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Staying Put

Kristine Hayes

I’VE MOVED SIX TIMES in the last 10 years. Four of those moves involved relocating less than a mile. The most recent move–from Portland, Oregon, to Phoenix, Arizona–required significantly more travel.

As a child, my family changed homes frequently. I attended five different elementary schools between first and fourth grade. I’ve never minded moving. I’m not the type of person who gets attached to a home or a particular location. I’m a firm believer that change is a good thing.

But my husband and I hope the move to Phoenix will be our last. The warm weather here is a welcome change from the rainy, gray days in the Northwest. The lifestyle within the 55-plus community where we’re now located suits us. The people are friendly. The activities are plentiful. Yard care–something I never enjoyed doing–is practically nonexistent.

We’re glad we relocated, despite leaving behind friends and family members. We’re well aware most people our age are reluctant to move. For us, it was never a question of if we would leave Oregon, but when. Now that we’re both retired, it was time to relocate.

Financially, I hate to think about how much money all those moves cost me. When I was an apartment dweller, security and cleaning deposits ate up a significant amount of cash. When I broke a lease to purchase a house, I forfeited more than $2,000. As a homeowner, closing costs, inspections and real estate agent commissions cost me tens of thousands of dollars.

There have been positive aspects to making multiple moves. I’ve significantly reduced the amount of clutter in my life. With each change of address, I purged more items. Along the way, I altered my thoughts on what was meaningful to me and what wasn’t. Many items I’d been hauling around since my college days ended up at a local donation center or in a dumpster.

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I’ve pared down 55 years’ worth of personal memories to a few items that fit into a couple of large plastic bins. What have I kept? I have a shoebox filled with almost every report card I ever received. I still enjoy reading the comments written by my teachers. It seems that by third grade my personality was mostly set. “Kristine doesn’t socialize much with her peers. Instead, she spends her free time reading and writing stories.”

I have a handful of ribbons and trophies from my 4-H days. I have the scrapbooks I made for each of my dogs that document our accomplishments in different disciplines at a variety of dog shows. I have some framed photos, my high school and college diplomas, and a collection of nearly every article or story I’ve ever had published.

Technology has, no doubt, made it easier to simplify life. Most of the photos that my husband and I take these days never make it to print. Instead, they get downloaded onto a digital photo frame where they’re displayed 24/7 in our living room. Tax returns, product manuals and receipts all get scanned into digital files and stored in our online filing system.

The one thing I can’t seem to part ways with? Books.

Despite years of trying to convert to reading books on a digital platform, I just can’t seem to make the switch. Something hardwired in me prefers the feel and weight of a real book. I like to highlight passages and dog-ear pages. I like looking at the rows of books lined up on my desk that reflect the different interests I’ve had over the years. Some of the books in my collection date back to my childhood days and bring back fond memories when I flip through the pages.

Was it worthwhile to haul hundreds of pounds of books 1,200 miles to our new home? Time will tell. But if history is any indication, there’s a good chance you’ll find me sitting on our back patio, soaking up the sun, and spending my free time reading and writing stories.

Kristine Hayes retires this month from her job as departmental manager at a small, liberal arts college. She enjoys competitive pistol shooting and hanging out with her husband and their dogs. Check out Kristine’s earlier articles.

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Andrew Forsythe
Andrew Forsythe
6 months ago

Kristine, I also prefer old fashioned three dimensional books and, as others have mentioned, the local library is a great option. Clutter is avoided and you can’t beat the price.

I also enjoyed your story on Arizona heat. I, too, prefer heat to cold, but a few days once spent in Tucson at the height of summer tested my convictions.

Last edited 6 months ago by Andrew Forsythe
Kristine Hayes
Kristine Hayes
6 months ago

We are fortunate to have a really lovely library in the 55+ community we live in. I know I’ll be taking advantage of their books often!
My husband and I seem to be adapting well to the heat. We figure staying inside (with AC) on hot days beats staying inside (with heat) on cold/foggy/rainy/snowy/hail-filled days!

mytimetotravel
mytimetotravel
6 months ago

No reason it has to be one or the other. I prefer actual, physical, books, but I have a Kindle library as well. I get an email every morning from BookBub with deals on ebooks, and have been gradually acquiring some favorites along with some interesting-looking new authors. I read the Kindle books on my iPad, and occasionally my phone. They are great for travel – used to be I would look for used book stores on a long trip – but I don’t use Kindle much at home.

Kristine Hayes
Kristine Hayes
6 months ago
Reply to  mytimetotravel

I’ll have to check out BookBub. Sounds interesting.

Rick Connor
Rick Connor
6 months ago

Kristine, best of luck in your new home. I once hired a contract engineer who had moved from New England to Phoenix. He felt the abundance of sunny days made people happier and friendlier.

I too love books, but got rid of so many of the pat 5 years – especially text books. At one point Had 5 undergrad Thermodynamics textbooks. I’m a huge fan of library’s, both real and digital books. I use both – lots of books are not yet available as e-books from the library, so I borrow those. The Kindle is greet for travel, and its lighting is excellent in sunny weather!

Kristine Hayes
Kristine Hayes
6 months ago
Reply to  Rick Connor

Thanks Rick. We’ve noticed the difference in people too–and indeed, we attribute the ‘friendlier and happier’ attitude to all the sunshine (and Vitamin D).
My husband recently purchased me a Kindle that is supposed to be great to use in the bright sunshine. I’m looking forward to reading books on it while I sit next to the pool.

OldITGuy
OldITGuy
6 months ago

I also like books, including just the feel of them. I read a lot as a child and I’ll always have a special place in my heart for books. That said, I’d caution not to abandon the digital option entirely. These days I mostly read digitally due to the vast benefits it accords me. At home my $100 tablet sits next to my easy chair (which I use most nights before bed) and it affords me ready access to whatever book I’m currently reading. Ditto on travel, including at airports and in hotel rooms. I make extensive use of the library as the digital collection is huge and I can avail myself of it from anywhere in the world. Electronic access also makes it easy to find a copy of a book referenced in an article that if left to acquiring it physically, I probably wouldn’t have bothered. So going digital has actually widened my reading venue considerably. Plus my library has a feature where I can digitally request ebooks for them to add to their collection (which they often do) at no charge to me. So in summary, while the electronic venue may not provide the joy that comes from holding a physical book, the massive improvement in readily accessible content (from my easy chair) makes digital reading something I’d strongly encourage folks not to discount too quickly. After all, at the end of the day I read for content and digital provides much more content available at a fraction of the cost or effort.

Kristine Hayes
Kristine Hayes
6 months ago
Reply to  OldITGuy

I think that once I have more time to read (hopefully soon since I’m retiring today), I will be able to enjoy the benefits of digital books. I’m sure it will be like writing for me. For years, I had to write by hand (on paper). I simply couldn’t transition to writing using a keyboard and monitor. Now, I can’t imagine going back to pen and paper…when I try, my hand cramps up immediately :-).

evan rayers
evan rayers
6 months ago

You say: Technology has no doubt made it easier to simplify life.
I’ve not followed your “fondness for feel” on books.
I’ve over 500 reads online on the kindle app., as samples.
If you like it you buy it, or listen to it, discounted.
Some are free, or audible.

I could only hop around w/the properties every couple of yrs towards profiting financially on a property as allowed by law. Buy it, fix it, sell it.

Good luck w/your time in AZ. I lived there once.
I recall fine sand & dusting daily on a polished concrete floor. The unit was in the bottom 50% of the state, it maintained an oasis for desert animals nightly quenching the roving animals thirsts.There’s wolves, feral cats & camels there.
Again, Good luck & Best wishes….

Jack Hannam
Jack Hannam
6 months ago

I’m a packrat, while my wife thinks everyone ought to move every five years, in order to downsize accumulated stuff. Failing that (we have lived in the same home for 34 years), every so often, remove any no longer used items and donate or dispose of them. We both love to read and prefer actual books. She visits the library weekly. I read library books too, but also purchase many so we have a large and growing personal library, which she tolerates. Congratulations on your retirement and enjoy Phoenix!

Kristine Hayes
Kristine Hayes
6 months ago
Reply to  Jack Hannam

Thanks Jack. I’ve never lived in a single location for more than about 12 or 13 years. If I think about all the places I’ve lived over the last 55 years, it would probably add up to at least 20 (or more) different addresses!

mytimetotravel
mytimetotravel
6 months ago

With you on the books! Although most of what I read these days comes from my local library, when I move to a CCRC next year it will be to a two-bedroom unit, so that I can move my study, and its six bookcases, as-is. I have discovered there are companies that specialize in moving seniors, helping with down-sizing, organizing and handling all the packing and unpacking. I haven’t got a quote yet, but I am sure the help will be worth it – magic wands don’t come cheap.

Kristine Hayes
Kristine Hayes
6 months ago
Reply to  mytimetotravel

I wasn’t aware there were professional ‘down-sizers’. I’ve often thought I would enjoy working as a professional organizer (or librarian). I love making sure things are tidy and orderly.

Christopher Galen
Christopher Galen
6 months ago
Reply to  Kristine Hayes

My wife has her own senior organizing/moving business: http://www.smoothmovemanagers.com. She’s very busy now with new clients

mytimetotravel
mytimetotravel
6 months ago
Reply to  Kristine Hayes

Kristine – these are a couple of the companies I am considering: https://www.carolina-rts.com/ and https://www.moveelderswithease.com/ I recently met a woman who just does the organizing part: https://peaceinplace.com/ – a search on “peace organizing” turns up a number of companies across the country. Maybe a side gig?

Kristine Hayes
Kristine Hayes
6 months ago
Reply to  mytimetotravel

I can’t wait to check those out. I do think a side gig as an organizer (or down-sizer) sounds pretty good.

Charlie Warner Jr
Charlie Warner Jr
6 months ago

Not all good investments make financial sense. Some of our best investments make us happy….

Kristine Hayes
Kristine Hayes
6 months ago

Indeed!

R Quinn
R Quinn
6 months ago

Kristine, you do realize that sun will be 110 degrees or more? 😱

Kristine Hayes
Kristine Hayes
6 months ago
Reply to  R Quinn

I do indeed. I invite you to read a story I wrote that recently appeared on another blog: https://udayton.edu/blogs/erma/2022/05/kristinenotsohot.php

Rick Connor
Rick Connor
6 months ago
Reply to  Kristine Hayes

Excellent story. Well written and lots of fun.

Kristine Hayes
Kristine Hayes
6 months ago
Reply to  Rick Connor

Thanks Rick! I enjoy writing humor.

mytimetotravel
mytimetotravel
6 months ago
Reply to  Kristine Hayes

Love the article, sympathize with the difficulties. However, as someone who moved from England (coldish, wet, dark winters) to North Carolina (seriously hot and humid summers), I can say that heat is not all good. I really hate the summers here, but at least you won’t have the humidity to deal with.

OBX9397
OBX9397
5 months ago
Reply to  mytimetotravel

I do not understand this. Having lived in NC all of my life, are you saying there are places where you do not have to slice the air before you breathe it? I need to get out more!

Kristine Hayes
Kristine Hayes
6 months ago
Reply to  mytimetotravel

I’ve definitely learned what a huge difference humidity levels make with regards to the heat index. Oregon can get hot, but it’s almost always humid as well. Phoenix is definitely hot, but rarely humid. I’m thankful we’ll have access to seven swimming pools on days when the temperature gets a bit too high.

parkslope
parkslope
6 months ago
Reply to  mytimetotravel

I also enjoyed your article, Kristine. You clearly have a gift for writing. I look forward to reading about your adventures in Arizona.

Kristine Hayes
Kristine Hayes
6 months ago
Reply to  parkslope

Thanks for your kind comments. I’m really enjoying writing a wide variety of stories and articles these days. I’m sure my life in Arizona will provide me with a lot more material to write about.

R Quinn
R Quinn
6 months ago

I agree with you about books. Neither my wife or I can get into digital books. There is something about holding the actual book.

As a result, an unneeded bedroom is now a library with walls of books already read. My wife reads several books a week. Thankfully she now exchanges books with friends or those books could oust us from our home.

Kristine Hayes
Kristine Hayes
6 months ago
Reply to  R Quinn

I completely understand. I have an entire wall at our new house that’s filled with books. My husband loves audiobooks and he listens to several of those a week. I like audiobooks, but I find if I listen to them when I drive, my attention drifts a bit too much. Not a good thing.

Mr Moderate
Mr Moderate
6 months ago

“But if history is any indication, there’s a good chance you’ll find me sitting on our back patio, soaking up the sun, and spending my free time reading and writing stories.”

We certainly hope so! Thanks for your writing contributions.🏖

Kristine Hayes
Kristine Hayes
6 months ago
Reply to  Mr Moderate

Thanks so much! I really enjoy writing and I’m hoping retirement will allow me to spend more time doing it.

IAD
IAD
6 months ago
Reply to  Mr Moderate

Totally agree!!

Kristine Hayes
Kristine Hayes
6 months ago
Reply to  IAD

Thanks!

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