Saturday, May 18, 2013

Retirement Limbo Land

When our house didn’t sell in two real estate seasons of trying, we decided to give it a rest for a year. We’re also doing some updates to our kitchen, the planning for which has become close to a full time job for me. In the meantime, we’re trying to keep it “staged” in case our agent has a buyer she feels will be interested in the property. And yes, it’s happened once already.

The market is hot in Providence, in the sense that there’s a shortage of inventory and even big houses are turning quite quickly, sometimes even with multiple offers. But the prices haven’t advanced much since last year and people still want a “done” house. Hence the need for our kitchen updates.

The failure to launch our retirement move has been a good thing for my husband. He’s about two years behind the original schedule for closing the wholesale portion of his business and getting out of his warehouse. As I roll into my third year of pseudo-retirement, I find myself in “Retirement Limbo Land.” That’s where your income is retired, but your expenses aren’t. And the way you spend your time is between a rock (full-time employment) and the proverbial hard place (your idea of retirement bliss).

Yes, I finished and published three books in the first two years after leaving my full-time job. I’m still blogging weekly and I have the idea for and the beginnings of my fourth book. But I’m not feeling warm and fuzzy about spending my retirement just writing. This is in part because my office is in our windowless basement. I need ambient light to be energized.

I’m thinking about getting an IPad so I can write in one of our sunny rooms (since I’m still paying real estate taxes on them). But then I’ll need WiFi service, or at least a wireless router in my basement. (Maybe these are one and the same; I don’t know.) This apparently involves upgrading from DSL and/or paying extra for having access from more than one computer. It seems crazy to go through all of that when we’re going to be here for just another year or so. (God willing and the cricks don’t rise…)

This is just one aspect of Retirement Limbo Land. Here’s another that will make you sad. As part of the house staging, I boxed up our photos, including those of the cats. I kept one photo of Pansy out, since we sent her to the Rainbow Bridge shortly before I retired. The rest were put into a box carefully labeled “Keep.” Last October, we lost Lily. I have no photo of her near my desk because the “Keep” boxes were all stored behind the “Sell” and “Donate” ones, and I haven’t been able to turn up the photo box.

Ditto for my high school and college yearbooks. When someone from my past wants to reconnect via Facebook, I can’t cheat my way into “remembering” them by looking up their yearbook picture.

There’s a similar sob story behind my sewing and craft supplies. I could really use that packet of felt to reinforce the holes in my favorite jeans. And the iron-on tape to fix the lining inseams on my linen pants that are fraying. I can’t properly repair my husband’s sweaters without a crochet hook to re-knit the stitches that got snagged and created a ladder down the front. I refuse to go out and buy new supplies when I know I have them somewhere. Besides, the plan is to downsize, not augment.

I have many other examples of things I’ve stashed away that I’d like to be able to put my hands on, but won’t be able to until I’m out of Retirement Limbo Land. It leaves me unhappy and frustrated. And annoyingly out of control.

I have similar feelings about finding alternate ways to spend my time. I’ll probably get involved in some volunteer work when we settle into our new, downsized location. I’m disinclined to do it now. Why invest emotionally in something I’ll be leaving soon? Not to mention our one-car situation. If I take the car so I can volunteer for a few hours, that leaves the rest of the day to get into trouble. By that I mean go shopping. Again, the goal is to downsize. And the budget doesn’t allow shopping.

Except for wine, but I can walk to my favorite wine store. That has added benefits. I get some exercise, and I don’t buy more than two or three bottles at a time, so they’re not too heavy to carry home. Of course, if one has a screw top, I could always drink some of it on the way, to lighten the load. Just kidding. Then again…

1 comment:

Linda Hoye said...

Good luck on selling your home. We will be listing ours in the next couple of months as we prepare to retire too. Ugh. I don't look forward to the time that our home is for sale for many of the reasons you write about here. Looking forward with great anticipation to our new downsized retired life too. Hang in....