After 27 years in one location, we have moved to a new house. Well, it’s not new having been built in 1972, but it’s new to us and big. Yes, big! One would think after retirement we would think about downsizing. It’s my husband who is retired. As a writer, stay-at-home wife and mother, I will never consider myself retired, plus I’m many years younger than him, just sayin’. Being home exclusively for several months now, he decided he needed airspace — both house and shop. After checking to make sure I factored into the plan, I agreed if we found the perfect house, we could move. I really thought he would discover the grass isn’t always greener and we would hunker down for another 27 years.
I reluctantly called a realtor I knew and told her, “we probably won’t move, so let’s look at houses so my husband can get it out of his system.” Then I watched my husband unfold and expand every time we found houses with open space inside and out. I finally realized he needed it. I felt bad thinking of him all those years crumpled like a foil ball, hoping he’s only needing space now because he worked in a big airplane factory where there was always space.
But understand, if I was going to leave my garden and the home where we raised our daughters, EVERYTHING had to be exceptional. The house had to be bigger and better and there had to be a place to garden, plus a shop for him. Our old place was already small, there was no “down” left. We soon realized we had to find THE HOUSE with enough viable property to build a shop. We looked at a couple properties we thought were close, but had big deal breakers. One had a nice house with no buildable property, the other had a nice barn he could use for a shop but was too cozy with a very steep ravine.
Then the realtor showed us our new house. We were struck with the open layout, the lodge-like feel of the vaulted wood ceilings, the wall of window in the front, and the cows. My husband decided it was cows he needed to see every morning when he wandered out to his yet unbuilt, dream shop. Me? I had bathroom counters for the first time in my adult life. Every apartment I’d lived in and our one house did not have large bathroom counters if any at all.
So I write this, in my new house, lying on our first ever king-sized bed. The movers are scheduled to move the rest of our furniture tomorrow. My daughters, though adults, are painting their bedrooms because they’ve opted to keep living with us, though it’s an additional 15 minute commute. It doesn’t feel like my home quite yet, as I slowly unpack essentials, like the kitchen. My mom is cooking dinners for us during this crazy week as we transition and get our other house ready to put on the market.
Don’t fret, though. I’m still here, still local, still writing for you. Because even though we can see cows and Mt. Rainier as we drive down our street to our new house, I haven’t gone far. You know this area we live in where one town bleeds into the next? Where Covington meets Auburn meets Black Diamond meets Maple Valley meets Enumclaw? I’m right in the hub. Just today during my moving adventures, picking up groceries for my mom, dinner from my mom, and eating breakfast with my family, I’ve covered four of those five locales. So don’t worry, I’m still in the “hood.”
Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in the hub of the community. You can read more of her writing on her website livingwithgleigh.com, on Facebook at “Living with Gleigh by Gretchen Leigh.” Her column is available every week at maplevalleyreporter.com under the Life section.