This has been a very unusual year for me. As my husband said the other day, he planned to make 2018 a calmer, quieter year. Instead, we are busier than we have ever been. In December we made the decision to have a house built in Arizona. We will start our “snowbird” life there in 2019. In the meantime we have been back twice, once to select the finishings for the house, and the other to do a walkthrough inspection after framing. This move is probably a bigger adjustment for Dennis than it is for me. He has lived in very large homes for the past 30 years. I upgraded when I married him, from a 1,600 square foot home to one over 4,000 square feet. Our new home is back to the 1,600 square feet.
I love this home we live in in Mid Missouri. It is in the woods, sits on a small lake or large pond. We have a built in swimming pool, wrap around decks, and a 20’ fire pit patio between the pool and the lake. Summers here are like vacation time. We do a lot of entertaining during the summer. This house also boasts of more bathrooms that I care to count—there are actually 6 toilets in this house. For one who does not like to clean bathrooms, that’s a lot of bathroom cleaning. Fortunately, I have a great husband who kicks in and helps with the cleaning. But, this house also sits on 3+ acres that needs tending also. It is just a lot of work.
As we are getting older, we want to slow our lives down to enjoy everyday, to be able to travel and not worry about the work that needs to be done at home. That was one of the reasons we selected a new build. It will have minor maintenance. We have come to the decision that our lives would be simpler to own only one property. We will not move away from Mid Missouri permanently. My husband’s mom is 99 years old. We don’t know how long she has, but we want to be around her while she is still with us. We don’t have to own such a big property to do that.
In order to be ready to leave this home, there is a lot of clean up to do. Not only does this house boast of 6 toilets, every bedroom has a walk-in closet, the upper level has two linen closets, and the main level has two walk-in pantries, linen closets, cleaning supply closets, whatever we call them. All those closets make for a lot of sorting, of what to sell, what to keep, what to throw away, and what to donate. So far, it has been fairly easy to let go of things. There are a few items that each of us has sentimental feelings about, and we have to work through that because our new home cannot accommodate all of our sentiment. The other day I told Dennis that I realize that the bigger the box (size of the house), the more stuff fits into that box! I think I like the idea of a smaller box! We were in Phoenix five weeks ago, and since we have returned, we have been continually busy every day, going though the what to save, what to sell, what to pitch, and what to donate ritual. I’m not kidding. This has been a constant process. I have a problem with clutter, so as we empty out an area to go through, there is a load of clutter as we inventory and make decisions. My stress level starts rising until we box up and move everything to one of the above four categories. The house will have a semblance of order until we open the next closet or set of cabinets.
My mom used to talk about Fibber McGee and Molly’s closet. They were a radio show, then television show in the 40’s and 50’s. I remember her saying that when they opened their closets, everything would fall out. Yeah, we have a tendency to clean closets when we feel we are at that point. Most of our closets are not that bad, but they were full—full of stuff that we don’t necessary need or use—time to clean out.
I have loved the storage space this house provides. We have a ton of cabinets in a very large kitchen, and there is a kitchen on our lower level that also have a fair amount of cabinets. I will have to give up some of my convenient kitchen gadgets, appliances, and fun stuff to accommodate a much smaller kitchen in Arizona. I am okay with that. It’s just the work involved to get there that raises the stress level.
I think we are almost finished with our sorting. Well, I think we are 75-80% complete. I miss reading. I usually read a lot, and I have been too busy to do so, but I see my future with time to read, to maybe finish the quilt I started well over a year ago, to go hiking a lot, and travel. Those things will be afforded to us when we move to a smaller box!
God has been so good to me. I raised four boys in a home that was only 800 square feet. When I had my house built that I moved from when I married Dennis, I was so grateful to double my living space. It was a hard ride to get to that place and be able to build a 1600 square foot home. I am still grateful for my lovely home I had. There are so many great memories in that house. The majority of my grandkids were babies and grew up visiting in that house. When my fifteen year old granddaughter was in elementary school (after I moved to this home), she wrote a paper for school about her memories of playing with her sister and cousins at my house. Her dad sent me a copy of that paper, and I have it saved on my computer. I also have the funny little “PhotoBooth” movies that were made on my computer by the grandkids at that house. When I moved to this home, the grandkids became more sophisticated, and have continued making videos. I have them all saved on my computer. They are so creative and funny.
One day when we make Arizona our permanent home, I will miss these grandkids a lot. They are all teenagers and older, so I do not see them as often now anymore. They have young people lives, and that doesn’t always include Grandma. I make a point of getting back to St. Louis to see them in their music concerts, plays, and sporting events. I have a grandson who will soon be three years old, who lives in Los Angeles. When I live in Phoenix, I will be able to drive to LA to spend time with him, and he will be able to visit Grandma’s house more often to make new memories for him and myself.
In the meantime, I’m sorting and getting ready for a new chapter in my life. Many people know that I am about reinventing myself over and over. This will be a new reinvention. My geography will be different, and I will miss so many people, but we need to make the next move to relax and enjoy our senior years together.
I am excited. I don’t know what new adventures are facing me, but I know God has given me so much, and I am looking forward the seeing what else he has for me. In the meantime, I better get to another closet . . . .