My parents were going to build a new house “one day”. That day never came. That was always so sad to me, that they worked from sun up to sun down, and never had that new house. Sadder still, is that our Mother never enjoyed the beautiful place she did get, when she decided to move to town from the farm. Kathy and I helped Mom pick out the perfect place for her. The utopia was a condo up on a high hill in Minot, with a great view overlooking the valley and all the city lights below. It had a gas, flip the switch fireplace, a far cry from stoking up the coal like she'd done years before. Her full size bed that crowded her farmhouse bedroom, was dwarfed in her the nice big bedroom in town. The best part in my mind was the master bath with a garden Jacuzzi tub. Just flip the switch and "Calgon take me away", after all those years of hard work! And finally, her own washer and dryer… no more running to a laundromat twenty five miles away! This place even had a heated, underground, garage to park in, where she could unload her groceries into a shopping cart and take the elevator up to her door. No more plugging her car in and running, literally, to the garage to start her car to warm up and freezing while doing it! The snow was always removed no more big snow drifts blowen behind her garage door. She had people her own age to play cards with and visit back and forth with , right across the hallway. We even talked her into a new table, couch, and two recliners (never had a recliner before).
Mom never enjoyed any of it! She could not see herself in that setting. All she did was worry about the money she spent on what she saw as her own comforts. Marcy chimed in from AZ, with Kathy and I, and gave her the “its an investment Mom, and you can always get the money back” pep talk, being sure she knew that we all thought this was a great idea. She still worried her little head off. I think she was more lonely there, than she ever was at the farm. In hindsight, it was also the beginning of her decent into her illness so I think her reasoning was being affected. She waited too long to enjoy the good things she so much deserved. Maybe they were more important to us than to her, and she would have been happier with the money.
I decided not to wait for things that were really important after my Dad died so young, and then my brother at 38. I haven’t really decided if that vow was a curse or a blessing, but I\m sticking with a blessing, although its made for living on the edge a few times. Kerry’s a lot like my Mom, and prefers cash over fun times. I never really got that. If you save some of your income for tomorrow, why not spend the rest on today was my theory.
Experiences are what I wanted for my family, more than material things, although you need them too, I know. Over the years we have done many fun things with our kids. My outlook was a used car would get me from point a to b just as well as a new one, no one was going to remember what we drove once we got into the current decade with our car. We could trade that new car payment for going places and doing things. I’d have loved to have both of course, but everything in life is a trade off and some things just aren’t for trade in my mind.
When the kids were growing up we always took a vacation once a year, and for a lot of people these days that’s nothing, but it was all we could afford. We went to Disneyland, Disneyworld, Wisconsin Dells, Black Hills, Toronto, Phoenix ,Casper, Winnipeg, California, Minneapolis to the Mall of America and Valleyfair, Branson, San Diego, Hollywood, Seaworld, Yellowstone Nat'l Park, Glacier Nat'l Park and everywhere in between! Kerry and I even went on a few trips alone. We went to Whitefish, Mt on the train for our tenth anniversary, and to Nashville and the Smokey Mountains for our 25th anniversary, and even to Jamaica for his 50th birthday! Kerry didn’t have a choice that time because it was a surprise, but it turned out to be a lot of fun! We rented a cab for a day and had him drive us up in the small villages and we saw how the everyday people lived.
My favorite family vacation pic I have it framed
I am a gypsy at heart, but Kerry’s not. He just goes where we point him, when it comes to travel ha. He likes the experience after the fact, but gets worried about going and being out of his routine. Last year, I planned an Alaskan cruise for him and Brendon. I knew it would make Kerry nervous but Brendon’s half gypsy, and been brought up gypsy, so I knew he’d be good at details. Kerry was so excited and nervous about going, he didn’t sleep at all the night before, and had himself so riled up about going, he was sick the day of! Brendon did the last minute, clean up stuff you do before leaving on a vacation, and had Kerry go try and rest some before they left.
When Kerry got home from the cruise, he’d loved it as much as Brendon did. Kerry actually bought a jacket, that cost close to 200.00! They had taken an excursion on a boat from the Deadliest Catch TV show, and were shown how crabbing is done ( I thought Kerry knew all there was to know there but…ha). Kerry does not part with money for touristy souvineer stuff like that often, so I knew he thought it was pretty amazing.
I read once, “if you ask people on their deathbed no one will ever say, “I wish I had taken LESS vacations and spent LESS time with my kids”. Nor will you hear, “ I wish I had more money in the bank”. For me, money is nothing more than the paper in exchange for the things that are important to you. Things like food, shelter, transportation and fun with your family. I don’t squander money on stupid things, nor do I think you have to have every experience that comes along either, so nothing means anything.
Some of what keeps me on the treadmill right now, is that I want to go to Europe. I know after listening to Sydney having spent three weeks in Italy last summer, that I will need to be in good walking shape. Last week I propped up my Frommer’s Europe travel book where I can see it from the treadmill, because I AM going! Kerry says, he’s NOT leaving the country, so I guess I’m going on one of those tour plans with one of the kids, because I’m not shacking up with a stranger in a room, for however long it takes to see some sites!
I don’t have a bucket list per se, I actually find them a little morose. However, I do live life aware that it’s not going to go on forever, and neither is one’s mobility. Moving into the senior citizen realm, I have thought about how am I going to end the story of my life. I plan for my story to have a long drawn out, feel good ending, but I never put off till tomorrow what I can do today…. unless its work!
Ps. Two more pounds last week, that’s twelve but I had two margaritas over the weekend and some nachos with the girls so…twice at that...I am little mad at myself. So now I need to go do some real work ha.