Bill Tune

The past twelve months have been a time of major transitions for my family and me. My wife Beverly decided to retire from active ministry in the United Methodist Church, our son Thomas and his partner Hunter (henceforth referred to as “the boys”) relocated from Austin, TX to Albuquerque, NM, and the four of us purchased a house together in Albuquerque. That was just the beginning.

It’s not that Beverly and I have difficulty making long-term decisions, but we still haven’t decided who gets custody of our son Thomas in the unfortunate event of our untimely and simultaneous deaths. He is 37 now, so last year we stopped worrying about it.

As far as our ultimate retirement destination is concerned, the only thing we knew for certain is that we would end up in the Austin area (family nearby) or the Houston area (familiarity & friends). We both have siblings in the Austin area but, of course, the main attraction there was Thomas.

Over the years Austin has become too popular for its own good. When I was there in the early 70’s people were concerned about the large number of people moving in from all over. As one sage city councilman observed, the only way to keep people from relocating to Austin is to make Austin a place where people don’t want to live! Needless to say, the people kept coming and now the name of the most popular parking lot in Austin is often Interstate 35.

One of the disadvantages of being an only child is that the burden of caring for aging parents falls on THE child and, if lucky, his significant other. When we began discussions of our distant future, the boys suggested that upon retirement we go to a home – their home! That’s when the boys suggested that we all buy a large house together to share. So that’s what we decided to do – someday, somewhere. Hunter’s father, Jimmy, already lives with them, so what are two more, right??

“Somewhere” changed a year ago. The boys have grown increasingly less fond of the Austin congestion. Hunter has life-long ties to New Mexico and already owns a small cabin in Ruidoso that his grandmother left him. We have been to Ruidoso several times since 2012, especially at Christmastime. One Christmas day we loaded the car in Austin, sweating in mid-70’s temps, and unloaded in bitter cold late that night in mid-20’s temps! Snow really is cool (figuratively and literally), and I have many beautiful photos of the non-Texas-type weather and terrain.

When Hunter started talking about relocating to New Mexico I was less than enthused. Having lived my entire life in Texas I will always love it, in spite of its quirks and political embarrassments. However, I was outnumbered and since the people with whom you live is more important than where you live, the decision to go to New Mexico became something I could seriously consider - in a few years.

In August of 2015, the boys decided to explore the options of employment in New Mexico within the same section of Social Security that employed them in Austin. To their surprise the office in Albuquerque had openings and they were encouraged to apply! Their new jobs started on September 28th. In a whirlwind of activity, they gave their 2-weeks notices at work, packed up their house, placed the house on the market and sold it in three days (for asking price), and moved in temporarily with friends already in Albuquerque and put most of their belongings in storage.

Meanwhile back at the ranch…. It was time to act on our plan of purchasing a house together. Beverly and I looked forward to living in a town of half a million people, with all the modern conveniences, but we were in a unique situation where we were looking for a house – our retirement home – in a city we had never even visited! We flew to Albuquerque in mid-September and did some house hunting with the boys. We only found one that seemed to meet all our needs but we were excited about it and we were under contract by the time our plane arrived back in Dallas. The house needed work but had a spacious floor plan and a pool in the back yard. For us to visit Albuquerque for the first time and in two days find “the house” was, I felt, too good to be true. As it turned out, it was. The sellers refused to replace the roof, which was needed, so we cancelled the contract. Back to square one, because of the houses we looked at there was no #2 choice.

Much of our house hunting was done on line from the beginning. The boys quickly found another house that seemed promising that had just gone on the market. They immediately fell in love with it and thanks to pictures and a Facetime walk-through so did we. The contract was drawn up, Bev and I were able to submit and sign the necessary papers via on-line document signatures, and the title company sent a lady with the final closing documents to our home in Emory, Texas for our final signatures. After 16 years of living in church parsonages we were once again homeowners!! We could hardly wait to see it (in person)!!

The boys and Jimmy moved in the first week of December. We spent the week between Christmas and New Years in Albuquerque, helping them unpack. From that point on it was a matter of packing, cleaning out, donating, selling, and throwing out everything we could. Even in a large house, consolidating households is a challenge. It’s not always easy to distinguish between what’s really important and their stuff.

Unfortunately, Bev’s Mom, who had lived with us for the past three and one-half years, decided not to join us in New Mexico. She did not want to be that far from her home area of central Texas, so she moved to Austin to stay with Bev’s sister. We made that transition in March.

The movers took most of our earthly possessions to Albuquerque in mid-May where they filled our double garage. We got to spend our last two weeks in Texas living in an above-garage apartment on Lake Fork thanks to generous members in the Alba church. Bev’s last day at work was the first Sunday in June. After saying good-bye to the good people in the Alba and Emory churches, we left the next day for our final trip to our retirement destination – Albuquerque, New Mexico, where the elevation is high, the humidity is low, and the mosquitos are joyfully absent!

It has been a major adjustment on all of our parts,
but after six months I’m pleased to report that we’re doing well. The boys have been exceedingly considerate of our wants and needs and we’ve tried to return the favor. Together we’ve made a lot of improvements to our lovely, spacious 40-year old house. We each have our space but enjoy sharing meals and some TV time. We spend occasional weekends at the cabin in Ruidoso, three+ hours away, and we’ve taken two excellent weekend trips, the five adults and two dogs (Lily and Coco). In October we visited the Grand Canyon in Arizona, a first for the Tunes, and in November we went to Colorado to visit the historic mining town of Leadville.

Living in Albuquerque is great. We are not far from
shopping, scenery, or health care. The climate is mild enabling us to enjoy our outdoor spaces frequently. The beautiful Sandia Mountains are ever to our east. The
famous hot air balloon festival is the first week of October. Lily and Coco keep a watchful eye on the house and the neighborhood. I feel quite sure they have amply intimidated the other dogs in the area, most of whom are well over twice their size. Historic Route 66 goes through Albuquerque and I spent my 66th birthday taking pictures of “66” signs.

One of the biggest shocks related to living in New Mexico happened at Dairy Queen. I pulled up to the drive-thru order speaker and ordered a Hunger Buster. The voice in the box said, “What’s that?” All Dairy Queens are NOT created equal! DQ has the same logo on the outside, but a different menu inside. They even offer a green hatch chiliburger, but in their defense, I’m quite sure it is a state law to have green hatch chilies on every menu. The good news is that we do have Whataburger here, and they are REAL Whataburgers – which can also be served with green hatch chilies!



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