THE RETIRED OLD GUY: Best Laid Plans

Praise the Lord from the Retired Old Guy.

I know that we’ve all heard the old saying about the best laid plans. Sometimes the best laid plans just don’t work out the way you had planned. In my case, we bought a couple of rental properties with the thought in mind that at some point we would resell them and hopefully make a return on our investment. Well one was a duplex and it is now empty on both sides and we are planning to put it on the market. The problem is that there is an awful lot of work that needs to be done to the property before we can put it on the market. You hear a lot of talk about renter’s rights and I believe that they should be treated correctly. I’ve always tried to make sure my renters have had working appliances and good heat and air and anytime something went wrong I tried to make sure it got fixed as quickly as possible. So, is it too much to ask for my property to be returned to me in the same, or at least nearly the same, condition as when they moved in?

My problem, mostly, is age. I’m older now and it takes me about twice as long to get things done as it used to. It doesn’t matter what it is, painting a room or fixing a floor, or whatever, it just takes time, a lot more time than it used to. So, I have to paint and probably I’m going to need to change out the flooring, and repair other things in order to get it ready to sell. Granted the selling market is still pretty good, but the time and money invested is going to be pretty high. Of course, if I wasn’t going to sell it, these things would have to be done anyway, so the cost is just what it is. Period. When we took on this investment idea we never thought that far ahead to take in to consideration our ages, health issues and how it would affect us getting things ready for resell.

The answer may be to hire some things done, but again at this time the labor costs are booming and the work force is lagging, so we are kind of over a barrel. Yet all in all it may be worth it to hire it done, even if we have to get on a list and wait our turn for them to be available to do the job. The extra cost will cut into our retirement money, but the market is good enough to cover it.

Back to the old saying, the plan was to buy low and resell after the market went up with no thought of the extra work that would be going into the projects. The best laid plan just wasn’t thought out well enough. Oh well, we’ll live with it and take what we can get out of it and be happy with where we’re at. Things could always be worse. The truth is, I’d rather be fishing!!!

 

 

 

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THE RETIRED OLD GUY: Family Always

Praise the Lord from The Retired Old Guy!

As you get along in life so many things change, but of course some things never change. The love of your children never changes nor does the love for your spouse. I guess that has changed since it gets better and stronger with the passing years. Yet many things will and do change. The everyday sounds of a bustling, active, lively and sometimes annoying family will come to a halt. Oh, there will still be times of rambunctious activities like Christmas or Thanksgiving, but the everyday experiences of life with children does go away for the most part. I can tell you it’s a mixed bag since I know today I couldn’t keep pace with the family that I miss, but often wish I could still hear the sounds of their laughter and getting ready for the day ahead. You’ll never be able to replace that experience but maybe you redirect it to something else. That brings me to my JoJo!

JoJo

JoJo is my ever-faithful fur baby. He’s been a joy to me and my wife ever since we first laid eyes on him. He was just a few weeks old and so white and fluffy. He looked a lot like a little snowball with a little tongue that was so eager to greet you and get to know you. It was, for me at least, love at first lick. We took him home and gave him a name and he became a part of our family. We bought him toys, beds, and any number of things that we felt he would need and he bounced around us and loved us as only he could. He became a new kind of joy in our lives. We were a new kind of family. Yet even these things change after a few years.

JoJo Relaxing

My wife’s sister came into the possession of a little rescue dog. Shortly after he came into her life she was diagnosed with lung cancer which pretty quickly took her from us. She asked us if we would take care of Buzz, which we agreed to do and now we are four. Poor Buzz must have been somewhat mistreated somewhere in his short life and my sister-in-law hadn’t had him long enough to really get him to become accepting of the human race, so the battle began. Buzz was shy and not very trusting at all, but you could tell from the start that he longed for human companionship in his life. He wanted to like you and be liked, but he just wasn’t sure. Plus, JoJo wasn’t very sure what this other creature was doing in his home. He was taking time away from his cuddles and attention. There was going to be a time of getting used to each other, for sure.

Buzz

The time has passed now to more than a year since Buzz has come into the family and there are still times of wariness between the two, but there are times of acceptance also. Buzz seems to understand that JoJo was here first and is the alpha dog and JoJo, at least sometimes, understands that Buzz is here to stay, so they coexist. JoJo is still the loving lap dog he’s always been and Buzz will come to rub his head on your hand or you neck wanting that loving pat or return rub from us. They are happy and we are family.

Buzz Chilling

Don’t get me wrong, they don’t supply the noise or activity that was with us as our children were growing up, but they do impart a sense of family, fulfilling a place in our day that is joyful and even needed. They make us be responsible for them and give us a new kind of purpose in life different than children, but better than being alone. They’re my fur babies and I’m glad they’re around.

 

 

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THE RETIRED OLD GUY: Getting Goodies!

Praise the Lord from The Retired Old Guy.

Every child lights up with smiles and joy when they get a gift or something that is new to them. As the child in me gets ready to open the new package of fly-tying goodies I just received, there is a smile on my face. The excitement brought on by getting some new things to work with just makes my day special. I just can’t help it. Fly tying brings happiness into my life, so getting new things to work with is automatically a joyful event.

Today, I got several packages of sculpin wool to play with. Personally, I’ve never used this material before, but have seen it used on a YouTube video or two and liked what I had saw, so I wanted to give it a try. I know some of you probably have used the product before, but for me getting to try a new material on some flies is just real exciting. I will follow the videos I’ve seen on the use of it, but it’s just my nature to come up with uses that I haven’t seen yet. Some uses will work quite well, I’m sure, and some will fail miserably, but the intrigue and enthusiasm will over shadow all failures. I mean, you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.

1st fly with new material!

Making flies by following an exact pattern will usually create a fly that is highly successful, but the thrill of catching a fish on a fly that you have modified and made your own is extra special. I’m sure most of my ideas have already been tried and there probably isn’t many new ways to change the good old stand-by flies, but still every twist I give to one that works for me is special.

Used the sculpin olive, tan, and the finesse body chenille in tan brown thread.

Well it’s time for a little vise therapy now to begin playing with my new toys. The next few hours and days will be fun and hopefully rewarding as I create new morsels for my trout friends. I can’t wait to take some new creations to the river and get them wet. Man, this is fun!!

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The Retired Old Guy; Making Memories

Praise the Lord from The Retired Old Guy.

As with any other person, time for retired people is special. We know our years, maybe even days, are numbered. Being able to spend quality time with quality people is a pinnacle event of my day. This is exactly how my day developed today.

My day started early, as nearly every day does. Coffee made, dogs taken outside, Bible reading done along with prayer and then the wait. Today, I was going to one of my favorite spots with some of my favorite people, a couple of my grandsons. My boys and I were headed to the Spring River to do a little trout fishing. They are just beginning to appreciate fly fishing and today we were going to put in some practice on the river. We had a two-hour drive to get there and of course two more to get home with about four hours planned for fishing. That’s eight hours of quality time with my boys. Sounded perfect to me.

The success of the day wasn’t counted in the number of fish we caught. We caught a few and both boys felt the excitement as the fish took the fly, as well as the feel of the bent rod with a fish in tow. There were times of tangled lines and lost nymphs to the bottom. There were times of casting instruction and praises for many good casts executed. Nets got wet and applause given for fish retrieved. Trout were released for future attempts of catching again.

Catching fish wasn’t the highlight of my day, but the time spent with these boys was the real reward. We spent time talking to each other. We talked about fishing and about differences in time from my life to their lives. We talked about family and of times past. We talked about school and their education. Both are still in school, one in high school and the other in college. We also planned future trips to the river, not just this river, but other rivers to fish new waters. Hopefully we were making memories. There will be a time when I’m no longer around and memories will be all that they have of me. I want them to have memories of good times and good conversations that they can relate to their own children. For me, I’ll carry the memories of this day onward until my end of life.

Oh, the joy that filled my soul as I spent this special time with my boys – the fish caught and the time in between the fish being caught. This was a good day for this old retired guy!

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The Retired Old Guy: Some History

I think it’s time to give a little more background on my stomping grounds. Arkansas is a land full of good fishing and hunting. Although I love the lure of trout fishing with a fly rod, I know that there aren’t any trout that are native to our state. Bass, crappie, bream, catfish and other species are and always have been prevalent in our state. Changes came in the 1940’s with the vision of great dams being constructed along the White river. With the changes of the river and water conditions, a program to replace the warm-water fish and the economy that surrounded that was replaced with the trout. The program was a success with the White River becoming a great trout fishing destination. The Little Red river, the Spring river and a few more would also become an important part of that fishing experience. There have been world-record fish taken at times from both the White and the Little Red rivers. The quality of trout fishing has been tremendous and has opened the door to many who probably would have never chased the beautiful trout had not the program been introduced to help replace the economic impact of changing the river habitat.

Although at one time deer hunting had hit rock bottom in our state, it now is alive and well along with turkey and many small game; and not to forget, some of the best duck hunting in America. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has done an admirable job in making our hunting experience in our state a good one. That being said, there is still much work to be done and challenges to face such as CWD in our deer and elk herds. This isn’t just an Arkansas problem, but a problem that’s across the country. Speaking of elk, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the annual elk hunt and limited bear hunting we have in the state.

From a personal stand point my son owns a few acres of wooded land that we hunt deer and turkey on. We’ve even had a bear show up on the game camera in the past, although the bear population has really not grown enough to heavily impact our area. The Spring river is our go-to river for trout fishing, but we are with in a reasonable driving distance to the Little Red and the White rivers.

For this retired old guy, I try to get to both the fishing areas and hunting land as often as I can. It’s the best way I know to spend my time outside of being with my family, but I can and do spend a lot of time with them fishing and hunting as well.

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The Retired Old Guy: woodworking

Before I retired I had this sort of dream of creating some beautiful pieces of wood items. Woodworking was a retirement hobby I thought I could use to take up some of my time. Well woodworking wasn’t a complete failure, but something I have not started, as of yet.

I’ve had an interest in woodworking it seems forever. I’ve even invested some money into a little equipment. With that said, I haven’t really gotten into it with any urgency. Now, it’s not that I haven’t done anything. I did build a roll around cabinet for my air compressor. I’ve also used some of my “skills” in working on some rent properties I own but to say that I’ve really gotten into woodworking would be a stretch.

I don’t really know why I haven’t become more excited about it really. Building has been in my family for many years. My grandfather worked some in construction as well as working in some lumber mills at various times. My mom told me that there was a time when he was recruited by other mills. I don’t know what really happened there but the memories I have are of him working in construction of homes. My uncles and a cousin were also in construction. I guess working with wood was in some ways bound to make its presence known in my genes at some point.

I’m Well I tried my hand at it to some degree, as I said, I did build a nice roll around cart. I also have made a few boxes for storages and at least a couple to be used as jewelry-type boxes. Although I was somewhat happy with them the completion of them just didn’t really give me as much fulfillment as I thought it would. Maybe at some point in the future it will. Maybe I’ll come back and put more of myself into it but for now I’d rather be fishing!!

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The Retired Old Guy: Gardening Failure

Praise the Lord everyone. The Retired Old Guy here.

I’ve pointed out some things that I have chosen to occupy my time through retirement. There are things I really enjoy and plan on spending more and more time doing, but there are a few things that I do that haven’t been so great. There are things that I thought I’d be more into, but just haven’t really got me as excited as I thought they would. One of those has been working in my yard.

My mom was enthusiastic about working in her flower gardens. I mean right up into her mid 80s she would spend hours out digging and preparing her many beds for her flowers for that year. She spent many days weeding and watering her beds in order to have beautiful results in the spring and summer. Needless to say, I thought I’d do the same. After all, she was my mother and I had to have received some of those genes at birth, but alas it wasn’t to be.

My attempts were hindered by several things. The first being that I live on an acre of land that has a large amount of very large trees. I’ve found that many flowers may live in the shade, but won’t thrive. They may stay green, but won’t bloom like they should, therefore their beauty never really shows. I’ve also found that there is a limited amount of plants that do thrive in the shade and most of those are mostly excellent foliage plants. I’ve been limited to those selections and I am missing out on the beautiful flowering plants that graced my mom’s back yard.

Another drawback has been my physical body. After having knee replacement, I just haven’t been able to get up and down like I use to. I also can’t get on my knees for any length of time without pain which hinders my gardening attempts. I also am easily affected by the heat. I think I may be more affected because of my 40 plus years of working in meat cutting. I’ve spent most of my life in 40-degree or cooler temps for long periods of time and I think my body has just adjusted itself to that kind of environment. Now I know many of you may think that’s just an excuse, but it’s a pretty good excuse, and that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Now, I do spend a certain amount of time working in the yard. There is mowing to be done and some watering of plants, but it’s not to the extent that I had imagined it would be upon retirement.

The fact that I feel my gardening, in my mind, has been deemed a failure, I still have plans to continue the effort. I have formulated a plan for this coming fall to move some plants in hopes that they will get a little more sun and maybe give me a few good blooms that I can enjoy. I’m hoping that mom will be able to look down on my efforts and smile as I try to remember her successes and the beauty of her back yard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Retired Old Guy: Keeping Faith

Praise the Lord! The Retired Old Guy here.

One thing retirement has done is to take away some excuses. No longer can you say, “man I would but I’ve got to work” or “it’s been a long day at work and I’m just can’t make it tonight”. All work excuses are forever gone. I have found that to be the most true when it comes to my walk with the Lord.

Many years ago, actually in 1973, I gave my life to the lord Jesus. I repented of my sins, was baptized in Jesus name and filled with the Holy Ghost. It has forever changed my life and I am so thankful. He’s brought me a long way since then, through good and bad times. He blessed me with a good job, a great family and good health for many years. I, on the other hand, like so many others, haven’t been as committed to doing for him as I should have been. This is totally on me and I knew that, so as I retired I knew I just didn’t have any excuses anymore. The truth is the excuses I used were almighty thin anyway, so I made a new commitment to God and myself. It’s never too late to renew your commitment to the Lord and start fresh in your life. I’ve committed myself to do better, to get to know my Lord better. He died for me and I never want to take that for granted. I’m at the age in life where I just can’t do everything that my mind wants to do. There are time when I know my body just won’t let me do some things, but the things I can do, I can try to do better.

My pastor and son preaching the word!

In my new commitment, I’ve given my early morning time to the Lord. I wake up each morning and follow pretty much the same routine. I take my fur babies out, get coffee and tea water going and settle in to getting closer to Jesus. I start by reading four or five chapters of the Bible. I read the Bible through each year – or at least that’s my goal. While reading, if certain verses stand out to me and I feel I need to go more in depth, then I go to my reference materials and search out the subject. The Bible must work together as a whole unit. Every verse must agree with every other verse and if I don’t quite understand how a verse does that then I must study it out until I see it clearly. You not only need to read the word but you need to understand what it’s saying to you. “2 Timothy 2:15: Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” I also mark these verses, so I can come back to them if I feel the need. This part of my commitment helps me understand the Lord better and his will for my life.

I read then I spend some time talking to him. Some may ask why read first then pray? Well, I find that reading sometimes affects the way I pray. It also sometimes gives me a direction in the way I pray. It helps increase my faith before I pray. Reading of all the things that He has done for the faithful helps to increase my faith that he is working for me and my prayers the same way. He hasn’t raised any dead for me and I haven’t performed any great miracles, but, yet, I know He is working in my life and the lives of my family.

Pray for me and pray for revival in our nation. We both need it greatly. Until next time, may God bless you.

This time may be a small amount of time as the day goes, but it the most important time of the day for me. The important part is being consistent with it. Don’t miss a day of getting closer to Jesus. The time may change but the effort is going to be there at some point during the day. There are times during the day when I feel the need to say a prayer again for some need or just to give thanks. There are times he puts something into my mind that I feel the need to look up and search out. I feel all these things are bringing me closer to him and making me more receptive to his will and understanding of this word to me.

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The Retired Old Guy: Fly Tying

Praise the Lord! The Retired Old Guy here.

Fly fishing has not only brought me many hours of happiness at a river, but has spun off another hobby to consume some retirement time. Fly tying has been a fascination to me for many years. I first started dabbling in fly tying in the late seventies. I am self-taught, so I would never think of myself as anything but a novice tier. I read several books and followed many illustrations for instruction to learn the craft. Many flies are fairly simple and don’t take a lot of material but others take a bit more time, material and finesse to accomplish. I’ve had some luck learning a little of both types. In the hands of an expert, fly tying is very much an art. In my hands it becomes less artful and more practical. I see things that I think a fish may eat and I simply try to reproduce something that will mimic it.

In the beginning, as already said, I read a lot about tying. I learned about the different life stages of certain insects. For the most part that learning never stops. I read about the many different kinds of materials that are needed to reproduce the different stages of said insects. The amount of and the versatility of materials can be mind boggling. I’m still learning about things that can be used to tie a fly and the different way to use them in a pattern. Also, I found that to tie good flies you should have the right tools. Tools can be almost as varied as materials, but not quite. You can get by with a few basics and, as a young man just getting started that’s just what I did. I started with basic tools, basic materials and a very basic knowledge of what I was doing. Some of the first flies I tied might have frightened away more fish then they attracted. I started simple, tying things I thought might catch fish. I tied things like imitations of bait fish, because I had always caught fish with minnows growing up. I remember the first trout I caught on a fly I had tied myself. It was called a Mickey Finn and it was a little shiny and a little colorful. I thought I had defeated the world — won the grand prize, or something like that. It’s quite a feeling to fool mister trout with a creation that you made with your own hands. I’m going on a little too long now, but that’s the way it is when you’re really getting into something you enjoy.

Well, life happens and family responsibilities and work soon over took my fly-tying time. I actually put it away for several years, really quite a few years, until I gained a renewed interest after I retired. Actually, my son and grandsons influenced me to begin a new interest in fly tying. One of the main things I noticed right out of the gate was how materials had changed with the times. If there were a lot of different materials when I first started, you can rest assure there are many times more and different kinds of materials today. Let me just say that synthetics has changed the landscape of materials for tying.

Well here I am today returning to something I really like to do and I’m having to learn about a whole new aspect of how to do it. Hey, it’s fun and it helps take up my time, but time never ends when your retired. I’m sure we’ll revisit this, many times in the future, but there are other things that help me pass the time and we will touch on them in posts coming up later.

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The Retired Old Guy: Hunting & Fishing

Hey! The old retired guy here again.

Reading my last note to you guys I’ve decided I want to say a little more about my time fly fishing and hunting. Time is a funny thing when you get older. On the one hand it can pass by so slowly and you can feel like you’re bored out of your mind, but the years pass you by so fast that you fear you’ll never get to say or do everything that you’ve hoped to do.

Fishing and hunting both seem to serve as a kind of equalizer. You sit in a deer stand and you’re there in the company of friends or members of your family, if you’re lucky. You’ve got time to relax and think of the goodness of life, in general. You’re family, you’re future, you’re present are all there in your thoughts, but you’ve slowed down right at that moment, enough that there isn’t any stress about any of it. You are at that moment consumed with watching and listening and waiting and hoping for the successful end to your hunt. You’re anticipating being with your family or friends at the end of the day and exchanging stories about your day’s experience. There isn’t any worry or stress about Monday’s or bills or any other events going on tomorrow.

Fishing is much the same for me, but it’s even better. I love to be standing nearly waist-deep in water, trying to read the current to determine where I want to put my fly for the best result. I’m checking the area around me, to see if there something that will give me a hint of what fly to tie on. I’m not worrying about things that might or might not need to be taken care of tomorrow. I’m not too focused on my own aches and pains or future appointments, but I’m focused on the thing at hand – trying to out-smart mister trout. I’m usually trying to, in fun, outdo my son or grandson or son-in-law by catching the most or the biggest trout. Later, telling all about how I fooled mister big with my fly and out smarted him with my ability to reel him to the net, after which, most of the time I release him in hopes of catching and fighting him again.

I plan on telling more about these times in the future, but for now just know that finding these things that fulfill my time serve much more than just keeping me occupied. They are really therapy for us senior people to keep us sane and mentally strong. These activities along with family are the pieces of my life that’s really important to me. I’m still growing in my ways to fill my life and some things are a success and some things are not so successful. I plan on talking about both in the future.

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