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Old 02-22-2010, 10:48 AM   #3481
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I'm pretty sure all the electrical work was done by a fully licensed and qualified plumber...

There are all sorts of interesting stories about the building permit and inspection process here in town. It seems that some contractors are permitted to operate as their own inspectors. When I've pulled permits, an inspector showed up, and seemed inclined to hang around rather than just check, sign, and go, as though he were waiting for something...
Mine too. I think there is too often a slacker approach to the pros but they check a homeowner's work carefully. Or, maybe the pros pay a little under the table to get them to not look carefully. I've had several licensed and qualified workers tell me it isn't necessary to meet code. That's when I look for someone else to do the work. Or do it myself since I always meet or exceed code.
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Old 02-22-2010, 11:53 AM   #3482
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Went to the optometrist for an eye checkup and new glasses. Good news in that after the exam, my eyes didn't change enough to require new glasses. Cost was $15 copay (rest covered by vision insurance).

When I went to drive away, I got a parking ticket. A $30 ticket (price gouging, for sure). The ticket even costed more than the eye exam!

I almost felt like leaving my car there for an extra hour or two to at least get my money's worth , but with my luck, the car would have been towed away.
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Old 02-22-2010, 02:37 PM   #3483
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I did some more organizing, and books are all boxed up and ready to go to library Wed.
I had a "soon to be retiring" friend stop by for coffee on his lunch break. He is a bit worried about "so what will I do all day?". I gave him some ideas, i.e. this is where I come into the picture to lead the way to get BOTH of us out of the house and go do different stuff together.
I have a "I need carbs" attack going on here , so I made mac and cheese and ham casserole for dinner.
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Old 02-22-2010, 03:28 PM   #3484
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Another great bike ride on my new (to me) bike. It's a 1992 bike that is in showroom condition. Someone must have bought it and just kept it in their garage. I got it because it's carbon fiber and aluminum, so it's not going to corrode like everything else does in the salty air (Photo here).
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Old 02-22-2010, 03:46 PM   #3485
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Nice looking bike, Al. I bought a new bike last week from Target. I don't know anything about bicycles, but it's called a "hybrid." It has skinny tires but is more of a cruiser style. I bought a wicker basket for the front to carry my library books and water. It took 3 days to get my seat adjusted to the correct height.
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Old 02-22-2010, 07:18 PM   #3486
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I think Al had more fun than I did today.

I was wearing my honorary general contractor hat today for the Great Family Room Refit of 2010. I did some wall patching, and then went off to the Big Box hardware store, to buy replacement doors. They just happened to be on sale right when I needed them. Then, I picked up paint and fresh rollers for tomorrow's activities.

I just slapped up test patches of the paint. Now, I'm watching the paint dry (to see if I really want to put that stuff all over the room.

I let my subcontractor know the doors were on the way. He's got the big ole power planer and N/C routing machine that can mill the doors to fit WAY faster than my scribe and chisel would.
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Old 02-23-2010, 06:06 AM   #3487
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Another great bike ride on my new (to me) bike.
Great looking bike! I've had too long of a winter without riding. Can't wait to get going in the spring.

Today I sawed down a tree that overhangs my dock on the lake - interferes with docking my boat. The tree landed on the frozen lake making it easier to remove in winter.

Also messed around with our bluray player / Netflix downloads and transferred mp3's to our network. Also ordered some woodworking tools for making my (yet unborn) grandnephew's toy box

Slogged across the frozen tundra on my deck to grill some chicken sausages
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Old 02-23-2010, 02:59 PM   #3488
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Today is Frank's LAST DAY at work!! Last full day, anyway. His retirement is officially on Friday, but he has to go in for a few minutes tomorrow to return his badge and so on.

He just called from work to tell me about the retirement party they had for him this afternoon, with lots of awards and presents and "job well done" attaboys.

Anyway, I am so happy for him. We are going to have so much fun. Naturally priority number one will be for him to catch up on sleep, unwind, and decompress.

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Old 02-23-2010, 04:52 PM   #3489
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Today is Frank's LAST DAY at work!! Last full day, anyway. His retirement is officially on Friday, but he has to go in for a few minutes tomorrow to return his badge and so on.

He just called from work to tell me about the retirement party they had for him this afternoon, with lots of awards and presents and "job well done" attaboys.

Anyway, I am so happy for him. We are going to have so much fun. Naturally priority number one will be for him to catch up on sleep, unwind, and decompress.

Wonderful news! WoooooHoooooooooo
Balloons and Streamers! Confetti!
Kickdance line!


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Old 02-23-2010, 05:54 PM   #3490
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Today...I finally quit whining procrastinating and finished doing my 1099 data entry into my Federal taxes. Refund due, before triple checking over my entries for accuracy, is over $2K.
TurboTax tells me that my effective tax rate is 11.11%. Small potatoes land.
All that TE interest I earned on VWAHX/VWALX is "sauce for the goose". Just smile and wave.
Zero income tax is due to NYS <snicker chortle >. All of my outrageous property and school taxes allowed me to itemize on Schedule A once again and bring me down into a much lower tax bracket.
Some very nice people here "taught" me the method and value of TLH through their posts in various threads. "Rocket science" I can handle easily. This TLH stuff used to be beyond my realm of knowledge. TY for the tutoring by default.
I have enough carryover for the next two years just in case "Capital Gains, the Sequel" returns to the theatre nearest you.

Hmmmm...methinks another "Escape from NY" trip just might be in the w*rks sooner than I thought I could afford it.

.
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Old 02-23-2010, 07:07 PM   #3491
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Freebird's tax comments reminded me of our fun & games with the civil authorities.

City & County of Honolulu doesn't "charge" for trash because enough idiots already dump their old appliances & mattresses by the side of the road. Instead our trash fees are hidden in our excise & property taxes and trash-hauling is "free".

C&C has been rolling out a recycling program using 65-gallon plastic cans on wheels that can be hoisted/emptied by automated trash trucks. We have one gray can. The trucks pick up gray cans of trash twice a week. We vermipost & compost so we don't have much for them-- we generate one, just one, 13-gallon bag of trash per one, just one, week. Most of it the island's gray trash gets burned at the HPOWER plant to generate electricity, and the ashes go to a landfill. HPOWER gets about 7 cents/KWHr from the electricity and is expanding to a new plant, so I suspect they're making money.

Every other week they pick up blue recycle cans of cardboard & plastic. We have one blue can. We usually fill about a third of it. Recycling firms fight over the privilege of buying the city's recyclables, and I suspect that the program has cash flow.

Every other week (alternating with the blue cans) they pick up green waste for mulching. They truck it down to a mulch company for processing. After the green waste is ground into mulch, some of it is loaded back onto trucks and dumped in huge piles alongside various community gardens where it's free for anyone to take home. The rest is composted in a half-dozen rows that are over 200 feet long, 20 feet wide, and 12 feet tall. (It's impressive.) The company bags it and sells it as "Menehune Magic" compost, so I suspect that this program has cash flow too, above & beyond our taxes.

We were allotted one green waste can. We have a lot that's nearly a third of an acre, most of it in fruit trees & palm trees & bougainvillea hedges, and here's where our production really shines. We can easily generate four 65-gallon cans of yard waste every two weeks. In our opinion the city should park a mulch-grinding truck in our driveway and spew our green waste right back on to our landscaping, but until then we need more cans. In the meantime we've been "borrowing" unused green-waste capacity from our half-dozen neighbors. We even add their grass clippings to our compost pile-- how's that for frugal dumpster diving?

In the early days of the recycling program I found the fine print that said we, as exceptional tax-paying green-waste producers, could have a second can. ("More gruel, please?") It was grudgingly delivered. The following year they admitted that they had leftover cans for those who wanted to help them clear their storage lot. A second can was eventually produced.

This year I noted additional fine print for an unspecified number of extra cans to exceptional (still taxpaying!) green-waste producers. I called and was told that we'd exceeded our intended allotment by at least one-- "no can for you, come back after the elections!"

Fine, two taxpayers can play that game. I called right back and requested an extra green can for our rental home. Absolutely sir, no problem, coming right up. We shanghaied the can from our tenants and we now have (sssshhhhh) four green-waste cans. That's about as much as we can store on our property.

So this morning I hacked down another half-dozen cans or so of mango branches and hauled most of it up to the back lanai. Some of it went across the hillside to an erosion ditch which I'm going to attempt to remediate with my own private all-natural landfill program. The bigger logs & branches are going to a woodworker. The rest of it is going to be stuffed into what are finally enough of our very own green waste cans.

And then I'm going to finish my state tax returns. We have enough tax credits to carry us to approximately 2015, so we won't be paying state taxes for quite a while...
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Old 02-23-2010, 09:32 PM   #3492
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Today is Frank's LAST DAY at work!!
YAY!! That's great, W2R. Congrats to Frank.
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Old 02-23-2010, 10:22 PM   #3493
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Today is Frank's LAST DAY at work!!
That is wonderful news, Congratulations!!

You must be so excited that you are BOTH retired now! Enjoy it!
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Old 02-23-2010, 10:33 PM   #3494
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Thank you!! He is SO happy. We went out to dinner tonight and he showed me the awards that he got at the retirement party. WOW, they sure make great awards in industry compared with government! And then he got gifts from megacorp, too.
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Old 02-24-2010, 06:24 AM   #3495
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Have any of you tried an Electric bike? Ive got one; it helps you a lot uphill and you still do a bit of exercise. Knowing that you have help at hand encourages you to much longer rides:
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:22 AM   #3496
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I keep forgetting to get started on taxes. I guess I'll download TaxAct today.
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Old 02-24-2010, 12:41 PM   #3497
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I'm planning my activities while DH is away for a few days....
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Old 02-24-2010, 01:52 PM   #3498
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I'm planning my activities while DH is away for a few days....
Im sure youve dutifully told him about them....
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Old 02-24-2010, 03:04 PM   #3499
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Im sure youve dutifully told him about them....
Mmmm, no...'cause I didn't know at the time what I would be doing...
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Old 02-24-2010, 05:38 PM   #3500
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Have any of you tried an Electric bike? Ive got one; it helps you a lot uphill and you still do a bit of exercise. Knowing that you have help at hand encourages you to much longer rides:
Many years ago, my Dad bought an adult tricycle and bought an electric 'booster' motor for it. When you'd squeeze a lever (similar to a brake lever) the motor would start and move to a position that would allow a small drive wheel to contact the front tire. It was powered by a motorcycle battery in a case the mounted in the rear basket.

He could pedal fine on flat areas, but needed the extra "oomph" to get up the grades around our neighborhood. He absolutely loved it! Had it not been for that, he would have been restricted to having to ride a stationary bike indoors all year.
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