Friday, June 23, 2017

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.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

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 introduce new people to the hobby. You can check out local events (and get a chance to get on the air) here. When you click on the little marker, note whether it is GOTA: YES. If so, you can Get On The Air, even without a license.

I've been lax on exercising; I'm going to start scheduling my gym times, to maximize the likelihood of actually doing it.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

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 fashion
  • Give away
  • Sell
  • Throw 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 on an aging bone structure. I'm finding some pleasure in relaxing at the end of the day, and seeing the fruits of my labor around me.

Some sites that have helped me, and may help you:

  • UnF**k Your Habitat - expressed inelegantly, but fairly - good use of before and after pictures. That's an idea I've been toying around with, and may start doing.
  • Don't know where to start? This site might give you some ideas.
  • This site really spoke to me. I decided to pare down my life to what it IS, or WILL BE, in ONE area. Not IF I changed ALL of it. I'm still working on that.
    • Just one short part of the above site: "I started to think a lot about the psychological bridge so many of seem to build in our minds over the issue of possessions equaling experience, or as snailspace so aptly phrased it, " ...our acquisitions, come from trying to furnish a fantasy.""

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

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.

Friday, June 2, 2017

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.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

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 one will take into account the cost of your meds (which is why I suggest you enter all the meds you regularly take)

Monday, May 29, 2017

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 papers
    • Paycheck stubs, communiques from our benefits department, receipts
  • Related to professional activities
    • PD (professional development)
    • Continuing coursework and CEUs
    • Mailing list items, catalogs, random CD/DVDs
    • PTRA - we provide workshops for teachers - this will continue even after retirement
  • Student 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 papers
  • Financial
    • Bills
    • Financial investments
    • Banking statements
    • Refunds in process, warranties
    • Taxes
  • Hobby/Church
    • Radio and electronics (me) - I recently built a workbench in the attic, and will be moving most, if not all, of my gear to that space
    • Magazines, mailing offers
    • Church bulletins, Catechist paperwork and materials, reference materials
  • Medical
    • This is getting to be more important over time
    • Medicare, health plans, explanations of bills
    • Medical records
  • Business-related
    • We run two businesses together (one with consumer products, the other providing legal services)
    • Writing (me) - I will be upping my involvement in this area, and need to organize this before it becomes too out of control
Wow! Until now, I hadn't realized just how fragmented and complicated our lives had become. And, that's just the paper.

Some good things I've already done.
  • Daily organization
    • I use a Franklin Planner, and it is getting a workout lately
    • I organize papers by a daily folder system - M-F. Each day's papers go into a colored plastic folder. Hopefully, each day, paper is either dealt with, or moved to another day's folder.
  • In-sight organization
    • I use wall-mounted plastic pockets to hold paper that is needed regularly or for a long term project.
    • Wall calendar - erasable, located in office for easy reference.
    • Bill sorter (I do have to clear this out and start again this week).
  • Organization of repeating tasks on a weekly basis.
  • Automation of bill-paying when possible. I'll be adding more in the future, such as setting up budget billing for utilities.
My goal is to have this under control by the end of June, at the latest. I'll post progress as I make it. I'll be taking pictures of the before and after (I WON'T be posting the before until I have an after - too depressing to immortalize the mess without being able to bask in the glory of having corrected it).

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/accidents out of state and when traveling, which is important to me. As I said, I will be watching my medical expenses closely, and evaluating the situation yearly.

I've selected a Part D plan, which is relatively affordable. Unfortunately, one of my meds - Spiriva - is WAY out of my price league, on ANY plan, so I'm going to have to talk to my pulmonologist about making an alternative selection. I did load up on a 30-day supply while still covered by my current plan, so I'll have time to make that appointment and change meds.

This is NOT an easy process, if you don't have access to a subsidized health plan or retirees. Even if you do, you have to weigh cost/benefits very carefully. I'm not satisfied that my choices were the best, but, do to time constraints, I'm going to have to roll the dice with what I've got.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

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, and profound, pleasure.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

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, the really FUN experience of dealing with Social Security, Medicare and other insurances, experiences with financial planners, etc.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

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 sweeties. Good, hardworking (OK, a few have taken laziness to a new low), and generally wonderful. I will miss the students when I leave.

I'm clearing the decks this week of paperwork/grading. Next week will be over quickly, and I don't want to leave any paperwork not dealt with.

Summer vacation will have a new poignancy this year - it will be an endless va-cay.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

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.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Trudge, Trudge...

...and, I'm nearly there!

I just completed the paperwork (oh, I do hope I did it right!) for transferring my NC Teacher's pension to SC. I'm crossing my fingers, but - in the back of my mind - won't be totally surprised if I have to re-do all, or part, of it.

D-Day is Thursday - that's Decision Day - I have to either sign my contract, or I'm automatically NOT renewed for the next year.

I'm about 80% sure that I won't sign. I don't need to babysit DJ (pity, I was kind of looking forward to it), but my dear SIL is apparently facing another bout with cancer, and my daughter may need me, at least occasionally, in the fall.

I have PLANS!

  1. Writing is # 1 - I have been chomping at the bit to get started. I've upped my blogging regularity, and have been keeping a journal, as well. I figure that it will take me a week or two to get fully in the swing of daily production, but - watch out, World!
  2. Cleaning and Organizing - both a good cleaning of the entire house, as well as a simultaneous Pitching and Organizing. I plan to use the apps/EBay/whatever to squeeze some money out of it all, if I can. Otherwise, donate or pitch.
  3. Ham Radio - I have several projects that have been waiting until I had the attic cleared out enough to set up my Ham Shack. That's likely the first thing on my list for #2. I really cannot wait for this.
  4. Visiting Family & Friends - at last, I will not have to dash madly back and forth, lest I miss that Crucial Work Time! I plan to take a trip about once a month for the next year - with or without Den.
That's the major things on my list. What will be on YOUR list when you retire?

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Significance of May 7th

Today would have been my father's 95th birthday. Instead, he died just before his 76th.

Dad was born in New Martinsville, WV, May 7, 1922. His father, Emzley Martin Ruble (spelling of that first name varies considerably in official documents), died in 1929, when my Dad was 7. Within a few short years, my grandmother Delphia Delia had lost the money the insurance had provided, due to bad investments, and was forced to place my Dad with relatives, along with all but the youngest two children. Later, when the eldest two were grown and married, he lived with them.

His stories about his time on his grandfather Edgell's farm were few - he merely said that he did NOT like the farmer's life. One time, he mentioned that his grandfather was quite stern, even harsh, in his treatment of him and his grandmother. But, he mentioned it only that once. His other grandfather, Taylor Ruble, was a very kindly man, and he had good memories of him.

Grandma Ruble was a very quiet and sweet woman. She never married after her husband's death, but worked in the Viking Glass Factory for many years, until her early 80's. Each year, during the holidays and her summer vacation, she visited her two children in Cleveland, my father and Aunt Gladys.

My Dad was eager to leave New Martinsville, at the time, a poky little mill town. He quit school early (likely due to not fitting in - he had one dress pair of pants, and often had holes in his shoes, which he covered with cardboard). His teachers tried to talk him out of it, as he was considered quite a bright young man, but his mind was set on making some money. I expect that a desire to impress young women might have been at the bottom of that. He was always scrawny, and not very tall (5' 6"). He would not have been a standout in sports - I don't know that he ever played ball.

So, getting a hot girlfriend, a natural goal for most 15 year-olds, was just not gonna happen.

He was a crack shot, in part due to having a brother, Everett, who worked for an ammunitions manufacturer, and brought home boxes of it. I don't know why he didn't try out for a rifle team, as those were common at the time. It may have been due to the need to get back up the mountain for chores on the farm. Uncle Everett kept cows and chickens even into the 1960s, when he was well past middle age.

After kicking around town for a while, and seeing the bright lights of Steubenville, OH, Dad left WV for Cleveland, where there were more opportunities. From what he said during one trip together, he may have been leaving a dicey situation just a few steps ahead of the law. He was an ace at fast driving in the mountains (although a pokey driver in the city, he would whip through winding roads at 70 mph or more without a qualm). For a time, he drove untaxed alcohol to its destination for a sideline. The payoff was great, but seeing some of his buddies end up in jail literally scared him straight.

In Cleveland, energy and dogged determination to succeed landed my Dad a job quickly. He lived with his sister, and - knowing his penchant for free spending - he had himself a real good time. He did end up in court, having been picked up for public intoxication and tossed in the slammer for the weekend. The judge gained his respect by reading him the riot act, pointing out that, in the freezing conditions at the time of his arrest, he could have died of the cold. My Dad apologized, and afterwards, was much more circumspect about his drinking. He still enjoyed good times, but he did cut it back considerably.

In early 1941, Dad was drafted. He credited his survival during WWII to the extra time he had to train, as, during the war, inexperienced soldiers were much likelier to be killed. He served in the artillery, and as a consequence, his hearing was much damaged. He had probably lost more than 1/2 his hearing by middle age. He used to buy those amplifiers for the TV, which drove everyone else in the house crazy with the sound. He never spent the money for a real hearing aid, which was a shame. If he had, he would have been able to take advantage of those Seniors at College programs. He would have enjoyed the mental stimulation.

Dad never talked that much about his war years, except for the funny stories. He never joined the VFW, or American Legion. He just wasn't a joiner.

After the war, Dad returned to WV for a short time. He knocked around town, spending his accumulated money, and enjoying female companionship - he even dated his former 3rd grade teacher, who had married and left teaching, and was then divorced. His brother, Harold, had plans for the two of them to open a restaurant, and tried to get permits, but to no avail. Without other ties to WV, Dad once again went north to Cleveland.

Dad got hired by Ohio Bell (later, his younger brother, Earl, worked for Bell Labs after his return from Korea). He worked there until his retirement, after 35 years of employment, starting as a janitor, transferring to a skilled craftsman job, and eventually ending up in Engineering as an Audit Specialist. He enjoyed his time there, and had many friends, although, for him, work was work, and home was home. He seldom socialized with work buddies, except for the bowling league. He came home on time every day, and spent his evenings quietly with his family.

The major exception to that homey existence was poker. He played several times a week when I was young, tapering off to a weekly game by my teen years. As time went on, the frequency of the games diminished, and eventually stopped.

The only other time he left after dinner was for his bowling league. Like his brother, Harold, he was a good bowler - Harold was MUCH better, and had several 300 games over the years. Harold supplemented his salary at Viking Glass, where he was a floor manager, with evenings spent managing a bowling alley. I've no doubt that Harold and Dad would have had a successful restaurant, had the plans worked out, as Harold was as outgoing as Dad was introverted, and with tremendous people skills, as well.

When I was in high school, a UHF TV channel, 43, started up. They showed old classic movies at 11:30 on Fridays. Dad got into the habit of taking a nap after dinner, then rising to watch the Late Show. Sometimes, I joined him. I quickly got hooked on the old films - Cagney, Bogart, Robinson, et al. It was our major connection at a time when I was not meshing with the family.
Dad wasn't always easy to live with. He was probably what we would now call chronically depressed. He was generally an introvert, but one that had developed some social skills. Many people knew him as a genial companion at lunch and on the job.
At home, he would often withdraw for hours at a time, busying himself with electronics projects, reading, or other solitary pursuits. Most of his children favored his temperament - we are all introverted, and crave solitary time after prolonged periods of social activity. Most of us have reasonable social skills - both my sister and myself married people more outgoing than we are.
His influence extends beyond his lifetime - good math/analytical skills, tendency to nerdiness, lousy hearing, and a preference for alone time - all of these were likely passed onto his children, and their descendants. Genetics is funny - you see it crop up, again and again, for generations.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

One Reason to Write

This post sparked mine today.

I've been writing (slowly, one anecdote at a time) my memories of my youth, and the stories that I remember being passed down from parents, grandparents, and other long-lived people.

I was fortunate - in my mother's family, old age was the default - my grandparents were born in the 19th century, and passed on stories of their youth. My father's family was equally long-lived, but not as talkative (WV vs. Irish-descent). Still, I have an aunt by marriage whose passion is genealogy, and who had compiled a bookshelf of clippings, copies of newspaper stories, and charts of the family, back to pre-Colonial times.

If you aren't on (and, I don't blame you - the price has risen shockingly!), you might want to use a word processing program or app - Google Docs is easy to use, and can be shared with others easily - to write down your memories - personal, or what has been told to you.

If you'd rather, set up a videocam, and record that process orally. Links to some ideas about what to write down/talk about below.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Caring for Senior Hair

It's tough.

Senior hair, consisting of mostly grey hairs, is usually quite fragile. Unless you take great care to condition, treat it, and handle it gently, you may have straw-like hair that breaks easily, and is hard to style.

So, totally unsolicited or compensated, here are my Rules for Caring for Senior Hair.

  1. At a maximum, only ONE process - coloring, straightening/curling - you have to make a choice, or your hair's health will suffer. Grey hair is more fragile than hair with more pigment. Two or more processes will stress it more than it can take.
  2. If you are more than 50% grey, stop coloring your hair. It's less aging to go natural than to have the hair not match the face's age. We need to re-claim our natural hair's beauty. 
  3. Here are some tips for the transition. For more advice, and some photos to inspire you, go here. FWIW, Helen Mirren is my hero - I have hair very like hers - fine and moderately wavy, but relatively thin. I usually take a picture of her into the stylist's, and I've always walked out happy.
  4. Baby Boomers need to hear this - you really don't need to wash every day. If the roots get oily, you can either use a dry shampoo, or just use a gentle shampoo on the oily parts. Here is some advice on picking the right dry shampoo for you.
  5. You can reduce the cost of shampoo, and lessen the damage to your hair if you dilute your shampoo about 1/2 and 1/2. Most of use over-apply the suds.
  6. Follow up with conditioner - don't apply it to the entire head (if your hair is fine, it will flatten it), just the oldest hair. Don't use much - about the size of a quarter - and work it into your palms before massaging the damaged parts. The most important thing to do is to leave it on long enough - up to five minutes. If you're concerned about using too much water, turn off the shower during that time, and turn it on again for the rinse. While you're waiting, massage the scalp and use your fingers to gently detangle the hair.
  7. If possible, air dry. If not, use the dryer until about 2/3 dry, then let air-dry.
  8. NEVER use hot rollers - the heat will be highest at the ends, the most damaged part. There are alternatives - foam rollers, plastic mesh rollers, putting in mouse/gel and scrunching the curls. Hair straighteners are also hard on hair, so don't use them everyday.
  9. If you have to use rollers, put them in after your hair is mostly dry. You can use your hair dryer on cool or low to finish. Leave the rollers in until the hair is completely cool, then style.
  10. Condition at least once a week with a deep conditioner. Leave in overnight.
  11. Get a trim regularly - it gets rid of the split ends, and makes it easier to brush. If your hair is very long, you will have to baby it to keep it in good shape.
  12. Use hats in sunny climates. Not only can you sunburn the scalp, but it's damaging to hair.
  13. If you swim, BEFORE you get into the pool, wet hair thoroughly. It will 'seal' the hair shaft, and keep the chlorine from being absorbed. Use a cap, if you can stand it. I don't, because I don't like the feel of them.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Still Teetering on that Fence

Now, another possible twist that affects my decision.

The mother of my youngest grandson may be returning full-time to finish her bachelor's degree, and MAY need some child care.

Oh, darn! How inconvenient! I may just have to think about that!


I'd LOVE to spend extended time with him, and, also, with his older sister (whom I don't know that well, but would like to - she seems to be both intelligent and lovable).

I should find out what the updated situation in Cleveland is by sometime next, leaving me with a last-minute decision to make. Den is leaving it up to me.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Like Willie Nelson...

...we're on the road, again.

We are traveling to Cleveland, to take care of some residual business with the house we sold. The contractor (or his people) took stuff out of the house while it was being renovated, then gave us a bum check, as did his mother-in-law. We're making sure that their home has a lien on it, and can't be sold without paying that money they owe us.

Other than that, we'll be seeing people, and celebrating our youngest grandson's 1st birthday. Truly a great bunch of reasons to travel.

It looks - says she CAUTIOUSLY - as though I WILL be able to retire at the end of the year - now, whether that means the school or the calendar year is still up for grabs. We'll be meeting with a financial planner in May to discuss just how this will be done.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Back and Forth, Back and Forth

I'm SO on the fence about retirement. On one hand, if it were totally up to me, I'd already have my papers in.

DH is more focused on having our income replaced before leaving. If not, at least having a much bigger pile of cash in our TSA (Teachers' Savings Account - a special type of investment available only for Teachers and a few other nonprofit employees).

So, the Back and Forth.

Today, I'm planning to work on taxes. By the middle of the week, I hope to have them done, and have updated a list of what we owe. On the trip to Cleveland, then, we can talk about how to manage the transition to debt-free (if we agree on the basic premise), and have a clear understanding of how much of each of our paychecks to dedicate to that process.

I COULD do another year, but I'm more inclined to commit myself only to until the end of the calendar year (2017) - at that point, if I decide I've had it, replacing me at a semester change would be less of a problem. A lot depends on how the administration handles discipline and academic rigor issues. If their decisions make my job that difficult, it might be reasonable to gracefully retire, leaving that position to be filled by someone younger and more able to handle the chaos.

Later in the day:

We spent some time talking, and we are more on the same page than I had assumed. DH has heard of the Snowball Method, and agrees that it has real potential for us to retire debt.

One idea he suggested is: if he continues working and brings in money over and above our needs, that's his to decide how to spend. I think that's fair. I already planned to use any money I brought in from blogging/writing books on my own hobbies/plans.

The best part of our discussion? Both of us realizing that we actually had more than we needed, without dipping into our savings, to pay for our regular bills, as long as we tackled that consumer debt. That means that we don't need to push ourselves to work after retirement, but can take on interesting or occasional jobs as we see fit.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

How Much Money Do YOU Need?

Years ago, when I was attending an Amway seminar, I was struck by something that was said:
Retirement is not a matter of how old you are, it's whether you have the money to walk away from paid employment.
It is true. One of my fellow teachers, who had been just hanging in there for several years, recently let the administration know she was leaving at the end of the school year. (both being tired of teaching, and physically exhausted because of medical problems - I don't know, but I suspect that it was a self-reinforcing loop - she was not well, so didn't enjoy the teaching, and she didn't enjoy her working hours, so tended to make her sicker).

She didn't have the age to get Social Security yet, so hesitated to retire, because of the need for medical. This year, she realized that her retirement savings could make up that shortfall until she qualified for SS.

And, she will be gone - hopefully, to enjoy the rest of her life.

Most people are hugely in debt (we have more than I would like at the moment). Consumer debt is the worst - the highest interest, the most difficult to say 'No' to. For many of us, there is little to no available cash in savings, and we are then left to fall back on credit if an appliance breaks, or if a car dies, or any other crisis hits.

There are resources for those who want to get out of that Debt Trap:

What to Do, Continued

Den and I were at church today, and heard a visiting priest talk about a charity effort that supplied low-cost, solar-powered computers to poorer countries. Den was so motivated, that he approached the priest after the mass to see if he could volunteer. He was not sure, but suggested that we contact the sponsoring organization.

It made us think. One of the possible choices we have is to start our retirement, not with a luxurious cruise, but with an extended volunteer experience (probably NOT Haiti, at least in late summer/early fall - the hurricane season will be in full gear by then). It would be great to have an opportunity to pass on our science/computer/ham radio experiences to another generation.

What about YOU? Are there life opportunities that you might, in retirement, be able to pursue for the first time?

In the comments, tell me about them.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

What to Do If Your Retirement Plan Needs Tweaking?

I'm a little more hopeful about figuring out a way to retire than I was the last time I posted. Several reasons for this:

  • I managed to put in a proposal for a summer workshop at my school district. I have no idea (and, frankly, little reason to hope) that it will be accepted, but it was an important first step.
  • I'm still working on getting my life in order. My toe is healing nicely, and it looks as though I will continue to improve mobility. That would make it easier to move around, and continue functioning as a teacher.
  • I've re-booted my novel revision, and will be continuing to slap that puppy into shape. Once I do, I plan to approach publication from 2 directions:
    • Send it out to potential publishers
    • If I don't at least get a nibble within a reasonable amount of time, self-publish and self-promote
  • I'll be continuing my writing - I keep dipping into the Chem ebook, and may realistically anticipate it being on the market by late summer - just in time for new teachers to discover it!
  • I'm keeping my eyes out for other, non-regular school jobs. I will start dedicating time to that after Easter break.
One significant direction to follow is to (1) reduce expenses, and (2) get the money that is in the pipeline already - taxes, refunds, lost funds, etc.

I plan to put most of my efforts on relatively short-term, or part-time opportunities. The goal is NOT to replace my full-time job with another, but to reduce the time spent in paid work.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Social Security Re-Do

After my foot checkup, I stopped at the Social Security office. I was seen relatively quickly (for not having had an appointment), and had a delightful and personable young man assist me. It was a complicated question, and he persisted, using the Chat function to get more expert assistance from another employee.

The Result?

I've withdrawn my application for SS that was in process. I had applied in my own name accidentally.

I have another appointment with a representative to discuss how to apply in my own name, which it appears WILL result in my getting some money - Yay!!!!

At this point, no one can tell me exactly how much. But, I'm OK with that - I just have to trust the process.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Or, Not.

Just got bad news - Social Security confirmed that I will NOT be eligible for money based on being a 'wife of'. So, that $400/month I was counting on is Gone With the Wind, so to speak.

It appears that the trouble is that I get a pension from OH teachers. That government pension (2/3 of it) is deducted from my SS money. Alas, it is actually higher than the money SS WOULD have provided.

So, no money. Until I'm 70, and can collect in my own name.

I could collect earlier, but I pay a penalty for doing so. In addition to the penalty I will pay in either case, to the tune of around $350 less in my SS check than other folks.

The girl (can't call her a woman, not with that tiny voice) at SS had to deliver the bad news. She did say something incredibly dumb: she cheerfully pointed out that once I had 30 years of SS-eligible work, I wouldn't lose any money. She continued with her perky positive attitude even when I pointed out that I would be 79 at that point.

I don't know what to do now. I counted on that money to make it possible to retire. It looks like I have to work for another few years, at least.

I'm really depressed now.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

What Do You Want to DO in Retirement?

Den and I were kicking around this very topic last night:

What do you want your retirement to look like?
Ways to get things done

I'm changing life-long habits

My husband indicated that he wants to see changes in how we do things at home. He wants me to schedule weekly chores, and become more organized (OK, he's right that I could definitely benefit from this).

I set up an erasable calendar, with just a few things scheduled. Later, once I get those things a part of a routine, I can add more stuff.

I have two calendars:

  • Monthly - it's erasable, and has been a great help in getting my commitments in front of my husband (I've try using online calendars, but he doesn't look at them). It's also helped me in daily/weekly planning.
  • A workweek-only one under the monthly one, with room for daily tasks/reminders.
So far, this system has been working for me.


My husband picked up a couple of the Matthew Kelly books at church. The organization Dynamic Catholic provides very low-cost books to churches, so they can put them in the hands of those attending. The first book, Rediscovering Catholicism, was designed to be given out at Easter and Christmas masses (Kelly had found that many sort-of Catholics only attended those masses, and thought it would be a good way to reach them).

If you go to their website, you can either order the individual books for the cost of the shipping - WELL worth the price - or your parish can sign up for their book program. I talked to my Director of Religious Education at my church, and we decided to order the books for our adult group 2 years ago. We read 4 Signs of a Dynamic Catholic, which I HIGHLY recommend. It formed the springboard to about 6 weeks of lively discussion in our group.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Technology Down!

I've been experiencing Kindle problems for a month or so. Slow to charge, not charging without several tries.

Yesterday, it gave up the ghost - would NOT charge, and wouldn't even flash to indicate that it was alive.

Naturally, I did a search to find the cure for my terminal bookholder. Finally found the answer at Eddie on Everything.

It's not completely up yet, but happily flashing the green light, so I have confidence that it will be usable this afternoon.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Part-Time Work For Post-Retirement

We've been in touch with an organization that is interested in working with us to put on a workshop for middle school science teachers. We've been asked to put together a proposal, and submit it. They already expressed an interest in the ideas, when I pitched them on it.

This is BIG! It's an activity that my husband and I can pursue even after we leave paid employment, in various parts of the country. I'm working on the proposal, and crossing my fingers that it is accepted for this summer.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Medicare Fraud Crack-Down

Notice, however, this is hitting the people behind the schemes, not the possibly tricked elderly.

Fraud taking money from government programs is a HUGE (YUGE?) thing. They range from doctors billing for non-existent treatment, to over-prescribing drugs for participants, to luring patients in with the promise of FREE stuff (mobility devices for ALL!).

It's not free - it is spending money that taxpayers don't have, to enrich people with no conscience.
With government programs, if you don't pay for something, it's not the same as getting it for FREE!

Someone - perhaps younger or future taxpayers - is paying for it. Free stuff comes at a cost - that money won't be available for other needs - defense of our borders, care for veterans, paying back the money that is already owed (here is a link to the National Debt Clock - the upper left hand corner shows the overall tally - other parts put that figure in context). That's all money SOMEONE has to pay for - and there are not that many rich people who can be forced to pay for it.

Payback will fall to those of us who work and pay taxes. That's about 53% of the population. A little more than 1/2 of Americans are responsible for paying for all of these 'give-aways'.

What can we do about this massive debt?
  • Put a halt to increases in programs. Sort out those who should not be getting money, or who are being overpaid (including government contractors).
  • Put all departments/agencies on an austerity budget - 5% less in their budget this year. They will have to chose which activities are core, and which are fluff.
  • Offer bounties to those who report fraud or abuses of government programs - if their evidence or information leads to a conviction/settlement, they get a cut.
  • If someone takes money they are not entitled to, it comes out of their:
    • Paycheck
    • Income tax refund/credit
    • Social Security check, if they haven't paid it off before they collect one
    • Other sources of income, including Federal/State/Local pension
  • Cut the waste. Stop those end-of-the-year purchases. If the agency/department doesn't spend everything, they return the money. NO bonuses if they spend to the limit. NO raises/promotions until the department's budget is at least 5% less than was budgeted.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

I'm Getting Afraid to Answer the Phone

Have you ever experienced a time when seemingly everyone around you is:

  • Sick
  • Unemployed or short of money
  • Experiencing personal traumas
  • One foot in the grave
  • Depressed (often for good reasons - situational, not endemic)
  • And otherwise not in a good place?
That's my situation right now. In my own family, both my brother and sister are not well (my brother is in the hospital), and my husband is slowly recovering from an antibiotic-resistant infection and pneumonia. In my husband's family, most have a variety of long-term illnesses, including the brother nearest in age with congestive heart failure.

My eldest is also experiencing a large number of sick or troubled people in her life, and my youngest grandchild is sick with a virus.

I'm getting afraid to answer the phone, for fear that it will be more bad news.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

My New Schedule for Posts

I've been doing some scheduling for future posts. Rather than just churn out stuff whenever it occurs to me, I've been making a conscious effort to space out my posts on an approximately 2-3 times a week schedule.

I would appreciate your spreading the word about this blog on social media. It's my hope that others might benefit from reading my story of retirement prep, and my experiences once I finally do retire.

I've been discussing this with my husband, and I'm leaning toward plugging the plug at the end of May. I may see if I can set up a part-time gig with a college for extra money. This should leave me relatively free for some travel and kicking back - as well as writing and pursuing my hobbies.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

All That We "Knew" About Aging and Health May be WRONG

Coffee - Bad?

Apparently, NOT.

This process has been going on for many years:

  • Some medical study is made about health.
  • Popularizers exaggerate the effects shown in the study, and inflate the core results into a program to improve/extend healthy lives.
  • Eventually, the government gets on board, and mandates changes to diet, exercise, medication regimens, or medical procedures.
  • After years of pushing the system on the general public, an honest re-evaluation of the effects is made, and - guess what? The advice is found to be completely wrong.
  • Repeat
  • Repeat
  • Repeat
Diet advice has gone from:
  • Calorie reduction
  • Exercise
  • Low-fat
  • High-carb
  • Low-carb
At the present, the low-carb forces appear to be on top. Never fear, they'll find out eventually that positive effects have been exaggerated, and the negatives minimized.

Same with exercise. I'm not against regular movement and activity. What I'm against is mandating the same thing for everyone. The down sides include:
  • Strain on joints - The Aerobic workouts were infamous for promoting injuries, using the words, "No Gain Without Pain".
  • Sudden heart attacks in the middle of exercising
  • Body image issues - for women, unhealthy thinness; for men, steroid abuse
  • Failure to modify exercise for difference in body type, physical condition, or disability
During this same time that the federal government has jumped into the Health Promotion Bandwagon, the American population has gone from a relatively healthy condition to overweight, sedentary, and abusing drugs at an ever-increasing rate.

Doesn't seem as though we need the Feds involved. We might do better on our own.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Medicare: Proposed Changes - Part Two

Hoo-Boy! This issue has been called the Third Rail of American Politics, and it surely has that potential to kill political careers.

A large part of the problem is the scare tactics being used by activists. They are playing on the natural desire not to lose a benefit, or to treat any change in a benefit as a personal attack on the individuals who are receiving it.

In the article linked above, the seniors are furious at the idea that the program won't be available, just exactly as it has been in the past. They consider the benefits theirs, by right, and any change as taking away something that is THEIRS.

They don't seem to have heard that old country saying, "Don't count your chickens until they're hatched."

The US Representative holding the meeting, Rosa DeLauro, fed into their fears.
DeLauro, who has a 97-year-old mother, said she's sensitive to cuts that affect seniors. Though she knows that the country needs to cut programs and bring down the deficit, she said she'd rather the country save money in other ways, such as ending subsidies for oil companies. DeLauro said the plan on the table "asks the deepest sacrifice of our seniors and those who have been working and saving in preparation for retirement." The proposed Medicare changes would drastically affect seniors' quality of life, she said, as the payment provided by the government through the plan likely wouldn't be enough to cover their health-care costs.
I do hate to spoil a good rant with the FACTS, but the CURRENT plan is not enough to cover their health-care costs. That's why politicians are trying to change it - because the enormous costs, although not sufficient to pay the providers what it costs to treat seniors, are threatening to take over the ENTIRE budget.

Currently, the Medicare portion of MANDATORY spending is about 23%. Although only 15% of the total budget, it's a part that cannot be reduced, unless the program itself is changed. Currently, Social Security and Medicare together are 37% of the budget.

That would take a LOT of oil company subsidies to make a dent in that number.  For comparison, ALL subsidies for fossil fuels were about 37 billion in 2015, less than 1% of the total budget. But, that number includes IRS rules that reduce taxes - something ALL companies take advantage of. Some of that 'subsidy' is to provide money to low income people for their heating costs - NOT something that the oil companies benefit from.

So, no, there is no magic pot of gold being hogged by the oil companies - or any other business - that would provide money to fix the Medicare problem. And, unless she is delusional, DeLauro knows it. Her words are simply demagoguery.

Another pie-in-the-sky Progressive, had one of the silliest responses to the problem:
Brad Plebani, deputy director of the Center for Medicare Advocacy, based in Wallingford, spoke at the town meeting and decried the plan as "the worst I've ever encountered. It's designed to shift the costs (of health care) onto you, the Medicare beneficiaries, or your children or children's children."
Is that not who is supposed to pay for health care? The recipients? If they don't, the cost WILL fall on their children and grandchildren.

There really isn't any alternative, if the current system is to stay in place, other than the so-called Death Panels - as evidenced by the current Progressive Leadership:
The Obama administration plan would keep Medicare a government program, but give a panel of experts the power to force cuts if spending exceeded a certain target. His latest proposal would strengthen cost curbing mechanisms that are already in the new health-care overhaul.
 Those spending cuts mean that the 'experts' will decide that you really didn't need that expensive medicine, or the operation that would let you retain mobility. If you were over a certain age, you might be encouraged to take the 'voluntary' suicide option, thus freeing up resources for those younger.

I'll post more in Part 3.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

My Last Year Teaching

As I am winding down on the plan to retire in another year, I find that I am particularly excited about fully enjoying that time, and working to make it the Best Year Ever!

In that vein, I find myself writing down more of my process, including mapping out the units, with labs, and reflecting on how well (or not) it worked.

I have been working ruthlessly, both at home and at school, to weed out outdated curriculum, better organize the materials and equipment I have, and to prepare to leave with all things done.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Small Tech Assist For Memory

I've been using the Chrome extension OneTab for several days now, and it's been worth the installation.

What OneTab does is reside on the menubar, and - with a click of the button - move all of your tabs to a single location. That tab holds them, waiting for you to click on the tab you want. When you do, that tab - and ONLY that tab - starts loading. This speeds up the process that can get bogged down with multiple tabs sending the message to load.

This is a great feature, as often I find myself clicking on many links at a time. By using OneTab, I can do so, then, with a single step, hold those tabs in Limbo until I'm ready to look at them, one at a time.

Get OneTab here.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Medicare: Proposed Changes to the Plan - Part One

Now, I know that some seniors are adamant:


While it might be nice to stand, line in the dirt, opposed to ANY changes in Medicare, I'm afraid that is NOT a realistic scenario.

Medical care - particularly for seniors - is expensive. Insisting that doctors and other medical providers just suck it up, and take less money for services, has led to difficulty getting doctors to agree to see you. NO medical care is worse than pricey medical care.

It's the remedy of choice for politicians - there are fewer doctors than seniors, and seniors are the most reliable voting segment. Better to starve a doctor, than to tell a senior that he has to accept more expensive visits.

I've been investigating this for a few weeks. Like it or not, almost every senior will be affected by this issue.  I've read some of the available proposals, and have summarized a few below. I'll be posting more on this in the coming weeks; it's likely to be tackled early in the new administration's term, perhaps as early as this summer.
  • The AARP presentation lays out some of proposed changes, from the perspective of the Right (Heritage  Foundation) and Left (Brookings Institution), as well as from Avalere Health, a consulting firm on Health Issues. The presentation provides viewpoints from a variety of stakeholders, clearly identified.
  • Changes to Part D only - the ultimate cost of the Part D (medication part) of the Medicare plan was not known when the coverage was implemented by President GW Bush. This paper discusses ways of limiting costs to the providers.
    • Some limits on medication may be necessary. There are a few patients that will use meds that are quite expensive. Some of these are transplant patients; others are fighting chronic illnesses, such as AIDS, liver/kidney/heart disease, and may reasonably be expected to continue using those pricy meds for some time.
    • It may be necessary to adjust co-pays. Like it or not, most of us are sensitive to cost. If the cost of using a particular medication increases, we might be open to a generic or other substitute.
    • Lifetime limits might be a part of this equation. At some point, we might have to weigh the cost of staying alive against the cost of bankrupting ourselves and leaving nothing but bills to our estate.
  • Changes in Medicaid affect not only seniors, but other groups - Workers Comp, government workers, etc. Their plans shift when Medicare does. SOME of the 'concern' for retirees is really concern for their OWN plans.
  • Keep in mind just how much of the federal budget is affected by changes in Medicare.
    • " Taken together, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Programs are an estimated 21% of the federal budget while Social Security is approximately 20%" - emphasis mine.
    • Failure to reduce runaway costs may cause TAXES to increase - and, not just those that primarily affect wage-earners, but consumer costs, as well.
  • What is a "peverse incentive"?
That's all for now - I'll be updating this in Part Two later.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Why Men Drive Their Wives Crazy in Retirement

It's not what you'd think.

It is NOT a calculated effort to bring them to eye-rolling, babbling insanity.

It is because they previously had something to do all day. And, now, they don't.

That's a lot of energy with no place to go. Except to try to find helpful things to do at home.

In many families, the husband ceded control of the household to his wife. She had sole right to:

  • Plan meals
  • Buy food
  • Decorate
  • Organize the house
  • Do chores on HER schedule
  • Pay bills
Now, she finds another adult with time to kill, and a deep-seated desire to be useful. So, that adult wants to take on some of her job.

Now, some women can look at this as an opportunity to 'retire'. To let go of part of her previous job. To free up some time for hobbies, socialization, FUN!

Others, not.

For that second group, this is THEIR stuff. And, if someone tries to assist them with THEIR stuff, they BETTER do it the way she says.

Or else.

It's a control issue. Some people are better at re-drawing boundaries than others.

How to manage this situation?

HELP him find his niche:
  • Work to help him create, and grow, non-work friendships. Many men find this difficult - in the past, their work or neighborhood provided male companionship. It did not require them to make an effort.
  • BOTH should look for volunteer activities. It's a chance to do something useful, enjoy the status of being in charge of something, and truly help out a community that needs the assistance of adults, but hasn't sufficient people without family or work responsibilities to do those jobs.
  • Exercise - this can be together, or separately. Walk with a friend, join a gym, do WiFit or televised programs. Aim for both to have as active a life as possible.
  • Make a list of household responsibilities, and split them up. Decide that the owner of that job will be the one to set the standard for that job (MANY women will have trouble with this. They are fine with husbands doing the job, but super-critical of HOW they do it. Many will find that they go around after the job is done, re-doing it - STOP that. Truly give up that responsibility).
  • Make some time for togetherness. Have a Date Night. Plan vacations. Make the holidays special. And make sure he can point to some part of all of that as HIS contribution.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Neat Ideas for Seniors - Or Anyone, Really

I liked many of these Life Hacks. The one about using a spring on tech cords is genius.

One project that most of my senior friends talk about it getting rid of clutter. Over the years, most of us have accumulated WAY too much, and it's making us feel overwhelmed.

I'll admit that I'm bad, and my husband is, as well. We have more things than we can reasonably use in one lifetime - which, by the way, is getting shorter (well, it is, even for younger people).

So, over the next couple of months, I'm going to post about my progress here, with pictures.

Feel free to use the comments to add any ideas of your own, or to brag about your own progress in Taming The Clutter Monster!

Current plans:

I'll be out most of the day, shopping for various things. Den and I decided to make a day of it, perhaps going to Gastonia or elsewhere to shop, eat, and generally relax.

One of the things we did this morning is something we should be doing more often - PLANNING our trip, to maximize our efforts, and reduce both the time and expense of the trip.

We made a list of things we wanted to check out at the Container Store, and are going to measure the spaces we might want to get changed. The pantry is on the list for changes.

I'm going to dedicate some time this weekend (perhaps 1 hour on each of the 3 days of this weekend?) to clear out clutter. If I don't need records, I'm going to scan/take a picture, and toss it out. My goal is to clear off flat spaces in the home office, and empty some files/storage areas.

It's ambitious, I'll admit, but I'm going to work on it. I'll start by photographing the Before, and, after clearing off, the After.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Handling Chronic Pain

This is likely to be a sleeper issue - one that will simmer for a long time, without hitting the headlines.

The issue of opiate abuse is, of course, a perennial favorite for the media, legislatures, and various advocates (for the addicted, for law & order, for morality police, etc.). That abuse usually centers on those individuals whose addiction makes them incapable of employment, care of minor children, or full participation in American Life.

Elder addiction?

Eh, not so important.

But, in fact, many of the elderly do become addicted to various painkillers, not just for diseases such as cancer, but also for back pain, joint pain, and other ills that disproportionately affect older Americans.

I generally try to avoid medicated pain relief. I do so not just because of the possibility of addiction, but also because of the high risk of liver damage - even for such meds as Ibuprofen, Aspirin, and Tylenol.

One med that I've been using on a daily basis is Mobic, or Melexicam. It's for the joint issues I have - meniscus damage, arthritis in toe, knee, and hip. With it, I function with very little impairment. Without it, I am in pain, and my mobility is severely limited.

On occasion, more is needed. In small doses, for a a short time, I have used Naproxen. If more is needed, that's when I turn to my TENS unit.

TENS units are designed to provide electrical stimulation to aching areas, and, by doing so, interrupt the pain signals that are over-active. These units can range from the one that Shaq promotes in TV ads - Smart Relief.

These units are relatively small, and deliver a mild stimulation - not enough for serious pain. What you might want to do is use them to test out whether the method of pain relief works for you before committing to a more expensive unit. Cost is about $30, depending where you buy it.

The one I use is the Hidow AcuXPD-S - cost ranges from $250-500. Believe me, it's worth it. Today, I woke up with an aching shoulder. I put on the unit, and I am good to go.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Retirement Prep

We've been talking a lot lately, and we are beginning to plan our purchases more prudently - with an eye to what might be useful in retirement, but, also, what would fit into a reduced budget.
An example of this is a wish Dennis had before Christmas - he's long wanted a good camera, and he found one at a good price - $400, one that had been more originally.
My first impulse was to say, fine, that can be your Christmas gift. Den was actually the one to hesitate in buying. He decided to think about it for awhile.
Now, we will have some room in our budget for indulgences like that - not everyday, but certainly, annually. The change we will have to make is to plan for these financial outlays.


We're back at work today - Den had kids yesterday, mine come for the first time today. I have 3 preps - it may be difficult, at first, but I'm looking forward to the change.

I signed my letter of intent for next year - the last time I should be doing that. I'm hoping to make it to the end of the school year (May, 2018), but, there is an outside chance that I will be leaving after 1st semester. My intent is to stay the entire year, but that will depend on my health and ability to do the job.

  • It's physically harder - when I get a cold (as it is difficult to avoid when you're around young people), I take a lot longer to recover. 
  • I don't have the time to exercise as regularly as I want to. By the time I get home, I'm pooped!
  • Meetings are draining, and I find my attention wandering.
  • I'm still sharp, but I do find that mental processing takes just a smidge longer.
  • I'm less patient with antics of misbehaving students.
  • I'm less patient with whining - of both students AND staff.
  • Some days, I'd just like to start the day in slo-mo, rather than jump out of bed at 4:45 am.
  • I want to see the grandkids more often. Vacations have to be planned around the school year.
For these, and other reasons, I'm about ready to retire. Getting our ducks in a row is what I'm focused on at the present:
  • Paying off bills - should be easier to do once our house is finally sold - cross your fingers, it should be one week from now!
  • Getting the paperwork in to transfer the NC retirement money to SC.
  • Investigating the Medicare options.
  • Taking care of any big medical expenses this year - while we have our insurance, and to take maximum advantage of the deductible.
  • Looking into part-time opportunities - with colleges, schools, and businesses.
  • Finishing my first book.
A large part of that process is to engage in conversations that allow us to consolidate on a master plan that we can both live with. That will require consensus about:
  • What our living arrangements will be - in place in SC, in another home, somewhere else, in a rental, an RV, or temporarily migrant with friends and family?
  • How we should spend our time?
  • How we should spend our money?
We're not there yet. We have differences in our expectations. It will require some effort to reach agreement on all of these things.

UPDATE: I met with my students - they are generally nice kids. They were shocked that they had homework this week, however, and a quiz, too. They'll adjust.