Days 135-141 – Asheville, Week 5

So one of the things I’m noticing in retirement – or at least this phase of it – is that it requires more changes of clothes per day than working.

When I was working full-time, I would think about my day before getting dressed. What’s the weather forecast? Do I have any meetings? Will I be packing/moving any boxes? My job, btw, was director of professional development for a trade association in downtown Washington, DC. While most of my days were spent in an office, sometimes I would travel to attend a meeting or host a professional development conference. Once I’d determined the weather and my work day, I was ready to get dressed. If it was a gym day, I would also pack a duffel with my workout clothes. After work or working out, I would come home and put on casual clothes until bedtime.

When we were on the road this summer, it was a question of “are we hiking today?” If yes, then I dressed in one of my two sets of hiking clothes. If no, then a casual dress, skirt and top or shorts. I only had a few choices, so many days my choice of outfits came down to what was clean.

I don’t have my full wardrobe with me in Asheville but I do have more items than I had this summer.

But my point really isn’t about how many items of clothes I have with me, it’s about how hard it is to know what to wear when you have a whole day of free time on your hands.

For example, one day this week I got up and put on casual pants, a shirt and collared pullover with shoes because we had a doctor’s appointment, followed by a tee time for golf. I was dressed OK for the early-morning doctor visit but when we left we noticed how much warmer the day was getting. So, back to the house to change into shorts and golf shirt with sneakers. Back from the golf course, we were headed to the gym, so workout clothes. Back from the gym, I showered and changed into yoga pants and a t-shirt.

This happens a lot. I get up and pull on jeans or yoga pants only to have to change to go play golf or hike or go to the gym, only to change again if we go out somewhere.

So, doctor’s visit over, we head out for golf. It’s November and we’re wearing shorts and golf shirts to see if our lessons are paying off.

Not so much. We both hit horribly off the tees, have hit-or-miss shots from the fairway. Walt’s chipping and putting are better than mine but I do manage a couple of good putts.

Luckily we’ve got another lesson the next day, the first with irons and full swing. The pro runs through a good swing, sets us up and immediately I hit a better shot than I did on any of the previous day’s nine holes.

Once our hour lesson’s up, Walt and I go practice our chipping and putting for another hour.

On our way back home, we take a detour to a new development where I’ve seen some property for sale. It’s actually not too far from where we’re staying and very close to both Biltmore Village and downtown Asheville. We’re thrilled to find that the houses being built are very much in our style: modern with wood and steel accents and lots of glass. I had found the development when looking through a real estate guide. I saw a house I liked and looked it up online, following the thread until I found empty land for sale in the same development.

The house I saw online for sale is not quite finished and it’s not locked. There’s no one working on it, so we go inside, checking out the space and view. The view is great, as is the house. It’s not quite the layout or finishes we would like but the basics: ground-floor master suite and laundry room, big windows and deck, and an open concept are all in place. There’s a lower floor with two more bedrooms, each with an en suite bath.

We keep wandering the neighborhood, checking out the other vacant land, trying to determine buildability (we are on a small mountain) and views. We finally wander up to where a large moving van is parked. The new owners come out, asking if we live in the neighborhood. We explain that we’re still in the market and we’re invited in to see their newly finished house. It’s very similar to the other house, only with better finishes, a fireplace and even better views. The couple who own it are new retirees from Washington, D.C.

In a “it’s a small world moment” we find out the wife used to work with one of our old neighbors.

We’re very pleased, both with the neighborhood’s location and the style of its houses. But, we’re still not sure Asheville is the place for us.

Further exploration will have to wait as we’re headed to upstate New York for several days to celebrate my mom’s 80th birthday. We fly up, visit my parents a couple of times outside the party and enjoy a birthday brunch with all of my siblings, their children and the only great-grandchild, who is three, smart and adorable.

We manage to visit my favorite chocolate shop, which is near our hotel. Walt always acts as if we’re just going because I want to but he always finds a few nut-studded chocolate bars to add to my pile on the counter.

We also get to have dinner with friends one night. We haven’t seen Dennis and Jean since we were staying in New Hampshire four months ago, so we are happy to see them and catch up.

Our travels are otherwise uneventful, which is a good thing. No weather delays. No missed connections. We arrive back at our Asheville rental a bit tired, though, and round out the week by doing nothing but going to the gym.

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