Category Archives: life


While I hate to admit it, I am a senior in my 60’s. Exercise has always been recommended for healthier living and it’s been an important part of my life for the better part of my life. I played sports when I was growing up. I didn’t exercise as much as I should have in my 20’s and 30’s but took it back up in earnest in my early 40’s and have been with it ever since.

I took up running in my early 40’s and stuck with it for the better part of 10 years. My biggest running accomplishment was completing a half marathon when I was 53. My wife and my brother have both completed marathons. I don’t see how they did it. I was damn glad when I completed the half that I didn’t have another half to go!

I did yoga for several years. I should really take that up again. I did hot yoga but now I think I need to do a gentler form of yoga to maintain my flexibility. There really isn’t any excuse for not doing it. I am retired and time isn’t an issue.

Strength training is recommended 3 times per week for a person my age. The experts say that while lifting weights won’t necessarily build bulk, it will allow me to maintain/gain strength. This is one thing that I really struggle with. I don’t enjoy lifting weights but know I should be doing it. I haven’t found a way to enjoy it. Doing it makes it seem like a chore.

What do you do for exercise? How do you cope with doing something that isn’t enjoyable but necessary?

Five Things I Do for Fun

List five things you do for fun.

People often ask me how I fill my time now that I am retired. It seems a lot of people are worried about what they would do with all the extra time on their hands if they retired. I never worried about how I would fill the time. I couldn’t wait to retire and start doing all the things I didn’t have time for while I was working. So here are five things that I do for fun now that I have the time.

1. Reading. I love to read. I always have ever since I first learned to read so many years ago. We were allowed to stay up later if we wanted to read before going to sleep. So early on I developed the habit of reading in bed before going to sleep. I still read a book every night in bed. I also read 3 newspapers everyday (online versions) and might spend some time reading about something that interests me. This plays well with the second thing I like to do for fun.

2. Cooking. When I was in kindergarten there was a play kitchen in the class room that I liked to play with. The teacher at the time had some concerns that maybe I shouldn’t be allowed to play with the kitchen but my Mother said it was ok and didn’t see anything wrong with it. I have always loved to cook ever since I was able to. I do all the cooking in our household. I find all the different methods fascinating and will study them and practice until I get proficient. I use an InstaPot almost daily, have a smoker, a high quality grill, and now I am mastering my latest method, sous vide. I read everything I can find and then get cooking.

3. Flight Simulator. I am a licensed aircraft mechanic, a licensed drone pilot, have spent hundreds of hours flying, but never have completed my private pilot’s license. I am contemplating getting that license but it is expensive, and then it is an expensive hobby. I decided to build a flight simulator at home and see if I could satisfy my urge to fly. I also figured I could minimize my costs if I could practice flying on the simulator. So far so good. Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 is amazing. I really enjoy flying around different areas of the world and it keeps my brain active with a fairly steep learning curve.

4. Golf. This is a passion in my life. I could play golf everyday. I have been playing since I was 12 y/o and there are still new things that I learn about golf everyday. I play in 2 leagues and in a tournament golf association. I play about 75 rounds each year and go to an indoor facility to practice during our winter months here in Michigan. I am always up for a game!

5. Beer. I have been drinking beer most of my life but never really discovered what truly good beer was until the craft brewery industry took off. There are so many more types of beer than the lagers my dad used to drink (and I grew up on). I always enjoy visiting a new brewery for the first time. They usually have a beer they are known for. We have quite a few beer festivals here year round and those are also a great place to discover new brews and have a great time.

It Was A Cold Weekend

Our furnace quit working Saturday morning. I noticed it around noon after being out all morning. Our thermostat automatically lowers the set temperature when we are away but when I bumped it up, nothing happened. I called our Heating and Cooling company for some emergency service but nothing was available until Monday. Having spent 40 years in various maintenance fields, I decided to troubleshoot the problem and see if I could get it running. It was 30F out and Monday was a long way off. I got out my multimeter, opened up the furnace, and checked everything. I found that I had power to the induction motor but the motor wasn’t running. Ahah! Bad motor, problem solved. This also matched the fault code flashing on my circuit board for a pressure switch not being made. I looked up the part and took off for the parts store 40 minutes away.

90 minutes later, I arrived back home with my new part in hand. Another 30 minutes and the part was installed and I was ready to give it a test run. I turned power back on and waited for the thermostat to come back online. It called for heat, the motor turned, and nothing else happened. Several attempts and still nothing. I decided to wait for the professionals now. I wasn’t sure if I had a cracked plenum or not since this could also cause the pressure switch not to make. That would have been dangerous.

Monday afternoon the Heating and Cooling tech arrived. He did some preliminary troubleshooting and ended up at the same place I had arrived at. He was sure the furnace was going to fire up and thought maybe the thermostat was bad. He bypassed the thermostat and still nothing happened. As it turned out, the circuit board was bad along with the induction motor. While this wasn’t an inexpensive repair, it was still cheaper than a new furnace would cost.

New Year Old Crud

I’ve been neglecting this blog. I was shocked to discover that it has been almost two years since I posted. This year I am determined to post more often.

The day after Christmas I came down with the respiratory infection that has been going around. I haven’t been getting any worse but haven’t been getting better either. I finally decided it was time to seek professional help yesterday. My doctor put me on Amoxicillin. I can see why the liquid Amoxicillin is in short supply for children. The pills are huge! I started the course yesterday afternoon. I do seem to feel better but that could be psychological at this point. Time will tell.

I am waiting while they do an oil change on my car. Since I retired I only drive about 10k/year, down from 25k/year when I was working. Lincoln has stepped up their game with a nice lounge and free snacks and drinks.

The Wren

I opened our front door to pick up a package that was delivered. It was sitting right on the stoop so, I only had to bend down to pick it up which I did. I closed the door and went into our kitchen to open the package. As I crossed the kitchen to get a pair of scissors I looked out to the front room and saw what I thought was a bird hitting the front window trying to get in. This isn’t that unusual. We have lots of birds hit our windows. We have lots of feeders around the house. Upon closer inspection I realized that the bird was inside the house trying to get out. I ran to the front room to get a closer look. Sure enough, the bird was sitting on one of my military hats on display on top of our bookcase. I called my wife for an assist. She was raised in an old farmhouse and has lots of experience chasing bats out of the house. At first, she didn’t believe what I was telling her. After getting over her surprise, we agreed that I would open the front door, and she would try to chase the bird towards me.

I opened the door and she shooed the bird. It first flew into the window and then made a b-line for the wreath on our front door. It landed in the wreath, took a quick glance at me, and then headed in the opposite direction out the door. I quickly closed the door, and then it dawned on me. It was dusk when I went to grab the package from the porch and our porch light was on. The wren must have been roosting in the wreath and when I opened the door, I must have startled it. As I bent down to pick up the package, the wren must have flown over me as I bent down and into the house. We are now slowly opening the door and checking for birds!

The Peaceful Effect of Snow

Falling snow seems so peaceful and calming. We walk quite a bit while it is snowing. The world seems more quiet. Noises seem to be dampened just a bit. There is something about watching the snow fall around us that is calming. Does anybody else feel this way?

Calming Snow

Five Things About Money

Pearls of wisdom worth repeating

1. Always Live Below Your Means

Your means is defined as your net take-home pay for your regular workweek. It doesn’t include overtime pay or bonus pay. I worked in the auto industry where we had many years when overtime was abundant. People made much more than their base salary year after year. They would get accustomed to having this money and would spend it as if they were guaranteed to make this much every year. The automotive industry is a boom or bust industry in a big way. Inevitably we would have four or five years when it was booming, and then we would have the lean years when we didn’t manage to work steady for 50 weeks out of the year. The plant would shut down for weeks on end and that meant unemployment. Now unemployment wasn’t bad for the union workers. With supplemental pay from the union, it amounted to about 98% of regular wages. For the people living above their means, by spending all their base pay plus overtime pay, 98% of regular wages was often a 50% cut in wages. Many people got in big trouble this way.

2. Never Purchase a Vehicle New

This may sound odd coming from somebody who used to work in the auto industry but the automobiles of today are nothing like the automobiles of 30 or 40 years ago. I remember when automobiles were rusted out after 3 years and started having serious mechanical issues after 70,000 miles or so. Today’s automobiles are highly reliable vehicles that will last a decade or more and are relatively problem free for 200,000 miles or more. Several thousand dollars can be saved by purchasing a certified pre-owned vehicle. You still have the 5 year/100,000 mile warranty and can rest assured that you are buying a trustworthy vehicle.

3. Don’t Trip Over a Dollar to Save a Penny

I knew a guy who would drive across town to buy gasoline 10 cents cheaper than it was across the street. He easily burnt up his savings in the gas it took him to drive across town. I know gas 10 cents cheaper sounds attractive but if you do the math it really isn’t a big deal. The average vehicle will take about 15 gallons to fill up. At 10 cents per gallon cheaper, you just saved $1.50. Even on a 30 gallon tank you only saved $3.00. You get the idea. Understand what your net savings are. Does it make sense to buy the more expensive item at the grocery store because you have a coupon? Many times the store brand is cheaper than the name brand minus the coupon savings. I don’t find enough difference in quality between name brands and store brands to warrant the difference in cost in most cases.

4. Don’t Carry Credit Card Debt

Credit card debt is a financial death spiral. They allow you to spend money you don’t have to buy things that you can’t really afford. It’s ok to use credit cards and when used properly, they have some pretty good perks. But if you can’t pay them off at the end of the month, don’t buy it. The interest on credit cards is usually high and before long, paying the interest on the debt is sucking up all your extra cash. And if you are late on a payment or miss one, the interest goes through the roof. Pay them off every month no matter what.

5. Cheapest Isn’t Always The Best Deal

This may seem like conflicting advice from item #3 but let me explain. I was in the market for a blender. The Vitamix I wanted is a top of the line blender but it also comes with a hefty price tag. I did a little research and compromised on a lesser blender at half the price. This blender did an adequate job. It wasn’t a Vitamix but for the price I felt the compromises were worth it. Now I don’t use a blender every day and before a year was up the motor on this blender burned up. I tried to do a warranty exchange but got nowhere with it. Luckily, I had purchased it at Costco, so I could return it under their replacement policy. I got a full refund and walked to the other side of the store where I purchased the Vitamix that I should have bought in the first place. I was lucky to have purchased it at Costco or I would have been out more than half the cost of a Vitamix blender and I probably would have purchased the Vitamix as the replacement anyway. The more expensive blender ended up being the more economical purchase over time.