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Battling Boredom

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This year’s vacation in the land of the Big Box stores is quite a bit less exciting than I expected.  So much less, that it can easily be qualified in a single word:  BORING!

Unlike my life in the Philippines, this return to the homeland has no luster, no thrill, no real out-of-the-norm excitement that stirs the soul while raising the heart rate.

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Though I try not to “vegetate” while here, I do feel like a part of an unattended vegetable garden.  I need some stirring, some weeding and hoeing, and some cajoling to grow.  Without something to spur on the spirit, life gets undeniably “old hat” pretty fast.

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve had some wonderful experiences during this trip.

  • HenryI was able to meet my new Grandson, Henry Dale Keating, upon arriving and continue to visit with him every Sunday morning after Church.
  • I was able to take in a live baseball game, with a promise of more to come, and experience the fun atmosphere inherent at most sporting events.
  • I was able to celebrate both the college graduation and the wedding of my older brother’s youngest daughter, and see family and friends.
  • I was able to do some good, old-fashioned “box shopping” and put together our first Balikbayan Box full of goodies for shipping back home.

There are more activities that were equally enjoyable and that could be added to the list, but they all have one element in common.  They were all “planned” – none were spontaneous or, as I frequently experience back home, the result of last-minute notification by someone in the communications chain who dropped the ball.  Speaking of balls . . . .

FUTBOL

Argh!  FIFA World Cup.  Will it ever end?  Though I sit here, poking away at the keyboard, while Belgium vs. USA is slowly unfolding on the television in front of me, I’m just not that excited.  Remember, I’m into the atmosphere, not so much the game itself.  Modern day broadcasting has desensitized me.

soccerIt’s not that I don’t like the game.  What I can’t stand are the pre-game, the post-game, the half-time, and the “anytime we want to break in with some annoying or otherwise unimportant factoid” presentations that viewers – sports-loving or otherwise –  have to put up with whenever they’re tuned in to ESPN or any other sports broadcast.

Seeing camera shots of young fans, crowded in a stadium or arena to see the game on the “Big Screen,” mugging for the camera while hearing the commentator reveal the heretofore unknown factoid that “Kansas City is a great soccer town!” is just not my idea of “atmosphere.”

HALF-TIME:   BEL 0 – USA 0.  Yawn.

FOOTBALL

Not to be outdone, various NFL teams are already advertising that “Football Season” is almost here.  Holy Smokes!  The tennis championships at Wimbledon, England are barely history.  Major League Baseball has yet to play the mid-season All-Star Game.  The – Ugh! – World Cup hasn’t been awarded, yet.

Still, teams of the National Football League are already promoting the season tickets, their promises of high-scoring games and no-loss seasons, and even having summer workouts and practice sessions appear on various network and local television stations.

footballTo make matters worse, there’s the endless controversy over the team name of the Washington Redskins.  Both sides of the debate trot “real American Indians” in front of the cameras covering their news story photo-ops; some noble natives offended by, and other noble natives proud of, such uses of team names (either directly or indirectly) referencing them.  Need we know every single aspect, every single angle, every single praise and blame being shoveled on us, the sport-loving public, by manure-spreading broadcasters in search of an unremarkable broadcasting award?

Add to all of this the similar squeaks by the NBA to prepare for the upcoming basketball season, and you have a hodgepodge of compost able to desensitize even the strongest among us.

NOT A BALL AT ALL

There are other mundane issues that are plaguing my fun-loving, adventurous life style.  As some readers may remember from articles chronicling previous vacations to the USA, time is spent taking care of all of the healthcare related activities that need addressing, as well as the preventive healthcare activities.

This time around, things just aren’t as good as they have been in the past.  Last year, I was diagnosed as being “pre-diabetic” and given instructions on what to do and what not to do.  Good blood testinstructions, and faithfully followed for the most part (I am human, after all, but I never exceeded simple moderation at my naughtiest moments).

Problem is, some parts of the old body didn’t get the memo.  Blood-sugar levels crept up just a little bit, and ventured from the upper “pre-diabetic” to the lower “diabetic” range.  Now, medication has been added to the mix; one more pill to take each day.  And oh, Paul, by the way, you should start taking one baby aspirin a day.  Now, what should I make of that?

Not to be outdone, it appears that my prostate wants “in the act,” providing elevated levels of PSA in the same blood test that announced the dropping of the “pre-.”  More tests coming up during this vacation to see what that mimicry is all about.  Hopefully, these are all just small, correctable blips on my medical chart.

LIFE GOES ON

Who could blame me for being homesick every now and then?  Last night, it was very hot and Life-Goes-Onhumid after the sun went down.  I was in heaven.  It was just like being back home, if I closed my eyes.  Too, we’ve already entered the month of July.  That return date is getting closer!

Wheh!  I feel a bit better after all of that venting.  Think I’ll check the old bank book and see if there’s any room for a little spontaneous excitement expense.  I could go for doing something goofy or exciting right now!

Time to get happy.

 P.S.

FINAL:  BEL 2  USA 1  EXTRA TIME +1 MIN.

Wouldn’t you know it – all of the action of a REAL game occurs in overtime!   Yawn!

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PaulK

Paul is a CPA and a retired tax accountant, having served companies and corporations of all sizes, as well as individuals, in public accounting practices. Prior to what he refers to as his "real job," he served a 24-year career in the U.S. Navy, retiring as a Master Chief Petty Officer. It was during this career that he met and married his OFW spouse of 40+ years, Emy, while stationed in London, UK. (Though he pleaded for the assignment, Paul never received orders to the Philippines.) A "Phil-phile" from an early age, Paul remembers his first introduction to the Philippines in the primary grades of a parochial elementary school where, one week each year, children donated their pennies to purchase school supplies, food and other necessities for Filipino children in need. That love for Filipinos continues to this day. Calling Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte--in the far northwestern part of Luzon--home (just about as far away from Davao as one can be while still being on one of the major islands) Paul prefers a more relaxed provincial life style, and willingly shares a different view of the Philippines from "up north"!

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John Reyes
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Maybe you should visit your new grandson more often than just every Sunday after church, Paul. I’ll bet that would help relieve your boredom. Or, how about taking the baby home with you for a couple of days at a time, if that’s not too much to ask his newly-minted Mom and Dad? 🙂 The Redskins name is another story. Most polls and surveys found that the majority of Native Americans do not find the name offensive, but If I were Dan Snyder, though, I would change the name to “Washington Screws”, or something like that just to put the… Read more »

Paul Thompson
Member

John;
The “Washington Gridlocks” would be a befitting name for that area.

Paul
Guest

Hi Paul – Perhaps a move of the team to another city is in order? 😆

John Reyes
Guest

Paul – What sane city in the US of A would want the Washington Screws in their midst? LOL

Paul
Guest

Pahrump, Nevada. 😆

John Reyes
Guest

Paul – Is it OK with you if they call themselves Washington Democrats? LOL

John Reyes
Guest

The above comment is meant for Paul Thompson. I know how much he loves them Dems. LOL

Paul
Guest

Hi John – For now, simple visit with Henry and his parents are the best plan. The Sunday visits aren’t the only visits, though. They are just the “etched-in-stone” visits. 😆 There are other more spontaneous visits during the week. Too, they all cam over to spend Independence Day with us. As for the Washington Redskins, I see no reason to change. Not one complaint had been filed with the Office of Trademarks and Copyrights prior to the action that was taken. Were I forced to look for another name, I fear that I know of no name that would… Read more »

Luke Tynan
Guest

Paul, great story. And that is my concern when my wife and I return later this year. so much here is always new and exciting. Where as in Ca. it is more planned out and premed. (like tasks). But I am looking forward to seeing the kids and grandkids. Again well written and thank u

Paul
Guest

Thanks, Luke – Don’t know why your comment took a while to post, but glad to see it (positive comments are always welcome! 😆 )

Sometimes it does get a little difficult to express my things like boredom and its sources, and not sound like a whiner who just wants to complain! 😉

John Power
Guest
John Power

Good post Paul. I’v been taking those “baby aspirins” for years now. The problem is that any little cut, and the place looks like a murder scene with the blood! I’m actually cutting down on my pills. A recent survey said that there was no difference in people who took vitamin pills, and those who didn’t. So there goes the Centrum Silver! I also read that cod liver oil was not all it’s cracked up to be, so thats also off the menu! As for the blue diamond? Well….. Football? I won’t get caught up in that debate again. The… Read more »

Paul
Guest

Hi John – Yes, I’ve noticed that the aspirins have that thinning effect on my blood, too. When I test my blood for its sugar level, I always get more blood than I need for testing when I prick my finger.

As for the sports . . . yawn! 😆

John Reyes
Guest

“I even read that more Americans watched the world cup than the Super Bowl”

That’s why Ann Coulter is not very happy about it. Given her stance on illegal immigration, she must equate soccer with soccer-loving Mexicans and Central Americans crossing the Rio Grande. LOL

MindanaoBob
Guest

Please… no US politics.

John Reyes
Guest

I’m sorry, Bob. It’s hard not to mention Ann Coulter without straying into politics.

John Power
Guest
John Power

I’m lost!!!….

MindanaoBob
Guest

There is no reason to mention Ann Coulter unless she decides to move to the Philippines.

Bienvenido Garcia
Guest

I’m not concerned about Washington Redskins changing names , only I wish to restore the original name of the international airport in Manila as M I A , not NAIA . Ninoy is a nickname of Benigno , too childish & corny acceptable as an official name or address to a very important place in a nation capital , Andres Bonifacio was a hero too but I don’t see anything to honor him except Jose Rizal in a cheap firestick matches box.

Paul
Guest

Hi Bienvenido – What about Bonifacio Global City and Rizal Province? Both much larger than an airport, and both named for much larger men! 😉

Tom moskal
Guest
Tom moskal

Bob your right no need to mention Ann Coulter we already have Paul in the Philippines LOL

Tom

Bob Kenney
Guest
Bob Kenney

I feel your pain Paul.I battle boredom every time I spend more than a couple of days in the province.Haha ! Now that you’ve done the family and friend visits it’s time to escape middle America and head to SoCal. Time to get on a surfboard or body board. The scenery is awesome too,California beach girls can’t be beat as they come in all flavors 🙂 Something for everyone ! Hahaha On a serious note,diabetes is not something you want.It will create so many more problems in your body.Time to change your diet. Eliminate refined sugar and corn syrup asap.Cut… Read more »

Paul
Guest

Hi Bob – Funny you should mention SoCal – I’ll be there next week for about 8 days! The trip is a birthday present for my Wife. We’ll be spending time with her siblings and other extended family members. Maybe I can make a wrong turn somewhere and end up at a surf beach! 😆

Thanks for the tips regarding diabetes. I’ll try to “live” up to your expectations and keep on pumping out articles! 😉

morris hooks
Guest
morris hooks

Paul Hello there. I have a question that’s not addressing the article you wrote. I see that you are a retired Military person and an accountant. I am a retired Marine and soon I will retire from civil service. We (wife-filipina & me)are coming next year to live in the Philippines. My question is this. Is there a limit by the US as to how much money and american can have in the bank in the philippines. I know with all the drug money the US is probing anyone who has a large sum money in bank outside of the… Read more »

Paul
Guest

Hi Morris – Congrats on the “follow-on” retirement. I’ve retired three times, and each one was enjoyable. So much so that I think I started working again just to go through the act of retiring again! 😆 On the serious side, here are some answers to your multi-part question. Please bear with me as they may seem a little involved at times. * The U.S. does not limit how much money an American can have in the bank in the Philippines, nor does the Philippine Government. Any limit would be a personal choice, such as limiting the amount held in… Read more »

Morris Hooks
Guest
Morris Hooks

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. I understand most of what you said. I need to clarify one last thing, that isn’t clear with me yet. I get the point with drawing several transaction under 10K as this raises questions. As I said uncle sam will get their taxes before I receive this money. I don’t want to have to pay twice for something I already paid once on. The amount will be under 200K. so, do I understand correctly that I will not have to pay taxes on the money again. What if I send the… Read more »

Morris hooks
Guest
Morris hooks

Thanks Paul

Re-read your emails slowly. Understand what you are saying. When the time comes to do my taxes which will be 2016. Do you know anybody there who does tax returns?I want to make sure things are done correctly with the correct reporting of the lump sum of money. After that tax year I should be able to do my own via turbo tax.
Do you do tax returns? Or know so one who can do expat American tax return?

Paul
Guest

Hi Morris – Yes, I do prepare income tax returns (federal, state, and municipal). I’ve quite a number of clients in the Philippines, too – Expats, Dual-citizens, U.S. Resident Aliens, and U.S. Non-resident Aliens make up my individual income tax clients. I also provide services to corporations (both C and S), partnerships, LLCs, and sole proprietors for business income taxes. I plan on being in the Philippines during tax season in 2016 (as I am every year), God willing. Keep in mind that the income tax returns you file in 2016 are reporting your income and taxes for the tax… Read more »

Paul
Guest

Hi Morris – You’ll pay federal income tax on your retirement distribution just once. The amounts being withheld by the retirement plan for income tax purposes will be reported to you and to the IRS on a Form 1099-R. When preparing your income tax return, you will report your retirement distribution listed on the 1099-R as taxable pensions and annuities in computing your taxable income. Once you have calculated your total income tax, you will be able to subtract the amount of tax withheld, as listed on the 1099-R, from your total income tax. Thus, you’ll only pay federal income… Read more »

John Reyes
Guest

“I WOULD DISCOURAGE PUTTING IT INTO A RELATIVE’S ACCOUNT. That could make for information gathering hassles when FBAR filing time arrives. TOO, SUCH ARRANGEMENTS COULD RESULT IN FAMILY DISPUTES – NO MATTER HOW WELL MEANING OR GOOD INTENTIONS ARE. “STUFF” ALWAYS HAPPENS.” (Caps are mine)

A very prudent advice worth heeding. I went through this, and it caused me a lot of grief.

morris hooks
Guest
morris hooks

Thanks John! I appreciate your input from your experience. I have had a chance of heart regarding putting it in a relative account.

John Reyes
Guest

You are welcome, Morris.

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