aging gracefully, Blog

The Transition of Monday

Mondays are very different for me as a retiree. When I was working full-time, it was a day of dread. If not careful, it was easy to sacrifice part of the weekend by thinking about what Monday would entail.

We now choose to run our errands during the week so as to avoid the weekend shopping crowd. Today, for example, I will go to Costco. I never go on the weekend if I can avoid it. Monday always seems to be the target day to ‘start’ something.

Today we started our morning walks again. It was wet from some early morning showers. The number of leaves on the ground seem to equal the number remaining on the trees, but there is still some fall color here in the foothills.

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Today is also the day I start clearing the counters and the mantle for holiday decorations. I will put out some fall and Thanksgiving decorations even though we are not cooking this year. It is still nice to enjoy the festive nature of the season.

This week I will start unpacking our Dept. 56 New England village. In this house, they go above the kitchen cabinets for some lovely lighting ambiance and will stay up until after the new year. Since they are not Christmas themed, it is nice to get them out in advance of the other decorations.

Weekdays are a perfect time to meet friends and family for lunch. I hope to meet my niece this week to catch up with her. Restaurants can still be a little crowded for lunch, but the traffic is definitely much lighter.

I will continue to work on my NaNoWriMo novel. I am around 28,000 words now so I am on track. Last night I decided it was time to kill off one of my characters so today I am working on how best to do that.

The ability to manage my time is one of the best things about retirement. And I look forward to Monday’s now much more than when I was working.

Blog, flowers, gardening, gardens, Spring

Living In The Moment

Day 204

img_9647Yesterday was our warmest day of the year thus far. This morning the temps were a little cooler which made perfect walking weather.

The visual landscape around here is changing fast. Most of the azalea blooms are gone as well as the dogwood flowers and the native azaleas. We seem to have an abundance of rhododendron blooming this year. The irises continue to bloom but the spring flowering season is coming to a close. This morning I was greeted by a splendid white iris that had evidently bloomed. It was spectacular.

I love spring. It has to be my favorite season. I am always a little sad when the warm days and cool nights make way to hot days and equally hot nights. Right now we can still open the doors and windows, but with many more hot days, it will soon be time to close the house up and turn on the air conditioning.

We have a good start on our gardens. We have already had a salad out of our lettuce garden. It is so divine to have our own greens topped with the punch of flavor from fresh dill and cilantro. (Yes, I am one of those that love cilantro. Thankfully, so is hubby.)

I mentioned earlier that hubby raised our container garden. Last year we had so much rain and the ground was so saturated the garden could not drain. Our plants literally drowned.

Raising the garden was cumbersome. I told hubby I thought he over-engineered it which did not go over well. Sorry, but it was so heavy we almost could not turn it over. He basically attached legs of 4×4’s and put planks across the bottom, leaving spaces so the soil could drain. Then he covered it with landscape cloth to keep the dirt from falling through, then comes the soil and the mushroom compost then the planting. I asked him to keep the little ledge rather than even it up. Makes a good place to put pots and the watering can.

Friday we will go to the Asheville WNC Farmers Market for their annual Growing in the Mountains Plant Sale. This is where we usually find a nice array of native plants. We have a bad habit of buying more than we have room to plant, thus a lot of garden plants end up overflowing into individual pots.

Yesterday afternoon we went to help our friend unload his kiln after a 40+- hour soda ash firing. He is an amazing potter and the resulting work was beautiful. The community of artists in this area is inspiring.

Tonight we will go see our grandson at his final track meet of the season and next weekend we will drive to Charleston for our granddaughter’s piano recital.

It seems this retirement life is jam-packed full of things to do.

Blog, illness, insurance, retirement

Insurance Rant

Day 43

Today I will be ranting, so if you don’t really want to hear it, I will understand if you walk away now. I just need to get this off my chest.

Health Insurance

When we retired, we were on Cobra, a costly but good insurance program. We aren’t eligible for Medicare yet so when our Cobra expired, we had to buy health insurance to bridge the gap until we were eligible for Medicare.

We found a policy. It was double what we were paying per month and there is a $13,000 deductible before the insurance kicks in. Obviously, we bought it because we needed something in case of a catastrophic event.

Medicare

medicareSo Medicare is on the horizon. But that’s not straightforward or free like some people think. Part of it that covers hospitalization will be at no cost, but any doctors visits, deductibles and prescriptions are all something you need to buy.

If only it were simple and easy to understand.

Some people buy insurance managed by the Federal Government. Some people buy from an Insurance company that manages the healthcare offered by the government. That means you deal with the insurance company for claims. You might be required to go back to using an approved network of doctors. And that network may only be available in the state you live in.

If you want to cover non-insured costs like deductibles and services that Medicare does not cover you need a gap policy.

There is Part A, Part B, Part C, Part D, and today we received paperwork for Plan F, Plan G, and Plan N. What????????

Guess what? Not all doctors and hospitals even accept Medicare. That’s fun.

Eyes, Ears, and Teeth

Most plans do not cover eye exams, hearing aids or dental. And all those parts of our bodies get worse and in need of attention the older we get!

Plan Ahead

If you are young and healthy, try to stay that way. Watch your diet and get some exercise. If you haven’t been going to the doctor, go while you can avoid insurance. My insurance would cost 50% less if I was 10 years younger.

Also, SAVE, SAVE, SAVE. Your cost of living does not go down when you retire. The only money you don’t need to spend might be for work clothes and gas to get to and from work. Insurance is definitely more expensive the older you get. If you can retire with no car payment and no mortgage, I would highly recommend you try!

Right now I am fortunate to be as healthy as I am. I have some things I need to be better about and I am working on those things.

Health care is a BIG BIG business. And we are two of the fortunate people.

RANT OVER

To enjoy a long, comfortable retirement, save more today.
Suze Orman