Bucket List for a Spring Chicken Part 2

 

This battered beauty makes  every mile with Mother.  I will never forgive my daughter-in-law, Carissa, for gifting Mother with it when Mother complained  her old one had worn out.  I’d been looking forward to its demise for a while.   Except for that betrayal,  Carissa is a perfect DIL.  Please note the frayed seams and the deluxe cat collar fortifying its temperamental zipper.  Though lots of folks think it’s a fanny pack, Mother wears it prominently displayed in front where no one will catch her by surprise.

While we’re on the subject of money, when Mother told my brother she couldn’t afford her ticket, he put one hundred dollars in her account.  One concerned sister gave her two hundred, enough for the trip and spending money.  Lest you think that money went on her trip, it disappeared deep into the bowels of her savings account.  Financially, that trip worked out really well for her.

The three of us caught the train in Marshall, Texas, unaware the price of the shuttle from the Shreveport Airport seven miles from home was included in the ticket.  You can be sure we caught the shuttle on the way home, sparing Bud the return drive for pickup. Mother was as excited as a kid at Christmas as we boarded Amtrak.  We found seats on the second floor of the coach.  They were spacious and comfortable, a delight after air travel.  Mother made fast friends with the conductor.  We spent a great portion of our ride in the lounge car.  I highly recommend it.

During our four-hour layover in Fort Worth, we had time for a leisurely lunch downtown When the eager waiter whisked her leftover chicken salad back to the kitchen without asking if she was done, he had to come up with a replacement for take out. Mother always gets at least two meals out of a restaurant meal, especially after she gleans the leftovers off her dining partner’s plates. Back at the waiting room in the depot, Shirley and I made a quick trip to the bathroom, leaving Mother alone for just a few minutes.  We should have known better.  On our return, Mother was deep in conversation with an elderly gentleman who’d moved to the seat next to her.  I warned him she’d already buried seven husbands and he ran like a rabbit.  I told Mother a long time ago I didn’t want any more mean brothers and sisters, but still have to remind her occasionally. I guess that poor man didn’t want a mean daughter, either. I didn’t get a chance to tell him I was kidding.

An hour or so before we got to Oklahoma City, our host called to see if we were still coming the next day.  “No, we’ll be there in an hour.” Fortunately, she picked us up anyway.

More to come……

Bucket List for a Spring Chicken

Mother will be ninety in May.  A few weeks ago, my youngest sister asked if she had a bucket list.

“Not really,” she answered.  “I’ve seen London, Dublin, New York City, and San Francisco.  I’ve been to Canada, Mexico, and lots of the United States.  I’ve worked as a teacher and in a cemetery.  I’ve seen my name and art on the cover of a book.  I’ve been married and had five children, then had lots of years on my own since your daddy died.  I’ve been lucky and gotten to do so many things I only dreamed of growing up in The Depression in Cuthand, Texas.  I guess the only thing I’ve been thinking about is taking a trip on Amtrak.”

That didn’t sound like much of a hill to climb.  I called a very dear family member we’d both been wanting to visit for a while and wangled an invitation. We invited my sister-in-law, Shirley, which ensured a great time.  After checking the dates with everybody, I got the tickets.  About a week before we were to leave, Mother called.

“Have you already bought those tickets?  It’s really not a good time for me to go before Christmas.  I’d rather not spend the money right now and I haven’t done any shopping.  Can you get your money back?   Could we schedule it sometime later?”

I didn’t remind her she’s never once, in her whole life has ever felt it’s the best time to spend some money.  I also didn’t remind her she always gives everyone cash, so there’s no gift shopping.  “You don’t have to decide today.  Think about it a day or two.  Your ticket is your Christmas gift, so that won’t cost you anything.”

That sealed it.  “Oh, in that case, I’m ready to  go.” She was as happy as a dead pig in the sunshine.

More to come …..

 

 

Quick and Easy Way to Retire Comfortably

Don’t borrow money to live on while you go to school. If you must borrow, borrow only enough for tuition and books. You don’t need cable TV, Fancy cell phone plans, money for eating out or partying. If possible get a dependable roommate. If you work steadily, you won’t need entertainment. Peanut butter, whole wheat bread, and beans are nutritious, high protein foods, and you can keep them in a metal lockbox in your room if your roommate is a moocher.

Buy your clothes at resale shops and Goodwill if you don’t have cash. You don’t need as many as you think, especially if you don’t eat out and party. Take a job, any job, until you get one that pays better. Never quit one job till you have another.  If your boss is an idiot, keep your mouth shut.  If he really is stupid, he will undo himself without your help.

Live without credit cards.  You will probably have to finance your first vehicle.  Get a sturdy used car and drive it as long as you can.  Luxury vehicles are for people with cash and those who plan to go bankrupt.

Start out with a small house.  Pay more than the principle every month.  Don’t upgrade till you have sufficient equity and cash. If you are a couple, make sure one of you can make the note if the other is out of a job or out of the picture.  It happens.

Do without whatever you can’t pay cash for.  You need less than you think. Take care of your vehicles and drive them as long as you can.  Cook at home except for special occasions.  Get a freezer and buy on sale.  Enroll in a retirement plan as soon as you get a steady job at the highest rate you can afford.  Increase your investment every time you get a raise.  Chances are, the tax withholdings will make you bring home a lot more than you thought.

Take the vacation you can afford.  Short days trips to the zoo and local attractions and camping, run far less than cruises and Disneyworld.  Kids love this stuff.

When the kids are little, if you have the opportunity, work alternate shifts so one parent is with the kids as much as possible.  You will save a fortune on daycare and have a better idea of what is going on.  Teach kids the difference in what they want and what they need.  It’s a good reminder for them and you.

Decrease your expectations.  You don’t need all that stuff.  Nobody cares, and if they do, find new friends.

Did I say it was quick and easy?  I guess I was thinking in geological terms.

Hairdo

imageBud just hates it when he hears I am going to get my hair done.  He claims, “I love your hair just the way it is.” Then he looks real quick just in case I ask him how “it is.”  We both know it’s the money hairdos cost. I asked him today what kind of hairdo he didn’t like.  He could only think of one, mentioning a woman who shaves her head.  I guess I won’t try that one.