It's cliched to say that 2020 sucked. In a global sense, sure, but for me it really wasn't that much of an Anus Horribilius or whatever the fancy term is. I retired in December 2019, a couple of days after turning 65, headed out to Miami Beach for a few weeks, then took a cruise back to San Diego through the Panama Canal. About a month later, the whole world shut down while I was on a planned week-or-so trip to Prescott with little more than a change of clothes. I was there until early May, then back in San Diego in time to see downtown La Mesa burn just after Memorial Day. At the end of June, some tweaker-of-color tried to break into my condo at 3:30 AM, and I have very little doubt that his addled brain was emboldened by the zeitgeist. I would be back out to Prescott two more times, and Miami Beach again for the first time since the beginning of the year for a few weeks in mid-September/early-October.
Before you knew it, the year was at an end again, and here I am back in Miami Beach for a month. It's been pretty phenomenally lazy, a year into retirement and now accustomed to not really having to do much of anything I don't feel like doing. Social life for most people has come to a standstill, but it doesn't bother me that much because my social life was always more or less at a standstill. I listen to discussions on TV about teenage pregnancy, abusive relationships, and such problems, and can't comprehend such things really. It's been eons since any female gave me the smallest opportunity to get her pregnant or abuse her, even if I wanted to. It seems the whole world, in the first year of my retirement, has been modified to reflect the lifestyle of yours truly.
Financially, it's been a challenge. I was planning on depending largely on my rental income in retirement, then the virus started affecting tenants' ability to pay rent. On top of that, there were two extremely expensive tenant turnovers, one coming right after I thought I was recovering from the other, and totaling $45,000 in repairs and expenses by fall. My smaller, simpler place in Yuma also had almost monthly nagging expenses, appliances going out and such. I spent most of August in San Diego working on one of the places myself, but it still was draining my savings at an alarming rate.
On top of all this, I'd put a metal roof on the Prescott place in December and replaced the oak crown moldings inside that the painters had F'ed up and painted over before the final tenancy, only to find I had a pack rat infestation under the house on coming out to see it. I battled it myself with little help from a basically useless pest control company. Then in March, my neighbor to the east finally put his vacant lot up for sale. Clobbered and reeling from expenses, I nonetheless realized that the chance would never come again and managed to cobble together the money to buy it from him by cashing in part of my Roth IRA and dipping for the first time into my equity line of credit.
Each time I think I'm getting some breathing space, another calamity comes up, so I'm not going to say I'm out of the woods yet. Buying the neighbor's lot, though, was the culmination of a 20+ year old dream; it was just crappy timing is all. Thus, I'll say that as of early January 2021, life is all right.
|Prescott, Spring 2020. The news on|
the single antenna station I got there
was relentlessly bad, but breakfast was
always a peaceful if lonely ritual.
|Early in the March thru May stay,|
looking east toward my newly acquired
acreage and dreaming of better days.
|With plenty of time for such things,|
my stone lantern got an uplift after
tenants had spent over 20 years
shooting at it and such.
|Back in San Diego in late summer, taking|
a break from endless work on the back
unit of my duplex, a mid-year unexpected
|Early October, on return from 3 weeks|
in Miami Beach. Kinda the epitome of
what it is to be retired and just not give
much of a shit.
|During the fall return to Miami Beach.|
Same pose; different location.
|Home-cooked pork with black beans and a nice|
Cuba Libre in Miami Beach, September 2020.