Friday, December 16, 2011

A Tale of Two Cities

Ok, I took a long break since my Thanksgiving musings.  It's been a whirlwind of activity traveling between my house and Mike's house.  I can't even tell you how many times we have made this trip since Thanksgiving, but it definitely been lots of travel.  One of Mike's friends made the comment that when you are retired, every day is Saturday except Sunday.   I would have to agree that not only is it difficult to keep track of what day it is, but it's also difficult to keep track of what city I'm in.

At my house we are remediating water problems from the past couple of years.  Sump pumps, drywall work, air duct cleaning and the list goes on.  And then there's the issue of contract labor including who does the work, who calls you back, and who gives estimates, not to mention the scheduling.

Clearly my goal of getting the house on the market by year end was a bit crazy!  I always said I wanted to be the person who set the arbitrary project delivery date, and I finally got to do that.  Not meeting a date, even on this side of the fence, isn't any fun.  And this just reiterates that setting a date without a plan doesn't work under any scenario: project management 101 rears its' head again!

At Mike's house, we continue to move and get rid of stuff to prepare room for me.  Sounds easy, but for anyone who had to combine two complete homes into one, you know how difficult this is.  Basically you have to be ruthless about getting rid of things you don't need.  Goodwill folks in both cities now know me by name.   It's made me take a hard look at consumerism in my own life.  I really pause now before buying more stuff asking myself the question of whether I really need it.

As we begin to reflect about this year and all that happened, Mike and I are very happy about our year of "friends and family".  After being out of commission for a solid chunk of 2010 with health issues, we set out in 2011 to make time for friends and family. We spent vacation time and retirement time visiting people and reconnecting, and it's been richly rewarding. Whether we simply enjoyed meals together, attended concerts (Jethro Tull with Adrienne and Tony), had fun at parties (Kentucky Derby at Chuck and Melanie's and Halloween at our house), went camping (with Gretchen and Craig), attended BNO (Boys Night Out that Pat organized), attended SWOM (Second Wed. Of the Month club that Kristi organized for the girls) or spent time making hundreds of cookies (with Mom, Ange, Pam and Alex), we were blessed to have great people in our lives.

Retirement has made it easier to attend these events in each city (though perhaps with an adverse impact to selling a house).  We basically set up a shared calendar on line, and our travels are often dictated by what is going on in each place.  We recognize that this is a crazy approach, but it is working for us.
Although the year of friends and family is coming to a close, we will continue this tradition in future years.  Dealing with cancer last year taught me some important lessons about what is important: people, health and faith.  This year I focused on living these values, and choosing to retire was a decision borne of these values. It's been a good choice for us, and I haven't looked back.  Of course I do have one final question today:  Does anyone want to buy a house?


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