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Retirement is not without Hassles: Departure Day #1617

It’s no longer raining dimes, but I did get my two cents worth this morning, plus it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Tomorrow, it may rain on my parade, as I reach consecutive Day #4450. We got a step closer on our Florida home closing yesterday and I ordered a Sunpass to efficiently navigate the Southeast highways without stopping at toll booths. This makes me feel like an official Florida resident with closing just 33 days away. We’ll soon be flooded with more paperwork as the title folks do their diligence. 

Moving is now arranged with one final trip to the Oregon coast necessary to pick up a few items that a friend agreed to store for us. I need to rescue these goods before we leave. Loading is set for April 2nd. The two days before will be spent supervising the packing and loading the car. The aging Solara gets its pricy pre-trip check-up next week, while I do two doctor appointments and a dentist visit (Crown me) before D-Day – Departure Day. 

Departure Day is less than a month away, and time will surely pass much too quickly. Every day we dispose of a few things, consolidate personal items, and clean-out remaining food/condiments in the refrigerator/freezer.  We start our 3,000 mile drive with Tally in tow after a good nights sleep at the downtown Residence Inn once the movers complete their work.  It’s where we began our Portland residency, moving from there to a glass box overlooking downtown to a home on a steep street. A year ago, we sold it and took this small apartment near the Pearl District. We were hoping to frequent the neighboring shops and restaurants, but Covid took all of that away. It also disrupted all of our travel plans, so we’re anxious to move on. The clock is ticking towards Departure Day. 

 

 

 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Trailer #1616

I grew up in Elkhart, Indiana, the mobile home capital of the world. The industry has never really gotten much respect, despite providing affordable housing and recreational opportunities. A friend of mine bought several acres of farm land to build a country home, but has been forced to live in a manufactured home that came with the property. It was in such bad shape that they chose to live in the barn until it was thoroughly sanitized, fumigated, and painted. It will still be awhile until they can build their dream home and in the meantime have remodeled the barns, extensive garage, and vehicle stalls to accommodate a collection of family heirlooms. 

I’m framing this humorous poem as a housewarming gift, so they will always remember their life together in a mobile home or trailer – probably the last place they would have ever envisioned living. Fortunately, they have a sense of humor. At least, I hope so….

Tindle Trailer

Call it manufactured,
Or double-wide.
It’s a mobile dwelling,
Where Tindles abide.

Was it a meth lab?
Or redneck haven?
It’s certainly not,
Worth even savin’.

On first inspection,
A scary space.
Could have been,
A junkie’s place.

At first, the barn,
Had more appeal.
But elbow grease,
Gave a homey feel.

A clean bathroom,
And coat of paint.
With a log on the fire,
It’s cozy and quaint.

Wheels or not,
It’s temporary.
For Matt and Rebecca,
Occasionally Perry.

With all the projects,
They’ve been dealt.
It’s fortunate that she,
Wears a tool belt.

Cars and a pump,
Family heirlooms.
Arts and crafts,
Many storage rooms.

Neon lights,
Tractor signs.
Hub caps, Golf clubs,
Other precious finds.

Construction plans,
A mountain view.
Land to lease,
A life anew.

Green Acres,
Trash now treasure.
To tear it down,
Will be their pleasure.

In the meantime,
Don’t come knockin’
Especially when,
The trailer’s rockin’

copyright 2021 johnstonwrites.com

Retirement is not without Hassles: Raining Dimes #1615

Finding coins in the street is a daily quest, as I try to keep my mind off the often tedious chore of running. It’s usually a penny or two and occasionally a quarter, but lately it’s been raining dimes – not tacos, men, or cats & dogs. I’m now on a dime-a-day streak after picking one up this morning. I haven’t actually seen them fall from the sky like rain, but this is what I’m beginning to envision. It would probably hurt if one hit me in the head. However, one dime every three miles is hardly a downpour. 

As it turns out, the cheap watch that I bought does not have a very accurate GPS system. Today it recorded an extra mile, but psychologically that’s a bonus. A dime and an extra mile is a rewarding  workout. It’s the start of a busy day that includes a drive to the Oregon DEQ to get my license plates renewed. That’s emission testing not Dilly Bars! When I get to Venice, I will have to spend time at the DMV for a driver’s license and Florida plates, so the timing is inconvenient. It’s always a hassle to undertake these legal responsibilities. I did file my final Oregon taxes this past week, so that duty is out of the way. Plus, I made arrangements to get our mail forwarded to the new address. 

There’s still a long list of things to do over the next four weeks and some of it will cost many dimes. Closing, packing, moving, and driving 3,000 miles top the list. I’ve paid my final month of rent, hopefully for life. Home Inspections are being set-up and utility issues addressed. I will soon be able to lock-in to the lowest interest rates I’ve ever paid on a home. Sunshine and sand are but a month away, but a lot of sweat in the meantime. I’m also going to need an abundance of cash, so I hope it keeps raining dimes. 

 

Creature Features: Vineyard Dogs #1614

Blue sky today – great for a drive into Oregon wine country – maybe the last time in awhile. The goal was to pick-up the final shipment from Coeur de Terre, our very first club membership, a discovery made early in our Oregon state residency. We met the owners and winemaker on our very first visit, and have been loyal customers ever since, having stopped by over 80 different places during the last seven years. We landed here in Portland on August 11, 2014 and stayed at the same Residence Inn where we’ll spend our final night here before the long drive to Florida. 

The first stop on today’s tour was McDonald’s where we just missed the breakfast deadline and had to settle for cheeseburgers and fish sandwiches. Our schnauzer Tally was thrilled to be out of the house and in the drive-thru regardless of what they were serving. We then stopped at a former work friend’s property to see the progress on their remodeling and construction plans. I miss our once-weekly lunch meetings that were lost in the pandemic panic. Tally got to see some of the neighbors chickens, cows, and horses. Once we finally got to our wine tasting appointment, she also got to hang out with the vineyard dogs.

On our way back home, we made an additional vineyard stop, but Tally had to wait in the car. She did, however, get to visit with some of the neighboring goats and, as it turned out, saw two friendly faces. Oddly enough, when we arrived, I didn’t recognize them even after they gave us a friendly hello because they were wearing masks and sunglasses. We did not have an appointment, but fortunately the guy behind us gave us his tasting spot, so we were able to stay. To thank him for the friendly gesture, we gifted him with a bottle we had purchased at Coeur de Terre. He and his wife both went to school in Evansville, Indiana so this started a good conversation. In the meantime, the other couple had removed their disguises, and we finally figured out that they had lived down the hall from us up until a few months ago. They were glad to see Tally, who would often sneak into their apartment like she lived there.  It was truly a surprise encounter, that happened after too many coincidental circumstances to even mention, with people we thought we’d never see again. 

A nasty highway accident delayed our trip home by more than an hour, but we were content with just reflecting on the enjoyment in simply getting  out of the apartment. Our day in wine country was certainly more thrilling than sitting around watching television. Plus, we came home with about ten more bottles, even after giving one away. The strangest things happen when you’re drinking wine, so it turned out to be a memorable adventure for all of us. Tally slept the whole way home, exhausted from her duties as an apprentice vineyard dog

 

Old Sport Shorts: Jealous! #1613

It was no coincidence that I chose a “Jealous” graphic with a green background because I’m Green with Envy. Too many programs in the BIG conference have now surpassed my Indiana Hoosiers in building success. A team that I grew up with and saw win National Championships and even go undefeated is now in the bottom tier and in danger of not even going to the NCAA tournament for the fourth straight year. As I watch this morning against Michigan, I’m preparing myself for a third straight loss and what will probably extend to five before the BIG tournament. All the pregame talk is about #3 Michigan and not even any speculation for an I.U. upset. I’m jealous!

Once upon a time, Michigan was a triple victory on the way to a 1976 National title at 32-0. Purdue was at the very least a split every year, but Coach Archie Miller has not been able to beat them, with only one last chance this season. It could very well be the last few games we’ll even watch him as the Indiana coach. Juwan Howard has risen to the top of the BIG in his first year as coach, while Archie is in his fourth year and dwindling in the conference basement. Each week another team breaks out of a slump against the Hoosiers. The last two games they’ve built big first half leads only to fall apart in the end. Other teams can make free throws or three-point shots and take care of the ball. Not I.U.! I’m no longer mad – just Jealous!

The Oregon Ducks are making a stretch run, Purdue is solidly in the tournament field, Gonzaga is undefeated, but Indiana is on the outside looking in. I’m Jealous! More and more Indiana high school stars are going to out-of-state schools, if not they want to go to be a Boilermaker. The Hoosiers can’t hit the side of a barn or defend against the three and seem to just be going through the motions. I miss the days of good fundamental basketball, but mostly I miss winning. Other teams are winning – I’m Green with Jealousy!

 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Spam #1612

If it weren’t for spam I would be lonely. No one would call or even write. As it is, however, I get too much unwanted attention with at least a dozen daily attempts to extend my warranty, get more benefits from Medicare, or offer insurance discounts. Occasionally, there’s even some porn. My phone now tells me if it’s potential spam, but this has also caused me to block-out welcome callers. With everyone blocked, I now know that all my calls are spam. 

Today is an early Leadership Zoom call, as we reflect on the sorry state of I.U. basketball, struggling business, home improvement updates, and how much we miss live music. Another “Archie Miller must go” e-mail got through my spam filter. He should just resign and save us all a lot of money. It will take years now to restore “The Glory of Old I.U.” I give up on this season and will focus all my energy on fighting spam. 

Spam

I’d be lonely,
If it weren’t for Spam.
People who think,
I give a damn.

No one would write,
Or even call.
It seems these days,
No one cares at all.

When the phone rings,
It’s Medicare.
Or Life Insurance,
So please beware.

Extend your warranty,
Buy a discount card.
Another unwanted call,
Always be on guard.

Blocking them all,
Just won’t matter.
With endless lines,
To spread their chatter.

Annoying offers,
They’ll never end.
They’ve got your number,
Or e-mail to send.

You’ll unsubscribe,
Until you’re blue.
Or text STOP,
Delete them, too.

But they’ll be back,
To bug you more.
They might even knock,
On your front door.

With everyone blocked.
All my calls are spam.
If you need to reach me,
Send a Telegram.

Copyright 2021 johnstonwrites.com

 

Diary of an Adoptee: More DNA Finds #1611

I have submitted three DNA tests in my quest to find biological matches. In Ancestry.com, I’ve 677 such matches (out of 48,267 total) that I’ve been able to make a DNA MATCH connection on the Jerry Ban(n)ister Family Tree. 23andMe has yielded another 43 tree connections out of 1500 possible matches. A couple of these are duplicates with Ancestry. Family Tree gives me nine more Ban(n)isters plus links to the Sproul(e), Forbes, Koch, Vazquez, Ornes, and Hood families. Only Paul, Bruce, and Michael Patrick (all Ban(n)isters) have so far been identified on my tree that now includes 34,252 ancestors. 

The strongest DNA connection I’ve found is half-sister, Julianna Proctor, at 1719 cM across 32 segments. Her niece, Ashley Wilson Fujawa, is next with 1,109 cM across 31 segments. Susan Smith, the daughter of my birthmother’s sister is third at 991/33 and Julianna’s son, Gabe Burkman, is fourth at 894/25. Unidentified Sue Ramsey 654/27 rounds out the last of the First Cousin category. These five matches were all from my Ancestry test. 

The closest matches on 23andMe are 22 segments with Joyce Gourley, Janine Marthai at 17, Marilyn Banister with 12, Deb Vaughn with 9, and Brandon Willard, Marilyn’s son, at 7. These are ranked by percentage related, also positioning them as First Cousins. Those next closest DNA cousins with higher segments on this site include Carolyn Erley (11), Elsa Schneider (10), Derrick Sibley (8) just found today, Martha Napier (8) unknown tree connection, Phillip Legg (8), and Melisa Fales (7) found today.

Ancestry shared segments included Kristina Sampson (20), Telessa Hadley (19), Ada Pershing (15), Terry Bannister (14), Jessy Bramley (13), Cathy Crews (13), Shanda Heubner (13),  Eva Alama (13), Gladys Eichenbary (13), Jenny Bramley (11), Donna Pearcy (11) unknown, and Krista Hale (10). These 23 people, in addition to the other five, would complete my list of nearest biological relatives. 

There’s a lot more evidence of my connections on the birth father’s side from this data, but it’s all a matter of who submits to testing. New results come in every day and I was fortunate to find two new Top 28 connections today. It had been months since a close relative was discovered in my research. There are also too many people that try to remain anonymous on these testing sites by simply submitting initials. Without a name, I can’t find their relationship to me. However, not everyone is as motivated as me to find these family links. I scour through Facebook, Linked-In, obituaries,  old newspapers, on-line reports. It often feels like stalking, but I continue my mission. 

 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Flaneur #1610

Today’s Word of the Day on my 2021 calendar is “Flaneur,” an idle man about town. It’s a sophisticated description of a retirement bum like myself. So little to do and so much time – that’s my new motto. There are active moments like the morning run and the repair of my chair, but otherwise I’m indeed an idle man. As part of that idleness, I started watching “Flight Attendant” last night, trying to soothe the anger from another frustrating basketball loss. A brand new bottle of Angel’s Envy bourbon provided little relief to my grief. 

“Good Grief” is what Charlie Brown would say as Lucy moved the football he was approaching to kick it. “Good Grief” is the current state of I.U. men’s basketball. Fortunately, the Hoosier women are having a good year. Fans are screaming for a new coach, and I have no defense for Archie. He’s had four years to rebuild the program and has failed miserably. Michigan State now Rutgers have added nails to his coffin. I turned off the game last night in disgust. “Good Grief!”

Tomorrow is another “Leadership Meeting” and Sunday a trip into wine country. Otherwise, I’m an idle man, a stroller, urban explorer, lounger, saunterer, or loafer. The poet Charles Baudelaire made such a figure the object of scholarly interest in the 20th century.  Image for post

To compare, I am a male that does not work, dressed in my stylish retirement uniform and definitely blasé. Crowds are not allowed in these pandemic times, so I remain apart from it and masked. I do not stroll – only run – and drink, but soon to leave this emerging city. I am the 21st Century Flaneur!

Retirement is not without Hassles: Seat Repair #1609

A second consecutive day of sunshine was the highlight of my morning outing, although the temperatures are still in the chilly 30s. I’m back in the warmth of my home office with the TV providing background noise. The chair I’m sitting on is worn and stained after four years of retirement. It rarely got use before that time, but now in need of repair. The edges are particularly tattered from watching I.U. basketball. (See Post #1604).  Today’s project will be to install new foam rubber padding and fabric in an attempt to restore the original appearance. The new cushioning will also help my aching back, after too many hours of sitting here writing and watching.  

I have a staple gun and tacks ready to put to use, a rare construction effort for me. My wife will provide the necessary supervision because I’ve never been much of a do-it-yourselfer. It should be done in time for tonight’s televised game against Rutgers. I’ll add extra padding around the edges and tighten up the loose screws that cause it to rock. I might have to cover it with plastic to keep from spilling anything on it before it soon sits in my new Florida office. 

Yesterday, I read an Indy Star article by Gregg Doyel about the chair that Bobby Knight threw in a Purdue game back in 1985. My chair isn’t nearly as famous but could tell many stories, as well. The funny thing about the famous Knight chair is that no one really knows which of 100 plastic chairs was actually that chair, although several people claim to own it. It’s the most famous chair in NCAA basketball history, but there’s no way to prove which one was which. Apparently, there are still sixteen left from the original 100 in a dusty Indiana University storeroom. The rest have either been damaged beyond repair or stolen. One was autographed by Bob Knight and sold at auction. My seat just needs to be repaired, as if anyone else might want it!

Retirement is not without Hassles: Sunshine and Cheers #1608

The sun is actually shining for the first time since Florida, a rare treat here in the Northwest. We call them “sun breaks,” those rare moments when they happen. People flock outside to see this wonder of nature. This morning it stayed out for the full hour I was breathing the fresh air. The rest of the day will be spent near my home office desk, with a couple of dog walks and dinner preparation. There’s not much on the calendar this week except a drive into wine country on Sunday with a forecast that promises partly sunny. 

We concluded the Bridgerton series last night and watched the first half of the movie Chaplin after dinner. Little by little we’re finishing off half-empty bottles and cleaning out the food pantry in preparation for the cross-country move. I’ll soon be removing the pictures on the walls and patching any damage. My wife is also carefully organizing all the essential items we’ll carry in the car, including our dog Tally’s bed and care items. It will be the longest “ride in the car” she’s ever experienced. After a few days, I’m sure the thrill will wear off. She’s already done the route from Portland through Colorado but with her former travel companion Tinker. Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida will all be solo adventures for her. Her total states visited will be 18 by the time we get to our new home, surpassing the well-traveled Tinker.

We’ll finish off Chaplin tonight after I prepare dinner, once again cleaning out some freezer items. My wife continues meatless while I still have some frozen steaks left to finish. I will have to learn how to prepare fish, if I’m to once again cook for both of us, as was my once-a-week retirement pledge. We’ll have to completely restock once we settle in the sunshine. We’re also down to less than 25 bottles of wine after some planned replenishment this weekend – our final membership pick-up. A few of the best bottles will travel with us in the car, but most will be enjoyed or given away in the remaining weeks. Sunshine and Cheers!

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