Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Month of Milestones and Moving Forward

After knowing Bill for 43 years it sounds odd that we celebrated our one-year anniversary on December 29 - but indeed we have been married a year now!  We went for dinner and drinks - very formal with long pants, closed-toe shoes, and mascara :-) at Wood Ranch.  It was a lovely evening of laughter and confirmation how very lucky we are to have this life together, to be in love for the last time, to share our dreams.

And to be so darn cute.......
The end of December also marked one year of retirement for me.  It is difficult to describe "how that feels" because it has just been natural and easy.  While I'd be okay working a 90-day contract sometime this year, I have no desire to return to that world.  I'm very blessed with the financial means to have that choice and I don't take it for granted.
Bill's appointment with the surgeon is this Friday and he plans to return to work early.  No reason not to as he is more mobile than before surgery and nearly pain-free - and he can save some leave time for this Spring when we have plans to visit with old friends.  His rapid recovery has been amazing and like my retirement has been natural and easy (especially for me :-] ).  With the successful weight loss and knee replacements he has done what he needed so we can get more active and thus more fit over the next year, keeping us on track with our goals.  While he hit goal on the weight loss I still have about 20 more pounds I'd like to drop and I'm looking forward to the increased activity to help with that.
Brian and Jeff were both able to get here for a couple days over the holidays but Jeff was sick all day Christmas and spent most of the day in bed, missing dinner and the brilliant company of his family.  Even though it was a short visit, it was wonderful getting to see them.  Jeff's return trip home was a mess but he eventually arrived back at his apartment in Seattle.  Although Brian and Shalise are here in SoCal, I don't get to see them much more than I do Jeff :-(.  Richie was with his mom in Sacramento for Christmas but Nick, Corey and Travis were able to spend the whole day with us so it was truly a family affair this year - the best holiday tradition.
When the Christmas decorations went back in the attic there were three less large bins, having purged everything I didn't put out this year into the yard sale collection in the garage.  Next year I hope to reduce it to one bin that goes with us - a warning to family and friends that I plan to pass on these marvelous treasures for you to stow in your attics....
Another goal realized this month was buying our toad.  Getting the Seadoos moved allowed us to get serious about trading in the F150, and when we get serious.......
I was looking at Jeep Libertys with some concern about leg room for Bill.  We found a couple nearby that were in good shape and went to check them out on Christmas Eve.  Nope, even with the driver's seat all the way back it was too tight.  Good to know, time to look for something else.  Knowing exactly what was important for us we knew a Jeep or Ford 4x4 were our only options......getting off-road is a priority.  We've had a Wrangler before but were now leaning toward a Cherokee.  Still had to check on leg room so when we found a 2007 at a local dealer we drove over to check it out the day after Christmas.  With the exception of leather seats it had everything we wanted and has great leg room.  In fact the passenger side has more leg room than the F150 - unbelievable!  They took care of a couple bugs we noted during the test drive, made a deal that fits our needs, and now we have our toad!

The day after purchase Bill had a new stereo installed that connects to his full external hard drive of music (almost 90K songs).  With Boston speakers already in the Jeep we're now driving around in a sound studio with a music library that rivals many recording labels.....because if you can, why wouldn't you?
Tomorrow starts another year and we are resolved to stay on track and keep working our plan. In fact we have an adventure planned to kick things off right - for next time then....

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Outta Here!

Not us, the Seadoos and trailer.  We decided at the last minute to drive them up to Clearlake.  The motivation came from "finding" a possible toad and recognizing we couldn't move on it because we still needed to tow the Seadoos 400 miles. There was the issue of Bill sitting "bent" for that long but there was no rush and we could make as many stops as needed for both of us to stretch our legs. Even the weather was going to be clear all week..... So with nothing holding us back we tossed a couple bags and Tessa in the truck, hooked up the trailer (thank you Corey and Richie), and Monday morning we were on the road heading north.

Passing the "scene of the crime" at Fort Tejon we celebrated getting farther than our last attempt  :-).  It was an uneventful trip and we landed at the lake house just before dark.

We had a wonderful visit with Wayne and Marilynn, and Tessa was a well behaved house guest.  She was polite to their cat Gumby and shared doggy kisses equally among the deserving humans.  Marilynn and I drove to Ukiah for her appointment while the guys hung out at the house on Tuesday.  Clearlake is really beautiful and there was still light snow in the shadows along the drive.  The water in the keys is very low and we didn't spend any time out on the deck although the temps were fairly warm for December.  It was great to spend time with family, just relaxing and sharing a few yummy meals.

As I drove from their place on Wednesday morning I felt another link in the chain break away.  Now we are free to find our toad and trade in the truck when we do.  Yahoo.

The return trip was easy as well.  We took a quick detour to pick up Christmas presents from Janis and Nick in Sacramento.  Bill hadn't seen their place yet so it was fun for him to see where I spent two nights a week before retirement.  Unfortunately the Phaeton is in the shop so he didn't get to see that.  Bummer.  Before leaving Sacramento we stopped for breakfast at Lumberjacks.  I don't know how people eat that much food at one sitting....the biscuits are the size of pies.  It was a tasty meal but Bill felt yucky for the next few hours.  We are definitely not the eaters we used to be.  Yahoo again :-)

Five and a half hours later we were in our driveway and Tessa was VERY happy to be out of the truck!  She got a new travel bed for this trip so she could see out the window while lying down and hopefully be less fretful while traveling.  She had some periods of whining but she was definitely much happier on this trip.  Obviously she needs to be comfortable in a moving vehicle so we're glad to know she is going to be just fine.  With her calm personality, good manners, and off-the-leash discipline she is such a perfect dog for our new life style. 

It is wonderful having Bill home full-time, we talk about his retiring earlier than 2015 and what it would take to do that.  We can't head out full-time until Richie graduates but there could be alternatives including an RV, intermittent travel, and getting debt-free.  Ahhhh, the pleasure of dreaming!

After our setback in November it was great to make the successful delivery. Everybody's happy. They are delighted to have the Seadoos for family to enjoy come summer, and we are just as delighted to have them "outta here".