Thank you, family and friends!…

We’ll be getting our new camera soon, Watch our photos greatly improve!
Tom and Jess last night at Tom’s 42 year retirement party.

No words I can possibly write can express the gratitude we feel for the warmth and love we experienced last night at Tom’s 42 year retirement party. 

With over 150 guests in attendance we both made every effort to talk to everyone. If we missed you, we apologize.  Of course, with me having lost my voice a few days ago, I was unable to hostess in my usual chatty manner. Perhaps, it was nature’s way of telling me to shut up and listen.  Which I did.

The thoughtful and generous gifts, the hilarious and heartwarming cards, the hysterical photos of Tom over the years and of course, the appearance of Alfred E. Newman in disguise made Tom feel so appreciated and loved. Thank you everyone!  Thank you so much!  We are so grateful.

Tom’s 42 years on the railroad warranted a special cake.  This fully edible cake is held together by the gifted hands of the fine baker and the stiff fondant.

My amazing co-hostess, daughter-in-law Camille, interminably hard working throughout the busy evening, made time to enjoy the festivities as well.  Thank you, my dear, for being there for us during this important event finding myself sick and slightly exhausted from the overwhelming recent preparations.

Tom’s co-workers, many known for over 40 years, many now also retired came in droves to celebrate Tom and one another for a near lifetime of great stories and memories. The wives, partners and girlfriends I’ve come to adore over the years filled the room with well wishes and great memories of our own.  We will miss you all.

Tom’s family, the ultra large pack of fun and friendly individuals came from all over, some having come a long way.  They told endless stories resulting in non-stop laughter and the usual teasing of one another.  Thank you family. We love and appreciate you all.

The cake made by Raven, baker extraordinaire at Cub Foods in Shorewood, Minnesota spent days preparing this fully edible cake.  Her passion and enthusiasm were only surpassed by her attention to detail.  We couldn’t have been more pleased with the cake. Thanks, Raven!

It appeared everyone had a great time enjoying the food and beverages and most of all, the conversation and warmth from one unbelievable group of people.

In three more days, we’ll pack Tom’s car and head down the road on the first leg of our world wide adventure…two months in Scottsdale doing paperwork, finalizing medical appointments, obtaining visas and second passports and purchasing and setting up all of our digital equipment.  They’ll be a few side trips to Nevada to visit family including a rental house in Henderson over Christmas.

Although this portion of our trip will be less exciting than that which transpires at the end of the two month period when we officially leave the US, we will keep you informed along the way.  

We’ll share details of the necessary processes of the paperwork and logistics portion of the tasks required to leave the US for years to come, the security measures we employ for our health, wellbeing and safety, the people we meet along the way and the trepidation and joy we experience in the process.  

Thank you for reading and for joining us two traditional, stay-at-home “creatures of habit” as we venture out into this unknown territory leaving everything and everyone we love behind us, in an effort to fulfill what may prove to be the experience of a lifetime.

Happy retirement party day, Tom…Sick or not, I’m in!…

Last night at 8:45 Tom took me to urgent care.  My voice gone, gut wrenching coughs overtaking me, it was time to address this three week old flu.  

An hour later with prescriptions for Z-Pack and codeine cough medicine in hand, we left the all night pharmacy to return to Karen’s home and some much needed sleep. 

It was a fitful night, tossing, turning, dreaming and coughing.  Trying not to take the cough medicine before bed, like a fool, at 4 am I had no choice with the coughing continually awakening us.  The pharmacist had stressed, “Do not take more than one teaspoon.  Its a new formulation and could be dangerous.”  

“Good grief,” I thought, “Why give me such a dangerous drug?” With only a peculiar looking plastic measuring device that came with the red syrup I struggled to measure out one teaspoon.  My contacts were out.  I couldn’t see. With the intent of erring on the safe side, I poured what may have been a mere 1/2 teaspoon.  

In a matter of minutes I conked out to awaken at 8:15 this morning, head a little less foggy, voice somewhat “hear-able” and the coughing cut in half.  Who says antibiotics don’t work for a virus?  Although still sick, I now can manage to hostess Tom’s retirement party with a renewed expectation that I can make it through the busy day and night.

We invited less than 100 people but with the help of a co-worker and friend of Tom’s, Jer-Bear who enthusiastically invited many more, we could have a substantial turnout. After forty two years on the railroad, Tom with his outgoing and friendly demeanor could certainly warrant a reasonable turnout.  Thanks Jer-Bear.  

The last day of our estate sale is going on as we speak.  They’ve already called me twice asking for our “lowest price” on a few of the bigger items. Hopefully, they’ve been sold.  

Worried as to how much will sell, we are discussing plans for the “leftovers.” We must decide by Monday morning when the estate sale people return to donate, to dumpster and to clean the entire house (for an extra fee, of course).  

This is an angst ridden process: selling everything one owns and then disposing of many of those items that one considered to be treasures.  It not only hurts the pocket but, also the soul.  

We all want to believe that we have impeccable taste and yet, we all want to be unique.  That, my friends, is an oxymoron.  Uniqueness dictates that only certain people will find that which we have as “purchase worthy.”  Others will thumb their noses with their distaste.  So it goes in Life, yin and yang.

Tom’s SUV loaded with party supplies, soon I’ll leave to pick up Camille, my daughter-in-law who has been my loyal and official helper through thick and thin during this entire moving process.  She and I will pick up the food for the party, the cake (I’ll post a photo of the amazing cake next time I write), drive the long haul to the VFW party hall in Coon Rapids, Minnesota to set everything up for arriving guests at 5 PM. 

Tom will drive himself in Camille’s SUV to the party and then I will drive us both home in Tom’s SUV at the end of the evening, designated driver that I am with a relatively inebriated and outrageously humorous passenger in tow.  

As we move into the next phase toward Tom’s retirement date and, our departure date of October 31, 2012, I’m filled with sorrow, anticipation and elation all at once.  

The goodbyes beginning tonight, continuing over the next four days, will surely be the most difficult part of this many month’s long process of planning to travel the world over the next five to ten years, as vagabonds, gypsies, and adventurers. 

Not too bad for two typical Minnesota home bodies, having lived a joyful life of routine and familiarity, who’s world will soon be upside down. 

 

Logistics of the final days…

Our estate sale will occur from Thursday, October 25th through Sunday, October 28th. Our estate sale guy, Jim Anderson of Caring Estate Sales explained that we must be gone for those four days.  

He’ll start pricing items a week before the sale officially begins.  At that point, we must have all of our personal effects and items we want to keep, out of the cabinets, drawers, cabinets and off of the walls and a week later, out of the house.

In regard to most estate sales the homeowner is dead, obviously not around, pestering with comments such as, “Oh, that’s not enough money for that!”  We must be out of the house the entire four days of the sale.  

Dilemma #1:  Where will I go for those four days with no car (mine will have been sold)?  Tom will be at work during the hours of the sale.

When the sale is complete on Sunday, October 28th,  Tom has to go to work three more days, planning to be done by 9 am on Wednesday, the 31st where he’ll go to work only to receive his “retirement cake” a tradition at the railroad for all retirees.  (I guess he’ll eat gluten that day.  Oh, well. After 42 years he deserves to eat cake).  

End result, we need to stop using our house as we’ve known it around October 18th.  We’ll be able to use the built in appliances to cook and a few old pans, plates and flatware that we don’t plan to sell, tossing them when we’re done.  

Dilemma #2: Do we stay in the house (after I find somewhere to go for the four days) until the 31st when Tom’s work ends, at which point we sign the papers on the house and begin the drive in Tom’s car to Scottsdale? Do we live in the house after everything is gone, TVs, our two comfy chairs, sofas, bar stools at the huge island in the kitchen?  How will it feel to watch everything we’ve loved and enjoyed dwindle down to a bed in which we’ll fitfully sleep until we leave?

Our dear neighbor Jamie kindly suggested I hang out at her house for those four days. (Our three adult kids have cats to which I am allergic. I can’t spend more than an hour in their homes  plus I won’t have transportation). How will I feel watching the cars driving down our narrow road toward our home, later driving away with our belongings in their cars, trucks, and SUVs?  Yikes!

Yesterday morning, thinking aloud to one another, we considered the following realities:

  1. I won’t have transportation
  2. The four days of the estate sale, we’ll have to be out of the house by 7 am each morning, most difficult on the weekend when we are both here. What will we do all weekend from 7 am to 5 pm?
  3. How will we live in our house, stripped of all its accouterments, with only a bed for several days, no chair, no sofa, no table?
After multiple possible scenarios we narrowed it down to this:  We must entirely move out of the house beginning Wednesday, October 24th, coming back to inspect the status, make decisions on remaining items and collect our money.

The estate sale guy will remove all refuse, haul items to be donated to various organizations and our dear long term house cleaner, Teresa, will do the final cleaning.  We’ll pay fees for this additional support, but have determined it will be well worth the cost, reducing our stress at such a crucial time.

Sure, we could stay in a hotel for a week. Used to the reasonable cost of vacation rentals, I cringed at the price of a decent hotel, a car rental (or I’d be trapped in a hotel room for a week) and meals for a week at a total cost of around $1500, a cost for which I hadn’t budgeted.  

One of my closest friends has offered that we stay at her beautiful and spacious home, a mere 15 minutes away, an offer made with the utmost of sincerity.  Tom and I adore her and her two sons and have been to their home many times, as they have ours.  It will feel comfortable.  They eat the same healthful diet as we do.  I can prepare dinner for all of us each day.

Alone at her home during the days, I will work out when Tom returns when we go to see the house in the evenings during the sale. My laptop on hand, I’ll continue to write here, do additional research for our travels and fine tune our spreadsheets. It will be fine. Thank you, dear friend.

On Saturday afternoon the 27th, we’ll head out for the hour’s drive to Tom’s retirement party for his co-workers and family members, close to his work at a large hall. Youngest of 11 children, his family alone will account for over 100 guests. Add 42 years of co-worker/friends, we could be looking at 100’s. Oh.

Busy planning the food, the invitations, the cake and other necessities of party planning, need I say, life is busy. It’s no doubt, that we’ll need a multi-year vacation!