Halfmoon's journal

Where are you and where are you going?
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halfmoon
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Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon » Mon Nov 14, 2016 12:59 pm

Time to quit agonizing over how to do it and start a journal. I already went on at length in an introduction post viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8316, and reading that first might shed some light. For the tl;dr folks, I'll summarize here:

Female, late fifties, self-employed (work from home) accountant, married 36 years, living in Western Washington. Retired to the mountains for 10 years, then started working again.

And therein lies a tale.

First, though, I'm going to try making a table of contents so I can skip around between telling my story, financial updates and stream-of-consciousness rambling advocated by Dragline. DutchGirl said I can create the table of contents, though she probably meant "someone familiar with website posting can do it". I guess I'll just lay it out here, then come back in edits and refer to posting dates or pages -- or maybe URL links?

The table of contents can serve to help me look organized without posting any graphs. I'm graph-challenged. My brain doesn't seem to get the messages they're so clearly conveying, which is a handicap for an accountant.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

1. Life up to 21. Nothing in this box. Move along.

2. The homestead/accumulation years (Western Washington, 12 years)

3. The retirement years (Eastern Washington, 10 years)

4. Going back to work and almost losing my mind. Literally. (Western Washington, 10 years)

5. Cutting back to part-time work and regaining my sanity. Sort of. (Western Washington, 4 years)

6. The Great Unknown. Or not so great. The jury's still out.

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Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Mon Nov 14, 2016 1:05 pm

I'm looking forward to hearing about your experiences. Welcome!

halfmoon
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon » Mon Nov 14, 2016 1:13 pm

Thank you, Gilberto de Piento!

As far as financial posts go, I'm trying to figure out why I shouldn't fully share. I'm a security-minded person, but I can't come up with a potential risk (didn't plan to list financial institutions or account numbers). Any friend or family member who might read my posts (not likely but not impossible) would know who I am, but I don't think it matters. Have to think about this some more.

I keep all of our finances, including those for my business, in one QuickBooks Pro file and have for some years. Because I'm a sole proprietor, this isn't a problem as long as I have documentation. I assign a class to each in/out transaction: Personal, Rental, Business, or Tax-Deferred. That way, I can easily produce a Profit & Loss statement the shows each class as a column for analysis, or I can produce one that shows each month as a column for cash flow. I can also print a Balance Sheet comparing any period with a previous one, an Income by Client summary, etc., etc. Treating our entire financial life as a business works for me...and warms my little accountant heart. It helps that I've used the software professionally for years.

halfmoon
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon » Wed Nov 16, 2016 9:38 am

THE HOMESTEAD/ACCUMULATION YEARS

I met DH at 21 when we both worked in a busy and expensive 24-hour restaurant in Seattle. At the time, I had $1000 in a savings account, a short-lived marriage under my belt, and a love of walking/biking around the city, going to jazz clubs and eating in new restaurants. DH was exactly twice my age. I spent about a month courting him :lol: until he finally asked me out. (DH likes to claim that I asked him out, but it's his word against mine.)

DH turned up for the date in a suit and tie, and we ate dinner at a nice Seattle restaurant. He asked me what I wanted to accomplish in my life, whether I planned to work as a restaurant hostess forever (he was a waiter). After we returned to the car, DH took off his tie and said, "Thank God that's over! Now I want to show you something." Then he drove almost an hour out to the boonies. Way out in the woods. At night. On a first date. :shock:

At the end of a long gravel driveway, we got out of the car into complete darkness. No city light in the sky, no houses. DH took out a flashlight and shone it on a couple of Holstein calves: "These are my cows." Then an old, abandoned one-story building: "This is my house. It needs some work." I don't remember what I said; I was probably in shock. DH took me home, shook my hand, and left.

The following day, DH picked me up again, drove back out to the boonies, and taught me how to shoot a pistol (I had previously expressed interest in this, though it was pretty much just an eye-batting ploy). Then we went back up that long driveway and walked to a plateau on his property overlooking the "house". DH said he wanted to move out there from his place in the city and fix it up. He kissed me and asked if I would move there with him. I cried a little and said yes.

That was 36 years ago.

To be continued.

saving-10-years
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by saving-10-years » Wed Nov 16, 2016 9:52 am

Wonderful, please do continue. Broken wrist makes writing slow, but reading essential. love your story. Welcome.

halfmoon
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon » Wed Nov 16, 2016 10:46 pm

Thank you, saving-10-years!

A broken wrist sounds pretty miserable; one of those things designed to make you appreciate a body function that you always took for granted. Can you use some sort of speech-recognition software to write? I know absolutely nothing about this, but my DH's Windows 10 laptop keeps offering to do it.

saving-10-years
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by saving-10-years » Thu Nov 17, 2016 3:52 am

not using windows 10 but good idea for future. Currently trying to get practice in at not being so reliant on right hand. and being more succinct. ERE type solutions? I may report on one armed spinning in my journal. Perhaps using voice recog. But loads of interesting reading here. Always.

Farm_or
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by Farm_or » Thu Nov 17, 2016 8:22 am

Great story. Please continue.

halfmoon
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon » Thu Nov 17, 2016 11:09 am

Thanks, Farm_or_! Comments are crack.
saving-10-years wrote:Currently trying to get practice in at not being so reliant on right hand. and being more succinct. ERE type solutions? I may report on one armed spinning in my journal.
I tried googling "one-armed spinning" and got a bunch of sites about pole dancing. I assumed you meant spinning fiber, but pole dancing might have some ERE benefits. :D

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C40
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by C40 » Thu Nov 17, 2016 12:20 pm

You've got me hooked on your story and I'm just waiting around to read more! Wow! 2 dates and a "move in with me" !? Was that a serious exchange or sort of a light joking to test the waters?

halfmoon
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon » Thu Nov 17, 2016 12:59 pm

@C40,

I'm so glad you're hooked! The "move in with me" offer was dead serious. DH is an all-or-nothing kind of guy, and I'm a hopeless romantic.

halfmoon
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon » Thu Nov 17, 2016 1:21 pm

@C40,

Maybe you can help me since you post so many photos (or anyone else, please). I'm trying to figure out how to add a couple of photos to the next part of my story. It looks like I have to use a URL? Does this mean that I have put the photos somewhere online first? If so, can you recommend the easiest site to use that won't require signing away my identity or suffering spam? Thank you!

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C40
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by C40 » Thu Nov 17, 2016 2:37 pm

halfmoon wrote:@C40,

Maybe you can help me since you post so many photos (or anyone else, please). I'm trying to figure out how to add a couple of photos to the next part of my story. It looks like I have to use a URL? Does this mean that I have put the photos somewhere online first? If so, can you recommend the easiest site to use that won't require signing away my identity or suffering spam? Thank you!
I made a post with a video a few years ago of how to post pictures using Flickr,.. but.. it's outdated now, so don't bother finding or trying it.

The easiest site to use right now, ATMO (According to my opinion), is http://www.imgur.com. I'll try to remember to come back and post a little summary of how to use it.

saving-10-years
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by saving-10-years » Thu Nov 17, 2016 3:08 pm

Its fibre spinning! One type (long draw) really makes little use of one hand. The problem is that your dominant hand wants to rush forward and do things. When its in a clumsy cast and has no strength its not helping. Pole dancing would require a lot more strength I feel. And a different body in all.

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Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Thu Nov 17, 2016 3:30 pm

I use imgur for ERE. First make an account.
Next find the image file on the computer that you want to share. Drag that file to imgur and drop it. This will upload the image.
Now click that image. You should now see the image as well as a list of links on the right side of your screen.
Click the link for BBCode. Copy it.
Paste the link into your ERE post and the picture should be embedded.

halfmoon
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon » Thu Nov 17, 2016 4:05 pm

C40 & Gilberto de Piento,

I appreciate the coaching. I followed the link and created an Imgur account. Now I'm going to try putting photos into my upcoming post.
saving-10-years wrote: Pole dancing would require a lot more strength I feel. And a different body in all.
Oh, I'm with you there. ;)

halfmoon
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon » Thu Nov 17, 2016 5:09 pm

THE HOMESTEAD/ACCUMULATION YEARS page 2

April 1980. I had been living in a Seattle apartment, but just before my date with future DH, I found the perfect place to move to: the top-floor *turret* (really!) of a grand old house all to myself. One huge windowed room with a sink/toilet and a clawfoot tub. It was cheap because the house owner didn’t really want me to use her gourmet kitchen, which would have been no problem because I never cooked. It was all about cold food or restaurants for me. I paid rent on the place for 3 months, but I only spent one night there due to moving in with DH. When I gave notice, the owner said she was sad to see me go because I was the quietest renter she'd ever had. ;)

DH had a small, older house in north Seattle. He also had 3 large, hostile dogs and a 15-year-old son he had brought up by himself. At the time, I had little experience with dogs and none with teenagers aside from my own checkered youth. I still find it amazing that DH and I ever got together, because we were polar opposites in many ways.

We spent the summer laboring on the house and land during the day and working in the restaurant at night. At the end of August, we sold the Seattle house and moved onto the property so DS could start school in the area. I originally told DH that I had two pre-existing requirements for living there: Hot running water and no dogs in the house. When we moved, we had NO running water. The dogs came in after about a week and never left.



The approximate look of the turreted house I could have been living in:

Image




The house I moved into (before some improvements):

Image


This is your brain in love.

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C40
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by C40 » Thu Nov 17, 2016 6:08 pm

Holy smokes!! That guy must have been really charming

halfmoon
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon » Thu Nov 17, 2016 7:00 pm

C40 wrote:Holy smokes!! That guy must have been really charming
He was (and is) smart, funny, inventive, resourceful, rebellious, driven, capable, loyal and romantic.

Charming...not so much. He told me once in all sincerity: "You look very good for your age group." :lol:

On the other hand, when I asked him if he would still love me when all my hair has fallen out, he said: "I will never love you less, and I couldn't love you more." Who needs charm when you have that?

George the original one
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by George the original one » Thu Nov 17, 2016 7:22 pm

halfmoon wrote:The dogs came in after about a week and never left.
LOL... Wife agreed once upon a time to let an afghan hound into our life. We had talked through all the boundaries and rules we'd enforce, mainly that it shouldn't be allowed on the furniture. Dear dog was delivered by former owner. He walked into the front door and immediately plopped into a plush leather armchair. Ever after, that was "his" chair, LOL! Good thing we could be flexible.

He also wasn't supposed to climb into the bed. That was more my wife's idea, but somehow when she was feeling unwell about a month later, he hopped up into the bed and she felt so comforted that she didn't shove him out. THAT was big, because she's not a dog person!

halfmoon
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon » Thu Nov 17, 2016 8:32 pm

George the original one,

One of DH's dogs was a female weimaraner. She had staked out DH's favorite chair as hers, and the war never ended. If DH had possession, she would start barking at the door as though someone were trespassing. When DH got up to look, she would run around behind him and occupy the chair. I may not have been accustomed to dogs, but I drank the koolaid and spoiled the **** out of them.

halfmoon
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon » Fri Nov 18, 2016 6:44 pm

THE HOMESTEAD/ACCUMULATION YEARS page 3

Backing up a little: this property was an abandoned farm, and the farm had a well. As often happens with unoccupied properties, it had become a bit of a party place. The well was repurposed as a depository for beer bottles, because any yahoo knows that a hole in the ground needs beer bottles. First order on moving in was to restore a clean water supply.

DH constructed a tripod over the well by lashing three poles together. From that he suspended a pulley attached to a rope. At the of the rope was a 5-gallon bucket on a hook. He showed me how to shorten or lengthen the rope, then he put on a wetsuit, held onto the hook and descended into the well holding a short-handled shovel. Awfully trusting, that man.

Once at the well bottom, DH stood with water cascading in over his head and filled the bucket: first with beer bottles and other trash, and then eventually with rocks and mud. Each time the bucket was full, I would pull it back up (over his head; this was a narrow opening) and dump it, then let it back down. I thought this was an insane idea* and was terrified that the straining bucket handle would break, dropping a dead weight on DH and killing him before I could do it myself.

Finally, DH hit bedrock and called up to me, “Pull it up. This is the last one.” Hugely relieved, I pulled up the last load of rocks and mud and gripped the bucket handle – which BROKE. I barely managed to grab the side of the bucket and pull it over the edge before it plummeted down on DH’s head.

*One of many, but it was early days.

halfmoon
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon » Sat Nov 19, 2016 10:01 pm

THE HOMESTEAD/ACCUMULATION YEARS page 4

Next order of business: heat and light.

Heat was relatively easy with a wood stove and 20 acres of trees. It’s only sweat.

The electric lines running through wetland and forest to reach the house hadn’t been active for decades. When DH first bought the place and called the power company to have the lines hooked up again, they refused. Current policy was to run lines only along roads, and their estimate to come up the 1/5 mile of driveway was $6,000-10,000. That was a lot of money at the time, and DH respectfully declined (in a manner of speaking).

Our first step in living without power was kerosene wick lamps.

Image

These put out an anemic glow, which is atmospheric and okay for finding the toilet but horrible for reading, sewing, or most other functions apparently performed at night by our forebears. It’s a lot more relaxing than a blue screen, so there’s that.

We then stepped up to Aladdin kerosene lamps.

Image

Woo-hoo! Blazing light in comparison. It’s all relative. ;) We used these lamps for years and learned to deal with kerosene spills, flare-ups (very exciting result of trying to increase brightness) and a lingering fuel odor in the house.

At the same time, we were experimenting with actual electrons. DH installed a second (deep cycle) battery and isolator in the car we used to commute to and from work. When we arrived home in the morning from working graveyard shift, we’d take the battery out and hook it up in the house. DS was allowed to use this to watch an hour or so of TV on a small, black and white 12-volt set. We had a generator on the porch to run the well pump and recharge a pressure tank. DS also used the generator to power a blow dryer, this being the 80’s after all.

NOTE: Just in case any of you think that relocating a teenager from city life and amenities into your personal fantasy of Living Off the Land is a great idea…no. Come back when the kids are grown.

halfmoon
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon » Tue Nov 22, 2016 9:52 pm

THE HOMESTEAD/ACCUMULATION YEARS page 5

Other challenges in bypassing the electric grid included cooking and hot water for bathing. We started with a 2-burner propane stove, but life really looked up after we bought a wood cookstove. This sweetheart had been owned by an old lady (really) who used it only with kerosene. DH converted it to burn wood, and suddenly we could heat, cook and bake in style. Sheer heaven. I have wonderful memories of sitting in the warm kitchen eating bacon and eggs with thick German bread and drinking strong coffee from a blue enamel pot on the stove.

The stove looked something like this. We still have it, but my digital photos are a mess and I can't find the right one.

Image

For a while, we just heated water in pots on the stove and took bird baths. After 6 months or so, I was dreaming of a hot shower. We hadn’t cracked that code yet, but one day at the feed store we noticed big, oval-shaped galvanized steel stock tanks for about $50. They looked an awful lot like bathtubs. :idea:

Image

We bought one, brought it home, and set it up in the kitchen.* Then we filled the tub with pots of water heated on the cookstove, covering the tub with towels to hold the heat in. It took hours for each bath, but it worked. We siphoned out the water with a hose running outside and down a slope, then carried the tub back outside until the next bath day.

That was an improvement, but hot running water was still a shining goal. The wood cookstove came with a hot water jacket: pipes running inside the firebox and out the back of the stove. We hauled a used water heater into the attic, then DH ran pipes from the wood stove water jacket connections up to the attic tank and back down. He spliced into the house plumbing for incoming cold water and outgoing hot. Convection did the rest, heating our water practically to boiling. Actual Hot Water coming out of the faucets like magic! It’s hard to describe how great that felt.

* Actually, we first tried putting the tank outside and making a fire under it. The water got nice and hot, but so did the floor of the tank. :o Probably should have been obvious, but sometimes you have to burn your butt in the investigative process.

McTrex
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Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by McTrex » Wed Nov 23, 2016 10:19 am

Keep it coming! This is going to be one of my favorite journals :)

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