Monthly Archives: December 2011

Another Christmas Letter

As much as I dislike the …”what I did this past year”  letters, I find myself writing the same.  Read if you wish, or discard as desired.

Been a fun, but really strange year. Last year, I had thought, was a year that could not be beat. This year, I think we did it. But it isn’t over yet, as it is only Dec 5, 2011.

January 2011, we made a decision to move to Florida. Having been there a few times while Bonnie’s mom was still with us, we found that Florida was an interesting new place that we really enjoyed.

Bonnie wanted to move to the mountains on a lake where we could enjoy the seasons, the spring, the summer, the beauty of the leaves changing in the fall, and the snow of the winter.

However, I had a different idea and constantly reminded Bonnie from Nov to January when the snow storms quit, the snow had turned to big piles of ice  and getting around became a pain in the rear end.  My comment, to her, during the aftermath of the storms, and the isolation of being in the apartment from Dec to April was “IT AINT THAT WAY IN FLORIDA”.  And the constant harassment by my good friend who had moved to Florida about it being 70 degrees in Feb, while we in Manassas VA were in the 40’s, kept the constant reminder in my head that I had to wait at least until May until I could  open my windows  and doors and sit on the deck of our place and watch the trees once again turn green.

Finally, Bonnie came around.  The late sunrise and the early sun down, the cold winters and my constant “It ain’t that way in Florida” got here attention. After 42 years of teaching elementary school and my showing her pictures of her, during the trips to Florida, a couple of (okay a bunch) of pictures of her during our trips compared to the pictures of her during the school year, showed the amazing difference in the stress lines in her face.  You could see the stress during the school year and you could see the total absence of it during our trips.

And here is where God  was , as I see it now, with me. I spent from January 2011 until March 2011 searching the real estate ads of every house for sale in Florida from  Boynton Beach south on the east coast of Florida and form Tampa to Naples on the west coast.

I compared House to House, Floor Plan to Floor Plan, Prices, HOA’s, Fee’s, and on and on. Bonnie wanted to live on an island, We both wanted to have vegetation around the house (not empty lots), neither of us wanted the restrictions of a HOME OWNERS ASSOCIATIONS or DEED Restricted property. And we both did not want the floor plan of a house that looked like an open auditorium.

We found three.  Two were short sales on Pine Island. Researching Short Sales. I decided it was not a good idea to go with them.  The Third … we did what I DO NOT recommend doing.

I contacted the real estate agent, and made her promise me that the picture I saw of the property  were EXACTLY as advertised. She Did. We put a contract on it, and bought it. UNSEEN.

In April 2011, we flew to Port Charlotte to see what we had purchased. It was as advertised. Needed some yard work, but with the exception of a few surprises with the appliances it was what we were looking for.

Meanwhile, we had booked our 3rd Cruise on Carnival Cruise Line for a cruise to Bermuda. Not the place I wanted to go because it was a “PROPER” expensive island. But I had score to settle with the Cruise Director of the Carnival Pride and the price was right.

Upon Return from our house tour, we went on the Cruise.

Turns out that both weird decisions, the house purchase and the Cruise to Bermuda, ended up being awesome.

Closed on the house in May. Had a weird adventure with the movers and ended up getting completely moved to Port Charlotte Florida by July 1, 2011.
Cheryl, a good close friend of ours came down the end of June and stayed until July 15.  Kids came down and stayed a week or so. Then in August we flew to Kansas City Missouri and  stayed with my sister Sue then drove to Lincoln to Mom and Dad’s. Spent time with my Sister Sheri, and Chris, Mindy, Ashley, and Dillon.

I had not been seen them for at least 10 years or even more. It was a great, and for me, a scary time, which all worked out in a way that I would have never imagined.

October brought on an unplanned adventure. I had a score to settle with the BLUE CREW of the Submarine Crew of the USS JAMES MONROE SSBN 622.  Long story, but I vowed in 1978 that I would one day return to the USVI of St Thomas to avenge their being able to go ashore there during a post ship yard Test while we, the gold crew. We were not able to go ashore and had to watch from the deck of the sub, the island, while we had a barbecue on the missile deck.

So the opportunity presented itself and we took the Carnival Dream Cruise to Nassau, ST Thomas, and St Maarten..
November 2011, upon a semi challenge from a good friend, ex-boss, and the father of two boys who  where  good friends of Allyn’s , met Mr Scott Higgins and his mother in Jacksonville who were going on a cruise for his mothers 75 birthday.So we cruised to Nassau, and Half Moon Cay.

It is now Dec 5. and Dec 7 we will be formally joining the Port Charlotte Yacht Club, which as of our meeting with many of the  members via a yard sale and subsequent Lobster Bake and New comers meeting … I have yet to see any yachts.  But a fine group of poeple.
There is much more that has happened. But the Bottom Line here … is This:

For everything there is an equal and opposite action. (I believe Newton figured that out).

So if Life hits you in the head  with a BAA (BIG ASS APPLE) and knocks you silly, if you be patient  and keep your cool, that apple will produce a tree with rewards that you cannot begin to imagine.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year
Steve and Bonnie