Just clobber me

Five years ago in early June, Julie and I moved into a 55+ retirement community. Our relocation choice has proven to be a wise decision. We love our home, our neighbors, our neighborhood, our church and our proximity to shopping and doctors’ offices.

Our retirement community is growing with new homes and new neighbors coming at a steady pace. While working in our yard a few days ago I saw a moving van in front of one of the new homes in our neighborhood and could see workers carrying things into the house.

The vision brought back memories I’d rather forget.

It was shortly after our last move that I took my wife aside and demanded that if I ever suggest we move again she should clobber me with all her strength. We were still relative newlyweds at the time and she wouldn’t commit to clobbering me. However, after five more years of living with me I’m confident she is now open to the proposition.

Here’s the deal. My family moved frequently when I was a kid and by the time I left home at age 19 I had lived in 13 different homes. I grew weary of moving and made a commitment to not repeat this practice when I was on my own.

When I left home I moved into an $8 a week sleeping room above a professional office. The four walls of that sleeping room quickly closed in on me and four months later I stretched my budget to rent a one-bedroom second floor apartment.

When I married nearly two years later my bride was happy with my apartment and we set up housekeeping. Two months later our landlord sold the house and we had to move; this time to a small rental home. Six months after that move we learned about a house for sale that we could (almost) afford. We moved again.

By the time we celebrated our first wedding anniversary we had moved twice. Life went on and by the time we celebrated our 40th anniversary we had moved five more times.

We had lived comfortably in our last home for more than seven years; moving again was not in our plans. Then my wife, Cindy, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly.

Eventually life went on and I was engaged to marry a widow of my acquaintance. She owned a comfortable home so we had to make a decision on where to live. I had retired and she was still working so we decided I would move to her home.

I put my home on the market thinking it would take a few months to sell. I had a firm offer the next day and the buyer wanted my home in four weeks. I had just four weeks to pack, give away and move 43 years’ worth of material accumulation. It was physically and emotionally draining. I alternatingly laughed, cried and cussed as I went through all of those memories.

My future bride and I were not open to premarital cohabitation so I moved into an apartment for three months until we married and I moved into her home.

As time passed we began talking about a retirement home and decided we wanted to live somewhere in the Des Moines metro. Proximity to shopping and medical facilities was a part of that decision.

Shortly before our second anniversary we moved to our current home in West Des Moines.

By now I absolutely detested moving even though professional movers did the heavy lifting. We overestimated the capacity of our downsized retirement home and for the first couple of weeks after the move I made regular trips to a nearby Goodwill Store.

Moves in my younger years were made with a pick-up truck and some friends and family members. Later moves were made easier by professional movers. My back in retirement years is a far cry from the back of early adulthood.

So here we are enjoying a comfortable retirement. I love my easy chair. I love my mattress. I love my bathroom. I love our church family and I love my neighbors.

Occasionally I will receive a text or phone call from a real estate agent asking if we are interested in selling our home. I know the real estate market is hot right now but I quickly respond with a “NO THANKS.”

If I ever respond in any other way I trust Julie will clobber me.


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