Saturday, June 4, 2011

Starting life over

Well, I did it. Retired. Sold the house. Moved. Threw out the old book, started another one. All those cliques apply. I'm sitting on my back patio, in NC, writing on a netbook, drinking a rum and coke and watching the birds. Where do I start? March, I guess. First week of March 2011 I put my little ranch house in Anchorage on the market. Wait, didn't somebody say the housing market was terrible? I'll never get my asking price. Blah, blah, blah. The realtor says it'll take between 60-75 days to sell, at best. That works. I retire in April, move in May, regardless. So 75 days is good. I'll have a place to live as I'm getting ready to move. Just have to keep the house spotless, not let the cats leave furballs in the carpet, and deal with house showings every day. I can do that. The house goes on the market on a Monday, I'm traveling that whole week so I don't have to deal with visitors, piece of cake. I get an offer via email on Thursday for the full price! 4 days! 4 frigging days! Now what do I do? Suddenly everything goes into over drive.

Now it's dealing with house inspectors, appraisals, signing a pile of paperwork and trying not to panic that it's all happening too fast. Plus work and the travel that goes with it. The job had been demanding that I travel just about every week since Feb. and it's not slowing down any. Cell phones and computers are the only way I'm staying on top of it, 24 hours a day.
The good thing is that the new owner isn't in any hurry to close and isn't going to force me to either move into an apartment for a couple months or pay rent until I leave. That's a plus on my side. I take a fast trip to Charlotte the last week of March and come back to Anchorage to really knuckle down and get ready to move. Oh, while I was in Charlotte a new car fell into the driveway. HAH! Fell in. In other words I (we, Ken and I) bought the new vehicle that will hold me, Ken, a folding wheelchair, tow a trailer with a scooter. Wasn't planning to, but there it was. What can I say.

Back to moving, which includes garage sales, craigslists, donations, sorting out books I can't give up versus books that a collector might want and packing, packing, packing. Little by little things start to disappear. My biggest concerns are the library and my artwork. I have lots of both.
April comes and the house inspector has a list of repairs I have to do so the buyer can get a loan. Some of the repairs I anticipated, others were just plain stupid. The one that really caused the most problem was the rebuild of the stairs in the garage. The new building code demanded handrails on the stairs from the door to the garage floor. Add the handrails and guess what, you can't park a car inside anymore. Can't open the doors to the car. How dumb is that? Guess I'm glad it's not my house anymore. Just throw money at it and don't think about it.

The end of April is rapidly approaching. I'm going crazy between work travel, work, packing and trying to stay on top of logistics. Have to buy plane tickets, get 2 pet carriers that will fit under an airline seat, get the cats health certificates. And then there is the retirement thing. Somewhere in all of this I'm going out to dinner, lunch, brunch, drinks, saying goodbye to people I've known for a long time.
April 28 rolls around and I'm done working. I cleaned out my office, gave a bunch of stuff away, handed in my building key and left. A party is planned for the 29th at Lonestar. Turned into a good party.

Couple of interesting and unexpected retirement gifts. One, the Deputy Commissioner for Aviation managed to have a State flag that actually flew over the Capitol Building given as a retirement salute. First time it's ever been done. Has a certificate and everything. I'm the only person to receive one. That in itself is very neat. Guess the new Deputy Commissioner thought I was okay.

Then there was this; a lovely piece of metal with an airplane and plaque. The metal is aluminum that has been heated to create the colors. The plaque is just a salute for 29 years to the State of Alaska.

This was a real surprise. The guys out in the field at the rural airports got together and bought this. It's a big piece of jade with bears fishing. While lots of things happened over the past 29 years I never thought that the guys in the field thought very much of me. I was the one always in their face about rules and regulations, problems and issues. I got very little feedback from them on what they thought.

I got a nice plaque from FAA which surprised me too.

The party at Lonestar was lots of fun. I spent the whole time talking and never did manage to eat more then a couple of shrimp. I was drinking my favorite; lemon drop martinis. Every time I sat the glass down it would disappear and another one would be in its' place. Over the course of the evening I think I got to drink 2 drinks while I bet you 5 floated around me. Glad it wasn't my bar bill.

I dressed for the occasion. First time several guys ever even knew I had legs.

Me, my former boss (Troy) and Becky Cronkite (dear friend). Troy looks so good in my hat.

Me and David Cummings from Bethel. Doesn't he clean up nice!

Now that chapter is done. On to Charlotte

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