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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Making Plans- Twenty Working Days and Counting Down

It is here--- the final countdown.

In a mere 20 workdays (not counting Saturdays or Sundays or Thanksgiving)  means that my darling Steveio will be RETIRED!

After an *almost-retired* time in 2012, he changed gears and changed jobs to a better state position at High Cliff State Park.  He was only going to finish out his last few months there. They needed help for the summer and he wanted to get away from his other state position.  He had put in 35 years at the Wisconsin University of Green Bay, and he was going to retire back then.  We sold the house and we were going to hit the road in our motorhome.

Things changed.  

In 2012 his mom was dying of cancer. His father was recovering from cancer. His uncle had cancer, then both his brother and sisterinlaw had cancer.  On my side, we have a brother and brotherinlaw and sisterinlaw surviving cancer, and lost both my dad and my stepdad to cancer.  That much of a loss in four years REALLY makes you sit back and take notice.  Being close to family is what we needed to do.

In the past four years we have had two preemie grandchildren born, and things were scary. We felt that we were needed to be here to help out. They both made it, thankfully. Our children suffered some losses of babies that did not get born. All of our grandchildren are pretty young yet, under the age of 8. We have enjoyed spending time with them. Hopefully a lot more before they get too old to want to hang with Granmuddah and Granfaddah.

Sticking around for them has been pretty important too.  I do not think we could get in enough visiting with them if we were on the road full time.  Every second is precious to be with them, and every second away would hurt from both sides.

So, I guess changing our mind and not hitting the road was the best choice for us. We did live in our rig full time for 7 months and it was fine. We were prepared to live in our motorhome and had it all figured out. We were comfortable, and made plans to get back to Wisconsin for the the holidays for the family. We planned to be around in the summer months when the kids were out of school. We do like travelling and exploring new places. The road has beckoned, but we decided that maybe it is better for us not being Full Time RVers

Working another four years at High Cliff has been enjoyable for Steve. He said it is great to work with Happy People!  Ya know, people on vacation, people enjoying nature, and people who love to work in a natural setting like a park.

The years are wearing him down. He said he is getting tired of 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 12 months a year, for 38 years.  It is a very physical job. He turned 58 this year. He started working for UWGB at the age of 20. That is a long time to be with the same employer in this day and age. He is a reliable responsible person and has worn many hats on the job... many times more than one or two or three or even four hats at the same time. He is always willing to go the extra mile and help out and be a team player. I guess that is why he lasted so long at the same place.  I admire that in him.

Now that we are settled in this cute little house in a small town, we are comfortable and cozy.  We have cut our housing expenses by 2/3 from the previous home in Oconto.  That will make it easier to retire. We can keep the house as a home base and also travel when we can manage it.

Steve is still thinking of finding some work, very limited part time, or perhaps work on repairing things and selling them. He is great at small engines, woodworking and helping me fix up old looms and spinning wheels and fiber tools to resell them.

I guess he will have to decide what he wants to do after working so hard for 38 years. Perhaps he needs to just relax a while.  We both do. I have been disabled/retired since 2003 but I keep working at home in my studio and selling in my online store. I can keep doing that wherever we are. As long as I have a post office to ship out orders, I can keep on doing what I am doing.

Sounds like I am rambling. Hey?  But a lot of folks considering RVing full time read my blog. So I thought I would write about both the ups and downs of it.  It is a big decision. We decided. Then we decided back!  haha


Tonight, after a good meal in our pretty diningroom, we are now curled up in the livingroom with a glass of wine, the fireplace going, and we are both futzing around on our computers. Him looking at Craigslist and Ebay stuff.. .me writing a blog.  LOL a Modern Couple!

That brings me up to this winter. Usually Steve takes most of his 6 weeks of his hard earned vacation in the winter months... when the park needs him the least.  We try to head south for about 5 weeks of vacation--- either to the desert or to Florida by Mom.  He saves a week of vacation for taking a day here or there during the summer if we need to have a long weekend.

This winter might be different. He will be retired by Christmas, with a few vacation days to use up between then and New Years.  By Dec 30, 2016 he will be officially retired.  We already signed the papers in Madison and made provisions for healthcare and pension.

After going over our budget and our calendar we are thinking we might instead STAY HOME this winter!  OH MY! That will be a REAL change for us.  The rig is winterized and settled in for a long winter nap.  Our idea is that we can then save up to afford a nice long trip in the Summer ... to places we never get to otherwise.

Out West! 
 Out to the Rockies... 
Out to Glacier National Park! 
Up into Canada to see a few friends. 
Loop around Lake Superior like we did on our honeymoon 20 years ago. 

We would even like to manage a summer up in Alaska??? 

It is a little easier to leave our home in the summer months and not worry about the furnace breaking down, or the driveway not being plowed, or the sidewalk out front not being shoveled (one year we got fined twice by the city because the guy we hired did not show up!)

So ... I think our plan is snuggling up close to the hearth and home this winter with a retired crazy super active speed demon worker. That might be a challenge????   I am asking him to make a list of all the things he wants to get done inside the house and we can whittle away at that.  There is always something to do on Our Old House.  We do not like to modernize it, just keep it in good repair, and keep its original charm.

For example, the foyer and upstairs hallway need painting, a bedroom needs paint, our microwave vent hood could be vented to the outside instead of inside the room. The garage can use some work with a new work bench and re-arranging and installing his garage heater unit for a workshop. He might even insulate the whole garage as a workshop.  I think that would be just dandy.  I think we can keep him busy.

Everyone is asking him what will he DO all day long????   I tell friends and family:
We are going to stay in bed all day 
and make mad passionate love! 


In yesterdays blog I hinted at a new project I was going to do.  Well, I started it, but then we took a nice afternoon nap.  Sometimes us old almost retired folks have to do that.

Here is a hint... these are some great french doors we bought four years ago off Craigslist. They came out of a church that was being remodeled.  We set them up as sliding doors on a track between the diningroom and  my Loom Room.  This is the BEFORE pic:

I am gonna do *something* to them.... 
 perhaps tomorrow I will finish it. 


  1. Karen, I love you all and so very very happy Steve gets to retire! YAY <3 ENJOY .............. BLESSED inDEED........

    1. aww thanks... I miss him every day he goes to work, and wait for him to come home with a big kiss and hug. I can not wait till he can retire!

  2. I started retirement with a "retirement list" of things I wanted to do or see or taste or feel and it is longer and more detailed now. But be careful to take the time for just being.

    1. Yup, we want to find more time to explore areas and not be on such a tight schedule to get to the next stop.

  3. I get it! I retired just B4 Christmas last year, and my wife and I have had a lot of fun. We loved the western Wyoming area, and 2 years ago bought a lot in Star Valley Ranch, 1 hr S of Jackson, WY. A very active RV resort, with lots to do. Can't recommend the lifestyle enough. Being from White Bear Lake, MN, and now living in Houston, TX, I can tell you that the best thing about what we're doing is avoiding the crappy weather at either end of our annual migration.

    1. Yup. exactly. when we head south in mid Feb and have to come home end of March to Wisconsin, we often hit icy and snowy roads which are NOT good for motorhomes. Scary! Will be nice to hang out somewhere and not rush to get back for work.

  4. Karen, Congratulations to Steve on his retirement, and congratulations to you ( thre's always a good woman behind a successful man!). We all have to decide on exactly what lifestyle makes us happy, and I's say you two have figured out what works for you.

    1. We are trying! Things changed so fast. I think with all the cancer suddenly in Steves family, he wanted to be sure I had a safe spot to land if something happens to him. Having a home base but still be able to travel when we want is the best of both worlds. For us, at least.

  5. Meet you in Alaska! We are settled in for the winter in Southern California, no snow here! But are planning on going to Alaska next summer. Today I was trying to figure out how long we could push staying so we could try to see some Aurora. They say it can be visible anytime after August 21. I think if Steve wants to he could start a little "fix it guy" business. He could control his own hours, taking on only the jobs he wants to do, and leaving himself free to travel. Keep us posted. Merikay ... posting as Craig

    1. Not sure if we can get there next summer or not yet. But if you go first, tell us all the good spots! LOL

  6. Hi Karen! Congratulations, Steve, on your retirement! It's wonderful when every day is Saturday! And Karen, the lace you put on the door windows is absolutely beautiful--well done! We spent 3 weeks this fall traveling along the Oregon Coast & sure loved our Fire Genie--best investment ever. We thought of the 2 of you every night as we enjoyed our warm fire! I understand the allure of full-timing--we considered it but found that, for us, having our sticks & bricks was best. We get out on the road for 2-3 months where we want when we want. We have a nice new YMCA in the town next to us, we have dinner every Friday night with friends & I spend 3-4 days every month with my Mom. She lives about 90 minutes from us & she's going to be 88 this spring & we enjoy our time together. Jim & Ari keep the home fires burning while I'm gone. We've decided to travel this coming fall 2017 to Colorado, southern Utah & New Mexico. Should be a good time to be there. Do you have some traveling planned for/dreamed of for 2017?

    You two take good care. You'll be snug as a bug in a rug in your wonderful home. I hope our paths will cross somewhere down the road. Take good care--Happy Thanksgiving (it's not midnight here yet)!


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