Monday, December 3, 2012

Our Sixty-something Living Dilemma

We are in our early sixties – at least I am; hub is quickly approaching what more accurately is the mid-60s. He still works full time. Two years ago we moved from our delightful townhome in a community in south central PA, where we lived for over thirty years and raised our family, to our personal piece of Paradise in a land known by the ancient Indian name Ouch!

The Indian name is not easily translated, but the closest English translation is Land of Continually Rising Taxes and Rising Waters. It is also known today as the Nation of New Jersey.
In the past couple of years we evacuated twice and lost our electricity and food three times. We could not use our water for several days last summer when the city water system was compromised. Our streets were recently dug up, new gas lines installed, and new gas meters placed in every home. Next year our gas bill increases to pay for these wonderful new improvements.

And so goes our new life in the Land of Ouch!

We just spent five days in another part of the United States of America, known by an ancient Indian name roughly translated as the Flat Land of Blinding Sun, Sleaze and Silliness brought on by a copious amount of heat, humidity, hanging chads and other political chicanery. It is a peculiar state. Otherwise known as the State of Florida.

Lots of people are moving to this state, and have been for the past half-century and more. Especially older people. Like us.

The Cartoon King Walt Disney built a second home in Florida way back in the 1970s. He settled on barren, dry land in the middle of a state surrounded by water and preceded to dig lakes and fountains all over his kingdom.

Back to hub and me. We face a dilemma.

Are we crazy to live in the Land of Ouch!?? Chief Chris Christie is a big, wise man who speaks words of wisdom with a loud tongue and a fleece jacket. But taxes continue to rise. And the waters may continue to rise as well.

A lot of people our age are moving to foreign countries where the cost of living is lower and the experience interesting. But these places are far away. If Texas secedes from the Union we can become ex-pats closer to our family and friends. Secession may lead to lots more Tex-Mex restaurants and futbol fields, although I do not think that is what secessionists have in mind. And I do not know what will happen to all those Tea Party politicians. I am not sure what the political ideas of Tex-Mex politicos would be.

But I digress.

Should we stay where we are and hope we will not have to evacuate again soon? Is it safe to put away our emergency flashlights, batteries, candles, bottled water, and kayak (in case we have to paddle our way to safety)? Will our taxes ever stop escalating?

Only time will tell.

Meanwhile we remain vagabonds, waiting for repairs resulting from Sandy’s wrath to be completed so we can once again return to our small place in Paradise.


  1. Really enjoyed your Indian names. Hope you are able to go home to Ouch soon. The land you are in now is wonderful till you spend a summer there with mind boggling heat and hurricane threats. I come from 10 generations of Floridians and am just sorry I did not migrate farther North than Arkansas. Sadly there is no paradise. Every place has its serious drawbacks. Best bet is to be a snow bird and get the best of both worlds.

  2. It has to be frustrating, and I can hear your pain. My Christmas wish for you and yours is to be in your own home for the holidays. And live happily ever after!!! What ever that is!!!

  3. Back and forth between Jericho, VT and Venice, FL really is the best of both worlds for us right now, but Patti is so right. Every place has its drawbacks eventually.
    I wonder how people who live on the coast can cope, but I guess you just do what you have to do.

    I am SO trying to restrain myself from a snarky comment about the association of New Jersey and Paradise. Since I am originally from Scranton, PA, though, I do kind of get it.

  4. Funniest blog post I've read all week -- altho' I feel guilty for laughing since you've had all those troubles by the seashore.

    I know people who've moved to Austin -- advertised as having all the benefits of Texas, without the crazies. But I don't know myself; never been there.

    But this begs the question: Why did you ever leave south central PA? Lots of historic sites; the Amish; nice weather; low cost of living. Isn't it pretty close to paradise?

  5. New Jersey is not exactly most people's idea of Paradise - I get it. I am actually embarrassed to tell people what state I live in! But even Jersey has its wonderful special place(s).

  6. Tom - good question! We liked our PA home and it was a great place to raise the kids, reasonable cost of living, etc., but - I hate to put it in writing - hub felt the place was boring. And it is home to Paradise! Just not our Paradise...

  7. So glad to see your comment on my blog! I thought I'd come and take a peek at yours and sure enjoyed reading. My husband, our kids, and grandkids all moved to Michigan 20 months ago after spending our entire lives in the Pacific Northwest. A BIG change but a good one...we LOVE the Midwest after being politically-corrected to the point of rarely speaking in public out in Oregon, lol! The community we live in outside of Detroit was one of the first suburbs built in the area after WWII and whoever planned it did a wonderful job as far as taxes go. All the commercial stuff was put on the outskirts so the residential taxes have barely fluctuated, according to my neighbors who've lived here for 30 and 50 years. We were being taxed out of our house in Portland so I feel your pain, let me tell you. God bless you in your efforts to get back on solid ground again...what a debacle aid...or should I say lack of aid...has been to all you poor folks who were devastated by Hurricane Sandy. I'm going to link to your blog...I like your style and plan on coming back.

  8. Thanks for stopping by to comment at my place. Am a midwesterner who also lived a few years in the south and am now in Southern California where I've lived the most years. Yes, Calif., tolo has its faults -- pun intended -- but I have no desire to leave the area. I miss having family here, but don't wish to return to the cold climes where they've wanted me to join them -- midwest and east coast. Florida has never appealed to me after being there several times, but understand the appeal to those living in eastern U.S. My attraction has been to the Southwest -- that definitely excludes Texas for me, but areas of that part of the country may be just right for some. Fortunately, we have a wide variation of U.S. places to meet each of our tastes.

    I do wish you hadn't had Sandy and that aftermath with which you're still coping. I recall visiting friends in N.J. many years ago and was pleasantly surprised to discover they lived in a most attractive green area -- altered my perception of the state.

    I think as our nation's total population and diversity continues to expand in a world growing smaller we can expect continued challenging changes to be the norm. Additionally, predicted climate alterations with glaciers melting, oceans rising, convinces me to avoid living near the ocean much as I enjoy it. I live inland from the Pacific and jokingly say my home may one day be on the coast. A family member living on the Big Island (where the volcano lava flow is growing the island in size)jokingly says a quake will occur in Calif. and my state will drop off into the ocean. So, who knows! There's always something, somewhere -- so take your pick.

    Live a few years in another country if you can, then see what you think about where you want to be. As dire as it has looked in our country, there are many positives, and it could always be worse. The state of our nation ebbs and flows -- time periods at our best are only temporary because we survive and grow though change and change is often painful IMHO.

    So much is unsettled for you now, perhaps you'll just want to maintain a flexible posture for a few years even after you're able to fully move back into your home, especially if your Hub is still working.

  9. I live in the Pacific Northwest. My sister lives in Florida. We just got back from a nice vacation in Texas with the rest of the family, and I found that I missed my rain, can you believe it? It's all what you get used to, what makes you feel at home, I think. Your post got me to thinking about all that. I do hope whatever happens in Jersey turns out good for you. :-)

  10. I loved reading this, and I can relate to you dilemma that you have so humorously related to us. We recently moved ourselves. We went to a more expensive area. All of our living expenses are higher than they were before. We live in an area that was evacuated this past summer because of a fire.

    I don't think anyplace is perfect. There are problems everywhere. We love that we made the move. We love where we live. I hope you make a decision that works for you.

  11. Dang. Just wrote a comment and lost it in cyberspace. Anyway, there are some beautiful homes for sale here in Old Town. Life in the 'hood is NOT boring. And anyway, with all the money you'll be saving you can travel even more tha you already do! Come home!

  12. Thank you all for your comments and your support. Every place has its advantages and problems. It is wonderful when each one of us finds their own perfect place.

  13. Meryl,I'm impressed with your resilience and good humor! Yes, you can move to a state with fewer taxes, but will it give you those intangibles, those elements of the good life you're accustomed to. We moved from California to Oregon for the affordable housing that Oregon provides. What we didn't realize is that infrastructure is collapsing and our taxes will have to deal with re-building necessary services. Ouch, indeed.