Everyone spends some time during their career dreaming about retirement and what it will be like.   In the Fall of 2005, Joe and I started to discuss the realities of our retirement.  Do we want to stay in the northeast and the cold?  Probably not.  Do we want to move somewhere that is warm in the winters?  Maybe.  Do we want to rent in different warm environments each year?  Maybe.  In any case, Joe asked me to think seriously about what I wanted to do.  His theory was that you should start thinking about retirement possibilities, at least, 5 years before you retire.  Our youngest was approaching college age at the time and Joe wanted to start planning.

In early December, 2005, Joe started talking about Phoenix, Arizona.  He read some good things about the area as a retirement destination and he seemed really fixed on it.  Neither of us had ever been there, but we also knew we did not want to go to Florida.  He was so persistent about it that for a Christmas gift, I booked a week-long trip in February 2006 during Julia’s winter break so all three of us could go.

We stayed at a beautiful resort in Scottsdale and I don’t think we were there for 24 hours when I decided that I was born to live in the desert.  Much to Julia’s dismay, we met with a real estate agent and looked at a number of condos, houses and land in the greater Phoenix area.  There just wasn’t enough time.

In April, I convinced my sister, Lynda to go back with me.  Luckily, her friend, Donna who had moved to Phoenix and is a real estate agent was able to set up appointments for us to look at other properties.  Eventually, I found just the right spot.  It is a large lot on a small mountain that has an up-close, direct view of a mountain range.  I knew it was perfect and that Joe would love it!   I consulted a couple of builders about the feasibility of building on such a steep lot and found that it was definitely possible.  The only difficulty they could see was the uncertainty of the cost of the excavation because of the terrain.

Lynda and I sent Joe emails and pictures and convinced him that he would love it there.  He placed his trust in me and sight unseen Joe agreed that we should purchase the lot.   We closed on the property by June, 2006.  Joe’s first visit to the property, along with all of our children wasn’t until one month later in July.  What a dream it was, picturing the house we would build there.  The story has a happy ending, but the process to reach it took us through hell and back.

This is a five part series that brings us to a successful conclusion.

Look for the next installment called “All’s Well That Ends Well, The Process”.