The Maelstrom

Moved the 14th. Closed on the sale of the house the 15th.

We effectively had nine days to pack: we had long since scheduled a trip to Chicago that conveniently fell during our contract period. Nine days is not a lot of time, but we managed to do a pretty good job weeding out junk, keeping things categorized, labeling boxes, etc. Where I didn’t do such a good job was in estimating the size of our load for the movers–I was low by about half on the box count, and missed a few pieces of furniture. Oops. Moving day was about as much fun as it ever can be, and very hot.

The place we’re in now, by a series of fortunate events, is the house in front of the garage apartment where Gwen was living when I met her. And right around the corner from the house I lived in during college. It’s smaller than the old place, and has much less storage space (and what there is is less usable), which poses some problems. Boxes and stuff everywhere. Last night was our first real attempt at getting the highest-priority stuff unpacked. After the constant pressure to keep the old house in showable condition, and the crunch of getting it packed, we’re not in a big hurry to deal with the disarray.

I’ve got a lot of money now (or I will, as soon as my realtor drops off the damn check, which I expect to be physically huge, like one of those Ed McMahon checks). Gwen and I met with a couple of financial advisors yesterday, and we discussed ways for us to avoid eating cat food in our later years. Looks like if we invest the money and have garden-variety luck in the market, we’ll accomplish that. The advisors were nice guys, but they seem to proceed from a different set of assumptions about what aging means than I do: they’re trying to create a plan so that we won’t need to work when we’re old. I said “look, I’m much more afraid of not being able to work than of needing to work.” One point where we were all in accord was in assuming that Social Security wouldn’t exist.

The issue of long-term planning raises a host of knotty questions, most relevant (to me) being medical care. It gets more and more expensive every year, and it gets more expensive as you get older (two trends that seem to run in lock-step with each other, too). With my previous insurance carrier, I plotted the rate of increase in my premiums to them against my projected income, and found that, if I stayed with them, my insurance would eat up 100% of my income by the time I turned 60. That’s obviously an untenable situation, and it makes me wonder if the USA will do anything as a nation to resolve it. Can we make assumptions about what the healthcare landscape will look like in 25 years with any degree of confidence? Hell, there are people talking about eliminating death in our lifetimes.

And the question of long-term investments makes me wonder about the health of the U.S. economy over the long haul.

There’s a lot happening all at once, a lot to think about, a lot to do, and a lot of boxes.