Today in the conclusion of our multi-part blog Taking Stock, we leave you with a look at some of the nuts and bolts part of our Retirement Life over the past six years.
MOVING – In August of 1986, we moved to 40 Fairfield Avenue in Mineola, NY. Our house was, at that time, 60+ years old and I was 36 and Susie was 34. Billy was a 3 year old, and Krissi and Kenny were still in Susie’s belly, as she was fully 4 1/2 months pregnant. That old house was the home we brought our new twins home to, that we watched all three of our kids grow up in, where we celebrated Christmases and Birthdays and Anniversaries and all the other celebratory days in a family’s life. It was the place our three kids went off to college from, and the place they returned to when they were done. It was the place they always could call home, and it was that for over 31 years!
When I retired in 2016, our intention was to make Ocean City our one and only home, but dealing with 31 years of memories, emotions, and “stuff” took time. Frankly, we did drag our feet, not wanting to take the time and effort to make the transition, but eventually the cost of two houses forced us to make the move. In early November of 2017, we sold our home in Mineola to a woman and her family that Susie had worked with at school. We sold it without using a real estate agent, with the closing being handled by a lawyer we knew from the St. James Restaurant. In November of 2017, the license plates on the cars went from NY to NJ, Susie and I got New Jersey driver’s licenses, and we changed our voter registration from Mineola to Ocean City. We were now residents of Jersey!
VISITING FAMILY – When our older son Bill married Lori, the two of them lived in a condo in Astoria, NY. When the prospect of little ones entering their life came about, they looked for a bigger apartment, but prices were insane. By the time our Granddaughter Layla was born, the younger D’Elias had bought a house in Deer Park, Long Island. They still lived there when a little over a year later, our Grandson Henry joined the family. So in the beginning, a trip to see Bill and his family was either a trip from Mineola to Astoria, or out on the Long Island Expressway to Deer Park.
But like so many folks, the prices and the hassle of Long Island got to be too much for them. With his job at Fox News and his Long Island Rail Road commute, he was gone from early morning to almost the kid’s bedtime on a daily basis! They needed a change, and they got a huge one, when after I retired they sold their house and moved down to Raleigh, North Carolina. Down there, Bill works for Xerox, Lori has a successful Family Counseling practice, they recently bought a brand new house and moved to Wake Forest, and they are surrounded by family. Life is different down there, and we are very happy for them! The one downside is that it’s a 7-8 hour drive in the car when we go. Their family grew when Annabelle joined the group, and that only made the desire to spend time with them even stronger. So it’s not 40 minutes in the car, but we love being with them, and do the trip as often as we can!
COVID-19 – Anybody who has not felt the effect of the pandemic on the last 2 years of their life, has obviously been living in a huge bubble! From that day in March of 2020, when we ran home from Florida because we really had no idea what the pandemic was going to bring, right up to the minute I wrote these words, Covid-19 has been a huge influence on our life! From that first day when the world shut down, we wondered if life would ever go back to normal. For months we couldn’t go out to eat, we were fearful even shopping, we sat around a lot and looked for ways to occupy ourselves. We obviously didn’t travel, and it was over a year before we got to see our grandkids again. Contact with friends and family was very limited and strange! Then there was the scramble for Susie and I to get vaccinated, in the hope we’d get some of our life back. Warmer weather came, and we learned new ways of doing things. We ate outside, wore masks, washed our hands constantly, and took great hope in whatever little bit of normality we had. We learned words like Delta and Omicron, discussed the best masks, and where to get a Covid Test! We saw friends get sick, and hoped that they would get well. We went back and forth between feeling confident and feeling scared. We watched people downplay the seriousness of the pandemic, and we watched some of these same folks succumb to it, and join the almost 900,000 fellow Americans who are no longer with us. Oh Yeah….Covid-19 DEFINITELY affected us, and in many ways robbed 2 years of our lives!
BEING BIONIC – Remember the Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman TV shows from the 70s? Both shows centered around characters that had been severely injured, and through the use of ‘bionic” replacement parts, now had super human strength and abilities! The show was labeled as a Science Fiction/Action Adventure, and indeed the kind of replacement parts they talked about, were just that. But, turn the calendar ahead 50 years, and the ideas of body part replacements are common and ordinary. I know, because I have got two titanium and plastic knee implants, and while I cannot jump 2 stories, as could the Six Million Dollar Man’s Steve Austin, I can now stand and walk as good as I did 20 years ago.
My left knee was replaced on 7/11/19 and my right on 9/14/21, and counting prep and recovery, each procedure took about 3 months out of our lives. Susie, of course, was the best nurse one could ever ask for, and thanks to her and my efforts, and that of our Doctors and PT folks, both knees were textbook cases of Orthopedic Surgery! Everything worked so well, that Susie is going to join me as a bionic person. On March 1st, 2022 she will be the recipient of a new hip! Everything old is new again!!! Thanks Science!
If you’re interested, here’s a look at the procedure: https://rnewadventures.com/2019/07/15/bees-knees-2/
NEW CARS – When I retired in 2016. we were driving a 2013 Hyundai Sonata that we had bought on St. Patrick’s Day in 2013. She had been a good car, taking us on several trips to Florida and on our Big Adventure trip! However, when she was 5+ years old, and her mileage was approaching 90,000 we started spending money on various items, and decided that the wiser approach was not to keep it long term, as we usually did. We also decided that since it was going to be the only real car we had (the toy car would be the red 2000 Mustang convertible that’s still downstairs in the garage), we should look at a small SUV. Having done research, we liked the Honda CR-V, but we were still not sure if we were going to buy or try leasing for the first time. The idea of having a brand new car every 3 years was attractive to us as we’re getting older, but was very different from our usual approach of keeping a vehicle many years. In the end, we decided to try leasing, and in June of 2018 took possession of a 2018 Honda CR-V. After several Florida trips, countless trips to see our family in North Carolina, driving around our local area, and being able to load lots of stuff in the back, we were very happy with our decision! We probably would have had more mileage on her had Covid not shown up, but still we had better than 43,000 trouble-free miles. We were looking forward to leasing a new CR-V, but thanks to the chip shortage and other issues, there were none to be had. In August of 2021, we extended our lease for 6 months, but as the months passed, the situation looked no better, and we started to feel our best move was to buy the CR-V and wait out the shortage. And that’s the situation we were in till I got a text message on November 23rd from our Honda salesman. His message was short but sweet…a Red 2022 CR-V EX-L had just come off the truck…were we interested? We texted back and forth on price until my cell phone rang and it was Brian. “How bout you give us your 2018 CR-V and you take this new one at the same monthly lease payment you were making on the 2018?” I called that an offer we couldn’t refuse, and on the afternoon of November 23rd, we traded our 3 year old Sandstone Metallic CR-V for a brand new 2022 in Radiant Red Metallic! Color us happy!
THE BEACH – The first time I came to Ocean City was in 1955 when I was 5 years old. The first time Susie came to Ocean City was in 1980, just after we got married. The first time we came as a family was the Summer of 1983, when we spent a week here with our new baby, Billy. That was followed by yearly trips to Ocean City, first as a family of 3 and then as a family of 5 when Krissi and Kenny joined the clan. 17 years ago, on January 28, 2005, when Susie and I bought our house, it was the culmination of a lifetime dream of owning a house in Ocean City. Since that start 17 years ago, we spent weeks each year at 854 Pennlyn, and more and more came to know it was going to be our forever home. In November of 2017 when we sold our Mineola house, we took the last step…we now live at the beach! Retirement has meant that we can spend every day, all summer on the beach, or just sit on our front porch and watch the world go by. We can head out early and get a good spot down by the water, or we can go later in the day, and enjoy cocktail hour at the beach. In short, what used to be our vacation is now our life, and for the past six years, we have taken advantage of living at the beach! Yes, dreams do come true!T
So there you have it! A look back at 6 years of retirement, through the eyes of Sue and Frank D’Elia. It has included:
Six trips to Florida
Six Weeks of Cruising
One train trip across the US
One Driving Trip across the US
A Move from New York to New Jersey
Multiple trips down to our Family in North Carolina
2 New Knees!
The best parts of being retired?? Well #1 is the two of us being together 24/7/365 X 6. We love being and doing things together, so what could be better than spending all day, every day, with my best friend, and the love of my life. After that, #2 is easy…doing what we want when we want. Need I say more?