Bye, bye, musical memories…

A few hours later the CDs were organized and ready to be sold at the upcoming estate sale. 

Having not moved in 26 years, it’s difficult for me to comprehend having everything in order in 20 days when the estate sale people arrive to start the process of sorting and pricing our belongings.  Ouch! Moving in the past seemed easier: pack, label and seal cardboard boxes, moving them to the next home, placing the boxes in the appropriate rooms to begin the process of unpacking. 

We’ve all experienced this at different times in our lives and although a stress laden experience, we all have managed our way through it to eventually unpack and put it away. The goal was to unpack neatly with the hope and expectation that the cupboards, drawers and closets would stay organized forever. Ha!

As I look around our house, decorative items still on the shelves, clothes still hanging in closets, pictures still on the walls, I see piles of boxes of photos and memorabilia ready to be mailed or dropped off to our grown children including boxes of special items to be distributed to the grandchildren as they mature; boxes of items to be sold at the sale and our never ending pile of luggage.  

Have I gone through every nook and cranny in this house, extricating the memorabilia or items that we may choose to take with us on our travels?  Our estate sale guy promises we’ll have one last time to peruse the items prior to the sale to ensure we haven’t missed a handmade treasure from our child’s or grandchild’s art class. That’s comforting.

In the past few days, I’ve removed every personal item from my car which is to be offered for sale next week on CarSoup where I had successfully and seamlessly sold my last car years ago, in a matter of a few days. 

In the process of cleaning my trunk, glove box and center console, I discovered no less than 15 music CDs most of which were installed in the multi-CD player.   Bringing them inside the house to sort and place them back into the cases, it dawned on me that I had yet to sort the 100+ music CDs we have accumulated in the house over the years.

As I handled each one, “memories flooded my mind” of disco dancing days, romantic dinners for two and quiet reflections to “new age” music so popular in the 80’s.  The thought of our magical Christmas’s, with music filling the air during our festive holiday celebrations, brought tears to my eyes. 

Ah, letting go of stuff, the process continues. One month and one day from today, it will all be gone.  What will remain? The memories. The memories. And the memories. 

Boots, illness updates and…figuring out our insurance needs…

Oh, the Clark’s boots!  I wanted to keep them so badly that I took them to a long established boot and shoe repair company in Wayzata, Minnesota, Bob’s Shoe Repair.  

Brian, a young, although highly skilled leather craftsmen at Bob’s was confident he could cut out three inches out of the calf of the boot, put them back together leaving me satisfied with the comfort, look and fit.  He succeeded.  Thanks Brian!

I picked them up yesterday and couldn’t be happier. The cost for the repairs: $100.  Total investment in the boots including repairs: $249.   With the promise of a great rating online, I offered the seller of the boots a five star rating, if he’d credit me the $14.95 I paid for shipping.  He immediately posted the credit to my PayPal account.

Why did I deserve a credit for the shipping? The online description of the boots indicated a 14″ calf circumference when in fact, it was 16″ resulting in the necessity of the repair. I would have been satisfied with 14″ circumference. (My outrageously skinny calves measures 12.5″).  Now, I’m beautifully repaired, I’m content.

The sinus infection I reported on two days ago is improving without seeing the doctor or taking antibiotics. The pulsating headache would have driven me to seek help had it not begun to dissipate later in the day yesterday. Today, I awakened with only a slight headache for the first time in eight days. It’s on its way out.  
Thanks, Neti Pot, Aleve, Tylenol PM at night (with acetaminophen and Benedryl), lots of water, less dairy and light activity, coupled with periods of rest, good food and the loving support and comfort from my hubby.  Now, I know I will most likely survive a sinus infection without antibiotics.

In the beginning stages of figuring out our insurance needs, I spent a few hours yesterday with our long time highly competent broker/owner of our local State Farm Insurance office, Chad Babcock.  Having worked with  State Farm for the past 40 years, we have never had a problem.  

Before we begin traveling we must address these three major insurance concerns:
1.  How will we insure our luggage, computers and equipment without the security of homeowners insurance or a permanent home?
2.  Will we be able to buy a policy to avoid the high cost of insurance when renting a car abroad, which may be as high as $30 a day in certain locations?
3.  Medicare doesn’t cover seniors traveling out of the US and its territories. What type of policy will cover me, turning 65 in six months, while out of the country?  

With Chad’s help and a few phone calls later at home, we came up with the following scenarios:
1.  Baggage Insurance:  Once we acquire our Nevada residency and address, we will be able to purchase “renter’s insurance” covering the value of our belongings traveling with us, attaching a “rider” for our computers and digital equipment.  
2. Car Rental Insurance:  Many have the perception that one’s own auto insurance will cover a vehicle and liability while traveling in a foreign country. Not the case!  Plus…we won’t be owning a car here in the US, if it did.  We’ll bite the bullet on this one  We’ll pay the insurance at the time of renting the vehicles throughout the world.
3.  Health Insurance:  Without Medicare, a senior cannot purchase a supplemental policy which usually covers most of the costs Medicare doesn’t pay. Thus, I will be required to apply for Medicare (Tom will have five years until he is 65), pay the monthly fees out of my monthly Social Security in order to receive the supplement.  
Plan A:  The cost of the supplement is $185 a  month at this time along with the required Medicare payment for a monthly total of approximately $285.  The hitch:  traveling out of the country allows a total lifetime benefit of $50,000, rather skimpy.  Our insurance guy gave us a quote for me for $432 a month for full coverage, with no limits but add the approximate $99 a month for Medicare, we’d be paying $531 a month, a huge chunk. Tom, obviously younger than me by five years, will be covered up to 94% with the policy offered to him by his employer plus the necessary supplement until he turns 65.  His total cost (for the next five years), $207 a month.   GRAND TOTAL FOR BOTH:  $738  (Yikes! I hadn’t budgeted for this amount)!

As of this writing, I had a light bulb moment!  Duh??? This is not rocket science!
Let’s look at the realities. Tom with better health than I (as hard as I have fought to win over my genes), rarely visits the doctor.  Would the 80/20 (OK out of the country) company provided policy be sufficient for him, saving us $207 a month on the supplement?  

Plan B:  The only difference is 14% (based on the 80/20 coverage without the supplement, as opposed to 94% coverage with the supplement). Then, we purchase the “big guns” policy for me with a $1000 max-a-year out-of-pocket policy with no limits?  GRAND TOTAL FOR BOTH: $531 a month!! 

The financial risk for me?? None! The financial risk for Tom? We’d have to pay a maximum of 20%. Sure, I did the math, the savings of $207 a month over let’s imagine five years, is $12,420.  If he had a $60,000 medical bill, we’d be even.

For now, until we get our feet wet on this adventure, its worth the risk.  In the meantime, this pays for the insurance on the rental cars.  (If a traveler has an accident in certain foreign countries and doesn’t have insurance, they can be detained until the bill is paid in full.

Tom just returned home.  We discussed the above options A and B and we choose B, freeing up the $207 a month to cover the insurance on the rental vehicles.  (We don’t plan to have a rental car more than half of each month to keep costs down, vital all month in some locations and seldom needed at all in others). 
Of course, all of this could be a moot point when Obamacare kicks in. Not intending to get into politics on this site, this uncertainty faces all of us income earning citizens.  Where will Medicare be in the next few years?  None of us know at this time and, probably won’t be able to figure it out in the future.


Bite sized pieces….

My feet hitting the floor at 5:40 am, a surge of energy running through me, I rushed around the house performing the morning’s usual tasks.  

The bath water ran while I turned on the teapot, emptied the dishwasher, threw the sheets in the wash, folded a load of laundry, checked my email and looked in refrigerator contemplating tonight’s dinner.  

The tub was full. Time to get ready for the day. Having worked for 45 years, I can put myself together in 20 minutes, providing I don’t get distracted stopping to watch the news story of the day on the TV in our room.
By the time I got the sheets into the dryer for the 70 minute cycle, I found myself walking in circles around the house, my eyes scanning the cupboards, the drawers, the closets, filled with the “things” of our lives, yet to be tackled.  I felt my heart race; a little bit of fear, a little bit of angst, a tinge of sorrow. 

Letting go? Letting go. Day by day. “Bite sized pieces” keeps running through my mind, the words I used daily to remind my precious sister Julie to hang on as she went through lengthy and agonizing breast cancer treatment about 4 years ago. She survived, thank God, with  a level of grace that I so admired and with a hope for the future, that has proven to serve her well.
Of course, there is no comparison with these life events, but the simplicity of thinking in terms of “bite sized pieces” has a magical way of putting our apprehension and fear in perspective, allowing us each day to bite off a little piece of the challenge while continuing to deal with it, day after day. 

I keep reminding myself of the upcoming sense of freedom and adventure facing us.  But now, with 3 months and 23 days to go, the reality of the looming tasks, many of which are too soon to complete now, I could easily  throw myself into a tailspin.  
Taking a deep breath, I don’t choose the tailspin, thinking, “What can I bite off today to lighten the load?”

We have found as we age, our ability to handle challenges changes. Somewhere along the way, both Tom and I have accepted that emotional upheaval is pointless, “drama” is used to elicit a response from others, stress is damaging to one’s health, and loud vocalization (yelling) to those you love (or not) doesn’t solve problems but creates them. Again, simple, again magical with the ultimate goal of contentment, entirely attainable, not at all elusive.

At 8:30 am, I packed up our six year old grandson Vincent, driving him to Gale Woods Farm for his second of five days in “farm camp” a short jaunt from our home. Three hours later, having completed multiple errands, I returned home, feeling a sense of accomplishment for having taken several “bite sized pieces” out of the daunting tasks that are looming. Walking into the familiar smells in our home; remnants of last night’s dinner along with the orange organic cleaner I used this morning to clean the kitchen, a wave of accomplishment washed over me.In only a few short months this life as we’ve known it, will be over with a new life to begin its place. We’ll continue to take “bite sized pieces” with contentment, joy and wonder as our ultimate goal.

Looking around the house at the cupboards, the drawers, the closets and the “things” I knew it will all get done and, it will all be OK.

Hot today!… Happy 4th!…

Here it is, our last 4th of July in Minnesota, except for perhaps a time in the future, when we’ll return to visit family and friends.  It’s a mixed bag of emotions.  

Tom set out the 200 plus flags along both sides of the peninsula on Sunday as we’ve done for over the last two decades, boaters driving by waving at us for our festive display.  Fortunately, there were no storms, these past three days that may have blown them away.

Overlooking our yard on the smaller side of Lake Minnewashta.

Yes, it hurts to leave all of this behind. It’s sad to leave our three adult children, their significant others and six grandchildren who live nearby.  We’ll miss them and we’ll miss all of our relatives, neighbors, friends and co-workers we’ve come to love after all these years.  We’ll no longer be Minnesotans.

My favorite spot where we lounge in “comfy” outdoor chairs
With our new upcoming residency in Nevada, where eldest son/stepson, Richard lives in Henderson with our funny grand dog, Monty; my eldest sister living in Boulder City (25 minute drive); and dear old friends also in Henderson, we won’t be lost making Nevada our new address. 

Nevada offers many retiree benefits of which we’ll partake. Change is not easy, especially as one ages. We worry about finances, health, available services and basic creature comforts. We long for a certain sense of familiarity to bring us comfort and peace.
Overlooking our peninsula yard and dock on the bigger side of the lake.

In a short time, we’ll take a risk with our health, exposed to disease in strange lands. Although we’ve carefully planned, some of our funds may be at risk at times, less services (dentist, doctor, vision care) will be available to us and we will forfeit the familiarity that brings us comfort and peace.

According to the app on my phone: Retirement Countdown Free, we leave Minnesota in 3 months, 29 days.

Photo of Retirement Countdown Free app on my smart phone

For today, we’re heading outside to enjoy the sunshine, the heat, the flags, the festivities, the great meal we’ve prepared, and the people we love. Have a happy day!