I mentioned we moved to Illinois and one of the things I have fun with is what one calls themselves when residing in a particular state. 

Illinoisian be the official answer . . . pretty boring, you’d have to agree.  

Illinoisninian or Illinoisinian are more interesting names but they might have me mistaken for being an Illinois Indian. 

Illinoisionite could fit the bill but it just doesn’t have a ring to it . . . but Illinoisianinianite carries the mystique I’m looking for as well as integrating all the other possibilities.

It’s settled; Illinoisianinianites we be.

The term Illinoisianinianites will be called upon to do some heavy lifting because of what we’ve already experienced countless times in the last month.

“Where did you move from?”

“Hawaiʻi,” we answer.

We know what comes next; a confused look as people try to process the idea of moving from Hawaiʻi to Illinois. Southern Illinois, at that. So, let me explain things and clear up people’s confusion.

A word of caution; some of you had gotten this information about a month ago when the sellers accepted our offer and I e-mailed an update. Meaning, it’s old news to you, especially since I’m lifting some of the text nearly verbatim from the e-mails I sent out.

Where did we settle? Marion, Illinois. It’s not entirely a middle-of-nowhere place as it ranked 14th in THIS article. It has more eating places than is probably good for us.

That is one (but not the main) contributors to my current unsculpted pear-shaped physique. But, it also has one of the most impressive gyms we’ve ever seen. The Hub. We are joining and firing up our 5-days-a-week-at-the-gym routine next week.

Can’t deny another big contributor to our decision was the housing cost. The property taxes are higher than other places, but the housing cost differential more than makes up for it. I estimate the break-even timeframe is past our expected life span.

But, let’s step back just a moment . . . Hawaiʻi. We went there in 2016 to check out if living in the Tropics was for us. It isn’t.

Mind you, we love Hawaiʻi and plan on visiting it again, but several factors convinced us it wasn’t going to be our final resting place. Still, the plan was to live there for several years and enjoy the carefree life of vagabond renters. And, truth be told, we’d still be there complacently eating malasadas, spam, and super locos except that our lease was up at the end of December.

We had a cruise scheduled for January, and our original plan was to spend a few months on the mainland before returning to the Big Island. A couple of personal events had us reshape those plans.

Personal events aside, while vagabonding is fun and carefree, it’s not really us. I like to nest. I like to shape my environment to my tastes, something you can’t do when you’re renting. The timing was opportune for us to start looking for a permanent place.

Or, as permanent a place can be since we seem to move every ten years or so.

Are those Turtles?
Is that a Heron?

So . . . what were we looking for?

Our requirements for a home were: one-level living with a maximum of 2,800 sqft, preferably in move-in condition with a nice kitchen and updated bathrooms and enough room to have an office (for me) and sewing room (for Melisa) and a guest bedroom (for anyone crazy enough to visit).

Things like gas heating and gas cooking, no vaulted ceilings (over 10ft), three cars garage, decent closets, minimal to no carpets (hardwood floors preferred), in an established neighborhood, and a property lot with at least 0.5 acres were preferences but not deal breakers (as it happens, this house meets all of them).

Our search took into consideration Health Services (number and availability of doctors and rating for local medical entities), shopping, weather, congestion, cost of living, cost of housing, income/property/sales taxes, and a few other intangibles that were more preferences than requisites.

Based on research we did before coming back for a looky-look, we’d narrowed our search area to Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and possibly Michigan as a last resort.

Illinois was not on our radar because, you know . . . Illinois.

And yet, here we are.

I didn’t know Turtles were visiting . . .
. . . I should probably freshen up; I smell a bit ripe.

Now, I know what people are saying . . . but . . . but . . . IT’S ILLINOIS!!!

For the past 40 years, that’s been our exact reaction when considering Illinois.

If I said we live in Hawaiʻi people’s faces light up, big smiles appear, and their interest level rises. Same (but to a slightly lesser extent) for Colorado and even Michigan.

Tell someone we live in Illinois and you get a blank stare, the listener’s brain unable to process the information as being meaningful in any conceivable way.

As I said, that was me.

That’s the emotional reaction, BUT . . . quantifying the reasons for that reaction so they could be used to justify moving to a different area (Tennessee, Georgia) proved difficult.

I mean, all three states have religious people . . . but so did Colorado and even Hawaii is steeped in local religious beliefs that rival Christianity as far as, you know, being out there. Really, none of my business so no preference for any one state over another.

Marion Illinois is slow-growing, but we’re not fans of high-growth areas. Besides, hot real estate markets have big swings in prices. Places like this? Not so much . . . not that we’re looking for investment property anyway.

Weather consideration means trading a few days here and there; a few more cold days a few less hot days and different kinds of storms. As 90% of our time is spent indoors, again, not a big deal.

Health care, shopping, safety, amenities in general . . . check, check, check, check.

Really, it came down to not finding justification for the added premium of living in three to six hours further south . . . and that made us look at the area with different eyes. It also helps that most of our relatives live in Illinois.

One strong objection I had with living in Illinois was the restrictive gun laws but the Supreme Court took care of that and I now look forward to carrying again (something I couldn’t do in Hawaii); I’ve already picked out my weapons of choice. 

I can’t say we’ll end up here for good, but it suits us right now. As I said, we have a habit of moving about every ten years . . . so mark your calendars and check back with us then.

There’s a bit of a bookending happening as we met at and we both graduated from Southern Illinois University. Our first few years of married life, before moving to Michigan, were spent in Carbondale (about 18 miles west of here) . . . but with considerably less money. Not to say we’re looking to actually bookend our lives and it’s certainly not indicative of — as some have suggested — some sort of fate or prescribed life.

A bit about our new place . . .

. . . the previous owners experienced a lightning strike in August of last year and as a result, the house came with all new appliances.

. . . also, their water heater burst a few weeks before we made our offer so we have brand new hardwood floors throughout the house. Well, almost the whole house; two rooms are carpeted, but not for long (three more days to be exact).

. . . the place was superficially clean . . . but not D’Alise clean. That’s well along being remedied.

. . . I’ve already replaced all the “warm” lights with 5000º K lights (daylight setting), making the place considerably brighter.

. . . the landscaping had been neglected and that’s a work in progress.

. . . we had our first homeowner’s maintenance expense: the spring to the main garage door broke a few days after we moved in and had to be replaced. The other will likely go in the near future as both are original to when the house was built. That’s about normal for those kinds of springs.

. . . the gutters need cleaning (inside) and painting (outer surface). That’s something I’ll do.

. . . the concrete needs a good power washing before we put down our own outdoor furniture and various flower pots.

. . . the siding also needs a power wash.

. . . the garage will get a fresh coat of paint in addition to being set up per my wants.

Man, my ass stinks of bird shit . . .
Wait . . . did I say that aloud?
I sure hope them Turtles weren’t listening.

So, anyway, we’re homeowners again. We’ll see how it works out, but we’re looking forward to being settled again.

I certainly have snapped more photos of birds here in Illinois than I did in Hawaiʻi.

And, I finally captured an action shot of a Mallard farting . . . 

No shame, it had. 

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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