Archive for the ‘Retirement’ Category

Started the Annual IRS Ritual Today

Wednesday, December 1st, 2021

I usually make it a point to acquire the Tax Software when Black Friday rolls around. This year was no exception and, since it is already the first of December, I roughed out the first cut of the 2021 return for the Fed (the Arizona package has yet to be released). I do this advanced cut each year to check if we have any unexpected issues that need to be fixed. At first glance, it appears that we do not have that need.

For the past several years, I have modeled our income and withholding on a spreadsheet to determine how much we must withhold for the Fed. So far, it has worked out to get us into a position where we only contribute minimally to the Fed and get a small (usually less than $1k) refund. We hate loaning the .gov interest free money.

I have updated the spreadsheet for 2022 already, since we now know the amount of SSA income for both of us. They allowed a 5.9% cost-of-living increase, but at the same time upped the Medicare Part B premium by 14.5%. The forecast for next year will put us in roughly the same bracket for 2021. Some items are guesses, but the major income sources (pension, SSA, IRA RMD) are well known.

We don’t pay any State Income Tax because we participate in a program to contribute to our local private Christian school which offsets us dollar-for-dollar on what would have been our State Tax obligation. We get the same kickback when we donate to the local high school’s Rifle Team! A bonus is that we still can claim each donation as a 501(c)(3) deduction on the Fed Tax.

We should again be able to file with the IRS in late January, as we did for last year’s return. The last and slowest of the 1099 forms from our investments are usually in our possession by then.

WordPress and PHP Upgrade Complete

Monday, November 8th, 2021

Arizona CardinalToday, we upgraded both WordPress on the blogsite and the Version of PHP on the server side. It turned out to be a several-step process with two intermediate WP upgrades in addition to the final WP update. We should be good for a while now that everything is copasetic with the Server configuration.

Image – An Arizona Cardinal is easily spotted hiding among the thinning leaves of our backyard mesquite tree. Click on the image to enlarge.

As you can see, the WP stock default theme is being used in lieu of our custom theme from before the change. This will be the theme until I can find a replacement theme that I can customize to resemble the previous theme. This may take some time since most of the WP themes I have been looking at are unsuitable for our familiar two column arrangement.

Thanks for your patience while we go about getting things customized. I still have our Food Blog site to upgrade, so I better get to that.

A Classic 1955 Packard Clipper

Saturday, November 6th, 2021

1955-packard-clipper.jpg

Damsel took this photo of this classic 1955 Packard Clipper a little over a week ago. Neither of us remember seeing this car at any of the car shows or rallies that we have attended recently. The car appears to have the original paint job and when you click on the image to enlarge you may see some pitting on the hood (or maybe dead insects, I can’t tell). Besides that, the car looked very nice as the owners drove by along Wickenburg Way near the Maverik Gas station. You may notice our inflated local gas prices in the background which have gone up another $0.20 or so per gallon in the last week. Let’s Go Brandon!

Website Upgrade News

As I stated before, we have started the migration to the upgraded PHP and WordPress packages on our personal family site, VernaBob.com. The site is now running the new stuff and, as I feared, our old custom theme we used has some deprecated code and is incompatible with the new platform. As a result, I am using a stock WordPress theme and it will be that way until I can find the time to customize it. Some of the convenient features I used for posting are no longer available and I have to do a lot of the repetitive functions by hand rather than clicking a button.

So, I will be upgrading this website in the next few days and you can expect to see some major differences in the way the blog appears. I would appreciate any feedback you may have as to what you’re seeing and if anything is “broke.” I will try and get a “Stars and Stripes” theme going over the next few weeks, as time permits. Meanwhile, we will be functional with the new PHP and WordPress packages. This will be the last post under the old PHP and WordPress.

2021 Wickenburg Fly-In and Car Show

Saturday, October 9th, 2021

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.

Retirement Day!

Friday, October 1st, 2021

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!

Healthcare Update

Wednesday, September 15th, 2021

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.

Classic 1950’s Chevy Tractor Truck

Monday, August 2nd, 2021

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.