There was a lot riding on our first placement. I was (am) still a little unsure of what I should be doing while Paul is at work. Plus our trailer was (is) still a new and unfamiliar gadget.
We hoped to be close to outdoor adventure, but close to amenities, and close to Paul's work, but in a location that didn't feel like a glorified parking lot. We knew we'd have to make some compromises, but then we somehow got ourselves a spot in Tucson's premier 55+ retirement community and we didn't have to make any compromises at all.
Our new neighborhood is more of a resort than a campground. There is, of course, a pool and hot tub, but there's also a sewing room, a leather shop, a billiards room and several pickle ball courts. A weekly calendar of events includes social bridge, tai chi, men's coffee hour, chair exercises, water aerobics, and a Friday night movie. The movie costs $1 and the money goes to support the is a computer club. There is twice weekly gentle yoga.
The only thing that separates our home from a capital R Resort is the refreshing lack of staff interference. There's no peppy community coordinator trying to get us to sign up for activities--all clubs and gatherings are resident organized. Our next door neighbor, Nancy, keeps asking us if we are going to attend the Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa state party. Nancy, of course we are!
If tai chi and coffee hour make you think that retirement is for the frail and fading, you've been fooled. The Hardy Hikers club lead Paul and I through 13 miles of canyon trails that covered 6 (six!) river crossings. The ladies afternoon cycling club covered 38 miles in under three smoldering-hot desert hours. We, the young and foolhardy, only survived the first week by schlepping our rather sore butts to the hot tub after each excursion.
In addition to being Adult Summer Camp, our new home is within walking distance of 2 grocery stores and a 3 mile bike from Paul's ER shift. In the morning, Odin and I start the day with a stroll on part of Tucson's famed bike loop. I've joined the chorus (!) and signed up to scoop ice cream for one of the Monday Social hours in March. I am very suspicious that those who exclaim "oh to be young" when they see us are only trying mask the truth: that being 55 and relatively healthy will be the best time of anyone's life on this earth.
If you're wondering how we weaseled our way into Adult Summer Camp, the answer is Paul's nursing license. We're lucky that this place made exceptions for medical staff, or a spot to unhitch for 3 months would have been very hard to come by. We are certainly the exception in this community. When people meet me alone, without Paul, they often tiptoe around the subject until one bold soul finally comes out and asks...."so then, how old is your husband?"