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Old 03-20-2016, 06:46 PM   #641
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Very, very happy day. Received word that our grand son,who is graduating from IMSA , just received word that he has been granted a full boat "Stamps" Scholarship... tuition, room and board, books (and a computer), living expenses, and an opportunity to spend a paid overseas experience during summer break.
Our kids have two others in college now, at the same time, so this has been an incredible help to their plans for retirement. Grandson is very aware of the cost of college, and has worked hard to earn his way. Will graduate with a 3.9 avg out of 4, in addition to being a class officer, counselor and member of multiple school clubs. His current hope is for a Medical Degree, and possible future with Doctors Without Borders. (Fluent in three languages)

We're so proud.
Wow! Congratulations!
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Old 03-20-2016, 11:13 PM   #642
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We had a weekend pass for wine tasting with food pairings at nineteen wineries in Sonoma Valley this weekend. We went yesterday, had nice weather and a great time but today we got rained out.

Last night we went to a concert in Berkeley with local bands doing some of their own music and some songs from The Who. That was really fun, too. For the finale the had 30 musicians on stage ending with a couple of The Who's classics and gave everyone in the audience maracas to play along.
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Old 03-21-2016, 11:29 AM   #643
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Very, very happy day. Received word that our grand son,who is graduating from IMSA , just received word that he has been granted a full boat "Stamps" Scholarship... tuition, room and board, books (and a computer), living expenses, and an opportunity to spend a paid overseas experience during summer break.
Our kids have two others in college now, at the same time, so this has been an incredible help to their plans for retirement. Grandson is very aware of the cost of college, and has worked hard to earn his way. Will graduate with a 3.9 avg out of 4, in addition to being a class officer, counselor and member of multiple school clubs. His current hope is for a Medical Degree, and possible future with Doctors Without Borders. (Fluent in three languages)

We're so proud.

And so you should be!
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Old 03-21-2016, 03:45 PM   #644
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Went to the hospital and had lab work done, an x-ray of my eyes in preparation for an MRI of my heart in preparation for a cardiac ablation tomorrow morning. The x-ray of my eyes was because in 1967 I once had a piece of metal in my eye from a key-making machine at the gas station where I worked in HS. Had there been any it was probably brass anyway so nonferrous. Not surprisingly they found nothing.

Here's an engineering question: They go to great lengths to assure that there is no ferrous metal in the MRI machine because of the strong magnetic fields. Yet they gave me a pair of headphones to listen to music inside the machine during the ~45 minute procedure. I thought it would be kind of difficult to create sounds without using a ferrous magnet to create the sound waves.

I asked the technician about this. She wasn't sure but thought they did it with air pressure but would ask the engineer the next time one came by. The headphones had the worst tone I've ever heard from headphones of any type and this would account for it.

Anyone know how they get headphones to work inside an MRI machine? (It got real boring and there really wasn't much else to think about during the testing.)
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Old 03-21-2016, 04:47 PM   #645
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Airlines used to provide pneumatic headphones in the old days. No metal at all.
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Old 03-21-2016, 08:05 PM   #646
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I started learning to ski a couple of months ago and today I went on my first blue runs. I'm pretty happy how well it went. I was lucky that I did a private lesson, otherwise I wouldn't have made nearly as much progress and probably would still be skiing green runs.

The only downside is the skiing season is almost over. I'm already looking forward to next year.

You could always go to someplace in the Southern Hemisphere like chile


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Old 03-21-2016, 09:28 PM   #647
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First day of yard work 2016. A 3 hr controlled burn of the few small trees and brush cleared last fall.
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Old 03-22-2016, 03:12 PM   #648
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Went for a hike in Bird Rookery Swamp. Beautiful day, and the gators were active. I saw somewhere in the area of 40 of them (lost count after 25). Lots of babies, and lots of mamas. I was planning to go 8 miles, but got turned before the 4 mile mark by a 12'+ gator stretched far enough across the path that I didn't want to walk past him. So I only made it about 7.5 miles.

I saw my first bobcat early on, way up ahead in the distance. I took a quick picture, and didn't expect much from it since I could barely see the cat. But it came out pretty well. A nice surprise.
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Old 03-22-2016, 05:41 PM   #649
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Had the cardiac ablation procedure done today, all went well. I'm still in the hospital (I really gotta stop posting from hospitals) but aside from some mild soreness nothing to complain about. The surgeon showed me some really neat computer-generated images of the ablation on his smartphone that I didn't have the presence of mind to ask for copies of since I was still coming out of the anesthesia. I'll probably be released tomorrow morning.

As usual, the hospital refused my request for wine with dinner and a takeout order for some anesthesia drugs. I do wish they'd loosen up a little about that.
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Old 03-22-2016, 06:50 PM   #650
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Went to the SS office today, both a happy and sad occasion. I must have been one of only a few anglo-saxon Americans, the office was full people I would not necessarily associate with and at least a 1/4 could not speak English. I asked the interviewer and he said they also assist SSI, etc.
The interviewer was nice and I was actually surprised the professionalism that he showed. My wife was a California teacher and was hit with the WEP which her her SS by taking a 900.00 projected amount down to $380.00 for her teaching for only 10.5 years. I will be delaying my SS for a few years until I know the tax considerations. I will Fire in about 6 months when I get my business sold to my Brother in-law. In-laws what a pain!
Good luck to all others that are retiring this year!
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Old 03-22-2016, 06:54 PM   #651
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Had the cardiac ablation procedure done today, all went well. I'm still in the hospital (I really gotta stop posting from hospitals) but aside from some mild soreness nothing to complain about. The surgeon showed me some really neat computer-generated images of the ablation on his smartphone that I didn't have the presence of mind to ask for copies of since I was still coming out of the anesthesia. I'll probably be released tomorrow morning.

As usual, the hospital refused my request for wine with dinner and a takeout order for some anesthesia drugs. I do wish they'd loosen up a little about that.
Great news, Walt!
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Old 03-22-2016, 08:57 PM   #652
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"Practicing for retirement" by enjoying a 4 day "weekend" off work. I dragged DS out for a long walk on a bike trail near our house yesterday. Today we intended to go skiing, but ran into a traffic issue. I peeled off the highway, took a little scenic drive past some old gold mines, then stopped at an open space park for a hike and picnic lunch .... Plan B was a pretty nice day all in all. And to think that I have 2 more days off to enjoy!!

Anyway, DS is working tomorrow but we will try and go ski on Thursday instead.
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Old 03-22-2016, 09:28 PM   #653
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Brightened someone else's day.

The nurse was just in the hospital room here, and I showed her this post on the thread about the cost of health care because I wanted her to know how pleased I was with the hospital. She was fascinated with the idea of early retirement and I think we might get a new member. She asked me to write down the URL for the site, and then we got into a discussion about LBYM, and what it takes to retire, and avoiding paying someone else to manage their retirement funds. I explained what a "couch potato portfolio" was and why it would outperform anything the "professionals" actively managing funds would do. Then she wanted to know how I knew all this stuff about saving and investing and I told her it was this site and reading the books other people here recommended. She even said I was "a very smart guy". Ha - little does she know! She also wanted to know what books to read and I gave her about five of the usual titles and she wrote those down too. She did mention that she pays off her cc bills every month.

She was in here for maybe 40 minutes! About ten of that on work-related stuff.

Too late for ER for her though, turns out she's a year younger than me (65, near 66) but I would have placed her at early to mid-fifties by appearance.

Still, it was a fun conversation and nice to brighten someone else's day, and to talk with someone who "gets it".
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Old 03-22-2016, 11:36 PM   #654
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Wonderful conversation, Walt! And hopefully very helpful for her, too.
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Old 03-23-2016, 08:49 AM   #655
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Had the cardiac ablation procedure done today, all went well. I'm still in the hospital (I really gotta stop posting from hospitals) but aside from some mild soreness nothing to complain about. The surgeon showed me some really neat computer-generated images of the ablation on his smartphone that I didn't have the presence of mind to ask for copies of since I was still coming out of the anesthesia. I'll probably be released tomorrow morning.

As usual, the hospital refused my request for wine with dinner and a takeout order for some anesthesia drugs. I do wish they'd loosen up a little about that.
So glad it went well. What next--a-fib now under control as a result? Blood thinners continue?

Modern medicine really is amazing.
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Old 03-23-2016, 12:43 PM   #656
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So glad it went well. What next--a-fib now under control as a result? Blood thinners continue?

Modern medicine really is amazing.
It is amazing. Blood thinners (anti-coagulants) will continue for at least several months until they are sure the procedure worked. I'm pretty sure it did, I can feel the difference in my chest. No more skipped heartbeats, which were common, just seems smoother-running. It might be psychological of course, but I'm very optimistic about this outcome. The nurses did say that there were zero events of afib overnight, and apparently that doesn't happen all the time. It can take a few months for things to heal up to see what the final effects will be.

The surgeon is an interesting guy to talk with. He very clearly loves his job and enjoys what he does, his eyes light up talking about it. Just the kind of guy I want to have working on my heart.

They tell me to take it easy, don't drive for a few days, don't lift more than 10 lbs, and skip the gym for a week, then restart at 1/3 the pace, gradually increasing weekly until back to normal.

We're staying in the hotel for an extra day since we're almost three hours from home and if there are any complications like bleeding from the entrance wounds (where they put the wires in) I don't want to be 80 miles from Nowhere if that would happen. Doc agreed that was a good idea.

And, I can put most of the hotel bill and the fuel we used on the drive on my HSA debit card. If both of us were in the room, $100 per night, and last night when I was in the hospital, $50/night for DW since she is caregiver for me. See IRS publication 502 pages 10-11. The hotel also has a "hospital patient" discount, I guess they figure patients aren't going to party and tear up the room. The hotel is across the street from the hospital and is close enough to walk to/from. This is saving money the hard way....
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Old 03-23-2016, 03:05 PM   #657
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Fantastic news Walt, so pleased to hear how well you are doing.
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Old 03-23-2016, 03:20 PM   #658
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It is amazing. Blood thinners (anti-coagulants) will continue for at least several months until they are sure the procedure worked. I'm pretty sure it did, I can feel the difference in my chest. No more skipped heartbeats, which were common, just seems smoother-running. It might be psychological of course, but I'm very optimistic about this outcome. The nurses did say that there were zero events of afib overnight, and apparently that doesn't happen all the time. It can take a few months for things to heal up to see what the final effects will be.

The surgeon is an interesting guy to talk with. He very clearly loves his job and enjoys what he does, his eyes light up talking about it. Just the kind of guy I want to have working on my heart.

They tell me to take it easy, don't drive for a few days, don't lift more than 10 lbs, and skip the gym for a week, then restart at 1/3 the pace, gradually increasing weekly until back to normal.

We're staying in the hotel for an extra day since we're almost three hours from home and if there are any complications like bleeding from the entrance wounds (where they put the wires in) I don't want to be 80 miles from Nowhere if that would happen. Doc agreed that was a good idea.

And, I can put most of the hotel bill and the fuel we used on the drive on my HSA debit card. If both of us were in the room, $100 per night, and last night when I was in the hospital, $50/night for DW since she is caregiver for me. See IRS publication 502 pages 10-11. The hotel also has a "hospital patient" discount, I guess they figure patients aren't going to party and tear up the room. The hotel is across the street from the hospital and is close enough to walk to/from. This is saving money the hard way....
It's almost like you are enjoying this little adventure. Congratulations!
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Old 03-23-2016, 06:15 PM   #659
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So glad to hear that everything is going good, Walt. Here is hoping that you will eventually get off of your blood thinners.
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Old 03-23-2016, 06:18 PM   #660
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Imoldernu, that is wonderful news regarding your grandson. You must be very proud.
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