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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Discharged

Hi gentle readers.

The hospital cut me loose yesterday. I still need care. My daughter had me move in with her family until I"m doing better. Unfortunately, my lovely wife has the flu so she's staying isolated at home. My son-in-law and daughter have been bringing her chicken soup and taking care of her needs.

I've a follow up appointment in a week.

-Sixbears

Monday, January 28, 2019

More Hospital

Hello my blog readers!

I'm not going to be communicating much for a while yet. Still in the hospital. Going to be here for treatments for some time yet. No real idea how long. I'm writing much as the pain meds have me pretty loopy. They are also working on the pain so it's a deal I'm happy to make.

-Sixbears

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Hospital

Hello my loyal readers!

Just a heads up. I'm in the hospital. Finally getting the treatment I need for the leg. I should be fine.

-Sixbears

No Blog Today



I’m taking a day off.

Thank you.

-Sixbears

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Back to the Doctor’s



My leg looks a bit better but feels a lot worse. The thought of toughing it through until my appointment at the end of the month was depressing. The constant pain is wearing on me. It didn’t make sense to wait until the end of the month to get treatment. However, it was recommended that I see the doctor that fixed me up a couple years ago if I had problems. He’s a busy guy and heavily booked.

I called up his office and talked to the appointment secretary. Turns out she was someone I went to high school with. After explaining my problem she was only able to schedule me a day earlier. What could I do? I took it. Soon after, however, she called me back. She was able to get me in this coming Thursday. She canceled her 93 year old mother’s appointment and gave it to me.

I thanked her for throwing her mother under the bus for me. She laughed and said, “Anything for a classmate.”

Actually, she had doubts about her mother going to the appointment in the first place. Sounds like it was just for a check up. My friend thought it might be better that her mother avoid being around sick people at her age.

Today it’s my lovely wife’s turn to see the doctor. We appear to be at that point in our lives when that’s just what we have to do. It sucks. We don’t mind getting older, but it we do mind feeling older.

Hopefully we can get our issues sorted out soon so we can go back to having adventures.

-Sixbears

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Brexit Preppers



I came across this article from The Guardian. Brits are concerned about what might happen after Brexit. There are now Brexit Preppers. The worry is that the Brexit mess will cause disruptions. Judging from the way their government is handling the deal they have reason to worry.

They certainly aren’t much like most American preppers. We aren’t talking rifles, bug out locations and 10 years of MREs. Mostly it’s folks stocking a couple more weeks of food, medicine, and pet supplies. For me, the big take away from this article is that they don’t trust the government to get things right. The fear is that government won’t take care of them. That’s a huge psychological shift for a people used to their government being there for them.

Americans know we are pretty much on our own. We’ve seen the FEMA response to disasters. We know the government doesn’t care if we live or die. The Brits have government medical. The US has has the pay or die program.

To be fair, in the United States, there are a lot more natural disasters than in Great Britain. We have hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and volcanoes. There are more climate extremes. As long as the Gulf Stream keeps pumping warmer water across the Atlantic, Great Britain’s climate is moderate. Of course, that current has shut down in the past. Should that ever happen again they’ll quickly have a climate more like Labrador. It would be pretty hard to prep for that sort of disaster.

It appears these new Brexit Preppers are envisioning a couple weeks or months of muddling through. After that there appears to be every expectation that things will return to normal. Yeah, good luck with that.

-Sixbears

Monday, January 21, 2019

Snow and Cold



It’s hard to tell exactly how much snow we got due to drifting. There seems to be around two feet or so of new white stuff. It’s still coming down. Just to make it interesting, temperatures barely got above zero during the day. Subzero temperatures are predicted overnight.

My son-in-law offered to come up sometime today with his snowblower. Since we really didn’t have to go anywhere at all, I’m more than happy to wait for him. He’s a good guy. I’d better make sure the coffee is ready when he gets here.

I’m really glad I moved a lot of fuel blocks to the porch. Sure beats trudging through the snow for woodstove fuel. We should be all set for a number of days.

There are times I wonder what the heck I’m doing here in snow country when I could be camping or on a sailboat down south. Then I remember how my leg injury has set me back. Good thing the house has been perfectly comfortable this winter. It’s not a bad place for hunkering down. We are also happy to have friends and family around.

Winter was a lot more fun before my injuries caught up with me. In the past I’d have put my snowshoes on and wandered all over the woods. I miss that, but it is what it is. We are also fairly close to the Nansen Ski Club’s extensive cross country trail system.

There’s been plenty of time to do some thinking. Maybe too much time and too much thinking. My healing setback was a bit depressing. Perhaps I tried to push myself too much once I started getting better? Rest and leg elevation has once again helped the healing along.

If we stick around next winter I hope it’s because that’s out choice, not our fall back position. No matter what we decided to do, we are going to have to be healthy to do it.

-Sixbears

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Setback. Travel?



Just when I thought my leg was about to get better, things took a turn for the worse. This on-going leg infection issue is getting really really old. Today it looks better than yesterday. I hope this is only a temporary issue. In case it’s not, I made an appointment with an actual real doctor -not a PA or a nurse. He’s so busy that I can’t see him until the end of the month. If my leg is looking much better by then I can always cancel.

Part of the problem may be that the weather has been too crappy to get much walking in. My lungs can’t handle the bitter cold we’ve been having so that keeps me mostly inside. Ice covered roads haven’t help much either. It might be that I just pushed myself too much as I was getting better. There’s so much I want to catch up with.

If I have to see the doctor I’ll have decisions to make. Maybe what I really need is to go camping in a warm climate for a few months. That way I’d get some decent exercise and sunshine. Never underestimate the power of sunshine. At any rate, I’m determined to get completely better. This constant recurring pain wears me down.

My niece was able to find a nice affordable apartment in town so we could shut the house down for a few months. We were more than happy to help her get back on her feet after she moved out of her boyfriend’s place. She now has an income and a place to live. Even her art has improved a lot. My lovely wife and I are glad we were able to there for her. That’s what family does. Still, it is nice to have her on her own.

On the bright side my water line has not frozen again since the small heater was put next to the entrance line. It’s going to cost a few dollars in electricity, but it’s worth it. We’ve had plenty of subzero temperatures to test it out since then. That’s one less thing to stress over.

-Sixbears


Saturday, January 19, 2019

Sketchy Internet Connection



My Internet was down most of the evening. It just came back up right before my normal posting time. The reason it went down? Who knows? That’s just life on the backwoods footpath connection to the information highway.

However, I’m pretty much expecting to lose it again over the weekend. At least the snowstorm will be a good reason. If I don’t post it’s probably just my connection.

While it was down my lovely wife won every single game of cribbage. Glad the ‘net’s back.

Also, I baked cookies, because snowstorm prep is more than milk and bread.

-Sixbears

Friday, January 18, 2019

Too Lazy to Drink?



Is it a bad sign when you are too lazy to drink alcohol? So there are all these articles about how a glass of red wine a day has health benefits. Seemed like a good idea. The first few days were fine, but like so many other health kicks, that went by the wayside. It’s one thing to be too lazy to go to the gym. It’s something else entirely to be too lazy to drink.

It’s probably just as well. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good drink and occasionally have a few. My concern is my family history with alcoholism. Fortunately my mom and dad rarely drank and that’s a good thing. Let’s just say that other members of my extended family should have never started.

I like a good beer, but discovered they are bad for gout. No beer tastes good enough to overcome the pain of a gout attack. Too bad, as I really enjoying brewing beer, but it’s less fun when I only rarely drink one.

That leaves plenty of other drinks. I’m a simple man. Give me a bottle: scotch, rum, bourbon, whatever, and a glass. Don’t bother mixing it. Most of the time I don’t even want ice. Of course, if you are drinking booze strait up, quality matters. There’s no hiding a cheap booze behind fizzy sugar waters and fruity flavors. It is what it is.

Since I’ve been dealing with a leg infection I’ve been avoiding alcohol. Booze weakens the effects of antibiotics. That’s not a great idea when trying to get well. Then there’s the fact that I’ve been taking over the counter pain meds. My liver is busy enough dealing with those. No need to make the poor thing work harder. You miss your liver when it’s gone -but not for long.

I really do enjoy a good drink. The thing is, I want to keep enjoying it. I don’t want it to take over my life and kill me. Frankly, with my family history, maybe I shouldn’t drink at all. On the other hand, I’ve successfully avoided the major pitfalls so far.

Alcohol is too powerful a chemical to take lightly. Fortunately my frugality and sloth provide natural protection.

-Sixbears

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Snow Weekend Ahead



It’s too early to tell for sure, but we could get up to two feet of snow over the weekend. That should be interesting. It’s been a few years since I’ve been around up north to experience it. While that’s a lot of snow, it’s not unheard of.

One winter, due to drifting, there was over six feet of snow in my walkway. Imagine trying to shovel that out. It took me three days to shovel everything. The first day all I managed was a trail to the road. The next day I shoveled out my wife’s car. On the third day my car was dug out.

As bad as that was, it wasn’t the worse snow winter I’ve ever seen. For that we have to go back to when I was a 10 year old kid. I was big and strong for my age so was expected to do my share of snow removal. My dad and I went up to the camp to shovel the roof. The snow was so deep we were able to snowshoe right up onto the first floor roof. It was pretty weird to shovel down to the roof and have to toss the snow up higher.

My lovely wife and I had planned on seeing friends downstate. However, it looks like staying home and hunkered down is the wiser course of action. We plenty of food and fuel for the woodstove. The house battery bank will be charged up. We will also have strong coffee and good books.

Of course, there’s the shoveling. The beauty of being retired is that we really don’t have to be anywhere in a great hurry. I will shovel the snow the same way one eats an elephant: on little piece at a time. Pacing is important.

-Sixbears

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Dog and Pony Show



I’m not going to get into the whole border wall debate. I’ve got my opinions and they’d probably tick off both sides. However, I’m guessing that while people are focused on that debate other major news items are being swept under the rug.

One thing that comes to mind is the on-going protests in France and the rest of Europe. I wish my grasp of the French language was a bit better as the real news is not being broadcast in English. Major news outlets have really skewed the message. We may end up with a European Spring. Remember the Arab Spring? This could be worse.

Look at Libya. It’s a worse place to live than it was under Qaddafi -for most ordinary people. Look what happened to Egypt. They overthrew the dictator, tried for a democracy, flirted with an Islamic state, then went back to a military dictatorship. By then people just wanted stability in their lives.

When looking at the rest of the world we have to get out of the Conservative/Liberal mindset. Those words mean different things in different countries. It doesn’t seem to matter what type of government people are living under. Most want to get ride of the ruling class and try something different. What that shows is that the way people are living isn’t working out very well for most of us. Unfortunately, overthrowing the old regime never seems to work out for the common person.

So which country is actually doing fairly well these days? My vote is for Iceland. Unlike the rest of the world, back in 2008 they didn’t bail out the bankers. The people of Iceland sent them to jail. I love a happy ending.

-Sixbears

Monday, January 14, 2019

Frozen Water Line



I woke up Sunday morning to a frozen water situation. That was not a good way to start the day. It could have been worse. The water line was frozen inside the basement. It took about 40 minutes to thaw it out and get the water flowing again. Good thing the water was not frozen between the well and house. There’s nothing I could have done about that.

When I discovered the lack of water I thought of two things. The first is that I really should not have put off the dinner dishes until the morning. The second thing was that I should not have put off my shower until the morning either. On the bright side, there was enough water in the kettle for my morning coffee. House projects always go better after a cup of Joe.

So for the next few sub-zero nights there’s a small electric heater next to the pipes with some reflextix in a “U” shape to contain the heat. That should keep it warm enough not to freeze. The heater is going to bump up my electric bill a bit, but something had to be done. Worse come to worse we could always pack up the house and head south to warmer climates. However, I really don’t want to do that right now. There’s plenty of stuff to do here up north.

In other news the new computer is working out. It’s actually a used computer, but it’s new to me. When I take over a used computer I wipe out the memory and load Ubuntu Linux. The computer runs faster and it has all the programs that I use.

For the last year I’ve been using a small tablet computer. It’s slow and screen is tiny, but it was cheap. It’s a pretty good travel computer, but I have to wear reading glasses to see half the stuff on it. Now with a bigger laptop I can pretend I don’t really need glasses.

So, all in all, the day could have been worse.

-Sixbears



Sunday, January 13, 2019

Computer Setup



No new blog today. I’ve been setting up a new computer.

-so many many programs.

-so so so much data.

-too many passwords.

I should be setup by tomorrow.

-Sixbears

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Still up North



Yep, my lovely wife and I are still in the Great White North. We had a couple days of snowstorms. Then the temperature dropped below zero and the winds picked up. Mosquitoes are down to a bare minimum.

Are we going to travel this year? Sorta. Next week we are going to visit some of our friends in southern New Hampshire. It's not exactly a trip to Florida or Texas, but it gets us out of the house. We aren't sure if we'll go to Florida at all. Right now it's all about getting better and also avoiding the flu. So far, so good.

My lungs were injured back when I was a firefighter. When temperatures drop below 20 degrees or so, they really suffer. This year I've been using a RZ face mask when going out in the cold. It's really made a difference. Even though we've had a lot of bitterly cold weather, my lungs still feel pretty good. That's a huge difference from previous winters. It makes sticking around a lot more comfortable.

My lovely wife and I have been concentrating on catching up with the bills. We hope to be in a position to buy some sort of tow vehicle for the boat by spring. It doesn't have to be pretty.

Right now we are perfectly content to stick close to home. Of course, if the water line to the house freezes that could suddenly change our minds.

-Sixbears

Friday, January 11, 2019

The Gun Collectors



I was talking to my new neighbor the other day. He casually mentioned that he had 53 guns in his collection. To people who've never grown up in a rural area this seems excessive. Out in the country you can acquire a fair sized collection without even trying.

First of all, my neighbor's family, like many others, doesn't believe in selling guns. Granddad had a few guns. Dad had a few guns. The kids get a few of their own. Over time the kids inherit a couple of collections. My neighbor also ended up with his brother's collection.

Most people I grew up with are hunters. When you are a kid your parent's buy you a .22 rifle to learn on. Later you may end up with a .410 or .20 gauge shotgun.At deer hunting age we all had something like a 30-30. As you get older you might upgrade to better firearms. If you get seriously into target shooting, that's a whole different set of guns. Over a lifetime, they start to add up.

Then there are those people who become collectors. Collecting guns is really like any other collecting hobby -it can get out of hand. For example, my father-in-law has over 300 firearms in his safe. Sounds like a lot, but collectors understand. A good number of them are old flintlock rifles and pistols. He's been collecting guns since he was a kid and now he's 81. Since his retirement he's added a lot of guns to his collection. He's got the disposable income and all his friends hang out at the gun store.

One thing I get a kick out of is the number of people who carry concealed. New Hampshire has a very low crime rate. Maybe being well armed is a part of that. However, we also have a pretty good economy and people are generally civil in the first place. At any rate, there are a lot of concealed handguns out there.

They are concealed, until you start talking with a bunch of people. Before you know it, everyone is pulling out their handguns and passing them around. Soon as people realize I know how to safely handle guns, people I barely know end up handing me their Glocks, Rugers, Colts and whatnot. If I'm carrying I never pull my handgun out and show it around. Seems to defeat the whole point of carrying concealed.

When people from the city move out into the country they sometimes freak out at the number of guns out in these parts. Don't panic. While we have a lot of guns, we have very little gun violence. If someone wants to show you their guns they are just being friendly.

-Sixbears

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Watching this Protest



I'm keeping an eye on this French protest. The yellow vest protesters want everyone to withdraw their money from the banks setting off a bank run. This could be interesting if it gets any traction.

This is something I've thought about for years. It would be one way to hit the rich class where it hurts. Sure, the little guys get hurt too, but they've been getting hurt for years. This just spreads the pain around. Seems to me like it would be the fastest way to take the system down. No idea how the French officials will deal with this threat.

In this country one of the big issues young people face is massive college debt. Debt has a huge effect on their lives. They have to stay focused on making those payments. Forget about doing something out of love. It's all about the money. Their high debt burdens keep them from living normal lives. They can't buy houses or even afford to get married and have children.

If they would all default on their debt at the same time it would definitely shock the system. More and more young people cannot pay their loans as it is. Imagine if nobody paid them? Student debt is a type of debt slavery as it's a type of debt that cannot be cleared during a bankruptcy.

There's an argument that young people took on that debt knowing full well they'd have to pay it back. True, but they were led to believe they'd be paying it back with high paying jobs. Too many people with college degrees are waiting tables and flipping burgers. So far the powers that be have convinced the majority of them that it's their fault and not a fault of the changing economy. Many, however, have begun to suspect they've been sold a bill of goods.

So I'm really keeping an eye out on what happens in France. My guess is that the French authorities will pull out all the stops to prevent a bank run. We shall see. Interesting times.

-Sixbears

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

20 Pain Free Minutes



My leg continues to heal, but circulation problems are an issue. Tuesday I drove a few towns over to see a really good acupuncturist. Last time I had issues with my leg the treatments really seemed to kick start the final healing process.

He set up all the needles he let them do their thing for about 30 minutes. The first ten minutes were slightly uncomfortable. After that the pain went completely away. I haven't been completely pain free like that for months. Sometimes the pain has been acute. Other times it's been a dull background sort of thing. I'd forgotten what completely pain free felt like. That wonderful 20 minutes were worth the trip and cost right there.

Not only that, the swelling went down some. That's after just one treatment. I'll probably go see him for a few more visits.

It was the right time to see him. Had I made an appointment while my leg was massively infected, he'd have sent me to the doctor's. While he has treatments and herbs that help, he recognizes the power of modern antibiotics.

Right now my big issues are swelling and itching from the scabs healing. The itching can be annoying, especially when trying to sleep. One thing that helps a lot with that is Bag Balm. It's actually a product for chapped cow's udders. It's antiseptic and works wonders on a number of skin issues.

My medical treatments are an odd ball mix of modern medicine and alternative treatments. I don't rely on either one alone. I don't care if it's the placebo effect or not. My 20 minutes of pain free bliss was worth it.

-Sixbears

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Pervasive Digital World



My struggle against the twenty-first century continues. Those who follow my blog are aware of all the screwball on-line banking crap I've been dealing with lately. Monday the digital struggles continued. This time is was the pharmacy.

I went in to get a simple prescription filled. For some reason the record of my medication had completely disappeared from their files. There were plenty of other people suffering from digital mayhem. The line was huge, even though the pharmacy had tripled the counter staff. They even had people paying for their meds at the candy counter at the other end of the store. A good part of the afternoon was wasted hanging around.

After leaving there my mood was a tad grumpy. The car was low on gas so I went to fill it up. My gas card did not function. It turns out that nobody's functioned all day. Fortunately I had other methods of payment, including a good bit of cash.

I wonder if there was some sort of solar flare or something that screwed up the satellites? Hackers? Gremlins?

It did get me thinking about how much computers have slowly taken over my existence. I'm old enough to remember doing business with just cash and the occasional check. It's almost impossible to do that now. Our pension “checks” are electronic deposits. Some businesses that we deal with are only set up for electronic payments. When these systems go down, it's a royal mess. The digital world certainly has its downsides.

On the other hand, I'm well aware that I'm sharing my story by writing it on a computer and posting it to the Internet.

-Sixbears

Monday, January 7, 2019

The Superior Products



I was having a late snack with my awesome niece. I asked her what topic I should write about. She said I should write about how Peruvian coffee was the best coffee. I'd just pan roasted a good sized batch of it. Do you know why it's the superior product? It's because it's the coffee I happen to have left in the house. Nothing beats the product you actually have.

How many times have people looked down on something you have or are using? They claim some other item is vastly superior. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn't. However, the thing I actually have is better than some special something beyond my reach.

Never let the search for the ideal and best stop you from actually having the good enough. Take stored foods for example. There's a lot of debate out there about what makes the best stored food. Should you go for freeze dried food with a 30 year shelf life? That's great. It might be better than that bag of rice you got at the local grocery store. However, if the bag of rice is in your pantry and the freeze dried food isn't, the rice wins. In an emergency what would you rather have, real rice or hypothetical food?

I see this sort of thinking all the time with firearms. There are those who say you need the best assault rifle costing several thousand dollars. Yeah, that's great -if money is no object. While maybe I could by such a rifle it would be by not buying other essential things. Many people make those kinds of decisions. Some people feel they can't afford the high tech rifle, so they buy nothing.

Guess which gun I've gotten more use out of over the years? How about a $50 20 gauge single shot break action shotgun. Since it's so cheap I didn't mind taking it everywhere with me. It's the gun I throw in the vehicle when going to get firewood. Occasionally I shoot a grouse or a rabbit while gathering wood. It doesn't cost much to have a good supply of buckshot, bird shot and slugs. I never worried about anybody stealing it either.

Here's the thing, most of us don't have an unlimited budget. Sure, I've got some of that nice dehydrated food. It's light weight and great for travel. However, the bulk of my stored food calories are things like rice, assorted beans, and wheat berries. Would I prefer that more of my food storage was the freeze dried stuff? Sure, but better to take care of having basic calories first. I only bought some of the fancy stuff after my basic needs were squared away.

Get the basics for survival. You can always save up for the special things. Now I've got to go order more coffee.

-Sixbears

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Plans still up in the air



By this time last year I was already camping in Florida. It had been a cold snowy trip down most of the east coast. Northern Florida had some pretty cold nights too. After a couple weeks my lovely wife and I decided to go all the way down to the Keys for a bit.

Of course, the water supply line to the house had frozen so we were motivated to leave the house behind. This year my plan B emergency insulation job has keep the water flowing.

So what's keeping us up north now? There are a few things. My niece has been living with us since the spring. However, she's made a lot of progress getting her life back on track. She should hear if she's got a new apartment soon.

The big thing holding us back had been my debilitating leg infection. It continues to heal, but is still prone to swelling issues. Last time that was helped along by a few visits to a really good acupuncturist. I've made an appointment to see him early next week. Maybe in a couple weeks I'll be in better shape for long drives.

There have been some screwy bank issues. Being local sure made it a lot easier to sort out. For example, I'd still be waiting for the forms to file a fraud claim on my debit card. Not only was I able to file it immediately at the local branch, the funds have been returned to my account. We had another incident happen today. My lovely wife got an e-mail claiming to be from one of our nation wide credit card accounts. They said we had to click on the link to sort out a fraud issue. If you get one of those e-mails, never click on the provided link. Instead, do what I did. Log into your account directly. After doing that I discovered there was no problem at all. Close examination of the provided e-mail link showed it to not look all that official.

After the third financial screw up in two weeks I must admit to feeling a bit paranoid.

Speaking of paranoid, the whole country feels pretty unsettled to me right now. I just have a bad feeling, and I trust my feelings. It also feels good to be available for friends and family deeply affected by the government shut down. There are households where both adults are not getting paid. Let's see what happens when the prison guards stop coming into work.

Hopefully, things well be a lot more settled in a few weeks. Time will tell. If it isn't, we are well set up here in the Great North Woods.

-Sixbears

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Tax Rumors



I am curious. Does anyone know if this rumor is true? Will this years tax refunds be delayed due to the government shutdown? I see that story bouncing around Facebook and I'm not sure what's really up. Also, I'm too lazy to dig too deep into it. Research can send me down the rabbit hole.

True or not, I was never a fan of big tax refunds. I know a lot of people use the tax system as a sort of savings plan. They overpay their taxes so they can get a big chunk of money later. Here's the thing, it's your money and you've just given the government a zero interest loan.

You'd be much better off to zero out at the end of the year. Actually, if you save the money necessary, you come out ahead if you owe them money. At least you've had the opportunity to get a little interest on your money. That takes a certain amount of discipline to actually do it. If you have something like a workplace savings deduction plan it's easier to do.

I used to joke that I don't want the government owing me money. What if they went out of business? Then I'd never see my money. These days it looks less like a joke and more like a contingency plan.

-Sixbears

Friday, January 4, 2019

Done with Veggie Vehicles



There are still a lot of people out there running diesels converted to run on waste veggie oil, but I'm not going to be one of them. With the sale of my 2001 Ford diesel ambulance van I've come to the end of my diesel days.

There are two major problems. The first is that veggie is a lot harder to get. It used to be a waste item that restaurants had to pay money to dispose of. In recent years uses have been found for the stuff, everything from creating commercial bio-diesel to dog food additives.

The second is that the newer diesels are much harder to convert to veggie. It can still be done, but it's more expensive and not exactly a shady tree mechanic type operation. My old early 80s Mercedes diesels were bulletproof. The 90s era Ford F-250 diesel I had was dead simple to convert. It even came with two fuel tanks. About all I had to do was to drop a heater coil in one of the tanks. The Ford diesel ambulance was a bit tougher. In fact, I fried a number expensive electric fuel pumps in the early days. That's a far cry from the days when my old Mercedes tolerated just about anything.

There are still plenty of people driving around those old diesels on veggie. Diesels are tough and can handle a lot of miles. Come spring I hope to get rid of the last of my waste veggie storage to one of those guys. If they won't take the veggie, there's a local church group that uses waste veggie to heat their buildings.

My problem is that I still have need for a tow vehicle. My lovely wife and I have been discussing what we'll do. We aren't going to bother with diesel this time. There are plenty of older and inexpensive vehicles with strong gasoline engines. Unless we come across a great deal, we probably won't be looking for one until the spring.

A pickup truck would be nice, but those tend to hold their value. Of course, that doesn't mean we won't find a good deal. You never know. One option is an older SUV. The early ones were basically just an SUV body slapped onto a pickup truck frame. They make pretty good tow vehicles and the market is flooded with cheap ones.

I am going to miss the whole home brewed fuel thing, but conditions change. We ran waste veggie in four different vehicles for well over 20 years. That saved us a ton of money and was fun too. However, conditions change and it was time to move on.

-Sixbears

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Fun with fraud



So I finally got hold of my credit union's consumer department about the fraudulent charges on my debit card. After talking to them for a while it became clear that my best bet would be to walk into my local branch.

I'm glad I did. I think that shaved a week or two off the process. The local consumer service guy knew what to do. Not only did he expedite the paperwork, he then faxed it to the main office's fraud department. The consumer services guy claims I should get my money back in two or three days. We shall see.

While there I also had him issue me a new debit card.

Had I been on the road it would have been a lot harder. The forms would have had to either been snail mailed to me or sent as an e-mail. I would have had to gone someplace to print them out. Filling them out by myself would have taken five times as long. Then I would have had to place them in the mail and wait to see if everything was done right.

It would have been impossible get a new debit card. They can only be mailed to your house or picked up at a credit union branch. Since the CU only has branches in New England, it would have done me no good in the sunny south.

It wasn't how I expected to spend my day, but so it goes. Could have been worse. Of course, it isn't over until the money is back in my account.

-Sixbears

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Fraudulent Charges



The call came in New Years day at eight a. m.. I was contacted by the fraud protection team for a card issued by my credit union. 99% of the time they call for no good reason. This time was that 1% good reason. Someone had put a $104 charge to my debit card. I told the fraud people that the charge was not valid so they put a stop to it. Good thing. When I checked my account on-line there nine of those $104 charges.

The fraud people should shut the card down, but that's it. I'll have to get hold of customer service to sort everything out. They'll also have to issue me a new card. Good thing I'm still at home. It's been my bitter experience that I have to either get a new card mailed to my house or pick one up at one of their branches. That did me no good at all when my card was shut down when I was traveling in Florida. My credit union only has branches in New England.

This is not the same financial institution that messed up my home escrow account last week. Of course, then it was tough to sort out because of the Christmas holiday. This time around it's the New Year holiday. Splitting up my finances gives different institutions a chance to mess up my financial life. It's good that the fraud people caught it, but what an annoying way to start the new year.

I'm starting to think that I probably shouldn't use my debit card when traveling. Security experts recommend against it. Credit cards have better protections. The thing to do is to use a credit card from a national bank. When the bill comes in I can pay them with an electronic check. When I lost my wallet in a shipwreck in Florida, it was a good thing I had a card through a national bank. They had no difficulty with shipping a replacement to a Florida address. We used that card to get back home. The best my local bank and credit union were able to do was to mail me some temporary checks. Who takes checks these days?

I should be able to sort this out later in the day -assuming the customer department doesn't place me on hold forever. Worse come to worse I could always stop by in person. That's usually effective as I'm too freaking big to throw out.

-Sixbears

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Years!



I hope everyone has a happy and healthy New Year. It was a quiet New Years Eve for the lovely wife and I. After our amazing 40th wedding anniversary party we were perfectly happy to stay at home. With bad weather predicted to move in during the night it was a good decision too.

This is the time of year when people make resolutions . . . which usually last about two weeks. I'm not making a new one this year. My plan is to continue the late 2018 plan of getting healthier. My annoying leg injury set me back a lot. On the bright side, while my progress hasn't been as fast as I'd like, it is moving in the right direction.

2018 was a heck of a wild ride. 2019 looks even more unsettled. One thing I'm not going to do is to react from fear. Negative emotions can fog the mind and good decision making becomes difficult. Moving forward with clear eyes and an open mind is the way to go. Better to see the world for what it is rather than what you think it might be.

That being said I'm not above being an idealistic dreamer at times. Over and over again I've seen people set aside ideologies and prejudices to help their fellow man. In my travels I've discovered most people are good. However, sometimes they need a little reminder.

My wish is for my blog readers to have a fantastic year. While my blog is a small one the readership is amazing. Very few trolls come to my site. One of the reasons I keep on plugging away at it is because this feels like a community to me. I hope you guys get something from my scribblings as I've certainly received a lot of help and encouragement from all of you.

-Sixbears