Thursday, January 29, 2015

Put that on the list

As we have aged our memories have become shorter. After getting first upset by it, we moved to laughing about it and now we're in to doing something about it!

Barbara used to laugh about me wanting to make lists all the time. Now she's making them for herself.

What kind of lists do we have?

Lists of questions.
When we go to see the accountant, retirement specialist, Medicare supplement salesperson etc., we make a list over the previous couple of weeks of the things we want to ask. If we don't do that we end up getting home and kicking ourselves because we forgot to ask something.

Lists of jobs
Working on the car, truck, motorcycle, RV or house I keep a list of things that need doing so when I finally get off my lazy behind to do something I get ALL the jobs done at once. This also lets me shop ONCE at the hardware/auto parts store.

Lists of objects
Selling all our household items in yard sales etc. is part of our full time RV plans. We list all the stuff we will be putting in the next one with prices we'd like to get. That helps in a couple of ways. We don't forget to put things out, we don't put out stuff we didn't mean to and either of us can grab the list when somebody asks "how much?"

List of appointments.
OK so that is on the calendar but it's a list too. Lets us plan our week and month and we can ensure that new appointments don't clash with existing ones

List of places
We keep a list of places we'd like to see. If we watch TV and something looks nice it goes on the list with the town and state its in. There's a list of places to stay in the RV based on recommendations from other RV'ers.

List of meals
We sit and plan the week's menus on Sunday before we shop so we can shop effectively and not make impulse purchases of stuff we never use. Saves wastage, conserves storage space and speeds up shopping plus helps the budget

List of food.
We have a freezer out in the garage. We found that when preparing menus we'd forget what we had in the freezer and end up buying stuff we already had. Now we have the list of stuff that's in the freezer with us when we plan the menus.

List of people
Barbara keeps a list of everyone we send Christmas cards to and I keep a mailing list that prints out on mailing labels. If you don't send us a card for 3 years, sorry you drop off the list! If you send us a card for the first time you get added to the list. If you change your address and don't tell us? When the card comes back as "not at this address" we'll try and contact you by e-mail or telephone but if we can't get an updated address - you're off the list.

Bucket Lists
We have a couple of bucket lists. we've moved around the world a couple of times and when we meet people who have been to places we've lived they'll say how much they liked this museum or that park. Often they are places we never went to when we lived there!
We started a bucket list of things to do and see before we leave San Diego. Galleries, shows, resorts and campgrounds. It feels good to cross one off now and then. This weekend will see us going to several Art Galleries and Museums instead of watching the Super Bowl. They should be nice and quiet.
We have a life bucket list also, which has such things as Attend a Formula 1 Grand Prix (both of us want that), watch Super Cross motorcycle racing (me), go to a ballet performance (Barbara), see the Tank Museum in Bovington England (me). We have tickets for this year's US Grand Prix in Austin TX and next months Super Cross in San Diego followed a week later by tickets to the Russian State Ballet performance in San Diego (What a contrast! motocross and ballet on consecutive weekends).

I'm sure there are some lists I've forgotten about.
Maybe I need a list of where my lists are?
I must add that to my list of things to do.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015


This journey towards selling the house and going full time in the RV is full of ups and downs. It's as if emotional waves are breaking over us.

Going out in the RV for trips.
Going home when we really want to just keep going

Meeting Full Timers and hearing their experiences
Having to go to work every day

Filling in paperwork for pensions, social security, retirement
Looking at the calendar and seeing another 4 months to go

Finding a pension we didn't know about
Finding another outlay we're going to have to make every month in retirement.

Yard sales, getting rid of stuff, having friends come over and take some of your treasures so they can treasure them.
Looking at the tons of stuff still left.

Researching how to set up as residents of another state and register the vehicles there.
Looking at my motorcycles and my truck and thinking about fixing the ones that need fixing, working out how much I owe in back registrations.

Going to the dump and the recycle center and clearing another half acre of garage space
Getting quotes for painting the outside of the house so we can make it more marketable.

Thinking about the Escapees Rally we are going to in March.
Thinking about painting the inside of the house and fixing up the bathroom.

Well you get the picture.
Me? I'm getting seasick.........

Barbara and I are both kind of down at the moment. We aren't far enough along to get really excited yet we are doing things that are the foundation for our full time adventure.
People we know from our trips are encouraging us to keep going and I don't think there is anything that is going to stop us, we just have to push ahead.

So what to do?

This morning we listed all the furniture and the prices we'd like to get for them. Then we decided to list all the stuff in the back bedroom on Craigslist this week and to have another yard sale for household stuff in February.

I decided that a CD with every "On the Road" "Leaving Home" song I could think of would be kind of cool to be playing in the rig as we pull away from the house for the last time.

What kind of songs?

On the road again
Leaving on a jet plane
Early morning rain
Get your kicks on route 66
Hit the road Jack
This land is my land
Long and winding road
King of the road
Goodbye yellow brick road
Country roads
I'll follow the sun
Band on the run
Midnight train to Georgia
See you later alligator
I get around
Rocky mountain high
Travelling man
American pie
Tumbling tumbleweed
Happy trails to you
Magic bus

Oh the lists goes on and on!
Any suggestions?


Thursday, January 22, 2015

We want to pay you to go away

Today Barbara was scheduled to go thru her pre-retirement class with the HR section at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) where she works.

They told her to bring a copy of our marriage certificate, a copy of MY birth certificate and ME.

Turns out that the pension she gets can be passed on to me should she pass away before me. Cool!

This will be her THIRD pension and she still hasn't got her Social Security sorted out yet, she's not even retired! After all our working lives where I out earned her, now I think she will now be out earning me in retirement. 

God bless her. 
Now she can keep me in luxury as I deserve.

The whole process was very pleasant and informative. 

I don't think mine will be as pleasant. That's if there even IS one. My company was bought out several years back and thru total lack of control of overhead, the management has succeeded in driving the shares down from $40 a share to $2.30. Takes a REAL team in upper management to accomplish that.

I was lucky in that I realized early that the shares were headed down and not likely to come back. They are not publicly traded so you can't sell them to anyone except the company, and they aren't obliged to buy them or to pay the price fixed by the auditors.

Sweet deal for them as they CAN sell their shares and they even have "Phantom Shares" if you read the company prospectus. 

My way out was the clause that let me get 20% a year out for 5 years after I had a combination of 15 years service and 50 years of age. Even then they didn't give me the full 20% each year, only what they decided to give me back of my own money

My own money? Oh yes when the management announced we could buy ourselves out from our parent company years ago. We paid for it with money from our 401K funds to form an ESOP (Employee Stock Option Plan). We would be the owners of the company. There would be no employee representation on the board however and the shares had no voting rights.

Some people went crazy and put huge chunks of their retirement in. I considered the risks and only put in what they had matched as part of my benefits. When we were sold out (NOT BOUGHT OUT) the new company took our shares and gave us double the number of shares in the new company which was also an ESOP. 

I sincerely believe that this was a scam worked between our old board of directors and the new company. We were cash rich at the time and we had been suggesting they pay dividends as there was so much cash in the bank. They told us they were getting ready to make a strategic purchase so we would grow. Instead the new company took us over and sucked up all that cash. The board of directors all left with bulging pockets and we watched the shares start to shrink.

So beware of strangers bearing gifts!!

There is no pension plan from this company unless you consider that they give a minimal amount annually which goes into our 401K plans. IN COMPANY STOCK.

My plans were centered on 401K contributions but no company stock. They continued to try and coax employees to buy stock as part of their retirement savings right up until they revalued it at $2.30. The little I have left in stock they won't let me cash out. I suppose I'll get it when I retire if it's worth anything at all.

But I will get a UK pension and Social Security so I won't be completely broke.

So as yet nobody has offered to pay me to go away!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Go suck a lemon...

When I was a kid and had a wall to wall grin on my face I would sometimes be told I needed to suck a lemon to get the grin off.

Well this weekend we had our big yard sale. "The Motorcycle Yard Sale". All my motorcycles, parts, tools, memorabilia, books and clothing were on the block. This was a major step in our plan to sell the house and hit the road.

Some of this stuff went back 40 years and it was going to be tough to part with.

I invited a select audience. Friends from the BMW club, the San Diego Antique Motorcycle Club and the Gold Wing Road Riders Association chapter of San Diego.
I considered putting an ad on Craigslist but we had hot dogs and adult beverages in the back yard for everyone and I didn't think having strangers wandering around the house looking for the bathroom was a good idea and didn't place the ad.

I was so busy that I didn't get a chance to take any pictures but it was BUSY!

The "Star" of the sale was a 1970 BMW R75/5 that I had nearly finished restoring before running out of enthusiasm. I had calls 2 weeks ahead of the sale wanting to come look and make an offer but I stuck to my guns and said "No". I didn't want to upset friends by selling stuff before the event. As it turned out most people said they appreciated that.

The sale was to start at 9am. I was out setting up at 7am and one hopeful character showed up at 8am. He helped me set up and looked over the bike at the same time. The next guy showed up at 8.30am and a third at 8.50am. My problem was how to sort out who got it! At 9am I asked the first guy if he was willing to pay my asking price and he was. The second guy generously said he would stand aside and let him have it and the third guy was hoping for a bargain and stepped out too. The bike sold at 9.01 am for my asking price and the happy new owner loaded it up. He spotted another couple of things he wanted, paid up and was gone! Wow, I was a happy camper. So was he.

All morning long I was being asked for prices on anything and everything. They had the run of my garage and I told them I wanted to sell everything down to the walls and we darned near did it! Neighbors dropped by to see the show, people came and went and by 7 pm the last part was loaded in my truck and delivered to the last buyer.

It was a LONG day but fun, our rig even got "Tagged" with a BMW club sticker so they could identify it if they pass us on the road somewhere in the future.
I sold 5 motorcycles, nearly all my tools, all the BMW parts and nearly all of my books and memorabilia.
Luckily I still have 4 motorcycles that I have to do some work on to increase their value, but I planned on that happening.

We had hot dogs left over but not a lot else. Far from being a depressing day I found great comfort in the fact that my friends valued my "collection" as much as I did and it was all going to a good home. Several people told me that if I came back to San Diego after full timing they would be glad to sell things back to me for what they paid. True friends.

And at the end of the day we made TWICE what we thought we would make!
The only way I would be able to get the smile off my face?