Category: Habits

Aug 25, 2014
By Michael Rupured

Dancing My Ass Off

Best I can remember, weight was never an issue for me growing up. Mom served nutritionally balanced meals and didn’t keep much junk food around. I was active, too. After school, on weekends and during summer breaks, the kids in our neighborhood spent every waking moment outside climbing trees, riding bikes, and playing pickup games of various team sports. Getting a job when I was fourteen changed everything. With my own money and no financial responsibilities, junk food consumed the lion’s share of my meager income. My caloric intake shot through the roof, my activity level plummeted, and I got fat and sassy. Okay. Maybe I’ve always been sassy. <shrugs> The first time I lost a ton of weight was my senior year in high …

Jul 07, 2014
By Michael Rupured

Making Lemonade…Really

My beverage of choice is coffee. I drink several cups every morning and another cup or two in the afternoon. Later in the day, however, I want something without the caffeine. When an ice-filled glass of water or a soft drink won’t do, a refreshing glass of lemonade really hits the spot. In the past, lemonade rarely turned up in my grocery basket. At most, I’d buy a can or two of frozen concentrate once or twice a year. I bought my first carafe of Simply Lemonade maybe a year ago, and now I’m addicted. I’ll swirl every sip of the delicious liquid around my mouth, swallow, and then exclaim, “Delicious!” It’s delicious because eight ounces has 28 grams of sugar (seven teaspoons), clocking in at 120 …

Jun 16, 2014
By Michael Rupured

Priorities

My father taught me anything worth doing is worth doing well. Of course, he never actually used those words. Instead, he’d berate me for being half-assed. Thanks to this early training (or an undiagnosed personality disorder), I don’t do things by halves. Nope. Not me. I’m whole ass or not at all. Insecurity nourishes my obsessive tendencies. To compensate for feeling like I’m not up to the task, I play to win and am always looking for ways to improve my game. This competitive nature, on occasion, makes me come across as a bit of a jerk. Time and success have softened hard edges, but insecurity still drives me to overachieve. Life can be overwhelming. There’s always so damn much to do, and change is constant. With …

Apr 21, 2014
By Michael Rupured

My Retirement Expenses

Welcome to the third of four April posts about my retirement planning experience in honor of Financial Literacy Month. I wrote about my preparations for retirement over the years in the first post, and in the second, the sources of income I expect to receive in retirement. Now I turn to my retirement expenses. Figuring out future living expenses is a guessing game. I won’t need to replace my current income — rules of thumb say to plan to live on twenty to twenty-five percent less than preretirement income. Travel and other pursuits could push expenses higher. My life won’t change much, so I expect my cost of living will be more or less the same as now. Inflation is another question mark. How fast …

Apr 14, 2014
By Michael Rupured

My Retirement Income

Last week I kicked off a four-part series about my retirement planning experience. I’m close enough to retiring to get serious about picking a date. Despite the reckless spending of my youth and some stupid decisions along the way, sticking with the plan cut my retirement age from seventy to sixty-five. I made a date with my financial planner to take a look at a realistic timeframe. Before our appointment, I tried out different scenarios with a retirement calculator. If you’ve never played with one of these planning tools, you should. The results, although just estimates, give you an idea of where you are, when retirement might be possible, and things you can do to move your retirement date forward. My …

Apr 07, 2014
By Michael Rupured

Thinking about Retirement

I got my first steady job in the summer of 1972 at an ice-cream store in a brand new shopping mall. I was fourteen. Except for a month or two in 1977 after my employer went out of business, I’ve worked at least one job ever since. Those early positions were more character-building than income-producing. Saving for retirement — or for any purpose — never crossed my mind. I spent every penny and then some, relying on credit to make up the difference. Some of my earlier jobs required participation in a retirement plan. I minimized my contributions and cashed in whenever I changed jobs, paying both the ten percent penalty and the taxes on the meager sum I’d still managed …

Mar 24, 2014
By Michael Rupured

My Clean House

Jennifer Senior, author of All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood, points out in an interview I heard on NPR that the housewives and homemakers of the sixties have morphed into today’s stay-at-home moms. The emphasis has changed from keeping house to parenting. Staying home with the kids has become a luxury. Whether they work or not, moms are too busy to clean house to the standards of earlier generations. My mother kept house like nobody’s business. Most of my sixteen aunts did too. The few who didn’t worked outside the home and/or had lots of kids. Rather than judging a sister or sister-in-law for falling down as a homemaker, the non-working aunts felt sorry for her. Bless …

Mar 10, 2014
By Michael Rupured

Tethered to the Coffeemaker

I drank my first coffee — heavily laced with cream and sugar — a very long time ago. We’d spent the night with Uncle Don and Aunt Mary. Uncle Don got up hours before everyone else to make breakfast before he went to work. He kept his radio tuned to a country music station, and as he was more than a little hard of hearing, cranked up the volume loud enough to wake the dead. Hank Williams, Conway Twitty, and Loretta Lynn made going back to sleep impossible, so I’d join him in the kitchen for a morning cup of joe. I have no idea of my age at the time — somewhere between nine- and twelve-years old. Nor do …

Mar 03, 2014
By Michael Rupured

Ten Things I Never Do Anymore

Change is a fact of life. No, I don’t mean nickels, dimes, and quarters. I’m talking about things being different than they were before, largely as a result of progress. Thinking about changes in my own life, I came up with ten things I don’t do anymore — some thanks to progress, others due to advancing age. Print Photographs. The days of having rolls of film laying around waiting to be developed are over. Now I’ve got hundreds of pictures I never would have taken before that, unless I post them on Facebook, nobody will ever see. Damn smartphones. Fry Chicken. To tell you the truth, I’m not much intro frying anything these days. Health has less to do with my …

Feb 24, 2014
By Michael Rupured

My New Fireplace

Fireplaces have never impressed me much. I can’t even recall my first indoor encounter with burning logs. Until I was older, none of my relatives had working fireplaces. My first childhood home didn’t have a fireplace. The second — the house my father died in — didn’t have a fireplace when we moved in. A few years later, Dad knocked out a wall in the dead of winter to add one to the basement he’d just finished. The fireplace Dad built is constructed of street bricks, manufactured in the 19th century and salvaged by Dad over many years as roads in downtown Lexington KY were repaved. The massive bricks, about ten or twelve inches wide, five or six inches deep …

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