Friday, May 29, 2020

Go back to sleep, honey, it was just a bad dream.

No, honey, nobody's going to get eaten alive. The two little pigs move in with their sister who was the smart one, remember? And she takes care of them (but only until they can get themselves back on their own two feet ... or is four?). You are perfectly safe. Daddy and I have been very careful about protecting our house. You know that, right? Our investment decisions are well researched and very sound. Better than money in the bank (which isn't really saying much these days anymore, is it?). Nobody is coming after us. Not the big, bad wolf (and certainly not SEC regulators ... right, honey, you took care of that?). Okay? Not anyone.

You just get some sleep because you are going to grow up to be successful and smart ... well, you're already smart, aren't you ... just like the big sister piggie. And, no, you will not have hairs on your chin.

That's just in fairy tails.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Not So Cute Anymore

"Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin" is not so funny when you get older. First of all, there are hairs on my chinny chin chin. Second of all, I can't see them anymore. I can only feel them.

And "huff and puff"? That's what happens when we go up stairs.

Forget about blowing my house down, will you? My home represents a significant part of my nest egg. You'd be dooming me to living on the streets. Worse yet, living with my kids.

Then, there's sibling rivalry over who has the better house, who's smarter. Sure, my house may be made of sticks but I'm comfortable, thank you. Think you can't knock over that brick house? House of cards, is what that is. A wolf might not be able to blow it over but an upset in the securities market will collapse that house in a heartbeat. Think you're so smart.... Hmf.

And, really, let's talk about words: pigs, little, and wolf. Are we body shaming or stereotyping? Words have meaning. Let's not belittle and shame the victims of this tyrant and while we're at it, who is this tyrant? Something that can hurt us or something that we're afraid of because they look different from us? Have we really gotten to know this "wolf?" Have we tried to understand the wolf's point of view?

Pull the covers up tight and sleep well, little ones. The story doesn't end well for anyone: everybody gets eaten alive. Get over it. Life isn't fair. Soon, you'll have hairs on your chinny chin chin as well.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Excessive Heat Warning


* WHAT...Dangerously hot conditions with hottest temperatures to
  around 110 expected.

* WHERE...San Diego County Deserts, Coachella Valley and San
  Gorgonio Pass Near Banning.

* WHEN...From noon today to 7 PM PDT Friday.


Saturday, May 23, 2020

Hell NO (or Yes, Hell)

We used to call them locusts but they're really cicadas. They gross me out. They're insects that lay eggs in the bark of twigs and branches. When they hatch, they burrow underground and don't emerge until they've matured seventeen years later. After that, they only live four to six weeks during which time they mate. And, terrorize little girls.

The first thing they do is climb a tree and shed their exoskeleton. Leaving a shell of their former selves behind, the males begin their mating song which can be quite loud because there can be, quite literally, millions of them.

After 17 Years of Quiet, an Army of Cicadas Are about to Emerge in Parts of The US | Science Alert

" Periodical cicadas are considered some of the loudest insects on Earth, and scientists say their alien-like wail can reach over 90 decibels, which is as loud as a lawnmower. "

They're not kidding about "an Army" either. In some parts of Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina they are expecting as many as 1.5 million cicadas per acre.

I remember when they came to northern Illinois in 1973. I was ten. I was so grossed out, I didn't want to go outside. It was like a zombie apocalypse except it was a swarm of bugs. They aren't little either. They are 1-2 inches long, black with large eyes, and they fly. And, they're literally everywhere.

Cicadas in Illinois | University of Illinois Extension

" In 1990, there were reports from people in Chicago having to use snow shovels to clear their sidewalks of the dead cicadas. "


I vowed in 1973 that I would not be living in Illinois in 1990, seventeen years later, and I wasn't. By then I was in Seattle - about as far away as I could get - and I haven't seen a cicada since.

I hope I never do.

(My skin crawls just thinking about it.)

Just a heads up if you are living in northern Illinois. The cicadas will be back in 2024. Known as the Northern Illinois Brood, they have a reputation for the largest emergence of cicadas known anywhere.

I'll be somewhere else.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

It's Five O'Clock Somewhere (or Tick Tock Not Part Two)

My watch is still dead due to the lack of an available jeweler to replace its dead battery. But my phone works (yay!). The microwave tells me the time but the oven does not. It's in a different time zone no matter how often I try to re-set it. The thermostat tells time but will only follow three of the four instructions I've got programmed into it. It confuses 6 pm with 9 pm. Gremlins.

We also have a battery-powered clock on our living room wall. It is large and easy to read, visible from all parts of the main living space. It annoyingly calls out each and every second with loud ticks. Maybe not so much tocks. Just incessant tick tick ticks. It's incessant and loud. Want to watch TV? Better turn up the volume.
It's Five O'Clock right here!

Want to take a nap? Tick. Tick. Tick.

Trying to read? Tick, Tick, Tick.

Have a headache? TICK. TICK. TICK.

Just trying to freaking think? TICK! TICK! TICK!

It didn't even tell the correct time! The time had run out on my patience and I ripped its freaking guts out. Yards away, life saving batteries sit on my counter but this clock shall not be saved.

Yet, I've given it new life. A new purpose. I set the hands at twelve and five. Here, in Southern California, I like to call it Calipermication. You can just call it Five O'Clock.

And enjoy the blissful silence.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

A Whole Lot of Nothing Going On (or Tick Tock Not)

The battery in my watch died and no jewelers are open to replace it so I'm clueless as to what time it is. It's really not a bad way to go when you live in paradise and there's not much to do. What's the hurry anyway? Besides, it's probably five o'clock, right?

Actually, work keeps me in a routine. I know there are a lot of folks out there who don't have a job right now. I am very fortunate and very grateful to have one even if it means doing tax returns for months on end. This time of year, I'm usually just coming home from a post-tax-season trip to some beach but this year, the possibility exists that there will be no post-tax season.

On May 10, the CPA Practice Advisor reported the tax deadline could move from it's new date in July to September 15 or later. On the one hand, many clients are used to filing in the fall. These are the ones who routinely extend their returns six months from their usual due dates. But, they are not used to delaying paying their taxes. Usually, when you extend filing your tax return, any amounts due are payable on the original due date with any estimated tax payments due quarterly throughout the year.

Now, taxpayers who owe money could end up paying for all of 2019 and all of 2020 at the same time making for a whopping bill. Unless they plan for it, this could be quite a costly reality.

I, personally, hope the tax date gets moved. I postponed my post-tax-season retreat to July this year which is will become difficult if not impossible if I'm working 24/7 trying to meet the deadline. (I know, I know, I have all summer to get them done but we all know it won't work that way, don't we? Taxpayers who procrastinate filing their returns in the spring will be the same ones who will procrastinate in the summer.)

My current struggle (of the First World privileged sort) is that I killed my iPhone. I dropped it in March severely cracking the glass. I'd had it for three years so I figured I was due for a new phone anyway but all the stores were shuttered and the phone still worked so I figured I would just wait.

The longer I waited, the less important it seemed to have a new one. Sure, it was ugly and there were some other minor glitches surfacing in some of its features but it was good enough. Plus, new phones are expensive and almost always a pain in the rear to replace and set up.

Until, I dropped it again. This time, parts of the glass fell clean off and the top half of the touch screen no longer functioned. That meant I could take a call (swiping the bottom of the screen) but I couldn't shut off the phone (which requires swiping the top of the screen). It also meant I was locked out of my phone because the home button, while at the bottom, was also nonfunctional and part of my passcode uses the top part of the screen. Now, I had to suck it up and get a new phone.

Hassles involving the service provider were ultimately solved and a new phone was delivered within 24 hours of my order. The very first instruction for setting up the new phone was to power off the old phone but since I couldn't do that, all I could do was wait for the battery to die.

Did you know that if you can't use your phone it takes days for the battery to die? Days.

I wasn't willing to wait that long so I logged onto my account and wiped the old phone's memory. Same thing as turning off, I figured, except it's not, apparently. That did allow me to transfer all the data to the new phone but not the phone number itself. So here I wait. For the old phone die. And not able to make a call. From either device.

Tick tock goes the clock. Except mine. The battery died.

It's got to be five o'clock by now. Right?

Friday, May 8, 2020

Savings where you find them

With burger and fuel prices as they are, it was less expensive for us to drive across town and idle while waiting in a ridiculously long drive-thru line for a double-double cheeseburger and fries at In-N-Out Burger for $7.00 than it was for us to buy an all-the-way bacon cheeseburger plus fries at the much closer Five Guys for $17.00. In no way did I actually need to consume either of those and then wash it down with a giant chocolate chip cookie from Costco. Total calorie tally = about one million.

A whole can of SPAM (Classic) is 1,080 calories, if you're wondering. And, if you need any guidance on which flavor of SPAM to try, there's an excellent (if not amusing) review at Insider, here.

Lunch choices ranked by calorie count:
In-N-Out burger 1,040
Whole can of SPAM 1,080
Five Guys: 2,010

Now, I just want to shower and brush my teeth and pretend none of this really happened. Maybe after a really long hike. Or not.