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Retirement Tips and RV Stuff Newsletter
Issue 2012.07         Jul 2012
Publisher, Bob Hoffman -
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As promised, I'm leaving the RV info to my Travel Log (check out Chapter 89. Mentonians) and including retirement info here in the newsletter. Well, it's not all really directly related to retirement, but it's stuff I've bumped into or thought of while retired, so I'm going to put it here.

First sort of related is about Facebook millionaires. I talked about this in my Ramblings in the previous newsletter, but will repeat a bit now. I spend a lot of my retirement time wandering about the internet and in my website construction. I've really boycotted Facebook for a long time, but I finally decided recently that I'd not be able to see anything on Facebook if I didn't join. I made up a name and now have a "presence" on Facebook, so have access to the information that I need for my work and play. But, did you see the fuss about the Facebook IPO? Supposedly the biggest IPO in history. Every current employee of Facebook destined to be a millionaire! I almost tried to get in on the IPO, then decided it most probably wasn't worth my while, as I wasn't in the "in crowd" so would end up paying a lot more than the stock was ultimately going to be worth. Good Decision! As it turns out, the initial value was apparently much over-blown and has dropped dramatically since then. I'm thinking many of those millionaires are having to go back to work now. What they don't tell you is that companies often put restrictions on how soon their employees can cash in on the stock they own, so they end up having to hold onto it until it's worth a much-deflated amount. I don't know if Facebook did that, but from what I've heard about Zuckerman, I'd bet they did. I heard of several Intergraph employees in Huntsville, Alabama years back, whose "fortune" dropped from several million dollars to a few hundred because they weren't able to sell their stock when they wanted to. How depressing!

I commented in my previous Ramblings that only 26% of my viewers used Facebook, based on an earlier survey. So, I wondered about the age of viewers and included a survey on that. That survey showed that none of the readers are under 50, so that would explain why so few are on Facebook. But then ... I noticed that only 8 people had answered the survey of the 59 that read the newsletter! Boo! So, forget those results. I'm wondering why so few took the survey ... I guess we're all in a hurry.

Next really interesting topic: Cataract Surgery!
I did a Blentry Things Your Mother Never Told You, where I tell about all of the surprises I've had during my life on things that "everybody knows." The latest was that when you get to your 70s, many people develop cataracts. What they forget to mention is that cataracts are a GOOD thing. I had my surgery in April and Voila! I can now drive/see without glasses! That's great! I certainly prefer to have to wear glasses to read, than to have to keep getting stronger and stronger ones to read the road signs. I've even heard some older folks commenting that they wish their cataracts would get bad enough so they could have the surgery. So, don't dread the cataracts in your old age, welcome them!

As stated at the start of this, we've now moved to Mentone, Alabama. For those who aren't keeping up, the World's Longest Yard Sale runs right in front of our house during the first weekend in August. Consequently, as we packed for the move, we'd put stuff that we didn't want to give away into a box and mark it YARDSALE. Probably a nice idea, but I didn't know we'd end up with a dozen boxes so marked. They're in a storage unit across the road from us and our "plan" is to bring some or all out in August -- we'll see how that goes. I'm not really sure if it will all be worth the effort, as most yardsale shoppers are looking for specific items (mostly antiques) and we may not have anything that interests them. Also, I'm not sure that either Joyce or I has the enthusiasm to sit out in the hot sun all day for a few dollars. Guess we'll see ... watch for August updates.

I guess one of my points with the previous paragraph was to comment about how hard it is to "downsize" as we age. You hear a lot of talk about how aging folks should consider whether they really need that large home to care for, etc., but what do we do with all of our "stuff" when we "downsize"? Moving from Florida, we really didn't have a whole lot that we were closely attached to, due to our previous experiments with full-time RVing, etc. I think we only kept about 4 pieces of furniture out of a 2000 square foot, 7-room house. Many our age have an attic or basement full of stuff from their children, which is really hard to discard in case "the kids want it." Despite that advantage, it was still rather difficult. I guess that's why we ended up with a dozen or so YARDSALE boxes. I think, however, that's preferable to what many do and we almost did - get a storage unit at the place of origin for "just in case we ever come back." We started to do that, then decided to just donate the remainder of furniture, etc. to the humane society. Hopefully, some doggies will benefit from that decision.

Not sure if this is a valid "retirement tip", but possibly so. Over the past couple of years, we've had a problem with mice in the RV. At least 3 times, we had to have all of the wiring under the dashboard replaced because it had been chewed. We were told it was mice, although we never saw any droppings or other evidence of them. So we tried some traps with peanut butter on them (I was told that worked great). It worked great, alright .... ants came onboard and cleaned those traps so you couldn't even tell there'd been any peanut butter there. So, I tried sheets of Bounce spread all around the floor and stuck under the dash. That seemed to work, as the wiring has had no problems. The problem was that I had to remove all the Bounce to travel, then put it back when we stored the RV. Pain in the butt!

BUT, then I read about a mouse repellent stuff called Fresh Cab. It works fantastically! It looks like pot-pourri in a small bag and smells like pine needles, but mice supposedly hate the smell. You get 4 small bags for $25 and can order online at Wow! I just checked and it's on sale for $17 - I'm going to order more. The reason that I know it works well is that I had a "friend who shall remain anonymous" that had a monstrous mouse problem. He was too good-hearted to kill the mice and they had really taken over. I bought some Fresh Cab and had it shipped to him. Within a few weeks, he said the mice were completely gone!  That's been months ago and they've not returned. So, if you ever have a mouse problem, search out this newsletter and order some.

Final topic - Rest Areas : I should probably put this somewhere else on the Retirement Tips website, like on the links page, but for now ... to see a list of all Rest Areas on all interstates, visit

Read on for notes on my Latest Site Updates, Art News, and wrapping up with my RAMBLINGS.

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- Most of my time recently has been spent on the websites of others, with very little change on my own. However, in the last couple days, I got ambitious and wrote a Blog Entry (Blentry) on Blurting Out a Bunch of Information and a Travel Log entry entitled Chapter 89. Mentonians about "our big move from urban Florida to rural Alabama."

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-, everything that you always wanted to know about Mentone, Alabama, but were afraid to ask. Includes a Business Directory of all downtown businesses with an interactive map, some beautiful photos of the area, a page of over 75 links to websites related to Mentone, plus a link back to where you'll find information on all of the six Mentones in the world.

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We've moved from Florida and are now living full-time "permanently" in Mentone. We invite all who receive this newsletter to visit our website and our gallery at your earliest convenience. Keep watch on the website, where we'll post announcements on big events as they happen. Biggest thing right now is the JulyFest 2012 this weekend, July 7-8. Bunches of arts & crafts, plus entertainment, food, and activities galore. Check out JulyFest 2012 Events.

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Whew! I've spent the last two days putting together a Blentry, a Travel Log chapter, and this newsletter. Not sure I still have stuff to ramble about. I've taken care of all the notes in my "talk-about-it-sometime" list, so hmmm ....

I could brag a little about my Mentone Maps ... if you've ever been to Cocoa Beach or Gatlinburg or any of a hundred other towns, you've seen those cutesy maps that show all of the buildings in town and the business names, etc. Well, I wanted one for Mentone and worked on it off and on for about a year, then managed to produce one in June. Not exactly as planned, but good enough for the moment. If you're ever in Mentone, you'll hopefully see one at one of the 30 or so shops that we have here in the downtown. If you don't see one, call me.

I could ramble on a little more about Facebook -- I've learned a few things, like how to build a page for a business, how to make it available to everyone (not just Facebook members), and how disorganized the process of creating Facebook entries is. Seems like when I put a photo there or make a text entry, I never know exactly where or how it's going to show up. Maybe it's my age or the fact that I'm not as patient as I once was.

I could talk about how great things are going, publicity-wise, with the gallery. Joyce takes care of the art and I spend a lot of my time trying to think of new and better ways to get customers to come by. We just got our ad into the DeKalb County Guide, published by the Fort Payne Times-Journal. I've learned that our Art Gallery is going to be advertised on the giant digital sign above the DeKalb County Tourist Association (of which we're now a member) Welcome Center at I-59 exit 218 in Fort Payne. It will be showing up all day Saturday for 24 hours - if time allows, I'll obviously try to get a photo of that!

In general, things are going fairly well and I can't think of anything to whine about. Well, I could complain about how the names of the departments in Walmart bear no similarity to what the employees call them. Like if they tell you something is in Hardware, you should look for a sign saying Do-It-Yourself. If they direct you to Housewares, look for a sign saying something like Things for Living. I told a cashier there that they should either change the department names or retrain their employees. Her answer was "well, that's what we've always called them."  Duh! 

But, I won't whine about that - you might think I'm getting old and crotchety.

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PS - Check that left-hand column as you scroll back to the top of the page. You might find something you need :)

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Permanent Mailing Address: R. Hoffman, PO Box 321, Mentone, Alabama 35984.
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