Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water
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At the end of the year we typically make a purchase for the home and call it our holiday gift to ourselves. We have also enjoyed short trips in December to celebrate for a few days in the past. The travel is not in the cards this year since we had to spend big on a new air conditioner recently. This purchase, needed but not very sexy, shot holes in our budget. We will enjoy the time between now and 2017 in Tucson at home.
This is not at all bleak. I decided to make prudent small investments in local fun available to us. I purchased a three month subscription of Sling TV to add new programming to our nightly ritual of watching a few shows. They offered me a free Roku stick if I paid up front for three months. I may quit at the end of that time, but for now we are having a lot of fun with all the new options. I am watching a series on Cyber-War that is blowing my mind. We like the comedy series Bunheads, which we just started to watch. The stick is in the mail, which I think will be fun. I don’t know if it is voice activated, but it is updated to make search easier. For a total of $60 we get the new stick and three months of channels we like. I also decided to let Alexa keep her subscription to Amazon Unlimited music. At the end of my free trial she will switch my payment plan to $3.99 a month to play every song at Amazon, but only on my Echo. She will be the only device able to stream this. I have been having a great time calling up all artists and almost all songs for my home at will. When Alexa is loaded with this unlimited capacity, she truly rocks my world. I want her to be able to do all the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s greatest hits in December, so I don’t mind paying to have her loaded for a while longer. I listen to her all day, so I do get a lot of value for dollar from this subscription. I have been traveling down memory lane in music, and it has been fun.
To put finishing touches on our festive celebrations I have also decided to loosen the Uber budget. I rarely use the driving service, but love it when I do. Any time I want to drink alcohol or don’t want to fight the crowd at the end of an event I call Uber. It makes such an upgrade to any event arrive and leave with your driver. It only costs us about $20 round trip to go downtown Tucson for dining, shows, or the 4th Avenue Fair. This is my last gift to us, a few more more to spend on transportation. Our basic entertainment is restaurant dining. If we take Uber we can cocktail without worry. There is plenty of tourist excitement for us just a few miles from our house.
I am finished with my holiday shopping now. All I have to do is pay for the Uber as we use it, and I am done. I feel intensely liberated this year. I never get into the shopping frenzy thing, but this time I am happy all the gifts will be invisible, consumable, and will not require and storage after the holiday. I wish you all such efficient holiday planning. Good luck! Do you have your plans made? Do you shop for lots of gifts, gentle reader, or take it easy this time of year?
I worked as an outside sales travel agent for many years. I took care of my own clients and split my commissions with the agency where I worked. I served all kinds of different clients, mostly recreational. They knew the destination and how long they would stay. They wanted to find the best airfare. Back in the day only agents or the airlines themselves had access to the digital systems used for booking. Some people wanted nothing more than the best fare for a flight, but others wanted some guidance in planning. Naturally each vacationer wants to think they have a great bargain package, but very few would tell the agent how much they had planned to spend. This question was rarely answered. Today, of course, consumers shop for their own travel and have resources available to do research. Yelp and TripAdvisor help prospective clients judge destinations by reading the reviews of other holiday makers. This helps people fit the vacation to personal taste, and avoid costly bad matches in accommodations.
In summer thoughts turn to vacation. I no longer book travel for other people but I do want to offer some advice for a stress free and happy trip, no matter where you roam.
You need to budget both time and money in order to get the most value out of your time on holiday. Think first of the beginning and the end of the trip. Leave plenty of time on both ends for unexpected events and delays. Don’t fly to a wedding on a flight that is scheduled to arrive 3 hours before the ceremony. Don’t drive home for 12 hours straight on the last night of your time off from your job. I always like to have a full day at home before I have an appointment, just so I can recover and/or be delayed in transit. If you give yourself plenty of leisure time you will come back refreshed, even if you use it to be very energetic. Cramming too many destinations or plans into the time allowed can ruin the rhythm of your rest and relaxation. It is bad to return exhausted.
It is worse to return home in deep debt. A satisfying vacation is one you can afford without sweating. After you calculate your airfare and special events be reasonable about how you will want to dine, shop, and entertain yourself. There is a strong association between freewheeling spending and American Dreaming. Remember this especially if you plan to spend time in Nevada. I think the worst buyer’s remorse is that of the vacationer who has not yet paid for the trip that did not really come up to snuff. That charge on the credit card remains to add insult to injury for a long time. Please set a limit, a budget, and a goal for your holiday spending. Be creative to make the most of your free time. Bon voyage, gentle reader.
Yesterday I met Canine Officer Evo of the Tucson Police Department. He and his human trainer were at the Cops and Rodders Car Show. This free annual event is sponsored by the Tucson Police Foundation. My partner Bob always brings his antique VW bug to be in the show and I always attend. This year was graced with perfect weather and some really artful vehicles of every kind. My favorite collection this year was old firetruck and cop car toys that a regular exhibitor brought just do try something different. It was also especially lucky because the restored firetruck that normally sits in the lobby at station one permanently happened to to out for some kind of repair, so the retired firefighter who works on this beauty drove it over to the park to be in the show. I love all the firetrucks. They are spectacular works of mechanical art. I was thrilled to have a chance to meet and ask questions of the retired firefighter who has done the body work on these antiques and is rightfully proud of his work.
The police are set up to meet the public and answer questions all day. They are divided into specialties according to training and equipment they use. The SWAT team is very popular because the robots interact with kids and pass a bottle of hand sanitizer, etc. They dress up in jumpsuits and stand next to their big vehicle. The helicopter lands and the crew hangs out all day. People love looking inside the cockpit and meeting the cops on our local beat, since they are usually flying over us shining big obtrusive lights around our hood. There is a booth with their heavy military artillery, a place with TPD recruiting information. At the end of the display I spotted a woman wearing a walking patrol uniform. I asked where she gets to do that, and the answer was downtown and 4th Avenue, a more urban part of town. The same officers do bike and walking patrols. We had a few in midtown and really wanted more on duty here, but they were canceled. Now we have no boots on the ground in midtown, which we regret because air support can only accomplish so much without a coalition on the ground to hold the territory. We have the helicopter on a very regular basis, but are not comforted by our relationship with it. It does not make any sense to us to cancel bike cops because the budget is too tight, and use the helicopter instead. There is such a thing as efficiency. I was feeling annoyed, as I often am, at the priorities (or total lack thereof) of government spending when I saw him, everything I have ever wanted in a police officer.
The canine unit has only 10 dogs. Not all of them are social, and therefore would not be brought out to meet and greet the pubic. Evo, however, is a total party animal. I had no idea they were loving, or that they even were allowed to party with the public. Imagine my surprise and delight when I came down to his level to say hi to him and was given big fat kisses all over my face. He just would not stop with the kissing while he showed me his tummy. We played for a minute and I fell deeply in love with him while his other fans waited to meet him. From little kids to adults, he charmed the humans as no other cop there had the power to do. His trainer opened the back of his car so his fans could see how he rides and answered the millions of questions we had. A very loud and aggressive lemonade vendor came by shouting out his wares. He meant no harm, but his shouting voice was out of place. Officer Evo did not bark to react like a pet dog might, but you should have seen him come to attention. His ears went shooting up and he left his PR job completely to focus on the risk the lemonade guy might pose. At that moment he displayed situational awareness the humans just can’t achieve. He had been there winning hearts and minds since 7:30 am when I met him about 2 in the afternoon. He showed infinite patience and stamina. Of course he is much younger than the human cops. He is only 4.
I learned a lot yesterday even though I just went to see the vehicles. I came away with the following impressions:
I would like to see more paws and boots on the ground in midtown. Can I get an Amen?? If you don’t live in Tucson, gentle reader, then this may not seem to apply to you. Your city may also do inappropriate law enforcement stuff rather than more effective stuff just because they can. If they don’t, you are fortunate.