On The Road Again.

Greetings. Long story short. Been on the road for the past three days. Supposed to pick up our RV but  a certain someone couldn’t help us with the move, so we had to do it ourselves. That meant renting a smallish uHaul and transporting our personal property back to New York (instead of storing our personal stuff in the RV and taking a fun trip to Georgia).

We made up on the disappointment by taking the scenic route home, rather than the congested, boring I-95 up the East Coast. We drove along the Blue Ridge Mountain Highway in Virginia with its amazing scenic views, passed through Amish Country in Pennsylvania where we stopped for a delishous, authentic Dutch meal, stayed in our usual hotel that accepts pets, drove through Hershey PA and got to look at some sprawling farmland.

We’re exhausted. Going to take us some time to unwind and get back into our normal routines. Two of Nick’s friends offered to drive back to Florida and bring our RV baby back home to us. I think we are going to take them up on their offer. All they want is to be reimbursed for gas and food. Sounds like a good deal to me! I don’t think Nick and I will be traveling anytime soon. Then again, you just never know.

farm land
some of that sprawling farmland captured at 70MPH.

 

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Happy Easter

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My lasagna!

Just as our Lord has risen and a new era had begun, so too has a new era begun for us on this day.  Nick and I are preparing Easter dinner for my sister, BIL, long time best friend and her teenage daughter. On the menu is my world famous lasagna, prime rib, roasted potatoes and sautéed Brussels Sprouts with asparagus.  For dessert, organic blueberry crumble pie.  Yum.

Tomorrow we load up the uHaul and bright and early the very next day we will be leaving Florida.  Probably forever. I don’t think we will ever return.

Our minds are filled with new ideas, new adventures, new investments, new hopes and new desires.  We can barely sit still.  Rather than think of this life episode as an end, we’re excited to think of it as a new beginning.  With the profits we’re going to fix up our main house a bit, travel to places we couldn’t afford before and buy a few luxuries we had sacrificed without. It’s all good.

We changed our travel plans yet once again.  Everything has been pushed back a few weeks because we couldn’t get all our stuff in the RV. Thus the uHaul. We’ll have to make a double trip and you know what? It’s fine. We’re retired. Time isn’t a problem anymore. No deadline need apply.

It’s all good.

 

Spring Break.

Most of Florida is jam packed right now. Our closing date is a week from this Monday so we know our time here is severely limited. Nick and I decided to pretend we were tourists and utilize our condo as the resort-styled community it advertises itself to be. This is working out fine for us since the traffic outside this gated neighborhood is horrendous. Going to the beach is totally out of the question.

Neither one of us wants to cook anymore. We don’t want to clean the kitchen either. So every day we’ve been shopping at the organic supermarket, Earth Fare and buying their super fresh, hot cooked meals. Delish. Weeks of extremely healthy eating really makes a difference in your health. We’ve been having organic salmon, brown rice, tons of veggies, mouth watering fruits and sipping probiotic drinks………I wish we would have thought of this sooner.  Yes, it’s expensive BUT we’re on vacation and I think it’s all worth it.  By next week, Nick and I will be up a quarter mill. (I’m not boasting. I know our good fortune is only due to the favor of God). I think living well will just become our brand new modus operandus.

The two main pools here are just filled to the brim with grandparents, adult children and grandchildren. I can understand why now people insist on the over 55 crowd.  Thank goodness the resort has seven more satellite pools to go.  We found a nice, hidden pool gem, with only one or two people in it and that’s where we’ve been hanging since. We did make a pit stop at the Tiki Bar for a cool, frozen pina colada.  As I said, were playing ‘tourist’ to the hilt!

In a way, I’m glad we’re ‘going out’ in this style. It makes me realize we made the right decision to sell.  Once the transfer is completed, a whole new world will open up for us.  We’ve been mostly planning where we want to go next and how our money will work for us now and make it all happen.

Live well my friend and prosper.  Live well.

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Just floating my life away!

The #1 Benefit Of My Retirement

I’d have to say, hands down, that the Number One benefit I am enjoying in my retirement is “time”.  I’m not tied down to a single thing.  I can come and go as I please. I can make appointments and change them on a single notice if something better comes along.

Thats what DH and I have been constantly doing.  We keep changing our plans. I’m constantly making appointments and reservations and then changing them the next day. Whew! It’s exhausting!

We’ve extended our Florida stay yet once again. That meant I had to cancel a whole chain of events. If places weren’t so busy I’d never make a reservation anywhere. I’d just travel by the seat of my pants. But that’s what’s so great about being a bohemian retiree: I have the privilege of doing whatever it is I please.  I follow the sun..

Yesterday I got my hair cut, got a manicure and a pedicure. Today I’m getting a massage.  I’m not too concerned with cost (however I did get everything at a very good price) It is what it is and I’m worth it.  The Board President invited DH and I out to dinner tonight and after careful thought, we accepted.  Nick and I are free agents now and have nothing more to fear. Better to leave behind a trail of friends than bad feelings.

I just wish we can get on with it.

And we will.

Time To Say Goodbye

It’s time for us to bid farewell to our short-lived life in Florida. What started out so promising turned into a veritable nightmare. Who’d a thunk? There’s always that Factor X in almost everything you plan and do.  There isn’t  even a person to tell us “I told you so!” Because what happened to us wasn’t in anyone’s playbook. It was an X Factor, for sure.

The fact that the sale of our condo went so smoothly and so swiftly was, as everyone so far has put it, a message from God that it was time for us to move on. Our money was sitting in lost opportunities and was making no one healthier, wealthier or wiser.  I’ve always had my money work for me rather than the other way around. The proceeds from the condo sale, once reinvested the way I want it to be invested will net Nick and I another passive income stream to our retirement coffers. It will also give us the much needed resources to continue traveling in the comfort and style we prefer.

I’ve made much of my wealth from real estate. I don’t think, however, my path to riches can be done in our current economy.  The broker we employed for our current real estate sale, is a real honest-to-goodness straight shooter who has no qualms telling you to your face where’s it’s at. “You only come to Florida to keep warm” he starts off. “There’s no such thing as ‘investment’. The constant new construction degrades your home value with each passing year. Sell now Cindi, while your condo is still brand new. Otherwise you’re just kicking the can down the road”

God always sends a human to represent Him. Our agent was that human.

The hardest part was saying goodbye to my siblings, especially my brother. He’s the oldest and I don’t know when I’ll see him again. My SIL promises a family reunion this summer at their home in New Jersey. My sister promises to come camping with us up in Lake Placid.  In the interim, I’ve been booking campsites at all the places I had promised myself to be.  We’re spending Easter time at St. Mary’s in Georgia. I’ve already booked a week in Lake Placid, two weeks on the beach in Newport Rhode Island this summer, a few days at Arcadia National Park in Maine afterwards and if all goes well, I think we will be in Arizona for three months next winter (I’ll finally get to see the Grand Canyon!)

Heres a little (shaky) video I made of the last time my famiy and I were together in Florida. We went out for a nice lunch at our fave restaurant right on the shore line of Sarasota Bay.  Afterwards, we like to sit and watch the boats go by.  We ended the evening having dessert at the condo.  The hardest thing for me was kissing my brother goodbye.  God please watch over him and please keep my family well.

 

A Driver Who Doesn’t Take Direction.

This is a funny travel story.

When my husband and I travel, he drives. I give him directions. For some strange reason lately he hasnt been believing me when I tell him which direction to go.  Nick is horrible on directions. I’m fantastic at it.  I’m great with maps too and I always know which way is north.

Well anyway, not only will my husband NOT listen to me but he won’t listen to our GPS or iPhone either. All of a sudden, he knows everything! So when we were almost out of gas, we got off the highway and were supposed to be following both our GPS and Siri to the nearest gas station…….but each time technology told DH to turn right he decided to turn left. He kept doing that and lo and behold we wound up in the basement parking lot of the Metro train in the Carolinas. Don’t ask.

The only way to get out was to pay an attendant $9.00.  My husband tried to reason with the gentleman but the guy made it clear he wasn’t buying my husband’s story. Who makes a wrong turn into an underground parking lot? It’s not a common error. The normal fare was $4.95 if you’ve taken the train. Since we hadn’t we had to pay full price.

Needless to say, I queried Siri yet once again and the gas station was still there where she originally said it would be.

I don’t think hubby is ever going to live this one down.

Just Another Sad Hotel Horror Story

There’s a very good reason, in addition to just traveling, that DH and I have an RV. Its called ‘Hotel Horror Stories’. On our way down south, our mid point to Florida is Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Since we travel with a dog, there’s a certain hotel chain we’ve been using for the past three years that both accepts dogs while providing a decent, clean room. Needless to say, we’re also members of their “club”.

Two years ago, when our RV wasn’t available, we stayed in this Rocky Mount Hotel only to discover bed bugs. So, we never stayed at this chain location ever since. We went one town over to Wilson, NC and had a lovely stay in a less crowded town. Recently, this past February we had to stay in Wilson yet again because our RV was in storage. The hotel was undergoing a massive yet beautiful renovation. This March we needed to stay there once again BUT the completed renovations caused the newish hotel to triple their price. Even with our membership discount, it wasn’t cost effective for us to stay there. A quick re-look at Rocky Mount and their lower price convinced us to give the hotel another chance. Surely the bed bugs would be gone.

After driving for 10 hours, we checked into a very crowded Rocky Mount Hotel. We waited on line for at least 15 minutes. The woman in front of us had no reservation, thus no room. The woman and the only receptionist checking people in had a major thing in common. So did most of the others waiting in line. Nick and I were the only two people who stuck out like poor white thumbs.

When it was our turn to check in, the nasty, belligerent receptionist told us that since we didn’t check off the pet category on our reservation, there were no rooms for us.  She promptly gave our room to the waiting woman.  No matter what I said, that we were members and that I ALWAYS made our reservation in the same way, our dog was never an issue. She told me she only had 6 rooms for dogs and they were all filled up since that morning.

What a crock of bull s**t.

It was 10PM and my husband was exhausted. I immediately called customer service and they confirmed the receptionist was wrong in what she had done to us.  There was no such thing as 6 dog rooms. I told customer service it had to do with my skin not being the right color.  This was the south, after all.

Needless to say, customer service refunded my money and gave Nick and I a suite of rooms in the next town over, Wilson NC for a drastically reduced price.  It was only another 15 minute drive away and we should have booked it there in the first place.

Doesn’t matter. We have our RV back and truthfully, I don’t think we’ll ever stay in any hotel ever again.  A Wal Mart parking lot is better than any hotel mistreatment.

Live and will we ever learn?

A “Free” Three Week Vacation

We had to return to our Florida condo to oversee a series of buyer-authorized inspections scheduled this week and next week. We didn’t want to leave it up to our agent because Nick can do most simple repairs if the need arose. So far, so good.  Everything in perfect order.

The weather here has been superb.  Perfect for us.  A bit on the cooler side in the mid 70’sF in the day. High 50’sF at night. Perfect walking, hiking and biking weather in the day. Perfect sleeping weather at night. Many tourists have gone home for their holidays. The best news of all is that it looks like the smokers are gone. If this continues to prove to be true, Nick and I would like to spend the last remaining three weeks here and enjoy a real, honest to goodness, vacation. Fingers crossed.

Please God. Let us go out in peace.

In the interim, we’re continuing to get our RV in order and liquidate stuff we no longer need. We had to go back to Aldi and buy food to get by.  Our neighbor had inadvertently cleared us out mistakenly. I spoke to her yesterday and she was actually complaining to me she didn’t care much for Aldi food products. She even gave me some of my own food back. “Do you guys need food? Are you hungry?”  I don’t even want to discuss this matter except to say yes, we’re hungry. I was able to cook some stew meat in a can of tomato sauces and serve it over rice we picked up in Wal Mart.  Needless to say, yes, Nick and I went to sleep last night hungry. We re-spent another $150 in Aldi today.

Please God. Let us have some much needed peace in our lives. Once the sale is completed, we will be on our way

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Milk eggs and basics to get by

 

No Food.

When we left our Florida condo in February, I asked a neighbor if she wanted our boxes of pasta and some fresh ingredients in our fridge. She went over to look at the stuff and she said “the opened boxes of pasta will get bugs”.  So Nick told her to take them all.

Unfortunately for us, our neighbor wrongly interpreted that response to mean “take ALL of our food” and that’s exactly what she did. Not only did she clear out our pantry but she proceeded to clean out our freezer and our fridge. She left us completely bare. Not even a condiment was left.

At first I was furious until she told me she was immediately  enjoying our food. That’s when I realized this neighbor had no food! Thus she grabbed all of mine. Nick and I will have to take an Aldi Run. In the interim we had an iHop breakfast.

Oh well.

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This is what my pantry looks like right now. Ugh.
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My current fridge
my pantry
What my pantry used to look like

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