Our life has been evolving for years (more years than we like to admit) but this year we experienced a significant mutation. Most mutations are fatal. The result of our recent mutation remains to be seen, but we have reason to believe that it will result in a brave, new form of life.

Oddly the mutation seems to have affected more than one gene; in fact several: home, geographical location, state of employment, income, and even accumulated collection of stuff. But fortunately it has left other important genes unaffected: loving relationships, state of marriage, interests in reading, biking, kayaking, music, drama, etc. although some of the mutations may affect the expression of some of these unmutated genes.

I am not sure on which chromosomes these genes resided, but the affected genes experienced major changes. Our home of residence shifted from New Jersey to Whidbey Island (605 Peregrine Lane, Oak Harbor, WA 98277 which previously had served as a short duration periodic residence). Even our telephone was affected. Our old land line number (908 766 4463) no longer functions at all, but our mobile numbers (908 303 5603 for Terry and 908 310 4230 for Jan) seem unaffected. And with loss of our long-term relationship with Verizon Internet, even our email gene was affected: our new email addresses are: terry@terryandjan.net or jan@terryandjan.net. Terry's employment seems to have changed from employed to retired although there are signs that it could further mutate to part-time contract. The affect to the income gene is still being assessed. The "accumulated stuff" gene experienced a significant decrease in size some way associated with the mutation to resident location.

The mutation to resident location caused the greatest pain to the family organism, but there is hope that the positive benefits will out weigh the six months of pain (home repair, painting, preparation for sale, marketing, home tours, sale, buyer inspections, lawyers, packing (and discarding), loading truck, closing, ...). The marketing was expected to take two to three months, but amazingly completed in two days. However, that was followed by four or five additional bids, most of which appeared unlikely to get loan approval and one bid accompanied by an emotional email appeal about how the young, not yet married, couple were in love with our house, wanted to start their new life together there, and had arranged to have their search and the selection of our house featured on HGTV House Hunters. Unfortunately they also needed to borrow over 95% of the price.

We are very happy with the selected buyers, who are a very nice mature couple, downsizing after their children are gone. But there was the usual home inspector drama of minor nits, easily corrected. However the inspection process, at least in New Jersey seems to have gotten much more complex than when we purchased. Well, that was 27 years ago. They now do a ground survey with a metal detector looking for buried tanks that might have leaked fuel. This lead to unanticipated drama when they detected a buried tank mostly under our driveway - the opposite side of the house from our previous underground oil tank that we had removed several years ago. The unknown tank was supposedly four by six feet in size, three feet down mostly under the paved driveway but including about one foot to the side. So Terry spent one chilly Sunday digging a trench to four and a half feet down beside the driveway and angling at least six inches under the drive, finding only dirt, rocks and one bent rusty nail. The inspector returned and confirmed that there was a tank there even though it appeared invisible. Finally a new inspector with improved instruments came and found it was only one by five feet and only one foot down and entirely under the drive but at the edge (my trench actually angled UNDER it). He helped dig it out with little damage to the drive and found it to be an abandoned, innocuous, water expansion tank, which our garbage man hauled away (along with the tons of other discarded items that we placed out front over the previous weeks. I will miss some of those handy scraps of wood, metal, ... from previous home improvement projects, but was not willing to pay for the mover to haul them across the continent).

Loading the moving truck went very smoothly. They showed up with with a crew of eight, loaded in five hours and we were very impressed with the care the took in loading. So we thought that all of the drama of the residence mutation was now over except for the unpacking week or so later.

On the way to our new base on Whidbey we stopped in Tennessee to spend Thanksgiving with Jan's sister and brother-in-law. Jan's mother lives with them and we wanted to spend what may be her last Thanksgiving with her - she is 96 and her heart is failing. [As I write we are back in Tennessee since the end appears near.]

Well the drama was not quite over - while riding the shuttle from SeaTac Airport to Whidbey on Monday after Thanksgiving we got a call from the movers asking us how satisfied we were with the unloading - the claimed they had unloaded on Friday! We wondered WHERE they they had unloaded. They called the driver and found that it was a mistaken computer entry and that they would arrive with our stuff on Tuesday about 9 AM. "Oh, by the way can we get our 75 foot van up close to your house?" “No, our house is third down a narrow gravel lane as we explained when we signed the contract”. "Oh, then well have to get a transfer truck."

They actually arrived about 1:30 PM with a crew of only two in a UHaul truck. After a couple of hours, they called for a third helper. About dusk they left to refill the UHaul from their big truck and were gone two hours. They got back long after dark and asked if I had any kind of lights I could rig up so the could see. They finished about 9:30.

[I usually add my two cents worth to what Terry writes, but all I'll say this year is selling a house these days is like spending a month with a proctologist! The relief of having the ordeal over is about the same. -- Jan]

Oh, there was one other drama. We had planned to ship one of our cars to the west coast, but a couple of weeks before the move, Terry was rear-ended on the way to work. The car was drivable but it seemed best to have the body work done on the east coast near our insurance company, but it could not be completed so quickly, so we had to leave the car at the body shop and arrange for a transport to pick it up from them later and bring it to us.

The mutation to the employment gene had minor pains but less drama. Terry had targeted retirement to after his 66th birthday (last September) and so we planned to put the house on the market in August (preparation made us delay to the first of October), expected it to be on the market for two to three months (average for our area), sell, retire and move in the winter (maybe January), but the quick sale (contract in two days) made us speed up everything. So I retired Nov 15. Jan has been retired for ten years and anxious for me to either retire or get a job that allowed us to move to Whidbey Island. I still have mixed feelings about retiring since I really enjoy my work, but I could also enjoy more time for some other activities. But I will miss my work and may look for part-time contract work that I can do mostly from Whidbey.

We will miss our friends on the east coast and our 27 year involvement with the Metro NY Adventist Forum, but there are advantages to our location mutation. Katherine and her husband Bill live 90 minutes away in Seattle. We have often been able to share Christmas with them on Whidbey but now will be able to do things with them in Seattle more often. And we already have many friends on Whidbey (some from our days a Walla Walla) that we will be able to enjoy more. Terry will enjoy more kayaking in the bays near our house and biking on the lovely roads and trails on Whidbey. We also plan to get up into the North Cascade Mountains, over to the Olympic Peninsula, and out to the other San Juan Islands more than we were able to on our previous brief stays on Whidbey.

Even previous to the recent mutation events, there were changes to our family organism. For the past ten years we have traveled to Europe every year. My job included representing ITT/Exelis to an organization that held one meeting a year in Europe. Jan, being retired, accompanied me and we always added a few additional days for personal travel, visiting: Spain, Italy, Belgium, England, Ireland, Netherlands, Germany, France, Czech Republic, ... But with a decrease in government contracts, Exelis eliminated my travel budget and with the burden of preparing our house for sale, we had to skip foreign travel this year (we did get in trips to Whidbey to get the house ready for our moving in and a weekend in New Orleans). With retirement we hope to do more traveling and select our own destinations rather than accommodating a meeting.

We wish all of our friends a Happy Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, New Years, or other Holiday of your choice and another year of happy evolving.

Terry & Jan Anderson