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Settling Into Retirement

It has been over a year since Debbie retired and just over three months for me! We moved to our home and have settled into the luxury of not having to wonder what day it is or time. With COVID still hanging in the shadows our travel options are limited right now. We are perfectly situated to hop over into Victoria, BC but can’t because the borders are closed and the ferry is mothballed right now. We have made a few trips back to the old stomping grounds of Snoqualmie and Bellevue, but with the current lawlessness going on in Seattle, that destination will not be on our radar anytime soon. Luckily, restaurants have opened up in a limited way, we have hit some golf balls with friends, taken drives to surrounding areas to explore, taken many walks and bike rides, worked in the massive yard that needs attending, and as you can see below, done a bit of upgrading to the house. What was once an upstairs deck was enclosed and turned into a sunroom. We decided to repaint the ceiling and walls, add some furniture and blinds and turned it into a TV room. We think it turned out pretty good!



Debbie’s CrossFit attendance had also become a COVID casualty when the state went on lock down and gyms had to close. She was able to borrow and began purchasing some equipment and started working out in the garage and in the parking lot of the gym with others, maintaining a safe distance of course. Once we moved, she began buying even more equipment until finally one hell of a gym was built in our garage. Now she can do a WOD right at home. My gym has finally opened up and I go back and forth depending on what I want to do that day. Debbie, being the social little person that she is, still wants to join a gym to workout with others at least three days a week. Soon she will be flexing her muscles at Storm King Athletic Club on a tryout basis. We do have a two week vacation coming, so she will fully join once we return from that!


Goodbye Snoqualmie…….

…..and Seattle, King County, and Puget Sound!

Leaving So Cal in 1990!

Back in 1973 or 74 I moved from my home state of New Mexico and we headed to the big city of Seattle, Washington. I had no idea what I was heading into because at that time in my life, I had hardly ventured out of my home state! Growing up in the dry desert heat, it was a wondrous sight to come over the Cascades into the sea of green trees, cool clouds, and mist! I fell in love with the area immediately and settled into an area of south of Seattle. My stay there only lasted two years and then was off to various locations for the next 15 years but vowed to one day return.

My life journey finally landed me in Southern California in 1978. There I would be for most of my 20’s and early 30’s. I had a career in sales, had tons of friends, and made decent money. It was a great place to be when one was in their youth, but the longer I stayed there, the more I wanted to leave. The constant brown everywhere, sky, mountains, landscape was depressing. I hated “smelling” the air on a daily basis and the damn weather never changed! Each time I left for a vacation or to visit family out of town, I hated coming back. My yearning to return to the Pacific Northwest was growing like a long forgotten seed planted now starting to sprout. Finally, in 1989, while visiting family in New Mexico and Oklahoma for the holidays I made the proclamation that I was going to move back to Seattle by the end of the following year! That was met with disbelief, laughter, and “yeah we’ve heard it before”. My mind was made up and I would soon be working on my plan to get there.

I started subscribing to the Seattle Sunday Times by mail to read up on what was happening up there. Even back in the late 80’s Washingtonians were crying about the onslaught of Californians moving up there and things haven’t changed much today. Californians are leaving their state in droves to here, Idaho, Texas, Oregon, and even Montana! Ruinous bastards…….okay…..okay I was one too, BUT I can say I “returned” to Washington. I started to put the pieces of my relocation plan into effect. I reached out to my manager of my desire to transfer to the Seattle branch and he thought I was nuts. I assured him I wasn’t and after much persuasion trying to get me to stay, he gave in and contacted the Seattle manager of Kraft Foodservice and let him know there was a potential new sales person from the LA ranks that wanted to join forces in Seattle. So in July I took a vacation to the Emerald City, stayed with a former coworker who just happened to have moved there, met with the sales manager, and sealed a relocation deal. On September 1, 1990 I rolled into Seattle and my dream had finally come into fruition!

As luck would have it, my former coworker had decided to go back to Alaska for another fishing boat gig and I sublet his place in the cool and funky neighborhood of Wallingford. From my bedroom window I could look out over Lake Union right at downtown Seattle! I was in absolute heaven and happy as an Ivar’s clam! Unfortunately, not everything was as rosy as it could have been. Once October came, I discovered never ending gray, torrential sideways rain, and a career that began to stumble. During the beginning, bouts of depression came over me and I really started questioning the decision I had made. I always had an open door to return to LA and go back to work down there, but knew that was not an option for me. Once I realized what it all was for, my head cleared and no matter what happened to my career, I was back in Seattle where I had longed to be and was home! I worked hard and gave it all I could, but a year later parted ways with my career in sales and would be moving on in a totally new direction in life, and boy was it ever! 

In those subsequent years I met the love of my life and married her, became a stepfather in the process, did a brief stint in real estate appraisal, bought my first home, ended up in a new career driving public transit for King County Metro, and settling down in a small burb near the foothills of the Cascade Mountains called Snoqualmie. In the beginning it was an idyllic life. The small community was growing thanks to a new development “up on the hill”. We loved it even though there were hardly any services and you had to drive a few miles to get anything done, but for us, it was no problem. We bought a beautiful house which I loved, started making a few friends, and were enjoying life as “empty nesters”.

Our Snoqualmie Home!

So here we are, 17 years down the road, and it’s time to move along. The once small peaceful town has burgeoned into a bedroom community way bigger than we had expected or hoped for. It’s now full of yupsters, soccer moms, and helicopter parents. We find ourselves surrounded by people of totally different thinking and values than ours. We have a very tight small group of friends that would have our back at anytime, but for the most part, many others would just stab it. Until the COVID pandemic, traffic around the area had slowed to an intolerable crawl even during the off rush hours. Property taxes have surged beyond affordable. The once beautiful city of Seattle, has turned into a sewer being lead by idiotic progressive liberal leadership. We have had enough!!! Debbie retired last year, and I have finally driven my last bus trip, going a bit early. We have packed up and moved to our paradise on the Olympic Peninsula. While we will return to Snoqualmie from time to time, we are glad we are leaving and starting the “retirement chapter” of our lives. Seattle and the rest of King County can pound sand!

Debbie Has Left The Building


So after 33 years at the Port of Tacoma, Debbie has finally closed the door to her office one last time! She started as a computer programmer back in 1986 and finished up as Director of Systems and Business Process. She was also the Public Records Officer for the Port and Northwest Seaport Alliance. During her tenure at the port she oversaw and implemented many projects, processes, and upgrades to the port’s systems. Her career there had her managing most of the port’s internal systems, to then managing the IT department team. She guided the big Y2K brewhaha which went without a hitch and implemented a big systems change that kept her away from home for days once! She climbed the ladder all on her own and we are very proud of her! Now she gets to enjoy the next chapter in life which leads to who knows where. One thing is for certain though, she will not just sit in a rocking chair on the front porch watching the world go by!







Some Fun Memories Over The Years

Retirement Phase II Completed

It is now final, phase II is in the books! What started in October, has now come to fruition and it hasn’t been easy. We received our keys to our Sequim house just days before Christmas and the long process of moving into two separate residences began New Year’s Eve weekend hauling our trailer and the first load up to the house. The trailer was to be used as a place to sleep since we didn’t have any furniture up there yet! While we were there, we experienced a nice winter storm that dropped a nice deep blanket of snow that (a)caused us to have to leave the trailer there(we needed to bring it back for a repair), and (b)got our truck stuck in it coming up the driveway. You can watch a video I took of it as it began here. It was much deeper in the morning. We eventually dug the truck out. We made the best out of what we had in the trailer, borrowing plates, cups, pots and pans, camping chairs we set up in the living room, New Year’s Eve dinner on a card table and folding chairs, etc. It was an adventure to say the least! Thus began a six month ordeal that was exhausting and weekend consuming…..sorry friends and family.

The next pieces of the puzzle was to get our Snoqualmie house listed and find a place to call a temporary home while the both of us still have to work. Now we have been up here on Snoqualmie Ridge in the same house for 13 years. We thought about where we wanted to hang for the next few years until we can go up to the house full-time, knew we had to rent, realized that the rents here are crazy high, but since we had everything we were familiar with right here, we decided to stay. The hunt was on for a rental and with amazing luck, we stumbled onto a condominium that was just around the corner, and was roomy and the perfect fit for us. More good fortune was added when we discovered Debbie knew the owners. She just so happens to work out with both of them at her Crossfit gym. The deal was done, leased signed, and they allowed us early access to the place and we began the weekly slog of slowly emptying the Crestview house. The hardest part was deciphering was to be done with the 13 year accumulation of material goods. Some would go to the condo, some would go to Sequim, some would be sold/given away, but in the mean time we still had to live in and keep the Crestview house staged for sale. It was an arduous task and seemed to last forever.

Bye Bye Crestview House

Bye Bye Crestview House

The house got listed, weekend showings were done, we continued dragging stuff to the condo every weekend. A couple of times we would load up the back of the truck and head to Sequim with a load for the house there and enjoy a weekend of continued “glamping”. Finally an offer was made and accepted, appraisals and inspections done, and the real gutting began. It started bringing a feeling of melancholy along with the excitement as our beautiful home of thirteen years began looking like a shell. I always loved this house. It was our home of many memories and surrounded by great neighbors and would soon be empty of us. Two separate moves in as many of days were done with a great local mover to handle the heavy stuff and it was well worth the money! They did an excellent job and we had no damage to anything whatsoever! The only hitch was when we unloaded in Sequim and it was discovered my beloved desk for my office would not fit through any of the doors to the rooms I wanted it in. It sits in the garage there for sale….another story! We would also say what a pleasure it was working with our realtor, Bob Mathias, who is a good friend and Crestview neighbor. He did an excellent job and if you are looking to buy or sell on the eastside, he’s your man!

So after six long hard months of planning, strategizing, packing and carrying, we are done. Our plan worked flawlessly. We are mortgage free, our retirement location secured, and we have a great place to call a temporary home just blocks from our old house. All that is left for the final phase is to put in a few more years working for the man and stay healthy. Although we will miss our former home, we have a great new house and new adventure and also a great view from our rental. I say we had a lot of good luck in this, but we also acknowledge that we are truly blessed. Maybe it’s time to go back to church!

Condo View

Retirement Location Solidifies………

…….and our heads are spinning! It all began with another exploratory vacation. Recent vacations have been either camping with our friends in cool National Parks or going to locations that are on our radar for retirement while also having fun. We have looked at Flagstaff(Deb didn’t like), Sedona(beautiful but pricey real estate), Prescott(stumbled upon and really liked), but in the end we decided that we didn’t want to be that far from the guys! We also liked Jackson, WY and the cheap living in the state for retirees, then we started looking at what was for sale and lost our minds with the high prices! Cody, WY was an interesting town but has some very harsh weather. Recently added to the radar was Sand Point, ID which we drove through and liked the area. Plans were to be made in the future to have a closer look around. We have always loved Leavenworth and even looked around at properties which we found reasonable, but what turned the tide was the yearly summer fire season that could or could not happen. Closer to home, we started looking at Cle Elum, Ronald, and Roslyn. The area was beautiful, just over the pass, and prices were just what we were looking for, a great place to continue to explore!

Then in October we hooked up the trailer and headed up to the Port Angeles and Sequim area on the Olympic Peninsula nestled between the Olympic Mountains and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Port Angeles is an old working port/lumber town that is a bit gritty but with fantastic future potential. Sequim has become a magnet town for retirees with its more sunny disposition, being protected by the Olympic Mountain rain shadow. Something started clicking with the area the more we started looking around. We looked all over the area even taking a drive over to Port Townsend. We have always loved that place with its Victorian character, but as we started scoping homes, we were shocked at the prices. It seems the place has been “discovered” unfortunately!

As we continued to explore the surrounding area and looking at homes, we started narrowing the target to the hills between the two towns. Then we stumbled upon the house pictured below and a warm fuzzy feeling happened between the two of us. The first time we saw the place, we were driving around with a Zillow ap open on one phone and Trulia on the other. We like to explore on our own. We drove the cul-de-sac, took some photos, parked in the drive and since it was empty, looked around. One of the neighbors across the street noticed us perusing the property and came over cheerfully asking if we had any questions, she would help! Before long, another couple drove up and joined the conversation. Wow, we had just met two neighbors and liked them both!! Things were looking good. We contacted the listing agent and got an inside look and realized, THIS WAS IT!!!!!! After multiple offers and counters back and forth, the house was ours, well at least was in the works to be ours and now our search is over.

What happens next? Well……..lots! As of this writing, the loan is being closed and we are awaiting one final step, the appraisal. If all goes as planned, we should receive our keys to our retirement home just before Christmas! We will list our Snoqualmie home after the holidays in mid January. This will give us time to get the purchase closed, get ready for selling and also enjoy the holidays. Are we moving from Snoqualmie??? The answer is no! There still lies the ugly fact that both of us have to continue to work. Debbie is on a path to retire in just over two years. At that time we will just have to crunch numbers and see what happens with me, more in another upcoming post! It shall be an interesting time ahead!!!

Big Changes At The Estate

Another View

The Entry View

 

Well after enjoying our little cabin aka “Givens Grove” for four years, it is time to move on! We have sold our little getaway in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. We had many great times there and created wonderful memories with our friends who live up there and for the ones that made a visit. Our retirement plans have morphed into something different and it just wasn’t going to happen there. One of the reasons is being reliant on a ferry schedule that in some times of the year, isn’t too forgiving. I am sure if we had planted ourselves there full time we would have made the adjustment. Another reason….Island politics and attitudes……..didn’t mesh with ours, simple as that! Fun times and no regrets and now our search for our retirement location begins! Stay tuned!

It’s Ours

Our beautiful cabin nestled in the woods of San Juan Island is now ours! We closed and got possession on March 16th and both are ecstatic! Buying this house was actually a complete surprise and totally unexpected. During New Year’s we were up on the island visiting our friends the Hillstom’s. We have known them for years having been fellow Packer Fans. They had lived out here in Snoqualmie Ridge near us before moving to San Juan Island where they had a second home and some waterfront on which they built their current and permanent home.

As we have mentioned in the past each time we go on vacation, we think about where we would like to retire. We have always liked Friday Harbor and San Juan Island and the only real disadvantage to living there is that the only way on or off is by ferry. You have to do off island shopping very carefully but it is no big deal! Anyway, we were visiting our friends and just happened to look around at some properties for sale and “stumbled” on this house that had been for sale for a while. We contacted a local agent whom we had met before and had him come open it up. It was adorable, although a bit dated. Deb and I silently glanced at each other realizing this was a deal the could not be passed up. We went home talked things over and made an offer. After some back and forth with the seller, an agreement was reached and that’s were we have been the last two months, home purchasing paperwork!

Now that it is ours, the fun stuff begins! Debbie has been shopping for furnishings and looking at ideas on how to decorate. It will be a slow process of updating or “cabin in the woods” and that is okay. We won’t be living there fulltime, so there is no hurry. The house has good bones and is in really great shape. Just needs some TLC and modernization. We bought some items from the seller’s estate sale so we will have some beds and some furnishings to begin with. We will be also bringing things from the house that we can do without. It will be a lot of work but a definite fun project. We will try and remember to do before and after pictures as things progress. Debbie is in seventh heaven right now. As soon as some sprucing is done, guests are expected, so come see us!

WELCOME TO OUR CABIN IN THE WOODS!

This Senior Citizen Nailed It!!!

Alan Simpson, Senator from Wyoming , Co-Chair of Obama’s deficit commission, calls senior citizens the Greediest Generation as he compared “Social Security” to a Milk Cow with 310 million teats.August, 2010.
Here’s a response in a letter from a unknown fellow in Montana …I think he is a little ticked off!   He also tells it like it is !
—————————————————————————————————————————- 

“Hey Alan, let’s get a few things straight..

1. As a career politician, you have been on the public dole for FIFTY YEARS.

2. I have been paying Social Security taxes for 48 YEARS (since I was 15 years old. I am now 63).

3 My Social Security payments, and those of millions of other Americans, were safely tucked away in an interest bearing account for decades until you political pukes decided to raid the account and give OUR money to a bunch of zero ambition losers in return for votes, thus bankrupting the system and turning Social Security into a Ponzi scheme
that would have made Bernie Madoff proud.

4. Recently, just like Lucy & Charlie Brown, you and your ilk pulled the proverbial football away from millions of American seniors nearing retirement and moved the goalposts for full retirement from age 65 to age 67.  NOW, you and your shill commission is proposing to move the goalposts YET AGAIN.

5  I, and millions of other Americans, have been paying into Medicare from Day One, and now you morons propose to change the rules of the game. Why? Because you idiots mismanaged other parts of the economy to such an  extent that you need to steal money from Medicare to pay the bills.

6.  I, and millions of other Americans, have been paying income taxes our entire lives, and now you propose to increase our taxes yet again. Why?  Because you incompetent bastards spent our money so profligately that you just kept on spending even after you ran out of money. Now, you come to the American taxpayers and say you need more to pay off YOUR debt.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To add insult to injury, you label us “greedy” for calling “bullshit” on your incompetence. Well, Captain Bullshit, I have a few questions for YOU.1. How much money have you earned from the American taxpayers during your pathetic 50-year political career?

2. At what age did you retire from your pathetic political career, and how much are you receiving in annual retirement benefits from the American taxpayers?

3. How much do you pay for YOUR government provided health insurance?

4.  What cuts in YOUR retirement and healthcare benefits are you proposing in your disgusting deficit reduction proposal, or, as usual, have  you exempted yourself and your political cronies?

It is you, Captain Bullshit, and your political co-conspirators called Congress who are the “greedy” ones.  It is you and your fellow nutcases who have bankrupted America and stolen the American dream from millions of loyal, patriotic taxpayers.  And for what?  Votes.  That’s right, sir. You and yours have bankrupted America for the sole purpose of advancing your pathetic political careers.  You know it, we know it, and you know that we know it.

And you can take that to the bank, you miserable son of a bitch.

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