A new chapter
We knew that 2020 would be a momentous year, long before we ever heard of COVID-19. We had no idea just how much the virus would affect our plans.
Fortunately for us, we have not had to endure any illness. Nor have we lost any family members or friends to the disease. We recognize that as a true blessing and are grateful.
I turned 65 this year. Our intent was to retire in May and move from Kansas to where we grew up in Michigan. Because of the virus, we postponed both the retirement and the move date by a month. That let us mitigate some of the effects of the shutdowns in both states. And it gave me some time to recover from some severe back pain and sciatica that had initially manifested in March.
Our house sold surprisingly quickly. Twice, as a matter of fact, since the first buyer backed out less than 24 hours after we accepted their offer. We had another, better, offer within another 24 hours. We got a mover lined up, did all of our own packing, and were on the road to Michigan on June 24. Our goods arrived a few days after we did and were unloaded into the garage of our new home that was still under construction. We had done well to eliminate as much stuff as we could before the move, because it just barely fit in the garage.
We initially rented a cabin on the Manistee River from a high school classmate for our first 10 days in Michigan, observing a soft quarantine of sorts. Then we bunked at my wife's brother's house for the next nine weeks.
I won't bore you with just much COVID screwed up the construction process. Some of it was real, some of it exposed and exacerbated existing flaws in supply chains, and some of it was a convenient excuse
We finally moved into our new home on Labor Day weekend. That left us with another two weeks of carpenters finishing the interior doors and trim, the screen porch, and trim on the front porch; plus painters finishing their work. Wherever we could without getting in the way of construction, we started unpacking. Family members have helped with lugging in the really big and heavy items and with some of the furniture reassembly. I've been astonished at the amount of weight that I've toted in without aggravating my back. And I've assembled enough book cases and other items that I now loathe Allen wrenches.
The house now looks and feels like a house, rather than a construction site. One of our two vehicles is in the garage. I need to organize the garage stuff to make room for the other vehicle. Our lawn was hydroseeded in August and has come in nicely. Yesterday I dug 50+ holes in the ground and planted Shasta daisies, Brown-eyed Susans, boxwoods, hydrangeas, barberries, lilacs, roses, a magnolia, a red twig dogwood, and a pair of apple trees.
I've had several queries about how I'm enjoying retirement. So far, it's been like another project assignment and I've had to work harder than I did in my previous job. But, as the intensive moving-in work winds down, I'm beginning to see some possibilities...
There have been a few bakes so far. The only quirk I've noticed with the new oven is that the convection fan cycles on and off during the conventional bake. That's apparently a design feature, according to the users manual. Otherwise, temperature settings appear to be pretty reliable. I haven't played with the so-called steam bake capability, yet. There's a smallish steam tray that clips onto the rack but precious little guidance about how to use the steam bake cycle.
TLDR: We've retired, moved, and built a house. Lots of stessors but we're putting down new roots.