We’re just a little over a month from our next “adventure.”

I say it in quotation marks because it is a confined sort of thing, our going on a cruise ship. 

The trip, six nights, Western Caribbean (NCL Jewel out of Houston) is a long-promised vacation for when I hit “retirement age” although plans for retiring are non-existent.

Still, the trip holds only a small bit of promise for “adventure.”

For one, Elaine and I have already done Cozumel a couple of times each, and we’ve both cruised before, so that’s not exactly new ground.

What is new is the number of restaurants on the ship (with got the dining package) so there will be one night of steak house, one night of Asian knife-tossing (along the lines of Benihna), Italian, Mexican, and so forth.

Still, it’s far cry from “cruising of old.”

Used to be there was a grand dining room on ships instead of a large one and peripheral foodie stops.  And that meant dressing for dinner – and Elaine likes to dress up.

All that has changed, though.  Going through current cruising information seems there are only two or three nights where a tie is even “normal.”  The rest of the time everything is casual.  No black-tie nights and such.

But it’s still something of an adventure.

What we’ll probably look for will be something with some “buzz” to it – like maybe a zip line through the jungle if they have such an excursion in Belize or Honduras – the other stops on the trip.

But it was while considering  adventures the other day we decided it may be time to make an actual bucket list – adventures we haven’t done, yet would like to do.

I like what George Bush, Sr. did (one of our few points of agreement, I’d venture):  Waiting on skydiving until he was 80, if I recall.

But the rest of life’s adventures?  Done fast cars, on tracks, scuba, flying, sailing, powerboats, hiking, camping…it’s really surprising what you can chalk up in 65-years if you pick something, knock it off, and then on to the next thing.

About the only “big adventures” I have left on my list are flying from Key West to Anchorage in our old plane.  Viagra Falls is on there somewhere, too.   We also need landings in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Delaware, New Joisey, and the Carolinas to round out doing landings once we get the others done.

Landing in each of the Canadian provinces would be fun, too. And somewhere, flying over the Grand Canyon needs to be done.  Maybe aerial photos of the “faces” up at Mt. Rushmore would be nice, too, though we’ve already hiked around them on the ground.

Elaine’s working on her list of adventures and places, too.

We’re kicking around a hike up Mount Hood, next time we’re through Oregon.  Not that we need to, but being able to climb a mountain all the way to the top might be fund, if just to be able to say we did it.  Done Carlsbad Caverns…which is a really good one if you haven’t done it.

We’ve thought about a trip to Europe, but travel outside the US has lost much of its appeal:  Terrorism, targeted Americans, exchange rates, and the general messiness of the third world.

So here’s  the point:  If you can think of adventures, send them in.  Always open to new ideas.

Changing Times in the Workshop

I’ve mentioned (more of less repeatedly) that a subscription to  The Family Handyman (1-year) for $12-bucks, is one of the best ways I know of to pick up shop skills if you missed the important part of education coming up:  The ability to actually DO THINGS.  Industrial arts really do matter.

We’ve moaned about the loss of industrial arts in American education for years, but there are still ways to learn, or Lowes wouldn’t be in business.

Two things about the February issue that landed in the mailbox Wednesday (and which will destroy any potential to get work done today):

First is that the inside cover of the magazine is a three page ad for some drug that will help (so it claims) prevent strokes. 

Elaine thinks it makes sense because so many of us “old pharts” are about the only ones around anymore with collections of tools and the know-how to use them.  Sad commentary, that.  but more truth than falsehood to it, I suppose.

The second thing is one of the projects is an over-the-door display shelf.

As with all their projects, this one isn’t terribly time consuming, but it is one you’ll want to think about a bit before launch into it.

You see, one of the things that is a dead give-away that a person is getting on in years is a collection of knickknacks around the house. Not that there’s anything wrong with the refrigerator magnet circle, it’s just that we like clean decks.  Besides, it reduces the amount of dusting required.

Thus, my caution about building projects like this.  Yes, it’s a fine place to show off trophies.  But that just makes it possible to collect that much more clutter around the house.  And the more clutter, the harder to keep clean.

Not that I’m a neat-nick, but there are no spots anywhere on the stainless steel appliances and dust is seldom if ever found in our house.  We try not to discuss the finer points of housekeeping, which helps ensure a happy marriage.  I’m one of those dust first, then vacuum people (HEPA filters should prevent dust from escaping the vac) but Elaine will sometimes vac then dust. I’ve never  found satisfaction as to which is better.

When minor differences in technique came up when I was growing up,  either of my parents was likely to look at the other and say “You do it, then.”  I learned the value of biting my tongue, early on. Sucking a clove works, too.

Back to the point of the new issue of FHM, they do have some good pointers on things to install around your home to make it safer for aging, mainly preventing falls.  They got some better ideas than my simplistic “Keep kids away, don’t have stairs, no pets in the house, and put in nice carpet backing so the falls will be cushioned…”

Apparently, there’s other stuff to be considered.

The design of my grocery elevator continues, too.

Planning on Dying?

We don’t usually read the Surry Comet but there’s an interesting article in it (over here) that goes to the idea that cancer could be eliminated in people under 80 by the year 2050…which isn’t that far off.

What’s worth reading in the article is how it addresses budgets of national health care in another country.

One of these days, I’ll have to put on my “actuary hat” and try to assess just how big a breakthrough in cancer and heart disease treatments can really be “allowed” by government. 

The problem, you see is this:  If people are able to live longer, and they are on government support (like Social Security) in this country, and all of a sudden we wake up one morning to people living healthy lives into their mid-100’s, then all the assumption tables about financing Social Security blow up.

While we like to think that Life Extension is real and working wonders, it’s not really the case.

When you look at the data (over here) it looks like the increase in life expectancy is going 1.6 to 1.7 years per decade.  A rate of scientific breakthrough much faster than that would simply bankrupt Social Security sooner than later.

Given the lack of heart disease or cancer in our families, we can look forward to 80-90,  but when government gets into rationing out healthcare on an economic/demographic basis, it makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

Especially since resource depletion is moving us closer to Soylent Green all the time.

I think I’ll whip up one of my famous breakfast sandwiches, while there’s still time.

Write when you break-even

George  george@ure.net

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