So I filed for Social Security yesterday. It’s a pretty simple process when you use the on-line application. They verify your identity by asking you to confirm certain information on your credit report via a multiple choice questionnaire (i.e., “which of the following streets did you live on at one time in your life?”, or “with which of these lenders did you have an auto loan in the past?”). I’m supposed to get a call from a Social Security Administration staff member within the next two weeks to finalize the process. Of course the down-side is that I have to go ahead and figure out my income taxes for 2014. I’m a procrastinator, which means I’m going to have to do this about six months earlier than what’s normal for me. Don’t do anything today that you can put off until tomorrow, right?
I got my 401(k) money transferred over to a self-managed IRA account, too. Once the funds clear, which will be later this week, I’ll be able to draw down some money to begin the prep work for the road. First, the car – I’ll need some new tires and replace a spare that was lost somewhere along the way. My buddy Larry suggested I get the timing belt replaced, so I looked into that and got some good news. The Azera doesn’t have one! It uses timing chains that never need replacing, so that’s going to help stretch the budget I had for car prep.
I’ll then see if there’s someone in the area that can install the rack mounting on the roof and show me how to mount the carrier rack I’ve chosen – the Kuat Vagabond X. Actually, it wasn’t like I had a lot of options – it was the only one I could find that: first, was long enough to carry the tent; and second, was “approved” for my Hyundai Azera. I’m sort of curious to see what impact it’s going to have on my gas mileage. The Rack Attack contact (say that out loud … it sounds really funny!) said it’d probably be around a 20-25% reduction. I get 25MPG on the highway … I did my budget based on 18 MPG in flatland areas and 16 MPG for mountain regions, so I should be okay, even if the hit is on the high side. I wish that I could find a cargo bag to fit it (they don’t make one) instead of just going out and getting a tarp, but even that should be okay – just a matter of doing a good “tucking” job. And rather than use bungee cords, I’m going to use rope to tie everything down along with these carabiners I found. I figure that, along with a double half-hitch knot will do the trick. (I’m using another version of these carbiners as tent-rope tighteners, too.) The stuff I’m planning on putting up on the roof will weight about 140 lbs … the rack can handle up to 160 … so again, I should be okay (knock on wood).
I had budgeted $1,200 for car maintenance and repair (I need a door adjusted so a light doesn’t keep coming on), another $800 for the spare wheel and 5 tires; and $1,000 for the roof system … I hope the money I’m saving on the timing belt won’t be eaten up on other repairs I’ve not counted on.
I priced out my supplies list and put it into two different categories: things I really need and things I want to take. Of course the “really need” is probably a bit of an overstatement. Do I really “need” a 10×14 tent? Probably not, but if I’m going to be living in it for a few years, I want to be comfortable. Okay, so maybe the first category should be named “things I really need to live comfortably”. The “want” list includes some extra fishing rods, reels and tackle; a camera that’s a little beyond the typical beginner’s one; a higher end cooler that’ll keep ice for up to a week … those type of things. The “need” list came to about $2,500. The “want” list was $1,600. Add that to the car-related stuff, and the total up-front cost comes to $7,100. Before I started, I made a $7,500 guesstimate, so I “guess” that was pretty good! :o)
I got an email from an
old … strike that … long time friend from high school up in New Jersey the other day. As an aside, I was blessed with two sets of school friends. The school I attended in New Jersey was really small and the classmates tight-knit. In 2001, I was able to rekindle a lot of friendships when I moved back to New Jersey, too. My other set of friends are from Dallas, where I graduated after moving there in 1968. Facebook has served me well in keeping all those friendships alive. (I just hate the freaking ads, and the fact that they link to spyware that knows where you’ve been so they can show you what “they” think are pertinent ads … but then they don’t know that you’ve already bought what you were searching for and then … oops. I’ll stop now!) :o)
Anyhow, Donna’s been very supportive over the past few months since moving to Charleston. She’s checked in from time to time, knowing that I’ve been living through the “blackness”. (Other friends … Jeanie, Eric and Mike are a few that come to mind … have also done the check-in thing and I am very grateful for all of them.) Anyhow, in Donna’s email, she expressed hope that I was doing better, coming out of the holiday season when I was near-suicidal. I think I am. I’ve at least been able to get out of the recliner and get my mind active relative to all the research and planning efforts. But then I started to ponder … “What do I hope to accomplish by making this radical change in lifestyle?” So I made a list of changes that I hoped would happen just by the nature of what I was going to do, and included it in my response:
- I won’t be in a messy house that I can’t bring myself to clean – I’ll have to keep my tent uncluttered because I’ll have to pick it up every few weeks to move on.
- I won’t be sitting here behind four walls, unable to get out. I’ll have to be out because I’ll have nowhere else to go. No place to hole up in.
- I won’t be on the computer as much. Won’t be watching TV, so I won’t get enraged by politics. Hopefully some of the people I meet will re-instill a fragment of faith in humanity that I’ve lost. For the most part, I’ve dealt with some very nice people in doing my planning efforts.
- I won’t be eating like I have been. Won’t be much “take out” in what I’m planning to do. I’ll be cooking either on my electric George Foreman grill or a propane stove. Won’t have a freezer, so no ice cream, frozen French fries, etc. I’ll be somewhat forced to eat better.
- I won’t have a recliner. Won’t be sitting there all day with Frank on my lap. I’ll be forced to be outside, taking walks, doing some fishing (Frank’s been reading up on some of the dog parks in areas we’ll be visiting and has his list prepared as well). Then there’s the photography, too.
- I won’t be staying up late. Won’t have TV to watch. Most of the places I’ve chosen have Wi-Fi, but they limit what you can video-stream, so I won’t be watching much in the way of movies or Hulu on the laptop, either. I’ll be going to sleep.
So I guess there is some method to my madness – if I’m not able to make certain changes based on “will”, they’ll certainly happen just because of the change in circumstance! Can’t get out of the recliner? Then remove it from your life! Eat too much? Okay, get rid of the fridge! Can’t get out of the apartment? Okay, get rid of the apartment!?! I wish I had whatever it was that’s “missing” … that “it” which would enable me to just make the change where I’m at and not have to resort to drastic measures. But I don’t, and I’m just too tired of going through another round of therapy that only seems to be a series of forward and backward steps.
But enough of that. Tomorrow, Perhaps I might share my budget for the journey. I think Ive got that pretty well set, too. Again, knock on wood! Again!