Tag Archives: Things We’ve Learned

Cutting the Cable in Retirement

You know what they say about people who still have land-based wired telephone lines?  Everyone under the age of 35 has never had one, and everyone over the age of 55 is afraid to get rid of theirs.  We got rid of our land line, and within two weeks, we didn’t really miss it.

Now we’ve moved on to the television.  We’ve been on a satellite-based TV service for over a decade.  Every two years, as the TV contract became void, the satellite company would raise the rates, and we’d do the “dish dance” from one provider to the other in an attempt to get lower rates.  Why these companies don’t have better policies in place for customer retention is beyond me.

But being the ever so curious type, and wanting to stay young like the Millennials, I started doing research about streaming devices.

We carefully evaluated what we liked about the satellite providers, made a list, and then I set about determining how to meet our needs.

What We Wanted

  • We like being able to record shows to watch later – Hulu Plus allows us to record up to 50 hours of programming.
  • We like being able to pause and rewind live TV – I know, we’ve gotten spoiled by being able to say, “Back up!  What did he just say?” Hulu Plus, through it’s live recording also allows you to pause.  (In some cases you can’t skip forward through commercials.)
  • We like being able to start watching in one room, and continue in another –Because all of the streaming services are account based, you can pretty much do this with any streaming provider.
  • We wanted to be able to watch network TV, along with some of our favorite channels.  This took some research, as different providers carry different programming.  Interestingly, Hulu Plus and several others carry both ABC and NBC, but CBS doesn’t seem to want to play nice.  I needed to subscribe to CBS All Access in order to get all three major networks.
  • We wanted to slash the price we were paying for monthly TV – Here is where you need to be careful.  We already had Amazon Prime for shopping, and I already subscribed to Netflix because of some shows I routinely watch.  I added Hulu Plus and CBS All Access.  We now have way more TV options than we can possibly watch.  But here’s the warning.  It would be extremely easy to keep adding on extras (HBO, SHOWTIME, STARZ) and end up paying just as much as you did before.

What We Chose

After studying up, I chose to order an Amazon Fire TV Stick for each of our TVs.  (About $40.00 each) While they do present programming options with Amazon content forward, the device was absolutely simple to install and get started.  I went with Amazon because we were already Amazon Prime members, and so it made sense to access video content as well.  The Roku Express Streaming Stick would be another outstanding option, just as easy to get started.

What We’ve Learned

Well, here’s the first rule:

Thou shalt NOT leave the TV on for the dog, (upon leaving the house)
when one is STREAMING their live TV!
(She now listens to radio!)

  • That was just a little bit dumb, and we got a nasty gram from the cable provider that we had blown through our data package during that first month.  The good news is it hasn’t happened again.
  • We lost our on-air TV guide.  We were used to flipping down the guide to see what was on tv.  It was easily replaced by the free TV Guide app which we downloaded to our phones and tablet.
  • We needed to learn to access our TV programming in a different way.  You kind of need to learn what content is available on which app (Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, CBS, etc.)  Then you navigate with a simple remote through the apps to find your shows.
  • Many of the providers allow you to set up separate profiles, so hub’s stuff is all together, and mine is in a separate place.  It’s kind of nice.
  • I got the Fire Sticks with the built in Alexa function, but to be honest, we haven’t really used it as much as I thought we would.  It is a pretty cool feature if you are looking for something specific.  Alexa, find James Bond movies…
  • You NEED to know your wi-fi log in password, and the login information of any other accounts you might already have. (Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, etc.)
  • Because all of our TV is now account-based, we can log in and watch TV on any account, from any device, from anywhere we have wi-fi connectivity.  We can even take the Fire TV stick with us and plug it in to any other TV if we choose.  (We’ll probably do that in a motor home.)

I think the most important thing for us is that we now choose to watch television much more intentionally!  No more just leaving the TV on to make background noise.  No more falling asleep in front of the television.  We specifically choose what we want to watch, do so…and then turn the thing off!

The good news is this…You CAN Teach an Old (erm….seasoned) Dog some new tricks.  BTW, we have cut the cost of our monthly TV bill IN HALF!  I’m curious how many other retirees have changed their lifelong TV watching habits!



I Forgot to be Retired!

Late in March, Tanya, over at Our Next Life ran a couple of posts about using the term “retirement” honestly.  If you continue to make some money on the side, through blogging or other means, are you truly “retired?”  Tanya makes some good points about being honest with young people, who may get the impression that if they just save, they can retire early and presto…everything will be both hunky and dory!

As I mentioned in a post long ago, I had friends who told me, “You didn’t retire…you just quit.” , So when we met with our financial adviser last month, I asked her if she considered us retired, even though we continue to make some money.  Here’s what she said:

If you don’t NEED to make money…If you can live comfortably on your retirement income (pensions) and investments,

She went on to say that if we continue to pursue other activities which we enjoy, and by chance make a little cash on the side, well, that’s just the icing on the cake.  We can pick and choose how we spend our time (another element of retirement.)

But here’s the rub…

In my little side hustle, I do some administrative support gigs for a few clients.  Document production, organization management, event coordination – things like that.  They are jobs that I can generally do from anywhere, on my own schedule.

Except that I forgot to pace myself…I kept saying, “Sure, I can help you with that!”  And before you know it, I was missing from my blog.  For almost a month.  Because I had work to do…..

Almost like a real job!   Ewwwwwwwwww!  Enough of that nonsense.  I’m retired!  Remember?


#JusJoJan Day 4 ~ Are You “Passionate?”

I’m not sure why, but this concept of Just Jot It January has intrigued me.  Each day, there is a one-word prompt, and participants are encouraged to just jot something down in response.  Well, today’s word is “Passionate,” and when I saw it, visions of my dad came sharply to mind.  You see, my daddy had this saying:

“Find someone who is passionate about what they do,
and they’ll always do a good job for you.”

As I have grown older, I have come to understand the truth of what he said.  It doesn’t matter whether the person is your banker or the guy who shoes your horses – if he is passionate about his work, that work most likely will be of quality.

It was easy to tell that our builder was passionate about what he was doing as he lovingly rubbed his hands over the wood.  The guy who repairs our appliances is so proud of having built his family owned business with his sons.  It’s not about the money being made or the importance of position.  It’s about the love of the task.

I’m curious.  Do you tend to hire people who are passionate?  Do you surround yourselves with passionate people?  Are you passionate in your own pursuits? Leave a comment and share your thoughts!


Relationship Struggles? Fix It in 2 Words!

The hubs and I are really magnificent together.  No, really.  We have a BUNCH of friends who have said, “I want us to be like Lynn and Jeremy!”  Apparently, especially in the 24/7 togetherness of the Encore Voyage, spending a lot of time together seems to grate on people’s nerves.  Lately, we’ve been talking with some of our couple friends who are struggling in their relationships.  Remember my post about Retirement Togetherness?  It seems I need to spend a little time on Item Number 10.  As I listen to my friends (and I do hear both sides of the story), there is something which is obviously missing in their day to day dealings with each other.  First is an understanding taken from John Gray’s Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. (Gray, 1992).

Men Want to Be Appreciated

Women Want to Feel Cherished

So here’s what I want you to take away from that:

Guys –

You don’t have to do a whole lot of mushy stuff.  There is nothing to be fixed here.  It does not take a great deal of planning big events.  We know you are action oriented creatures, but this is much simpler than that!  Women want to feel loved. You need to:

  • Hold her hand
  • Tell her she’s beautiful
  • Wrap your arms around her from behind while she’s doing the dishes
  • Touch her cheek
  • Look in her eyes and tell her you love her.
  • Look in her eyes and listen to her – even if you think it’s rambling drivel!
  • Rub her shoulders
  • Make sure she knows, by telling her, that she’s the most important thing in your world!

Get it??? Cherished!  You can add to the list in a jillion little ways!  The common theme here is that these are not huge “do something” types of things – they are gestures that come from your heart!  Simple, No???

Ladies –

What you need to take away from Mars/Venus is that men are Doers!  They are genetically predetermined to be the hunters!  It is their job to fix things and take care of things.  They are action oriented.  To them, going to work or taking care of you, or even mowing the lawn is a big f*ing deal!  Now…it also helps if you understand that mens’ egos are pretty much wrapped around the above concept.  If you tell them HOW to do something, or criticize what they’ve done, you are effectively saying to them, “I don’t trust you to be able to take care of me!”  Understand that to men, this is a slap!  So ladies, bite your tongues when you want to elaborate on how things should be done.

And now for both you Guys and Gals out there:

Here is the simplest easiest way to accomplish all of the above with two simple words:

Thank You

Here’s what it looks like in real life:

Gals – 

  • Thanks for mowing the lawn, it looks great!
  • Thank you for gassing up my car today!
  • Thank you so much for stopping at the store on your way home!
  • Thanks for wiping up the water around the sink!

Ladies, all you need to do is NOTICE the things your guy is doing every day, and thank him for it.  Routinely.  Frequently.  See, he is instantly and easily appreciated!

Guys – 

  • That was a delicious dinner, honey, thank you!
  • Thank you for doing all that laundry today!
  • The house looks wonderful – thanks for all your hard work!

(Now before you go getting all bat-shit crazy about my very noticeable sexist categorization of tasks, just know that I recognize it and am just trying to make a point! – insert your own world here!)

When I’ve listened to my friends tell of their relationship woes, what I usually hear that each side is looking for the WIN.  The guys want whatever they have done to be right, enough, appreciated.  The gals are somehow feeling not loved enough, not cherished. Both sides want the other side to change something.

But how about this for a thought:

For cryin’ out loud, people, just say “Thank you” to each other!

It’s a focus not on winning or losing.  It doesn’t require either side to “give in” or lose anything.  You don’t even need particularly to change what you’re doing!  You just need to be kind and acknowledge the other person.  I’m not talking about gaggy, sickeningly sweet, nauseating sort of stuff here…I’m talking about every day respect and consideration.

That’s how WE do it.  I don’t think I’ve ever cooked a meal where hubs didn’t say, “That was delicious.  Thank you.”  Both my dad and his dad did the same.  It is a chivalry and gentility to be emulated.  And I can almost guarantee in any marriage, if both sides would put those two words in the front of their minds, and would actively look for opportunities to use them, Martians and Venusians would get along much better.

So what say you?  I am going to be anxiously awaiting to hear in the comments whether or not you think I’m crazy, or even better, if you put these words to work!


Photo Credit: Unsplash – Mayur Gala