Weekend chores rewarded with granddaughter fun at the zoo

Posted By on June 11, 2018

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As usual the spring pine pollen left a mess of the patios and any furniture left outside. The annual chore of power-washing and cleaning our outdoor living spacePromedicaDayAtTheZooCup seems to get tougher every year … and the moving of furniture on and off the patio heavier. Nevertheless, I completed the project after a full day on Saturday (pano photo above) and was looking forward to an invite to spend "Promedica Day At The Zoo" in Toledo with Annalyn (oh … Katelyn and Drew too). AnnalynInRain180610
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We had a great time enjoying the expanded zoo (it has been 50 years!), learning about the animals, eating some free food … and hanging out with Drew’s brother Carson and his dad, Randy … after the welcoming duties were finished. It is great to see Promedica as a company dedicated to improving the community and supporting the Toledo Zoo along with so much more in Toledo.

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Happy Birthday Taylor – What a difference 4 years can make

Posted By on June 10, 2018

It is hard to believe that my son Taylor is 29 years old today!?!?!? It doesn’t seem possible that he has been pretty much living on his own now for third of his life?

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He has certainly made us proud at the way he has grown up and handled a difficult decade that faced him and his peers when joining the workforce after college; it wasn’t easy in the midst of the "great recession." In my opinion, his independent nature, strong will to do it on his own and willingness to go out of his comfort zone had a lot to do with managing a challenging time. Enter adulthood required him to boldly interview and accept opportunities when they surfaced.

Unlike many coddled millennials, Taylor interviewed out of his comfort zone after college and accepted his first Planner position way up in Williston, North Dakota. It definitely wasn’t a "first choice" for social life or convenience, but it could not have been better for his learning and experience in both career and growing up. His years in northwestern North Dakota did a couple things: 1) it force him to be independent (no mom and dad or family nearby) and 2) helped him better appreciate family, friends and the SW Ohio area where he grew up, rather than taking it for granted and always seeing the grass greener elsewhere.

We are so glad to have him successful, happy, content and now closer to home … and have Megan to be with rather than the Ford pick-up truck.
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Happy 29th Birthday Taylor!  (For the archive, here’s a video memory from a few years ago with his Grandpa Howard and Tootsie -  what boy doesn’t like driving a bulldozer!)

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Talking about “when to retire” and retirement “lifestyle”

Posted By on June 9, 2018

A conversation this week about "when to retire" after I mention attending my brother’s early retirement lunch lead to the question "how much do you need to have saved to retire?" calcpigOf course we ALL know the answer to that … "it depends." Yup, very helpful #sarcasm … yet so true, considering the differences in not only lifestyle, but retirement vehicles such as pensions, 401Ks, IRAs, healthcare options and net worth vs current debt. For most of us, an early retirement would mean spending a lot more savings (that won’t be growing) until Social Security and Medicare is available … "burn" too much of your retirement nest-egg in those early years can make for a far less comfortable 20-30 year after 67 years old retirement. Be careful.

As we all know, it really does depend on a lot of factors. In my mind the biggest "planned for" factor is lifestylealthough probably more important your current and projected health. Putting health aside, since it can be the most challenging to "plan for," lifestyle for each one of us is different. Most financial planners assisting the middle class tend to use current expenses and incomes as a basis for planning. If you are use to spending more and live where it is more expensive, the likelihood is that you will continue to spend more than those who haven’t. Here’s a rule of thumb example: According to retirement-plan provider Fidelity Investments, having 10 times your final salary in savings if you want to retire by age 67 is the starting point.  (take note that it needs to be more if you are retiring earlier!) Fidelity also suggests a timeline to use in order to get to that magic number:

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Charles Krauthammer sends a message to his colleagues

Posted By on June 8, 2018

ThingsThatMatter_CharlesKrauthammerIt is with great sadness to hear cancer has returned for one of the brightest political minds and talented writers of our generation. Charles Krauthammer, who has been included in several blog posts over the years, sent a note out today to his colleagues and many friends. Most who follow politics have appreciated his writing (including his book, Things that Matter) and his Fox News Special Report panel contributions. I will personally will miss his intellect on all things political … and pray for his "comfort" in his final days, as well as peace for his family.

Included below is a note from Charles Krauthammer today and I’ll include a link to a bit of audio with Mike Huckabee from 2013.

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Archive: Project idea to replace rusting in-wall medicine chest

Posted By on June 8, 2018

BathroomShelfIdeaWe have a disliked old style medicine chest in the Florida condo and after the kitchen project is finished, Brenda and I wouldn’t mind updating the bathroom. We have picked out some floor tile (while looking at kitchen backsplash tiles) and intend to us a credit with IKEA for the new sink and cabinet. (BTW … I’m not a big fan of IKEAs website, customer service and long wait times on the phone … AND be prepared to get transferred around when trying to get information on a long overdue credit back on my credit card — management has much to improve on)

Since I replaced the toilet a few years back, there isn’t much need to replace that so besides new shower doors, fresh caulking, some wallpaper stripping and paint … the floor tile, vanity and mirror are all that is left. (and a failed heatlamp powered vent in the ceiling).

So … perhaps taking some measurements and making a "cleaner look" in the wall shelf might update the bathroom? Worth archiving and thinking about.

Basic maintenance on the Kubota ZD326s and John Deere 330

Posted By on June 7, 2018

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Several of the parts for our now 10 year old Kubota ZD326s have arrived so I started the process of cleaning, greasing and replacing the "broken and beat-up parts."

I’m still waiting for the air filters to arrive from China, but have the Kubota branded oil filter and Chevron Delo 400 SDE 15W040 diesel oil for both the Kubota and John Deere 330. Always a happy moment when with rebate can get a gallon of CJ-4 grade diesel oil for $6.99.

Customer service issue with Omaha Steaks and a business lesson

Posted By on June 6, 2018

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Once in a while we all end up squabbling with a company over their product or service. Neither Brenda or I have ever been advocates for "frozen meat" or ordering the generally higher priced national brands that require significant cost to package and ship a product … but earlier this spring we took advantage of a frequent flyer mile bonus associated with Omaha Steaks. They delivered their perfectly boxed on dry ice steaks and food that was "shocking delicious " within a couple days. We were so pleased that we’ve ordered several more times and even started to tell others about just how pleased we were with their product.

OmahaSteaksUnconditionalGuaranteeUnfortunately, a May 2018 order did not go as planned and "for some reason" was not delivered on time to our house. By the time Brenda opened the foam box, the dry ice was gone, the boxes were all at room temperature and neither of us wanted to risk eating what was obviously fresh but no longer frozen.

I called Omaha Steaks customer service’s 800 number and was told not to eat the product but that their records indicated that delivery snafu was not their problem and that I should place another order — no credit, no discount … nothing. (even suggesting that "we can only guarantee a successful delivery when provided with the correct address." FYI … they have delivered several times and our address was correct.)  Hm, not what one would expect from a mail order company in business since 1917 … or perhaps a little to comfortable with their successful business?

Sorely disappointed and out $100 or the "relatively expensive steak we were hoping to grill"  … I "politely" commented to @OmahaSteaks on Twitter. Within a couple days, they apologized for "any inconvenience" blah, blah, blah and "will be more than happy to offer a $60 Gift Card" for a future purchase." At least now we are getting somewhere I thought, but that’s not really satisfactory in my eyes?

So, I direct messaged back that their "Unconditional Guaranteed" which clearly indicated that "if you are not absolutely thrilled with your purchase .. for any reason at all, we’ll cheerfully replace your purchase or refund your money, whichever you prefer." A thank you reply from OmahaSteaks Twitter agent later, and I was indicated my $99.98 should be refunded to my credit card. So at least in the end, Omaha Steaks honored their "Unconditional Guarantee" … but sadly it required a little more effort on my part after they offended a previously very happy repeat customer.

Lesson to others … IF you want to keep repeat customers and intend to eventually replace or refund, do it cheerfully on that first contact. (stay tuned for my next gripe … IKEA‘s slow refund after a shipping mistake.)

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.