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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Retirement, Redux

The Ormond Beach House, As I First Saw It. Yikes!

As mentioned in the last post, retirement kicked in for me, quite unplanned, on February 1, 2014. That's not to say that work stopped for me on that day, though. Far from it, actually. I had been down to Florida earlier in January to get the contractors started on some of the work, and when I arrived in Ormond Beach in early February with the first load of stuff, things kicked into high gear.

Of course, with all the work going on, there was no place to put anything, much less get a bedroom set up, so the early weeks were spent sleeping on a mattress on the floor, literally surrounded by boxes, to save from yet another hotel bill. Each morning, I got started early, pulling whatever strings needed to be pulled to keep the work going, plus do whatever I needed to do. I wanted to get the place livable by Bike Week in early March, and have 99.9% of the work done by mid-March when company was coming in from Texas.

This was no small feat given the fact that the entire interior of the house needed remodeling, including an entirely new kitchen. And I had to get almost all new furniture since the DC stuff just wasn't going to fly in a Florida home near the beach.

But I've never let a little thing like an impossible timeline stop me before, and I didn't let it stop me this time despite some frustration from not getting people to work on my schedule. What's up with that, anyway!!!??? I found out that even when you're writing the check, you still ain't the boss when it comes to contractors.

Let the games begin....


In mid-February, the furniture was delivered, and thankfully the floor was done by then so everything got piled in the center of the house where I was camped out on the mattress! Tight quarters, to say the least, and my coffee pot churned away on top of a cardboard box. I had bought a TV to keep me company at night, but with no cable, all I could get was Latino and religious channels, but with the hearing aids out, even that was tolerable!

Sometime in late February, the carpet guys finally appeared with the carpet for the hall and bedrooms, and I was grateful to finally be able to set up the bedrooms and sleep in my own bed. By then, it had been a long time since I'd done that....almost a month! And unpacking some of the boxes could begin. Some of the kitchen work was done too, and I could begin to see a little light at the end of the tunnel!

On days when I wasn't working on the house, I did the necessary stuff to officially become a Florida resident, getting tags on the truck, bikes, and trailer for starters. Yay!

Late February and early March work also included two more trips back north for me, the F150, and my trailer. The second trip was to get the bikes and a truckload of stuff. The last trip was mostly the stuff out of the garage, which turned out to be quite a haul. I did the last trip up and back, including packing, in just 3 days. I had to get back in time for the beginning of Bike Week!

I managed to put an awful lot of miles on that F150 Harley truck, and I need to give it a break for a while. I once thought of counting up the number of trips back and forth I made since last October but decided I didn't want to know! Let it be known that that truck earned its keep, and it can damn sure pull a heavily loaded trailer down the interstate!

Though there were days in early March when I couldn't seem to get a damn thing accomplished, I kept pushing, and slowly I turned the last corner and down the homestretch. The appliances were put into place, I was able to do laundry, and I could finally sit in the living room and watch a little TV, no longer limited to being "saved" or watching Spanish soap operas, though I will miss those short dresses! Damn, what is it about those shows! Heck, maybe they were all about hookers...who knows.

I woke up one morning.....last Thursday, actually.....and realized that it was all done. There was the smell of fresh (and still drying) paint in the air, but no nails to hammer, and nothing to install. Granted, there were still a few unpacked boxes, but I could actually hide those in the garage which was finally emptied of construction materials. It wasn't a moment too soon. 



The house turned out far better than I expected, and I'm totally happy with it. And despite cost overruns, I've still got my nifty shed on order, due in early April. I'll have a halfway decent place for workbenches, tools and the bikes. 

Retirement might actually begin for me now, assuming retirement means I won't be working my ass off any longer unless I choose to. I'm looking forward to a little downtime to get more acquainted with the new neighborhood, and I plan to put some miles on the Harleys to do just that!