Going for a Hike

CAM00151I will be heading out for a hike starting tomorrow. I’ll be hiking in Shenandoah National Park to make up some of the section of the Appalachian Trail that I missed when hiking in Shenandoah. It is a 13.5 hour drive to Virginia from here. A few years ago I could make that drive straight through. Nowadays, I don’t think it would be safe for me to drive that long in one day. I’ll be driving 7.5 hours tomorrow and doing the remaining six hours the next day.  I’m able to get a room for free with my Starwood points so there is no hotel expense to worry about.

Once I arrive at the trail I plan to hike out and back on the trail returning to my car at the end of the day.  Then I will sleep in my car or perhaps hike in to a shelter if there is one close to where I’m parked.  My daily hiking miles will be determined by the distance between parking areas and how far I feel I can comfortably hike. I’m out of shape right now so the daily hiking miles will be low to start out. Having the car will allow me to go to town if I need more food or just need a night off the trail. I think hiking with the car will allow me to ease back into hiking.  Once I’ve returned from the hike I’ll share how it went. I think it will be a fun and frugal trip.

I Won’t Be Living in a Van in Florida this Winter

van interiorI was planning to be writing a post this month about my plan to spend this winter living in a van in Florida. Unfortunately, that plan has fallen through.

The plan started when I was offered the opportunity to work my tax job remotely this tax season. Since this  gave me the option to work basically anywhere with an internet connection I decided I would like to live somewhere warmer than Kansas City for the winter months.  I’ve also wanted to give van living another try. That led to me deciding to live in Florida in a van for the winter.  The weather would have been great for living in the van. My expenses would have been low and my job would have paid the same which would have allowed me to save money/pay down loans at a good rate. This plan has now been scrapped since I was informed there won’t be any remote tax positions this year after all leaving me without a job.  Luckily, this notice didn’t come any later since I had just that morning looked at a van that I was seriously considering buying. Procrastination worked in my favor this time.

Now I need to figure out what I’ll do instead. I’ve thought of several options but I’m not sure which -if any- of the options I will take. The first option is to just stay here in Kansas City and drive for Uber and keep working at my FBA business. This would be the easiest option.  One drawback is that although Uber and FBA should make me enough money to pay my expenses I don’t think I’ll make enough money from them to make much progress on paying down my loans or saving money. Another drawback is that I’d still be in KC for the winter and I’d really like to get out of the cold weather.

Another option is to go to Florida (or maybe Texas) anyway and figure out how to make money once I’m there. Since I don’t have certainty of the tax job income I wouldn’t buy a van. I’d make a bed in my car and live out of my car. There is enough room in my HHR to sleep comfortably, but it would be pretty cramped to live out of. One good thing about this option is that if it didn’t work out I could come back to KC and I wouldn’t be out much money.

A third option would be to live in Guatemala for the winter. I know from experience that I could rent a room for about $100 a month and would be able to live very cheaply there. The airfare there and back would negate quite a bit of the savings though.  Also, I wouldn’t have a reliable way to make money there.  Perhaps, the biggest drawback to this option is that I would be committed to staying for the winter. If I changed my mind it would be quite expensive to change my plane ticket.

One more option would be to stay in Kansas City and find another job. This would be the most practical option. I don’t like this option much though. I’d really like to get out of KC for a while this winter and I’m doubtful that I could find a job that I like ok and pays well.

I’m sure there are more options than what I’ve listed here. Let me know what you think of these options and if you have any other options to share I’d love to hear them.

Changes Coming…How Can I Improve Tight Fisted Miser?

Traffic to this blog has been steadily declining the last couple of years and is a little less than half of what it was at its peak. Reader engagement has dropped to almost nothing. My post about getting hit by a car only got a couple of comments. In the past a post like that would have gotten at least a dozen comments. I’d also usually get multiple comments on almost every post. The decline in traffic and comments isn’t entirely unexpected since blogging much less of a priority the past couple of years. I’d like to change that now since it doesn’t make much sense to continue blogging if nobody is going to read my posts.

In 2012 I received a lot of criticism on a post about using the income based repayment plan to repay my student loan. Although I try not to let internet bullies bother me, the insults and disparagements did get to me. That led to fewer posts and to self-censoring my posts to avoid more criticism. I think that might have contributed to the blog’s decline in traffic and comments.

I also recently discovered a widget was redirecting some of my traffic but I don’t think that was having too big of an effect on my traffic and comments. If you have had any trouble accessing this blog please let me know and I will try to fix whatever is causing the trouble.

I do have some ideas for changes to TFM. I’m hoping the changes will actually be improvements. Last year, most of my posts were income, expense, or SWR posts. The income and expense posts will continue since I like them. I’m not sure many readers care about them though. That is why I intend to write more posts on ways to save money or money. There will be at least one post a week with actionable advice on one of those topics. The first post will be up Wednesday. I’m also planning on changing the theme and writing about paying down my student loan. Please let me know if you have any comments or suggestions on how I can improve this blog.

I Got Hit by a Car

hospitalbedYesterday while walking across the street on my way to work I got hit by a car. Since the accident caused some memory loss I don’t actually remember getting hit. From what I can piece together from what the EMTs and bystanders were saying I was walking in the crosswalk and the driver of a car turning left somehow didn’t see me and hit me. I ended up with a concussion and some road rash which isn’t too bad considering I got hit by a car. Apparently, I bounced off the car and landed on my butt and then my head. If I had landed on my head first the result would have been much, much, worse.

I remember a little more about the accident today then I did yesterday. Right after the accident I remember waking up (I say waking up, but apparently I was conscious long before then) in the ambulance and asking the EMT if I could have my phone to text my girlfriend. He replied, “You’re starting to concern me, buddy. This is the fifth time you asked me that and you have already texted her.” Things were clearer after that. Once I arrived at the ER they took me for a cat scan and then wheeled me back to the ER. They had taken me to the same hospital my GF works out which I had requested so I guess I was thinking somewhat clearly when they asked me which hospital I wanted to go to. My GF was there in the ER when I got back from the cat scan which was nice. The cat scan results were good and they discharged me about 2 1/2 hours after I was admitted. I thought that was kind of quick for a concussion.
head wound

My GF took me home and stayed with me the rest of the day. She had returned to work that day after being on vacation the previous week. I was nice enough to let her get a bonus day of vacation. I’m staying home from work today and tomorrow and going back to work Thursday.

I called the police today and they said that they do have the information of the person who hit me and they do have insurance. I’m hoping that there is no problem getting all my medical bills paid and getting reimbursed for my time off work. For now I’m still planning on going on hike April 21, but I might have to change that plan. I’ll keep you updated on how everything turns out.

Double Sickness Week – Shingles Plus…

This was not a good week for my physical health.  I’d had a rash on my chest by my underarm for about a week which I had thought was just a rash. It started hurting last Sunday night which made me think it was not just a rash.  When I told my GF about it the next day she said it was probably shingles. My GF is a nurse and got her friend who is a nurse practitioner to look at it and she agreed that it was shingles. Although the shingles was annoying and caused me to lose some sleep I could deal with it and work through it.

Tuesday the plan was to get my shingles prescription after I got off work. After lunch Tuesday I started to feel unwell. I ended up leaving work about an hour early and by the time I got home I was sick as a dog. I had a fever, nausea, chills, aches, and fatigue. Looking at shingles symptoms I saw that it could cause flu-like symptoms so I figured that was what I was experiencing. This was worse than any flu than I’d had for many years though.

Sick as a dog
Sick as a dog

I didn’t get much sleep that night and in the morning I felt even worse. I decided I needed to tell my GF another symptom I was experiencing. It really hurt when I peed. This is not something you want to tell your GF. 🙂 Since I knew it couldn’t be an STD we figured it must be a urinary tract infection and I started taking an antibiotic for this infection.

Having shingles and a UTI seems bad enough but things were actually worse. After taking the antibiotic Wednesday and Thursday I felt only a little better on Friday. My GF decided I should go to her office so she could run a urinalysis which confirmed I had an infection and that it looked more serious than just a UTI. Her doctor sent me to get some blood work done which confirmed I had prostatitis. I’d never heard of it before, but it is a bacterial infection of the prostate which can be pretty serious. With the new diagnosis we switched to a different antibiotic and it seems to be working.

My theory is that these illnesses all started with my oral surgery a couple of weeks prior. The dentist prescribed me a steroid to keep the inflammation down. One side effect of the steroid is that it can weaken your immune system. Apparently, it really weakened mine. When I have my dental implants done later this year I will be sure to let them know I do not want to take a steroid.

Although I was off work three days I didn’t get any blogging or much of anything else done. I felt so bad I all I wanted to do was sleep or sit on the couch and watch TV. Now that I’m feeling almost normal again I should have a better week this week.