Wednesday, January 15, 2020

King Apathy III

A few days after my 65th birthday last month, I gave final exams for the final time, had a fine send-off from my department, and slipped away into retirement. It was all rather nice and neat, finishing up a semester, applying for Medicare and CalSTRS, and celebrating my birthday all within a few days of each other.

After a week or so of tying up loose ends, I headed out to the Prescott place. The management company still keeps an eye on it--supposedly--since it reverted to my personal use over the summer. It seems to suck a lot of money through the management fee, heating it minimally with propane during this cold winter, and replacing the roof with a metal one even though the original 1996 asphalt shingle roof still seemed to have some life left in it. The unpleasant surprise was under the house, where I discovered a water line leak due to rats gnawing at it, and a nightly cacphony of the hated rodents trying to get into the house through the heating vents and drain pipes.

Though hardly happy with the management company, I'm kinda stuck with them unless I want to battle the problems myself. I seem to have scared the critters--which included a skunk--out from under the place, and so sealed up the holes they'd been getting in through toward the end of my ten-day stay. I caught a huge fat rat, probably pregnant, and the others laid low, apparently abandoning the place altogether. The management company sent out a subcontractor to repair the water leak, and promised to check under the house from now on during its monthly inspections... Yeah, do that!

All told, I now have three part-time residences. San Diego will remain the primary one, the address of record and mailing of official stuff, but I'm going to have to spend time in Prescott lest the animals return to take up residence again. Miami Beach, where I am now, remains a fun little hideaway on the opposite coast, and apparently free of rats since a small invasion of the complex three years ago alerted us to seal up any possible entrance ways. The neighbors' cats like me, and I encourage them to come inside, take a look around, and leave their scent. The San Diego condo, since flooding due to a ruptured water heater during a stay in Miami Beach three years ago, has remained trouble-free. I now shut off the water main before leaving on any trip of more than a few days.

The folks' old house in San Diego, now a rental, has been a money-sucker during the recent turnover of tenants, Then, a week or so after the new ones had moved in, the house next door to it caught fire. I'm sorry for the neighbors, but awfully glad the damage was limited to their own property.

The other San Diego rental, a duplex, of course chose this moment to provide me with a low-level headache, as the tenants can't get the oven door to close and there are no replacement parts for such an old model. More $$$ pissed away on expenses expenses EXPENSES!!! Don't ever think that owning rental properties is just a matter of living off of other people's earnings. There are time periods where I don't make a dime off of them. This is turning into one of those extended periods.

I'd stopped in Yuma on the way home from Prescott to take a look at the place there. To persuade the tenants to stay, I'd agreed to put a cover over the patio and to replace the flooring. This was my first time seeing it since the work was done several months ago. Then, this morning, I get an email from the management company there telling me that they are applying for a loan and apparently getting ready to move. Oh joy, just what I need right now...

Despite this bombardment of aggravations as I start out my retirement, the problems at the Prescott place galvanized me. I'm getting older, but can still rise to the occasion and work day and night to deal with a crisis. The thing is, left to my own devices I don't want to. Retirement is just exactly what I thought it would be ever since I was a kid and the concept reached me that I'd have to spend a large part of my life doing things that I really didn't want to do while on someone else's schedule. For all the talk about the love of teaching, I found a good number of students obnoxious twits, and am proud to say that I can't even remember their names a month later. The evenings in Miami Beach have consisted of cooking up a nice meal, and enjoying it at the picnic table on the boat dock with plenty of sangria or Scotch and soda.

The cats enjoy lounging around, and don't even seem to expect me to give them anything from my plate. Two of them look quite well-fed by their owner anyway. The third one is a black and white "tuxedo cat," virtually identical to the one my folks had from the early '80s to mid-'90s. It doesn't really like to be picked up and cuddled, but will put up with it for a minute or so with some half-hearted squirming around and vocal complaints. When I let her go, she just hangs around as if she wants more.

Will I grow tired of this, and wish I had new challenges, mountains to climb, annoying people to deal with? Not likely. I was always rather oddly apathetic, content to entertain myself with simple things and enjoy whatever is going on around me with a sort of amazed grin on my face. In the back of my mind, the only worry is whether the rodents in Prescott will stay scared away long enough for me to return and freshly terrorize them. Other than that, I wish only for a minimum of complications as I prepare to head out next Thursday on a cruise through the Panama Canal and back to San Diego.


San Diego

Miami Beach