Friday, March 15, 2019
Another day busy running around. First the bank for the cashier’s check for closing. Then drop it to the title company. Blood work and the doctors finish off the day.
Thursday, March 14, 2019
Guess what I have to do today. Reschedule FPL, PODS delivery, insurance and everything else. But it’s all good. We’re closing a week earlier!
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Alex, Skip and I take a trek to IKEA, mostly as a scouting mission to find information for the kitchen and other parts of the house. While we’re driving to IKEA, I get a call asking if we want to move the closing up a week. Hell, yes! Only catch, I have to make calls to move everything up a week.
Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Today I’m helping Skip with paperwork and fixing his iPad. Then it’s off to Alex’s doctor with a stop at the roofer to get things moving.
Monday, March 11, 2019
In the eighties and humid today. I’m staying in doing odds and ends like scheduling FPL, investigating the bank wire transfer for the closing and other details for the house closing.
Sunday, March 10, 2019
A relaxing day. I walk by myself while Alex watches NASCAR.
Saturday, March 9, 2019
We’re having lunch with Basia and Ola at First Watch, a cafe chain that selves health-minded breakfast, brunch & lunch options. We’ve never been here but found the food quite good. It is always good to spend time with two of my favorite people. Afterwards, we stop at Lowe’s in North Port and then Harbor Freight for a pole saw, chain saw, and reciprocating saw. I sense a pattern here.
Friday, March 8, 2019
A few errands before Alex doctor. We stop at Charley’s for lunch, check out hot tubs at Recreation Warehouse. Then PetSmart, Home Depot, Publix and Walmart. Nothing like a day of running around.
Thursday, March 7, 2019
It’s a day of rest. Poco and I go for a walk and she throws up. When we get home I take the lining out of the carriage and find it’s wet and smells of mold. Alex and I pull the stroller apart to clean the mold. I now think I have found the source of Poco’s recent illness. Mold will do it to you.
Wednesday, March 6, 2019
While Alex stays home and works with Skip to trace a leak in Skip’s coach, I drive to Fort Myers for a neurological test. When I’m done, I make a stop at Lumber Liquidators. They’ve moved their location to US-41 since the last time we bought from them. I have to say I was disappointed in the selection. I don’t see one wood floor I like. There is one floor tile that has possibilities, but it still hasn’t topped my favorite so far.
I continue my search for my canned seltzer with a stop at the Walmart in North Fort Myers with no success. You wouldn’t think getting plain seltzer would be so difficult.
Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Another trip to Port Charlotte to see Alex’s primary doctor. This time his doctor gives him piece of mind that his back, hip and knee problems just need some time and exercise in the form of walking. Where have I heard that before? We stop at Pioneer Pizza for lunch, but the place is packed with people waiting outside, so we go to Bella Napoli instead.
Monday, March 4 2019
Day four of not doing anything except the taxes. Ick! Double ick!
Sunday, March 3, 2019
It time to gather all the tax info. Ick! When I’ve had enough, I take Poco for a walk, once around the track and once around the park. She has been back to her normal, Loco self. She does a spit up while we waking. This is her first time out since our vet trip. We stop at Skip’s and Alex joins us on his bike. Then he’s home for the race.
Saturday, March 2, 2019
Second day in a row we don’t have to go anywhere. This is nice. I do some paperwork and start drawing out the kitchen design, trying to get an idea of the cabinet and appliance layout. I can’t confirm anything until we’re in and I can double check our measurements.
Friday, March 1, 2019
We’re home chilling today. We bike three times around the track and once around the park.
Thursday, February 28, 2019
We head down to Fort Myers this morning for my doctor appointment. We’re giving ourselves plenty of extra time to stop at Five Guys for lunch before my appointment. Last time we stopped before Alex’s appointment, it was so busy we had to eat our food in the car and bring the French fries and drink into the waiting room. This time, because we gave ourselves and hour to order, eat and drive to the doctors, there was no one in the restaurant. Murphy’s Law!
After the doctors, we head over to Tile Outlets of America to scout out tile for the floor for the new house and to see what kind of accent tiles they have for the bathrooms and kitchen. You can get lost in this place and it was after four before we left with plenty of possibilities and photos to remember our choices.
Wednesday, February 27, 2019
We wake up this morning thinking we’re going to Alex’s doctor appointment. Funny how things don’t turn out like you plan.
There’s something wrong with Princess Poco. She’s definitely not herself. She is just lying in her palace. She looks like she had a stroke. She’s not pestering for breakfast, she’s not bounding all over everything, she’s just looking at us like she’s stoned. When we get her out and up on her feet, it looks like she can barely stand. She’s moving in ultra slow motion, like it’s too painful to walk. We cancel Alex’s doctor appointment and drive down to the vet. Two hundred dollars, and an hour later, all they can find is a slight urinary track infection. We leave with two weeks of antibiotics to give her. By the time we get home, she’s better, still not her wild, crazy self, but much better. We get her started on the antibiotics.
On the housing front, Skip has decided to move forward with his condo, in spite of the appraisal and the homeowner’s refusal to negotiate.
Tuesday, February 26, 2019
It’s cloudy today while we wait for the rain to come. Around one, it starts to rain. It rains all afternoon. Everything is flooding. Skip stops by to tell us his appraisal came in lower than the purchase price and he’s now faced with a decision to kick in more money or walk away. The owner refuses to budge on the purchase price. Nothing is ever easy.
Monday, February 25, 2019
It’s cloudy and cool, seventies, today. A nice change from the high eighties we have been having. Too early for this hot kind of weather. We take a bike ride to the farmers market at the clubhouse to get some fruits and vegetables. After dropping our purchases at home, we bike around the track three times and once around the park, with a stop at Skip’s, but he’s not back from his home inspection yet. Later in the afternoon Skip and Lucy stop by. Lucy went to the groomer after the inspection and is looking and feeling much better. She has been sick since last Tuesday and this is the first time the day has gone without incidence. As we expected, the home inspection was flawless. Skip got a great price on the condo furniture and is considering purchasing most, if not all, of it.
Sunday, February 24, 2019
Poco and I walk once around the park and twice around the track, with a stop at Skip’s. Alex joins up on his bike. It’s 87, and when Poco reaches her overheated point, we head home. I spend the afternoon relaxing and watching junk on television while Alex watches the NASCAR race.
Saturday, February 23, 2019
We’re heading to RJ’s Cafe and New England Seafood in Port Charlotte to see Karen play her first paying gig. Oddly enough, the restaurant is down the street from our new home. Skip is joining us, but is driving separately, as he is planning on meeting up with a new friend. The place is small. Karen is playing at the door. We’re told we have to wait for a table even though there is a round five person table available. Two more people come in behind us, then two more behind them. There’s no place to go without standing in front of Karen. I ask why we can’t sit at the vacant table. I’m told it is reserved for large parties and our party of three can’t sit, but two people can sit at a four person table. I recruit the two women behind us, but no, we still can’t sit. People keep trying to come in but we are a wall of people at the door. I go to the counter and ask for a manager who tells me we can’t sit at the big table, “What would I do if a party of six comes in?” Really, you have nine people standing here and you’re worrying about a mythical party of six showing up! A table for two opens and the waitress seats a couple two places behind us. The two women behind us argue with the waitress, thank me for speaking up and walk out. We wait. Eventually, we get a table. But the fun is not over yet.
They’re out of Yuengling and several other beers. Alex orders his beer and fish and chips, Skip an Italian panini and me a Reuben. Before long, the waitress comes back to tell Skip the bread is burned, but they can make the sandwich on a sub and toast it. She comes back with our drinks. My Merlot is a breathe away from vinegar. When the food arrives, Alex’s fish looks and tastes good. Skip’s sandwich isn’t bad. My Reuben is good, but I got the dregs of the French fries, all burnt crumbs. While we’re eating, a party of two sits at one of the big tables. Do you think they’re learning? Another five person table has a young couple with their child sitting with an elderly couple so they don’t have to wait. And then the bill comes $97.05. Oops! Time for a redo. Karen was awesome, and I am glad we went. Most of the people there were for her. The restaurant needs that television show to come and do a remake of the place. Not a place I’ll be going back to.
Friday, February 22, 2019
We finally get an answer from the sellers. We asked for a large sum of money to cover the roof and a few other things. They countered with an offer only two thousand less than we were asking. We agree. We have a house.
While our craziness has been going on, Skip has been negotiating his condo, the one we saw on Valentine’s Day. That seems to have been a good day for us all. It appears we have cause to celebrate, both of us are going to be homeowners in Port Charlotte. What makes me most happy with our choices is we can reach each other’s homes without going on the dreaded US 41, one of my least favorite roads in the world. To celebrate, we go to Beef O’Brady’s for dinner. Not the fanciest of places but we don’t feel like making the trek to Charlotte county for anything better. Here, in Arcadia, our choices are limited. Beef O’Brady’s will have to do for now.
Thursday, February 21, 2019
I desperately need to get my nails done and I manage to get a ten o’clock appointment. When I’m finished I stop at Ace Hardware and score the exact size piece of plywood we need to fix the cat shelf in the scrap pile. They even let me have it for free. How great is that?
When I get home, the counter proposal project starts with Della for the items that need work on the house. We spend the day sitting and waiting. If I didn’t just get my nails done, I would nervously chew them to the bone. Della informs us the other realtor is to meet with the sellers tomorrow. Another sleepless night.
Wednesday, February 20, 2019
The last roofer went to the house this morning. I get his estimate this afternoon. Now we can review the estimates and make a counter offer.
We head down to Bonita Springs tonight to the Southwest Florida Event Center to see our friend Karen’s friend Dave open for Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, a favorite band of mine. This is the first time we have been to this theater and I have to say the acoustics are really bad. In spite of the lousy sound, both Dave and Southside were great. We had a great time.
Tuesday, February 19, 2019
We’re driving to the house to meet the first contractor at ten for a roof estimate. The second one didn’t give us a time, just sometime on Tuesday. Not much we can do there. When we’re done, we make a scouting mission to Home Depot to check out things we will need for the house. We have time to kill until the next appointment. The well inspector is due between noon and two. He is supposed to call first so we can meet him. Just as we’re finishing up at Home Depot, the well inspector calls. He apologizes. He didn’t get the message about calling us until he got back to the office. He can meet us if we want. We talk with him while looking at the report he has already sent. No need for another trip. Our questions are answered. With our missions accomplished, we head home.
As I walk into the bathroom, I am greeted by the cat window shelf down on the floor. The particle board of the shelf crumbled at the point where the hardware was attached and down it came. One of our fur babies must have had a wild ride. We’ll have to get some plywood to repair it. Too bad we didn’t know while we were in Home Depot.
Monday, February 18, 2019
I spend the day lining up roofing contractors to get estimates and booking a well equipment inspection. A conversation with our friends at Croys Cooling makes us feel a little better about the air conditioner. All the roofers and the well inspection will happen Tuesday and Wednesday. We should the estimates by end of day Wednesday giving us the information we need to make a counter offer. I need this to be over with!
Sunday, February 17, 2019
Today is the only day Elite Inspections can do the inspection before next week. Della arranged it so we didn’t have to do it at the end of the ten day inspection period. While Raymond does his inspection, we take pictures and measurements of the house. When the inspection is finished we learn the house has many issues, the biggest being it needs a new roof, the well system is iffy and the air conditioner isn’t much better. Time to get estimates.
Saturday, February 16, 2019
We get a counter offer from the sellers. They want five thousand more than our offer. We know there are a lot of issues with the house, ripped screens, cracked tiles, broken windows, in addition to the more serious problems. We talk it over with Della and decide to give them the extra money and see what the inspection shakes out. There will be issues and we can renegotiate then. They agree and we are officially under contract. We have a house. Maybe.
I contact the home inspector to set up the inspection. He’s booked until Friday. When I let Della know the date and time, she tells me that doesn’t work for her. She calls the inspector and they agree to tomorrow, Sunday. Works for us. The sooner we know, the sooner we can put this thing to bed.
Friday, February 15, 2019
The stress continues. The cancellation of the doggie door house is complete and we put in a contract on the hoarder house. Now we wait.
Thursday, February 14, 2019
It’s Valentines Day and we’re going with Skip to see a new condo he found that he likes better than the last one. He’s seen it, but wants us to check it out. Before we leave the house, we ask Della to schedule a viewing of our new find, either today after Skip’s viewing or, tomorrow after our doggie door home inspection. We want to reach a decision by the weekend. The stress is killing me.
We drive to Skip’s new condo find where we meet up with Della. It’s a gated community, so Della gets us through the gate. The development is next door to our friends Vicki and Charlene. Their backyards face each other, with a patch of vacant land between them. This condo is even better than the last. Private entrance, granite counter tops, stainless appliances, big bedrooms, close to the pool and clubhouse. It’s a winner. It’s about three hundred square feet bigger than the last in the same price range. A no brainer!
When we’re done marveling over Skip’s find, we head over to our house. We couldn’t tell much about the inside of the house from the listing pictures because there was just too much clutter. More like one piece of stuff away from a hoarder episode. But, we’re not buying the stuff, just the bones. When we go inside, I am pleasantly surprised. They must have done some work because the place isn’t as cluttered as the pictures. It’s dusty, but you can see the walls, all of which will need endless holes filled. It’s a little bigger in square footage than our doggie door house, but the layout works. We could actually get our few possessions in the house and live while we update it. The lanai is a good size and there are two sheds, one that either needs a new exterior or, to be knocked down if the structure is bad. It’s hard to tell with it being jammed pack. The bathrooms are in sorry need of work, one shower is a thirty inch walled box, and the kitchen is mismatched cabinets, old appliances and, as an added bonus, they painted the counter tops with the stone look paint. When you run your hand over them, you can feel all the paint flecks. It’s not a flat surface. But still, the house has good bones to work with. We can tell from looking that there are some problems, like the roof, air conditioning and water system. This poor house hasn’t had any TLC since she’s was built in 1993.
We both like this house and decide to cancel the inspection and contract on the doggie door house. We are going to put in an offer on the hoarder house. Della will send us comps later today and the cancellation papers. I feel better already.
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
It’s pouring and I have the dentist this morning. Nothing I love more than driving fifty miles each way in the rain. The drive gives me more time to ponder the doggie house. I’m growing less happy with it and more excited about one of our finds. The ride up and back is a debate in my head of the pros and cons of our contract house versus our new find.
While in Port Charlotte, I make my obligatory stops at Publix and Walmart. I just can’t get some things in Arcadia. When I get home, we are back on the housing dilemma debate. We keep looking at the new find.
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Skip is off to NASA on a bus trip organized by the RV Park. We’re dog sitting Lucy. We stop by Skip’s to let Lucy out before we go driving by the group of new houses. There are two that hit the top of the list, both in Port Charlotte, one in what we call west county and the other in what’s referred to as northwest Port Charlotte. One is a half acre the other one acre. They are giving us something to think about. Both are homes that need to be updated, but both have the square footage and floor plan that would allow us to move in with our meager furniture and update on our own timeframe. We stop at Skip’s on the way home to let Lucy out. Back at home, our confusion consumes us.
Monday, February 11, 2019
My doubts are growing. I’m afraid the doggie door property will be too much for us at our age. I don’t mind the renovation, I do mind having to tend so much land at this point in our lives. If we want to continue traveling, a smaller property might be better. Another sticking point with this property is that although it is zoned agricultural, the home owners association does not allow any bees or other commercial business on the property. They have a real problem with bees, mentioning them specifically many times in the HOA documentation. We wouldn’t be able to do anything on the property that would allow us to apply for an AG status to get a better tax rate.
I start yet another search. With the new parameters, the search gives us seven other possible houses. In the meantime, the home inspection is scheduled for Friday.
Sunday, February 10, 2019
We sign the counter offer for the house. I’m not one hundred percent sold on it. We have to replace the doors, get a riding mower, expand the barn/garage for Claudia, redo the kitchen and living space and turn the man cave back into a garage. Not to mention brush cutting and buying the equipment to do it. The remodel is a one time thing, the land is a constant thing. I would rather have something that isn’t quite that much work on a daily basis. Getting someone to mow that much land when we’re off traveling is going to be a big expense. The discussion continues.
Saturday, February 9, 2019
We drive around and look at a few houses from the latest search. There are one or two possibilities. Reluctantly, we decide to move forward with the doggie door house and accept the seller’s counter offer.
Friday, February 8, 2019
We decide to put in an offer on the doggie door house. We come in low knowing the work needed to make it livable. The owner counters with an offer not much lower than his asking price. We’re unsure. Everything we own in this world is either in the POD or in the coach and we can’t even fit it into this house as it is now. I start another search, this time with less acreage. I find a few possibilities. We decide to have a look tomorrow before making our decision.
Thursday, February 7, 2019
We spend the day weighing the one house, doggie doors and all. With renovations we could get it to work. It’s a big decision. We decide to sleep on it.
Wednesday, February 6, 2019
We met Della at the house with great prospects. The land is very nice. The house, not so much. To start with, they have a giant dog that we meet. The puppy isn’t the problem. The giant sized doggie doors in all the exterior doors are. Before we would even move in, we would have to replace all the outside doors or risk animals or humans entering uninvited. The 2,000 square feet is the next problem. It is far from 2,000 square feet. The living room dining room combination is barely big enough for a table and sofa. The garage has been turned into a man cave and there’s that doggie door again. The kitchen is little bigger than what is in the coach. I add up the listing dimensions and get 792. The drawing on the county website shows 1,372. To top it off, the very small rooms are painted in the darkest colors you could imagine. It looks like a Sherwin Williams paint store vomited on the walls. I’m very, very disappointed.
We drive to the ten acre property. You know a property could be awful when the listing doesn’t show one picture of the interior of the home. Sad to say, my fears were well founded. The listing said the owner was working on the house but it could use some TLC. Never mind TLC, it really needs a bulldozer. It should have been a tear down but instead the owner was putting lipstick on a pig. It was bad, really bad. For me to say that, you know it is brutal. The income property, which is a mobile home, was a palace compared to the house. The property was nice, but we’re not looking for that kind of project.
Next, we are off to meet Skip at a condo he’s interested in. It is in Lake Suzy on one of the lakes. At a little under 1,400 square feet, it is nice with great potential. Two bedrooms, two baths, a den and on the water. He’s seriously considering it.
Tuesday, February 5, 2019
We spend the morning talking about our property choices. The recent brush with death and the coming to terms with ones own mortality has caused us to change direction. The prospect of building a house at our advancing age has made us decide to look for a house with some property. I start a search and find two possible houses. We get dressed and drive by each. One is ten acres with an income property but the main house looks like it could need plenty of work. The other shows great promise. It’s on five acres, fenced, has a barn/garage that may work for Claudia, has a pond and claims to be 2,000 square feet of house in our price range. I contact Della to get us a viewing. Then we are off to get Alex an MRI.
Monday, February 4, 2019
I canceled all of my physical therapy sessions last week while Alex was in the hospital, but I go to today’s session. I decide to cancel all the remaining appointments. I have the exercises so I can do them at home and doing this three times a week is too much like work. Since we’ve been back in Florida, we haven’t had any down time and I would really like to do a bit of nothing for a while.
Back at home, we begin the property discussion again now that Alex is on the mend. I bring up the listing of the five acre piece we have been wanting only to find there is a contract on it. We are so disappointed. It’s our own fault. We waited to see if Alex was going to be fit enough to take on that size property. Back to square one.
Sunday, February 3, 2019
A day of doing nothing but resting and a short walk for the both of us to the trash and Skip’s. Alex has to start his walking exercises as per the doctor.
Saturday, February 2, 2019
While Alex rests, I go to Walmart for his medicines and to pick up a few things. I stop at Wendy’s to pick up salads for lunch, then a quick stop at Publix where I change our lunch order to roast beef subs. Salad can wait till tomorrow.
Friday, February 1, 2019
In overnight hours, while I sleep, Alex crashes. His blood pressure drops to 50/30. They frantically work on him to keep him in this world. When I get to the hospital, I learn of the night’s events. Alex tells me about his near death experience (NDE). He was out of his body and saw everything from above. The experience has left him shaken and ever so slightly freaked out. His blood pressure is still dangerously low. The nurses are coming in at regular intervals to check it. His numbers slowly come up during the day. By evening, they reach a point where they will release him. I would rather he stay where he can be monitored. The thought of him crashing at home isn’t sitting right with me. But, in the early evening hours, they release him and we carefully make the long, bumpy journey home. It’s almost nine when we get in the door. He’s happy to be home. So am I and so are the kitties who have been by themselves into the night all week. Everyone will sleep good tonight.
Thursday, January 31, 2019
Morning comes and Alex’s headache is gone. The doctor allows him to get up. He’s feeling better, not perfect, but better. Two surgeries in two days can do that to you. The drain is gone now so sitting or lying down is much more comfortable for him. He’s managing to eat more. They may release him later today, but more than likely it will be tomorrow. We’re both looking forward to that happening.
Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Alex isn’t feeling any better. They take him for an MRI, which doesn’t show any problem. But the doctor suspects a bone fragment nicked the spinal cord and fluid is leaking out causing the headache and leg pain. Apparently, this can happen. Taking no chances, they take him in for a second surgery.
I sit and wait. The doctor comes to tell me they found a hole. He stitched and glued it. Now Alex has to stay in bed till tomorrow with no more than 30 degree elevation. This time he listens and stays put. The stakes are too high not to obey the doctor’s orders. We manage to get him at a comfortable elevation to have some dinner and then to sleep. I kiss him good night and make the trek back to Arcadia.
Tuesday, January 29, 2019
Alex is feeling good. He walked down to the physical therapy room and climbed the stairs without pain. He’s very happy. Unfortunately, the great feeling is short lived. Around noon, he gets a killer headache and excruciating pain down his left leg. He’s screaming and cursing. He’s ordered to stay in bed with no more than a 30 degree elevation. They turn off the pump on the spinal drain since the fluid is almost clear. This will put less strain on the spinal column and hopefully help the headache. But Alex being Alex, he decides to get up to go to the bathroom. While he’s in there, he calls for me. Blood is coming from the bandage over his incision. I mop up the blood and have him hold tissues where it’s leaking while I run for a nurse. The wound wasn’t bleeding, the pump backed up and was spilling out. It’s back in bed for him. He will be spending another night in the hospital. If he’s not better in the morning, they will do an MRI to find the problem. Dinner comes and I get him in a position where he manages to eat a little. He’s not very hungry. The pain meds kick in and he drifts off to sleep. I make the journey back to Arcadia.
Monday, January 28, 2019
Today is the long awaited day for Alex to have his back surgery, a laminectomy, to correct his stenosis. We get up at five and make the long, boring ride to the hospital. We have to be there for 8:30. The surgery is scheduled for eleven thirty but the pre-op preparation takes awhile. A little before noon they roll him away and I head to the cafeteria for lunch before settling in to wait.
When the surgery is over, a volunteer informs he is be taken to his room. He’s going to be spending the night. No surprise there. I head over to his room where they are still getting him settled in. He’s looking good, and more importantly, he’s feeling good. No more pain when he walks. Granted, he’s still drugged, but he’s optimistic.
I stay with him through dinner and tuck him in, then make the long, dark ride home. It’s almost nine before I get in. The kitties are hungry and think I abandoned them.
Sunday, January 27, 2019
Since I have containers of red gravy, naturally I am making lasagna today. This gives us an easy repeatable meal this week with Alex’s surgery tomorrow.
Saturday, January 26, 2019
Today is red gravy day. It takes the entire day to make, but in the end it’s a great dinner and then it’s lots of work to pack it into containers and food saver the meat. But so worth it!
Friday, January 25, 2019
A boring day of physical therapy for the both of us.
Thursday, January 24, 2019
I’m flying solo today. I have a doctor appointment in Port Charlotte this morning. A quick stop to Publix on Peachland and then Walmart on Kings Highway before heading home.
Wednesday, January 23, 2019
It’s physical therapy for both of us this morning. Then a walk around the track and park for Poco and me.
Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Alex has PT first thing this morning, then we make the long drive to Lee Memorial in Fort Myers for the necessary tests for back surgery next week. By the time we get home, it’s late afternoon.
Monday, January 21, 2019
We drive to Alex’s doctor appointment in Port Charlotte, then stop next door to do the blood work he requests. Since great pizza is right around the corner, we stop at Pioneer Pizza for lunch before heading home.
Sunday, January 20, 2019
A peaceful, cold day at home. The high is only sixty four. We have steady winds of 16 mph with gusts up to thirty. Add in big, dark clouds and it’s not an outside day. Our only journey into the weather was to walk over to Skip’s to let Lucy out while he went back up to the RV Show with his friend Roger.
Saturday, January 19, 2019
Today is catching up on paperwork day and filling out my Medicare Part D & F forms. This is the one good thing about turning sixty five, cheaper medical insurance. Even with Medicare and the other insurances, it will cost less than forty percent of what I have to pay now. Bring it on birthday.
Alex rides his bike while I walk Poco in her stroller twice around the track and once around the park. Then we sit on our patio enjoying the warmer weather while we can. Rain is coming in during the night bringing a cold front again.
Friday, January 18, 2019
It’s my last day to kitty sit Cuddles. And it’s another six o’clock morning. I take care of her and drive to Port Charlotte for my dentist appointment at nine thirty. Alex and Skip are off checking out the roads and properties around the property we have become interested in. We have moved up our appointment with Della to this afternoon. We want to either rule it out or get moving on it.
It’s noon when I get home. We have a fast lunch and go to Alex’s PT. When he’s done, we drive over and meet Della to walk property. It’s still very nice. The drawback is the road and the dead, burned palm trunks left in piles on the property. But, mostly the road. The neighbor to our left, has four pit bulls that snarl, bark and run the fence. We will be putting lots of bamboo along that fence if we purchase the property. And I guess I’ll be buying lots or Puperonni treats to make friends. We couldn’t get into the shed nor see inside, but it looked pretty good structurally, just needs a good power washing. The mounds from the tree farm are still evident wherever you walk. This didn’t bother me, but did bother Alex. Overall, we still like it. There is supposed to be some sort of maintenance agreement for the road which Della has been trying to get from the listing agent. The listing agent doesn’t bother to return calls. I think I may be paying her a visit Monday.
We were going to go to the county to see about getting answers to our questions, but decide that four thirty on a Friday of a three day weekend might not yield the best results, so we decide to wait till Tuesday.
Since we are seriously considering this property, we decide to drive to Bella Napoli, one of our favorite pizza places, to see what the drive would be like. It’s not awful. And I t could be our opportunity to get supplies at a bigger Publix and Walmart, which are right in the neighborhood when the pizza urge strikes us. We have an early dinner of pizza while contemplating the pros and cons of the property.
Thursday, January 17, 2019
And so begins day two of getting up early. Another six o’clock morning!
Get dressed, eat, feed my kitties, then over to feed Cuddles. We have to drive down to Fort Myers to the neurosurgeon for my back. I have my back issues that would require surgery, but he wants me to see a neurologist before we go down the surgery road. He’s the second doctor to confirm my suspicions of neuropathy. I’m also going to try PT for the back issues.
It’s a few minutes before noon. We were at the doctors all morning since after nine. We’re starving, so we hit Five Guys for my burger and a hot dog for Alex. Then it’s back up to Arcadia where I drop Alex at PT. I make a quick stop at home to open more windows for the kitties. The day is turning a bit warmer. The mornings have been cold in the forties, but the afternoons are in the sixties. In the tin can house, that translates to very warm. I run to Walmart for milk and a few things before heading back to PT to pick Alex up.
When we get home, we’re tired. We set the cat tent up outside and put all three kitties in for some fresh air while we sit outside and debate our property dilemma. We’ve been revisiting the property off FL-31, thinking maybe it could work. I contact Della to meet on Saturday so we can walk the property, this time inside the fence.
Skip and Lucy drop by and stay till it starts to get dark. That’s the dinner bell for the mosquitos, so Skip leaves, Alex goes in and I bike over to feed Cuddles. While I watch Cuddles eat, I check my email. There is a Land Search alert. In my head I’m hoping it is something good. When I open it, I’m confused. It is the same property we have been looking at. Why would it come as an alert?? Then I see the price dropped by ten thousand dollars. I call Alex to tell him. This gets us excited. The property is looking better all the time!
Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Skip, Alex and I are off to the 2019 Florida RV SuperShow in Tampa. This is the show’s 34th year. RVers can dry camp on the grounds for $20 per night at a first come, first serve basis. You will still have to pay the general parking fee of $14 for an RV ($8 for a car) and the admission to the SuperShow. This year, the show has over 450 vendor booths and daily seminars on a variety of RVing topics. If you’re looking to purchase an RV, then bring your walking shoes, and check book, because you can see more than 1550 RVs covering 26 acres. The show runs through Sunday, but this year we decide to go on the first day instead of the weekend. The logic behind this decision, is that everyone who works during the week won’t be here and the vendors have the best inventory early on.
We might have misjudged that first part. When we’ve come on a Saturday, the lines were relatively short, a few people at most. Today, we stand in line for over half an hour before we pay our $9 senior admission. The price of admission gives you two days of entry. Looking at the line behind us, makes me glad we arrived when we did. They’re into the parking lot now.
Once in, we head for the far side of the show to one of the vendor locations. We begin by staying together, but we each have different agendas, so we wander off. Our goal today is to get pricing on an awning for our two big windows, and tire and window coverings. Along the way, I purchase a kitchen utility knife from the same company I bought a Santoku knife a few years back. I loved that knife so much I added to the collection. Alex finds the big squeegee he has been looking for to wipe water from the exterior of the Claudia when he’s cleaning her.
We makes stops at a few of the manufacturers that have equipment in our coach, so Alex can get answers to his questions. We get sausage sandwiches from one of the vendors before heading over to the other vendor building. This is the first time we have been to this show where is hasn’t been hot. Instead of seeking out water, hot tea and coffee are the best sellers. Today’s high temperature is only 65, and it’s cloudy with a good breeze, making it downright chilly. Sitting outside eating is not so pleasant.
We wander through Camping World’s store and through the other vendors, before Skip catches up. I ask if he’s bought anything and he tells me he wants to spend ninety thousand dollars. I ask if it’s on a new coach and he shows me the mobile home he fell in love with. I like the floor plan and we decide to go check it out. Oh my gosh it’s gorgeous! They call it the Beach model. It is urban chic meets the beach with a beautiful front porch. Now he has to decide if he wants to put it in one of Sun Resorts Parks or find his own property to put it on. He’s thinking property. We’ve all come away with what we were looking for today.
It’s dark when we get home and I have Skip drop me at Cuddles’ house to feed and spend time with her. I walk home in the cold and dark rather briskly.
Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Resting up for the next three crazy days. The highlight of the day is Cuddles. She is so sweet and loving. I feel bad every time I have to leave her alone, especially at night. She looks at me with sad eyes.
Monday, January 14, 2019
Alex is nursing another painful kidney stone, but he’s up and out to PT. I bike over to feed and spend time with sweet Cuddles. I put in a few phone calls, first to Desoto County about the road. The best I get is that it is a private road, an easement, and the residents maintain it. Not very well, I thought. At least I’m making progress. I call an excavating company to see if I can get an idea of the cost to grade the road. I get a ballpark figure, not as bad as I thought, with the guy telling me he has to go and check it out for an exact price. If nothing else, I have a working dollar amount. A call to Charlotte County results in a voice mail. While Poco and I are on our walk, I get the call that we can’t rezone or subdivide. Not the news I want to hear. A frustrating day!
Sunday, January 13, 2019
We decide to pass on the property in Punta Gorda, well, I mostly pass. I am not fond of living so close to railroad tracks, even if there aren’t many trains and they go slow.
We look at a five acre property in Arcadia off of FL-31. In all the places we have been, on all the roads we have traveled and mountains we have climbed, we have never encountered a road such as this. It was like a roller coaster. You went up, then you went down, then you went up. Sergio was hitting bottom because his wheels were so far down in the valleys. I thought Sergio would tip over on the hills. We finally reached the property about three quarters of a mile down this thing I can’t call a road and found a beautiful piece of property. It’s cleared with palm trees scattered on the grounds. It’s fenced. It has a pond. And, it has a shed. You could hear a pin drop it was so quiet. Absolutely gorgeous, except for the road. There’s always something. Tomorrow I will have to start the research into the road situation.
Since we like the property, we follow the route to get to US-17 to see how we would get to more urban areas. We decide to check out another property in Punta Gorda off Washington Loop Road. This one is ten acres. Skip is back thinking a piece of property would work best for him, so this could work for us if we can subdivide it. It needs to be cleared, but otherwise is a great property, and only ten miles from the heart of Punta Gorda.
On our way home, Skip calls looking for Alex to help with a problem with his awning. When we get home, Alex heads to Skip’s and I go for a walk with Poco. When I’m done, I go to Skip’s, where I find Alex sitting outside. No Skip. He went to Ace Hardware for parts. When he comes back, they fix his awning and we relax and discuss the property finds. Before dark, I go to my kitty sitting and take care of Cuddles.
Saturday, January 12, 2019
We start the day with another counter offer. The seller counters again. It’s starting to feel like a tennis match. The realtors have other engagements, so we have time to think until tomorrow.
We’re meeting up with our friend Karen and her friend, Dave, at her house and then going to the reincarnation of the Captain and the Cowboy, now called Smoke N Pit BBQ, on Kings Highway in Punta Gorda for dinner. We eat, drink and are merry, closing the restaurant.
Friday, January 11, 2019
Alex tries to go to physical therapy this morning, but our neighbor has Sergio blocked in. He can’t back out of the driveway. Alex tries to go forward and wiggle his way to the other street, but the hill causes him to bottom out. He’s forced to knock on our neighbor’s door and have him move his truck. Poor Tony comes out in his pajamas and backs up the truck and trailer. Alex takes off for PT. I go for my walk with Poco.
We decide to put in an offer on the property in Punta Gorda based on the comps a few blocks away and factoring in the wetlands. We spend the afternoon going back and forth negotiating on the price and terms. At the end of the day, the ball is back in our court and we call a time out till morning.
Thursday, January 10, 2019
I got a call from my doctor Tuesday to come in and discuss my blood work and coronary calcium scan. Today is the day I find out the results. I’m preparing for the worse. They don’t ask you to come in for good news. My appointment is at 2:20. I get dressed and head out earlier so I can stop at Walmart and Publix before my appointment. I get finished with Walmart, but as I pull into the Publix parking lot, I get a return phone call from the DEP about the Punta Gorda property. I get my questions answered, but it’s cutting it too close to my appointment to do my shopping. Publix will have to wait until after.
I get to the doctor and I’m called right in. I brace myself. What I hear is shocking. My coronary scan came back as a zero, the equivalent of acing a test. The doctor stays you almost never get a zero. Looks like something other than my heart will kill me!
Wednesday, January 9, 2019
Alex has physical therapy at nine while I have a relaxing breakfast. Skip stops by while I’m making some oatmeal raisin cookies. We decide Poco and I will go for a walk and the guys will join me on their bikes. Somehow we end up separating and in my walk, people I met previously, stop me as I walk by and ask if I can kitty sit their cat next week while they are taking a cruise. I agree and I meet Cuddles, a very chubby, friendly tuxedo cat. They show me her food and litter box routine before I continue on my walk. By the time I get to Skip’s, the guys are already on a beer.
Tuesday, January 8, 2019
We decide to look at a few of the other properties that might have possibilities and walk the one that’s still on the top of the list in Punta Gorda. We rule out three that are off FL-31. They look good on paper, not so much in reality. We start checking out property in the Charlotte Ranchettes. The roads are dirt, dusty and full of holes and hills. No matter how nice a piece of property is, the roads are a huge turn off. The one piece Alex has been eyeing, that is close to Jones Loop Road and sits on a paved road, has little frontage. We decide the Ranchettes are not for us.
We find ourselves back on US-41 and hungry, so we stop at Pioneer Pizza for an extra large house Special pie, pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms and green peppers. This is one of the few times we cannot finish and box up half to go home.
On our way home, we stop at the property in Punta Gorda that seems to manage to stay on our list. Della, our realtor, said we could walk the property, just close the gate when we leave. We find the gate locked. I clear some of the broken branches on one side of the gate and we manage togain access. As we walk, the neighbor comes home and sees us. We exchange waves and we walk to his property line where he points out a place we can cross to his side. We spend quite a bit of time chatting about the property and the neighborhood. He is a valuable resource for clearing the property and welding our container home, as this is his business. As it turns out, she is from the same shore town in New Jersey where we lived for seventeen years and raised the kids. He’s from the town next to that. Small world! We leave them and go back to walking the property. We come away liking the property more than before.
Monday, January 7, 2019
While Alex goes to the doctor in Sarasota to get his stitches removed from his hand, I stayed home and do some paperwork. He comel home stitches gone, but with the same size bandaid as before. He can his hand wet, just can’t have it soaking in water for a few more days. We have lunch then he’s off to physical therapy for his back. Poco takes me for our walk twice around the track and once around the park.
Sunday, January 6, 2019
I sleep till ten, having stayed up until two thirty. It’s going to be a lazy day. The big activity is exercise. Poco and I walk three times around the track and once around the park. If that isn’t enough, Alex, Skip and I bike four times around the track and once around the park. The track is a little more than a half mile. I think I’m done for the day.
Saturday, January 5, 2019
A day of rest and chores. Alex worked on the leak in the fresh water tank and engineered a solution. He has a Plan B, if Plan A isn’t successful. We won’t know till we’re mobile again, but while we’re stationary, it works.
I walk three times around the track and once around the park and, as usual, end up at Skip’s, where Alex joins us on his bike, and we sit chatting till the sun starts to go down. This signals our departure time. When the sun goes down, it gets cool, and the bugs, particularly mosquitoes, come out looking for dinner. I’ve been their meal one time too many, so it’s home and inside I go.
I’m testing out my new air fryer by making Chicken Kiev for dinner. I’m happy to say that I like my new toy and the chicken was great. After dinner we watch Bird Box on Netflix. Interesting movie, but it lacked true sci-fi development. As a sci-fi freak, I judge a movie by how believable or plausible the story, circumstances and events are based on science, or logic or reality. The movie is fiction after all, but if it lacks those ingredients, if you look at something in the movie and go, “No way that could work or be or happen”, then I don’t find it a good movie. Bird Box was more of an exploration into the main character’s personal growth than a good sci-if movie. Anyway, I see where the stupid craze is coming from. There’s no explaining what some people will do.
So, I guess the universe decided to reward me for watching such a bad sci-fi movie, that cable television gave me Star Wars: The Force Awakens to watch afterwards. I stayed up until 2:30 watching in Star Wars bliss.
Friday, January 4, 2019
It’s the knee doctor for me today. He will be performing surgery to fix my torn meniscus in the beginning of April.
Thursday, January 3, 2019
It’s a me day today. I get my nails done, then head to Port Charlotte. I stop at Pioneer Pizza for lunch. This was one of our favorite pizza restaurants in Charlotte Harbor. When it first opened, it was a small storefront. Now he’s expanded and taken over another store, making it into a very chic restaurant with an urban bar. He’s a Jersey boy, from North Bergen, and he makes great pies, of course, so we have to support him.
After I eat half of my delicious personal pizza and box up the other half for Alex, I go around the corner to OneBlood, the Florida Blood Center, to donate blood. Then it’s across the street to get my hair done. On the way home I stop at Walmart in my search of seltzer. I manage to score two cases.
Wednesday, January 2, 2019
Up and off to Sarasota for Alex’s colonoscopy. I’m happy to say the plumbing is relatively good for an old geezer. We stop at Steak ‘n Shake to get some lunch. Poor boy didn’t eat yesterday with the prep, so he chows down. A quick, and unsuccessful, stop at Walmart and it’s off to physical therapy for Alex. This is just to drop off his script and set up his appointments. Back home I go for a walk with Poco.
Tuesday, January 1, 2019
Alex has to do his prep for a colonoscopy tomorrow, so not a fun day for him. I make a crock pot of chicken soup and take Poco for her walk.
Monday, December 31, 2018
We’re all over the place today. First up, Port Charlotte and the urologist to find out about Alex and his kidney stones. The news isn’t as bad as we feared. The scan showed two more stones in one kidney but the other was clear. The blood tests revealed he is low in citric acid. This seems to be the cause for the stones. The doctor prescribes medication and gives him a diet to follow.
For lunch we go to our favorite, Bella Napoli, for a large pizza. We jump on I-75 and go to Sarasota to get the big, bulky bandage off Alex’s hand. Now he’s down to a large bandaid. Next week the stitches come out.
When we get home, it’s four thirty and the block party has been going on for an hour in the vacant spot next to us. We bring our wine and beer over to join in. I text Skip to join us. The party starts to break up around five thirty when people have to get ready for the New Years Eve bash at the clubhouse. Alex, Skip and I move into our coach to eat finger foods and teach Skip how to play Mexican train. We watch the ball drop and stay up until two in the morning playing Mexican train.
Sunday, December 30, 2018
A quiet day. Poco and I go for our walk.
Saturday, December 29, 2018
The three of us are going to Fort Myers. Skip wants to check out this COSTCO, not having been happy with the one in Sarasota. It wasn’t what he’s used to in Alaska.
Driving down FL-31 on our way to Fort Myers, Skip turns into Babcock Ranch to see what the development is about. This is the county’s first solar powered community. The homes are very nice, from large down to small, with duplexes in the mix. They are built too close together for my taste. It is a community that is still growing and adding new homes and apartments. It will be it’s own city in the future. Still, it gives him another option to think about.
We stop at the Boat House on the Caloosahatchee for lunch, but the wait time is over an hour so we move on. COSTCO is packed with cars and people, we have to hunt for a parking spot. I didn’t find COSTCO’s prices any better than what you can get in Walmart or the grocery stores when they do BOGOs. And I don’t have to pay a membership fee or buy in large volume. Not a good thing living in a tiny house. When we leave, Skip expresses his disappointment. He got some things, but they don’t carry the items he is used to getting in Alaska. Toto, you’re not in Alaska anymore!
We go to the Applebee’s in the same shopping mall for lunner before heading to the Edison Mall and the Sketchers store. My left sneaker self destructed a few days ago while I was walking and Alex glued it back together in the hope it would make it until we got to a Sketchers store. I am happy to report he did a great job and the sneaker survived, but it is on life support. Skip is looking for new sneakers too. He and Alex don’t find anything they like, but I get two pairs. They’re having a buy one, get one 50% sale, so I take advantage of it. It’s just getting dark when we get home.
Friday, December 28, 2018
Alex is resting and recuperating. He has to take it easy and not use his hand and has to keep it dry. Poco and I walk our once around the park and once around the track.
Thursday, December 27, 2018
We’re off to Sarasota this morning so Alex can have surgery on his trigger fingers. He’s having a local so recovery is minimal. With his left hand bandaged and numb, we head home. We make a quick stop at Steak ‘n Shake for some lunch while the numbness holds back the pain. While Alex rests, I go for my walk with Princess Poco Loco.
Wednesday, December 26, 2018
I’m up and out for a nine thirty coronary calcium scan in Port Charlotte. On the way home I stop at Walmart, then at a title company here in town to get some pricing on closing the FISBO property. Back home, I take Poco and Gizmo for our walk. Gizmo is a bit nervous, but by the end, she seems to be not hating this.
I met a couple in the park, while on one of my walks, that has friends that are selling some property in Arcadia. They have been after us to take a look. They are over there staying in their RV for the holiday week. The property is four and a half acres, has a 50×50 foot RV barn, full hookups for three RVs, an equipment shed, orchards and a house. We’re not looking for a house. Skip joins us for a look.
The house is small, not quite twelve hundred square feet, but well built. The location is a little too far out of our target area. It would be like living in the RV park where we are now. That gives us thirty miles just to get down to I-75 and most of the people and places we frequent. The barn and remaining property, three and a half acres, are great. We could sell or lease the house and it’s one acre, but would have to keep one of the three lots that make up the one acre to use as our driveway or we would need to negotiate with the owner behind us for a section of his land to act as an entrance to the property. We don’t think that would be much of a problem since he has buildings on the property we’re looking at. The big issue is the beautiful piece of land where we would want to build is low lying and wet. It would require a great deal of fill, if it were even legally possible. But we spend the afternoon chatting while
Alex is drinking very smooth homemade moonshine with the guys. He’s quite lit when we get home. I heat up leftovers and then he’s face down on the bed for the night.
Tuesday, December 25, 2018
It’s going to be a nice quiet day. Poco and I take our walk around the track and the park. I make prime rib for dinner and Skip and Lucy join us. A peaceful day.
Monday, December 24, 2018
I take Poco for her walk first thing after breakfast. There will be no time later in the day and we have to keep the Princess happy or there will be no peace in the kingdom. I spend the afternoon getting ready for tonight making chicken and broccoli pasta and a veggie dish. Around four thirty Skip, Alex and I head to Vicki and Conan’s house for a fun night of eating, drinking and merriment.
The fun, rowdy time comes when we play Yankee Swap. The way Yankee Swap works is this; everyone buys a gift in the predetermined amount. You wrap it and all the gifts go into a pile. Everyone picks a number out of bowl. The person with number one gets to pick from the pile of gifts first. They unwrap the gift and everyone oohs and ahhs over it. Number two picks a gift from the pile, or they can steal number one’s gift. If number one had their gift stolen, they pick a new gift, or steal theirs back from number two, at which point, number two picks a new gift or steals it back and it would be theirs for good. Then it’s number three, four and so on. If your gift is stolen, you can pick another or steal someone else’s gift. A gift can only be stolen three times. This picking and stealing goes go on until all the players have a gift, then the first person gets the opportunity to steal and if they do, here we go again. It can get crazy! I ended up with an Air Fryer, that I had to steal back for the third time, courtesy of Vicki’s contribution to the game. She knew I wanted one. Alex got a box full of jerky in every possible animal you could think of. He’s having fun discovering what all the different flavors taste like.
Sunday, December 23, 2018
I called the number for the FISBO property and I am excited! It is five acres and has water, electric, septic and a trailer. Woohoo! Fingers crossed the trailer can serve as a storage shed. We drive over with Skip and Lucy to walk the property.
The property is very nice, the trailer, not so much. It doesn’t look like it has been lived in in a very long time. The windows are all broken, the stairs are missing trends, slimy and falling down, you take your life in your hands to climb them for a look inside. The walls and ceilings are wet, and one good breeze away from crashing down. In short, it’s a complete tear down. Time and money to remove it. But we love the land and location. Now we need to get in touch with the county to do our due diligence. This is where it usually falls apart.
Saturday, December 22, 2018
It’s time to change the cat litter and clean out the litter area. Alex takes the litter box, which is really a giant storage container, out to clean, while I clean the cabinet the box sits in. He comes in with bad news, no more litter. With three mountain lions claiming the litter box as their own, we use the Worlds Best Cat Litter, not something we can get in Walmart or Publix. So we take off for PetSmart in Port Charlotte. And we were just there yesterday!
On the way home, we stop to check out the 2.5 acre property to see if there is any flooding from our recent storm. It’s dry as a bone. While the three of us were discussing our new plan last night, I had our realtor alter the parameters of our search portal. Anything I found that looked promising, I sent to Alex and Skip. There was one piece in particular that got us excited, a ten acre parcel slightly outside our target zone, but still very doable. Skip said he checked it out, so we decided to have a look. All the parcels are five acres or more with a mix of traditionally built homes and well kept manufactured homes. A nice enough rural neighborhood with elbow room. We spend considerable time driving around, until dark to be exact. In our travels, we find a FISBO up the street. I snap a picture of the sign so I can call about it in the morning. It looks to be about five acres. Promising, at least until we get more information.
Friday, December 21, 2018
Alex has his appointment with neurosurgeon this morning. He has jumped through all the hoops and can now actually see the doctor to learn what options are available to him. He has stenosis and the start of disk degeneration. The agreed treatment for the stenosis will be surgery, which is scheduled for January 28th. He’s not going to do anything with the disks, as per the doctor’s recommendation. At this point, he’s not bad enough to warrant such severe surgery.
We grab a fast lunch and go to Home Depot before my dentist appointment. I will have to have work on one tooth, which is scheduled for January 18th. It never ends!
Back home, I take the Princess for her walk around the park and walking track. I continue the Christmas wrapping project. Later, Skip, Alex and I discuss our property dilemma. We come up with a new plan, since neither of us are finding what we really want. We’re going to look for a larger piece that we can divide. It’s good to have a plan!
Thursday, December 20, 2018
The storm is finally passing. We have bands of rain, giving us some heavy downpours, followed by a much needed reprieve, followed by another downpour. By nightfall it seems to have passed us by. The east coast and north of us are getting hit hard. We had a lot of water descend upon us and I am glad it’s over. Time to dry out.
Wednesday, December 19, 2018
We have heavy rains and wind all day. The streets are flooding. There are twelve separate tornado warnings around the state, and one of them is for us. The most in any one single day in the state! We keep the Weather Channel on to monitor the storm. Alex discovers a leak in the full slide where the clamping mechanism is. It’s the one closest to the front. It seems the aluminum bolts are pulling loose. He gets it tightened during one of the breaks in the storm and we keep an eye, and a towel, on the area. It will require more work before we travel on.
Tuesday, December 18, 2018
We have the next three days off. Yippee! Good thing too, a bad storm is coming today with the worst wind and rain tomorrow. Rain starts during the late afternoon and into the evening.
Monday, December 17, 2018
We decide to do some actual looking at property today by meeting Della at the 2.5 acre property we drove by on Friday, to see just how bad things ready are. Since we have appointments later, Skip drives his car and we drive ours. We walk the property and check out the RV trailer and the trailer/house. This would be a lot of work just for the short term! But we still don’t rule it out just yet.
Next we go to the Lake Suzy property Skip is interested in. What a gorgeous place. It needs a bit of updating, but the property and view are spectacular. He says he wants the house but he doesn’t need it, so…
We part company and head for my doctor appointment. I made it while we were out west. It was the one appointment I didn’t check for the time zone when we came back into Eastern Standard Time, so naturally, I was hours late and had to reschedule. We get a quick lunch and go to the dermatologist. Back home, I take Princess Poco Loco for her walk in her carriage. She loves riding around the park getting attention from everyone that sees her. A stark contrast from her behavior in the house.
Sunday, December 16, 2018
A day of well needed rest.
Saturday, December 15, 2018
Last night, the property portal our friend and realtor, Della, set up for us, sent us another new listing. This one has me excited! It’s two and a half acres off Kings Highway close to the county border, our target location. It has water, septic, and electric, three big pluses. There’s a dilapidated trailer/house, at least I think it’s a trailer/house, on it and lots of junk, but the land looks good and, did I mention it’s in our target location? We drive there to take a look on our way to meet our friends Vicki and Charlene at Olive Garden in Port Charlotte for lunch.
The property is in a mobile home/manufactured home area. Most of the homes there are not pretty. They’re run down and haven’t seen a pressure washing since the Clinton administration. There are a few nicer manufactured homes on larger parcels near the property we’re looking at. When we get out of the car, we’re greeted by Wilbur, the pig, who is roaming the neighborhood seeking out food. Even though there is a no trespassing sign, we walk on the property and get a first hand look at the stuff that litters the land. We see the trailer/house, something that looks like it should be knocked down. There’s an airboat that is rusted, filled with empty beer cans, several metal sheds, a travel trailer, what’s left of a greenhouse and stuff all over. We’re wondering if anyone lives here, someone has to be taking care of the ducks and chickens in the chick coop, when two barking dogs from the rundown trailer/house start barking at us. Time to head back to the street.
We both love the land, it’s a corner lot, not so much the neighborhood. It could be a great place to winter in the coach while cleaning up the property, then take off for six months and not have to worry about it. But, when we want to finally have a house, this isn’t where I would want to be, even in a manufactured home. We could sell the property at that point and find something else to build on, but would we be missing out on a great property now? Even Claudia is overpriced for the neighborhood and would stick out. She’d be the highest priced thing around, and that makes me a bit nervous. The zoning is designed for mobile and manufactured homes, light businesses like a hospice, senior or childcare, meaning the neighborhood will not improve anytime in the near future. And, you can have chickens, which, as I mentioned, are on the property, but we wouldn’t be able to do any agriculture or livestock. You need ten acres or more for that. Still, it’s something to consider for the short term.
We get to Olive Garden before Vicki and Charlene and get a table. They join us a few minutes later. We have a wonderful time catching up. Afterwards, we follow them to their new condo that they bought a few months ago. It will be their retirement home in a few years. For now, it’s their escape from the Pittsburgh area. It’s a great condo with lots of privacy. They’re in the midst of renovating, reminds me of us. The flooring in gone, it’s down to the concrete. The bathrooms are getting a makeover, paint samples are on the walls and they are busy turning it into something wonderful. I can see their vision. We wish them our best and look forward to their next escape to Paradise.
While we were out doing our thing, Skip was looking at a house with Della in Lake Suzy, a place that I have always loved. I love, love, love the house he’s considering. It’s a half acre on the water. The 2,100 square foot house needs a bit of updating, nothing major, to be simply awesome. He and Lucy come over for a dinner of Sabrett hot dogs and fries. We spend the night discussing our property woes.
Friday, December 14, 2018
Skip, Alex and I look at a piece of property in Punta Gorda off US-17. It has potential, but I’m a bit concerned about the flood zone. And the train tracks off in the distance. For now, it stays on the list.
There are three properties on Oil Well Road that we are going to check out. This is the first time any of us have ventured down this road, and to a person, we decide it’s not for us. A bit too Florida natural for our tastes.
We head to Port Charlotte for some Christmas shopping before going to Applebee’s for lunner. This is another first for Skip. It’s his first time at an Applebee’s, and he likes the two for twenty dollar deal. We do too!
Thursday, December 13, 2018
A day off. I do some paperwork, laundry and wrap Christmas gifts, then take Princes Poco Loco for a long walk around the RV Park and once around the walking/biking track.
Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Alex has blood work first thing this morning. I have two doctor appointments, one in Port Charlotte and one in Sarasota. On the way home we stop to look at a piece of property in Arcadia off FL-72. It stays on the list.
Tuesday, December 11, 2018
The goal yesterday was to have our neurosurgeon’s office download my MRI and return the disk. It’s good to have goals, even when the people around you conspire against you. They didn’t have the time or desire to download it. This is contrary to what the PA told me they could, and would do. Needless to say, I had to leave the disk for the doctor to review it before I can get an appointment with him. So, it’s another trip to Port Charlotte today to pick up another copy for my doctor appointment tomorrow. On our trip down and back, we drive in and out of all the streets along Kings Highway looking for FISBO property, for sale by owner, or any other properties with for sale signs on them. We get home after five, having found not one single piece of property for sale.
Monday, December 10, 2018
Oh, what day day we are going to have! First up, drop off a package at FedEx. Then we drive to North Port to pick up a contact lens the doctor ordered for me to try as a test. At noon, we have Alex’s MRI in Port Charlotte. While he’s in getting his test, I’m picking up my MRI disk and report. Next, we’re off to Fort Myers to drop off my disk and report to our neurosurgeon. Then it’s back to North Port for four o’clock to pick up our order from our granddaughter’s school fundraiser. But, if you can believe it, we have a few minutes before having to be at the school, so we do our Walmart shopping first, rather than latter. And finally we go home to collapse, after having driven two hundred miles.
Sunday, December 9, 2018
A day off to do absolutely nothing! Well, recharge our batteries and get ready for another crazy week of running.
Saturday, December 8, 2018
North Port is having their Christmas parade today at five. We’re meeting our daughter-in-law Basia and our granddaughter Ola to watch the festivities. The traffic is horrific. After multiple phone calls we are able to coordinate our parking spots and meeting location. We have a great spot near the beginning of the parade and Ola scores lots of candy as the floats go by. When the parade is over, we part company. Skip, Alex and I go to Buffalo Wings & Rings for dinner.
Friday, December 7, 2018
Skip joins us today for our property search in Myakka City. The first group of properties get ruled out immediately. The second, in Winding Creek, give us two possibles. Winding Creek is deed restricted, but has far less rules to live by. We could handle it. The only drawback, or asset, depending on how you look at it, is it is in the middle of nowhere. We’re back to the long drive to everything, including a grocery store. The research project is to find the nearest hospital, grocery store, etc. If the distance is reasonable, this might work.
It’s early afternoon with our property mission complete, so we go to Ybor City in Tampa for lunch, or lunner as we call the meal too late for lunch but too early for dinner. We have lunner at Shrimp and Company on East 7th Avenue. The shrimp scampi was very good, but the wine was not. The air has been deteriorating it. It’s still early, so we take Skip for his first IKEA experience. He’s overwhelmed. Who could blame him. I see the wheels turning. He’s plotting this into his home search. By the time we get home, it’s eight o’clock. It’s been a ten hour day.
Thursday, December 6, 2018
We have eye doctor appointments today. After the doctor, with our less than perfect vision, we look at a few properties in North Port. They’re not ideal, but they have possibilities. We’re going to need more time to investigate. A full day is needed to scope out the area. We’ll have to find a day on next week’s agenda to explore the area.
Wednesday, December 5, 2018
The rain brought a cold front. It’s hovering around the forty degree mark when we get up. Alex has an appointment with the neurosurgeon in Fort Myers. We decide to take a slower ride and head out early, giving us the opportunity to look for property down FL-31 and the side roads. This is a busy truck road. We rule out living on the highway and even properties off the highway. Too much noise, too much pollution and too many accidents.
We stop at the Boat House, a cute, open air, tiki style restaurant and marina on the Caloosahatchee River, for lunch. The wind blowing off the water intensifies the cold. Brrrr! I have a sweater, but Alex is only wearing a long sleeve tee shirt. This might not have been the best luncheon choice for a cold day. Fortunately, they seat us next to a propane heater and turn it on. No cold drinks today. It’s hot tea for me.
After the doctors, we drive to Alva to look at a piece of property that I am in love with on paper and Alex is less enthusiastic. I like it because it has ponds and no trees, so we can landscape as we like. That same lack of trees is why Alex isn’t in love with it. It’s a gated and deed restricted community, which means we can’t get in to take a look. At least we know the location and the surrounding area. I’ll have to find out the rules and regulations. If we can live with them, we’ll schedule an appointment.
Tuesday, December 4, 2018
My day for my MRIs. Alex stays home nursing another kidney stone. It’s a rain day. I don’t get rained on, but deal with wet roads from the center of Arcadia to Port Charlotte and back. When I get home, Alex says he never got rain. That’s Florida!
Monday, December 3, 2018
The doctor trek continues. First blood work for me, then off to the gastrointestinal doctor for Alex and next the doctor for his hand. We are realizing that living so far out puts a lot of miles and time on any errands we have. We’re starting to think closer to civilization might be better at our age. Somewhere in our journey, our hopes for the property we loved have fallen through. Someone put it under contract last week. Back to the drawing board.
Sunday, December 2, 2018
We spend the day relaxing and waiting in anticipation of news on the property. In the afternoon we bike to Skip’s where I trouble shoot an iPad to television problem. Once that is taken care of, we look at some of the properties on his radar, then go for a bike ride.
Saturday, December 1, 2018
A day of cleaning. I work on the inside and Alex tackles Claudia’s tires, cleaning, protecting and covering them for our winter stay. We take Sergio in for an oil change and get his tires rotated. Then we head back over to the property we like for another look. Skip joins us. We meet a few of the neighbors, there aren’t many. It’s after four by the time we head home, more in love with the property than we were yesterday. We hope this works out. The three of us relax and have dinner at our place.
Friday, November 30, 2018
We get up and leave at eight thirty to get down to Fort Myers for a ten o’clock appointment with our neurosurgeon. It’s about and hour and twenty minute drive. When we get there, we’re told Alex’s appointment was for nine fifteen and the doctor can’t see him, we will have to reschedule. Somewhere along the line, the appointment was changed and we didn’t get the memo. We spend half an hour in the parking lot getting another appointment, this time for Wednesday at two.
It’s early, so we drive to Dick’s and Camping World before making the drive back. Vicki texts us about the earthquake in Alaska, concerned for Skip’s vacant house. Not having had the radio on while we were driving, we didn’t know. We get in touch with him. He didn’t know about it either. When we get home, we bike over to his place, where he’s checking on his house and reaching out to his Alaska friends. His house is fine, some of his friends have a bit of damage, but nothing major and everyone is shaken up, literally and figuratively, but unhurt. With Alaska secure, the three of us head out for a bike ride. We do several laps around the track and make a stop to check out the pond before going home to get ready to go out for pizza. Hey, it’s Friday!
On our way to Bella Napoli, we make a stop at some property in Arcadia that we think has possibilities. We’re not disappointed. We may have found the location for our new home. We now have to clarify things with the listing agent. There are discrepancies between the MLS listing, the For Sale signs and parcel IDs. Now the waiting begins.
Thursday, November 29, 2018
My day for two doctors and the dentist, with a stop at Publix to pick up a rotisserie chicken for dinner. I’m not cooking! I start out at ten and finish after five. A long day with one hundred miles of driving.
Wednesday, November 28, 2018
Finally have a day off where I have some energy. I spend that energy making chicken soup, doing two loads of laundry, wrapping Christmas presents and then some cleaning.
Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Another day of running. This time to Sarasota for an appointment for Alex with our knee doctor. Afterwards we drive to Ona, a tiny town of 314 people, located in Hardee county, to look at two properties. We like both, so they stay on the list.
Monday, November 26, 2018
When we get out of bed around eight, there’s a text message on Alex’s phone from Mark, our friend we met last year on our way to Alaska. He’s in the Coast Guard and stationed on Kodiak Island in southern Alaska. He and his girlfriend, Elizabeth, are in Florida on vacation and today is the day we planned on meeting them for lunch. The boys had a communication breakdown yesterday and we woke to find they were already on their way to Daytona, our meeting city. So, we eat, get dressed and head out on our three and a half hour journey. Along the way, we come across several turkey vultures trying to eat their breakfast in a lane of the highway. They are reluctant to give up their find and are causing quite the calamity with drivers. The car in front of us manages to get them to move, but they are back quickly by the time Sergio comes along. They scatter, but one of them clips Sergio’s windshield with his wing. They may be road kill before long.
Me being lead foot, we get there in three hours, and along the way find a restaurant on Maps, called Hidden Treasure Tiki Bar & Grill that’s close to where Mark and Elizabeth are. We text Mark the address of our meeting place.
We arrive first and get a table by the waters of Rose Bay. Mark and Elizabeth arrive shortly after us. This is our first time meeting Elizabeth and we decide Mark has found a keeper. We spend a few hours, eating, drinking (non-alcoholic beverages, we have a long drive), and catching up. Unfortunately, it becomes time for us to make the trek back.
We aren’t so lucky on our return trip. It is the start of rush hour traffic and to make it worse, it starts to rain. This trip is six hours, with a clutch, in stop and crawl traffic. By the time we get home it’s after nine. A very long day, but a good one.
Sunday, November 25, 2018
Today is a quiet day of rest. We haven’t stopped since we got here, so today is a recharge the batteries day.
Saturday, November 24, 2018
Our friend Karen is having an After Thanksgiving Leftover Party and Alex, Skip and I are going. The party starts at one, but we get there a little later. When we arrive, we find cars are parked all over the road. We squeeze into a spot on the opposite corner and head in. There’s about fifty people at the party already. Good food, lots of it, is spread out on the kitchen counter and tables. Desserts take up another table. Her musician friends are playing guitar on the lanai. When we were at B.B. King’s Blues Club in Memphis, we found a great guitar strap and we got it for her. She walked around showing it off to her friends. Glad she liked it. We spend the afternoon eating, drinking, chatting and listening to her amazing friends play.
Friday, November 23, 2018
The day starts out looking for Alex’s prescription sunglasses that he left at Vicki’s house. After phone calls and texts, it looks like they are gone. No one seems to have them or seen them. The good thing is we have eye doctor appointments soon so the prescription would need to have been changed anyway. He just won’t be able to see very well in sunlight.
With a regular pair of sunglasses in hand, we head down to Port Charlotte to the imaging center. After Alex is finished with his kidney scan, we start our property search east of I-75 in North Port. We drive up and down every street and write down any and all sale information to research back at the house. There are a few possibilities.
Thursday, November 22, 2018
Skip, Alex and I drive to Vicki and Conan’s for a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner. A wonderful day with family and friends. The only bad thing, I burned my wrist when hot gravy waterfalled off my plate. Ouch! Now I have blisters that look like the tracks of a river.
Wednesday, November 21, 2018
Pretty much a repeat of yesterday, doctors, lunch and searching for property, only this time we found one that is staying on the list pending further investigation.
Tuesday, November 20, 2018
We spend the first part of the day at doctor appointments for Alex, then get pizza at Bella Napoli. It was so great to finally get good pizza again. We eat the entire pie, no leftovers to take home. A quick stop at Publix, where we run into our friend Cindy and her son Bryte. We spend the afternoon on our property search. None of today’s prospect pan out.
Monday, November 19, 2018
I put Poco Loco in her stroller and Alex and I walk to the trash center in the park. We run into Skip, who is on his way to the office, where we are headed. We have to finish our check in process from Friday. He drives, we walk. Once we’re done, Alex heads home while Poco and I walk down every street in the park getting the lay of the land. We spend the rest of the day sitting outside, Alex dozing, me reading.
Sunday, November 18, 2018
I take a fast trip to Walmart around noon. Alex is setting up our outside space with the table, chairs and other things. When he takes our bikes down from the back of the coach, he finds my bike’s back tire is flat. It split on the tread side of the tire. It will have to go to the shop to get fixed. Grrrr!
By the time I come back, put everything away and we have lunch, it’s time for the final NASCAR race of the season. Alex watches the race while I relax on the bed watching Star Wars Attack of the Clones and then Revenge of the Sith on TBS.
Saturday, November 17, 2018
I get my nails done before the three of us drive to North Port to our daughter Vicki and son-in-law Conan’s house for a welcome home barbecue. They have done extensive work on their home, and we’re looking forward to seeing it. A few months back, they were lucky enough to purchase the two lots behind their house. Now they are working to combine the property into one fun backyard. Last year, they put in an in-ground pool and cage, expanding the lanai area. They have been updating the interior as well.
The changes to the property are amazing. Conan is talented and his work shows it. We spend the day, and into the night, eating, drinking and talking. It’s wonderful to see the kids, our granddaughter Jennah, meet her boyfriend Cody, and spend time with our friends, Conan’s father John and Judy his step mom. Good people, good food, good times. Good to be back.
Friday, November 16, 2018
We’re moving to Arcadia today. Rather than go directly south on state and US highways, we go back west to I-75 and head south. Here we can do sixty five miles an hour and not have traffic lights. At the I-4 exit, there’s an accident that ties up traffic for a few miles and we sit. Yep, we’re back in Florida alright.
Finally, we exit I-75 and make our way east on FL-70. We arrive at Craig’s RV Park on US-17 around three. They tell us to come in to do the check in and paperwork on Monday, since it’s close to quitting time in the office. John takes us to our site, but I am not allowed to back Alex in. He has to do it. Okay!? We hookup. When I plug in the electric, I don’t see a breaker. Oh, well, every park is different. Then we head in to setup. I mention the lack of a breaker to Alex. He checks the control panel and discovers we have no electricity. Out he goes to investigate where the breaker might be hiding. He comes back and tells me to call the office and in a few minutes John is back. Turns out the elusive breaker was shot and had to be replaced.
By the time all this gets straightened out and we have electric and air conditioning again, it’s four thirty. We’re hungry. We haven’t eaten lunch. We get Skip and drive to Magnolia Street Seafood and Grill on, you guessed it, Magnolia Street in downtown historic Arcadia. Alex has the best fried clams he said he’s ever had and I have a great steak. The steaks out west cannot compare, oddly enough, they lack any taste or flavor. I have been looking forward to good beef again and I got it. We’ll be back.
Thursday, November 15, 2018
Yesterday, I called our old friends Rosemary and Art to see if we could get together. They were our next door neighbors when we lived in Port Charlotte and have since moved to Altoona, which is close to our campground, well closer than we have every been to them since they moved.
We meet them at Ichiban Chinese and Japanese Buffet in Leesburg for lunch and talk the afternoon away. The buffet has just about anything you can think of. For me, the shrimp lover, I have peel and eat shrimp, butter shrimp, fried and stuffed shrimp. They have oysters and crawfish, salmon, chicken. I’m telling you, you have to find something you like. I think the waiter was happy when we finally leave.
We drive back to their house to check out their new house. They built a beautiful log cabin home on five acres in the middle of nowhere. It’s an Appalachian style log cabin, which means the logs are flat, not rounded like you would think when you think log cabin. And it’s grey, not the brown you associate with the typical log cabin. A very beautiful home, inside and out. We spend more time chatting and playing with their two dogs, Bella and Buddy, and drive home in the dark.
Our kitties were happy when we finally show up at home.
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Chilling at home, starting a new United States of America jigsaw puzzle.
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
We have to make a trip to Quest so Alex can get his blood work done. Getting old ain’t for sissies! His appointment is for eleven thirty. He has to fast, he’s hungry, so he gets to pick the lunch spot. He has been seeing commercials for Captain D’s, a fast food seafood restaurant, selling catfish sandwiches. Since we passed one on our way to Quest, that was our lunch spot. He enjoys his catfish while I have fried shrimp. Not bad for fast food.
We make a quick stop at Wallyworld, what else is new, before heading home to finish the awful Star Wars jigsaw puzzle.
Monday, November 12, 2018
We’ve decided our future home will be in Florida, again, so I contact my friend Della, who is a realtor, and she set up a portal for us to look at properties. This is how we spend the day.
Sunday, November 11, 2018
We have a one hundred twelve mile trek to Lake Griffin State Park in Fruitland Park. Once we exit I-75, the local traffic is horrible. We’ve been away so long, you forget what it’s like.
When we arrive at the ranger station, we’re told our site isn’t ready yet. It’s around twelve thirty and the campers have a one o’clock check out. We’re also told we have a three o’clock check in. We have to go to the parking lot to wait until after one. It turns out, it’s a good thing. We’re able to have a quick sandwich for lunch before checking in and setting up.
After one, Alex walks back to the ranger station and gets up checked in. We have an end spot, right next to the dump station. Ah, the smell of sewage in the morning.
It’s down to the last races of the NASCAR season, so Alex watches while I read.
Saturday, November 10, 2018
We have a gap in our campsite reservations. No spots were available tonight for here or our next stop, Lake Griffin, so we have to find a private park. Alex found In & Out RV Park in Lake City. It’s only thirty three miles away, not far south on I-75, once you get on from I-10. The name suggests it all, In & Out. The reviews were all terrible, but sometimes you have little choice. Every review said the grass was over a foot high, the laundry didn’t work and bathrooms were dirty. We don’t care about the laundry or bathrooms. We’re self contained, and it’s only one night. The important thing is electric to keep the air conditioning running.
There’s a gas station and convenience store on the highway, US 90. To register, you have to go into the store. While I registered, Alex tops off Claudia’s tank. The man behind the counter was a pleasant man, very chatty. He told me we could pick any spot and then tell him what we chose. He proceeds to mark off the sites that don’t have electric, the restrooms that don’t work, tell me there is no wi-fi or cable, and no hot water in the one bathroom that did work. All this for the amazingly low, low price of thirty nine dollars with our Good Sam discount. Having low expectations helps, I think.
At one point, this must have been a nice park. It’s big, ninety five sites and six cabins, although I wouldn’t be caught dead it one now. They looked like they haven’t seen a human in them in a very, very long time, more abandoned then livable, the scene of a bad B horror movie. What I could see, did not make me want to even walk into one, let alone sleep there.
As we make our way behind the gas station and store, there is a group of people sitting at the park entrance selling used furniture and household items. Strange, but we wave hi. The front section of sites are under a few trees and look small. These are supposed to be cable sites, according to the park map, but there is no cable. There are only two coaches parked here and they look to be residents. We drive on. The back section has no trees and the map tells us are satellite friendly sites. We find one that has electric and allows us to pull out easily to the park exit road. All the sites in the back section are grass. They must have mowed the grass recently, it was low, not the foot high I was expecting, except around the utilities and the young palm trees. The dead grass clippings were bunched at the road’s edges. There’s one fifth wheel at the back of the sites, otherwise, we’re the only other coach. Three other coaches come in before dark. All in all, not as bad as people made it seem.
Once we’re setup, we go to Jersey Mike’s for an Italian sub, then Walmart. After we bring our groceries home, we take a drive to the very small Camping World off I-75 to look for jack pads. No luck. They’re out of stock. Then it’s home again for dinner and a movie on Netflix, Chappaquiddick, the story of Senator Ted Kennedy’s infamous car crash in the ‘60s. Interesting movie.
Friday, November 9, 2018
Another day working on this incredibly difficult jigsaw puzzle. The Millennium Falcon is done. Now the insanity is trying to do the black sky. Grrrr!
Thursday, November 8, 2018
Cloudy, hot and humid, with rain forecast from three on. Tackling our Star Wars jigsaw puzzle.
Wednesday, November 7, 2018
Cloudy, hot and humid. We stay in and work on our Star Wars jigsaw puzzle. Working as a team, we manage to get the snippets of pieces to join into what now looks like the puzzle. The last Star Wars puzzle, it was Darth Vader that was the problem. This time it’s the Millennium Falcon. She’s not ready to fly yet, but she’s getting there.
Tuesday, November 6, 2018
We take a walk to the Suwannee River, made famous in song in 1851, to scout out fishing spots for Alex. A walk down the boat ramp brings us to the river bank. There is limited shoreline, but Alex finds a few places he thinks might works. Since it’s a shore, thankfully, there’s not much chance of a Chena River repeat.
We hike along the Suwannee River Trail and stop at Little Gem Spring Overlook.
Lime Sink Run Trail loops us back to the boat ramp. It’s warm again, hovering around eighty with 86% humidity, the kind of weather I like to avoid by staying inside in the air conditioning.
We head back for lunch. Then Alex gears up for fishing. While Alex goes to the river to fish, I stay in and read.
Monday, November 5, 2018
We’re moving to Suwannee River State Park. We drive the eighty mike stretch on I-10 that was closed after Hurricane Michael. The damage is evident almost four weeks after he hit. Trees are snapped like toothpicks, or are overturned, roots looking at the sky. The tress that are still standing are defoliated, looking like skeletal hands raising up from an apocalyptic ground. Blue tarps are on the buildings that still stand, some without walls.
This is all too familiar for us. It brings back memories of living through Hurricane Charley in ‘04. I feel for these people.
The trek today is two hundred seventeen miles, with a stop for fuel for Claudia and us. Along the way, we cross into the Eastern Time Zone, so we lose an hour, adding time to the journey. It’s almost five by the time we get to Suwannee River State Park. We have a bad campsite. The roads are narrow in the campground, with trees very close to the road, making backing in a large coach difficult. We have two tree stumps to one side of our site entrance and tree roots sticking up like mountains all over the site. It’s bumpy backing Claudia in and tough finding a place to call level. The good thing about the state park is that they have sewer, a rarity in Florida state parks, but the sewer connection is about ten inches above ground.
It’s eighty degrees with 98% humidity at five o’clock. With the time change on Sunday, the sun sets in a little while. By the time we’re setup it’s almost dark. We head into the air conditioning, hot and sweaty.
Sunday, November 4, 2018
I make a quick trip to Walmart and Publix. We’re going to be in no man’s land this week so we need to be stocked. It will be too far to go if we run out of anything. Spend the day home reading and relaxing.
Saturday, November 3, 2018
Cold last night, in the forties. It was fifty five degrees inside when we get up. It’s a sunny day, but it never gets above the high sixties.
Friday, November 2, 2018
Cloudy and cool day. We have rain in the morning. Staying in and doing a few things around the house, like making a pot of red gravy.
Thursday, November 1, 2018
We wake up to a severe thunderstorm warning and a tornado watch until one o’clock this afternoon. Our job now is to monitor the radar, and around 11:15 it starts to rain. As we’re doing an emergency close up of the slides, the rain falls in earnest. We decide to do this as a precaution to the heavy winds and rain the red of the storm cell were producing. It’s a good test to see how fast we can close up in an emergency, and we do it very quickly. If it turns out to be just rain, no problem, but the wind can drive the water in and cause the toppers to rip and the coach to rock, so here we sit in a closed up coach watching the rain fall.
It’s a fast moving cell. Most of the bad stuff is a little north of us. We wait out the heavy rain. Fortunately, we don’t get the sixty mile an hour winds. When the radar shows the worst has past, we open up again. The afternoon is cloudy with pockets of rain. Welcome to the Sunshine State.
Wednesday, October 31, 2018
It’s Halloween! And a beautiful day with temperatures going into the low eighties. We hop in Sergio and head west on FL-20, then south on FL-85 and end up going east in US-98 along the beach. Our first stop in Fort Walton Beach is a restaurant, shop combination center. We decide to go to Floyd’s Fish House for lunch, but end up with delicious burgers and a view of the beach. Unless you want appetizers, their seafood is the dinner menu.
We wander through the shops before continuing on our adventure on FL-98.
We stop in Destin, at the Harborwalk Village, lined with shops, restaurants, rides, and fishing and tour boats.
We stop at Henderson Beach State Recreation Area, which, as a courtesy to campers at Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park, is free if you show them your park gate pass. It is a beautiful, pristine beach with gentle waves. I put my feet in the water.
We continue east on FL-98, through Miramar Beach until we turn north on US-331, and then west on FL-20 to finish the loop back to our campground. We get home around five. It’s eighty two and the neighbors have a fire going, bundled up again. I don’t get it.
Tuesday, October 30, 2018
We’re driving twenty miles north to Crestview, the town where we live, at least on paper, to early vote. Afterwards, we stop at the Casbah for fabulous panini sandwiches. Really good, and thick with meat!
Since we’re here, we seek out our address, which, also is the keeper of our mail, to see if it can be released to us. It can, so it saves having to have it mailed to us at least this once.
We drive back to Niceville and stop at Walmart and Publix for some supplies. I know we are officially back on the east coast because I can buy Sabrett hot dogs. Yippee! A first since Arizona. We get back to the campground around four o’clock in the afternoon. It’s seventy nine degrees with fifty five percent humidity. Our neighbors already have a camp fire going and they have long sleeves, pants and blankets. Even I’m not that bad!