My Retirement Reality

We passed thru the 2019 holiday season, and then got hit by 2020. (20/20: What I hoped represented “Perfect Vision.”)

Perfect Vision?

Amid all the 2020 confusion, I was preparing to retire. People asked, me are you sure you want to retire? Um, YES!!! We house shopped all over AZ (literally) for the perfect retirement area. We ended up purchasing a 1986 home in the White Mountains of Arizona, 5 hours from where we lived. Before I retired, we moved our household belongings into the new house over the weekends. Once our old house was empty, we sold it and briefly lived in our RV until I retired; then we moved into what we considered our rural, retirement retreat.

Our goal was to downsize and start a small, home based business built on Rustic Country Market Living, but we couldn’t find a smaller house. Instead we ended up with 1300 more SF, including a HUGE pantry (like a 3rd car garage). We thought we’d turn some of the extra space into a B&B, but instead, my mother moved in with us in 2021.

Things started to morph…

Our house has a chicken coup, so we got a few chickens. Later we found out we have predators in our area, so we had to take defensive measures. We added gutters and rain barrels to recycle water for our garden, fruit trees, grapevines, herbs and lavender.

We knew there were things that needed to be repaired in our “new” used retirement home, but what we didn’t anticipate was the amount of hidden deferred maintenance it had. Yes, we had a house inspection which turned out useless for us. No, we didn’t get a “home warranty.” The house has turned into a major fixer upper, tapping deeply into our retirement savings and absorbing our time.

A new look for an old house.

Two+ years of transition…

The house no longer looks like the one we bought! No more vinyl siding and leaking windows. You name it, we’ve fixed or changed it. We’ve demo’ed, updated, reused, repurposed and replaced.

Two new storage sheds, new greenhouse, light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, flooring, paint, windows, doors, window coverings…. Did I mention the blades on the ceiling fans were falling off?! (Who checks them when they are buying a house???)


We didn’t know about all the electrical issues. IE: finding a cut, LIVE electrical wire in the attic, or having several different parts of the house mysteriously lose electricity or the exterior outlets that were hooked up to interior outlets (hidden from view prior to purchase). The attic fan we required the seller to repair died after working for 2 summers. Turns out it was not the right kind installed for our attic, they installed a gable fan for a roof fan (the house inspector NEVER called this one out).


We didn’t know about all the plumbing issues. IE: arriving with a full trailer load and finding the backyard flooded due to a broken irrigation line (it was not freezing outside), finding out the county didn’t know we had septic and couldn’t tell us where it was, or finding out the past water leak that caused floor damage in the laundry was actually an active water leak.


We knew the windows weren’t the greatest, but we didn’t know how badly they leaked or that they iced up on the inside in the winter. We knew the vinyl siding wasn’t in the greatest of shape, but we didn’t know about all the wasp and hornet nests underneath it all that we found when replacing the bad windows. And let’s not forget to mention the hidden dry rot around some of the windows.

No, we didn’t go after the seller for undisclosed issues. We bought the house from a widow who lost her husband to a long battle with cancer. We do wish we would have paid less for the house; however, we are thankful we have a 3% fixed interest rate!

How I imagined retirement.

What Retirement Now Means to me…

Retirement means we have time to do the stuff we didn’t have time to do before. I’m amazed we ever got anything done prior to retirement! Even when we bought a new house, there were projects.

Not all our projects have been corrective. We’ve created several outdoor living spaces. We added a BBQ hut. We got a hot tub. Sadly the licensed electrician took some shortcuts installing the power, so my husband had to fix it. And our latest, we added a wood fired oven outside. It’s still a work in process, since we need to add walls to the outside to protect the oven from the elements.

We are now looking into adding an RV space at our house we can rent (short term) to people that want to escape the heat of Phoenix.

Stay tuned…

Inspiring Home Life,


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