Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Ah... MOAB!

Robin recommended ... or rather suggested .. ermm .. urged ... umm ... well ... you get the idea, that I join my friend Larry in Moab for a couple of days of decompressing. I did not want to pull away from the projects that lie in my path, and I felt that if I just up and left it would cost some precious time in the middle of an already highly pressurized schedule of events. So it took me a couple of days to kind of warm up to the idea, and I finally packed up the KLR and drove the nearly 400 miles out to the deserts and canyons and 4WD trails that are Moab's big-boy-toy playground. It was a great time to unwind a bit, chew up some landscape while leaving a pretty small carbon footprint and eat some of my buddy's dust. We had a grand time slugging through the sand and climbing impossibly steep slick-rock trails and I wouldn't trade the time for anything.

Picture 026

The views are amazing, the weather couldn't have been better and it was a fun ride! The only down side is that I am now pretty reconnected to the KLR and will have to develop a coping strategy again to its future sale. It's a two-wheeled tractor and a kick to ride around, even if it is too heavy :)
Thanks sweetheart, for your encouragement!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

We have to do what?!?!

From Gary: Since the last post a few things have transpired which have caused some lost sleep. Robin and I both do jobs involving some levels of stress, and we like to think we handle it pretty well, but preparing for a move has got to top most other things as far as being scary and intimidating.

Even though we don't have a firm date to report to our new facility in Miami, it looms ahead. As we consider the possibility of leaving Longmont with nothing more than we can fit in a truck and a 5th Wheel it becomes apparent that we have to make some tough choices on what to keep, what to sell and what to hand down to family or donate away. I think it's amazing as I look at the daunting task of sorting through our combined households as how much we've accumulated. We could easily fill a big truck and still pull a trailer load. I've been looking at stuff I've held on to for many years and am just now coming to grips with the idea of heading toward a minimalist existence. Not that we will ever be wanting for 'things' as I truly believe that it (all the material possessions) can all be let go, it's just a lot harder than I thought :). I guess that's where the talk meets the walk.

Monday (4/7) we met with our realtor (Jenni) and by the time we were done with the meeting we had some ideas about what the opportunity is to sell the house(s) in Longmont. While the market is waaaaay down from where we'd hoped, we may be blessed with a quick sale, even though we are slightly upside down in the money part and will likely had to bring some money to closing. This will probably hold true for both houses here in town, although we stil have hopes for an eventually profitable sale of the Argyle property.

We spent the week emptying cabinets and sorting through dishes, pulling down books and videos and CDs and processing them into smaller packages (albums, MP3s). I worked to comlete the kitchen flooring project and got all the trim pieces cut. Now I just need to paint the cove moulding area and nail it all down and do some caulking and the kitchen will be 'remodeled'. It looks great after the new paint and fixing the ceiling light panels.

The walls and hallway are repainted, as is the entry way. THANK YOU to Larry and Pam, the best friends anyone could ever hope for, for all your help and hard work! You are truly a Godsend and we will never forget you guys.

There was that moment when the realtor said that she'd like to get us on the market in three weeks, and that the house should be 'showhome' ready, that a bit of real panic set in. So much to do, so many things to sort out and put away and get rid of. We thought it would be imposible and it might well be, but we'taking the right steps to make things happen as quickly and reasonably as possible. Today we rented a storage shed and we'll be able to meter out stuff to give away and sell at our pace from there, rather than having to work so hard to clear the house out. I think it'll all work out fine. We need to address a roofing issue and a siding problem, finish trim projects, install sliding mirror doors in the closets and box, package, and box some more...
Oh .. and take a break to go to work (grin).

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Phase one

By Gary: Today marked the first real efforts to start pulling the plug on over 25 years of living in the same place. I called a realtor recommended by my favorite loan officer at St. Vrain Valley Credit Union here in Longmont and we'll meet tomorrow in order to do an initial assessment of the chances of a quick and successful sale of the house.

We had lunch today with the extremely nice couple that has been renting my old house on the other side of town, and it looks like, although they are not in a position to buy the place right now, things might work out for the better with some friends of theirs that've actually been asking about purchasing the house. We'll know more in the next couple of days, but it could be a cool thing for us, them, their friends, and the realtor if this all fits together.

I spent most of the day rummaging through old papers and scanning negatives into the computer. We're not going have much floor space if this plays out like we hope, so photo albums are going to have to reside on a DVD or hard drive. Robin has been amazing today, clearing out cabinets and drawers and deciding who might want what, and what might go where, and what goes into the donation boxes. What an incredible change of mindset to decide we're going to pare down to only the essentials for now. I have a feeling that Craig's List and eBay are going to become our good buddies here in the next few weeks.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Oh my....

By Gary: Oh my indeed! Robin and I have been talking about the future for some time .. like since we met :) The biggest part of our dream is to someday sail off into the sunset (or sunrise for that matter) and live on a boat and see some of this world with a perpetually changing million-dollar view. There are a thousand consideration and another thousand things to do in order to finally get to this point and we've been hoping and praying that somehow we might be able to realize this dream of ours.

Wednesday at around 2:00 P.M. a huge part of the plan was handed to us, basically on a silver platter. For several months now (actually since October) we've been making moves to set up our retirement relocation plan (RRP) where we pick up stakes, break camp and head off to Texas or Florida, or some other warm spot that would prove to be an ideal place to launch from for weeks or months at a time. As we discussed the future, and as we thought about the boat named "Spring Fever" (see another entry on that) we deicided that it would be very cool if we could somehow manage to get transferred to another FAA facility, set up our base of operations and then let the retirement date come to us without all the stress of moving, finding a place to live while finding and outfitting the boat.

No sooner had we settled in on this particular 'what if' that we saw some openings to bid on in Miami Center. We began the paperwork churn that took us deep into some midnight oil (the application package to bid a job is around 23 pages long) and managed to get everything submitted within a hairsbreadth of the deadline. Then the waiting began.

We were excited to receive our notifications that our applications had been accepted and we'd been put on a selection list (I still don't know how big that list was).

Shortly thereafter we made application to Jacksonville Center and the process started again.

About three weeks ago we received a phone call to arrange telephone interviews and after Miami Center had done those interviews with us asked us to please be patient because the process would probably take 6 to 8 more weeks before they were ready to announce any selections. One week later Jacksonville Center interviewed us, thanked us kindly and asked for our patience in the process. I did a second interview with Miami for another opening and we figured we'd wait around to hear what happened. I guess I must note here that I did not come away from the second interview with Miami feeling at all optimistic. The interview did not go well in my opinion and I hung up wondering if this was the right place to be hoping for after all. That was a week ago Thursday.

When we arrived at work this Wednesday, John (my boss) greeted us at the entrance and said nothing more that "Miami called ... they want you both."

Robin said her knees went weak, and I know I had a catch in my breath as well. It was as if we'd just been handed the exact answer to a prayer we weren't even sure how to make. We needed to make a decision on accepting their tentative phone offer, and that meant retracting the rest of the bids we'd submitted for other jobs, but how could we possibly turn down the opportunity to move to a location precisely where we wanted to be and to a facility that was not only interested in us as a team, but willing to promote Robin in the process! We didn't need to discuss it very much at all and glady said yes to the offer.

It will be several months before this actually can take place. Denver Center has to carefully plan losing people to transfers, and the manager has told us that it could be as long as 12 months before we can be released; but he also told us it could be as soon as 6 months depending on how staffing levels go here in the facility.

I think it's best that we plan on the shorter time, and if it winds up being longer, that's bonus preparation time for us. My gosh, this is exciting and there is a lot to do.

The Argyle house project is being ratcheted up a notch in an effort to get it marletable and sold quickly, the Verdant house is a quandry because I have great renters in there, they want to buy it, but can't manage it right now and the Hayden Ct. house is ... umm .. where we live. We need to sell basically everything, travel light and then start over in the new location with a 'live-aboard-the-sailboat" mindset.

Yesterday afternoon we went out to an RV sales lot just to poke around with yet another idea on how this might all work out. Robin suggested that we might want to consider down-sizing into a Motor Home and that would provide living quarters for us should the house sell quickly. We could also move our house with us to Florida and set up in an RV park until we found a more permanent residence in Miami.

Well, that discussion evolved into one of planning to NOT set roots in Miami; after all, we've only 4 years or so before we can cast off and begin the sailing adventure, so why not consider actually living in a 5th wheel or motor home for those years. It would certainly make sense over trying to find affordable property in Miami and it's a logical step to the massive down-sizing we're going to have to do to move aboard a sailboat.

So we went window shopping. It didn't take long to figure out that we don't want a huge motor coach. We're not planning on living on the road, so we're not going to have that much 'windshield time'. We'll only need to relocate periodically if we decide to find new locales. In the long term, we could even relocate the 5th wheel to a place where we plan to end up after a sailing adventure, then we'd have a ground-based shelter awaiting us when we need to haul the boat out of the water for repainting or repairs.

Sounded like a good plan to me...let's go for it...sooner rather than later, so we can market the big house as quickly as possible. The sooner we can get out of it and get this down-sizing project underway, the better.
So here we go. Sell the houses, learn Spanish, buy the boat and bring it to Florida, and learn a new job and new airspace, procedures, and people. Easy enough :)

Thank you God, you are so good to us.