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My day-to-day retirement life

Retirement is not without Hassles: Finish Line #1873

“The Panic of 1873 triggered the first ‘Great Depression’ in the United States and abroad. Lasting from September 1873 until 1878/9, the economic downturn then became known as the Long Depression after the stock market crash of 1929.” Hopefully, there will not be one of these in my retirement years, but it could happen. The Stock Market has seen some hiccups these past few weeks after a steady 15% year-to-date increase. It’s almost been too good to be true considering all the new strains of Covid popping up and the alarming  increases in gas prices. Our savings are primarily relegated for travel that has been severely hampered by these two factors. 

It’s “Matinee Monday” with a choice of House of Gucci or Eternals. The other movie of interest is King Richard about the Williams’ sisters rise to prominence in the tennis world. We were able to watch the new episode of Yellowstone last night on CMT for free, so I’m wondering why I paid extra for the Amazon Prime feed? On Wednesday, I’ll be able to watch  a new Curse of Oak Island exploit. In the meantime, it’s Get Back on Disney Plus and Bad Sport on Netflix, as we wait for a new season of Lost In Space. It’s challenging to keep up with all the streaming options, but at least it’s providing many choices that certainly weren’t available back in 1873. 

I have a chiropractor appointment this morning, as my right hip continues to feel like it’s on fire when I lay on my side at night. It was not a factor on this morning’s run, but sometimes makes sleeping uncomfortable. The big race is this Saturday morning, so I need all the help I can get in easing any pain. The night before is a wine tasting event that will probably leave me a bit groggy at the start of this Tomahawk 5k. It’s the exact distance that I run every day but will feel different with a crowd of over 400 competitors. I will be glad to get to the finish line inside the ballpark.


Retirement is not without Hassles: Football Comes First #1872

A bit of history about 1872: “Ulysses S. Grant defeats Horace Greeley. Women’s suffrage: In defiance of the law, American suffragist Susan B. Anthony votes for the first time (on November 18 she is served an arrest warrant, and in the subsequent trial is fined $100, which she never pays).”

Each post now represents a year of “modern” life as we approach the Twentieth Century but still 149 years from 2021. Christmas decorations are starting to go up in our home. It was much easier to get the storage boxes out of the garage rather than behind the locked cages of last year’s apartment. We also have more room to display some of our collection. My wife still respects our informal prenuptial agreement of no excessive decorating, although I must admit that the lanai would be the perfect location for a tree. Am I getting sentimental in my old age?

Yesterday, was a great sports watching day even though my favorites didn’t fare so well. Technical difficulties prevented my watching IU soccer lose in the last minute to Washington in the Sweet 16. I could, however, clearly see the hamulating defeat that the football Boilermakers laid on my Hoosiers in the Bucket game. It had been ten years since IU went winless in the conference, and I had thought those days were behind us. From an IU fan standpoint, the day improved with both a men’s and women’s basketball victory, as was expected. The real excitement was watching Michigan beat Ohio State and Alabama pull off an incredible come-from-behind win over Auburn in the Iron Bowl. Oregon also beat Oregon State in the Civil War.

Today, the Colts meet  the Buccaneers, a game that will have some impact on my Fantasy match-up, with Rob Gronkowski and Carson Wentz playing for the opposition. The Colts are riding a three-game winning streak, highlighted by Jonathan Taylor’s 5 touchdown barrage last Sunday against the Bills. Tom Brady and company have lost two of their last three as we head into the last seven games of the season when he is typically at his best. The Bears get the day off after a thrilling Thanksgiving Day victory, while I might leave the dark confines of my office to watch today’s games in the sunshine by the pool. Back in 1872, Columbia and Rutgers met in the first ever college football tie 0-0.  It’s Sunday and Trash Day, but football comes first! 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Living the Dream #1871

I doubt that I’ve done much swimming on Thanksgiving Day, but thanks to a heated pool in our new Florida home, I’m living the dream. I’ve been to many warm spots to celebrate the holiday like Isles Mujeras, St. Maartin, Maui, and Austin but I don’t recall spending a lot of time in the swimming pool. I’m grateful we made the investment, as I continue to get my money’s worth or at least reduce the cost per use. As I’m swimming laps, it’s as if I can hear the electric meter spinning. It was 55 degrees when I stepped outside to run this morning but the pool water was in the seventies, peaking at 85 in the evenings. 

From a historical standpoint, the Great Chicago Fire happened in 1871, as I continue relate events to my daily post. According to Wikipedia,the blaze started on the evening of Oct. 8, 1871. While there is little doubt that the fire started in a barn owned by Patrick and Catherine O’Leary, the exact cause of the fire remains a mystery. Rain put out the fire more than a day later, but by then it had burned an area 4 miles long and 1 mile wide.” Maybe a cow did kick over a lantern? “It killed between 200 and 300 people, destroys 17,450 buildings, leaves 100,000 homeless and causes an estimated $200 million (in 1871 dollars; roughly $4 billion in 2021 dollars) in damages.”

It’s big big day for college sports, as my Alma Mater, Indiana plays four times today in soccer, basketball, and football. It’s a weekend for rivalries, including the Bucket Game between Purdue and IU. If it had been held last year but wasn’t due to Covid, the Hoosiers would have theoretically trounced the Boilers, but what a difference a year has made. Purdue is favored by two touchdowns. Ohio State is a TD favorite over Michigan in their annual battle this afternoon for the Paul Bunyan trophy. IU Men’s and Women’s basketball should both win today, while soccer plays #2 seed Washington that may spell the end of their frustrating season, plagued by a lack of scoring. It comes down to the fact that if the Huskies  score they will probably win. 

Speaking of buckets, I did watch “The Bucket List” movie again with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. It’s one of those holiday traditions along with “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.” Travel has been restricted these past few years, so I don’t know if I’ll ever get to the Pyramids. Our Bucket List has a hole in it, as plans continue to be disrupted by worldwide disease threats. We’re still hoping to get to Alaska, Japan, Kaui, and Egypt next year, but we might be limited to just automobile adventures like our drive to the Grand Hotel with stops at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Football Hall of Fame, Biltmore Mansion and Hilton Head. Despite the setbacks, it’s still good to live the dreams of your Bucket List. 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Just The Facts #1870

I begin today’s post #1870 with a few historical facts relating to the year 1870:

John D. Rockefeller incorporates the Standard Oil Company. It would eventually become the largest oil company in the world before the U.S. Supreme Court declared it an “unreasonable monopoly” under the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1911.

The National Weather Service issues its first weather forecast on November 1, 1870. The forecast warns of a windy day in Chicago, IL.

February 3, 1870: The 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave the right to vote to Black men, became law when the required number of states ratified it.

July 15, 1870: Georgia became the last of the Confederate states to return to the Union. 

Franco-German War, also called Franco-Prussian War, (July 19, 1870–May 10, 1871), war in which a coalition of German states led by Prussia defeated France. The war marked the end of French hegemony in continental Europe and resulted in the creation of a unified Germany.

My Great, Great Grandfather Hiram Perry Hancher, on my adopted mother’s side had just turned 18. As did John Wesley Johnston on my father’s side. 

It makes me wonder what John Wesley Johnston was doing in 1937 at age 85 traveling cross-country to  Oregon? In 1870 he lived in Marshall, Indiana and the year before he died in 1937, his residence is listed as Ithaca, New York – 2,800 miles away from where he was buried. Did he follow the Oregon Trail or more likely the train? His older sister Nancy Elizabeth Johnston died in Seattle in 1934, while her older sister Elinor died in Iowa in 1933. His wife, Eliza Johnston, who passed in 1939 must have stayed behind in Indiana. These are mysteries that I will never uncover, but had I know this fact before today, I should have at least visited his grave while I lived in Oregon.


Retirement is not without Hassles: It Is What It Is! #1869

Happy Thanksgiving and welcome to Post #1869. Appropriately, as I reported yesterday,  the year 1869 was the beginning of the Thanksgiving football tradition in America. I also happened to receive my latest (Winter 2021) edition of the The Streak Registry this morning put out bi-annually by the United States Running Streak Association (USRSA). The organization just recorded it’s 5,000th streak of at least one year. Mine stands at #229 on the active list, having completed consecutive day 4,715. Anyone who wants more information can go to the website at With cloudless skies, both the sun and moon were out to watch my short dip in the pool. 

It’s now much easier to relate each post to a specific year in history, as will become a habit going forward. Certain numbered posts in the past have reminded me of memorable dates, home addresses, etc. as I started writing and the number became part of that day’s story. For example, Post #1001, brought back memories of my childhood home on Carolyn Avenue. Post #1492 made me think of Columbus.  Post #1380 caused me to recall a radio station I used to work for years ago. I’m sure that many of the numbers that I’m now into will be reminders of years gone by. My parents were born in 1921, while 1951 was my birth year and 1969 the year I graduated from high school. With a post every day, I will start getting to these dates in the next three to four months. 2021, the current year is only 152 days away if I can continue at this pace. Many days it’s hard to come up with tid-bits to mention, so this will add something more to the story than simply what I watched, ate, or did.

I often start with the boring every day details of my life, hoping that it leads to something more interesting or in-depth. In too many cases, my posts never get beyond the basics. Sometimes, I can add humorous stories, travel adventure, adoption discoveries, sports memories, creature features, and poetry to make it more interesting, but all too often my life is uneventful. This is why I’m not compensated to do this and most of the time the effort turns out to be personal therapy. I do get some occasional feedback, but there is rarely anything controversial that gets people talking. It is what it is!

Retirement is not without Hassles: Gulf #1867

I keep getting notifications from Go Daddy about security violations on my account and the need to reset my passwords. This last one from their director of security, Demetrius Comes, an actual person. Yet, they haven’t locked me out as indicated, so I’m inclined to believe it’s another elaborate scam. The same thing is happening frequently with Amazon and Apple. I tend to ignore these messages and go directly to the site where I’m not finding any indications of misuse. It’s frustrating and confusing. 

Today’s retirement docket includes a home warranty follow-up, car service work, a sunset beach-nic, and IU basketball. It’s a typical Tuesday here in paradise while Fall is nearly over in the Midwest. This morning’s run was at a cool 57 degrees. I could also feel the warmth of the pool heater as I did my laps. Plans were made yesterday for Spring Training tickets and a visit from my Oregon friends in mid-March. Ghostbusters Afterlife turned out to be a very entertaining “Matinee Monday” activity.

I’m waiting on a report from an unexpected roofing inspection yesterday, part of the warranty work. They happened to be in the area after months of requests.  There was also some confusion on Thanksgiving plans with my son’s wife, but we’re sticking with our commitment with a friend to eat on the beach for the second time this week. After all, that’s why we wanted to be close by the Gulf. 


Retirement is not without Hassles: Getting Settled #1866

It’s another “Meatless Matinee Monday,” as if that even makes sense. We’ll go see Ghostbusters Afterlife and try to stay away from eating meat – popcorn is acceptable but rarely part of the routine. The trash has been collected, and I’m now waiting for the Warranty guy to update us on repair projects. He’s been MIA since our first meeting over a month ago and seems to have forgotten about us. We have one year to correct any construction flaws and have already passed the halfway point. Hopefully, this meeting will get him back on track with roofing, frame, electrical, and caulk issues that need to be corrected. 

It was a busy day in sports yesterday, rudely  interrupted by some yardwork. The IU Hoosiers moved on in soccer against Bowling Green and easily handled the Louisiana Ragin’ Caguns in basketball. Our fantasy football team exceeded projections, putting us in line for a win tonight. I also watched the Portland Timbers beat Minnesota on the pitch. Tonight we’ll get back to Goliath and watch the new episode of Yellowstone. I’ll see the chiropractor yet this morning and get on a Zoom call with friends about Spring Training before heading to the movie theater.  

There was no time for my cool down swim this morning. My wife has a bridge lesson at the clubhouse and Tally had a good romp at the dog park. It’s a pretty low-key start to the Thanksgiving week that will not include any family this year, just a beach-nic with a friend. Last year at this time we were stuck in our apartment, getting prepared for our first cross-country drive to Florida that took us through California, Arizona, and Texas. We then parked that car at my son’s house and flew home to get ready to make the final move with our second vehicle. Movie theaters were still closed and so it was just “Meatless Monday.” A year later, we’re finally starting to get settled. 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Race #1865

I signed up for the Tomahawk 5k race this morning, something I haven’t done in years. The last competition I was involved in was the Hood to Coast Relay four years ago. It will be my first organized run in the over 70 age classification. The race finishes on the field of the Atlanta Braves Spring Training facility in our neighborhood. So far, there are over 300 participants and it’s followed with a breakfast. I’m sure that my wife and Tally will be there to cheer me on. It’s not a great challenge since it’s my standard daily distance. I still prefer running on my own but maybe it will push me a little. Today marked consecutive day number 4,711 as The Streak continues. I’m also contemplating a ski trip to fulfill that other “athletic” endeavor on my things to do after turning 70 list. 

Today is “Trash Day” and the end of another week of retirement. Soon, it will be the fifth anniversary of my last day of work. Time has really flown by quickly. We’ve moved across the country, settled in a new home, and survived the first wave of Covid. Travel has been limited to our two cross-country drives from Oregon to Florida and a few side trips including Glacier National Park and several Florida destinations. We’ve put together a busy slate for next year that will start with a Disney Christmas. Sports are on the agenda today as I’ll monitor my fantasy football team and Da Bears, check-in on an untelevised IU soccer tournament match, watch Purdue basketball against equally touted Villanova, catch the Portland Timbers in action, and finish the day with IU basketball versus Louisiana Lafayette. 

Tonight, my wife and I will discuss our personal finances as scheduled and get on a Zoom call to review a good friend’s landscaping plan that we asked him to do. He was here visiting a week ago and has retired from the plant design business, but graciously agreed to help us out. We’ll then watch a couple more episodes of Goliath, having finished the finale of The Morning Show. It’s mostly a sit on your butt kind of day for me, as cloudy skies will not serve to lure us outside. Naturally, I will try to watch my diet these next few weeks, since I’m now officially now in training for a race. 


Retirement is not without Hassles: Homes on Wheels #1864

Last night was our fifth meet the neighbors event. It was a great turnout under a full moon near the firepit. We’ll do it again in a month, as I’m starting to get a feel for names and locations of those on our street. We’ll join two of them Friday night for dinner and the Trailer Park Musical at the Venice Theater. I’m sure it will take me back to my grandparents and their mobile homes in Michigan and Florida. Having grown up in the Recreation Vehicle capital of the world, I’m sure I have my own unique perspective on this nomad way of life in homes on wheels.

The Trailer Park was my first experience with Florida life, all packed together in a semi-circle with the nicest properties with a view of Lemon Bay. (See Post #124). In all honesty, it was not much different from where we live now. However, in our resort community, the only wheels are parked in the garage, while concrete replaces aluminum siding and flat roofs are tiled peaks. We have bigger yards but the homes are still side-by-side with little space for privacy. Just like a trailer park, there are bigger homes, wider driveways, and better landscaping, but the real distinction is the size of your pool and lanai. Otherwise, every property is essentially the same with only limited opportunities to try and keep up with the Jones once the home is built to custom specifications. We expanded our driveway and added some giant red urns and a fountain to differentiate ours from the rest. Landscaping and lighting will eventually be upgraded. 

There are six different home models in our section of Islandwalk, just as there are numerous manufacturers of similar looking mobile homes. Some may be double-wide or add a screened in porch, but they all have a bay window in the front and/or back with the main entrance into the living room on the side. I can remember six of us trying to sleep like sardines in the crammed quarters. It was often too hot and sticky to sleep outside, not to mention the bugs, but not much better indoors without air conditioning, as was the case back then. In my experience, you can live comfortably in Florida with AC and a pool. Anything else is primitive in my opinion. 

My grandparents’ main recreational activities were fishing and shell collecting. The park where they lived provided few common amenities. In our community we have pickle-ball, tennis, water aerobics, a playground, community center, dog park, bocce, shuffleboard, and any clubhouse activity you could possibly think of trying. I might describe it as a trailer park on steroids and without wheels. 






Retirement is not without Hassles: Another Day #1863

Another Day. Another sunrise. Another sunset. Some might say another opportunity. I will spend the morning with my youngest granddaughter, the afternoon Zooming with my West Coast Leadership friends, and the evening with my neighbors. My wife has a tap class after accompanying Tally to the Dog Park. I feel that we’re now engrained with the Venice Community after attending the Wine Feast last night, although we shared a table with neighbors, meeting only two other couples. It was your typical plastic plate affair with a notch for your wine glass that’s done universally as a fund raiser. Unlike events that we attended while working, we made no additional contributions, sticking to our less generous retirement budget. 

I finished the third season of You yesterday and continued with Goliath Season 4 after we got home from the party. Curse of Oak Island, The Morning Show and Yellowstone are now part of our weekly evening TV watch parties as new episodes are released. Babysitting took up this morning’s blogging time, while pool heater paperwork and health insurance hassles also ate into my time on the keyboard. IU basketball, football, and soccer will be must sees this weekend along with the Bears vs. Rams game. As for reading, I’m into the new Michael Connelly book The Dark Hours with a new James Patterson/Alex Cross story due out on Monday. We should also be back at the theater on Monday for Ghostbusters Afterlife. Otherwise, it’s just another easy day of retirement and a very short post. 


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