Ads Top

My Retirement Journal: Day -5

My friend Sheila told me I should be journaling my experiences, so here's my first entry in my retirement journal. I'm calling this Day -5 because it's five days before my last day of work. (My last day is next Tuesday, June 4. That'll be Day 0.)

I can't say anything about my retirement without also talking about my move to Mexico. If I weren't moving to Mexico, I couldn't afford to retire now. My decision to retire came out of my plan to move.

So the events of the last month, since I got back from my trip to Europe, have been focused on all the things I've needed to do in order to make the transition from full-time employee at POP and resident of Seattle to retired person living in Ajijic.

And actually, the planning for all this began back in January, when I decided to buy my house in Ajijic. After I got back from my trip there, I got in touch with a real estate agent here to begin the process of selling my house. I also needed to sell all my furniture and most of my household possessions. And at the same time I was planning a four-week trip to central Europe. I was depending on things happening with the right timing. I scheduled the closing date on July 1, figuring this would give me time to take care of everything after I got back from my trip.

When I first met with my real estate agent, Michael, he wasn't sure about the best timing, as the market in February was not a good predictor of how things would be in April, May, and June. But eventually he recommended that we put the house on the market while I was away on my trip, in early or mid April. So that meant I had to get everything ready in the house before I left.

To sell my belongings, I decided to have an estate sale. I was hoping, based on Michael's analysis, that the house would sell quickly, and I would schedule the estate sale for early May, shortly after I got back from Europe. However, I soon discovered that all the good estate sale companies were booked months in advance, and I started to get very nervous about how I was going to be able to make it happen.

Finally, I found an estate sale company that had an open weekend in early April. That would mean the house would be empty when it went on the market. Michael said he thought that would be okay.

Before I left for Europe I had everything in the house arranged so that the estate sale people could come in and do the sale. I stashed all the things I wanted to take to Mexico with me in one closet. Then I arranged with my housecleaning people to do one final cleaning after the estate sale was complete, and then Michael would list the house. We would open any offers (Michael said he expected we'd get multiple offers) on Friday, April 19.

So I was off enjoying my time in Europe, and everything was happening back home in Seattle without me. On April 19, Michael let me know we had just one offer, but it was a good one (they had a pre-inspection and there were no contingencies) and I accepted it. Closing is scheduled for June 3.

As I said, the last month has been focused on my transition and upcoming move. I gave notice at work on my first day back, and people at work have been very kind. They threw me a nice party last Friday, and the president gave me a shout-out at today's all-company meeting. I'm also going to stay on in a contract role to help ensure things are running smoothly until they decide how to move forward. They're giving me a laptop so I can stay connected remotely. It'll mostly be a few hours here and there as needed.

I was thinking I'd ship a bunch of things down to Mexico, but when I spoke to the people at UPS, I got some very discouraging information about the complexities of shipping things to Mexico. Apparently, customs regulations are very strict. So I went out and bought two of the largest suitcase I could find, and I'm going to take as much as I can on the plane with me. I also went to some thrift stores and bought some really cheap luggage which I filled with stuff I want but can live without for a while. I'm giving it to various friends who promise they are going to come visit me in the next few months. And I do have a few boxes of things I'm leaving in a friend's basement. I'm thinking when I come back to visit, I'll bring an empty suitcase and fill it and bring it back with me. Or I may end up shipping a few things, which might be easier once I've established residency in Mexico.

On Tuesday of this week I submitted my visa application at the Mexican consulate here in Seattle. Next week I have to go pick it up; the clerk who accepted my application looked through all my documentation and said she didn't think there'd be any problem.

Tomorrow I sign my closing documents on my house here, and the closing is official as of Monday. I am a bit of a worrier, so when I hadn't heard from the escrow company by Tuesday, I started to get nervous. But they finally got the appointment scheduled for tomorrow, and today I received copies of the settlement statement. So I think it's going to happen. The buyers have their final walkthrough this afternoon, and since I'm a bit of a worrier, I still imagine they'll go in and have second thoughts and pull out of the deal.

This weekend I'll be doing my final packing and cleaning. On Sunday I will move out, and I'll be staying with a friend until Thursday. My flight to Mexico is Friday at 5:00 am, so my friend Joy is going to give me a ride at midnight, because I couldn't ask anyone to bring me to the airport at 3:00.

I'm selling me car to one of my former students. Her son just graduated from art school and is moving here, and she's buying it for him. They arrived in town yesterday and I got to visit with them briefly. Tonight we're having dinner, and we'll make the official transaction next Wednesday or Thursday.

Otherwise, it's been a lot of social time and bridge. Trying to connect with as many friends as I can in the time I have left in Seattle. Lot's of dinners out. Last weekend there was a sectional bridge tournament, and I had one of my best bridge weekends ever, winning two of the four open pairs events I played in, one in a 25-table game. Last night was my final trivia night at Talarico's. We didn't do all that well, but a friend on an opposing team paid my $2 entry, and Phil (who is the host) picked up my tab.

So far, everything has been moving forward as smoothly as I could have hoped. But when people ask how I'm doing, I tell them I'm stressed. It's like I have all these dominoes lined up neatly, but if one of them falls, they all go toppling down.

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.