At 5:15 a.m., it’s 93 degrees on the back porch, and overcast. Was going to jump in the pool but then heard thunder and thought better of it. Turned around, came inside, fed the dogs, thought better of the better thought, ran outside, and plunged in the pool, thunder rumbling through the skies.
Leapt out, grabbed the hose, watered the withering plants, and flew back inside.
Now at least my hair is wet and braided, which will provide some convenient personal air conditioning for the next several hours.
Damn near 95 degrees at 5 in the morning means no exercise for the dogs. Cassie, with her thick coat and lion-like mane, has never been able to withstand that kind of heat for more than half a mile. Ruby probably could, but it might not be great for her. The prospect doesn’t thrill the human, either.
It means I don’t get any exercise, either. Could do some physical therapy exercises and yoga, but that ain’t the same as two brisk miles. Oh well.
Y’know, in all the years I’ve fed my dogs Real Food, I’ve never kept track of how long a batch of cooked meat, veggies, and starch lasts. Probably scared: I don’t wanna know how much this is costing me!!
However, we now have a hint. On July 15, I made a Costco run that included a giant package of frozen dog veggies ($6.49), a lifetime supply of chicken thighs ($12.64), and a massive amount of pork ($35.55), for a total of $54.68
Divided the pork into three packages. ONE of those lasted 10 days, when cooked with a sweet potato (on hand) and a few handsful of frozen veggies. So that means the $36 worth of pork alone, in theory, should last the dogs for a month.
It’s almost the end of the month. I’ve cooked 1/3 of the pork, half of the chicken, about half the frozen veggies, and embellished the results with about one cup of rice and two sweet potatoes. We have 1½ Tupperware-type containers of chicken-based dog food left — more than enough to last past the 31st. The first chicken cooking will cover 10 days. AND we have the other half of the packaged chicken thighs, still in the freezer: another 10 days! The remaining pork will make another 20 days’ worth of dog food.
30 days: pork
20 days: chicken
50 days: total days covered by Costco run
That means $55 and change is feeding two dogs for almost two months.
Holy sh!t. I had no idea feeding them actual, real food was that economical.
I’ve been adding a few bites of kibble (Whole Foods’ house brand) to both dogs’ meals, because I’ve not been confident that my dog food recipe sufficed for a puppy. (And of course Cassie will not put up with Ruby getting anything that she doesn’t get.) But now that Ruby is over two years old, she can go wholly on real food without risk. I think we’ll switch her over to 100% real food, which will cut the length of time the supply lasts by about 50%. But that should be tolerable. Especially since we won’t be buying expensive kibble.
Cassie is now 10 years old, and she’s incredibly healthy. You would never know she’s advanced in age. Her teeth are good. The terrible dog breath she had when she came to the Funny Farm is gone. No aches and pains seem to bother her. She races around the backyard with Ruby — and believe me, despite the short legs (or maybe because of them) a corgi goes like a rocket. Her coat is gorgeous. She eats well. And when the weather is tolerable, she can walk a mile at a fast clip with no problem.
My son’s dog, who gets nothing but the very best high-end kibble, has red swollen gums and bad breath. He obviously needs an expensive dental job. My son can’t afford that and so continues in denial. And (btw) that dog gets the doggywobbles every time he turns around. A vet claims this is because of a congenital intestinal problem, but that speculation has never been proven; one wonders if the issue would resolve in the absence of commercial dog food.
Cassie and Ruby eat everything in sight, and they never, ever get sick. Doggy diarrhea is rarely seen in these parts, unless one of them finds something weird to eat outdoors.
I first discovered this dawg wellness phenomenon when I started cooking Real Food for the German shepherd and the greyhound, during the late Chinese melamine fiasco. The difference in Anna, the decrepit German shepherd, was startling. She had been so crippled with age that she could barely haul herself off the floor. Shortly, she was chasing her ball around the backyard again, something she hadn’t been able to do in many months.
The budget is looking pretty good despite some small overruns.
Last month, on the first, I bought a $50 Costco cash card, solely to buy gas. The first tank of gas lasted until just a few days ago. I now have a full tank, which will probably last until the middle of next month — especially if I opt next month’s junket to Avondale. So apparently in my dotage, it’s costing nothing like $50 a month to buy gas.
As we’ve seen, I indulged myself with a gardening purchase (the composter), which would have led to a budget overrun without the other small surprises. But that may pay for itself this winter when I use it on the proposed vegetable pots.
One reason the budget is so tight at this time of year is that the utility bills are astronomical in this heat. In the winter, though, they’ll drop to almost nothing: both electric and water will fall into pocket change category.
The reason I don’t allow the power company to prorate the electric bill is that I like having a lot of extra budgetary play in the winter, when I want to buy Christmas presents and have to pony up money for church donations. I wouldn’t feel I could afford those things if I had to pay for part of the summer bills all year round. Plus it’s a good idea to be eminently aware of how much air conditioning actually costs you at any given time…
We’re basically heat-bound here. I feel like I’ve been in jail all summer. Choir is out during the summertime. I suppose I could go to Church on Sundays and socialize a bit…but organized religion per se is not really my thing. I commune best with the Ineffable in nature, not under a roof. 😉
With recreational shopping out (permanently, it seems), hiking out because of the heat, and the cultural scene in estivation, there’s really nothing to do here but read the news on the computer and work. Hence: a 400-page book in draft, in a matter of days. Amazingly enough.
Thank God for the swimming pool. This summer was the first in two years that I’ve been allowed to get in the water. It’s a life-saver.
Wish it had some kind of shade screen over the top, so I could swim in the heat of the day. When I was young, dumb, and didn’t give a damn, I used to drop into the pool several times a day, just to keep cool. Now…not so much. Too scared about melanoma.
Adventures in Medical Science do that to you: create fear.
The weather this summer has been a real bear, and it looks like this is going to be a permanent thing. My son figures the Valley will remain livable until the mid-2020s, which is about when we’ll run out of the water the Central Arizona Project has been quietly pumping back into the aquifer. But water or no, if this kind of heat continues, the low desert really will become uninhabitable.
He’s talking about moving to Oregon, if his employer will allow him to work from home — as apparently is in the cards. I don’t know if I could afford to live there…the taxes, I fear, are too high.
SmartAsset.com calls Oregon “moderately friendly” for retirees. It’s a little hard to tell, though, because they don’t seem to take sales taxes into consideration. In Arizona, sales taxes are around 10% — depends on the municipality, because some cities tax food and some don’t. Property taxes are apparently higher because the cost of real estate is higher, and Oregon has no sales tax. It does have an estate tax, starting at $1 million — that presumably would not apply when I croak over. Or I could just start maxing out transfers of assets to my son before I die.
If you believe SmartAsset, it looks like Oregon is comparable to Arizona. In Oregon, you supposedly will pay $1,598 on a $40,000 income. In Arizona, the figure is $480. Huh…how do you suppose they have the chutzpah to put those two in the same category? They can’t possibly be figuring the sales taxes in there. Sales tax amounts to hundreds and hundreds of dollars a year here!
Must say that the prospect of moving across the country doesn’t appeal. I’d have to sell all my furniture, since the cost of a moving van is pretty prohibitive. Once there, I’d have to refurnish with Ikea junk or spend months searching for replacements in estate sales. Ugh! Not much fun, either way.
Heh… In the “very tax friendly” category, SmartAsset lists Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Nevada, South Dakota, Wyoming. :-0 Talk about “out of the frying pan, into the fire!” None of those are places I would jump to live in.
Hm. Ordinary unexceptional “tax friendly”:
Colorado is considered tax-friendly: that’s interesting. I could stand to live in Colorado. None of the others appeal, though, with the possible exception of Idaho and maybe New Hampshire.
Colorado: $1,852 taxes on 40 grand. Idaho: $837. New Hampshire: $0.
Zero? What are they smoking over there at SmartAssets??
Ah: here’s the explanation: SmartAssets’ figures don’t include property taxes. Well, hell. Then their calculations mean exactly nothing. It’s the property taxes that do you in when you’re retired!
All these gingery calculations you see in the media about where to retire on a shoestring are pretty silly. None of them compare apples with oranges or take all the factors into consideration. For example: how much is it going to cost you to fly back and forth to visit grandchildren? If a state doesn’t have property taxes, how is it paying for its infrastructure? You can be sure the Tooth Fairy isn’t covering the cost of roads and schools…
So, let’s move to Mexico or Colombia, hm?
Those schemes fail to mention that Medicare doesn’t cover you when you’re out of the country. And as sad as America’s healthcare system is looking, our doctors and hospitals are still a lot better than what you’ll find in most of those “affordable” countries. Assuming you survive, say, a stroke or a heart attack, how much will it cost to fly you to the US for quality care? And how much more will your care cost you after medical attention has been delayed for the period it takes you to get transportation back to Medicare Heaven?
Welp. I don’t know if Arizona will remain livable for the remainder of my assigned years. If it doesn’t, I suppose Oregon or Colorado would suffice.
Wherever my son goes…I probably would follow him. Oregon, though: that would be good.