Archive for the 'retirement' Category

Enjoying the Spa in the Summertime

Being Prepared

During the Summer Months, The Better Half and I keep the spa at temperatures in the mid-eighties to ninety degrees F. That is plenty cool enough to contrast with our normal daytime temperatures of 100 degrees plus. Once in the spa, the water cools us right down.

Prior to getting in, we go through our Spa Checklist:

  • Towels for drying when getting out - check
  • Drinking water - check
  • Water temperature/level OK - check
  • Spa jets activated - check
  • Personal defense accounted for - check

We aren’t terribly remote from civilization, but our lot size is the better part of an acre isolated on three sides by hilly, natural desert. If some danger were to present itself in the two-legged form, it would likely have to enter via the driveway which encircles the house. If something like that sort of threat were to occur while we’re in the spa, we want to ensure our personal protection by providing for that ourselves, thus the loaded Glock 30 (Fat Man) next to the spa.

The day I took this photo, the temperature on the patio was 105° in the shade and the water temperature was 87° in the spa. TBH and I had an enjoyable fifteen or twenty minute dip in the spa. Clickable image.

Another Milestone

seven-four.pngAs of about 3PM this afternoon I have officially made seventy-four trips around the sun. By the grace of God and the phenomenon of modern medicine, I am still here to brag about my longevity.

The Better Half prepared a wonderful corned beef dinner for us, complete with strawberry shortcake dessert with a lit candle embedded in the whipped cream. :)

We will be celebrating for the remainder of the weekend. Tomorrow, I will be doing surf ‘n’ turf on the grill with filet mignon steaks and Atlantic salmon. That will be served with grilled corn-on-the-cob and TBH’s bacon, cheese and pea salad. I had a taste of the latter just now and it’s some real good stuff. TBH prepares it today and refrigerates it overnight.

I hope that everybody will be having as great a weekend as we are having here.

Do It Yourself RV Repair

RV Screen Door LatchA few weeks ago, we had the big RV down to the dealer in Avondale for some warranty work. We squawked several items, most of which were resolved to our satisfaction. One additional squawk that popped up due to one of the technicians errors was a broken latch for the screen door.

(Clickable) Image: The New Screen Door Latch

Our service advisor immediately ordered a replacement part for the door. In the meantime, we accepted the RV as it was and brought it home.

To shorten the story, the part arrived at the dealer’s place and the service advisor told us that we could pick it up. Well, the dealer’s location in Avondale is a one hundred mile round trip for us. I asked the advisor if they could ship the part to us. He went one better and said that since he commuted to his place just a few miles south of Wickenburg that he would meet us and hand over the part. We drove to a Family Dollar store and met him there.

We’re not used to someone going the extra customer service mile (actually several) to accommodate us. We thanked him profusely and took our latch home and installed it this morning. #campingworldofavondale

Smokin’ Sunday

Electric SmokerWhen the summer weather here gets above 110° as it has for the last ten days or so, The Better Half would rather not prepare food in the oven and heat up the kitchen. Alternates for oven cooking, in our case, include Crock Pot, Steamer (out in the patio), Electric Smoker and the BBQ Grill, none of which result in heating the kitchen up.

The latter item above, the BBQ grill, is also somewhat undesirable in this weather since one has to tend to it while being out in the heat, although we have been known to “tough it out.”

(Clickable) Image: Our Masterbuilt Electric Smoker

Yesterday, we opted for the crock pot with TBH preparing a tasty Tex-Mex Casserole dish. Today (starting last night, actually), we employed the electric smoker. Late last night, I put a pork loin into the smoker and cooked it on low with smoke overnight. This morning, I put a 2 pound beef brisket in the smoker and cooked it along with the pork with smoke all day at 250°.

This is actually the first time I have used the smoker for preparation of two different meals simultaneously. Today, we enjoyed smoked brisket with baked beans and potato salad. During the coming week, we will be having pulled pork sandwiches using shredded smoked pork loin.

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.

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