Newest life journey – week one cabin update

Image result for quotes keys

newest life journey
Key to cabin, Photo by slc

Day #2  This key finally opened the locked well-worn cabin door and now I hold the key to my newest life journey!

Today, I pulled thistles, raked and picked up bags and bags of small tree limbs and dry tall grasses before my son-in-law arrived to help with grass trimming around the 3/4 acre property.  He also removed cabinet doors from inside the cabin.  We wanted to open up everything so we could set off a Raid Max Deep Reach Fogger before we left for the day.  Several unwanted creatures live in old, abandoned mountain cabins.  Mice and squirrels have left signs of their visits to my cabin but the most unwanted creatures right now are the black widow spiders; we found two today.

newest life journey
1945 Magazine, Photo by slc

We also found a treasure today: an August 1945 edition of the We The People of North Carolina magazine.  In it are some pretty interesting articles.  One titled “Teachers’ New Salary Schedule” describes “minimum state salary schedule adopted for payment of all teachers next year, both white and Negro.”  A teacher with a graduate degree and two years experience would receive an annual salary of $1,487 which “includ(es) the $120 war bonus.”

Other articles titled “An Overall Picture of War-Time America” and “Federal Spending Down” reflect America’s history back in 1945.  The magazine was in good condition and made for fascinating reading at the end of the day.

Day #3

newest life journey
Permit, Photo by slc

I didn’t get up to the cabin today but I did attend a gathering of Big Thompson Canyon residents to pick up a permit.  The Canyon will be closed October 2nd for winter CDOT construction projects which are necessary to repair damage sustained in the 2013 Big Thompson River flooding.  According to CDOT’s press release the permit will “allow canyon residents living within the closure boundaries access” during the “large-scale closure.”

My cabin happens to be on the other side of the road closure but I was able to get a permit so I at least have limited access through the Canyon.  I can also access the cabin at other times but by a much further route through Lyons and Estes Park.  This closure will cause us to halt most work on the cabin as contractors will charge more to deal with the closure/permit situation.

The Canyon road, Highway 34, will reopen Memorial Day weekend 2018.

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“Adventure is out there”

I watched the wonderful Disney Pixar movie “UP” for the first time Saturday evening with my three grandchildren. They picked it out.  It is a touching love story about dreams and adventures.  Part way through my almost four-year-old grandson Dylan looked up at me and sweetly said, “I hope you never die Nannie.”  I hugged him and reassured him by saying, “I don’t plan to anytime soon.”

If you haven’t seen this animated movie, here is a preview of the love story that begins the adventure.  Losing a spouse is sad, but life and adventure goes on.  It is an inspirational movie.  (Note:  The book title in English reads: My Adventure Book.)

If you have seen the movie, please leave me a comment with your thoughts.

LLR’s First Anniversary

Retirement is very much about building a new life, mostly from the ground up and usually without much help.  That’s what makes it such a challenge.

Today, is the first anniversary of the launching of the Living Life Retired (LLR) website.  It is also my 58th birthday.  I was reluctantly invited into retirement two years ago when I found myself in an uncomfortable work situation with few options.  I took early retirement as a “way out” and a new challenge began.  first anniversary

Retirement is definitely an adjustment.  The authors of The Retirement Maze: What You Should Know Before and After You Retire describe retirement as having four phases: honeymoon, disenchantment, reorientation and stability.  After two years, I believe I have recently entered the stability stage.

“Through the process of reorientation, retirees eventually come to terms and feel comfortable with the idea of being retired.  At this point, the retiree has developed an alternative lifestyle that does not include work as a primary component.  In addition, he or she will have abandoned the work role as a primary means of self-definition.  New roles and patterns of living are likely to have developed, with routines and goals established to provide meaning and direction to their lives.”

Over this past year as the founder and author of LLR, I have learned more than just WordPress in an attempt to provide inspiration and information to the solo retirement community.  I have learned about myself and I what it means to be happy in retirement.  Spending time making memories with my grandchildren, corresponding with former students on Facebook, helping others in my neighborhood, writing, flowers,

first anniversary<This magnet on my refrigerator says it all.  The simple message is how I am trying to live my life in retirement.

What makes me happy on this special anniversary and birthday? Spending time with my three grandchildren while making memories, writing, photography, corresponding with former students on Facebook, planting flowers, helping people in my community, and hiking.  I thank God for these opportunities and blessings and I look forward to the challenges for growth ahead.

Thank you for being a part of it all!

 

“Do you have the guts to take on a fixer upper?”

Joanna and Chip Gaines begin their hit show Fixer Upper on HGTV each week with that question.  I love their show and others which depict people taking on a fixer upper property and making it into something wonderful.  You might say I’m addicted!

taking on a fixer upper
Photo by slc

So, to answer the question, “Do you have the guts to take on a fixer upper?”  My answer is yes, I do!  This week I successfully negotiated a contract on a fixer upper in the mountains about 40 minutes from my home.

The original cabin with a stone fireplace was built in 1938.  It is a one room structure built on a stone foundation.  In 1989, former owners crudely built an attached two-story addition to the cabin.  This addition was not permitted and later deteriorated beyond livability.  The cabin has electricity but no running water or septic.  It has a primitive outhouse up the hill for the owner’s convenience.

So why am I buying this property?

First, I can afford it and it is a good investment.  The property was listed “as is” for $98,900.  I offered $85,000 and the sellers accepted.  Other fixer uppers we have looked at have been listed around $200,000 with major work needed. Mountain properties in the area typically go for $120,000 and up for smaller lots and cabins.  Once I fix this property up as now planned, we could probably list it for over $200,000.  The financial risk of taking on a fixer upper at this price is fairly minimal.

Second, it could become a source of income.  I am hopeful demolition, rebuilding and restoration will be completed by about August 1st next year.  At that time, I would like to offer it as a Vacation Rental By Owner, VRBO.  The property is near the Estes Park area and I would market it to people who are looking for a quiet place in the woods for their short-term stay.

taking on a fixer upper
photo by slc

Next, the thought of being the general contractor on this project is exciting.  I have already learned a lot from visiting with the planners at the county building department, a structural engineer and visiting websites on codes, permits and even sealed vaults for septic.   Designing the new structure will probably be my favorite part of the process.  I have already drawn a rough sketch of the proposed layout of the new addition.  Fun stuff!

Lastly, I have always (since about seventh grade) wanted a home in the woods.  Since moving to Colorado over 20 years ago I have wanted a  cabin in the mountains.  Since I have a passion for taking on a fixer upper and I have always wanted a cabin in the woods, this one is a pretty good fit.

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“Retire to something rather than from something”

retire to something
Donna Skeels Cygan

Prepare psychologically for retirement

By Donna Skeels Cygan / Invest in Joy

July 16th, 2017

“Is Sunday evening the best part of your week? Many recent retirees tell me they savor their Sunday evenings, because they are no longer stressed about going to work on Monday morning.

Today’s article covers how to prepare psychologically for retirement. Next month’s will cover how to prepare financially for retirement.

Mitch Anthony recommends that we strive to retire to something rather than retire from something in his book The New Retirementality. This may be a play on words, but it reinforces the importance of preparing for retirement.

The days when a man retired at age 65 and died at age 67 are long gone. We now have 25- to 30-year retirements for men and women. Retirement is a major phase of our life, and it is important to plan properly. Use the following steps as a roadmap to a joyful retirement.

  • Ponder your retirement
  • Add some structure
  • Embrace change
  • Plan something special.”

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Donna Skeels Cygan, CFP, MBA, is the author of “The Joy of Financial Security.” She has been the owner and financial planner for her own firm in Albuquerque for 19 years. 

“Strolling down retirement road”

strolling down retirement road
etsy.com

Retirement Truths

by Dave Bernard, LoveBeingRetired.com

June 7, 2017

“Before you retire you will hear all kinds of stories of what it is like to live the life of a full time retiree. Whether it’s Uncle Bob sharing stories of how much the world has changed (typically for the worse) or Grandma Williams reliving those most special moments from past decades, words of wisdom are seldom lacking. Many describe initial struggles adapting to new roles as they leave behind full time employment. Most share their new found excitement discovering the joy of controlling how you spend your time. A few may explicitly outline what not to do if you hope for a fulfilling retirement experience. Everyone has a story and everyone has advice.

Living your own retirement is a very personal journey. You will be the one making important decisions along the way. Should there be a fork in the road you choose which path to follow….

Here are some words of wisdom shared by those strolling down the retirement road.

  • It’s not just about money
  • Adjusting to retirement can take time
  • Don’t wait too long to pursue your dreams
  • It is up to each of us to find ways to say engaged
  • The future is bright.”

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My first major retirement/remodeling project…

Retirement/Remodeling Project–You Can Do This!

When I purchased my home in 2013 I did so knowing I would have some remodeling projects to do.  My first major retirement/remodeling projects was changing the 1977 fireplace surround and popcorn ceiling in my family room. Below is the before picture taken by the seller’s realtor…

retirement/remodeling project

My son-in-law who lives about 25 miles away and I removed the painted tile fireplace surround and the painted cedar wood slats above it right after I moved in.  We, or should I say he, removed the side box for wood storage and the drywall above it (with my permission). Then it stayed that way, open studs and all, for about two years.

I began the remodeling project by stripping the paint off of the wooden beams on the ceiling.  This took a bit of time and elbow grease.  A lot of the white paint was embedded in the grain of the wood.  After several coats of Citristrip stripping gel, a scraper and a nail, it was ready to be stained the original dark walnut color.  I filled the beam joints next to the walls with sealant (I used brown DAP window, door and trim sealant).

Next, my son-in-law hung some drywall and cement board for me.  We only had to add a bit of framing as we kept the original fireplace framing.  Then I taped, mudded and textured the new drywall with all-purpose joint compound and a spray can of knockdown.  I had used knockdown in the past to help a friend patch some of his walls.  Easy enough. Painting was next…I’ve had lots of experience with painting and I enjoy it.  It makes such a difference right away.

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