It’s only been a few weeks since we moved into our new residence but there’s something sweet about life here that’s a little hard to explain. And I say that in spite of the fact that the road work continues and yesterday the crew was compacting the road surface in preparation for the asphalt. Those large Bomag compactors not only have little “sheepsfeet” bumps on them to aid in the compaction, but also some form of vibrator system inside so that yesterday as the compactor rumbled past, over and over and over again, every dish and glass and fragile thing rattled and clanked inside the house. The work will be done soon enough; the results will be well worth the wait and the temporary inconvenience of being unable to drive the car out of the carport (because of the as yet uncompacted gravel) and such — ’tis but a temporary inconvenience. We are ever so happy that the roads are being re-worked, and we really appreciate Ted Cook, the new owner, for putting that re-vitalization up near the top of his improvements list.
Life is turning out to be simpler. For one thing I’m not having to spend as much time travel planning. Wandering around the world in a nearly 60 foot long caravan (40 foot coach, 15 foot car, and about 3 foot of linkage in between) does take more forethought that it might if your only transportation were a SmartCar. I think the advance travel planning was a part of what tipped me over the edge about hanging up our RV keys and settling down. I enjoyed the process for a long time. And then I didn’t. Partly because we had gone the places we intended, and much of the rest of the country we have seen in years gone by — so the motive to go see new things had dwindled. Which is OK. We can look back on our years as full timers with contentment. We did what we planned.
We are definitely getting better about regular exercise. And I’m controlling my weight better than when we were actively traveling. When we arrived we were lucky to walk much more than a mile at a time. Now we are doing 3.5 miles at a time and feeling good about it. Also since Jan 1 of ’16 I’ve dropped about 45 lbs and that has made a lot of difference. I no longer have issues with sleep apnea, I feel better, I can move around better — folding yourself in half (as in squatting) when your tummy is in the way just doesn’t happen when you are as heavy as I had been. I anticipate that at some point I’m going to have to have surgery on my aorta dilation and I’d like to be as good a candidate for surgery when that happens as possible.
But more importantly I know that I (not speaking for Peggy here) feel more relaxed. There are things I don’t like here (there is no Utopia anywhere in this world — there will always be things I don’t like anywhere we live) but I’m comfortable here. Sure, I wish we were closer to Kathryn and Mike and Melanie and Drew; but I also know that I would be hibernating indoors for the next 5 months if we did. I just can’t deal with the cold like I used to. I love the people here. They aren’t family but they are genuinely nice people. Not all of them — never all of them — that just isn’t in the cards in any human society — but most of them. I like where we are located. Surely it’s different from Wisconsin. No hardwood dense forests here. Lots of flat land and scrub vegetation — it’s different than what we are accustomed to — but I like it.
We have said to each other that at some point we have no doubt that we will sell this house and find ourselves forced by age to move north once again. So, we made this purchase knowing it was an interim purchase. We may be here three years or ten years or …. who knows. But we are trying to hold down our possessions so that we can pack ‘em all in a Uhaul when the time comes. And we are going to enjoy the place we are in as long as we are in it. It’s a frame of mind, not the place that’s comfortable.
Between our stay here two years ago and now we are getting comfortable with there things are and how to get around. That’s always a big deal for me; the world in my view is sort of like a matrix into which everything fits in its respective place — a giant jigsaw puzzle if you will. Knowing where you are and where you’re going is big in my book.
But it’s more than just having a place for everything; sometimes things feel like they belong where they are, and other times they fit, but don’t feel/look right where they are. The home decorator with a gazillion lamp choices looks around for just the right feel even though perhaps a hundred lamps would be the right size and offer the right amount of illumination. For whatever reason, this place feels right. There’s no explaining it; it just is.
I mentioned a while back that one of the things that feels comfortable about this area is that it feels more like a working class area than one putting on airs and presence. Going along with this is another takeaway perception that has grown stronger as the holiday season approached. That is the presence of family.
Back in Wisconsin it’s common to see lots of teens out shopping. We see them here too. What we see more of here however are families (mother, father & kids) all shopping together. And fathers often waiting just outside the store (boredom afflicts fathers down here too) while mom and some of the little ones are inside the store making purchases. I know it’s cliche to associate hispanics with family, but in so many ways I feel like I have stepped back 50 years in my own life to a time when mom & dad and I would all go shopping together. It wasn’t a case of everyone being too busy to do things together; we were a unit and we did things together — we just did.
Even now, Peggy and I do almost everything together. No one says we have to. We just do. When we were working we talked time and again about whether there was some job, some profession, that we could do together to spend more time with each other. We never found one — although there was a time that I tried (unsuccessfully I might add) to get a job in the same billing office where she worked. That would have been a disaster but I was willing to try because I enjoy being wither her and enjoy her company. Nowadays we continue as we have always been — if one is doing something, the other comes along. Neither of us feels as if it’s a waste of our time. We married because we wanted to be together. We might not have anticipated what being together for 48 years felt like, but we were real and sincere about our desire. I sometimes think she tags along more than I do. She’ll come along to Home Depot even when I’m just going for odd little bits and bobs — but it’s what we do. And this is a good place to be together.
As the world winds down from Christmas I guess I’m still in a Thanksgiving mood. Thankful for what we have together, not even a week after our anniversary. Thankful for having found a place that feels comfortable. Thankful that our family understands that being away doesn’t mean any less love. And that sometimes as you age things that didn’t bother you a lot — like weather — when you were younger present different challenges when you’re older. It was a really hard choice to decide to dig in here in S. Texas for just that reason. I suspect if I’m honest with myself that there is still a twinge of conscience about not being closer to our daughter. The only good part is that with this lifestyle I suspect we’ll see her more often than we did when we were RV’ing. Only time will tell.
So, while other people are out exchanging gifts on Boxing Day, I’m here still being thankful for a full year, a productive year, a year of significant changes. I always feel better when I’m thankful. I have a lot to be thankful for.
thanks for stopping, and pop in again tomorrow to see what’s up.