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What a Difference 3 Months Make

Life seems to spin you in a thousand directions at times, but for me, life has been mostly routine…until these past three months.

I was participating in a team building activity one time at Rolls-Royce, and the objective of this one activity was to tell each person one thing they loved about you and one thing they didn’t like. Well, one of the younger stars on our team, came to me and his “like” about me was in fact most peoples “didn’t like.” He said what he liked was that I was the hardest worker he ever knew. (He was about 25, what did he know 😊).

The “didn’t like” he told me, took me back a bit. He said he didn’t like hearing me talk about retiring – he said I mentioned it far too often. Honestly, I was shocked because I truly did not believe I mentioned it much at all. Ironically that was roughly 5 years before I retired – go figure!?!?

Fast forward those five years to Another event I attended. It was at the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) conference in Phoenix, this past March. At that event, all my teammates on the Executive Committee knew I was about to retire. The common theme I heard from everyone about their friends of my age is that I shouldn’t retire because I will instantly become 2-3 times busier than I was when I was fully employed. This sentiment shocked me as much as the team building event at Rolls.

On April 1, 2023, I put some finality to all these comments and speculation and did indeed retire. After just three months, I have to say the folks at AIA were sooooo right – my life has been cram-packed with work, far more than ever before in my life!!!

First off, I must admit much of this extra work was self-inflicted, but I believe all in a good way. On April 9th, I got baptized. I discussed the reasons behind this life affirming decision in my post of April 11 which you can read here: My Old Self is Dead.

We had also recently decided to build a house. Call me crazy that a couple with no debt, both retired, house paid for and who downsized just 4 short years ago, would make such a decision. Yes, indeed we did. Our downsized home was a little too down (small). Our son with our two youngest grandsons, also decided to build a house, and, quite frankly, we were blown away by the model home of our choice – the exact floorplan we had always wanted. So, we built a home next door to our son.

Of course, since we’re building one house, we are selling the other. That in itself brings a whole new set of challenges. Along with this, there have been purchases, which have led to long lead times, failed deliveries, damaged deliveries (we’re still waiting on our third refrigerator,) and numerous interactions just to make this the dream home of retirement we’ve always wanted.

The new house is now finished and it is mostly perfect and as we designed it. But of course, there are numerous little things that are not perfect and need additional attention and work from us. As expected, we have spent the past few weeks, packing everything to move, cleaning, moving, unpacking everything we moved, and generally wearing ourselves out and testing our patience and friendly dispositions 😊.

We have requested quotes for fence installation and concrete add-ons only to learn that our HOA won’t even review the requests until at least 30-45 after you close on your home. We currently have 7 requests pending – it’s sooooo fun walking a very athletic dog on a leash 4 to 5 times, every day and in the mud as we try to grow grass – in a drought, instead of letting him run free in a big fenced back yard☹.

We have now changed our address at the post office three times and have verified our identity (a new change of address requirement) and we are still not receiving our mail for now the past 30 days. We have had 7 addresses in our lives and owned now 4 homes and yet have never had the mail forwarding issues we have today!!! Technology – Not always our friend!!!

UPS is not much better. I think they are the best in the business, except for this one thing. It seems UPS does not no how to handle new addresses. If an address is not in their database, they simply don’t deliver. Technology Again-go figure??? How about the old school way of finding the street and driving down it until you get to the actual address??? But that’s not how UPS operates today apparently??? SO, BE FORWARNED – IF YOU BUILD A HOUSE OR MOVE TO A NEWLY BUILT HOUSE, AND THEY DON’T KNOW THE ADDRESS – YOU’RE IN FOR A LOT OF MISSED DELIVERIES!!!

We also have had some minor struggles getting our morning newspaper – yes, we still read the paper even though most days there’s not much to read. Luckily this issue (excuse the pun) only lasted about a week or so and seems to be resolved now.

Throw in we have had two rounds of tornado’s come through our neighborhoods, and a third storm with 70+ mph winds but no tornados. The first hit 5 miles from our homes…yes home with an “S”. The second hitting just 2 miles from our about to be sold former home. The 70+ mph winds we stood and watched from our new home. Fortunately, only a lot of property damage and no serious injuries.

We’ve had a fire in the family that destroyed a home which sad to report, did result in the death of a family friend as well as the deaths of some pets. Ron is with GOD now – RIP!!!

On a lighter note, we got to enjoy one of my retirement gifts from GE Aerospace and travelled to Cincinnati to take in a Reds game, third row from the field, next to the Reds dugout.

Last weekend we travelled down to Davies County where there is a large Amish population. We enjoyed some great Amish cooking and took in several neat craft and trinket stores there.

Three days ago, our oldest daughter and her husband were in a serious car wreck which totaled their new car as they were hit from behind, while standing still at a traffic light. Both have a lot of bumps and bruises but hopefully nothing serious. However, the dream car they just purchased in October, was a total loss.

We sold our previous home last week and this past weekend, the fourth of July celebrations began. Perhaps we too should celebrate – with a nap or two😊!

There’s a country song by Dierks Bentley from about 14 years ago titled “What Was I Thinkin’?” This song has nothing to do with retirement, building a home, or moving, but every time I run into a little hurdle concerning buying and building a new home – I find myself singing the catch phrase of this song – “WHAT WAS I THINKIN’ ???”

It may seem like I’m rambling, and yes, I guess I probably am, but these past three months have seemed like I am Alice in Wonderland falling down that giant hole.

As for retirement, yes, those AIA people were sooooo right – I have indeed worked 2-3 times harder than I ever did fully employed. But to be quite honest about it, I don’t think I would have it any other way. Because I am sooooo blessed by God. I’m doing all this with the love of my life Sarah, and our wonderful family, kids, and grandkids, have been sooooo helpful and supportive.

What a difference 3 months make – a huge number of differences. So, on to the next highlight, adventure, catastrophe, or challenge. Regardless, through it all, I know that God is good – all the time – and – all the time – God is good!!!

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