As some of you know Dan and I will be renewing our vows of 30 years at Liberty con.  Part of this is because we wanted to do it for the 25th, but we couldn’t being broker than broke and not even going to LC (if I remember.)

Of course, this is the way of the world, so we’re broke this year too.  It’s temporary and more than usually self-inflicted because we chose to move this year to a rental and get the house ready to sell.  OTOH it’s not entirely self-inflicted.  Our other house is near a high traffic road, and our porch furniture gets covered in black sludge within 3 months.  Given my particular respiratory issues, I think that is if not what has played havoc with my health for the last 10 years (there were other things, including a worsening condition now hopefully fixed) at least a strong contributing factor.  Given that, we needed to move.  But there’s more to it than that.

It’s starting to look like when the house sells we’ll be empty nesters.  I have a bit of trepidation about younger son on his own, but it has been pointed out to me by his father that at three years younger than him I crossed half the world to live with strangers (and meet my future husband) and that sooner or later, even engineer-birds must fly.

I don’t know about other people’s lives, but our lives move in segments, from well established routine/setting to another with a brief, often terrifying trasition, where we often attempt to go bankrupt.  One such transition was from childless couple in Charlotte, NC to couple with kids in Colorado Springs.  There was some lag and leading indicators (Robert was born in Charlotte and was one when we moved here) but our life didn’t establish a new pattern/rhythm until we’d moved, a process that almost broke us.  Same with our last move, between couple with little kids and couple with more or less autonomous and certainly self-explaining teens.

This is feeling like another one of those, and these transitions are needed in a way.  They “reorient” you.

To explain, you get caught in habits that existed for a good reason, long after the reason is gone.

In cleaning this house and fixing it for sale, I’m coming across this a lot.  For instance, when we moved to this house, I made a lot of my own clothes, a substantial amount of the kids’ clothes, as well as almost all of the household stuff (It’s been years since I took a sofa apart to re-upholster.  I just realized that.)

This habit had been got into for good and sufficient reason, the reason being that we were keeping up with dual-income families on one income.  This meant the person who rarely made more than 5k a year had to make up for a lot of the money she didn’t bring in.  Refinishing, reupholstering, making most of our stuff, including things like slippers for the kids, were part of how I compensated.

Only this last move, to the house we’re now cleaning was also when my career started moving (sideways and upside down, as usual) so I not only had a lot of work, but I also, suddenly, inexplicably, found myself making about the same I would if I’d done what mom tried to talk me into 20 years ago, and finished my doctorate (depending on the college and the field I chose, between one and two years) and became a college lecturer.

The problem is, there were habits.  Habits from the times mommy didn’t make enough to justify not interrupting her.  Habits from the time when Sarah was, of course, the logical choice to spend all day looking for a missing paper.

Those habits proved almost impossible to break in that house.  Here things have started shifting somewhat.

BUT more importantly, my mental habits hadn’t changed, so I continued picking up bolt-ends and other ridiculously low priced fabric, in the vague idea I’d use it for this and that.  I haven’t because I don’t have the time to sew I used to.  When moving I made the decision that other than some vintage patterns/fabric which I’ll eventually use to make myself clothes, I’m going to narrow my sewing focus to “making stuffed animals.”  Mostly because so many of you and so many of my friends have littles, and adopted grandson ALSO totally needs a dragon a year to grow on.  I still have a room full of fabric, which depending on arrangements at the next house might or might not need culling down. It also depends on where the next phase takes us.

It’s always hard to figure out what shape the future will have till you’re there.  These transitions tend to have that “earth-shaking” feel and the boundaries of your quotidian life change in ways you couldn’t anticipate.

For instance, when we moved to Colorado Springs, I expected (and we looked earnestly at) a suburb like the one we’d lived in in Charlotte.  Perhaps more rural, since we’d been looking that way before the move.

I couldn’t have anticipated a housing shortage, due to MCI moving to town, which shuttled us into a student apartment downtown, which in turn reminded me how much I liked walking neighborhoods and consigned us for the next 21 years to living in Victorians, in walking neighborhoods, mountain village and urban neighborhood. Which in turn shaped not just the texture of my everyday life, but also the boys’ upbringing.  (For one since the age of six, they’ve been free to go off and buy their own lunch.  At six, corndogs from an arcade stand in a little mountain village.)

In the same way I don’t know where we’ll end.  I think we’re done with walking neighborhoods, or rather our definition of walking neighborhood has changed.  You see, it used to be I liked to have enough stores within walking distance to force me to walk.  Thing is, I’m now buying most such things (books, okay, mostly) from Amazon, and what entices me out is more likely to be a walk around the park with my husband.  (Mind you, I wouldn’t mind being close enough to the museums in Denver to walk to them, but I REALLY don’t think we can afford that.)  That texture has already changed, only we’re sort of caught betwix and between.  But it has changed what we look for in another house.

Other things that weren’t a consideration when we moved last, are a consideration now.  We’re in our fifties and the “winter” of life is still a little off, but if we live in the next house twenty years or so, it won’t be.  So proximity to medical services and ease of ambulance reach are a plus.  As is accessibility to an airport, because I’m getting right tired of having to get up at six am for a nine am flight.  Not to mention the four am for a seven am flight. Kevin Anderson tells me I need to make more public appearances.  I don’t like it, but I’ll assume he’s right, and in that case, ease of transport becomes a big thing.

We’ll of course be looking for something with a decent office space for me, and possibly husband together (we’re that odd thing, a writing couple who likes sharing an office.)

In my dream world, we buy something near friends, and we settle down to take a walk morning or evening, work the rest of the time, and share housekeeping duties. I take Sundays off, and read or sew.  Oh, and evenings, I get to do stuff while Dan watches TV.  I’m not “always on” and always late with books (though that is likely to be true, once health settles.) I know, it’s a pedestrian dream, but it’s mine.

I’m hoping to keep at least those outlines.  The rest… who knows. The new pattern whenever it comes (It’s dependent on house selling, so who knows?) will have some surprises.  And some of them will be pleasant or most will, once I change my mental parameters.

I don’t know what the future holds, but I know we’re at an inflection point and from here on “things will be different.”

You can fight those, or you can embrace them.  We’re choosing to embrace this one.  The renewal of vows is our way of saying “this we’ll take with us.  This we’ll keep.”  And it is therefore important.

The rest… we’ll see.

If I don’t thank all of you who’ve donated — you made the room awfully dusty, and there’s a lot of you — I am grateful.  I’m hoping the amount is enough to get someone else to redo the fence, and maybe, if we’re lucky, to fix the balcony.  I’m now in the “cleaning and staging” phase in the second floor and older son is finishing painting bottom floor (he’s very good at it.)

If it all goes well, by Monday all the hard work will be done on the inside, we can pay someone to do the outside after we come back from Liberty con.  And I can settle into at least a “trial” pattern of having time to write and spend time with my husband (even if the house will still take a thorough cleaning, and probably won’t go for sale for two weeks, because of contractors doing other stuff.)  I’d like that.  For one I want to finish Witch’s Daughter (Michael’s sequel to Witchfinder) and also Darkship Revenge and Bowl of Red (Shifters.)  And then I want to do the dragon trilogy.

I want to write.  I want to have time with my husband.  I want to stop being carpenter and painter and jack of all trades.

And once the house sells, I want to visit my dad, because he’s 84 and time is running away from us.

It will come.  Transitions are sticky and scary, but they pass.  Just.A.Few.More.Days.

This too will get done.  This too shall pass.  And the future will be good.

219 thoughts on “Milestones

  1. Good luck with everything. Changes are weird. My own son only recently got his own place, and it was weird at first but it’s been really great having a fully adult son to interact with. I go visit his place and he makes me tea and serves snacks. It’s different than before, but very nice and happy.

  2. Good luck indeed. We did a fair bit of house-rehabbing when we were young (including getting several layers of paint off of gorgeous 1920s gumwood trim) but alas, we are no longer young. I boggle a little at the amount of sheer physical energy you’re putting into the project, given your health issues and your insane productivity when writing.

    We’re looking at the same task right now. Our dream house is not a house for seventy-somethings, and driving down the slopes of Cheyenne Mountain in the winter is more of a thrill ride than I care to take. You nailed our two top issues: Proximity to a good airport (which the Springs has never had) and proximity to world-class health care. Carol is an alumna of the Mayo Clinic schools, and there’s a Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, so that’s where we’re likely to be. We may get a small home near Denver for the worst of the summers and become snowbirds, egad.

    My guess is that a huge number of Boomers are crunching these very same equations right now.

    Very best wishes from both of us to both of you on your 30th. Our 40th is in 2016, and we’re already planning the party…

    1. Funny how — once you get over the delusion that you are invulnerable — proximity to quality medical care matters.

    2. Snowbird it like friends of my Aunt and Uncle … they winter in Melborne, FL.
      Oh summers are lived in Fairbanks Alaska, and they drive back and forth.

  3. It is curious how our dreams change with age maturity. Use to I wanted flying cars and striding worlds like a colossus, now I am happy if I don’t have to deal with one. more. thing. breaking down. (My laptop has been displaying all too much “personality” and it is making me more than a little cranky; where before it had been randomly losing the 2nd monitor’s settings, causing it to drop out and/or randomly reset screen resolution, today it decided it had been entirely too consistent about its LCD monitor and started me out with a blank screen. It is five or more years old, so I guess I’ve gotten good use out of it but the idea of shopping for a replacement no longer fills me with joy and excitement; the anticipatory mood more nearly resembles a visit to a proctologist in that no matter how beneficial the result the process is dreary, annoying and likely to prove intrusive.)

    1. Aint it the truth. I am so sick of planned obsolescence. If I could find a hand cranked computer with steel gears I would be so happy.

        1. After looking a prices on ebay, maybe this could be a lucrative small business to make new ones. 3-D printing maybe? Maybe a KickStarter? Steampunkers and survivalists seem to be core customer subcultures.. “EMP proof calculators!”

          OT: I love it when my abysmal keyboarding skills lead to serendipic (totally a word) results. Mi initial attempt to enter”steampunkers” came out “Screampinkers) which is a great name for a female punk band, or an SF monster the resembles a giant flamingo, and claims its victims with hyper sonic blasts that stun, allowing the toucan sized beak to disassemble its hapless prey, or both. Sounds like a critter native to Harrison’s “Deathworld.”

            1. (cringes) And of course missed several obvious typos in a comment about typos.. Disclaimer: I’m not actually a moron.I just play one on the internet.

              1. It is a little known fact that inside most computers lies a virus, a rogue version of autokorrect whose sole function is introduction of typos into perfectly keyed internet posts. Sometimes it achieves its effect by randomly swapping kegs struck, sometimes by inverting the teh sequence of key strokes, sometimes by skipiiiiing a key stroke entirely or repeating a key stroke inappropriately and sometimes by slpoetvjs completely.

                It has even been laden to substitute completely irrelevant things into a post.

                    1. Yes, that is worth looking at. Not like some of the more commonplace critters, like basilisks and wyverns.

    2. “. Use to I wanted flying cars and striding worlds like a colossus, now I am happy if I don’t have to deal with one. more. thing. breaking down.”


      Says the guy who just disassembled a ATV differential. Good thing is, I finally figured out what that growly sound, I’ve been having for the last few thousand miles is. Bad thing is, it upgraded to a grinding, clunky sound, and parts won’t be here until Thursday.

        1. “(at 100 times the price”

          I see you have bought parts for an ATV before. I have said that if I had to build one from parts it would cost more than a new truck.

          And yes, I can get parts, just in case you are curious (I was) a diff would cost $833, and there just isn’t much to it. And that is the rear one, I have no idea what the front one, that actually has some complications (in and out of four wheel drive, plus a electronic locker) would be.

          1. I’ve got 4 motorcycles. The ST1100 (I got two) has got an alternator that ran $400 for the whole thing new, less the drive gear, or $350 for the electrical bit with the seal housing that the ears are known to occasionally crack off of. But now they have no more of the complete ones and the windings/housing portion is $450.
            for $700 new parts can be gathered to convert it to the later 40 amp alternator.
            If you are lucky you can get one off fleabay for less, but folks know the trick, so the prices are not discounted much. If I had a later model with the 40 amp the difference for replacement isn’t worth going used.
            They do sell individual gears for the transmission, but the ST has an odd set up that the whole tranny cassette will unbolt from the engine case as a unit, but individual bits are available to fix them.

            1. “but the ST has an odd set up that the whole tranny cassette will unbolt from the engine case as a unit, but individual bits are available to fix them.”

              Really? That is odd. Luckily, *knocks on wood* I haven’t had to delve into the tranny on either of my ATV’s but I suspect that neither will look familiar to me, if/when I do.

              1. The ST1100 is an odd beast designed by Honda of Germany as an Audubon machine and long life. I know of several with over 200,000 miles, and my two are at 99,000, and 89,000 miles.
                The V4 is north/south like a Guzzi,
                I had the tranny on the 89,000 miler out as it had a slight issue when I bought the bike, and 40,000 miles later it would not stay in second gear.
                I just pulled down the other bike to do a valve check (still in spec) and change the coolant hoses. Other than the timing belts, and that poor shifting caused tranny issue (my guess is the previous owner was a ham footed shifter) the bikes are stone ax reliable, even compared to other Hondas.

  4. As I shan’t be at LC to say it, and lest my computer get inexplicably hit with a sledgehammer or an ax, congratulations on the vowel renewal, espeically now that you have a better idea of what you’re getting into.

    1. vowel renewal? Are they getting new A,E,I,O, U’s and sometimes Y’s and W’s”

      1. At least it’s not vowel removal, but I rather think Teresa Nielsen Hayden won’t be in attendance.

  5. Not to push Texas (okay, so I am!) but I live 60 miles NW of San Antonio, and there are good pieces of property between here and there. And SA has world class medical facilities. SA International has IIRC all the domestic national lines coming in, and a short commuter flight to DFW/Love Field for further destinations.
    And – final selling point – there are lots of ‘zens and Huns/Hoydens down here.
    True, from here you’d have to travel 500 miles to see a mountain (Guadalupe Peak, in west Texas near El Paso), but you still have wide vistas. Texas doesn’t have many 4-season areas, but we have our share of beauty.

      1. Dallas has world class medical facilities and airports. It also has 4 seasons and it’s not as hot as SA. Dallas pretty places too. When I say Dallas I mean the entire metroplex. There are houses big and small at all price ranges in the metroplex. We don’t have mountains, but we do have some nice lakes and gardens and museums. We also have a lot of hi tech in the area.

        1. posted the above before I saw hubby’s post. The cute one in our family is currently, Sat 6.20.15 @ 14:42, at the groomers.

        2. Granbury is nice. In the DFW area I prefer the southwestern to western areas, but it’d be my luck they actually do move here right after I’ve moved away.

          1. Granbury now has waaaayyyyyy too many people. When I moved there in 1980, the population of Hood County was a little less than 17,000. It started growing and now is over 50,000. Still some rural areas, but not as much as before and the traffic sucks more than ever. If I were to move back to Hood County, I’d have to go out by Tolar…..

            1. yeah, I went through yesterday and geez, just in the short time it has been and everything is different. Where 4 comes out on 377 is now stores, stores, restaurants and gas stations. Normally I been hitting Acton hwy and missed all the changes up there. Normally when I come from the north I turn off at 114, and so that little stretch from there to Acton Hwy is not as often seen.
              No wonder the Wookie moved up to Boyd.

                1. so quite a big change for you out that way. I’ve only been here in Texas for 11 years and it has changed a good bit more the last 3 out that way than I noticed before. I did a few DirecTv installs out that way, back in ’04, and once I started riding the bike out that way things weren’t really that much different. Looked at a few places to buy around Acton a few times too.

            2. Granbury sounds small to me. Plano at 250,000 seems just right to me. Of course I grew up in a city of 8 million people. Plano seems rural to me. We have wild rabbits!

        3. Fort Worth has cattle drives! That is super important, trust me. Come to Fort Worth.

              1. No argument on the humidity,but that’s why God created HVAC. Hurricanes
                have the distinct advantage of being able to be avoided if you have a modicum of common sense.

                1. it isn’t the avoidance that bothers me, it’s the sweeping up the remains of your house afterwards because they spiut out tornadoes like crazy, or shoveling out the living room after a storm surge. (~_^)

                  1. I’ll take them over floods and earthquakes, Tornadoes are a fact of life anywhere berween the two great ranges of N. America. Again,usually some warning, and it isn’t hard to properly design a house to laugh at tornadoes. Most folks just don’t make it a design priority. Fun Fact: Did you know that virtually all tornadoes globally are located in the USA?

                    1. Fun Fact: Did you know that virtually all tornadoes globally are located in the USA?
                      eyup. a few in Russia (usually where people aren’t), and I’ve heard of a few in Aussieland, and rarely anywhere else.

                      Monolithic over in Italy, TX makes a mostly Tornado proof building, and it is totally if you build it underground. but folks don’t seem to want to live in a concrete dome.

                    2. Hail. Texas is the hail capital of the world. The Yankees up here don’t believe me when I tell them about Texas/Oklahoma hail storms….

            1. We got TONS of hospitals. We have an entire hospital district which hasn’t managed to kill me yet. AND H3 Ranchsteak house. So there.

              1. I’m not too emotionally involved in playing “Whose ia better,” but while other places may have great facilities, ask any of them and if they’re honest, they’re cloning what was pioneered in Houston.”

                1. I actually thought we were all playing around. Every place has good things and bad things about them and people need to choose what fits best for them. My apologies.

                  1. .Absolutely none needed.I suppose Texans take “bragging rights” seriously. We’re still touchy Alaska cams in and knocked us outta 1st place for size.:-)

          1. It’s better than NYC. It’s not nearly as cold as other places I’ve lived. Brutal summer is everywhere in TX. We have a really good A/C system. Did you use to live in Plano?

            1. If you want to live in N. Texas, I’d go north from Plano a bit to Sherman. It’s a big town or small city, (38K) only an hour from Dallas, with a lot of recreation at Lake Texoma, on the border. My first college experience was at Austin College there, which was unfortunately trending lefty even in the late 70’s.

              1. I don’t drive. Would Sherman accommodate that? Plano has good public transit and is only 30 minutes from DFW/DAL.

                  1. Bicycle? Not anymore. Balance issues and bad joints (osteo arthritis)..We enjoy Plano. I’m a city girl. I don’t think I’d be happy in a town that had less than 100K population. Plus it would double hubby’s commute time to the airport. Thanks for the rec of Sherman.

                    1. I asked, because in the right area of town walking and biking might work in Sherman. But in Texas, either leaves you at the mercy of the weather. Honestly, living anywhere in Texas requires a car. It is a necessary corollary of having freedom to move, and the luxury of having elbow room.

        1. We are in San Marcos, but the In-Laws are in Castroville.. pretty place and close enough to San Antonio to get the stuff you need from the city.. and thos Alsatian families can cook, for sure

          1. Katy, w western suburb of Houston is nice. Texas id loaded with a slew of small cities and towns; any will do . Let’s face it -the worst city in Texas is better than anywhere on either coast.

            1. Houston has jobs but . . .While we all want Sarah closer, do her lungs actually deserve this level of humidity and allergens? Should there be a need to move to Texas, Sarah, stay northish and westish. :: sigh ::

              1. I think I can speak for myself, Zachery, and Prof. Badness, in extolling the virtues of S.E. Idaho and Bearcat in extolling the virtues of Idaho in general. (Okay, who’d I miss?)
                Sure, we just found out we have the lowest State University pay standards in the country, but we also are rock bottom on cost of living. Since your location doesn’t effect your pay rate, come join us! (Is your husband taking up writing full time anytime soon? Or do we have to wait to extoll the virtues of Idaho until he’s free?)

                1. Southern Idaho has a miniature silicone valley, so Dan could probably find work down there fairly easily.

                  “Sure, we just found out we have the lowest State University pay standards in the country”

                  Since that comes out of my pocket, I consider that a good thing.

                2. It is true. Texas is a terrible place if you have allergies, the coast is humid and moldy, and the hill country has the cedar that can kill you. But here I am in Texas and here I stay. It is still a great place to be.

    1. Rode through Fredricksburg on my way to Kerrville (I wont speak of my bike konking out in Llano), and I would not mind living down that way (ride the Three Sisters more!) as long as it was high ground.
      I guess I best make another visit that way before I move North of the Frozen Tundra.

      1. Gorgeous country up there. But you can live cheaper in Medina County and drive up to Kerrville and Fredericksburg to look at scenery for free. Also, Pedernales State Park over towards Johnson City has some gorgeous rock/falls formations; they must look even better now we have some water…

        1. well, I should be more clear, to me in DFW (actually Alvarado) I was thunkin’ of that whole area from Llano south and southwest to Bandera, Utopia Camp Wood or so as one area and yeah Medina is right about the right place in my eyes, being on 337, one of the Three Sisters roads. Just gotta dodge the Harley riders and slow poke farm trucks (though the farmers tend to get out of the way for you when they can … HD riders, not so much),
          When I was there I was to ride 337, 336, and 335 but with the bike breaking (battery died) and my having to leave early Saturday, I missed the riding on those roads, but had a good meal at El Sombrero in Kerrville with a ton of great folks and some camping in Kerrville-Screiner park, that first night pretty much by myself (almost tripped over a Jack Rabbit)and the ride home was pretty nice as it was.

          1. Considering the fact that everything I drive has a winch and brushguard/cowcatcher on the front of it; the Harley riders better dodge me.

        2. oh, and though F’Burg is a great looking place the influx of winery lovers etc has driven prices there-bouts through the roof, so yeah, nice place, but visit, and live elsewhere as lovely looking and cheaper

      2. Yeah, but you have to be rich to live around Kerrville. My dearly departed momma lived there and one of my sisters still does. Both times I tried living there I darn near had to claim bankruptcy. I moved instead to Waco. Much better choice. This is the best off we’ve ever been *knock wood*

        1. Yeah, but it is better than Fredrickburg, and further south is better still. Just hope you don’t need to commute (~_^)
          For me it’s a “Win the lottery” thing, and I rarely play the lottery.

    2. Nobody wants to come live in the glacial hills of Kansas – so stay away! 30 miles from Kansas City International, 30 miles from University of Kansas Medical Center.
      And 80 acres of heaven and angora goats.
      And it cost us so little compared to other metro areas.
      We even have our own waterfall.

      1. I’ve driven through Kansas and had exactly that thought… terrible place. Awful.

          1. Oh No! Now those ex-Californians will be heading for your area!!!!

            Oh Beth, I took the “terrible place” as a joke. [Smile]

            1. Shame on you. It’s awful. I’ve driven through there. McPherson is particularly barren.

            2. I figured that after I hit send on that reply. But I had trouble getting back to the laptop, I had to get the goats into their pasture for the night, and the two new kids, Ben Carson and Marco Rubio, were being playful.

                1. Nah, they are only 2 weeks old and 1 week old . They were playing hide from the crazy goat lady, it is too early to go in with our mama goats.

              1. Nice names for the kids. Just the other night I was tempted to acquire a pair of non-human household member just so I could name them Hub & Garth … then the discussion broke down over what species/breed would be appropriate.

                1. I have over 30 angora goats. Naming kids was a huge problem until I decided to pick a theme each season – last year, it was the Big Bang Theory. This year, it is presidential candidates.

                    1. Bwahaha! If one is born with a silly mop top, we will have a Donald Trump. So far, we’ve only had three boys, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Ben Carson. If we have more than a couple of girls, they will be getting boy names, or just the last name of a candidate.

                  1. How much can one knit from one? Whereabouts do you raise them (I assume the offer is carry out only.)

                    No reasonable reflection on my rapidly impending dotage encourages taking on such responsibility and I suspect the city’s zoning laws would frown on such a pet. Besides, I suspect I am already the butt of too many neighborhood jests; no reason to offer additional ammo.

                    1. I raise colored angora goats in Northeastern Kansas – just about 30 miles from Kansas City International Airport.
                      They grow mohair. I shear them twice yearly, clean their fleeces, card them, often dye them and then I spin it into yarn.
                      The amount of yarn you can get from one goat varies a lot. If you spin lace weight, you get a whole lot more – probably 50 times more than if you are tail spinning. 🙂
                      We do have one little goat, Willow, who sleeps in the house every night. She was very sick when she was born in January, so she lived in the house for months to recover.
                      I put a diaper on her when she comes in at night, and most nights, she sleeps on the foot of our bed, with one of our dogs.

                      Willow self-identifies as a dog. She chases squirrels with them, and she even runs like a dog, not a goat.

                      She has resisted all our efforts to integrate with the rest of the goats. They can all be out in the yard, and Willow will go over to Buffy the Coyote Slayer and sit with her. (Buffy is our Maremma sheepdog).

                    1. If you go electric and you don’t want permanent fencing, use the electric net fence made for goats by premier1. I have friends who use it. The meat goats are pretty hefty and smart. If you were to use tape, you would probably have to run 4 or 5 strands of it because they will go under or over pretty easily.
                      I don’t use electric fencing with my angora goats their mohair gets so thick that it insulates them from the shock, and they are all horned and can get caught in it.

                    2. I have a friend with about 80 sheep and goats. She manages their grazing with nothing but the electric net fence – and she can move the fence all by herself.
                      The only drawback is you have to keep the grass really short where the fence runs – but she just pushes her lawn mower where she is going to move the fence, and has not had a problem.

        1. Did you have to mention Cerner? I’m supposed to have the weekend off. 🙂

          I work in Lab I.S., and we’re in the process of upgrading from our Cerner Classic installation (dating back to 1988) to Cerner Millennium (their current lab system).

      2. How far are you from the Wolf Creek nuke plant. I’ve been there a couple of times….Out in the middle of nowhere….

  6. I lived in Colorado Springs when I was in the Air Force. It is a nice town. My son was born at the Air Force Academy Hospital. It has grown since I left, but still a nice town.

  7. We’d love to have you in Plano TX. There are several homes (3-4) available within a couple of blocks, and the neighborhood is nice and quiet.

    There’s also a fair amount of high tech employment, with more to come since Toyota is moving in.

      1. Actually, our neighborhood has bus stops around the border, it is within a mile of the train station, and within half a mile of the Plano Medical Center and a mile from the new branch of Baylor Medical Center.

        I deliberately picked it because my wife doesn’t drive and I’m out of town. She had to be able to get around without too much trouble.

        1. “I deliberately picked it because my wife doesn’t drive and I’m out of town.”

          My mind boggled at the thought of a grown woman who doesn’t drive, but then I remembered she is from the Northeast.

              1. In NYC the cost of keeping a car and the time invested in finding parking largely eradicate any benefit of having a car.

                1. This only applies in Manhattan. If you own a home in one of the other parts of the city cars work just fine. You only have to worry about thieves and potholes. I grew up in Brooklyn and both of my parents drove. We had a 2 car garage. We lived a row house on a corner. It was attached on one side.

              2. I realize this may come as a shock — you should probably sit down — but NYC does not even cover a sizable portion of New York State, let alone the NE.

                1. I know this very well. There were many places I couldn’t get to like NJ etc. But I eventually met a hi tech red neck, good ol’ boy from Montgomery, AL He’s been driving me ever since..

                2. Em knows that; try asking the typical Noo Yawker. There’s a reason she left.

          1. I don’t drive right now. BAD astigmatism. Once all this is settled, I need new glasses. Right now it’s scary. I mean, I can’t tell what’s stopped and what’s moving.

            1. “Follow the blur, and if the blur gets too close, hit it”
              That is actually what a dirt track driver told us when we noticed he removed the glasses he was legally blind without, to go out and drive his racecar.

      2. “I can second this recommendation — if one doesn’t mind driving literally everywhere.”

        Well, if living in walking distance of most basic services is a priority, I know it can be done, because I happen to be doing it. Most *interesting* places are at driving distance instead of walking distance, because the DFW metroplex has its interesting places scattered over several dozen miles. But plenty of practical services are in walking distance from where I live in Plano (on the border near Frisco, along Preston Rd.). It’s an easy walk to a Walmart supercenter and a Sam’s Club and more than a dozen strip mall businesses (package center, restaurants, miscellaneous offices) and a doable walk, the better part of a mile I think, to the enormous Stonebriar mall complex (a sizable enclosed mall with an enormous spread of stripmalls extending away from it in several directions, hundreds of businesses including a dozen or so very big box stores, at least two bookstores, and God only knows how many restaurants and apparel and specialty stores).

        1. the problem with a lot of those kind of places is the ratio of leftoid loons goes up. But being Texas, that is still better than a lot of places.

      3. Yeah, you want to be where your short irons count for something and you can feel free to putter about.

      1. I was going to let Kim bring that up for himself…. but he and his wife are a big reason we picked Dallas over Atlanta.

        And yes, if the Hoyts felt the need to to borrow a cup of ammo, something could be worked out; Kim trained me well. 😎

  8. Hey, if you’re going to be concentrating on sewing stuffed animals (a laudable focus), here’s my favorite pattern designer. I’ve done the mushroom house and chicken, but what I’m really waiting for is the Menagerie pattern coming out in a little while, which is something like 20 animals in one–including a dragon which my niece is going to need for Christmas.

    1. Oh those are cute patterns! I’m going to have to go peruse that site more closely.

  9. I know, it’s a pedestrian dream, but it’s mine.

    Although the history books don’t tell it that way such pedestrian dreams were the majority of what settled a continent and still bring people from the four corners of the earth to it.

  10. Congratulations on renewing your vows, and best wishes coping with transitions weird and wonderful.
    And yes, I can see at least some of your health issues derive from breathing in all sorts of incomplete combustion products.

  11. I will point out that after twenty years in Colorado Springs, the Heinleins discovered that Ginny had been altitude sick for all those twenty years. The symptoms didn’t indicate that, but looked like allergies and auto immune disorders.

    Possibly a place with lower altitude? Probably you have thought of this, but just in case you have not

    Stay well

    1. That’s a great point. I got altitude sickness on a camping trip at the Air Force campground close to Woodland Park. It’s miserable. But they do make medication for it, I think.

      1. Believe the medication is like cold medicine– the idea is to be less miserable, doesn’t actually fix anything.

        1. Viagra was an attempt at an altitude sickness medicine. Its side effects were more powerful than the intended results but have the benefit is being far more profitable. (iirc the Army issues it for high mountain work, but it mostly got/gets used as a bargaining chip with locals after the soldiers become acclimated)

    2. Could be worse. Could be Leadville. Not quite two miles above sea level but close.

    3. Very good point indeed. Now if they do move from Colorado Springs to Denver as Sarah is intimating, and your theory is correct, then her symptoms should be at least partially mitigated..

      1. Denver is one of two places under consideration and has a slight lead because “can drive to natural history museum without hitting highway” is a plus.

    4. Wow, that’s unnerving. I had always thought of altitude sickness as something that went away with time to acclimate unless you were somewhere really extreme like… you know, Everest. But it makes sense that there would be a lot of variation in individual limits.

      1. You know, that makes me wonder if he wrote Farmer In the Sky before or after the move away from the Springs, since the little girl wasn’t acclimating to the lower pressure, before the shield failure, and they were talking about going back to Earth.

        1. *rummage* Publication date on Farmer in the Sky is 1950. Wiki has it that they moved out of Colorado Springs in 1965. So not that.

          Although it looks like they moved there in the late 1940s, so I could imagine that if there was an initially more obvious period of problems that they knew were attributable to the altitude, before the problem disguised itself(!), that could have gone into the mental pot.

          1. IIRC, Colorado is a setting for a fair portion of 1956’s The Door Into Summer, which suggests he had some familiarity with the locale.

            A wiki footnote about Door being heinlein’s fastest written novel reports:
            “Well the fastest was — I’ll have to explain. When we were living in Colorado there was snowfall. Our cat — I’m a cat man — wanted to get out of the house so I opened a door for him but he wouldn’t leave. Just kept on crying. He’d seen snow before and I couldn’t understand it. I kept opening other doors for him and he still wouldn’t leave. Then Ginny said, ‘Oh, he’s looking for a door into summer.’ I threw up my hands, told her not to say another word, and wrote the novel The Door Into Summer’ in 13 days.” Heinlein interview with Alfred Bester; pg 487 Redemolished ISBN 0-7434-0725-3

  12. I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before, but I take considerable comfort from the following;

    Moving house is, according to some researchers (I read this years ago, so I don’t have who under my hand) the fourth biggest stress-event that an average person is likely to endure. It follows only Marriage, Divorce, and death of a family member.

    So, when we get trashed by the act of moving, we have reason. I was told this two, maybe three moves ago. I’ve kept it firmly in mind each time since. it puts things into perspective. I no longer feel that I “shouldn’t” be feeling beat up over moving.

  13. Alas, I won’t be at LC. Cons with a cane or walker are no fun these days. I think it’s a fabulous idea to renew your vows there at this time in your life. Sometimes, you have to shake out what you don’t need and stick with what you truly want.

    We’ve done this recently. We had a *huge* clear out. Got rid of over twenty years worth of junk. It was the mother of all yard sales for sure! We got rid of all our living room furniture, too. It is now a workshop. The entire house is really a workshop with a bedroom, bathroom and kitchen/workshop lol.

    We are makers. Hobbyists mainly. My husband is a leather worker and carpenter. I whittled my crafting down to just hand work (crochet, needlepoint, etc), machine sewing and my dollhouse miniatures. I eliminated everything else. I have some serious health issues and have had to realize I can’t do some of them anymore. It’s been a few months now of our “new” alternative type lifestyle. It means we don’t have company as often (not that we had much to begin with).

    We now take our camper to see the grandkids or stay in hotels for brief trips. But we’re happier with our home than we’ve ever been. Make your house what you want it to be. What will make y’all happy. It doesn’t have to conform to any staid,old ideas of normal.

    Oh and I also vote for the Hoyts to come to Texas. It’s great down here. San Antonio is an excellent place. Best city in the country, IMNSHO. If we ever do move again that’s where we’ll go. That would put us within three hours of the majority of our families.

  14. This has probably entered your thinking already, but think “handicapped accessible.” That means wider hallways/doorways, larger kitchen areas/bathrooms. God willing, neither of you will ever need it, but should be considered. If planned for from the start, it’s a *lot* easier to “modify” things when necessary.
    I’ve been in a wheelchair for 7 years (this month), and like to look at “model homes for ‘well off,'” plans. About *5%* have room to put/have an elevator. Now, I’ve walked out of my residence _3_ times, and come back with “walking difficulties.” If I paid $5,000,000+ for a “house,” and come back one day in a wheelchair, I’d better be able to “move around freely.” Otherwise, I’ll be really P—-d Off. I’ll *never* live in anything but an “accessible” house, but better to plan ahead. A simple thing like a “walk in shower,” is no small matter whether handicapped or not. Face loading washers are better, IMO, even if you’re not in a wheelchair. They’re easier to load/unload, regardless. Plus, all on one floor is easier to deal with as you “age like a fine wine.” 🙂

    1. Teach me to read the comments before I post. 🙂 I will disagree with the front loading washer, however. For more money, they do a poorer job of getting clothes clean, and most hold only a fraction of what a top load does. Also, they are much more prone to leaking.

            1. depends on what your definition of evil is
              Making those with skin issues wear clothing that affects them is a far higher level of evil, if you ask me.

  15. If you are planning on living in your next house for the rest of your lives, or at least until you and Dan are old, you might look for a single floor house. I like two story houses, but that is one of the most common complaints I hear from old people, that they just can’t get up and down the stairs like they used to.

    1. One thing about Texas; they still believe in the single floor ranch house. With Em’s joints, that was a Good Thing.

    2. If you are considering building, there’s a book we just picked up by one of our local superheros, Don Aslett: Make Your House do the Housework. (We are in the ‘oh, !@#%$, we really ARE going to do this’ stage of the project.) The man is a genius in his field, which is cleaning stuff. The book covers how to design a house to be easily cleanable.

    3. My parents still live in two floors. There is such a thing as forcing yourself to stay limber.
      And we don’t know. 20 years are possible. Or both kids might move to TX and we might follow.

  16. > clothes… upholstery… slippers…

    You might have had to do it yourself because you were short of money… but the critical part is that you COULD. That puts you well down in the 1%.

    I rebuilt the automatic transmission in my car; upholstering a couch is probably more difficult, and a sewing machine sturdy enough for the job probably costs more than all the tools I needed to rebuild a Turbo-Hydramatic.

    1. Dan used to do electrical, plumbing and car. I did the rest. And I buy my sewing machines at thrift stores, usually. I HAD a very good one, but younger son — the engineer — went through a sewing machine thing. He disassembled them. He was eight. Putting them back together didn’t happen, or not well. So I lost EIGHT sewing machines. No, seriously. He’s very stubborn and would find ways to get at them and ignore punishment. Until he figured how to assemble them. Then he lost interest.

      1. It’s like the bad joke about the engineer with a magical alien artifact.

        It’s a bad joke because OF COURSE the engineer is going to take it apart. The only joke part is that there’s a question at all.

        If the device is properly designed, it will go back together with no trouble. If it won’t go back together, the design broken to begin with…

  17. You are wiser that you know. At 78 and 80 we are having a very traumatic move from our house we designed and built when we were 61 and 62 thinking we could live here forevermore. We had it framed in and we did the rest. Something we always wanted to do.
    We are in the wilderness in the middle of 7 acres of wood and wildlife. And I mean WILDLIFE. Our Yorkie once chased a cougar out of our yard. We live next to the winter home of the whooping cranes, in the middle of the flyway for the birds going south. We love it. We are used to quiet with only the sounds of nature. BUT we are old, we need to be closer to help, so we are moving to town. We need easy access to ambulances, drugstores and grocery stores. We need to be closer to family, sisters of mine who care about how we are doing. We are moving, slowly, going through our life. We have thousands of books. Scientific, historical and just good reading. What do we keep; only the most precious. It is not easy.
    Do yours now. Make sure it is wheelchair and EMT accessible. It is going to be easier for you now. Then write some some of those books! Good luck on your move and new home.

    1. One of the things we’re doing is get rid of A LOT of books. I’m allergic to common household dust, and books are dust magnets. The only ones I’m keeping are friends’ (signed, mostly), books that aren’t in ebook, and research books.
      I SUSPECT the boys will be taking the Baen books, so we haven’t got rid of those (except for their tendency to migrate, of course.)

      1. For quite a few years now as a niece or nephew graduates from college my husband has given them the offer of picking one of our books for their own. (with his approval of course) They are always very thrilled and honored, One of the granddaughters would like to have them all but she is just starting college so… Anyway she refers to our house as the family museum and loves it; she always takes a book home when she leaves. We have books that were my husbands great grandmother’s, she is the only one who values those. Hoarders does describe our family when it comes to books. And yes, allergies abound. I am happy to say I woke up this morning without a sinus headache.

  18. Congrats on the thirty years! I’ll see y’all at LC, and do what is right for y’all… Just ignore us, and make the decisions YOU need for the next thirty years!!! 🙂 For myself, I’m in the process of doing the same thing, and I am going to Texas.

  19. I’ll be at Liberty Con in spirit. (It’s halfway around the planet, almost :))

    Sarah, I heard the amazing story of how you and Dan met on the interview with Vodkapundit. Did you ever write this up anywhere?

      1. Well, if I remember correctly: you spent a year as an exchange student at his home but he was afraid to talk to you for fear it’d be misunderstood. Then, much later, you went to visit your brother who had been hired by the Portuguese telecom to run their computer systems — except that there weren’t any computers yet. And while he had to go somewhere he told you you could call anywhere in the world for free. You called your host since that was the only phone number you knew by heart. Then she told you that she was busy but that you should call her son. “But he doesn’t even like me!” “Au contraire, he thinks the world of you.” And you did call him and by the end of the call it was decided that you were going to go to the US and marry him.

        That’s quite a yarn, I tell you — all the better because it actually happened.

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