Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Retirement...What it is and What it Isn't

It's now been 3 months and 7 days since I left the ranks of the employed. During the final months of my time with the Foreign Service, I had ups and downs when thinking about not working in a short time.  But when the time grew near, I was ready.  The last couple of weeks were stressful in Karachi, Pakistan.  About 13 days before the day I was to depart post, the bad guys attacked the airport.  Lockdown!  Each day I prayed that I would safely get to the airport, safely wait at the airport and safely get off the ground.  As it turned out, I did have a safe take off and after a couple of days in Santorini, Greece and a week of out-processing in Washington, I arrived home July 1 as a retiree.

I'm still not used to waking up and laying there realizing that I didn't have anywhere to go.  Well, that would depend on my To Do list, but I had no job to report to.  Every day is Saturday.  I guess I'll get used to it one day.

Back to that To Do list.  Good grief...I don't know how I ever did things when I had to work.  Every evening I update the list, moving the things that I didn't get done that day to the list for the next day.  I must admit a great bit of the things on my list have to do with selling on eBay (which is wonderful and great fun) and trying to start a bathroom renovation.  Finding a reliable contractor, one who will communicate with you and will do it for a reasonable price is not easy. And all that I've read about people getting fleeced has made me really cautious. I'm sure I'll find someone...I already have the piece of furniture that will be the vanity base, have ordered the granite top, have bought the sink and faucet and I have a gorgeous mirror that I bought in Honduras that will replace the awful wall-to-wall mirror there now.  Pictures to follow when it's all done.

So for any of you out there wondering just what us retirees do with ourselves once we no longer have to report to work...we still work but for ourselves!!

I love it.  I love that every day is now Saturday.  But I do depend on others to tell me which day of the week it is!

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Necklace + Lanyard = Necklard

I am aware that many of my readers are in the Foreign Service and wear badges to work.  I make gemstone necklaces and lanyards.  My lanyards are a bit longer so that at the end of the day, if you go out, you can remove your badge, wrap the lanyard around your neck twice and it's a lovely necklace. When I was in Muscat, my friend Cheri came up with the name Necklards and it stuck.

I wanted to let you know that I now sell them on Etsy.  While serving overseas, I couldn't do this because it's against regulations to profit by using the DPO mail.  But now that I'm retired (yippeee!) I have started up making more and selling them on Etsy.  I'm also going to take a sample with me to every doctor's appointment and give it to the Office Manager (and make her promise to wear it!).  If someone has a color scheme for their favorite pro team, office colors or their kid's soccer team, I can take special orders.

Anyway, I am tooting my own horn, waving my own banner or whatever phrase you want to use, but hey...I'm retired now and can get away with much more!

Here's my Etsy link...  
and here's a couple of samples.  Christmas is coming and I have about 50 beaded necklaces as well.  More added each day!

Green Malaysian Jade, Adventurine

Red Agate

Magnesite and Silver Plated Beads

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Things I Won't Miss About Life in the Foreign Service

It's been 2 months since I retired from the Foreign Service and I've come up with a few things that I will not miss about the wonderful life I had for 6 years.

Eating food that expired more than 12 months ago. Some was not bad, others were gross.

EERs...the State Department's annual employee review. Having to brag on what you did that was part of your job was something we all dreaded every year. Then it went all the way back to Washington for some stranger to decide if we deserved a promotion. 

Bidding for your next assignment...the experience from hell and the major cause of excessive use of hair color for women (to cover the gray hairs it caused).

Looking down at your plate at a restaurant and wondering just what the mystery meat was that you were about to eat.  And making sure you have lots of Pepto and Imodium at home.

Having to drink bottled water not because you liked it better but because the stuff coming out of the tap tasted terrible, was full of bacteria or was gray instead of clear.

Frying your 110 appliances because you plugged them into a 220 socket.  Not all appliances are 110-240, even the new Keurig you bought. Beware Keurig fans!  And lugging around the 20 lb step-down transformer from room to room.

"Hey, does anyone have two 500s for a 1000 bill?"

"They attacked the airport...again??"

Middle of the night drills over the loudspeaker in your residence..."Duck and Cover! Get away from the windows!  Take cover and wait for further instructions!!"  I loved my Marines but have much better ways of being woken up in the middle of the night...

Having multiple zip lock bags with different currencies around the world...and remembering to pack them when I went to that country.

Flying Coach for 14 hours, wedged between 2 overweight passengers who couldn't help but use some of my space.  Or someone kicking my chair for hours because they like to wiggle their leg to keep from getting a blood clot.  

Being ordered out of post because of a threat "for just a week or so" and then never returning.  Strangers then pack up all your worldly possessions for you.

I'm sure my friends in the Foreign Service have lists of their own...feel free to share!  But let me make this clear...I absolutely loved the time I served overseas but now must laugh at the things I won't miss.  The list of things and people I will miss forever is much longer. But that's for another post.  

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

My Pasttime...

Now that I've retired I can (hopefully) begin selling some of the over 400 necklaces I've made over the past 4 years while living in Oman and Pakistan. I've had a website showing them and you can order something from there. The site is  I also have an Etsy shop but it is "on vacation" right now. That site is   Check there for designs soon.

Payment is very easy with PayPal.

My prices are very reasonable and some of the beads I use in my designs were picked up during my travels abroad.  Thanks!  If you have a favorite gemstone, let me know and I can design an original just for you!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Retirement...I have arrived!

I am in a happy place.  It's called Retirement and even thinking about it puts a smile on my face.

I touched down in Washington DC on June 23, after spending a wonderful 2 days on the island of Santorini.  Two days was just perfect to spend time unwinding from a stressful final 2 weeks in Karachi, where I prayed every night that I would be able to leave on time.  The Taliban attacked the airport there 2 times and I was really afraid that it would happen again.  I worried during the speedy trip to the airport.  I worried while I sat for 2 hours in the airport.  I worried when the plane was taking off.  I quit worrying when I landed in Athens.  I no longer worry.

While in Washington, I had to go through an extensive medical check up.  I want to be added to the list of people interested in being contacted for temporary duty (TDY) assignments, so I had to update my medical clearance.  After being prodded and stuck with needles and my departure date from DC looming, I said I would complete all the appointments when I arrived in Fort Worth.  Tomorrow is my final appointment and I'll get a very thorough 'clean bill of health.'  It's nice to know that at age 65, all systems are go!

I'm gradually getting settled in my new home.  So far, I've received 3 of the 4 shipments, one being my car that was in storage for 2 years.  There was some damage to the outside of the car, probably done when it was shipped out of Muscat, Oman, but my insurance will cover that.  Apparently it wasn't tied down well and there are scratches all across the very front of the roof and a dent the size of my fist which is rusted.  Once repaired, it will be fine.  A word to the wise...while serving overseas, get Clements Insurance and don't drop it until all your things arrive in good shape!

The last shipment should be here this week.  That shipment includes the items I was using in Karachi.  What I have now are things I haven't seen in either 4 years or 2 years.  Lots of clothes have been taken to Goodwill!  Fortunately lots of them still fit me, but I really look forward to getting this shipment.  It includes the Rosewood bedroom furniture I had made in Karachi.  And since I am sleeping on my mattress on the floor in my bedroom, I am anxious to receive this shipment.  My Keurig coffee maker, my Kitchenaid mixer, the rest of my rugs and so much more are in that shipment.  Then I can get all the clothes put away and really get my house in order!

A couple of home improvement projects will keep me busy for a while.  I want to take out a sliding glass door leading to the back yard and put a french door in instead.  I also want to do a bit of remodeling on my bathroom.  Projects are good things.

I still am not used to the fact that I don't have to go to work.  Every day is now Saturday for me.  I still have lots to do on my house but when that's all done, will I be bored?  I don't think so.  I want to start selling on eBay again and have a few friends who want me to sell their stuff.  I want to find a good way to market my jewelry as I have over 400 necklaces ready to sell.  I've had a website where I have photos of them but so far, not tried to really sell them.  That website is in case you're curious.  I also have over 10,000 photographs from my travels around the world that I would love to somehow earn a few dollars on.  I have another website with some of those and it's  I'm not sure if I want to market my photos somehow or get in some sort of business of taking pictures.  Lots to think about.

But right now, I need to think about getting dressed and starting the day!

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Into the Teens...

I've never been one to 'wish my life away' but lately, I've been counting the days down to wheels up on June 19th, my last day to serve in the Foreign Service.  For the past 6 years, I've served in Honduras, Oman and Pakistan and my days as a Diplomat are rapidly coming to an end.  I am now 19 days to the end of one chapter and into another...the status of Rowdy Retiree.  

My first job was when I was 15 years old.  I got a job at our local department store in Coronado, California where I grew up.  I worked as one of the 2 gift wrappers during the Christmas holidays.  When I got my first paycheck, I went around the store spending the entire check on Christmas gifts for my mother.  The owner, who knew my mother, was so, well, upset, that he called her.  "Fae," he said, "Debi just spent her entire paycheck on Christmas presents for you!"  I guess he thought that maybe I wasn't being very fiscally responsible.  Of course my mother was crushed that I didn't keep any of the money for myself.  I did what I wanted to do and my gift was seeing her happy with what I bought for her.  Since then, I've worked nearly all my life except for 5 years when I had my kids and stayed home with them until they were both in school.  It's time for a change.

I'm really excited about returning home to Fort Worth.  I can't wait to get settled in my new house and knowing I won't have to pack up again in 2 years is a big plus.  I see lots of trips to the nursery in my future, buying plants for my back yard. I want perennials and a vegetable garden and a patio and a cover for it much to do!  

With all my travels, I've bought lots of things...artwork, rugs, furniture.  I hope I have enough room for everything.  I've also framed several of my photographs from my trips.  And as for my rugs...I'll be changing out rugs with the seasons!  

So tomorrow I will say 18 more days.  Then 17, then 16...and before I know it, I'll be zipping up my suitcases the night of June 19th.  Saying goodbye to this job will be hard, but welcoming a completely new lifestyle will be easy.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Countdown to Wheels Up

34 days and counting.  Things are falling into place and when June 20 rolls around, I'll be out of here.  As a gift to myself, I'm taking a side trip to the Greek island of Santorini for 3 days, then onward to the good old U.S.A.  This trip through a mine field called Retirement from the Department of State has been a challenge every step of the way.  As frustrated as I have gotten many times, I think things will work out.

One of the biggest things was to make sure I was financially ready to retire. We all hope and pray that when that time comes we'd be ready.  With the State Department, once you reach the age of 65, you are out.  Mandatory retirement. For the past 6 years, I've dreaded June 30, 2014, the last day I would work as a Foreign Service Diplomat.  But as time went by, I began to embrace the idea.  I will miss the travel, living overseas and meeting wonderful people and of course, the bi-weekly paycheck!  But I think I'm ready to enter the next chapter of my life as a Rowdy Retiree.  So many of my retired friends have said that they are busier in retirement than they were when they were working.

The whole time I've been at this job, I'm managed to max out my contribution to the government's version of a 401(k), called the Thrift Savings Plan.  It is really a very generous plan, envied by many.  If you aren't contributing the maximum amount, you are really missing out.  That's true with any company sponsored 401(k).  I've also been contributing to the catch up part as well as putting a fixed amount into my personal Roth IRA.  If all this sounds like a foreign language to you, I suggest you begin educating yourself on financial planning.  Your retirement will be here before you know it.  There are plenty of websites that can inform you about IRAs and saving.  My favorite is Fidelity's site,  This site will explain, in very simple terms, about IRAs.  Take the time to meet with a reputable financial planner so that your pathway to retirement gets started out on the right foot.  The sooner you start, the better.  I wish I had started years ago!

I went home to Fort Worth, Texas the first 2 weeks in May.  My goal was to find and buy a house while I was there.  Fortunately I was able to do this and am now a homeowner once again.   I am very lucky to have such a good friend that I could entrust with any and all details following the purchase of my house since I had to return to Pakistan.  Delta may not have known what she was agreeing to when she said she would help out.  But she's been wonderful!  I had  a power of attorney drawn and she was there for the closing on my house, signing my life away!  She has had to deal with selling the stove, getting the plumbing inspected and finding someone to mow my yard! These are times when you appreciate good friends, and she is one of the best.

In the meantime, I'm enjoying my final 34 days in Karachi, Pakistan. I know that sounds crazy, but I really have enjoyed my time here.  Two years in Pakistan is a long time and not for everyone, but for me, it made it possible to put a large down payment on my house, making my mortgage very affordable. Danger pay will help do that.  

I've had many 'firsts' during the last 6 years.  Recently, the consulate held a Family Day for the local staff.  I held a snake for the first time.  

And the last time.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Winding Down

As expected, I have mixed emotions about leaving the Foreign Service. As the days and weeks go by and I approach my June 20 departure date from Karachi, I've reflected on the good times I've had and how those memories will be with me forever.  I'll miss so much of this lifestyle when I make my transition to retired person.  But I'm also excited about returning to Texas and now that I finally heard that I am a homeowner once again, I am thinking about what all I will now have time to do in that house to put my stamp on it.  I know all my carpets will look beautiful on the floors.  I was lucky to find a house with no/no wall to wall carpet, so I won't have to rip anything up!
These past 6 years have been so good; I don’t even know where to start listing what I’ll miss when I return to a normal life.  Probably the biggest thing I’ll miss is working with the local staff at the posts…Tegucigalpa, Muscat and Lahore.  Unless you are exposed to other cultures and people in other countries, you can’t appreciate how much I will miss this part of my job.  Living in America, we tend to believe that our way is the best way, the only way and any other ‘way’ is unacceptable.  This is totally not the case. I've learned so much from the Hondurans, Omanis and Pakistanis.  Not only do you learn that there’s more than one way to do something, depending on your circumstances, what supplies you have to work with and the skills you have to get the job done, you also learn that that your way may not be the best for all.  And the way of doing business around the world is amazing.  When I was in Oman as well as here in Pakistan, I would look at carpets…gorgeous, expensive hand knotted carpets.  There would be 30 carpets unrolled in front of me and the shop keeper would say…”Take some home with you and see how you like them.”  Hey, we’re talking over $1000 per carpet and this man is telling me to just take a few home.  “Pay me later”, he says…”or bring them back.  It’s OK.”  Of course, they knew that once you got it home, you’d fall in love with it even more and the carpet would never be returned.  You would go back the next day or week with cash in hand, thanking him profusely for letting you take them home to see just how you liked them.  Can you see Macy’s doing that?  Heck no.  There’s also a place in Islamabad who would sell items and, knowing we were diplomats and would be leaving in a year or 2, would buy back the items you had bought (less a small percentage) when you moved on if you decided you didn't want to keep them.  It’s kind of like a rental service for local items without having to keep them forever if you don’t want to.  This helps you avoid the problem of accumulating a ton of things at each post around the world.  After a 20 year career, I can imagine a home looking like a museum!

What will I not miss?  That list deals mostly with the quality of life.  It will be nice to be able to drink the water from the tap again.  I will love being in the same time zone as friends.  Being able to pick up the phone and call my doctor, insurance company, or whoever it might be that I have a problem with instead of waiting a week for emails to bounce back and forth.  And I will not miss being chauffeured around!  I can’t wait to get my car back!  And I won't have to soak my vegetables in bleach water.  

There’s another thing that I’ll have to deal with when I return home.  I've had the greatest opportunity to travel the world and see things that most people never get the chance to see…and experience things that others will never experience.  I’ll have to be very careful to not go on and on about my travels and experiences when with friends.  I have photo books with photos I've taken that I’ll leave out and if people ask, I will be happy to talk about my travels.  I may need to find an outlet for my love of places I've been…maybe the library or schools that sponsor things like this where I can share my experiences.  As much as I want to share where I've been and what I've seen, I don’t want to bore my friends.  I can see their eyes rolling and them thinking…’here she goes again.’

I can’t wait for what’s in store for me…

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Carpets and rugs...Rugs and carpets

Many of my friends have asked me about the carpets/rugs I've acquired over the 4 years I've served in the Middle East.  I decided it would be a good thing to build another blog with pictures of them and a bit of information on each one.  This serves 2 purposes.  One, it is a great way for me to share my love of these things and it's also a great way to catalog them so I never forget the information about them.  I've also tried to share knowledge on hand knotted rugs/carpets, writing a bit about each one.  And you can read when it's a rug and when it's a carpet there too along with other bits of information about this wonderful craft.

I will be flying home tonight (3/31) for my final R&R and my time will be consumed with looking for and buying a home to move into when I return to Fort Worth as a retiree July 1, 2014.  Having little to no carpets in the house is at the top of the list.  My 27 rugs/carpets will look beautiful on the floors!

You can find my blog, Irresistible Temptations, Once I upload all of my carpets, I'll add other things I just couldn't leave behind! 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Preparing for Re-entry

Much of my time lately has been spent thinking about how my life will change after I retire from the Foreign Service.  I start out thinking about what I will miss once I no longer have the opportunity to travel around the world…and what I won’t miss.  Then I think about things I will once again enjoy once I’m back in Texas, as well as the things I will once again have to pay for.  Then I’ll start looking through all my notes and emails I’ve printed out (sorry trees) and wonder just what will slip through the cracks and not get done in time.  The list of names of people I’ve been referred to for answers in Washington is long and through persistence and plain old stubbornness, I have become quite the pest.  At this point, I reach for another glass of wine.

Last week a huge problem was solved.  One of my worries was how I was going to get my car from Washington to Fort Worth, Texas.  It’s been in storage there since April 2012 and because of my status here in Pakistan (Temporary Duty out of DC), I am not entitled to have my car shipped with the hundreds of pounds of household effects that are also in DC in storage.  About 2 weeks ago I began to work on this.  Think of this…the car has been in storage for over 2 years. It has no plates on it as I bought it in Texas and immediately had it shipped to Oman. My Texas driver license will expire before I even arrive in DC.  And at age 65, the thought of driving halfway across the country was giving me major concern.  After explaining my case to my CDO (Career Development Officer) in DC, she gave me the name of a person to send an email to.  I did this.  He asked me to send a copy of my driver’s license…I’m sure this was to make sure I was being totally honest about it being expired.  The next morning when I checked my email, there it was…an email from him saying he would approve shipping my car.  Victory!  It was so nice to check that box and not have to worry about the cost of shipping it.  I'll have enough ‘costs’ as it is when I return without having to worry about shipping costs for my car.  Score one for Debi!

In a week I’ll be home getting ready to go house hunting for my new permanent home. I can’t wait…I've lived the life of world traveler long enough.  Time to settle down…again.  

Earlier this month, we had Family Day at the Consulate. It was a great day.  I did 2 things I've never done before...I held a snake and made cotton candy.  The picture below was the teaser one with the handler holding the snake.  I did finally open my hand and held it...

And the cotton candy, first I've had in years, was real tasty!

Saturday, February 15, 2014


Today is February 15.  That means that it’s 45 days until I fly home for my last R&R.  And it also means that in 136 days, I will leave the ranks of the fully employed.  Yes, the State Department, for many reasons, forces us out when we reach the magical age of 65.  Since March 31, 2008, I have dreaded the day that I no longer have to use a password for every one of my devices, computers and access to my office.  This has been a dream job for me and my only regret is that I didn't discover it sooner.  

The Department of State puts out information for those retiring and it starts out telling you what to do one year from retirement.  Well, that’s hogwash!  Take notice…you should be preparing for retirement the day you punch the first time card of your first job.  I've done a fairly good job of preparing to be on a fixed income but I’m the first to admit I could have done much better.  If your employer offers a 401(k) or any type of savings plan, participate in it to the fullest extent you can.  Don’t think that you can always do it later.  “Later” will be here before you know it.  Starting early (and sticking with it) will give you a better chance of not outliving your money.  I've been reading all the documents I've saved over the past year on retirement and that phrase is scary.  "Outliving your money."  I've plugged in several ages when they ask for ‘life expectancy.’  One table had me running out of money at age 90, another at 98.  My dad passed away at age 97, my mom at 56.  Options are spend less, make more money or dye young!  I hope I have lots and lots of my dad’s genes running through my body that will help me slide into old age gracefully and for a long time with a good quality of life.  So if that happens, just how long will it take me to run out of money?  I sure don’t want to entirely depend on either of my children in my advanced years.  After taking very hard looks at my finances and deciding that I want to just work part time, I think I've saved enough to supplement my Social Security check and the annuity I’ll get from my government service.  The message here (in case you've just been skimming) is to SAVE as much as you can while you can. 

So just how will I exist beginning July 1?  I hope to find a part time job that will make me happy.  For 6 years, I've loved getting up and going to work, which is more than I can say for a couple of the jobs I've previously held.  I've always lived well within what I earned and am not extravagant. And I sure need to be able to take a couple of trips a year to Hawaii to see my son and grandsons.  That’s a must. A full time job just won’t allow me that time away. I’ll also go back to hitting the estate sales, picking up great bargains and selling them on Ebay.  I did that while I waited to hear about my job with State and loved it.  It’s addicting!  You can make some good money doing that.  I’ll also look for ways to make money using my love of photography.  Besides selling the photos online, I’d love to find a way to photograph special events, like birthdays and anniversaries and then present the photos in books.  And there are also the 350+ necklaces that I've been making in my spare time over the last 3 years.  We can’t use our DPO (Diplomatic Post Office) mail to earn money so I've had to wait until I retire to really begin marketing them.  I do have a website with just photos ( and soon, I can add more information, including prices and a way to order them.  Or I can sell them through Etsy or Ebay.  And finally, I've signed up for the State Department’s program for retirees.  In an effort to not lose all our experience and knowledge gained in our years of service when we retire, we can get on a call list and be offered short term assignments.  Could be a month or up to 4 months, I believe.  We can sign up for domestic, overseas or both.  There are many advantages to this, one being we get the same salary rate that we had when we retired.  And that’s a very good thing.

All in all, I think I’m going to be just fine.  This is a comfort to me but it’s still a huge change in my life and I hope I’m up for the challenge.  There are some things I’m not looking forward to…seeing guys with their pants hanging around their knees, women with their boobs exposed in skimpy clothes and the whole list of expenses I've not had for 6 years.   But, the trade-off is that I can drink the tap water, buy meat that’s really beef and not probably water buffalo and be able to work in a garden again. 

It’s the little things in life that matter.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Anticipation...Not Just A Song

Anticipation.  Webster's defines it as the action of looking forward to something.  As children, we all learned well what anticipation was.  We anticipated Christmas.  We anticipated our birthdays. We anticipated summer vacation.  This anticipation thing soon turned into anticipation of our driver's test.  A final exam. A first kiss.

Right now, I'm in a huge State of Anticipation.  Five months from today, I will spend my final day in Pakistan.  In a little over 2 months, I'll head back to Texas to try to accomplish the impossible.

During those 14 days, I  need to look for a house and buy it, hoping for a closing date in early July when I return for good.  I also have appointments to see my dentist, ophthalmologist and financial adviser. Throw in a visit to the Social Security Administration to find out what my benefit will be and you can come close to feeling my pain.  To add to this, I've begun making a list of everything I will have to start paying for once I'm a normal citizen again. In the Foreign Service when you are assigned abroad, housing and many expenses are provided for you. Those expenses will now return to me.  It wouldn't be so bad if I was still earning my current salary!  Pen to paper, I've tried to estimate expenses, income and just what the minimum I will need to live comfortably.  How much can I afford for a house?  Can I get by with just a part time job?  Not knowing what my exact monthly income will be makes it difficult to estimate anything!  As you can imagine, my anticipation level is quite high. Closer to a stress level.

I anticipate I will be just fine.  I've always lived well within my means and things won't change when I retire. I just want to be able to afford a few visiting my son and his family in Hawaii a couple of times a year.  Like going out to dinner when I feel like it.  Like not having to say "no" to myself for a new pair of shoes.  We all hear the stories about people who didn't plan well for their retirement years.  I hope I've done a decent job.  I plan on getting a part time job and hope it will be enough for me to live comfortably.  Time will tell.

I anticipate lots of challenges ahead but also anticipate I will be just fine. 

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

A New Year...New Plans

Happy 2014!!
New Year's celebration in Pakistan
I survived New Year's Eve here in Karachi.  For the first time in many years, I partied.  And this morning, my head is reminding me why I decided years ago to not party.  Oy.  But I thought I would start the year off right by writing on my blog.  And with the big change that will occur for me in 2014, I wanted to get off to a good start.

2014.  It’s a year I’ve been talking about for 7 years.  It was 2007 when I decided to apply to the Foreign Service as a Specialist.  And due to mandatory retirement, I only had time for 3 two year tours, with no time for language training or anything else that would cut into those 3 tours.   It’s a decision I’ve never regretted.  Well, the only regret is that I didn’t do it years sooner.  I had this “Six Year Plan” and with just one little hiccup, it’s gone according to schedule.  I will retire in June with 6 years, 3 months service to my country. I’ve saved like a mad woman and will be able to do just fine with just a part time job when I retire.  Youngsters, take note.  Start saving NOW for retirement because it will be upon you before you know it.  And at age 65, you sure don’t want to have to look for full time employment because you have to.  It’s one thing if you're young at heart, mind and body, but if all you want to do is retire, it’s a real bummer if, due to finances, you must work full time.

The end of March, I’ll fly home to Texas to buy a house.  Is it possible to look for, find and buy a house in 2 weeks?  I think I can make it happen.  And I need a realtor who realizes the very little work involved and is willing to take a reduced commission. I mean, why not?  Usually people drag their realtor around every weekend for months, looking at dozens of houses.  And they really earn their commission.  Not me…I’ll only have 14 days in town to buy a house so that I can close on it when I return to Texas July 1.  I’ve already been looking at houses for sale online and think the task is completely doable.  Let’s hope I’m right.  Even though I’ll only need a very small mortgage, I still need to be able to put something down on the application for income.  So I have to buy it while I’m still employed. 

2014.  It’s also a year when I pledge to spend more time with my grandsons in Hawaii.  I’ve only been able to visit them once a year and with the miles I’ve accumulated on American Airlines with all my travel, it will mean a few flights to Hawaii. 

So, bring it on! I’m ready for 2014 and all the lifestyle changes it will bring.  

Ringing in 2014 in New York