March Madness: A Whirlwind of Life Events and Achievements

While some might think of the famous basketball tournament when you hear these words, I found myself in a whirlwind of big life events during my most recent March.  We start this little story at work where the first quarter of the year is a sales promotion meant to bring in new business.  We are on the service side of things, but the people that are selling did not disappoint.  There is always a cutoff time, but the people in the field submit items to us up to the last minute.  Sometimes we will get stuck on creating this large multi-person insurance policy before we leave for the day.  It’s really the only time of year (except the other two times) where there is “mandatory” overtime.  We were actually pretty lucky and didn’t get any last-minute surprises.  However, to say anything close to “it was a slow month” would have been an outright lie. 

In the early days of the month, I was finalizing a trip to visit Florida to attend the memorial service of my grandfather that had passed just a few weeks before.  Up to the day I was flying out, I had been in last-minute discussions about the closing on a house I was purchasing.  This was the first house, so I was extra nervous about everything.  Despite a bumpy morning, I arrived at the Closing (almost) on time and proceeded to review and sign a stack of paperwork.  I was blessed to have a real estate lawyer with me to make sure I fully understood all the part of the contact.

This was the culmination of over eight months of searching for a home in my current location and in the surrounding small towns.  I went to open houses, private showings, watched houses be gone in less than a day, almost made an offer, and never really “turned off.”  Usually, my obsession for a personal project goes on like that for a couple of weeks and either turns into a more comfortable level of activity or it burns out.  This was months long.  Longer than any chore or personal exploration I had ever done (with the exception of maybe my Eagle Scout project).  We were at the tail end of the overpriced, overpaying, housing craze, so it was fast and it was depressing.  It’s the biggest purchase of a normal person’s life and you have hours to decide. 

When I finally found my current home, I booked a showing the same day and was pretty much convinced by the time I got back on the highway.  It was close enough to work, but not in the middle of everything.  It was small (which I wanted), had a garage (which I wanted), and was in a quiet little town.  It is in an excellent school district which could be an important factor in the future.  At minimum, it will be easy to sell, if my life takes another “interesting” turn.  I put in an offer that night and it was accepted that night.  I knew it needed some work, but it was perfectly priced for my budget. 

And so, I sit here, in my living room.  Mine.  With people walking their dogs after dinner and high schoolers talking about their summer plans in the street.  They can do that as the road is very small.  Just wide enough for about 1.5 small vehicles.  We just need a little light rail train to the “big city” up the road and it could be called a car free haven.  There were things I didn’t even notice, but must have been subconscious.  The walls are painted my favorite color of blue.  The living room faces south, so there is plenty of sun.  There is a little tree in the front yard.  The driveway is plenty long to have a few friends over and not worry about parking.  I cannot emphasize this enough: it’s mine.  Yes, I have a loan that I am paying to a bank, but I’m in charge.  I want a new roof; I call a roofer and it gets done.  I need the plumbing fixed today; I make a call.  I need the A/C unit checked; they come out and take a look.  My next and final house project for a while is the garage door that connects to an app so I can open my garage from anywhere.  Quite the upgrade from the opener that went in just a few years after humans landed on the Moon for the first time. 

As you can imagine, all of those things cost lots of money, so I will have to wait on my other ideas for a while until the finances settle.  I am lucky to have a pretty safe job at a secure company.  They have treated me pretty well for a corporate entity and I am able to pay for everything.  I am rapidly approaching the average national salary, which is still lower than it should be, in my opinion. 

After the marathon of papers, I returned to my rental to pack for my trip.  I had decided to fly out of a smaller airport about 2.5 hours south of my home to get the dates right and to save a few dollars on the airfare.  This was a mistake as I am now convinced that the travel to another state during a high(ish) stress level caused me to catch something like a cold/flu combination.  I almost had a full week of barely able to get from the bedroom to the kitchen.  My non-stop movement and mental strain finally caught up with me. 

Before I was out of commission, I did manage to have some movers get my stuff into my new house.  Before I was in the air again back to Florida.  This was a planned vacation and much less rushed than my earlier trip.  You can see the full story of that trip here

These events carried over into early April where a long-term project at work finally came to realization, which launched another blindingly quick few weeks of meetings and questions and project work. 

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