March 5, 1984, I moved into the house where I’m still living. That I would still be residing here 29 years later was part of my Master Plan. I distinctly remember telling Sharon Kaino, the realtor who helped me navigate the paperwork, that I’d probably die in this house—the first house I’d ever purchased.

She smiled knowingly and said, “That’s what everyone says.”

But I knew I had a better than average chance of still owning this house far into the future. I’d made a list of 35 things I wanted in my “perfect” house. I carried that list with me every time Sharon patiently showed me another potential place to buy. This went on for four years. Yes, years!

And then one rainy, cold, Sunday afternoon in early February, we walked into this one. It had been empty for almost nine months. I’d actually known the previous owners, but had never been inside.

I walked across the living room, peeked into the rec room, looped through the kitchen and walked the hallway past the bedrooms in just a few short minutes. Then I sat down on the step between the dining room and the living room. Without a word, Sharon sat down beside me.

Pointing to the 12-foot window in front of us and moving my finger up and down from floor to ceiling and back, I said, “The Christmas tree goes right there.” And it always has.

This house had 31 of the 35 things on my list. Percentage-wise, that’s 89% (if you round off .88571428571429). A very solid B+.

I more than doubled the size of the property by purchasing adjoining land a few years later. That made it 32 of 35. And somehow, for all these 29 years, I’ve managed quite well without a walk-in pantry, writing loft, and a hot tub on the deck.

Over time, the woodshed morphed into a dog pen and then a boathouse, but other than adding numerous rhododendrons and a few apple trees, not much else has changed. My choice has served me well, and I trust it will continue to do so for a very long time.

I may actually die in this house, but that’s not part of my Master Plan for many, many years to come!