I Almost Lost My Fitbit…Twice!

I’ve been really happy with my Fitbit now that I’ve had it for a little over six months.  For the most part, it’s worked flawlessly.  I had an issue where it stopped syncing to both my smartphone and laptop, but doing a quick reset with a paperclip took care of that.  I also had an issue where it stopped ‘buzzing’ when I hit my step goal for the day, but I found that modifying the goal to a different number fixed that.  Other than that, it’s been great.

Except for the two times I almost lost it.

Putting Away The Camper

We recently got back from a quick weekend trip and after getting the camper cleaned out, I headed back to the storage place on Sunday evening to put it away until its next journey.  One thing that I had to do was empty out the dirty tanks, as the place we were leaving tends to have a line, and our storage place has a hookup to dump out the contents of the dirty tanks.

I pulled up and put on a pair of disposable gloves, and took note that I wanted to make sure they covered my Fitbit.  This ended up being very critical.

I did what needed to be done with the tanks, drove it over to the spot and got it all settled in, and then went home to get cleaned up for dinner.  As I was getting ready to jump in the shower, I looked at my wrist, and there was no Fitbit.

Ugh.  I did a quick look around the house to make sure that I hadn’t taken it off, but it wasn’t anywhere obvious. mb-2015-02-oops Lucky I had the memory of covering it up with the gloves, so I knew that I had to have lost it during the brief window from when I put on the gloves until getting home and in the shower.  I still had the gloves in a plastic bag ready to be thrown out, and since the Fitbit wasn’t there, I was able to narrow it down further.

I had dinner, and then drove over to the storage place.  Lo and behold, sitting right next to the camper was my Fitbit.  It was a twenty minute round trip, but I was still, as I told my wife, a little “Fitbit to be tied”.  Get it?

Yardwork

Not more than a couple of weeks later, my wrist came up empty again.  This time, my memory stretched a lot further back from when I last remembered having it.  In the interm, I’d done a full cutting of the grass, edging, trimming, and a bunch of cleaning in the garage.  I’d also repotted a couple of plants.

Yikes.

Lucky for me, I had armed myself with a bit of advice that ended up proving very helpful.  After the first false alarm, my wife told me that she thought that if someone lost their Fitbit, that Fitbit would give me a new one.  I was a bit skeptical of that so I went online to look it up.  It turns out that I had reason to be skeptical, because they will not replace a lost Fitbit as a general rule.  But, in my lookup, I found a couple of tip sheets on what to do if you happened to misplace it.

One piece of advice was to use a device that you have it synced with as a mechanism to find it. Brilliant!  Since I sync it to my smart phone, I pulled that out, fired up the Fitbit app, and told it to sync.  I was in the kitchen and sure enough, within a few seconds, it told me that it was connected and had completed a sync.  Cool!

I walked around the house and noted that it stayed synced.  I went outside into the garage and in the yard and started walking around.  It would not sync in either place.  So, this told me that the device was inside the house, and that thankfully I did not have to comb through the entire yard looking for it, and it also took away the fear that I would have to dig through the re-potted tomato plants looking for the buried Fitbit.  That would have not been fun.

Going back into the house, I started retracking my steps.  It occurred to me that before I went outside, I’d changed into my work shorts.  I went over to where the pair of shorts were that I’d worn earlier, and sure enough, there was the Fitbit in the pocket of the shorts.

The biggest bummer in all of this was that I didn’t get credit for any of the steps I’d taken while cutting the grass and working outdoors!

Lessons From Nearly Losing My Fitbit

After having this happen more than once, there are a couple of things that I regularly do.

  • Keep it in sight –  My Fitbit has a wrist band.  This is great because I can almost always see it. Some people, even with devices that are wearable, prefer to keep it in their pockets or hooked around their belt loop.  This gets it out of the way, but if you lose it, you’ll have a harder time remembering when you last had it.
  • Take notice of it – Both times that I lost my Fitbit, I was able to remember a recent time that I last saw it.  Anytime you lose it, you’ll end up having to retrace your steps, but the less time you have from when you last saw it can mean a lot less steps to retrace
  • Sync it – If you have a mobile device, install the app and keep it synced.  As worked with me, this will help you at least know if it’s in the area where you think it might be.
  • Consider a label – I haven’t figured out a way to do this, but I’m trying to think of a way to label either the device or the band. The device is tiny and the little crevice that it slides into often gets damp, so trying to put paper in there would be a mess.  I’ve considered trying to scratch in some info into the inside of the stretchy band, but I’m afraid of slicing through it or creating a weak point that would cause the band to fail.

Readers, have you ever lost or known someone to lose a Fitbit or other wearable technology?  What tips can you think of to keep your stuff from going missing?

Copyright 2015 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Thoughts As I Followed The Ambulance To My House

My wife often calls me at work a couple of times throughout the day, so when the phone rang on Monday morning, I thought nothing of it as I picked up.  But this was a different call than I’ve ever received, and one that I hope I don’t have to hear again.

She was frantic and told me that our daughter had swallowed what she thought was a coin and that it was stuck in her throat.  My mind snapped to attention and I instantly heard that our daughter was crying, which was a good thing to hear given the circumstances.

Still, you could tell that she was in distress and my wife told me that she couldn’t get it out, either up or down.  It was lodged.

The Biggest Risk Was Panic

Our daughter was upset.  I heard her crying but she was also trying hard to catch her breath, which was made more difficult by the fact that she was crying.  She’s always been one, even as a little baby, that would often throw up when she got really upset.  This would be a very, very bad thing to happen in this case.  If she kept getting more upset and struggling, she could throw up, which could then fully block her airway or cause her to inhale the vomit into her lungs.

It’s Getting Worse, I Have To Go

All of the things I just outlined in the paragraphs since I picked up the phone were thoughts that went through my head in just a couple of seconds.  My wife confirmed that she was breathing and wanted to know what she should do.  Before I even had a chance to answer, she said “It’s getting worse, I’m calling 9….”

And the phone cut out.

Working Close To Home

I’d already gotten up from my desk and walked out over toward the corner of the building.  After this, I went back to my desk and grabbed my keys.  I tried calling my wife a couple of times in hopes that things had somehow gotten better, but it went right to voicemail each time.

mb-2015-06-ambuI got in the car and started home.  I tried to drive calm.  The fact that I’d heard our daughter crying on the phone told me that at least she was breathing.  If there was to be any type of an emergency with not breathing, I knew that the clock hadn’t started yet.

It’s only about a six minute drive for me, and most of it was as a normal drive would be except that it was during mid-morning.  When I turned off one road and onto the main road where our subdivision entered, that’s when I saw how real it was.  About a half mile in front of me was a fire truck and ambulance with sirens and lights on.

I see emergency trucks all the time, but this was different.  I knew exactly where they were going.

I was about a minute behind and so when I pulled up, they were just getting out of their trucks.  Since they grabbed equipment, I was able to get to our front door before they did.  My wife was standing there holding our daughter, who now seemed much better.

It Finally Went Down

Somewhere in the minutes between when my wife hung up with me and when I (and the emergency trucks) got to our house, the coin had finally gotten unlodged and went the rest of the way down.

The emergency responders were great.  They quickly assessed that she wasn’t in immediate distress.  They talked to my wife to find out what had happened.  They got down on the same level as my daughter and talked to her and made sure she was answering questions and that she was OK.  They took her blood pressure and listened to her lungs to make sure that there were no signs that she had inhaled it and when everything was all said and done, they explained that she still needed to get checked out and get an x-ray to make sure of the location and such of what she’d swallowed, and gave us the choice of whether they took her in the ambulance or we took her.

We chose to take her.  They still took her over to the ambulance and gave her a stuffed animal (and one for her brother, who was very brave during the ordeal, watching from inside the house until he saw that everything was going to be OK).

In The End

By the time it was all said and done, a second ambulance had arrived as well as a police car.  Our street was pretty well full of emergency vehicles, and I’m sure any neighbors that happened to be home were curious, though with the time of day, we didn’t attract any sort of crowd.

My wife did take her to the emergency room (a post for another day) and they checked her out and determined that she had swallowed a small coin (we think a dime) and that it should naturally pass.

We’ve talked to our kids multiple times about not putting things in their mouth, and while they often listen, they’re both stubborn and often learn lessons the hard way.  I have a feeling that she might have finally learned her lesson.

At the end of the day, we all said a little extra prayer and gave a few extra hugs.  While it ended up not being a true emergency, it was still a scary and humbling experience.  To see how quickly things can change is truly incredible and something that no parent should forget.  Our daughter went from playing with toys to switching to a coin and putting it in her mouth, in a matter of moments.  She had an angel watching over her, and I hope it stays next to her!

Readers,hopefully you’ve never had to go through anything so scary, but if you have, please share your experiences in the comments below.

Copyright 2015 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Preparing For Retirement

Before you know it, your retirement will be here. Whether you are nearing it, or it is still a few decades off, it’ll get here sooner than you think. When that time comes, you will want to be as prepared for it as possible. There is a lot that goes into preparing for a retirement, as there are a lot of things that you will need to take care of once you retire. Below is a quick list of the things you should start thinking about as soon as possible, as they will impact you once you retire.

Money

First and foremost you need to think about your finances. While you have a job you have an income, but once you retire, that income is going to be gone. You are going to have to live off of your savings and any other incomes you may have – such as social security. To make sure that you have enough money to live off of, you should start examining what your lifestyle costs, and think about how long you are going to need to live off of savings.

One great way to prepare financially for retirement is through investment. By investing a small amount of money now, it can grow into a larger sum by the time you retire. Investing is not just for the corporate types up on Wall Street, especially these days. With the rise of online brokers you can easily invest at any time, with any amount of money. Many online brokerages allow you to invest in a variety of ways, including the New York Stock Exchance, Forex and International Currency. With a wide range of options, it is up to you how you want to invest, and you can do it from the comfort of your own home. Investing is a great way to secure your financial future, so consider looking into it as soon as you can and then start building up your portfolio.

Where To Live

Where you live now may not be where you want to live when you are retired. Some people choose to move to warmer climates, some to more affordable areas, while others choose to move closer to family. If you plan on moving when you are retired, you should begin researching the new area, and the costs that are associated with it. That way you can make sure it is the right place for you, and that you can afford it when the time comes.

mb-2015-06-chairsActivities 

When you retire, you will have a lot more time on your hands. Think about how you want to spend it. Things like gardening, traveling, and aerobics classes are all common among retirees, but you can choose whatever you like. It is a good idea to think about it now to not only give yourself something to look forward to, but so that you can begin preparing for those activities now. For example  if you want to travel, you can start thinking about locations and making sure you have enough money saved up.

Health 

Lastly, but certain not the least important, is your health. When your retirement comes you want to enjoy it, and you can’t do that if you are not healthy. Take care of yourself now so that when the time arrives, you can enjoy your retirement to its fullest. You’ve worked hard all of these years, and you want your retirement years to be as long and enjoyable as possible.

Copyright 2015 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

If It’s Not One Car, It’s Another

The great thing about having two cars that are fully paid off and have relatively low mileage is that we don’t have a monthly car payment, but the bad thing is that they still cost money, whether it be from things breaking down or just needing replacement.  Both of our cars are in such a phase right now. Luckily, we set aside some of our ‘tax refund’ money toward repairs as I knew many of these things would be coming.

Still it doesn’t make it any easier!

2007 Buick Rainier – 78,000 miles

This is my wife’s car as well as what we use to tow around our RV trailer.  It has a great engine that’s run fine, but it had two expected things come up and one potential gotcha.

  • Brakes – I don’t think it’s ever needed a full brake job yet but I could tell that it was about time.  The last checkup we had indicated that we were down in the 25-35% range, so when it started making grinding noises around corners, I knew it was time.  Sure enough, the pads and the rotors needed replacement.
  • Tires – We had the tires originally replaced around 35,000 miles, and at the lastmb-2015-06-tire rotation, they told us they were near end of life.  The tires were certified for 60,000 miles, but since we tow and do mostly non-highway driving except when towing, they have likely worn a little faster. Regardless, we’ll end up getting a prorated reduction through Discount Tire on the mileage that the tires did not make it to.  So, we’ll essentially get one tire for ‘free’.
  • Leak – The car started leaving puddles in a spot where I wasn’t used to seeing.  At first I had thought it might be a coolant leak since it was right under where the resivoior is, and it was a bit low, but the mechanic confirmed it was just water and likely a somewhat plugged drain hose. Crisis averted.

2006 Pontiac G6 – 68,000 miles

This is my car and it hasn’t been as bad.

  • Tires – This car also needed a second set of tires.  They did two of them last fall and the other two over the winter.  Again, the previous set didn’t make it to the warranty period, probably again because it’s mostly city driving, but we got about 35% off because of it.
  • Rims – When I was last getting a rotation, the tire shop pointed out that I have three rims that are not fully rounded.  They have to recommend replacing them, but there’s no way.  Michigan roads are a potholed mess, and the guy agreed with me that if I were to get them done, they’d just experience the same problem.  So long as they work, I’m keeping them.  I just check pressure on a regular basis to make sure that they don’t go past the point of no return.
  • Leak – Different car, same issue.  The car is leaking water, which is normal in the summer months, but it seems strange, because I’ll find a puddle on the garage floor in the morning after it’s been sitting for over 12 hours.  It’s definitely water, but I just need to keep an eye on this as it seems a bit…strange.

Hopefully we’re at a lull for a bit.  While the math works out that it’s still much cheaper than paying monthly payments, it still hurts when everything runs so close together!  I hope to get some time to rebuild the car repair fund back to a more solid level.

Copyright 2015 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.