May 21, 2023

Phase II

Well, May 5 was my last official day at work. I’ve got a bunch of leave to burn, but at the end of May, I’ll officially say farewell to the company that was the driving force behind our migration to Northern Virginia in 2007.

The CEO of my company threw a nice retirement (oh oh, there’s that word) dinner for us at a restaurant in Falls Church not far from where my career with this company began some 16 years ago. My daughter Meghan and son and daughter-in-law, Jourdan and Stefani, joined us in the gala event. There were about a dozen other folks that worked closely with me over the years and their spouses. It was a truly wonderful evening. Thanks Mike it was awesome just sitting down and breaking bread with all of you.

Decidedly mixed feelings here regarding the next phase. Definitely looking forward to no more (or at least a lot less) alarm clocks in my life. Not certain about the remainder.

One thing that won’t be in my/our life is the traveling I’ve typically done for work. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting a lot of wonderful (and some not so wonderful) places over the years. Generally I have had a camera with me so it really fed the photog. While we will getting out and about now, it likely won’t be anywhere are frequent or as far as in the past.

In one way or another, I’ve been gainfully employed since I was 16 years old. That’s 49 years. Long time. Very long time. Not being employed will most definitely be a change. We have had 2 periods of not being employed in those 49 years, but they definitely were not of our choosing like this.

The most immediate result of lack of employment has been a definite lack of knowing what day it was. With a defined work week I always knew exactly what day it was, and what was on the horizon. That’s decidedly not the case any longer. To the point where I have to actually have to keep track of it. That’s a change…..

This transition has been on the radar for quite some time. Melanie and I had been looking to buy a house to retire to in Williamsburg last spring. We had seen a goodly number of houses, but only one came close and we were outbid on that house a year ago. Through an interesting confluence of events we stumbled across our current contractor, swallowed hard and signed up for a new build. We were hoping for a quick turn around but by the time we are done it will have been over a year. About all the contractor will commit to is completion by the end of July. C’est la vie.

So while it’s not a surprise, it’s definitely a different mindset. Initially we kinda just hung out, but we realized that July isn’t that far away, and there is a lot to do. We are definitely getting older, seemingly so much older than we were just 2 years ago, when we did this the last time. The vagaries of aging have well and fully embraced us, so we know that the key here is pacing. It’s a marathon, albeit a slow one, vice a sprint.

The biggest challenge right now it navigating through Social Security/Medicare maelstrom. I’m certain you could make it more confusing, but it would take a lot of effort. We had delayed enrolling in Medicare Part B as we had health insurance from my employer, but this all takes incredibly long and I’m concerned about this dragging into June when my employer based health care ceases. And then there is the whole Medicare supplement industry. Geeze, could you get any more convoluted? Luckily we have two sources of assistance available, one from Fidelity, our investment plan manager, and one through United Health care.

We had our initial phone call with Fidelity, and I’m genuinely not certain we know more now than before. We did learn about the 2 types of “supplemental” plans and the timing for putting those in place. We have to decide on something literally tomorrow.

A complicating factor is that we wanted all our Social Security/Medicare stuff to be done in Williamsburg, not Fairfax where we currently live. Unfortunately as we won’t officially have a mailbox until mid July, that’s something of an issue. We stopped at the local Post Office on Friday to discuss the options. Again, I left significantly less certain about the optimum path than I was before.

The plan was to just register everything at the new address as we have mail forwarded from there to the house in Fairfax. The clerk I talked to at the post office guaranteed that SS/M would see that and kick everything back. Her suggestion was to kill that forward and then do a change of address to the new address across the board. Then we should do a hold mail at the Williamsburg post office. Unfortunately, this is a one time deal. If we could have them hold it for us and pick it up when we were down there, that would suffice, but that’s not how it works. One time and one time only. We still get bills and stuff in Fairfax, so that really wouldn’t work. Sigh…

So, it’s looking like we will do a MediGap plan combined with a Part D prescription plan for now. These are transferable upon relocation whereas Medicare Advantage plans are typically very regionally focused. Once we are in the house, we will re-evaluate in October when the enrollment period for the Advantage plans comes around again.

We did get official notification of our Plan B enrollment yesterday with a pleasant (?) surprise of a rate increase on the Part B payment due to our earnings in 2021.

Now on to repacking everything in preparation of moving. We’ve started this a bit, and are making good progress. This will be complicated by the fact that the landlord wants to start showing the townhouse to potential new tenants in June. Seems a bit early to us as we told him we would be here through August, but what do I know. But we will need to be prepared at short notice to vacate the premises for a showing. Fun-fun.

Next week, I’ll dive into the garage and get everything packed up that we won’t be needing in the short term. I had unpacked tools and such and put them in a cabinet for use while we were here. Additionally most of the boxes have been opened so they need to be checked and resealed.

Our plan is to rent a mini-storage for July/August in Williamsburg. We will start taking the Pilot down when we go, and fill her up with boxes that we don’t want the movers to handle. If I remember correctly we did this for 3 or 4 carfulls when we moved from Reston to Fairfax, so that should work out.

The most critical items we want to move are the fragile ones. All the pictures in frames, clocks, electronics, etc, etc, etc. That should be fun as I’ve not boxed most of that up yet.

Luckily I was able to see the Fairfax Antique Car Show yesterday. It was a nice show although like the other car show in Fairfax the cars were very close together. I got a LOT of shots that I’ll discuss in a future entry. So there, that’s the photo reference necessary!

Next time, we’ll jump into some pretty cool old cars,

written by Chris - Posted in Yapping