Wednesday, October 12, 2005

in the beginning.....

OK retirement IS all it is cracked up to be and more. None of this rocking chair, sitting watching soaps and eating ice cream, well maybe ice cream, for us Oh NO!!! We gotta re-build a house! What were we thinking?

It all started when the property values in "the Keys" aka the most southern peninsula of Florida. Anyhoo the property vales a couple of three years ago just started catapukting their way UP. So my dear husband, Norman, says ya know a hurricane could just come along and wipe all of us right off the map. Sobering thought for sure. Let's see about selling this condo we have had for almost 20 years take the $$$ and run to I don't know where???

So we got in our car that weekend and started driving, knowing that we did not want to be on the east coast of Florida, aka the plywood or blue tarp state and yes some people do call it the Sunshine state as it states that very phrase on my license plate. I digress. We head over to the west coast of the state to just poke around and see what we might like. Naples is very pretty, beginning to be a bit over built and $$$$ pretty pricey. Traveling north, Ft Myers is way too crowded and a horrendous traffic problem. Mind you we were used to one road in one road out kind of living for sometime. We came upon an area Called Charlotte county, sleepy kinda area with potential. So we stopped stayed there a couple of days drove back to the Keys and on the way back we had confirmed that we would list our condo and head over to the west coast.

Now mind you I had a job that I dearly loved and we had many friends in the community as well. Norm and I were ingrained in this community as we had retired once before and came to the Keys, got bored and opened a business.....what the hell were we thinking!!!! So 13 years after opening the business we decided to sell it and then Norm could really retire.....NOT!!! He went and got his captains license and became a backcountry guide and a very good one I might add. I continued my employment as the operations manager for a weekly newspaper and all was well in the world. Well so we thought until Norm came up with the idea to take the $$$ and run. And so we did!!

Now fast forward to early 2004, friends from Canada were visiting and we wanted to show them around. I especially wanted to show them this cute little area that I liked and Norm had not seen either. We drove into the area and immediately saw a sign that said rent to own. I don't think so but I asked Norm to go and see what the paper work said that was at the door. While walking back from the house a fella was out front and asked if he was looking to buy. "Well yeah maybe I am, why? I might be selling my house in a couple weeks. I heard that and was over to him in a flash. Show us I asked. Nah I'm a batchelor and it's a mess. Who cares let's go see." I persuaded him to take us to his house so we could show our friends that we visitng. We walked in the front door, I asked "how much" he told me and we bought it right there on the spot. Now our friends hadn't made it thru the front door hardly when we told them we bought it. They were hysterical laughing "no way"!!!

Needless to say we had some kinks to iron out. We had a condo we had just finished re-doing and we needed to sell that. Which we did in a week. Thank you very much. But all in all it was just meant to be. The guy we bought the house from is a sweetheart and we remained friendly and even did some business together at a later time.

Now flash ahead to July 2004. Prior to that we had taken a couple of trips, bought some property as an investment with maybe the idea to build on some day. And we thought it would be a wise investment to add on to the house we had just purchased. Always thinking about resale value ya see.

So we came up with some plans, took them to an architect who in turn had them engineered. All ready now the plans are set to be taken to the county for permitting. Woohoo - we shall get started on the slab in the next few weeks.

Ok it's August 11th, 2004 and there is a hurricane out there hmmmmm. Being from the "Keys" we know to keep a weather eye on the storm. As we went thru Andrew in 92 andevacuated for a few others whos name I cannot/chose not to remember. No one around us is the least bit concerned, "haven't had a hurricane here in years, just years", they were saying. There wasn't even but a few people at the new Home Depot buying plywood for the windows. Those fancy, weather machines all the local tv guys are saying it's going to Tampa, it's going to Tampa. OK now it's the late nite of the 12th we go to a terrific weather site called accuweather. Norm used it all the time when he was guiding and learned to trust them. On accuweather the storm, Charley as it is now called, had shifted some and the dang TV weather dudes had not yet said that. I immediately called a hotel in Vero Beach on the east coast, and made a reservation, just in case. We decided to go to bed get up really early, who slept anyway, and see what accuweather was saying. Bingo, the dang storm shifted and was headed directly towards US !!

Holy crap we gotta get outta here. We were prepared from the nite before, had everything in the truck, all we did was throw Buddy (the cat) in the truck and off we went at 4:30 in the a.m. headed for Vero Beach.

Long, long story short we made it to Vero Beach just in time to turn on the weather channel and watch the storm make a direct hit on Charlotte County. We came home the next day to not a shingle gone from our house. How lucky we were!!! Mind you my car was in the driveway and a tree had fallen on it but hey if that's the worst woo hoo!!! But it seemed like every tree in our neighborhood ended up in our yard. So there was a lot of chain sawing going on. We could not stay in the house as there was no power or water. So we stayed up in Tampa , excuse me, where the storm was supposed to go, and drove back and forth for 6 days. No sooner was Charley out of the way and Frances started showing her/his ugly face. What the hell we evacuated again, but this time we went to Canada. Norm grew up in Cambridge Ontario and good friens of ours, the Boults, live there. The border guard thought it was pretty funny we were evacuating allllll the waaay to Canada.

During that trip was when we decided we would come home start the addition and sell the house and get the hell out of this state. When we finally did come back in late September we could not get permits yet as there were two count em two more storms lurking. Praise the lord we did not have to evacuate for Jeanne or Ivan. Well the two more storms convinced us to get this addtion done and get the hell outta here.

We started pouring the foundation late October of last year and as of this very moment we are almost finished. We will put the house up for sale the first of the year. Get in our 5th wheel trailer and big ass truck and hit the road.

Our intention is to leave Florida and head to Southern Arizona, around Tombstone, spend the winter and spring there. Locate a piece of property we can build a house on, are we glutens for punishment or what. This will be the last house so we need to get it right. Then once we decide on the property we will get on the road and head to Alsaka.............yikes can't believe I said that. It has been a long time dream of Norms to do that and hey he deserves a trip like that. So Alaska it is and of course many places along the way.

So that is why I have started this blog is to actually keep a journal of sorts. Up until a short time ago I didn't even know you could do this. My dear sister Deb has her own blog and she introduced me to this. And I am thankful she did. Stay tuna'd...................................

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