Tuesday, December 22, 2015

And We're Off!

Moving! Is there much else that can be so exciting and so stressful at the same time? OK, maybe childbirth comes in a close second, but that's about all I can think of right now! After a horrible experience with the movers we hired that left me in tears, we spent the night at a hotel up the road, before departing the next day.

Oh what fun it is to ride in a van, we're on our way!

We left Virginia Saturday around noon in a rental van packed with some luggage, 3 adults, 2 kids, 2 pups and 3 guinea pigs, all headed to our new home and new life in North Myrtle Beach, SC! We decided that instead of driving all of the separate cars, we'd have them transported and rent a large van, so we could all arrive together! It was comforting for my daughter, who drove the whole way, to have other adults with her, while I navigated and did DVD duty to keep the kids entertained (I think that Jim enjoyed the movies too!). He also did a lot of pup sitting and kid wrangling when things got restless. The trip was very pleasant and we got down here in about 7 and a half hours, just like the GPS said we would!

On our way out of town, we spotted this vintage truck all decked out for Christmas, so of course I had to take a picture of it! We hit Dunkin Donuts for coffee and breakfast and headed south. It was really fun to have everybody together and we ended up laughing at the silliest things! I think being super tired had something to do with that, although I do fully admit to being goofy at any opportunity.

We hit a rest stop just inside of North Carolina and they had this huge windmill! The pups went for a nice walk and we all stretched our legs, picked up some sodas and water and were on the road again! I was so disappointed when we had to exit off of I-95 after only seeing nine South of the Border billboards! What's worse, we didn't even get to see this icon of tourism! I actually stayed there with my family on a trip to Florida back in the late 60's. It's so wonderfully tacky! We decided that we'll have to go there on vacation some time.

We crossed the South Carolina state line with a hoop and a holler! When we got close, Jim insisted that we drive by the house before picking up our cars and we couldn't figure out why. He wanted us all to arrive together and when we saw our new home, his reason was revealed!

He is such a kind-hearted, sweet and wonderful person! He had these Christmas lights strung by a company down here, since I'd been missing our decorations. What a fabulous surprise it was! So beautifully done and just perfect! It was just what we all needed to break the stress and fatigue of the last few days. My daughter squealed, the kids screamed and I jumped up and down while hugging Jim! It was great! The dogs even seemed to enjoy the site! Everybody ran into the house and scrambled to find their rooms. The painters were still hard at work, transforming the kids' rooms with the colors they chose. They're so sweet, wanting our home to be perfect for us when we settle in. They are also painting our room and putting doors on the bathroom entry. The room where the sink is doesn't have a door for some reason and that won't do. And, as if that wasn't enough, they're working on a few repairs that our agent discovered - all before Christmas! I haven't looked at our room yet because I want to see it all finished.

We spent the night at the house, because our belongings were supposed to arrive today. Jim and I slept on this nice, comfortable reclining sofa that we got from the seller and Shannon and the kids slept in her room on an air mattress. Today was partially spent in the back yard, doing more exploring and enjoying, then we took the kids for a big surprise! THE BEACH! They had no idea how close it is to our new home - a 5 minute drive! They guessed it was 2 hours and were so excited when we pulled up and they saw the water! The silly things actually went into the ocean - brrrrr! Chloe loved it but Fenway didn't! He slipped right out of his harness and ran back to where I was sitting! Meanwhile, Chloe romped in the waves, biting at the water and having a ball! The kids got soaked and didn't even seem to mind the fact that the water was undoubtedly chilly. We let them play for about an hour and then headed back to the house to gather our things to take to a hotel. All I have to say is that the movers better show up with our stuff tomorrow! I am happy to have a real bed to sleep in and WiFi is great so that I can post this! Ours won't be connected until December 26th! We're all going into withdrawal!

That's the latest on our big adventure! Thank you so much for stopping by and I hope you'll come back! Here's a sneak peek at our new back yard! I'll write more about it next time!

Have a great week! Hugs, Leena

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Exciting Life Changes!

Hi! I have a confession to make. I've been sitting on a piece of information for a few months now. Trust me - I've been so excited at times that I just wanted to bust, but I didn't want to jinx things. I also didn't want to say "I have something really cool but I can't share it yet" because I know that when I read that, it makes me crazy! OK, so maybe I'm just a touch nosy or perhaps, easily kept in suspense. Whatever it is that causes me to go bonkers speculating others' news, I didn't want to thrust that upon y'all. I've waited until I thought it was safe. I'm just way too superstitious and considerate for my own good. LOL! So, I am now ready to spill the beans!

Yep! We're packing up and heading out! To where?
A little background. Ever since the first time I took Jim to the beach, we've talked of moving near the ocean. Over the last 10 years or so, we've planned and pondered and hoped and wished and even prayed that one day, our dream would come true. It finally became painfully obvious that we would not be able to achieve this until retirement - too far away! Then again, life has a way of mixing things up and throwing changes at a person and for a while, we felt as though we were getting pelted with everything - health issues, personal issues, financial issues, family issues - way too many issues! They say that what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. Just call me Hercules! When Jim lost his job and the degenerative disc disease in my spine worsened it became painfully obvious that life changes were necessary. After a very helpful heart-to-heart with my dad, God Bless him, I set out to fix my family! Dad passed away two weeks after our chat and I was heart-broken. How would I make these major changes without his advice and direction? What was I thinking? Dad always took care of his family and with some inheritance that he blessed me with, I had what I needed to put our ideas into action and take care of mine.

I spent months searching for homes along the coast, concentrating on areas with warmer climates, better lifestyles and a less expensive cost of living. I haven't done so much research since college! I checked out homes, areas, crime rates, schools, activities, climates, expenses, taxes, town ordinances - everything you can imagine and probably some you'd never think of! Needless to say, I was very thorough. Hopefully, I made the right decision with North Myrtle Beach, SC! I believe that I did. All the while, I asked Dad to guide me to assist me in doing what I promised him I would do. I know he's been with me during these first stages of this journey.

The home had to meet certain criteria. It had to live the way we live - having 3 generations in one house has its challenges - and it had to be close to the beach! I made contact with a wonderful agent and, with a list of potential properties in hand, Jim and I headed down to South Carolina in hopes of finding the beach home we'd been dreaming of - and we did! It was really odd, like fate intervened or something. Of the 10 or so homes we planned to look at, two went under contract before we got there, two went into bank ownership, two decided not to do any more showings and took the homes off the market, one that seemed great was awful, one had no gutters or downspouts and in the biggest rain storm in 1,000 years, the yard and garage were flooding! We couldn't even get to the front door because the water was about a foot deep! It was as if all of the other homes were moving out of the way to draw our attention towards the one we chose! Over two days, in the pouring rain, we looked at houses and before heading out to see more, made our decision. I was thrilled that Jim was in love with my favorite home as much as I was! We made an offer, it was accepted and we were on our way! It did my heart good to see Jim so excited and happy!
Here she is! SEA-renity Bungalow!

That seems like such a long time ago, but the months have passed quickly. Now we are in the throws of packing and getting ready to leave. We closed Friday - yay! and will be headed south next Saturday - only a week away! I can't believe it! We will finally be living our dream and sharing that experience with my daughter and our dear grand children. They have no idea that the beach is only 5 minutes from our new home! They're going to freak out! We plan on spending part of Christmas at the beach, building a sandman instead of a snowman and doing some other fun activities. I'm not showing much of the house here, as the only pictures I have are of the seller's furniture and decor. I'll be chronicling this new adventure as things progress, so stay tuned! There's a lot of exciting news to share!

Thanks for stopping by! Hope you're having a great day!
Hugs, Leena

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