Dec 23 - Settled for the Holidays

Today, we've been here at SKP Lone Star Corral for a week and we're feeling quite settled in for the holidays. People in this park, like most of the SKP system, are very friendly and inclusive. It's a good place to be if you can't be with family for Christmas.

We're really not doing much... lazing around, reading, making dinner, doing a few chores. Today Dar made some Christmas candy which will be our contribution to the Christmas Eve party over at the clubhouse, and I'm making a big pot of chili. Each night we're watching another from our list of traditional Christmas movies. And next week we're planning a day (and evening) in downtown San Antonio checking out all the lights and holiday decorations around the Riverwalk.

The initial plan to move down to Rockport on the 3rd of January has now changed. Instead, we're moving on January 1st. The park members who "own" the lot we're on are coming back on the 1st. It's their lot... they have the privilege to do so with 48 hours notice. We'd be able to move to another lot for the two or three days, but figure that since we're stowing things for a move anyway we might just as well just keep rolling and get to Rockport early.

During our stay along the Coastal Bend of Texas during the first three months of 2012, Dar is going back to work at a hospital in the area. Being an RN, keeping her skills up to date and having recent work experience is important to having the ability (and flexibility) to make a little income should it become necessary. The future looks so murky, Social Security so questionable, interest rates and returns on investments so lousy, European financial problems so dire, even the value of the future dollar so "iffy"... having an employable nurse in the old survival toolkit could come in handy.

And since I'm writing about uncertainty and the murky future, let me address the subject of health insurance - you know, "for the record". Being in our late 50's or early 60's, we're not eligible for Medicare... won't be for a few years... if there's anything left of it by the time we get there. So this is how we're handling our health insurance.  I have an excellent health insurance plan as a retiree from my previous employer, Illinois Tool Works. My monthly contribution is very reasonable and hasn't increased in the past few years. Dar, on the other hand, is part of the mass of people in the open market for private health insurance. She has a high deductible HSA plan and has had no claims in recent history beyond the normal annual check-ups, lab tests, and such. But despite being healthy her premium has gone up more than 25% each of the past two years. (I'm fighting the urge to go on a rant here... about the wonderful medical care system we have in the USA... OK.. no rant. Maybe another time.)

Well, long story short, she found a new policy for something like 70% less. True, we're accepting a little more risk (higher deductible, etc.) but our real objective with this policy is to basically self-insure for all the small stuff while providing wealth protection in the event of more serious and costlier events. So we're keeping our fingers crossed that this will be a good solution for the next few years. Only time will tell.

On a more uplifting note... we'd like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year. 

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