Monday, January 12, 2009

The Country Experiment

About 10 years ago I decided to make one of my dreams come true. I had always wanted to live in the country so I looked and looked for the perfect home in Putnam County, NY. That was about as far north as I could go and still work in the City. After about a year I found my dream home, or so I thought.

After two weeks a hurricane hit causing a leak in my roof and a neighbor's tree to fall into my yard and on top of my car. That was just the start of my problems. I had problems with the heater, one time the indoor temperature hit 80+ degrees, another time I had no hot water.

Then there was the problem with the mice. The cat I had at the time was old and had never really been a mouser. Her dry food was disappearing and at first I was delighted that she was eating. Then I realized that she was not gaining weight. A few days later, I was moving some books in my bookcase and found a stash of dry cat food. I know she didn't put it there, she could hardly climb the stairs, much less jump into the bookcase. I got an exterminator and also set some traps. The final count was: Cat - 2 mice, me and the traps - 3 mice.

I think one of the events that made me re-think country living was the lightening strike that blew out my TV and water pump.

It wasn't all bad. Almost every day between three and five deer would wander into my yard and since I'm not a gardener I didn't mind that they ate my grass and leaves. The commute into the city, about two hours, did allow me to keep up with my reading. I think I averaged about a book a week. And the stars. Because there were no street lights, I could actually see the stars. I also, for the first time in my life, noticed the phases of the moon and saw one of the dippers.

After I retired, I decided to move to a 55+ community. It has its good points and bad points. The clubhouse affords the opportunity to meet lots of people and I've made some friends. There are two things I find troubling about this community. One is that every conversation centers around doctor appointments and medicines, and fortunately I need neither. The other is the lack of children. I never thought I'd say this, but I do miss the sounds of children, even crying babies.

Maybe my experience in the country would have been better if I hadn't bought the "money pit". Maybe I should try again. I like the north for the change of seasons and snow, even if I don't like to drive in it. After all, I'm retired now and really don't have to go out if I don't want to.

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