The Death of Convenience – Moving Out of a Metro Area

For those living in a large city or surrounding area, we tend to take for granted the ease of getting things done in our everyday lives. Convenience is hard when moving out of the city.  In the city and metro areas, grocery stores, dry cleaners, video stores, restaurants, and just about anything else we need to survive on a daily basis is either within walking distance or a short drive away. Having a pizza delivered or grabbing a carry-out is second nature. Jumping on an expressway and driving 20 miles to meet up with friends – no big deal – 20 miles for someone living in a city or suburb is a hop, skip and a jump. Then, as the years pass by, you decide to retire or semi-retire and move to that small town that offers a slower and less hectic life – something that you have dreamed about most of your working years. But with the move, you soon discover that you need to adjust to a lifestyle in ways you never thought before.

Convenience is Hard When Moving Out of a Metro Area

When you move to a more rural area, as we have discovered, the conveniences that you took for granted living in a large city or surrounding suburb are a rude awakening that, indeed, you took them for granted. We moved from a large metro area of about 4.2 million people to a town about 10 miles outside of a resort city, with a population for the entire area totaling 140,000. Big difference. We discovered shortly after making the move that our slower and less hectic lifestyle was wonderful, but our ability to get things done at the snap of the fingers was virtually impossible. For instance, trying to find a dry cleaner that has one hour or same day service – not to be found. Pizza delivery – we live too far outside the big city. Video store – they just closed the one by us and we now have to drive to the big city to rent a DVD. Grocery shopping – only in the big city. Restaurants – only a few in our small town and you get tired of the food. Chain stores – only in the big city. Soon after our move, we discovered that we were at least 10 miles away from just about every amenity we grew accustomed to when we lived in a metro area. Now, 10 miles may not seem like much to someone who lives in a big city or suburb, but in a rural area, 10 miles is about a one-half hour drive. Picking up carry-out Chinese food can take an hour. Finding a plumber entails an extra service charge for driving to our house. Renting an on-demand movie is much more expensive than being able to run to the video store to pick up a DVD. Making sure your car has enough gas is always on your mind.

Advantages of Moving to a Small Town

We are by no means complaining of the simpler life we have chosen. Moving to a small town has added years to our lives. We enjoy the comfort of fresh air, the home-town charm of our friends and neighbors, the slow pace, the stress-free attitude, and of course, the beautiful waterside. But, as with everything in life, there is a yin and yang. We love our lifestyle, but we have had to learn to plan better. If we are down in the big city, we do everything at once, because if we forget something, it means another 10 mile trip down the road and 10 miles back. If we are having friends or family visit us, we meet them in the big city for lunch or dinner. If we need gas, it is a staple that we fill up when we are in the big city. Just about everything we do is centered around planning for when we go to the big city. Initially, this was very disruptive, but now it has become reflexive for one of us to ask the other if we need anything in the big city. So, our lifestyle in terms of the physical convenience of getting things done and having things at our fingertips is gone. But our lifestyle in terms of our new way of life far outweighs any of these hassles as we move to the retirement phase of our life. We have adjusted quite well.

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I’ll Always Be A Toys “R” Us Kid

Memories of a True Toy Store – Toys “R” Us

The sheer anticipation of walking up and down the aisles of Toys “R” Us and picking out the toy of my choice are some of my best childhood memories. Our family did not have a lot of money, so when my mom and dad told us we were going to Toys “R” Us, we knew dad got a good paycheck and they were going to share in the wealth. Oh . . . the waiting . . and the exhilaration the minute we got into the car dressed in our Sunday best to drive to the store where we each were allowed to pick out one item. My imagination went wild with the thought of traversing the aisles. Should I get a doll? A game? Or, maybe a puzzle? How about baseball bat? A paint set? Choices, choices, choices. But I could only pick one and it took time to make that kind of a decision. Up and down the aisles.  Then up and down the aisles again and again looking at every single item within my eyesight.  Fortunately, there were five of us kids, and it took a lot of time for everyone to zero in on their one item. When I finally did choose, I would act like it was something that was purchased at FAO Schwartz, delicately handling it and not letting anyone else touch it or play with it because it was, of course, from Toys “R” Us, which in my world, based on our income level, was a luxury store.

Unfortunately, on March 15, 2018, Toys “R” Us announced it was going away. The stores will liquidate and close their doors. The iconic giraffe Geoffrey (which I never really understood the connection between a toy store and a giraffe), we will see no more. The founder, Charles Lazarus, died just days after the announcement that the stores would be closing for good. A sad ending for an iconic brick and mortar specialty store.

I can’t imagine growing up without Toys “R” Us in my life and the joy I felt just walking through the front doors. I don’t know how kids these days can achieve the same level of excitement by their parents shopping on Amazon, or by walking down two or three aisles at Walmart or Target. I mean, Toys “R” Us was an entire store devoted only to kids. Kids ruled. The thought that our youth will not enjoy a similar life experience with a store of their own is heartbreaking.