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Calling In Sick


Calling In SickHey Everyone, I’m calling in sick today… This is ridiculous, how did I catch a cold in the middle of summer? We just got back from visiting Mrs. RB40’s family in the Southern California desert. I felt fine for a couple of days, but started to have a scratchy throat and stuffy nose. At first, I thought it was my seasonal allergies, but when I woke up with an aching body I knew it was a cold. Ugh! I must have picked up something from the flight to Portland. Fortunately, this feels like a minor cold and I should get over it in a few days. It’s tough for me to write when I’m sick, though. So, I’m calling in sick today and I’ll share some pictures from our vacation, and a quick update on our duplex.

California deserts

Summer isn’t exactly the best time to visit the southern California desert. It was nearly 100 degrees Fahrenheit every day. Mrs. RB40 had a 25th high school reunion and some family obligations to attend to so that’s why we visited in the summer. She didn’t make it to the 20th reunion because we just had a baby. All the people there were amazingly nice! It’s very cool to meet some of Mrs. RB40’s high school friends. Okay, here are some pictures from our trip.



Our first stop was lunch at an In-N-Out, our favorite burger chains. I had a double double with grilled onions, delicious! We usually get an In-N-Out burger every time we visit California, but only go there once per trip. Going there twice in one trip devalues the burgers. The first one is awesome, but another in a few days just doesn’t taste as great.




The Living Desert

Living DesertsMrs. RB40 had a half day meeting so RB40Jr and I went to visit The Living Desert, a very cool zoo in Palm Desert. We got there before 9 am and it was already getting hot.  I liked The Living Desert, but RB40Jr kept complaining that it was too hot. We saw giraffes, cheetahs, a leopard, desert tortoises, zebras, and more. It was a great zoo, but we only saw about a third of the entire park. It was way too hot in the sun. Most local people only come here in the winter and spring. I’m finally getting less tight because I shelled out $5 to feed the giraffe for the first time ever.

Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach

Originally, we were going to visit the Joshua Tree National Park, but we had enough of the heat after a few days. We decided to go to the beach instead. This is Huntington Beach. None of us have been there before and we had a great time. It was overcast and the temperature was just right, around 75 degrees. The beach was full of people. It was neat to see because we never see this many people at the beach in Oregon. Usually, I prefer the beach when it is less crowded, but it was okay for one day. This is now RB40Jr’s default pose mode. He sticks his tongue out and acts silly. We can’t take a normal smiling picture anymore. The parking cost $15 at the beach. California probably makes millions of thousands of dollars every day just on beach parking. There were so many visitors.

Cabazon Dinosaurs

The Cabazon Dinosaurs are a roadside attraction near Mrs. RB40’s hometown. Mrs. RB40 has taken photos outside the dinos before, but was too cheap to pay the entrance fee to get into the park itself before this trip. It costs $12 to walk through, kind of expensive for what you get. The main attraction is a big T. Rex that visitors can go inside and look out of its mouth. Pretty awesome. The gift shop is inside a huge Apatosaurus. It was cool to visit once.

Cabazon Dinosaurs

Duplex sidewalk

sidewalkI went by our duplex to clean the roof and gutter after we got back to Portland. Last year, the debris built up along the top of the skylight and some water leaked inside during a big rainstorm. The roof is steep (nearly 45 degrees) and I don’t like being up there. Anyway, I blew out the leaves and pollen that collected up on the roof and skylights, so we shouldn’t have any trouble with water this year.

The sidewalk in front of the duplex is in terrible shape. It wasn’t great before, but now it’s a serious tripping hazard. I called a few concrete contractors, but they are all booked out for the year. I guess that’s the problem with a construction boom. You can’t get any help. I’m not sure what to do at this point. Let me know if you have any tips. Should I try to fill this myself?

The long term plan is to sell the rentals off before we both retire full time. That way we can travel more and don’t have to deal with tenants. We’ll invest more in REIT and real estate crowdfunding because they are so much easier. My investment at Realty Shares is doing pretty well so far. Full retirement is about 12 years away, though.

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Getting better

I spent a lot of time napping over the weekend and I’m starting to feel better already. I’ll get back to the sidewalk repair this week. The blog should be back to normal personal finance topics as well. Check out my Around The World Trip plan if you’d like to read more about traveling.

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. He spent 16 years working in computer design and enjoyed the technical work immensely. However, he hated the corporate BS. He left his engineering career behind to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger at 38. At Retire by 40, Joe focuses on financial independence, early retirement, investing, saving, and passive income.

For 2018, Joe plans to diversify his passive income by investing in US heartland real estate through RealtyShares. He has 3 rental units in Portland and he believes the local market is getting overpriced.

Joe highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. He logs on to Personal Capital almost daily to check his cash flow and net worth. They have many useful tools that will help every investor analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.
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{ 50 comments… add one }
  • Mr. Tako July 24, 2017, 12:26 am

    Looks like a fun trip Joe! Sorry to hear you got sick.

    Endless sick days without work stress is one of the benefits to being retired! Get some rest and feel better soon!

    • retirebyforty July 24, 2017, 12:04 pm

      I’m feeling much better today. It’s tough to write when I was sleepy all the time. Thanks!

  • Ernie Zelinski July 24, 2017, 1:09 am

    Get well soon. One of best friends here in Edmonton has a cold and wouldn’t come out to dinner even if I paid. That means he isn’t feeling all that well because he loves to have someone else pay even though he is a millionaire.

    The sidewalk concrete blocks for my duplex that I live in were also in bad shape. A lot of them were cracked and they were slanting toward the duplex due to the ground settling since 1970 when the duplex was built. I hired a couple friends who needed the extra money to fix as much as they could within my budget of $3,000. They did a great job for what they did for $2,950 in the latter part of June and the first part of July but there are some broken sidewalk blocks that haven’t been replaced toward the back of my property. I am now debating whether to spend an extra $1,000 to for my friends to replace the rest.

    That is the problem with owning a home. If one gets too carried away with renovations, one can end up spending a great deal of money. I try not to spend more than 1 percent of the property value on home renovations in any one year. My duplex is worth only about $350,000 so I shouldn’t be spending more than $3,500 in any one year. For the record, I did go about 7 years without spending more than $500 in total for the 7 years — but I like to forget about that. That’s one of the many reasons that I am financially independent today.

    • retirebyforty July 24, 2017, 12:06 pm

      It’s no fun to go out when you’re sick. I stayed home most of the weekend and I feel much better now.
      You’re right about home ownership. There are a lot of maintenance especially on an older home.
      I like your 1 percent rule.

  • Al July 24, 2017, 1:50 am

    Hope you feel better and are greatful for the trip. Glad to see you are enjoying your journey.

  • Mustard Seed Money July 24, 2017, 4:01 am

    Sorry to hear that you are sick. Summertime colds are the worst. Looks like you had an awesome trip though and I definitely agree with you on In-N-Out burger. Going more than once spoils it for me on a trip 🙂

    • retirebyforty July 24, 2017, 12:07 pm

      We love In-N-Out and try to stop by whenever we’re in CA. Much better than Five Guys. 😀

  • Matt @ Optimize Your Life July 24, 2017, 4:31 am

    Oh, man. As an east coaster, I am very jealous of your In-N-Out lunch. So good! I haven’t been there in probably three years at this point.

    Feel better, Joe!

  • Mrs. Groovy July 24, 2017, 4:38 am

    You might want to go DIY on the concrete since it’s a small portion. We had to go this route with our front porch (it’s a saga) which Mr. G is fixing.

    Did RB40Jr say whether the giraffe had sweet smelling breath? Supposedly they do.

    My nephew moved to Huntington Beach from Colorado and switched to skiing to surfing. He’s in an apartment right at the beach — with free guest parking! He’s a popular guy!

    • retirebyforty July 24, 2017, 12:09 pm

      After reading some comments, I’ll go DIY. I can always call a contractor if I screw it up really bad. No one is available anyway.
      He didn’t say anything about giraffe breath. The tongue was a little scary. Feels like a cat’s tongue, but much bigger.
      I’d love to live near the beach someday. Your nephew is one lucky guy.

  • Ms. Frugal Asian Finance July 24, 2017, 4:43 am

    Oh no I hope you feel better, Joe! I don’t like getting sick either since I just can’t be myself. Sounds like you and your family had a great trip. I’ve been to Huntington beach before, and it was gorgeous!

    I agree you don’t want to get in such a steep roof. I just paid $45 for someone to clean my gutters the other day. I wouldn’t want Mr. FAF to get up there either.

    • retirebyforty July 24, 2017, 12:09 pm

      Cleaning the gutter isn’t too bad because I don’t have to get on the roof. Just the ladder is okay for that. 🙂

  • [email protected] July 24, 2017, 5:15 am

    Summer colds are the worst! Glad to hear you are starting to feel better now! We had a concrete issue that we needed to fix before we put our house on the market. A little Internet reading/You Tube watching and it was fixed for $200. We did get one contractor to show up – and it would have cost $2100. (A different fix – building a deck over the concrete.) Our fix is solid and looks great!

    • retirebyforty July 24, 2017, 12:10 pm

      I will DIY! Thank you for the encouragement. I’ll try it and see how it goes.

  • Jack Catchem July 24, 2017, 6:07 am

    Money for parking? Oh yes. And endless radio calls of people saving spaces (illegal), using handicap placards to avoid paying (legal), and merrily keying each other’s cars to take out their rage (illegal if both parties aren’t having fun).

    Glad you had a great time though!

    • retirebyforty July 24, 2017, 12:10 pm

      Sounds pretty crazy. 🙂 It was fun to visit for one day, though.

  • Lazy Man and Money July 24, 2017, 6:33 am

    My dog loved Huntington Beach. It felt like the whole place was built for dogs. We loved our mini-vacation there years ago.

    I’m not a good DIYer, but maybe you can do some fixing yourself on the very cheap with the promise of getting the whole thing professionally done over next year. If it’s terrible and you are going to live in it anyway, you probably want to make it nice, right?

    I was going to wish you to get well, but it sounds like you already might be by the time I’m posting this.

    • retirebyforty July 24, 2017, 12:12 pm

      The construction boom is crazy. I can’t get any concrete contractor on the phone. I guess it will have to be DIY.
      Huntington beach is pretty cool. Now I wish we live a bit closer.

  • Dads Dollars Debts July 24, 2017, 6:46 am

    I would like a sick days and then realized that I don’t know many docs that take them. How does it make sense to take care of sick people if you are sick…or give healthy people seeing you a cold because you “need” to show up to work.

    This is my first full summer in Cali (though Northern Cali) and I agree, the sun and heat are brutal. Glad you guys had fun. I have no ideas for the sidewalk.

    • retirebyforty July 24, 2017, 12:14 pm

      At my old job, I always say I could take a day off because nobody is going to die. Even if the project is at a crucial state, I need to take care of myself first. 🙂
      Doctors should be able to take some sick days too. Can’t you get some coverage from colleagues?

      • Ben July 25, 2017, 8:55 am

        Hi Joe,

        Health is the most important. Without Health, there is no life enjoyment.


  • Mrs. Picky Pincher July 24, 2017, 6:56 am

    Sorry to hear you’re under the weather! But this blog is giving me a serious hankering for some In-N-Out Burger. We recently got them here in Texas and I absolutely loooove it. As far as the concrete sidewalk, you can totally do that yourself. Hell, we just re-bricked the back of our house without a professional. Just do your homework and you’ll be fine.

    • retirebyforty July 24, 2017, 2:20 pm

      Nice job! I will DIY. If it doesn’t work, then I’ll call a contractor. 🙂
      This is probably too small for them anyway.

  • Darren July 24, 2017, 6:58 am

    Am I the only one who’s never tried an In-N-Out burger before? One of these days, I’ll try. Reminds me of my favorite fast-food joint growing up, Portillo’s, a family-owned Chicago-style hot dog and hamburger restaurant. There are two locations in Southern Cal and a new location in Florida. I’ve been raving about them so much a colleague went there on a recent business trip … 3 times! This, to me, is validation that my taste buds were right.

    Hope you feel better soon, Joe. It sucks being sick on vacation.

    • retirebyforty July 24, 2017, 2:25 pm

      Never heard of Portillo’s. Ah, there is one in Moreno Valley. That’s pretty close to Mrs. RB40’s family. We’ll have to check them out next time. Thanks!

  • No Nonsense Landlord July 24, 2017, 7:17 am

    Get well soon. Of course, when you do not have to go to a W2 job, you can take any day off you want.

  • Cynthia July 24, 2017, 7:49 am

    So since your real estate in PDX is really up, have you thought of selling now & having money to put into the stock market when it drops?
    Might be a good topic for you on folks who don’t want to be landlords but the best way to buy into solid real estate stocks??

    • retirebyforty July 24, 2017, 2:27 pm

      Not yet. We’ll sell our condo in a few years before we go on our RTW trip. Hopefully,the market will hold up until then. Seems pretty hot still.

  • Money Beagle July 24, 2017, 8:23 am

    Hope you feel better. I got a cold right around Memorial Day. Plus I had poison ivy. The summer has gotten much better since!

    • retirebyforty July 24, 2017, 2:27 pm

      I’m feeling much better already. It’s hard to believe summer is already half over, though.

  • Ember July 24, 2017, 8:35 am

    That looked like an awesome trip!! I totally get how it is almost a big deal you actually paid to feed the giraffe. After paying off our debt, we’ve tried to loosen up a bit and enjoy our success with that. But we struggle with paying for anything we feel is frivolous at all. I think it’s such a hard mindset change. I’m glad y’all had such a great time, although I’m sorry you’re not feeling well! Get well soon!

    • retirebyforty July 24, 2017, 2:28 pm

      Feeding the giraffe is definitely frivolous to me. Supposedly go to a good cause so I don’t feel too bad. 🙂

  • Anil July 24, 2017, 8:52 am

    Joe – hope you feel better soon. I am always curious how is the cost of living in California compared to Portland? Everyone I know in Bay Area complains about it, but I would like to get a Portlander’s assessment to see how the numbers stand out. You had to pay for beach parking, so that already says a lot, but some unbiased assessment will be helpful to everyone travelling over there.

    • retirebyforty July 24, 2017, 2:30 pm

      Really depends where you are. I think Bay Area is much more expensive than Portland. Housing is probably double. Food is comparable. Traffic really sucks there,though.
      In the CA deserts, it’s cheaper than Portland. On the other hand, it’s really hot and you have to drive everywhere. Can’t survive without AC…

  • Mr. Smart Money July 24, 2017, 9:41 am

    In N Out is consistently my first stop when I go to Cali. Agree with the only once per trip rule though. Also – it’s worse in other states, (the Vegas locations are mediocre). Hope you feel better!

    • retirebyforty July 24, 2017, 2:31 pm

      We tried twice per trip once and it just didn’t work. We have one in southern Oregon. It’s too far to drive just for the burger, though. The line was crazy the last time we passed by.

  • Angela July 24, 2017, 9:55 am

    My husband does all of our concrete work (currently expanding our back patio behind the carport). It’s hard work (and you’ll want a dust mask so you aren’t breathing in particulates), but since the sidewalk area is so small it might be good practice. Even if it takes you a couple tries to get it right, it will still be way cheaper than a contractor.

    • retirebyforty July 24, 2017, 2:33 pm

      I have a mask. You’re right about it being good practice. I will DIY this one and see if it will work out. It’s probably cheaper than hiring someone even if I tried 10 times. A bag of concrete is cheap. 🙂

  • Cody @ Dollar Habits July 24, 2017, 1:02 pm

    I hope you feel better quickly, Joe. It looks like you guys had a great trip. It was pretty cool to read about your trip as I am extremely familiar with all these locations. I grew up very close to the dinosaurs and we just visited The Living Desert earlier this year for a family outing. Huntington Beach is a great place, but like you mentioned, it can get pretty busy. We prefer to head down PCH a bit to a less crowded beach (with cheaper parking too). Thanks for sharing!

    • retirebyforty July 24, 2017, 2:34 pm

      Really? Small world. 🙂
      Next time we’ll drive down a bit. Which beach did you like? I was thinking about going to Carlsbad, but it seems longer.

  • Duncan's Dividends July 24, 2017, 4:03 pm

    Sorry you have a wicked case of the sniffles. I hate getting sick in the summer, got my round a few weeks back in June and I was miserable, hopefully this will pass quickly. I’ve tried In and Out and maybe it was just my experience, but I was underwhelmed. I’m lucky to have a Portillo’s by me, fast food gloriousness from Chicago, here in Phoenix so I get my kick there and I totally agree can’t go too often or you ruin it.

    • retirebyforty July 25, 2017, 11:21 am

      We’ll try Portillo’s next time we’re near. Sounds good.

  • Helen July 24, 2017, 4:06 pm

    Hope you feel better. One of the beauties of retirement life is: when I’m sick, I don’t have to call anybody or worry about running out of sick days anymore. Just take a rest as long as I need to.

  • Ms. Weird Hacks July 25, 2017, 2:54 am

    Get well soon Joe. You should try taking ginger, honey, lemon and cinnamon tea. I always take this once cold sets in, and I feel great after one week

  • SMM July 25, 2017, 9:13 am

    Get well soon. Netflix is a great medicine, lol. Very nice pics too. I remember when I took my little one to the zoo and out of all the animals he loved the Giraffes most for some reason. 🙂

    • retirebyforty July 25, 2017, 11:23 am

      RB40Jr loved the desert tortoises. He has a stuffy tortoise so he enjoyed seeing the real thing.

  • Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life July 25, 2017, 2:51 pm

    Get well soon! I feel much the same way coming back from our annual visit to San Diego – I can hardly stay awake.

    You visited our old favorite beach! We used to drive out to Huntington all the time when we were in high school.

    I wonder if you can kludge a DIY fix for that crack, use a paving stone to fill it in, maybe?

    • retirebyforty July 25, 2017, 11:07 pm

      I slept most of the weekend and I’m almost back to normal now except for the lingering cough.
      Huntington beach is pretty cool. I bet the parking there used to cost much less.

  • The Professor July 25, 2017, 10:19 pm

    Joe, I wish I knew you were heading to Huntington Beach where I live and I could have at least directed you to where there is free parking instead of the $15.00 fee. I live just over a mile away and go down there all the time and never pay for parking. Could have shown you a few good “local” spots too. Maybe next trip.
    Hope you feel better soon.

    • retirebyforty July 26, 2017, 8:07 am

      Thanks. We didn’t know we were going to Huntington Beach either. It was a spur of the moment decision because it was too hot in the desert. Next time. 🙂

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