Let’s get right into the meat of things this morning. I think I finally got my Medicare Part B payments in line with current income, as opposed to tax records years ago when my wife and I were both drawing a paycheck. It was a major hassle involving multiple visits to the local office, letters, forms, and phone conversations or too much wasted time on hold. At least, now I will be paying an affordable monthly health insurance premium, rather than what my wife is currently being charged for her COBRA. Cobras bite! Until she finally gets to the Medicare age, it will be a poisonous expense. Mine will thankfully turn out to be about a third of that! If I had not fought it, I would have been struck month after month by the government’s venomous healthcare fangs for the next two years until my tax forms began to accurately reflect our retirement income. 

I’m also dealing with the hassle of getting loan pre-approval for our move to Florida next year. We would like to start building this summer, and realistically got the hard part out of the way by selling our home five months ago. In the meantime, we’ve been in an apartment, hoping that travel restrictions will alleviate in the next month or so, allowing us to go to the Tampa area and get started. We have an excellent credit rating, but I admittedly have one blemish on my history over 68 years, and that was a short-sale on a property in lllinois six years ago. The nightmare was having to sell a home that sat on the market for six years and ultimately getting less that half of what we paid for it plus improvements. It’s come up as an issue on the last two condo purchases we’ve made and could continue to haunt me. It will probably not be a factor, but just having to regurgitate the ugly details in the interest of honesty is embarrassing. It also feels good to get this off my chest and “bear my soul.”

We’ve had exceptionally good luck on the last two property investments we’ve made. The aforementioned “Bad Deal” was the culmination of a streak of misfortune that included owning multiple homes that wouldn’t sell for one reason or another. For a long time, I thought we were cursed, trying to move with the media circus that took us from one market to another. Thank goodness we’re now retired and more importantly not stuck with any home ownership issues. Our apartment lease ends next year and could end sooner provided we’re willing to pay a penalty. It’s a relief to have no pressure with respect to selling and for once not being trapped by market condition complications.  Getting pre-approval on a loan, should also eliminate any last-minute financing drama. 

For the first time in over a month, we did a short road trip yesterday afternoon – the next best thing to travel. I felt a little guilty not staying home as instructed, but not getting out of the car put others in little danger. Our schnauzer Tally got a bite of something stinky on her morning walk, and was not a pleasant travel companion. She loves to ride in the car, but needs to understand social distancing, especially with bad breath. We would have been in San Francisco this weekend, celebrating our 19th wedding anniversary. Instead, like everyone else, we’re limited on places to go. The area around the Vista House, with scenic views over the Columbia River, was fenced-off, but the drive on a sunny day was still worth it. I also got to stop at McDonald’s for a fountain Diet Coke, one of my favorite travel treats. Perhaps, in a few weeks some of the area parks will reopen and we can take another drive. In the meantime, it’s back to the homebody grind. 

We would have been on the boat to Alcatraz this morning, if circumstances were different. Instead, we’re once again locked in our apartment with too many chocolate treats. Tally gives us a reasonable excuse to go outside and briefly watch the mask parade, as she does her business. I, of course, did my 3.1 mile run this morning, thinking about the application process on my loan and the related letter I needed to write. Loan applications get very personal as you try to explain the circumstances of your private finances. Between that and the Social Security office, I’ve really had to bear my soul this week. Growl!