To Move or Not to Move . . .

Lately, my wife and I find ourselves in uncharted waters. Almost overnight, we’ve gone from being young and carefree to being . . . well . . . there’s no easy way to say it . . . old. I turned 70 two years ago, and Becky will reach that milestone in the not too distant future. I say “uncharted,” because when my dad died at age 55, it seemed inevitable to me that I would probably depart this planet at or around the same age. It never entered my mind that I’d still be occupying space on this orb at such an “advanced” age. Nevertheless, here I still am, and here I plan to stay . . . for the foreseeable future.

A common dilemma facing folks our age is when to abandon their oversized single-family house for either a smaller house, or a condominium. In our case, we love our house here in Western North Carolina, but are finding it more and more difficult to maintain the grounds. The property is large, and most of it is covered with grasss or shrubbery. The terrain is sloped, which makes mowing the lawn difficult—especially for someone like me with balance issues. Our driveway is at least 150 feet long, and when it snows, it must be shoveled. Finding teenagers to do the chore is nearly impossible, so it’s up to me or my wife to shovel it. What used to take an hour or two can sometimes take the better part of an entire day.

We could (a) sell our house and purchase a smaller one—preferably all on one floor—located on a flat piece of property, or (b) sell our house and purchase a condominium. The condominium would eliminate any exterior maintenance, and would be ideal, except for one thing. Generally, there is an association fee associated with that kind of dwelling. An open-ended expense like that can be a real problem for folks on a fixed income. However, not having a lawn to mow or a driveway to shovel is very tempting. 

Buying a smaller house is another good alternative, but finding one that meets all our requirements would be difficult. Most houses being built these days are too large and too expensive. More likely than not, one that would be right for us would be located in an even more rural part of the county. That presents another obstacle, however, since neither of us is particularly comfortable driving at night, and for me, highway driving is becoming more and more problematic. That means we probably need to be somewhere where there are mass transit options available, which means leaving the mountains for a more densely populated area like Charlotte or Greenville, South Carolina. Ugh!

Recently, some good friends of ours made the move from a house to a condominium, and seeing them successfully negotiate their move has given us a more realistic picture of what the future might hold. We know we’ll have to make a decision at some point—probably sooner rather than later. Most likely, circumstances beyond our control (read: health related) will make a move of some kind inevitable. But until then, we intend to make the best of our circumstances, and remain in the house that we love for a while longer.

Now, if we can only find someone to shovel our driveway . . .


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About AuthorJoePerroneJr

I am a former professional fly-fishing guide, and I write the Matt Davis Mystery Series, which presently consists of four books: As the Twig is Bent, Opening Day, Twice Bitten, and Broken Promises. The series is set in the real town of Roscoe, NY, in the Catskill Mountains, where I guided for ten years. I love fly fishing, movies, cooking (and eating), and music. To learn more about me and my writing, please visit my website at: http://www.joeperronejr.com.
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23 Responses to To Move or Not to Move . . .

  1. Dave says:

    Just don’t move too far away !!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Allie P. says:

    That is a lot of driveway to shovel. Hopefully, you won’t have to do that for awhile though. I definitely understand the difficulty of your decision. Fortunately (for me), my mom decided to bite the bullet and downsize so she could be closer to the grandkids while she was young enough to keep up with them, but in doing so she had to give up the area she’d known and loved for years. It’s a trade-off.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Joe, I never think of you two as being old! Neither do I consider myself “old” even though I have quite a few years on you. But we are very close to having to make that same decision you are.
    Yikes, which way to go . . . ?
    Nice post.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We’re right there with you, Joe. Decisions, decisions…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Al says:

    We moved from my 12 room house into a six from condominium a year and a half ago. We’re on the second floor of three floors. I did not have to shovel snow, and I don’t cut the lawn. It’s like living in an apartment building except you on the inside. We found this to be very agreeable it’s something you might want to consider

    Liked by 1 person

    • My wife wants an end unit, and I think that would work. I’m just not ready to leave my house. When the day comes that I can no longer mow the lawn . . . well . . . then I guess I’ll seriously think of making a move.

      Like

  6. Glenda says:

    This is the common dilemma of me and most of my friends. Those who have children often move near their children. Some with children feel they will be forgotten most of the time when they move away from the place where they have lived for many, many years. The children and grandchildren are busy with their lives. I have no children but thought seriously about moving because of the stairs and the yard maintenance, but figured it would cost me more to move and find what I need than to pay for what I need here in the house I love. I want to stay near my friends in these beautiful mountains I call home. I make an effort to find good help I can depend on when I need someone. I hope when the time comes that I need more care, I can call on these people I know. Downsizing is going on still but it is mostly just stuff I need to get rid of. I don’t want some poor niece or nephew to have to do it. Good luck with your decision.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s funny, but every time I think of divesting myself of some of my tools, it seems that something happens where I need one. For some reason, I haven’t had much trouble getting rid of all the sporting equipment I’ve owned through the years . . . except for my golf clubs. I think I’ll put them on Craig’s List tomorrow! 🙂

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  7. balroop2013 says:

    I appreciate and understand the realism of this post Joe…we all have to face the dilemma you mention and moving into a retired community condos could be stress free though I don’t know what it feels like…just heard about it. We prefer an apartment for ourselves and bask in the glory of the big homes of our children, with grandchildren running around…the bliss of staying closer to at least one child and visit the other every year to enjoy more blessings 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Jane Raffo Nocella says:

    Many years ago, when our children were young, we visited family in hickory, NC. I fell in love with the area. I said when our kids are grown and we retire, we are going to move here! That was over 35 years ago. The kids are grown with children of their own. Both live in Bergen County. One is 6 miles away and the other 12. We are still in our “5 year house” which we purchased in 1971. We aren’t going anywhere. The 5 grandchildren bring us more joy than we could have imagined. I WANT to be involved with them…their parents too! Being “Grammie on the plane” doesn’t interest me at all. We have both had health issues…Stents for my husband and 2 hips and 1 knee replacement for me. It was wonderful to be close to our family. I feel as we age having their support and input outweighs the benefits of leaving this area. Our 50 x 100 lot and our little Cape Cod is manageable, but boy do I wish everything were on one level! For now it works. Everybody needs to decides what is right for their own situation.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You sound exactly like a couple we know who live in Bergenfield. He would move, but she steadfastly insists upon remaining put near kids and grandkids. These are tough decisions to make, and not one is a perfect solution. The bottom line is that we do what we need to do to survive. 🙂

      Like

  9. Dick Fuller says:

    Have you looked at Carolina Village or College Walk in Brevard ? Easy living, patio homes, transportation provided and you can still enjoy our beautiful mountains. Probably where will go in a few years. We can talk whenever you’re willing to spring for lunch.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Yes, aging is an awakening to a new part of life. It requires experiencing, to truly understand all the changes. It reminds me of a woman who bears a child. Unless a person has actually gone through that process, they do not know its fullness. Seventy was the turnaround point for me. Time goes by faster now than I can keep up with all of life’s needs. In my home and yard, I was lucky. When my husband had Parkinson’s/dementia about 30 years ago, I was told by Social Services to get in debt because a nursing home has to allow you enough money to pay your bills. Well, I did! I put vinyl siding on my home and have never had to paint anything on the outside. My aging mother needed my help with her home and yard before I moved her in with me. That was about 18 years ago. I couldn’t do both her needs and mine, so over 4 years I placed (bucket by bucket; inch by inch) 2100 fifty-pound bags of decorative rock in my yard. No more lawn, just 12 bushes and plants to hand water. I probably can stay here until the end of my life with minimal assistance. I look back at the choices I made over the past 30 years and totally thank God for guiding me in the right directions. You are lucky to still have Becky and children. I have been alone since 1990. I had to become so close to God in the last 30 years, that I don’t worry about selling my home, if needed, and changing my life. It is all part of growth and learning. It seems, for me, I expanded in understanding and touching life deeper with love. Whatever you decide to do, just remember that you never stop expanding your ability to love. You might be the one who helps your new neighbor simply by being you! Always my love is sent to you and Becky! Be at peace, God is in control, not us!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Great post, Joe. Rosie and I recently considered moving from a home we love. We thought about Arizona or Florida. Neither was a perfect solution – one being way too hot, the other being way to humid. So here we remain in the midwest with the hot and humid summers PLUS the added problem of snow removal, just like you. Getting old is not for the faint of heart. Hang in there. At least we get a discount at the fast food joints.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Trust me WE are old . . . 🙂

    Like

  13. Bill Ramsey says:

    Joe, The two of you do not come across as old. Perhaps that is because I am older, by five years, than you are and still don’t think of myself as old.

    Liked by 2 people

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