Archive for October 4, 2008

Ferry Service Between St. Mary’s and Fernandina Beach

The Cumberland Sound Ferry Service will operate Thursdays through Saturdays through the end of 2008. The ferry will shuttle passengers and bicyclists between St. Marys in Georgia’s southeast corner to Fernandina Beach, just across the Florida line.

The ferry slip on the Florida side is located at 1 North Front Street at the Fernandina Harbor Marina. The slip on the Georgia side is at the Pavilion dock at the foot of Osborne Street.
Both cities hope the $15 round trips will boost tourism. The cruise takes about 45 minutes to an hour each way, with a narrator on board to explain the region’s history, natural features and wildlife. Source: News4Jax.com

I hope that it is so successful that it continues next year, as well! I’ll have to take the ferry across one weekend and let everybody know just how bicycle friendly everything is.

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Dealing With Loss

How do you deal with loss?  I have a friend who,  when he lost someone near and dear to him, the very next week resolutely went through the house and cleaned out closets and got rid of everything that his dearly departed had left behind so that reminders of his loss didn’t stab him in the heart every time he looked at them.

I am not that kind of person.

As I was writing about the state of my office, I realized that the clutter has to do with loss of one kind or another.  Over in the corner of my office is my loom and spinning wheel which have not been moved or touched since a dear friend died from breast cancer.  We used to do demonstrations together and had a great time spending the day showing people how our ancestors produced cloth.   The pain is still so sharp from her loss, even after several years, that I can’t bear to spin or weave.  At the same time, I can’t admit to myself that I may never go to another demonstration and that the items should be sold or given away to somebody that can use them, so that corner of my office sits in perpetual limbo, undisturbed except for periodic excorcism of the dust bunnies when they threaten to take over and evict me completely.

There are the signs, some boxed records, and a few hats I kept when we shut down our construction business.  Then there is the medical transcription business that I started to help support us when we shut down the construction company and I found, to my shock, after many years of self employment that women with white stripes in their hair, even with college degrees, aren’t exactly in high demand.   After sitting by myself in the office for 5 years, I felt the need to go do something different.  I’ve been reluctant to pack up the books even to make way for a new home-based venture.  As long as I leave them there, it is a daily reminder that I can come back to the security blanket of an old, outgrown profession if I need to.   A visual security blanket, if you will. 

As I look around the office, I realize that what the office really represents is a shrine to loss and failure, much like my closet packed with designer clothes in a size I no longer wear while my middle-aged spread clothes have to make do with being squashed into dresser drawers and hanging in the kids’ former closets.   How deep in denial is that?

I think that my friend’s approach, which horrified me, was the healthier approach to loss.  It is long past time to roll up my sleeves and pitch out most of what is cluttering up my office to make way for new beginnings. 

My closets are another story.  I WILL wear those sizes again one day, damnit.   Although SwampMan points out that those clothes won’t be in style anymore so I won’t wear them then, either. 

I think he just wants more closet space.

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Debt

The “buy now, pay later” lifestyle that so many of us have been sucked into has been bothering me as I see more and more people that are slaves to their possessions.  They are stuck on a crazy treadmill trying to afford a lifestyle that their parents have (or more than their parents have), seemingly not realizing that their parents acquired that lifestyle over years of saving, not right out of high school or college.   DaveRamsey.com has a very good article on the subject:

Myth: Debt is a tool and should be used to help create prosperity.
Truth: Debt is not a tool; it is a method to make banks wealthy, not you.

Debt is dumb. Most normal people are just plain broke because they are in debt up to their eyeballs with no hope of help. If you’re in debt then you’re a slave, in the sense that you do not have the freedom to use your money to help change your family tree. According to a recent USA Today article about debt, 78 percent of baby boomers have mortgage debt, 59 percent have credit card debt, 56 percent have car payments.

It takes a lot of will, discipline, courage and help to slay the debt monster. But it can be done. Imagine how much you could put toward retirement if you just didn’t have a stinking car payment? This is how the wealthy build their wealth. Debt is really dumb. Welcome to the real world! Start your Total Money Makeover Now.

If you are in the “debt over your eyeballs” category, you may not be able to afford the Total Money Makeover advertised on his show, so here’s a freebie version.  

Concentrating on paying off the smallest credit card bill first, then adding that payment to the next smallest and paying it off, then going to the next one, etc. really does work.  I’ve done it, so I know.  I didn’t get the idea from the Dave Ramsey show.  Instead, back in the mid 90s, I was sitting at my desk glaring morosely at a pile of credit card bills that had been created when we had to relocate suddenly due to a relative’s illness (and had a period of unemployment consequently and lived off of the credit cards for everything from first and last month’s on the rent in the new location, food, utilities, etc.  as well as keeping up with the home house payments) and asking “how can I get this taken care of?” and that was the solution I came up with.   You have to practice strict abstinence on creating new credit card debt, though. 

If you’ve reached the point where you can’t pay all the credit cards plus the house payment and perhaps car payment but you’re still putting the gas and groceries on credit cards because you don’t have the cash, you’re in deep trouble.  There are a multitude of credit counseling services (check them out carefully; there are a lot of fraudulent organizations) that may be able to negotiate new rates for you or, barring that, you may need to consider bankruptcy.  This really should be the option of last resort because you’ll have a problem with higher insurance premiums, loans for big ticket items,  as well as not being able to pass a background investigation for employment if you are in an industry where you are responsible for cash or confidential materials.   

If you have no debt and an old vehicle, now would be a great time to purchase a new one of your choice.  If you can’t afford the vehicle payments and have to finance for more than 3 years, get a less expensive vehicle.   I would not get a house mortgage, either, that couldn’t be paid off in 15 years or less. 

In the meantime, my vehicle is 15 years old and running strong, though in dire need of a paint job.  I think I’ll sit tight awhile longer and watch this financial thing play out.  Our house mortgage will be paid off in eight months.

Nine Things To Do When the Going Gets Tough

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