Monthly Archives: November 2012

The decisions start


August, 2012  The sheer number of decisions that needed to be made in short order were staggering.  I had literally four legal pads of lists going at one time!

  1. Stuff to Sell
  2. Stuff to Store
  3. Stuff to Ship
  4. Things to Take

It got to the point that there were boxes all over the house with day-glo tags on them that said stuff like


Tons of boxes.  Everywhere.  Covering all flat spaces.  Everything in our house had to be handled somehow, and I was starting to feel like it was gonna be an impossible task.  But the decisions continued.  The big one was  – what about the house??


Are we gonna sell it?  Rent it?  Lease it?  Leave it empty?  Empty probably isn’t the best choice.  Leasing it sounds like a good idea, but seems like it would involve someone else, a real estate agent or something.   TBG has this *big* opposition to paying anyone to pretty much do nothing – and that’s how he thinks of leasing agents…. not that there’s anything wrong with being a leasing agent…. <seinfeld/off>  Selling it in this market would definitely involve an agent, and the market is NOT in any shape to provide a sales price close to its value.  Besides, we really like living in Dothan, we like the neighborhood we live in, and we like our house.  The logical decision was to rent it out.

But we also considered the impact that rental property can have in neighborhoods where the majority of the homes are owner-occupied…. we didn’t want to cause any negative effects – after all, we plan on returning here.  It came to me that we have dear friends that were looking to move but wanted to stay within the same general area and schools.  Boom!  This was a perfect solution!  Candy and Donnie are the perfect choice, they’ll take care of our house like it was their own, Donnie’s really handy and can fix stuff, Candy’s just the same, so this is just perfect.  They’ll fit into our neighborhood really nice and will not freak out the neighbors.

Wait – we’ve got to be adult and consider all aspects of this arrangement.  What do we do about insurance?  The security system?  Will they use my raised bed gardens that have been nurtured and now produce great veggies?  What if they paint the house pink?  What if the dishwasher quits?  How do we tell them not to have loud parties because we live in a pretty quiet neighborhood?   Are all the young plants just put in gonna be taken care of?   And the lawn, TBG’s lawn…. mercy.  What if they skip town and take all the drapes with them and dig up the mailbox?  Where would we go if we suddenly had to come back to the US?  What if they hate the floorcoverings?  What if they don’t pay rent and we have to evict dear friends, are we prepared to actually do that??  There were a brazillion different things that came up, most were silly, some were quite serious.

Ultimately, when TBG and I looked at each other and said “Let’s ask them”….. I had this sudden, sinking feeling and a really really bad thought.

What if they didn’t like our house and didn’t want to live here?

The first steps……


August – 2012  Ten days.  TEN DAYS.  OK, so, TBG is leaving in ten days.  I keep saying this to myself like some weird mantra or something….. wanting it to feel more real. 

So, now.  What all do we need to get done?  Holy cow, there is a list…. never-ending list.  Update wills, powers of attorney, bank accounts, all sorts of retirement stuff, where is his passport, what do we do with the house, the car, SUV, pickup, motorcycle, motorhome, cargo trailer and anything else that rolls?  Sell the house?  Rent the house?  What do we do about the boys?  How will he clear Ft. Rucker in such a short time?  What do we do with all our stuff?  What do we need to take, ship, sell or store? 

They may seen like baby steps to some, but once the job offer was accepted, it felt like we started sprinting instead of creeping.  Most of you that know TBG know that he’s a creature of consistency and enjoys knowing what to expect.  This was the equivalent to him taking up skydiving in my mind!  When he put in his retirement papers for the civil service position he’d held at Lowe Field at Ft. Rucker for manymanymanymany years, it was a pretty dang big deal.  There was a little bit of “are we doing the right thing?” and “is this really the best decision for our family?” kind of discussions, but it always came back to incredible opportunity, both to boost our retirement accounts and to explore and expand more of our world. 

It’s clear that there’s far too much to be done in such a while, so I resign myself to not going to Abu Dhabi with him.  This was not my idea of a good time, and frankly I was quite disappointed about it – I was so hoping that we’d be starting this adventure together, sharing the whole thing, experiencing it at the same time.  Not to be.  Pull up your big girl panties and deal with it, I suppose.

One thing that I have some regret over is that this entire process happened so VERY fast (like 10 days fast!) that there really wasn’t time for the expected civil/military exit process, you know?  The Hail and Farewell, the retirement last flight bath, being able to tell all your co-workers goodbye, etc.  The normal way that you move from position to position within that world just wasn’t gonna happen, and that too was a bit unsettling.  But, the end gain will be worth the minor disappointment.

We needed updated wills and powers of attorney, and I asked my imaginary friends on for recommendations, and they suggested Nick Shimoda, as did our financial advisor, Doug Perreault of NDP Advisory Services in Dothan.  Due to our time constraints, our appointment with Nick was a marathon one, for sure.  I had to gather a ton of paperwork in short order to provide Nick with our current financial and retirement situations so he could assess and make recommendations accurately.  He was thorough in his questioning to make sure he had a complete picture of our personal, financial, family and work situations.  He brought up some issues that were a bit uncomfortable to discuss about relationships and family interactions, where we wanted money to land, when and how – it was pretty dang intense.  TBG and I both felt this huge sense of relief when we left his office, though, feeling that we’d made a good choice, and that the plans we had in place were solid and appropriate for our wants and needs.  Plus, when you return for all the paperwork signing (and there is a TON of that), you end up with a nifty binder with all your “stuff” inside – one place for everything.


And it all begins……


July, 2012 – Apparently, TheBigGuy had been turning over in his mind the possibility of a change in job and a major move for some time. The opportunity had been hinted at almost a year before, but had been pretty much discounted, because he had a great civil service job, and truly enjoyed the training he did.  But things change, plans change, wants and needs change, and suddenly, he was in Virginia, interviewing for a new job!

The offer was solid, a dramatic increase in money, insane perks, and the opportunity to visit a part of the world we’d never been to – Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates. Yes, I had to go to a map to figure out exactly where it was – being all geography-challenged and all. Where is Abu Dhabi, anyhow?

Hmmm….. that looks awfully close to areas that I’ve been hearing about in the news as having some serious unrest. Afghanistan? Iraq? Iran? Eqypt? Wait, now – what are we thinking? Is this safe? Should we do this? Is it gonna be dangerous?

And the biggest question, am I gonna have to wear one of these???