Wednesday, October 18, 2017

6 months after our move

What has transpired?

I am taking a look back to see what we have done, what is working well and what is still ahead after our cross country move, Hubby's retirement and general life changes.

It has been quite a journey since we started painting walls in our former house about 15 months ago. Or as we are saying, so far so good!

Moving from Georgia to California including selling and buying homes:

The move itself went well and we feel comfortable in our new home and location. Even the dog has adjusted to the changes in routine and people.

We got unpacked rather quickly although there still are 2 boxes of photos/ decorative items as well as some pictures to be hung. We bought the big items we planned for (new HVAC, washer & dryer, 2 beds, bedding, den furniture, shutters for 3 windows) and some we didn't plan for (water heater, recirculating water pump). We restocked the pantry, toiletries and some emergency supplies.

So far for emergency/earthquake supplies we have in the pantry canned and boxed food plus lots of gallons of water, some first aid supplies, a battery powered lantern and extra pet food. For the car I repurposed a backpack which so far has emergency blankets and ponchos, long lasting LED light stick, first aid supplies, face masks, foot and hand warmers, gloves, and 5 year shelf life food bars and water packets. I've added shoes and socks to the car in case we aren't wearing good walking shoes and a few bottles of water. I still need to add supplemental cell phone chargers, a hand crank/solar radio/siren/light, more car first aid supplies, etc.

Many home repairs have been completed: popcorn ceilings removed and painted, termites treated, plumbing fixed, electrical to code, bathroom fan installed, stuck doors repaired, window uncovered (although why it was dry walled over remains a mystery), outdoor porch lights re-installed, etc.

Hubby cut down the overgrown bougainvilleas that were a hassle to trim each week (big thorns) and used up too much patio space. He scrubbed the patio walls and had the irrigation hose disconnected, put down pine straw and put in some large decorative pots and plants.

The repair list has been added to as we experience the home and we plan on getting new attic insulation and we are still waiting for the Association to take down the dying tree in our front yard.

We couldn't figure out a new wall color for the open floor plan and our furnishings so we decided to live with the existing one. Hubby did paint a dark master bedroom feature wall, dark walls in a small room and dark ceilings in 3 places. That was a huge improvement.

Feeling at home in our new location:

We have learned our way around and found that we like the library cafe and a few local restaurants. The local art gallery is becoming a favorite including the events they put on. I am enjoying taking an OLLI class and Hubby is enjoying golfing. We found a primary care doctor, dentist, vet, orthopedic masseuse, and hairdressers. I met up with some online friends and saw East coast cousins who were vacationing in California. I've met some locals that I can see becoming friends.

We like the weather and can get to the coast or to my FIL's assisted living facility in 20 minutes, to our local son & DIL's in 60 minutes and to the others in 7 hours. I have gotten involved in yoga, the Pet Club, and the local AAUW chapter.

The biggest win is all the time and fun we have had with family! It is so great to be close again and we and they are figuring out how best to fit into each other's lives on a regular basis as it is a change after 20 years. We are also able to help out such as dogsitting for 3 weeks while the local son and DIL celebrate their 20th anniversary with a European trip. 


We have managed to retain most of the profit we made from selling our house and buying a less expensive one. We decided to try being a one car family at the time of our move and so far it is working for us ans saving lots of money too. Hubby has utilized the free bus service some and the train. I do need to get the Lyftt app on my phone and learn how to use it!

I took a look at expenses for the first 6 months here vs the same 6 months last year in Atlanta (excluding one time home expenses at each end) and so far our housing, home insurance, property taxes, utility and cable costs are about half to two thirds of what they were in Atlanta. Food and gasoline are about the same as we are driving a lot more and food costs are similar. We will see if that continues.

I found a free Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will form on the CA AG's website and we completed those. We are going to research if our Georgia wills and Durable Powers of Attorney are valid and double checking all beneficiary designations on accounts.

Hubby worked full time until the end of September which meant working remotely with monthly commutes to Atlanta at our cost. He completed all the paperwork for retirement, I started my SS on my 68th birthday and we both signed up for Medicare. He bought a laptop computer and got a personal cellphone as his work ones were returned. 

Since we know our income in 2018 will be less than half of 2017 we are maximizing our itemized deductions this year including paying our full property tax bill instead of doing 2 payments. We will be tapping into our savings for the next 5 years until we both reach 70 and have our full retirement incomes, but that is planned out as much as one can.

What is ahead for us?

We will be spending the next 6 months getting the hang of living on my SS, the yet to be finalized income from his pension and savings. That is planned to last for the next 2 1/2 years.  I say yet to be finalized because it takes months for the Feds to process retirement and finalize the pension payment so you receive a partial pension in the interim. Then I will have mandatory minimum withdrawals from my 401K as well for the following 2 1/2 years. After those 5 years Hubby will take SS at 70 and his mandatory minimum withdrawals from his 401K and 403B as well. Best laid plans and all that LOL.
I need to finish preparing our emergency/earthquake supplies for home and the car and getting the last of the unpacking and home improvements finished. The new to us house will require less attention as we complete improvements although we plan to do a a partial remodel on the guest bath in the second half of 2018 as it still has some original fixtures that aren't in good shape.

I also need to find a dog sitter so we can plan some vacations or as an alternative figure out a pet friendly vacation. We do like to travel.

Hubby has to figure out his retirement activities, I need to up my weekly activities and both of us need to make new friends. We will continue to spend lots of time with family members and stay in touch with friends and family on the other side of the country.

We also plan to broaden our distance in our search for restaurants, arts and theater that provide us with what we need to be happy in those arenas.

So it has been quite a journey and the new normal is here at last. Some surprises along the way but our extensive planning made it go fairly smoothly so far. Now on to the not unusual challenges of retirement, aged relatives and everyday living!


  1. It appears you have made tremendous progress Juhli! Of course, you now have yet another big adjustment to go through - that of your spouse joining you in retirement. It's a big one, so don't be surprised if you find yourselves on a bit of a rollercoaster at some point, which if you do is totally normal!

    We would love to host the two of you at some point as you begin to branch out and away from settling in, so keep that in mind. It would be terrific fun to finally meet in person, plus my spouse can probably give your spouse some good pointers on how to fully make the work-to-retirement transition. He made a much better and faster transition than even I did!

    1. Thank you Tamara! We are a bit constrained by how long our dog can be left alone but might be able to make that work out or next time you are near Ventura we can meet up.

  2. You are on a great track with your retirement, in cutting expenses, moving closer to relatives, finding new activities. I retired in 2009, a wonderful decision.

    1. Thanks. We are saying "so far, so good" and trying to be very present in each day. Glad your retirement has been a good decision.

  3. Sounds like you have made great strides in your move! Congratulations !

    1. Thanks. It felt like we have accomplished quite a bit once I wrote it down.

  4. You've achieved a lot in six months, Juhli. Your post reflects sensible planning and organizing. Enjoy the results of your hard work!

  5. How well you’ve done. Planning your move and future so well hasmeant it has all worked out so far. We did the same but used up our profit from downsizing with all the alterations and replacement fixtures in our new house. However the house is as I want it and nothing major should be needed for the next 20 years or so. Good luck for the future

    1. It sounds wonderful to have your home just as you want it! We haven't redone ours because we expect only to live here while my FIL is alive and because we bought one that was fairly current in flooring, kitchen and master bath. Who knows how long we will really live here though.

  6. Juhli, this is phenomenal! I think tackling all the home repairs and renovations during this busy time would have been overwhelming for anyone else, but you are so good at planning and follow-through.

    1. Thanks! I have learned though that many new residents in this community are moving in and completely remodeling or doing it before they move. We just weren't up to that and fortunately found a unit that didn't need new floors, kitchen or master bath.


An ordinary week - Thriving Week 24

Nice summer cut Appointments were all completed - dog grooming, haircut, arborist, Pilates.  Simplified and reduced my Amazon subscription o...