It’s difficult to separate the process of leaving Houston, TX from the process of moving to my new location as it’s really all one big process but I will make the effort here. Once I committed to my specific egress date, I really just planned backward from there with specific deadline dates for actions set on my calendar. As time progressed I added more action items to enhance the outcome as they occurred to me. This process was the easiest and most enjoyable. It was carrying them out and dealing with the subsequent emotions that was more difficult.
The first action that gave me the impetus to set the date to leave was the increased value of my house. Thanks to COVID-19 the profit to be made from the sale would set me up for more than a year of not working should I choose that route. The house needed a lot of work and the cost to get it all done wouldn’t really increase the value much. I chose to sell to Opendoor which provided me with the opportunity to walk away with no repairs or excessive cleaning and no haggling. I possibly missed out on some money but not much as they offered me more than the market price.
Closing my business, which wasn’t active anyway due to COVID-19, was challenging because it felt like failure. It wasn’t my first business or my first failure for that matter but it was the most investment I had ever made in such an endeavor. Even this pales in comparison to what I am moving into but that is for another post. In this case I had and still have paperwork to fill out and reporting to do to multiple agencies to complete before I can truly call it closed.
I didn’t really make friends here despite the effort. I know my standards are high but friendship requires work and there is little to no payoff to trivial acquaintances. Nevertheless a couple of people started to come around towards the end of my tour but by then I was well into working my plan to leave. There were some good conversations and some enjoyable hanging out but in the end I was leaving and we weren’t really cool enough for any relationship to be maintained after I left.
Leaving work was surprisingly anti-climatic. I gave my two week notice with a bit of an expectation that there would be some sort of argument and they would just shuffle me out the door. I’d seen it happen at this company already. I took the weekend before to draft my resignation letter and spoke to my supervisor directly right before I filed it, as a courtesy. They didn’t appear to see it coming (they should have) but it was all handled professionally with little to no fanfare. There was no bon voyage party for me on my last day. In fact, neither my boss nor the rest of my team was even in the office when it was time for me to leave. I picked up my final check, turned in my key fob and walked out.
My last week at home was a strenuous scramble. Opendoor gave me the new mandate of ensuring the house was cleared of any furniture items or any other detritus. I tried to sell everything but got flaky offers for everything except for my appliances which were sold within 24 hours of listing. I tried to give the rest away to charity but I needed someone to pick it all up and most of these organizations were very picky as to what they would take. I ended up going with Houston Furniture Bank. While they initially dropped the ball regarding contact and setting up an appointment, they ended up taking everything too large for me to carry alone with a smile and professionalism. Packing was rough and emotional but not nearly as bad as it was the last time I did it. Still, everything would not fit in my vehicle. I had to make several trips to goodwill and the dump. The night before I left I gave away a few treasured items to a friend but ended up leaving a lot for the trash and in front of my house for anyone who wanted anything and ultimately the large trash removal that happens monthly in my association. I squeezed everything I could into my vehicle, pushing clothes, pillows, and blankets into every nook and cranny. I even had to push my seat forward a bit and covered the inside of the windows to ensure nothing knocked against them and cracked them open. By the time I got on the road that next morning I was exhausted but free.