Archive for the 'retirement' Category

What’s for Dinner?

Jägerschnitzel

Deutsches Küche ist zum Abendessen (German cuisine is what’s for dinner).

One of our favorite entrees is breaded pork loin cutlets (Jägerschnitzel) served with sides typical of German cooking. Today’s meal consisted of the cutlets served with braised Brussels sprouts (Rosenkohl, or “rose cabbage” in German) and an excellent hot German potato salad (Heißer Kartoffelsalat) recipe that The Better Half found. She also put some tomato and avocado garnish on the plate for color.

Lately, we have been dipping into our ancestry in hopes of locating some of the graves of our forebearers as we tour parts of the country in coming months and years. Despite our love of German, Italian and some French cooking, my family lines mostly seem to have come from England, whose cooking we can do without (Spotted Dick?? Really??).

The ancestry quest has gone pretty well, having located two cemeteries in Colorado, a couple in Massachusetts and one more in South Carolina which contain the remains of ancestors going from grand parents to a couple of generations back from that.

During our excursion to witness the Great American Solar Eclipse, we are planning to visit my great grandmother on my Mom’s Dad’s side in Montrose, Colorado and to visit numerous relatives’ graves in Pueblo, Colorado, including my paternal grandmother and grandfather as well as that grandfather’s folks, another set of great grandparents.

Healthcare Action Required

nullLast week, I received a letter from my retiree benefits provider regarding “Action required to Maintain Health Coverage for One or More of Your Dependents.” The medical plan overseers have suddenly discovered that they need to have me update proof of my dependents eligibility “even though your dependent(s) may have been enrolled in coverage for some time.” To that end, they have hired a “dependent eligibility verification service” who will gather “required documentation.”

The verification service (not the retire benefits folks) will send us a package with detailed instructions and forms to return for the proof required. The letter I received implies a veiled threat that coverage will be discontinued for dependents for whom no proof is provided by some arbitrary deadline.

So, in addition to whatever forms are to be filled out, we are obliged to provide photocopies of our government-issued marriage certificate and the first page of our 2016 Form 1040 income tax return “confirming this dependent is your spouse.” We have no problem providing the former, but the latter, which contains SSNs and our financial numbers, is off limits unless we redact the information which is non-essential to proof that we filed jointly.

We can’t be completely sure, but we believe that this new requirement of proof along with the 30 percent increase in spouse health insurance premiums this year, is fully attributable to the disastrous ACA (a.k.a. Obummercare), which should have had nothing to do with our health coverage. (Grumble!)

Classic Throwback Thursday

Shiny old classic

It seems that the old car guys around town like to get their classics displayed every chance they get. The Better Half and I attended an “arts and crafts” event in the downtown area last month only to be pleasantly surprised at several of the classic cars parked there.

I did not bring my regular camera nor the pocket sized one, so I made this photo using the Samsung Android Smartphone. I am still learning how to use the camera in it even though I have had it for quite some time. I tend to want to use a camera that is specifically made for making digital photos rather than an all-in-one doodad like the phone. I’m thinking that the streaks caused by the sunlight gleaming off of the shiny parts of the classic may not have been as prominent with my regular cameras.

Clickable image.

Rain in Monument Valley

Rainfall

The Better Half took the (clickable) image above of a squall in the distance as seen from our campground. We had a few raindrops fall here, but not enough to make the ground wet.

There is rain in the forecast along our planned route for the next couple of days as we conclude this trip. Both TBH and I welcome a bit of rain to wash off some of the road crud and dirt from the big RV.

We plan to get the RV to the dealer to fix some squawks and do some minor tune-up maintenance after this trip. The Freightliner Chassis, drive train and suspension has worked like a charm, but several annoying coach-related issues need to be addressed including drawers that don’t latch and come open during travel, loose wood trim and a broken mounting bracket for one of the window shades. There are others as well.

Nevada Northern Railroad Museum

Baggage CartsVintage Railway Express TruckMuseum Rail Yard

On our way out of town this morning, we drove by the Nevada Northern Railroad Museum, located in Ely, Nevada. We did not stop and go in, but The Better Half managed to get these shots as we drove by.

Left to right, we have some vintage baggage carts displaying the museum banner, a classic Railway Express Delivery Truck and the north end of the NNRM Rail Yard with vintage equipment. All are clickable images.

As we take this trip, we are on a faster schedule than affords us to spend some time visiting places like this museum, but we are taking notes to be considered for future visits to these areas.

What’s for Lunch?

Meatball Sandwich

When you’re retired and budget your time to try and enjoy life, sometimes working in the kitchen can be a chore to The Better Half. Now, don’t get me wrong; she enjoys preparing meals, particularly during the weekends when we have a main afternoon dinner on both Saturday and Sunday. On the weekdays, however, a quick salad or sandwich, or some weekend leftovers fill the eating requirement.

Today she prepared Meatball Sandwiches. Since Thursday is our regular grocery shopping day, she put a couple of hoagie sandwich rolls in the cart while we were shopping. When at home later, she broke out some previously frozen meatballs that were extras made at the same time for a weekend dish featuring meatballs and pasta (or something). Add a little cheese, some homemade (also previously leftover) marinara sauce and - voilá - meatball sandwiches! These were tasty. Clickable image.

Asymptotically Approaching the Limit

Parkinson’s Law is an old adage which says something about consuming all the time available to complete a job. Well, a corollary likely applies to consumption of all the space (area) available for RV storage, particularly in our case.

Entering the RV Drive Clearing the Patio

(Clickable) Images above - Entering the RV Drive and Clearing the Patio

Originally, when building the house, we had our contractor construct an area behind the house to park a 24 foot travel trailer with access from the road just west of the house. Eventually, we had the area paved and a wall constructed to define the “RV Drive.” Soon after the wall and concrete were complete, we upgraded to a 32 foot Class A motorhome which fit - more or less - comfortably in the RV Drive space.

Parked - View 1 Parked - View 2

(Clickable) images of Palazzo parked, jacks down, all three slides and the awning out

Now, we have upgraded to a Class A diesel pusher which is just about the shortest in the diesel category at 35 feet nine inches. We have three slide outs and an 18 foot awning, all of which can be deployed in the space available behind the garage. But just barely.

Bedroom Slide and Patio Clearance Departure from the Concrete

(Clickable) images - bedroom slide proximity to patio and Palazzo departing

The forward starboard slide (dining room) is no problem but the aft bedroom slide must be past the patio in order to deploy. The Better Half guides me as I position the RV in this regard.

The port side slide clears the wall on that side by a foot or so when fully extended if the RV is precisely halfway between the patio and the wall. TBH also calls the position out as I’m entering the spot. We have two-way radios available, but she prefers to give hand signals.

All images courtesy of The Better Half.

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