One Year After Our Move: Making the Adjustment
by Betty Soldz
Last year I shared with you our decision to leave California and move to Boston. Now I would like to talk about our adjustment to that move.
Although we chose to move, adjusting has been difficult. Leaving the work I loved and my dear friends has left a great void in my life. I came with a positive view of the move and have worked hard to remain positive but it has not been easy.
We had purchased a new house but we were not at the closing because we were still in California preparing to move. When we arrived, we did a walk through and made a punch list of needed repairs for the builder. We assumed he would honor his commitment to take care of these in a timely manner.
What a mistake that was. It is not that there were a lot of repairs. On the contrary, all the repairs could have been finished in several days. Instead we spent a year listening to every excuse possible about why he couldn't send workmen. Even worse, we often stayed at home just in case he did send them since he never would schedule a definite appointment to do the work.
The most serious problem we had was that the toilets didn't work properly. Every time they were used, it was necessary to use a plunger or 'plumber's helper.' The builder insisted that he put the same toilets in all his buildings, blamed the problem on low flush toilets and saying we'd just have to live with the problem. Thus began our odyssey into investigating toilets.
We found low flush toilets that worked well but the builder felt it was not his responsibility to replace the defective toilets. In the end we split the replacement costs. The one advantage to this problem was that we learned that it's possible to purchase HiLiner toilets which are three inches higher than standard toilets. When we are older it is much easier to use these HiLiners. This is just one example of how the completion of the punch list went.
Last week was one year since the closing on the house and the builder finally finished the last repair.
We are in a condominium complex of five houses. There are advantages and disadvantages to this arrangement: the positive aspect is that we have pleasant neighbors with whom we have something in common. It's nice not to have to cut our own grass or shovel snow, especially this past Winter when we had snow on the ground from the beginning of December until April.
The negative aspect is that, in such a small project, decisions that have to be made take on a personal dimension. It's also difficult to schedule a date when everyone can meet to make decisions about the development. Due to its small size, the condo association cannot afford to hire a manager; each homeowner is to manage the property for one year. Unfortunately, because we are Unit A, we are the managers this year. However, when this year is over our next assignment as condo managers will not occur again for four years
I would like to share our search for new friends. We moved to Boston with a plan as how to do this. The first thing we did was join the Community Center where we learned they had a travel club for seniors. Local dinners and entertainment is sponsored including trips to the theater and concerts, as well as two and three- day trips out of town every month or so. The club organizes longer trips, such as a trip to New York city to see a play and go to a museum. We met new people and made good friends of some, as well as learning through attendance at different functions where the theaters, concerts and restaurants were located. This Travel Club welcomes singles and couples equally as members. If your area community center does not have such a club, consider starting one as this turned out to be a great way to become adjusted to a new area quickly.
This Spring we attended an Elderhostel in the Pocono Mountains where we were fortunate to meet others from our own area. We finished an enjoyable week by adding new friends we can meet with in Boston. It is sometimes easier to make friends with others fairly new to an area as they, too, are looking to replace a network of friends. As we attend functions of different groups, we always seem to find people looking for others to socialize with. We intend to join the book club at the neighborhood public library for this reason, as well as others.
Even before we moved, I made contact with the local chapter of OWL, The Voice of Midlife and Older Women, where I had been so active in California. I was immediately invited to be on the Coordinating Committee and subsequently became the Newsletter Editor and the Public Policy liaison with National OWL.
We learned that Showa College was looking for volunteers to meet their Japanese students with speaking English besides more about US culture. We volunteered this last summer and will work with another two students this fall.
Lastly, we very much enjoy the company of our son, daughter-in-law and grandson who seem pleased that we are here. One day a week we keep our grandson after school and it was a great way to bond with him. We enjoy socializing with our family and they have certainly included us in their lives.
We have been fortunate that some of our California friends, neighbors and colleagues have visited this year. It certainly helps us adjust to the change. E-mail has been a wonderful way to keep in contact with our friends and colleagues back in California. In retrospect, we seem to have adjusted about as well as possible and look forward to continuing our life in Boston.