31 May 2017

The Anti-Squirrel:

This is just weird.
For about 40 years I have been squirreling away money for our retirement.
Mutual funds, Annuities, IRA's, 403b's, 401K's, traditional and Roth, and for insurance, some precious metals...
I'm a minor "expert".
I just turned 70. I'm now getting notices from a multitude of places notifying me I MUST withdraw funds in the year I turn 70-1/2 years of age or suffer a penalty. I'm submitting the necessary forms.
But "squirreling" is such a part of my life that this REALLY FEELS WEIRD.
We are blessed.
But feeling this way is a form of mental illness, isn't it?

It's time to anti-squirrel.
Santorini, here we come.

24 May 2017

Greed. Envy. Jealousy-

A quickie post, as I HAVE to get out to my disorganized "hangar" to sort out bikes, my desk, and other treasures:
I frequently wonder where Germany would be today if, instead of picking the scab that turned into World War Two, they had just continued on their path of excellence and sold the rest of the world Mercedes Benz's, BMW's, and other FABULOUS (and WAY ahead of time) technologies.
I think the entire world would have learned German because we WANTED to.

It's so simple, isn't it?
"Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door!"
So why didn't Germany follow that path?

And then I remember Cain.
He lived in the Garden of Eden and had loving parents.
And he WAS NOT satisfied.

23 May 2017


We've decided to pull the trigger on something we've wanted to do for years.
I had two "bucket list" items on my "Cruise" list-
The inland passage to Alaska, and an "Ocean to ocean" cruise through the Panama Canal.
We've now done both. (And I recommend 'em.)

Sara Jean wants to do another cruise, so I'm tryin' to figger out where I'm interested in cruisin'.
I'm a HUGE fan of the movie An Affair To Remember with Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant.
There's a scene in that movie that has Cary Grant hiking up the mountain in Santorini, Greece to visit his grandmother. At the top he stops to take in the view of the port below, and that scene knocked me out! I've wanted to go there ever since.

We called our travel agent today to start the process.
It just happens she herself is going to Santorini next month, so we intend to profit from her knowledge and get serious about our planning upon her return.

Any hints, prods, or warnings will be appreciated.
What was the name of that liquor they drank in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"? :>)

07 May 2017

My Brother's Keeper

He was a big man...
6'2" and probably about 220 lbs.
He had been my hoochmate in Viet Nam and we got along well there.
When I got home and found him searching for a place to live I bought a place and asked if he'd like to room with me.

He was loud, brash, and unpredictable.
When he didn't come home Friday night I chalked it up to the probability he'd found someone he liked and chose to stay with them.
When he didn't come home Saturday night and hadn't called to let me know, I was mildly concerned.
By 2200 hours Sunday night, facing a normal workday Monday, I considered calling the police, then changed my mind.

Monday afternoon I came home from work to find his lemon yellow '69 Corvette parked in our drive.
I unlocked the door and entered the living room to find him watching TV with half his head wrapped in gauze and bandages.
"What the heck happened to you?!"

"I had a serious discussion with a guy at 'The Monster'. I didn't think much of it when he left on his own. When I left the bar he jumped me with a claw hammer and nearly took my left ear off."
And he wasn't kidding. The ear was hanging by a small strip of tissue and required serious expertise to reattach. The hospital kept him for a while because of the possibility of serious concussion.

Two 22-yr old single guys... prowling most weekend nights. Our unwritten rules were sort of- "you do what you do and I'll do what I do, so long as we don't foul one another's nest."
But three nights with no word at all?

I know today I'd be on the phone Sunday morning trying to find out if he was in trouble, or dead.

05 May 2017


It's inevitable.
Even during the most boring of conversations with friends and acquaintances, the fact we are trying to "hope for the best; plan for the worst" will come up.
You can probably imagine the reaction-
Some think we're just downright weird.
Some of our best friends agree with us but take the "God is in control" attitude and are leaving the future in his/her hands.
A few souls are also doing what they can to be prepared for as many permutations as possible.

Those that think we're crazy will frequently joke, "Well, if the worst happens we know where to go!"
We try to gently guide and educate them by mentioning this scenario.

We hope we ARE crazy in our thinking!

04 May 2017

Dental Sticker Shock

Yes, I know... this is my fault.
I got a thing in the mail from a reputable company offering dental insurance for my family.
There are things in life I think are too important to ignore:
Brakes and tires on your car, for instance.
Dental care is another. 

My first mistake was not shopping around for price.
I now realize I could have done much better than $60/month.
My second  was not insuring our Dentist was an "approved provider".

The policy indicated an annual cleaning would be fully covered after the policy had been in effect for a year.
I scheduled my cleaning 13 months after the policy's anniversary date.

The bill from the Doc came yesterday-
My dental insurance covered $100 of a three hundred dollar bill.
I was shocked and furious.
It means I paid $720 for a year's coverage, and then another $200 to have my teeth cleaned and consult with our Dentist.
Total bill for the year: $920.00 !

I called and canceled the policy.
We take good care of our mouths.
Now I'm wondering whether or not dental insurance is even worth carrying.

01 May 2017

The Baobob Tree

I believe in God.
I believe in a hereafter.
I don't understand how anyone can look at our world and not wonder "who put all this together and flipped the 'on' switch?"

This morning I had another of those wee hours awakenings with thoughts going wild.
The word "Baobob" came to mind.
Why? Who knows?
I have never seen a Baobob tree.
But I am AWARE of Baobob trees.

And that brings a question to mind...
God loves us.
We spend all our lives learning, gathering and storing information to make our lives better.
Some of that information we share with one another... (like reading my stuff here at "Pitchpull") ;).

Much of that remains stored in our brains for personal use.

What happens to that information when we die?
Does God have a vast "Library of Alexandria" where he compiles all the knowledge we have accumulated?

For me, death is not something to be feared.
It's a new adventure that may be more wonderful than we can imagine.