need to Learn From Grandma. If you'd like to be added to the list, go here and put your information into the link form.

UPDATE: Beware Those 'Helping' You

I previously posted on the UN-helpfulness of the AARP brand, which purports to work for seniors, but seems more inclined to exploit them. Today's Forbes has an article that explains more about this.

One facet of their conflict of interest with seniors:
The AARP is also one of the largest private health insurers in America. In 2011, the AARP generated $458 million in royalty fees from so-called “Medigap” plans, nearly twice the $266 million the lobby receives in membership dues. There's more, and it's worse:
AARP Medigap plans are exempted from most of Obamacare’s best-known insurance mandates. AARP Medigap plans are exempted from the ban that requires insurers to take all comers, regardless of pre-existing conditions.

Beware Those 'Helping' You

I've never belonged to AARP. My husband joined, just for the discounts (probably MOST peoples' motivation).

I've heard about the immense profit AARP makes selling companies access to seniors (you do know that they are a large driver of all that junk mail you receive, don't you?). This gives more evidence for the charge that they are not so much a lobbying group, as a predator.
...most of AARP’s revenues do not come from the “members” it purports to represent. The group’s primary source of income is from royalties it receives from its AARP branded health insurance plans, which enjoy exemptions from some of Obamacare’s more onerous taxes and fees.

Untangling the Mess That is Roadside Service

We're heading out next week to a Physics conference, and, as we are traveling via car, my husband asked me to check out Roadside Assistance.

Specifically, did we still have it, or could we get it, on our cell phone plan?

The short answer is no. It was discontinued in 2012.

The long answer:

Sprint - they don't have itAARP - I keep getting information about the WONDERFUL, heavily DISCOUNTED perks you can get for membership in AARP.I never really did join, but they keep sending their magazine each month, along with a card that says I'm a member. Most places accept it for discounts without actually checking to see if I AM a member.I checked their website. They do have a Roadside Assistance plan listed. I click on the link, which pops up a box warning me that YOU ARE LEAVING AARP FOR ANOTHER SITE! I click OK and end up on the site - Allstate. Yes, I think it is somehow affiliated with the insurance company.I check out the rates. Not that cheap, unless you are a single person onl…

Part B - Here At Last!

It was a long time coming. I had to make a second trip to Social Security offices to make sure that I received it.

I really don't know how it happened that the application slipped through the cracks. I do credit the time and attention that the employee of that office dedicated to un-earthing the problem, and correcting it.

The Moral of the Story?

Follow-up on EVERYTHING. Don't assume that the paperwork will go through.

It also took considerable time for my SC retirement purchase of time to get moving forward. Full Disclosure: a good portion of that was MY fault. The process is so time-consuming, and filled with paper going back and forth, that I threw up my hands several times, and resolved to deal with it at a later time.

That delay cost me money. I'm going to be MUCH more diligent in the future on follow-up.

Part of my time this summer, and into the fall, will be to automate paperwork, organize our stuff and get rid of clutter, and take care of business that had become a…

Have You Prepared Well Enough?

This is a hot-button issue. All of the literature regarding saving for retirement suggests that there soon may be a glut of aging bums on the streets.

But, is that a realistic outcome?

Statistics suggest "Yes".

First, I have to point out that retirees are divided into two major groups:

Those with pension plans that will provide a specific amount of money each month (called Defined Benefit plans). Those with these plans include:Police, Firemen, and other government workersTeachers and full-time workers in schoolsMilitary - it may not be a BIG benefit, but it is a stable oneSOME workers in larger corporationsThose with pension plans that do not guarantee a certain benefit (called Defined Contribution plans). Most people have these.These include 401(k)s and other tax-free contribution plansMany employers will match or even double the contributions made by their workers. Too many people don't even make minimal contributions in their early years, if at all.If people leave their…

What's YOUR Reason?

Your reason to get out of bed in the morning.

Other than having to go to the bathroom, I mean.

The Z-Man brings up the question of how society will handle all of the unemployed people in the future. He sees this situation as potentially disorienting for the society, as well as disturbing and depressing for the individuals.

I haven't thought of myself as unemployed. I've thought of myself as commencing the next chapter of my life. For me, the idea of having the time to write was exciting. It didn't concern me with thoughts of - However will I fill that time?

Others have different perspectives on retirement. My husband has made, and postponed, retirement plans for several years. Recently, he acknowledged that he thinks of working at an outside as something he will always do, at least on a part-time basis.

Recently, he has been urging me to think about moving closer to family back in OH or PA. I'm not totally against the idea, but would hate to leave a more agreeable clima…

Roundup of Old Posts

I was browsing around the backend of this blog, and I noticed that some of my earlier posts had not received the traffic that I anticipated. Part of this is that I have become better at promoting my work, and part of this is that the topics have built interest over time.

In no particular order, here are a few that I think worthy of posting again:

Digital Natives?

50 Years Since High School

My First Experience with Medicare

Dipping My Toes into Uncharted Waters

Retirement Prep

Handling Chronic Pain (NOT at the level of end-stage cancer pain)

A SERIOUS Hot-Button for Women

WEP, Explained (Sort of)

The idea behind WEP - the Windfall Elimination Provision - is that a FEW people were taking advantage of the ability to get a government pension, then take a non-government job, and get Social Security benefits, as well. According to Wikipedia:
"The Windfall Elimination Provision (abbreviated WEP[1]) is a statutory provision in United States law[2] which affects benefits paid by the Social Security Administration under Title II of the Social Security Act. It reduces the Primary Insurance Amount (PIA) of a person's Retirement Insurance Benefits(RIB) or Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) when that person is eligible or entitled to a pension based on a job which did not contribute to the Social Security Trust Fund. While in effect, it also affects the benefits of others claiming on the same social security record." How it affects me: both my husband and myself worked primarily in teaching jobs over the last 25+ years. My husband is less affected, as he had more of a history…

Budgeting for Retirement

My Father's decision to retire early

My father had received a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer from his doctor, when he was 60. He was naturally quite flummoxed, and wondered what to do.
He returned to work after the news, and made a list of his expenses, his current income, and his income as it would be if he retired. He also noted which expenses would drop if he did retire early, such as commuting expenses, lunches out, and clothing purchases/dry cleaning.
He found that he would LOSE money if he continued working.
He turned in his forms that day.
Was it a good choice? Well, he lived another 16 years, and was able to pursue his hobbies, spend time with his family, and enjoy the freedom of not having to answer to others.
I'm not that lucky. I've generally earned more in the last 10 years, and will stand to lose some income as a result of my decision to retire. That's even after factoring in reduced expenses.
For me, it's worth it, for the freedom it gives me to pursu…

Moving Forward with the Paperwork

It's a slow process - a VERY slow process.
The NC check came yesterday - MONTHS after I sent in the paperwork. However, it did come, and is currently in the hands of the SC Retirement people. I made a physical trip down there this morning, to make sure that the money would be in their hands today.It looks I've started getting the SC retirement money - my bank is showing the first check (e-deposit) is pending. Don't know how the NC money will affect that. It may mean I have to refund the June money, and take the first month as of July. We'll see.I'm getting the piddling SS money ($8/month). However, I won't be taking my SS as a worker until at least January of 2018. Maybe longer, it depends on how long Den is working, and if I can scrounge extra money up - either teaching a college class, or writing for magazines, or something.I'm still waiting on the new Medicare card. The old one only shows Part A. However, on the web, it does show that Part B is there, as …

Roadblock to Progress

My back is hurting - I think it's just a mild strain, not major organic damage, but I'm taking it easier this weekend. I wasn't able to show up at the 2017 ARRL Field Day for my radio club, but I couldn't take a chance on making it worse.

I didn't even go to church this morning. Like I said, taking it REALLY easy.

Our cable is out - the lawn guy accidentally cut the cable, so, until around 4 pm today, we're off the grid - at least for Dish.

I'm using the Roku, which works off our OTHER cable, for Internet. I've found an interesting program, The Man in the High Castle. It's a sci-fi look at what America would have looked like, had Hitler won. It's based on a story by Phillip Dick.

It's another one of the Amazon Prime offerings - no charge for Prime customers (which, about 6 out of 10 people in the US are).

I was blown away by the first of the Prime shows I found - Z - The Beginning of Everything. I'm just waiting impatiently for Season 2.

Success! Finally Got Part B in Process!

I really don't know what happened, or why my personal visit to the offices to get my Part B signup did not work.

All I knew is that my Part B coverage wasn't showing up on the website.

I tried calling - not a good idea - I spent HOURS on the phone, without success.

So, this week, I got into the car, drove about 2 miles down the road, checked in and waited for almost 45 minutes (I didn't have an appointment), and saw a representative.

Who was immediately helpful.

I now have Part B coverage.

Now, I will need to set up the arrangements for paying for it, but - I'm in, without a penalty.


Yeah. It turns out that if you don't sign up at 65, for BOTH Parts A and B, you will have to pay a penalty for the rest of your life in the form of higher premiums.

The exception - which I qualified for - is for those over 65 who are still working (which, until 6/1/17, I was). I just needed to show them the form CMS-L564, signed by my former employer, which verified that I had…

Untangling Medicare, Part II

Part A - Check
Part G - Check
Part D - Check

Ironically, the one that Medicare administers is the one that I've had the hardest time getting verified. I've spent several hours online and on the phone, but can't get an employee to check the system, and tell me whether my coverage is in process.

In contrast, the private sector, responsible for Parts G and D, have been quick - responding to me within hours, carefully making sure that my questions are answered, and generally performing quite well.

Second Week of Retirement

I slowed down on the re-organizing; my husband threw out his back, and I had to chauffeur him to the doctor's, work, and other places. Can't let a man on drugs drive.

I did manage to get my Pi set up (although it appears that my NOOBS SD card may have become corrupted - I'm ordering another one from Amazon - it's cheaper to get one already loaded, than to buy a blank one).

I'm revising the novel, and have started tracking my progress - I'm aiming for 700 words a day - it's slower work, and I'm cutting almost as much as I'm adding. I'm going to start planning for Monday today, and work on getting my plan in place before quitting each day.

Monday will be a heavy paperwork/government contact day. I may need to spend as much as 1-2 days a week on that for a while. I'm getting things done, but the pace is slow.

Field Day is next weekend - that's the 24-hour club activity, where we make as many contacts as possible, and use the event to introdu…

Retirement, One Week In

It's been good.

My house is on the road to organization. In other words, small pockets of it are cleared out. I have a LONG way to go.

Part of this, I realized after talking to my sister-in-law, whose home I'd always thought perfectly lovely, is that the modern no longer goes through this purge process once a year (Spring Cleaning). I never valued it before, but doing a regular yearly 'turn-out' is something desperately needed in American life. It might be a good plan for a small business, for someone who is mega-organized. Not a professional organizer, but just someone who can come in and nudge that person to:

Put away in some organized fashionGive awaySellThrow out This can be an overwhelming task, needing weeks of planning, moving stuff out of where it's at, cleaning the containers, and putting back ONLY what should be kept. It's not a fast process.
I'm doing it in bite-sized hunks. Much more, and I'd be facing massive back issues, as the task is hard…

First Days of Retirement


Just AWESOME - that's all I have to say about it.

I made MAJOR progress on cleaning up the house - bathroom - Check! Living Room - In Process. Desk Cleared - Check! Office - In Process.

My goals this month are clearing out paperwork backlog, and general cleaning and organization.

So far, so good.

On the Road Problems

I've been trying to use the Mobile version of Blogger - kept getting kicked out of the app. I didn't bring my usual laptop this week, as I didn't think I'd have that much time to work on things.

I'm going to write, but not post again until Monday. If I can, I'll schedule the post(s) before that time.

Next Step in Medicare Sign-up - Part D

The government does make it RELATIVELY painless to sign up (well, other than that paying for it thing). You can go to the site by Googling:

Medicare part d signup

Or, just go to this site to find plan comparisons.

Once there, your access to plans is partly determined by your location, so the first step is to enter your zip code.

You will be asked a few questions (I Don't Know is an acceptable answer).

This takes you to a page where you can enter your on-going medications (if this isn't something you need, you can skip it, but if you take regular meds, it will make a difference to the cost of the plans).

You will want to enter your standard medications on the list (easy-peasy), then select one of the 3 options (the first one is for buying Part D separately from your Part B, which your person signing you up should have told you if you needed this). Check the first box and compare plans.

NOTE: pay attention not just to the monthly cost, but to the overall yearly cost - that last o…

Organizing The Paper Clutter

This is one of the BIG things I have to do over the next 3 months or so. We have a ridiculous amount of loose paper around our house.

This paper onslaught comes from several sources:

Work papersPaycheck stubs, communiques from our benefits department, receiptsRelated to professional activitiesPD (professional development)Continuing coursework and CEUsMailing list items, catalogs, random CD/DVDsPTRA - we provide workshops for teachers - this will continue even after retirementStudent work - this will be less of a problem, as I will no longer be generating these. But, Den still has responsibilities to maintain records and grade papersFinancialBillsFinancial investmentsBanking statementsRefunds in process, warrantiesTaxesHobby/ChurchRadio and electronics (me) - I recently built a workbench in the attic, and will be moving most, if not all, of my gear to that spaceMagazines, mailing offersChurch bulletins, Catechist paperwork and materials, reference materialsMedicalThis is getting to be m…

Untangling Medicare

I've been hip-deep in the morass that is our Government-Issued/Overseen Health Care for Seniors for the last few months. I did NOT put enough time into it to be sure that I am making good choices, but I plan to monitor the situation, and re-assess as I approach the Open Enrollment period, so I can decide whether to keep that assortment of plans, or change them.

I'm in uncharted waters here. I've only had access to work-connected health insurance, and my choices were limited to a few plans. At most companies, the Benefits department does a reasonably good job of explaining the pros and cons of different plans, making decision much easier.

Two parts of Medicaid were easy - Parts A and B. I signed up for A last year when I turned 65, but didn't add B until I retired. No sweat, there was no real choice to make for these. Same for everyone.

I spent some time wrestling with which of the alphabeted plans to select, and decided on Plan G - it has coverage for illnesses/acciden…

Almost Done!

I've moved out the big stuff (metal carts with equipment, for example, and my scanner/printer). I was able - with the assistance of my husband, who really didn't complain too much - to get my room clear of everything except what I can manage in my car on Tuesday.

I need to go in that day, as I still have a few loose ends - inventory, checkout list, Medicare paperwork - to get tidied up.

But, that will be IT!

I was hot and sweaty after all that work - went straight home, and took a quick shower.

I know there are probably more important things to focus on - world peace, adequate food and medicine for kids, no more Kitty videos on Facebook - but, my deepest desire is that hot and cold running water should be a goal for everyone on Earth.

It is SUCH a pleasure to be cool and clean after hard work. So many people in the world do not have access to clean water, let alone running water. For them, I do hope that governments can stop putting less important things ahead of that simple, …

One Week to Go

By this time on May 30, I will be preparing for my last day teaching.

Oh, it's possible that I might work as an adjunct, a substitute (particularly in a long-term job - 1-3 months, typically), or a tutor.

But, full-time employment may be permanently over.

Or, not.

Sometimes, plans change. Usually, there is a financial incentive. Some crisis hits, and the budget takes a hit. One or the other (or both) of the retirees needs to return to paid work, for a time.

Sometimes, there are other factors - boredom sometimes sets in, and paid employment is used to fill empty hours. I don't fault those who do so - I can imagine a time where, in an effort to re-connect after a spouse's death, one of us might choose a part-time job. It certainly beats withering away from loneliness.

I can't guarantee the future. But, as of now, this is the plan.

I'll post more over the next few months, as I adjust to the change in my routines - how I structure my days, ways I change my spending, th…

The Countdown Continues

6 more days with kids (the last two days, I have no students, which should make it easier to organize, clean, and complete all of the end of the year stuff). Right now, I'm exhausted.

The up side is the faculty meeting was canceled, so I'm able to leave in about 10 minutes - which, I plan to. I usually stay late, but not tonight.

Wednesday, 5/17/17 - I did stay later, to finish some activities, but, still left earlier than usual.

I have almost all of my students in 1st Block either taking the Final, or exempting. Only 1 non-senior, who will be taking the Final next week. So, I'll plan on off-loading him in another class on Thursday, to take advantage of that time to get some organizing and inventory done.

Later - 1:20 - I'm waiting for my students to arrive. Really, the Physics students have generally been delightful this year, although a little passive and low-key. They seldom get over-the-top excited about anything.

To be honest, almost all of my students are sweetie…

Off the Fence

It's official. I submitted my retirement letter today. Already heard back from Benefits.

I do feel relieved. Actually making a decision is less stressful than avoiding making one.

I'm going to spend the rest of this week catching up on grades, making notes about what to take and what to pitch, and planning for the transition.