Saturday, October 29, 2016

It's the Season for Waiting

There's something about this time of year that invites a sense of anticipation.  It seems very appropriate that many many years ago I was waiting to give birth to my son.  He was due on Halloween but decided to trick me by waiting until November 12th.

And here we are waiting to see when we can get moved into the new place and when the motorhome might sell.  But the phone call this morning put me over the moon...we have a date!

Our closing has been moved up to November 7th and Left Brain had a call from someone who wanted to come over this weekend to see the motorhome.  The calls on this are just starting to roll in as snowbirds are landing at the end of their yearly migration.

This kicked me into high gear and I ran out and bought some packing boxes and a few groceries for the remaining week while he was out riding his bike.

A packing frenzy soon developed as items came out of  cubby holes and odd spots to be encased in a box with a label and tucked into the storage shed.  We just got the key from our landlord today, so that was perfect.  Now when we show the motorhome this weekend it will look very open and spacious, not to mention cleaner than it's been for a long time.

I've had some great diversions during this time of uncertainty and have been grateful for the welcome distraction they provided.

My first outing was with Ingrid, a friend made on the road and who continues to full-time with her husband.  We met at IKEA for some shopping, planning and lots and lots of talking.  We both arrived too early and ended up meeting at a McDonald's nearby, but that part was not planned.  She had just left there and I was just arriving when she honked the horn and then circled the block to park next to me.

It was a fabulous and informative visit as she has a wealth of information about real estate and how to rehab houses.  We talked color plans and like a good friend will, she stopped me from making purchases that I would have regretted.  It's nice to have someone protect you from yourself.

We're already planning another visit later on when we get moved into the new place.  She's curious about our purchase and the 55+ park lifestyle, even though she's barely old enough to qualify. 

We also have full-timing friends Pam and Rob coming into the Mesa area early November and will meet them for lunch and catch up with their adventures on the road.

Halloween will bring us together again with Ginny and Norm for lunch and more planning strategies.

I also have a high school classmate that will be near the area this winter and hope to connect with Linda and catch up with her.

I've been hungry for community and connecting with people and now it's all beginning to happen and I couldn't be happier.

Now as soon as the motorhome sells, Left Brain will let go a sigh of relief and then all will be well.

Long Live the Queen

Friday, October 21, 2016

Meeting the Owners of the House

Things continue to progress in our efforts to put down roots.  The water heater that had a leak in our new place has been replaced and we did the inspection last Thursday.  The inspector questioned me when we were outside alone and asked how I still felt about the house.  Uh it comes I thought, he found something majorly wrong.  Then he smiled and said "lady, if you don't buy this house you're crazy".  It seems it's been one of the cleanest, best ones he's inspected in a long time.  The owners have been meticulous in their care of this place and it shows throughout the house.

We went back that evening and met both the owners for the first time and they were delightful.  They are from Canada and he is 81 and she turns 80 on Saturday.  They've been married for 54 years and are so cute together...very much in love.  In the photo above Left Brain is talking with Jim and learning the history of the cribbage board coffee table to the left.

We learned that once a Canadian turns 80 the cost of the insurance to leave the country gets very the tune of $50 a day for each of them.  So they are very motivated to return to Canada as soon as possible.

There had been some possible water damage under the flooring, so that is the last thing we need to wait to have looked at.  It may be that the entire flooring in the park model portion will have to be removed and replaced.  If that happens, the owners want me to come and pick out my own flooring to put in.  That part is very pleasing to me, even though the flooring they have right now is beautiful, but it is causing a slight delay.

We should have no problem with keeping the November 15th closing date and moving in as scheduled, but if this matter can be resolved things could be moved up substantially. 

The wife of the couple took me around the house and explained how different things work and is leaving everything, right down to dishes and linens. Note the cute vintage linen dishcloth hanging on the stove.

This is a couple who have had no children and loved entertaining, so we are inheriting some beautiful cut glass wine glasses and vintage dishes.  I'm thinking of painting the backs of the cabinets an accent color to showcase the plates more.

Since I wanted to go with a vintage farmhouse theme for my decorating this will all fit in just lovely.  The coffee cups in the photo below are perfect and I haven't even had a chance to look at the oodles of tablecloths and other linens she has.

Our major prize is the cribbage table that Jim made back in the Fifties.  I know they would have liked to have kept that, but she said they really don't have any room for it when they return.

He has made so many personal touches in the house with many pull out drawers and the like.  I didn't think to photo the wooden rolling pin he made.  I may have to get a display rack for that.

They have left such an imprint on this home it feels very personal taking over ownership of this property.  We aren't just buying a house...we are buying a home and making new friends in the process.  I felt it the minute I walked into the house for the first time.  As some would say "it has good energy".  You just feel better once you step inside, I don't know how to describe it.

Lynn is a superb painter and one of the things she is leaving me is a nice big Ott light.  I have a smaller version, but this will be great for quilting. Again, I forgot to get a photo of this.

Speaking of quilting, this table which is huge enough already has two leaves and when extended to it's full 120" has to be turned sideways to seat people.  

I'm thinking when I'm busy with a sewing project it will have the leaves and be pushed up against the windows for natural light and will easily accommodate my machine, cutting mats and pressing area.  Oh yeah, she's leaving the ironing board and iron as well.  If she only had a sewing machine it would be perfect.

Since she is the cook at Thanksgiving where they have fed up to 31 people at a time, I also get the huge roaster that can fit a 28 pound turkey and an additional breast.  Looks like I'll have some cooking to do!  I wondered how they fit that many people in the house and learned that the neighbor owns the empty RV lot behind the house and they fill it full of tables, as well as the parking area in front of this house.  With the back door and the extra bathroom it makes it easy for a crowd to come together.

I'm afraid Left Brain and I will be quite boring in comparison to this vibrant couple.  It's sad when you can't keep up with those in their eighties, but there it is.

They have shared information with us as to who can do what repairs in the park and gave us the name of the man they would recommend for screening in the deck...after we get approval, of course.  You need to submit plans for anything you do that would be in view outside before you can proceed.  It doesn't matter if it 's adding a deck or planting a single plant. There are many plants that would not be allowed here due to size or health concerns. 

I know it may sound crazy, but it does make everyone play nice.  Maybe it's from living too long in campgrounds where often times "anything goes" that has made me a believer in having rules that actually enforced.

I can't wait to be able to just drive in on the resident side of the guard house and pull into my own driveway next month.

Long Live the Queen

Friday, October 14, 2016

Moving right along

We were able to meet up with our neighbors from Ham Lake yesterday for lunch and had some good Chinese food and lots of conversation.

Afterwards they took us to their house and I took it all in with my newly trained eyes that are attuned for real estate.  It is drop dead gorgeous...and HUGE.  I think our RV would easily fit inside their master bedroom, closet and bathroom area.

They have graciously offered the house to our kids for their use over the holiday break and I'm thinking we're going to tell them it's a real dump and we'll let them stay in our park model and we'll make the sacrifice and live there for the duration. I wonder if they'd fall for it.

During our visit with them we received a scam call from an outfit wanting to charge us $299 to handle all the credit checks and arrange for people to see it, yada yada yada.  Thank goodness Ginny had her little notebook going and with my ability to speed read we quickly figured them out before we got too far.  They found our info on Craigslist and contacted us to make a deal that sounded too good to be true.  And when that happens all kinds of red flags were going off in our minds.

Thursday I met with a friend from La Crosse and had lunch with her and one of her employees at Crackers & Co.  Yes Marti, the same place we met you and Bob a couple of years back.  This was a place Linda chose, so it must be the place people from Wisconsin go to eat.

I finished up my shopping on the way home and we went over to meet up with the guy doing the inspection on our new home.  

Well, other than the fact the water heater is leaking and the plumbing should all be redone...oh and the floor bows in the middle and needs to be re-leveled...all is looking good.  I was a bit concerned until the inspector said it was one of the better properties that's he's been out to see and he's done 60 of them so far this year as there appears to be a big turnover going on.

I wasn't sure how I'd feel about it when revisiting it, but I love it even more...there's so much storage!  Now it's getting hard to wait until we can close and move in.  Why is there always someone on our property?

The current owners are due to arrive any day now and will have to deal with the water heater since they'll be living in it until mid November.  The plumbing was not deemed to be critical and could wait for a year or two, but he suggested doing it to avoid future problems.

Friday we stopped at the office to pick up forms we'll need to have ready for closing and I signed up for the Welcome Back Dance, which is actually before we move in, but I want to get to know people right away.

The semi annual big park sale is November 19th and I wanted to jump on that in case we inherit things that we want to part with immediately.  We'll have three or four days to sort through stuff quickly before the sale, so I'm proud to say I was the first person to sign up for the sale. When it asked for a description of items for sale I just entered "don't know, haven't moved in yet".  Even if I don't have much to sell, I'll get acquainted with all the neighbors.  I may have to make some mini muffins or cookies to offer in case the sale is a bust.

My calendar is filling with dates for the new place and neither of us really wants to attend anything here in the park we're staying in since it's such a short duration.  I'll continue to play pickleball at the indoor facility until the end of the month at least and if it cools down I'll join some friends at Carriage Manor as their guests until we are official residents. 

Oh how much easier life will be once we're settled in both places, but I have to admit I'm enjoying the rush of excitement as we embark on this new path.  I'll enjoy it more after the RV sells and we have the use of that money for our new ventures.  

We wandered around the Mesa Swap Meet today and checked out some small scooters and golf carts that might be handy for when we move in.  I only bought a small pliers and a little wire basket for my farmhouse decorating them in the Arizona house.  

It's a fun time for sure!

Long Live the Queen

Monday, October 10, 2016

RV and car for sale

I inadvertently set up this post as a "page" instead of a regular posting.  So, if you are interested in buying an RV and a car, please go the right side of the blog and click on the "Pages" and then click on "Trailers for sale or rent...". 

I guess there's a bit too much on my mind these days!

Long Live the Queen 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

We Have Arrived in Mesa

We got into Mesa on Wednesday and I wanted to take advantage of our extra time that provided.

The first thing I did was contact the real estate agent to start looking at houses on.  She wasn't available on Thursday so I had to wait until Friday.  

On Friday I looked at about fifteen properties in the morning.  By noon it's in the mid nineties here and there's no electricity on in these units and thus no AC, so it keeps you moving.  There's a ton on the market right now and some deals to be had, and I vowed to get me one.

Saturday I made invited Left Brain go back to look at more properties with me and see some of my favorite ones.  There are some absolutely beautiful ones for sale, but they were too classy for us.  I mean I'd feel like I had to wear my bra and start using make up to live there. ...and I'm just not willing to go there.

So, we found a property that gave a lot of bang for the buck. They had just lowered the price significantly in September and we knew if we didn't act immediately this would be scooped up in the next month or two when people start arriving for the season.  I am so glad we decided to just come here right away instead of waiting for December.  Things are quiet and the agent had time to work with us right away and that certainly will not be the case soon.

This one has a nice deck and an orange tree with tile on the side for additional parking.  I'm already planning what kind of cactus I want to add to the front. There are five nice storage drawers under the deck and Arizona room.

The realtor just called and told us that the offer was accepted and she'd be in touch in the next day or two to sign papers.  The current owners will be arriving in about a week so we should be able to have them moved out in November and close by the end of November and move in December 1st...if all goes well.  So keep your fingers and toes crossed for us.

It's an older property but has had so many major improvements made like a new roof, dual pane windows, newer water heater and heat pump and granite counter tops.

The kitchen cabinets have all been painted white so will be easy to paint again when I want to create my own look.  I'm envisioning a gray kitchen with some fun color for the walls to make it pop.  Just painting and changing hardware can make such a huge difference.

I want to find just the perfect accent rug for under the dining room table (which I love) to determine the color selections for the walls.  The curtains are simple and lace, which I've always loved.  It gives it a farmhouse feel that suits me, so those will be least for now.  It has been so long since I could decorate that I'm going to enjoy every step of the process.

It comes completely furnished and is packed with tons of storage.  The 729 square feet will feel luxurious after being in a 32 foot RV for almost five years. 

The Arizona room is a bit small, but there is a second half bath with laundry behind this room which makes it nice for when guests come south in the winter.  The first thing to go will be the odd pink lamps...they are just not us.

Larry, you'll still have an air mattress to sleep on (I may spring for a higher larger version now that you're getting older)  but at least you'd have your own bathroom.  And it's even safe to come and visit because we don't have any major projects for you to work on.  You can just golf and relax. Hint hint.

The couch is actually a double recliner, which made Left Brain a happy boy and the little "coffee" table you see to the side is an oversize cribbage board.  I can already envision Emily and Kiersten trying to beat Grandpa on this board.

There is a wall mounted flat screen and little fireplace opposite this.  I'm thinking it needs a floating shelf beneath it to pull the two elements together.  It will be so much fun tweaking everything!

There is a second table in the kitchen area that may be replaced with a desk or sewing table as it has great light.  Or maybe just a small chair and side table for reading or watching TV.  Finally I'll have my own TV and a remote to pick my personal viewing! The little hutch will become a coffee station for Left Brain.

Everything is so nice and bright.  Very few of the units have any electricity hooked up yet and are dark....not this sweetie.

The bedroom is small, they all are in this type of setting, but at least it is a queen size bed and has storage underneath it.  It's all about the storage.  One of the first things I'll be looking for is a Southwestern design bedspread to use as inspiration for the room colors.  

I have so many plans and ideas for how to make this truly "mine" and will certainly be sharing photos with you as we continue on this new crazy journey.

Long Live the Queen of Her Castle

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Heavy Breathing

Everything up here at 7000 feet just seems like such an effort.  Both Left Brain and I find ourselves trying to catch our breath after minor exertions.

I was just turning to scold Gracie for scratching at the screen door tonight when I realized she was on the wrong side of the door.  Whaaa?

She managed to open up her tunnel again and I'm not sure how long she was loose or where she'd been, but she had a very self satisfied look when I opened the door to let her into the RV.

We leave in the morning anyway, so I removed the tent and tunnel in preparation for our journey.  From here on only the tent will be utilized as that has a way to tie the zipper into place.

Not only can't I breathe up here, but the darn cat has my heart racing as well.  And it's not just me, even the dish soap dispenser was throwing up.

Long Live the Queen

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Arizona Bound...Post Haste

The thrill of the hunt awaiting us finally took its toll and I announced to Left Brain that there was going to be a change of plans.  This is nothing new to him as I'm prone to sudden changes of mind.  Must be that ADD thing.

Since I couldn't watch the buffalo round up anyway we decided to blow through the area and go south down on I-25 through Colorado.

I cancelled our reservation with Palm Creek in Casa Grande and we are sitting high in the mountains of Monument, Colorado right now.  Just over 7,000 feet up...the slightest exertion has both of us gasping for breath.  I can't wait to drop back down to a level I can handle again.

We're taking the weekend to catch our breath (good luck with that plan) and will head out Monday for Mesa AZ and hope to arrive about October 7th. 

First priority upon arrival in Mesa is to clean up the RV and begin the sales campaign.  It will also give us a chance to connect with some friends who are already there and be ready to start the search on Monday.

The real estate agent has been contacted and I've reached out to the man we are renting from in Road Haven to see if we can move our four month contract to October through January.  Being the optimists we are we feel we will be moving into something before February.

Wish us luck!

Long Live the Queen of Transitional Housing