Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Note from Tom and Dianne

A couple of days ago, I received this email from Tom & Dianne:
Believe it or not, "Pistols, Passion and Pistols" is being presented at a local church fundraiser!!!!! Do you think we should show up?
I responded that I thought they should call Castaways right away to see if their outfits were still available. If they were, have them shipped to them in IL and go to the play in costume!

On a related note, yesterday we were in my hometown, Lime Springs, Iowa. I met, for the first time, Annette—the lady who directed the same play in Lime Springs, served as my consultant and encourager, and provided the recipe for the dessert.

I also gave her a DVD of our Texas version of the play, thanks to Allison, which I'm sure she'll enjoy—or at least find interesting.

She's an interesting and full of energy lady. She's already working on another dinner theater murder mystery to be presented October 14. We plan to go; maybe it is transplantable, too.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Spring is Here!

My taxes aren't finished, but Spring is here anyway! And it is welcome!

Yesterday, I gave my first flying lesson of the season, then went home and cooked some 'burgers on the grill.

Two sure signs of Spring!

One day last week, we cleaned up one flower garden. Yesterday, Pat planted some herbs and I picked up sticks from all over the yard.

More signs of Spring.

Last evening, we were invited to our neighbor's yard to celebrate her grandson's 6th birthday. We had s'mores.

Some lawns have been mowed, although that "treat" awaits ours. Motorcycles can be heard racing up and down our road. And frogs are croaking in the field behind us.

Surely Spring has arrived!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Government Accounting

I, possibly like some of you, am working on my income taxes.

When I looked at the report which tells me how much Social Security I had received (Form SSA-1099 - Social Security Benefit Statement), I noticed that it was a bit difficult to understand at first glance.

Here's how it looks (numbers just used as an example):
Paid by check or direct deposit $7,000.00
Medicare Part B premiums $1,200.00
deducted from your benefits
Benefits for 2009 $8,200.00

The intended interpretation, I'm fairly certain, goes something like this:

"I got $7,000 Social Security last year!
And Oh, look!! I also got $1200 Medicare premiums!
The government gave me $8,200!"

Here's the way I would show it:

Benefits for 2009 $8,200.00
Medicare Part B premiums $1,200.00
deducted from your benefits
Paid by check or direct deposit $7,000.00

To this old head, this is a lot easier to understand.

But then again, maybe we're not supposed to understand it. I think it's called accounting "spin."

Politicians have a very, very, strange way of dealing with numbers, especially numbers which represent the dollars which we gave them or which are being spent.

Better get used to accounting spin; we're gonna see a lot more of it, me thinks.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

BAAAD News for Don & Dorothy

You might recall that Don and Dorothy left unexpectedly and rapidly one evening, as they had been told their house in Aberdeen, SD, was flooding.

The message was correct; here's proof:

By the looks of the picture, I'd say the water was about 3' deep in the garage. That, of course, completely flooded the lower level of the split-level home.

Having seen about 1,000 other homes in the same or even worse condition here in Cedar Rapids two years ago, I sympathize with them. There will be a LOT of work ahead for them and their neighbors.

The good news:
  • The house certainly appears to be repairable. (It could have been even worse.)

  • They have their trailer to live in while the house is being repaired.
Thanks for the picture, Dorothy/Allison. You can click on Comment! below to update us, Dorothy!

April 4th Correction!
Sorry about the errors above. Here's the word, right from the source. (But it is still BAAAAD news for Don and Dorothy, but not nearly as bad as I had painted it above. I assumed the picture was of their house.)

The picture you published is not our house. It is the guy across the road. You can see the back of our sandbags in the foreground. With the help of about 5000 sandbags and about a dozen pumps we have limited our interior damage to a couple of wet carpets in the basement. There will be considerable damage outside and in our outbuildings. We have continued to stay in the house to mind pumps etc. The water has now receded about a foot from the high point but we have at least 2 more feet to go. Drainage is very slow and I expect at least another month before much can be done. We hope to be able to progress to the point we can return to RV35 next fall but we do not know at this point.
Don Bogue