January 2015

January 1st 2015   Our 10th Month Retirement Anniversary

 

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

Wow does time fly. I have read that the euphoria of retirement wears off after a bit. Well 10 months and it is as exciting, fun, invigorating,  enjoyable as day 1. It is called the good life for a reason and it is sort of like having a wonderful Saturday seven days a week. Our friends down in Mesa in particular get out and enjoy everyday instead of being trapped in their home because it is cold outside.They move!  There is nothing like no rush to get out of bed,no schedule that has to be fulfilled, no travel on business needed, no stress caused by policy or customers and not having to do anything except decide “what should we do today”.

We had a nice New Years Eve. Jeff and I and joined mid game by Jackie watched the Canada/USA game at Dixon’s pub over beer and wings. It was an amazing game, exciting end to end and extremely fast. Very enjoyable but as it was NYE had to be careful with our consumption. 5 beer over the game is a safe amount. We then headed home for a bit before heading out to supper with Audrey & Micheal to Boston Pizza. Great meal as usual and they made the best Caeser’s I have had in a while.They use coarse rock salt and pepper and provide the correct garnish of celery.

After the meal we decided to head home and watched the Oiler/Flame game rematch.  If any of you look back to Dec 27th I predicted a 4-1 win then a OT win. Scary as I couldn’t have called it better.Exact to be precise. LOL  I better start buying Sport Select.

Then watched the count in NYC and Toronto and can’t figure out how Nick Jonas was in both locations at the same time. LOL   And we made it to midnight so that is a good accomplishment.

On the chore list today is take down all of the Christmas stuff and put it away, vacuum after that, do my December budget numbers , and exercise to start the year right. We don’t make resolutions as they are not binding and no one follows thru on them anyway.So that makes it much easier on us and we have nothing to break.

Thought of the Day

Many people look forward to the New Year for a new start on old habits.

Here is the start of my new section. This will be helpful tips, guidelines and links to retirement savings, spending and risks. Each section will be small and pointed.

“PENNYWISE

The most important step to doing anything is planning, preparing and then execution. Step one is BUDGET. You can’t save, you can’t live in retirement or spend money on assets or entertainment without a budget. If you are not a person that budget’s you better start. You only have so much money to spend and you need to track and monitor it to allow you to adjust and correct any spending or saving you are trying to do. You can buy a couple of accounting systems like QuickBooks, or SimpleAccounting but they are expensive, time consuming, requires extra diligence to maintain or you can decide to envelope budget,or use a basic excel sheet or even a sheetpaper to manage. A budget is meant to allow us a visual presentation of money coming in and money going out and where exactly we are spending our money. Money coming in always has to be greater than going out or you are running at a deficit which means drawing from a line or credit that has to be paid back at some time.  I love the Quickbooks system and used it for years but prefer a much simpler, less expensive and a way way easier to use excel based system. I love the Simple Planning excel sheet. Cheap and very effective and customizes to your needs provides support, charts, graphs etc.

http://www.simpleplanning.net/Financial%20Calculators/BudgetPlanner.html

http://quickbooks.intuit.ca/accounting-software/suitrial-modal-homepage.jsp

 

Starting your budget at least two years and at a minimum of at least one year in advance of retirement is needed to give you an idea where you are currently spending your money. Doing a budget at any time is  good thing.I have heard from people that say they don’t need a budget.Either they are filthy rich or living in a world that doesn’t exist. They really have no idea where their money is going.When you are retired you can’t put off paying a bill tomorrow knowing a paycheck will cover it as no paychecks are coming.Jackie and I don’t have the wishful defined pension that gov’ workers, airline workers,large corporations ,unions, teachers all get. I never had a pension opportunity and we took Jackie’s pension ( which is far from defined or generous) as a cash settlement. We also are years away from the CPP pension which I think most people would say  is on the small side anyways.We live very well but have to be disciplined hence the budget.

January 2nd 

Blowing snow, overcast and dull today. A perfect day for those that love winter. Me not so much. Only a few more days.

Watching the news today and they were showing the highest paid CEO’s in Canada. Onex Corp( JELD-WEN owner)  CEO Gerry Schwartz was number one in Canada last year earning 85 million dollars. 85 million dollars and Onex wouldn’t pay out a earned yearly bonus to their employees.  85 million and cuts to programs and staff that are bordering on ridiculous.Greed always comes back to get one and it is one of the Seven Deadly Sins.To strive for wealth and abundance in itself is not a bad thing. But when greed does not allow a fairness, a giving attitude, and a just way of doing business it is not a good thing.I look at people like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates and see good people with the right attitude.

Plan to do a few things around the house, go out to the Sports Bar to watch the Canada/Finland game and continue digesting the numbers from my 2014 budget. I need to phone the insurance company to do a few adjustments to our policy that will save a few bucks and look at a putting Telus on a suspend while we are gone.I think this time I will buy a USA sim card to put into my phone to save a few bucks also.

Thought of the Day

One of the weaknesses of our society today is our inability to distinguish our needs from our wants & greeds. We all have to be very careful with this including myself sometimes. A want and need are very different. 

“PENNYWISE”money saving tips

The math behind saving and retirement-

Your time to retire depends only on one thing. How much income you have in relation to how much you spend.

If you are spending 100% of your money (or more) you will never be able to retire unless someone else does it for you like an inheritance, pension, wealthy giving parents, CPP  etc. Your working days would be infinite.If you are spending 0% ( living free somehow) and can maintain this through retirement you can retire right now. You working days would be zero. In between is where most of us fall at some percentage .As soon as you start saving your money starts earning money itself.Then the earnings start earning earnings on the earnings and the snowball starts. Your money making you money. 

As soon as this income reaches enough to cover your daily living expenses ( you know this because you did a budget) while leaving enough of the gains invested to cover inflation you are ready to retire. From day one if you saved 50% of your take home pay you could retire in 16 years. Remember this is a percentage of your take home pay.Here are a few calculations to help you better grasp this:

Saving 5%  = 66 years of working. Saving 10%=51 years of working, Saving 25% =32 years of working. ( 32 years would put you at 52 years old if you started at 20) Saving 35% =10 years of working. This  is based on preservation of the capital ,living off the 4% rule (see below)( 4% withdrawal adjusted yearly for inflation) and a 7% investment return.  Our retirement though is a little different as we wanted to retire very early with Jackie being 54 and myself at 57. I use the 4% rule as a guide but used our yearly expenses as our withdrawal guideline and am not preserving our capital but slowly reducing it as needed.We based it on a 8% return and 2% inflation. I am positive we can reasonably produce at least a 8% return over a long period. My math on this is a 8 return minus a 2% inflation = a 6% withdrawal rate to preserve and any additional from the capital.Our hard assets will appreciate and be first our safety net if  the market goes sideways and second our inheritance to the kids if still available. Another rule often used is the TIMES X 25 rule . 

DEFINITION OF THE ‘FOUR PERCENT RULE’

It is a rule of thumb used to determine the amount of funds to withdraw from a retirement account each year. The four percent rule allows a steady stream of funds to the retiree, while also keeping an account balance that will allow funds to be withdrawn for a number of years. The 4% rate is considered to be a “safe” rate, with the withdrawals consisting primarily of interest and dividends. The 4% rule has worked for decades as the safe number. Higher returns over a long period will still allow the capital to grow or you to take out lump sum payments for a special need or requirement.  This rule-of-thumb assumes you’ll be able to generate an annualized real return of 4 percent per year. It assumes that stocks, over the long run (15-20 years or more), will produce annualized returns of roughly 7 percent.Meanwhile, inflation tends to erode the value of the dollar at roughly 3 percent per year. This means your “real return” – after inflation – will be about 4 percent. You can do your own calculations as we have, as our assumptions are 8% and 2 % 

DEFINITION OF ‘MULTIPLY BY 25 RULE’

The “Multiply by 25” rule and the “4 Percent” rule are often confused with one another, but they contain a critical difference: one guides how much you should save, while the other estimates how much you can safely withdraw. You can see how they are related and work together.Take your yearly expenses and multiple it by 25 to get your saving required to retire. ie  50K a year expenses. 50 x 25 = $1,250,000 saving required. Take your 1,250,000 and withdraw 4% and you get $50,000 you can spend without fear of your principle disappearing.

HOW LONG WILL YOUR MONEY LAST

Suppose an individual has a $500,000 portfolio and a $500,000 Registered Savings Plan (RSP) which is a combined 1 million dollars. Inflation is 3% and the person withdraws $40,000 per year from the RSP. The person’s average tax rate is 35%. The two variables that we will change will be expenses and investment returns. The chart below shows the number of years that the person’s money would last using these assumptions.

Expenses Investment Returns How Long Money Lasts
$40,000/yr 6% 28 years
$40,000/yr 8% 37 years
$50,000/yr 6% 21 years
$50,000/yr 8% 27 years

What this means is that if you retired at age 55, your money would last anywhere from ages 76 to 92, depending on the variables noted above. Alternatively, if you retired at age 60, your money would last anywhere from ages 81 to 97. After having changed only a couple of assumptions, you can see the dramatic effect on the length of time the money would last.You are looking at this and saying “Hey, at 40K it is 4% what happened to your rule” The biggest difference is the taxes which a lot of people forget about. That is the one mistake Jackie & I made by having 90% of our saving in a RRSP instead of unregistered. Makes it a little more difficult for us.I am not a professional investment advisor but I would make sure to talk to yours very soon to come up with a strategy.It is  a nice tax deferral but will come back to bite you later.

 January 3rd

Great food and fun at Dixon’s with Wendy & Jeff. We had a great supper and watched the Jr Canadian hockey team play exceptionally well against Denmark. The whole team played just fantastic and it was a well deserved win for the team.  The USA team losing and not making to the semi finals is a good thing also as they were a tough team. It is amazing how well Slovakia has done. Two more important games to win though as in these playoffs one loss and you are out.  We then watched the Flames against the Islanders. NY is a good team and unfortunately beat our guys but it was still a very entertaining game to watch. Noticed the Oiler’s lost their 12th in a row. Did I say that ? LOL

I was infected with a Vosteran virus yesterday and had to get up twice in the middle of the night to move the scan forward. I have three anti-virus softwares, AVG, Symantec and McVee and this virus still got me as it is really sneaky and you don’t know you have it until you lose control of your browser and ad pop ups keeping showing up.  For anyone not familiar with this one it isn’t the most harmful but takes control of your search engine ( makes you use Yahoo) and sends numerous ad pop ups based on your searches that are cumbersome and time consuming plus tracks info on your searches etc. My machine also had a few other tracking cookies I needed to get rid of. I used a powerful malware removal site called SpyHunter that is a little on the pricey side but after three scans ( my fault a bit)removed every virus,cookie and tracker I had. It is a malware virus  that can come from any website and isn’t simple to remove. Luckily everything went well with it. Computer even seems faster now.

Jackie has headed over to Victoria’s place to babysit Jackson, it is snowy and cold outside, and I am just going to watch a little golf ( focusing for next week) and do a few things around the house. Need socks as my feet are getting cold.

I love the sound of my cuckoo clock. Every time I hear it I smile. I am pretty lucky to have my Grandad & Dads violin and to also have the cuckoo clock. They both look great in our house.

Turned my boat engine over today to “oil” the walls as it will be sitting for 5 months.Have the Wrangler all washed and ready for it sitting spell.Enclave is ready other than packing to head next weekend. Hopefully the snow will have settled by then and the roads dry. The Enclave has low profile tires and aren’t the best in snow.

“PENNYWISE”

Taking the fear out of the lack of money

Ok everyone is working on a budget. Everyone has a basic concept of how much they need to save. Most of you are scared !  Here is the good news. You are taking things to literal.Today is some good news to ease your minds. You are saying I can’t save a million dollars before I retire. You are saying I can’t live on 40K a year which is all the million generates of income.  YOU DON’T HAVE TO. First of all as I have said before financial corporations are in the business of “selling” you on saving as much as possible. The more capital long term they have they can use it for leverage for themselves. Most advisers will tell you you need to replace 70 to 80% of your working income. Wrong ! Do a little web searching and talking to retirees and the bulk of the group live very nicely on 40-50%. Most advisers will ask what you want to leave as an inheritance.They want you to keep money in their bank as long as possible.You do not need to leave any cash instead look at only preserving your hard assets and then only if possible.  

There are an amazing amount of dollars wasted while working on lunches, gas, cars,expensive two week vacations,savings, clothes and taxes. You don’t need to save anymore.!Your income drops so your taxes are a way less. You are on vacation everyday so you don’t need the expensive two week holidays anymore, your clothes are simpler and do not need to be upgraded as often (  continue to buy new underwear though please) ,you will fill a lot of your time with free or less expensive enjoyable things,and you get discounts everywhere.  Here is a link that is just about perfect site. It allows you to fill in your criteria. If you are retired fill in the age with your current and the same age for retirement age. If you want to see how different incomes affect you savings fill in salary at what you want to spend per year and fill in retirement income at 100% . It uses RRSP, saving and TFSA to calculate. It allows provincial and federal tax calculation to be used , and you can adjust the assumptions on return and go back to see the results. Add 1% extra return and see the dramatic difference it makes to the longevity of your money. You should know how much you are going to spend to get full value out of it but you can work it backwards to determine how much you can spend based on the years you want it to last. This sheet allows you to use interest income and capital reduction. I have found this my favorite worksheet to use , the most informative, and most accurate. The only thing missing is an early CPP ( age 60) drop down but if you meet the criteria to get a “congratulations” you know you already have enough . Go back and forth to the input sheet and data sheet to see the changes take place.If you don’t have your budget number done yet  keeping changing your income until the data sheet says your out of money to determine your current savings income longevity.

Let me know what you guys think of this sheet . I love it .

https://www.retirementadvisor.ca/retadv/apps/retirement/retsave_inputs.jsp?toolsSubMenu=preRet

Remember, you do not need a million, you do not need 70%.

Thought of the Day

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.To sit and read a book, smiling to yourself at the comic situations coming from the pages  and to enjoy it is not a waste of time. Stop, retire, and smell the roses.

January 4th  

A very cold morning with it at -24 degrees and -30 wind chill. Next week warmth. Every penny spent to live in a warm climate is worth it. Not a lot on the agenda today, too cold to enjoy outside, have most of my projects done, and just need to do a few things to get ready for Mesa. Took apart my Philips Shaver this morning as the batteries wouldn’t hold a charge anymore. The battery pack is a chargeable unit that has to be soldiered in. $35.00 for the battery pack and it will cost another $30 or so for a soldiering gun. I would have new batteries with a old razor and a complete new razor is only $89.00. It would have been very easy for them to have replacement batteries like normal but we are now a throw away society.  In the garbage and will look for a new one at Walmart in Mesa.  Looking forward to the Canada Jr hockey game today and it looks like Jackie will be bringing her Dad over for supper. Jessica & Penny babysat Jackson last night as Tor & Cor had a weekend getaway up in Banff. Training for them and Jackson. They didn’t get the best sleep I gather.

“PENNYWISE”money saving tips

Food for thought. Most people relate their income to their gross amount of pay.Make sure your adviser is using the correct measurement. They make things look worse than they are by using this. Thee have no idea on the deductions you may have like pension,payments,good bought, extra taxes etc. You need to relate it to your take home, as saving percentages, and your new spending is all going to be based on this. A $40K a year person only takes home about $26 a year. This is the number you should always use for your calculations. Taxes are a BIG thing when you are working but even are more important when you aren’t. There are numerous people forced to collapse RRSP money to pay a tax bill at the end of the year. When you remove money out of your RRSP the bank is regulated to submit a tax withholding to the government.Withdrawal <5K=10%,5K-15K=20% and >15K is 30%. The rates are not tiered the withdrawal amount determines the withholding tax level.If your total income puts you in a higher bracket than what your withdrawals are you owe taxes. Plus the CPP pension amount is NOT taxed on receipt and is added to your income which accounts for more tax to be paid. An important consideration is if you look at your RRSP and say you have 1 million dollars it really is more like $700K. You have to be careful here. Luckily the retirement adviser calculator I gave you considers this. A lot of them don’t. These is were the financial institutions trick you. Remember I said they will tell you 60-80% of your income. Look at my example 40K equates to 26K. They use the gross not the net and very few tell you the government pensions are designed to replace approximately 15-25% of the average income . It is around 11K to 16K per person depending on working income and age. Think about this. 11K x 2 (wife and you) making 40K x 2 =80K-35% (taxes) = 56K Net that is  22/80 equals approximately  28% of your income by their gross measurement and 39% of your net income. You would only need to provide an additional 10 to 15% to make a great percentage of your working income. Hopefully your mind is at ease. Do the numbers yourself and you will be pleasantly surprised.

Thought of the Day

If you have family  that loves you,a few great friends, a roof over your head, food on you table and you reasonably secure in your future you are a way richer than you think. 

December 5th 

MY DAD

My Dad Jesse Willard

My Dad Jesse Willard

It has been 5 years today I lost my Dad.   Losing a parent is not a nice experience to go through. You quickly realize how short life is. There is a feeling of “you are alone in this world now “ You lose your guidance, your mentor and your measuring stick. I was extremely fortunate to have the “BEST DAD in the World” . I am somewhat prejudiced as he was my Dad but I am sure even outside of our family, people would have said the same. He was the smartest person I have ever known. This is a man that was a licensed mechanic, a trained machinist, a skilled carpenter, a skilled plumber, skilled electrician, skilled welder, could play the violin and guitar, business man, could take apart anything and repair it if it was electronics, radios, TV’s, lawnmowers, clocks, marine engines, blenders etc. This was a guy that built 2 homes himself ( it may have been 3) one of them without power tools for the majority of time, one of them when he was in his 20’s,built his own cupboards, fireplace, and this was a man that owned his own business ( garage & service station).He built his own full sized Truck camper that looked just like a factory one, he built his own wood boat, log splitter, chop saw and numerous creative inventions to help do a project. If he needed a part he would go out into the garage and make it on his lathe. Dad did not have a temper. I can’t remember one incident of him getting angry. He could be stern and pointed when needed but never angry. He was a fun guy and a funny guy. Always laughing, constantly joking and teasing people, loved playing with the kids and was always the guy to let others go first before him. If there was room for 4 people in a boat and we had 5 you could be sure Dad would sit out. In his day kids never had the opportunity to finish school as they were needed on the farm or had to go off to war. But he could calculate out how many cubic  yards of gravel to cover 100 square yards 4” deep just like that. He understood calipers, watts, voltage rates, micrometers,current rates, backlash settings, clearances like no one else.  In all of the years I only saw him stumped twice without having anything to say. Once when Keith Harry was pulling my broken down Corvette home with his F150 Ford truck ( Dad hated Fords and bugged Keith all of the time) and Dad was outside to see us come down the drive away, Keith rolls down his window and says “Power by Ford body by Fischer” ( all gm cars had a doorsill sticker that said body by fischer) . Dad was speechless. Another time Jackie and Dad were outside and they couldn’t find any cardboard boxes to use and Jackie being playfully smart says to Dad “ Why don’t you go into the garage and make some on your lathe”  Dad was speechless. He was a guy that would spend 8-10 hours working as a mechanic and come home to spend another 4-5 hours working on my car to rebuild the engine ( over rev’d or over used) and would never complain. He had a bad back his entire life and I never heard him complain. Some fond memories are going fishing with him to Buck lake all day , having root beer and lettuce & peanut butter sandwiches in the boat, on holidays going up a hill with our Vauxhall and 5 people in it and Dad rocking back and forth in his drivers seat trying to help us get up a big hill,Alfred driving his 427 Camaro with Dad and I in the car and going around a 90 degree corner on Jasper Ave at a very high speed sideways and Dad just smiling. I remember all of the times in the garage working on my car and learning each time from Dad something new. I remember the vacation trips we had , the smelly leather jacket with beads that Dad was given by a Native band,his fixing our Ski-Doo after every weekend after I broke it  and all of the great family times together. I miss that I can’t phone him to get advise on a house carpentry project ,or an electrical problem, or a car project or a design issue. He always had a suggestion or a how to make it work for me. Our family was extremely lucky to have him in our lives. Miss him everyday!

Dad, remembering you is easy, I do it every day. Missing you is the heartache that never goes away.

January 6th

Cold cold and snowy day again. 4 more days Yahoo!

I went to our safety deposit box to cancel and remove it’s contents for the first time. We had an old box at a branch we didn’t deal with anymore as we moved to a closer branch with a new box. The only thing in this box was our will which was a old one anyways but needed it as it was no longer valid. Our new one is current. Our old one still had Alan & Maryann taking care of our kids if anything happened to us. I think Tor & Jess are past that now LOL.

We met Jeff & Wendy at Dixon’s Pub for the Gold Medal Game. Nice that I was able to go early to save a table close to the TV’s and even have a spot.See what retirement can do for you.The beer was cheaper than the pop during Happy Hour ! What a game the first period filled with excitement and relief , the second period with concern and worry,

2015 Gold Metal Champions

2015 Gold Metal Champions

and the third just hanging on in desperation wanting the win so bad. You couldn’t have a more fun nail biting  exciting game to watch. If only the NHL players would play with such gusto. The refs allowed a lot of action without really influencing the game but as the game went on you could see the players taking it easy to remove the possibility of a poor penalty. There was a legit but poor penalty that Canada took that allowed the Russians an in. It is amazing to see the resemblance of the boys to their fathers. Domi is a twin to his Dad. A way better player though. Just an awesome game.

Phoned our management company to have own preferred heating company come look at our zone valve for the underfloor heating. When he gets here I want a lesson on the mechanics of these. I understand the concept and the basic principles but  am a little confused on two things. I  opened the access panel and look at the system. First question is “Why did the plumber install the zone valve and remove the auto/manual lever off it” ( sometimes when the valve isn’t working people remove this and have the water running continually) Second question is ” What temperature should the water be at coming to the valve and why is the pipe not feeling warm” Even if the valve is stuck and the condo doesn’t get heat the supply line from the boiler to the valve should be quite warm in my mind.Hopefully they show up today.

Zone valve, gym, and getting together a few things to bring with us to Mesa is all on the agenda for today. I don’t have a house with a drive way but I am tired of sweeping the snow off my Cherokee every day. ( I drive it so I don’t have to keep washing my Wrangler)   Have I said 4 more days already. LOL

“PENNYWISE”money saving tips

Ok everyone has or is working on a budget. Everyone knows or is about to know how much a month they are spending on what. Everyone has done a quick calculation how much they need to save to cover their expenses. Now the most important thing is Managing Your Money.

TIPS for Saving

Everyone of us can save a lot more money that we think if we focus on the goal and the end result will be earlier retirement than you thought.

  • If you have a company match or company contribution to a RSP max it out. You are doubling your money plus earning the interest and compounding.
  • With your budget you can determine a lot of waste ie   $100 a month on coffee, $250 a month on smokes, $100 a month on lotto tickets, or $300 a month on dining out. This give you the opportunity to adjust but you need to SAVE the saved dollars. Jackie and I consistently spent $150 on Tim’s a month until we refocused.
  • Every night when you come home empty your change into a basket ( I use a Texas Mickey) and you will be surprised especially now with Loonies and Twoonies in your pocket how fast this accumulates.
  • Check out your visa fee’s and interest rate for a cheaper card.
  • No one should have a 25 year amortization.A simple adjustment going to biweekly instead of monthly brings your amortization down to 21.5 years saving yourself over 20K in interest. Simple math 26 payments a year vs 24 payment.Even better if you have a budget you could look at reducing the amortization length and bi weekly  and same above example would save you 29K. Take advantage of the prepay allowance which really saves you money.Once a year even a $1000 bucks saves you huge. Remember it is very important to go into retirement debt free. More on this later
  •  Consolidate any high interest loans as a house line to save a lot of dollars. Careful here that   you don’t compound the issue by not be able to pay down your visa etc and having the consolidated loan.
  • Switch to a bank that has the best interest rates, lowest fees etc,
  • Look at you usage of TV and cell phones. Bundle your services to get a better deal. Change what you are doing. This category is the largest amount of dollars spent for younger people that didn’t exist only a few years ago. Switch carriers, reduce channels, reduce data usage, use free wifi as much as possible.
  • Sign up and use your free reward cards. There are a lot of savings to be had.
  • Write a grocery list and stick to it. I am bad at this but boy do I buy good groceries.LOL
  • Party at home more than going out. Saves a bundle.
  • Call your credit card company and ask for rate deduction. They want to keep you and have freedom here.
  • I don’t think I have to mention smokes, liquor and gambling but you would be amazed at the dollars wasted on this. A pack of cigarettes at $10 a day is $3650 dollars a year. Imagine if you saved that and added compound interest to it.
  • By motion sensors and a auto thermostat. If you spent 1 minute turning down the stat and lights off  before a 2 hour trip that is equivalent to earning $50 a hour. ( I used this even at work to reduce overall costs in a huge warehouse and office although I remember some cold mornings until the office heated up LOL ) A stat can save you 10-15% of your bill.
  • Make sure you have a clean air filter in your furnace and car. Did you know a dirty air filter in your car alone will increase your gas mileage by 7%.
  • Plan you weekly meals around the store flyers.
  • Repeat after me “Insurance is not an investment” If you are adamant you want insurance buy cheap term insurance. I hate insurance and extended warranties. Both are a pure waste of money.
  • Brown bag your lunch
  • Air up your tires. For every two psi your tires are low you lose 1% gas mileage.
  • Cut your own hair. I have saved thousand’s of dollars on this by switching to Jackie cutting my hair.
  • For the most part buy a slightly used late model car to save thousands in deprecation. We  bought one new vehicle not counting my work vehicles in our lifetime until just before retirement when we bought a new Wrangler. Not the deluxe model. Our Enclave I bought as a dealer demo car. Saved a lot of money.
  • Always ask for discounts or fees to be waived. You will be amazed what you get.
  • Did you know a $100 bottle of perfume and the generic brand are made the same. Brand names cost a lot more in anything and one wonders the real difference. I can’t give up Heinz or French  or Pepsi though LOL
  • Save for a vacation before going on it. Nothing is worst than coming home to a huge bill.
  • PAY YOURSELF FIRST- you won’t miss the money if you remove it from your account to your saving account right away. Use a auto transfer online so you don’t have to worry or remember to do it.
  • Use many saving accounts. I have at least 6. You can nickname them on line. I have a emergency, vacation, HOA , groceries as examples. You know your budget allowance per month for each category so transfer that amount each pay period.There is no cost to setting up new accounts online.

These are just a few ways. Hopefully you can use a few of them to make a difference. Always remember to pay down the highest interest rate loans first and fastest. 

Thought of the Day 

Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t really want or need, to impress people they don’t really like. Known as the Jones Effect 

Learned a lot from the young refrigeration mechanic Honeywell sent to our place. Voltage is converted down to 24 volt so no fear of getting a shock. The current  zone valve was literally welded closed. He couldn’t open it with any force. I now know how to replace it if it ever gets stuck again. The lines do have a chemical that lubricates but the ball /rubber valve just wears out and ‘welds’ itself. Quite simply to replace. I was given the lesson on the system. The shutoffs are at the end of the run not at the beginning which is opposite of how you would like them but still work as now flow will go thru the lines as the hot water will take the line of least resistance . The boiler is set for warm weather come spring and it doesn’t matter where you put your thermostat you will not change your temperature unless the outside air temp drops below 65 F.But with the shutoff valves I can keep certain zones from getting any warm water what so ever. He suggests to set the thermostat at 30 degrees every once in while to open the valve to eliminate a further chance of being stuck. Interesting system.

January 7th 

The condo is a nice temperature now and controllable as that valve was totaled and didn’t allow the water to flow past and the thermostat to control the temperature. I watched my girly show for the night last night as I watched the Bachelor show with Jackie. I don’t know why, but I do enjoy the show especially the cat fights and the odd drunk girl making a fool of herself. I charged and then updated my Sky Caddie golf GPS handheld with their new system again having to use the web instead of a desktop app. I charged my golf GPS Garmin watch so it is ready when we hit Mesa. I charged my Golf Buddy remote controlled car batteries and I packed my suitcase. I tried on each short and shirt to make sure they fit as I have a problem with them falling down to often.  I must have chicken legs as the waist of some new ones fit perfect but the leg material width is double of what I need. Great for playing “Bad Grandpa” LOL ( you had to see the movie)  Made sure to have my swimsuit and fancier shirts for the nights out. Packed all of my needed “to look good accessories” and should be all set to go.Looking forward to this trip very much. Contacted Telus and a great money saving tip is to suspend your service while away. For $10 per service ( we have 3 , phone,TV and internet) so for $30 a month versus the $140 a month and a simple phone call to reactivate. Great deal. Contact Koodoo to see about a plan add-on and negotiate down to a reasonable rate. Cell phone companies are very hard to deal with and I am all for the government stepping in and allowing free access to the American large carriers. We pay AWAY to much. Koodoo’s deal was yes you could suspend but you couldn’t come back to the same plan if it was a special time sensitive deal. Ours was ,so when we reinstated we would have to pay more than we are currently paying.Not quite a fair deal so it looks like we will be paying the $75 per month add-on roaming plan. I do not recommend Koodoo and we will look at changing carriers when our plan has expired. Darn I was looking forward to seeing the weather during the WRLA to be freezing but the lucky guys are going to hit a very nice spell .Will look good on the organizers.Perhaps bad as a lot of people may want to go skiing instead of buying.

“MY RANT”

Sorry but again I have to rant about driving. Over a 100 accidents every day since we started getting the snow. This is ridiculous and is ALL drivers error. I hate the fact that my insurance ( without a claim) has to subsidize these others errors. I think deductibles should be $2000 so if you are in a fender bender it will hurt a bit. I have watched old men, old women and young girls on the road lately that should be immediately removed from our streets.Their are a lot of young guys also that think they are drivers but end up in the ditch. It is amazing to see someone put their foot to the metal to try to get our of the way as they misjudged the ice and coming traffic.  If I said feather the the pedal not one would know what I am talking about. I have seen these same drivers coming around a bend on a overpass ( which was slippery) and spin around and around and look stupid.If I said they only needed to turn into the skid and then the opposite way if over corrected they wouldn’t know what I am talking about. I have seen these same drivers drive only a few feet behind a large truck without being able to see what is in front or even follow a car a car length behind. If I said in winter you need at least 3-4 car lengths behind to give you time to react they would not understand and ask why. I have watched a car run into the back of another right in front of me. The lane right beside us was wide open. If I said why didn’t you when you realized your ABS brakes weren’t stopping you in time and steer into the other lane . Everyone should know the reason ABS came into play was to shorten the stopping distance BUT most importantly to allow free movement of a skidding wheel to drive around a accident instead of rear ending someone. I have seen cars going into a corner to fast , they realize it too late and slam on the brakes. Guess what they are in the ditch. If I said remember high school physics.DO NOT BRAKE. Slow down as much as possible in the corner after realizing your going into it to fast, feather the brake and then at the apex of the corner slowly hard accelerate.People are scared to do this. Same goes with a front flat tire. Speed up to straighten out the car then feather the brake to a stop.

Learn how to drive before you drive. Seems simple. BUTS THAT’S JUST ME

“PENNYWISE”money saving tips

This is for all of the young techies out  there. There are a lot of money saving apps to help you spend less and then hopefully save more. Here are 10 only out of 100’s.

  1. Retailmenot
  2. Poshmark
  3. Keyring
  4. Gasbuddy ( only starting to come to Canada now)
  5. Redlaser
  6. Checkout 51
  7. Wi-fi finder
  8. Groupon
  9. Social living 
  10. Ibotta 

There are  a lot lot more and can save you if you use them. Just think using #7 , getting free wi-fi instead of a data usage bill and finding the cheapest gas to go out to town at a restaurant with a large discount.  Time consuming a bit but very worthwhile. Sort of like the NEW way to coupon shop.

January 8th 

OK no comments on this one. This is a picture of Jackson preparing himself for hockey. He has very strong ankles so we are hoping he does well at hockey. His first practice is this coming up Saturday.

I think a generic uniform or one from a winning team would have been better.

I think a generic uniform or one from a winning team would have been better.

Victoria and Corey are amazing parents but they may to have to cheer Jackson up after wearing this uniform in Calgary. Kids though are very resilient and forgiving. LOL     Love the smile on him. I hope he has a wonderful time on the ice. I saw the skating program hi-lighted on TV and I am sure he will have  a blast. Starting at age 3 is a great time to get him an early start.  GO Jackson GO

Up very early this morning to drive Jackie to the airport for a short day trip to Edmonton for business. Two conclusions were achieved this morning. First the poor people having to do that daily trip to work every morning in the cold and rush hour traffic. Second driving in north Calgary you may as well be in Edmonton. Blowing snow, deep drifts and ruts and very heavy traffic.There is an substantial difference between the areas of town. Get back to the south part of the city to calm, dry and about half the amount of snow.  I have a stop at GolfTown today and Canadian Tire . Golf town to return a shirt for Jackie and Canadian Tire for a fuel stabilizer for the Jeeps.

“PENNYWISE”

Retirement-  A few things they won’t tell you about retirement

  1. You are not behind at all –  The medium age of retirement in Canada is 62. The lucky few with defined pensions typically are a few years before this with a lot of them retiring after 25 years of service.It is the math behind the money that keeps people working longer than they would like. It is the financial institutions telling you, you can’t afford to retire. Freedom 55 was a great marketing idea. But think about it. At age 55 and average age of say 80 . That leaves you only 25 summers to enjoy and most likely the last few in bad health. Worth waiting?
  2. You wont’ live as  long as expected-  They longevity of live is an important factor in planning. The number changes every year due to cancer deaths and flu deaths. The number is also skewed as the infant mortality rate has changed dramatically over the years effecting the whole number. Today we are looking at men living from 79-82 yrs old and women 82-86 years old. Make sure to plan for this but it is silly to plan to live to 95 as the odds of that happening are low.(18% chance is the number). Watch your planner if he suggests for you to use 95 as your age to do his calculations he is trying to scare you to not retiring and saving more in his bank.
  3. You will see a lot more of your partner–  During our working life you may spend 6 hours max with your partner but in retirement it maybe double that. Any couple may start to bicker with this change if roles are reversed, individual space is not allotted ( go golfing, fishing, shopping etc) but still very important to have shared interests to be connected.
  4. A part time job could be worth $400K- A part time job earning $20K a year is like having  an additional $400K in the bank. If you enjoy the job it is a win win. It can make a huge difference to your savings lasting a long time.
  5. The government is more generous than you think- The average CPP payout is $11,500 a year per person with the max payout being $16,000. You can take this as a reduced pension which is what I believe the correct thing to do is. The reduction is 36% from maximum if you take it at 60.For me, the decision to take CPP early or leave it later is really about life expectancy and what they call the break-even point.  Generally speaking if you think you are going to live a long life with a longer life expectancy then it may make sense to leave CPP till later.  Mathematically the break-even point is between age 74 and 77.  If you can tell me EXACTLY when you are going to die then I can tell you EXACTLY whether you should take CPP early or leave it till later.  What this means is the person taking it early and a person waiting until 65 they will have both received the same amount at age 77. Two things, remember the live expectancy of men 79-82 and second this is not taking into account the interest earned on this if you didn’t spend it. Remember we all also get the OAS payment which is max’d at $560 a month but is not paid until 65 years old. At 65 you will be getting at approximately $560 OAS +  $600 -$900 CPP . That’s close to $17K a year but as a average about $15K a year. X 2 for a couple and that is 30K as a given. But again taxes have to be paid.
  6. The world of possibilities– You can live in Costa Rica, Mexican or Panama for less than half of your cost in Canada. An awesome way to enjoy an retirement   and live wealthier than you ever thought.

We were extra spoiled this Christmas. Jessica, Penny Corey and Victoria gave us some wonderful presents at Christmas time but they said one didn’t arrive in time. It arrived yesterday. WOW very creative and thoughtful idea. Jackie & I have a gift certificate for Fat Willy’s in Arizona. We will have at least two months of free burgers and beer on Mondays there thanks to the kids. Very very generous and very appreciated. We will really enjoy this.

Getting ready for the drive on the weekend. We will have lots to do this trip as we have our good friends and fellow residents Fred & Terry that are already there, Jeff & Wendy for a few days the last part of January, Keith & Jenny the first two weeks of February, Mom and Darlene one of the last weeks in February and Jess & Tor mid April. Should be a fun  3 1/2 months.

Thought of the Day

There is an enormous number of managers who have retired, unfortunately it is while they are still on the job.

January 9th 

Watched the American Idol last night. I like this show as it is a fun show. With Simon gone it now is on the “nicer” side and with them not showing any of the horrible singers it makes it a better show. J LO, Keith and Harry are a good mix and work well with each other.

Well, everything is all packed up. Golf clubs, golf carts,suitcases, every golf accessory I own to try to help the score,boxes, sunglasses, etc and lots of room left. Went and got my US dollars ( the exchange rate is horrible with the dollar hovering around the .84 mark)   Grudgingly paid for the US plan with Koodo for 30 days but when down there will look at alternates. Will fill the Enclave up with my .20 off gas coupon from Safeway. ( remember my tip on coupons & rewards. I fill our tank and only pay .62 cents a liter) I will also go thru the wash before hitting the roads as they are dry and the car will stay clean for a bit. We should hit Mesa either on Tuesday or Wednesday depending if we leave on Saturday or early Sunday morning.

One of the ladies in the condo gave me her grandkids building block set so next time Jackson is here he will have something new to play with. I need to throw away and give away any food that will spoil.

Jackie & I went out for supper with Jackson,Victoria and Corey to Boston Pizza before we head south. We had a gift certificate thanks to “Nana” that we used. Jackson was an excellent guest and was very very well behaved. He even received his ice cream desert made just like he likes.  I  get to see Jackson’s first skating lessons tomorrow morning as we won’t be  leaving until early Sunday morning to Phoenix as a small circumstance came up. I am going to try to do the trip in 2 days as long as my passenger goes asleep long enough in the car.

Hopefully get to an hotel in time to see the Golden Globe awards on Sunday night.

Jackie received the invite for the Annual International Scotia Bankers Pensioners Golf Tournament at Superstition Springs Golf course in Mesa.I am looking forward to this and hoping it is a scramble format as this maybe the only of that kind I get to play now that I don’t attend company tournaments.

Also just found out Tiger Woods is playing the Waste Management Open in Scottsdale this year as long as he makes the cut. I am looking forward to seeing him on the 16th hole. ( I birdied this hole)  This is the famous hole with the stadium seating and a rowdy crowd that can cheer or boo. Should be fun.

“PENNYWISE TIP” money saving tipsestablish a USD account and deposit monthly into it. I hope most of you have heard of “dollar cost averaging”. This way when you withdraw it is in US dollars already and you averaged out the cost of the exchange over months. It works great and is a good cost saver. I online deposit to the USD account the first day of every month.

Thought of the Day

 Ps: Kilometers seem shorter than miles. Save gas, take your next trip in kilometers. Just a thought.

January 10th

Went a watched Jackson with his first skating lessons. Skating isn’t an easy thing to learn and takes a lot of practice. Jackson had fun with the different events the

Lesson One

Lesson One

teacher had doing. Great that the first thing they are taught is how to throw their weight forward to be able to fall forward rather than backward.He had one little “issue” but overall I think he likes it. Give it another few times and perhaps a few practice times with himself and he will be looking forward to it. The TRICO Center is a wonderful facility with the gyms, pool and rinks all in the same building.

Jackie headed out to Lethbridge this morning  and will be back later tonight.Luckily it is a warm sunny day. Jackie has a hair appointment for herself and Audrey with Penny today. It seems that Jessica now has become a victim of the Strep Throat that a few family members have had. ( Jackson, Corey,Victoria,Danielle)  Hopefully Penny is careful to avoid it. Everything is all packed and we will leave early tomorrow morning.

I will try our hotel hookups at night if possible but for the next three days the postings will be small unless I have one of those HaHa moments in my sleep.

“PENNYWISE TIP”money saving tips

I want you guys to think about this. I am sure very few advisers will give this idea to you.  I believe it is imperative to get a secured line of credit against your house before retirement. Typically the bank allows you to borrow up to 80% of the appraised value of your home. A typical line of credit is usually prime to prime plus 1% as a rate which is substantially lower than any other loan. You won’t be using it unless needed.Ok here is my thinking. Lets say you have a paid ( as you better have if you are  going to retire) house that is worth $500k  . 80% of that is $400k line of credit available. You can use this later in retirement to finance your daily living if you ever run into trouble. The nice thing also is it is available as you need it and you only have to pay interest only if you choice. I could buy a 250K motorhome or cottage today and with current interest rates have a payment of appr $490.00 per month. I could withdraw a needed 4K a month for a nursing home and only need to pay  appr  $8.00 a month while renting our house. IT IS A PERFECT SAFETY NET. You still own the house so can rent it , you can renovate it, buy a car ,and the balance left remains in the estate. I think everyone should have one. The common terminology is a HELOC ( Home Equity Line Of Credit)   Do not confuse this with a reverse mortgage. I believe that structure is to one sided against you. Most of you will have received  your 2015 assessment from the city. Typically the bank will use this and add 15% to come up with a value  ( ie  assessed at 500K plus 15%=$575 K /80%= $460K available.) In some cases they may want an appraisal done which could result in a even better number for you. If you owe anything still on your property subtract that from the amount. (ie  460K -200K ( still owing) you will get a heloc of 260K)    I believe this is a very prudent and efficient way to have access to money fast, and to have a safety net. I see nothing wrong with dying in debt if it is a HELOC. Neither does the bank.

Thought of the Day

You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don’t do too many things wrong.

January 11th

Heading to Mesa.Up and on the road by 8 am.  You know the  saying “it’s all about the timing” Doesn’t matter what happens in life timing is everything. You could go one day earlier or one day later to avoid the treacherous icy roads, the snow banks 4 ft high on each side of the highway, the howling side winds blinding you, the deep ruts on the snow packed  highway, the near impassible  mountain passes and the multitude of vehicle accidents.

Jackie is having a hard time as all of her likes are not the most common thing for stores to stock.  First she couldn’t buy ginger ale at the gas station, second her tea came as green tea not black as ordered ( we have experienced quite few incidences of not having Red Rose tea) and then her French dressing comes as Catalina.  It’s like I have always said ” you don’t order a sandwich at a burger place, or a pizza at a ice cream shop”  So we have had a lot of fun with this so far. Travel experiences just make you remember events better.

Our timing was so good to have a perfect drive we managed to get all of the way to Idaho Falls the first day.Surprised to see so much snow here though and only 28 above in Fahrenheit. Last year this was our second stop due to the roads.We drove from here to Mesa which I may do again or stop at the Casino in Mesquite or Vegas for a night.Stopped at a Best Western  and got the nicest room for the best price in along while. $77.00 which is ridiculous and the room was more than wonderful.  Asked for a discount , got it, free full breakfast, free internet,pool, and spa. Went across the street to the Smitty’s which was fast and good. The decor was identical to the Veiner Schnitzel restaurant chain in Florida we went to.

Globe awards are fun to watch. Some amazing plastic surgeons out there.

Thought of the Day

Thanks to the interstate highway system, it is now possible to travel the entire USA without seeing anything.

“PENNYWISE TIP”

Take the amount a item costs and divide it into your hourly wage. If it’s a $50 pair of shoes and you make $10 an hour, ask yourself, are those shoes really worth five long hours of work? May keep things in perspective. May sway your decision to the need not the want and you end up with a $25 pair of shoes and $25 in your savings.

January 12th

Very nice hotel last night. Excellent free breakfast (sausages,omelettes, potatoes), great pillows and bed and a full new renovation. Unfortunately we didn’t get a good sleep as we had a room above us that played music so loud it was impossible to sleep. I let it go until midnight and phoned the desk. Luckily the  guy cooperated and turned down the music for a bit but kept it on until about 1pm.  Just couldn’t sleep. Then the guy was up at 4 am and packing very noisily.  I won’t drive to Mesa today though as I will be a little tired and the weather according to the news will not be the best.On the road by 8:30 This time of year this area is prone to  freezing rain, fog where you can’t  see 100 yds in front of you and slush pulling your vehicle.

Made good time and decided to leave about a 6 hour drive tomorrow to Mesa.  We were very lucky to have hard rain but at 33-36 degrees didn’t freeze bad and we could see about 1/4 mile in front of us.  It is awful nice when you hit clear clean pavement as you can set the cruise at 140 kms and have no fear of a ticket.  I would say 75% of the I15 is now 80 mph. We did see 5 cop cars with radar or victims. They raised the limit but now have zero tolerance which is a good thing. I wish Canada would smarten up and do the same. Change HWY 2, HWY 1 and the Yellowhead to 125km and have zero tolerance. At that comfortable speed most people are happy.I had to make two pee stops. ME -I had to make two pee stops. Unbelievable I know. Water and Diet Soda will do that to you.

Great Place to stay on the way to Mesa

Great Place to stay on the way to Mesa

Stopped at the Casa Blanca  Casino in Mesquite and only paid $44.00 a night . This year two nights stay cheaper than one nights stay last year. Love discounts. This Casa Blanca is a neat place . I will throw a few into the slots and see what happens.

The slots were not kind as is the usually. Had a great supper with our servers name being Larry. Probably the best server we have ever had. Between the gas, the food and the hotel costs it sure is a lot cheaper to live in the USA.  We had a wonderful breakfast at the casino and hit the road. This casino food is amazing. A 16oz ham steak,hash browns , two eggs and toast for $5.99. A steak sandwich for $6.99. I did notice the gas the farther south we got started to raise a bit in price. Vegas it was $2.25 a gallon compared to Great Falls at $1.44 gallon.

Thought of the Day 

Slot machines are like crack for old people. 

January 13th

Knowing it was only a 6 hour drive we took it fairly easy. We did miss two  corners though and had to circle back. I will blame that on the navigator and one small miscalculation on my part. LOL.  I saw another 3 cops with people pulled over so they are quite serious about their speeding. Every hour the temp kept going up and you could feel the sun on your face. Wonderful warmth and sun.  We stopped at Safeway before going to our house on Power Road and stocked up with food. Not a lot of difference in food costs other than milk, eggs and cheese which are all regulated in Canada. But the veggies have awesome quality as a lot of them are grown right here.  Trees were mostly trimmed and the place looks great thanks to our caretaker. Unloaded our groceries and I said to Jackie as we didn’t feel like unpacking everything, lets go over to Fred’s for a cold drink and relax tonight and do everything tomorrow. Fred was out so I HAD to start unpacking. We were just about done when Fred showed up at the door with Tracy & Ralph. The foursome had a great day in Mesa and were all a little tipsy. We had a drink and decided to head to Fred’s for a few more and some snacks as we  didn’t have any as of yet. On the way Tracy decided to stand on the sidesteps and nearing Fred’s place chose to jump off to walk. The jump didn’t go well and she fell cutting her leg and hand. Terry &  Fred fixed her all up. Nice to see them again.

Then walked home from Fred’s in the warmth around 10:30 pm and finished doing a few more things.To be at home again is great. !! Looking forward to golf, friends, food, sun, swimming and fun for the next 3 months in Arizona.

Thought of the Day 

I don’t want to play too much golf. Two rounds a day are plenty

January 14th

Fred has quite a collection of “plates” on his man cave now. Looks awesome. He even brought his naked monkey buddy back to Arizona and had him seatbelted in the backseat. Fred bought another personalized plate for his truck ” F1SH4FUN”. Perfect for a retiree.I would have liked that plate.We cleaned, power washed, trimmed trees and organized things. Jackie found a perfect place to store our luggage. A few expenses as we need to put new eaves trough on the one side of the house to replace the PVC ones that are crap, make a trash can concealer and buy a storage bin for the side of house. Place overall looks awesome again and we are just about settled in. Checked in with the front office and received my welcome package and pass stickers. I need to go tomorrow to buy the ABBA concert tickets. Internet and phone are up and running which is good.  Life is good !!  Interesting fact is that we have the original London Bridge only a couple of hours away from us. A little bit of the British in our State of Sunshine. They rebuilt the bridge and created a entire British town complete with no dentist offices,small fish & chips shops and candy stores.

Thought of the Day

Retirement, a time to do what you want to do, when you want to do it, where you want to do it, and, how you want to do it. 

January 15th

Woke up to warm sunshine and a chorus of birds chirping. Quite a difference. We went to get the car washed ( again costs 50% less than Alta and a way better job). They use air hoses to dry the window sill and door openings.Stopped and picked up a new pair of sandals,( I wore my last one’s out and forgot to bring my Sass ones) more clothes hangers and few other odds and ends. Sitting on the deck right now typing in the warmth psyching myself up to get up and wash the windows on house. Sand gets everywhere from the summer storms. A few more fix up things and back to the relaxing time we enjoy. Using #50 suntan oil on my head to see if that works versus having to have a hat on all of the time. Jackie has to go buy a hat as she forgot to bring one of the ten she has at home. For her a hat is important.

Washed all of the windows inside and out. Removed all of the screens to clean my vertical sliders bottom portion. Installed our new hummingbird feeder and filled the standard bird feeder.( Jackie is breaking the rules as you are not allowed to feed the birds) Went to the Depot to look for solar batteries and  plants for the back. They were out of the batteries and we could find nothing that we liked at a cost we liked. I will go to the Mesa market this weekend to see what they have. Spent a hour at the pool doing my laps. Moved the living room furniture around to see if we liked the different layout. Made a wonderful supper with a salad to kill for. The greens down here are so fresh and have a lot more taste then we are used to. Did a little banking  and relaxed.Booked a tee time for tomorrow.  The next weeks temperature is going to be above average for this time of year with everyday around the 75 degree mark which is the perfect temperature.

Thought of the Day

Where should you live part time when you retire ?

You can live in Phoenix , Arizona where…..

1. You are willing to park 3 blocks away because you found shade.
2. You’ve experienced condensation on your butt from the hot water in the toilet bowl.
3. You can drive for 4 hours in one direction and never leave town.
4. You have over 100 recipes for Mexican food
5. You know that ‘dry heat’ is comparable to what hits you in the face when you open your oven door.

January 16th 

Up to another bright shinny morning. Watched American Idol last night and again a fun show to watch. Adam Lambert was a perfect guest judge and interesting that is the new front man to the band “Queen”.  Had our smoothie’s and started checking out the golf equipment. Got everything ready .   Jackie & I are all set to golf at 1 pm today and Fred has booked T times for Sunday afternoon and Monday afternoon. Monday afternoon early so we can beat the rush to Fat Willy’s for burger night.

After golf today I think I will go to Lowe’s for the storage bin and batteries for the solar spot lights. Have to look up how to play  Kaiser as Fred & Terry are having us over for supper on Saturday and want to play this card game. I think it is a card game from Saskatchewan like Euchre. Should be fun !

Have I said how much I love Mesa. Swimming in the pool last night with two old farts it is so funny listening to the conversations. Illness, aches & pains, doctor appointments,crappy wives, women shopping ,bad drivers is all they talk about.

We had an excellent time golfing. The weather was fantastic around 24 degrees and sunny with no wind.  We golfed with a couple from Alaska which were a lot of fun. Neat personalities which made the day very enjoyable. She was a very good golfer. She belongs to the women’s league in golf and the tennis club so she really works at keeping in shape.  Jackie drove the ball fantastic but missed too many chips and putts. The greens are like carpet, they are so nice, and at the Viewpoint course the slope on the greens is more difficult than most courses. I scored an 85 but was not happy.Sliced on every drive “A “slice” is is a type of mis-hit golf shot in which the golf ball curves in flight from left to right  .A slice and a fade share the same shaping, except that a slice is more severe. Every time I golf I don’t know when this will show up. I can score a 77 with no slice and a 95 due to slicing day after the other day. It is the only annoying thing I find about golf. To the range again !! Arrived home and Bob & Pat had the “golf team” there for a social. A lot fun talking to them sitting outside in the warm evening. At least 8 beer later we went home. Fun evening and I think we solved some of the immigration issues we have, solved the ISIS situation and and a few other minor issues we discussed.

Thought of the Day

Golf appeals to the idiot in us and the child and just how childlike golf players become is proven by their frequent inability to count past five.

“PENNYWISE TIPS”money saving tips

 

 

  1. Take cold showers. Skipping hot water will reduce the expense of heating up the water as well as the water bill itself since you’ll likely take shorter showers.$20.00 per month and being responsible.
  2. Reuse plastic sandwich bags. Sandwich bags can be easily rinsed out and dried and used again the next day. As long as the bags didn’t touch raw meat, it’s hygienic—and environmentally friendly.  $20.00 per month
  3. Stop drinking soda (or another beverage of choice).Giving up soda as a way of cutting back on grocery costs. Successfully  giving up fizzy drinks, you can save about $50 a month. Going cold turkey with other drinks, from lattes to bottled water,Tim’s  can produce similar effects saving up to $100 buck a month.
  4. Stockpile supplies. Cans of beans and tomatoes are cheap, store easily, and make quick, filling meals.Buy when on sale any large use long life product.
  5. Cook big.  Make lots of soup, chili, and other big dishes that can turn into leftovers or even go into the freezer for a future meal. To spruce up the dishes and make them even bigger, add pasta or rice.

January 17th

Visited Lowe’s today and found a privacy screen that I think I can make work. Along with the plant it should look awesome. I will post a picture when done. Getting set to go over to Fred’s this  afternoon. He has the perfect hideaway in the back of his unit that works great. Play some cards, drink some beer, eat a Terry made perfect meal and have fun in the warmth. Now that’s living. I hate to rub it in a bit but one really has to experience this life to understand the wonderfulness of it. Everyone would agree a warm/hot place is wonderful but when you add the freedom of retirement, relaxation of retirement, the enjoyment of pleasurable experiences like golf, dining out, visiting with friends and the numerous activities available it is AMAZING.

Past 11:00 pm so got home just in time as no old person is on the streets that late. LOL. Had a wonderful time at Fred’s place. Terry made us flat bread pizza’s that were delicious. We started with a home made French Onion soup that was killer. Ending up with a Cherry Pie and ice cream for desert. I love crib ( maybe because my middle in Crib) as Fred and I annihilated the girls on this crib night including one skunk game and another with them getting one point over the skunk line. Fun game. Made plans for ABBA and plans to go to Tombstone next week for a drive and a gunfight show. Fred found a specialty place having parts or sunscreen etc that I need to visit for our backyard privacy screen.  Phoned Alfred as it is his birthday today but due to his age he may not remember. He wasn’t home or he could have been napping.Happy Birthday to the OLD FART !

Thought of the Day

 Winning isn’t everything–but wanting to win is.

January 18th 

Oh what a beautiful day. Temperatures are going to be 75 degrees plus everyday for the next week. Had a phone call with Jackson, Victoria, Jessica and Penny today as they were all together in Lethbridge as Victoria drove down to visit while Corey was involved in a weekend curling bonspiel. Everyone is doing good, jobs are fine, weather is great, no one ill, one person ( Larry JR) growing fast,and nice to talk to them. Only thing happening is the intense wind. I checked the weather and it is going to be plus 5-9 during the WRLA. They will never want to go back to Saskatoon.Here is a picture of Fred & I enjoying our cold beer ( 31 degrees the fridge

Fred's Man Cave

Fred’s Man Cave

is set for ) in his backyard yesterday evening. I love the plaque that says “I’m afraid I mustache you to back off”  The “Man Cave ” looks great.

Went golfing today with Fred, Terry, Ralph, Jackie and I. Remote cart performed well , me not so much. Shot an 80 but hit three houses.  The #$#@ slice is frustrating having to shoot three off the T or at point of exit off the fairway. Luckily no glass breakage.  Jackie out did me as she only hit one house. The previous day we golfed with a very nice couple from Kansas. He was 77 years old, retired at 58 and the guy is as fit as a 60 yr old. This is their first time to Viewpoint and they love it. He has a good plan to only rent as at his age he doesn’t know how long he can travel and doesn’t want to tie up his cash. They were a lot of fun. As it is Sunday and we have worked sooo hard all week it is our day of rest. Just got back from golfing so will relax , do this, putt around and cook a BBQ pork chop supper. No beer today thanks !

Thought of the Day

Thinkth  not of the ill or disease and thou shall defeat the foe within.

Money Saving TIP

Money Saving TIP

“PENNYWISE TIPS”

Look at switching to a Cash Back Visa Card. For an example ScotiaBank offers their Momentum Visa with 4% on gas & groceries, 2% on drugs and prepaid bills ,and 1% on most other. The card costs you $99 a year. Get the card spend $500 a month on groceries and get 4% back. ( 500 x 12=6000 x 4%= $240.00 BACK TO YOU) You use your visa at the store then pay online your visa bill . Set up you bills as prepaid and you will get another large amount back. A typical GIC is 2%. 

January 19th

Fred found an amazing place called Mobile Home Depot. It carries a varied line of anything to do with patio’s , awnings, mobile homes, doors, windows, etc. Some great stuff and I found the aluminum posts I need to construct Jackie’s privacy screen. Picked out all of the pieces I need and hauled them home. Went to Lowe’s to get a 4 x4 but they only had one’s that were too long to fit into the Enclave. Picked up a few groceries we needed  and then headed home to get ready to golf with Fred, Terry and Ralph. Played absolutely perfect, no hit houses, no flubbed shots, and great execution scoring 6 over par.  Jackie also had a great game 14 over par.

Our favorite place to eat and enjoy the outside patio.

Our favorite place to eat and enjoy the outside patio.

 

Then off to our favorite place Fat Willy’s to use our gift card from Jessica, Victoria, Penny, Corey,and Jackson . Inflation has hit. Burgers are now $6.00, can you believe that, but the beer is still $8.00 a jug.  We had an excellent time and thoroughly enjoyed the food plus the extra beverages at Fred’s place after. I think we figured out all of Terry’s wants on their upcoming renovation.

 

 

January 20th 

Fred came by at 10 am to help me with our project and to pick up the 4 X 4 post I couldn’t fit into the Buick. Off to Lowe’s and we purchased, the bolts, post, fuses and water tight exterior plug for the side of the Arizona room.  Took us until 4 pm but the structure looks good. I have to wait until the 29th for the privacy screen and frame to be in stock and I will install it then. Fred installed the water tight exterior plug on the side which will come in very handy with the new patio enclosure and to have one for a blower etc. I will post a picture of the privacy screen when done. It was awesome to have Fred’s help as the extra hands and smart hands make things much easier. Tonite I think I will go to the pool, relax watch a movie and enjoy the evening sunset.

JW has taken a big hit losing a very valuable employee, Jason Cameron. Jason is an exceptional manager of people and works very hard to accomplish his job duties. When Jason took over the responsibility of the service department he quickly turned the department around and was always a pleasure to work with.  I am sure he will be greatly missed by both the department, the company overall and JW customers.There are certain individuals in every company that a company should work very hard at keeping in the fold, Jason was one of the these.

“MY RANT”

Why Don’t Companies Get It–  

 

One of the most important lessons I learned during my years as a manager (23 years)and as a small business owner ( 5 years)was that great employees are not replaceable. It isn’t the technology or the product that make a company great, it’s the people. And companies who see their good employees as “replaceable” are wrong. Good employees are not replaceable. Let me clarify what I mean by “replaceable.” Can a company hire someone to fill a position to replace someone else? Of course they can. In today’s market, the world is full with candidates who are eager and willing to take the job. But putting a behind in a seat doesn’t replace a great employee. It simply puts a new behind in a seat. I have seen companies lay off staff and try getting a new employee that makes a lesser wage fill the shoes of a seasoned employee. It doesn’t work. Making another employee cover two persons workload and do it effectively doesn’t work.

Managers who adopt the attitude that anyone is replaceable, thinking they can simply hire someone with a greater skillset or someone with more education, or you cost less as an employee are fooling themselves. When a company has a truly great employee, that employee carries value that simply cannot be replaced. They carry immense knowledge of the organization. They have extensive product, systems, and process knowledge. They hold client relationships that have been built over many many years. They carry tremendous experience on what has worked and what hasn’t worked for the company in the past. And great employees have camaraderie and influence with their coworkers, which when lost, has an impact on the entire companies moral.

When a company loses a great employee it causes the other employees to have reason for pause, thinking, “Why would that person leave the organization, and why would the organization let them get away? Is there something wrong with this company that I should be worried about? Perhaps I should start looking elsewhere myself.” Look back and see the huge losses for JW over the last bit.

  • Senior Vice President Steve Sheasby ( 30 yr employee)       dismissed  2 ½ years ago
  • Vice President Sales  Santa Cigana ( 25 yr employee)   mutual parting   2 year ago
  • Coordinating GM Jesse Hawthrone ( 10 yr employee)  resigned  1 year ago
  • Regional Sales Manager Larry Willard ( 27 yr employee) retired  1 year ago
  • Territory Sales Manager Paul Bortoluzzi ( 20 year employee) resigned  1 year ago
  • Vice President Operations Lou Valeriata  (27 year employee) resigned 1 year ago
  • Territory Sales Manager Ken Reid ( 20 yr employee) dismissed  6 months ago
  • Territory Sales Manager Larry Geddes ( 32 yr employee) dismissed 6 months ago
  • Territory Sales Manager John Tooley ( 5 year employee) resigned 6 months ago
  • Territory Sales Manager Ryan Knisely ( 5 year employee) resigned  4 months ago
  • Territory Sales Manager Tim Horan ( 18 yr employee) LTD  5 months ago
  • Service Department Manager Jason Cameron ( 5 year employee) resigned Jan 2015

The above personnel’s talents, expertise, knowledge and relationships are going to be a huge hole to fill.Not only will other employees question it, but clients often question it as well. When clients trust an employee and that employee leaves, the clients begin to ask themselves the very same questions that other employees have, “Is there something wrong that I am unaware of? What would have caused that employee to leave? Should we be out looking for a new vendor?” The ripple effect of losing a great employee is tremendous and it goes well beyond what is easily measured as a sale number or active customers.Companies need to be very thoughtful when making decisions around compensation for their employees. To deny a reasonable increase to a top performer in the organization can be a very costly mistake. To not pay out bonuses that were earned  when the top management are higher than average earners and the companies owner is making 85 million a year in salary is wrong.To not have a company employee recognition program is wrong.To try and hire a replacement for a great employee will inevitably cost the organization significantly more money when they take into account the starting wage required in their attempt to “hire up,” not including the cost in time and money to train a replacement and get them up to full production, as well as the lack of knowledge in the core business.Obviously, there will be some life events that take great employees away from a company, which cannot be stopped. But when companies have the option to retain great employees, they should do everything in their power to do so. Companies who want to retain their top talent need to be willing to show them appreciation, compensate them well, and treat them with the respect they deserve. At the end of the day, it won’t be a great product or service or technology that makes a company succeed – it is great people that make a great company. Appreciate those men and women who dedicate their time and talents each day to make your company a success, because those are the people who cannot be replaced.It inevitably will come to hurt the company in sales, in employee moral, retention and customer  satisfaction.

I sure hope someone soon catches on what is going on. “BUTS THAT’S JUST ME”

Thought of the Day

If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there’d be a shortage of fishing rods. I have three !

January 21st 

il_fullxfull.317916553Well today is a big day in Calgary.  After more than 30 years of celibacy Audrey has decided to remarry. Michael & Audrey are getting married today by the JP with Corey and Victoria witnessing for them. My first thought was as it was a rush/rash decision she must be pregnant but then I remembered she is 76 years old. I then thought there must be some tax law that I was unaware that they are taking advantage of. Then I thought perhaps Michael was an illegal immigrant from Wales

Michael & Audrey  Married Jan 22nd 2015

Michael & Audrey
Married Jan 21st 2015

and Audrey was marrying him to allow him access to Canadian benefits. But it  just comes down to that weird thing they call “love”.  We all wish Audrey & Michael the very best in the future. It is always a wonderful thing to have someone to share your old age in. Someone to talk to, someone to cuddle with, someone to laugh with and not be lonely. May their feet stay warm in Wales as they leave for their honeymoon in 2 weeks time. I hope they  know marriage is the only war where you sleep with the enemy.

" The ring"

” The ring”

Now introducing to the world Mr & Mrs Michael Griffen.

Went to Lowe’s again today to pick up another pot and plants for the back patio. I think this will look good. I always liked the boxwood so will keep it trimmed to a perfect ball when it gets a little bigger. Spend the afternoon planting the trees/ plants and fixing up the area. I am thinking of asking for a small water fountain for my birthday to put in the back also. Calming sounds and a warm hideaway should be very nice.

Went to the pool at spent a hour there doing our laps which is always nice in the warm water and with the bright sun out. Good thing for 50 spf sun lotion. But because Arizona is a dry heat and the equator is long ways away unlike Mexico or the Caribbean people don’t burn here. Tonight I will make scallop potatoes, BBQ chicken breasts( you should see the size of the breasts on the chickens here )salad and then wrap the night up with a movie that we borrowed from Fred & Terry.

I need help. What can I do with over 100 lemons. Our tree over produced this year. I

My over producing Lemon Tree

My over producing Lemon Tree

can only drink so much Limencello. Perhaps a lemonade stand in front my house as additional income and not to waste the lemons. It’s shame to throw so many away.

While we had a way way to many lemons this year our orange tree needs to find a good mate as it only produced a handful of oranges this year after having a booster crop last year. Oranges I can eat up and use. Lemons not so much !

Thought of the Day

Marriage is wonderful. It’s so great to find that one special person to annoy for the rest of their life.

January 22nd

Jackie is off golfing this morning with some ladies. I was going to go to another course but I tweaked my back last night lifting a golf cart and I think I will let it rest today and do a few other things and hope it heals quick. It is a different spot than ever before . Muscles are a pain. LOL    I listen to the CTV news everyday and am not liking the tone I hear from Canada. The huge drop in oil and the panic starting to set in. Bad enough oil revenues are down but now the gov’t dropped it’s interest rate another .25%. House listings in Calgary up 91% and sales down 33% combined with a 9% drop in price year over year.The dollar hitting 81 cents. Interest rates at this level are ridiculous. You can not earn enough interest anywhere to generate income. Luckily the TSX is rising as people are realizing they need to have stocks to generate any kind of return. The dollar hurts us coming to the States as a 20% difference does not make up the price difference. The housing situation also isn’t welcomed as lines of credit, debt ratio’s and people buying that really can’t afford to are all negative. Nice thing is this can change overnight if the oil rises a bit and people do not take the news literally.

Odd as today is only reaching a high of 18 degrees C.  I went outside and that seems cold !! I went a picked up new furnace filters and looked around at Harbor Freight which is amazing store. A 10″ sliding compound for $124.00 that comes with a life time warranty.A 6 gallon air compressor for $89.00   Amazing deals.Stopped at looked at a RV store but didn’t find anything that was interesting.

Rode Jackie’s new bike all around the park. Must have went at least miles. it has 10 speeds but needs 12 speeds as the tires are so tiny. But worked well and comes in handy. Mailed a letter, watched tennis and pickle ball for a while, rode to the north end of the park where the “rich” coaches are parked. Wow the $300,000 plus coaches in that area are amazing and with the toys they bring. Most of are retired “poor” farmers . ( they have farm plates on them)

Went over to Fred’s place and helped measure out the kitchen for new cupboards. With new cupboards, the flooring they have picked out and with Terry’s paint work and new furniture their place will look awesome.

Thought of the Day

We can not let OPEC’s plan of hurting the USA and Canadian economies by flooding the markets with excess oil come to fruition. The XL pipeline refusal by Obama is one example of stupidity. We could have a North American trade agreement to supply oil to the USA and Mexico and not have to worry about world oil market pricing.It would stabilize the continents economies and let us be a lot more oil independent.

January 23rd

Went to the backyard this morning and broke up laughing. All of the work, decision making, buying , hauling the plants GONE out the window. The desert bunnies had a feast. It appears they love new fresh flowering plants. They ate all of the pansies and trailing asylum. Chewed most of them to the soil and the others right to the stock. Lesson learned ,no more flowers. And these bunnies are very small so they must have jumped right up into the pot to eat. No use putting wire around them as it is ugly .chewed morechewedI will wait to see if any of these grow back.  They don’t like the poppies which s good and the boxwood which is really good.

This will be our second cooler day with it only getting to 19 degrees. We will take it as we know the 30 degree days are just around the corner.

The weigh ins have been fine with no movement up or down to any degree which is great. We will putt around today, maybe go to the Mesa market and have Fred & Terry over for supper.

Had a great day relaxing, bought some groceries, did some house work and enjoyed the sun. It was a cooler day hitting only 18 degrees and cooler in the evening but that is equal to any day in our summer in Calgary. Fred & Terry came over after a day out looking at reno stuff. Fred and I dominated  the crib board again. We had a scare the first game but came back with a vengeance the remaining games. Had a wonderful pork loin roast, mashed potatoes, glazed carrots and Terry brought an amazing chocolate cake for desert. Another fun evening with a few drinks and laughs and again solved a lot of the problems in the world.

Thought of the Day 

I finally found out what I want to be when I get older——————————— Younger 

January 24th

We got up really earlier this morning. Tried rebooting the modem, router and restarting the computer but couldn’t get the internet to work. Odd. All of the devices show connected but you can’t access. Hopefully the internet company will give me a call back to fix the issue. Just trying to figure out what our plans are for today. We have golf, mesa market, pool, nothing, shopping, on the list. So many options and not enough time. LOL

Tried fixing the internet but no go so will have to wait until Monday to get our Wi-fi up and running.  Decided to go the Mesa Market and as always you can’t leave the place without buying something. Jackie bought an ashtray for Keith & Jenny’s smokes and another tin wall plague for decoration. Walking down the paths and we run into Mel, Fred & Terry who went right from the airport to the market. LOL  Hung the units up and booked some tee times for the Grace’s and us. Jeff and I will golf at Las Colinas on Monday then back to Fat Willy’s for burger and beers with Jackie. Jeff is going to stay overnight as we will be leaving 8am to head Tombstone which is about 2 1/2 hours away. Neat western town which should be fun. Booked another tee for Thursday at Dobson Ranch to check that course out with Jeff & Wendy and myself. Jackie will be golfing with the ladies and meeting up with later that night.  Should be a busy week. One cooler day expected but that’s it.

Thought of the Day

Retirement realization–It’s a sad moment when you fall in love with anything ( shirt, water fountain, golf club) look at the price and then slowly walk away.

January 25th 

birthdayToday is a big day for celebrations.

Corey

Corey

 

 

 

It is Corey’s birthday and I am sure Victoria will do something special for him. Corey is starting to get up there in age. Did you know he is half way to retirement now and he probably feels like he has only being around a short time. Funny seeing how people age. I understand for Corey’s birthday he had a ping pong tournament downstairs. I wish I had been there as I was the 1975 MCHS Ping Pong Champion and could have given the guys some tips on forehand topspin, forehand backspin, forehand sidespin, backhand topspin, backhand backspin and backhand sidespin, and long ball volleying and aggressive serving which is the key to winning. The holding of the ball legally is the most important thing to conquer.

 

Today is also Wendy’s birthday. I am not sure but I think this is her big 55th birthday.I can see the smile on her face as she now qualifies for discounts in a lot of

Wendy

Wendy

places, is allowed to buy into a 55 plus complex, gets free stuff. She is very happy with her new found savings.

HAPPY 55TH BIRTHDAY WENDY!!

Jackie & I have a tee time in the afternoon so will be out on the course for half the day.Went to Lowe’s and picked up new light fixture for over the dining table and a couple of new globes for the pendent lights.The new pendent light covers look great. Putting up the larger light will be difficult as I can’t move the electrically box so have to swag the lights. Struggled all day trying to get the internet to work also.

Thought of the Day

Old age isn’t a bad thing when you consider the alternative . Only three things go wrong with old age , you lose your memory , and I forget the other two.

January 26th

Wonderful temperature yesterday for our golf game. We golfed with a very nice gentleman and his college kid. Both very good golfers. Jackie broke 100 again. I had a rough day scoring 89 but missing numerous 3ft and shorter putts plus struggling with a slice again. Our golfing partner was a quiet nice guy but after having two balls come close to hitting him he sort of lost it. He drove all the way back to the other group and then had a heated conversation again at the next hole with him even leaving the cart. It was just about a physical altercation.The quiet ones are the scary ones sometimes.We got up really early today 8:25 am by a knock on the door. It was our internet provider service guy.It was connecting to the router but not to the net. The guy used a NETGEAR self diagnostic page and reset the IP address as shutting down the router didn’t release it.  Today’s plan is golf with Jeff and then Fat Willy’s. We are having a great time and must be very relaxed ( BP everyday is less than 120) as we don’t get out of bed before 9 am. Tomorrow it will be earlier as we head to Tombstone Town. We received this picture of  Cor & Tor’s new painted bonus room. I wouldn’t have wanted to tape as it would take longer than rolling the paint on.

Naked photographer

Naked photographer

Room looks awesome but then we noticed Jackson naked taking a picture of the same thing on his camera in the bottom right corner. He will learn it is the model not the photographer that takes off the clothes. Pretty funny.  He may start a whole new trend. Any one want their picture taken ?

 

Jeff and I went to Los Colinas Golf course today. Jeff golfed the best I have seen for a a long time. Perfect drives and nice iron shots. We both got caught a bit on putts and a few missed shots but Jeff shot a 89 and I shot an 88 on a new course so not that upset. Had a few holes with a slice issue but not all that bad. Could have, should have done better. Nice weather , very nice course and a great day. The GPS struggled a bit with some new roadways added to get us there but we made it. Nice thing also is we golfed by ourselves as a twosome. We arrived home about 6 pm and headed up to Fat Willy’s for our traditional Monday burger and beer. Again the food was awesome. We met up with Jackie inside the restaurant along with our neighbor Pat Ferris. We were expecting Bob to come but his golf “meeting” took a little longer than planned.  We drove back and Pat joined us for a bit and then later on we were joined by Bob. Bob and Jeff had a good time finishing a HUGE bottle of red wine. This after a fair amount of beer.The conversation and laughter was great. I was taught a history lesson on the Tombstone OK corral shoot out which was great as a fore runner to our visit tomorrow. I didn’t hear Jeff snore or get up and go to the washroom. I actually thought to myself is he ok as I didn’t hear anything.

Thought of the Day

If I ever go missing I want my picture on wine bottles instead of milk bottles ,that way I know  my friends will know to look for me.

January 27th 

Up the earliest we have been since coming to Mesa. Jackie made our usual smoothie’s for breakfast, we all showered and were at Fred’s place at 8 am on the nose to pick them up for our adventure in Tombstone. Tombstone is about 2 1/2 hours away but for anyone it is worth it.  I know I really enjoyed the place. It is an entire town about three blocks long of authentic shops, saloons, gift shops and tourist trap places but exceptionally well done.We watched the re-enactment  of the shoot out with Doc Holiday, Virgil,Morgan, Wyatt Earp against Tom &Frank McLaury and Billy & Ike Clanton.  Billy and both McLaury brothers were killed. A neat history behind all of the gun slingers. The actors did an excellent job and venue was awesome. We had a good lunch on a suggestion by the cowboy on the street but we later discovered a much better place to have eaten but we stopped there for a beer after and had a wonderful server and a lot of fun. Everyone except Jackie & I bought something to bring home with them. We did some great fun things. The four guys had our own shootout at target men with real Colt 44 pistols. Mel won this contest with 4 head shots out of 6 bullets. He should have bought the beer. LOL  We had a good lunch, watched the shootout which is at least a 45 min show, visited a lot of shops with some neat merchandise, and stopped in the best Saloon . We walked up and down the board walk sidewalk looking at all of the different shops. Here are some pictures of a FUN DAY.

Fred Terry Jackie Jeff Mel on the boardwalk in Tombstone AZ

Fred Terry Jackie Jeff Mel on the boardwalk in Tombstone AZ

The whole gang getting ready for our adventure

The whole gang getting ready for our adventure

 

 

We are fine looking bunch getting ready for our big adventure at Tombstone AZ.  If we had only brought our cowboy hats and guns so we could have fit in. Why am I so tall ? Is the walk slanted ?

 

Terrorist slayers in practice

Terrorist slayers in practice

 

Here are the four guys practicing our gun slinging skills in case our government needs us in our fight against terrorism. Mel will be our leader and go in first as he won our contest.

 

 

 

The FIGHT !

The FIGHT !

The real gunmen doing their thing was  a lot of fun. They put on a great show. The skit was very entertaining and lasted the correct amount of time to feel worthwhile.

 

 

 

Terry & Jackie Terry and Jackie with the  Earp brothers. There is just something about a cowboy hat and a big gun that attracts the girls.

 

 

The most fun though was our experience at the Big Nose Katy’s Saloon. The beer was cold. The beer was in a BIG ASS MUG.

Big Nose Katy's Decor

Big Nose Katy’s Decor

The decor was amazing. Notice the cow mounted on the wall instead of a moose or deer. The waiter fantastic. Even the washrooms were unique with them using a trough filled with ice for the urinal and a sign above saying ” It is not often we have to use this ice for your drinks”

But the funniest thing is this picture. I am going to do my bit to help here and play match maker. Everyone knows that a country boy today is “HOT”. The Bachelor TV show using  Chris the farmer is making inroads in opening the world of farm men out to the masses. There is even a dating web page for Farmers Only now.

Presenting my friend Mel. Mel is a bachelor living in Red Deer Alberta. I loved the       ” Got lay’d ” sign ( him being a bachelor)

Mel showing his good side LOL

Mel showing his good side LOL

I thought this picture was very funny and was taken at the Big Nose Katy’s Saloon in Tombstone with us all egging Mel to do this.  So here is your chance young ladies 45-57 yrs approx to get  to meet a nice country boy. Mel is in the agricultural business enjoys, hunting, fishing, camping, vacations, family and having a good time. You can tell by the picture he is well “hung”. Just comment or reply to me and I will pass it on. ( ps he knows nothing of this and doesn’t drink excessively lol )

Thought of the Day

The Man

Whose lullaby is a grain dryer,who uses duct tape as a band aide,who is the inspiration for many country songs,who works until midnight and then up at the crack of dawn, wears camouflage, IS A COUNTRY MAN 

January 28th

Sitting on my patio enjoying the birds and sunshine. The birds are quite noisy but sound lovely and spring like everyday. We are very lucky to have so many huge trees surrounding us. Most homes have one or two trees but we have 7 large foliage trees that the birds love and we love.  I had some expert help today with Mel and Fred

New Arizona room light.

New Arizona room light.

helping install a new light fixture in the Arizona room. This light has that western look and just looks so MUCH better than the granny fan we had in the room with it’s tulip bulb lights.  And it took very little time with the extra hands and knowledge along with it.  I believe we are just about done other than my outside garbage bin shed I am going to build.

I put our remote controlled fan/light outside with a Free sign on it so hopefully some one takes it that wants it.

Thought of the Day 

We live in an era of Smart Tv’s and Smart phones with stupid people. Sorry Victoria & Jessica stupid is a bad word I know .LOL

“PENNYWISE TIP”

One way to establish an easy plan is to “save” an amount equal to whatever is spent on non-essential indulgences. Put a matching amount in a cookie jar for your expenses on beer, wine, cigarettes, designer coffee, etc. If you can’t afford to save the matching amount, you can’t afford the $4 super almond low-fat latte. 

January 29th

I was to meet Jeff & Wendy at Dobson Ranch Golf course which is half way between where they were staying and us at 2:06.  Well it didn’t quite happen. I kept going in to the pro shop to tell them Jeff & Wendy are still lost and if they could keep bumping us back if possible. The third time in the pro says ” In today’s world with GPS instruments, GPS on smart phones your friends are still lost ?” I sheepishly said “yes”

We finally got off golfing and I was very surprised how nice this course is. ( see reviews) Everyone golfed OK which was nice. We didn’t finish our round though due to our delay but had a great course to play and fun on the grass.

Jackie had a prior arrangement to golf with a ladies group so didn’t come with us.Jackie is golfing very very well.

My blood pressure is staying very nice even with the abundance of drinks I have had. Yesterday while at Safeway at their machine it was 114/78 which is great.The walking, weight loss and relaxation works wonders. If it stays around here for another couple weeks I will chop my pill in half and try that for a while. Yesterday

Jackie, Terry and Terry's neighbour Pat. Notice how perfect Pat's husband photo bombed !

Jackie, Terry and Terry’s neighbour Pat. Notice how perfect Pat’s husband photo bombed !

evening we headed up to the Karaoke contest. We had a “bar” supper at Fat Willy’s while watching the event. I give Fat Willy’s a 9 out of 10 for service and quality of food on most everything but their karaoke nightnacho’s only get a 2 out of 10. Small portion and they use “american” cheese which we call Velvetta.  It is like those nacho’s you get at 7-11 or a hockey game. You can’t beat a plate of Canadian nacho’s with lots of hamburger, green onions and real cheddar cheese smothered everywhere. Fat’s now brings in Clamato juice for the Canadian’s maybe they will add real nacho’s to the menu. Last time I order nacho’s !   There are some amazing singers in the park. They take this karaoke serious and must practice continuously as they are very very good. Some even bring their own cd’s with them.  We watched and even danced to a few songs. Funny thing at these events is as soon as a line dance song starts every woman get up and starts to dance.They are like in a trance. I hate line dancing . Line dancing was created for the lonely,single,drunk,show-off  women to have an opportunity to partake. Throw in the odd guy that is light in the loafers.I know no guy that likes line dancing and if I meet one I will make fun of him. LOL  After 5 jugs of beer we decided to walk home. Got near our place and Bob our neighbor was outside having a smoke.Stopped in for more beer and Pat made us brownie’s  with ice cream for  a treat. Awesome !

ACE Ferris

ACE Ferris

Bob “ACE” Ferris was celebrating his second Hole In One. Earlier in the day he got one on the 17th hole of Viewpoint. I was impressed. Then ok the chances of getting a hole in one are 1 in 10,000. To get two and be average he would have played 250 games ( 20,000/80 avg score)  So now that I am thinking about it I am a little disappointed in Bob’s performance as he plays 100 games a year. He should be getting a hole -in-one just about every year. I will need to talk to him.

Another wonderful day in paradise spent.

Thought of the Day

I know golf is a lot of fun
Here  in the Valley of the Sun,
But it pays to be smart like a fox
And carry an extra pair of socks,
In case you make a hole in one.

January 30th 

Off to the PGA Waste Management Tournament bright and early in the morning. The Valley receives 299 days of sunshine each year. This was not one of them. It started raining last night and it rained all day during the tournament.  We had sprinkle J PGAmoments and full rain moments. This was an extremely organized event with parking , heavy L pgasecurity and washrooms and food concessions placed for easy access.This tournament to me seemed a way bigger, more people and more things for the public to do than the Players TPS Sawgrass tournament I went to. Kid Rock was playing tonite. We followed Graham Delaet  for a number of holes, watched a few other players, and watched quite a few groups go through the 16th Stadium hole. The seating for this hole is unique. You line up to wait for a seat ( long line ups) . Then once you have a seat and you have to go the washroom which is out of the stadium

16th

16th

you have to line up again to get to back your seat. At least they serve beer at your seat. We missed seeing Tiger but with the way he played it really doesn’t matter. Tiger and Phil missed the cut with Tiger finishing in last place with an 82. I played the same course a couple years ago with the final day pin placement and scored a 92. I even managed a birdie on the 16th stadium hole but with no one in the stands I had to cheer for myself. LOL  My

16th

16th

partners helped. This was a fun fun event to attend but would have been a way better if we hadn’t had rain all day. We stayed about 4 1/2 hours then left as everyone was a little damp.  On the way home we stopped with Jeff & Wendy at Dave’s Famous BBQ and I had a wonderful beef brisket. First time we had a brisket and it was fantastic. We had our visit with Jeff & Wendy and then they  headed to stay with Wendy’s boss and Jeff to head home on Sunday.

January 31st 

The rain continues.  Last day for Fred & Terry along with Mel to stay in Mesa. They are leaving Sunday noon for the drive back home. We cancelled our golf game as it was just to wet to enjoy and we know we have lots of sunny days coming up. The girls decided to go to the Mesa Market as Jackie needed a new purse and Terry was picking up some small stuff for her grand kids.Us guys decided to head to Bass Pro and I used my retirement Bass Pro gift card to purchase a color fish finder, spider wire and a auto blow up life vest for my boat.I management to get a great deal. Both Fred and Mel picked up a few things they needed also. We then headed to the swap meet but they had closed it due to the rain. We were at the car show location and they cancelled that also.We got home and decided to install my privacy screen in the rear of my house which we did. It is 90% blockage of sun but not as private as I had hoped. Oh well just means we can’t naked sun tan. It will work fine but just not

Privacy screen

Privacy screen

block out the neighbors as well as I originally thought it would. Back at Fred’s place Mel decided to look at one more home as he was considering to purchase one. Fred, Mel and I along with the park agent visited a unit on 1800 block for a look see. Turns out the unit has been completely renovated and looks great. Mel decided to put an offer in and after going back and forth a few times he now is the new owner in our retirement community.Mel’s timing was perfect as he “stole” the unit. With the CDN dollar lower, sales have slowed a bit and the owners knew if they didn’t jump on buyer they would be sitting on it for another season. I believe Mel paid close to 7-10K less than what it could have sold for. If an elder owner gets ill and can’t come anymore they are a panic seller. Great for Mel and we look forward to seeing him being down here a lot more often.  CONGRATULATIONS MEL ! After Mel’s venture we HAD to have a few drinks to celebrate. We had a few !!. Including some kind of Jack Daniels Honey whiskey that I didn’t care for but the other guys enjoyed it. We played a dice game which was a lot of fun. I had a lot of bad luck at the beginning but ending up winning one game out of four anyways. Stayed up to almost 1 pm watching a great movie knowing that Sunday was a stay in day watching PGA golf and the Superbowl so no need to get up early.

Thought of the Day 

The early bird gets the worm (meaning- success comes to those that grab an opportunity before someone else does)

 

 

12 thoughts on “January 2015

    1. larrywi Post author

      Hope you have a wonderful time. I checked the weather in Wales while a lot cooler than Calgary they don’t have any snow. The average temp is about 2 degrees C. Good thing you have your new winter coat. As a new honeymooner that could keep you warm !

      Reply
  1. Victoria

    hahahahah Burst out laughing about the Jackson taking pictures comment…lol. I am so happy that you guys are relaxed and enjoying life. That is indeed what it is all about. 😉 Love you.

    Reply
    1. larrywi Post author

      Yes sleeping in until 9 everyday is wonderful. LOL Golf, friends visiting, Fat Willy’s, doing tourist things ,reading, writing, playing is great. Having fun !

      Reply
  2. Victoria

    When life hands you lemons…you make…lemonade? haha WOW, lemons galore. Too bad it wasn’t dollar bills…lol.

    Reply
    1. larrywi Post author

      Now that’s a good idea.There is an actual MONEY tree that is special kind of bonsai tree. Doesn’t grow real money but is thought to bring good luck and fortune to the owner. Odd why this hasn’t caught on as a gift for people. How much lemonade can one person drink ? You may look jaundiced.

      Reply
  3. Victoria

    Even just reading your posts about being in PHX make me nostalgic…I can picture your place already and it automatically gives me a nice calm, relaxed feeling. I guess I found my ‘happy’ place and will just picture that at work when I am stressed out. haha ENJOY!!!!

    Reply
    1. larrywi Post author

      Well only a couple of months before you are here. I will send a selfie of your Mom & I on the deck at Willy’s just to refresh your memory. Love you

      Reply
  4. Victoria

    So from the sounds of it you should be in Mesa today, no? Exciting journey to get there and I like reading about where you stay for the night. Some gorgeous places out there and some are just dives. Travel safe and chat with you later. xoxo

    Reply
    1. larrywi Post author

      In Mesa tonight. The Casa Blanca Casino is a wonderful place for anyone to stay when driving to Mesa. Pricing is unbelievable.And we were so lucky just beating the bad weather by a few hours each day.

      Reply
  5. Victoria

    I am loving your budgeting tips!!! And thanks for making me tear up with the Grandad post! 😉
    Take pride in knowing though that you are the World’s Greatest Dad now…you are pretty much just like Grandad. Smart, not quick to temper, rarely got angry when we were growing up, and the list goes on and on…

    Reply
    1. larrywi Post author

      Thank you very very much. Now you made us tear up. Dad ( Jesse) was one of a kind and to be thought of as a “little bit like him” is extremely warming. Love You.

      Reply

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