Last evening poor OH was still very unnerved by the day’s drama and complained about his stomach being upset and not being very hungry.
We had a light supper and afterwards I was in my office finishing off a few things when I heard a huge crash. I looked out towards the family room which was dimly lit due to OH’s obsession with electricity saving and saw something on the floor at the door that did not appear to be a dog and heard the safety gate being hit. I rushed across to find OH on the floor kicking at the safety gate. He did not know what happened and it appears that the blacked out. He said he was not hurt but I put a pillow under his head and made him stay there for a few minutes just to be on the safe side. Then I helped him up and onto the couch and took his blood pressure – it was very low. I don’t know if this is in any way connected to the stress of the day but it shook me up too.
He said he had gone to let the dogs out and the next thing he was on the floor. My nerves are shot too. We are getting too old for all this stress and drama. Hopefully the weekend will bring some relaxation and peace.
The Mexican maid asked for a pay increase.
The wife was very upset about this and decided to talk to her about it.
She asked: “Now Maria, why do you want a pay increase?”
Maria: “Well, Señora, there are tree reasons why I wanna increase.”
“The first is that I iron better than you.”
Wife: “Who said you iron better than me?”
Maria: “Jor huzban he say so.”
Wife: “Oh yeah?”
Maria: “The second reason eez that I am a better cook than you.”
Wife: “Nonsense, who said you were a better cook than me?”
Maria: “Jor hozban did”
Wife increasingly agitated:
“Oh he did did he???”
Maria: “The third reason is that I am better at sex than you in the bed.”
Wife, really boiling now and through gritted teeth.
“And did my husband say that as well?”
Maria: “No Señora…….The gardener did.”
Wife: “So how much do you want?”
Driving into town for a meeting this morning I got a phone call from a very shaken up OH who said he had just been informed that he was facing a disciplinary hearing. To say I was shocked would be an understatement. I finally managed to get the story out of him in bits and pieces and this is the gist of it.
Our Financial Advisor requires an up-to-date value on OH’s Provident Fund, the last statement we have is December 2011. OH asked his HR Department to request this from the management company but what we got back seemed to be employee contributions for this year only. Again OH requested a current value and was told that the statement would only be available at the end of October which is a bit late as he is retiring at the end of November.
So we asked our Financial Advisor if he could try and access the information for us seeing as we have given him signed permission to act on our behalf. I’m not sure exactly how what happened next came about but it turns out that one of his staff emailed everyone in the management company requesting the information but did this by forwarding my email to him containing the previous correspondence between me and OH and OH and his HR company. The management company contacted OH’s company and raised the roof because we said we were not getting what we asked for (and still don’t have it) and because only the provident fund trustees at OH’s company are allowed to request this info (who would have known?). The HR lady had the cheek to ask him why he involved his wife!
I am still waiting for our Financial Advisor to return my or OH’s calls and I am extremely unhappy that OH has been put through so much unnecessary stress. One would expect the staff working in the Financial Advisory Industry to use some discretion with people’s personal information. Poor OH is being held responsible for something completely outside of his control.
I went into my meeting with chest pains as a direct result of the stress of the situation. Here we are, trying to prepare for his retirement and employing the services of an expert and this is what we end up with.
After the bleak financial forecast we received on Friday afternoon I have been doing some sums and I am starting to feel a little more positive about our future. Make no mistake it is going to take extreme discipline to keep to a tight budget and resist the urge to splurge. Not that we are big impulse buyers at all. Most of our big purchases are well researched before we go ahead but it’s the little things that add up. Eating out will have to be far less frequent, maybe once or twice a month. But even now we tend to be quite frugal even when eating out taking advantage of specials and group buying offers where we can.
It’s the things that we don’t have control over that are the biggest concern. Utility bills will keep rising, that’s for definite and medical expenses cannot be predicted in advance. But I am dead serious about not giving up on our dreams of future travel. We will just have to find a way to put money aside each month. At my age I spend very little on clothes and cosmetics. I have my hair done once a month and treat myself to a facial every three months or so and whilst I am working and bringing in money I am not going to give that up.
I have also spent some time looking at country properties. We have dreamt about retiring to the country but did not think it could become a reality. If, however, in five years time we could still purchase a house in the country for roughly half of the value of our current house we will be able to add a significant amount to our retirement capital and probably live more economically than we do in the city. There are still country properties available under R1 million with outbuildings or cottages that can be renovated and rented out to provide another income stream.
In the meantime if OH should manage to get some contract or part-time work after November our future will look even better. He is a lot more confident on his moonboots now to the point where he sometimes “forgets” where he left his crutches. I would much rather he took it more slowly and carefully but I can see that he is itching to get up to speed again.
And on a completely different tack, at lunch time today I commented on the fact that our so called closest friends had only been around to see OH once since his op and had not even phoned to find out how he was doing. OH surprised me by saying that he thinks our new car might have put their nose out of joint. If that’s the case then one cannot really call them close friends. It’s just as well that we bought the car before seeing our Financial Advisor otherwise we might have been too scared to proceed with the purchase.
We did not buy a new car to impress anyone, we thought it prudent not to move into retirement with a 16 year old vehicle and serendipitously an endowment policy matured at just the right time. I wish I knew exactly what our friends’ story is but I suppose we’ll never find out. They don’t have any retirement provision but that’s because of really poor judgement and bad decisions which they acknowledge but … there’s always a BUT!
OH went back to work for the first time this morning, well I had to take him as he can’t drive with his moonboots. Needless to say he was not looking forward to it at all but he might have to re-assess his feelings about work and retirement plans for November this year.
On Friday afternoon we had a lengthy meeting with our Financial Advisor and it was a sobering and somewhat depressing affair. In spite of a lifetime of hard work and saving as much as we could while still trying to enjoy life while alive it appears that we have not made sufficient provision to live comfortably in retirement unless it were possible to know with some certainty that our expiry dates will be sooner rather than later.
Whilst I am committed to working for at least another five years OH was rather looking forward to retirement. Now it seems that he will have to find some sort of income generating occupation, even if only part-time so that our capital, such as it is, can be preserved for as long as possible.
Whilst I accept the reality of the situation I am not prepared to give up on my dreams of more travel in the future so I will have to do some creative “out-of-the-box” thinking to try and find a way to fund my dreams (and of course ensure that we play the lottery every week)!
I will have to up my savings dramatically over the next five years to boost my retirement capital which means less disposable income for those little pleasures that make life worth living. Not a very happy outlook right now, but maybe when our FP presents the final plan with some further suggestions things might look a little brighter.
So whinge over, now it is time to count my blessings and remember that millions of people don’t have any retirement savings or even a proper roof over their heads and food in their bellies.
Sunset from the top of the Spanish Steps in Rome – August 2011
Looking down the steps with a longer exposure:
The weekend just seemed to fly by, after grocery shopping on Saturday morning I took OH out for a drive in our new car in the afternoon. It was sunny but not particularly warm and although we were only out for two and half hours his feet were sore from being down by the time we got home. We stopped at Fish Hoek Beach and I took Milo for a short walk during which time he made many new human friends, including a couple of delightful old grannies who really enjoyed petting him.
On Sunday morning my time revolved around preparing the roast lunch. OH stayed in bed to preserve his energy for the afternoon and we had a delightful time with our son and DIL and DIL’s mother. The roast shoulder of lamb studded with garlic and rosemary, accompanied by roast vegetables, roast potatoes, peas, gravy and mint sauce went down a treat. For starters we had home made chicken liver pate on melba toast and dessert was good icecream with mini merranges drizzled with coffee tequila. It’s not often that I enjoy my own cooking when entertaining but I really did enjoy yesterday’s and I am looking forward to leftover lamb sandwiches for lunch today.
The day was a double celebration as today is my son’s 32nd birthday and it is 15 years since OH had a stem cell transplant for leukaemia of which is he now totally clear. It was also my late MIL’s birthday.
It was also a farewell to my DIL’s mother who is off to join her partner and start a new life in the Azores.
After lunch we lit a fire and sat around drinking coffee and chatting till quite late. Ozzy and Milo were delighted with all the visitors and attention and showed how well they have bonded.
It is still very cold here in Cape Town today and the week’s forecast is not looking too bright.
I can’t believe that three weeks of home nursing have gone by already, probably because I rarely have a chance to stop and slow down. OH is doing much better on his crutches and moonboots now but is not going back to work until the 27th when he will still have another 4 weeks on crutches to go.
Of course just because his body is inactive does not mean that his mind has slowed down. He is constantly buzzing me on the walkie-talkie to ask if I have done this or that, made a phone call, sent an email, obviously he is very bored now in spite of all the toys he has to play with. I have just put him on Facebook so that he can have some other distraction to keep him busy.
As I type I have little Milo on my lap, he has grown so much and is quite a sturdy little fellow. He loves to cuddle and he and OH have had lots of opportunity for that. As he grows and his coat has recovered from the mange his colouring is changing and more “milo” coloured spots are appearing on his paws and face.
It’s my son’s 32nd birthday on Monday and I have not had a chance to buy him a birthday present yet, I hate being unprepared like that but we are hoping to have a family lunch on Sunday and celebrate then.
I have not had a chance to drive my new car except to take OH for his check up. If the weather is good this weekend I’ll take him for a drive just to get out a bit.
Wishing all bloggers and happy and warm weekend.
I was thrilled to be nominated for the Versatile Bloggers Award by Paulsmusing2. Paul is a South African with a great love of the outdoors and travelling around the southern part of our continent. He is a keen photographer and motorcyclist (definitely NOT biker) and works as a Business Analysist.
Now I have to nominate 15 other bloggers for the award:
1. Always Write
3. Fortyplus and Frazzled
4. Granny 1947
5. The Only Cin
7. Dumb Workers
8. I’ve become my Parents
9. Fabulous Spirit
10. How the Cookie Crumbles
11. Lady Barefoot Baroness
13. The Life and Times of a Leo Woman
14. Footsy in Spain
Now I have to tell you seven things about myself:
1. I am going deaf and will need a hearing aid soon if I am to carry on working
2. I love reading especially long historical novels, currently reading Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet
3. My best type of holiday is narrowboating in the UK
4. My dogs are my family
5. I would love to retire to the country
6. Family and friends are what makes my world go round
7. I like to keep up with technology – aim to be a geriatric googler!
I have not had much time to blog the past few days, we’ve had visitors, 2 whole lambs (slaughtered and delivered) to pack and freeze, meetings to attend, puppy to clean up after, and then there’s the patient…
Yesterday afternoon OH had to visit the surgeon for a check up. When the surgeon saw that OH was not wearing the moonboots but a modified pair of sandals he was most unimpressed. However it turns out that the moonboots OH was given weremuch too big for him and this was contributing to the pain he experienced when he put them on. A smaller pair was sourced and he is much happier and taking the odd walk around the house with the aid of his crutches instead of rolling around on an office chair.
It was great to have OH join me in the family room to watch TV last evening, I just have to make sure that he does not overdo things.
Another thing that has kept me busy is the arrival of
our my new car. I drove the same vehicle from new for 16 years and it was time for a replacement. It is a Hyundai i30 Automatic and it is just the bees knees. It’s basically a computer on wheels, it has bluetooth and all sorts of modes for media and phones.The engine is so quiet you can’t hear it running when the car is stationary. My cell phone is now paired with my car and I can answer calls by just pushing a button on the steering wheel. All my phone contacts are now also backed up to my car – how cool is that! The radio controls are also on the steering wheel, as is cruise control and different steering modes – normal, comfort and sport! I’m sorry if all this is old hat to many of you, but all this new technology just blows me away. It is the first time I have had an automatic vehicle and I just love it.
I’m pretty sure that this will be the last new vehicle that we will purchase so it’s got to last us two old farts well into retirement. Needless to say IT geek son is well impressed!
Hope all you Cape bloggers keep warm and dry and take care driving home this evening. Just heard some thunder overhead.