Debbie is still not able to shake her persistent cough and I’ve got the chills. Well, that and neither one of us is getting much sleep. Other than that… sheesh. At best Debbie is about 80% and I’m about 85% but trying to behave like I’m 100% without much success. As I sit here updating this blog I can hear Debbie working through another coughing spell which has really taken its toll on her energy levels and patience. It pains me to hear her coughing so much since almost nothing seems to help: cough syrups, Dayquil, and even cough drops have little if any lasting effect. We’ll, I guess we’ll set our sight on next weekend and hope that we’ll be back to 100%.
Other than that….
March is reminding us that it’s still winter here in the deep south. After teasing us with a couple of weeks in the 60’s and 70’s, this past weekend saw the temps beginning to head south as the rain came in. Looking at the weather predictions for the week ahead, lows drop into the 20’s by Wednesday and struggle to get into the 40’s through next weekend. Between my struggles with the flu and the weather, and with the exception of a short ride on our Road King “Blue” this past Friday when I met Debbie for lunch at The Red Eyed Mule, I’ve not made a commute to work on a motorcycle since January. Looking back through the blogs, Debbie hasn’t been out for a ride on Blue with me since mid-November when we took a short trip over to Loco Willy’s for lunch after a tandem ride on an unseasonably warm Sunday: unbelievable!
This Past Week…
Healthcare’s Oppressive Costs on the Economy: Well, there’s work… which is a four-letter word. If it wasn’t for the unknown, escalating cost of healthcare I’d already be retired. But, when just going to the doctor’s office to get treated for the flu has an out-of-pocket cost under our healthcare plan of $200 (x2 since we both had the flu) for the $266 treatment which was about 5 minutes with a Physician’s Assistant confirming that we had the flu with a sinus swab — something that I had done at my company’s medical office for free — on top of what would be a $19,000 year premium, I’m stuck staying in the workforce. Mind you, we have a very healthy retirement nest egg and a pension. But even still, if we were to both retire today we’d be looking at $250,000 in out-of-pocket health care premiums before medicare kicked-in… assuming there is still something called medicare in the year 2027: that’s a pretty huge chunk of cash to consume in just the first 10 years of retirement as it’s more than double what we’d estimated just 6 years ago. My financial advisors keep saying “we’ll be fine” based on 8% annual returns on our investments, unfortunately I’m the only one making over 8% a year on my investments as the six-figure “rainy day fund” we gave them to play with a couple years ago only earned 3% last year; about the same the year before. Not exactly a stunning audition: probably time to find another financial advisor, as this is now three (3) we’ve tried-out and all of them have failed to produce. Makes me wonder why I don’t go into the financial advisor career field in retirement since the bar is set so low!! In the mean time, this means I’ll continue to occupy a position that won’t be available for “the next person in in
But, We Did Get Out!
On the bright side, and despite still feeling a bit puny, we were able to get out on Friday and Saturday night and pay a couple of visits to Loco Willy’s.
On top of our every-other-Friday lunch date at The Red Eye’d Mule, it did us a world of good to get out among the living vs. staying in on Friday and Saturday night so that we could at least test our stamina and see our friends. Friday went pretty well, although I still had a bout of the chills on the way home. Saturday was about the same, although Debbie struggled later that night. As I’ve said, better to push and try to remain in the game thatn to stay on the sidelines.
Got That Ceiling Fixed:
As regular readers may recall, about the time that Debbie and I both came down with the flu we also had a minor home maintenance issue when a guest bathroom commode decided to spring a leak: 3rd time in 25 years. Fortunately, I caught this one early before it could ruin the wood flooring I’d just finished installing downstairs because I had a Stainmaster carpet pad under the wool rug in our family room.
After letting the wool rug dry-out over a week I was able to repair the drywall ceiling over the 2 weeks that we’ve been dealing with the flu: it took four (4) drywall mud treatments with sanding to get the ceiling fixed, noting that even before we moved in to our house back in 1992 the builder’s plumbers flooded the ceiling and created issues that exist to this day. But, at least the issues I’ve had under my watch have all been repaired to where they’re impossible to detect.
So, today was all about doing a final touch up on the drywall repairs and then repainting the family room ceiling: it’s only a 14×16 room, so it didn’t even take a full gallon of paint. But, the trick was working it in sections where I could cover the walls floor with drop-cloths without moving all of the furniture out of the room to repaint the ceiling.
I will volunteer that I think I did a pretty good job with the entire project, especially since I had the flu throughout the time that I did the work! Today was a perfect day for repainting since the weather outside was awful and health wise I was at about 85% (no change from Friday or Saturday). But, it felt good to have the living room ceiling looking 100% even if I wasn’t!
Black Betty, I Think I Love You:
Back on 10 February I put a new rear tire on our 2011 Dyna Wide Glide “Betty” as the original Metzler 880 was almost slick down the center.
It wasn’t a shock as we did a lot of two-up touring on Betty with a lot of luggage and it chewed-up the soft compound tire in about 6,000 miles. Metzler has a new, longer-wearing compound that we put on Betty so she should be good-to-go for another 12,000 miles of “inspired” solo riding. It was a joy to ride Betty to and from Harley-Davidson of Atlanta for the tire change and I decided that it was probably time to adjust the clutch so that anyone could hop on the bike and ride it without going “holy-sh*t” with the race-clutch engagement that I’d set up a few years back. So, on Saturday after power washing the garage floor I found myself with enough time on my hands to re-adjust the clutch so that it feels “more normal” to the average rider. I’ve still left a little extra slack in the clutch lever so that it’s a good fit for my small hands, but I think anyone who jumps on the bike will not be shocked. But, to be frank, I think she’ll remain in the family fleet for the foreseeable future. Just too much sunk cost to throw away and, well, she’s perhaps the most honest bike in our modest fleet.
Speaking of Bikes & the Garage:
We’ve got a co-worker of Debbie who’s interested in the Honda S2000, but if they don’t close the deal we might just go ahead and hold onto the car and add a parking lift to the garage so that all our vehicles and the motorcycles can fit inside the three car garage.
The solution is probably a garage parking lift from Bendpak or one of the other companies that make hobby /car-collector grade garage parking lifts. While we really need a 12′ tall garage to make it work well, at 10′ our garage is tall enough to allow for the S2000 to be stored above the motorcycles in the 1st bay of the garage. The photo at right gives you an idea of how it would work with the Honda S2000 on the lift and the bikes parked underneath. We’ll see if it comes to pass. I’d also have to have the garage door tracks modified along with the installation of a jack-shaft garage door opener to free-up the overhead space of the parking bay to make it all work. However, from a cost standpoint, it’s less than putting in another outbuilding for parking either the car or motorcycles (noting that we really don’t have a lot that’s large enough for a 10′ x 12′ building) and certainly a lot less expensive than renting a storage garage. Well, and never mind the cool-factor from having an auto lift in the garage! Talk about making auto detailing easier along with the eventual restoration of the Honda S2000.
Debbie’s set her Retirement Date! Sure enough, she actually submitted her paperwork last week that set’s 3 April as her last day at YKK. It’s a Monday, which is a bit weird, but it’s tied to YKK’s fiscal year and her vacation payout dates. Regardless, as of 3 April she’ll be a free-agent again.
As we’ve often said, what are our retirement plans? Well, we plan to ride our bicycles, and that’s her current plan: to get out and ride her bicycle as often as possible! Sure, it will kind of suck since I’ll still be working so that we’ll have somewhat affordable healthcare insurance, but without the constraints of her limited vacation time we”ll be in fat-city when it comes to our ability to take a little more time off to enjoy my four-weeks of vacation time each year! I’m looking forward to that!
The “Other Stuff” That Occupied My Time: As usual, I sometimes don’t realize what I accomplished on a weekend when I feel like I didn’t accomplish much until I write it all down. Here’s this past weekend’s run down:
- Working on the weekly reports from home on Friday morning
- A couple loads of laundry
- Worked on the living room ceiling: more sanding and another coat of mud.
- Lunch with Debbie at The Mule
- A few errands on Friday early afternoon, including stopping by Lowes to return a hose, get a new hose and picking up a hose reel cart for a spare garden hose:
- Back at home, when I went to put the new hose reel cart in the shed I realized it’s time to clean out the shed: it’s become a cluttered mess!
- As a warm-up for painting the living room ceiling I finally got around to repainting the two walls in the laundry room that were messed-up when we had our furnaces and chillers replaced in August 2015.
- Dinner at Loco’s Friday night: it was good to be out but still didn’t feel quite right.
- Worked on the living room ceiling a little more Saturday AM: sponge smoothing & another coat of mud.
- Finally got around to “firming-up” the seat cushions on the dual recliner couch in the living room, similar to what I did to the love seat over a year ago.
- Took care of a pesky bird
- Cleaned the piano: boy did it need that and then some!
- Probably time to have Rodney out to tune it as Miss Debbie may be playing more often
- Experimented with different garage organization methods for the cars and motorcycles on Saturday morning
- Still looking for the magic arrangement that allows all six vehicles to fit in the existing footprint!
- Based on not finding a fit for all six did research on garage parking lifts (See above)
- Power-washed the garage floor of the 1st bay
- Power-washed the doors and 1st floor windows & sills around the porch to get rid of the winter dirt and grime:
- Thinking I might need to do that to the entire house!
- Put the garage back together and moved some “stuff” into the attic:
- Boy, that attic that need to be cleaned-out!
- Adjusted the clutch on Betty (see above)
- Put a hook up for the battery-powered leaf blower behind the garage side door:
- Really happy with the new leaf blower!
- Headed off to Jared and then Loco’s for dinner.
- Sunday started with more garage lift research
- A little more work on the living room couch
- Major project for the weekend: getting the living room ceiling painted! (See above)
- It’s not perfect, but no one will notice: most of the bad stuff is from the original construction!
- Cleaned-up the painting stuff and put the garage back in order for the week ahead
- The garage’s hidden storage also needs a good cleaning-out
- I’m feeling a garage sale coming on this spring!
- Worked on this weekend’s blog entry and another blog entry ranting about Harley’s latest ad: totally irresponsible!
- Made wings and fries for my sweetie and then cleaned-up
- Chilled on the couch – literally – and did more research on garage parking lifts
Good Thing We Decided to Pass on Daytona This Year: Between work, both of us having the flu and the weather this coming week, it’s probably a good thing that we decided to pass on Bike Week in Daytona this spring. The flu alone would have been enough to cause us to cancel any reservations, but with everything else going on at work and the prospects of cold/wet rides to and from Daytona in the coming week (see above), I’m really glad we’re staying close to home. If nothing else it makes our anticipation of the May trip down to Panama City Beach all that much more greater! But, that said, as you can tell from the photo next to this entry from last year’s trip to Daytona, I’m sure we would have had a great time with our friends had we decided to make the trip.
Headed to New Orleans: Speaking of enjoying time-off, we’ll be heading down to New Orleans on 6 April to meet up with our friends David & Deb for a long-weekend in the French Quarter. It will be something of a retirement celebration and just a weekend away with Deb & David as it’s been a while since we’ve been able to do that. No telling what kind of adventures we’ll have in NoLo, but Debbie’s going to be checking the tourist guides to see what we’ll need to see while we’re in town.
That’s about it for now. As I’ve more than hinted, the trick now is getting ourselves healthy as none of what we have planned will be enjoyable unless we’re feeling good!