Wednesday, August 20, 2014

To Keep You Busy ...

Ken sanding in the boatyard ... 2010

Since "stepping back" and chillin' our minds for a bit, I don't have much to write about regarding sailing ... yet.  So, to keep you busy I thought I'd mention that we have quite a few projects under our belt that you may be interested in.  During these projects, I tried my best to take photos and write instructions in a way that was easy to understand.  After all, this girl wouldn't know how to get too technical!

Our posts cover an assortment of topics ... from weeks in the boatyard to various projects, big and small.  Just click on the links to find all the posts from the boatyard and/or all posts related to the projects we've tackled.  Hope you learn something from them, and would love to hear what tips you may have or how our site has helped you.

Hasta luego ... until then.  Mid-Life Cruising!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Stepping Back

Save us a spot ... taken across from Foxy's on the island of Jost Van Dyke, BVI

It's been a week and a half since we learned that the deal on our house fell apart and we weren't going to be "almost homeless" as soon as we'd hoped.  During that time we've experienced a range of emotions, and we're still trying to figure out what steps to take to bring our cruising plans to reality.  In the meantime, Ken and I have taken our home off the market for a few months.  Showing the house for almost two years has been exhausting, and we just need a break from worrying about it.  We're "stepping back" from the constant focus of selling our house.  By the end of the year we'll decide if we want to try selling the house again, or put it on the market as a rental. 

A few of you that follow along have asked if the house is overpriced or in need of repair, and although I may be biased the answer is no to both questions.  If you followed along two years ago, you know that we did a ton of remodeling on the house in preparation for putting it on the market.  As far as the price ... we know it's a very fair one.  Just to be sure, I've had several fellow agents look at it and they agree it's just a tough market.  Living on the water in a flood zone has scared a lot of people.  The flood insurance issue for the area has now been resolved and ours is pretty cheap, but the market hasn't recovered from the fear that has been instilled in potential buyers.  For the folks that have a lot of money and aren't concerned about such things ... they're buying in a nearby (newer & pricier) waterfront community.

I've picked up some promising real estate clients, and have been busy showing them homes when I'm not working at my "now less than part-time" job.  Since I've been a real estate agent for over a decade now, and have had some profitable years in the past (too many years in the past!) ... it feels good to be dealing with out-of-state clients again and it definitely lifts my spirits to think I may have a good paycheck before the end of the year.

Time flies, and before we know it our focus will be back on our house and cruising.  Until then we have a ton of things to keep us busy (as always)!  Our newly married daughter and son-in-law have new jobs and a pre-approval for a loan ... meaning Ken is going to start building their house in about a month.  That, along with his regular jobs, will keep him busy till the end of the year.  

We're anxious to get our focus back on the boat, work or fun.  However, we're thrilled about sharing yet another major experience with our daughter.  Building her a house will be a priceless time in our lives, just as working on her barn wedding was.  

By the beginning of 2015, our daughter should be settled in her new home ... and we can empty the contents of our house into hers!  Getting rid of all our stuff will be so much easier this way.  Whatever doesn't make it to her home will be sold, and we'll be ready to downsize.

We never know what life has in store for us, and it's often not in the time frame that we'd like.  But, we have a lot to be thankful for.  

Thanks to all of you that have shared such kind words with us regarding the latest turn of events.  It means so much to us to know that there are so many folks sending good vibes our way and wishing us well.  Words can't describe how much we appreciate it, and we hope to meet many of you someday ... further South!  I'm gonna sit in that chair on Jost Van Dyke again, so save it for me.

Hasta luego ... until then.  Mid-Life Cruising!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Almost Homeless!

Nirvana ... when will we move aboard?!

So much has happened since my last update about our boat and our plans ... everything that happened was so unexpected!  All the chaos began on Wednesday, July 30th when we received a decent offer on our house ... can you believe it?!  After almost two years we finally got an acceptable offer!  Ken and I barely slept that night as we debated on whether to accept the offer or counter back for a little bit more money.  We were ecstatic and couldn't believe this time in our lives had finally arrived.  The next morning we decided to move forward and accept the offer ... we've waited too long to mess this up!

One week later we had the house spotless for the home inspection, and we anxiously awaited the buyer's response over that following weekend.  We were dying to start packing and find a place to rent for about 9 months, but we didn't want to start making any commitments until the inspection period was over.  During this time, the buyer can back out pretty much for any reason, even if it's just "cold feet". 

I often dreamt of these days, and wondered how I'd feel when actually faced with the reality of selling our house and all of our belongings.  After waiting all weekend to hear from the buyer's agent I can tell ya ... I couldn't have been more excited!  Sure, Ken and I had our moments (very short moments) of fear and doubt about selling our home but they were quickly smothered by thoughts of freedom and travel.  I was giddy!

We never know what life has in store for us, and sometimes it can be a bitch.  As I pulled into the parking lot at work on Monday morning, I finally got the call we'd been waiting for ... and it stopped me in my tracks.  The buyers had decided to back out of the deal!  Without going into all the details, I think the buyers got cold feet, or maybe found another house over the weekend.

Unfortunately, this was just salt in the wound.  Word gets around fast in the real estate office when one of the agents sells their own home ... especially when it's someone like me who has big plans of sailing off into the sunset.  Although I'd tried to keep things quiet, it was inevitable that my boss would learn of the contract on our home.  However, I assured her that I wouldn't be giving my notice for at least 8 months, as we had a lot of things to do before "retiring".  (If you haven't followed us in the past, I also work about 32 hours a week in the real estate office for very little pay, but it fills the gaps between my real estate closings).  Anyway, last week the other part-time employee that I worked with was let go ... and I learned in casual conversation that someone had already been hired to replace her ... and they'd be working full-time.  Full-time?!  Yes, that meant that I had been replaced!  I wasn't being fired, but my job had been given away and I was offered about half the hours at an office 40 minutes away instead of the five minutes I'd been used to.  I absorbed this all weekend while waiting to hear from the buyers.  I kept telling myself that it was okay ... we were selling the house and I'd manage.  I was keeping positive thoughts, and gearing up for keeping a good attitude on Monday when I had to train my replacement.

Needless to say, finding out our house sale fell apart as I was arriving at work on Monday morning was terrible timing!  I walked straight into the manager's office as I passed the "new girl", closed the door, and started crying my eyes out.  I told her that I was having a hard time pulling myself together and putting a smile on my face to go train someone for my job!  She (who had nothing to do with this) was very kind ... but I sure wish I could shove this job.  Knowing that we're not selling the house and that I still need to make every penny I can until we lower our bills really sucks.

Four days later and I'm still devastated and exhausted.  Freedom was at our fingertips and it just slipped away.  Getting a taste of what it will be like to sell our house just makes us want it even more.  We were almost homeless, and it felt so good!  Until then, we have no choice but to keep one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward.  I sometimes question why things seem so difficult for us, but I know there's no answer.  Life just happens, and isn't always fair. 

We're kicking around some options ... maybe we should rent the house to tenants.  But, having the bad experiences that we've had as landlords, we have some real fears about this.  Thoughts of the potential damage (and expense) that could be experienced are daunting.  We just don't have the answers yet, but we're not giving our dream.

Hasta luego ... until then.  Mid-Life Cruising!
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