Friday Funnies

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that even though I intend to limit the amount of stuff that my sons have to go through when we’re gone, they will have to deal with my random stashes of rocks and shark’s teeth. I found another one a few days ago when I checked the pockets on a tote bag I’ll be donating. There are two takeaways from this:

  1. My love for rocks knows no bounds.
  2. Always check your pockets before washing clothes and/or donating items.

Embracing Mayhem

Being an adult is filled with wonderful things such as making your own decisions, staying up as late as you want, and eating ice cream for breakfast. Of course, adulting also has its downside: bills, income tax, colonoscopies… you get the idea. One of the things that we have avoided is reviewing our insurance (home and car) annually. We have been with the same insurance company for decades in spite of growing dissatisfaction. This year, we reached the breaking point.

We purchased our current home, The Cabin, in 2017. We filed a claim against our homeowner’s insurance when Hurricane Michael moved through the area in October 2018 and ripped off part of the ridge vent on our roof. We’ve had several severe hailstorms move through the area since December resulting in damage to our roof (based on the pieces of shingles we’ve found). Kenn filed a claim with our insurance company. Following their procedures, we had our roof checked by several roofers who all agreed that yes, there was hail damage. The insurance adjuster came out where he met with our primary roofer. The adjuster apparently told the roofer that yes, there was hail damage but he told the insurance company that there wasn’t, so: claim denied.

A couple of months later another hailstorm moved through so Kenn contacted the insurance company again. If he had talked to me first, I would have asked him not to. I figured they would just deny a second claim and probably raise our rates to boot. Ah, if only it had been that simple. Yes, they denied our claim. Then, they added insult to injury by sending us a letter that basically said “Your roof is old, therefore it’s a liability. If you don’t replace it by July 28th, we’re going to cancel your policy.” To summarize, they won’t pay out on the policy that we’ve been paying on for years but they will threaten to cancel our policy because our house has an old roof. We have now submitted a letter from our roofer stating that yes, the roof is old and will need to be replaced in the next 2-3 years. We were notified this morning (finally) that the underwriter accepted our letter and our policy will be renewed for another year. We already have a plan in place to replace the roof next year.

Image from Depositphotos.com

However, this was the straw that broke that poor, much maligned camel’s back. We began the process of requesting quotes from several other insurance companies. Full disclosure: Kenn did lion’s share of the work; he spent hours on the phone with various individuals. Why? He is far more patient than I am. My skills came into play in reviewing the quotes, comparing them to our current coverage, and making recommendations. We selected a new company and began the process to transition all of our policies. But, that extra call to our current insurance company came back to bite us in the butt yet again. The underwriter for the new company won’t cover The Cabin because we’ve had three claims in five years. The fact that two of the claims were denied is immaterial.

We decided to go ahead and transition all of our policies except our homeowner’s. We’ll work toward moving our homeowner’s policy when the 2018 claim drops off in October 2023. In the meantime, it’s probably going to cost us a little more to have policies split this way (since we won’t be able to “bundle”) but we decided it’s worth it for us.

We got good, comparable rates from the new company but you want to know one of the things that made the biggest difference to us? Most of Kenn’s conversations during this process were with the actual owner of the agency. She was shocked to learn that in all of the decades we’ve been with our current agent, we’ve only spoken to him two or three times. Now, I get it. When dealing with an insurance company, or large medical practice, etc., you don’t always get to deal with the primary agent or physician (or whatever), but it shouldn’t be a choice that is actively discouraged at all times. So, our new agent’s personal touch meant a great deal to both of us.

So long Jake, your khakis are no longer enough – it’s time for us to embrace a little Mayhem.

Image courtesy of Allstate

So, how long has it been since you reviewed or updated your insurance?

Mammoth Cave National Park

Once we realized that Mammoth Cave National Park was only about an hour and a half from Louisville, we added it to our list of things to see during our trip. The day after the wedding festivities ended we packed up the camper and headed down the road. It felt great to arrive at the campground at noon instead of spending all day in the truck. Then I remembered that we had changed time zones so it was actually only 11am. Even better!

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that we still haven’t quite gotten the hang of traveling as retirees. We frequently forget that we can adjust our schedule as needed – and on the fly. So, I’m pretty proud of the fact that I rocked the retirement thing that day. I knew as soon as we got the camper set up Kenn would be asking “So, what do you want to do today?” so I headed him off at the pass. I told him “I don’t want to do anything today. I don’t want to go anywhere. I’m tired of being in the truck. I just want to sit outside and read.” Not to mention that we had spent three days people-ing. As much as I enjoyed meeting people and visiting with everyone, this introvert’s batteries were completely drained. I needed to recharge. And I did. All day. Kenn got in the truck and went out exploring later in the day. I stayed at the camper with my Kindle app. It was heaven.

The next day, well rested, we headed to Mammoth Cave National Park.

Obligatory photo with the sign

Now, there are two things to know about Mammoth Cave. (Well, more than two but I’m only going to list my top two here.)

  1. Unlike most national parks, there is no entry fee at Mammoth Cave. According to one of the rangers on our tour, this was a part of the deal when the land was bought up by the state before being given to the federal government: the families who had lived on the land would never have to pay a fee to go “home”.
  2. Mammoth Cave is named for the large size of the cave system; there are no mammoth fossils. (Fossil loving me was greatly disappointed, LOL.)

While there may be no fee to enter the park, visitors interested in touring the caves must purchase tickets (which do cost money) for ranger-led tours. There are a number of tours to chose from; we went with the Domes & Dripstones tour. We arrived at the park an hour or two ahead of our tour just to get the lay of the land. This gave us a chance to locate the stamp for our National Parks passport book and to buy the required souvenirs; in this case, a Christmas ornament. Note to self: check all gift shops before making a purchase. We bought an ornament in the first shop and I found one I liked better in the third shop which meant backtracking to the first shop to make a return. Not really a big deal but it could have been avoided with a little extra care on my part.

We decided it would be a good idea to pick up a couple of bottles of water to take with us on the tour. (When my throat gets dry, I start coughing and my throat gets dry a lot during allergy season. It’s not COVID people, it’s just allergies!) While Kenn was in line to get water, I noticed that the shop also sold soft pretzels. Since I never like to pass up the opportunity for a soft pretzel, I asked him to get one. Y’all, this was the biggest soft pretzel I’ve ever seen! I couldn’t even complain about the $8 price once I saw it.

Now that’s a pretzel!

By the time we finished sharing pretzelsaurus (including scraping off most of the salt) the rest of the tour group had arrived at the shelter. Ranger B arrived to give us the required safety briefing, we loaded up onto two buses, and were on our way. Ranger Alex regaled us with information about the park on the way to our destination. One interesting tidbit: Although the park is forested, there are no old-growth trees since it was predominately farmland for many years. Planting trees was one of the functions performed by the workers of the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression.

The tour began in a sinkhole where Ranger B reminded us not to touch the rocks. Due to the fact that the caves do not receive rain, wind, etc. they don’t want the oils and lotions on our hands to damage the delicate ecosystem. Admittedly, I did touch the rocks a couple of times. In my defense, for once, it wasn’t a matter of me being contrary. (Shocking, I know.) In one spot it was just reflex to put up a hand to keep from bumping my head on a rock. (I had already banged my head when getting on the bus, LOL.) The second time I was navigating a section with a low ceiling and narrow path; my foot slipped on the damp floor and it was either touch the rock with my hand to catch my balance or touch it with my face. I chose the least painful of the two.)

The group stopped at two or three areas while the rangers gave us more information regarding the early days of the park. And, as always on a cave tour, there was a point where the lights were turned off just to show what true dark actually looks like. I have the utmost respect for spelunkers, especially the ones who did their scouting without modern equipment; I wouldn’t want to be exploring a cave system with nothing better than oil lamps.😬

In my opinion, the most spectacular scenery was in an optional section near the end of the tour.

Always look up
Behind Frozen Niagara

The original entrance to the caves is still in use but we just missed a tour group and weren’t interested in waiting around for the next one so we just snapped a couple of pictures and went on our way.

The original entrance

White-nose syndrome, a fungal disease, has wiped out 90% of the bat population of Mammoth Caves. One phase of fighting this disease is that, at the end of each tour, all participants must walk across bio-mats soaked with disinfectant to remove any contamination possibly transported out of the caves on footwear.

All in all, a visit to Mammoth Cave National Park is a pleasant way to spend a few hours. The next time we find ourselves in the area, we’ll probably stop in and take a different tour.

Have you been to Mammoth Cave?

Most importantly, soft pretzels, yes or no?

Friday Funnies

We overnighted at a KOA Holiday in Manchester, TN on our way to Louisville. (It was one of the nicest KOAs we’ve stayed at.) Once we rested a bit we decided to take a walk and discovered a huge field behind the campsites with a walking path around the edge. (A small herd of deer kept an eye on us from the far side of the field.) There are all sorts of interesting “statues” lining the trail and the edge of the woods starting with two gigantic squirrels. Kenn said “Please don’t touch the squirrel’s giant nuts,” so of course I did because that’s how I roll.🤷‍♀️😂