Finance:  I laughed when I went back and read Thursday’s UrbanSurvival column.  Reason?  I’d forgot to mention that FOMO is ‘netese for Fear Of Missing Out.  Not that anyone flagged me on it; most of our readers have well-above room temperature I.Q.s.

Following up on the Coping article from Thursday – about G2’s pal who lives in her delivery van and uses her upscale gym membership as her auxiliary living space, we’re still impressed.  Because she’s nailed something incredible:  A perfect 1-to-1 ratio of the Cost Of Living (COL) to the Cost Of Fun (COL).  How many people can claim that?

Cost Of Living to Cost Of Fun doesn’t get as much play as it should, since life is about 20,000 days after you get out of school.  And that’s if you don’t step in front of a bus, smoke ciggies, get depressed, or get nailed by enemy gunfire (foreign or domestic).

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After the first of the year, Elaine and I will be changing out some of the way we do things around here.  Reason?  We want to “optimize” more and have more adventure in our lives again.

After living aboard a sailboat up and down the West Coast and flying out own plane on trans-cons, sitting at el rancho is, oh, slightly tame.

Not that our COL is high:  We essentially have no bills, and when we do put something on a  credit cards it is more convenience (and better points) than anything else.  We’ve never trusted debit cards, but with a credit card seems to us the risk more on (moron?) the bank’s side.

What needs optimizing is our COF – cost of fun.

I look at my son’s Cost Of Fun per minute. (COF/m).

It costs him about $25-30 bucks for a ride to 15,000 feet for skydiving.  Time from hop to pop? 60 seconds free-fall and then up to 5-minutes under the canopy for landing.

When I called him to talk about this, I got the expected:  “Yes dad, already run the number $5/bucks a minute…but they’re GREAT minutes. Gotta go, client’s waiting…

Hmmm.  There’s Elaine and me…so figure 16-hours a day of fun…$300 per hour…or $4,800 per day for the two of us.  Nope, that’s 1.7-million per year, so that ain’t happening.

More realistically?  Two jumps an hour, That’s still $1,000 a day…so…um… $360,000 a year…nope, that’s not working, either.

Ideally, we’d find something that would pay us something and give us adventure back.  Money’d be secondary…(or not, lol).

Here lately, we have been seriously underspending.  Not that stacking a bit of cash in the bank is a bad thing. It’s just not – you know – exciting.  When you’re on the final leg of the journey through Life, the issue is “What’s left on the experience/bucket list?

So we dance around what to take on as a new shared hobby.

G2’s GF is seriously into the same sports, hobbies, and pursuits as G2.

Trust me when I tell you that in the high 60’s to 70’s things change, we’ve discovered:  Jumping off the tractor wrong, for example, results in odd pains that didn’t used to be there.

Trying to speed fly during a base-jump off a seriously high cell tower near the edge of a cliff doesn’t seem like a thrill as much as it’s spitting in the Face of Death, unnecessarily soonly (if that’s proper Engrish).

No question, I’ve enjoyed the ham radio hobby immensely.  Still, in 2018 I will begin to downsize the collection of my HF stations.  How many ham stations can you operate at once?  Two or three?  (Data, slow-scan TV, and voice or Morse is about my limit…).  Do I need eight?  Maybe not, but that’s what OCD is all about.

Started looking specifically for hobbies that seem like they would at least have the potential of a 1-to-1 Cost to Revenue ratio.

Ham radio can have a reasonable COF over time:

If you buy something like a classic ham linear amplifier (my HT-45 Loudenboomer is highly collectible) you can keep up with inflation and better.

Some tweaks with the test gear, a dash of solder and some new capacitors and the odd resistor replaced… Why, you can buy a faltering unit, turn it into a gem, and resell for a few bucks more. Sometimes more than a few.

When I get done out in Old Man Labs, going through some gear one last time and selling it looms as the winter project.

What will the next hobby be?  One thing that caught my eye:  Metal Detecting.

Went so far as to read a book on topic…Metal Detecting: A Beginner’s Guide: to Mastering the Greatest Hobby In the World.  There were a lot of useful ideas in the book…so then I found an outfit in England that makes a kit for us electronic hobbyists:  It’s a pulse-type metal detector called a SURF PI.

The PI is not Pi and is raspberry.  It stands for pulse induction and reports are that it can get down 10″ or so which is what I was after.  The kit source, as well as other components is http://www.silverdog.co.uk/ but be advised that the shop is closed now for the holidays.  (Who gives these Brits so much time off?)

There is an option (depending on how much coinage there is in Ure pocket:  A White’s Surf PI Dual Field Pulse Induction Metal Detector w/12″ Search Coil waterproof to 100 feet, but that will kick you back $825 bucks.

After reading a fellow in the Bay Area – who has a great article on building the SURF PI kit over here – I decided sure, why not?

Then I made the mistake of asking Elaine something like “Hey, dear…found a GREAT new hobby for us…outdoors, exercise…everything we could want…”

When I told her it was “coin-shooting” (one of the slang terms for metal detecting) the room temperature dropped to below freezing and she locked-on with her “deadly stare.

You’re not going to become one of those old geezers who runs around playgrounds hunting for coins, are you?  Good grief!”

“Well, darling, there’s a good chance of making-back the price of the hobby…”  I ventured once the room  came back up to 50-degrees or so.

In the end?  No sale.  That room is still below 50.

Fortunately, since the unit has already been ordered, I can still build it, sweep the property here, and call it good. (I operate on the premise that it’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission with this kind of idea.)

After I do our property (and you never know where else) I’ll sell it on eBay or use it as a shameless promotional giveaway…something on that order.

The other hobby I’ve been collecting tools for is gem cutting.

As a child, I remember being intrigued with what’s inside rocks, especially when the family stopped east of Ellensburg, near the top of Vantage Hill and visited Ginkgo – the petrified forest state park there.

Gingko’s part of the Wanapum Recreational area…with a dam nearby with the same name (oddly, Wanapum Dam).

Since I was thinking Cost versus Returns, I noted that Wanapum damn cost just over $93-million to build and it produces a peak 1,040 megawatts of power.

Don’t mean to ramble here (Ure used to it), but check this out: That construction cost pushes out to 11 watts per dollar!  Imagine if you could buy a 10 KW home generator at the same rate!

That generator would cost $910…and then it would  run on rain. Amazing.

At the same cost/watt, a 300 watt solar panel would be…uh…$27.27 each…where was I? Oh yeah…distracted

Becoming a dam builder certainly doesn’t solve my “ideal hobby that makes money in retirement” problem.  Besides, since prime locations to build dams are not plentiful…all that’s left is maybe some low-head hydro on our creek.  Which would MAYBE light up an LED in the winter….

I know better than even ask E about this one.  Though curiously, with my eyes now well back to safe flying range (with contacts in)…the idea of an airplane resurfaces from time to time.

We can attest that owning an airplane is throwing money at the sky, the same as owning a boat is throwing money in the water.

That’s the problem of retirement when you come down to it, though, and that’s the point.

When you retire, there are some pretty firm bounds in terms of what you can expect income-wise.  And this, in turn, limits the kind and number of adventures somewhat.

Unless, of course, we sell everything, buy an RV and live outside a gym somewhere…

At some point, say 3- to 6-months out, I can see all my hobbies blowing up:  How many radios do you want to restore?  Gotta be a fixed number.  Ditto:  how much furniture-making can be done before there’s no room left in the house, guest quarters, shop, or office?

Too hot to open a bakery in Texas…too many DUI’s out there already to open a bar or tavern…Don’t want to clean restrooms, anyway.  Elaine and I have kicked around opening a pizza and beer joint…might be fun…but then you have to deal with the darn public.

We have also thought about applying for jobs in a casino.  Elaine’s got a touch of Cherokee in her background, but never ‘got on the rolls.’  Still, I think it would be a hoot to tend bar four to six hours a day.  Elaine worked serving in a bar way back in the day and enjoyed it, too.  Maybe if we found the right casino….It’d make a hell of a book, too.

Shooting a deer isn’t a thrill (and truth is neither of us is particularly keen on venison).  Gardening verges on real work…. hmmmm.

When comes down to it, G2’s girl with that 1-to-1 Cost Of Living to Cost Of Fun ratio has really done something remarkable.

The more I think about it, the more remarkable it is.

Maybe we should just put Uretopia up on AirBNB as a project studio for Dallas and Houston area musicians who want to retreat to the woods.  No telling who we’d meet…

More thinking to follow.  The problem is when you like everything and you can do anything, there’s a kind of “Senior Decision-Making Paralysis” (SDMP) that can set in.  Like being at the Big Smorgasbord of Life.  Do I start with a salad, or just start with a bowl of soup and the prime rib and see how it goes?

Meanwhile, back to the lab this weekend and maybe some antenna work…

Write when you get rich, call when Bitcoin Fever breaks, too…

George@ure.net