Sunday Stills: Happiest at #Home

People usually are the happiest at home.

William Shakespeare

This week’s Sunday Still’s theme is Home.

I have hinted in a post and in several comments lately that when my hubby retires at 2020’s end, we are moving to the Spokane, Washington area. If you are thinking Seattle, move your finger on the map to the East closer to the Idaho border and Spokane resides there. We will be the area known as Nine Mile Falls to be exact, along the Spokane River. If you missed the post you can read more details here.

We closed on the property in mid-March, just before the disruption of Covid-19 closed the world down.

A toast to the future
It’s Ours!

In mid-May, once both California and Washington “re-opened,” we decided to make the trip to Spokane to meet with the builder for the property. The house in the background is our neighbor’s.

Happy on our half acre

Weather or Not

The light is what guides you home, the warmth is what keeps you there.

Ellie Rodriguez

I have lived in the same house for over 32 years. My youngest daughter was one month old when we moved in.

People ask me why I would choose to move from California to the cold North of Washington State. Having lived near Portland Oregon for two years as a child, I was old enough to remember many rainy and snowy days. I didn’t hate it!

Being born and raised in San Diego, I remember the weather was fairly mild all year round. Once I made the move to Sacramento in Northern California in my early 20s, did I question that choice.

We get four seasons here but no snow, since we are at 25 feet elevation. I got used to the cold, foggy winters, and hot dry summers. My hubby, on the other hand, has endured Sacramento heat for the last 15 years as his jobs have been outdoors in construction or facility maintenance. He dislikes the heat for that reason!

Spokane is in the alpine high desert although when you drive into the area from the western plains, the landscape changes from rolling hills to evergreens and mountains. It snows there and gets very cold, but the summers are mild. I have visited there during every season and I look forward to the changes in the weather.

As Ilsa from Frozen sings:
“The cold doesn’t bother me anyway.”

A sneak peek at a neighbor’s home along the Spokane River. Our property is a few blocks from this.

Spokane River View

Fixer Upper

Although we are buying a larger home, it will be new and modern. Our current home was built in 1962 and is small and somewhat outdated. In 2015, we built a 300 square-foot room addition which created a large master suite. There is nothing like it in this neighborhood and we expect the house to sell quickly in the Fall when we put it on the market.

The house was in need of new siding. Hubby had already replaced the bedroom and dining room windows. After tearing off the siding, he discovered there was NO insulation on the front of the house. No wonder we froze in winter and boiled in summer!

In the gallery, you can see the metamorphosis of the custom siding job my husband built. The old siding was made of shake shingles, common in our neighborhood, and unavailable. Thanks to the disruptions brought on by Covid-19, we spent our last week in March at home working on the house, instead of our planned vacation to Washington.

We still have a few more small projects. Over the last year, we updated the guest bath with a granite countertop and I recently painted the cabinet and vanity.

Guest bath updated
guest bath updated

Hubby already rebuilt and replaced the old backyard deck. Luckily, he has accomplished most everything, now that windsurf season is here. I still need to repaint the kitchen and cabinets.

A Family Affair

Another reason for our journey north is our lack of family nearby. The kids live in San Diego, along with most of our family, with one daughter in the SF Bay area and my dad in the Sierra foothills. None of these places are retirement options for us.

I have heard about many parents retiring to be close to their grown children. Sometimes things change and those kids move again, leaving the parents alone again.

My hubby’s brothers and their extended families (think 35 people for typical Thanksgivings) live in the Spokane area. When we started exploring the idea of moving, I suggested that it would make more sense to move to Spokane. I always enjoyed visiting there and it is spectacularly beautiful.

Rightsizing and Retirement

What is rightsizing you ask? Rightsizing simply means to reduce something to an optimal size. This is an approach to simplifying your lifestyle while keeping what you need and use the most. For many it means moving to a smaller home, living closer to family or amenities, or changing jobs.

For more information, visit fellow blogger and friend, Kathy Gottberg at her blog SmartLiving365.

My husband and I have always lived frugally. We each raised our children as single parents and counted every dollar. For most years, we lived below our means and paid our bills on time. We have excellent credit and low debt. Five years ago, we refinanced our current home and took out a home equity line of credit to build the addition. Now the time has come to retire and move out of an expensive state.

As we age, it is important to consider what we need in a new home. For example, my knees are bad, so no two-story house for me. We toyed with the idea of having a basement, but when we walked around them last year while looking at homes, I realized I cannot navigate steep stairways any longer.

Rightsizing works for us. In our case, we chose a manufactured home which is reasonably priced, and we can get a lot more for our money. Today’s manufactured homes are built in factories rather than on-site and can be upgraded with custom options. I will say it again, these homes are not your granny’s single-wide with metal siding!

Our home will have a back-entry mudroom/utility room. We, and our dogs, can safely enter the house through the back and wipe off the pesky snow and mud. There is a large kitchen, a family room, and plenty of storage space. Even though this new home has 800 more square feet than our current house, it is thoughtfully laid out with modern features. No fixer-upper projects!

Washington State has no sales tax so our retirement pensions will go much farther. We may have to pay more for medical, but we both plan to work until age 65. We are waiting until age 67 to draw social security, then we won’t have to work at all.

Can you tell I am excited about the future?

Peace — that was the other name for home.

Kathleen Norris

Sunday Stills Photo Challenge Reminders

  • Please create a new post for the theme.
  • Title your post a little differently than mine.
  • Don’t forget to create a pingback to this post so that other participants can read your post. I also recommend adding your post’s URL into the comments.
  • Entries for this theme can be shared all week. Use hashtag #SundayStills for sharing on social media.

For Sunday Stills this week, share your thoughts, images, and other creative ideas about your home. Perhaps you have a favorite vacation home, live in an RV full-time, or are searching for your future dream home. Tell us all about it!

Manufactured home images from The Home Boys. Featured images/banner colored in Color Planet.

Join me this Friday for my book review of Walk Your Way to Better, by Joyce Schulman!

TErri Signature

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77 thoughts on “Sunday Stills: Happiest at #Home

  1. HI Terri – I just found your blog and love your writing. I lived in San Diego for 8 years in my 20s and would love to retire there but all my family is on the East Coast. I plan to retire next year and maybe will move to Florida near my sister. I have 2 sons in their 20s and don’t know where they will end up. Your new home and area looks beautiful. Good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Terri!

    This is such an exciting time for you both. I loved reading about your new home (and old home) and trust that the moving chapter from Sacramento to Spokane happens smoothly. Maybe we get to visit your new digs in the future! It sounds like a lot of thinking and planning went into the decision to move to Washington. Mark and I can’t figure out in which state we could settle for a bit and have a home base.

    Hopefully, you get to pay off your debt quickly, so the real rightsizing and adjusting can start, without worries. Sorry to read that you will have to work until age 65. Do you know what you and Hans will do up north? Or, are you guys older than I think??

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well, we are young at heart, Liesbet, but 5 more years til 65. Then we can apply for medi-care and reduce medical costs. I hope to join the faculty at Eastern Wash Univ and Hans will find a job quicker than I will. Find a state with low taxes! My colleague plans to move to Tennessee which has no income tax and is an up and coming area for many!

      Liked by 1 person

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  6. Your plans sound very exciting and I can hear your energy around them. You have both done your homework as far as fixing up your existing house and figuring out what retirement needs you will have. Your plans make perfect sense. I love California and the vistas and the ocean and especially the weather, but I don’t understand how anyone can afford to live there. My daughter loved Orange County, but they could never afford to buy a house there, which is why they moved to Texas. If you get sick of winter, you can visit your family and friends in California, as I visit my daughters in Texas and Nashville. It is a win-win! I hope you will continue to enjoy the planning. Your new home looks beautiful!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Michele, it is a win-win to still enjoy areas of California even after we move. Seems Tennessee is becoming a popular place to live. My nephew lives in Nashville and my work colleague is retiring to Chattanooga not long we leave California. Part of our excitement is that our future home’s location is rural but not remote. Amenities are close by and as we age, that is important.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Terri,
    Moving can be a real chore, but it appears you have the proper attitude. We right-sized seven years ago and went from a large home and eleven acres on the lake to a small home (and an RV) with no yard. I miss the lake, but I am able to leave our home behind and make great use of our second home on wheels. We’re moving northwest this week, but we will continue to follow you as we do. Joe

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I suppose it was time for a new adventure in 2020 since the year is wild beyond anything we could imagine. Why not move too? How wonderful to head out soon in your RV, Joe. Our half acre will be just the right size for us as the retired life beckons. Safe travels as you prepare to get on the road!

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  10. I am so happy for you Terri, so well thought out. It all makes sense to me. I think the Spokane area is very beautiful. What an exciting time for you guys. Do you have a timeframe for when you are moving? Very wise to slowly upgrade you old home, before selling.

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  12. That is so exciting. What a lovely part of Washington. We’re looking to retire somewhere too though with my RA, we’re thinking warmer rather than colder. But I am going to watch your experience, Terri.

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  13. Oh, I can tell how excited you both are. It sounds the perfect place for me to live, Terri. As you know, I don’t like the heat or humidity, so mild summers seem perfect.

    We made our ‘retirement’ move in 2016 and have never regretted it. While it gets hot inland, we get refreshing sea breezes which help us sleep at night. The winters are not too cold, although I do miss not seeing the snow. We’d have to move inland to get snow.

    I know you’ll be keeping us updated, but I look forward to hearing how it all goes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We are definitely excited about this new chapter in our lives, Hugh. I got a taste of snowy winters when I lived in Oregon as a kid. The snow in Spokane is “dry” and dissipates quickly. Roads generally stay clear but mild temps all year round except for winter are very doable for us!

      Liked by 1 person

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  16. All very exciting, Terri! Modern manufactured homes are said to be very well made (like you said, nothing like they used to be many years ago). We enjoyed Spokane and the surrounding area – lots to do! And, of course, Wallace (just a few miles east of you) is the Center of the Universe.

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  17. My husband and I right-sized 4 years ago Terri and it’s been terrific. We moved close by so we’re able to stay near our many friends. Our families are much too spread out for us to be close so we visit when we can. We’ve loved our smaller home which was totally redone a year before our move so everything was fresh and new. A good friend had a manufactured home and it was gorgeous as I’m sure yours will be. Best of luck with your move!

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  19. Many of our closest friends have moved so far from us that we rarely get to see them. Nevertheless, we understand their motives, and in their cases, they moved at the right time. We live very near one son and his family, a long drive or short plane trip (what are those?) to visit the other son and his family. I have other reasons for wanting to stay in Orange County. I think we are all so fortunate to be able to make this decision instead of having it forced upon us. Best wishes to you in your new home. The area is truly beautiful – I’m very familiar with that part of Washington. You’ll be near many recreational areas, and are also close to Idaho and Canada – lots for you to explore.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I had imagined myself staying in this little house forever, but we both got the itch to relocate last summer, Shari. Our retirement income goes much further there. Our kids are all still mobile and could live anywhere. I can’t wait to explore the area.

      Liked by 1 person

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  21. It makes sense to move to Spoken, Terri. Your hubby has 35 relatives in that ares, you’ll have family connection for a long time. I thought Oregon doesn’t have sales tax and Washington doesn’t have income tax. We’ve look into Vancouver area that would benefit the income tax and like many people, cross the bridge and shop in Oregon. You have been searching and planning for a long time, so this must be the right decision for you. The neighborhood is also a factor in consideration.
    It’s exciting to have a good financial plan and look forward to a comfortable retirement. Best wishes to you. The kitchen and the master bath look great! Happy packing!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. They do build quickly. We hope to finalize this loan by first of August. The contractor will get things started with installing the septic system first. We will travel back up there in September to bring the travel trailer to avoid any snow events and take a load of stuff to put in storage. We can store the trailer at our nephew’s 10 acre property. The whole project could be done before winter. We plan to put the house for sale in November and leave no later than end of December.

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  23. I love the idea of moving and making changes and hearing what other people do. When my husband had done his 30 years in the police it was a good time to move to the coast and you can’t factor in what your family may be doing in the future. We would not have guessed where each of the three of them would have been 15 years later. We have done some changes which with what has happened recently with my husband’s health turn out to have been ideal. We have got stairs – good exercise, but with the bathroom downstairs we could live on the ground floor. Never downsize, with a bit of organising we can fit all the family staying and also have space for hobbies and not bumping into each other. It looks lovely where you will be living.

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