Would YOU move to be near your grandchild? For all of you grandparents, current or future, don’t buy into that tired old cliché: “when you retire, don’t follow your grandchild”
Six Moves in Six Years.
By Joan Verne
MOVE #1 Pacific Northwest
In 2006, my husband Gary and I retired from a northwest suburb of Chicago to an Active Adult Community in the Pacific Northwest. We both agreed that an AAC would be great fun: tons of golf, hiking, and parties galore. The majority of residents would see their grandchildren on holidays and special occasions. I foolishly remarked to a friend that I would never want to live in close proximity to my future grandchildren. After all, there was golf to play, parties to go to, and the great outdoors to explore.
Unfortunately, the Active Adult Community was not what I envisioned, to say the least. I became tired of golfing incessantly, and the people at the parties were, for the most part, boring. The AAC’s residents were the golf “police”, golf rules queens, and everyone was in your business. If you didn’t show up for the weekly TGIF, you had better be puking your guts out or in the hospital! Good news: the hiking was awesome!
Move #2 Prescott Valley, AZ
In 2009, we were ready to move on to a less “fishbowl” lifestyle. The economy tanked, but we were fortunate to break even on the sale of our home. Our 401K turned into a 201K. We rented a home in Prescott Valley Arizona. Good news: Gary had successful cataract surgery in this small Arizona town. At this time, our daughter and her husband, an Executive Chef, were living in Northern California. One night our daughter called with the news that she was pregnant and expecting in December of 2010. Up to this point, they gave us no indication that grandchildren were in our future. She was 32 years old for heaven’s sake! My two pregnancies were over by the time I was 29. After I lifted myself up off of the floor and was able to speak, I told her that I had always wanted to live in Northern Cali.
MOVE #3 Willits, CA
We moved shortly after our beautiful grandson, Beau, was born. The joy of being a grandparent is truly indescribable. We rented a home surrounded by lovely evergreens, it was delightful. But, for some reason, the area smelled like skunks! I asked my daughter,
“Why are there so many skunks?”
She explained to me that most people living in this area had their own small “farming projects.” Did I mention that I can be extremely naive at times? The good news is that we were able to share the joyful experience of Beau’s first steps and first words. He would fall asleep in my lap at nap-time…that was truly Heaven on Earth.
MOVE #4 Sedona, AZ
In 2011, our son-in-law was offered a position in beautiful Sedona, Arizona. We packed up again and signed a 1-year lease on a lovely home. At this point, my cataracts were in dire need of removal. It was only after my surgery that I fully appreciated the awesome beauty of Sedona. On 12/21/12, the end of the Mayan calendar, I was at the local hardware store when I noticed a group of people pointing at Bell Rock; a popular red rock hiking spot. All of a sudden helicopters sprung out in the sky. There seemed to be a crowd of people gathering outside the store, all curiously looking up. A local informed me of the situation. Apparently, a man planned to leap off the cliff into the “vortex portal.” Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, the portal failed to open. Instead of jumping off the cliff, he wandered home in an anticlimactic ending to his Doomsday stunt. That’s about as exciting as it gets in gorgeous, sleepy Sedona. Good news: great hiking, and an indescribable feeling of spirituality.
Three months after the Sedona move our son-in-law received an even better position in Southern California. Unable to move there until our lease was up, we visited them one week per month. Oh, how I looked forward to those weeks. I was concerned that my grandson would not remember us. Most excellent news: on our first one-week visit after not seeing Beau for an entire month, he was at first shy, but soon climbed on my lap, hugged me, and simply would not let go! I cried tears of joy.
MOVE #5 Southern California
In April of 2013, we rented a home in the Coachella Valley of southern California, one mile away from our daughter and her family. Green lawns in the middle of a desert…hmmmm. It’s hotter than hell, plastic surgery advertisements were everywhere you looked, and the people drove like they owned the road. The $300 electric bills in the Summer months were shocking. Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention, we were robbed!!? We had gone camping with the family for one night on Father’s Day. That night, intruders threw a brick through the sliding glass door and stole my jewelry, TV, computer and my Audi. I really thought I could put 200K miles on that great little car. Oh well, not meant to be.
Note to everyone, if renting, get renters insurance. Safeco took great care of us and patiently listened to my hysterics upon our return. Good news: I will quote Dwight D. Eisenhower when asked about then Vice President Nixon’s accomplishments during their eight years in office,
“Give me a week and I’ll think of something.”
Great news: our daughter and son-in-law disliked Southern Cali as much as we did, and decided to move to Oregon, where they found terrific jobs..our daughter in Portland and her husband across the river in Washington.
MOVE #6 (in six years) Vancouver, WA
Now we have all settled in the land of lush greenery. It has truly been an excellent adventure!! Our daughter and her husband are new homeowners in Vancouver. We live just 20 minutes away, and love our new, and dare I say, final destination?! No more renting! Then again, to quote Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher,
“ The only thing that is constant is change”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Joan Verne
Born in Chicago, IL 1951.
Married to Gary Verne in 1971.
Has two grown children and one grandson.
Worked as a travel consultant and office manager.
Retired with family in Camas, Wa.