By Janet Groene, F47166
October 2008 FMC magazine
Tips for becoming organized, keeping the bugs away, getting in shape, and more.
In a time when others are worrying about fuel prices, full-timers are lucky. Simply by traveling a few miles to the next county or state, full-timers continue to live large. No matter how short the journey, new sight-seeing delights and campground friends await just over the next hill. The old saying “Take time to smell the flowers” has never been more meaningful. Here are ways to stretch your budget, your fuel, and your horizons.
Paws For Reflection
If you practice yoga faithfully, a new product called Yoga Paws, which are worn on the hands and feet, will eliminate the need to carry a bulky mat. Just slip on the “paws” and you’re ready to do your yoga exercises at the beach, campground gym, or anywhere. Visit www.yogapaws.com for a look at this product.
If you dial 411 to ask for a phone number, you may be billed as much as $2. However, if it’s a business number you’re seeking, dial (800) GOOG-411 and Google will ask you the city and state. Then it will ask the business name or category. When you reply “Gino’s Pizza,” for example, you’re simply connected to the place. If you also want the company’s address and phone number, say “Details” before the call goes through. To put it to the test, I gave the name of a dentist’s office in a small town in north Florida and was astonished at how well the voice recognition worked, despite the difficult names and spellings. The reply was quick, accurate, and free.
Picture a shoulder bag that looks like any other but zips open completely to lie flat, giving you access to 10 pockets of various sizes. If you don’t have a flat place to spread it out, hang it up by its strap handle. It’s ideal for use in campground showers, a gym, dance or karate classes, or other activities where you need a grab-and-go gear bag. The pouch-filled tote is called an AbbyRoo and it costs less than $40 from www.abbyroo.com.
If you’re an angler who will suffer through bug bites rather than risk repelling fish by using insect sprays, you may be interested in a new product called Nutri Shield. It is said to have the ability to actually attract fish while also keeping pesky mosquitoes and gnats away. I haven’t tried it personally, but its makers claim that spraying lures with this all-natural, DEET-free product catches more fish. Visit www.nutritekinc.com or call (877) 478-4844.
If the bins you use in your basement storage area have become unorganized jumbles, look into a new product called Bin Buddies, (888-708-3299, www.bin-buddies.com). These fabric liners slip into bins of all sizes and are filled with pockets around the inner edges. Put small items in the pockets, then pile large items in the center. They can be ordered to fit popular bin models by name (Rubbermaid, etc.). Of course, anyone who is handy with a sewing machine could use the same concept to create liners for containers of any size or shape.
Are you still working, under age 65, and collecting Social Security? You could lose a dollar in benefits for each $2 you earn. The so-called earnings test is complicated but, roughly speaking, earning $1,130 or more per month could mean a loss in benefits. It’s especially dicey for full-timers who work seasonally and exceed the magic number only some months of the year. If you think you’re in danger of tipping the scale, call Social Security at (800) 772-1213 and ask.
I Found Your Camera
If you’ve ever lost a camera, you know that the loss of irreplaceable shots can hurt more than the loss of the camera itself. Now a new Web site called http://IFoundYourCamera.blogspot.com reunites cameras with their owners through a simple, human project that will make you feel good all over. Thanks to digital technology, it’s easy to post a picture from a data card, but some generous folks have even had film developed so they could post those photos, too.
It doesn’t matter if the camera itself is valuable. Even photos taken by a cheap, disposable camera might be your only record of a reunion, rally, or graduation. At this site, everyone’s photos are considered to be important.
Here’s how it works. If you have lost a camera, go to the Web site in hopes of seeing a picture you took. They’re organized by state (and country), and each picture usually has a brief message about where or how the camera was found. If you find a camera, go to the site and upload several images from it. When a match is made, parties can work out the details and shipping costs between themselves.
A Perfect Fit
More campgrounds are putting in fitness machines these days, and some resort campgrounds have state-of-the-art workout equipment. However, dedicated fitness followers no longer have to settle for hit-or-miss equipment and regimens. Some fitness club memberships are portable, allowing you to stay with one brand while you enjoy visitor privileges everywhere in the same chain. YMCA and YWCA memberships usually come with guest privileges or require the payment of a small fee at Ys away from home. However, fitness protocols today are more personalized and specialized, relying on a particular philosophy or brand of machines.
Here are some networks throughout the United States and Canada that allow travelers to continue a consistent workout regimen almost anywhere they happen to be. Some are physical sites for those who prefer a fitness setting; others are video or audio routines to do in your own coach or at your campsite.
Before signing up for any gym or fitness club membership, know what you are getting. Pay special attention to rules regarding portability of your membership after you leave your “home” gym.
- 24-Hour Fitness has 425 facilities worldwide, many of them used by Olympians in training. The five elements of the group’s program are cardio, vitamins and supplements, resistance training, food intake, and professional assistance. As the name suggests, most centers are open around the clock. Go to www.24HourFitness.com for more information.
- Curves is a women’s gym network that provides a total body workout with both aerobic and strength training. More than 10,000 locations are available worldwide. Go for weight loss, weight maintenance, and fitness, all with the support of other women. Your home Curves facility can give you a travel pass that is good at others. Visit www.curves.com for more info.
- Gold’s Gym (www.goldsgym.com) has more than 600 locations and 3 million members worldwide. One of the first fitness chains, it offers the latest equipment and services, including its original weight-training tradition, plus group exercise, personal training, cardiovascular equipment, spinning, Pilates, and yoga. Ask about the special exercise program for people with diabetes.
- Planet Fitness (www.planetfitness.com) locations are found in more than half the states. Visit the company’s Web site to find one that is near your location.
- An interactive Web site called iTrain.com offers high-definition audio and video workouts that can be purchased and downloaded to any MP3 player. Go to www.itrain.com to learn more.
- Gym Ticket (www.gymticket.com) is an online gym locator that will help you find the right fitness center for your needs. Often free trial memberships are available to visitors.
- My Perfect Gym (www.myperfectgym.com) matches your location with your workout needs. Check off the features you’re looking for from a list that includes spa, kickboxing, swimming, tanning, tennis, yoga, etc., and it will find the nearest places with the facilities you seek.