The whirlwind

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Posted by w0ep on June 27, 2019 at 5:38 am

[today’s run (planned): 3.4 miles]

As you may know, the job I’ve held for 20+ years is coming to an end. The position itself is going away sometime in the next few months. And, seeing as how I am not a spring chicken, I decided almost a year ago to get started finding another job.

I had applied for an embedded software development position in south-central Iowa with a firm called RFA Engineering. What they do is provide contract engineers to businesses. I eventually heard back from them. That particular position had been filled, but they had another position in Dubuque, Iowa for a position at the John Deere plant north of Dubuque.

I’d been looking in Iowa and also in the general area where we live in Mississippi, and also for telecommuting jobs. Dubuque is a bit far from central Iowa where I preferred, but I told them I was up for that. I had a phone interview two weeks ago. That seemed to go well. Then they asked me to come for an in-person interview.

I drove up to Des Moines on the 16th and lived with my folks, doing my telecommuting at the old homestead for Monday and Tuesday, driving up to Dubuque for my interview on Wednesday. I returned to Mississippi over Thursday and Friday. And during that time I received an offer and accepted it. On Friday I gave my 2-week notice at the old job.

On Sunday we drove 13 hours to Dubuque. Monday we looked at three houses which fit our needs, two of which were suitable. Tuesday we looked at another house, then put in an offer on the leading candidate. Wednesday we drove 13 hours back to Mississippi and heard that our offer had been accepted.

On Saturday I hope to meet with the adult son of our neighbor to show him our house in the hope that he may want to rent or even buy it. Our financial position would probably let us keep the house in Mississippi, particularly if we could rent it out. But I’m not sure we want the long distance commitment.

Also in the mix is the future of our classic books radio station. If we sell the house I’m sure the radio station itself is done. Maybe we could continue via streaming… But at this point I’m looking for simplification and the simplest answer is shutting it down. If we retain the property I could run the radio station by remote control. And it would give us added incentive to come down periodically to visit the friends and relatives.

We are doing a lot of that kind of thinking these days: trying to prioritize and simplify and organize what the core things are and what are disposable.

At this point my vision for Dubuque is to live there for 5 years or so. I don’t like the idea of signing up for yet another 30 year loan (hey I’d have it paid off when I was 90!) But our lifestyle is not conducive to rental housing. So I will need to take care of the Dubuque house to keep it marketable.

At one point in this evolution of thought we came to a juncture. See, in Mississippi it actually possible to live comfortably poor. Poor in relation to the striving middle class, I guess. And we’ve kicked around the idea of real retirement and cutting our expenses and just coasting from here on. But both of us have things that we want to accomplish. I want to keep working for awhile yet. And we have bills to pay. Probably the biggest financial driver is medical insurance; if we were closer to Medicare age we could pack it in and maybe do some part time work and get along. But that is just not quite the case.

So we took the job in Dubuque and we’ve signed a contract on a house in Dubuque. It could still crash and burn. The next steps are to get a mortgage for the Dubuque house and sort out the disposition of the current house. The financial picture is good once I start the new job and the early-retirement pension money starts flowing. Before that it may take some faith on the part of the mortgage underwriters to let us by. Oh, and then there is showing up at the new job and actually being able to perform to their satisfaction so they don’t toss me out in the street.

We own free-and-clear a full sized Ford van. I told my wife that if everything turns upside down we could bum around and live in the van.

I was gratified that my current boss agreed to set me up with a means of doing some part time work for them after my retirement date. So actually I now have two new jobs for a little while.

Maybe you can sense what I’m feeling these days: the sudden swings from “wow! this is working great!” to “but what if it all crashes down!?!?” I’m getting exclamation point fatigue.

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1 Comment

  • On June 27, 2019 at 8:03 am Jonathan Howard said

    A couple things –

    I like Dubuque – the general area and to the north – the wooded hills and river towns. And it is 100 minutes from Madison, which would be great destination for weekend trips (I lived up that way for a few years 25 years ago). Also Mineral Point and Dodgeville. Quaint little places.

    Health insurance in America is really bad compared to other developed nations and we also flirt with idea of early retirement – we are fortunate to have no debt and healthy savings (I think the trick is to have no kids) – and could do it if US had insurance system akin to say, Taiwan. (If I was sacked we would probably move to Taiwan, which is beautiful and safe and the people are nice. The weather is stultifying in summer but no worse than, say, Mississippi. And they have AC. But 20 years of coastal California living softens a person weather-wise.)

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