I’m here to tell ya, preparing for your upcoming retirement ain’t for the faint of heart! It’s really WORK! There’s countless hours of preparation, researching Social Security and Medicare websites, trying to figure out how to maneuver through the myriad online forms, the system of the proper time to sign up for your benefits, pick a supplemental insurance plan, prescription plan, etc., etc. If anything was meant to make you feel old and decrepit, this is it. (I honestly think it’s a test, to see how badly you really want to retire!)
Just when you think you’re about to reach a human being after waiting 15 minutes on the phone, listening to canned elevator music, you get a recording telling you, “All agents are busy serving other customers. Your wait time is now 35 minutes. If you’d like us to call you back, please press 3 (or whatever).“
I learned after the first couple of attempts that a callback was definitely the better option, as you usually got a living, breathing person (usually being the operative word). But once it’s all set up, you actually start looking forward to the day when your first direct deposit check arrives in your bank account – and you are getting paid just to enjoy life!
Aside from this, the period from this past March through the end of May was mostly a blur for these two old codgers. In the midst of clearing out my work area at Peter Pan, purging files, photos, shredding documentation from over 38 years of employment, training my lovely & talented successor Joelle, and dealing with the very emotional aspect of leaving my professional home and “family” since 1979, yada, yada, yada…I was also faced with the daunting task of selling my duplex where I’d lived since 1991.
As you might imagine, cleaning out 27 years of MORE stuff from a garage & basement, after a full day at the office wasn’t exactly my favorite pastime those last couple of months. There were closets full of crap-e-ola to empty, discard or pack in copious amounts of boxes, bags and Rubbermaid tubs. (Did you ever wonder how somehow this “stuff” seems to magically accumulate overnight? I firmly believe that clothes, shoes, leather goods, etc. literally fornicate & multiply the moment you close the closet door!)
If THAT wasn’t challenging enough, my tenants left their side of the structure in a horrendously deplorable condition, which I don’t have to detail here – suffice to say, I had to hire a professional cleaning service (thank you, Jessie of Quality Cleaning!) who sent a crew of 4 to carry out 85 contractor bags of trash into a 30 yard roll-off dumpster for THAT SIDE ALONE. They cleaned the unit from top to bottom, steam cleaned the carpeting and sanitized every hard surface in the place within an inch of its life…and 2 of her crew even raked my entire property for us, without being requested to do so. (Who says angels don’t exist?) Let me tell you, folks, being a landlord ain’t what it’s cracked up to be – never again, AMEN!
Now enter “Super John,” my intrepid partner in love and life, who turned out to be Iron Man in disguise! He tackled filling a 20 yard roll-off dumpster for my side of the duplex, broke down some large old pieces of furniture and trashed outdoor fixtures with no assistance; then in his “spare time,” decided to get a 15 yard dumpster at his (now our) house in Connecticut and cleared out those closets, attic and basement to make room for my truckloads of “stuff.” (All that kept playing in my head throughout this entire process was George Carlin’s “A Place For My Stuff” – listen to it sometime, and you’ll catch my meaning.) He made countless 3 hour round-trips to bring truckloads of boxes and bags to CT while I was at work, supervised contractors at my home who made the necessary buyer’s requested repairs in order to close the sale of the 2-unit duplex, which thankfully was finalized May 24th. His biggest Herculean effort was the night of May 22nd, when John drove his second trip of the day – he piled his pickup with the last of our belongings, I finished loading up my car to the roof with clothes, personal effects, etc., and we took off for the final time to our new forever home. (No, the photo above isn’t John’s truck – but it came mighty close!) We eventually arrived in CT around 10:30 PM, bleary-eyed, exhausted and barely able to form declarative sentences…but we were DONE! (For the better part of 6 weeks, John did the work of a 38 year old man – only to realize at the end of the day, he really is 68! Ibuprofen is now his new best friend – and mine as well. If moving without the help of a professional moving service, or younger kids to help you load/unload, doesn’t kill ya, NOTHING will!)
Suffice to say, all’s well that ends well, and we are all very happy the ordeal is over – and our new life has begun!