ffj's early retirement

Where are you and where are you going?
ffj
Posts: 2257
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

@Hristo

Happy you enjoy, it seems like we have some similar interests.

I'm really keen to make some more wine this year but a bit of drama has popped up. As mentioned, my in-laws have a small vineyard and they rely on family to pick the grapes each year. They sent out the all-call for this weekend which is not an issue, but now they are wanting us to wear masks as we pick grapes out in the hot sun. Half the family is like "no way" including myself and my wife. It's a hot and sweaty job anyway, we are talking thousands of pounds of grapes that need to be picked, and everybody is a volunteer.

It will be interesting to see how this shakes out and I predict the workers revolt will win the day. I think we're going to unionize and ask for better working conditions, haha. When they first started this vineyard, there were a lot of friends and family that would help pick but over the years the number of people helping has dwindled significantly. The romanticism and novelty of picking grapes quickly gets beaten down by the late summer sun.



I've taken a break from the plumbing and electrical work to build a small roof over what is going to be our main entry door. I've been monitoring the weather patterns and many times the rain and wind really hit this side of the house hard. This roof needs to be completed before the siding guys show up so it is getting my attention now.

I have called the Amish guys who are performing the installation of the siding with no response yet. Normally I would be irritated at this, but a lot of Amish people will only use a telephone one day a week during certain hours so I am hoping that is the case. I really need the siding done so as to protect the house.

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Hristo Botev
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Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:42 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Hristo Botev »

ffj wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 6:41 am
. . . Half the family is like "no way" including myself and my wife. . . . The romanticism and novelty of picking grapes quickly gets beaten down by the late summer sun.
I'll side with team "no way"; unless of course these vineyards are somehow located indoors and the vines are stacked in a manner that will require all volunteers to be within 6 feet of one another for hours on end.

Back to the Peace Corps, most all the families in my village had their own small vineyards, and life and certainly many of the festivals sort of tracked the grape harvest. I bring this up because there'd be a few weeks in the fall when I'd get swamped with free grapes from my students and friends in town, concurrently with the harvest. And then a couple weeks later, it seemed like nearly all of my students would come into class with their hands and forearms stained a very deep shade of purple, from smashing grapes to make wine. Romantic indeed, but I wasn't the one doing the picking and smashing--I just got the free grapes; and I got to test the "young" wine in friends' cellars; and I'd get my small apartment stocked with 2-liter bottles of friends' mature wine, which they'd bring me whenever I hosted dinners; and then sometimes I'd be given smaller bottles of home-produced grape brandy (moonshine). If you're going to pick something by which to track the seasons, and to organize your life and celebrations around, seems to me that grapes/wine/brandy is as good a choice as any other.

ffj
Posts: 2257
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

There are 33 long rows of grapes and a handful of pickers. We could all have our own row and never have to breathe around anybody else. Usually we have a big picnic for lunch and that will have to change somewhat but I don't understand the concern. Right now I am just sitting back and letting others hash out the details with a little bit of amusement.

I lived in the rain forest so no grapes but they would make a thing called "palm wine" which was mildly hallucinogenic. And when you drank the glass given to you, it was in all one go. Partly because it didn't taste too good, but mainly because it was meant to fuck you up. Ha!

They would cut into a palm tree and drain the water or juice coming out of it and then ferment it. And when they served it to you, it was always full of bugs that would float to the top. I imagine your wine experience was much better. :D

Gift-giving was a big deal over there too. Several times I was given a pod of bananas. That's about 100 bananas for those of you who don't know how bananas grow, haha. So I would continue the cycle by giving them away, along with things that others had no access to, like ice cubes or imitation ice cream ( I would freeze sweetened milk). Talk about making friends. I actually had a refrigerator with an icebox, which was pretty rare in my village, and the electrical connection to make it happen.

Sometimes that tradition got me in trouble as people loved to give you alcohol. Probably the drunkest I have ever been was when I was introduced to my village and the village chiefs brought out their special stash. I didn't want to insult them or be rude by turning down the 8 ounces of whisky they would keep serving me, haha, because I didn't know it was considered rude not to immediately refill a guests glass upon emptying. You can imagine how this cycle got out of hand. :) I was young enough to handle it back then , not so much now.

Hristo Botev
Posts: 790
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:42 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Hristo Botev »

ffj wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 7:43 am
I imagine your wine experience was much better.
They didn't call it the "Posh" Corps for nothing!
ffj wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 7:43 am
I didn't want to insult them or be rude by turning down the 8 ounces of whisky they would keep serving me, haha, because I didn't know it was considered rude not to immediately refill a guests glass upon emptying.
Man, I could swap Peace Corps stories all day; it was such a great experience, which I got to share with so many like-minded (in the sense that they were open to new experiences/adventures) folks. In my country it was also rude for a host to have a guest with an empty wine or brandy glass, which meant one of the first lessons you typically learned (and most people learn it the hard way) is to NEVER empty a glass unless (a) you actually want more, or (b) everyone is getting up from the table. It's a bit weird as an American, where a host does his job by asking a guest "can I get you some more X?" when he sees an empty glass, and it's not at all awkward for the guest to simply say "no thanks, I'm good." But in my country/village a host would get visibly anxious when a guest would refuse a refill (generally done by placing your hand over the glass as the host tries to refill it, over and over again).

The goods news, I guess, is that in that country you were only considered an alcoholic if you drank without eating; it wasn't really a taking shots or drinking a cold beer on your front steps (without food) kinda culture. There was ALWAYS food on the table (even if no one was eating it). What that meant, of course, was that dinners there would last hours upon hours, no kidding; it was totally normal to go to a person's house as a guest and sit around the table "eating" (multiple small courses of salads, usually) for 5-6 hours or more.

Hristo Botev
Posts: 790
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:42 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Hristo Botev »

One last thought/question for you today, ffj: did you see or can you explain any crossover/parallel as between Peace Corps service and firefighting? Apart from your own experience, I had 2 guys in my PC training class who'd been firefighters before the PC--both with the USFS, as I recall. Wondering if that's just a random coincidence. I get the crossover as between the PC and the diplomatic corps, as well as USAID and other federal government entities; but the firefighting crossover is interesting.

ffj
Posts: 2257
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

Day two of the porch roof construction.

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Should be able to finish it easily tomorrow and then I need to get back to plumbing and electrical. I'll have to take a picture from a distance tomorrow for scale and how it breaks up a blank plane nicely.




@Hristo

Sounds like a similar pace to which I grew accustomed. Nothing happened quickly and nothing got done, haha. Why get all out of sorts today when there is tomorrow? was the attitude. It had its perks but it also had its downfalls but I adjusted fairly easily to the lifestyle. For the first time in my life I experienced communal living, where there was no privacy whatsoever or doing anything by yourself. I also experienced being a minority and it also made me quite lonely at times, something I had never experienced before, even though I was constantly surrounded by people. I had other volunteers somewhat nearby which helped a lot just to speak english if nothing else, although one of the girls was from Puerto Rico who barely spoke English herself. :)

There was no crossover. I got involved in firefighting because a co-worker of mine at the time was a firefighter that would leave the job to go fight fires when called. That peaked my interest because at the time I hated my job, and any excuse to leave at will sounded awesome. So we started talking about what he did and he got me started with a neighboring department. I'm still in the fire service to this day and the guy that helped me land that first position sadly died of cancer about ten years ago. At the funeral it really hit home how much he changed the course of my life.

My job was to run a woodshop in which we built school desks and other furniture for the schools that other volunteers helped build. I basically had to build and supervise others in a renovation of an old building before we could build anything, but once we got started it worked out well. That was the reason I had electricity at my home, to run the machinery, and I even had a truck to deliver the furniture! Pretty rare in those days but the downside was I became the ambulance unfortunately so maybe there was a crossover. ;)

ffj
Posts: 2257
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

And done.

Beautiful day today with cool weather and fair skies. Now on to plumbing and electrical.

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guitarplayer
Posts: 127
Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2020 6:43 pm

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by guitarplayer »

This is such a great journal, thanks. Please never delete it as it takes a while to read it all!

ffj
Posts: 2257
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

Thanks guitar, I'm glad you've enjoyed it.


There have been some key players here recently that have left us, and it got me thinking over the years how many people have come and gone, and why I am still here for that matter. We are such an odd bunch to be honest, something to celebrate but also something to contemplate as to why longevity here doesn't appear to be the norm. Or maybe that is normal, I don't know.

I wouldn't delete this journal unless I had good reason, namely because I enjoy it too. It keeps me motivated for future progress and it grounds me in what has already transpired. It's a handy way of tracking progress and remembering important dates and details.

Regarding deletion, I believe it is my material and if warranted, I should have the right to snuff it all out. When others do that very thing, I tend to believe it is because of external threats such as loss of privacy or doxxing, which are my primary concerns. If someone wants to ghost themselves then that is their right, and I wouldn't be surprised if more people in the future do the same. It's a risk putting thoughts and opinions out there for the world to see.

ffj
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Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

For the past two months I haven't had a ridge cap on the roof because all of my anchors had to remain for me to get back up there. And the reason I still needed to get back up there was because my vertical plumbing vent ( which by code has to be open to the atmosphere) hadn't been cut through yet. And the reason I hadn't drilled a hole through my roof was because I wanted to be dead certain that my amateur plumbing attempt was correct before I made a hole in a perfectly good roof. Whew, that reminds me of wanting to paint a room but you have to do a thousand things before the first drop of paint hits the walls.

So, I hired a plumber for an hour to inspect my work before I glued everything together and cut a hole through my roof. About 99% of everything I had done was correct and he showed me what I had done wrong in a couple of spots, all minor fixes thankfully. It was $90 well spent.

When he showed up he smelled like weed which was irritating, and I almost told him to go home, but I gave him a chance and he did well. But shit like that is so unprofessional.

So, after a hard day of work, I now have the plumbing vent in place, correctly booted and waterproofed and my ridge cap is in place! What a difference that makes. The yellow rope was tied to my truck and was my way down for the last time hopefully for a very, very long time. I tied a Munter hitch on to a carabiner and lowered myself down right after this picture was taken.

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My next move, while the weather is nice, is to mortar the decorative stone onto the foundation. Before I do that I had to attach the transition piece, which is called a water table, to the wall. Now I have hired an Amish crew to install the siding, and this was part of their job, but they are *delayed in getting to me and I need to get moving on this stone before cold weather makes its presence known. The stone will butt up to the underside of this piece.

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I still have to order the stone which should happen tomorrow, and in the meantime I'l plug away on the plumbing.


Progress so far. It's starting to hint at it's potential.

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* The Amish crew was supposed to have started a week ago but due to a work backlog and a serious vehicle accident ( a drunk driver hit them while being driven by a hired driver, seriously injuring the driver, and trashing their trailer and a bunch of their tools and equipment) they won't be able to start for a few more weeks.

ffj
Posts: 2257
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

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No, this isn't the same picture I keep uploading. Have I mentioned how much I hate my neighbors? ;) I am so ready to move and the good news is that it is a sellers market in my area, with homeowners getting their asking price quickly.

The bad news is that my new house isn't finished, so by the time it is complete the dynamics could easily reverse. Who knows though? One of the reasons houses are selling well is because currently the price of lumber is crazy expensive, so it is cheaper to buy an existing house rather than build. A basic 2 x 4 costs over $6 at the moment, which is insane. Fortunately I was able to buy my lumber before everything went bonkers, and if I keep moving quickly enough I'll hopefully avoid other materials becoming too expensive, as there is always a lag time before other industries catch up.


The siding guys still haven't shown up, so I've concentrated my efforts on other areas namely carpentry on the inside and plumbing. I've been sealing up all of the potential air gaps, framing in doors, and I completed my attic space floor. I didn't have to do this but it seemed a waste not to as I had leftover plywood and there is a lot of room up there.

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We've chosen our style of rock facade and put in an order as I would like to install it before the weather gets too cold.

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Only to be told that it is discontinued! Argh! So currently we are searching for a suitable replacement. There is always a snag in your plans.



I finally got my excavation guy back out at my place and we are putting in the waste line for the septic tank and the conduit for the electrical line. I've been helping him just to move the process along as he is so slow. I've mentioned him before as his main characteristic is that he just doesn't care about hustling and getting the job done. I helped him all morning yesterday so we could get my water line dug before the rain from the hurricane settled in and I was rewarded with him leaving at lunch time to do another job. And now it's raining for the next two days. :x He'll be back but I'm ready to finish all of the digging, especially before it's all turned to mud.

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ertyu
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ertyu »

ffj wrote:
Sat Oct 10, 2020 8:25 am

The bad news is that my new house isn't finished, so by the time it is complete the dynamics could easily reverse.
might make renting for 6-12 mo an option.

ffj
Posts: 2257
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

@ertyu

We thought about it but we just don't want the hassle. Moving is going to be a lot of work and without proper places to move belongings to then it becomes quite the disincentive to move early.

So we'll take or chances. I'm a little cavalier about it because all I want is to cover the new construction costs and I'll be happy. We should be able to achieve that and not stress about building a new house while showing and selling our old. Hopefully it works out.

ertyu
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Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2016 2:31 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ertyu »

fingers crossed. all i care about is the cats have a stable home man :lol:. Good luck, hope everything lines up and turns out alright.

mooretrees
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by mooretrees »

So much progress!

Are you going to do the interior framing? Or hire more Amish?

ffj
Posts: 2257
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

@ertyu

The cats are good. However they went hungry the other day because raccoons got in their food and ate every bit of it. It was a lot of food too! There must of been an army of coons to feast that night, haha. So they had to wait until the next day so I could run to the store and buy them some more food. I've won over two of the cats and they have become very affectionate, so progress.





@mooretrees

The interior framing is mostly done and I am just modifying the existing structure. I've needed to build several doorways that weren't part of the original plan, a pipe chase, the attic floor, attic access opening, crawl space access opening, and I've added blocking and nailers. Just lots of details that the builder wasn't privy to because I didn't tell him. I gave him very basic plans and some of this stuff like the roof over the door wasn't even thought of while he was still building.

I like carpentry because I know what I am doing and the work goes relatively fast, unlike plumbing and electrical where I have to confirm my decisions are literally up to code every step of the way. That really slows you down.

Hristo Botev
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Hristo Botev »

ffj: I use your poor excuse for neighbors as an example every time DW and I take a trip up to the mountains and I have to try and convince her why it might not be a good idea for us to sell everything we own in the city and move out to the country. It's also pretty easy to point out the hundreds of chicken battery farms we pass along the way and remind her there's a pretty good chance one of those stinky things would be our neighbors eventually. DW hates chicken.

ffj
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

The concept of a HOA or deed restrictions before all of this occurred was ridiculous to me. I have never liked that a third party can dictate what you can and cannot do on land that you paid for with your own money. But I also assumed people would be responsible and respectful like me.

Not any more however after I have been burned with a neighbor that has zero respect for anyone close by. While I am not ready to become the borg, some simple rules can be wonderful if they are enforceable.

My new land has deed restrictions that prevent situations I am in now. And I agree with every one of them, short of not being able to keep pigs, haha. My main problem now is that there are literally no rules where I currently live and there is very little I can do about it. Something everybody should research before they buy countryside land.

ffj
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Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

The last of the digging is complete, thank goodness.

I now have water to the house and we also ran electrical conduit to the shop for a future sub-panel. My excavator guy is supposed to come back and smooth everything out to a finish grade but we'll see how long that takes. There is nothing quick in regards to this guy but he does a good job.

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As my siding guys I hired have failed to show up, I have decided to start work on the exterior without them. If they show up, then we can talk discount on the original price. If they don't show up, then the siding gets done regardless. The only drawback is the work on the inside that I am not performing while I do the siding. It's a bit frustrating as I do want to move, haha, sometime relatively soon.

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The house wrap nailed to the back of the house is my homemade gutter. Looks like shit but it works. :)


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ertyu
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ertyu »

Mustachio's domain is shaping up very well :lol:

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