Sure Feels Like a Travelogue

Our week is coming to an end and we will fly home tomorrow night. We will be leaving clear skies with temps in the upper 60’s and return to a recent dumping of snow and bitter cold. We will trade long leisurely walks for house bound days and snow shoveling. But we knew that was the deal when we left. And with that in mind, we definitely made the best of a great opportunity.

San Diego surpassed every expectation. Besides the incredible weather, we had surprises every where we went. Seal watching in La Jolla. Old Town San Diego with its historic streets and buildings. Balboa Park, our biggest surprise and truly a San Diego gem, with its 1400 acres and the 1915 Panama Exposition village. And lest I forget, the Hotel Del Coronado where movie stars and dignitaries have reserved its rooms since 1888. San Diego has something to offer to anyone and everyone willing to explore this city.

We wanted a quick get away and picked San Diego rather at random. We were prepared for the usual trip trip ups. You know, the less than expected accommodations, the over priced under valued tourist trap, the transportation screw up or even just bad weather. We have spent a week and never experienced a disappointment. Instead, we enjoyed exceptional accommodations, friendly people, super helpful Uber drivers and perfect weather.

We wanted to do something special for our last night so we took our Uber driver’s advice and went to Sunset Cliffs. There, with a few hundred people, we watched an incredible sunset and oohed along with the crowd as the sun slowly sank into the horizon of the Pacific Ocean. I swear we could hear it sizzle as it touched the water. And then, after a round of applause from the appreciative audience, we bid farewell to day and headed back to our hotel for one last night.

I do apologize for this shameful travelogue but San Diego is so deserving of the praise. If you haven’t already, add San Diego to your bucket list and if you have, I am betting you would gladly go back. I know I will.

It Ain’t Snowin Where I’m Goin

Being retired has its perks. One of the main ones is being able to just pick up and go. This winter hasn’t been terribly cold or terribly snowy but it’s still winter, and that means dreary days and bleak vistas. With winter offering at least two more months of the same, I decided it was time to pick up and go.

We are somewhere over Kansas on our way to California. We used a highly sophisticated process to come up with our destination. It consisted of researching the answers to three key questions. One, where do planes fly to? Turns out everywhere. Two, where is the temperature going to be higher than 60 degrees? Almost anywhere else. And three, where did the dart we threw at the map, land? San Diego. Do planes fly there? Yes. Is it warmer than 60 degrees? Yes. And so, we will have left a forecast calling for three inches of snow and seven below degrees air temperature, not to mention the wind chill, and in five mere hours will trade it for sunshine, ocean views and 65-degree weather.

It is amazing when you think about it, how small and accessible the world has become. Granted, we are not flying across the ocean to some far-off continent, though the passenger behind me will be in New Zealand sometime tomorrow, but we are crossing the U.S. in the span of a couple feature films plus commercials. Pretty cool!

This is why we work. We make a living so that we can enjoy living. Retirement, except for the age thing, is a pretty sweet gig. But having just said that, it begs also to be mentioned that it doesn’t have to wait until retirement. I mean living should happen somehow every day. We can’t take off across the country any old time, but we also don’t have to wait until we’re too old to enjoy it, to do it. Try to live a little every day and then every once and a while, fit in a chance to get away, to explore and to experience life somewhere beyond your own back yard or even better, beyond your office.

This is a bold, almost cavalier statement coming from a former financial planner, but life is like a buffet, a little of this and a little of that, but save room for dessert. We work a little, we save a little and we take some dessert now and then. Be responsible, you do need to save for a retirement at some point but live a little along the way. Maintaining balance is the key.

San Diego is going to be a lot nicer than Madison this week and I checked the weather, no snow!

Arrival San Diego

Should Have Been my First Warning

If you have been following me and read my last blog, “It Can be Fixed”, you know that I just finished the Adela chair project. Now it’s on to the next project, framed U.S. wood maps from Marking Maps. (
Inspired by my “everything wood” mentor, Larry, I decided I needed some shop supplies. With that in mind, I was off to a local large box hardware retailer, which I will leave unnamed.

First a little background. I am not one to be allowed to wander aimlessly about large stores, just ask my wife. I have a notorious record in grocery stores, see “Adventures in Grocery Shopping”. Now I was walking into another large box store with aisles that seemed to stretch to infinity and beyond, stacked floor to ceiling with merchandise, and all I needed was a few screws and some wood glue.

Never the less, I started my quest. Within a few minutes I knew I was in trouble and without a Sherpa or at least a floor guide, I might be doomed to finding the housewares department and setting up residence. After wandering several aisles with no luck in finding the hardware aisle, I stumbled into or should I say, the floor guide found me. I had run into a helpful woman who asked me what I was looking for. I think she actually asked “have you found EVERYTHING you were looking for?” My response was that I hadn’t found ANYTHING I was looking for and thus the only thing in my hand was the scrap of paper with my meager list of the prey I was hunting.

Looking at my list, she steered me to the first item, wood screws. Miraculously, I seemed I was a mere ten feet from the right aisle, actually two entire aisles of screws. Sheet metal, wood, Phillips head, flat head, star bit, brass, galvanized and of course, lengths from 1/2″ to 5″ and weight sizes from 6 to 12. I impressed my Sherpa by actually knowing the type, length and weight size I was searching for and settled on a box of galvanized, 1″, 10 weight, Phillips head wood screws. I was now ready for item two, wood glue. She looked at me and said with a smile, that would be in aisle 100. Aisle 100, seriously! Looking up at the aisle I was standing in revealed that it was numbered 367. Any chance you offer a store Garmin I asked? For my younger readers, Garmin was my generation’s breakthrough GPS tool back in the dark ages before Navigator. I managed to get solid directions from my Sherpa and headed deeper into the nether reaches of the store, wondering as I ventured, if I should be dropping random screws from my newly procured package in order to find my way back.

Lest this diatribe goes on forever, I am happy to say I eventually found aisle 100 AND my wood glue. After following my trail of screws, I found my way back to the checkout area and somehow picking up at least half a dozen impulse items along the way, paid for my prizes and headed out to the parking lot. Now if only I could remember what aisle I parked in?

Where’s the parking lot Sherpa when you need one?