Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Fats Domino

Antoine "Fats" Domino, February 26, 1928 to October 24, 2017. Fats died today at the great old age of 89. A New Orleans musician who remained true to his roots, Fats was a great asset to his city. He lived in the Lower Ninth Ward where Hurricane Katrina did her most damage, sweeping whole blocks of houses right off their foundations in the middle of the night of August 23. 2005. Fats' house survived the blast of water bur remained partially submerged and he had to be rescued by firemen who cut through the roof to rescue him from his attic. Fats helped out his fellow New Orleans musicians by starting a fund to replace the musical instruments lost in the hurricane. 

Here is a quote from my Blog on the day we visited the Lower Ninth Ward:

Fats Domino’s House
Here is Fats Domino’s house and studio. It is right in the Lower Ninth Ward district as Fats wanted to live with the people who put him into stardom. The first floor of the house was submerged by Katrina and Fats, who wanted to stay in his house and studio and “ride out” the storm, had to be rescued through the roof of the house. He intends to move back into the house after repairs are completed. Fats started a fund to replace instruments of New Orleans musicians that were lost in the hurricane. His fund has generated over $300,000. Here is his house with his studio attached. It looks almost ready for the big guy to move back in. Ironically, one of Fats’ big hits was Blue Monday and it was on a Monday that Katrina struck his house!


Friday, October 20, 2017

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

How Much Does An (our) RV Cost?

Aside from gas, parking costs and the purchase price, how much does it cost to use and maintain an RV? A few years ago our friends George and Suzi told us to count on $2,000 per year for maintenance and repairs. Our costs have been slightly higher but I include everything to do with the motorhome in my "RV Maintenance & Repairs" Quicken account. This includes updating equipment like GPS's. inverters, adding solar panels, kitchen appliances, TV's, satellite receivers, car washes, even flashlight batteries. Everything to do with the RV.

Over ten years I have paid out $28,600 in this category. This is $2,860 per year. We use our RV a lot. We do not fulltime but when we travel, we travel hard. Mexico is hard on RV's once you get off the toll roads and even the toll roads leading down to the Yucatan are just a series of connected potholes. Things are always falling and banging around. We travel on lots of secondary roads down there where topes hide around every corner and the jungle reaches out onto the road to scratch the paint and sweep the roof.

The above costs include the costs of one accident that required a new roof. Insurance paid most of this but our costs were still around $1,000 with the deductible and upgrading the broken solar panel. Last year was a specially expensive year with all the electrical problems we had driving south in November. This pulled the average up a bit. These years occur fairly often when we have to replace tires (+/- $1,500) and four six volt batteries (+/- $400) This occurs every four or five years.

So George and Suzi's $2,000 figure has proven to be pretty accurate for "normal" wear and tear. Costs have gone up since he gave me this advice and we are probably a little harder on our equipment than they are.

Costs I did not include include RV Parks at $35,100 or $3,500 per year and gas at $38,500 or $3,850 per year. Adding everything together to get the full cost comes to $102,200 over the ten years or $10,220 per year. This has provided us with a six month long "vacation" every year, not bad value for for the money. because the last couple of friends who have taken short European Vacations have faced costs of close to $1,000 PER DAY including air fares, hotels and restaurants. I know this is extreme and are admittedly short 2 - 3 week trips but still... There is no more "Europe On $15 Per Day".

The actual cost of the RV is an interesting discussion as well. We were very lucky. We found a three year old but unused Class C in El Paso, Texas for $54,000 in 2008 when the Canadian dollar was at par. Repossessed from a bankrupt dealer, it had 4000 miles on it from the delivery to Texas and the factory stickers were still on the appliances. This has had a huge effect on keeping the value of this investment. I have kept an eye of the current value of this rig over the years and feel confident that I could sell it for around $38 - $40K Canadian now so my ownership cost has been only about $1,500 per year!

This is a drawing one of the guys at work did of me when I retired.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Sitting Ducks

Well, sitting pigeons anyway. The most peaceful feeders around our bird feeders are the pigeons. They do not hang onto the sides of the feeders, spilling seed all over but rather just hang around on the ground under them waiting for the Blue Jays to attack the feeders and cause spills.

That is what they were doing yesterday. One of them was calmly feeding off the ground when WOOSH a hawk came down out of the sky and killed it in about five seconds! The hawk then proceeded to eat it's kill right there! I got the camera and took a few shots through the kitchen window and then tried to open the front door to get a clearer shot. The hawk heard me, grabbed the dead pigeon and took off, leaving no evidence of the carnage except a few feathers which soon blew away.

Life is fleeting but hawks have to survive as well I guess. Here is Mr (or Ms) Hawk's version of Pigeon Pie

Monday, October 9, 2017

Vents R Us

One of the problems that was revealed when we had the roof vents added was that the dormer over the porch had no way for outside air to get in and the soffits we had installed did not reach up there. It needed some gable end venting. I ordered these a week ago from Windsor plywood and they came in on Friday. Not cheap at $65 each but nothing is cheap anymore. One would have provided sufficient airflow but it needed two to look balanced.

I climbed up, cut a couple of one foot square holes in the aluminum siding and screwed them on. It was not as simple as it looked and ended up taking most of the afternoon but what the heck, I am retired and my time is worth nothing. 😀

Saturday, October 7, 2017


Well, my vow to stop spending on the house lasted until the under cabinet light bar over the stove fell and broke. It was held on with double face tape and failed after twenty some years. Who would have expected that? Canadian Tire had some nice LED units on sale, $40 marked down from $60 so I bought two, one for over the sink as well to replace the dim one that was there. They were not simple to install, being designed to replace wired in units and me not being as agile as I once was. I had to sacrifice two short extension cords and add a couple of small switches I bought on a whim from eBay a while ago. I drilled a few holes and hid the wires inside the cupboards. They work great and give out way more light than I expected (900 lumens - whatever they are). They say they will last 32 years. Not sure I will! :)

Thursday, October 5, 2017

An Expensive Summer!

Wow, that was an expensive summer! We had the porch put on, the roof re-done and a new front door! Even with the HUGE "Brooks Discount" it still came to over $16,000 total. We managed to do it without dipping into the "Rainy Day Fund" but it was tough and I got a few glares from Norma when I told her we could not afford a few unnecessary expenses right now. But everything is done now and the house will last a few more years. The only things still outstanding is a new back door which will cost about $300 and I will install myself with the confidence I gained by closely watching what the front door installer did. We also have to add two gable end vents to the dormer above the porch. another DIY project.

So the decision to stay home this winter has several parts. One is certainly financial but that is not the most important factor. We could easily afford it if we dipped into the "Fund" for a few thousand. And yes, I agree that we are not getting any younger and should travel while we can.

The second reason is that we have not really been home for a winter or perhaps even more important, for a Christmas since 2002 when Norma retired. It is time to get together with family for the holidays.

Number three is our pending trip to Dublin, Ireland in July for our great nieces wedding. This has two parts. One is obviously financial as it only makes sense to stay in Europe for a while before or after the wedding and that will add to the bill. Maybe we will fly to one of the Greek Islands or to Malta and relax in the Mediterranean sun for a few weeks. Norma's dad is from the Isle Of Man which is just a ferry trip from Dublin so we will visit there as well. The other reason is Canada's rules about only being allowed to be away for seven months out of any twelve month period. If we are away longer than seven months we would lose our government subsidized health insurance.

Reason number four is TRUMP. I simply do not want to spend any money in the USA right now. I so disagree with everything this asshole does that I will not encourage him by adding to the US economy. US citizens, come to your senses!

So, there you have it. We will shiver in the cold this winter while giving Trump "the finger" from afar!