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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Nothing in the Bank But Love #10

If you read my first post in this moving to the prairie series, you'll remember I said we were retiring with nothing in the bank but love. (well Frank retired - I work hard at writing) Anyway, a bit more on that.

Health care cost is a huge consideration when anyone thinks of quitting their job for a different lifestyle, especially if you aren't old enough to get medicare. I've been told by quite a few people that they would love to retire or do something different but can't afford to because of their health insurance. This is how we are lucky: Frank has VA and I have Indian Health Care. This works much better for Frank than for me. His care is free due to his hearing disability. And it follows him everywhere, sort of like health insurance. There are quite a few VA facilities, but he can also be seen at any medical center, if needed. If we should be traveling and he gets sick, he can see any doctor. All he has to do is notify VA within a certain amount of time, and they will take care of the cost. This is not how it works for Indian Health Care. I don't have insurance or health care coverage. If I get sick and can't get to the Indian facilities in Camp Verde or Phoenix, I'm on my own. It's something I just have to deal with. We can't afford the $465 a month I was paying for major medical. That's the policy I had when I got melanoma last year. I still owe over $5,000 in doctor bills.

How to hide a hole in a door
I now pay attention to peak use hours for electricity. Lance intends on installing solar, but in the meantime I'm a clock watcher for clothes washing, dish washer time and bathing. This is pretty easy. We have to avoid high use of electricity from noon until 7 p.m. Pretty much a piece of cake. Turn off lights when they aren't necessary and have the thermostat on a program.

When I was a teenager, buying used clothing was very cool. Wannabee hippy that I was. I remember a suede jacket I bought for a few bucks that cost my mother a pretty penny to get cleaned. LOL I'm back to used item stores now for monetary reasons. We needed different bed frames for our beds. Okay, personal information here you may not need but hey, I promised in that first post to spill. Frank and I like to spread out when we sleep. He has a full size bed and I have a queen. Our bedroom is big enough to accommodate both but not with the old decorative frames. We needed plain metal frames. I found the most wonderful used furniture store in Chino Valley, Mary's Cozy Home Furnishings. We got two metal frames, a wood-framed mirror and a teak salad bowl for $100. I was thrilled. I'm hooked on used.

It's coming together
All the boxes are unpacked. Pictures are on the walls. Nic-nacs are heaped on every available surface. This move is different. We've had to buy a couple of semi-decorative things - needed curtains on the Arcadia door and wood blinds on the living room windows. But as far as shopping for those things that are the right color or size to decorate - not going to happen. Considering we've gone from a 2 1/2 story, 3 bedroom, 3 bath with separate living room and family room to one story, one bedroom, one bath and no family room (remember the rest of the house is Lance and Christie's area), you'd think there would be no problem finding just the right picture for that space. Right? Nah. Not for me. But my new motto is make it work. I'm not acquiring anymore "stuff". What doesn't work is left for Lance and Christie to go through and if they don't want, I'll see if any other family members do.

Love our kitchen
The next task is to get this place painted. All the walls are white and dirty and driving me nuts. But that will happen in due time. I need to write now. My romantic mystery has been stalled. I have a publisher appointment in April - eekkk!!! I intended to have this book done at the end of this month in order to get the editing done before the appointment. Not sure how I'm going to make this happen.

Leave you with a few random thoughts:
Does it seem a bit weird that the animal hospital is next door to the taxidermist in Chino Valley?
We can burn our paper trash out here - this is a new experience and oh so convenient.
The Paulden post office is open 9-noon and 1-4. Closed on Saturdays.
Remember the mirrors around my tub? I look better after I get out than when I get in - red skin vs pasty white.


  1. Brenda, I love your honesty and tell-all style in these posts. You're laying on the line for us and it's fascinating. And a lesson in practicality. You have everything you need (well, don't get me going on the health insurance) even when you have to make sacrifices. And your willing attitude comes shining through the words. I'm really excited for you! And, even though it's smaller than what you had, your home is beautiful. I love that bathtub, mirrors and all! Keep 'em coming!

    1. Thanks for your comments, Liz. The house actually has more square footage than our 2 1/2 stories in Robbinsdale. But then we weren't cutting it in half to share with another couple. So I do think of it as smaller - and feel the crunch. But I'm glad to let go of so much stuff!

  2. Brenda, I think you're very brave to share this experience with the whole world, but it is fascinating. I plan to retire early in 3 1/2 years. Mike will be on Medicare and Social Security by then, but they'll still be several years off for me. The only thing that terrifies me is the health insurance situation. It's one thing I hoped the government would fix, but it seems there are too many special interests and no one with any guts. I will continue to follow your adventure with great interest.

    1. Yes, Alison, the scariest thing about not working for a company is lack of insurance. Good luck and thanks for commenting. Let's hope someone gets their act together on health care coverage.

  3. The house looks great! Maybe the items left over that no one wants you could sell to the second hand store.? Love the tub in the bathroom, but the mirrors would have to go for me. And is that a guitar rug in front of the tub? Keep posting what's happening and I'll be here to read 'em.

    1. I do think the second hand store will get a visit from us. And between us and Lance and Christie, we'll have duplicates to dispose of. I don't know what the design on the rug is - I just liked the color.

  4. My husband is self-employed, and we spend a fortune on health insurance. He turned 50 last summer, and I turn in a few months, and I live in fear of how much it'll go up! If I wasn't afraid of losing our house if someone got seriously sick or injured, I swear I'd take our chances and quit paying for it. I definitely feel your pain!

    Maybe you should wear sunglasses into the tub to take the edge off the pasty white glow! LOL

  5. Brenda - you and your husband are brave people. Best wishes in your new home. I LOVE your kitchen, too! And who wouldn't want that bathroom.

    Ah, health insurance. I'm blessed like your hubby - I worked for many years at a leading HMO in California that has provided me with health care for the rest of my life (and my spouse) what a great blessing that is!

    Enjoy the prairie, and keep the blogs coming. :)

    BTW - the love bank, which accepts daily deposits of random acts of romance, has exponential interest!

    1. Hi Lynne. Sure wish VA would give me coverage. So glad for your situation. I'll make some extra deposits in the love bank!

  6. Wow Brenda,
    You sound like a real pioneer. Oh for the days when you could burn rubbish in your back yard. No can do anymore in Australia. Too polluting. I don't know much about the American health insurance issues, but you would think that a wealthy country like the US (who pour money into helping other countries), would have some kind of universal health scheme. We have a tax payer funded Medicare scheme here in Australia, which covers you for basic hospital and doctor, but if you don't want to go on public hospital waiting lists, which are extremely long, you need private health insurance, which we have, even though we are retired. I thought ours was expensive but yours sound like it is about 4 times as expensive as ours.
    I would sell the things you no longer need, a few extra dollars in your pocket is better than nothing.



    1. Yes, Margaret, you would think we would have health care! And good idea about the selling - we have done just that. But we still have some of the small stuff like some China, crystal and collectibles. Just do not need all this "stuff" anymore. Thanks for the comments.

  7. It's looking really good, Brenda. I can't believe how much you've done in such a short time. Good for you!

  8. The house looks great, Brenda. Congratulations on adapting so well to this new life. Change is always difficult, but you make it sound like fun.

    1. Thanks, Vijaya. Still a lot to do. And more changes!

  9. Thanks, Vijaya. Still a lot to do. And more changes!