Please Mr. Trump… No Tariffs on Lumber

This is a situation of really bad timing.  I’ve waited 50 years to finally build my dream home in the country and this is the time you put a tariff on Lumber and Steel!  This is going to cost me a lot more.

Can you please wait until the end of next year?  Much appreciated.


Early Retirement – Starting to freak out

I think I’m starting to freak out.

My new early-retired life is only 3.5 months away.  I think having second thoughts or butterflies is natural in these situations.  Today my boss, who was out for a few months on medical leave, came back and gave his notice for his retirement.  He’s gone.  That kind of brought it home for me.

It’s scary to make a huge change in your lifestyle.  Extremely scary!  I’m asking myself if I’m doing the right thing.  What is it to follow a dream that may be stupid?  Could it be a mistake?

Logic tells me that I am fine.  There’s nothing wrong with saving up a ton of money, retiring early to the country and building a house.  Financially, I am fine, but you never really feel financially fine.  It’s not normal.

I worry a little about not being able to pull it off.  I am doing this alone because I have to.  Not because I want to.  I won’t be ENTIRELY alone.  My sister, aunt, uncle and cousins will be nearby.  That is at least some comfort.    Physically and technically, I can do this.  Mentally….It might be tough.

I have some faith in my destiny.  Dying along in an empty house isn’t always a bad thing.  I will have ultimate freedom.  I also feel that I will finally have opportunity to meet someone once the big change is complete.

I’m just a phone call away from the point of no return.  Once I authorize the pouring of the foundation, I’m $20,000 deep in this project.  I can turn back and sell the land easily but the $20,000 for a foundation that only I can use is probably lost.  I’m reminding myself that this is what I’ve wanted all my life.  Still scary!

I don’t really want to turn back though.  The facts are straight:

  1. I don’t want to live in San Antonio any longer.
  2. I want to live in the country near a small town that still has the feeling of being small.  (Too bad about the Walmart but it’s still a little backwards like I like it.)
  3. I will be near relatives and not far from Mom in the city.
  4. I will be perfectly fine financially.  I can work if I want to but don’t have to.
  5. I am in relatively good health and can make it even better once I’m free of the siren call of the big city restaurants.

I am thinking that once the foundation is complete, the call of the construction of the house will override my insecurities about quitting a safe, well paying job that I hate waking up for every morning.  It will take me up to a year to build during which time I won’t have time to think about stuff like that.  It will help me transition to retirement.

That’s my plan.

What would happen if I was to wuss out and not do it?

  1. Nothing.
  2. More of the same until I die.
  3. I would enjoy the comfort of common mediocrity.

Another thing that bothers me is that the land I bought is not 100% what I wanted.  It is 80% there and I have the freedom to make it as I wish. No HOA to tell me what I can or cannot do.  I think it will be fine.  I will mould it to fit my desires.  It’s good!

I worry about construction costs now that I find that the foundation was twice my estimated price.  I think that might be the worst of it though.  The foundation is beyond my control.  The rest should be fully in my control.  I could do without the tariffs on Lumber and Steel.  Thanks Donald Trump.  Bad timing!!  The only other questionable cost is the septic tank.  That comes next.  I think the water supply should be fine.  I have a choice of the water system at the street or a well.  According to my calculations, I can afford it.   It will be fine.  It will be awesome.

Readers of this blog are probably tired of hearing about this but it is everything to me and I have to convince myself that I am doing the right thing.   You are going to hear a lot more about it if you hang around these parts.

I feel better already in laying this out for you.  Getting stuff straight in your brain makes all the difference.  I’m glad I have this blog or I would probably implode.

The next day…

I did it.  I called the guy and got the ball rolling.  The future is now set in stone. (Or concrete) My path is set. Engage Number One.  First star to the right and straight on ’til morning.


Met with Slab Foundation Guy

The other day, after work, I met with a concrete guy out at my property to get his estimate on the foundation for my new house.  I showed him the location and gave him illustrations of my floor plan and elevation.

Today he sent me an estimate.  The total would be $40,000 with garage.  I freaked out!

I estimated the cost to be not much more than $10,000 for the house.  It would cost that much to do the garage only.  I actually had hot flashes and had to sit down under the ceiling fan for a few minutes.  This could be a serious problem.  The cost of the foundation would be as much as half of the cost of the house pushing the estimated cost to over $100,000.  I was planning for $75,000.

We spoke on the phone and made a few changes.  I dropped the garage foundation for now.  (I plan on watching how they do the house and then doing the garage slab myself later.)  That knocked $11,000 off the total.

We also took off the front and back porch which I had already planned to do as a wooden deck anyway.  I thought if it wasn’t much more we could just do it in concrete.  That knocked $8,000 off the total.

We were down to $20,000.  Still double what I planned for.  I plugged the new numbers into my retirement simulator and it turns out that it’s still within my budget.  Sucks but it will still work.   I’ll give it some thought for a few days and if nothing else turns up, I’ll give him the go ahead.   I know he does good work so I suppose having a quality foundation is worth the cost.

He said it was highly possible to have it done by the end of October which will fit nicely into my master plan.   If all goes well, my current house will sell for more than I’m thinking anyway.  It’s a good market for the seller right now and my house is awesome.


Two guys holding hands

Yesterday as I left work, I turned out of the parking lot onto the highway access road.  I saw right away, two guys walking down the sidewalk holding hands.

My first thought was, “Wait.. What?”

I had to do a double take.

My second thought was, “Wow!  That’s weird and gross.”

My third thought was, “Hmm.  They are lucky to have each other.”

In a world where love is impossible to find.  It’s good to take what you can get.

Dear Dad – Mom in the hospital again

Hi Dad.

Jody took mom to the hospital again on Wednesday morning.  She had been feeling really bad quite often after she left the last time.  Monday and Tuesday were really bad.  She was weak, tired and shaking.  We were thinking it was side effects of all the medication she is on.

It seems even with the pacemaker and medication her Atrial Fibrillation was still happening.  The indications are weaknesss, shaking loss of appetite etc.  She had all that.  I visited her last night.  The AFib was still happening.  She felt better but it was still out of control.

This morning they did a stress test to see if maybe she had some artery blockage somewhere causing her blood pressure to vary wildly sometimes over 200.   We are waiting the results.  Hopefully they find something.

I’m feeling that her end is near.  She’s 88 and lived a long and loving life even after you were gone.  She did a lot of traveling and lived her life her own way.  She’s ready to go and accepting the end gracefully.  I’m sure if I make it to 88 I will be gladly ready to meet death.

It’s not for sure yet but it may not be more than a year or so max unless things change somehow.  Other than Afib and high blood pressure, she is in amazingly good shape.  Things could turn around and give her a few more years.  I was hoping she could be around long enough to see my new house I’m about to start construction on.  Maybe.

She has signed a non-resuscitation agreement and does not want to linger around if things go bad.  I can’t blame her.  Hopefully, like my own wishes, she will go in her sleep one night.   I hope you’ll be there when she arrives when the time comes.

I don’t want to linger on these thoughts right now but I sure hope I will be able to accept it.  When she’s gone then I will truly be alone in this world.  But that’s the ship I built and I will have to sail on it.

Think happy thoughts for either a good recovery or a quick ending.  She should be coming home tomorrow and I’ll visit her after work.  At least she is in good spirits.  She’s a strong woman having had to raise two boys all by herself.  There’s nobody better.


Early Retirement Calculation Error In My Favor!

Yes Yes Yes!!!

I just realized that I had an error in my retirement simulator program.  It turns out that I had included the cost of health insurance twice.  Once in my monthly spending and once in the annual subtraction.  This subtracted an unnecessary $9600 per year.

I adjusted my monthly spending budget and ran the simulator again.  My early retirement just got a lot more comfortable.   Now there’s absolutely no need for me to have even a part time job.  Actually there wan’t before but now for sure.  If I feel like working, I can.  If not, I don’t have to.  Shit yeah!   This is amazing.  I still can’t wrap my head around this.  It still seems impossible but the numbers add up.

As the time approaches I was feeling a little more apprehensive about the big change but now four more months of working like a common man and I’m off on a new journey of free time and awesomeness.  I feel like I won the lottery but it is just thanks to 33 years of lost life, sadness, loneliness, depression, frugality and good investing.  Maybe it was worth it.  One must suffer to achieve greatness.

 Starting Cash: $208,000
 Estimating monthly spending at $1200
 Retirement at age 50
 Estimating new house $75,000
 Estimating Health Insurance at $800 /month.
 Estimating $800 /mo investment income
 Estimating monthly Retired income at $100
 Retirement portfolios: $300,000
 Retirement portfolio available at age 60.
 Receive Social Security at age 67.
 Estimating Social Security income of $1500 /month at age 67.
 Age    Year    Cash
 50     2018    $208000
** Retire!! Build house.
 51     2019    $122800
** Sell old house
 52     2020    $253000
 53     2021    $237800
 54     2022    $222600
 55     2023    $207400
 56     2024    $192200
 57     2025    $177000
 58     2026    $161800
** Inheritance $30,000
 59     2027    $176600
 60     2028    $161400
** Include Retirement in Cash  $300000
** End retirement income
 61     2029    $446200
 62     2030    $429800
 63     2031    $413400
 64     2032    $397000
 65     2033    $380600
 66     2034    $373800
 67     2035    $367000
** Include Social security at $1500 /mo
 68     2036    $378200
 69     2037    $389400
 70     2038    $400600
 71     2039    $411800
 72     2040    $423000
 73     2041    $434200
 74     2042    $445400
 75     2043    $456600
 76     2044    $467800
 77     2045    $479000
 78     2046    $490200
 79     2047    $501400
 80     2048    $512600
 81     2049    $523800
 82     2050    $535000
 83     2051    $546200
 84     2052    $557400
 85     2053    $568600
 86     2054    $579800
 87     2055    $591000
 88     2056    $602200
 89     2057    $613400
 90     2058    $624600
 91     2059    $635800
 92     2060    $647000
 93     2061    $658200
 94     2062    $669400
 95     2063    $680600
 96     2064    $691800
 97     2065    $703000
 98     2066    $714200
 99     2067    $725400
10 cls
20 age = 50
30 retirement = 300000 ‘ anticipated minimum amount at 60.
40 endyear = 2068
50 cash = 208000 ‘ Estimate liquid cash at retirement
60 year = 2018 ‘ Starting Year
70 retiredincome = 100*12 ‘ monthly*12
80 ss = 1500*12 ‘ social security monthly income
90 workincome = 0*12 ‘ Still working income after tax
100 spend = 1200*12 ‘ monthly * 12
110 newhouse = 75000 ‘ land already purchased
120 oldhouse = 150000 ‘ value of old house
130 retirementage = 50
140 healthinsurance = 800*12 ‘ monthly * 12
150 propertytax = 2000
160 investinc = 800*12 ‘ $800 monthly investment income
170 rem
180 rem
200 print
210 print ” Starting Cash: $” cash
220 rem print ” Work before retirement annual net income $” workincome
230 print ” Estimating monthly spending at $” spend/12
240 print ” Retirement at age ” retirementage
250 print ” Estimating new house $” newhouse
260 print ” Estimating Health Insurance at $” healthinsurance/12 “/month.”
270 print ” Estimating $” investinc/12 “/mo investment income”
280 print ” Estimating monthly Retired income at $” retiredincome/12
290 print ” Retirement portolios: $” retirement
300 print ” Retirement portfolio available at age 60.”
310 print ” Receive Social Security at age 67.”
320 print ” Estimating Social Security income of $” ss/12 “/month at age 67.”
330 print
340 print ” Age”,”Year”,”Cash”
350 rem — Start calculation loop —
360 print ” ” age,year,”$” int(cash)
370 if age = 60 then cash = cash+retirement : print “** Include Retirement in Cash  $” retirement
380 if age = 60 then print “** End retirement income”
390 if age > retirementage and age < 65 then cash = cash-healthinsurance ‘ Health Insurance until medicare
400 rem if age < retirementage then cash = cash+workincome
410 if age >= retirementage+2 and age <= 60 then cash = cash+retiredincome ‘ 2 years to build house and rest
420 if age <= retirementage+1 then cash = cash-3400 ‘ “old house taxes”
430 if age = retirementage+1 then cash = cash+oldhouse : print “** Sell old house”
440 if age = retirementage then cash = cash-newhouse  : print “** Retire!! Build house.”
450 if age < 67 then cash = cash-spend
460 if age = 67 then print “** Include Social security at $” ss/12 “/mo”
470 if age >= 67 then cash = cash+ss-spend ‘ Social security
480 if age = 58 then cash = cash+30000 : print “** Inheritance $30,000”
490 cash = cash+investinc ‘ Investment income
500 cash = cash-propertytax ‘ tax on new house
510 year = year+1
520 age = age+1
530 if year < endyear then goto 350
540 end

What happens if you have a plumbing leak in a slab foundation

IMG_0458So I woke one morning and noticed while I was in the restroom that I heard water running. I checked all my faucets but none were running.  There were no leaks to be found anywhere inside or outside the house yet the flow indicator on the meter was spinning wildly.

Nooooooo!   My worst plumbing fears have come to reality.

It was Saturday so I called three plumbers.  One called me back.  (The others called Monday but they were too late.)

After a little looking around it was obvious that my diagnosis was correct.

A little more testing indicated that the leak was the supply to the main distribution manifold behind the washing machine.   I expected the work to include jack hammering the foundation and causing major damage at major expense.  I was glad to hear that the fix, which I had not considered, was not all that bad.  A little more testing indicated that the leak was the supply to the main distribution manifold behind the washing machine.

There was no way to find the pipe even in the yard because digging through rocks is just plain impossible.  The plan was to rent a trencher, cut the pipe at the meter and run a new PEX pipe up to the house, into the garage wall, up into the garage attic, across to the main house and down into the laundry room to tie into the manifold effectively bypassing the under-slab pipe.

As I suspected, even using a trenching machine we couldn’t dig any deeper than 6 inches so that would have to do.  A whole day of trenching later and we had a shallow cut for the supply.

I wasn’t satisfied with the blue plastic pipe going from the ground up and into the garage wall so they did a short transition to copper for better durability on an exposed pipe.  It seldom freezes in San Antonio so that shouldn’t be an issue anyway.  I went up into the garage attic and drilled a hole in the top of the wall and help run the pipe.

We had to cut the drywall in multiple places to get the not so flexible pipe to make the 90 degree bends.  I’ll fix those later myself.

They capped off the old pipe and installed an adapter to join the PEX to the existing copper pipe.

We turned on the water.  Everything worked and the leak was gone.  The cost of this project was $3,600.  I’m hoping he gave me a discount for the hours of labor I provided.  He also said if I had hired a big plumbing company it could easily have cost $6,000 or more.  Always go with the little guy first.  They work harder and care more.

My house insurance will pay for everything over $1500 so my out of pocket expense is only $1500.

Later… Insurance doesn’t seem to cover catastrophic plumbing repair.  I had to pay the whole $3600 myself.  Bastards.  What’s the point in having house insurance?  I’m not sure I’ll have anything more than Fire and Hurricane/tornado coverage on my new house.  I fix things myself and my crap isn’t worth anything so I’m wasting money on insurance.