Sunday, September 18, 2016

Updates and other compelling news...

So, even though the last post was dated September, it was far from current. Here's the update: the house in Michigan sold in mid-July. Before the ink was dry on the contract we were on our way south. First stop was a quick visit with my dear, sweet Auntie and Uncle. It's never long but it's always sweet. Here we are at dinner on the beautiful Dale Hollow Lake.
Second stop was a long overdue (can you believe 15 years) Mitchell (and others) family reunion down in Tennessee. Howard's brother, Bo, arranged for us all to gather where his wife's (Kim) family has been gathering for many years. It's called Monteagle and is in the heart of the mountains in Tennessee, southeast of Nashville. Howard's brothers and sisters were there and Amber and her family were there too. We all stayed in a house down the road from "the big house" where Bo and the rest of Kim's family stayed. This was our little place called Ways Meet. Quirky place, built in the 1800's but perfect for us.
Shamar, Sharon, me and Cheryl posing on the porch.
Grandpa and Beri chilling on the big front porch.
Amber & Beri on the porch. That porch was very popular even though it was sooooo hot!!
Beautiful Monteagle sunset. You know you're getting old when your younger brother-in-law (Bo) says it's just a short hike to see the sunset and 2+ miles later you almost missed it!!
This was before the canoe trip. Another sign of old age, the 1-1/2 hour canoe trip turns out to be 3+ hours and it almost kills you. Seriously, I could barely walk at the end! Andy looks particularly excited here!! xo
On the Duck River.
We stopped here, a little past half way, to stretch our legs and eat our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
And also to have an old fashioned baptism. Lilly had been wanting to be baptized at church but the timing was never right so Bo and Kim decided to surprise her with a baptism with her whole family, both sides, there. She was overcome with emotion.
The 5 siblings at sunset (Shamar, Bo, Sharon, Howard & Dan).
We had to leave a couple days early so that we could get to Florida and find our new home. It was a whirlwind trip. We lookekd at 9 houses in one day, ended up making an offer on the first one we saw, it was accepted, then drove back to Michigan to start packing!
Just a few days after returning home, our favorite girls came for their last visit to Michigan. Amber is amazing. She does the drive, with two little girls, all by herself in under 10 hours! Amazing! We had some fun while they were there. Not sure if this will work or not. It's a video of Quinn who had just learned to dive!! She was amazing!
If it doesn't work you'll just have to take my word, she did a great job in one short afternoon. No if she can only let go of her nose!!
We also spent a little time at Depot Park, feeding the ducks!
And a little time on the deck where everyone was fascinated that Grandpa would actually eat a dog cookie!!
When the girls left, a few days later, it was time for the Bunco girls to go up north to Pam's house for our annual get-to-gether! I asked the girls if we could go visit The Walloon Lake Inn, where Scott and Emily are getting married next year. They graciously agreed. Here we are, after walking around, eating lunch and finally finding the place!
Dinner at Pam's club
With a beautiful view of the lake. Always have a great time with these ladies!
We closed on the Michigan house on August 26. The loaders came the day before and somehow got all our stuff packed into the truck. After the closing we came home, packed up the few little things left, and got on the road around 2:00 in the afternoon. We didn't get too far. It wasn't as easy to find a hotel that accepts dogs as I had thought, even though I did do my research. But we managed. That first night we stayed at a Motel 6. It was the worst. From there we compared all other dog hotels to that one and they got exponentially better.
We arrived in Florida just in time for Hurricane Hermine. We even pushed up our closing a day because of the threat of heavy rain and flooding but it wasn't really that bad. The hurricane made landfall north of us and most of the rain was south of us though Crystal River which is due west of us did get heavy flooding because of the tidal surge. Our new home was none the worse for wear and we were holed up in a hotel because our furniture wasn't scheduled to be unloaded until the day after the hurricane!
Home at last!
I took these today, after Howard called me outside to see "Fred". He saw "Fred" the first day we moved in. I hadn't seen him yet. Fred is a 3 foot long black snake who likes to hide in the bushes and wait for lizards. Thankfully he is about as scared of me as I am of him. I always wondered what the dogs were smelling in that bush! Now I know!
The pool and lanai where we start the morning in our pj's (well me anyway) drinking coffee.
The view to the back of the lot.
Looking the other way, toward the front and the driveway.
To the east, nothing but trees and bushes!
When we're outside, Charlie follows from window to window or door to door to keep track of us!
One of our first purchases, or mine anyway, solar lights! It is pitch dark out here at night! Next purchase, a flood light or two!
My "garden". Basil, rosemary and a geranium I brought from Michigan.
Now to the inside. This is the family room, looking from the kitchen area. We need a rug.
The other side of the family room.
Looking into the kitchen. Howard just installed my under counter lights which will be really helpful because the florescent lights don't work half of the time. Only when they're in the mood.
The guest room
And the view from the guest room!
The master. Still some boxes left and no bed yet. We're working on it!
The living room.
The "office".
Our days are spent shopping, installing, unpacking, organizing and we haven't even begun to think about painting yet. Someday. So far we've had a new fridge delivered and the dishwasher, which I hadn't planned to get but found I needed, will be delivered and installed tomorrow. The fence will hopefully be in later this week or next. The solar floodlights will be here tomorrow too. It's gosh durn dark out here!!! We are adjusting. Some (me) slower than others. I miss my boys, my friends, my old home. I know it takes time. We've had one visitor, our friend of 30+ years, Mike, who lives down near Tampa. The girls are coming in a few weeks, can't wait for that!
Hopefully the next post won't be so long. Now that I'm retired I have no excuses, right?? Also, taking suggestions for new blog name now that the Mitchells have left Michigan!!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Happy Summer!

So many things are/have been going on the last couple weeks! First, I was treated to a lovely dinner by my ESL friends. They bought me 2 Alex and Ani bracelets which, I admit, I didn't know much about. One was "Guardian of Knowledge" for the past, and the other a pretty sand dollar, for future adventures in Florida.
A few days after that we had the official Retirement Party after school. Only 3 of the 4 retirees made it to the party but it was very well attended by lots of old and new friends. My gift from that party was 3 more Alex and Ani bracelets!! So now I have "a party on my arm" as my daughter calls it!
Just a few days after the retirement party it was the end of the school year. I took what I needed to from my room but it didn't add up to much as I won't really need it so I left it for my friend, Heather, who will hopefully take over at NSE for me. It was kind of unemotional leaving that day. I don't think it will really hit me until I realize I'm not going back there in the fall. I didn't have a lot of time think about things because the next day I left for Amber's for a 6 day stay! She and Andy had a wedding to attend over the weekend so I was on Mimi duty. Quinn was still in school. They had an extra two weeks thanks to all the snow days they had last winter. Berit was out though so she and I hung out. Saturday she had a birthday party to attend so Quinn and I both took her. Good thing Quinn was with me because Beri got shy and refused to go into the play area of this place called Busy Bee's. Quinn couldn't go on any of the bouncy houses or equipment but she could go in and got Berit going at least. I also got to go to Berit's last ballet class where parents could go in and watch what they'd been learning. It was a great visit and I just got back on Wednesday.
Things are slow in the house selling department. We've only shown it about 5 times since we went with the Realtor. Most comments, while they loved the house, were concerning our pond which people insist on calling a "swamp"!! It's one of the things we love most about the house but it's not for everyone, especially if they have small children, even though it's not deep it's still not something you want your little kids playing in. Once Zoe ran off and when she came back she was black up to her elbows on all four legs after a romp in the "pond"! Yesterday, however, we had people who seemed more interested than most so we have our fingers crossed. It only takes one, as we keep telling ourselves. On the plus side, the house and yard look awesome and we are enjoying an absolutely gorgeous Michigan summer!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Memorial Day Weekend - 2016

Wow, it's the end of May already. Where did the time go? We went straight from winter to summer here in good ole Michigan, as sometimes happens. It was a very gray, cold winter. I thought we would never warm up, even a little. A couple weeks ago I was still wearing sweaters, though the really heavy winter coat went to the Salvation Army at the end of March. That was one thing I promised myself, once the temps stayed above 30 degrees it was a goner! Some "people" (dogs) don't really mind the cold!
January is a bit of a blur and I don't remember much of anything we did then.
In February I flew to VA to spend a couple days while Amber and Andy had a little vacay time in Mexico. The girls and I had a good time though there was snow there in VA too! I was guest reader in Quinn's class. It was fun to meet some of the kids she talks about every night at dinner and also her teachers. I read a few favorite Jan Brett books!
At the end of March, the week before Easter, Amber and the girls came to Michigan for a visit. We took them to the Rainforest Cafe one day for lunch. We tried not to sit too close to the animals that were a little scary. Quinn was fine but Berit wanted nothing to do with the big cats. They were a little scary.
This beauty turned 12 years old on March 30. Some days she still seems like a youngster. Food makes her very excited. But I notice how stiff she is when she gets up now, a little wobbly too. Still a sassy lassy though!
Quinn lost her big front tooth. She must have been wiggling it for weeks and weeks!
On April 3 Scott got engaged to his beautiful girlfriend, Emily. So happy for them and the ring is beautiful. No date set yet. They kind of go back and forth between September 2016 and September 2017 but nothing definite.
A couple days later we celebrated with Emily's family. Her sister, brother-in-law and niece and nephew were at the restaurant but couldn't stay because of the little ones so it was just us, Tyler and Jessie, Emily's folks and her brother, plus the happy couple, of course!
A couple days later Howard and I were on a plane to Tampa. We went down the week after Easter to look at a few houses and meet with a new realtor. The few houses we looked at were either too small or needed extensive upgrades that we just weren't interested in. We also dog sat for Howard's sister since she was out of town in South America. The weather was beautiful while we were there. It only rained once, for a couple hours early one morning, and this was the beautiful site after the rain stopped.
This was our lunch view one afternoon. The weather couldn't have been prettier.
The house has been on the market since the first part of March. It was For Sale by Owner the first couple months with no interest and now we've had it with a realtor for about 3 weeks and still not much happening. We've only shown it once and their only real comment was concern about "the swamp"!! Ha ha! We love our "swamp". Oh well, hopefully that right person will come along soon. In the meantime we are enjoying the sights of spring.
We won't see this next spring in Florida, that's for sure.
The trees have leafed out with a vengence and the pollen is thick!
I wonder if they have gold finches in Florida? If not, I will miss them.
We are winding up the school year. Only a couple weeks left to go now. There is a retirement party scheduled for June 13 for 4 of us who are leaving. Well, actually 2 have already left but will come back for the party. It will be hard to say goodbye to everyone and while I know it's necessary, I also know it will be sad and I don't do sad well.
The house will sell eventually. We'll have to keep lowering the price until it does. Then it's onward and southward, and the big move will be on! Love these beautiful Red breasted gross beaks. They are ony here for a couple weeks, travelling north I guess.
I'll try not to wait until December to update. Really, I'll try.