How this all got started

I have lived in Texas for more than 30 years. I am from Michigan, and Texas’s climate is not my favorite. When I first moved here, I thought I would stay here five years, tops. To make matters worse, it has gotten significantly hotter in Texas since I originally moved here.

I always thought I’d retire farther north, but when my husband (also from Michigan) and I got married, he stated a preference never to have to shovel snow again. So, we bought retirement property in the Davis Mountains in far west Texas. But as each summer got hotter and hotter, I started to wonder whether it was a good idea to retire in a desert.

My family at the reunion

Coincidentally, some of both of our families now live in the Pacific Northwest. Since most of my family is somewhere on the West Coast, we started having family reunions in Washington. My niece has a home in the countryside of Southern Washington, about an hour from Portland, OR.

Four years ago, we went to the first reunion. My husband and I got up early on the first day and started wandering in the large garden my niece has planted. Chickens were clucking to our left, and a bee hive was humming to our right. There were two aisles of ripe raspberries. The property is lush, a green lawn surrounded by forests, with blackberries and blueberries growing along the edges. I looked around at the thriving veggies and ate a few raspberries and said to my husband, “This is like paradise.”

Then my niece’s husband mentioned that a short distance away was a house for sale. Well, we ended up buying it, and we have been renting it out for four years. Now, if we can only get going, I am almost ready to retire. I can retire in October, and we can leave any time after we sell our house in Texas. But the catch is, I can’t retire until we sell the house.