Month: September 2016

Bucket List Item…. Clean out the old man’s attic!

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Okay, it is definitely a given that cleaning out one’s attic is not an activity you might find on a great many ‘bucket lists’ but it did find its way on to mine. You see dining in Paris, kayaking down the Amazon River or climbing driving to the top of Pike’s Peak may be more common ‘bucket list’ items but for me, well it would be the preparing and packing for those trips and not the trip itself where the pleasure would be extracted.

All this is predicated on the fact that I am suffering from a self-diagnosed case of OCD. No, it’s not the more familiar kind of OCD known as ‘Obsessive Compulsive Disorder’. In my case it is an off-shoot disease known as ‘Organizational Compulsive Disorder’. Any sign of disarray sends one into a fit of organizational rage. And if you are planning on moving to Cemeteryville in the not so distant future, how in good conscience can you leave such clutter and mayhem to your beneficiaries.

It seems logical that if someone is suffering from OCD (Organizational Compulsive Disorder) as I apparently am, it therefore follows that one would certainly take great pains in preparing for their own death. And over the past year or so I have gone to some length doing just that. It all began pretty much with my attic which has been the recipient of who knows what all since 1959. Yep, it’s been the family home for that long and I decided to clean out the attic come hell or high water. A patched together composite of my attic can be seen above and clicking on the photograph will give one a much larger view of its sad condition before cleaning out.

Now, as to the cleaning out itself, well that actually fell to my sister and brother-in-law for the most part (bet their wishing about now I had retired in some rural area in northern Alaska). Well, I was just physically unable to offer much help and they were gracious enough to offer their services. Needing and having to have help to do certain things when you have been independent and living on your own for as long as I have creates yet another issue when your growing old but that we’ll leave for another post.

As the attic refuse began to accumulate in one room or another it was evident that I was becoming eligible to qualify for one of those “hoarder” reality television programs. I may end up with a trashed living area but by golly I was going to have a clean attic, fitting for someone who is meticulous about their death preparation.

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A day or so later I got the brainstorm that I should photograph all this stuff. Why? Well, then I would have photographs of it to post on the Internet should it decide to sell it or give it away. So that is exactly what I did. I have already given away a lot of old picture frames, tons of old mat boards for framing photos and a number of those old cake and cookie storage tins.

And as for the attic itself, well there were a few remnants of life still lying around but for the most part she had been gutted of all her trash and treasure as is reflected in the composite photo below….

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I guess that is pretty much it at the moment. Other posts will certainly follow regarding this OCD project. I am still slowly but surely getting my house back in some as-semblance of order. Taking on this project has been quite taxing for someone with organizational issues. In order to clean out the attic I have to trash my home’s living area. Perhaps this whole thing was not as well thought out as it should have been?

A true miracle or just simply serendipity?

It’s that time of year for us Medicare folks when we are given the opportunity to change our insurance plans or jump ship to another insurance carrier entirely. So from now through mid-December many of us will begin finding our mail boxes inundated with all those offers from all those other insurance companies touting the glory of their plans. Well a few days ago I got my “2017 Renewal Information” booklet from my Medicare Part D carrier who happens to be Humana.

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I’ve been on Medicare some ten years now and they have, for better or worse, been my Part D carrier that whole period. And each year when I receive my renewal booklet for the upcoming year it goes without saying that the monthly premium always seems to go up. Imagine that huh? Well it would seem rather than getting that old generic rate hike this year I would experience the miracle that was referenced in the title of this post. My monthly premium for this year will actually decrease $2.10 as you may note in the page below (click to enlarge the page).

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Now we could probably debate whether this is a true miracle or simply serendipity till the cows come home but given the fact we are talking about health insurance and the year is 2016, I don’t think there should be any question that this can not be anything but a miracle. Medical insurance never goes down…. we all know that! 🙁

Currently on the run from the IRS….

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Yesterday must have been “Black Friday” at my house. Received two calls from Arlington, VA, one at 11:15 AM and another at 1:51 PM. The calls were from two different IRS agents, one male and one female, letting me know that the IRS had discovered fraudulent information in my latest tax return. I had let my answering machine get these calls so both agents warned that I should return their calls or suffer the consequences. Here’s the information on the number of origin….

Arlington VA

(703) 879-8780

WASH-DC, VA

A quick check with Google and it was quickly confirmed this was a fairly well-known number associated with an IRS scam. Fortunately I had been made aware of these type scams via a number of previous media reports. Below is a statement issued by the IRS regarding theses scams….

“There are clear warning signs about these scams, which continue at high levels throughout the nation,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “Taxpayers should remember their first contact with the IRS will not be a call from out of the blue, but through official correspondence sent through the mail. A big red flag for these scams are angry, threatening calls from people who say they are from the IRS and urging immediate payment. This is not how we operate. People should hang up immediately and contact TIGTA or the IRS.”

I should note that what is most disturbing regarding this matter is the fact that these scammers have my phone number. My phone number is unlisted but nevertheless by googling my name plus the text ‘phone number’ I was able to find a posting of the number. But where do the scammers get my phone number from, that is the worry-some question?

So life is apparently not quite over if I can still experience this type of excitement in what would have been an otherwise rather boring, mundane day. And whose to say…. I may just pack a small bag, grab some of that loot the IRS is trying to recoup and head to ‘Vegas’! 🙂

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Yahoo cries “WOLF!”…. Yea, two years late!

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Well, it was all over the news yesterday… “Yahoo Hacked – Over 500 Million Users Affected”. Being a Yahoo user now for as long as I can remember I immediately assumed I was one of those victims. So off I went to change my password and security information.

yahoo-hack-02Then several hours later I learn that the hack apparently occurred in 2014, some two years ago. Well thanks Yahoo for the warning. A person with any meaningful measure of common sense could easily assume that if something bad was going to happen to their account the hackers have already had two years to do their deed. And here we are two years later and you’ve got me jumping through the “change your password” hoop?

It is a bit baffling to me that often in these instances where hackers hijack user data that there always seems to be this delay on alerting the public. Makes little sense to me. Simply boils down to the fact that if we utilize the Internet in our day-to-day lives that we and our personal data are indeed vulnerable to the bad things that can happen. It’s like playing “Internet Roulette” I suppose.

The Aesthetics of Urban Living….

To a great extent after one retires they have going in their favor the fact that they can now choose where they would like to live. At least that is initially how it might appear on the surface. Turns out, that’s not quite the way it is in reality. I suppose the two major factors that have impact on where we might choose to live are one’s health and their financial means.

I live in the city, an urban environment, for which there are as many advantages as there are disadvantages for me. I have always wanted to live in a rural area, away from all the noise and irritating people and neighbors one constantly must deal with it seems. But let me stop myself right here on that subject before I get bogged down in all the pros and cons of urban verses rural living.

The moment of origin for this journal entry was given birth early one morning recently as I was sitting on my backyard patio drinking my morning coffee. As the sun began rising and playing peek-a-boo with the tree branches I noticed some of the nearby power lines starting to gleam in the early morning sun. And then I noticed there were more, and then there were yet more and soon it was starting to appear that I was living in the middle of an electrical switch-yard somewhere. The two photographs below reflect the stark reality of the power lines intrusion into the aesthetics of the neighborhood. I highly recommend clicking on each of the images to get a better sense of what I am trying to impart….

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I have lived in this house off and on since 1959 and never noticed all those power lines before and their intrusiveness into what little aesthetics are available in an urban environment to begin with. But it then did occur to me that over the last few years since the area suffered through a fairly devastating ice storm back in the year 2000, the power company has been coming in and cutting back all these old trees back quite a distance from those power lines in an effort to eliminate the kind of damaged suffered in 2000 by all the falling limbs. Many of those offending trees actually got totally removed, all of which contributed to the opening up of the canopy over my home and the homes of my neighbors. And in that process, all those power lines which were hidden from view are now out there and exposed.

They actually have a term for such ugliness? You have light pollution, there’s noise pollution and believe it or not, there is “visual pollution” which is based on the aesthetics of an area. And as it turns out those old power lines are often major contributors to the issue of visual pollution.

Not much else can be said about this I suppose. It is what it is and neither I nor the city can address the issue. Too much water under the bridge at this late date. Fortunately the power companies have learned that in-ground power grids are much more reliable and aesthetic and several of our more recent municipalities have been recipients of the in-ground grids.

Let’s Call This Post #1….

On the road again in the blogosphere for of course, just one more time. I do often seem to have a need to ramble and complain and what better place than Cyberspace. And it’s not as if I have some sort of personal or political agenda but for whatever reason it just always seems more satisfying if when you do actually have something to say there’s that fulfilled sense that hopefully someone will here it.

It is of little importance for the most part I suppose who hears it, its all just a matter of principal. I suppose one could equate it somewhat to the old adage… “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it really make a sound?” Surely from the falling tree’s perspective the tree would want the rest of the forest to be aware of its last act on this earth. Well, that is pretty much what this blogging/journaling thing over the years has been all about for me.

Arkansas Loses Lock on 1st Place Obesity Ranking

Adult Obesity - United States

According to the latest data released as late as yesterday, Arkansas failed to hold on to its 1st place ranking in the adult obesity ranking held in 2014. The new rankings compiled for the year 2015 shows Arkansas as having fallen to 6th place behind Louisiana, Alabama, West Virginia, Mississippi and Kentucky.

Taking over the Number 1 spot is Arkansas’ sister state Louisiana. Well make no mistake about Louisiana, they indeed serve up some great vittles down yonder in New Orleans and surrounding parishes. The top five ahead of Arkansas could all be said to enjoy similar cuisine I suppose.

I guess as a bit of a side note I should hi-lite the fact that I, myself have lost some 10 lbs this year so when the 2016 rankings come out I can only hope I am not the reason Arkansas falls completely out of the top ten.

You can go to “The State of Obesity” website and view their interactive map along with the overall ranking of all the states. Poor old Colorado came in sucking hind tit registering in last place. Well, there’s always next year Colorado….