Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Spirit of Learning

So, we have learned a few things. As I stood outside the most beautiful library I have seen on a college campus, I reflected on where we have been. We learned we can't tolerate cold. We learned we miss our friends. We learned we are not comfortable moving an almost 90 year old from a place he loves. We learned the dollar for dollar value in SW Florida is pretty good. We learned ALOT about the real estate market in Oklahoma and yes, even a bit about improving ranch land.
And, in the end, we are becoming Floridians again very soon. We intend to head back around the first of April and will close on our house around the 20th. We are ready to be settled again. The story comes full circle. Now we know what we would really need to have a successful ranch. We are glad we made the trip. And glad to be heading back to a state I NEVER thought I would be happy to return to.
On a side note: these pictures are of the University of Oklahoma. This library is beautiful. What a gorgeous campus. I am happy to have had the chance to see it. If you are ever in the area of Norman, Oklahoma, take the time to see it. And stop at Campus Corner for a Freebird Burrito.
And remember: if you are thinking of doing something. Do it. Try it. Don't be afraid of it. Have fun with it. As my friend Barbara said to me during one of her last conversations with me: "Life is just too short to be doing something you don't want to do". Good advice. Thank you, Barbara.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Boys

Look at those faces. Beamer and Rocky. Our cat hosts in Fort Myers. I am sure they wondered what the heck their former neighbors were doing living in their cabana and conducting business from their kitchen island. All in all, for being creatures of habit and not necessarily embracing change, they were pretty good hosts. I'd like to think they were even sad when we accomplished what we came for and said adios for awhile.

Thank you guys, for sharing your space. See you soon!


What's this? A palm tree in Oklahoma? Well, turns out we weren't in Oklahoma for this recent picture. Did we take a cruise as we have other times we were homeless and jobless? No. Did we buy back in 2 doors down like we have been known to do? No. Did we look at each other one cold, dreary, damp day in Norman and ask each other what we were REALLY doing? Yep. Within hours we found Ashley, a lovely pet sitter who actually spent the first 5 years of her life in Fort Myers and we were on the road within another day. First the obligatory stop at Donut King, then with 14 hours of driving on day one, and 11 on day two, we were at the doorstep of our great friends and past neighbors, Terry and Larry to mooch some hospitality. We arrived with a suitcase each and vodka in hand. We knew they had this great cabana bedroom and it was more than ready for company. The next day we looked at about 20 properties....the day after that some more. And within 5 days we were under contract for a 2217 sq foot home in Caloosa Yacht and Racquet Club with tennis courts, kayak lake, riverfront marina and a fabulous private restaurant.
What? What happened to the grass fed ranching business? Maybe in the future....maybe on a much smaller scale, and maybe that smaller scale will happen right in SW Florida. What it comes down to is that the ranches we saw last fall all had been sold. Nothing new was coming on the market and we realized even if it did come on the market, we might not hear about it. We would have had to buy further and further out from Norman. Now we would be hours away from Rick's dad if he moved, too. And we started to be very uncomfortable with the idea of moving his dad.
And sometimes you don't know the beauty of something until you step away.... Oh, yeah, and you don't remember how much you REALLY like to see the sun, or how bad the arthritis can feel in cold, damp weather. I guess I should start using the term "I". I love water. I love warm weather. I love the sun. I love green landscaping. Rick loves to be able to move his knees and play tennis, and drool over sailboats. And Matt loves the idea of staying put where he seems to be satisfied with his "institution", knows how to drive to Walmart, and is working on getting a new girlfriend. And bottom line, we are still capitalists. We really like what we can get for our money in SW Florida real estate wise. All that added up one cold obnoxious day in Oklahoma when we made the decision to stay Floridians. Not a bad life. In fact, a pretty good one. We realized we had to "get away" to see the forest for the trees.
Now, we can relax. And get ready to move. Again. For awhile. For now.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Orville and Dora

Milo, Oklahoma. Where? South from Norman on I 35, then west for a ways on Highway 53 to the middle of nowhere. This is where we found the old house and store that Rick's ex Uncle Orville and ex Aunt Dora owned. The building is still standing but gas pumps long removed. Some good memories for Rick seeing this old place. He and his first wife used to spend time there with Orville and Dora playing hours of Moon and 42 while drinking Rick's booze (yes, they were good Baptists and certainly could not have be seen in a liquor store.) Orville drank 151 proof rum straight from an ice tea glass. Rick and his wife carted away the empties. And it sounds like there were alot of empties. Guess it was quite the hot spot for Milo for many years..decades actually. But time really marches on doesn't it? We all show the wear and tear eventually. Orville died of asbestosis (a ship welder during WWII) and Dora died several years later.
After the memory lane trip we went on to explore the Arbuckle Mountains and Ardmore. The Arbuckles are the oldest mountain range in the US. Wow. Who knew Oklahoma had this within the state lines? Oklahomas, I'm sure, but as a transplanted Coloradoan I apparently was pretty ignorant. It is a far more exciting place in writing, though, than in reality. Rick claims that Turner Falls possesses one of the best swimming holes around. Given that it was about 25 degrees that day I did not get the chance to test his hypothesis. I am of the opinion that it's a memory he formed in part by the 151 proof rum.
We have explored yet another part of Oklahoma. Did we find a clue on what our life is going to be? Not yet. But we did experience another 4 hours of sunshine and a great burger from Carl's Jr.


We went exploring the other day to the Altus area. I felt like home! Parts looked similar to the front range where I spent almost 30 years. Who knew? This area by the Quartz Mountains is lovely. Notice the blue sky. This picture was taken in the 8 hours that the sun was shining in Oklahoma. I was happy to capture it.

We drove all over this area and for once I could tell what direction we were headed as you could look and find the mountain range. I realize that coming from Colorado, one has to be careful how you use that term, but they were definitely bigger than hills.

We found Rick's cousin and surprised her with a quick visit and continued on in our search. We found great Mexican food in Anadarko. We found the Wichita Mountains. We found more than several dying downtowns. And we found lots and lots of damage from the recent ice storm. For the readers that have been through a hurricane, that is pretty much what it looked like. We heard there are families that won't have power for another month. Not a good sign for the local residents when 3 weeks after the storm there are still power lines and poles just laying along the side of the road. I can't imagine. We bailed from SW Florida after 3 days of not having power after Hurricane Charlie. These Okies are true troopers.

After a wonderful day, we decided that part of Oklahoma is beautiful and full of wonderful people. But, according to stats, the area is losing population, and it just didn't seem like the right place for us. We decided to continue to search......

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Deal or No Deal?

Well, no deal are the words for the day. More details to follow when our schedule allows some time to think about what I am saying.

To make a long story short: the deal with Ma and Pa Kettle has been cancelled. The last straw was when the very nice past president of the building association declared there were 3 layers of shingles making the home uninsurable (how did our home inspector miss that??). Okay. We REALLY got the message from above. No going forward on this property.

So, today out the door for another adventure in another area. Details and pictures later. We refuse to let this idea of this lifestyle die. Start thinking earth sheltered home......

See you soon!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Stop Trying to Push a Rope Uphill

Well, well, how fun each day can turn out to be. What now? Who tries to push a rope uphill? Turns out, me, sometimes. It doesn't seem to be anyone else's concern and only frustrates the pusher (me). Are you getting this? It seems that I am still looking for some of that patience that every home buyer should have.....I am my worst nightmare. I am out of control.

But today revealed that the selling homeowner doesn't really grasp what this water leak, and saturated black board that lends to the structural integrity of the home, means. Neither does her realtor (who cannot claim cognitive deficits). When this listing agent was made aware of the sill plate problem they came up with a solution. Let's send a friend of the seller's daughter's husband over to declare it's simply condensation! A friend, it turns out that is not licensed to do anything. Saturated, dripping boards that are covered in what is probably black mold. Condensation. Really. What you all should be aware of is that sitting in a cold hotel room (heater intermittendly stops working), for over 2 weeks now, with a husband, 2 cats, and the insurance adjuster above us, does not help me find my patience. I certainly did not find it today. Just ask my husband.

But, let me back up. The day started when we actually reached the contractor that called us back who was still waiting for the inspector to call him, who was still working on the report, who was convinced we needed a contractor, who was then convinced we really needed a plumber, but then forgot to tell our real estate agent, who was still trying to find a contractor. What? Yes, this is how the day was shaping up. Pushing a rope uphill. It was really not working. So, our agent says, call their agent (what?). Rick, a much better diplomat then me, gives her a call. That's when we found out they had declared "no problem" due to the friend of the husband of the daughter of the cognitively impaired seller. And we want these people to fix our next abode? I don't think so. To make a very short story even longer, he started throwing around the word cancellation, and "we have pictures". While that did get her attention, I think it is too late. The two sides of the party are way far apart. We were pushing a rope uphill.

So, tomorrow will most likely lead to a cancellation. We have deciphered the message! We are looking at another property much closer in and with much less acreage. No room for cattle. But not close enough to anyone to have to listen to their barking dogs. And we will now expand our search to include businesses and homes perhaps up to the Edmond area. We continue to be open to what is presented to us. But absolutely, positively no pushing the rope uphill!