Early Retirement – Starting to freak out

I think I’m starting to freak out.

My new early-retired life is only 3.5 months away.  I think having second thoughts or butterflies is natural in these situations.  Today my boss, who was out for a few months on medical leave, came back and gave his notice for his retirement.  He’s gone.  That kind of brought it home for me.

It’s scary to make a huge change in your lifestyle.  Extremely scary!  I’m asking myself if I’m doing the right thing.  What is it to follow a dream that may be stupid?  Could it be a mistake?

Logic tells me that I am fine.  There’s nothing wrong with saving up a ton of money, retiring early to the country and building a house.  Financially, I am fine, but you never really feel financially fine.  It’s not normal.

I worry a little about not being able to pull it off.  I am doing this alone because I have to.  Not because I want to.  I won’t be ENTIRELY alone.  My sister, aunt, uncle and cousins will be nearby.  That is at least some comfort.    Physically and technically, I can do this.  Mentally….It might be tough.

I have some faith in my destiny.  Dying along in an empty house isn’t always a bad thing.  I will have ultimate freedom.  I also feel that I will finally have opportunity to meet someone once the big change is complete.

I’m just a phone call away from the point of no return.  Once I authorize the pouring of the foundation, I’m $20,000 deep in this project.  I can turn back and sell the land easily but the $20,000 for a foundation that only I can use is probably lost.  I’m reminding myself that this is what I’ve wanted all my life.  Still scary!

I don’t really want to turn back though.  The facts are straight:

  1. I don’t want to live in San Antonio any longer.
  2. I want to live in the country near a small town that still has the feeling of being small.  (Too bad about the Walmart but it’s still a little backwards like I like it.)
  3. I will be near relatives and not far from Mom in the city.
  4. I will be perfectly fine financially.  I can work if I want to but don’t have to.
  5. I am in relatively good health and can make it even better once I’m free of the siren call of the big city restaurants.

I am thinking that once the foundation is complete, the call of the construction of the house will override my insecurities about quitting a safe, well paying job that I hate waking up for every morning.  It will take me up to a year to build during which time I won’t have time to think about stuff like that.  It will help me transition to retirement.

That’s my plan.

What would happen if I was to wuss out and not do it?

  1. Nothing.
  2. More of the same until I die.
  3. I would enjoy the comfort of common mediocrity.

Another thing that bothers me is that the land I bought is not 100% what I wanted.  It is 80% there and I have the freedom to make it as I wish. No HOA to tell me what I can or cannot do.  I think it will be fine.  I will mould it to fit my desires.  It’s good!

I worry about construction costs now that I find that the foundation was twice my estimated price.  I think that might be the worst of it though.  The foundation is beyond my control.  The rest should be fully in my control.  I could do without the tariffs on Lumber and Steel.  Thanks Donald Trump.  Bad timing!!  The only other questionable cost is the septic tank.  That comes next.  I think the water supply should be fine.  I have a choice of the water system at the street or a well.  According to my calculations, I can afford it.   It will be fine.  It will be awesome.

Readers of this blog are probably tired of hearing about this but it is everything to me and I have to convince myself that I am doing the right thing.   You are going to hear a lot more about it if you hang around these parts.

I feel better already in laying this out for you.  Getting stuff straight in your brain makes all the difference.  I’m glad I have this blog or I would probably implode.

The next day…

I did it.  I called the guy and got the ball rolling.  The future is now set in stone. (Or concrete) My path is set. Engage Number One.  First star to the right and straight on ’til morning.



Met with Slab Foundation Guy

The other day, after work, I met with a concrete guy out at my property to get his estimate on the foundation for my new house.  I showed him the location and gave him illustrations of my floor plan and elevation.

Today he sent me an estimate.  The total would be $40,000 with garage.  I freaked out!

I estimated the cost to be not much more than $10,000 for the house.  It would cost that much to do the garage only.  I actually had hot flashes and had to sit down under the ceiling fan for a few minutes.  This could be a serious problem.  The cost of the foundation would be as much as half of the cost of the house pushing the estimated cost to over $100,000.  I was planning for $75,000.

We spoke on the phone and made a few changes.  I dropped the garage foundation for now.  (I plan on watching how they do the house and then doing the garage slab myself later.)  That knocked $11,000 off the total.

We also took off the front and back porch which I had already planned to do as a wooden deck anyway.  I thought if it wasn’t much more we could just do it in concrete.  That knocked $8,000 off the total.

We were down to $20,000.  Still double what I planned for.  I plugged the new numbers into my retirement simulator and it turns out that it’s still within my budget.  Sucks but it will still work.   I’ll give it some thought for a few days and if nothing else turns up, I’ll give him the go ahead.   I know he does good work so I suppose having a quality foundation is worth the cost.

He said it was highly possible to have it done by the end of October which will fit nicely into my master plan.   If all goes well, my current house will sell for more than I’m thinking anyway.  It’s a good market for the seller right now and my house is awesome.


Short Timer Syndrome

stsIt may be that Short Timer Syndrome is kicking in.  I’m 5 months away from leaving my job for a two year house-building sabbatical.  If all goes well and it looks like it will, my time here is shortening.  Wooooo!   My stress level has already reduced significantly and I feel so much better about life in general.  My job motivation level is low but I don’t really care much.

My plan is to hang through at work until December and give my notice after I get my annual bonus.  By that time I should have the foundation completed and framing started.  This will encourage me to want to get the hell out of work and build full time.  Saying goodbye will not be difficult at all.

My life-plan is finally in progress.  Yee Haw!


Electrical Service Installed

powerpoleI Got The Power!! Bomp..bomp bomp bomp.

I headed out to my country property to finish spraying the re-emerging Mesquite trees and looked over to see that the power company had installed the new service!

I have a nice new pole with a shiny new transformer.  As I was hoping, they installed the meter and a main 200 Amp circuit breaker.  That’s all I need!

I’m ready to dig the trench and install the conduit and service cable to the house area.   I’ll put in a 30 amp plug to hook up my RV and a regular outlet for construction equipment like my air compressor.

I’m well on the way now.  Shit is happening!

Mmmmm.  That new power pole smell.


House Layout Test

It was a nice Saturday evening so I decided I would head out to my property and spray some weed killer on the re-emerging mesquite trees.  I had the land cleared of all the growth but Mesquite is evil and comes back quickly.

I ordered some Remedy from Amazon at $77.00 a gallon.  Sounds expensive and it is but if you buy it locally, it will cost you $90.00 a gallon.  I poured 19 ounces in a two gallon gas can and hit the road with my new backpack sprayer.  I stopped to buy a gallon of Diesel which is mixed with the Remedy to keep it on the leaves.  I figured a gallon would be enough to do the driveway area which needed it most.

I got there about 7:30 and started spraying.  A gallon didn’t go as far as I expected but it was a good test.  I got about a third done.  I’ll go back later this week and do some more.  By that time I might see if it has worked on what I did get sprayed.

I had a lot of spare time so I walked around a bit.   I just bought a measuring wheel and used it to measure the distance from the electrical pole to the house.  160 Ft.  I’ll need that to install the underground cable for the electrical service.

I stopped at the location for my house that I had marked the corners of with metal rebar stakes.  I thought it sure would be nice to get a better idea if I could only see the walls.  There were plenty of sticks laying around.  Remnants of the clearing process.  I scavenged them up and laid them out to represent the walls using the measuring wheel.  (As seen in the picture above.)

That worked out nicely.  It was getting dark quickly but I decided to keep going so I found enough sticks in the area to represent the garage. (Not shown).  It was almost completely dark now but using the light on my phone, I was able to get more to represent the inner walls of the house.  For the first time I was able to experience a full-scale representation of the whole house.  I was able to imagine the location of everything and really get a feeling for the spaces.   I liked it.   Everything felt perfect.  I am satisfied with my design.  It’s good.

It was now pitch black and I was glad I had my phone flashlight.  I could just make out the gleam of my car’s license plate maybe 250 feet away.

I took a moment to appreciate the darkness.  You don’t get to experience darkness outside in the city.  Even in the middle of the night, you can easily see without a flashlight due to the light pollution in the sky.  I really wanted to see the stars but I was too worn out to sit around much longer.  I went back to the car and drove the 50 miles home.

Totally worth the trip!!


Fell off the roof again.

Great. I didn’t need that.

Not totally unexpected, I was working on the siding and was standing on the Roof covering the front porch And fell off into the bushes. It sucks because I was almost done.

I haven’t made a blog entry for awhile because typing is difficult. I’m using the Dictation function in windows. Please forgive any Type or or grammatical errors.

When I fell I hurt my back And broke My wrist. I’m wearing a splint And should be back to normal in at least 6 weeks. My back is not too bad. I don’t think it’s major. I felt worse.  It’s getting better day by day and I think my stretches and exercises will really help.

If there is a good time to break your wrist in Texas then it is in the summer. It’s too hot to be outside doing anything anyway so I might as well take the time and rest. The temperatures are over 100 right now Everyday.

I took a few days off of work while my back was Really bad but went to work on Wednesday. My job is sitting at a computer all day and typing is difficult but I’m managing. Can’t do anything else I might as well go to work.

Tomorrow morning I’m meeting with the electric company out at my property to have them install new service. Things are moving along well with that. The sale of my the other part of my land Is still in progress. I should get the check for $64,000 soon. My next step after electricity will probably be Getting the foundation Done. Once the foundation is in Then my plan will be in progress.  If I’m healed well enough then I can start framing this winter in leave my job in December or January. Soon I may be a free man with a plan.

Providence strikes again – Paint Sprayer Discount

pntspryrI’m constantly amazed how often the things I need come to me free or cheap when the time is right.

All you have to do is have patience and wait.  They say good things come to those who wait.  I think it is totally true.


sdngI put off starting a big project of replacing the siding on the front of my house for so many years.  It was starting to rot where the water splashes on it from the porch roof.  It needed to be done before I go to sell the house and time is getting short so I decided to get it done.

I got the bright idea to buy a paint sprayer.  I could totally do this with a brush but next year when I’m building my new house, I’ll need a sprayer anyway.  The best thing I could find would be a good looking Graco sprayer from Home Depot for $260.  Fine.  Totally worth it.

Today I gen an email from Harbor Freight with a coupon to buy one almost exactly the same for only $169.  Dude!  Love it!  The reviews are good and I’ve never had any problems with HF stuff.  It even uses the Graco sprayer tip and parts.   I’m going to pick it up this week.  Noice!