I really don’t write much these days. I suppose that Facebook provided me with a much needed distraction from the day to day writing here and, for a while, it’s been nice.  I find myself drawn back here, though, and thought I might try yet another round of “I’m going to be better at keeping this blog up to date this year.” Previous attempts have gone the same way as my resolve to lose weight, as I remain fat, too.

We’re only 24 days into the new year and I have to say that it has not been uneventful. I spent the first six days of 2013 on vacation, a leftover extension of our annual Christmas break, which started for me on December 21.  I was off for 17 days and, during that time, there were exactly 4 days where I actually got dressed (beyond sweats and slippers) and poked my nose outside.

Christmas with Michelle, Josh and the kids was quiet.  Michelle was just getting over a case of laryngitis and seemed genuinely pleased with the Keurig we bought for her and Josh. I know how much *I* love mine and I thought that, with their busy schedules, this would really be a hit. I’m psyched that it was.

I let an employee go just after the first of the year.  It wasn’t an easy decision but, in the end, it was decided that it wasn’t a good fit and we let her go.  It was ugly. Ugly accusations were made, and yet not surprisingly.  One “issue” that she raised was that I talked about my wife.  I believe that alone speaks volumes about what the real problem was in this short-lived business relationship. If she can talk about her ex-husband or her sons, why can’t I talk about my wife? What makes her (failed) relationship(s) more acceptable for office conversation than my own?

We lost one of our chickens.  A couple of weeks prior to that, one of the chickens had laid an egg that was so large, it looked like a goose egg.  We think it’s possible that it caused prolapse (the insides coming out through the “vent”) and the other chickens may well have killed her and then eaten her remains. Chickens are omnivores and, we learned, if one has prolapse, it’s like having a huge sign on themselves that simply says “Eat me.”  I’m bummed, since I find those chickens to be cuter than cute, but it’s the circle/cycle of life. I can accept that.

Classes began two days ago. We were pretty busy on the phones that day with the usual “I can’t remember my PIN,” or “My password has expired.”  Took 68 calls that day, just between the two of us that are left.  All in all, busy but not a bad day.

I continue to count the days until retirement. It’s 945 days today.  This past weekend we met with AGL homes to get some preliminary ideas of what it’s going to cost us to put a house up on that hill at the farm.  We picked one out a few months back and, strangely, I find myself “living” in that house a lot.  I want to be in it as of the day I retire — sooner if possible.  But, there’s a lot of “infrastructure” that needs to go in before anything like that is a reality.

  1. Widen the bridge that goes across the diversion ditch.  $2500
  2. “Build” a driveway from the road, past the barn, across that ditch, and up to the top of the hill.  900 feet worth of driveway.  Then, it has to be covered with a 6″ layer of stone.  $10,800
  3. Get a perk test for and install a septic system. Cost unknown at this time.
  4. Get another well drilled. $5,500
  5. Get water to the area where the house will go in. Cost unknown.
  6. Get a concrete slab poured for the house to set on. $12,000
  7. Get electricity to the top of the hill.  900 feet at approximately $12/foot. $10,800
  8. Get house brought in and set up. $75,500

About $117,000 without the septic system.  We’ll try to get some stuff started this year, and do a little at a time so that, when 2015 rolls around, we have less to have to finance into a mortgage.  Then there’s the dilemma about what to do with the house in which we live right now.  Can we get market value for it in this economy? If yes, sell it. If no, get it rented out. Will mortgage company grant us a mortgage if we already have one (even though it’s under $50k)?  Since we’re buying a double-wide, how difficult will it be to get it financed? We’re told some banks won’t finance a “trailer.”  But, we bought the land for $2750 per acre when it was raw land. We have since brought in water and electricity which makes the value of the land multiply by at least 3 if not more, making it worth about $90,000 if my estimate is correct.  Or, could I just take out a second mortgage on the current house, based on the equity, and once we have everything in place, just do one big re-fi?

At the same time, my 11 year old vehicle is showing signs of aging. I sure as hell don’t want another car payment before we get things taken care of with the house, but at the same time I don’t want a large credit card balance for costly repairs if they occur.

Yeah, I’m stressing a little over money.

Today is Neil Diamond’s birthday. He’s 72. He has always been my all-time favorite performer. I was shocked to hear that he’s 72 but then I realized that I’m 57 and I’m no kid anymore either.

Here he is with one of my first favorites by him.