Thursday, May 11, 2023

Thoughts About Country Living

Hi, Friends,
How are you? I hope you are well. 

Sometime last year, Bill mentioned that he wanted to get a plumber out to our East Texas house. He was concerned that there wasn't a pan under it and that there wasn't a drain to outside. The house is 17 years old and he assumed that the hot water heater was also 17 years old. He was concerned that the heater would rust and therefore leak which would flood the house. If you have read a few of my last posts, you will know that we lost Bill's mom last August and then we entered a season of doctors appointments for us. He's been burning PTO, so the opportunity for him to be there to meet the plumber was not happening. The new hot water heater kept getting pushed to the bottom of the list. The risk of flood wasn't at the far from my thoughts so I told him I'd meet the plumber. 
I finally did that this week. As we suspected the water at the bottom was very rusted. I'm very grateful that it did not fail. The A.C. was also checked at the same time and it checked out even though it is also 17 years old. If we arrive on a Friday night and the house is not cool, we can always stay in the camper. That is not as pressing an issue. 

It's not super pretty but what are you going to do? We like hot showers. 
I have a wood screen to hide it. 

When we bought this house in the midst of Covid, we talked about it being our five year plan. We are already half way through the five years. Can you believe that? Why five years? Bill was five years away from retiring when we closed on the house. He's a little over two years away at this point. 
During the five years we would fix up the house, cabin and land. 
We would continue to get to know the area. 
We would get to know some other people. 
Then, we would decide whether we liked being out in the country. 
 There is a lot of debate about whether we will retire in East Texas. 
Bill is having a hard time imagining what retirement will look like for him so therefore he wonders if he will like it day in and day out.  
Since I quit teaching 6 years ago, I know how easy it is to fill up the days.
 I think he won't have any problem staying busy.
I've had time to ponder as I've been here alone this week. Here are some of my rambling thoughts. 

Our house in town is a two story with our bedroom upstairs. It is a little too large. 
The ET house is one story but it is a little too small. 
Finishing the cabin will add extra space but it's hard to imagine how we will use it. I guess that isn't accurate. Bill already uses it even in its unfinished state. I don't use it at all except to go out to see the progress. 

Here are the pros to living in East Texas. 
The house is one story.
It is a simple house. 
The monthly bills are quite affordable. 
There is ton of space to garden. I have so many ideas for the landscape but I really don't need to do anything else to it. 
It gets us out of the annoying traffic in DFW. (The traffic post Covid is insane.) 
The house has wonderful outdoor living areas. 
The screened in porch is fabulous. 
The front porch is great place to watch the sun set. 
There is fun wild life. 
The people are so nice. 
This house is a piece of cake to clean. 
Caroline loves it here. 

Here are some cons. 
The house doesn't have a formal dining room. 
It doesn't have a formal look to it either. If you have followed a while, I like some fancy things. 
We like the health care options in DFW. 
Except our oldest son, all of our friends and family are in town. 
Heaven forbid, if something happened to Bill, I wouldn't want to be out here all alone. 
We would have to share a closet. 
I'd lose my claw foot tub. 
The southerly neighbor's place is a dump. I'm not kidding. 

Here are some of the initial cons that have been resolved. 
At first it felt so remote. The longer we are here, the more I realize that it isn't that remote. Town is ten minutes away. We are on farm to market so there are always cars and trucks going by. 
The sand drove me crazy at first. We've learned to adapt and we can always get a robotic vacuum. 
The smell the second fall and winter was horrible. We reported it to the TCEQ (Texas Commission For Environmental Quality) and maybe the other neighbors did too and that smell is gone now. 

How would the East Texas house work long term?  
We've talked about adding on. 
We need some more storage for out of season clothes and seasonal decor items. 
The closet needs to be redone so that it functions better. 
We can fancy up the finishes. We both need new showers so we could make them really nice. I don't need it bigger, I'd like it nicer. 

If we move here, we could have some animals. I've always wanted to have chickens and a duck. I've always wanted a horse too but that's not happening. 
I've been successful with flowers but growing vegetables is frustrating, There is no point, if I'm not here to handle pests and harvest the bounty. 

The plumber on Tuesday said. "This is a nice house." "Did you get this before things went crazy?" 
I said, "Thank you and yes." The housing market went crazy shortly after we closed. I'm a firm believer that the Lord directs our steps. I'm not sure what is in store in the next few years but I know that we will find contentment in the process. 

Thanks for reading the rambles. Let me know your thoughts. If you'd like to read the story from the beginning visit the page I've created. 


  1. Katie ,
    just a thought ,you could downsize to the smaller house and add on,make nicer showers etc with the money you will make on the sale of the other house.
    You could have weekend visitors or go back and visit former town. Later down the road decide if you want to make another change.
    Doesn’t have to be written in stone right? I am sure if your husband retires , you could do lots of little vacations visiting a variety of places. Could be fun
    We are around the same age maybe a little older and have moved about 9 years ago to our smaller vacation house by the beach. I wish I still had the big dining room for large groups of company but not sure I want to invest in an expensive addition. In these financial times. Covid sure changed and rearranged lots of situations didn’t it? Like you said the lord does direct our steps , so that’s what I am letting him do. Guide the way. Thanks for sharing and I hope you will feel confident in whatever you choose to do. I didn’t mean to write a book lol
    Sharon k

  2. Hi Katie,
    We downsized to our lake cottage 6 years ago. We completely gutted it down to the studs and added an addition. Everything is fresh and new. We have about 1700 sq ft of space. They only thing we don't have, which I miss, is a formal dining room. I didn't think I would miss having one since we only occasionly used it but like you, I like a little formal, too! Now, that we're 6 years older, (I'll turn 70 in Sept.) I am so happy we made this decision. We don't have any stairs and cleaning our smaller home is a breeze. The only downside is the extra driving. We are 10 minutes from town and an hour from our daughter. We babysit our son's daughter 3 days a week and they live about 40 minutes from us. So it seems like we're always in the car. All in all, we love living in the country and can't imagine living in a sub again. We really enjoy the natural environment and quiet living. I know that God will guide you in your decision. Good luck!

  3. Very interesting post, we are 10 years into retirement now and well, we've had some serious repair and remodel issues going on---which I wish we had done sooner. 75 is too old to be farting around with major projects, so do keep that in mind, because what was easy at 60 or 65...isn't at 75. Grins, looks like you have a lovely home and area! Sandi

  4. We (well, mostly me) are hoping to retire in the next year or so. My husband isn't quite as sure because he has let most of his hobbies go due to work and family requirements. He's afraid he will just sit on the couch and rot (and he is decidedly not interested in me giving him honey-do lists to keep him busy, lol). We have homes in Arizona (his job) and the Texas hill country (my job, though I work remotely and spend months in Arizona when he is not traveling for work). We haven't been able to decide where to live in retirement, since both homes have big pros and relatively small cons. It is a difficult decision to be sure. I love your east Texas home, since both ours are in the country - but that's my bias. I'm sure you'll come to a good compromise whatever you decide :-)

  5. I enjoyed reading through your thoughts and your pros and cons. We have been retired for 5 years and we remained in our pre-retirement home. It is in the country on acreage which we enjoy. I'm a country girl so I vote for east Texas but I know it's hard to leave family and friends also. Or is there a compromise, a small home in each location? Blessings!