2014 has been a year of changes as we saw our "dream" of retirement become reality...And we learned that following our dream is not always easy and does not go according to our plans but requires a lot of trust that God is ultimately in charge.
After weathering a couple of rounds of layoffs the previous year, Doug got "retired" from IBM in April. Having 30 years in, he decided to take his pension and start working on a new project..."RVentures with Doug and Chris".
As you may guess, this project's goal is to materialize our retirement dream of traveling full time around the country in a RV.
As the true engineer that he is, Doug researched, calculated and designed the perfect plan. Now he just had to sell his idea to one of his toughest customers ever...His wife!
Mayo helped his cause when they announced changes to retirement benefits that made it more beneficial for Chris to retire before the end of the year.
Now to implement the plan:
- Find a RV...Meet "The Wildebeest" our 40 foot "wild berry" colored 2000 Winnebago diesel pusher. Definitely the most fun part of this project! Visit our blog at Dougchartrand.blogspot.com for the video tour.
- Prepare the house to be sold...Doug became an expert in wall repair, deck staining, painting, and floor refinishing.
- Downsize...Four garage sales and numerous "Craigslist" posts later, we are now living in a mostly empty house.
- Adapt to a new style of biking...Sell our commuter and road bikes and become more mellow bicyclists on our new folding bicycles.
- Go through 30 years of memories and get rid of all the "stuff" that I have saved. Really, Doug, this is getting tough...Take pictures, scan in the boys' art work, find a practical way to keep a part of my wedding dress (it will be made into a baptismal gown for a future grandchild), and see that my precious treasures ended up with the perfect person.
- Have Chris retire...Tough to leave 31 years of friends. My last day was Dec 5, but there is always a possibility that I can go back working supplemental next year.
- Help Chris let go of all she thinks she needs but really doesn't...3/4 of my wardrobe, Pampered Chef gadgets, and Hummels. Lots of re-gifting this Christmas...hope everyone liked their present!
- Sell the house and start RVenture Spring/Summer 2015.
In the meantime, our plan was to enjoy our last winter in Minnesota: going up to Richfield to help dad, meeting up with Kevin while exploring Minneapolis brewpubs, skiing down the mountains of Colorado, driving to Florida to visit relatives, encouraging Adam as he finishes college and starts his job search next year....
Plans changed a bit when Chris broke her leg while skiing in Steamboat Springs on December 18,,,And ended up readmitted to the hospital on Christmas Day with a bowel obstruction. Our "minimalist" lifestyle took on a new meaning when the greatest Christmas moment came as we listened to carolers singing in the halls of St Marys Hospital.
Thus we learn the greatest lesson of all....God's plan is ultimately the best plan. We enjoyed a simple Christmas with family....No massive Christmas "cook-a-thon" for Chris, but we will enjoy more "sitting around" time spent with family and friends and trust that our dreams and God's plan continue to work together for His glory!
We hope you will stay in touch as we continue to follow God's plan and RVentures.
Chris and Doug Chartrand
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