Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hell Has Frozen Over!


Yes, hell has frozen over ... we sold our house last week!  We've been keeping our mouths shut until the deal was done.  We didn't even tell our parents until just before the closing.  You may be wondering how we sold our house when it was taken off the market a couple of months ago ...

It's weird how things work out sometimes.  You know that saying about things working out once you stop trying so hard ... it proved true for us.  Shortly after taking our house off the market, a long-time friend of ours called about a friend of hers that was pre-approved, looking for a waterfront home, and also needed a real estate agent.  She immediately thought of us, and within a week I was showing her friend waterfront homes in our area ... including our house.  

One thing lead to another, and now we no longer own the house we're living in.  We're renting from the new owner until October 31st (Halloween!), which will give us time to move to our new place.

As I've said before, it seems that everything has worked out as it should.  Looking back, selling our house any sooner would have been way too hectic and not really practical.   In just the past year we've attended our daughter's college graduation, renovated a barn for her to get married in (which she did), and sold a rental.  Selling our house, finding a new place, and moving during all of that would have been too much ...  especially while working.  Plus, we're glad we didn't have to sail here for all of that!

 It seems that "the stars aligned" for us.  I mean, who would have thought that a friend of ours would find the buyer for our house!  What's even better, he's a real nice guy.  Ken and I have gotten along really well with him, and he's been flexible in making the deal work.  Letting us live in the house until we found a place to live and move out was a big help.

So, where are we moving?  Somewhere nearby that we refer to as "Mayberry" ... or "The Twilight Zone".  It's gonna be an adjustment, but it's for the dream.  More to come soon ... we've got a lot to do before Halloween!

Hasta luego ... until then.  Mid-Life Cruising!




Thursday, October 16, 2014

Scrambled!


Scrambled, lack of focus, in a fog ... these are all words to describe my brain lately, and I'm not even on drugs!

Anyway, just wanted to pop in and let you know that we've been busy with lots of stuff going on ... all positive.  I just can't seem to focus enough lately to write my thoughts down, but things are looking up!

Hasta luego .... until then.

Mid-Life Cruising!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

How to Transfer Between Cloud Files ... Quick, Easy and Free!


A while back I discovered SkyDrive (now called OneDrive), a place to store files "in the cloud" for free (up to 15GB).  I thought this would be a great place to back up this site and store our music files.  I can't imagine losing everything on this blog, or all of our music!  Ken and I have grown up listening to songs from the 60's and 70's, as well as the "oldies" from the 50's.  As we grow older, music continues to be an important part of our lives and we enjoy most of today's music too.  We don't like rap, country or some of the teeny-bopper bands, but we like the good stuff!

After downloading over 800 songs a little at a time, I've continued to upload new music files as I got them.  I've had no complaints with SkyDrive, but was getting a little nervous about the limit of 15GB of free storage (although much better than the initial 7GB).  Our music files are at about 8GB right now and I plan on storing movie files in the future, which could quickly eat up the rest of the available storage.  So when Google's cloud, Drive, gave me an extra 50GB of free storage (for a total of 65GB) after activating my very first smart phone this month (woo hoo!), I wondered if it was possible to quickly copy my music files from one cloud to another.

After a bit of research, I came across Cloudsfer, a free online service (first 10GB then a fee) that doesn't require any downloads and quickly moves and/or copies your files from one cloud to another.  I figured I'd give this a try, and it worked!  It was very easy, and I was able to copy all of my music files in just over an hour.  An hour was a lot less time than I'd spent downloading all the files to SkyDrive!  Now I can keep all of my music and future movie files in my Drive cloud, while keeping my SkyDrive storage for documents and backing up this site.  I may even store my photos there, but so far I've been happy with Photobucket for that.

So, if you want to move your cloud files around or copy them to another cloud (even a friend's cloud with their account/password information), Cloudsfer is a great solution!  With all the free cloud storage sites and the ability to move or copy files, I don't see the point of paying for cloud storage.
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BTW, wanna know how to record online music for a one-time payment of $20?!  It's how we've gotten most of our music (we do support our favorite musicians when we can), and I've written a post here.  We've been using this for a couple of years and love it.  

Wanna listen to your own music on your smart phone without taking up precious storage space?  Look for a post real soon about an app I found that allows us to stream all of our music files directly from the "cloud" to our new smart phones!

Hasta luego ... until then.  Mid-Life Cruising!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Entering The Android World .. Without Breaking the Bank!


It's been a while since I've written a "Frugal Fridays"* post, but whenever I learn about something that could save you money I wanna pass it on.  I'd been avoiding replacing my old flip-phone with a smart phone for years, but after all this time I finally did it ... and my phone bill is cheaper now!

If you've followed this blog for a while, it won't surprise you that the main reason I avoided a smart phone was the price.  There's no way I'm gonna spend big bucks for a phone.  Even if I could get a smart phone really cheap with a contract, I wasn't about to spend another $40 a month on top of the basics for a data plan.

Another reason I avoided a smart phone ... the contract that I mentioned.  Both Ken and I have been eligible for an upgraded phone with AT&T for over a year now, but we'd have to sign another 2-year contract ... no thanks!  With our hopes of living together on our sailboat soon, we'll only need one phone and we don't want to be stuck in a contract when that happens.

So, what finally changed my mind?  For the past few months my phone would die after more than 3 minutes into a conversation ... even with a full charge.  I had to do something, but I wasn't thrilled about paying a $50 deductible to use the insurance policy for my piece-of-crap phone.  Looking back, I should have dropped the $5 monthly fee for the insurance a long time ago.  Then, I saw a commercial for Cricket!  No, not the insect but the pre-paid wireless company that AT&T recently bought out.  I'd never heard of Cricket until I saw the commercial, but the promise of a free or inexpensive smart phone without a contract and a cheap monthly price got my attention.  After researching the company and learning that they're now owned by AT&T, I started taking the thought of transferring to Cricket a little more seriously.  The coverage would be the same as AT&T, which we've been very happy with the past few years ... even in the Virgin Islands and Mexico.    

My new Motorola MotoG!

A few weeks later, Ken and I are now with Cricket Wireless and we each have a new smart phone.  Ken chose the Nokia Lumia 630 with Windows 8 and I chose the Motorola MotoG.  The MotoG has the new KitKat operating system and 8GB of storage.  It doesn't have a SD card slot but it came with an offer of 65GB of "cloud" storage on Google "Drive" when activated.  That's plenty enough storage for me.  After the $50 rebate that was offered, Ken's phone was free and mine was $50 ... the same as I would have paid for that insurance deductible.  What's even better ... for $45 each (with AutoPay) we get unlimited calls, texts and 3GB of data (each line) on our phone.  We're saving about $40 per month, and we have smart phones too!  There's no contract and we can change our plans every month,  There's a cheaper plan of 1GB for $35 and a more expensive plan of $55 for 10GB of data!  You can even change your plan in the middle of a cycle (up to 2 times) and get a credit or additional charge, depending on if you choose a smaller or larger plan.  In fact, I've already lowered my plan to $35 for 1GB since I'm always around WiFi.  What happens if I go over my data plan?  I doubt I will, but if so I don't get billed more or lose my data for the rest of the month ... instead it just slows down.

I told our daughter about this, and she now has a Cricket account as well.  (It would have been even cheaper if she'd joined our account as Cricket gives a discount for every line added, but she's married now).  She wanted to keep her Samsung Galaxy, so she paid only $10 to buy a new SIM card.  Although AT&T charged her $180 early termination fee (she was still in contract), she'll save that much in just a few months.  So far, we're all happy!  

Oh, and after a year of paying on time and having at least one of us on the mid-range or highest data plan we'll each get a $50 credit for a new phone.  We get one every year, and if not used it will be added to the next year's $50.  I wish I got a commission from Cricket (I don't), because I sure do love their product so far!  Yes, I read some terrible reviews online about customer service, but we've been happy.  I went to a local store to buy my phone, and Ken ordered his online.  Both experiences were good, and although buying at a store instead of online generally means a $25 activation fee ... the guy waived mine and gave me a great discount on a heavy duty phone case!

Wanna know how to save another $25?  If I share your email as a referral and you activate within 30 days, then we'll both get a $25 credit after you've been a paying customer for two months!   So, if you wanna join and get a credit just email me privately (top of our site) with your email address and we'll both benefit.  Although we're happy, I can't make any guarantees. So, I'd suggest that you look at their coverage map first to be sure you're happy with what you find.  Here in Louisiana, we haven't had any problems.

Although I was reluctant to own a smart phone, I must admit that I LOVE  it!  I'm now able to easily check my email, research something real quick, and even use my phones as a GPS.  I've already learned a few new things that I'll be sharing soon in future posts, including streaming your own music files directly from your "cloud" and quickly/easily transferring and/or copying files from one cloud account to another.

Our laptop computer is old and soooo slow, so our phones are much handier.  If it weren't for writing these posts on our blog or Ken's need to type an invoice for his business, we'd probably never use our laptop anymore!  I've yet to add the "Facebook" app on my phone, but I can see how it would make posting to our page so much easier.  Now I know everyone's secret!  I'm sure I'll add the app once we're working on the boat and living aboard, but for now I'm trying to resist.  Ken doesn't have a Facebook account, and I try to make a point of not looking at Facebook on the weekends or evenings at home.  It's good to "disconnect" for a while.

Hasta luego ... until then.  Mid-Life Cruising!

*For those that missed the other posts of this series, check them out below:
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