After all of the counting down the days, with lots of help from my co-workers, retirement finally came. A lot of packing (mostly done by Lynn), a few days of garage sales (I don't know why anyone has them), and all the stuff that didn't sell went to Value Village to ease the burdens of the less fortunate. Of course, that also saved us a pile of coin when it came time to move everything.
All that remained was for the movers to come and cart all of our stuff away and they did it very efficiently and professionally, I have to say. Our last night in our house was spent on an inflatable bed (that's an experience, especially with the dogs) and before we knew it, it was time to pack up the truck, say goodbye to Carl and Heather (our great neighbors) and hit the road.
Four nights and five days on the road, flew by, even with the hotel stays with the dogs (another interesting concept) but Lynn, as usual, was right and the trip was uneventful, Saskatchewan was no where near as boring to me at 50 (ok 51, soon to be 52) than it was when I first drove through it at 24. Ontario, the land of trees and OPP wasn't bad and we made it through without being stopped once, of course we drive differently now than we did then :)
A few days and nights with Mum and we were off to see the lawyer to finish up the paperwork and get our key to the house. I was about to see the house up close and personal for the first time. We had driven by a couple of times watching the owners move out but that wasn't the same.
In we went and Lynn was right, it was beautiful and warm and cozy even without anything in it. We would have to do something about that. Let the shopping begin! Unlike Edmonton, things here take a little longer to get delivered and we have to wait for most things to arrive for a couple of weeks. We got most everything ordered though, the cable was hooked up shortly after our arrival but when we found out that Rogers didn't have dual tuner PVR's east of Ontario we switched to satellite. Obviously, we have internet access and I have to admit, this is some kickass connection! Faster than anything I had in Edmonton. Sorry, I get carried aways sometimes.
We arranged for the painters to paint all of the upstairs hallway bedroom and stairway. Gone are the pinks and greens and blues, all now a wonderful shade of pale.
Once we got the mattress delivered, we were good to go, although getting a king size mattress up to our bedroom was a nightmare for the delivery guys and I learned some new words in French :) Now we could actually stay in the house overnight. As we gradually moved in we noticed a couple of things that we didn't notice when we were purchasing the house, like the drawers in the kitchen that couldn't open all the way because of the knobs, dishes that couldn't fit in the cupboards because of the doors and we decided that we would have the kitchen redone along with replacing the three windows that we knew needed to be replaced. Well, you can't fit a normal window into a stone facade, so they cost more than normal, you can't replace the kitchen cupboards without redoing the flooring and once you've gone that far you might as well get the second most expensive countertop that's available for the kitchen. Needless to say, an expensive proposition but hey, we only live once. Our stuff arrived from Edmonton, and again, the movers were polite and efficient, even the aquarium made it here without damage. I was quite relieved when we got it all, after hearing all of the horror stories about movers.
We needed to get the fencing up for the dogs quickly but remember, I said that nothing here happens quickly, we needed to get the line cleared through the bush for the fencing and wouldn't you know it, but everyone was busy. Finally the fencing people sent their own people in to do the work, took a whole day of cutting and chopping. Three days after that, they showed up to put in the posts, another full day of work but the younger workers weren't kidding when they said the senior guy was a stickler for accuracy. You can stand at the corner post and look straight down and not see another post in either direction. Amazing what attentiion to detail can do. Several days later they came with the fencing material but no gates, apparently they're on a truck somewhere being delivered, however, they meshed the places where the gates will be so the dogs are fully enclosed.
Lynn got to happily cut a hole in the side of the house into the bathroom/laundryroom, to install her electronic dog door. This thing is the cats meow, the dogs get a transmitter and when when approach the door, it opens and then closes behind them. Well, is this thing ever getting a workout. Odo, surprisingly enough took to it right away (considering how particular he is about things, this was quite the surprise) but Loki had to think about it for a bit. However, they are both now happily going in and out with only Loki having difficulty carrying a bone out with him. Of course, being city dogs, they run around in the bush and woods but come out to pee and poop on the lawn.
My new stove arrived and came with a manual almost as thick as one of my game manuals and boy am I glad it did...talk about bells and whistles. We are using the bar fridge and a little microwave to round out the cooking chores. When we are closer to having the kitchen installed we will order the fridge, dishwasher and microwave/fan combo. The bar fridge and microwave can go down into the tv room in the basement then.
We had several diseased apple trees that needed to be dealt with and since I had more dandelions than I new what do to with, we opted for a landscaper to come and cut down the trees and dispose of them and while he was here we got the lawn fertilized and sprayed for weeds. That led us to have him do a patio for us in the middle of the backyard where Lynn can have her fireplace and will allow us to sit and watch the pond as well.
My brother-in-law took the pool table apart a removed most of it from the basement but he couldn't get the frame out due to the location of the stairs. The previous owner moved the stairs ahead three feet after he put the pool table down there so that they could make their shots. Needless to say we had to have a carpenter come in to move the stairs back. The bonus to that was not just the fact that we got the rest of the pool table out but that the stairs are now where they should be according to code and you can walk down the stairs without ducking.
Lynn and my sister-in-law got all of my movies unpacked and the tv room downstairs is all setup, all thats missing is the tv. Thats going to require more research and shopping.
Lynn has been a busy camper, using all of the tools that I got her for various birthdays and Xmas's, to build shelving in all of the closets. Even as I type, she is doing the shelves in the kitchen for the toy pantry. That's where all of my kitchen toys are going. The new kitchen has pantry shelving and a large spice rack pullout unit.
We bought a lawn tractor and boy, for a city boy that is quite the machine. I'm still a little leery doing the ditch in front of the house, but I'm getting quite adept at doing the rest of the yard. Someday, I'll get over two on the six speed transmission, but it's hard to light a smoke at six. I had to break down and get a gas weed whacker since the rechargeable one is good for about half of the property, three quarters if I don't do the ditch. We'll save it to use in the back, this seventeen inch swath on the new one is awesome. I'm feeling more and more like a farmer all the time :) In order to plant here, if the bed isn't raised, you need a pick ax (I now own one), to loosen up the fill to get your bushes planted. Another surprise for the city dweller. I keep hearing the Green Acres theme song playing, obviously God paying me back for making fun of Chris at work.
We have lots of birds here, as a result we have lots of bird feeders but three of them are visible right out the window by the kitchen table so we can sit and drink coffee (made with our new Tim Hortons coffee maker) and eat muffins (baked in my new oven) and watch them. It's all very relaxing.
I can drive around by myself for the most part now and still manage to find my way home. This saves Lynn from chauffeuring me around to shop which she loathes, not the driving but the shopping.
We have found a doctor here, who accepted us as patients and have applied for health care. We got our new drivers licences and licence plates for the truck (had to have a front plate holder installed), the licences look like fishing licences but I guess it's all the security features on them.
The only really weird thing about retirement, is losing track of weekdays. Since you really don't have anywhere to be, you lose track of what day it is. Right now, it's not so bad as we have deliveries coming almost every other day and other appointments which helps but once we have gotten everything delivered and caught up with doctor's appointments, it's going to be a struggle.
I don't miss the sirens, the traffic and crowded stores of Edmonton, but I do miss my neighbors and my work friends even some of the non-smokers :) However, many of them will be retiring in the next few years too, so they will also gain some appreciation for what I am talking about.
Keep in touch and I'll try to keep this updated as things go along. You can always reach me at my email address.
I think that pretty much covers everything we've been up to since we left Alberta. I'll upload photos as I do them, so that you can see what I'm talking about.