May 3, 2011

Did ya'll retire and move to Thailand or something?

Posted by meli on Tuesday, May 03, 2011 in , | No comments
Seems like it, doesn't it? lol! I've been so absent and neglectful of updates.
Ok, this is about to get REALLY long and REALLY random ... more so then usual! lol

Ahh yes, I promised a blog update a while ago, and I didn't deliver. My bad, sorry! I still can't believe it's been over a month since starting terminal leave. The days are getting away from me! I'm clearly not doing so good with that whole staying present thing. *Noted!  

We are still on terminal leave. Our last day of leave is June 6th, and his official retirement date is June 7th; though he doesn't have to do anything special ... the computer will just automatically transfer him from active duty to retired. We're free (FREE) to fly the coop and never look back right now. I find it beautifully ironic that our high school graduation date and our retirement date both fall on the same day ... June 7th. Sweet.

I can't tell you how insanely wonderful it is to be retired at age 31! I mean, c'mon; It's great! Our retirement check will be a little more then 1/2 of what we're making now, but we make more then enough for our lifestyle. We don't use credit, so we have no bills in that regard. We actually prefer smaller spaces for living (the boys choose to share a room; even when we had a separate room for each of them). Our main expense is food. While we are not willing to lower our standards when it comes to our food, and it will probably always be our main expense (even higher then our housing), we can definitely cut back on the more "gourmet" type dishes we indulge in. Back to the basics of raw veganism. Cutting our income in half WILL be tight, but I know we'll manage. And the VA process should only take anywhere from 4-8 months (we're "supposedly" on the "fast track" system for soldiers who are not yet separated from active duty ... so hopefully our process will be on the shorter end of the spectrum, but we'll see. We're already a month in, and it looks as though all of his appts are already done. Now it's just waiting for his claim to be reviewed and rated). Once that's done, and he has a rating, we will have more then enough income coming in.  So it might be tight for a few months; but we know it'll be short lived, which will make it that much easier to maneuver through. And actually, if our social security disability gets approved and comes through (we should hear about that very soon), we wont even have to worry about it being tight until the VA is done. So that'll be nice.  

I feel twinges of guilt here and there over our good fortune (yes, that's what I'm calling it ... retired so young AND being financially set for life; there's been sacrifice, sure, but we ARE fortunate. I can tell you, though, that I would give back this good fortune in a nano second if it meant my husband could be whole again. If it meant our family wouldn't have had to suffer and struggle the way we have the past 8 years). There are others who have sacrificed and suffered just as much; even more so then we have, who are fighting and struggling just to get by ... and here we are, about to be set up for life. It's hard for me to swallow sometimes. I'm working on that self-deserving speech. We're just as worthy; Just as deserving. (you know, the whole pep talk in front of a mirror thing? lol) And with our good fortune; we'll have not only the time, but also the resources to pay it forward. I can't tell you how much we are looking forward to that!  


Anyway, we're still in a state of upheaval and transition. We were supposed to be out of this house and on the road last Friday. But things keep popping up and our plans keep changing. We could technically stay in this (empty) house until the end of the month if we need to ... but our plans really need to start coming together! lol

The movers came to pack up our things and take them to storage 2 weeks ago. We could have them stored for up to 5 years free of charge. But with our ever changing plans; we didn't really do a good job of leaving certain things out for different situations. 

Ok, let me say ... we have no idea where we're going or what we're doing!
There you go; up to speed in one easy sentence! Ha! 

Our original plan (back before we even scheduled the movers to come out) was to find a place in town here for 6 - 12 months while going through the VA process. We would have moved our stuff over ourselves, saving our last government move until we were completely done and ready to get the hell out of dodge. We actually had a place lined up ... a wonderful home, on a big piece of land, with a private lake that our dear friends rented while they were stationed here. I blogged about goat sitting over there a couple of times. I loved that place! We were going to go on our anniversary camping trip, and then move in when we returned. BUT, while camping we realized we were less then 2 hours from Asheville, NC. Waaaaaaay back in 2000, we drove through Asheville when we moved (with the Marine Corps) from Virginia to California, and we LOVED it! So, since we were so close, we decided to just pop over there on our way home from camping. Instantly fell in love again, and ended up staying in a hotel for 3 days while we scouting out the area. We came home convinced we found our "home base" (not an actual house, we didn't find one of those, lol ... but we knew we wanted to be in that area), so we turned in our 30 day (2 weeks, actually) notice for housing, and scheduled the movers to come pack up and haul our stuff away to storage until we found a home. 

There's this great little community up there that we totally found our rhythm in. It's an older neighborhood that remained run down for many years. It was the "ghetto" part of the city for a long time. Little by little it was built back up, and now it's this amazing community of culture and alternative lifestyle living. The dreads and the hoops where running a'muck (and not just mine, lol ... I crack myself up). I was totally in my element. That's the area we were targeting for our home search. We found several, and made a few more trips back and forth over the last couple of weeks to check them out, but something was always missing. Our hearts were never like 'YES!" 

We were supposed to drive out of here last Friday. Planned to just hotel it, or find a tiny little efficiency apartment to rent on a month by month basis until we found a home in that community that felt right.

It's Monday (tuesday morning?). We're still here.

Our hearts are being pulled in so many different directions, and it's been difficult finding quiet time to let it all come together and unfold. We feel the pressure to make a decision and make it NOW; it's clouding our hearts, and we end up regretting the rushed decision we jam together. Only to turn around and put a new rushed plan in it's place.

We want to travel, yet we want to be settled.
We want a tight knit urban community, yet we want acreage in the country.

We would really love to be close to family, but you people are so scattered all over this friggin continent... like the contents of my purse where when I flung it out of our second story window that one time. Whooooooosh .... the crap scattered and separated like it was it's job. I was finding random items days later way out in weird parts of the yard. 

Anyway, we feel a great deal of wishy-washy unrest right now, and that is making it really difficult to be present, focus, and listen to our hearts. 

We started regretting making such a hurried decision to have our stuff packed up and shipped off, and reverted to our original plan of it being best to just stay in this area until our VA process is done. But, the stuff is already packed. And as I mentioned up there somewhere in this ridiculously long post, we didn't do a good job of leaving out certain things for different situations (we packed for a quick move to asheville, where we would have immediately had our stuff delivered to us ... ending our last free government move; so if we ever wanted to leave Asheville, the bill would be on us, just like all you normal people - lol). All of our winter clothes went into storage. If we DID decided to stay here during the VA process; would we have our things delivered to us? Knowing we would be moving from here within a year? Seems to be a HUGE waste of a free move, right? But we don't have any winter clothes. Buy new one? Seems to be a waste of money and resources, right? Yea - didn't really plan that one out very well. Que Sera Sera.

As the days leading up to our last Friday move out day wore on, our instant love and desire to live in that funky little community in West Asheville started to wane. I mean; we still love it, completely, but our hearts have always been drawn to more rural areas, acreage and organic gardening. While the West Asheville community DID a lot of gardening in their yards (front, back, side; they had gardens boxes ALL OVER the damn place) ... it was not to the scale we've envisioned for ourselves. That's just not possible in a tight urban neighborhood. I want room for goats if I so desire (and not for their milk, just because their cute ... and they make great lawn mowers, lol). Chickens would be fun, too, though we have no use for their eggs, and I don't think I could bring myself to giving them away, so that may not be the best idea. I like cows, too. Black and White Wisconsin cows. I just want one!  

When the noise is quite, and we actually listen, what we really want is a homestead. A small home that is mostly (if not completely) off the grid with solar and wind power (and we'd like to do a good majority of the building ourselves) on a nice chunk of land for a self sustainable garden. We want mountains, but we don't want to live 1/2 the year in snow. We love the warmer more tropical weather, with mild winters. We want to live with nature, instead of against it ... so the desert like areas aren't appealing to us any longer, either (for food growing purposes). We want to be close enough to "civilization" that we can still get to a city relatively quickly to enjoy culture and community.   

Where? That's the million dollar question. We're not sure where. We're still thinking Asheville ... just the outskirts instead of the inskirts, lol. But are we so pulled to that area because that's what's close and within reach right now? I don't know. That's the root for RV living... to see this country for all it's worth. Explore, learn, discover everything it has to offer, and hopefully find the perfect place to put down some of our own roots and homestead. But should we RV it right now? My heart wants rest and a feeling of being settled right now... even if just a temporary before embarking on the great RV adventure, but I'm also accepting of the journey right now if that's where the wind blows us. 
We'll see. Enjoy the ride.

Though it seems Brazil meets most of our needs!
You know you'd like to visit us down there, right?
And no, I'm not kidding! It's actually an option we're considering. 
Costa Rica and Panama are being considered as well.

*these photos were all taken a few months ago when it was still cold. We've been enjoying tank top and flip flop weather for a while now. Just sayin'


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