Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Enough said?

Realtors added "sold" today
SOLD!  Enough said?

Or course you know I'm not a person of such few words...

Since last Friday life has been a whirlwind.

The septic tank repair work was completed,and it passed the county inspection which is necessary before closing.

The sump pump company provided an estimate to re-route  the water drainage pipe away from the septic system( problem was discovered by the septic company), and this work will start tomorrow.

The roofing tasks (vents, boots, caulking) called out in the inspection report were completed today.

The electric work (GFCI outlets on the outside of the house, etc.) will occur tomorrow.

We selected and scheduled a moving company for late August.

We bought a steel fire rated door, and Mike is installing between our attached garage and kitchen.  Yesterday he asked me to hold he door upright while he retrieved a tool.  Then he answered his phone, at the same time the doorbell rang.  He accompanied the refrigerator repair guy into the kitchen while continuing his phone conversation.  Long story short... I was left holding the door. He totally forgot about me in the garage holding up that heavy door!

New vanity in master bath
The custom made vanity top was installed in the master bath today, and Mike is installing the plumbing as we speak.  It looks awesome!


And I am so thankful that I have the best help in the world...

We can finally see the light at the end of this long, long road!  I know there is a new chapter just over the horizon...


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Crazy and fun

I don't think that words can do justice to the craziness lately and fun with friends, but I will try...

A little beer
We spent a great getaway weekend with good friends Gretchen and Craig in Cedar Rapids.  The weather cooled, and we enjoyed some wonderful outside activities starting with a great Cedar Rapids Kernels game with strange but delightful mascots...ok, and a few beers.

Some merriment...

My first experience being threatened by a mascot (Mr. Shucks) just because of my tiny camera

Tooth fairy cleaning the bases.  My dream job...

And there was a lovely night under the stars at Brucemore Mansion watching the riveting Tennessee Williams play, The Night of the Iguana.
Stage at Brucemore

Some refreshments at the play

Craig has been working this summer to build a park outside the Bottleworks Condos.  This is an area ravaged by the 2008 floods.  It's great to see the rebuilding underway!

Craig at Bottleworks Condos

Labyrinth in Bottleworks Condo park

ART in the strangest places...outside a building vacant since the flood

The eyes see all...as rebuilding continues
Music returns to the flooded area

We returned to Des Moines and 100 degree temps 

And like all great weekends, it was back to work on Monday...
A sight you just don't want to see in your driveway...

At least they have a sense of humor
Digging up the backyard is never good.  A mere $1700 later, and they were on their way!

The rest of the crazy week:

We vacated the house for 5+ hours during a house inspection. Nothing like taking 3 cats  for a very long drive to Kansas City on a 100 degree day wondering what the inspector is finding with his 1600 point checklist.  We got the report late last night, and there are a few things to fix, but overall it was not too bad!  Whew!

The inspector also conducted a 2 day radon test.  Did you know that 7 out of 10 homes in Iowa have radon that exceeds the EPA levels?  And of course, we were one of them.  Next comes a mitigation system.

We had 2 moving companies tour the house and garages so they could give us quotes.  I tell you moving is not cheap!  My recommendation is never sell or leave your current home!

Mike readied the final bathroom vanity for a new vanity top to be installed this week.  He also finished the long awaited sump pump cover.  It turned out great!  Even the housing inspector was impressed...

Covers sump pump and backup battery

I packed up the laundry room storage closet.  I found a few strange things there including a nerf gun.  Mike still hasn't forgiven me for accidentally shooting him in let's say a "sensitive" area.

And yet in all this craziness, there were great times with friends...

Lunch with my good friend Ruth 
Catching up with Gary and Jen over a couple of drinks...

Betsy and I had a glass of wine at a new establishment called the "Wine Dive" whose motto is wine should be fun.  Watching the couple next to us roasting marshmallows over a bowl of Sterno gel to make their meal of s'mores, I think they "get" fun!

We had a great dinner with Emily, Brian and Maggie at Olive Garden. Maggie is at the stage where she grabs everything within her reach and wants all the food the adults eat.  She was fast, but I was faster protecting my Italian margarita!

Certainly not a dull week...


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Ups and downs

It is amazing how things can change in an instant.  At least this is how our life seems to go…

We started out with a fun evening on Mass Ave. which is a little area near downtown Indy with lots of great shops and restaurants.

The guys were getting together for their monthly BNO (boys night out).
Chuck, Pat and Mike

While the guys were doing their thing, Melanie and I did a bit of shopping and ended up at this great new restaurant, MESH.

It was one of those 100 degree days, and we decided on a light meal of appetizers.  We had a very interesting dish of watermelon chunks and heirloom tomatoes with small chunks of Maytag blue cheese.  This was an excellent combination of really weird foods together!  We also shared a wonderful mushroom puff pastry and salad.

Enjoying dinner with Melanie at Mesh

After dinner we met up with  Mike and Chuck and  enjoyed the sights and sounds of Mass Ave.


Flower in shop window

Reflection in toy shop window


Mike and I headed home the back way and enjoyed a beautiful evening sky.
Industry and clouds on South Street

When we got home, we decided to watch the news in my study and enjoy some wonderful Magnum ice cream bars.  As we were settling in, I went downstairs for a glass of ice water, and heard this blood curdling scream from the study.  Racing upstairs I came upon a terrible scene of Mike’s big toenail almost torn off his toe.  He was pulling an ottoman back to the chair, and it caught on his toenail. 

After hours of waiting in a bed in the hallway, we finally got a room and saw a doctor who advised they would deaden the toe and remove part of the nail.  Only Mike would maintain his sense of humor in this situation...

"Not fun" in the E.R.

Against my better judgment, but being the “good wife” I am, I stayed in the room with Mike during the cocktail shots of lidocaine and some other “caine” into his toe.  The nurse warned this was going to hurt a lot, and judging from Mike’s expressions and sounds, it hurt like hell.  But the shots worked as he could not feel most of the toenail being cut off.   The doctor sent us on our way with Mike’s toe wrapped up,  a couple of vicodin in him and instructions to see a podiatrist the next day for some additional trimming as the hospital didn’t have all the right instruments (instruments of torture is what I was thinking).  We arrived home around 3:30 a.m. confirming my long held view that nothing good ever happens in the early hours of the morning. 

We stayed in Indy a couple of extra days for Mike to recover and visit a podiatrist.  I knew he was feeling better when he wore his Life is Crap t-shirt to the podiatrist!  The visit went well with NO SHOTS, some additional trimming of the nail and a very encouraging prognosis that the nail would grow back.  
The delay caused us to reschedule a few things at my house:  installation of bathroom counter top, St. Vincent dePaul picking up a bed we were donating and obtaining an estimate of costs to move my furniture and more boxes.

Then things changed abruptly again.  During our last night in Indy we received a very good offer on the house.  We accepted the offer and are on our way to selling my house!  YEAH!!!  Staying up until 1:30 a.m. we reviewed, signed and returned documents to the realtor.  We are elated at selling the house which is what we've been working for since I retired last October.  Assuming all goes according to plan (and my experience says it's never quite that easy), we should close around Labor Day!  

As we drove back to DM, everything felt  different.  The showings (and ridiculous cleaning) are done.   The 15 hour days are hopefully coming to an end.  We can now focus on packing instead of remodeling.  We began to envision the future including building Mike's new man cave and having more time for family, friends and hobbies!

Ah, yes…Life is good!


Monday, July 16, 2012

Best Moving Value

What is the best moving value?   Doing it yourself!

Lots of hours have gone into boxes...after the initial packing

staging them in my garage

moving them into a trailer

hitching trailer to the Nitro

driving through storms

storing them in Indy with the help of niece Alex

and unpacking a fraction of them in Mike's garage.

It has been a very busy week of packing, building and moving more stuff to Indy.  Couple that with a couple of house showings, jet ski's at Saylorville Lake, and visiting with my sister Pam and niece Alex and you get the idea that we aren't getting much sleep these days...

Mike has been very busy on the building front this past week.  Two of the final three "major" tasks are underway.

"Super hero" working on master bath vanity

Mike designed a bench to cover the sump pump

We spent a lot of time working on cleaning up garages.  The front garage is now more organized than ever (ok, I admit that I enjoyed organizing the garage!)...

Bins of drill bits, paints,  tape, etc.

We had a couple of house showings, and one of them appears promising.  Wish us luck!

Emily, Maggie and Brian
We experienced jet skis for the first time at Saylorville Lake with friends Brian, Emily and Maggie.

We had a blast racing across the water, wind in our hair and water in our face.  And we stayed on the jet ski the whole time (I would never admit to threatening Mike if he dumped me).  We even had our first rescue at sea-a boater flagged us down because his engine quit-we quickly skirted across the water and found another boat to help him.

We had a great visit with my sister Pam and niece Alex who drove over to Indy from Cincinnati.  This was my first opportunity to experience family being close by, and it was great. They stopped by to pick up some things we had for Alex's first apartment at Ohio State, and they helped us unpack the boxes.

Pam on a beautiful July day
Mike and I finished our moving day with a small celebration at one of our favorite restaurants, Rick's Boatyard Cafe on Eagle Creek Reservoir!

Today we had a great lunch with Mike's godmother...

 Mike and Ann with the Indy 500 track in the background

All in all it was an exhausting "work week", but we still found time for fun with family and friends!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Reflections on retirement

Visit to wine country
It’s been 9 months now since I retired, and I’ve been reflecting on where I’ve been and how I feel since leaving the working world.  Here are some rambling thoughts and photos…

I do not miss work AT ALL.   I don’t know if it was the job-maybe I was just burnt out on project management or the politics, but there hasn’t been a single day I wished I was in a project meeting or a meeting to discuss lack of resources.

With Joleen and Tracy at retirement party

I DO MISS my friends from work.  I miss the shared experiences, laughter and camaraderie.   I miss the sarcasm and eye rolling at crazy stuff that happened.  I still dream about people from work.  We are generally working on something together, but it’s NOT a project from my work life.

I try to stay in touch with my favorite people from work with an occasional lunch or drinks.  I love catching up with their lives and what’s happening at work.  It is strange how things moved on at work, but  yet the themes are the same.  

A glass of wine with Betsy
Retirement is not what I expected.  I had these crazy thoughts of exercise, writing, art and friends.  Instead it’s mainly working on my house with a little time for exercise, writing, photography and friends.  I can see this will improve over time.

On the canal in Indy
I now have time to do things right.  As I look back at work and my personal life, I rarely had time to do things well.  I was always racing and hating how much time each thing took.  I am learning to slow down and enjoy all the moments of doing a task, even some that are not my favorites.

I must have been wound up tighter than a top!  At first I just transferred stress from work to my personal life and race to sell a house.  Not saying I am less intense about selling my house, but I find myself breathing now.  I am not as quick to snap or fly off the handle at things.  Don’t know if Mike would agree with this or not…

Celebrating art with friends from work
I love having time to exercise again.  I still have to make it a priority, but it seems easier to find the time now.

Hanging with Chuck and Melanie
I am thrilled about the progress on the house. Mike and I have both learned amazing things about remodeling.   I am excited about how we can use this to spruce up our house in Indy (notice that I'm trying to call it "our" house instead of "Mike's house").

I am getting a bit nervous about how to spend my time when my house is done.  I had a dream the other night  where I was bored and didn’t know what to do next.  First time this has happened.  It’s odd because I normally think about all the things I can do once I move to Indy and the “job” of fixing my house is finished. I haven't had time to dwell on this, but it's clearly a sign of moving ahead.
George, Mom and me at St. Louis Cardinals game
Family dinner after Cardinals game

Everywhere I go I look at people doing jobs and see if they are happy and enjoy what they do.  This is some of my criteria if I get another job.  Here’s where I’ve seen some of the happiest people:  Lowe’s (amazingly friendly and helpful customer service staff; ok maybe we are on a first name basis!), Kohl’s(and who wouldn’t be happy saying “you saved $800 today and here is $75 in Kohl’s cash”), the receptionist at John Stoddard Cancer Center (who is the kindest, gentlest person dealing with  people with cancer)  the meat cutters at Fareway (pretty sure I’ll never do this!), and the granite and tile installers (go figure on this one-I think they like having perfected their trade and making customers happy).  I know what you are saying...maybe I need to get out more if these are the only jobs I've seen.  Let me know if you have others to recommend…
With Gretchen and Craig in Ensenada, Mexico

I feel I  have more to contribute. I’m not sure if this is a job or something else, but I try to keep my eyes and ears open to the possibilities. 

I still don’t like being referred to a “retiree”.  It’s a demographic, not a person.  Seems like I’ve lost my identity from a career, and there aren’t any other clear labels to define me, yet. 

Every single day I thank God for where I am in life: not working (aka retired), living with my sweetie all the time, having great friends and family and good health!  I try to not take any of these for granted.