Monthly Archives: November 2011

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iPhoneIt was all over the news today — about how seniors are 47 times wealthier than they’re under-35 counterparts.

Statistics can be tricky.

And they can easily be groomed and spun to suit whatever you want them to.

That said, I think the disparity may have something to do with the under-35 crowd spending over $1000 on new cell phones and their associated “plans” every year.

Just something to think about before you pick up the next i-whatever from Apple.

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November 2011 Net WorthLoving these huge swings up and down.

I mean, just look at the last year’s worth of updates and all of the movement has been huge…

Here we go…

Cash:
Still tight. I think I even inadvertantly went under the “threshhold” this past month. Booo…

Savings:
Nothing new here — just where I’m tossing $135 in per week to cover my property tax bill (due in December) and anything else unexpected.

Gov’t Bonds:
Treasury Direct’s login process just switched again. They claim that it’s easier but I’m finding it even more annoying than ever. If I weren’t earning nearly 6% on what I have left in there, I’d sell out in a heartbeat.

401k:
Months like this are why I don’t support the whole Occupy Wall Street movement.

Home:
A big snowstorm and tons of tree damage apparently had an impact on the value of my home. Or maybe it was a coincidence.

Auto 1, Auto 2, and Auto 3:
Not much movement here.

Credit Cards:
Not as much progress here as I’d have hoped but still over $1000 wiped out. I was really hoping to have it under $10k at month’s end

Auto Loans and Other Loans:
Nothing to report.

Mortgage:
Just another minimum payment.

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My DadSo it’s now been exactly a year since I last saw my dad. It was November 3rd that he came with us to that creepy 3D ultrasound of the then un-named Henrik. I think he really enjoyed that.

Later that day, he and my mom drove back home to Florida.

Recently a couple of acquaintances have had deaths in the family — both happened to lose their dad — and it got me thinkin’…

One was older than any human being should possibly get and the other had been in and out of a sedative state for months.

In both cases, I heard the news on Facebook.

I like to think that I can relate since my Dad died just last year but I’m finding it really hard to find common ground.

It’s funny, thinking about it now, shortly after my dad died, another friend (that isn’t strictly relegated to Facebook communication) came up to me and gave me the awkward exchange that people typically give you when someone close dies.

The thing is, for him, his dad had died just a couple of months prior (in his 80’s and of cancer) so I kinda thought he was one of the few who knew firsthand how I felt — freshly.

His comment — and his brother’s comment too, “No way, man, yours was way worse. We saw Pops going…”

That kinda stuck with me.

And you know what?

They were wrong.

My family’s loss wasn’t worse.

Sure, in some ways — like the actual loss of a family member — it was exactly the same but the way it happened for us was, well, better.

I think it was better.

We didn’t have a long waiting period.

We didn’t get the chance to ponder when?

We never had to make any hard life-or-death decisions.

It just happened.

Out of the blue.

Sure, it sucks to never have had the chance to say good bye.

The last time I saw my dad, just after that ultrasound appointment, we were out looking for liquid garlic (very tough to find), we discussed not giving the baby-to-come a name that ended in ‘-ie’ or a single syllable name and tested out all kinds of terrible suggestions (none being Henrik, which my dad propably would’ve hated), and complained about how the soda at our local 99 Restaurant tasted musty that day.

The last thing I talked to my dad about, just days before he died, was a free frame replacement on my wife’s Toyota Tacoma. Neither of us are gear heads — what a stupid final conversation.

But if it had been any other way, what would we have said?

I mean, really, what do you say?

Talk about uncomfortably awkward…

There haven’t been a lot of deaths in our family. It’s not that we live forever — it’s just not that big of a family.

I can think of three deaths and technically, only two were ‘real’ relatives and I can only really claim to have ever made a connection to one of them.

The first death was my grandmother in…I think it was in the fall of 1987. I was in 5th grade — that much I’m sure of.

She’d had a heart attack and we made the 9-hour trip to the hospital to go and see her.

She seemed perfectly normal — she gave me a dollar bill to “buy something in the gift shop” as if anything could be had in a hospital gift shop for a dollar. Even in the 80’s… Sheesh…

I still have that dollar, though. Pretty cool too since it wasn’t long after that paper dollars were taken out of circulation in Canada.

Anyway, all seemed well from a 5th grader’s perspective besides the fact that she was in the hospital.

We drove back home and life resumed.

It was about a week later when I had a friend sleeping over that my Dad poked his head in the door and asked if he could talk to me for a sec.

That’d never happened before.

I got up, went out to the hallway and he led me into my parent’s bedroom and said, “Gram died this afternoon.”

I just stood there.

I remember thinking that my dad was really big that day — like, tall and imposing but not in a threatening way — a trait that really isn’t accurate to my dad’s physical stature.

Especially on what I now realize would have been a very very weak day.

I didn’t cry or anything, said I was okay, and just went back to my room, sat down in my red pleather bean bag, and kept on playing Atari (yes, I’m *that* old) with a stunned look on my face the best I could so as not to let my friend in on the news.

I never did get the real story — I’ve always just assumed it was another heart attack.

And speaking of all this, new in next month’s spending report…life insurance premiums!

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Loosely Related Tangent
Back when I was in university we used to play stupid games like who could stand on one foot the longest, or drink a coke the fasted (way harder to pound a Coke than a beer), hold a hand over a candle closest, or hold your breath the longest. That sorta thing.

One of the variations was who could “bust a tear” first.

One guy used to pull out nose hairs to well up. It certainly worked, but I still beat him every time.

Funny, cause he was an artsci fartsy drama major.

I’d just think about “Gram” telling me to put her dominoes away and my right eye would start to spout.

Takes about 2 seconds.

I’d be really awesome at that game now.

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I wish I could claim that my lack of posting were due the to widepsread power outages here in Connecticut but that’d be a half-truth.

Halloween Obstacles

Anyway, after four freezing nights without power or heat and a pseduo gas crisis (gas stations can’t pump gas without power…), I almost miss the expectation of spending another cold night with the entire family huddled into one dark (and cold) room now that the power is back on and I’m 12 inches from two flat screen monitors with iTunes blaring out some random rock hits from the early 1990’s.

There are a lot of irate local politicians here calling for the power company’s head. Earlier in the week, 87% of Connecticut was dark. Halloween was even cancelled.

We’re talking totally dark.

No traffic lights. None. Not even blinking yellow or red. They were off.

Just think about how crazy that’d make the roads? For nearly a week?

On top of it, the temperatures were dipping into the 20’s at night.

In my house, we could see our breathe. Yeah, it was cold.

So the politicians might have a point. Sorta.

But my PIAC persona was thinking about things differently.

Electricity is a bargain!!!

My average electric bill is around $150 per month. That’s five bucks per day.

Our utility provider is routinely criticized for having some of the highest rates in the country. I don’t know that this is a fact — perhaps just something that an angry politician is throwing out there just before election day next Tuesday — but I do know that I’d have gladly paid $5 for just one working outlet for a few hours as my family froze each night.

Yeah, electricity for my entire house is just $5 per day.

I’m not going to bash Connecticut Light & Power for offering such a great deal.

It’s a miracle that electricity is so cheap.

Can You Dig It?

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