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The Bumbling Bee

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Post  nkrichards Tue Nov 21, 2023 1:16 pm

Mark B wrote:So Thanksgiving week isn't going to quite live up to expectations this year.

I was laid off yesterday at work. Restructuring, finances, sorry to see you go, but... etc. etc. etc. 

It's been a rough 24 hours, and I'm far from done processing this unexpected turn. I'd managed to survive 35 years in this industry without leaving a job not on my terms. I had 18 years, 4 months here, and I was expecting to ride this baby all the way to retirement. Apparently the universe had other ideas.

So what's next? I guess we'll find out.
What?  Sorry to hear and boy what poor timing!

I know that based on my recent posts this is going to seem like an odd statement but Marty and I are actually...after many months and many sleepless nights...realizing that our situation may actually be more positive than we originally thought.  It continues to be a very tough transition but some doors that we thought were permanently closed at this phase in our life are actually still open and just waiting for us to walk through if we desire.

Will be thinking of you...and Alita and Alec...over the holidays as you adjust and adapt to this news.
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Post  Mark B Thu Nov 23, 2023 5:26 pm

nkrichards wrote:
Mark B wrote:So Thanksgiving week isn't going to quite live up to expectations this year.

I was laid off yesterday at work. Restructuring, finances, sorry to see you go, but... etc. etc. etc. 

It's been a rough 24 hours, and I'm far from done processing this unexpected turn. I'd managed to survive 35 years in this industry without leaving a job on my terms. I had 18 years, 4 months here, and I was expecting to ride this baby all the way to retirement. Apparently the universe had other ideas.

So what's next? I guess we'll find out.
What?  Sorry to hear and boy what poor timing!

I know that based on my recent posts this is going to seem like an odd statement but Marty and I are actually...after many months and many sleepless nights...realizing that our situation may actually be more positive than we originally thought.  It continues to be a very tough transition but some doors that we thought were permanently closed at this phase in our life are actually still open and just waiting for us to walk through if we desire.

Will be thinking of you...and Alita and Alec...over the holidays as you adjust and adapt to this news.

I'm glad to hear that. I hope your path forward is more positive than you ever hoped.

I'm past the initial shock of my situation (still profoundly disappointed, of course) and starting to explore other possibilities. I have made connections with a lot of people over the past 35 years of my career, and I'm already hearing from some of them. It's heartening. In a perfect world, we'd like to stay where we are (we like our place and Alita likes her job), but our future is unwritten and we don't know what new doors we may be passing through.

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Post  nkrichards Sat Nov 25, 2023 1:46 pm

Mark B wrote:
nkrichards wrote:
Mark B wrote:So Thanksgiving week isn't going to quite live up to expectations this year.

I was laid off yesterday at work. Restructuring, finances, sorry to see you go, but... etc. etc. etc. 

It's been a rough 24 hours, and I'm far from done processing this unexpected turn. I'd managed to survive 35 years in this industry without leaving a job on my terms. I had 18 years, 4 months here, and I was expecting to ride this baby all the way to retirement. Apparently the universe had other ideas.

So what's next? I guess we'll find out.
What?  Sorry to hear and boy what poor timing!

I know that based on my recent posts this is going to seem like an odd statement but Marty and I are actually...after many months and many sleepless nights...realizing that our situation may actually be more positive than we originally thought.  It continues to be a very tough transition but some doors that we thought were permanently closed at this phase in our life are actually still open and just waiting for us to walk through if we desire.

Will be thinking of you...and Alita and Alec...over the holidays as you adjust and adapt to this news.

I'm glad to hear that. I hope your path forward is more positive than you ever hoped.

I'm past the initial shock of my situation (still profoundly disappointed, of course) and starting to explore other possibilities. I have made connections with a lot of people over the past 35 years of my career, and I'm already hearing from some of them. It's heartening. In a perfect world, we'd like to stay where we are (we like our place and Alita likes her job), but our future is unwritten and we don't know what new doors we may be passing through.
It took Marty and I well over a year to realize that there were more options available to us that we realized.  We still aren't sure which door we intend to walk through and which dream we intend to chase.  We have a short term plan and are taking time to consider our long term plan.

I hope you and Alita can find take time to really consider your options and choose a plan for you future that you both look forward to.  In the meantime...take care of yourselves!
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Post  Mark B Fri Dec 08, 2023 12:13 pm

A few updates:

-I have several applications out, and I'm in conversation with a paper that sought me out with an opportunity that's interesting but would require a big move. Stay tuned.

-I'm getting unemployment now, which helps on the financial end, as does the severance package I got from the paper. Our hope is to use as little of that package as possible, but we'll see.

-Repairs on the crunched Prius ended up getting too expensive to justify (the shop found more structural damage in its initial teardown), so we're heading down to Redding to help Alec shop for a replacement and send the Prius off to Valhonka. Wish us luck!

-As if we weren't having enough fun, I noticed a weird discoloration on one of our garage walls and found black mold that turned out to be from a pipe leaking in the wall. Lucky for us, the HOA is responsible for that, and they're always working to get things dried out and sanitized, the leak fixed and everything buttoned up again -- at no cost to us. Whew!

This year. Crimminy.

Ride

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Post  nkrichards Sun Dec 10, 2023 9:27 am

Mark B wrote:A few updates:

-I have several applications out, and I'm in conversation with a paper that sought me out with an opportunity that's interesting but would require a big move. Stay tuned.

-I'm getting unemployment now, which helps on the financial end, as does the severance package I got from the paper. Our hope is to use as little of that package as possible, but we'll see.

-Repairs on the crunched Prius ended up getting too expensive to justify (the shop found more structural damage in its initial teardown), so we're heading down to Redding to help Alec shop for a replacement and send the Prius off to Valhonka. Wish us luck!

-As if we weren't having enough fun, I noticed a weird discoloration on one of our garage walls and found black mold that turned out to be from a pipe leaking in the wall. Lucky for us, the HOA is responsible for that, and they're always working to get things dried out and sanitized, the leak fixed and everything buttoned up again -- at no cost to us. Whew!

This year. Crimminy.

Ride
Sounds like you're making a bit of progress...it's hard to change direction so quickly when you thought you had your life planned out.  Marty and I are still uncertain of the path we want our future to take and we've been working on it for 18 months!  A big move sounds exciting.  But I know you like the place you're in now.  It's fortunate that financially you can take a bit of time to make a decision.

Not surprised to hear of the decision to total the Prius.  They just don't make vehicles as sturdy as they used to.  And instead of replacing small pieces everything is connected...often to the frame.  I think insurance companies are also worried about liability and their choice is to just junk it and start new.  Anyway...happy car shopping.  Enjoy the unplanned time with Alec.

Boy when it rains it pours doesn't it.  And you can't even blame the cat for this water damage.  Good to hear that the HOA is taking care of it for you.  

Speaking of rain...have you parked the bike and pulled out the kayak yet?  I can't believe the rain some areas have been getting.  We just got a little but are happy with whatever we get.  

Take care.  Stay dry.
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Post  Mark B Tue Dec 12, 2023 4:20 pm

nkrichards wrote:
Mark B wrote:A few updates:

-I have several applications out, and I'm in conversation with a paper that sought me out with an opportunity that's interesting but would require a big move. Stay tuned.

-I'm getting unemployment now, which helps on the financial end, as does the severance package I got from the paper. Our hope is to use as little of that package as possible, but we'll see.

-Repairs on the crunched Prius ended up getting too expensive to justify (the shop found more structural damage in its initial teardown), so we're heading down to Redding to help Alec shop for a replacement and send the Prius off to Valhonka. Wish us luck!

-As if we weren't having enough fun, I noticed a weird discoloration on one of our garage walls and found black mold that turned out to be from a pipe leaking in the wall. Lucky for us, the HOA is responsible for that, and they're always working to get things dried out and sanitized, the leak fixed and everything buttoned up again -- at no cost to us. Whew!

This year. Crimminy.

Ride
Sounds like you're making a bit of progress...it's hard to change direction so quickly when you thought you had your life planned out.  Marty and I are still uncertain of the path we want our future to take and we've been working on it for 18 months!  A big move sounds exciting.  But I know you like the place you're in now.  It's fortunate that financially you can take a bit of time to make a decision.

Not surprised to hear of the decision to total the Prius.  They just don't make vehicles as sturdy as they used to.  And instead of replacing small pieces everything is connected...often to the frame.  I think insurance companies are also worried about liability and their choice is to just junk it and start new.  Anyway...happy car shopping.  Enjoy the unplanned time with Alec.

Boy when it rains it pours doesn't it.  And you can't even blame the cat for this water damage.  Good to hear that the HOA is taking care of it for you.  

Speaking of rain...have you parked the bike and pulled out the kayak yet?  I can't believe the rain some areas have been getting.  We just got a little but are happy with whatever we get.  

Take care.  Stay dry.

Thanks Nancy! I'll be interested to hear about the various paths you and Marty are considering at this crossroads of your life. 

We're back from sunny California, and our son is now the proud owner of a payment plan for a Subaru Crosstrek! It's a really nice car with all sorts of advanced safety features that Alec really appreciates. Understandable, considering what happened. Oh, and insurance had nothing to do with the decision to sell the Prius to cashforcars.com -- he didn't have collision insurance, and the other side wasn't found at fault (a decision we disagree with, but what can you do) - but enough of the frame was damaged that repair was cost-prohibitive. Maybe somebody will pick up the Prius at auction and do the work on it themselves and get it back on the road.

Oh, the HOA is saying we need to pay for the drywall their water leak damaged, so... yeah. 

Speaking of water, that was a huge dose of rain. Unfortunately it probably was too warm to boost snowpack and your irrigation allotment. Hoping snow starts falling at elevation soon.

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Post  nkrichards Tue Jan 02, 2024 7:29 am

I'll catch up with more detail about our future plans later...they still aren't settled.

But I did want to stop by and wish you a Happy New Year.  Hoping you got Alex's vehicle and your drywall issues resolved and were able to enjoy the holidays.

Any news/decisions on employment/early retirement/relocation?

Take care.
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Post  Mark B Tue Jan 02, 2024 8:40 am

nkrichards wrote:I'll catch up with more detail about our future plans later...they still aren't settled.

But I did want to stop by and wish you a Happy New Year.  Hoping you got Alex's vehicle and your drywall issues resolved and were able to enjoy the holidays.

Any news/decisions on employment/early retirement/relocation?

Take care.

Hi Nancy! Happy New Year to you, too! 

Kind of glad 2023 is behind us. But buckle up! 2024 is going to be something else again.
Ride

Okay, I realize I owe you all an update. There's a lot to unpack.

First off, Alec love-love-LOVES his new used car. We drove down to spend Christmas at his place this year, and he generously let me drive the Subaru, which is really quite nice. We had a good visit, but it's nice to be back home again.

Second, us even GETTING to visit Alec with our own car was in serious question. A tensioner pulley for the timing belt of our 1999 Ford Escort ZX2 seized up, which made quite a racket as I tried to limp it a shop that was able to take a look at it. The timing belt finally gave up the ghost just as I was about to turn into the shop, and I was just able to get out of traffic and coast the car into the shop's parking lot. Whew! (Also whew: Our car has what they call a "non-interference engine" which means that when the timing belt breaks, the pistons won't start crashing into the valves, which would instantly total the engine.) That started a process that ended up being very involved: The shop quickly diagnosed the problem but didn't have the very special and expensive tool you need to configure the valves and crankshaft on a 99 Ford Escort ZX2, so I had to start calling shops to find one that did. Had to pay for a tow truck to haul the car over to the new shop after AAA left me hanging for hour, and ... to compress the rest of the story, it got fixed (and the glitches from the repair fixed, too) just in time for us to drive 400+ miles to Redding. The car runs great -- with 209,000 miles on it, it can still get 38 mpg on the highway -- and we're hoping to get it to 300K if all goes well. Cross your fingers!

Third, I had an in-person job interview and site visit while the ZX2 was in the shop (so I had to rent a car), and it went well.

Fourth, as I was driving back from that interview and site visit, I was invited to another one at a different place. I'll be doing that this Wednesday and Thursday.

Fifth, during our visit with Alec, I had a phone interview for another place, in a different sort of job. I also have applications pending at a few other places, as well.

If you want more specifics, send me a message or an email and I'll dish more details. I don't want to put anything out there prematurely and tip my hand, or jinx it. 

I think we'll have more clarity by the end of this week or sometime next week, so stay tuned!

ps. The leak is fixed, and a buddy of mine who just re-drywalled his house has offered to help me seal the walls up at just a cost of materials. So that's nice. Smile

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Post  nkrichards Tue Jan 09, 2024 7:54 am

Mark B wrote:
nkrichards wrote:I'll catch up with more detail about our future plans later...they still aren't settled.

But I did want to stop by and wish you a Happy New Year.  Hoping you got Alex's vehicle and your drywall issues resolved and were able to enjoy the holidays.

Any news/decisions on employment/early retirement/relocation?

Take care.

Hi Nancy! Happy New Year to you, too! 

Kind of glad 2023 is behind us. But buckle up! 2024 is going to be something else again.
Ride

Okay, I realize I owe you all an update. There's a lot to unpack.

First off, Alec love-love-LOVES his new used car. We drove down to spend Christmas at his place this year, and he generously let me drive the Subaru, which is really quite nice. We had a good visit, but it's nice to be back home again.

Second, us even GETTING to visit Alec with our own car was in serious question. A tensioner pulley for the timing belt of our 1999 Ford Escort ZX2 seized up, which made quite a racket as I tried to limp it a shop that was able to take a look at it. The timing belt finally gave up the ghost just as I was about to turn into the shop, and I was just able to get out of traffic and coast the car into the shop's parking lot. Whew! (Also whew: Our car has what they call a "non-interference engine" which means that when the timing belt breaks, the pistons won't start crashing into the valves, which would instantly total the engine.) That started a process that ended up being very involved: The shop quickly diagnosed the problem but didn't have the very special and expensive tool you need to configure the valves and crankshaft on a 99 Ford Escort ZX2, so I had to start calling shops to find one that did. Had to pay for a tow truck to haul the car over to the new shop after AAA left me hanging for hour, and ... to compress the rest of the story, it got fixed (and the glitches from the repair fixed, too) just in time for us to drive 400+ miles to Redding. The car runs great -- with 209,000 miles on it, it can still get 38 mpg on the highway -- and we're hoping to get it to 300K if all goes well. Cross your fingers!

Third, I had an in-person job interview and site visit while the ZX2 was in the shop (so I had to rent a car), and it went well.

Fourth, as I was driving back from that interview and site visit, I was invited to another one at a different place. I'll be doing that this Wednesday and Thursday.

Fifth, during our visit with Alec, I had a phone interview for another place, in a different sort of job. I also have applications pending at a few other places, as well.

If you want more specifics, send me a message or an email and I'll dish more details. I don't want to put anything out there prematurely and tip my hand, or jinx it. 

I think we'll have more clarity by the end of this week or sometime next week, so stay tuned!

ps. The leak is fixed, and a buddy of mine who just re-drywalled his house has offered to help me seal the walls up at just a cost of materials. So that's nice. Smile
Wow...you've had a lot going on!

Glad Alec likes loves his new car and that you enjoyed your visit...in spite of your car troubles.

Nice to hear that you have options.  I'll wait until you've made a decision and can share it with us.

Hope the New Year is going well for you and Alita.  Stay dry!
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Post  Mark B Sun Jan 28, 2024 8:36 pm

Well, SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED since I last posted.

Since I last posted, I was offered a job at the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which is a BIG step up from where I had been working, with one twist. They wanted me working by Jan. 22 - less than two weeks. I accepted, and pretty much exhausted myself packing like crazy. We drove down between ice storm with the cats in the car, and we now have an apartment in Las Vegas. Our furniture will be arriving in early February, we hope.

More later, but I thought I'd step out of the whirlwind for a second to at least let you know what's going on.

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Post  nkrichards Tue Jan 30, 2024 8:15 am

Mark B wrote:Well, SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED since I last posted.

Since I last posted, I was offered a job at the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which is a BIG step up from where I had been working, with one twist. They wanted me working by Jan. 22 - less than two weeks. I accepted, and pretty much exhausted myself packing like crazy. We drove down between ice storm with the cats in the car, and we now have an apartment in Las Vegas. Our furniture will be arriving in early February, we hope.

More later, but I thought I'd step out of the whirlwind for a second to at least let you know what's going on.
Hey...I wondered if you'd made a big move when I saw the location of your walk last weekend.  Congratulations...I think.  Hope you're enjoying the challenge...both at work and with relocating on quick notice.

When you have time update us if you don't mind.  
Has Alita found a job?
Sale of the condo in Vancouver?
Purchase of a home in Vegas?
Looks like you may be slightly closer to Alec(?)
I'm sure Doug will ask but just in case...how are the cats adapting? confused

There are awesome places to hike, walk, run, bike in the area. cheers  And not as much rain.   cheers cheers

Take care.  I'll watch for activity on Strava.
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Post  Mark B Thu Feb 01, 2024 1:56 pm

nkrichards wrote:
Mark B wrote:Well, SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED since I last posted.

Since I last posted, I was offered a job at the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which is a BIG step up from where I had been working, with one twist. They wanted me working by Jan. 22 - less than two weeks. I accepted, and pretty much exhausted myself packing like crazy. We drove down between ice storm with the cats in the car, and we now have an apartment in Las Vegas. Our furniture will be arriving in early February, we hope.

More later, but I thought I'd step out of the whirlwind for a second to at least let you know what's going on.
Hey...I wondered if you'd made a big move when I saw the location of your walk last weekend.  Congratulations...I think.  Hope you're enjoying the challenge...both at work and with relocating on quick notice.

When you have time update us if you don't mind.  
Has Alita found a job?
Sale of the condo in Vancouver?
Purchase of a home in Vegas?
Looks like you may be slightly closer to Alec(?)
I'm sure Doug will ask but just in case...how are the cats adapting? confused

There are awesome places to hike, walk, run, bike in the area. cheers  And not as much rain.   cheers cheers

Take care.  I'll watch for activity on Strava.

Answers!
Has Alita found a job?  Not yet. 
Sale of the condo in Vancouver? Not on the market yet, but soon. (Our worldly possessions are still there!)
Purchase of a home in Vegas? Renting for now, but who knows?

Looks like you may be slightly closer to Alec(?): Farther away, actually. But lots of cheap flights to Las Vegas!
I'm sure Doug will ask but just in case...how are the cats adapting? confused  Fairly well. They didn't like being stuffed in a car for two days (neither did we, to be honest), and they meowed their heads off the first day in the apartment, but there's a lot more sunbeams in which to bask, so I think they'll do just fine. 

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Post  Mark B Thu Feb 08, 2024 2:04 pm

Update: We have our furniture! And all our other stuff. AND the car still fits in the garage!  cheers cheers cheers

The cats are relaxing now that they don't have to sit on the floor. We're still exhausted, but happy to not sit on the floor, either.  Approval

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Post  nkrichards Fri Feb 09, 2024 5:02 pm

Mark B wrote:Update: We have our furniture! And all our other stuff. AND the car still fits in the garage!  cheers cheers cheers

The cats are relaxing now that they don't have to sit on the floor. We're still exhausted, but happy to not sit on the floor, either.  Approval
Woohoo.  Life is good...and the cats are happy.
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Post  Mark B Fri Apr 05, 2024 9:52 pm

So I've been seriously remiss in posting any sort of update here. (Why I still have the most posts on this site is beyond me.)

I will attempt to make it up now with some photos.

The Bumbling Bee - Page 4 43195810

We have one of the nicest AAA ballparks In America only a few miles from our house. We watched the A's play the Brewers in a spring training game a few weeks ago, and we have tickets for the AAA team this summer, too. Should be fun. Hot dogs are good, too.


The Bumbling Bee - Page 4 42313410

I took a lot of photos of ferns and fungi in the Pacific Northwest. Guess it's time to focus on cacti. 


The Bumbling Bee - Page 4 43418610

Shirtsleeves in March! Alita and I out at Valley of Fire State Park, about an hour or so away from where we live. 

There's a lot to the Las Vegas area outside the strip and Fremont Street downtown. :-)

The Bumbling Bee - Page 4 41984310
Of course, we've checked that out, too... 

Beyond this... my work is fine, and Alita is waiting for a background check to clear before getting a job at the local school district at an elementary school close to where we live (we may not have to buy another car!). Our place is still on the market in Vancouver, but we keep getting people wanting to look at it, so that's a hopeful sign. Until then, we can manage paying mortgage and HOA there and rent here for a while, at least. 

Outside of a couple of hiking/walking adventures, we're still mostly aspirational when it comes to anything more vigorous. Haven't given up on the dream, though. 

More later... but hopefully not too much later.


Last edited by Mark B on Fri Apr 05, 2024 10:00 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post  Mark B Fri Apr 05, 2024 9:57 pm

More photos!


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Sunsets here can be pretty amazing. We're at 2,750 feet here, so the clouds seem so much closer. It's a little unnerving, like they're about to fall on you. 


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A view of Calico Ridge at the aptly named Red Rock National Conservation Area, which is a short drive (like 10-15 minutes) from our place. It offers something like 27 trails into the mountains and canyons, and we hope to go there more after we do more exploring of the general area. 


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Another view at Valley of Fire State Park. There's a touch of that Utah red rock geology in spots around here, and it's spectacular.

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Post  nkrichards Tue Apr 23, 2024 10:08 am

Wow...awesome photos.  Looks like you're enjoying your new location.

The reason you are still the top poster is because no one else has time to post either.    lol!

Thanks for checking in...it is still fun to see what everyone else is up to even if it's not on a regular basis.

Take care...
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Post  Mark B Fri Apr 26, 2024 6:41 pm

It's time for another update! (And Hi, Nancy!)

Alita started her job as a special ed instructional aide at a Title 1 school a couple of miles from where we live. I'm dropping her off in the morning, and she's walking back after school. It's 2.33 miles, and I'm a little envious of that.

Also.. our condo finally sold! We're in escrow now with a cash buyer. Hopefully it all works out well, because paying for a mortgage, home equity loan and HOA fees (and utilities, etc.) AND rent at our new place is kind of annoying. 

Money

And expensive. We're fine, but it'll be nice to have that chapter of our life totally behind us.

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Post  nkrichards Sat Apr 27, 2024 10:12 am

Mark B wrote:It's time for another update! (And Hi, Nancy!)

Alita started her job as a special ed instructional aide at a Title 1 school a couple of miles from where we live. I'm dropping her off in the morning, and she's walking back after school. It's 2.33 miles, and I'm a little envious of that.

Also.. our condo finally sold! We're in escrow now with a cash buyer. Hopefully it all works out well, because paying for a mortgage, home equity loan and HOA fees (and utilities, etc.) AND rent at our new place is kind of annoying. 

Money

And expensive. We're fine, but it'll be nice to have that chapter of our life totally behind us.
Sounds like positive progress.

How is your job going?

I assume you'll look at buying now that the condo has sold.

How is Alec doing?

And btw the opportunities to walk and/or run look endless and awesome!

Take care and thanks for the update.
nkrichards
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Post  Mark B Thu May 09, 2024 9:28 am

nkrichards wrote:
Mark B wrote:It's time for another update! (And Hi, Nancy!)

Alita started her job as a special ed instructional aide at a Title 1 school a couple of miles from where we live. I'm dropping her off in the morning, and she's walking back after school. It's 2.33 miles, and I'm a little envious of that.

Also.. our condo finally sold! We're in escrow now with a cash buyer. Hopefully it all works out well, because paying for a mortgage, home equity loan and HOA fees (and utilities, etc.) AND rent at our new place is kind of annoying. 

Money

And expensive. We're fine, but it'll be nice to have that chapter of our life totally behind us.
Sounds like positive progress.

How is your job going?

I assume you'll look at buying now that the condo has sold.

How is Alec doing?

And btw the opportunities to walk and/or run look endless and awesome!

Take care and thanks for the update.

Hi Nancy!

The job is going well. There is SO MUCH CRAZY NEWS here that it's rarely boring.

We're still waiting for the sale to close (it feels like it's taking forever), but we're not planning to buy something else - at least, not at this point. Interest rates are high and the market is inflated, so we'll just find a nice safe place to invest the proceeds for now to pump up the old retirement nest egg. It'll be weird (and very nice) to have no debt, not even a mortgage. We like where we live now. That said, if we end up finding something that's just right, at a great price, we might consider it.

Again with this guy...  Money

Alec is doing great in his job! Snow is melting in NorCal, so there will be more opportunities for field work very soon. Also, he'll be coming to visit us fairly soon, so that should be fun.

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Post  nkrichards Wed May 29, 2024 10:06 am

Hey, it's been fun to see you out and about...and with family!  There are so many awesome places to hike in your area.

Hope you enjoyed Alec's visit and that you and Alita are settling in well.
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