Where Does Time Go?

It’s been awhile since I last posted, and as I look back over last month, January, I wonder where the time has gone.  We moved to our home in November, we are now in our 3rd month and I can say that there hasn’t been one day that I have sat here and said I have nothing to do.  I had expectations before we moved here, just like when  you start anything new.  Whether it’s a new job, starting a new excercise program, taking a class, you go into your project expecting something from it.  Sometimes you are disappointed and other times surprised because the outcome surpassed what you thought would happen.   Before we moved here I remember telling friends that if only half of my expectations are met, I will be happy.  I can honestly say that this is a time in my life that my expectations have been met 100%.

I have been retired since September, and I can say living in our previous home, if it wasn’t for the packing and preparing to move out of our home, I was on the road to boredom.  I found myself very aware of the time of day, and found I had more down time then I really was happy with.  Since moving to Sun City, it has been the opposite and we haven’t even scratched the surface of all the things we want to do.  We certainly did jump right in, but because of that we feel very much like we belong, and not an outsider looking in.  We are involved in multiple neighborhood game nights and asked to sub on more.  We have attended dances and have started taking yoga classes.  I really do enjoy the Line Dancing Club and look forward to our monthly ladies luncheons.  Our neighbors have included us with open arms, they couldn’t be nicer.  This has helped achieve my expectations.

We have a big Open House planned in February, and am looking forward to it.  People I didn’t think would come are coming, so definitely more than expected, so I guess some will just have to stand, or we’ll take turns sitting.  Either way I’m sure we’ll have fun.  We have parties planned out to June, that’s one thing I can say is that you certainly do get enough notice about attending a party.  Now put all these activities together and consider we just moved into a house that we are painting, putting knobs and handles on all the cabinets, shopping for some furniture and general house fixing up, every day is active and we’re busy.  What’s nice to know is that the house activity, such as the painting, etc… is coming to a close so we’re going to have more free time.  I am not worried about this extra time, but actually glad it finally has arrived as we are looking forward to even more activities to get involved in.

We are going to join the Country Dance club, learn how to play Pickle Ball, play a little Shuffleboard, and even get back into the swing of things by pulling our golf clubs out of storage and seeing if we can still hit that little white ball.  We will be joining the ranks of other Sun Citiers and will have our Golf Car very soon.  There will be days now that I won’t even have to pull the car out of the garage, we’ll be able to attend all of our activities using the golf car.  The day has arrived!  The next level will be joining these additional clubs, but then we need to go further and consider some day trips, and outside activities, that will be the final stage to total involvement.

I consider us lucky.  Our neighbors have been welcoming, they have given us direction and helped us become absorbed in this lifestyle very quickly.  I know all don’t experience this type of immersion.  Sometimes it might take a while, but if you’re willing to put in the effort it’s there for the taking.  What I’m looking forward to is the opportunity to continually meet new people.  We enjoy our neighborhood and all the activities it brings, but what also we’re looking forward to, is having a chance to meet the 5000 other people who live here.  Of course that’s silly, we’ll never meet them all, but I’m certainly going to give it my best shot.

We’re off on a new month, the weather is getting better, the sun is shining bright and I’m looking forward to each new adventure that is around each and every corner.  Keep your travels safe, we’ll be traveling close to home for a while, but whether near or far, it’s not the destination, but the time it takes you to get there.  Enjoy your travels………..

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Checking out the Area

We took a day off yesterday from working and decided that we would go “window shopping”.  We’re at a point that we need to make some decisions on how to proceed with our projects so we had to price out some things. So us and all the other crazy last-minute Christmas shoppers were on the road.  After making our stops, and having lunch we found two areas close by that I wanted to learn more about.  The two towns were Round Rock and Hutto.  Prior to moving to Georgetown I did hear of Round Rock.   When I think of Round Rock I think of the Outlet Mall, IKEA, and of course Dell.  I did not realize that Round Rock was not a new town that sprung up with Dell and Outlet Mall shopping, but it also has a small historic area.   Although no Courthouse and not as old there are about 2  – 3 blocks of older buildings mainly housing restaurants and day spas.  What was really nice about Round Rock is that on each historic building they had old photos from either the late 1800’s or early 1900’s and the placard would tell about the history of that particular building.  It was a nice touch and if you’re a history buff like me it really gave you an idea on how things used to be.  It was nice to know that amongst all the commercial and retail things that Round Rock is known for that there is a piece of history nearby.

Then we went a little out of our way to the east of Williamson County and checked out Hutto.  Hutto seems to be a far northeast suburb of Austin and just east of Round Rock.  There are many new home subdivisions and I’m sure it’s a great place to move when you’re looking for a very reasonable priced home.  You can tell that this was an old farming community but is fast disappearing with the new Home Depot, various fast food restaurants and the HEB; all that comes with new developments.  But like Round Rock, Hutto has a small historic street, 2 blocks and really only one side of the road.  Some attorneys and insurance offices but there looked to be a very old-fashioned family restaurant that served homemade pie and a very nice variety knick-knack store.  We had just eaten but I really wanted to try that pie.  I thought of a friend of mine when we went by that restaurant.  She always likes dessert and I was thinking I bet she would like this restaurant.  Probably good home cooking with homemade pie, how can you go wrong.  When we have an afternoon we’re going to go back to Hutto and try that restaurant.

So although each community doesn’t have much to offer it was nice to see history trying to be preserved and that there were retail and commercial businesses trying to keep these areas alive.  It’s hard in today’s world, when everyone wants convenience, and al the name brands, but there’s nothing like a family owned business.  It’s Christmas Eve tomorrow and hopefully the roads traveled will be safe.  Enjoy Christmas, family,  good food, and do hope that Santa will be good to you and all of yours.  To happy travels as we venture nearer to next year.

Texas Courthouses

Today was relaxing!
My first activity of the day, after a nice relaxing breakfast, was a massage. I am a true believer in massage therapy and have given myself a gift once per month by having a massage with a licensed therapist. If you have never had a massage, I highly suggest it. It is great for your body and is relaxing and therapeutic. I figure I’m worth this one treat each month. I had a great therapist in New Braunfels and finding a new therapist is as hard as finding new doctors and a place to get your hair cut. I have been enjoying massages for about 15 years now so I guess you can say I’m picky and know what I expect and want and if I don’t get it I look elsewhere. Another benefit of living in Sun City is that they have 2 therapists right on sight. I had my first appointment today and I was rather impressed. I usually don’t find the right one the first time and I’m not quite sure if I won’t experiment a little with trying others, but I was satisfied enough that I made an appointment in January. So as you can see, my day started off very good.

This afternoon we did a little adventure learning more about our town we now live in. As mentioned in previous posts Georgetown has a quaint square and a very nice Courthouse right in the center. Today we participated in the Williamson County Courthouse tours. Every Friday and Saturday, all year-long they provide free tours of the courthouse. The tours start at 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 and start in the Williamson Museum across from the Courthouse on Austin Street. The tour guide was very knowledgable and we enjoyed her tales of some of the famous people and activities that occurred within the courthouse. I’m sure if you go on more than one tour you might even hear some different stories.

One surprising thing we learned is that the Courthouse can be rented for weddings and parties. There are two chambers and a meeting room and a balcony. And you can rent the entire second floor for under $400.00 an hour. Of course you must add catering, music etc… but how cool is that. They remove the benches and setup tables, but the judge’s bench and some items remain, it sounds like an interesting place to have a party and I think it’s nice that the public have an opportunity to use the building. The Courthouse was completed in 1911 and is the 5th courthouse for the County. The first two were basically log cabins, the 3rd courthouse they do not have photos of, and the 4th Courthouse lasted from about 1877 – 1920 and it was explained that it was basically falling apart, so much so that it could not be salvaged. So in 1911 the Courthouse was completed and with many changes over the years, it was not refurbished to it’s 1911 glory until 2006. On the Tour they point out what is not original due to new safety laws and some changes that just could not be put back to the original format.

It’s a beautiful Courthouse and since it Christmastime they had the biggest tree in the center that exceeded 2 floors with ornaments hanging from the ceiling. It was a pleasant afternoon and glad we were able to take time to learn more about what Georgetown and Williamson County has to offer. Our next stop is to see old town Round Rock. We have learned there is more to Round Rock than Dell, I35 and shopping and we’re going to find it. I hope you’re having fun traveling down your road. I know it’s a hectic time of year, pace yourself and enjoy your travels. The season will be over before we know it and we’ll be waiting another 11 months for all the activities to start again. Happy Travels and Happy Holidays.

Christmas in Georgetown, TX

NB, Georgetown and house 086

Here is Georgetown, TX – our new home town.

This is the Courthouse on the Square that was refurbished in the early 2000’s.  I don’t have any history on the courthouse at this time, but later in the month we will be going on a tour, and I will hopefully will be able to share more details with you.  The Courthouse is surrounded by a lovely square that has a nice variety of shops and restaurants.  The library is nearby and there are some nice parks and walking trails also nearby.  It is Christmas time in Georgetown.  The next few photos will show it getting darker than there will be the Christmas lights.

On the Friday of Thanksgiving weekend we visited downtown to listen to the Carolers and wait for the lighting of the town, it was all very nice and quaint.  The town is lit up very nice and it’s a nice Square to take a walk around, even if you don’t shop.  Last Friday the shops were open late and most shops offered some tasty treat to savor while you looked at their merchandise.  Next weekend they are having some type of Christmas Fair on the Square and looking forward to that.  As I mentioned in one of my earliest blogs we love small Texas towns with the old courthouses.  Texas has done a great job investing in these wonderful structures to preserve them.  Although Georgetown has all the “new stuff” – strip malls, shopping, etc… it’s the core of the historic old town that keeps attracting me.  Please enjoy the remaining photos.

NB, Georgetown and house 088

NB, Georgetown and house 089

As all good small Texas towns have, yes there is a winery on the Square.  We considered part of the Hill Country and we are surrounded by small Texas award-winning wineries.

NB, Georgetown and house 094

This is on our list of “to do’s”.  This is an old movie house converted to a theater.  New Braunfels has one also and it was always on our “to do” list.  This time we will be going there to see a play in 2013, one more of those small items that need to be accomplished.

NB, Georgetown and house 119

NB, Georgetown and house 120

One of the local stores on the Square – their windows were done up so nice, it was like a Vintage Toy Store, only available in small towns!

NB, Georgetown and house 123

Courthouse once the sun goes down and the lights go on.  All 4 sides are decorated.

NB, Georgetown and house 126

One of the streets on the Square all done up with the lights and the stores open for business.

NB, Georgetown and house 118

The Courthouse has a real cool dome that is lit up green for the Holidays.  You don’t realize until you’re driving around Georgetown but this area, the downtown historic district, sits on quite a high hill, you can see this for miles around.

Well, that concludes today’s tour of Christmas in Georgetown.  Promise I’ll have more for you soon.  Hope you’re having fun traveling down your Christmas roads and making your wonderful memories.  Until next time, drive carefully on your road you are traveling……………..

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!

 

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.