Has life been strange for you lately? Likely maybe since February?
It has been for me. There’s the pandemic, working from home, and trying to remember where I put my mask …
Over the last couple of years I’ve been considering when the right time to retire would be and what would I do when I give up working in the high tech business. It’s a difficult thing to consider and more than a bit scary. Heather and I have discussed various plans and options. The most common one being moving from the expensive San Francisco Bay Area to Reno, Nevada, where our two daughters and five of the grandkids live.
We’ve looked at homes there and have had a bit of family “encouragement” to round up the wagons and head east.
In February we went looking at homes with a Realtor and almost bought a house. The timing wasn’t right and we didn’t love the homes we saw, so we returned home, promising to take a fresh look in June when more houses came on the market.
Then there was this major pandemic, I was sent to work from home, and in early May I got a new boss. It became obvious after a few meetings that I was likely on the short list for the “early retirement” package. During this whole Covid thing, the value of family and uncertainty of the future have hit home harder that it has before. Who knows how much time we really have. Needing to do what is truly important has become the biggest thought in my brain.
There comes a time when you just have to follow your heart and take the risk. So in the middle of a pandemic, with most things shutdown, we decided to buy a home in Reno and figure out how to make everything work including possible retirement.
With the internet and all the fancy communications tools available it’s amazing what you can do if you put your mind to it. We contacted our agent who started emailing us listings and it wasn’t long before I came across an interesting listing. I showed it to Heather and she really liked it. Then we sent the address to our daughter and asked if they’d do a drive by.
Well, the house is less than a mile from her place and her report was encouraging. This was early May when the shelter in place orders were starting to lift in Reno. The house was vacant and our agent informed us that a private tour could be arranged with certain restrictions. Our daughter and son-in-law agreed to put on their masks and do a walk though for us. Our agent would do a video call with us so we could see the place.
We joined the video link, asked questions, and liked what we saw. In the days before the call, we’d had plenty of time to research the home, check pictures, satellite images and a ton of public records.
When the call was over, Heather and I looked at each other and both said, “I want that house.” The house has all the things we wanted – plenty of space for our creative activities, including a larger area for my wood shop and nice spaces for Heather’s art studio and sewing areas. There’s a master bedroom suite that you can get lost in and a kitchen equipped to feed a platoon.
We called our agent back and got the wheels moving. There are a million details in buying a home, escrow, mortgage, packing, hiring a mover, etc, and that’s been our life for the last six weeks. Heather’s been packing seemingly nonstop and I’ve been doing the same when not working.
This last weekend we were finally able to travel to Reno for the escrow closing and got our keys to the house. It’s an odd feeling to enter a house for the first time only after you’ve paid for it. The risk paid off and we love the place.
Just before we left to get the keys my employer informed me that my job was being eliminated and I was offered a generous severance package.
So, that’s where we are. I’m newly retired in a house of boxes waiting for the moving PODs to arrive to move us in to a new adventure.
There are the normal fears of a move, but also the possibility of new worlds opening up.
I’m hopeful that with more time on my hands, I can finally finish some of those writing projects I’ve been working on and can start doing some new creative work as well. There will be some changes to this blog. Likely I’ll be changing format slightly and be posting on different days. Let me know in the comments if there is anything you’d like to see me posting here.
Finally, I’ll not be posting for a couple of weeks as things get moved and we start to setup the new house. The electricity is on, but the internet connection is still a work in progress.
Kind of like my life – a constant work in progress.