October 16, 2015

Hard To Believe It's Friday

Most of the days seem the same during retirement. I remember while working that Friday was a great day because it was the start of a weekend and I LOVED weekends. It always 'felt' like Friday. Not anymore. That's fine though because I enjoy each day with good health and freedom. I guess you could say in some way for the past 18 months I've been living a "hounds life".

Our routines are consistently the same, most of the time. I admit though I do ask myself at times if I am living or just existing. I had plans after retirement when I first saw Glenn's article on Yahoo Business page, on a Friday in October 2011. I knew people traveled all over the place in RVs, many of them pass by my house. What I did not know until that day was just how many people lived full-time in their RVs and how many people traveled full-time in their RVs. The more blogs I read after that the more I wanted to do it.

So as I read more blogs, my retirement date changed from 'whenever' to the age of 62. Instead of staying where I am now, I started getting plans to travel, maybe sell out and move west where I had spent 20+ years of my life. Long time readers of my blog remember all my ideas, going back and forth on plans, etc. I'll not bore you with the details. For new readers all of that is documented in my past posts listed on the right side under 'Archives'.

So yesterday afternoon was just like most afternoons in my schedule. No plans, just do things at random. As I took the hounds outside after their meal, camera in hand, I thought I'd get the rake out of storage just in case I decided to rake some leaves. I sat the camera down and by the time I got to the backyard I decided to rake a small section. That lead to the whole back yard. That's how things go most of the time in my life of retirement.

There wasn't that many leaves but still quite a few. Unlike last year when I left them until the end after all the leaves had fallen off the trees. Last year at times I was walking in piles of leaves that were over three feet tall. It turned into multiple days of work to get rid of all of them.

I had a thought this year of doing a little every day. It only took 55 minutes to rake the backyard and burn those that were collected. There are still more leaves on the trees than on the ground so I know there is a lot of work ahead. I may have raked them yesterday but I might end up using my leaf blower next time and either mulching them or blowing them into a pile to burn.

Stella seems to influence the other hounds into laying in the yard enjoying the sunshine. Always before Winston and Sadie were always in the searching mode but while I raked the backyard yesterday all four hounds laid in the yard enjoying the sunshine. Heidi enjoyed it so much she stayed outside in the sun until I went out an hour later to bring her inside.

This morning was the same normal routine. Is it living or existing? With a college football game not starting on tv until 10:35pm last night, I was up until 3:30am and basically forced myself to go to bed instead of staying up all night. The game was over around 2am but I stayed up after the game to read news, sports, blogs then some of my book. I played around on my blog and changed the profile pictures of three of the hounds. I started to change my profile but I don't have any idea what to write, so I stopped where I did.

It's another beautiful day today, just like this past week. I am happy where I am, I enjoyed the trip we took last summer and know there are more trips planned in the future even with a 4th hound. There will be a few adjustments for storage as I had planned even before getting Stella. I might also get a bigger tent, one that I can stand in and a 8'x8' floor. I'm not sure when that will happen. Weather and finances will most likely dictate my decision.

Speaking of finances, I see where I will not be getting a pay raise this year with social security nor my government retirement check. The 'experts' claim the price of gasoline has decreased enough to validate that decision, that it cost less to live this past year so we can pay for that next year. Yet, I see the price of groceries, eating out, non food essentials going up in price every few weeks when I shop. How do they account for that?

Stella has been here long enough she is now starting to demand things like any good bloodhound does. She whines a little when she wants to eat. She will sit by my desk staring at the wall with her eyes barely open when she wants something. She is jealous and wants all the attention when I pet the other three hounds. She has claimed the couch as hers and I should feel lucky I have somewhere to sit while watching ballgames. Here is a photo of her "wanting something".

Back to that question of living or existing. Sure my retirement life could be a lot more exciting. At the same time it is exactly what I thought it would be before I read or even knew about any RV blogs. I've made the decisions I've made for some reasons I discussed here on the blog and a few reasons that are private. Basically I enjoy every day whether I do nothing but hangout or I decide on spur of the moment to go somewhere or rake the backyard.

In retirement it's the freedom that is enjoyable ... whether on the road traveling ... or doing what you want when you want at home living in a stick's 'n bricks. To me, that's living ... not just existing. I'm sure the hounds love their routine, their sleeping spots that never change, and dinner time the same every day. They have enough area in back to exercise their noses and stimulate brain cell activity ... this photo of Sadie shows there is a LOT of brain cell activity going on.

The two bloodhounds are finding out they need to play everyday ... inside or outside. At least three of the hounds crave that daily walk with Heidi doing the walk only when she feels like it.

Winston is just Winston ... he never changes from one day to the next. He has been as laidback as he is now since the day he showed up at 8 weeks old.

Heidi is feeling better and is looking better. Even though it has not been the recommended 5 weeks before improvement can be seen using the probiotics supplement. I see that her skin is looking better plus her energy levels is getting back to what she was last year before all of these health issues. She is spending more time outside.

I was thinking last week that a possible reason she is not gaining her weight back is because of her diet. Her diet of no grain food. I thought of my diet change in May when I went back to eating red meat, fish and chicken along with veggies ... but no grains. I lost weight and have maintained that 20 lbs loss after 5 months. "No grains" ... If I lost weight and maintained that loss, maybe that is why she is not gaining her weight back as her skin and health improves.

I have a close friend that emailed me yesterday after seeing Heidi's picture, saying that maybe she would gain weight by putting her back on a dog food diet that included the rice, barely ... other good grains. We were thinking the same way.

So I am going to give that a try. I've started the diet change immediately after going out to get her some Fromm dog food that includes grains with duck and duck meal as the main protein source. The other 3 hounds are on Fromm's Senior food to maintain their weight. I wanted Heidi to have a lot of fat in her diet along with high protein.

I'll note any changes in my spreadsheet along with photos. She is feeling better and is also returning to be demanding as the hound that barks for lunch for her and all the other hounds.

Another great day in retirement, even in "the tropics" of southern Indiana.

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