debbieahlers

Debbie and Ken's Excellent Adventure – we take off…..

We begin….

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GJ kitchen view

My brother's backyard

My brother’s backyard

Settling in nicely at my brother’s house. Easy to adjust to the lap of luxury and wonderful surroundings (We have so much space, and yet, ironically, when we go to France, we’ll have very little!). You sure need money around here.  It’s really a bubble, as the Oakland Hills (where that big fire was about 20 years ago) where my brother’s is is so wealthy and butts up against Berkeley (very much like Madison).

Yet, when you go 1/2 mile down the road to the post office, the clerks stand behind bullet proof plexiglass and you have to put your package to mail in a protected lazy susan type thing so there is no direct contact between the patron and the clerk. Since Oakland is one of the top 5 most dangerous cities in the country, it makes sense. Just a little disconcerting to see that and comparing it to our Williams Bay PO where the clerk asks me if I have anymore care packages to send the girls!

 

The food is the big thing, of course (especially for me).  Kathy knows, since she’s been here with me, that there is a wonderful market place just down the hill from Gordie’s with all types of specialty foods:  breads, cheeses, meats and seafood, fruits and veggies, etc. Very TOP quality and of course expensive.  Good news is although CA sales

tax is high, 9%, food that you buy in a store (as opposed to a restaurant) is not taxed. Found some new foods that I am in love with:  Dry Farm tomatoes and orange honeydew melon.  The Dry Farm tomatoes are about 2.5 times bigger than a cherry tomato, so still smaller than a regular tomato, but the taste is PERFECT, everytime.  The honeydew is orange inside, although looks the same on the outside, but is very sweet, like a good canteloupe.

 

We’re cooking a lot (don’t want the expense – and it is expensive – of eating out, although the restaurants here are abundant and WONDERFUL – first day we were here, went to a little place for a snack and had some olives, almonds, a small salad we shared and just a glass each of the cheapest wine that they sold, and it was still $30!), but mostly taking the time to eat really healthy and mostly fresh and raw.

 

So, how are we adjusting to this new chapter in our life?  Still seems to be a lot of little details we’re working on (car insurance, phone plan adjustments, etc.), and trying to take some time in the afternoons to do something outside with exercise (contacted the Curves down the hill, and they will let me join for a month. Think I’ll start doing that tomorrow).  Nice to have Ken around without him being so distracted/stressed with his “mistress”, Plas-Tech.

He is transitioning (which he doesn’t do easily or quickly) from working 40 years to not at all at the moment. Hard for him, but isn’t regretting it of course. He looks a lot less stressed and we are both sleeping a lot better.  I sort of liken it to a woman becoming an empty nester….you look at yourself when the kids go off and you say, “Well now my main job is not about the kids, then who am I??”  Think a guy defines himself a lot more than a woman (since women are more likely to go in and out of the workplace) as to what he “does” than who he “is”. This will be a good learning experience for Ken.

 

Of course, the biggest thing is not getting a paycheck. Today is Ken’s last one.  The rest of you all have pensions, social security, etc.  We have nothing but income from our assets/investments.  VERY scary.  Even going to the grocery store, buying some grapes (for 99 cents/pound), I’m thinking:  this is coming out of our savings. Before we’ve always reinvested our income from assets/investments, and now we’ll be living off of them.  Know we’ll adjust, it’s just a new way of looking at things, but different and disconcerting.  We’ll be fine, but definetly thinking about our spending in a way we never used to.  A bit unsettling for both of us until we get our arms around things.

 

So that’s it for now. We feel very blessed to be able to have this adventure at this time in our lives. It is very freeing to not have responsibilities of the kids/our houses, and have our health and mobility. 

 

 

 

                       

 

 

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