Summer

Magnolias are blooming so it’s summer in North Carolina. While I love their scent, I could do without the heat and humidity that comes along with them. Happy Father’s Day to all the Dad’s out there!

I hope everyone is safe, healthy and wearing their masks and washing their hands. We are both doing fine though the whole idea of settling down and reconnecting with friends hasn’t worked out as planned due to our friend Lady Covid. 😢. By now I had hoped to be volunteering a few days a week somewhere and be enjoying get togethers with old friends. Oh well, we recognize how lucky we are and are thankful that we are able to be comfortable and healthy. Just bring on a vaccine!

Other than a short 4 night trip to Folly Beach to help celebrate my niece’s high school graduation, we have been practicing lots of isolation. We have purchased though Facebook Marketplace and the LetGo app some furniture for our new place. I hope to start painting some of our “treasures” this week 🤞

We have received refunds (or credits after disputing the charges to our credit card companies) for all our planned travel. That has been a relief though the effort it took is a bit annoying. We do however look forward to being able to plan travel again….someday. Just bring on a vaccine.

So happy summer everyone and please stay healthy!

Isolation Update

Hope this post finds everyone healthy and isolated. Both of us are but like most others, a bit bored.

For long time readers you probably saw this picture above and are wondering what we are doing at Mike’s Mom’s lake house on Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia.

About 11:15 pm on April 9th, the fire alarm in our new (to us) condo building in Raleigh started going off. After checking to be sure there wasn’t a fire in our unit we gathered outfront with all our neighbors. About 10 minutes later the fire department arrived. 10 minutes after that they came out asking who lives in #204. That’s us! 😳

We go upstairs and find out that sometime after we left the unit, it got flooded.

Turns out that a pipe to the water heater in the unit above us burst, the heat from the hot water apparently caused the fire sprinkler in that unit to activate which drenched us and the unit below us.

We initially thought that our makeshift buckets and staying up until 3am had saved our new wood floors but by the time the Home Owner’s Association’s remediation contractor woke us the next morning at 7:30 am, the wood was already starting to buckle. The water had gotten below it into the subfloor. Additionally, the ceiling and walls were showing signs of water damage.

So we packed up and headed up to the lake while the contractor got to work. The video below was taken last week when we visited to meet with the electrician.

We decided since the ceilings were down we would spend some money we don’t have and add some can lights. Doing this was on our long term list but wasn’t going to happen for a while. We so wish the water had of damaged the master bath and/or kitchen. LOL

Heard today that the drywall is going back up so we are headed down tomorrow to see what progress is being made. We don’t have a completion date yet as they don’t have a delivery date for the replacement wood floor. Hoping we won’t be up here at the lake too long but we recognize that we are so lucky to have a place to stay!

Stay healthy!

Thanks to Montana Gail for the handmade couture face mask

News!

So first of all, I am not going to get finished blogging about the finish of our roadtrip. While I hate that as we visited some beautiful places and had a great time that I would love to share, there just isn’t enough time to do it justice between now (Sunday, March 1) and Thursday when we fly to Miami. Instead immediately following this post I am going to do one last post that will show our route and thank those friends we met along the way. If you have any questions about any of our stops, feel free to ask in the blog.

So the main reason I haven’t gotten done is we have bought a condo! While in Raleigh last month we decided it would be prudent to re-familiarize ourselves with the real estate market there. It is a very hot market particularly in the under $250,000 price range. Most places stay on the market less than a day. Some are sold before they are listed. Our thought had been we would be able to remove potential condominiums from consideration and be ready to make a purchase when we return from Europe later in the spring.

However, a unit became available at a good price that ticked all our boxes-well almost-we can’t grill and it’s in the Country Club which is an expense we really don’t think will serve us much. But otherwise it’s pretty perfect-or will be after some paint and hopefully a little more matching wood floor.

So, after two years of looking around the world, we end up back in Raleigh. While we loved almost everywhere we visited, it was just that a visit…the call of being close to family and friends won out over the excitement and adventure of becoming Ex-pats. We hope to still travel a good bit though I suspect until the stock market recovers from the Corona Recession, it won’t be quite as much as we like.

We closed last Friday, are moving the little bit of furniture and boxes we have in on Tuesday and leave Thursday afternoon for Miami. We board Viking Sky on Friday and sail to Barcelona disembarking on March 20. From there we will spend about a week in southern Spain including connecting with Elizabeth (we met on our cruise to Japan) in Granada and Malaga before we fly to Budapest for three weeks. Our friends Larry & Doug from outside Chicago will meet us there in early April and after a week there, we are all going to Kraków for a week. They fly back and Mike and I stay until April 21st when we fly to London to meet our niece Madison and her BFF and doubles partner Katie. With them we will stay 5 nights in London and then 5 nights in Paris before we all fly back together on May 2nd. Initially we had planned on staying longer but the One World airlines had a biz class sale yesterday that meant we were able to purchase round trip tickets for under $1,300 each. So we will be making a trip back in November (hopefully with our friends Fraser and Brian) to Spain and/or Portugal. Mike and I are watching a Viking transatlantic that would get us back to states by mid December. So maybe we will have Christmas at our new place this year instead of traveling to others.

Anyhow, sorry again about cutting the roadtrip blog short but hope you understand I’ve been unexpectedly busy the last two weeks. Here are some pictures of our new place, hopefully soon it will be prettier than it is now especially if we can get the wood floor extended to the door to the balcony. And hope you’ll come visit-but wait for us to get a bes for the guestroom please

And so it ends.

Somewhat of a change from our March 3rd departure picture (below) and our return last night in Raleigh (above) which ended the first part of our retirement adventure.

We just got back to Danville thanks to Lois (and her boytoy Jerry) who picked us up this morning.

We will be in Danville until December 17th when we will leave on a road trip through Kentucky and Arkansas headed to New Orleans for Christmas with Mike’s brother’s family followed by going to Charleston to visit with my brother and his family. We will be back in Raleigh for New Year’s Eve.

After that we don’t know what our next adventure is going to be but hopefully we will figure out our plans for 2019 during our Christmas road trip.

I intend to post some summary thoughts about our trip as well as a comparison review of our two transatlantic cruises in the coming days.

In the meantime, best wishes for a great Holiday season!

Headed Back

So after a month in the USA it’s time to head back to Europe. Posting this from The Raleigh airport waiting for our flight to Miami where we will overnight tonight before flying to Lisbon and on to Copenhagen tomorrow where we will board Norwegian Breakaway next Friday. That’s Mike’s Mom on the phone beside Mike in the picture above and below.

After much effort, she got everything she “needed” into a rollaboard and a backpack. While it took awhile, she was determined not to pack in the medium sized suitcase that we kept suggesting. She said she wanted to travel the way we were. The sad thing is she has no room for any souvenirs. Not sure how that is going to go for a shopoholic!

We had great visits with friends and family (and the doctor and dentist) over the month at home.

It started with Claudigras, our friend’s Claudia birthday celebration at Seabrook Island,SC. We had a great long weekend with too much food and drink. Claudia even got a tiara to wear though it got cattywhompus after a few of the drinks!

During Claudigras we got to see my brother and his family who live in Charleston. Hard to believe the kids are so old…..especially since I’m not!

We had a short visit with Sam and Yost in Williamsburg mostly to discuss plans for their visit to Porto to see us in October.

We visited with our cruise buddies, Peggy & Lowell in Lynchburg overnight to finalize our plans for our week in Italy before we all board Norwegian Star in Rome in November for the transatlantic trip home.

The next weekend our friends from Durham, Scott and Robert came up to Mike’s mom’s lake house at Smith Mountain Lake. It was very relaxing to sit and have coffee in the morning and cocktails in the evening with the mountain as our view….or floating in the lake.

Labor Day weekend, our friends from Raleigh, George & Doug joined us at the lake for another nice weekend.

We drove to Salisbury to visit Cousin Martha for lunch earlier this week. Had some good western NC BBQ. Yum!

While we have had a wonderful time at home, I think we are both excited about our first visit to the Baltic region (well except that overnight in the airport for Mike’s birthday 😂) and showing Lois around Lisbon after our cruise.