Old Dog, New Budget
So here we go, entering the Wonderful Water Park of Later Life, splashing and giggling down the slippery slope into the years of total immersion in Blessed Retirement.
The faucet by which the hot tub of spendable dollars will fill is pretty much a known trickle in the absence of the monthly salary stream. The volume of outflows– the leaks, the sudden catastrophic emptying–OTOH is both a known and an unknown figure.
We can calculate what we usually spend and what we usually owe in regularly-occurring bills each year, divide that by twelve and approximate a monthly budget.Â Fine and dandy.
But the unexpected, inevitable death of major appliances, of vehicles or for home repairs–all live insideÂ a black hole. And of course we face the increasing probability of medical expenses over and above what the best combination of SS plus Supplemental will cover. We’re quite healthy at the moment. But…
These leaks, the Great Flushing, can happen as quickly as the Titanic hitting an iceberg–and so it makes those of us in the Jacuzi of the Golden Years necessarily cautious about what would once have been significant but not sleep-depriving decisions.
And yet, there may be no serious leaks at all. Being fearful of ever taking a dipper out of the pool for travel, for desirable but non-critical extras, for “fun” because we cant be sure if there will be enough left after the iceberg: that’s the conundrum of new reality. And there have already been a couple of challenges to float this dilemma to bubbly surface along with the rubber duckies.
A month ago, my old beat-up 1997 Dodge Dakota truck seemed doomed to become scrap metal. What would we do about replacing it? Could we live without a truck while we still collect maybe 30% of our winter firewood with the truck and haul mulch, and do country-living kinds of things that can’t be done with a Subaru? Long story short: a friend, bless his heart, worked miracles and resurrected the old girl. Our dreaded expense is deferred at least until spring.
Then, in the past two weeks, my main computer, an early 2008 MacPro, has been making the death rattle. So I am in mid-angst about what to do about this, given the known unknowns and the unknown unknowns of fixed income.
The new Retina-display iMacs would be the logical, cost-is-no-objectÂ move from the ancient MacPro. Beautiful machine. But Ouch!
So I figure, against that kind of leakage, I need to go back to work–me, a great catch at 66. Got my own teeth and some hair left. So I have been practicing for some while now, knowing this moment would come. I don’t know where yet, but I’m ready to re-enter the workforce!
Do I want a little hat and a hairnet; a long white apron; or a blue vest and hushpuppies? It will be a tough decision. But that iMac will be mine in just three years of full-time work! Practice! Practice!
“You want fries with that?”
“Paper or plastic?”
“Thank you for shopping at Walmart!”