Thursday, August 31, 2017

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/roof
  • Taking down aging trees (unbelievably expensive!)
  • Foundations
  • Driveways/sidewalks
  • Insulation
  • Windows
  • Major appliances - are they reaching the end of their life cycle?
  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
Better to spend the money BEFORE you retire. It's also easier to get those short-term credit deals while employed.

Most major jobs will have a X number of months same as cash option. Figure out what you can afford each month, and set up automatic payments. The savings can be considerable.

It really doesn't matter whether you plan to age in place, or sell and move elsewhere - these repairs/improvements need to be done. Decide which that will be - stay or go - because you'll want to consider which improvements would pay off in increased sale price, if you do chose to sell.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

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 - OK, months.

I stopped near completion. My back was starting to ache. I stopped before I did actual damage - I can go back to it later today. I have errands to run, and needed to stop, anyway.

Friday, August 25, 2017

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, though. Just sign up online and print out your confirmation, or mail it by midnight, 8/27/17.

Thanks to iSteve, who provided the information and the link.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

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.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

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 of things I can do, as I've been told not to stress the shoulder (and, it's my dominant side). I'm chipping off a little at a time, and I'm hoping to be able to see some progress by the end of next week.

I signed up for a book club at my church; we'll be meeting next Thursday at noon, so I need to finish it soon. I'm trying to keep to a schedule of a chapter a day, which should bring me to the end in good time.


Thursday, August 10, 2017

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, maƱana.


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 had used the local ones in Cincinnati while traveling). I'm going to use my unassigned time for the EclipseMob receiver setup and testing. I need to get another capacitor for that.

Today (Wednesday, August 9), I have completed several future blog posts, started with a healthier breakfast, and made some plans for today.


If you do it right, one day is enough.

How do you eat an elephant?

One Bite at a Time.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

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 those high earners - celebrities(nearly ALL of Hollywood, the music industry, and the extremely well-paid MSM), Internet billionaires (Zuckerberg, Gates, Musk), Capitalists (Soros, Buffet), long-wealthy families (DuPonts, Kennedys, John Kerry's wife, etc.), support the party that wants to 'tax the rich'.

Which, they are. Hmmm. That seems odd - to voluntarily put their wealth in the hands of the government.

Is it really likely that they will risk their net worth by that support? No. What they WILL do is to structure those 'cash-grabs' in such a way as to leave THEIR wealth virtually untouched. While reaching WAY down into the middle-class to get that filthy lucre.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

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 Dictionary.com):
ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the 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.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

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.  

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