Almost a Week

On Monday we will have owned our new home one week.  Although we had a Holiday this week, Thanksgiving, it basically has been a blur.  From closing on two houses, packing up the last-minute things, going to a neighborhood farewell party, moving out of one house and moving into the next house the next day, and cleaning and painting and unpacking, these last 6 days are a blur of activity and being very very tired when going to bed.

Overall, based on some of the horror stories regarding moving and closing on houses, I guess you can say ours was uneventful, which is always a good thing.  The movers overall did a good job, with only 1 broken  yard plant pot, and some minor scratches on the furniture that can be touched up.  Putting things away I have broken two things, so the Movers have a better track record than I.

Our new home is a resale so it was previously lived in.  The more I’m here I really do like the floor plan, but regrettably it hasn’t had a good cleaning in quite a while, so not only is unpacking required, but before anything can be put away, a thorough cleaning must be done.  I think I truly have dish pan hands!  I have never washed and cleaned so much in one week, and we still have a lot ahead of us.

One of our new neighbors brought over cookies on Wednesday and that was really appreciated, they were homemade and was good snacking.  You need that sugar energy to keep you going.  Although it seems like endless work we do try to stop by 8PM, but that is a long day since we start about 8:30.  I would never have guessed how badly my feet hurt.  Although wearing shoes all day, it’s amazing that one’s feet can hurt so much.  I give all retail people a big kudos for I have no idea how they can stand all day long, every day.  I have been at it a week and every evening my legs and feet just ache.  I wonder how long it takes until your legs and feet just get numb and they don’t hurt any longer?

On Thursday we enjoyed a very nice dinner at Cracker Barrel along with many other people.  Since Cracker Barrel was about the only restaurant open in the area, it was a big hit with many people.  On Friday we joined the locals in Georgetown’s square, listened to Christmas carols and watched the Town Square come alight with Christmas lights.  It was all very small town and all very nice.  It was a nice way to welcome in our new town.  There were many people so we will be going back this week to take some photos and I will post later in the week.  As we get settled in I’ll start carrying my camera with me and start taking more photos to share with you as I progress down our new town roads.  Welcome to Georgetown, TX, I can’t wait to share with you all the things I find and learn about this area. Although only 90 miles from where we previously lived, it feels much farther, and is all brand new.  Enjoy your Holiday travels and be safe and happy when traveling the roads!

 

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Closing Day and More!

It has arrived.  Months have gone by since we first started discussing whether we should move or not.  I know it goes back to about the Spring time frame.  You know, the conversations that starts out “what if…” and you make a comment or two, then nothing, then a short while later something happens and it comes up again.  Then the moment comes when you start talking seriously about, weighing the pros and cons, and then saying we should wait a year or two.  Then a little more time goes by and something comes up and now it seems maybe this is the right time.  So we talked and talked, thought and thought, and finally about May we decided that were going to move forward with selling this house and traveling down our road to our next chapter.

We knew where we wanted to move so that wasn’t the issue, but we again went back to make sure we still felt strongly about the community and we certainly did.  When we left the Chicago area nearly 10 years ago we thought we would like to retire in an Adult/Senior community.  Prior to moving to Florida we traveled through many of the Adult/Senior communities throughout Florida and we decided we weren’t ready for that type of community yet.  I had many working years ahead of me, and although my husband was gong to retire I felt I was too young to move into this type of community.  So we purchased a home in an all age community and there we stayed for the time we were in Florida.

When we decided that Florida regrettably was not going to be our final destination, and we started looking at Texas, again we went down the road should we consider an Adult/Senior community.  Again we looked, and once again we decided not to.  Instead we had the opportunity to allow my husband to build his home that he designed and he lovingly was involved with from beginning to end.  It’s a beautiful home on an acre lot and is bigger than 2 people need, but we enjoyed the home and the area.

When we were making the decision about moving, the factor that was different this time is that I was quitting my job and not going to work.  With that new to the scene that changed our opinion and we did decide that now 10 years after our initial discussion it is time to move into the Adult/Senior community that we had been considering for the last 2 moves.

So today was our closing on our home in New Braunfels, and on Tuesday we will be moving into our home in Georgetown, TX.  We will be joining the other Seniors already residing in Del Webb’s Sun City in Georgetown.  It is a beautiful community; 3 golf courses, 2 indoor and 2 outdoor pools, tennis courts, and a wide variety of activities both within your neighborhood and through out the community.  We knew we would one day move to this type of community we just didn’t know when.  We both feel this is the time.

I will miss this home as my husband put his heart and soul into this home and he loved the building process and the results of all his hard work.  We put all the good we have found in previous homes and tried to come up with a home that met all of our needs and in some cases exceeded them.  It has upgrades that we never had before and probably will never have again.  Although we will be giving this up, we will always have the wonderful memories of our times here and also the memories of having been in a position to build this home and enjoy it.  We are lucky and blessed because I know many have this dream and it is never achieved, so I am leaving with no regrets and I am glad that life allowed us to enjoy the time we have had here.  If only we could take this house and move it to our new community, but of course that is not an option; hence the sale.

I know that Tuesday will be a difficult day for my husband, but I am hoping that as we get involved with our new home and community that although he won’t forget the home, but will start enjoying our new community.   I am calm about this move as I feel this is the right time.  It’s not like this decision came out of the blue, it has been thought about for 10 years and we did say that ultimately we wanted to purchase our last home in one of these Adult/Senior communities so to me it’s just turning onto the next street in our life and I’m looking forward to it.

Del Webb and Sun City are two words that have been around since the 1960’s.  The original communities were started in Arizona and now there are many communities throughout the U.S.  Not just in the warm climates any longer, but throughout the U.S.  It’s an active adult lifestyle.  It’s like going on a cruise.  You can take a cruise and lay on the deck all day and read a book and don’t get involved in any of the daily or nightly activities, and for some that’s great, but why go on a cruise.  Sun City is like a big adult playground and unless you want to go out and play, don’t waste your time.

Like with anything in life, you make of it what you want.  If I’m going to be by myself all day, take a walk and sit on my back porch and read a book,  we should have just stayed in our current home.  We can go a week without seeing anyone, and for a social person like me this is just depressing and boring.  But that’s not we want.  We want to golf, and socialize and be involved in activities.  Have a day that by the evening your exhausted but happy, not bored and lazy.  I am hoping that if our life in our new home is 1/2 as exciting as I hope it will be, then I will be 100% happy, and couldn’t ask for more.  Anything more than that will be a special surprise.

So we won’t be traveling down any new roads on vacations or long weekends over the next month or two as we have a lot of unpacking and settling in.  But what I will be bringing to you is our initiation into our new community and lifestyle.  Welcome to a new day and a new road, you’re never too old to start a new adventure.  Happy travels.

One Week and Counting

It’s almost here  – Moving Day!

It’s a day that I look forward to with sadness but also with great excitement.  Probably compared to many people I have moved quite a lot in my adult life, and to others probably not that much.   The amount of my adult moves does not in any way correlate to my childhood.  I was raised and lived in my childhood home from 5 years old until I got married in my 20’s.  As an adult the longest I have lived in a home is about 6 years, so I guess you can say I should be an expert at packing and unpacking.  Most moves were local except for the last 2 moves which were cross-country.  One thing I have learned is that cross-country moves take much more thought and planning.  You need to know what can go on the moving truck, what can’t, no refrigerated foods, no gas in lawn movers and every little thing must be packed.  Once the moving truck leaves if you can’t fit it in your suitcase or your car, you’re going to be leaving it behind.  Local moves, especially if you can coordinate good in sync closings are a little less worrisome because you can possibly make some trips by car and it’s amazing how much you can fit in an SUV, and really if it doesn’t fit or misses the truck it’s not like I can’t ask a neighbor to hold it and we come back for it.  It’s not the do or die situation that once you leave the area, you’re gone.

So what have we been doing the last couple of weeks, well of course, packing.  Yes, we’re packing ourselves.  If you haven’t moved recently moving is not a cheap thing to do, so since packing yourself saves lots of money, we’re doing it.  Also, I really like packing.  It gives you that chance to remind yourself of all the “stuff” you have.  You know all those things at the back of the cabinet or closet that you forget you have and never use, and you think why am I packing this again?  We have lived here almost 5 years and I haven’t used it once, and in the previous house I don’t think I used it, so for at least 10 years this item has taken up space in a cabinet and yet there I go and wrap it and stick it in the box!

The sadness about moving is that the people you have met will probably in a year or two just stop communicating.  With everyone’s life so busy and having friends close by its really hard to maintain a long distance friendship, especially if it wasn’t that close to start with.  I have to say that it now has been over 5 years since we left Florida and I still enjoy talking and emailing my next door neighbor and dear friend.  Even after all this time I find the discussion to be as free-flowing as when we lived next to each other, this is a true friendship.  It’s when the conversations turn to “how’s your weather” you know the end is in sight.

My last job is a good example of abrupt endings.  I really wasn’t that close with anyone in particular, except for occasional lunches so I really didn’t expect any type of closeness to continue.  To say the least I am disappointed that certain friendships that I thought I had stopped immediately, while another has actually improved.  So whether it be work friends, your neighbors, people you know from church or clubs, there’s a higher percentage that the longer you’re away the less you will hear from them.  But if you realize that and accept that it’s part of moving on that’s OK.  They shared a portion of your life, you carry the memories of the laughter, or sadness, but these people were part of your life and we all should be grateful we had the opportunity to meet them and they have become a part of a long and full life.  With the amount of moving we have done, I am happy to say that no matter where we have moved, I have had the opportunity of meeting some wonderful people and glad I had the time I shared with them.  I certainly hope that we will stay in contact, as we’re only moving 90 minutes up the road.  It’s not like we’re again moving out-of-state, but a relatively short drive based on Texas standards, only time will tell.

The excitement part is moving into the new neighborhood and meeting the new neighbors and starting the cycle over again.  I enjoy meeting new people and with the amount of invites already received to participate in things, I am hoping that this will be one of the neighborhoods that we will enjoy for years to come.  There’s always room for new and more friends, it doesn’t mean you have to give up on your old friends.  If you’re going to be traveling down a road that is taking you to a new neighborhood or area, make sure you take time to meet your neighbors and participate in clubs.  Friendships should be nurtured and each one cherished and appreciated in its own way.  I’m tired but looking forward to the new roads we will be traveling on in the next week.

 

 

Cycle of Life

All of our life we can’t wait for the next big thing to happen.  When we’re very young we want to be like our older sisters or brothers.  When we’re preteen we want to be just like the older teenagers.   I remember well my Mom’s words, “when you get older you can do this, or you can do that”, so older became magical.  It was something as a child you were always striving for.  Then you became a teenager, driving age what an achievement, you were an adult!  What an accomplishment.  Then it was your first job, wow, you were definitely growing up.  That was good because as you grew older you were able to do more and more of what you were told when you were younger that you couldn’t do.  Driving, voting, drinking at a bar, OMG, how could it get any better!

Now thinking back my teenage years of the 70’s they were nothing like today.  I have no idea how today is, except for the conversations with the grandkids and they certainly seem different.  I thought I couldn’t grow up fast enough, now the kids seem to be grown up earlier and are missing even more of their childhood than we did.

Once you were in your late teens, “kids” were either going off to college, the Service, or to their first job.  I continued on to college locally and worked part-time, but I still lived at home.  So although I was an adult, I will still living under my parents roof and if I wanted to continue to live there I followed their rules.  Yes, there was a curfew back then, not imposed by the law, but imposed by my parents, and yes I obeyed, who would have thought otherwise.  Then P/T work turned into F/T work, dating and eventually getting married.

Even married there was the next goal.  At that time it was not geared toward getting older, but hitting other targets such as buying your first house, having children and setting your sights on their goals and aging.   Then the cycle started all over again.  While your children couldn’t wait to get older, you’re now starting to look and say, wait!  As they are getting older than I’m getting older and I’ve already hit 29 multiple times, when does it all stop!  As we know, it doesn’t stop, they cycle of life keeps going.

Some are lucky enough to be married to the same person all their life, while others it might take them a time or two to find the right one,  but during these times the kids are growing up and can’t wait to be older, and we’re saying it’s OK to slow things down a little, of course that doesn’t happen.  So as the kids go off to college and our hair is starting to turn grey (or get a little thinner) we’re now looking at the next stage in life, retirement.  The finances are reviewed more often, goals and targets are set, and the anticipation of now achieving that next stage in life – When can I quit my job and not have to work another day in my life – Retire!

I made that time and I’m now here.  I am now retired about 2 months – a whole 60 days.  I am far from being an experienced retiree  and have not even began to skim the surface, but I have learned one thing and it’s real important.  Once you know when you want to retire you need to have a plan.  What I mean is that you can’t quit one day and wake up the next and say what am I going to do now – it’s too late then.  If you have a hobby be prepared to embrace it.  If you don’t have a hobby but want to start one, be prepared to move forward.  If you want to ge more involved with your church, volunteer at the library or hospital, get these things lined up.  You can not and should not sit at home all day watching TV or playing games on the computer.  You didn’t go thru all the ups and downs and good and bad of life to get to this stage of  your life to sit on your ass and do nothing.  The 65-year-old is the new 45!  Do something with yourself.  If not you will become depressed and a mean and angry person.  People will not seek you out, you seek out life.

I know not everyone can afford luxury vacations, or 2 homes, but there is plenty to do out there that doesn’t cost much and will keep you healthy and happy.  This is our ultimate goal in life.  We have given and supported and sacrificed.  We have taken our lumps and dished it out.  We have worked those 60 and 70 hour weeks, been stressed about family and concerned about how to support them, it’s now our time to shine.  Retirement is our time to do what we want to do.  We can choose to do what makes us happy because  reality, if you don’t do it now, when are you going to do it.  There’s not that many “around the next corner” moments left so go for it, take that new road of adventure and enjoy it as much as you can.

Enjoy your travels, we deserve it, we should enjoy it and let’s hope our retirement road goes on for many years to come, enjoy your travels……..

Packing, Patio Party and WURSTFEST – Does it get any better!

It’s been a few days since posted anything new, because how exciting can packing be?  I have been a busy bee this week packing up the house and getting ready for our move, which is now fast approaching.  But after working on it most of the week, I’m happy to say that I’m actually much farther than I expected.  We took yesterday and today off for fun things we had planned, but we’re back on track to packing again tomorrow.  Every move prior to this one, I have worked right up to the moving day, so it was very tiring.  Worked all week, and every evening and the weekends I would spend packing, and after a few weeks of that you get really tired.  This is the first time I am not working and it’s really not so bad.  I’m probably in the minority when I say I really like packing.  It’s like putting a puzzle together.  You pack this and that, then you have a certain size spot in the box that you need to find something to fit, so you walk thru the house and then you see it and it fits just perfect and fills out the box perfectly.  So each box is like a mini-challenge and you feel such an accomplishment with each one you tape up.

Now onto the fun things, really how much can you talk about packing.  Yesterday we drove to our new community in Georgetown to attend our first neighborhood party, although not moved in yet.  We were introduced to most of the people in our neighborhood, and I’m lucky if I remember 5 names.  Certainly have no idea who belongs to who as the wifes were not sitting next to their husbands so that one is going to take some time to figure out.  I have to say that I can pretty well hold my own when meeting new people, and joining in discussions but it was a little overwhelming.  The best example I can give you is like you’re walking into the middle of a movie where all the characters know what’s going on and you don’t.  So we have a lot of catching up but from our first meeting with our new neighbors they seem very friendly and open and I’m sure in no time we won’t be the new kids on the block, but feel like we have been there for years, I’m looking forward to it.  So we attended the afternoon patio party and unloaded an SUV load of stuff in our future garage, so we accomplished a moving task while having a very pleasant afternoon.

Then there’s today – it’s WURSTFEST time!  Only in New Braunfels, TX is it WURSTFEST time.  Every time about this year Wurstfest is held, it is a 10 day music, eating and beer drinking event.  It’s a place you can go with your family, spouse, old or young, if you like polka music you’re going to love Wurstfest.  The weather this time of year is fantastic, there’s plenty of sausage and sauerkraut, and an unlimited amount of both domestic and import beers.  They have bands from all over the Country and World that come to this event.  Some bands come from Germany and I can almost guarantee that every band will have at least one accordion player.  I thought accordions were dead, went by the way side in the 1960’s, but not here in New Braunfels, they are here to stay.

This is Wursthalle

Wurstfest has been going on for a very long time, from about the 1960’s, not sure of the exact history, so as always, the Internet will answer that question.  We went this afternoon because after 4 years of attending this festival we do have a favorite entertainer the Alex Meixner Band.  I have to say, in my opinion, he is the best entertainer of the event.  This year he had a special guest, the Canadian National accordion Champ, he was amazing!  Now I’m not an accordion aficionado, but it is an amazing instrument and fun to listen to.  Every year we get our annual dose of the Chicken Dance and the Beer Barrel Polka, two traditions that I enjoy maintaining.    Some of the entertainment are local to New Braunfels and are very good also.

Alex Meixner with Canadian Champion

Alex Meixner Band with Canadian Champion

Typically this festival is held near November 1st each year and the start date only changes by a day or two.  The event runs over 2 weekends, and although they are open during the week, it is only open in the evenings starting at 5PM on weekdays, of course the weekends are the biggest days and evenings and based on the crowds we saw today, it was amazing.  I have never seen it this crowded in the 4 years we have gone.  If you like to hear some good German music, enjoy good food, drink some good cold beer, and enjoy the beautiful Texas Fall weather, then you need to make New Braunfels your destination for a long weekend or a stop over on your vacation in this area, I don’t think you will be disappointed.   As I have stated before you don’t always have to travel far to have a good time, make some great memories and enjoy something different and new.    If coming to attend Wurstfest make sure you have time to stop and see Gruene, and enjoy some good music and there is also historic downtown New Braunfels that is worth the stroll.  It would certainly be a weekend that you will get plenty of good food and some great music, there is not a shortage of either one in this area.  This is a road well worth traveling down….. enjoy!

Mark Halata and Texavia