Retire? Are you crazy? We are still young!
Okay, we are just starting to be old.
Shut up. We are not retirement age.
…the serious, responsible, practical boy I fell in love with started planning his retirement 4 minutes after starting his career and now the much less serious, still responsible, practical man I married is soon going to be ready and able to leave behind the joys of corporate America.
So we are retiring in about 18 months and we had to figure out where to do that.
We have never chosen our location before.
Not once in 35 years.
It has always been dictated by choice of school or by what cities and countries the company was offering, but never have we been faced with the entire planet and had to answer the question, “Where are we moving to?” without any input from outside entities.
Much thinking, planning, emotion, illogic, practicality, wishful thinking, magical wishing, and blind optimism finally led us to the place that made us smile and shake our heads at our own stubborn refusal to see the obvious.
We are going home to the place we almost never had a chance to experience… the Deep South.
Many years, 3 cities and 2 countries ago, we had the great good luck to move to rural Mississippi. In our current sum total of 15 homes in 11 cities 6 states and 4 countries we have never felt so welcomed, so at home, and so much a part of the local fabric as we did almost immediately in Brookhaven Mississippi.
So for House #16 we began to search the lakes of Mississippi because having a home on a lake was our one retirement requirement.
Turns out the lakes that suited us in size and condition in Mississippi did not welcome motorized vessels, which would put a serious crimp in the water skiing, tubing, and general watery transport.
So we looked east to Alabama which shares a culture with Mississippi, not to mention temperate climate, low taxes, and a seriously good college football program.
We found Lake Lewis Smith in the Northwest part of the state. A pristine 21,000 acre lake with 500 miles of shoreline run by Alabama Power that’s spectacularly deep (almost 300 feet in places) and just waiting for us to take up residence.
Then we began the house hunt.
We waded through cabins, homes, fixer uppers, and really creative pictures and descriptions that ultimately had nothing to do with the actual property for sale.
After looking for almost a year, we put a canary in our mineshaft: my sister agreed to make a four day visit to the local environs to look at some of the houses we thought could be suitable- since we are 12,000 miles away and weekend house hunting is beyond our abilities right now.
She doggedly visited a list of more than 10 homes for us.
As important, she explored the little towns and back roads that make up our little corner of Alabama heaven and pronounced them just peachy- a reliable assessment given that she found Mississippi just as terrific as we did, much to her surprise.
Fast forward a few months to our latest trip to the U.S.
Looking at available homes for sale including two of the ones my sister found, wishing we could find something just perfect
(because retirement is coming up fast!)
and hoping we wouldn’t
(because retirement isn’t coming up fast enough!).
…because if we found one we would have to buy it and then figure out what to do with it until Ted’s actual retirement date, which is still down the road all the way to mid 2015.
And of course, the House Gods were laughing at us as they have been wont to do over the years, and in the middle of day 2, house number 12, we found it.
Our choice of country, state, city and house. On a two lane country road with 250 feet of water frontage, much of it lined with solid rock.
We looked at each other, rolled our eyes, scoured the house for fatal flaws, held hands and jumped.
On August 23, 2013 we closed on what we hope will be the last home we ever buy.