Retire in ArizonaAs the leaves change color and the morning air gets a little crisper, thoughts turn to that semi-annual ritual of changing places once again. No matter how long we do this, it seems that we just barely get settled in and it’s time to go. Where did the summer go?

It doesn’t seem that long ago that we arrived in Boise, our summer home and began our life up north. Barbeques, hiking trail walks, a visit from our granddaughter Emily; where did all the time go? This was our first summer in our condo in Boise and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We made some new friends, got acquainted with a new neighborhood as we relaxed and unwound in our new surroundings.

But now it’s time to go south.

It’s kind of sad really. We were just getting used to the place.

One of these days we will stay in our northern home year around. That’s usually how it happens. Folks move back to their home state to be closer to their family as they get older and less willing to travel. I see it every year in Arizona. Couples just feel like it’s time to be closer to home.

But we aren’t there yet!

So we begin the process of heading south. There are things to take care of before we can go.

One of the biggest things to take care of is the issue of forwarding our mail. I usually do this online over the USPS web site. The Postal Service has done a great job of making this process simple and uncomplicated. You used to have to go to the post office, stand in line, then fill out long forms with your local address and the address you will be going to. Now, just a few simple clicks on your computer and the job is done right there in your home. You have a maximum of six months to have the Postal Service forward your mail which makes it perfect for Snowbirds traveling south.

The next thing I usually do is cancel any newspapers or other deliveries that we have arriving at our door. It’s not a good idea to have newspapers or other packages piling up at your front door while you’re gone. This is an invitation for the place to be broken into. I usually change addresses on any magazine subscriptions we have and then just cancel the local paper. I can pick up what’s going on back home from Arizona on the internet.

I always bring in all items that have been sitting outside all summer. Our patio furniture comes into the house and I store it in our spare bedroom. All chairs, footstools, tables, planters and hoses come into the house and out of the potential harsh winter. If you have a garage, all the better, we don’t. (Make sure you drain any hoses.) It’s surprising how little space this all can take up with a little maneuvering, planning and stacking. The only thing I leave outside is the grill. Not a good idea to have a propane tank inside your house. I leave the grill on the patio, covered and secured, with the propane tank turned off.

When we came back last spring, we found that mice had made themselves at home inside our condo. What a mess! Mice droppings on the couch, in our bed, in the drawers of the dresser, in the closet. It was a lesson learned. Before we left this time I ran to the local hardware store and bought a ton of mice poison pellets. I made sure that these trays were set all over the house where there were signs of mice last spring. I’m sure this will take care of the problem.

Finally, the most important thing to make sure you do before you leave is to have made arrangements with a caretaker to drop in and check the place a few times a month. We have to leave our water on because the heating system in our condo runs on water. This really is a concern for me. Our grandson, is very responsible in watching our place and he makes sure to look under all the sinks to check for leaks in the pipes. If you don’t need your water on, it’s best to turn the main valve off before you leave for the winter.

For an added peace of mind, it’s a good idea to leave a key with a trusted friend and neighbor who lives in the same development as you. We have made friends with a very nice woman next door over the summer and she will have a key to our place. Also we plan to call her occasionally to keep our friendship fresh and ongoing and to check in on how our place is doing.

Now, it’s on to Arizona!