Getting familiar in a whole new world…

Thanks to our reader’s patience as we continue to work on our new look.  Its a work in progress and we’ll continue to refine it as we move along.

Whew!  These past five days in Scottsdale have been a whirlwind as we experience life outside of our familiar and well equipped past. We now realize how spoiled we’ve been as we try to adjust to our remaining 56 days in the US, living in our Scottsdale condo.

Here’s what conveniences we’re missing the most:
1.  No TV in the kitchen:  Intended to entertain me while I whittle away with the dullest knife on the planet, preparing our homemade gluten free, starch free, low carb, sugar free and grain free meals. 
2.  HBO and Showtime:  We miss watching Boardwalk Empire, Dexter and Homeland and, being able to record shows for later viewing.
3.  Finding my way around:  I have no sense of direction. Unable to get a signal on Maps on my smart phone, anywhere in Scottsdale, I ended up driving around for 40 minutes looking for LA Fitness, my new temporary health club.  Logical solution:  Have Tom go out with me (love this!) or, send directions from my new Windows 8 laptop to my email on my phone. Tom doesn’t seem to have trouble finding his way around. What’s the deal??
4.  Lack of gas stations:  Apparently, Scottsdale doesn’t like the look of gas stations in its pristine neighborhoods.  Tom misses his Super America “double coupon Tuesdays,” let alone being able to find a gas station.  Prices are an average of $3.59 a gallon here as opposed to $3.29 a gallon we paid on our road trip.
5.  Our comfy chairs:  Nary a comfy chair in this condo, we both are nearly doubled over with aching backs.  Add the “hard as nails bed” and we are definitely reminded that we’re senior citizens.  (Ha!  Living in Arizona to boot!)
6. Mail: When we rented this condo, it was explained that we would not be able to access the mailbox or receive packages.  Prepared for the eventuality of this outside the US, we are dependent upon making any purchases in retail stores and by receiving our snail mail at our mailing service, located in Las Vegas, MailLink.  In checking with the Scottsdale post office, they have a waiting list for PO boxes, another dilemma for retirees. It wasn’t worth the time or the money to set up a nearby mailing service for the short time we’re here.  Expecting some checks in the mail, we are sending deposit slips and envelopes for the our Nevada mailing service to mail checks directly to our bank (our national bank provided us with deposit slips and pre-printed envelopes).

Here’s what we do like at this point:
1.  Both retired at the same time:  If we thought we were “glued at the hip” before Tom’s retirement, oh my.  Look at us now.  Retirement, no matter how much it’s filled with pleasant activities, is an adjustment for any couple.  Luckily, our even tempers and relatively cheerful dispositions have made this transition fairly easy for us.  Surely, from time to time, we’ll need to take a break from one another and we’ll manage to take it.
2.  The weather:  The past three days have been over 90 degrees. Much to our amazement its not uncomfortable.  Dry heat.  Nice.  AC helps at night.
3.  Close to everything:  Five minutes to Costco. (It was a half hour drive in Minnesota). We’ve shopped there twice already, once to buy our two new Acer Windows 8 touch screen laptops and secondly, yesterday to purchase our two terabyte My Passport external hard drive (more on that later). 
4. Restaurants: There are several dozen restaurants within a mile.  In our old area, we’d have to drive for at least 25 minutes to get close to a dozen restaurants. 
5.  No mail:  How nice it is to avoid rifling through stacks of garbage mail each day, mostly unsolicited advertising. 
6.  Less cleaning and laundry: Our prior home required an enormous amount of cleaning each day. This small one bedroom condo takes just minutes to clean. Sweeping the floor yesterday, I chuckled.  It took a total of 60 seconds. Without Tom working on the railroad, our laundry is more than cut in half.  Although I love doing laundry, this different has been instrumental in giving my bad shoulder a break, especially with Tom helping. 

This morning, we walked to the Staples store (yes, Tom walked!) to return the external hard drive we purchased on Sunday after deciding it was too heavy for travel, replacing it with the lightweight, My Passport.  (The price at was $179.  At Costco we paid, $159.99 plus 9.5% Arizona Tax for a total of $175.19, still slightly less than any prices we saw online with tax, if applicable and shipping. 

Yesterday morning at 8:30 am, we attended a Microsoft class for Windows 8 at the Microsoft store.  Class, free.  Beverages, free. Cost of 450 page instruction manual, free. Distance, two miles. Nice perk. 

So, we’re settling in.  We’re enjoying our busy days, time spent together and the ongoing challenge of our technological needs going forward.  Next post, we’ll share what we accomplished thus far.

Thanks for “listening.”