As many of you that follow my blog may know, I live in the grand old State of Texas and have done for these past 42 years. I moved here in 1977 from Upper New York State where I had resided for the previous 10 years after emigrating from England. Circumstances in the form of a divorce, a marriage and a job offer are what led me here. That plus the very cold, very snowy and very long winters.
On the whole, life has been good to me in this great State although there have been a few ups and downs, the one major one that came in the form of yet another divorce resulting in my living the life of a single man for these past 27 years. Actually, in retrospect, I was more upset at the fact that we sold our 5 acres out in the Hill Country just to move closer to town and our jobs than I was at yet again, being a single man after only 5 years at the new place. Don’t get me wrong as I really loved that woman but I also loved that place in the Hill Country where I had built a house and a horse barn and fenced it all in and would never have agreed to move if I had only known what was in the future. How many times have you heard that one before? On the other hand, a few years later, both the barn and half of the house were blown away in one of the relatively infrequent times when a tornado touched down in the Hill Country.
Being the adaptable sort of a fellow that I am, after my ex had gone, I readjusted and turned this place into my own little piece of paradise by building and maintaining five ponds complete with Koi and Goldfish. To date, four ponds remain after I took down the smallest one which was only 350 gallons, earlier this year. The other ponds ranging in size from 6000 gallons, 5000 gallons and two of about 2500 gallons each are still flourishing although, as the reader can imagine, require considerable work in both upkeep and maintenance. They tend to keep me close to home. That and the four little dogs that live with me and share my life and who are my best and I sometimes think, only friends.
Time is passing by at an alarming rate and I am fast approaching my 84 birthday. Naturally, I have slowed with age and am no longer able to play soccer which I had done for many, many years. I retired from that game when I was 72 mainly due to having a knee replaced so it has been a while. For those of you that follow my blog, you know that I have filled the gap left by not playing, “the beautiful game” by hiking the local parks and then writing about the hikes along with a multitude of pictures. Which brings me to my latest chain of thought.
Recently, my mind has turned to the future and what may be in it for me and my doggy friends. I love this house and the ponds and have wonderful and caring neighbors but both house and the ponds are increasingly making demands on my time and on my aging body to where I have been having serious thoughts about the future. My mind is on a constant merry go round as to what to do. For one thing, the house is way too big and I have rooms that are storage sheds rather than anything they were originally designed for. Amazing the amount of “stuff” one accumulates over a lifetime and that is not counting the contents of my workshop and the two real storage sheds that are outside. All are filled with hand tools of every description as over the years, I have made full use of my skills and dexterity in using these wonderful items. Then there are the bigger items like the mowers and other mechanical gadgets that I have in my posession. I love tools…
That coupled with the fact that these Texas summers are becoming brutal and I can’t stand the heat like I used to. This year has been the worst in that respect and I find that unless I have an emergency requiring my attention, I keep putting off the normal day to day projects choosing instead to stay indoors and the air conditioning. I have barely gone hiking for fear of collapsing in the heat. For those of you that are not used to hot weather and anything close to a 100 degree heat, let me remind you that our summertime overnight lows are usually around 80 degrees which for many of you is hot and sometimes even the same as your highs, depending on where you live. Without air conditioning in both our cars and our houses, life would be unbearable. On the other end of the scale, it is true that in Central Texas around Austin, our winters are mild with only the occasional frost and sometime a few snow flurries and on the whole are very easy to put up with. A few years back, I painted the outside of my house over the week of Christmas and New Years without any fear of the paint freezing or of it being too cold.
But I digress. What do I want to do for the future is the question uppermost in my mind. I have a few choices included in which and in no particular order, are as follows.
I can stay here in this house until I am either to old and feeble to look after myself and then get shipped off to an Assisted Living Home. I don’t really care for that idea as I would probably have to give up my dogs. On the other hand, I could just stay here until someone missed seeing me around and upon closer inspection, discovered that I had died here in which case they can carry me out feet first as I won’t care. In these circumstances, I have already made provision for any remaining dogs to be taken care of. In any case, those are the two obvious options.
On the other side, I could close down the ponds (or not depending on the buyer) and sell the house which would give me the freedom to do any of several different things one of which is to move into the aforementioned Assisted Living, give up my dogs and become just another old fogy waiting to die. Not very appealing especially as I am still very active.
Another thing that I could do after or probably before selling the house would be to buy a Motorhome and fill it with whatever dogs are still alive and drive off into the wild blue yonder and follow the good weather where it is not too hot and definitely not too cold. I hate the cold more than the heat after spending 10 years in the Upper New York State winters. And, when I can no longer drive, find a place to park and live out the rest of my days as I wait for the inevitable.
If I get really desperate and or depressed, with a lot depending on next year’s Presidential Elections, I could just sell up everything and dump myself on my two sons in England. I am quite sure they would take me in with open arms. The problem with that idea is that the main reason for moving to America in the first place was to get away from the constant cold and rain and I don’t suppose that even Global Warming has done much to change that. Then of course, the dogs would have to be quarantined for 6 months which is almost half a lifetime for both them and me.
What to do, what to do? If I still had a wife, she would have made the decision for me whether I liked it or not. As it is, and as much as they try, the dogs can’t seem to communicate enough to give me their views and in all probability, they can’t agree either. So, as has happened over these past 27 years, I will worry and fret over it wondering just what is the best way to go and if I’m really lucky, may even find an answer or literally die trying.
The one obvious and constant fact of all of these thoughts is that I will eventually and certainly die, time and place and method yet unknown but definitely not yet. I still have a lot of living to do someplace and anyway, I need to work out an answer to all of these questions before I do….