Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Our new coach house

Well, we closed on our new coach house on 1/13/14 & have finished getting it organized. We bought a patio
Kitchen area
set & barbecue grill, a small dining room table & chairs & a desk so I can work. Ell & Pat left the futon for us to use for the time being. We will do some measuring & decide if we want to bring my lazy boy & buy Al a matching one when we come back in the fall. We are also having a Pergola (patio cover) installed in a couple of weeks so we will be able to enjoy the outdoors while having some protection from the sun.

Let's see, now that we are owners we get to go to the activities here & there sure are a lot to chose form. Tuesday evening (after closing) we went to
Kitchen & Refrigerator
the stone soup dinner. It was very well attended & not an empty seat was left. Wednesday we went
to pizza night & met more new people. This Sunday was the January birthday ice cream & cake social. That was all the first week. We have met all our new neighbors (just the ones surrounding us)& they are all great. This week is a bit slower but lots to do. Some of the things I am going to try to attend: Wednesday morning is WOW (watch our weight...something you need to do with all these eating events. Thursday morning is ladies breakfast & Thursday evening one of the neighbors invited the whole community to a Brisket dinner at their place. Yes, we are going.... 
Dining area

I almost hate leaving on March 1st but it's
necessary. We weren't planning on buying & have
to get home to get some things done & head to Louisiana for the gourd show. Then rest for a bit before we head out again. Al is working on a bucket list trip. Some of his & some of mine, then off to Newport for 2 months before heading home the beginning of September so we can rest for a month & then head back here for 6 months...... Ok, now I'm adding some photos of how the place looks with our touches. Some people who have coach houses don't have full kitchens so we
My "Office"
are really lucky that this one was built with everything you could need except perhaps a dishwasher. One of our neighbors has a small refrigerator under the counter & a sink but no
stove. Our neighbors across the street have a full size kitchen with double door refrigerator but the majority of the coach houses I've seen so far are not equipped with full kitchens.

The dining area has a round drop-leaf table. We only have one leaf open & the table sits against the wall. We don't intend on entertaining indoors so it's perfect for us. Right now I am cooking dinner in the coach house & eating dinner there but eating breakfast & lunch in the coach. We bought a set of pots & pans, dishes & some other kitchen
"Living Room"
necessities & will fill in when we come back. We have lots of extra stuff at home that we can bring back with us in the fall such as silverware, linens & odds & ends.

Showers are still in the coach but once we get settled with more linens & clothes out there we can start showering in the coach house. Right now it's a hassle bringing everything out there just to shower & dress.
the coach house is 12x24 which is approximately 288 sq. ft. It is much like a studio apartment but it gives us more "living space" than just spending months in a motorhome. Now with a full size kitchen & refrigerator we can
Patio Set
spread out & with a back yard we can relax on the patio. Once the pergola is added we will be done fixing the place up & can just sit back & enjoy it. I will add a photo once it is finished so you can see how the house & yard look all done.

While we have only been spending 3 months in Arizona for the winter now that we own this place the plan is to spend 6 months in Texas. We are on the way to becoming Texas residents again so between 6 months here & our traveling we will be away from New Mexico more than we will be in New Mexico.

My next post will focus on exploring & having some fun in the Rio Grande Valley...land of "The Winter
Texan's". So far I have to admit everyone is so much more friendly here than we experienced in Arizona. I'm lovin" it!!!!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Retama Village Photos

We have toured the facilities here over the weekend & I must say I was impressed.
Community Center Building

Here's some photos of the club house & facilities. The current club house does not have sufficient indoor room for large events. They have lots of tables outdoors but not much for indoor seating. They are going to be building a new club house just for events. The new club house will be on the other side of the pools & will have glassed doors that will open all around like garage doors so that in nice weather it can be open air & for inclement weather or cooler days the doors can be closed. It should be fabulous.

Community Center Living Room

The community center has several small meeting rooms as well as a full kitchen, a large library & living room. Should you have a party at home & need to use the kitchen you can use it to cook or to have your party there.

Billiard Room

This is the billiard room also inside the community center.
Patio Area

The back patio area has several large grills which
can also be used by home owners.

Pools & Spa

Beyond the covered patio are the pools. There is a large lap pool, a smaller pool with seats & a spa.

Fitness Center

Looking at the photo above on the left are the craft rooms, showers, fitness center &  laundry. There aren't many washers & dryers because most owners have them in their houses.

Retama Village has their own website with lots of information for owners & renters. One of the great things I
Alan & Nedra
 noticed was an album with photos of all the owners. What a great way for us "older" people to connect
names with faces. I can't remember how many times I recognize someone but can't remember their name. This really helps us newcomers remember who people are. Well, at least I hope so but there sure are a lot of people in this community & it's still growing......

It took me a while to get Al to pose for a photo but I finally got it done!

Our soon to be new coach house & RV supersite

Well we met with Ell & Pat at the coach house today so I could do a bit of measuring. We agreed on the
Living area to left of entrance
price & went over things we need to do regarding utilities, changing ownership for the HOA, etc. Pretty straightforward actually.

We head out to lunch on Tuesday with Pat & Ell & then to the Title company to find out the costs for closing & set a date. The goal is to close ASAP but I'd like to do it by the middle of the month.

We met our new neighbors from across the street who actually will be moving out end of the month. They just sold their coach house & motorhome & are building a regular house here in Retama.
Living area with cabinets & shelves
I guess we will meet our new, new neighbors on Feb 1st. The people on the side of us never come down so for the time being we will have no neighbors on either side of us.

I guess this week we can do some shopping to find a desk for me to work & perhaps a recliner & futon (if they don't leave theirs). I'm not sure if we will bother to buy a patio set now or wait until we come back but we will see what we can find now & then make a decision. This is not something that is critical. We have chairs & small tables we can use for now. For the time being we will just move towels, dishes, pots & pans as needed from the
Living area with TV, AC & futon
coach. We have extras at home that we can bring back next year.

We have already circled all the activities we want to participate in while we are here this year & will go to as many things as we can to get to know people.

Al is already planning on returning next year the 1st of October. I guess he's looking forward to coming back & we haven't even left yet ;)


Here are some photos I took today. Not great, but I will take more when it's officially ours with our belongings.

The floors & counters are all tile except for the bathroom sink which has a Corian counter.

The cabinets in the living area are solid wood & were custom made by Raul who did all the construction inside & out. He & his crew are the ones who build the coach houses for Retama & we were told that he does an excellent job. If we had bought an empty site & had the coach house built he is the one we would have hired to finish the inside but now we don't have to, it's all done.....
Bath/Laundry room

The cabinets in the living area have shelves on one side & the front are cabinets with shelves inside. There is also a rod to hang clothes if we want to use part of it as a closet. I will be looking for a desk to put in the middle so I can look out the window while I'm working.

The kitchen has LOTS of cabinets for storage. Pat even had revolving shelves put in on top in the corner to make everything accessible. I will still need a step stool to reach it.
The appliances are only about a year old & only used for a few months so they are like new. The refrigerator is a small full size one so we will now have LOTS of room for food. Al's first comment was that he can now bake cookies. Just what we need!
Shower, toilet & cabinets

Just off the kitchen is the combination bath & laundry room.
The stacking washer & dryer are full size & like the rest of the appliances they are practically new.

The bath has lots of cabinets with sliding doors for easy access to everything. The medicine cabinet is pretty cool, with side panels with mirrors that move back & forth. The toilet is a standard size & the shower has glass on on sides with fiberglass floor & walls.

There is an access door in the bath to the attic. Up there is a 20 gallon hot water heater & a storage area.

 Ell built a 4 ft wide & 4 ft long wooden shelf with a raised lip on either side of the access door. It's great for extra storage that isn't needed very much...such as the cans of paint.
Bathroom cabinets

Of all the coach houses I've seen this truly is the most well thought out & planned floor plan. Pat really did a great job planning out the layout & each of the cabinets. Ell said there were a couple of things he would have done different but honestly there's only one thing that wasn't 100% right & that was one cabinet door opens into the over head light in the kitchen. This is something that is not a big deal. Al just has to install a tether on the door that will stop it just before it touches the light. This is something that is commonly used in RV's so it's an easy solution to the problem & it's a top cabinet that won't be accessed too much anyway.

That's the inside of the house. Small but efficient.

Locked storage area
Behind the house is a locked, fenced in storage area. Theirs has a very large Rubbermaid storage trunk which they are taking but we will by one for ourselves.
This fenced area is much larger than most. Ell & Pat weren't aware of a size restriction but the developer signed off on it so we will have lots of room to store things.

From what everyone has told us they typically leave everything here when they leave except perishable food. The only food they leave is canned goods.

French doors to the house
 The doors to the house open up like French doors. We will probably buy one of those "magic screens" to keep the birds & bees out but it really is lovely being able to open the doors & enjoy the fresh air.

The doors have built in shades that are between the glass. They open & close like mini blinds & can be pulled up as well. They are actually pretty cool.

Back patio & common area behind the house
Behind the motorhome is the patio table & chairs. We will probably buy one & put it in the same place because that is where the entry door is to the house so it makes it more convenient.

The patio table in this photo belongs to Pat & Ell but once we get settled we will buy one ourselves. The nice thing is that we have a nice "green" backyard. The common area is landscaped with native tropical plants that attract butterflies & birds so it's a real tropical paradise.

The wonderful part of this house is that it backs up to the common area. This means no neighbors
Front view of the RV Site & Coach House
behind the house. 

The RV pad is what they call a Super Site. It is 45 x 80 feet & there is enough room to park the motorhome in front of the patio furniture as well as 2 vehicles.

Each side of the pad has bushes (all are planted to attract the birds & butterflies. The center area which also is planted with that in mind.

The lot is all irrigated with a drip system underground so water is not lost due to heat or sun. The grounds are maintained by the HOA so we don't have to do anything if we don't want to. 
Other side of the RV Site

Just for the record, the RV in these photos is not ours. Pat & Ell have the exact same Tiffin coach we had before we got the new one with the bunks. It's even the same color as we had before. The neighbors across the street also have a Tiffin. I guess we should change the name of our block to Tiffin Way...

The covenants are pretty straight forward of what you can & cannot do & the rules are actually quite reasonable. They are MUCH better than those in our community in NM because they are clear & concise. They are also better because they actually have rules that are enforced & fines that are established. If we have a nuisance neighbor & there are complaints they are fined. While some people (they don't live here) complain about rules, living in a community now that has rules that nobody follows & nobody enforces I am going to appreciate living in a community that takes pride in keeping the community pristine & having owners that care about the community & their neighbors. 

I have yet to see dogs off leash, people not picking up after their dogs & I haven't seen cars or RV's parked in the street longer than allowed. What a radical concept....following the rules!

Once we get settled in the house I will take some photos with our personal touches!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Our First Winter Rio Grande Valley

We arrived at Bentsen Palms Village & spent several days in the rain. Having lived in Texas & been in the valley during the winter we knew the rain was short lived. Its now sunny & in the mid 70's.

The day after we arrived friends from our New Mexico Tiffin RV Group stopped over to say hi & to invite us over for a visit. After looking at their new house we went down the street to take a look at their old new coach house & RV lot & I fell in love with it. Pat had done such a great job of making the most out of the space that it was not only very functional but everything was nicely done. There was lots of usable storage, a full working kitchen with refrigerator, microwave & sink. The bath had a shower, sink & full size stacking washer & dryer plus lots of storage. The living area had cabinets, shelves & wardrobe all built in with one on each side of the window. The floor were tile & the counters granite.

Anyway, if you now have the idea that I want it you are right. I had been looking at others that were for sale here for some time & none compared to this. The lot is in the perfect location, its quiet & backs up to the grassy common area so we have lots of privacy. So, now we are looking at becoming Texas residents which will mean as long as we are outside of NM for 185 days we don't have to pay NM income taxes. Not a problem since we aren't there now. This also means we can spend more time here over the winter, like coming in November.

Tomorrow we go back over & measure some things to see if the Lazy boy we took out of our coach will fit, what kind of desk I can put in for my work area & a small table & chairs for eating.

On Tuesday we join Pat & Ell for lunch at Joe's Crab Shack & then to the title company to find out how to go about closing on the sale, paper work needed, etc. Once we get that done we can figure out when we can make this happen. The sooner, the better. I just looked at all the activities I want to do over there. It will surely keep me busy!

My goal is no later than the end of the month but if we can make it happen sooner I won't mind. It will give me more time to "personalize" the place before we head home. It is really move in ready but I want to do a quick cleaning of cabinets & there are some things we need to buy to fill in.

The allure of having extra living area, an extra bath & full kitchen plus our own washer & dryer is very appealing.

Looks like we might extend our stay a few extra days....gotta attend the Fat Tuesday Mardi Gras party!!!!
And we rarely attend anything back home ;) Looking at the calendar here & talking to Pat I think there will be a lot of things that will keep me off the streets & out of trouble. As for Al, well that's up to him but there is a nice billiard room!

I will post photos tomorrow......
In the meantime check out the place: Retama Village