On Retirement

I’m feeling a lot better about retirement these days. It’s a big transition going from travelling in remote parts of Canada to be told what to do my directors of education, principals, students, and parents to being told what to do by the kids, the kids’ kids, TLW, and the bureaucrats regulating and holding my retirement nest-egg…

The property is taking shape. TLW finally has a plan and is working hard to implement it, including seconding me away from my planting regime to plant trees where she tells me. While the weeds are winning in places, we’ve done a lot of damage to them over the year, mowing and whipper-snipping, and poisoning and generally digging them up. I’m actually gaining some upper-body strength. 😉 Too bad we’ve burned out three whipper-snippers in the past year. The ones that are easy to use just aren’t rated for this use. Will have to shop for something more durable or at least easy to maintain. The last one we used was Homelite 3306. It was light, easy to use and effective but one day the plastic parts at the business end just melted… The owner’s manual has no suggestion except buying and replacing parts. I guess we’ll have to do that. Other machines that weren’t nearly as effective had detailed maintenance schemes which if followed preserved the parts indefinitely. This Homelite has a 3 month warranty for heavy use.

One thing that encourages me is that seedling trees I planted two years ago have survived and thrived. I guess what didn’t kill them makes them stronger. One hitch is that two grapes that are very productive are not producing the fruit they should. I guess are Winters From Hell have killed off the tops that were grafted on a base root-stock. The grapes are small, red and quite sour while the desired grapes are green, large and sweet… This happened despite a nearly ideal location, a gravel-rich part of the yard against a south-facing concrete wall. Damned winters had not enough snow cover and the sun and wind toasted the tops, I guess. Other trees have died off in good numbers but some of each kind have survived and thrived. Some plums grew two feet taller this year. They might bear fruit next year. Apples showed very high rates of survival and grew vigorously. Apricots seemed to stall but after establishing roots grew well this year. Seedling Saskatoon bushes died off about 50% but this year’s seedlings have grown almost as much as the survivors. Other seedlings seem to have a good start.

Even vegetables I grew in containers did well, except for spinach. It never grew and now is showing yellow stunted leaves. Beets, peas and tomatoes have exceeded expectations after a very slow and late start. Asparagus seemed to peter out and then while I wasn’t looking put up tree-like stems. I guess we will have to increase our stock next year. I still have plenty of trees in pots that I can move to larger pots or plant in the ground this fall. The lawn will have to wait a month or so until TLW finishes planting all the “clearance” plants she’s bringing home… Her berms are just about full. She has room for only two or three plants so she’s joined me in digging down in the “flats”. For a Little Woman who hated the idea of planting a forest, she sure has planted a lot of trees. I don’t think she has imagined what a forest becomes a few years after planting, but this yard will finally have real shade other than from a neighbour’s trees.

Then there’s the pension… It took a while to consolidate all the little registered pensions from all my schools but that’s done and my investments have grown mightily. I’ve chosen several good companies all who have done well for shareholders but I concentrated on the one I thought had the most upside and it’s exploded. We’re talking >100% per annum, a lot greater, and there’s more to come. That’s what you get by investing in a penny stock that strikes it rich in the gold fields and is on the verge of actually extracting tons of gold. Talk about leverage pales into insignificance. I feel like I’ve invested on Day One of TOOS or Apple or Intel, and I haven’t had to ignore ethics at all because I’ve chosen a sound business that’s been around a while and is a “nice” Canadian company, working hard for a living and showing results. If things continue this way for a few months more, my annuity next year will be many times what it is today, both because I was slow in herding all my “pension-cats” before Dec 31 of last year, and because the investments have done so well. I was contentedly earning ~10% for a while until I developed my current strategy. This great growth actually came in much less than one year. The downside is that I will end up paying some real income tax even in retirement… (Death and Taxes, I guess).

Then there’s the new plan for IT. TLW is actually enjoying the new PC. There were two little glitches that bothered her: her TV does not seem able to display the whole desktop so some parts of maxed windows are chopped, and I had made a mistake in NFS and file-permissions for her bank of images on the server. The latter has been fixed. A transient issue with the “default” theme of grey text on a more grey background (horrible) coming back after an update (Thanks, Ubuntu…). I’ll have to locate the relevant files and back them up. She really appreciates the speed and has adapted to using the TV rather than a 20″ monitor. She’s still using the mouse right-handed for some reason despite she being a lefty…

All in all, things are going pretty well. The mortgage is almost gone. The grand kids aren’t here all the time… This year, I will get to hunt grouse. I missed that, one of the rites of grey-dom, last year. Manitoba allows old guys to skip paying for a licence, as if that mattered compared to the price of meat, ammunition, fuel and wear on the vehicle.

No, most of the things I like to complain about are under control and the future looks bright. Certainly the coming years have potential to be much better than the last few.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.

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One Response to On Retirement

  1. luvr says:

    “She’s still using the mouse right-handed for some reason despite she being a lefty”

    I’m left-handed, too, but I control the computer mouse with my right hand. I find that very practical, in that my main (left) hand remains free while I’m using the mouse.

    I could imagine using my left hand for the mouse, but that would feel somewhat clumsy. Left-handed mode (i.e, with the mouse buttons switched), on the other hand, is unworkable for me an horribly confusing. It’s hard enough already to keep from mixing up “left” and “right” without such added confusion.

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