Archive for Retirement

2021 Wickenburg Fly-In and Car Show

1975 Bellanca Citabria 1958 Chevrolet Apache Fleetside Pickup Truck

The Damsel and I deliberately got up at the crack of dawn this morning to attend the 26th Annual Fly-In and Classic Car Show held at our local airport. This should have been the 27th Annual show except that last year’s event was canceled due to the pandemic DEM Panic.

The show was well attended by quantities of classic cars and fly-in aircraft plus the folks driving in. There have been bigger shows in the past, but this one was pretty good. Nobody was wearing the face diapers mandated by some not-so-free places so it seemed like the past shows we have attended.

The images above are (1) a 1975 Bellanca Citabria and (2) a 1958 Chevrolet Apache Pickup Truck. These were two of many aircraft and cars on display and my favorites of the show, although it was hard to pick just these two since there were so many cool displays. The Citabria, formerly manufactured by Champion Aircraft Corp., is among my favorites since I learned to do aerobatics and got my flight instructor rating in a Champ Citabria (airbatic spelled backwards). The Chevy just looked clean and had a cool paint job. Click on either image to enlarge.

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Retirement Day!

WanderlustOn this day, October 1, 2021, we’re celebrating our twelfth year of permanent retirement. I say permanent because this date is actually my second retirement, the first being ten years prior to 2009. To make a long story short, we retired rather than take a layoff in 1999 due to a manpower reduction. I immediately found another job at a competitive company to the one from which I had retired which eventually was acquired by my first company. Thus, I retired from the same company twice and now receive two pensions from them.

IMAGE: Thor Palazzo Motorhome ready to roll. Click on the image to enlarge.

In our retirement post last year, we mentioned hitting the road sometime in 2021, but that has not happened (yet). We did not go anywhere in the spring or summer in the big RV for various reasons, but the thinking now is to at least have a two or three-day excursion semi-local somewhere in Arizona. Since I am still healing up from hernia surgery, we need the surgeon’s go-ahead for that, but plan to get it done before it gets too cold for camping.

As far as keeping the RV ready for our next excursion, we have a routine where the engine gets started up and run for a while every week. We run the 6KW generator about once a month with a load, like both A/C units running. We currently have the black and gray tanks filled with a water-bleach solution which will be purged and prepared for use prior to our next run.

We’re thinking that our destination might be in the high desert north of the Mogollon Rim, perhaps Winslow, Holbrook, Homolovi SP and Petrified Forest NP. More on that when we make final plans.

So, join us in celebrating our twelfth AND twenty-second retirement anniversaries!

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Healthcare Update

caduceus.pngAs I mentioned in the Labor Day post, we elected to have hernia surgery sooner than later which seemed like a good choice given complications that usually develop with an untreated hernia. The surgery took place this morning at our local hospital. The surgeon (featured at the link) indicated that everything went well and I am at home now in the office comfortably posting this item.

I read the statistics on my type of hernia (Inguinal) and it turns out that about one-fourth of the adult male population will develop this condition sooner or later. Thank God that the radiology department during an unrelated CT scan discovered the problem and brought it to our attention a couple of months ago. The urologist that ordered the CT scan read the report to me and recommended that I consult a general surgeon, which (obviously) I did.

The pre-surgical procedures were the usual: surgical gown, hair net, vital sign monitor hookups, IV tube, etc. The one difference I can account for being that the anesthesiologist brought in an ultrasound system and probed my right side while inserting a syringe to anesthetize a major nerve under the muscle in order to provide a level of comfort post surgically. I have to say that it’s working inasmuch as the only sensation from the surgery site is minor pressure and not pain. This may wear off by tomorrow, I have been advised, so I am prepared to deal with whatever discomfort that may occur.

As always, Damsel was there to get me to and from the hospital and to provide post-operative care when needed. I am in continual thanks to God Almighty for the love and care given by my wife.

It should be getting easier every day as I heal up.

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Classic 1950’s Chevy Tractor Truck

1950’s Chevy Tractor Truck

I was thumbing through some of the photo archives and ran across this image of a vintage Chevy truck. Since we recently posted one of a similar Ford truck, I thought to share this classic here in the interest of providing a classic competitor of the day. Click on the image to enlarge.

The Chevy truck was parked in the lot of one of our shopping centers near the west side of town. I took the photo in October of 2012, about a year and a half after we moved here. I actually took two photos of the truck with the intent of making an anaglyph 3D image. I have had the hobby of making 3D pictures for many years and posted them on our other blog. You will need a pair of red/cyan glasses to see the result here.

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Cleared to Proceed Via Orbit Seven-Niner

earth-orbit.jpgWell, here it is another milestone along the road that we travel as inhabitants of the Blue Planet. I have previously made reference to the fact that every year of our lives marks one orbit around the Sun by our fair planet. This day completes my 78th orbit and as far as I can tell, the Man Upstairs has given me clearance to pilot my path along the next circuit to which I reply, “Roger, SIR, proceeding as cleared.”

At this time, I have no reason to believe that I might not complete this next orbit and several others beyond that. My sweet Mother, Kate and her Grandmother, Emma, both made it into nonagenenerian territory and, GOD willing, perhaps I might make it to those future orbits as well. Tempus narrabo.

Our celebrations today were modest, what with running a coupe of errands and then grilling a couple of steaks outdoors which Damsel complimented with a nice Salad. We plan to spend the rest of the evening just relaxing and later watching a movie on the Tube*.

* I guess there aren’t any actual tubes in our entertainment boxes these days, but whatever. They still refer to “film” to record them even though actual film is seldom used anymore.

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Another New Camera Lens

SL1 w/New 250mm LensI posted here before about acquiring a 400mm telephoto lens for my little Canon EOS Rebel SL1 and that lens is worth every dime I spent on it. The only drawback is its size and weight when you want to go out into the desert to capture a few photos of critters. It is a bit clunky lugging it around on a walk up the road or for other events where you might want to get photos of subjects that may be dozens of yards away or perhaps more than that.

Image - Camera with the new EF-S 55-250mm Zoom Lens attached. Click on the image to enlarge.

The SL1, when I purchased it in 2014, shipped with the standard 18-55mm lens and an additional 75-300mm telephoto lens, neither of which were of really decent quality. The latter, after a couple of years, developed an autofocus intermittency and had to be scrapped. Plus, in 2019, we replaced the stock lens with a superior quality 18-135mm lens.

So, the bottom line is that I wanted a lightweight intermediate zoom lens for those times that I mentioned above. So far, since I received the new lens last Thursday, I am pleased with its performance. I took the cactus wren photo today at a range of about 35 feet and the lunar photo last Friday during the full February “Snow Moon.” I cropped both images down from the full-frame size to enhance the subjects. Click on either image to enlarge. I am especially pleased with the sharpness of the mountains and craters on the moon which is not bad for an intermediate telephoto lens.

Cactus Wren on Saguaro Snow Moon

I other news, I renewed my expired AZ Driver’s License yesterday. The expiration was covered by an extension due to the pandemic, but that extension ran out at the end of February, so I drove to the MVD and got my renewal. I should get the new license by mail in a week or two.

In other other news, our COVID-19 vaccines have not yet arrived in our area. There are two venues in town through which we can be vaccinated but neither on-line registration is yet available. We’re both eligible for the vaccines by virtue of age.

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2020 IRS Returns in Progress

ir.pngBecause the tax program we use was a little tardy in getting all the appropriate updates (and some are still not ready) we are getting a later start than usual on the preparation of our annual tax returns. We know most of the numbers such that we can input them to the tax program to get a fairly close approximation of the actual bottom line for the tax year. According to early results, we seem to be getting a larger chunk of change than originally forecast for a couple of reasons; first, the entirety of the .gov “COVID Stimulus” went to charitable organizations which was above and beyond and in addition to our normal 501(c)(3) contributions. The second reason for the larger rebate is we decided to itemize some deductions that were to occur in 2021 by paying them in 2020. That got us to where our itemized deductions exceeded the generous standard deduction introduced by the Trump administration by a couple of thousand dollars which resulted in several more hundred dollars coming back to us.

Meanwhile, we’re waiting on the various income source institutions to provide the 1099’s that show the actual numbers which ought to be pretty close to those we already have put into the tax program since I have a spreadsheet for the purpose of tracking and estimation of the final numbers. So, we’re waiting patiently for the paperwork from the IRA, the pensions, the SSA and our financial intuitions to show up. I expect to be e-filed before the end of January for both State and Federal Returns which should result in our refund within a couple of weeks afterwards (if the irs.gov has their feces together, that is).

And, yes - I have already throttled back the Fed withholding for 2021 in hopes that we might break even next time or owe them a little bit. I hate lending the .gov interest-free money.

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