Sometimes it’s the little things that irritate … thankfully!

Posted By on June 28, 2022

PoolFloatLeak_June2022Back in the late winter or early spring, the pool supply catalogs began arriving in the mail. Chlorine pucks and shock powder were my primary “look for” items as we were contemplating opening the pool for the season.

Unfortunately this year, we were a little slower than usual due to pool repairs, but noticed there were warning of shortages and all my searching could only find the 50 lb. buckets at about $100 more than the previous year.  I ended up paying the piper for waiting a little longer that I should have and justbit the bullet.” (this was my excuses to get PoolmasterInflatableChaira couple of idioms into this post).

Anyway, my point is that I added an inflatable up pool floating seat that I finally got around to filling up … only to find that it leaks and is well past the return date. I have sent an email to see if Poolmaster will make an exception?

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Music Monday: Radio Margaritaville and Jimmy Buffett singing “Slack Tide” from “Life on the Flip Side” while mowing

Posted By on June 27, 2022

SwingWater

It is officially summer … and what’s better in warm weather and sunshine than songs from Jimmy Buffett on Music Monday? JimmyBuffett_SlackTide_RM

JimmyBuffett_LifeontheFlipSideSo here’s “Slack Tide” off Life on the Flip Side album (as heard on Radio Margaritaville).

I just happened to be listening to it streaming on the SiriusXM app on my new noise-cancelling Wyze Headphones last weekend while mowing the lawn and “bouncing along” on the Kubota!

  Jimmy Buffett – “Slack Tide” | 2020

U.S. Supreme Court ruling changes abortion in America

Posted By on June 26, 2022

Friday’s Supreme Court decision has us all pondering where our country is heading? We’ve had 65 million legal abortions since 1973 and now after 50 years of “abortion being a protected right” since the Rowe v. Wade ruling, we breaking new ground.

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As some have said, “science and sonograms have enlightened most people on the issue of abortion.” Humane people who contemplate sucking out an AbortionNR2Lifeembryo with a beating heart, or have watched (or heard about) the tearing apart of pre-birthed human beings (that feels pain), know in their soul that this is not right. Society must change and needs to find a better way than what was the status quo.

I commented (below) this to a friend in trying to understand other points of view after the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision … and tried to find some common ground. I think the decision is still too raw.

Since the Supreme Court has declared  that “abortion is not a constitutionally protected right” … it has shifted the issue back to each state’s “laboratory of democracy.” Each can determine what works and doesn’t work for the voters of their states. If one state finds the magic sauce, hopefully others will tweak and adopt. Democracy the way our nations’ founders intended.

Never a dull moment for parents no matter their expertise

Posted By on June 26, 2022

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Stay on your retirement planning track and consider iBonds

Posted By on June 25, 2022

It is stomach-churning to follow the often heard “hold tight” and “stick with the plan” advice often given by financial advisors.  If you are currently retired and living off of a fix-income and nest egg, or are trying to prepare for retirement, DownMarketArrowyou are likely worried about times like these. Advisors tell you not to panic, and that with a properly allocated portfolio, markets will come back. Still, it is not easy to see 401-Ks and IRA portfolios shrink and years of savings disappear due to inflationary pressure in every area of the economy … especially the essential ones … like food, housing and energy. SheldonBreathingPaperBag_aniEach day the market sells off further, which can make ordinarily calm people search for a paper bag or act as if they are a nervous chipmunk. Perhaps that is why so many questions and articles are peppering the financial press these days?

Just a cursory look at the ill-preparedness of today’s retirement population will either gives you a feeling that you are not alone … or hopefully … see yourself better prepared than others?

How many months of inflation, stagflation or a recession can we weather? According to a Senior Living article last month, “most retirees aren’t sitting on a nest egg the size of Fort Knox … median savings for ages 55-64 is just $104,000 and for those aged 65-74 it’s $148,000.”  One can only hope most of them have equity in their house, some assets to sell, maybe a pension (teachers, government, military) or at least a solid social security check and a plan to keep expenses low (ie. live on less)?

The point being is that some preparation is better than no preparation … and that if you are still working, focus on funding a diversified retirement savings portfolio. That means, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. A mix of investments that include growth and income, tech and consumer staples, energy and yes … even some bonds. We should all have some kind of emergency fund, normal savings and value accumulated in real estate (a home). If you’re ahead of the game, fund a 401K or IRA and maybe even some crypto, although if you don’t have money to lose … I’d avoid that last one. This year might be a good time to set up a Treasury Direct account and learn about iBonds (the yearly limit means starting younger and a contribution each year will give an account time to grow). Consider Series I Bonds as one more piece of your “saving for retirement” puzzle.

iBondsAtaGlance220622

Tech Friday: Ultrasound detection and the 4th gen Echo hub

Posted By on June 24, 2022

After a week of working with the new “trade-up” from an older Echo (triggered by a $30 trade-in offer) to the 4th generation Amazon Echo “with premium sound, smart home hub (Zigbee) and Alexa … the results have been mixed. My advice, don’t rush.

First, I was looking forward to the idea to not need another “cluster of wired devices” (a separate hub) to handle Zigbee sensors that I’ve been planning to add (motion, water, etc) … so going with the all-in-one Echo smart Echo4thGenHub220623speaker made sense.

UltrasoundSettings

Second, I thought perhaps since this new 4th generation device also has “ultrasound motion sensing” that I might be able to forgo adding additional motion sensors? Unfortunately after hours of back and forth with very helpful and patient Amazon support folks (thank you Vanessa), the routines I was attempting to program using “only” the Echo are not going to work. For those who have used “motion sensors” in the past, it all as to do with what is referred to as the “cool-down” period. In the 4th gen Echo hub’s case, thirdrealitymotionsensor_sthere was no way to reduce it to less than 30 minutes in order to reactive a routine again – ie. detect activity to turn lights on (most motion sensors are under 1 or 2 minutes). For the record, I could have just left the lights on for 30+ minutes and then after the “cool-down” triggered them to come back on again with continued activity or remain off if there was no presence detected.

So to solve my particular situation (stair lights), I opted for a motion sensor from ThirdReality to solve the problem … and it could be located exactly where detection is needed. A more perfect solution would have been a fully 110AC “socket” powered Zigbee motion sensor … but they must not exist (leave a comment or send me a message if they do exist?)

The final disappointment is the Echo’s Zigbee hub range. I wanted to put this new 4th gen Echo in my soon to be finished second floor home office, but the distance is too far from the basement … which is where the future sump pump water detection sensors and the current basement stairs motion sensor is. So for now, it will improve the music quality in the workshop. 😉

Words to think about before speaking negatively about others

Posted By on June 23, 2022

RiceDrip220620Really, I’m just sharing a couple leftover photos from the past couple of days, but thought the sign below offers some pretty good advice.

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Also a tidbit: Rice boiling over creates a sticky goo … and my new Father’s Day “smart” Ember mug is still working great.

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Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
My Desultory Blog