worst ponzi scheme, ever!

A few weeks ago a thread about retirement benefits in one of the forums that I haunt caught my eye. As it stands I've got a little over 22 years before that time comes. I never really thought about this before, and figured I would get to it when the time is right. This was a good wake up call as it's something I really should have been thinking about far sooner. Doubly so with me contemplating a career and lifestyle change. I started talking with friends (I grew up with) and learned just how little we collectively understood it. I always thought it was just pay in for as long as you're working and when you're officially old you get it back on a monthly basis til you die. I was basically right, but there's more to it than that. After some lengthy conversations with the parents and some internet research I had learned enough to understand things more clearly. Suffice it to say I've worked long enough to qualify and will be able to collect when I retire. Now whether I collect enough to live off of is dependent on if I continue earning at my current rate until retirement. All that will change because the field I'm looking to get into won't pay near as well as what I do now, so I know this will reduce the monthly SS payout. And as we've all been hearing on the news lately, will SS even be solvent by the time it's my turn to collect?

I just now realized that I've been a lot like those kids who grew up and still believes the tooth fairy exists. I also don't have faith in our administration (past and especially present) to properly resolve this given that they bankrupted SS a decade earlier than predicted. I'm now convinced that my golden years will be spent on a geriatric crime spree to fund my gasoline, rice, and ramen habits!

How Social Security Works'ish


is over

The nice lady at the credit union called me back today. Unfortunately today had also turned out to be supernonstopmeetingfest2012 so I didn't get a chance to call her back until I was on my way home from work.

I got it.

I GOT IT!!!!

This is one of my last major hurdles to jump. No more paying finance charges or a high interest rate! Now I grind out payments until it's gone. Whew!


the waiting

I called the credit union yesterday and told that they would have a decision for me by the end of today. This will go a very long way in helping me pay off that final credit card, if I'm approved.

I really hate this part.


新年快樂 - Happy New Year

Today is the eve of the lunar new year. The year of the Dragon begins tomorrow and from what I've been reading promises to be a good one for all. 

Happy New Year to all!

wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings

When I was in CA my little sissy helped me with a problem I was having. I had an eye exam last April and the outcome of it was that I needed new glasses. Because healthcare is a for profit business in this country, things are far more complex than they need to be. I got my prescription then but wasn't able to get it filled until December. Why? No one in this town seemed to carry my vision insurance fully and/or didn't carry the frames I wanted. Adding insult to injury the out of pocket expense to cover the difference was ... well it was like they were trying to rape me, with my own penis. The sissy knows how to navigate insurance companies and helped me sort this out in short order. We found an optometrist in CA who not only took my carrier fully, but also carried the frames I wanted. They were able to fill my prescription but there was a wait of a few weeks. No problem since they had what I wanted and ins. covered everything it was supposed to. As soon as they arrived she overnight'd them to me and I started using them yesterday morning. I'm absolutely giddy from finally being able to see things without strain or being fatigued again. My life just got so much better in so many ways. Thank you sissy!

The snowball of debt relief is building it's momentum quite nicely (since paying off that loan last November). I'm down to the final payment on my 2nd to last credit card, and two remaining payments on my truck. I've applied for a high limit credit card through one of my credit unions in hopes of doing a balance transfer from another card. According to the nice lady who took my application "I've seen people worse off than you approved" and I'm hoping she's right. The credit union offers a very low interest rate on balance transfers and best of all, no sneaky finance charges. I really want to end my relationship with the big banks once and for all so wish me luck on this one!

A simple breakdown of my loans/credit card debt
Credit cards 10,000
Truck Loan       950
Trailer Loan   4,500
ODP             2,200 (Overdraft Protection)

Total Debt   17,650

I pay off a CC next month, the truck the month after, and the ODP two months after that. Come May I can triple or quadruple my monthlies for the trailer and/or remaining credit card. Last year at this time I had a little over 30k in debt and managed to reduce it to almost half in a years time. I hope to do better than half this time next year.

I started scouting online for land recently and have had my eye on Terlingua ever since visiting it 2 years ago. Even with the real estate market clawing it's way back up, land will remain cheap for a while longer. I intend to take advantage of this while I can. I realize this means it will add to my debt, but only on a temporary basis. I'm still receiving my quarterly profit sharing checks and even at half can afford to pay off the loan immediately. This is all predicated on finding the perfect spot which may or may not happen. If it doesn't it means I tuck away more for that rainy day. Since I didn't make this months trip it's only right that I make a trip sometime next month. It'll be the perfect chance to get away and see a few platts in person while I camp out there. The town of Terlingua is nestled on the US/Mexico border between the Big Bend national park and ranch state park. Gorgeous country and a must visit place if you've never been.

wear my mind on my sleeve

Not a whole lot has been going on this past week. It's been a few weeks since the doctors visit, and I'm glad to say I'm doing much better. I mean aside from catching another cold last weekend. My blood pressure has been reading just below and above average which means I'm back to normal. The remaining complications from my allergies are on the mend as well. I haven't felt this good in years!

Mentally, I guess, I'm in a state of blah at this time. This was the week I was supposed to be in Quartzsite for RTR II and having to cancel the trip has left me so. Reading the blogs of those who went has helped me feel connected but also exacerbated the negative feelings of being stuck here. It's moments like these that define my lack of the male sports gene and hatred of watching any sporting event. I love to play I just hate watching.

Half the day has wasted away already so rather than sit here any longer I'm going to make myself run a few errands.


slab denizens

On my way back out of CA I stopped by to drop off a few xmas gifts with the friend and hang out for a bit. It was while we were shooting the shit that I was reminded of just how many people I met and talked to on my first visit. I really wished I had been able to spend more time getting to know the people and the place better. I thought I would share these unfinished bits of story with you.

The morning when we dropped by the Oasis I struck up a convo with one of the breakfast goers there. A pretty interesting guy who was well traveled. The part that blew me away was how he bankrolled his travels. Basically the man is living on disability which isn't remarkable in of itself. It's how he came about being able to collect it that caught me off guard. Basically the powers that be will fast track approve your application for benefits if you happen to spend time in psychiatric observation shortly before the approval takes place. When he used to work he did a host of odd jobs but mostly worked with the movie/tv entertainment industry. 

There was another guy eating his breakfast al fresco whom I didn't speak to but overheard his convo. He had just arrived from up north with his dog after traveling for the last 2 days. He'd just finished up an extended stay because of some extra work he was able to pull down. His dog wasn't very well trained and kept on trying to get at the beagle through a parked bicycle between them. This was a great source of amusement to me since his dog managed drop the bike and scare itself at least 3x.

The night before while we were at The Range watching the talent show. There was a young couple performing on stage. Boyfriend/girlfriend from the looks of things. He was playing guitar and she was singing. Sadly she wasn't a good singer but kudos for getting up there and doing it. She was cute though, and dressed nicely as was he. For a sec I thought they looked out of place until I realized that many were dressed nicely and not so nicely present. They left right after their turn on state was over so I never got a chance to talk with them. I regret it because I'm still wondering what their story was. If they were victims of the economic downturn or just itinerant hippies?

I really wish I wasn't as doped up on allergy meds as I was that night. I was hit hard and had to sit out most of the show in my truck while I waited for the allergy meds to kick in. I was a bit loopy the rest of the night but met a lot of the really nice retirees and younger locals. Good people, good times!


man of a certain age

I've reached an age where things are starting to change within me again. I preferred the last change where when noticing girls meant having to stay seated, and/or not seated depending on the circumstances. These changes aren't as much fun though. It means I have to take greater care in lifestyle choices or suffer the consequences sooner. This now, on top of lifelong food and environmental allergies. Moving to Texas hasn't helped the latter and has exacerbated the former unfortunately. My recent trip to CA exposed me to a lot of stuff my body had to learn to deal with all over again and then had to deal with Texas again in a 2 week time span. There's also construction going on at my office so who knows what else is in the air there.

My first inhaler
This created the perfect storm and I needed to pay a visit to the doctors office for some help. I won't bore you with the details because it's not that bad (and I'm tired of talking about it) nor is there any permanent damage done. My body needs a little help so it can have a chance to heal itself so the doctor has prescribed an arsenal of drugs and what not. My medical expenses (even with insurance) have temporarily set me back financially. I'll make it up eventually but the cut into my funds means I have to sacrifice something now or it'll be several months before I've recovered fully. Unfortunately that sacrifice costed me my trip to Quartzsite for RTR II this month. Tragically even if money wasn't an issue the doctor said it's highly recommended that I avoid travel for the time being. Proving once again that sometimes, life just hands you your own ass because it can.