Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Life is Settling...

Life seems to be settling. I've been taking care of things I was unable to while I worked. Slowly building a routine.

One of my biggest challenges has always been to quit smoking. This morning, I started on Chantix. I've warned both the men in my life, Steve and my son to beware. I've heard so many things and I just don't want anyone blindsided. Wish me luck.

Got my eyes checked yesterday for new glasses. It appears both of the last two pair purchased were not done correctly. I've also got to watch my sugar more closely because it does affect my vision. I'll pick my new glasses up tomorrow morning. Steve picked them out. Lol, they are purple frames and I love how they fit. I just hope I can see better.

Now that the weather has cooled from those horrible 90 degree 100% humidity days, I've been able to get into the garden in the morning. For those who don't know, I garden in straw bales, and a couple of containers. At the beginning of last year, we threw a left over straw bale into a galvanized horse tank, conditioned and threw a few spuds in there to see what would happen. We harvested a few and thought we'd gotten all of them out. Of course you never get them all it seems like. They keep putting on.

Anyway, at the end of last year, we tossed in the used bales I'd gardened in, and sprinkled some nitrogen on top, watered it in, and planted potatoes. I've started harvesting. The vines are either dying back...or something is lunching on them. Dug up some huge red potatoes and a few smaller white skinned. But putting my hands and arms down into that now rich compost up to my elbows was heavenly. At the end of this year, I'll add more broken down composted bales, but this will probably be the last year I can add to the tank. Next year we'll move at least half the compost to the compost pit and let it build up again.

Harvested enough green beans to freeze for a stew, and one really nice cucumber I think is going to be lunch today.

Third project I'm working on, with the help of my son is my MeSpace. I'm carving out a corner of our workroom so I can set up there to write uninterupted and paint without having to put everything away at the end of the day. Great big windows on two sides and the table nestled in the corner. Can't wait until it's finished!

And, interspersed is the usual cooking, cleaning and laundry. Right now, it really feels like I'm living the dream....








Tuesday, August 8, 2017

What's Important to You?

Good morning,

While we should be at peak Summer, here in SW Missouri the temps are struggling to reach the 80's during the day and hover in the high 50's to low 60's at night. This is perfect weather for me. My plants seem to be enjoying it as well.



A few years ago, a friend who owns a nursery in New York sent me some starts of this. We planted them in earth pots and they come inside every winter, and go back out in the spring. They love the cooler weather.

I've also got to work a bit more in my garden. This is my third year doing a straw bale garden and right now it's a jungle. Up until the cool weather came, it was too hot for me to get out there. And, hot enough that some of the blooms did not set fruit. Tomorrow morning my list includes going out to try and train up the melon vines and check for anything harvestable. Can't find my  pics from last years garden so next week I'll include a pic of the current jungle with an update on production.

Gardening, painting and writing were my three go to's when I went into retirement. for the next few weeks, the focus is really on writing. I have until the end of this month to submit entries to a contest our annual October writer's conference in Eureka Springs. It's taken quite some time to get my head into a writing frame of mine. These two blogs have helped a lot. To those of you that read my ramblings thank you.

My MeSpace is coming along. My son cut the top for the table but it still requires a bit of work. He has my shop vac right now so I can't vacuum downstairs until later. But, then again, later may be naptime.

Even though employment may be a requirement in your life, don't forget to set aside time for you, to do what you like to do. Feed your soul, your dreams, your fantasies. Don't lose who you are to the job rut, or family routine. You will be better for it and so with those in your circle, whether they be friends or family.

Take care,

And the best to all of you from a Irish crazy lady.







Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Consistency

As I'm sure those of you who follow my blog can see, consistency is not one of my strong points. In my defense, I'm new at this, and it began in the middle of great upheaval. Life is finally mellowing out to my expectations. Insurance in order, check. Deductions coming out as desired, check. Pain, anger and grief dissipated, check. I'm no longer the me I was for the last 18 years...I'm better.

Life throws us so many curves. The one thing that is constant is aging. We're told when we are young to start preparing for retirement now. Unfortunately, I didn't listen. My greatest struggle when my husband died, apart from dealing with the loss, was keeping my house. I have done that, with the help of my son, for nearly 20 years. For that I am very thankful.

About three years ago, I started laying out a seven year plan for retirement. Late, yes. Possible, also yes. At age 66, I would receive Social Security full time. I would have my 401K and company stock. I would continue to work until 70, socking away my income, and then retire. I have a bucket list. I began picking and choosing those things I wanted to spend my time doing when I hit the magic number. Gardening, writing, and learning to paint with watercolors.

At three years in, I was caught up in the Great Displacement. Most of you know what I'm talking about. Suddenly my seven year plan was gone.

But I find that is not such a bad thing. I'm typically a very crafty person. Once I had finances and insurance in order, I started dabbling with the items I had on my bucket list, dumping some of them out, rearranging others into the tentative bucket. I so thank my baby sister for her encouragement and kick me in the ass attitude.

I signed up for a painting class. I'd tried one picture without any real guidance before I started the class and it was eh. I didn't hang it on the wall. Then I went to a couple  of classes. The first painting is confusing, even to  me. I know what it's supposed to be, but not necessarily what it is.

The second was done around the fourth of July.


I rather like it. It was harder than i thought it would be, but I learned a lot of technique. I haven't been back to another class, but I'll go again. In a way, this certified my new independence. 

Guys have Man Caves, gals have She sheds. Well, I won't get a She Shed, but I'm creating my personal space where I can got to write, paint, read or journal without interruption. I purchased a new laptop specifically to work in this space. The table is put together, today it will be in place with the chairs under it. 

One of the things  my sister got me started on was journaling. Have never done much before, never had a diary that I can remember. But this is a step in getting more organized. I will never be as meticulous as she is, but I want to have a plan for most of each day. My goal is for Monday mornings to be blogging. Basically I've rambled on about everything but consistency. My plan is for this to be the beginning of consistency in my life, other than computer games with my coffee in the morning after dishes, and curling up in the recliner with Charlie in the afternoons until time to fix supper. 


He's our spoiled baby. But he loves his momma time in the afternoon...until Papa gets home then he only wants to be around me if I have food. But that's okay. He knows he's loved. 

Don't know he's going to feel about momma's personal space. It's down three steps and since he went blind in one eye, he won't go down by himself. So, I'll make sure one of the additions is a nice thick bed for him to lay in, a water bowl, a food dish and a couple of toys. 

Wish me luck on the consistency journey. It is going to be an up hill battle. 😅😅😅

Friday, June 2, 2017

of Insurance, Unemployment and Things...

Has anyone made a list to check off everything that needs to be done when the party is over?

Research health insurance.
File for unemployment.
Research stock options.
Research 401K options.
Address changes for any professional periodicals and magazines you want to keep receiving.
Update Facebook profile.
Update Linked-In profile.
Are you eligible for long term associate discount card? (If you are, the form was prolly in your original packet.)

I didn't include job hunt in this list because it's pretty much a go to right off the bat. And I wish all of you looking the best of luck.

And there's always the infamous "What the hell do I do now???"

Most of you probably have that one figured out. But for our two month window, the priority is on a lot of the above, and maintaining your sanity. Mine stays in question as is evidenced by the title of this blog, but that's just who I am. Any of you who know me are aware of that. And my kids have been calling me this for years.

But none of the items on this list are cut and dried. There are intricacies involved that you might not think about, which is what prompted this post. Someone was trying to figure out the gap in insurance and still have coverage for their scripts. I hadn't even thought of that. I did, a couple weeks ago, call in refills on all of my scripts. Unfortunately, some of them won't be covered by insurance until specific days, the last day being the 12th of June, which happens to be my term date.

If you're on medicare, how will that insurance be affected? Which plan will Medicare accept? Is there going to be a gap in coverage that will affect whether or not you can pay for medications, or if you child gets hurt.

When do you file for unemployment? How much will you be allowed and for how long? When will it start?

What is the best plan for my stock? Keep it where it is, or pull it out and diversify into IRA accounts? Should I move it to an investor to be managed and risk losing some or all of it in the stock market? I can tell you I've been watching our stock daily.

I can tell you right now that I don't have answers for any of these questions except where it concerns me. There is no one size fits all for any of this. So do your due diligence and if there is anything I've forgotten, please let me know.

Have a great day all.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

My Brain Hurts

So, with the big lay off at work, comes a myriad of headaches. New insurance, what to do with 401K, what to do with stock...learning how to be unemployed.

To clarify, I'm already on Medicare and collect Social Security. So, I have to keep those elements in mind while I'm sorting out everything else. Money will be tight so I'm  trying to work within a budget.

The last 6 weeks have been a roller coaster of emotions. I'm not going back to work, I think I mentioned before, I'm tired. 18 years is long enough to dedicate to a company I no longer trust. I admittedly cheer each time I read a post by someone they let get away, who have found another position outside the company. The former company's loss is the new company's gain. You don't throw away experience as rich as they have and not expect someone else to snap it up.

I have an amazing brother in law who is helping me to navigate through some of this. After spending pretty much the entire day on the phone, in email and in chat with him and an insurance company, I think I've found a health care plan that will provide me with the most benefit. I am so insurance illiterate and I warned the agent at UHC up front of that fact. She was an amazing help and I told her so.

My family is also being very patient. Steve keeps telling me, this is my time to do what I gotta do. Yesterday I got out of bed so depressed. Decided I needed to do something for me, so I went and got my hair cut short short. It's now slathered with mousse and spiked and I love it. LOL, Steve, not so much. 

You would think that at this point I would be past the anger, the frustration, the helplessness and vulnerability, but they sneak up on you when you aren't looking. And it's not even so much that I was laid off as it was how they did it. Cold and unfeeling, like we were pieces of trash they were throwing out because we were no longer useful. Lot they know.

I was not a superstar, I didn't have a degree or a wall full of certificates. But I made really angry members laugh by the time we got off the phone. And I probably knew more about membership than anyone left in membership. I spent 17 of my 18 years there. And if I didn't know the answer, I knew who to go to.

So as you can tell, this has been one of the less than pleasant days. Having to deal with each thing I have to deal with brings to mind the reason I'm dealing with it and I get pissed off all over again. And I expect that will continue to happen until everything is completed.

But, then again, maybe not.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

In the beginning....there was a 7 Year Plan...

In the beginning....there was a 7 Year Plan....

I suppose one new journey deserves a second one. This is basically my first attempt at blogging and I'm sure I'll hafta rely on my sister, the Master Blogger, several times.

Three years ago, I had a 7 Year Plan to retirement. In four years I'd have been able to collect SS every month, use that to pay off the bills, and by the 5th year, my paycheck would take care of the household bills on my plate, and I could stock away the rest for retirement and maybe an occasional trip. We don't do long trips, we really only do long weekends, but I could stretch a long weekend depending on where we wanted to go.


Three and a half years in, my employer short-sheeted my 7 Year Plan. Summarily displaced from an 18 year position, my 7 Year Plan went up in flames.