An Eventful Year
Eventful is the word that best sums up the year 2022.
Over the past 47 years, I have lived in Montreal, Chicago, Cleveland, Greensboro, and Seattle. After 23 years in the Emerald City, my wife and I decided to move on.
We considered Ohio, the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, and Houston. Ohio because Cleveland was home for sixteen years, and my wife hails from Columbus. Florida because I had fallen in love with Sarasota a year earlier, and Houston because my wife has family there.
May 21 – June 23 – Exploring
We flew to Houston, where we spent a week exploring different areas. Then we took off in our Touro rental car toward Jacksonville.
We made the trip in three days, crossing through Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. We stayed in Jacksonville for a week with excursions to Ponte Vedra, Fernandina Beach, Flagler Beach, Ormond Beach, and St. Augustine, the oldest town in the United States.
Before driving across to Florida’s West Coast, we took a break at Ormond Beach, where we went for walks on the beach and watched the birds doing likewise.
Once we reached the Orlando area, we made two stops, one in Sanford, to visit the home of Ligonier Ministries. Our second stop was for lunch with the former pastor of our Bellevue church. He had moved to Florida.
As I had expected, Sarasota did not disappoint. The beaches were pristine, and the food was the best of our trip. There was even a German delicatessen store that was at least equaled any other in the United States. Unfortunately, the kind of home we sought was a bit too pricey.
On our way back, we stopped each night in Tallahassee and Baton Rouge. In Houston, we rented another Airbnb and continued our tours of neighborhoods. Those included The Woodlands and Kingwood, where we eventually purchased a home.
Back in Seattle on June 23, the move was only a bit more the one month away. I will spare you the details of the packing and dealing with the moving company. Instead, let’s jump ahead to July 31, after the moving van had left, when we took off in our van toward the Cascade mountains.
July 31 – August 15 – Moving
Our first stop was Idaho, where we visited friends in and around Moscow. Then, on August 3, we headed south toward Bozeman, Montana, and the next day to Casper, Wyoming. We stayed for one night at hotels in both places and planned to do likewise at our third stop, Denver, Colorado.
In the lobby of the Hampton Inn, we signed the papers for our Kingwood home purchase with the notary public. Unfortunately, our Denver stay took longer due to car problems. The car’s air conditioning had stopped working. With the temperatures in the 90s (30-plus Celsius), we were lucky to find a Honda dealer on a Friday afternoon.
After a weekend in Denver and another night in Dallas, we arrived in Houston on August 9. Our first stop was the real estate office, where we picked up the keys to our home. The following two turns were into the entrance to Kingwood Greens, a neighborhood of 219 homes, and onto our street.
Home in Kingwood, Texas
After living here for four months, we know we’ve made the right decision. We bought a large home to accommodate several hobbies, a business, and host guests. In Seattle, a similar home would cost at least twice as much. That aside, we had come to appreciate the cheerful attitude of the people. We were here for a few weeks when we attended a block party where we met many of our new neighbors. Texas lived up to its reputation of southern hospitality.
Like all “used” homes, this 1995 structure needed some work. We also wanted to make some changes and improvements. We have accomplished a lot already, starting with adding some interior walls. Most recently, we completed the repairs of some of the exterior stucco finish.
I was the one who was keen on having a pool. Now that we do, we realize that it is not only handy in Houston’s sweltering heat, but the very sight makes us smile. Speaking of the heat, from the end of April to the end of September, you can count on temperatures in the nineties (30 to 40 Celsius) with matching humidity.
It does rain, and when it does, it often pours. Roads and ditches swell quickly, and many drains can’t deal with the deluge. Usually, it passes quickly, but flash floods can happen. Flooding was never worse than in 2017 when Hurricane Harvey hit Houston. Here’s an informative website if you are interested in the details.
No time to retire
When we left Seattle, people asked me if I would retire. I had no such intentions. However, now that we are here, I realize I could spend all my time pursuing everything I like to do.
As some of you know, I began to live a healthier lifestyle late in 2020, which included losing about 50 lbs (23 Kilos) and exercising. With the encouragement of my wife, I have taken golf lessons! Staying in physical shape also helps my mental capacities, which I will need to continue to work in real estate.
Focus on relocation
There are two reasons for me to keep an active license in Washington. One is to continue working with an exceptional client on another project – another custom home like this one in Bellevue. The other reason is to concentrate on relocations between Seattle and Houston. For the latter, I need to get my Texas real estate license which means many online hours and studying for the eventual exam.
If your travel takes you to Houston, please visit us. There is plenty of room and a pool.
In the meantime, I wish you a healthy and happy New Year!
Published originally as the 143rd issue of The View from the Street.
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