Accidents, newly stained fence damage and insurance pains

Posted By on February 23, 2020

HondaAccordIMG_16371Everything seems to happen when we (or I) am out of town. From the power out and a flooded basement to accidents in our backyard (well for a couple I’ve been home). The latest happened when I was in Florida working on the boat and a sheriff deputy came knocking on the door at 5:30AM frightening Brenda. Obviously he was just doing his job, but knocks on the door during the night or early in the morning aren’t the best way to wake up.



He drove her to our rear fence (see quadrotor video) and gave her his card and incident report number which I’m finally getting submitted to the Columbus Ohio driver’s insurance company (driver was ok) – for what it is worth, his insurance company, The General, has not been easy to deal with so far.


I’m still in the process of gathering quote for a relatively minor repair, which means the hassle is likely more the problem than the dollar amount of damages. I wish they would just cut a check and let me handle the repairs, but they want quotes not just photos. Oh well.


The bummer is that I just cleared the fence line, painted the fence and gate (below) last summer.


Our second granddaughter was born on February 20 2020

Posted By on February 22, 2020

EllerieFrancesOostra_200220Thursday night (February 20, 2020 ) Drew and Katelyn knew it was time, so they packed up and took Annalyn over to Drew’s parents, which was the plan. They arrived at the hospital about 10:30 PM with very little time to spare and Katelyn immediately gave birth to an 8 lb 3 oz baby girl at 11 PM. They named her Ellerie Frances Oostra. – very nice, as it also kept both Katelyn’s and her Grandmother Howard’s middle name (Annalyn’s birth post).

After a bit of extra surgery for Katelyn, she was rolled  to recovery and by Friday morning told me she was “as right as rain”which made me smile and put me as ease. (see idiom reference below). Also I’m thinking she was just happy to have the birthing process behind her and was glad little Ellerie was content and healthy. I’m looking forward to seeing her soon!

As right as rain describes someone in fine health, something in good working order, an idea that is correct, or a process that flows smoothly.  — Grammarist

Thank you Lord for watching over the miracle of birth … and for keeping both Ellerie and Katelyn safe. Also thank you for your word which reminds me to “rejoice always, pray without ceasing and to give thank in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.” Amen. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Annalyn holding her new little sister Ellerie at the hospital – 2/21/2020

TechFriday: VPN yay or VPN nay? Free or paid? Which service?

Posted By on February 21, 2020

If you’ve been on the Internet for any length of time (post from 2007), DLSReportSpeedTest_ProtonVPN200212you have likely used, or been marketed VPN services, as a way to secure your Wi-Fi connection (especially public hotspots) away from the office or home network. I’ve pitched them as a security precaution to my customers and use them when traveling, especially when using unknown public and private networks.

DSLReportSpeedTest_NoVPN200212The recent trend in trying to secure your browsing data from companies who market your personal information (Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc) using a variety of collection means, have more and more people turning to more secure web browsers, cookie-cutting add-ons and VPN connections even when on home/office networks.


The downside when attempting to do it “on the cheap” is a loss of speed (see speed tests posted above on my home network using ProtonVPN’s free service), bandwidth, traffic and limited data per month. Over the past few years, I’ve used a few and settled on ProtonVPN due to getting solid connections, positive reviews and no limit to monthly data … unlike my previous favorite TunnelBear.


At some point, it is likely we’ll all need to use a VPN with random connect points and IP addresses for privacy and online security when away from home. I’m just wondering at what point it will be packaged with my current ISP as a perk (or requirement) … or when I should PAY for a service in order to reduce marketing from VPN services and gain access to more locations and higher speeds?

Proton “pros and cons” as well as current pricing below:  


While waiting for our 2nd granddaughter, here’s #1 for #TBT

Posted By on February 20, 2020

AnnalynEchoShow200216Brenda and I are praying that all is well, but I suspect BO#2 is just a little too comfortable. Our Taylor came 2 weeks late, so a little bit after his due date does not surprise us.

BabyOostra #2’s due date was yesterday and Katelyn “thinks” she is holding out for the weekend, but something tells me that she is really not in control (although nowadays it is not unusual to induce labor, so who knows???)

Our Alexa powered Echo Show continues to feed us images every day which reminds me that our new granddaughter will soon be here. The photo above is of Annalyn from the Amazon Echo slideshow and it has me smiling and remembering her as a baby … and just how much she liked being entertained by me and “The Guys” (I think she still does).  So this post is a great excuse for an animated gif and Throwback Thursday #TBT.


Trading and Investing in Energy has not been the wise move

Posted By on February 19, 2020

Those of us who spend any amount of time investing or trading stocks enjoy the good feeling when we’ve studied and made positive investing moves … but we also tend to ignore the stupid trades. Looking at today’s chart of Exxon $XOM (5.80% annual dividend), there is no way I can positively spin one of my lousy investment decisions. Here’s hoping that admitting my mistake will help prevent “my” tendency to “dollar cost average … causing me to have an unbalanced or poorly diversified portfolio.


I’ve slowly been moving from a portfolio of growth stocks to income stocks …  even before reading “The Little Book of Value Investing.” I suspect most people who are nearing retirement age like the idea of building of LittleBookValueInvestinga dividend portfolio and hope for more portfolio stability. Tradition wisdom is that companies who’s profits comes from steady production and consistent sales are ideal. Unfortunately finding well managed companies with “free cash flow” and with a history of raising their dividends is getting more and more challenging.

Traditionally, energy related conglomerates have been the go-to candidates since the world depends on a steady flow of oil and natural gas. Unfortunately, the last 12-months or so of oversupply and depressed economies outside the U.S. have not been good times to hold or buy energy stocks.

Personally I would have been better sticking to a broad based ETF, well managed mutual fund … or in hindsight, holding a few more of the high flying tech stocks (admittedly, I sold $AAPL and  most of my $TWTR to buy a basket of individual stocks like $XOM, $CVX, $RDS.B and $BP).

We’re anxiously waiting for BO#2 (Baby Oostra Number 2)

Posted By on February 19, 2020


Although I have not sought Katelyn’s approval to include her rounded “personal coffee table” or her pregnancy photo (cough, cough – one in the same) to MyDesultoryBlog, but I’m boldly going out on a limb by posting it. The longer I post daily, the more I find myself wanting to archive family milestones … as well as showing how impatiently I am waiting on Baby Oostra Number 2 (BO#2) to arrive. FYI, today is her due date!

It is obvious, that I have fully embraced being “Bompa” to Annalyn and love my time with my with her; this likely will only double with a second granddaughter. In sharing this emotion, it also has alerted me to changes in my personal dreams, asperations and plans for retirement (I’m the planner type).  I also realize that may not be true for everyone since not every parent or grandparent is the same. We are all different … and that is ok!  

I think Deanna Eppers summed it up on a question and offered DeannaEpperssome good advice when talking about “kids” and different kinds of people (whether parents or grandparents):

People fall in two camps. One is where they were never “kid” people, but had them anyway. These people manage to raise their children, but all along it wasn’t what they enjoyed. It’s not the children’s fault. Not at all. Rather, many people who would be better off childless, have children and discover they aren’t into kids. I think they enjoy their children as they grow older and finally are adults. This is one set of parents.

So group one just isn’t going to be into their grandchildren. They don’t have it in them, and it’s not the fault of the grand babies at all. Grandma and Grandpa did the kid thing, it wasn’t for them, so they aren’t super interested. It seems sad to me, but people are all wired differently. So don’t take this to heart. Just love on your kids.

The second set of people are the ones who did enjoy having children. They enjoyed every step of the journey; going to ballet lessons, soccer practice, school plays and PTA meetings. They sat by their children as the kids sobbed over to not being invited to a dance, or cried over a betrayal. They helped with Algebra. They were there every step of the way. And now? They want to fully enjoy their freedom.

I see lots of grandparents like this. They want to travel, hang out with friends, and maybe snooze the day away. This is not the time for them to have wild, shrieking kids running around them. That’s okay; it’s where they are in life. These people love their grandchildren, but they don’t want to be around them very much, because they like their life the way it is now. Why go back to being around messy, yelling, funny, wild children?

We’re not all wired the same. I love my grandson, but there are days when I’m glad I’m out of the stage of having little ones. It’s a lot of work!

One thing to check for, because it has happened here, is are you relaxing and not watching your children, thinking your mom and dad will watch so you can catch a break? My parents and in-laws never did this. I had to watch the kids. (My parents took the kids for weeks in the summer though.) But make sure you are taking charge of your own children around your parents.

Try that and see if things change a bit. Or a lot. And invite the grandparents to go to the park or the zoo or some place fun. Maybe a little mellow, if that’s the issue; if they’re tired out. You’ll know if that’s the case. I hope the grandparents enjoy their grandchildren. You can always bring it up in a non-confrontational way. Try it and see. Maybe clear the air a bit? Maybe not. Use your judgment.

And enjoy your kids! They are yours and while the days drag on, the time really does fly. Enjoy each child for who they are. You’ll wind up friends when they are over 25 or so. And good luck!

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.
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