Sunk without the Sump

Water, water, everywhere but not a drop to drink. That describes my basement after the sump pump broke. I was off on holiday with a few of my buddies from the club, touring the beautiful Gold Coast, when it happened. Of course I didn’t know about it. I was having a right good time with no thought to such a disaster. No one was checking the basement, that’s for sure. I didn’t arrange for such a task as who would expect a high quality sump pump to go haywire. Not me.

Upon returning from a great trip, my great mood soon turned foul. One look and I was disheartened and dismayed. A sump pump is such a beast of burden and you don’t expect it to go on the fritz during its lifetime. The water was up to my ankles and not receding in the slightest. I had to call the plumbers and sat fuming in wait.

Water does intrude on its own in my basement, hence the need to install the pump in the first place. Water follows the path of least resistance under the house. We got it to handle any unforeseen event: seeping ground water, water leaks in the walls, overflowing gutters, excessive rainfall, poor drainage, improper downspouts, odd landscape mishaps, and the like. We thought that covered it. What we didn’t figure on was the pump itself going south.

Having a wet basement is not untypical, but having a virtual flood is. No doubt residual stains, mildew, and odors will live to tell the tale. There will be some nasty cleanup, done by someone other than myself! I use the basement for storage and a few things on the floor have now seen better days. Some have found their way to the bin. Others have some hope for a renewed existence.

Was I remiss in having sump pump maintenance? Who knew? I thought the thing was sturdy enough. Doesn’t it sit idle, twiddling its thumbs, until the rain comes and it jumps into action? Now I know that you have to check that vulnerable float thing. Also debris in the sump pit. You have to look at the check valve and clean the impeller to avoid jams. The instructions say to disassemble the pump if you can’t reach it. Yikes! Meanwhile, you also have to take a gander at the electrical parts/connections and the circuit breaker if it goes off. That is if you even notice that is has gone off! Did you know that some work on batteries?

After reading all this, I am almost an expert. Certainly I will not let a problem of this dimension happen again. I will be the troubleshooter par excellence. I might even teach the club a few tips and tricks that I have hopefully mastered. So the bloody thing is working now, and for the moment I am content to leave the premises without worry. I will however, ask someone to stop by and check the basement, while I am gone.

Backpack on Board

Wherever you like to roam, a backpack on board sure helps. You can load it with essential items such as basic toiletries, a sewing and/or first-aid kit, travel books, and more. There are so many to choose from that it can become an insanely complicated decision.

Units that are waterproof and easy to clean stand out as good choices – and if you’re like me, although you’re not a 22 year old hippie that is backpacking around Europe anymore, having the right luggage is essential for an enjoyable travel experience. Hiking and moving about in the countryside entails some hearty weather at times. Remember, you can keep raingear inside! Meanwhile, space is essential with pockets (zippered preferred) and recesses for sorting special items like a cell phone, protein bars, money, medicine, and the like. It is a blessing when you need something fast to find it in a flash.

Backpacks come in luxurious models in nice leather in black and tan or a plastic hybrids in bright colors. It might be nice to identify yours at a glance by its hue, size, tags, or other surface features. This is practical if you travel in groups. What is not practical is a really expensive status bag that will be marred and otherwise damaged in no time. Select a good, strong backpack that holds everything but isn’t too heavy or cumbersome. It’s important to remember when looking at backpacks that the best backpacks are very much about your personal preferences. The designers know what they are doing, so don’t worry too much. Scan the available models and see what you think will work best for your needs based on destination, amount of storage required, weight, etc.

Some packs can be converted by altering the position of the straps: lengthening or shortening for example. You can then have a handheld tote in minutes. This might come in handy when entering civilization so you don’t look too rural when dining out, entering a tourist shrine, and the like. The idea is convenience and simple adaptation. Again, assess your needs when making a purchase. Price will also be a major factor; but when it comes down to it, usage counts more than economy.

A word about the lining: you should be able to wipe it down without harming delicate materials like leather or suede. In fact, it should be cleanable with soap and water or a solution. Things will spill so this is a vital point in keeping the backpack new-looking and smelling nice. You may be an outbacker, but your belongings need urban treatment. A little style also never hurt anyone and packs are quite chic these days. Ladies, in particular, will appreciate this fact and can use them double duty in their daily lives for the gym or as a baby bag. If you can get the laptop in there to go to the local coffee shop, so much the better.

Making life less difficult is important no matter where you go and what you do. Selecting the right backpack is up there with good nutrition, cleanliness, and health. It could be that important if you are a well-traveled regular. The more seasoned experience you have, the more you will know what we mean. Stowing gear for an outdoor trip is an art, and the right backpack will practically do it for you. Get organized and get ready for hours of fun.

Caring for your Health While Living on the Road

Living on the road causes a few health issues with people’s feet. One common problem is circulation in the legs and feet. If the person sits for long periods of time without getting up to walk, such as on a very long drive, he or she can suffer from blood clots which can slow down or prevent circulation to the feet. The symptoms of this condition can be pain in the calves or feet, coldness or numbness in the toes, swelling of the feet, pins and needles sensations in the feet and redness of the toes. This is a serious condition that if allowed to continue untreated, can result in gangrenous feet and amputation. Travelers should keep the circulation moving by stopping to stretch from time to time and keeping the legs moving even while driving.

Corns are a constant concern, especially with tight fitting shoes. If they are uncomfortable to walk in, they aren’t good for sitting in either, particularly on a long journey. Change into larger, comfier shoes at the first opportunity and avoid those pinching problems that result in bone deformities in the feet. Hammer toes are one symptom of wearing too tight shoes and they can be very painful so it’s important to wear shoes that fit properly at all times, especially when traveling. People with diabetes need to have unrestricted blood flow to their feet if possible, so wearing restrictive shoes and socks that pinch, can result in problems with the feet for people with this condition.

Athletes foot and toenail fungus are problems that can occur while driving for long periods of time. Basically these conditions result from not washing the feet enough and not changing the socks and shoes often enough. The retired traveler should spend a little time barefoot between driving sessions to air out the skin of the feet. Sweat can accumulate in the folds between the toes, which can result in bacterial infections that cause itching and irritation, such as athlete’s foot. Toenail fungus results from moisture being trapped against the skin and if the feet have lowered circulation as some elderly people have, the situation becomes worse as the body can’t detect the problem as easily. Visiting a podiatrist for all foot symptoms while on the road is an excellent choice to help prevent reoccurrences.

Ingrown toenails cause considerable pain due to the pinching and cutting into the flesh that happens with improperly formed toenails. The nail digs into the surrounding skin rather than simply sitting on top of it and the result can be serious infections. Once again, this problem can be exacerbated by wearing tight shoes, where the toes are restricted in their movements. If the toes are restricted, the toenails are probably going to become malformed at some point. This can be treated by visiting a podiatrist and also by keeping the nails trimmed closely at all times. Cutting the nails straight across and giving them time to heal before hitting the road again is helpful.

Ways to Earn a Bit of Extra Money as a Retired Traveler

Retired individuals sometimes need to have a little extra income on the side and in some cases this should be work that older people can handle easily depending on the individual’s health. Doing a little freelance work online using freelancing websites can help bring in that extra income, as long as the traveling retiree has access to the money earned, such as through PayPal or some other type of online money depository service. Directly depositing that money to a bank account makes it easier for the traveler to have access to his or her funds through the internet. Some types of jobs that are available are article writing, photography, voice talent, such as reading stories aloud, performing small tasks, or doing surveys.

The retired traveler can earn considerable extra cash by retrieving sellable items out of dumpsters. Known as dumpster diving, this practice often results in considerable extra income through sales on online marketplaces such as eBay. Some folks even make their entire living this way. People throw away perfectly good items all the time and some of them are quite valuable. You need to be aware of the laws regarding going through trash in the state where you are visiting before attempting this, however.  A few moments online doing research on the subject will give you all the information he or she needs before starting.

In some places soft drink and beer bottles and cans are returnable for a small amount of cash. Again, research is necessary to find out where returns are and aren’t allowed. In Australia, there is a 10c deposit on bottles and cans sold in SA/NT only. Picking up empty bottles and cans not only helps immediately clean up the environment but also gets those items recycled, which prevents them from ending up in landfills. It’s a win-win situation and the person collecting the bottles and cans gets a little extra income, not to mention some exercise out of the situation. Another related job opportunity is scrapping, where people pick through trash to find metals that can be sold to scrap yards. Discarded metals are everywhere and scrappers can pick up considerable extra cash doing this.

Part time jobs are everywhere. The retired traveler can pick up a job at a store as a greeter, or perhaps in a pub or bar serving beers. There are a lot of businesses that actually prefer hiring older people because they are often more reliable than young adults or teenagers. If the retired traveler is planning to spend considerable time in one place, then getting a part time job would be a decent idea. Just note that for some jobs, you are required to hold certain qualifications or certifications – i.e. to serve alcohol in a pub, you may need to hold a Responsible Service of Alcohol Certificate. These are fairly easy to obtain, and most people choose to get it online, which allows you to work at your own pace and print off a certificate in about 2-3 hours total.

For those who prefer to be on the move all the time, getting a job that requires considerable travel, such as door to door sales, might be the thing to try for, if the person has an aptitude for that sort of thing. Driving a truck and making deliveries is another option as long as the retiree gets a special driver’s license before-hand.