It is officially autumn in Alberta… and summer temperatures have finally hit. Maybe we’ll get fall weather in the winter. Hmmm. Which means I probably didn’t need a winter place in Texas if it won’t be cold. Hmmm…. But who am I kidding, of course there will be cold and snow this winter… This is ALBERTA!
I hate Winter! Always have, always will. I am a warm-weather person through and through. And as I get older, the snow, cold and horribly DRY Alberta winters have been playing havoc with my health. I’m hoping that my winter health becomes a whole lot better by leaving our dry winter weather… My sinus/ear specialist says it should work wonders for me, ‘cause yes, I’m one of those people that suffer terribly in this climate. I NEED humidity!
The Texas Gulf Coast and Rio Grande Valley has lots of humidity, and warm winters. YAH! We spent Christmas there with Shan and Josh in 2007.
Our new winter place is in Victoria Palms Resort, 15 minutes away from the Mexican border and about a 45-minute drive to the beaches on South Padre Island… We have visited the area a couple of times in the past and love it. Texas is very friendly and reminds me a lot of southern Alberta… Well, except for the Palm trees and cactus.
We bought our place in a gated, secure, 55+ community. Our house is a double-wide manufactured home on a very residential street. We lease the lot and personally own everything on it, ie house, shed, deck, etc. About 65% of the people that own or bring in their big motorhomes/Fifthwheels each winter are from Canada. And the owner of the park is a Canadian from B.C. He owns 3 parks in the Valley and is well-known for supplying the best maintenance and facilities. Victoria Palms is beautiful, has a very residential feel and the common facilties are extensive. We should NEVER get bored when we’re “officially” retired. LOL
Dwight and I are heading down Christmas Day (‘cause that’s when I could get the Airmiles flights). Dwight will come back home after 2 weeks, and I will be staying through Easter. Then Dwight is coming back for 2 weeks in February, then again for a week at Easter to help me close up.
We decided to move on the place now while we are both working, and can afford to buy it. Plus the CDN dollar is up and the crappy economy meant some good deals were available on this type of property. We spent a whirlwind September week in Texas looking at about 20 homes — and this was after narrowing down the list beforehand by dealing over the summer with Brian Macpherson, our home sales guy who actually lives year-round at Victoria Palms. We saw a lot of pictures online, then needed to see the potential places in person. You just don’t know what you’re getting until you actually walk through the door.
We stayed onsite for the week in a one-bedroom condo, right at the Resort, which has the hotel as one of the amenities. And not surprisingly, we’ve already made friends with the year-rounders we met at the Labor Day pot luck and Friday night Karoke. What fun!
Having the Texas place now, means we’ll give up the Christmas and Winter vacations we’ve been taking the past few years and roll the travel money into this place instead. When all is said and done, my 3 months and Dwight’s 5 weeks will cost about the same as those 2 vacations. And now we have a true 2nd home to spend 5-6 months in once Dwight officially retires from SAIT in 4 years.
Even though he only gets vacation time for the next few years, I swear Dwight is more excited that we bought this place than me. He was the real push behind the buy. I think those winter vacations were exchausting him instead of being relaxing. He can’t wait to sit on his own deck and NOT run his ass off for 2 weeks for non-stop vacation go-go-go!
I’m just glad that it’ll be a hell of a lot easier for me to have a dedicated place to work, ‘cause I never left that at home when we went on those winter vacations… My office always comes with me. I’m setting up the 3rd bedroom as my studio and will work while there. Plus, being in Texas is gonna make it a lot easier to make my business trips to see clients in Charlotte, NC and New York City.
We’ve thought about renting the place when we’re not there, but given I will be in-residence from mid-December through the end of March, that only really leaves October, November and April. The region gets it’s hottest weather from May-September… We never had below 35-39C the week we were there. It was HOTTTT! Of course, if I find I don’t like to be alone down there for that long a time without the hubby around, renting it out may become an option.
So, this is the upcoming test winter and I’m getting very excited. Well, other than the work that is gonna be involved getting the place set up as a home. On Christmas Day we walk in the door to an empty house… And I mean EMPTY! We have bought a furniture package that we’ll arrange to have delivered on Boxing Day… But we need EVERYTHING else… Kitchen stuff, bedding, TV, etc. We have a lot of shopping to do the first few days after we arrive. Good thing the Christmas sales will be on!
And now I’d better get to work. Need to pay for the place… and that other stuff!