|Our Trip to Deming, New Mexico|
You're probably scratching your head and wondering, "Where the heck is Deming?" Well, it's a little town in southwestern New Mexico, right along I-10 and about 50 miles west of Las Cruces. And now you're probably wondering why on earth anyone would choose it as a trip destination--well, it's where my parents, Vern and Sharon, moved when my dad retired and they left Cheyenne, Wyoming in April 2004. And if you're now wondering why anyone would MOVE to a place like Deming, my brother has written an excellent explanation, both about the move itself and the somewhat unusual house my parents now live in. So, rather than reinvent the wheel, I will simply reproduce a (slightly edited) portion of it here:
My parents can be weird. Now, I don't mean that in a bad or spiteful way. I'm merely pointing out that they tend to do things that are different, and do them differently than most other folks would. When they began seriously thinking about where they were going to move for their retirement several years ago, did they consider any of the usual spots--Florida or the Gulf Coast or the Pacific Northwest? No. They thought about places like Elko, Nevada or Vernal, Utah. Places that you and I might not even consider for any number of reasons were their first choices.
They began traveling to those spots and seeing for themselves if the town or area would be suitable. They had several criteria: 1. Climate -- They were tired of living in the "frozen north" that is Wyoming. Sharon loves to garden and grow vegetables; no garden, no sale. 2. Affordability -- The town couldn't be too expensive to live in... after all, they're retiring! 3. Health care -- The ideal spot should have decent access to health care, that all-important resource the golden years after retirement. 4. Small town -- They didn't want to live in a big city. What's "big"? Any place with more than 20,000 people or eight stoplights.
So, as they began to look at all these areas, they consistently found them to be lacking in one area or another. Too cold, too big, not enough rain, not enough sun, land prices too high, being too far out in the boonies for health care, no place to go fishing, etc. Always, there was something wrong. It got to be so bad that at one point, the family started to joke about them and their flavor-of-the-month retirement destination. They looked at so many places that we didn't know where they might decide to look at next... the Yukon, the Australian Outback, the moon?
Then, after they had been on a trip to Silver City, NM and had spent time looking around the area, they came through Deming. There was an instant connection. They liked the town and the size was right. The weather was a bit hot in the summer, but the winters were very mild. Rainfall was very light, but there was water to be had for the garden. And land prices hadn't yet skyrocketed out of range. They called us all excited: "We think we've found the place... Deming!" I said, "Where the @#$*&?!?" After they described the spot to me, I will admit I had my doubts. And, I think they indeed had some too, but it was the closest thing they had found to what they had in mind, and my Dad's retirement date was fast approaching.
Ok, now the normal thing to do at that point would have been to start house hunting. To their credit, they did do a little bit of that. But it is a small town and it didn't take long for them to decide that nothing on the market suited them. Once the real estate agent showed them a certain five-acre piece of undeveloped property, however, close to the mountains with great views... that was the end of the search. After an offer/counter-offer negotiation, the property was theirs. So began the process of selling the old house, moving and making all the other arrangements it takes to move millions of miles--er, thousands of miles away. And, add to that the design of a new house and materials selection... I thought it would be enough to drive even the sanest person to the rubber-room ranch!
The decision to build a steel house, one which uses an iron sub-frame and no interior supports, was an interesting one. It has some definite advantages--like increased energy efficiency--and without interior load-bearing walls, the interior can be reconfigured almost at will. But, a steel house? The building technique is common in prefab commercial buildings, but almost unknown in the residential market. There are a couple of companies that offer the kits, but not many contractors even know of their existence. Makes for an interesting search for a general contractor, especially in the wilds of New Mexico.
But against the odds (IMHO) they have managed to pull everything together and are making good headway in getting the house built. But that's the way with my parents. Even when the deck is stacked against them, and most people figure they aren't going to make it... they figure out a way to beat the odds. They work hard, persevere and find a way to make it all work. I don't know too many people who are willing to put their retirement years, their financial future and possibly their very lives into a venture like this. I also don't know too many married couples who would willingly live together in an aging 25' motorhome for a year while building a house!
Thanks, bro--and if y'all out there have ever thought me a bit on the odd side, well, now you know I come by it honestly!
So, the above info was written quite some time ago, and much has happened since; for one thing, my dad contracted viral pneumonia in January of '06 and was in the hospital for nearly two weeks, and then on supplemental oxygen and not able to do much work for many weeks afterward. But, true to form, he recovered and they persevered, at last receiving their certificate of occupency and moving into the completed house in time for Thanksgiving that same year.
Mom and Dad had invited both us kids and our respective spouses to come and visit them in their desert home, even before the house itself was actually finished, but although my brother had been down once while Dad was sick, and then he and my sis-in-law had been back together in April of '06, the vagaries of circumstance kept Peter and I from making it down until a few weeks later. So we planned a trip for over Mother's Day weekend, and were able to spend a couple of days before coming back to Denver. The pics in the galleries below were taken during those couple of days.
|General Scenery||The Local Wildlife||My Parents' House|