Saturday, October 10, 2015

Weekend Wrap-up – October 10, 2015

Geez! Another week has come and gone. We're well on our way into the fall. The leaves are changing colors in many parts of the country. The temperatures have finally started to moderate. It's now one of my two favorite seasons of the year – fall and spring.

My week was a little different this week. While I'm still busy listing things in my storage units for sale on eBay and Craig's List as well as packing and shipping or having picked up (or in the unusual case this week, I delivered an item), I have a lot of stuff to go through and make determinations on. Some of it needs to be retained (or I want to retain it for some illogical reason). But, lots of it needs to either be given away or committed to a dumpster or land fill. Yes! I'm practicing what I preach. As I've told you, this is a necessary project for downsizing, simplifying and living free(r – in my case). However, it's no easier for me than it is or will be for you.

I made a trip into my former hometown of Winchester, Virginia in the northern Shenandoah Valley on Thursday. I had to take care of some simple tasks including picking up my 2014 tax return to file (yes, I'm on an extension) and have a brief meeting with my CPA of 30 years (that's hard to believe).

I stopped, first, at my primary care doctor's office and had blood drawn, as she requested I do at my last visit in June. She took me off the very costly prescription she had me on for a few years for cholesterol control. Since it's been well within the target range now for a few years, I'm off it. Hooray! But, she wants to monitor me for a while. It was a quick in and out and I'll know the results this coming week.

I'm also on a couple prescriptions for blood pressure, but my BP has been well in range now for a couple years, too. Those meds are very inexpensive generics, but I'd really like to get off them, too. So, maybe next year, one of those will go and then after that the other one.

I don't know why some of us take so long (and some of us never do) to get the message about taking care of ourselves better and enjoying a better quality and longer life. I started, probably, 15 years or so ago and it's one of the best things I've done for myself. Had I not, my prostate cancer probably would not have showed up until it was too late and I wouldn't be around writing this weekend wrap-up.

My next stop in Winchester, which I actually had planned to be my last stop, was at the Winchester Little Theater. The WLT was the place I plied my skills in audio system design and integration by putting in their first permanent, specifically designed, theatrical sound system. After installing said system (and, of course, doing upgrades and other modifications over my ten year tenure) I was the primary sound designer for approximately 50 productions. This included three or four consecutive years of doing the radio play version of the traditional Christmas movie “It's A Wonderful Life.”

I hadn't had an opportunity to either see a show or even stop in to visit the theater in at least a couple years, maybe more. The theater, an 86 year old community institution, purchased an old Pennsylvania Railroad freight station (now 120 years old and an historic building) in the center of town and turned it into a theater. It's currently in fund raising mode to rehabilitate the historic structure and do some much needed renovations, both interior and exterior.

I had a piece of equipment that belonged to the theater that had been in my storage for a couple years. I wanted to drop it off. As I entered the lobby I was greeted by the enthusiastic Dolly Vachon and Bill Westguard, two members of the theater (of which I'm a Lifetime Member). Bill grabbed the keys for the sound booth where I deposited the equipment and then gave me a quick tour of the work being done on the theater.

It was nice to “be home” again. It was also great meeting Dolly and Bill, two folks who may have joined the theater after my retirement about 7 or so years ago. Break a leg, WLT!

Then it was on to my CPA, my tax return and our discussion of a simple financial strategy I had developed. I explained my thoughts and plan. John looked over my tax return, then looked me straight in the eye and said, “Why are you making this so complicated? Aren't you all about simplifying your life?” Good old John, I can always count on him. He really disliked my account when I was in the book publishing business. I was probably one of his most complicated accounts at that time. Now, I'm possibly his simplest. I got my financial thinking straightened out in quick order was on my way, again.

Then I dropped by my mechanic to say 'hi' and let him know I'll be heading on my next cross country tour within the next month or so and I'll be in to have him do a look-over on My McVansion before I hit the road. I also met a fellow there who purchased an item from me I had listed on Craig's List. It worked out very conveniently for both of us. And that stop was complete

I stopped at one of the branches of the bank I've had accounts at for the last 20 years or so. I was set back a little when I went to open the door and they had to “buzz me in” with the remote door lock on the front door. Apparently, the crime in my little former hometown, including bank robberies, has been increasing enough that several of the branches of my bank now have this added security. I don't know about the numerous other bank chains in town, but it was a little off putting to me. I no longer feel as safe and secure in my original hometown in New Jersey where I grew up and lived my first 22 years when I visit there. Now, I'm beginning to get a similar feeling in this small town I called home for 26 years in Virginia. Me thinks our world and our country are changing more than I'm realizing.

My next and last stop in Winchester was a quick stop at Costco to pick up a few things. They were busier than usual and took a little longer to get out of there. Finally, I gassed up My McVansion with much lower priced Virginia gas than the prices in West Virginia.

After my gas up, I headed back to the current base camp in West Virginia with one final stop at an old audio/video/computer friend's house in a rural section of West Virginia. Alan and I enjoyed about a two and a half hour visit discussing our old colleagues from the small professional association we formed in the Shenandoah Valley. Many of these folks have passed into oblivion – either dropped out of the business, out of sight or passed away. While we can't live in the past, it's nice to occasionally review the past, since it's where we came from. Each of the individuals who were members of this group we formed were talented and very unique. Then Alan and I discussed our current states of affairs and determined our chosen lifestyles were serving us well. Then it was time to roll on down the road again, to complete my day's travel event.

So, Thursday's trip to Winchester was my “big day” this week.

The Week That Was

I'm going to summarize this very quickly because, frankly, most of the news doesn't warrant much time.

HRC continues to get deeper in what appears to be the muck of her own making. The Donald, seems to be making some statements that may be slowing down or possibly reversing his poll rankings. The good doctor – not from Kentucky – seems to be holding his own, but may be approaching his peak. The lady formerly from HP didn't seem to make a huge amount of news noise this week, but she's still in there swinging. The other GOP contenders continue swinging, each trying to make points with the electorate. McCarthy leaves the GOP hanging and in chaos as he steps out of the possible Speaker of the House position – now, it's a toss-up who may get the nod (218 votes). There is a push for Paul Ryan. What a mess, huh? The Oregonian folks are still grieving their recent loss and rightly so. More comes out about the nut case who did in nine innocent people and wounded a bunch more. Now it appears it was because they were “Christians.” So, the debate is on as to whether this was a hate crime. Putin is sending in the Russian cavalry into Syria. The U.S. is training, equipping and backing our enemy who is the enemy of our enemy. There is talk of the possibility of WWIII beginning in the Middle East or at the very least, restarting the “Cold War” with Russia.

I think that about covers the week that was this week friends. It seems to me like we have a very screwed up country and world, but then again, so what else is new?

Some Weekend Reads

Here are a few things to read over the weekend as time allows.

Can You Shop Your Way To Happiness? Believe it or not, there is actually a term for this consumerism bug that seems so prevalent in modern, western culture. Check out this article and see if you resemble this.

Elon Musk: The Restless Genius Behind Tesla and SpaceX Takes a Victory Lap Here's an interesting article about a man who is changing our world. He started out with how we transfer money and now, electric cars, battery systems to take homes off the grid and space ships. Only in America.

How Will Social Security Help You With Your Retirement Savings Plans? Some readers may think you're already past the point where this information may be helpful. Hey, we're living longer and longer. It's never too late to learn something new. And it's never too late to implement some different financial thinking and strategies.

Our Solar Power Set-up – on Incargonito. This is my friend John Abert's blog. If you've seen the short documentary, “Ed & The Aberts” produced by Michael Tubb, this is that same John Abert. John is a former construction contractor and knows more about more things than the average bear. I kid about John being a perfectionist and maybe a little OCD, but in reality, John really knows what he's doing and he does things RIGHT! He's installing solar power on his utility trailer, the one that was pretty empty in the documentary video and is now nearly completely finished and has undergone a shakedown cruise. Here are the details of John's solar system.

And that's a wrap for this week. Tune in next week for the next tip in the 52 Weeks to a Simpler Life series and more, hopefully, useful and fascinating information about living free.

1 comment:

John Abert said...

Thanks for the nod, Ed! For those getting tired of the details of building out a trailer, rest assured that the construction will soon be done, and then we'll be out of here, to record more pleasurable travel experiences and new places!

On your post, it's interesting that you have to be buzzed into your own bank, but not really surprising. This is likely to become much more prevalent in high crime areas. I suspect they will soon issue cards that you will have to swipe to get in the door, and potential new customers will have to make appointments, and then enter into a non-banking area to set up new accounts. It just makes for common sense security. It would make me feel safer, just knowing I could enter a bank knowing that a robber would not already be in there! If this is the future, then bring it on!

Best wishes on getting your business wrapped up soon. Hopefully your accountant talked some sense into you, as far as keeping things simple. No retiree is truly retired when they have as much on their plate as you do. There are far more pleasurable things to occupy one's time besides dealing with people on a business level. You just haven't set aside the time to find those things yet.

The offer is still open. If you get out of there before we do here, you're always welcome to stop for as long as you need to.