Thursday, July 18, 2019

A Love Lost!

We have no regrets in life, just lessons learned.

We had some good times, but as much as we hated to admit it .. we needed to end our relationship. We tried to make things work, but it just wasn’t meant to be. We were still holding love in our hearts, but we needed to do what was best for us. Sometimes love isn’t enough. We had to end it.

We had to sell our piece of paradise in Puerto Rico!

A lot has happened since our last post, when we bought our piece of paradise. Instead of dragging things out over a series of posts, I'm gonna try and catch up with ya'll pretty quick. We worked our butts off on the home’s exterior, including a new concrete topping on our roof (we hired folks for this) ...

then sealing & painting our new concrete roof ourselves ... what a view!

We scraped off layers of paint from our concrete home for days, skimmed the scraped areas to make the concrete walls smooth again for days, sanded & painted the bars for days, and brightened up our house with a happy yellow & aqua paint. All of this took a lot more time than expected!

So much better!

 After over 3 months of renovating our house we found ourselves only half-way through with repairs, yet maxed out on our time & money budget. As it turned out, concrete isn't as "easy" as we thought ... nothing like our wood-framed houses back home! Salt air and concrete in older homes don't mix too well. We had a ton of unexpected repairs .. including the roof and ceiling inside. Since concrete repairs were new to us, we didn't want to tackle the roof & ceiling repairs ourselves. We had difficulty hiring professionals due to our inability to speak Spanish, and “island time” was killing us. We couldn't start renovating the interior until the ceilings and roof were complete. When the repairs were finally done, it had cost us a lot of extra time and money.

During this time we met some great folks that we now call friends, and got to know the island of Puerto Rico in a way that can’t be done as tourists. We became part of the neighborhood of Luquillo ... a neighborhood we loved!

We had dreams of fixing up the interior of our house & sharing our love of Puerto Rico with friends & family when not renting it out. However, sometimes dreams don’t work out as planned. Knowing when to walk away can be difficult, but it’s sometimes necessary.

We had things in Louisiana waiting for us .. rentals, family,  a growing lil grandson, and our sailboat that was just waiting to finally be sailed somewhere after years of hard work on her. We had to make a decision to either keep dumping money (which was limited) and time into our Puerto Rican home or cut our losses and follow through with our original dream of sailing & traveling. Either way, we knew we needed a break from sleeping on an air mattress while living in a construction zone with no hot water, a/c, kitchen or furniture. Here was our living situation ... an old door covered with a shower curtain created our kitchen, and an air mattress w/fridge.

We decided to list our house with an agent & fly back home the following week for a break. If the house didn’t sell in a few months, we’d have to put off sailing this Winter, finish the house and rent it out as planned. If it sold, then our decision would be made. As it turned out, we had an accepted offer before we left town! We didn't make a profit on the house, but the offer was something we could live with.

We dreaded telling our new neighbors that we were already selling. We felt like we were betraying them! We hugged, shed a few tears, and promised to keep in touch. We’ve got several places to stay whenever we visit Puerto Rico!

We arrived in Louisiana just in time to spend a week with our daughter, grandson, son-in-law, and his family for 4th of July in Destin, Florida. Our kids were moving to Wyoming the following week! This was also a factor in returning home when we did. We cherished every minute with them.

Since arriving home from Destin, FL we got our boat back in order (including a much needed a/c), spent time helping our daughter have a garage sale & get on the road with her lil family, then were hunkered down a few days with crappy weather from storm "Barry" (all went well). 

Just like that ... our Puerto Rican dream had ended, we were back on our sailboat, and our daughter had moved away. It’s all so surreal, and everything happened so fast!

While we hated to break-up with Puerto Rico, we think it’s for the best. We now have our investment back in the bank, which gives us more options in the future. With our daughter moving away, we’d rather fly to see her than fly to Puerto Rico. It’s strange how our perspective & dreams can change so quickly! Life is full of changes, and we do our best to roll with them.

Our dream of owning a piece of paradise in Puerto Rico didn’t end as planned, but we have no regrets. The people we met, the experiences we had, and the memories we made were priceless. I plan on writing a few posts in the future to share some of our memories with you, and what we loved about Puerto Rico.

Currently we're dealing with a nasty "algea bloom" in our lake and having difficulty finding a diver to clean our boat's prop and bottom. Nobody wants to dive in the nasty water .. can't say I blame them. We're sure the prop is covered in barnacles, which makes motoring difficult. We're anxious to start sailing, but once again we're waiting .. are we still on island time?! In the meantime, we’ll be working a little to make some extra money, getting our boat ready to travel in a few months, and helping our daughter sell her house & move her stuff to her new place (road trip soon)!

Life's an adventure when you leave your comfort zone! It may not always go as planned, but it's much better than the monotony of a "routine" existence.

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

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Our Piece of Paradise!

Our piece of paradise .. just steps from the beach!
It’s been a while since I posted anything, so I figured I’d take a few minutes to update ya’ll with what we’ve been up to. In my last post I mentioned that we were ringing in the new year in Luquillo, Puerto Rico and spending the month of January there to escape the cold in Louisiana. Yes, it gets cold in the South, and we weren’t spending another Winter on our boat!

Anyway, it’s now the beginning of May and ... we’re in Puerto Rico! To sum things up, we went back to our boat on February 1st and came back to Puerto Rico on March 19th ... to buy a house on the beach in Luquillo!

Some folks may wonder if we’ve abandoned our dream of sailing “Nirvana” to the Bahamas. After almost 10 years of working on our sailboat, we’re not giving up on our dream. In fact, we feel bad for leaving our beloved boat, and we plan to sail her South this October. We were so close to sailing to the Bahamas this Summer, but sometimes you have to grab an opportunity when it arises.

We didn’t plan on switching gears and buying a house in Puerto Rico, but we fell in love with the surfer town of Luquillo, it’s beaches, and it’s people. As luck would have it, a house was for sale two doors down from the Air Bnb that we were staying at! The house wasn’t listed, but our host (the best) knew the owners wanted to sell the vacant house and he got us inside .. just hours before our flight home. The price was right, we made a verbal offer on the way to the airport, and we flew back to buy the house 5 days after our arrival back in Puerto Rico.

Since then, we’ve been busy finding a vehicle to buy (wasn’t easy when not knowing Spanish!), finalizing the paperwork on our house purchase (it’s a little different in Puerto Rico), and starting a ton of renovations on our house. It’s been about 5 weeks since we bought the house, and we’re just getting started. The language barrier mixed with “island time” can make things difficult, but I think we’re finally making some progress.

I can’t wait to show you “before & after” photos, but that probably won’t be till around July. Until then, here’s a few photos of the outside. The color is pretty plain, so we plan on painting our concrete     
piece of paradise a bright, tropical color. If you notice in the first photo at beginning of this
post and the 2nd photo below, we’re just steps from the beach. The photo was taken from our front porch!

The blue house is a hostel, and we love seeing all the visitors pass by to enjoy the beautiful surroundings. It’s hard to believe this is our house! The second photo below is from our rooftop, which shows the ocean, the river, and the untouched wildlife refuge to our right. It’s pretty amazing!

Our house is just past the farthest tower (condos). See all the untouched area?! This is just a peek of the miles of beaches that we can walk. The opposite direction has a couple of restaurants, but mainly houses. We’re glad that the beaches haven’t been ruined by miles of high rise buildings!

Here’s the left & right view of the beach at the end of our street ... lots of horses! 

From the wildlife reserve, you can barely see our house on the right of the river, next to the white two-story house. The two tall condos are barely seen at front right of photo. 

The beach away from the reserve and towards homes and a couple of restaurants ...

There’s so much more to share with you, but I have to get back to work. If you want to see more, check out our Puerto Rico album on our Facebook page, and watch for more new photos daily. Now that the secret is out, I can share them with you! 

One more thing .. if you wanna check out our house yourself, we’ll be renting it out once we’re done renovating. We gotta go sailing! 

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