My sister and her husband have moved from Anchorage to Brier, our town. They lived in Alaska for five years; before that, they were in California for a number of years. They decided to relocate to Washington State to be near us. They arrived Tuesday afternoon in their 34-foot motorhome and are now settled in behind our house. They have all the amenities except for sewer, and are using only our downstairs bathroom and our laundry room.
My sister Alyx is a psychiatric nurse and my brother-in-law Virgil is a supervisor at Wal-Mart. Alyx starts her new job tomorrow, Monday, and Virgil begins on Tuesday. They will both be working nights.
Relocating is a very big deal. Alyx and Virgil are adjusting to the traffic on the new roads and freeways, to the lower cost of food, to the abundance of stores and shops. Their household furnishings arrived early this morning and are now in storage several miles from here. Virgil's car arrives tomorrow. They will be "neighbors sharing a plot of land" for three to six months until they get settled in to the area and know for sure where Virgil's management job will be once he completes his training. Then they'll find a place to live, empty their storage unit and move again.
Alyx and I discussed the living arrangements several weeks ago. We decided to set boundaries beforehand. Thus the "neighbors sharing a plot of land". My husband Art likes a quiet house, so my sister and I have agreed that when he is having his morning coffee and reading the paper, we will be in another room, or outside, if we have a conversation. I have a couple of Adirondack chairs in the garden, and Alyx and I sit out there and chat in the afternoon. In the six days they have been here, we have shared a meal only twice. The arrangement appears to be working so far. The biggest crisis to date was the two days it took our local cable company to upgrade the television channels and increase the internet capacity on our account; it required five calls, most of them forwarded to offshore call centers with marginal results. Once Virgil could watch his news channels in the RV, all was well. In the house, we still have the limited cable we prefer.
My father was a military officer and our family moved around a lot when I was growing up, and I had a number of additional moves as an adult. Art and I have lived in our current house for nearly 20 years. We are quite settled. We have our favorite restaurants, stores, and driving routes. Alyx and Virgil are starting over in their late 50s: new city, new jobs, new connections to make. Watching them begin their new life, I'm grateful I don't have to do it! I suspect we'll move to a smaller place within the next five years for the eight months we're not in Tucson, but I'm not looking forward to the effort or the change. This time, I get to just watch.
A return to the back 40, the 2017 edition
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