how to find a leak in a pool Plano - a step by step leak test to see if you may have a leak in your swimming pool.

Tampa Bay Lightning Promotions 2019-2020 Season #FREE

Well it's hockey season again, and that means lots of free food if you're in the Tampa Bay area. The Tampa Bay Lightning started off the season Oct 3, 2019 with a decisive win over the Florida Panthers in front of a sold out Amalie Arena. 

So, the first thing you have to do after any home game win is get your phone in hand and click on the Chick Fil A app to load your free chicken sandwich reward. This reward is for a free chicken entree item the day after the win ONLY. Unless they win on a Saturday, its good for Monday, being that Chick Fil A is closed on Sundays.

My next favorite freebie is a free taco and chips from Tijuana Flats on any Saturday during hockey season. It used to be Thursdays, but this year its changed to Saturday. If you go between 3-7pm you can also get a $1 Shock Top beer to wash it down. Just wear any clothing or hat with the Lightning logo to show you're a fan!  

 Tropical Smoothie  Cafe offers a discounted smoothie on Tuesdays. I'm not sure if this is a regular promotion or just for hockey season. 
The Wendy's double stack freebie is not the most healthy food, so we don't really bother with this one. But if red meat is your thing, you can get a free burger the next day after a game IF the Lightning shut out the opponent, or score 4 or more goals. It doesn't have to be a win, just the goals or shut to get this one.

The World of Beer restaurant will give you a free beer during the game if the Lightning score a power play goal. 

 Papa Johns will sell you a pizza or any other food for 50% off the next day after a game if the Lightning win. Use the promo code BOLTSW in your app or online ordering.

#TampaBay #Lightning #Hockey #free #freefood #Gobolts

2019 3rd Qtr Mileage Report

Wow, its been a hot summer, and rainy too. Lots of rained out bike rides home from work this summer, but that didn't stop me. Unfortunately about two weeks ago, a white ghost bike was installed on my most dangerous corner off 56th and Harney. That means some poor soul didn't make it. I'm not surprised given that Tampa has nearly the highest number of cyclist and pedestrian deaths from cars in the Nation. My angels have protected me the past 15 years commuting to work, so I hope they don't fly off the last few before I retire. Today, as I was weaving around dump trucks in lanes of traffic and between cars, a dude driving a F350 come driving up along side me and rolls his window down to admonish me for biking. "What are you doing out here with all these kooky drivers, you're brave girl". I just said, "I know, I know". Anyway, gotta love it. The mornings are dipping below 70F, and its dark so I have on my extra safety gear, a lighted helmet and safety hi vis vest. 

We did get out the motorcycles for couple quick rides, both have needed their batteries replaced this quarter. The camry is our old reliable, unobtrusive vehicle that we drive when the chances of a door dinger are good - the grocery store, the bar, busch gardens. The van is super handy for tailgateing at concerts and where ever we tailgate. Actually, this weekend we're volunteering at the Tampa Tailgate Taste Fest in downtown, should be fun.

It was another typical quarter as far as mileage, around 3K miles combined for all our vehicles. The majority miles were the van and the bike.

DOA Campground bus at Howl O Scream, Busch Gardens

Ten Uses for Google Maps besides Directions

One of my absolute, daily go-to apps on my Android phone is the Google Maps app. It's not that I need directions to get around everyday, it's because it can show you all sorts of other information.

Did you know you can do all this?
  1. Traffic - in real time.  Green is good, Red lines on the highways indicate traffic jams. There is usually a red icon for accidents, and orange icon for construction backups.
  2. Tag Places you want to Visit - read about a new restaurant? Tag it. Want to see that Gaudi museum in Barcelona? Tag it. Want to see the murals in Montreal. Tag it. You can see in my Googles Maps the teal colored tags are murals and food. The yellow tags are places saved. The green tags are places I want to go. The Red tags are favorites. 
  3. Hours of Operation - all businesses have their hours listed in Google Maps, also a graph of when the place is busy or not.
  4. Photos - of Businesses and locations, their food and drinks. You can see all the photos that users have uploaded for this location.
  5. Reviews of Businesses - good and bad. also "About" area that describes offerings, accessibility, planning, and possibly a note from the owner.
  6. Add your own 2 cents - you can upload that plate of food picture, or the menu on the wall, or the outside of the building to help the user community
  7. See whats nearby your destination. If you're looking for a hotel near that theme park.
  8. Phone numbers and link to call direct from Google maps
  9. Website of business with link to click
  10. Google My Maps app - you can make a journey by selecting many locations and then save it as mymap for offline use later. This is a little more advanced, but super helpful in planning travel. There is an app called Google My Maps that lets you add places to make a tour and save it off line too.

A Method To Select & Analyze 401K Investment Choices

When your employer offers you the benefit of a 401K investment option, you need to select from the choices they offer in the retirement plan. My employer is revamping and forcing investors to switch companies and select from a few choices. Here's the process I followed to make my decision.
Disclaimer: I am not a financial advisor and considering this information is at your own risk.

  1.  Go to your companies 401K website and find the link for the comparison of the "Various products, fees and investment items". There you should find a quarterly performance report for the last quarter. 
  2. The first thing I review is the historical returns, and the fees. I eliminate any with high fees over about 5%.
  3. Then I look for double digit returns in the last year. Eliminate any choices that don't have at least double digit returns in the past three to five years.
  4. Also consider the type of fund being considered and what risk range is preferred.
  5. So, now you only have a handful to investigate further. Find out the ticker symbol of the fund or stock so you can investigate dividends, review the performance charts and see projected dividends.
  6. With your ticker symbol, you can search google finance to determine the last years dividend. If there is no dividend, then eliminate the choice from your remaining inventory.
  7. I like to use a free android app called Dividend Tracker to look up and research funds.
  8. Then I made a chart in Excel where I could compare the potential of the ticker symbol by taking the share price minus the annual fee cost and add the annual dividend income (average 5 year) to come up with the final projected value of the the fund/stock.
  9. Using Dividend Tracker I can find the 5 year average dividend which I use instead of last years. I also can review the dividend history to see if they have been decreasing or increasing, or have stopped altogether.
  10. Review your choices and add more to your chart if none of them look promising. If you decide on a fund, google it and research it further to be sure it aligns with your investment strategies.
stock  price  #shares in 100K fee -fee divd per share +annual dividend value+AVG divd-fee 5 yr avg divd 5yr divd proj price to div ratio
RGAEX 49.63 2073.83 6.8  $  680.00  $   5.08  $  10,535.05  $  107,283.50 $3.84 10.55% 9
VCSRX 22.50 4623.21 5.6  $  560.00  $   2.04  $     9,431.35  $  103,508.42 $0.88 9.45% 11
LSSIX 27.23 3725.78 9.4  $  940.00  $   2.58  $     9,612.52  $  107,256.72 $2.20 9.61% 10
INGIX 15.90 6561.68 2.7  $  270.00  $   0.95  $     6,233.60  $  108,260.18 $1.30 51.62% 16
RNPEX 44.24 2341.37 8  $  800.00  $   2.83  $     6,626.08  $  104,468.09 $2.25 6.33% 15
IICIX 10.40 9532.89 3.5  $  350.00  $   0.18  $     1,715.92  $  102,700.52 $0.32 4.23% 58
VIIIX 272.79 382.54 0.2  $     20.00  $   3.30  $     1,262.38  $  101,747.34 $4.62 1.93% 79

The chart starts with the price of the fund. It assumes you have $100,000 invested and divides by share price to give the Number of Shares. Then fees are listed by %, and dollar amount based on your principle of $100K. The dividend per share amount is taken from Dividend tracker and used to calculate the annual dividend by taking the last years dividend amount multiplied by the number of shares. Then you can add your $100K + annual dividend - fee = value of your money. Of course you want the largest value, but it is not guaranteed. This is just a projection if all funds are analyzed equally. 

I like to also consider the share price vs dividend ratio by dividing the share price by the last years dividend. The smaller number the better value. In fact that is the column I sort my chart by, the dividend ratio.

You will notice that just because a fund has a high fee does not mean it is the worst choice. It may have a high dividend and low share price to compensate for that and provide you with good value at the end of the year.

You will also notice that a low fee fund is not necessarily the best choice either. It may not provide good dividends or any dividends.

Again, I remind you I am not a finance advisor and this is just an example of how I review choices to invest in.

Good Luck!

#money #invest #retire

Bicycle Safety is No Accident

Maybe its the warm weather. Maybe its the time of day. But, some days drivers on the road are more erratic than normal. Today was one of those days. In the dark, early calm morning. With my handy dandy rear view mirror, I can tell when a driver spots me on my bike and speeds up to pass me before we come to a narrow area where there is definitely not enough room for a bicycle rider and a car, like a tight corner. I can also tell when a driver slows down to let me pass the situation (like today it was the garbage truck stopped in the oncoming lane).

I always think about close calls on my bike because I read about motorcycle crashes and bicyclists who were killed every day in the paper. Another grim reminder of the tragedy of biking, is the white ghost bike that was installed on my routes deadliest turn off 56th Street & Harney last week. I've always told my DH that if I get killed on my bike its going to be at that fork in the road. Drivers are speeding along and there are no signs to yield or slow or stop, just pick a direction right or left. I need to go right, crossing the left road in front of potentially left going vehicles.

Today the driver that tried to kill me was in a little red Kia or Corolla. I could tell they were going above the 25 mph speed limit and as I approached the downhill corner, I knew we both could not be there at the same time. So, I moved to the middle of the lane to capture my space so they didn't expect me to stay in the gutter to the right. That meant for them to pass me they went to the far left and then cut back in front of me, forcing me to the right into the gutter. Being the prudent biker, I moved aside rather than die.

Riding a bike to commute is not for everyone. Cars speeding 55 mph inches away from me, can be a little unsettling. It is a safe and healthy activity, made dangerous because of the drivers. I'm a driver too, sometimes. I know its a hassle to stop for a biker or walker. But it matters.

Here are some of the little things I do to help me stay safe on the road biking alongside traffic.
  • Be Seen - wear hi vis yellow or orange shirts or a safety vest. I wear a vest with reflective stripes when it is dark too.
  • Use Lights and MORE lights - I have a small Knog bike light that is super bright. It has a small rubber strap that clips on my front handlebar. It charges the battery with a regular USB plugin.
  • A super bright back red light. Its important to keep the batteries fresh on this one or the light is not quite so bright.
  • A lumos Helmet that has flashing front and back lights, and turn signals. I charge it once a week on my USB port of my laptop. 
  • A rear view mirror is critical to see whats coming up behind you, in the event you need to swerve into the lane of traffic to avoid a hazard such as dead animals, broken glass, piles of gravel, lumber debris or any other number of things that will impede your safe travels.
If you use all these safety features, you'll be seen by drivers and hopefully they will be the courteous ones who share the road.

Ten Years

It's been ten years since I created this place of mine on the internet. Unfortunately, I have not dedicated the effort it takes for a blog to be profitable and support my life style and quit my day job. I'm still toiling away at my government job, and still dreaming of being able to quit. So, I've decided to rearrange the leisure activities in my life, notably reading and replace it with writing and promoting my blog.

Having a blog is not simply writing 500 words and clicking send. There are lots of details to get it out there where people will read it. It means sharing on social media sites, responding to comments, and in general engaging with others on the internet. It's tedious, and not always productive. However, I want to give it a try. There are lots of tools to automate posting and sharing.

I'm thinking that my focus will be frugal living, and also adding the perspective from a senior (now that I'm over 55) and preparing for retirement. Not necessarily early retirement like all the FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) people out there, but just regular old retirement for regular people.

2nd Qtr 2019 Mileage Report

 I know the orangatan doesn't have anything to do with mileage, but thats the new rollercoaster Tigris in the background. Typical mileage this past quarter as we continue to use the motorcycles sparingly. The majority of our travel is in the new minivan at close to 70%. My biking to work is the other major part of the commuting with 20% of the miles traveled. We have not gone on any trips this past quarter as we are saving our leave time for our big transatlantic cruise in the fall.

2019 Rays Baseball 10 strikeouts Promotion

Well the Kanes 10 strikeouts is back, but they've tightened up the rules. No more stockpiling of the taco meals. 

If the Tampa Bay Rays get 10 or more strikeouts, you'll get 1 FREE taco, chips & a medium fountain drink from a participating TIJUANA FLATS. Participating locations: Tampa, St. Petersburg, Ft. Myers, Naples, Orlando, Daytona, Gainsville & Ocala Florida Markets. No purchase necessary. 

WITHIN 3 DAYS of the 10 strikeout home game, bring in one of these qualifying items to any Kane's Showroom and get a FREE Tijuana Flats coupon:
Ticket Stub
Seat Locator Receipt (for Flex Pack Cardholders)
- Web voucher from www.KanesStrikeOut.com (printed or on phone)

 IMPORTANT: Limit one coupon per person, per web voucher, per game. For seat locator receipt or ticket stubs, you may receive up to (4) coupons given that all seats are together. You must be 18 years of age & you must redeem your ticket stub/receipt/web voucher at Kane’s within 3 days of the 10 strikeout home game date.  No purchase necessary. Participating Florida locations, see coupon for details.


#Baseball #Kanes #Rays #Free #TijuanaFlats #Freetaco #Tampa #Promotion

Frugal Florida State Fair

 This year the Florida State Fair in Tampa, FL had a bargain day for us frugal folks. It was $2 after 2 pm, plus selected rides were $2 and most food vendors offered an item of their menu for $2. There were $2 cheese curds (from Wisconsin), hotdogs, corn dogs, sautéed mushrooms, lemonade, cheese fries, water, pizza and veggie pita. We still spent over twenty bucks but it was actually nice to just get a sample size of something. Definitely a diet buster day.

I started out back near the Equestrian center to see the Moto Maniac show, and happened by the #FairClysdales. These beautiful horses are having a nice time in Florida where amazingly it was an 80F day. And Sunny. Too bad for the rest of the nation where weather pretty much is typical winter.
 The ferris wheel
 The Lady Houdini was impressive, she stayed in that tank for 2 minutes unlocking locks and chains and padlocks while submerged in water.
 The Zaji #amazingacrobats was my favorite show, There was lots of activity, skill and fun.
 Plate twirling - not a single plate toppled.
 Amazing to watch 11 people climb on this bike while one dude was riding it.
 The circus has changed over the years, no more dogs, elephants or horses. The only animal act is the camels walking in circles, no riders. Still entertaining show though.
 All these aerial performers do their acts without nets or safety lines. Quite scary.
 The Clydsdales friendly pet, Bud
Night time for the horses, the handlers were taking out all the braids in their manes and tails.
 Bello Nock and his kids performed, includes being shot out a cannon over a running helicopter.

 The beautiful ferris wheel at night, changing colors
Not quite as good as the Minnesota state fair, but worth going to. The Florida state fair really is missing out on sponsorship and local participation. The difference from a Midwest state fair is that there are no give aways of bags and junk. They could add local radio station booths, TV broadcasts, local celebritys, local companies like Publix, Hospitals, Sporting Teams, Tourists destinations, Busch Gardenss, Disney, colleges, local police and sheriff agencies. There is very little corporate involvement, other than the Fl Dept of Ag. There is so much opportunity here.

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