Tag Archives: moving

Home Sweet Other Home

We arrived in our Missouri home a week ago.  It took three hours to unload the travel trailer and find places to put all the groceries, clothes, and miscellaneous items we brought along for our “maybe” three months at this home.This house is our primary home until it has a completed closed sale.  We do have a contingent contract from a buyer who needs to sell their house first.  I haven’t heard how their sale is going, and I am just hoping and praying that they are doing all they can to sell their home.  In the meantime we are anchored in Missouri for the summer.  We have most of our belongings at our 2nd home in Arizona.  If the buyer sells their house quickly, or another buyer shows up for a quick sale, we can move out of this home within a week.  We have a plan.  If it happens before the summer is over, we will move our travel trailer near the St. Louis area, and stay there until summer’s end.

This house in Missouri has made a lot of good memories for me.  I met Dennis at the end of 2012.  He had been widowed, and I was single for many years.  We met on match.com.  I lived in St. Charles, MO at the time, and I had a 30 mile radius on my match account to meet people.  I met a lot of losers.  I mean a lot of losers.  I also met a lot of really nice men, but for one reason or another, they were not a suitable match, but some still remain my friend today.  As I would get bored with not meeting a great match, I would expand the radius of my searches.  That is when I saw Dennis.  I sent him a message telling him he had a great smile.  He wrote me back and informed me that he had a 93 year old mother, a 17 year old dog, and he lived 85 miles from me.  I thought those were really good reasons not wanting to meet me, and as I always did on this site, I moved on.  Two weeks later I received an email from Dennis and he asked what happened to me since I didn’t write back.  I told him that in his last reply, he gave me “47 reasons not to meet.”  He wrote back and said, “I can eliminate them all but three.”  I thought that was funny, since he had only give three in the first place, so we started corresponding.  Long story short, we were married the following August!

The first time I came to his house (now our Missouri home), I was struck by the uniqueness of the home.  I did not like the way it was painted or decorated, but the bones of the house were pretty amazing.  I am not a fan of pine, and this house is loaded with pine.  That being said, a house loaded with pine is perfect for the country setting where it sits.  It gives you a woodsy feeling when you are in this home.  It is the perfect finish for a home in this location.

As our relationship got serious, we started talking about the house.  Dennis gave me an open slate when it came to redecorating.  I was very careful how I went about this task.  Dennis was a widower.  I didn’t want to walk in and wipe out his wife from this home.  I always asked his permission before I removed anything.  I know how hard it was for him to make these changes, and I sure didn’t want to make this any harder for him.  One issue I had was that this house had furniture in every square inch.  It was overwhelming to me.  I also had furniture in my St. Charles home.  It was fairly new furniture, and I would like some of the pieces, if not all, to be able to move to this home as we made it our home.  There was no room for anything more.  Dennis promptly starting clearing out IMG_2036furniture.  A lot of the furniture were pieces that came from his deceased wife’s family.  He contacted them and asked them if they would like it back.  He proceeded to donate furniture and collectables back to her family.  Of course, any items that his son wanted went to him first.  This was, after all, his mom’s things.  

The first thing we did was repaint the interior.  Dennis was pretty surprised when he discovered that I love painting walls, so he happily joined in, and did the cutting in at the ceiling in the living room.  Oh, I forgot to mention, the walls in the living room are 20’ high.  He had a large extension ladder, and climbed up with a paint bucket and brush while I stood at the bottom of the ladder having panic attacks.  I am deathly afraid of heights.  I worried the whole time of him falling.  I would be in tears until he came back down the ladder and I knew he was safe.  Today the joke is that I stood at the bottom of the ladder worried he would fall 20′ right on top of me, and it would be weeks before our kids would find us.  Fortunately, none of that happened.Living Room Before AfterDining room befoe after We also had the exterior painted, and changes made to the front porch that not only gave it a nicer look, but made the entrance more functional.  It was an amazing transformation. house before afterAll the upstairs bedrooms became guest rooms with two rooms having queen size beds and one room with a king size bed.  The master bedroom is on the main floor.  A couple years later we did an update on the kitchen.  This kitchen is a cook’s dream.  It has a 96” center island.  It is a great space for food prep, especially baking.  It is also a great island to use for pot luck parties in the summer as we hosted many pool parties.  We also hosted my son’s wedding reception out around the pool.  Originally the island had the cooktop in the middle.  When I cooked, I was staring at the refrigerator.  Moving the cooktop to the wall counter tops, I now had a view out the window of the beautiful back yard.  The pool deck was expanded to have more walking space, and tables and chaise lounge chairs were added around the perimeter.Kitchen before afterSwim Pool Befoe afterWhen I sold my St. Charles house and moved to Fulton, Missouri, my grandkids were sad.  They said they had so many good memories of playing at that home when they were little.  These kids spent their adolescent and teen years at this mid-Missouri home making a new set of memories—swimming in the pool, roasting hot dogs at the fire pit, and making many of their amazing videos that I will keep forever as amazing memories of my grandkids.IMG_2299People question why we would move from this almost 4,000 sq. ft. home in a gorgeous setting to just 1,600 sq. ft. Home in Arizona with no pool, and no one nearby.  My husband is now 74 years old.  When he turned 70, I told him “no more 20’ ladders.”  I wanted Dennis to take it easy and enjoy his retirement.  We wanted to move somewhere warm so we didn’t have to deal with cold weather and snow in the winter.  We chose Arizona, and found a home at the foot of the San Tan Mountains.  For Dennis that was paradise.  He loves hiking, and we couldn’t ask for a better place to hike.  Our home is on one level.  It is pretty much maintenance free.   We have been there for only two winters, and we are making memories with our children and grandchildren there.  Most of them have made it out there to visit, and it gives us a new set of memories.

It took Dennis and me almost six months to downsize from this large Missouri home to the smaller one in Arizona.  We started closet by closet.  We donated thousands of items, and as we continued, it got easier and easier.  It felt freeing not to have so much stuff.  Our kids had first pick of anything we chose to dispose of, and what they didn’t want, we donated.  I have just one piece of furniture that went to Arizona.  It was a rocking chair that has been in my family all my life.  No other furniture was moved.  When the sale on this house closes, we already know what furniture our kids want, and the rest will be donated.  It will be a much easier move.  All the stuff, like books, kitchen items, etc., were all moved to Arizona.  I had to bring a few kitchen items back for this summer.  I am hoping and praying this will be the last summer trip to this home.

I want a new family to make memories here.  There is so much room for entertainment indoors and out.  I want to think about new kids splashing in the pool in the summer, barbecues in the summer, and hot dog roasts in the fall.  Then my “Home Sweet Other Home” will be just my “Home Sweet Home.”


Goin’ West

I didn’t realize that leaving Missouri would be a bit tougher than I thought.  This time, going to Arizona, is pretty much final.  We have a contract on our home—well, to be totally correct, we have a contingent contract on our home.  We are allowing the buyer to get their house sold.  Our buyers are very motivated, so I have much faith that they will sold houseget their home sold as quickly as possible.  Now, the caveat to that is that while our home has a contingent contract, other prospective buyers can still view the home and even make an offer.  I know that is risky for the buyer’s contract contingency, but that is how the contingent contracts work.

I am planning that this will be our permanent move.  I am an optimist.  I believe my buyer will be able to sell their home in a fair amount of time.  They are motivated, so hopefully, they are motivated to do what it takes to have it happen as quickly as possible.

I have been packing boxes all last week and this week.  Of course, that is between a trip to Fort Wayne, Indiana, several doctor’s appointments we had to get out of the way so we don’t need doctors in Arizona, hopefully for a while.  My husband put a reservation in for a trailer to haul the boxes, and then realized, he needed to change to a larger trailer.  It should hold all our boxes and our luggage will go into the back of the car.  Dennis is good about making sure the car is ready to go.  He has done all the maintenance and more to be road ready.  He read all the specs on using the particular trailer, and stopped today to add air pressure to the tires according to the specs.

This weekend my Missouri kids all came out.  I invited them to “shop” my kitchen.  I have several kitchen appliances, and other items, along with food that will not be going with us.  They walked into the house, and I handed them bags and told them to fill.  The loaded bags with food, and bakeware, cookware, glasses, wine glasses, and a myriad of kitchen items.  We went from room to room as I offered them bedroom furniture, living room furniture, and miscellaneous items.  Of course, when it comes to the furniture, they cannot have it until we actually close on our home.  There is a couple reasons for that, first being this home in Missouri is still our primary home, and hopefully nothing bad will happen with this contract, but if it does, we have a home to stay until it sells.  I learned a lesson when I married Dennis.  I had my home on the market, and it was IMG_2300taking a while and I wanted my furniture at this home in Mid Missouri.  I asked my real estate agent if it was okay to remove my furniture.  She saw no problem.  She told me that if the home has a lot of issues, such as needs painting, frayed carpeting, etc., furniture is a good way to distract the buyer from flaws that are easily repaired, but may discourage a buyer unnecessarily.  She said my home was in excellent condition and having it empty will not show any flaws.  That was well and good until I got a letter from my insurance company telling me that they were cancelling my homeowner’s policy because I abandoned my home.  Who ever heard of that?  Apparently, somehow they found out there was no furniture and they considered the home abandoned.  We called around and we found a new plan that said as long as we stay there two days out of the month, it would not be considered abandoned.  We put a bed in one room, and when we visited our kids, we stayed in the house.  So, lesson learned.  Furniture stays, especially if the sale goes south—“please, Lord, don’t let that happen.”

IMG_0221 2After the kids left from their day of “pillaging” the house, Dennis and I sat out by our fire pit, and it really hit me.  I was going to be leaving our family and going half way across the country.  It was a tough evening for me.  I had to go back and realize that all our kids in Missouri are very busy adults.  The grandkids in Missouri are teenagers and older.  They are also very busy.  We don’t really see them that often.  Two of our kids already have plans to come to Arizona to visit us this December.  We also plan to spend the hot summer months out of Arizona and back in Missouri.  If our house is sold and final, we will probably rent somewhere in St. Louis where are kids are.  We can enjoy our friends there, go to Cardinal baseball games, the world renowned St. Louis Zoo, the Muny Opera (it’s not really opera—it’s a world’s largest outdoor theater that performs musical theater), along with going back to Mid Missouri to visit family and friends.  What am I worried about?

Then Sunday I sat down in church and realized that this was my last full time every Missouri-DebtSunday at a church that has the best music of any church I have ever attended in my life.  The sermons are solid and deep.  The church is loving and benevolent.  Just this last September our church had a special offering to help pay off the medical bills that have gone to collection  for people who were earning less than two times the poverty rate.  In two weeks this church raised enough, not only to pay off the debt in Boone County where the church is located and the four surrounding counties, it paid off the debt in 31 Missouri counties!  Wow!  In a two week period of the time church collected for the “Jubilee” fund $430,000.  It would pay off $430 million dollars in debt.  This past Sunday, our pastor announced that the payment had been made, and it IMG_0223actually paid $500,000 of medical debt.  This is such an amazing thing, and any church or organization can do this.  If you would like to know how this works, just click on this word, “Jubilee,” and read why and how this happened.

It’s hard to leave a church that is so connected to the community.  They support so many ministries that help people.  It is hard to leave great teaching and great music, and seeing God work through the people in the church.  I love the fact that my grandson and his roommates have attended with us since they all started their freshman year at the University of Missouri.  I will miss seeing these young men every week.  Don’t tell them, but they will probably see deliveries of cookies and goodies coming from Arizona!

It is time to move forward.  I have always loved new adventures.  I have always loved meeting new people.  I have always loved trying new places and new things.  So, here is my chance.  I already have 12 first cousins in the Phoenix area, several high school classmates there, and made new friends with neighbors and people at a church there.  What am I afraid of?  In reality, I am not afraid of anything.

I know when I arrive there, I will be busy for a week or so reorganizing the kitchen, finding places for all our stuff.  There is no basement in this house, but there are plenty of closets.  I also know it will take a few weeks to feel the flow again.  When I came back to Missouri this summer from a winter in Arizona, it took me a week or so to remember how I did my days here.  It will be the same going there, but we will find our flow, and we will get in rhythm.

Change is never easy, but if we don’t move forward, if we don’t embrace change, we feet in 2 statesbecome stagnant.  I am 70 years old, will be 71 in December.  I don’t know how long I have on this earth, but while I have time, I want to make the most of it especially while I am healthy enough to do so.  I may still have feet in both Arizona and Missouri for a while.  I will always be a midwestern girl with midwestern values.  I also have midwestern taste.  I have already found a shop that has “Missouri pork steaks” just down the road from our new house.  I have packed up several bottles of Maul’s Barbecue Sauce and Zia’s Salad Dressing to enjoy in the southwest.  Now I’m ready to learn about the specialties of Arizona.

This is gonna be fun!

new adventure


The Best Laid Plans . . . .

autumn leavesIs summer over?  How quickly it went from very hot to not so hot and cool evenings.  I know—you like autumn.  You like the leaves turning colors, the cool breezes, getting out your sweaters and boots, and having pumpkin spice latte.  Good for you!  I am not a fan of autumn.  For me it’s a huge reminder that winter is on its way, and the days will become shorter and shorter, and it will be dark before dinner time.  That is not as bad for me as it used to freezingbe when I was working.  I just hated going home at 4:30 or 5:00 and it’s dark outside.  In the midwest, not only does that happen, but the leaves start falling off the trees, and the temperature starts dropping.  To me Autumn says, “Hey look at me.  I am bringing you to the brink of dark and cold.”

Fortunately, we now go do Arizona in the winter.  Our plan has always been that we would buy the house in Arizona, and enjoy January to May in the sunshine.  We would put our Missouri house on the market, sell it, and rent something near Columbia, Missouri, to be near my Dennis’ mom until she passes.  Then we will make Arizona our permanent home.

Plans are easy to make.  Executing them is another thing since much of it is out of our hands.  Our home didn’t sell, so we were not renting.  Then Dennis’ mom passed away a couple weeks ago.  That threw a wrench in what I thought was well thought out plans.  It does relieve us of the rental thing, but we still have our home in Missouri.  We were going to go back to Arizona the first of December and stay through May since there are no graduations we need to be in Missouri for in 2020.  

calendarShortly after the funeral, Dennis said to me, “Let’s go to Arizona in October.”  At first it just threw me off of my game.  Why that was weeks before what we planned.  But then, what we planned isn’t what has happened.  Sure, we could go to Arizona in October.  Then we looked at our calendars.  We had several follow-up type doctor’s appointments in November and December.  We got on the phone and rearranged all the appointments.  One of the doctors didn’t have an opening until October 17.  Okay, we will go after that date.  We have rearranged our doctor appointments, and made new ones for ones we were going to have to make.  I even gave in to a 7:30 a.m. appointment in order to make a change.  If you know me well, you know I am forever grateful for being retired, and I don’t have to get out of bed until 8:00 a.m.  For this appointment, I have to leave the house at 6:45 a.m.  It is for a good cause though—our getting ready to be back in Arizona.  Everything is now set for leaving after October 17.

IMG_8846Our house, you ask?  It’s still on the market.  There are some really good prospects that may bring a contract very soon.  In the meantime, we will take 99.9% of our belongings with us to Arizona in October.  We are not taking furniture.  The house there is already furnished.  We will keep furniture, bedding, kitchen stuff at a minimum, and whatever small amount of items we need to live here in the summer.  So instead of having a winter home, we will live in Arizona, and our Missouri home will be our summer home.  If we get a contract on it before we plan to return, we already know how we will come back to town, and move everything out for the closing of the house.  One of the things Dennis and I are good at is logistics.  We have a Plan A, and then a Plan B.  If we need to, we can come up with a Plan C.  We will then become permanent residents of sunny Arizona!

Here I am talking about going back mid October, and I forgot to mention, other than doctor’s appointments, I am having surgery on September 4.  When this was planned, although I didn’t know our original plan was going to change so drastically, I asked the doctor about how long recovery would be.  He told me if I was not retired and was working a desk job, I would be able to go back to work in two weeks.  I couldn’t lift or do packing boxesheavy stuff, but I would be mobile and well enough by then.  So, taking that in mind, it will be about six weeks until we leave for Arizona.  That works.  

We started packing boxes the other day.  With Dennis having a new shoulder, he cannot do heavy lifting, and after September 4, I won’t be able to do that either.  Our plan is to have the majority of the boxes packed by September 4.  Then we will ask for some help packing the last minute boxes and loading them into our car and trailer we plan to rent to move our belongings.

JuryDutyIt’s a plan.  It’s the Plan A for the October move down.  There may have to be a Plan A (Revision A).  I am actually on call for jury duty this week.  That’s right, Callaway County Missouri, wants me to do my civic duty this week.  They wanted me to do it last spring, but I replied to their request that I was living in Arizona until May, so they happily moved my dates for sometime in August, September, or October.  I was really hoping the house would be sold, and I could tell them I no longer live in Callaway County.  We don’t plan to change residencies until we have officially sold our home.

Callaway County has a call-in number.  We have to call in everyday to see if there is jury No trialduty the next day.  I called the number last night.  I am free as a bird today.  Great!  Dennis has a couple doctor’s appointments today, and he is not allowed to drive yet.  Hopefully, his orthopedic doctor will give him the okay this afternoon.  Yes, I know.  Had I been called into jury duty, with our 2nd car garaged in Arizona, he would have to drive me to the courthouse so he could drive himself to his doctor to get permission to drive!  

San Tan PoolI miss the hot outdoors.  It’s not September yet.  I want another week to use the pool, but 60 degree temps at night really cool the water down too much for me.  I may be finished with this pool for this season.  There will be no swimming after September 4.  It makes me kind of sad.  We do have a community pool in Arizona.  Surely it is open in the autumn with their lovely weather.  I might get a bit of pool time in after all.  

I better get to work.  So far Plan A with no revisions is still on the table.  I know it will all work out.  I may have to make a Plan B, C, or D.  It’s okay, if I do.  I know that God’s timing is much better than mine.  


Movin’ On

I will be back in Missouri in two weeks.  That sounds so odd today.  We have been at our home in Arizona since the end of December.  When we first got here I tried to find a IMG_0166rhythm to my life.  The setting was different, and I wasn’t sure what I would be doing with my days.

My days quickly got filled. Mostly Dennis and I would go to the mountain behind our home and hike approximately 4 miles, sometimes more.  Now the hiking is getting tough because the temperatures have gone to an uncomfortable HOT.  We have to go out earlier in the morning which is such a change for me.  I don’t like getting out and about that early in the day. 

Arizona weather is to my liking. Most days are sunny, and it is hot.  I am solar, so having the sun shining just brings warmth to my soul.

Now May is approaching, and our plan is to have our car loaded on and on the road for Missouri on May 9.  We will be back next winter.  I don’t want to leave.  I love it here, and I don’t feel like I have done all I want to do here.

The reality is that we have a house in Missouri.  It has not yet sold.  I know what faces me when I arrive.  First is cleaning all the decks and screened in porch.  Spring has come to the Midwest, and the pollen will be thick on all the surfaces.  I will have to hose and wash down the decks and porch.  

IMG_7990Then comes the flowers. I have been spoiled in Arizona.  When they landscape in Arizona, they put in a dripper system, that drips water on the each plant and tree, and I don’t have to go outside and water anything.  Unfortunately, that is not the case in Missouri.  I need to purchase the summer plants, and clean out the flower pots all over the pool deck and replant flowers.  In the meantime, Dennis will be cutting grass, or maybe baling hay if there has been a lot of growth.  That’s a joke—he won’t be baling hay.  We will re-mulch all the plant areas, and make everything look new and summer-happy!

I know I will find my rhythm once I arrive.  I will fall back into the pattern established living there the last five years.  As I will enjoy being back, I will have part of my heart at this home in Arizona.

There is something special about the Arizona home.  Maybe it is because Dennis and I bought it together.  We decorated it together.  This home is truly the house we both selected and made ours.  It is so comfortable.  It is small enough to be easy to maintain, and large enough to have loved ones visit.  It is peaceful in our little corner of the desert.

IMG_8846I don’t know what this year will bring.  Will our Missouri home go to a new family who want to make new memories there?  Where will we decide to live when we sell the home?  So many things are up in the air.  Maybe that is why I like staying in Arizona.  Everything here is settled.  This is my corner of the world.  Missouri is a big question mark.  Will we be home owners there for a while, short time or long time?  When we will be able to move on?

There is much I do love about Missouri.  You cannot beat the rolling hills of green trees.  The state is beautiful.  One half of my children live in Missouri, and the majority of my grandchildren are there.  This is what makes me happy about returning.  I can attend school plays and concerts and enjoy the presence of the grandkids.  I have many friends in Missouri, and hopefully, I can spend my summer reconnecting with them.  I look forward to the summer pool parties with family and friends.

I am leaving my car in Arizona.  It will make it easy if during the summer or the autumn, we want to drop in our desert home, we can take a quick flight out, and have transportation awaiting us.

feet in 2 statesI now have a foot in two states.  We are committed to Missouri as long as Dennis’ mom is with us.  She turned 100 last November, and she is quite healthy for her age.  I do know that we will try to find really good hiking areas when we get back.  We are so used to really working it on road trip2these long hikes, that we don’t want to lose that momentum that we have made.

As we get ready to button up this house for a bit, I am sure we will have some new adventures waiting for us back at our other place.  So, I have less than two weeks here, and I plan to make the most of it.  We will be hiking a lot, and we will be meeting up with friends before we go, and then I will put my traveling shoes on for the next adventure going back the the Show Me State.

Living the Life

Arizona house

I have been in Arizona for exactly two months.  The time has flown.  I am just starting to get into the groove of living some place new.  I have learned many of the back street ways to get places rather than travel on the busy roads—I like taking the road less traveled.  I no longer wake up in the morning wondering what I should do for the day.  I know where the grocery stores are.  I know where my favorite spots on the couch and chairs are.  I know which cabinets the dishes belong.  My pantry and refrigerator both have food.  It is home.

I am thoroughly comfortable here.  The house is about one half the size of the house in Missouri, and I love the fact it is quick and easy to clean.  I love that I can walk a half mile and be at the community center with a terrific work out room.  I love that I can walk all over the neighborhood without a coat, and not have to take the same route each day, and get a good walk in.  I love that there is no grass ever to cut!  I love that flowers are blooming in February.  I love the fact we have a mountain to look at and hike on whenever we feel like it, and it’s right out our back door.  There is so much to like here.   

Missouri house

I currently own homes in both Missouri and Arizona.  I would love to sell the Missouri house.  I have loved that home, and we made it a great place for family and friends, but I love the leisurely life we have in Arizona without home upkeep (the advantage of a new build).  I would like my husband to not to have to cut grass on 3 acres and not have to worry about the pool.  I would like him to live as leisurely in Missouri as in Arizona.

I would like to make new memories in a new location when we see our home.  I have no idea where it will be.  We will not look for something until our house is sold.  It’s kind of like living in limbo.  I could be moving out of that house in a month or in 6 months.  I am prepared to move at a moment’s notice.  We have worked hard to have the house ready, so that if it sold while we are in Arizona, it would be a fairly easy pack up and move out project.  We are ready.  I wonder where is my buyer.  Who is the next family to come love our home, and make wonderful memories there?  I just wish whoever they were, they would speak up soon.  I want to make my next set of plans.

I prefer the weather of Arizona, but in two months I will be returning to Missouri.  I fear I will be the same when I arrive there as I was when I first arrived here in late December.  I won’t have a routine, and it will take me two months to figure it out again.  Then I will be in full swing in a routine, and it will be time to pack up and return to Arizona.  How do snowbirds do this?

Which back yard do I like best?  I love them both.  I have been blessed to enjoy such beautiful spaces with my husband.  Yes, this has been a great winter.  If our house doesn’t sell, it will be a great summer at the pool.  If it does, it will be a great new adventure.  I’m ready!  

Arizona back yard
Missouri back yard
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