Retired but still working hard!

The trouble with retirement is that you never get a day off ~Abe Lemons

Most people who are very close to me know that I have a horrible memory. I rely heavily on pictures and data to jog my memory and that helps me tell my stories. That is another reason I should have started this blog back in 2008. ๐Ÿ™‚ Disclaimer: To the best of my knowledge, everything I post to this blog is true. As I told my daughter . . . at least it is true in my mind!

So, why do I bring up this memory problem I have? Well, turns out we bought that Gator in 2011 instead of 2010. Just noticed the date in my iPhoto picture events. Sorry!

Now, let’s move along, okay?

Turns out 2010 was not only a year of a lot of travel and busyness for Bill and I, it turned out to be a year of multiple moves for Jill and Jim. That nice big rental home they were renting while their house was being built . . . yep, it sold! If memory serves me correct on this one, I think they ended up moving in with Jim’s parents around Thanksgiving. Poor things. Everything had to be re-packed and moved AGAIN. They so wanted to be able to move into their new home by Christmas 2010, but that didn’t happen.

However, they did finally move into their new home before spring 2011. They were determined to move in whether everything was complete or not. In fact, I think the painter spent many many weeks with them after move-in day. It was during the spring of that year I realized how much dirt, mud and dust a new construction build generates. And, when you don’t have grass yet and you are surrounded by 18 acres of dirt – YIKES! That’s another thing I’m not looking forward to in the future. I think Jim’s parents moved into their new home in late May or early June.ย  All Bill and I could do was dream of the day when we would be joining the other two families down on the compound. Here are a few pictures of Jill and Jim’s home that year before planting grass.

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During the spring of 2011, I was trying to figure out what was going to happen about my job with the school district. Thanks to the district embarking on the International Baccalaureate (IB) program two years earlier, one generous district administrator and one ingenious media specialist, and some stimulus money, I had worked half-time as the district IB technical support person and half-time as my elementary school’s tech assistant. Since the stimulus money was only guaranteed for two years, I knew something was going to change for me at the end of the 2010-11 school year. I started to ask about possibilities for the following school year. In April I was offered a half-time position with no benefits as the elementary school tech assistant for the following year.

Decisions, decisions. I had worked full-time for the school district for 26 years! I always said I wanted to retire when I felt good about that decision. I wanted to leave when I felt I had given all that I could give. A retired principal who was working in our building during that time told me that I would know when it was time. Bill and I talked it over and over and I weighed working part-time versus calling it quits. The decision that haunted me actually became clear in my mind as I drove into work on May 17. As I normally did every day as I drove to work, I prayed the whole way in. That morning I added a prayer asking God to guide me in making a decision. Something happened as I entered the school building. I felt relief. I walked into my room at school, turned on my computer, and immediately wrote my resignation letter to be effective on my last workday for the school year – June 2. It was the right time and the right decision.

Saying goodbye to my school family was hard. Saying goodbye to the actual work and all the stress that went with it was not hard. It was not hard at all. Actually, I have not missed working one iota since I retired. ๐Ÿ™‚ Plus, I’ve had way too much to do to occupy my time.

One thing that kept me extremely busy was de-cluttering this house. I am a list maker – so, I made a list for every room in this house. I started the de-cluttering and organizing in late June. And, we invested into many many plastic bins to pack things away. We even emptied our attic and cleaned out the shed and pole barn! We’ve never made so many trips to Goodwill in one year. I won’t show before pictures but will share some afters.

The other major thing that kept me busy (and still keeps me busy today) is house plans. Picture me holding my head as I type this. Earlier in 2011 Bill and I purchased some new 3D software, Home Designer Pro, and a new laptop to run the software. The software required a computer with a separate video card with lots of memory. We thought it would be cheaper to buy the computer and software than to buy full house plans from online companies. Some of that idea didn’t pan out. But, since my job with the school district for many years was to learn new software and then train teachers on how to use it, I decided I would use that same technique and teach myself how to use this house designing software. I must have watched at least 60 online training videos, participated in five or more how-to webinars and joined the software forums for other technical support. Even though I’ve used the software going on two years, I still feel I’ve only scratched the surface of it.

I cannot tell you how many plans I drew in that software. I’d find a plan online, take a snapshot of it, and then import it into the software. Then, I would basically trace the shape of the house into the software using all the outside and inside wall tools. Once the shape was in place, I would delete the snapshot and start to work re-configuring the house plan and sometimes putting furniture in it. Let me tell you, there is no perfect house plan out there. There is always something you want changed from expanding or decreasing the square footage, to adding a window here, to making the hallways and doorways bigger in case one of us is ever in a wheelchair, to moving a room from one area of the house to another. All along I believed that if I created the house in the software, it could be built. That was flawed thinking.

Here are just a few of the house plans we considered building. None of these ended up as our final plan.

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After a quick trip out to Virginia for our granddaughter Alaini’s high school graduation in June, we returned to Indiana and spent a week down at Jim and Jill’s house watching the grandkids while they went on a cruise for their 15th wedding anniversary. Bill had already started building a tree house for the grandkids. He spent most of his week working on it. It’s huge! The kids have had fun playing in it.

Anchoring the base

Anchoring the base

Adding the stairs

Adding the stairs

Almost complete

Almost complete

And, we never passed up a time to fish in our lake.

Staying the week down in Jill and Jim’s house really helped us in making decisions for our new house. I found that I really liked their dish drawers instead of stacking dishes in upper cabinets. I found I did not like a stackable washer/dryer since I could not reach the dryer controls on top. I loved the quiet new dishwasher but it was so quiet I never knew when it was running. We really liked the large walk-in shower. We liked having an island in the kitchen with an area to sit on stools. We found the garage keyless entry openers so handy. I found myself constantly going through the house with a tape measure and taking notes. We laugh because I say our house plans now are a mini one-story Jill and Jim house.

IMG_0497The year ended on a sad note for Bill and a change in when we were going to put the house on the market. I had planned that we would list our house in spring of 2012. With the housing market still depressed in 2011, we thought it might take up to a year to sell the house. Bill had originally said he was going to work until 2014 when he turned 66. If we sold the house, I would move down south and start building the house while Bill stayed up here in an apartment and continued to work.

Well, you know what they say about people who make plans and God laughs. Turns out Bill had to have some surgery on his arm in November. That put a halt in his ability to make cabinets. Now, you could ask, What’s the problem? Just purchase cabinets for the new house instead of building them. Yea, you could say that. But, we’re talking about Bill here. He knew he could eventually make those custom cabinets and he’d make them better than any we could buy. And, he’d save us lots of money in the long run. In addition, he could make anything I found in my hundreds of inspiration photos from Oh, how Bill hates me looking at ๐Ÿ™‚

So, our plans changed. We decided to wait a year to list the house therefore giving Bill another year to complete building the cabinets and me a reprieve from de-cluttering for a while.

Surely by the end of 2012 we would have all our ducks in a row and be ready to start our dream. Hahahahahahahahaha . . .

2 thoughts on “Retired but still working hard!

  1. I agree with Doris! I hope those stairs will be able to hold an adult, because I would right in that treehouse with the kids.

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