Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Writer in Transition

Editor's Note: Pikes Peak Writers has members in every jurisdiction. But after reading Mike's post about his move, you might consider staying put. Enjoy!

By: Mike Befeler

Spoiler alert.  I no longer live in Colorado. The short version—my wife and I have moved to Lakewood, California. The Longer version—read on.
Moving is something I’m not very good at. The reason: I don’t do it very often. In fact we lived in the same house for thirty-eight years before my wife and I made the decision to move from Boulder to California. Many friends asked, “Why would you give up the beautiful mountains to go where there’s a drought?” The simple answer: our daughter was having a baby and we wanted to be there to help with childcare.

We spent several months sorting; donating furniture, clothes and stuff to the Salvation Army; and then checking off the to-do-list of all the things necessary to sell the house, buy a new one and get everything moved. Needless to say, I put writing on hiatus with my new more-than-full-time job.
Given the housing market, before we even put it on the market, we had a buyer who offered a good price, gave us a month leeway after the house was sold to stay in the house to help with the timing of our move to California, and didn’t insist on any items being fixed from the inspection report. In the meantime, we made a whirlwind trip to visit our daughter and bought a house near her. The day we arrived the realtor took us to see houses. Out of all we saw, we liked one. Still, we could only see it from the outside as it had gone on the market that day. The next day we went inside, knew it was our new home and made an offer. The following day there was a higher offer, so we sucked it up, met that, and the house was ours.

Then began the craziness of lining up the movers and coordinating the timing between the sale of the Boulder house and the closing of the California house. After one glitch with the movers, we got everything scheduled. We took off for a two-day drive to California with our cat. The problem—the first night when we stopped in Cedar City, Utah, my hand had swollen and was painful from a puncture wound the result of packing. I ended up in an emergency room diagnosed with a strep infection (cellulitis) and received two doses of intravenous antibiotic that night and one more the next morning before completing the drive. We set up our inflatable bed in our new house as it would be several days before the moving van arrived. Then in the wee hours of the next morning, I awoke with a fever, and my wife drove me to the closest ER. I ended up spending over three days in the hospital being pumped full of antibiotics, not the way I anticipated arriving in California.
The previous owners had not completed fixes to a shower, so while I was in the hospital workers arrived to continue the repair. Our cat got into the hole in the shower and disappeared into the crawl space under the house. My wife had to deal with my hospitalization and the cat’s disappearance, so it wasn’t a very good day for her. Finally, the cat came out after dark, so at least one of us had returned.

After being released from the hospital, I had to carry an IV pump with antibiotic for two weeks, then was weaned to oral antibiotics. 
The good news—I made a complete recovery. The bad news—writing stayed on hiatus. I kept my sanity by taking walks, and discovered that although I no longer had the mountain vistas, there were beautiful parks, bike paths and the nearby beaches.



Once my hand was functioning again, we began the paperwork of drivers licenses, car registration and address changes. Then out of the blue one of our insurance companies informed us that they were terminating our prescription drug coverage in three days. After several frantic calls, I found that we needed to convert to a Southern California plan from the Colorado plan. The cost was all of ten cents a month more, but the insurance company, in all its wisdom, chose to send us the incendiary letter rather than merely contacting us to make a change.
In California, the Department of Motor Vehicles wants people to get a new driver’s license within ten days of changing residence. But guess what? When I called the DMV to make an appointment, the first slot was six weeks later. Go figure.

Once I had my California driver’s license, I got my California sales tax license and then applied for a business license in Lakewood so I could sell my books at local events. An example of my stressed out brain at this point, I spent an hour applying for the Lakewood business license before noticing that I was on the Lakewood, CO web site not the Lakewood, CA web site.  
We now have that all taken care of. And what is happening in my writing world? I’ve been networking and connecting. I started playing pickleball once my hand healed and met people who directed me to a writers group and a library where I’ll be participating in a mystery panel early next year. I’ve joined the Los Angeles chapter of Sister in Crime, the Southern California Chapter of Mystery Writers of America, attended a meeting of the Orange County Chapter of Sisters in Crime and a writers group, participated in two book clubs, given a talk to a book club, held a signing at a local independent bookstore, contacted three other book stores and a library for future signings, and scheduled a talk at a Rotary Club.


But the really important part of our move—our healthy, handsome and happy grandson was born in July. We live two miles from our daughter and her family and are seeing the little one on almost a daily basis. This makes all the hassle and problems worth it.
Thus begins a new chapter of a writer in transition.

Mike Befeler turned his attention to writing after a 39-year career in the computer industry. He now resides in Lakewood, CA, with his wife Wendy. His published novels in the Paul Jacobson Geezer-lit Mystery Series include: RETIREMENT HOMES ARE MURDER (2007); LIVING WITH YOUR KIDS IS MURDER (2009), a finalist for The Lefty Award for best humorous mystery of 2009; SENIOR MOMENTS ARE MURDER (2011); CRUISING IN YOUR EIGHTIES IS MURDER (2012), a finalist for The Lefty Award for best humorous mystery of 2012; CARE HOMES ARE MURDER (2013); and NURSING HOMES ARE MURDER (2014). In April, 2013, Mike’s first paranormal mystery, THE V V AGENCY, was published, followed by THE BACK WING, a paranormal geezer-lit mystery. His most recent novel is MYSTERY OF THE DINNER PLAYHOUSE. Mike is past president of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. He also is the author of a biography, FOR LIBERTY: A WORLD WAR II SOLDIER’S INSPIRING LIFE STORY OF COURAGE, SACRIFICE, SURVIVAL AND RESILIENCE. Due out in October is Mike’s first historical mystery, MURDER ON THE SWITZERLAND TRAIL.