November 18th, 2019

Adventure, Just things, Travel, Uncategorized

It’s been a busy few weeks. Fall is definitely here, and with it comes the usual PNW climate for this time of year – grey, clouds and rain, the days getting shorter, and the much cooler weather. Quite a change that happened rather abruptly. I’m glad I will be able to get away soon to see some different and better weather.

A few weeks ago my oldest daughter Angie flew into town with her mom and they picked up Alexis and came to my house for a visit. We went out to the coast to see the Hoh rainforest and get on the sand at Rialto Beach. It was a really nice day and perfect weather for going out that way. My trailer makes for a nice extra room for people that come to visit.

I got back from the hospital a couple of days ago after another surgery (unrelated to the shoulder). It was something I’ve been trying to get handled for a while now so it is a relief to have it taken care of finally. I actually spent the night in a hospital which I haven’t done in decades. Needless to say I am glad to have this finally done but I am really glad to be back home. Surgery went fine and the doctor felt pretty good about the outcome. Waiting on lab results, though, before getting too relieved!

While I was gone I had to board the dog at a kennel. It was strange to do that since I just got him home and he was looking at me like “WTF is going on here?” as he curiously went with the strange (to him) woman. I’m sure he did fine since he is pretty laid back and likes almost everyone he sees. I can’t wait to see him (and not smell him!).

I’ll find out in two weeks how much longer my physical therapy will continue. It sounded like I am close to being finished with it when I was at my last visit. I will still be doing exercises but will be on my own since I still do not have full range of motion. I don’t know if it will all come back or not but I will keep working toward that goal.

It will be very nice to not have to be somewhere weekly and I can start getting out and about on some long-awaited and much-needed adventures. I try to not get too excited yet since I am still recovering from this last surgery and I have to be mindful of that. It is hard to not get excited about going places, though – I was unable to do much of anything the last six months so yes…I am ready to go someplace. I do have some big plans coming up in the future!

Being retired is quickly becoming more real. All of my options are wide open now so I  have a few things to ponder. I find the classic “Pro/Con” list is such an effective way to help you make some informed decisions of this type. I started doing this when I began thinking about no longer working so now I need to go to the next step and consider what the next chapter is. Of course, my main focus was looking at if I could even think about retiring financially.

The biggest difficulty is deciding where to call your “permanent home”. The US laws enacted after 9/11 say you must have a domicile; you cannot just wander about and be a “citizen of the world” (well, at least, not in the US). You also need a domicile address for things like getting mail (“General Delivery” at the post Office is only supposed to be allowed for 30 days), vehicle licensing and income taxes (And no, it is NOT legal to just go live in the National Forest despite what everyone thinks and does and posts on YouTube and other social media; in fact, there are limits on length of stay in the forests that vary in each National Forest so you need to check into that before you set up a camp in the forest – even if you are just on a vacation.).

That means you have to think about things like taxes on your retirement on top of statistics on crime, politics (I guess those two are the same), cost of living, climate…whatever things you consider when wanting to live someplace. Some states have no state income tax (like WA) while some tax retirement/Social Security over a certain amount (like CO), and some tax it all (like KS). This can be frustrating to try to figure out because you may live in a place you like with no taxes but the cost of living is high and want to escape to a cheaper place. Some places (like OR) have no sales tax but are not retirement-friendly financially otherwise. The combinations are infinite so you have to figure out what best suits you.

One last thing…I want to post a link for Scott’s Cheap Flights (NOTE: Clicking on the colored link and joining the website gives me future discounts on my membership and may help me win a vacation!) . This website is one I pay to be a member of and it has saved me money on many flights (but you can just join for free). My first flight to Europe a few years ago was found through this website and I ended up paying only $373 for RT tickets on Icelandair to Amsterdam.

They do show you how they search for stuff on your own, but I still pay to be a member because they will find and send you cheap flights you may not think of. For example, they sent me an email a couple of months ago with a mistake fare for Bangkok, Thailand with stopovers in Viet Nam, Singapore, or other cities in Thailand. This ticket was on the top couple of airlines that fly to the Far East and Asia. Price? It was less than $300…for a $2000+ fare! And it is really cheap enough for the savings you get.

To make it even easier they give you all the steps to get the flights, what cities, airlines, and the normal prices and there is even a search link at the bottom of the emails that already has the info filled in – click the link and it takes you to the search!

That’s today’s update.

A Fundraiser

Adventure, Just things, Uncategorized

I met Jake in Montana when he came over a year or two ago to help move the kids. I only met him twice but he was a really nice guy and very friendly.

Jake, a sheriff in Montana, was killed in a tragic accident while on duty a couple of weeks ago. A GoFundMe account has been set up for his family – he leaves behind a wife and three young kids. Normally I would not pass along these types of things but it is for someone I knew and was good friends with Meghan and Loran.

If you can help it is greatly appreciated.

November 4th, 2019

Adventure, Just things, Uncategorized

IMG_0001

You will be missed so much…

Today we lost a long-time family pet.

Kona had a great 16 or so years. Or, I should say, WE had a great 16 or so years being lucky enough to have her in our lives. She was always there and with her unconditional love she helped us get through some tough times in our lives. She loved hiking and road trips and she went off-roading with us every time we went – she just enjoyed being with her humans no matter what we were doing or where we were doing it.

And we really loved being with her as much as she loved being with us.

When we went to look at her as a fuzzy little puppy we got there early to be first in line. Some other people tried to do an end run and get her first. There was literally almost a fight over her but Meghan and I prevailed and took her home. She was part of our family and along with Lakota we were her pack.

When Meghan went off to college I kept Kona at my house since she couldn’t live with her in the dorm. That dog followed me everywhere and always kept me within eyesight (much like Rider does). She would even circle wide and herd the cat out of the kitchen. So many stories and fond memories of her.

DSC_0004

Kona on one of our last four-wheeling adventures together

I may have written about this before (I’m not really in the mood to go back and look…) but want to say it again if I did. I thought about how, and how much, pets are entwined in our lives when Lakota died the day I lost my job nearly eight years ago. They are always there, quietly supporting and living us through life’s highest of highs and the lowest of lows; from the moment we bring them home until the very end they transcend all of the events in our lives for the short time they are with us whether events are happy or sad – the relationships beginning and ending, the new jobs and new places to live several states away, loss of family and friends. And, much like the loss of family and friends, the loss of a pet is also a loss of a loved one as well as another link to our past.

I will miss seeing her when I visit but she will always be there. We were so lucky to have you, Kona. You were a great companion.

Thanks for having us in your pack.