Category: Rants

I forgot to mention this in this morning’s post.  I was at Planet Fitness yesterday doing my leg routine as usual.  Typically when I do leg extensions and curls I do them in the “30 Minute Workout” section of the gym, the equipment in there is better than what is on the main floor.  This section is supposedly designed so a person goes from one machine to another through the entire circuit to achieve a full body workout in 30 minutes.  This feature was added probably 5 years ago and pretty much no one ever uses it as intended, people hop in there, do a couple machines they want to do and hop out.  It’s just another example of one of the fail concepts that “no lunk” Planet Fitness leans heavily on.

Just like front desk staff, this Planet Fitness location rolls through trainers like toilet paper.  In the last year I bet there have been at least five of them that have come and gone.  However the last few make me lol as they were clear examples of individuals not buying what they are selling, they were/are terribly overweight, perhaps part of PF’s brilliant no intimidation policy. The only good thing is you pay for their help what they are worth, zero.

So the current young guy that is the “trainer”, who likely has a BMI approaching 40, spends almost every minute I see him at the gym circling the floor.  It seems like he is desperately looking for someone to interact with or wanting to ask for his assistance but those requests never seem to come so he continues to circle.  Well yesterday he actually had a woman that he was “training” back in the 30 minute workout area.  They were doing the circuit per his direction, probably because it was written on the wall on how to do it. I doubt the guy has many formalized training plans in his head otherwise.

I was over on the leg curl machine when I heard the guy address another older woman who was in the area.  Like me, she had come in to use one of the machines but not do the entire circuit.  The guy scolds this woman and tells her how this area is ONLY for people doing 30 minute workouts.  She told him she was just doing one set and leaving but he said that it wasn’t true as he had seen her doing sets on other machines in there too, GASP!!!  This poor woman actually followed the fake trainers directive and left the 30 minute workout area.  Keep in mind besides the woman that this genius was training, there were only two other people in there so a total of 3 people for roughly 15 different machines.

So when this went down I had only completed my first set.  I was amazed at the stupidity of this guy and I wondered if he had the balls to come over and accost me for blatantly ignoring the circuit only sign on the wall as well.  Perhaps he read my body language, perhaps he is only comfortable reprimanding older women, but for whatever reason he said nothing to me as I completed my two additional sets on the leg curl machine before leaving the area.

I had a full diatribe prepared in my head if he dared say a word to me.  I was going to ask him if Planet Fitness was now going to actively enforce ALL of the rules they post on the walls.  Was Mr Rule Police going to apprehend all of the patrons that ignore the “Limit Cell Phone Use to the Lobby” signs aka everybody?  How about the gaggle of old men that use the exercise machines as park benches where they talk about breaded haddock and bowel movements?  Were they planning on dropping the hammer on the guys that use the Smith machines for 60 minutes at a time, disregarding the 30 minute max rule? What about the people that leave equipment covered in bodily fluids, ignoring the wipe down signs?  How about disregarding customer safety by allowing machines with frayed belts, stripped screws, and loose parts to remain in service because they are too cheap or lazy to do anything about it?  I could go on and on.

After asking the guy what training certification he currently held, I was going to top it off by letting him know I would be happy to share my thoughts with the owner, Mark, who I have known for about 15 years.  Luckily, for the fake trainer, he kept his mouth shut but if he ever tries to reprimand me in that shit hole gym I promise, I will make a scene that he is unlikely to forget anytime soon.  The reality is in a few weeks he too likely will be gone just like the rest of them.  The shelf life on most PF staff is 3-4 months.

So my return to work yesterday was mildly busy but not terribly so.  I had the opportunity to waste 30 minutes on the phone, most of that on hold with the NCH billing department.  Yes there is another chapter in the ridiculous ER billing fiasco.  You may recall that I fought with them about the initial bill sent to me for $950 which included a charge of over $700 for a single pill.  The end result of that was them agreeing to totally drop the $700 charge for the pill and them saying they would resubmit the claim to insurance.  So late June I get a new bill for $589.43 which was still more than I hoped but I had two months until it was due so I was just sitting on it, in no rush to give them my money.

So late last week I get a letter, not a bill from NCH.  It said I have an amount due and it now has magically increased to $733.45  WTF?  So I picked up the phone yesterday and got a woman in the billing department on the phone.  I gave her a brief recap of the events leading up to my call.  She said she needed to put me on hold to check with another department.  She puts me on hold and leaves me there, for 20 minutes.  Not once did she come back to apologize for the wait or to let me know wtf was going on.  Nope just hold music for 20 minutes after which I hung up, angry as hell.

I immediately call back but can’t get anyone to pick up the phone so I leave a message highlighting my situation, angrily.  I later got a message on my home number that the account has once again been “submitted for review” and there should be an answer in 4 to 5 business days.  I’ll tell you this experience with the modern day medical quagmire makes me want to avoid hospital care like the plague.  It’s incredible just how convoluted, inefficient, complicated and obscenely expensive medical care is in the USA.

Over my vacation I was pretty sure that I was going to have to be burying another chicken, Katie.  She has had a bad leg for over a year but in the last couple weeks she had developed the same lethargy that other birds have before they dropped.  She was weak, basically stood/sat around all day, and had minimal interest in food.  She even stopped making the cute little noises she is known for which to me was a sure sign she was a goner, the same pattern Kristen followed before she died.  Katie was so weak that I had to pick her up and place her on the perch at night, she couldn’t do it.

So all of a sudden late last week Katie bounced back, amazingly so.  She started being more mobile, eating, and even making her cute noises again.  I was so relieved.  For about a month we have been trying to give the birds cayenne pepper and tumeric mixed in with their food.  It helps battle parasites and worms naturally.  We also add rooster booster to their water, give them yogurt, and watermelon which all supposedly help the birds stay healthy without using toxic chemical dewormers.  This time of year is especially bad for the birds because they insist on drinking the dirty standing water which has countless harmful things floating in it.  So anyway, Katie is doing better and I hope it stays that way.

The latest outbreak of mass gun violence, not perpetrated by Muslim terrorists but by angry, racist, white males seems to have really awakened some people.  Some GOP politicians are actually using the words “white nationalist”, something that was taboo up until this point since they are a core and integral part of the Trumpers.  Maybe, just maybe there is enough momentum this time to actually get something done, but I doubt it.  The gun lobby in this country is so powerful that politicians cower in fear of the idea of crossing them, almost like they have a gun to their head.

 

 

When I look back at the first decade of blog authoring (started in 03) there is a definitive difference to present day, I was more mean.  I used to openly complain about people and situations much more frequently and in many examples, in a less than tactful way.   Hell I used to basically weaponize the blog in my second marriage, using it as a way to complain about facets of the relationship instead of dealing with them more directly, and privately.  Although at the time I never even thought about it, now as a half centurian plus, I try to think more before I pop my emotions like a full zit all over the blog pages.

Some people may regret the change as more opinionated, angry, and frustrated words generally are more entertaining to digest.  I was having a convo with a friend of mine last week that was somehow trying to tie the fact that I used to watch the Apprentice on tv somehow made me a hypocrite for not supporting Trump as president.  My response was very simple but true, “assholes are entertaining”  There are lots of entertaining assholes in the world, however that isn’t the dominant personality trait I am looking for in the President of our country.

The reason this popped into my head was today at the gym I was exposed to more idiotic behavior that I would have called out in the past.  But since I am now older and wiser I’m not going to talk about the idiot that sings to himself as he ties up a Smith machine for 45 minutes, the gaggle of old men that use weight equipment as park benches to discuss breaded salmon recipes, or the lazy pieces of shit that can’t put stuff back where they got it from.  Spewing negative energy like this out into the world is something I try to do less of nowadays, sometimes unsuccessfully.

Yesterday I left the office early to go get my stitches removed.  As I headed up Airport Road I ran into a literal parking lot.  There were police at nearly every intersection, at the overpass, and I heard a helicopter flying above.  What in the hell is going on?  As I was sitting still getting increasingly annoyed Cindy texted me and said she had hit similar traffic.  She said it was because VP Pence was in the area.  I vaguely recall that being mentioned on the news a few days before but I totally forgot about it.

I’m not sure why he flew into tiny Naples airport instead of the Fort Myers location which is international and much bigger.  The Naples Airport is two miles from our office so the local law enforcement basically paralyzed all traffic in the area until Mr Gay People Can Be Cured was driven out to his speaking arrangement at Ave Maria, a perfect place for his ideology to be barfed out onto other Trump acolytes.

I called my dermatologist to let them know I was caught up in the Pence Quagmire.  I wound up getting there about 15 minutes late.  Removal of the stitches was uneventful and it seems the incision is really healing well.  I was worried about having a nasty scar on my forehead but it is looking like it will pretty easily blend into the other age appropriate creases on my face.

So I set up my follow up appointment with the med center.  Oh the pulmonologist office STILL never called me back but at this point I don’t give a shit since the CT was posted to my account which showed that from a lung perspective I am ok.

I plan to be pretty aggressive in seeking answers at the appointment. Basically, I still have both symptoms I originally complained about last summer.  Lower right side pain when doing even mild weight work, as well as come and go lack of endurance and weird sensations when doing cardio exercise which includes at times tingling and almost a clammy feeling.  I am expecting to be referred to a cardiologist for the latter.  With the mystery side pain I have no clue what to push for.

Yesterday I talked about in life, if you are passive about getting people to do things you will spend a lot of time getting nothing done. When our metal roof was installed late last spring I immediately noticed that the west side seemed to have mismatched metal panels on it.  I pointed it out to the project manager.  At that time he said that it was likely just because the metal was just installed and it should wear evenly once exposed to the elements.  Well the picture you see was taken last night, some nine months later.

After taking this picture I contacted my project manager, who happens to be the husband of one of our employees at the tax collector.  I sent him fresh pictures and told him that the mismatch is just as prominent today as it was on day one.  I said I’m not happy with it, especially considering we dropped a lot of money on the project.  I didn’t hear back an immediate response from him but I did talk to his wife today and he is aware of it.

My non-roofer opinion is either the installers did not have the same side facing up on all of the panels or the metal that was used simply was not all from the same batch.  Regardless of the reason, the simple truth is the mismatch was evident immediately and there is no way the installers could have not noticed.  They apparently just didn’t give a fck.  So I am pretty sure the only resolution is going to be to tear that section of roof off and redo it, should be fun.  Sure I could live with it but for what it cost, I’m not willing to let that go.

I’m hoping to have a productive weekend.  I have a lot of stuff floating in the head to address.  Man I keep thinking about the coop solar power project and how cool it will be if it works as I imagine….  I have already started thinking about phase 2 where I potentially power all of the charging of my PEVS via solar and maybe even run a 3D printer or two that way as well.

The baby hens managed to find their way up to the coop for the second night in a row meaning they should be good to go from here on out.  Hopefully in a month or so they will be large enough to start introducing them to the adult hens.  They have to be big enough where they can hold their own from the bullying that is sure to come.

Last night I spent a lot of time getting some EUC stands I had made for a few days posted up on the store.  My inventory is once again on the low side so I need to start another dedicated production run.  I am sending out another couple stands today.  I also shot a video last night that was requested, illustrating how to install the optional light on my Ranger skateboard.  Nothing earth shattering here.

Yesterday I saw a good portion of the impromptu press conference Trump had in the lawn before flying to Texas to build more wall hype.  First, for the sake of our country, this man should never speak without a script during the remainder of his presidency.  His inarticulate, bizarre, ignorant, childish, and evasive answers are a national embarrassment.  As I watched him talk about concrete versus steel walls, national emergencies, and insulting various news media along the way I was ashamed that this man somehow was elected to the highest office in the country.

What is most disappointing is it is my generation that contains a big chunk of his zealous followers. Somehow they ignore the outrageous things that are being said and done on a daily basis, instead following his directives in an almost cult-like fashion.  My Facebook feed is filled with “hell yeas!” of former classmates that toe the Trump line in an amazingly rigid fashion.  I wonder how this has come to be and what was different on their paths versus mine? What would shape their thought patterns in such a way that they would actually support the actions of Donald.

Well I can tell you one difference for sure in almost every case.  I was never indoctrinated into religion as a child, something that I was somewhat confused by back then.  However looking back I am actually grateful that my parents did not introduce me to the concept of religion where you believe something because it is what you are told to believe as opposed to making that determination yourself based on what you experience, think about, and your own personal values.  People with a religious background are accustomed to being told what to think and do, hence following the word of Trump as if he is one of the disciples may not be much of a stretch for some.

Whatever the reason is ultimately, I truly get depressed and saddened when I see the hateful, me first f everyone else vitriol that is consistently spewed from those I spent my school years evolving with.  It’s far too easy to just write off Trump supporters as ignorant, self serving, racists at their core, because I know these people are not ignorant and I assume most are not racists either.  My only hope is during the next presidential election cycle enough people are motivated to get off their ass and make sure the country is never again put in the hands of a reality tv star that ironically has such a loose grip on reality itself.

To be clear, I am no fan of Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer.  I think both of them are not viable representations of what the anti-Trump mindset should be.  Both of them are too divisive, much like Hilary Clinton.  We need the alternative party to have some fresh faces and new blood that has not been in mired in Washington for decades at a time, thanks to the ridiculous lack of term limits in Congress.

In Florida politics, I have to admit I have been somewhat pleased with Ron DeSantis first few days in office, despite him not being my pick for governor.  I thought it was refreshing he has been pushing back at Rick Scottism, reversing a number of lame duck appointments Scott made as he was walking out the door in return for political support.  He also told the SW Florida Water Mgmt District board to basically GTFO after they ignored his request to wait to negotiate a deal with Florida Sugar before he took control.  The board instead gave the deal approval without waiting.  Ron is giving them their walking papers as a result.  He also announced a nearly one billion dollar initiative to help clean up the mess on our waterways that results in toxic and deadly algae blooms polluting our area for most of the year. Good job Ron.

This weekend I hope to make inroads on a big list of items I have planned for an extended weekend I have set up for the following week.  I took off three additional days around MLK weekend to give me a big chunk of time to get shit done.

 

So I ordered a replacement battery for a UPS that failed at the house.  It arrived early in the week.  Replacing a battery is pretty easy however when I put the new battery into the unit it acted like it was dead, I got no battery indicator on screen.  I f’d around with it for awhile with no luck, finally arriving at the conclusion there was something else wrong with the UPS. I removed the brand new battery and plopped the old UPS by the door to be recycled.

Well for some reason, a few hours later I got motivated to take one more look.  It didn’t make sense to me why the battery wasn’t showing up.  I retrieved the UPS and started doing a more thorough inspection of both it and the new battery.  The APC replacement batteries are in a cartridge of sorts, you just slide them in and two contacts engage inside the body of the UPS.  As I examined the contacts on the battery I noticed one of them was pushed back abnormally.  Well that would certainly cause a problem.  I tried grabbing that terminal and pulling it forward but as soon as I would insert it into the UPS it would just get pushed back.

I was surprised the replacement battery would have such an issue.  I was disheartened when I logged into Amazon and saw that the battery was not a returnable item.  However I still requested a replacement which to my surprise was granted within a half hour via email.  The second new battery arrived yesterday.  I installed it without issue and the UPS is back in commission, saving us from the all too common power glitches we routinely experience.

So after Tuki died Cindy was thoughtful enough to hand craft and paint a memorial stone for him that has been sitting on the cut off remains of the coconut palm that went down during Irma.  Unfortunately the brutal Florida sun and rain had done a number on the memorial, it was now cracked into pieces and badly worn.

I decided I wanted to get a durable piece made to honor Tuki, the funny but cantankerous bird that entertained us for so many years.  I found a place online that allowed you to upload a picture and design a simple layout.  I selected a 6 x 9 piece of granite and uploaded one of my favorite pics of him eating a peanut, one of his favorite past times.  I included his name, dates, and “Night Tuk…” which is what he would say most nights after I would turn out the lights and head to bed.

The stone arrived yesterday.  I was really pleased with how it turned out.  They took the picture and zoomed/cropped it perfectly.  As I pulled it out of the box and inspected it with Cindy standing there it made her tear up which made me emotional as well.  I still think about Tuki’s demise and if it wasn’t for my carelessness he would likely still be with us swinging away while holding a peanut like a hoagie.  I quickly designed a 3D circular holder for the plaque that I hope to still sit on the coconut tree.  The stone should last longer than I will, that’s for sure.

Speaking of me lasting, yesterday I submitted the form to officially switch my retirement benefit from an investment plan back to a pension.  I was waiting for the stock market to rebound a little bit before doing so.  Making the switch means I should hope to live well past my official retirement age of 62.  If that actually comes to be, no one knows, but if I do make it to my 60’s and beyond it’s nice to know I have a substantial lifelong income stream secured as well as a lump sum 457B account that I will continue to fund. If it’s still around, I also have my social security benefit to pay for some groceries.

I have been struggling at work the last couple days trying to act like a web developer.  I am trying to get our website to pull data from a vendor site using the REST API pulling JSON data.  It is a world I have next to no experience with but thanks to Google and a lot of trial and error I am slowly making some progress.  I have faced this scenario many times over the years where I become involved with things I am not all that well equipped to do.  More often than not I manage to navigate myself to an eventual solution, even if it takes much longer than it should have.

Tomorrow I plan to be outside as early as possible to begin the misery of the annual tree trimming task.  Unfortunately the weather is forecast to be about 10 degrees warmer than I would prefer but I will barrel forward anyway.  My prep will include downing CBD oil and Advil to help hold off the aches and pains that will come at least until the last branch is thrown in the fill pit out back.

Another mass shooting went down this week, a headline that just never seems to go away.  Another angry white man was behind the trigger once again.  It’s a good thing we are focusing on all those angry white men that voted for Trump, um I mean that commit mass murder. Oh wait, I mean the muslims, minorities and immigrants that are the REAL problem, according to Donald.  The world is wobbling off it’s axis, soon to fall flat on it’s face.

 

So after at least 5 years, I finally ordered a replacement PC for my office.  We had been tied to Windows 7 with our old cashiering platform.  Now that we have migrated away from it there was no reason to not update to a current Windows 10 set up.  The last time I upgraded my PC years ago I simply moved the data and programs across intact.  With going to Windows 10 that is no longer an option so I am doing some major virtual housecleaning.  There are at least 10 years of stuff on my old system that I need reevaluate to see if it is still needed or not.  Thus far I have found a ton of it is obsolete.  Once I migrate to Windows 10 I will keep a safety net by keeping my Windows 7 workstation up and on the wire in case there is something I missed.  Starting fresh with a new PC is something I used to experience every couple years.  Now like most things since getting older, that cycle has slowed down.

Last night I wanted to complete the construction of my Raspberry Pi gas station skimmer detector.  When I was trying to finish it on Sunday I noticed one of the solder points had broken loose.  Last night as I was futzing around I broke another one loose so I had to fix it as well.  Finally I got everything buttoned up.  I did the final changes in the OS so that it loads the skimmer detector code automatically when the device boots up.   The Pi can operate headless with just a power connection for skimmer scanning but I can still attach a keyboard, mouse, and monitor to it if I want to have a micro pc on demand.

So two years ago I recall the incredible shock and disappointment as the majority of the nation did when the most under qualified, divisive, smallest vocabulary possessing candidate in American history was elected president.  Since that day the number of outrageous, illogical, and downright stupid things coming out of the White House has become one big blur.  As a populace we have become numb to Trumpism because it bombards us each and every day.

Well today (if you were smart you early voted) is the day we all need to wake up from the haze and send a clear message that we are not a nation of isolantionist, racist imbeciles, that there are consequences for bad behavior, and that two years of utter madness and chaos is where the line is drawn.  There are far more non-fanatical Trump voters, if enough get off their ass and vote victory would be assured.  Hopefully tomorrow is a day with a bright light in the distance and a new direction.  I need a reason to feel some sort of restored faith in humanity and common decency.  Please vote.

So after eating dinner last night we pushed off towards Victoria Park.  In the back of the Prius we had my 18L and Cindy’s MiniPro.  We have ridden Victoria Park before during this time of year but I am not quite sure that we did it on Halloween itself.  Eh, how bad could it be?  Bad.

We parked about a half mile away as we normally do and headed in via sidewalk.  We had various obstacles along the way, namely people that weren’t willing to step to a side and vehicles that parked in the grass and pulled in far enough to obstruct the sidewalk.  But hey, it’s Halloween, we knew this was part of it.

Once we turned into Victoria Park it was just a mass of humanity, the type that typically makes me want to just head the opposite direction.  The Halloween music I was playing through the speakers in the wheel was immediately drowned out by thousands of people jammed into a small area.

Cindy threw together last minute a cute unicorn costume for herself.  My costune consisted of black make up around my eyes and my Soldier 76 jacket.  I thought with the temps in the mid 70’s I wouldn’t be too hot.  I found myself sweating through my shirt within the first 15 minutes.

I brought the 18L with me because I thought it would be fun to play music as we rode.  I didn’t really give much consideration to how it would be navigating the large and heavy wheel through a sea of people.  It got very tiring very quickly trying to ride slow along with having to stop and start countless times due to a lack of space.  Cindy had a much easier time of it on the MiniPro than I did.  The crowd was so thick in spots that I really got to see nothing except the bodies all around me that I was trying to avoid.

At one point I dropped the wheel when a little girl was walking at me while looking the opposite direction.  I immediately stopped but as I was dismounting she bumped into me, causing the wheel to fall on it’s side.  Luckily unlike Gotway wheels, which will immediately spin up and bounce around like a bucking bronco in that situation, the KingSong immediately shuts off once it crosses 45 degrees.  Nobody was hurt and of course my immediate reaction was frustration at the kid but I quickly corrected myself, knowing that I was the one riding a wheel in conditions that were not good.  People in large quantities are always going to result in these types of situations.

Eventually we got into some streets that weren’t quite so congested which was nicer, allowing us to roll more freely. As always we got countless comments about our vehicles.  Most people have just never seen an electric unicycle before and are simply amazed by them.  Unlike years past, I made no fuss when Cindy asked if I was ready to leave around 45 minutes after we got there.  It just was not that much fun.  We both agreed that in the future, riding there sometime the week prior to Halloween is the way to go so we can actually enjoy the experience without having to focus all of our attention on avoiding human pylons.

Donald swooped into SW Florida last night, ruining Halloween for all of the unlucky kids whose parents felt being in an arena with the Supreme Big League Leader was more of a priority.  As always he basked in the chants of his fanatical followers and got them riled up with his anti-immigrant barbs.  His most impressive statement was calling the part of the constitution that deals with our laws regarding immigrants as “crazy”.  It’s awesome when individuals cherry pick what parts of doctrines they embrace.  While these people hold the Constitution up as the holy grail when it comes to the second amendment, when the same document offers protections for immigrants, you know the people that founded our country, the Constitution no longer is sacred.  I swear even though I have no memories of the decade I was born, in many ways it feels like a large portion of society has regressed back 50 years, courtesy of the most awesome, incredible, awesome, I mean really, really awesome President this country has ever had.

I had a discussion with my buddy regarding the Florida governor’s race.  He and I share an intense disbelief that Trump was actually elected president and we both generally have a similar political mindset.  For this reason I was somewhat surprised when he said he thought Andrew Gillum was too extreme of a candidate for Florida governor and that he might actually vote for DeSantis, a Trump acolyte in most ways imaginable.

I asked him to explain what was too extreme as to me, his platform points are very similar to Bernie Sanders, a candidate I wish would have been able to vote for instead of Hilary.  My buddy didn’t like promises of free college, free healthcare, and ads that say he wants to raise taxes 1 BILLION dollars in Florida.  His premise was he didn’t necessarily think having those things free was a terrible idea but he doesn’t want to be the one footing the bill for all or most of it.

I told him I didn’t agree and it sounded like he was watching too many DeSantis ads with ONE BILLION IN TAXES and nothing else on the screen.  However when you actually dig into the proposal, you see it is far less scary and serves the greater good.  Gillum claims that companies in Florida as a result of the ridiculous Trump tax cuts (that have us posting one of our worst deficits ever btw), received approximately 3.3 billion dollars of additional revenue as a result.  I can assure you the vast amount of that money went straight to the bottom line with a ridiculously tiny amount actually benefiting the lowly average  employee.

Gillum is proposing reclaiming about a third of the federal handout to serve the greater good, not the corporate executives, not for stock buybacks, for the average Joe.  Trying to provide more affordable healthcare and making higher education more attainable for the younger generation are noble causes and worthy of investment by others.  Too many times people that do not need any assistance or help stereotype those that do as lazy or leeching off society.  Without a doubt, there are plenty of individuals that are doing just that and I condemn that behavior as strongly as anyone.  The difference is I am not willing to throw the countless legitimate people that benefit from these programs to the side to spite the abusers of the systems.

For me, I am willing to contribute more of my income to help serve the greater good.  For a large portion of our me first population, that is not the case.  For my own personal benefit, DeSantis would likely serve my needs better, however I have no hesitation in voting for Gillum.

I have very minimal hope of Gillum actually winning.  The fact that he is black means all of the closet racists in Florida, and there are a lot of them, have a reason to get all riled up.  It’s like poking a hornet’s nest.  The only chance he has is for the democratic voters to turn out in massive numbers.  If 100% of the eligible voters voted in every election, democrats would never lose in Florida or at the federal level.  Without a doubt, apathy on the democratic side is the biggest reason we are where we are today. Old angry white people, which now includes people of my generation get out and vote.

So what was the point of this rant?  Oh I don’t know.  Vote for who you want, whether it is for the greater good or just good for you personally is a decision everyone has to make for themselves.   The political climate in our country since the turn of the century has been nothing but disgusting and I see no light at the end of the tunnel.

 

 

So you know you are officially old when you are making calls to financial advisors to discuss retirement which is what I did yesterday.  With my job, one of the benefits is a retirement plan.  That benefit used to be strictly a pension plan for all employees.  Well sometime in the early 2000’s they made an investment plan as an option where instead of a defined monthly benefit from the point you retire until you fade away, you have money thrown into a retirement account that you have full control over.  When you retire you them have this big chunk of change to do with what you want.

So when this option became available all employees had to decide if they wanted to stay in the pension plan or move over to the investment plan.  At that point I wasn’t all that sure if I would be at my job until retirement, plus I liked the idea of having full control over that money if I did have a change of careers.  When you are in a pension plan you get that benefit at retirement age and that’s that.  So at that time I decided to move into the investment plan with the understanding that I had one opportunity to “buy” back into the pension plan during my career.

So turning 50 was a good reason to start reevaluating my retirement options which at this point are unbelievably only about a decade away.  I called into the Florida Retirement System and talked to an advisor that was very helpful in explaining my options and how it all works.  We ran a calculator that estimated my retirement income if I went with a pension versus the investment plan.  The numbers it returned were shocking to me.  The monthly benefit with the pension was roughly 35% higher than I would expect with the investment plan if I figured on getting a moderate return on my money.

The other positive news was I had more than enough money in my investment plan to cover the buy in cost to transfer back to a pension plan.  I actually would have a nice chunk of change left over in that account to go along with the larger chunk sitting in the 457B account I also contribute to.  So the conversation made it pretty clear to me that at this point in my career, with more than 18 years under my belt, switching over to the pension plan makes a lot of sense, assuming I manage to stick around for awhile after retirement age.

I am hoping the market rebounds a bit so I can initiate the switch with my investment plan as fat as it can be.  It seems surreal that I am at the point in life where I have to even give these things serious consideration.  It seems like only yesterday that my biggest concern was what flavor Pop Tarts I was going to eat while I watched Saturday morning cartoons.