January 18, 2019 – The First Week of Retirement

So…Retirement has finally arrived. How was my first week? Was it all I had hoped it would be? Let’s see.

Once Annette and I left work on Friday afternoon, we went to the RV dealership where we had left the RV for some minor repairs (Frozen pipes, if you must know! Don’t hook up the water and leave without turning on some heat in the RV!).

We took care of business with the dealership and asked where we could get propane. They sold propane! (Duh! That was embarrassing!) So we topped off the propane tank. (Propane is a $1/gallon more expensive in Pennsylvania compared to Maryland!)

The dealership has a couple of electrical hookups for people who are dropping off RVs for service, so we took advantage of that for Friday night. What a great first night of retirement! We were parked on a dealership lot, amidst a ton of other RVs and no other people around! Oh, well! It worked. And it was free!

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Annette had made reservations at an RV park within 30 minutes drive of our Grandkids, so we moved the RV there on Saturday. We took the turnpike to avoid the curves and hills of the roads through the Pennsylvania mountains, but it was painful when we paid the toll. Over $32!!!

We got to spend the weekend and Monday with our son, “daughter-in-law” and grandkids. We had to store up some love and affection for the upcoming months that we are going to be away!

It snowed a couple of inches over the weekend, but that was not a problem for us going back and forth in the Forester. However, the snow did prove to be a problem when it was time to move the RV.

We had left the slides out on the RV and the snow accumulated on the slide toppers (canvas awnings over the slides designed to keep debris off the top of the slides). The next day was above freezing, but not enough to melt everything. The morning we wanted to leave was well below freezing and the snow and ice froze the canvas solid!

For the first slide, we poured 6 or 8 gallons of hot water on the slide topper and melted the ice and snow. We were able to get the slide to come in! Hip hip hooray!

But it took us and hour and several trips up the ladder and onto the roof of the RV. I’m not comfortable with heights, like the roof of an RV. The snow and ice made the roof slippery, so I was even less comfortable.

Also, we had a 6 hour drive ahead of us. It was getting later and later and if we didn’t leave soon, we wouldn’t make our next campground by dark. (You don’t want to try to set up an RV in the dark! And cold!)

The weather forecast for the day showed that the temperature would get well above freezing. So we decided to wait for the slide toppers to thaw naturally. To use the time effectively, we went to the storage unit to get the bikes. What could go wrong?

Well, when we went to put the bike rack onto the car, we realized that we forgot the key for the locking pin for the receiver. Rats!!!

OK. Let’s try and fit one bike inside the Forester and one bike on top. It was a struggle but we got Annette’s bike into the car and the bike rack fit inside, too!

We wanted to protect the car roof, so we put down a piece of cardboard and wrapped the second bike in a motorcycle cover. We used bungee cords to keep the cover tight to the bike and the bike tight to the roof rack. A good plan, right?

Wrong!

As we picked up speed, the cover became a sail and lifted the front of the bike. I slammed on the brakes and pulled over as fast as I could! The bike came crashing back down on the roof of the car with a resounding BANG! We’re lucky the sun roof is still intact!

So we removed the cover, re-secured the bike and went to a hardware store for some rope. Annette also sacrificed a scarf, which we wrapped around the front tire, fed into the car through the sunroof and closed the sun roof on it. We finally made it back to the RV with the bikes and the car intact!

Our financial advisor, having worked with us to get here, was excited for our retirement, so we stopped by his office and showed off the RV. Harold and Jen seemed genuinely happy for us and were very curious about the RV.

By then it was getting too late to travel very far before dark, so where did we stay? Yep! You’re right! We stayed for our first time a Walmart parking lot! All went well and we were on our way by 7:00 a.m.

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Once we got to the Durham, N.C. RV Park where we had reservations, we promptly went in the exit! (in my defense, it isn’t well marked!). I had to drive the RV the rest of the way through the park, around the block and back into the park. This time I went in the entrance!

Thursday, Annette went to the opening show that featured a friend’s photography. The show had sculpture, photography and dance all centered around a poem. We enjoyed catching up with our friends.

On Friday evening, we attended an opening for a Photography Exhibit focused on New Orleans that was put on by our friends and workshop instructors. We enjoyed catching up with them and perusing their art work.

Friday evening was also the Art Walk in Durham. We enjoyed walking around downtown and thought it was great that there were so many people out to see the art.

So although it has been busy, problematic, embarrassing and expensive, it was also grandkids, exhibits and friends. All in all it was a good first week of retirement.

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