Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Back to the Blog

I know that it seems like I took a vacation, and maybe that's what I'll call it, but I find it hard to blog when we are away visiting people. Honestly, I tried to blog the first night we were down in Lake Placid, but it was late and I just couldn't seem to get it done. Anyway, I'm back now and I'll fill you in on all that we did in the past week.

First, we left last Wednesday morning. Our goal was to be out of here by 10 or 10:30 - which was a very lofty goal since we had not packed anything, didn't have the truck loaded, or really hadn't done anything to prepare for the trip. So, Wednesday morning Dan went over to Neil's and got the suitcase while I took my shower. When he returned I packed the suitcase, got the pup's stuff together, cleaned the kitchen, straightened the 'house' and then was ready to go pack the back of the truck with all out "stuff" to go to the storeroom in Lake Placid. We came back by here after loading (which only took about 20 minutes BTW), picked up the dogs, and headed out. We did not make the 10:30 goal, but we weren't that far off leaving at 11:05. I didn't think that was that bad considering we hadn't done anything before that morning.

The trip down was uneventful except for the fact that it takes a long time to drive from here to there (a little over 5 hours) so we were not there before Melissa finished her work day at school and was home. As soon as we got there we picked up the key to the storeroom and went and unloaded everything. That actually took longer than packing because we had to rearrange some things to get the new stuff in but we also knew that we wanted to spend a little more time there going through some clothes and things that we have stored (I decided that I was going to need some more sweaters and a heavier coat than what I had here at the 'house' and Dan wanted a special coat of his to take with us to Alaska - but we saved that for another day.) By the time we got back to Melissa's house Justin was home from work and we decided we would go out to eat at No Frills Grill. Melissa said that she was going to stay home with the dogs because she was having some stomach issues (I'm really getting worried about that as it seems to be reoccurring frequently) so it ended up just being Dan, Justin, and I going out to dinner. I had my usual 'wet burrito' for dinner which I think is really good. After dinner, we just sat around and talked for a little while before the kids went to bed since they had to go to work the next day.

Thursday Dan and I were going to go into Bartow and have the truck serviced - we decided that we would also have them change the transmission fluid when they did the service although it wasn't required until we reached 60,000 miles. Dan figured that would happen somewhere in Canada and he said he would feel better pulling the unit if the truck was completely serviced. So I told him to go for it. When we got up we decided that I would stay at the house with the dogs and he would go in and get the service done. While he was gone I did a few loads of laundry for the kids to try and help them out a little. Dan was gone most of the day and after everyone got home we had a nice quiet night in - with Melissa cooking dinner (homemade chicken strips), I cleaned up the kitchen while the guys went out and sat by the fire pit for awhile.

Friday we had to go back into Bartow since Dan did not go to the bank or to the school board to change our address and the other buisness we needed to do. So, back into Bartow - first the Bank where we found out the bank manager that we always work with has been transferred to another branch in Northwest Lakeland, but we did everything we needed to do there (which wasn't anything major other than changing the address to the mail service and making sure that the credit card would not have a hold put on our account while we are in Canada later this summer), then it was lunch at Zaxby's (I love their Big Snack Meal), before heading down to the school board office to handle some insurance stuff and changing our address there on all our stuff (including the records in Tallahassee). They have assured us that the insurance snafu has been straightened out and we won't be getting someone else's information anymore. Hopefully that will be true.

When we got back down to Lake Placid Dan decided that he wanted to go by the houses that we had spotted back in November that looked like they had been deserted and were probably going to go into foreclosure. We went and, at one of them, the yard had been cleaned up some and there was a notice on the front door that the house was in foreclosure. We still don't know when it will go on the market, but it looks like it is a couple of steps closer. The other house was still all overgrown with weeds and grass - it was like trying to walk through a jungle to get to the front door. The mailman was going down the street while we were there trying to get some information - so I walked out and talked to him. He did let me know that the house had been deserted for over 2 years and that the people that had owned it (or still own it) went through a very bitter divorce. He didn't know the whole story and he didn't know if one of the couple still had the house or what the story was - so that really didn't help us. We did walk into the back yard where there is a pool that you can just walk up to - it is full of water. I can't believe that the neighbors haven't complained or the city hasn't done something especially with the pool the way it is. I would think that would be a hazard. Anyway, while we were talking to the mailman he told us about another house down the road. It is not on the canal, but the price he gave us was a really good price -so we went by and looked at it from the outside. Dan decided that we would call the real estate agent that Melissa and Justin used and go look at this place (just because of the really good price). The place was not bad - it would need some work and the kitchen would need to be completely gutted, but IF you could get it at the right price it might be worth it.
Anyway, to make a long story short, the agent found out that the people were holding out for full price and we just didn't think the place was worth full price especially with the work that needed to be done on it. However, Dan decided he wanted to look at a couple of places on the canal that we knew was for sale to compare and see what the prices were.

Saturday morning Dan, Justin, Melissa, and I met the agent at a house and went through it. In all we probably looked at about 5 or 6 houses. A couple of them were really very interesting and I would not mind having them, but we think the prices are too high on all of them. I'm sure part of the reason is the current owners bought them when the market was high and they are just trying to recoup their money. However, some of them were in really BAD shape - with major foundation issues - big HUGE cracks in the walls and sloping floors - one even had weeds growing in one of the bedrooms where the house had separated from the foundation. We told the agent that we would stay in touch and asked her to keep an eye out for the two houses that we really like the outside of that had been deserted - but to tell you the truth - unless it was a VERY good deal - Dan is not ready to buy a 'sticks and bricks' yet. He said that he would be worried about the house the whole time we were on the road and we aren't ready for that. (I guess I'm just afraid that when we are ready for a 'sticks and bricks' again we won't be able to afford anything.)

Anyway, after looking at the houses we left the kids and headed into Lakeland to see Dana and Cara. We spent the afternoon with them - going to each of their houses for a little while - Dan gave some tools to his grandson Matthew and watched him ride the motorcycle (yes, the infamous one that I will not get back on again!) Then we met both families at Five Guys and Fries for a early dinner/late lunch at 4:30. After eating and visiting for a little while there - Dan and I along with Dana and her family went to Target to pick up a folding table that Dan and I had looked at to take with us in the unit. We were able to get a discount with Cori (our granddaughter) who works at Target - it saved us 10 %. Then we headed back to Lake Placid and were happy to get there before 9 pm. Melissa had kept the pups for us and it sure made the visiting easier not having to worry about them.

Sunday morning was a lazy one - with everyone sorta taking their time getting 'woke' up. Dan went up to Publix and picked up some donuts for breakfast (boy, were they good!) and then we went over to the storeroom to do that rearranging and looking for the things that we wanted to take with us to Alaska. After a couple of hours we had everything done that we needed to do and were back at the house with the kids. Melissa and I watched a movie (Love Happens - which was pretty good and a cute movie to watch on Valentine's Day) and then we watched the Daytona 500 - which lasted ALL day due to some track issues. Justin's mom came over with Justin's niece - Gracie - and spent about an hour. Sunday was really just a laid back day with not a lot going on. Justin went and picked up a couple of pizza's for dinner and we all watched some TV before heading off to bed - since the kids had an early day and Dan and I had to be up early to get the dogs to their vet appointment. We told Justin bye before heading to bed since he had to leave around 5:30 Monday morning (even though we had to leave early we didn't have to be up THAT early).

Monday, everyone (Melissa, Dan, the pups and I) was up and ready to leave the house by 7:45 - actually Melissa left about 7:15 and Dan and I were out the door by the 7:45. Into Lakeland again - this time to the vet's office to make sure we have the correct paperwork to get the puppies in and out of Canada twice this summer. They didn't require any shots - they were all current, but we did want to get them checked out (their annual) before we leave for the summer. Dr. Latter said they were in really good health (they weigh 14 and 21 pounds - I think that's a little heavy - but they haven't been getting any exercise -but then neither have I). It was nice to see Dr. Latter - we have know him for YEARS and my oldest daughter worked for him for awhile before she went back to Vanderbilt for her Master's degree - he was also our neighbor for awhile before we moved to North Carolina). He asked about all the girls and we visited for a little while before he moved on to other clients and we headed out.

Then we ran by Dana house to see them again before heading home. We talked to Dana about a piece of property adjacent to their house that might be for sale. It is a very small piece of property, but it already has a septic and well on it and it might be perfect to build a Katrina cottage on it (Lowes has these cottages that would be perfect for this small parcel - you can see the plans on the Lowes website under Katrina cottages if you are interested in seeing what we are talking about). If the price was right, we MIGHT be interested in doing something there because of the price issue. Anyway, we'll just have to wait and see what could be done. When we left Dana's Dan decided that we would not travel by interstate but go the "scenic" route instead and visit a couple of our friends on the way home. So, we went by Don and Theresa's house in north Lakeland and spent a little while with them (they are going to try and come out to see us while we are in Alaska this summer) then we headed for Neil and Carol's house in Gulf Hammock. We spent just a little while with them - we were there in time to watch Neil butcher a hog he had killed (that is always fun) and I took the pups over to see Joann - she is the one who kept them when we went on the cruise. We will be back at Neil and Carol's later this week but I'll save that story for a later day.

We got home fairly late - we were able to go over to the "Gopher" for dinner since I didn't have anything in the house to eat before coming in and crashing - Dan was able to get the cable hooked up to the TV (remember we had stopped the Dish service before heading down to Lake Placid) and I was able to watch the Bachelor before going to bed. (I know, I probably could have blogged then, but I was really tired and it doesn't take a lot of energy to watch that show). I am really going to be ticked if he picks one of the girls he has in the final two - but I think that is who he is going to pick - oh well, it's him and not me!

Tuesday Dan was suppose to have his doctor's appointment, but they called and changed his appointment until today (this afternoon) so we went in to Live Oak and went to the grocery store - we had to pick up a few of the basics - you know milk, eggs, bread - the kind of stuff that you let go when you are going to be gone for a week. I also was able to have the pictures developed that I wanted to use to make a scrapbook of our "adventure in Idaho" this past summer. I'll be working on that at night and on days that we aren't working until it warms up some! Yesterday afternoon I spent a lot of time going through clothes and repacking stuff - Dan and I both cleaned out some things that we will not be using and are going to donate them here at the village. We made room for the stuff we brought home with us from the storeroom and got rid of things that we didn't wear all of last summer and things that just wore out (you know when you wear the same clothes over and over again they wear out much faster). I also spent a lot of time on the phone yesterday with DirecTV making sure that everything was correct on our account. I really started to get upset, but after just letting things settle down last night and calling again this morning, everything worked out just fine.

Today we are doing laundry and Dan has his doctors appointment this afternoon. I will be anxious to see what the doctor says about his blood work. We are still working on the weight issue - we didn't do too well on the trip eating lots of things that is not on our diet (donuts anyone?). Dan gained over 4 pounds and I went up a little over 1 pound. We are back on the diet now - I fixed roasted chicken, broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots, and a salad for dinner last night. I'm going to fix some Bar-b-que for lunch today - so it's back to trying to cut the fat out of our diet.

Well, I think I have you guys caught up - I know this is a long post and maybe I should have divided it up - but I appreciate you hanging in there with me. I'll be back to posting everyday again. We are leaving here a week from today - hard to believe - heading up to Lake Park, Georgia to have the work done on the unit before heading off to north Georgia for our next working assignment at Unicoi State Park a week from Friday. I will keep you posted on the trip and all that happens there. I am ready for Spring to be here - it is really cold here again today - high is only suppose to get to around 50 with the wind blowing. I'm really tired of this cold, wet weather (it rained on us down in Lake Placid and it rained on us on the way home)! Some of our friends in Franklin have posted pictures on Facebook showing all the snow in our old neighborhood - it sure is pretty. Dan says that if we are going to have the cold weather he would like to see some snow - at least it would be pretty to look at.

I'm going to sign off for today - hope you were able to read all this. Take care - stay dry and more importantly - stay warm! In the meantime -------------------------

I'll talk to you tomorrow!


  1. I think you are smart to be watching the real estate market. The fact is our RVs are depreciating assets and eventually won't be worth much at all over time. They certainly aren't meant to be a long term retirement home.

    Sounds as if you had a fun and productive visit and are close to being ready for that GA and AK adventure.

    I was worried when I didn't see anything from you. Hope that makes you feel good to know your friends in cyberspace are concerned about you.

    Happy and safe travels. We are home from the Rio Grande Valley now.

  2. thanks Donna - yes, it is a good feeling to know that you guys are out there. IT does make it a little nicer to know that someone other than my family is reading this. Thanks for being concerned - I need to give you our phone number but not on here - don't want the whole world to know LOL! Yes, we need to think about what we will do when we aren't able to do this anymore - I hope it is far in the future - but that time will come at some point.

    Glad you are home - I can't wait to read about your trip and how your new RV worked out.

    Stay in touch!


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