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Movin' back to the Mainland?
Old 12-29-2006, 12:45 AM   #1
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Movin' back to the Mainland?

No, no, not us, we're never leaving the islands-- but my parents-in-law might be!

Last week at our Fidelity dinner another guest asked my FIL what he missed the most after moving to Hawaii. He said it was being able to get in the car and drive 400 miles in any direction. I'd had a frosty beverage or two by then and I laughed uproariously at his joke, saying "It's taken you over five years here to miss something like that?!?"

Well, his joke must've been inspired by the subject of discussion at their house. Today he called to announce that they were considering moving back to the Mainland. They're still open to suggestions but their first idea is their old stomping grounds around Annapolis/Bowie (look out, Andre!).

Their biggest complaint is Rock Fever, the chief symptom involving a five-hour flight to the Mainland before starting their annual vacation. I think they'd rather be able to take off at a whim to Richmond or Gettysburg or even farther north/south for an Elderhostel or a Civil War event. When they were living on the Mainland they'd go anywhere without worrying about where they'd be staying or when they'd get there. But now their travel requires extensive Internet research for cheap plane fares, hotels, and coordination with their Mainland friends.

They're not the type to hide their thoughts so I don't think there are other issues. Maybe they've seen their only grandkid grow up enough and they want to do other things with their time. Maybe they miss seeing their Mainland friends (they haven't really made any new friends here) or maybe they miss the Annapolis/DC/Baltimore scene (they haven't acculturated to Hawaii at all). Maybe they miss politics, although they haven't done anything with Hawaii's politics. Maybe they just want a quieter place (away from a noisy neighbor) or more social excuses for separate activities. Last year their kitchen was completely rehabbed and they've been buying new furniture, so this change of heart is unexpected. In the last year each of them had small pre-cancerous lesions removed from their faces & ears, and they've taken to covering themselves in sunscreen & floppy hats. I wonder. We'll be talking a lot over the next couple months and maybe more details will come out.

They're extremely familiar with MD and the mid-Atlantic states. They've spent most of the last 20 years driving I-95, staying in different neighborhoods for a few weeks at different times of the year, and looking at hundreds of homes. They're very comfortable with the idea of spending a few weeks looking around the MD area and then buying a home. They gave themselves so much trauma about moving their possessions to Hawaii that I thought they'd never move again, but apparently they feel a stronger tug than that or else they've completely forgotten how crazed they were. We'll see how the reality of searching & moving matches their memories.

Money is not an issue. Their Annapolis home doubled in value from 1983-2001 so they sold at a huge profit which has been invested in CDs & Treasuries. They've rented for the last five years but I guess they'll buy a smaller home (less maintenance) or move to a less-crowded part of Maryland. I think they'll probably settle close to their son but they're also open to whatever they find.

FIL mentioned that they'll be looking at homes this spring. If they find something they like then they'll stay there for the closing, fax us a power of attorney, and we'll pack out their rental. Maybe they figure that way they'll avoid half the trauma of moving.

I pointed out that they no longer have any cold-weather tolerance so those first two winters will be real killers until their bodies adapt. He said that they'll probably snowbird, including a month or two out here (as they used to do before 2001). No problem. They also enjoy Myrtle Beach, Georgia, North & South Carolina, Tennessee, and other places that are warmer & less snowy than MD.

Spouse is heaving a huge sigh of relief. Her parents are in their low 70s, both extremely healthy, no medications, and mobile, but we could see that we'd be standing by to render support for the next quarter-century. Their world view tends to see the glass as less than half full and they rarely seem to enjoy a "life is good" moment. Spouse feels a big obligation to spend more time with them than perhaps she'd prefer, and even though she's 45 years old she still feels the sting of being treated like a little kid. It'll be interesting to see if my MIL feels the same about this whole idea as my FIL. Heck, it'll be interesting to see her brother's reaction at having boomerang parents.

I won't miss some things, but I'll miss having them around at a phone call and a 10-minute drive. I can only imagine the craziness we'll go through in the next six months, and I have to admit that our lives will get simpler if they're back on the Mainland. May we live in interesting times, but I never saw this coming!
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?
Old 12-29-2006, 01:55 AM   #2
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?

nords, your post is a lot of work to read and probably a lot of work to write. You should get paid to write so much. Do you already write a column for the local paper?
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?
Old 12-29-2006, 02:41 AM   #3
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?

I absolutley love Hawaii and could see myself living there... but I wonder how long it would be before I experienced rock fever.

There is geographic diversity there. It's not all beaches and balmy weather. There are snow capped mountains, rain forests and deserts, canyons and coastal plains. So it wouldn't be so much a problem of getting bored with the weather or terrain.

Maybe it would be a sense of cultural isolation. Then again, I've spent all my time there outside of Honolulu where there might be enough cultural diversity to overcome the urge to get away.

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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?
Old 12-29-2006, 07:05 AM   #4
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
No, no, not us, we're never leaving the islands-- but my parents-in-law might be!
Has your FIL factored in the cost of having a Maryland mechanic change the plugs on his Subaru vs. having you do it? If not, I suggest you not bring it up... unless you want him to stay.

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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?
Old 12-29-2006, 07:16 AM   #5
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?

Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo!
Has your FIL factored in the cost of having a Maryland mechanic change the plugs on his Subaru vs. having you do it? If not, I suggest you not bring it up... unless you want him to stay.

That is so true!

554.00 is the quote for a 60K tuneup for our subaru!!

I laughed and did most of the work myself.
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?
Old 12-29-2006, 08:23 AM   #6
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?

Nords,
I recall speaking to GIs and their families stationed in Hawaii who wanted to return to the mainland. It flabbergasted me. T'was hard to believe. Their reasoning was "how many times can you go to the beach?" and " I'm tired of driving in circles." I still consider Hawaii paradise, but now I can understand those who get rock fever. The cure is a plane trip or two to the mainland; partake of mainland madness; then return.

I suspect it's an age issue. They see themselves aging and they want to return to familiar places and see familiar people, while they still can. I hope they do well and hey, you gonna love providing a winter haven for them.
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?
Old 12-29-2006, 08:31 AM   #7
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?

FWIW, Nords, the issue of living very close to adult kids, inlaws, grandkids is pretty complicated.

The main thing not to read into the decision is hurtfulness. I bet your inlaws feel very concerned about you and the DW possibly feeling hurt, betrayed, insulted, etc. by what must be a very complicated decision for them.

I'd guess it boils down to their not feeling quite comfortable away from their old friends, familiar surroundings, security of the old stomping grounds etc. They probably realize that you all have your own lives to lead and can't/won't/shouldn't spend large chunks of time entertaining or even including them in everything you do. They may feel a little "taken for granted." And, of course, the Hawaii-related issues that work for you but maybe not for them.

DW and I talk about this when contemplating FIRE. First reaction: buy a house near at least one set of kids. Second reaction: that would be nice, but they are very busy, how much babysitting do we really want to do, what about our friends down here, the weather, suppose they move in a few years, etc. Yup, will we be "taken for granted" after a year or two, and wish we had stayed in nice, warm, sunny Tampa where our friends are.

I'm sure they have their reasons. Sounds like you are close enough to just let it happen and be supportive. The main danger is one party or another feeling resentful for no reason. Good for you to take it with such a positive attitude.

Maybe that's why so many say that being a couple of hours apart is ideal.
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?
Old 12-29-2006, 10:01 AM   #8
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
No, no, not us, we're never leaving the islands-- but my parents-in-law might be!

Nords: My first reaction after reading your post was that if you
talk as much as much in person as your long posts indicate, he
is probably tending with his "Cauliflower Ear". (Thought better of doing
that in that it's not really a laughing matter for your FIL and MIL).

I realize that your post is about your situation re: your relationship with
your FIL and MIL, so I'll try not to turn it around to my situation.

I've mentioned a number of times on this forum that I've seen very few
retirement situations turned sour because of finances, but have seen
a lot because of social factors.

Your father-in-law is probably a fair example of this. (He left a net-work of
friends and acquaintences behind when he made the move). (And, added to that by not being active in new location re: friends, mutual interests, etc.
(That could happen anyplace, and really doubt that "Rock Fever" is the culpert). My guess is that because of his age when he made the move that
he would have not lasted as long as he did without a connection to you and
your wife and daughter.

When I retired, we moved 600 miles away, and my wife had a helluva time
for a few years. We're both extroverts, and left a lot of friends, connections etc. behind. I was active in the golf and coaching dept. so
new friends, etc. were eventually acquired.

I'm a couple of years younger than your FIL. (Not 71 yet).

My adult children live about 300 miles from us, and they are constantly
telling me that I can't continue to take care of my property, house, etc.,
and I should consider selling and moving closer to them. The last time
they mentioned that, I told them not now, but maybe in about 15 years
or so, when I need the "drool cup", I'll consider it. (I think that's the last
time they mentioned it).

In any case, your post is a very good example of being real careful about
giving up your network in life by moving unless you are ready to develop
the situation.

In any case, your FIL and MIL, if they do move have a great place to
spend 2 or 3 months during the winter. (How bad is that).







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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?
Old 12-29-2006, 10:13 AM   #9
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?

I know I got "rock fever" after a week in Hawaii. But that's just me. It sounds like your IL's have good reasons for wanting to go back. That doesn't mean they didn't enjoy their time there as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LOL!
nords, your post is a lot of work to read and probably a lot of work to write. You should get paid to write so much. Do you already write a column for the local paper?
I don't know if you meant that the way it sounded, but I think his writing is very easy to read. In fact I found myself wondering why I was so engrossed in a story about total strangers, but the quality of the writing is such that it makes you want to read it no matter what the subject. The ability to write well is quickly becoming a lost art in our culture, where it's easier to post a home-made video on the internet than to write a good story.
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?
Old 12-29-2006, 10:33 AM   #10
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?

To LOL and Jarhead: to my knowledge the board does not have a policy requiring you to read any particular post. If the length of a post troubles you, why not just skip it? Maybe not real classy to jab him about it just now.

Nords related a significant life event that packs a lot of wallop for him. I found it thoughtful and though-provoking.
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?
Old 12-29-2006, 10:45 AM   #11
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa
FWIW, Nords, the issue of living very close to adult kids, inlaws, grandkids is pretty complicated.
Maybe that's why so many say that being a couple of hours apart is ideal.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarhead*
I've mentioned a number of times on this forum that I've seen very few retirement situations turned sour because of finances, but have seen
a lot because of social factors.
You guys sure raise a lot of good points. (Jarhead, the golfing weather must suck today!) We appreciate that it's not about us since I'm coping with those feelings about my own father. I'm keenly aware that PILs aren't the type to hold something back but it'll be interesting to see what comes out over the next few months. I specifically told FIL to give me a blow-by-blow while (if?) their thoughts change-- I want to learn about this for our own futures, too.

It seems kinda weird that I got the call (FIL wanted to chat about some other money stuff) and that I was expected to break the news to their daughter. (Who now breaks out into spontaneous happy dances.) The two moms haven't even discussed it with each other yet (Can MIL talk in front of FIL? Whose idea is this?). They can also be breathtakingly tactless on occasion so it's hard to interpret the subtext. Maybe they've decided that there's more to life than grandchildren because I never understood that reason for moving here in the first place. We'll all be getting together in a couple days and I'm sure we'll have "the talk".

I don't know if my PILs feel taken for granted but spouse has always put herself under a lot of self-imposed pressure about how much socializing should be happening (or not). "Everybody Loves Raymond" is not a comedy show! Even after five years she still feels like her life is under a microscope, especially any project involving money, and she's mentally blocked about spending on major home improvements because she'd have to listen to her parents thoughtlessly critique her decisions. I wonder how much of it has leaked across the conversations over the years, but her parents sure have seemed blissfully oblivious to it so far. That agonizing has occupied far too much of her psyche & time and I'll be glad when it stops. When the PILs leave I bet spouse'll blow $50K of pent-up frustration on the yard & house faster than TH & Cut-Throat can buy new cars. She's certainly earned the privilege.

I think some distance will be a good thing for everyone, especially my spouse. I've also learned that people have to choose their homes for their own preferences and not so much for family. Rich, you guys are absolutely right to stay in Tampa and put up with the travel. It'll be interesting to hear the "real" reason for the move and to see where they decide to settle. And Jarhead, we'll be happy to see them every winter for a month or two... or to send their grandkid to them!
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?
Old 12-29-2006, 10:50 AM   #12
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?

This is too long for one post and Rich/Jarhead hit the main issue. But there's more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by califdreamer
There is geographic diversity there. It's not all beaches and balmy weather. There are snow capped mountains, rain forests and deserts, canyons and coastal plains. So it wouldn't be so much a problem of getting bored with the weather or terrain.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagle43
I recall speaking to GIs and their families stationed in Hawaii who wanted to return to the mainland. It flabbergasted me. T'was hard to believe. Their reasoning was "how many times can you go to the beach?" and "I'm tired of driving in circles." I still consider Hawaii paradise, but now I can understand those who get rock fever. The cure is a plane trip or two to the mainland; partake of mainland madness; then return.
Submariners joke that this is a place only we could love. Hawaii has a little of everything, but without highways like I-70 or I-95 we can only make our traffic jams stretch for maybe 10 miles.

A local retired submariner who's made his life & fortune here used to have 20-30 shipmates working for his real estate business. He said they all drifted back to the Mainland to be closer to their grown kids/grandchildren. It'll be interesting to see if our kid makes a life for herself on the Mainland or not. Typically they can't wait to leave the islands for college & careers, but when they're in their 30s (with kids of their own) they wish they were raising them in Hawaii. I think Hawaii is one of the few states with expatriate clubs-- and how many of you have your state in car decals & tattoos?

Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo!
Has your FIL factored in the cost of having a Maryland mechanic change the plugs on his Subaru vs. having you do it? If not, I suggest you not bring it up... unless you want him to stay.
We're waiting for our "It's all about me" teenager, only 16 months from her learner's permit, to realize that Grandma & Grandpa may not want to take the Subaru back to the Mainland. Cross-country shipping is a couple thousand bucks and the car's only worth about $3K. FIL always regretted selling his 1986 Mustang to move here and how he has his chance to muscle up again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagle43
I suspect it's an age issue. They see themselves aging and they want to return to familiar places and see familiar people, while they still can. I hope they do well and hey, you gonna love providing a winter haven for them.
I think that's a big part of it, and while the benign skin cancer could be considered "minor" it was still a five-hour ear carver with a skin graft. They may have seen that as a warning shot. Spouse & I could only recall three friends from the ol' CBS crew (who spent a lot of time in front of CRT monitors-- occupational hazard?) who are still alive, and a childhood friend may not survive 2007. So I think they're moving toward those concerns rather than running away from us.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LOL!
nords, your post is a lot of work to read and probably a lot of work to write. You should get paid to write so much. Do you already write a column for the local paper?
Yeah, I hear that a lot, no offense! Gotta write-- I could do it all day, and the real problem is organizing it or unplugging to eat/sleep. It's not so much "work" as "occupational therapy". Condensing this hairball into a post required thinking through all the issues and helped me realize other things that I couldn't keep up with during the phone call. Spouse & I must've talked for another couple hours last night after chatting about it all day.

The nice thing about ER is I don't have to get paid for anything. I don't like deadlines (what if the surf's up?!?) so I won't do a column again, but I'm working a project. Check your PMs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by newguy888
554.00 is the quote for a 60K tuneup for our subaru!!
I laughed and did most of the work myself.
Our mechanic won't even touch the leaky head gasket. (Too much disassembly.) It's a sore point with my FIL, who might pay the Mainland freight just to have "his" Maryland mechanic do the job. Hey, it's his money-- but it's my time...
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?
Old 12-29-2006, 10:55 AM   #13
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa
To LOL and Jarhead: to my knowledge the board does not have a policy requiring you to read any particular post. If the length of a post troubles you, why not just skip it? Maybe not real classy to jab him about it just now.

Nords related a significant life event that packs a lot of wallop for him. I found it thoughtful and though-provoking.
Well Rich, since we are kibitzing on these guys, I'll add my 2 cents. Considering his background, I would doubt that Nords is bothered by this kind of joke. It is probably the 110,231st example of this particular sort of masculine humor that he has faced in his life. And knowing Jarhead, I would fall over if there was any criticism intended.

It's what once was called good clean fun.

Also note that Jarhead is the senior member of this board, with a long, successful and happy retirement already in the bag. While this may be the eventual fate of most here, Jarhead has done it, and with nothing but his savings and SS to sustain him and his wife. He has 2 grown successful kids.

I believe that what he said about consider who you are and what you need socially before getting too radical with your life surgery is a very important message, and one that is often not real popular around here.

"Look Ma, we can retire tomorrow to Upper Volta! Yahoo!!"

Ha
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?
Old 12-29-2006, 11:12 AM   #14
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HaHa
And knowing Jarhead, I would fall over if there was any criticism intended.
Good to hear - the timing sounded a little tacky if you didn't happen to know that.

Guess I was just being a little protective of my buddy, not that he needs it .
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?
Old 12-29-2006, 11:39 AM   #15
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?

Quote:
Yeah, I hear that a lot, no offense! Gotta write-- I could do it all day, and the real problem is organizing it or unplugging to eat/sleep. It's not so much "work" as "occupational therapy".
No offense intended. If you enjoy writing so much, you might as well get a return on investment of your time. Maybe a reviewer for the local paper?
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?
Old 12-29-2006, 11:58 AM   #16
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?

Nords,

I for one enjoy your posts. Its obvious that a lot of thought goes into then and you do have a knack for clearly stating the relevant points of the issue.

I interpreted LOL's post as kind of a back handed compliment on the quality of your posts. Again just my $.02.

2soon

PS Have you read Patrick Robison's Kilo Class? He has a whole series of naval fiction books.
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?
Old 12-29-2006, 12:09 PM   #17
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?

Nords
I wonder if you might suggest a snowbird approach: 4 months in Hawaii and 8 months in MD. Plenty of seniors that own in PV do that. Some are from Ocean City, and even outside Santa Barbara. They think it is the best of all worlds. Some go home for Christmas too.

You tricked me into reading this post but I am glad you did.
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?
Old 12-29-2006, 01:02 PM   #18
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HaHa
Well Rich, since we are kibitzing on these guys, I'll add my 2 cents. Considering his background, I would doubt that Nords is bothered by this kind of joke. It is probably the 110,231st example of this particular sort of masculine humor that he has faced in his life. And knowing Jarhead, I would fall over if there was any criticism intended.

It's what once was called good clean fun.



Ha
Ha: I really appreciate your backing up my point in replying to Nords.

I didn't mean to minimize the situation with him, and I think he understands that. (I probably should have PM'd it). The problem
I have personally, and one of the reasons I am only a very rarely poster
lately, is because there is no "history" involved, and one of the
problems with that is "mis-interpretation" by a third party (Rich, in this case, who by all I've observed is a quality guy.)

Nords and I have teased and had fun with each other for a long time
on this forum, and I have no doubt that he understands my "sense of humor".

In any case, my point, and one that you eluded to when you backed up
my post was that it is damn important that you consider who you are
and what your goals are for the rest of your life before you decide that
moving to "Tanganika" or wherever makes sense. (If weather were the only
consideration, there'd be no one left in Minnesotta).

Again, thanks for understanding.

Jarhead

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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?
Old 12-29-2006, 01:21 PM   #19
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?

First, Nords I like your posts. They remind me that the issues that perc in my family are not unique.

My parents were snow birds, but with family on the mainland. We missed them often in the winter. With jobs and children we couldn't visit often.

You daughter will soon be off to college, she may even land at a school near MD . They have had the opportunity to get to know each other when they were able and she had time.

Actually, having them visit you during the winter may be the best of both worlds when your wife retires. What will tough is when they can't (or shouldn't) live independently, when health care issues arise. It will be impossible for the two of you to guide them through that process when you are 5,000 miles away.
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?
Old 12-29-2006, 02:27 PM   #20
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brat
You daughter will soon be off to college, she may even land at a school near MD . They have had the opportunity to get to know each other when they were able and she had time.
Yeah, there was a comment about buying a house within USNA's seven-mile plebe liberty limit. I explained to our "It's all about me" kid that she wants an Annapolis sponsor family from Hawaii who have beer in the fridge, watch UH basketball DVDs, and can actually spell li hing mui. Problem solved, although this kid continues to bleed Navy blue & gold...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brat
Actually, having them visit you during the winter may be the best of both worlds when your wife retires. What will tough is when they can't (or shouldn't) live independently, when health care issues arise. It will be impossible for the two of you to guide them through that process when you are 5,000 miles away.
I think we feel like we dodged a bullet on that, so far, but we'll be able to fly to wherever whenever we're needed for as long as necessary. Of course right now that seems to be decades away!

I have the impression that there's much more support & infrastucture for the elderly in the DC area. Hawaii, despite having one of the nation's fastest-growing elderly populations, does not have the same per capita capabilities. I think most of the elderly needing care are getting it in their ohana homes with all their dutiful adult children. Yikes. I think I much prefer the "moving to the Mainland" discussion instead of the "Where would Grandma live?" discussion...
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