Back on the Chain Gang

As of Monday, August 27th, 2018, I am once again a participant in the workforce.

Bye, bye retirement!  (For now, at least.)

I got a contract for the state of Georgia in downtown Atlanta, working on old COBOL applications.  (Supporting old COBOL applications is the only thing I can do, apparently.)

Here I am, sitting in my new cube:

A shiny new employee, eager to work!

Actually that pic isn’t quite accurate, as my fading eyesight requires me to wear reading glasses if I wish to get anything done.  This is more what I look like:

What a geek!

There are some things about this job I really like.

First of all, thank God that the state is NOT into that stupid Agile methodology!  I have a cubicle to myself, and, most important of all, no silly touchy-feely daily meetings where we techie types are forced to “explain” ourselves to business analysts, managers, guardians of the agile methodology, and other busybodies.

Just tell me what you want, when you’d like to have it done by, and leave me alone, please!

Instead of sitting at a table with five other people, I sit here:

This is MY CUBICLE!! I do NOT share it with anyone else!

I get a nice hourly rate, (but not quite as good as that wonderful job I had late last year), I work with good folks, and it appears that the job itself won’t be very stressful.

That’s all the good stuff.  There’s some bad stuff too …..

First of all, the contract is in downtown Atlanta, so travel time is a problem.  Atlanta traffic is a nightmare!

To mitigate this, (and because there is NO WAY I can realistically commute everyday from Macon!), I am staying in Atlanta during the week.  That is absolutely HORRIBLE for Sweetie and the kids.  But barring the sudden influx of a huge chunk of loot into our bank accounts, I need a good paying job, and there weren’t any such jobs in Macon for me.

The final negative is the cost of staying over in Atlanta.  Rents here are ridiculously high!  Because Sweetie didn’t want me staying in a crack-head neighborhood, and because I wanted a place where I could walk to the metro in the morning, (so I wouldn’t have to drive in to work everyday), my monthly rent includes a comma in it!  OUCH!!

So, the jury is out as to whether this job will pan out over the long term.  But in the meantime, I’m no longer retired.

Now if I could only figure out how to make money online ……


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Retired Again ……. and Going Broke!!

As luck would have it, my “dream contract”, (an easy job right down the street for a ridiculously high rate), came to an end, and on April 1st, (a highly appropriate date!), I found myself unemployed again.

We’ve been spending money this year like gold coins simply fall out of the sky into our outstretched hands, parting with huge globs of loot when we remodeled our kitchen, continued to rebuild the house that Lolo built in R.M., Zambo del Sur, Philippines, and were forced to cough up nearly $6,000.00 when our air-conditioner died.  (It is NOT possible to live a comfortable life in central Georgia without air-conditioning!)  I have been looking for another contract since the last one ended, but to date, (late July 2018), I have only had a few interviews, but no job offers.

So ….. after an abortive attempt to sell life insurance, (IF you happen to live in Georgia, and IF you happen to be in the market for life insurance, I’d love to give you a quote  –  nah, I HATE insurance sales), I’m back to trying to earn money on the internet.

For the past few months I’ve been putzing around with Bitcoin, earning pennies a day, (literally!), via various faucets.  If that sounds interesting to you, check out my Bitcoin page.  Getting fractions of a Bitcoin this way won’t make you rich, but it’s a good way to learn about cryptocurrency without losing money.

But I do need to earn some serious cash, so I’ve had to go back to internet sales.  As you may know, my last attempt at building up an affiliate marketing business was foiled by the turkeys at Bluehost.  Ever since that fiasco I’ve let my webpages deteriorate, (I haven’t posted here in months!), but now, infused with fresh enthusiasm, I am ready to give internet marketing a go again.

I have lots of cleanup work to get out of the way, (dead links / webpages), but once that is complete I’ll be adding a new page highlighting our latest venture: selling teeshirts via teespring.

Wish us luck!


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I’m a Failure!!

Well, I guess sooner or later I was gonna have to ‘fess up, and admit that I totally FAILED at retirement.

The pressures of the complete lack of health care insurance, (thanks for NOTHING, stupid Obamacare!), and the disappointment over the loss of my Tea-Universe websites, (thanks for NOTHING, stupid BlueHost!), combined with the huge waste of time that “investing” in online HYIPs turned out to be, and the aggravations of daily babysitting a three year old, turned out to be too much for this grumpy old man to handle.  So ….. I got a job!

It’s a very good job, by the way.  (MUCH better than I deserve!)  It’s only 3.5 miles from home, (I come home for lunch – woo hoo!!), and is a high paying hourly contract.  The rub, of course, is that since it’s a contract it could end abruptly at any moment, but considering that I was initially planning to work for $10/hour or less at a local retail establishment, I am very, very grateful for it.

With luck this contract will last for a long, long time, or at least long enough to pay off some end-of-year bills and “splurge” spending.

I don’t know what next year will bring, whether I’ll still be working, or “retired” again, but I’m very glad that I did take three months off to spend time with my family.  (My job started in early November.)  Though I may bitch about “having” to babysit my younger son, the time we spent together was priceless, and almost makes up for me being mostly out of his life for 15 months due to working out of town.

Life is good!

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So Far, So Good …..

As September comes to a close, we are more-or-less on budget.  I haven’t gotten new tires for my car yet, and health costs, thanks to our crappy Obamacare insurance, are a pain, but since August we’ve spent $10,000.00, which at $5,000.00 / month, is exactly what we had planned.  If we can stick to that for the rest of the year we’ll be in pretty good shape.

Yes, Obamacare sucks!*  This el cheapo insurance we got is extremely affordable, but unfortunately it is NOT accepted by any health providers here in Macon, Georgia.  Just what the hell good is health insurance that no one accepts?

A sinus congestion crud, accompanied by a severe cough, has been circulating in our household all month.  The choking snot with the cough causes the boys to vomit; I’ve gotten accustomed to cleaning up all manner of barf.  (Yuck!)  I caught the crud soon after Labor Day, and due to incessant hacking haven’t been able to sleep well but two or three nights all month!  I’ve also only managed to go to the gym three times this month, which is disgraceful and irritating.

Despite all this, (and despite me feeling like grumpy zombie from lack of sleep – stupid cough!), on the 16th we drove to Ellijay, about an hour north of Atlanta, to go apple picking.  It was lots of fun, and even though I in particular was feeling especially cruddy, we all had a great time!

Maybe because I’ve been so sleepy and under-the-weather, I spent lots and lots of time puttering around with BitCoin sites this month.  Whether this will be a fruitful endeavor, or a waste or time and money, remains to be seen.

I’m getting used to staying home and being around the kids now.  The time I’ve spent with Dodong in particular has been priceless.  This “retirement” gig is highly enjoyable.  I hope we can work the finances so that I can make it permanent, rather than going back to work some time next year.  It may be that, thanks to that despicable Obamacare, we have to move to the Philippines because of health insurance costs.  So be it; it’s a big world, and if we Americans are stupid enough to piss in our beds by giving our government even more ability to meddle in our lives, then I suppose it’s time to find somewhere else to live.**


* – To be fair, the problem may not be Obamacare at all, but rather Blue Cross, Blue Shield of Georgia, who created the healthcare plan that I (foolishly) signed up for. They made is so “cost effective” that no doctors will touch it!

** – Yeah, yeah, somebody’s grumpy today. (I’m ill, remember?) We don’t have any plans to leave the USA soon, which, despite all it’s problems, is still “the best house in a bad neighborhood.” I’ll just have to pick a better health insurance plan in January, and accept the fact that it will cost two or three times as much as the useless plan we have now.

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Fiscal Follies, and What To Do About It?

I suppose it was only a matter of time before reality stuck its big nose into our “budget“, and sneezed all over it.  Now that the spending has commenced, we’re starting to bleed money.  Sigh ……

I realize this was inevitable; I just didn’t expect it to happen so soon.

The first hit came curtesy of Lola’s teeth.  Due to various stupid laws currently in affect in our country, it’s not possible to get her health insurance at a reasonable cost.  So, she has no health insurance.  She also has, at the moment, rotten teeth.

As I write this, she is at the dentist’s office, having three teeth pulled.  Yes, it would be nice to have one or two of these bad teeth drilled-and-filled, rather than pulled, but we don’t have the money for that now.  As it is, getting three teeth pulled will cost us $450.00.*  Now that is on top of the exam and x-ray costs, so this little dental adventure will easily cost us over $600.00.

I also had some dental work done, (an old filling-gone-bad replaced by a new one), but since I had it done yesterday, the last day our old health insurance is still in effect, the cost was mostly covered by insurance.

The next fiscal punch hasn’t landed just yet, but it will any day now.  This hit involves another financial black hole, namely, an automobile.  I took my car in for an oil change yesterday, (another expense, but at least an expected one), and was informed that it is in desperate need of new tires.  The quote I got for four new tires was $450.00.  Ugh! **

So, as you can see, we will easily be $1,000.00 over budget this month.  Ouch!

Okay, so what should I do about it, other than bitch-and-moan?  (Which, while enjoyable in its own right, doesn’t help pay the bills.)

My first knee-jerk reaction is to panic, and attempt to line up a well paying contract here, there, or anywhere.  I am an old COBOL programmer, and although this skill is rapidly becoming obsolete, there are still COBOL jobs to be found that pay very well.  The problem is that, unless I am very lucky, any COBOL job I get will be out of town, and working out of town has its own financial and, even more disturbingly, emotional costs.  (One of the main reasons I “retired” was to come back home to my family, instead of living during the week on the other side of the state.)

At the other end of the spectrum, I could just stay home and “make money on the internet“.  Unfortunately, although I have tried off-and-on for several years now to get some sort of online cash flow going, the only “flow” that is really happening with regards to the internet is money flowing from me to my ISP, web host, and other assorted silliness.  My attempts at online affiliate marketing have been disastrous, with the latest bellyflop being the nonsense Bluehost recently pulled on me.

Somewhere between these extremes would be to find an entry level  job, full-time or part-time, here in Macon.  (Bank teller?  Pizza delivery guy?)  Of course, I’d no longer be “retired”, but that’s okay.  I don’t think I will ever be permanently retired, as long as I’m breathing!

* – Update: she only had one tooth pulled.  Cost us $250.00.  But ….. the kicker is that in 6 weeks she will need gum work done to save the other two teeth, which will cost at least $350.00.  Ugh!  So we saved a little now, only to spend more in the near future.

** – The links in this paragraph are obviously a homage to Dave Ramsey.  Follow his advice: KILL DEBT!!


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A Big Problem Potentially Solved?

Retirement, while GREAT, doesn’t come without its own set of problems.  Probably the biggest, ugliest, hairiest beast of a problem of all is just how the heck to afford health insurance.

As you may know from the seat-of-the-pants budget from our previous post, we do have the option of using COBRA, at the ridiculous cost of $1,200.00 per month!  Good grief!  That means we would be spending $1,2000 each and every month, even if every single one of us had perfect health, and we never even stepped into a doctor’s office!

I don’t suppose it takes a genius to realize that this expense will eat through our savings at a monstrously rapid pace.

Obamacare to the Rescue?

Like most other folks stuck in this predicament, I turned to the ACA, (Affordable Care Act), for help, and like some of them, it seems to offer us financial relief.  I found a reasonable insurance plan that covered all of us for a reasonable cost, (about $370.00/month), and went ahead and signed up for it.

That was last Thursday, August 10, 2017.  My credit card was billed, and I received a confirmation email, but I won’t feel completely at ease with this until I receive our insurance cards.

Why?  Let me ask you a question: have you ever tried to use the website?

While I personally didn’t have problems with poor response times, or, (God forbid!), the website crashing while I used it, I can tell you that subtle differences in how you answer the myriad questions asked, (many of which are subjective, by the way), DRASTICALLY affects what kind of coverage and subsidies you’ll be offered.  For example, the first time I tried to wade through this mess, I was informed that our two children did NOT qualify for subsidized insurance, and that we would have to sign them up under Medicaid.  Yuck!

This just seems to be a “feature” of, as other folks have had similar troubles, as eloquently expressed here: “PITFALLS AND SUBSIDIES WHILE SIGNING UP FOR AFFORDABLE CARE ACT COVERAGE“.  (And it seems that things haven’t improved much since early 2016!)  I guess the only way to work with that silly site is to just keep tweaking your answers until you get a result you are happy with?

At any rate, it appears our health insurance difficulties might be solved, God willing and the creek don’t rise.

On to tackle our next challenge!

Update: 0n Friday, 08/18/2017, our insurance cards showed up in our mailbox.  Here’s a pic of what we got, (with most useful info covered up, unfortunately, because it is PERSONAL!):

This stuff seems legit, folks.  Hooray!!

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