Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Happy New Year 2020 - and the Optometrists Rejoice

Have you ever noticed how many optometrists, eyeglass places, one-stop eyeglass shops have 2020 in their phone number, if not their name? 

They'll be having a field day with this. 

New Year is the time for lots of retrospective big-picture posts about the Best or Worst of 2019.  The alternative is the What to Expect Next Year line.  If you want to read those, go read Borepatch or Wilder, Wealthy, and Wise.  Mine will be personally retrospective.  For what to expect in the coming year, I come down near those two, perhaps closer to Borepatch, perhaps a bit naively thinking that events rarely unfold linearly, and the unpredicted; the black swan is what gets you.  As the wise man said, “life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.”

Like I've said before, there are plenty of ways to delineate time and it's only New Year's Eve 2020 in the one the Western world generally follows.  2019 was a sufficiently crappy year for us that I'm going to pretend that opening a new year's calendar really does fundamentally change things in a way that flipping a one-page-per-day calendar doesn't.  Tomorrow will be a fresh start.

On the positive side, 2019 was my fourth full year of retirement; I turned the page into my fifth year on Friday the 20th.  With the exception I'll get to in a moment, everyone's health is good.  My brother and the extended family on that side are all well as are Dear Son, Daughter In Law and Precious Granddaughter.  My little niece (who's 27) announced her engagement and plans to get married early next year.  Yeah, it's hard not to think of her as a school girl, highschool cheerleader, or pre-school.  Kind of like when your own kid announces something like this except with much less anguish.  Personally, I've gone through a year of getting off several prescriptions and OTC stuff I took too often, and all my lab tests have been improving - a trend going on for several years. 

The first bad event of the year was early March, when Mrs. Graybeard fell and broke a bony prominence at the top of her thigh bone (she broke two pieces off the greater trochanter for you medical folks who visit) as we were starting to wash our cars.  That was a total reset of life.  She was on a walker until the middle of April, only able to do the most basic essentials of life for herself.  It was weekly x-rays and doctor checks until mid-April.  Then a short period on a cane and finally walking uncomfortably by mid-May.  There were some setbacks in rehab and I can't pick out a point when she was back to normal, but it was after the summer.  I think being unable to put any weight on that limb for six weeks was probably more damaging to her health than the break itself.  On the other hand, the orthopedic surgeon made it clear it was a bitchy surgery to go through, as well as for him to do, and it was best considered a last resort.  Metabolically and other health-wise though, the most important stuff, she's fine.  One can recover from an injury better if they're otherwise healthy and don't have the chronic diseases so common in our society.

Because of the accident, we didn't take any vacations or go anywhere.  On the day she fell, I had made a note to myself to make reservations (once we were done washing the cars) to go to one of the big model engineering shows, NAMES Expo (the North American  Model Engineering Society), held annually outside Detroit (Wyandotte, Michigan).  We went to one Expo in 2008, in Toledo, Ohio that year.  (Note the NAMES Expo website is still for the 2019 show, last April!  I've seen an article saying there will be a show this year, but they're a bit slow to update.) 

The next major bad was our lightning strike that I've posted lots about since the first posting here. There's little to say at this point except that the rate of things failing has been going down and it may have gotten to background failure rates.  The last major expense was that my wife's computer died the week before Thanksgiving which made the thoughts about upgrading our two desktops a bit more prominent.  We eventually bought a pair of identical Dell desktops.  Probably a bit more than we'd like to have spent on them, but amortized over another 8 to 10 year lifetime, probably not bad.  Not counting the new computers, and my radio repairs, the lightning strike cost us right around $3000 in damages. Not related to lightning, we also ran about $3000 in car repairs.

In the last year, I've moved my general interest of stuff to blog on to that big pile of interesting, newsy stuff that's 45 miles up the road, the burgeoning space industry; both private and NASA.  Along the way, I've subscribed to newsletters to read, even one that I have to pay for (and possibly more coming).  I figure my proximity gives me a bit of an advantage, and being able to go outside to watch launches from the side yard is part of that.  I haven't gone full Everyday Astronaut or Scott Manley, but they're trying to make money at this, while I'm just trying to be an interesting, full-service blog. 

Guaranteed to be worth what you paid. 

I wish you all a happy, prosperous, safe and free New Year!  Remember, as Matt Groening says, drinking and power tools don't mix, so if you drink don't drill!  And if you drill don't drink?  Something like that.


  1. When my children were young, they observed that my wife often stopped for a big gulp of Diet Coke. They saw commercials that cautioned against drinking and driving. So the four girls, age about 3 - 10 had their own intervention with her. She laughed very hard and they couldn't understand ... I guess that's all I have to say besides Happy New Year.

  2. Happy New Year, SiG!

    Maybe propagation will start to pick up this year.

  3. Happy New Year!!

    Wow - the skill on display from NAMES in those pictures - amazing!

    I think you're right - Black Swans will rule the year, and the coming decade.

  4. Happy New Year! And good to hear healing's coming apace, I was really glad to be clear of a walker/cane.

  5. Happy New Year, SiG!! Keep up the blogging on the new space race. Oh, how I wish this had happened 30 to 40 years ago. We both might have been able to very actively participate in it. It is as exciting as when I was 7 and the first manned space race had started.

  6. Happy late New Year.
    I enjoy your outlook on the industry - a different point of view.