Monday, September 21, 2009

Tying Up Loose Ends

In Florida, I contacted a realtor and had put my little villa up for sale. It took 2 showings and three days and I had a signed contract for the full asking price.

This was real.

I started phase two of packing and planning. I made arrangements for utilities to be switched on at the farm. I had inspections and appraisals at the villa.

I had to tell friends and family. I had to give notice at work. I had to do the hardest thing imaginable- I had to say Goodbye to everyone I knew. Amazingly enough, as soon as everyone realized when I said I bought the farm, I really meant it, they had more faith in me than I did. I was scared.

My closing in Fl would be in the morning and my closing for the farm would be in the afternoon on the same day, my birthday, no less.

Happy 49th Birthday, me.

I would be staying overnight with a friend to show in my last dog show in Fl and wait for my daughter to get off work as she was riding up with me to help get me settled in. She would be flying back 3 days later. It was such a comfort to have her with me but I was unsettled at the same time. What if she was not comfortable with me staying? The last thing I wanted was for her to worry about me.

I crammed as much as I could in a Pod and off it went. Amazing how much you cannot get in one of those. I took very little furniture save for a few treasured pieces. Being such a rural area that the farm is in, there was no chance of home delivery and set up for the Pod. My only option was to park it at the closest storage area was about 90 minutes away. And pray I would find someone to help me unload and bring my belongings to my new home.

Since living thru three hurricanes and enduring lengthy periods of time with no power, you get pretty good at camping out at home. The same applied to this move. Using that mindset, I packed a few kitchen utensils, blow up bed, work uniforms and clothes suitable for cleaning and painting, basic essentials, every important piece of paperwork known to me, cleaning supplies, lots of cd's, 5 dogs, one cat and one daughter into a aged two door Explorer and hit the road at 6pm Saturday night. The plan was to drive straight thru while the animals slept.

It almost worked. Other than stopping for gas, leg stretches and human potty breaks all went pretty smooth. I was all adenaline and worried for the comfort of the dogs happily snoring in the back.

At about sunrise, an hour away from our destination, my daughter says "Mom, my stomach doesn't feel right."

Stoic person that she is, her stomach had been rumbling in protest for most of the night making her miserable. It finally won when we crossed the city limit sign of my new hometown. Right in the parking lot of the local pizza parlor.

I had arrived.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Quick Trip To The Future

Amazingly enough, changing your whole life can be pretty easy on paper.

My realtor pitched my proposal to the seller's agent, the necessary back and forth calls were made, a few faxes and the deal was sealed. Drop a check in the mail, pick a closing date, good to go. Simple as that. Really.

Everything was a blur- I had bought a farm. Sight unseen, a 100+ year old house. On a strangers recommendation. It only made sense that maybe I should take a trip up to see just what I had gotten into.

Two weeks later, a friend and I flew up to Charlotte, rented a car and off we went on my great adventure. Other than the realtor in NC, only two friends and my daughter knew what I had done so it was a super secret mission.

January in NC can be just awful. The day before we arrived, a huge storm had come thru the area leaving tree limbs down, grey windy skys and everything was cold and wet. I worried that this was an omen.

We found our way to a neighboring town, met with the realtor and hit the road to go visit my new home.

Traveling up a steep, winding road, there at the top of the hill sat and old, dull white house. The back screen door was falling off, the fields were waist high in weeds, a huge barn was falling in. The wind was blowing the tin on the roof of the barn making incredible sounds like a dinosaur eating the scaffolding off the Empire State building.

But incredibly, inside, although filthy and neglected, the house was sound. It was quiet and dry. Huge high ceilings, hardwood floors, lots of windows and doors, porches, fireplaces, large rooms. All original hardware on the doors. New bathroom, new hot water heater, new A/C unit, new electrical wiring, good roof. It could be so much worse.

It had my favorite feeling- Potential.