If you ask the average person on the street to describe their ideal retirement, you’ll likely hear things like travel, golf, warm weather, or beaches. And with the exception of golf (could there be a more frustrating game on the face of the planet?), I’m a fan of all those things too. But I’m a bigger fan of retiring to twenty acres of grass, rocks, and stunted bushes, located smack dab in the middle of nowhere, off a long dirt road, with herds of deer the only neighbors.
Since my husband happens to share this particular vision, we've spent the past five years searching for our particular piece of heaven. Every camping trip, road trip, fishing trip, or hunting trip always included at least one or two side trips to look at available properties; cheap entertainment for us, less impressive for the kids.
Last summer, we finally found it--rushing to snap it up like crocs after an overweight zebra. For months we could hardly believe our good fortune and we’d quiz one another constantly (we actually did it?) as if needing to convince ourselves it was really and truly ours, not just a figment of our combined imaginations.
Once the disbelief gave way, we transitioned straight into architectural scheming; countless hours spent talking about what to build, where to build, and when to pull the trigger. What can I say: it’s even cheaper entertainment than the previous side trips, although the kids remain unimpressed.
Since I spend a lot of time thinking about old age, it’s a given I tend to mull over how best to build our dream retirement house; one that will carry us through the golden years and straight into decline. And by mull over, I really mean obsess.
True, we’ve got plenty of time, say in the neighborhood of 30 years, but I figure it’s never too early to start. So I suggest things like ramps instead of stairs, oversized halls and doorways, framing for eventual handrails, and short, easily traversed distances between woodpiles and wood stoves. I worry about building the barn too far away from the house and how to create an animal shed we can manage until we're decrepit.
By now you’re realizing how fortunate I am to be married to a man of considerable patience.
Really though, does any of this make me crazy, or just crazy-like-a-well-prepared-fox-kind-of-crazy? Because if we have the time and opportunity to plan ahead, shouldn’t we be doing it? And if we have the choice between spending our (limited unless we win the lottery) budget on luxuries such as granite or radiant floor heating, or potential necessities like grab-bars or walk-in showers, shouldn’t we make the choice that’ll be there when we need it?