Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Transitions Redux

Since our last entry much has transpired. Tom is now officially retired. How is he coping? For starters he’s mostly stopped wearing his watch. The time of day is no longer as much as a concern as trying to remember what day it is. Any separation anxiety from his LU work schedule has been supplanted by the chaos surrounding the sale of our house and preparation to depart. In short, there is little time to dwell on shifting work gears to retirement gears – the gears continue to spin wildly for the time being.

Well wishes about Tom’s retirement keep pouring in. Most recently Appleton Chief of Police, Dave Walsh, wrote a personal note thanking Tom for his years of service at Lawrence as well as for Tom’s community service. Tom’s 25-year service award from Lawrence (a handsomely engraved rocking chair) arrived via UPS this week. Tom was amazed to learn that his job title didn’t exactly square with what he had thought it was and hopes that the A.M.A. never finds out. An “open trailer/retirement” party open house is planned for this coming Saturday, probably one of the last hurrah’s at 403 E. South River Street.

Following a blitz of 22 house showings in just over a month, we have accepted an offer on our home. The closing is set for July 24 but we plan to be out of the way no later than July 22. The young couple that wrote the offer are as equally interested in making sure the bird feeders remain as they are about other things inside the house. Perhaps this bodes well for the future of our yard. Speaking of our yard, during a City Council meeting last week, Mayor Tim Hannah, (prompted in great part by our irascible Alderperson Joe Martin), awarded us a City of Appleton Walter Kalata Neighborhood Pride Program “Meticulous Maintenance Award”. The irony is that we’re leaving but it’s nice to receive recognition for all we have tried to achieve with our landscaping. As for selling our house, we’re not sure which makes us happier: selling quickly in a down market or not having to scoot out for yet more pizza and beer when a showing was scheduled (frequently) around mealtime. Yes, shocking as it may seem, even pizza and beer can get old after a time.

Out with the old (almost) and in with the new. Last Friday we spent all day at King’s Campers taking delivery of our travel trailer. The dealer’s team approach could not have been more accommodating. Oati, one of the dealer's service technicians, was assigned to us for as long as we needed while he tutored us on everything about the trailer. Plumbing, electrical, appliance operation, manhandling the new hitch system and the electrical brake controller were just a few of the topics. Oati even spent time with us as Tom practiced backing up in a nearby parking lot. No stones were left unturned. And Oati is an extremely patient person.

Late in the afternoon Tom was given the opportunity to back the trailer into one of the camper stalls King’s Campers has on their lot, affording us time to ourselves to review our pages of copious notes taken during the trailer show-and-tell. This was also an opportune time to try out various features on the trailer and not be far from the dealer should we encounter any immediate problems. We’re happy to report that the air conditioning works great, the fridge gets real cold real fast, the digital TV honed in on a local PBS station just fine and that the bathroom worked as advertised. Oati even gave us an ideal recommendation for local Mexican food.

On Saturday morning with our list of follow-up questions in hand, we checked back in with Oati. He patiently answered any and all queries. If you’re ever interested in a quality RV and award-winning service, look no further than King’s Campers in Wausau. Tell them Tom and Carol sent you. We're sure they won't hold it against you.

By mid-morning we were hooked up and on our way back to Appleton. Suffice it to say, the Tundra is more than capable of pulling the trailer and the trailer is decidedly bigger than our previously owned pop-up. Pulling several thousand pounds of more than "just a trailer" (it’s our home) gave a whole new meaning to driver awareness, or, the lack of awareness in other drivers.

Carol’s last day at Schmaltz is Thursday of this week. Beginning on Friday we’ll be able to throw our backs into (or out) moving items to and fro. We have a moving sale scheduled for July 4 weekend, which we hope will take care of most of our belongings that we have opted not to keep. Honestly, it’s not the big stuff we're concerned with – it’s dealing with the minutia that’s driving us crazy.

We had a delightful time with Jennie, Charles, Graham and Alrick in Green Bay celebrating Father’s Day. Tom has worked on Father’s Day as it has fallen on a Reunion Weekend about every other year. While Reunion Weekend did fall on Father’s Day, Tom is no longer working so hence no Father's Day drudge. Larry Page will know exactly what I’m talking about, eh Larry?

Our travel plans, post-house closing, are starting to take shape. Beginning July 22, we will spend ten nights at the Calumet County Park Campground on Lake Winnebago. After Calumet we've been invited to park our trailer at the home of Costa Rica birding buddies Todd and Cindy Ward in Dale, WI (they conveniently have an RV pad). We accepted an invitation to spend twelve days with several friends at a cabin on an island in Rainey Lake, Ontario in August (we’ll leave our trailer with Todd and Cindy - no sense needlessly bothering Homeland Security any more than necessary). Sometime in early September, we’ll bid adieu to WI family and friends and head west to Dillon, Colorado to visit Chris, Robyn, Callie and Carter (they don't have an RV pad but do have an enormous backyard). Perhaps we'll detour through Wyoming to visit more friends (again with an RV pad). Ultimately we need to be in Texas by November 1. Meanwhile the chaos of transitioning continues.

1 comment:

  1. Years ago, Cindy and I pulled around a 29' Jayco trailer, and we loved RV'ing. So, I'm hoping to live a little bit vicariously through your adventures.
    Tom, you are well worthy of all awards and recognition for your and Carol's service to the community. It was my honor to work with you both, and my joy to bird with you. I hope we can do more of the latter....
    Stay in touch, your Colorado buddy....