Florida Life, It's About Me, Praises, The Friends, The Husband, Traveling

Santa Rosa Beach Year #4

For the fourth time, Carl and I were blessed to use my client’s beach home near Destin, FL. Our first two visits in 2016 and 2017 were full of family, friends and fun. Last year, not so much as we dubbed it our worst vacation ever! This year, we were originally scheduled to go at the beginning of September. However, Hurricane Dorian (our third major hurricane since moving to FL) postponed our plans.

9.4.19 Dorian (2)

Not sure where or when Dorian was going to hit and preferring to stay home to monitor things, we pushed our trip out a month. Our good friends, Dee and Eddy came to join us for two nights.

10.6 Dinner Out (3)

The first day, we enjoyed a relaxing afternoon on the beach.

10.5 Beach Day (2)

The second day, after attending church together, we spent the afternoon watching football before hitting a restaurant on the bay to celebrate Dee’s birthday.

10.6 Dinner Out (1)

In the evenings, we enjoyed time playing games and watching a movie. We are always so grateful for time spent with these special people. Thanks for coming Dee and Eddy!

Carl were supposed to have two nights alone before another couple, Bruce and Cathy, came to join us for the remainder of the stay. Carl and I enjoyed another relaxing beach day.

10.7 Beach Day

Our second day alone was spent with a movie matinee to watch Downton Abbey.

10.8 Movie Matinee

After the movie, we drove over to Destin and walked on the Boardwalk.

10.8 Destin Boardwalk (1)

We saw lots of jellyfish floating around the harbor.

10.8 Destin Boardwalk (4)

We rewarded ourselves for walking around in the heat by stopping at Dairy Queen on the way home.

10.8 Destin Boardwalk (2)

We didn’t really want to but the pirate made us do it!

Bruce and Cathy were due to arrive on Wednesday but Cathy came down with a bug. We entertained ourselves by taking a long walk on the beach in the morning and then hanging out at the pool all day. In the evening, we walked down to the beach for the sunset.

10.9 Sunset (2)

We came upon a large pile of jellyfish that some boys on the beach were collecting.

10.8 Sunset (12)

So weirdly cool! I did my best to counteract their mission by kicking the jellyfish that I saw stranded in the sand back into the water.

10.8 Sunset (11)

It was a beautiful evening on the beach with my husband.

10.9 Sunset (6)

Since Cathy was still feeling ill on Thursday, we decided to make our way home early since we had had our fill of relaxing, beach walking, watching movies, drinking and hanging out alone.

We are grateful for our time away. Free vacations are always the best! I am grateful for a generous boss who shares his place with us each year. We can’t way to go back, hopefully with all our friends, who always make things more fun!

It's About Me, Praises, Rental Properties, The Husband

SOLD!

Carl and I still have one rental property (a two-bedroom townhouse) in Minnesota. When I wrote a post about our properties in May, 2017, I stated the following:

I do not believe that we will ever recoup the money that we paid for that property. It has slowly climbed up to around $100,000 to maybe $110,000 (if you believe Zillow) but it will be many, many, many more years before it makes it back up to what we paid. 

So I was happy to go on Zillow a few weeks ago and see that the Zestimate was now around $142,000, which is close to what we paid for it. But I also noticed something new…a box telling me to “Get a Zillow Offer.”

th

Turns out that Zillow is now buying homes in select markets, making minor repairs and then reselling them for a small profit (more or less flipping homes).

I figured “why not?” and wanted see what they would offer but had very low expectations and figured it would be a totally low-ball offer. Imagine my surprise the next day when my initial offer came back at $150,000 (which is the number that Carl and I had had in mind and had stated that when it ever reached that, we would sell). What? That’s even more than their Zestimate! After getting over my shock, I read the email and saw that the next step would be an in-person inspection by a representative by Zillow to adjust the offer for repairs needed. I again figured it would be an unrealistic deduction off the initial offer. A few days after the inspection, the revised offer came in and was quite reasonable and comparable to what we would spend on necessary repairs.

After comparing the estimated costs of a traditional sale (with realtor fees, travel, repairs, weeks of hard work by Carl and I and the hassles of coordinating showings from afar) and the final Zillow offer (with zero hassles or effort on our part), it was very close. So it was a no-brainer in our minds. SOLD! 

Since we do have a tenant on a month-to-month lease, we had to give her notice and time to find a new place to live. She did so quickly and will be moving out September 1st. We will close the sale with Zillow on September 6th, at which time we will pay off the rest of our house here in Jacksonville. Yippee!!

We are amazed at how God has moved the past month in clearing this path for us. We weren’t even planning on selling this property at this time but God made it so easy and hassle-free for us that we couldn’t NOT do it. We are grateful and it will be awesome to be debt-free in just a short time.

 

 

 

 

Florida Life, Praises, The House, The Husband

BIG, EXCITING NEWS x 2!

After 33 years and 15 jobs, mostly in the professional sports field, my husband is GOING TO RETIRE from full-time, professional employment at the end of this month! After taking the job with SMG, he has not been loving it. And thanks to the opportunity to continue with the NFL medical insurance plan until 65, as long as he is not employed full-time, he has decided to resign while we are still eligible for the NFL insurance plan. YAY for Carl!

His plan is to go back to working for SMG part-time as an independent contractor, at least for a while. One of the main reasons for doing this is that no one else knows how to do the project that he has been working on since being hired by SMG. So he is willing to help them out with it until someone else can get trained or for as long as they want him. Other than that, he plans on doing some other contracting work, finding a part-time job at a Scuba shop, finding a part-time job at the YMCA (for a free membership) or whatever else he decides to do JUST FOR FUN and some spending money!

This decision has been made possible thanks to our other BIG, EXCITING NEWS, which is that we have (almost) PAID OFF OUR MORTGAGE! Thanks to all of my husband’s hard work over the past 33 years and our diligent investing, we were able to pull money from our portfolio to pay off the the majority of the mortgage. The rest will be paid off next month and I’ll tell you more about that soon. Once it’s paid off, our expenses will be significantly reduced, thereby lowering the income that we need on a monthly basis, giving Carl the freedom to retire. YAY, again!

We are very excited about these major life changes and look forward to the freedom of setting our own schedules and living completely debt-free. We feel very blessed and grateful to God for His provision to us over all these years, making these events possible.

We are planning a big backyard celebration soon to celebrate!

 

It's About Me, Praises, The Husband, The Relatives, Traveling

Family Time

On Sunday, more home projects were completed (including taking down a lattice wall and chopping down a dozen trees in the backyard) but we also found time to play some games together.

8.4.19 Game Day (1)

I brought two new games with me… Exploding Kittens and LCR Wild and we had fun with both but there is a little bit more of a learning curve with the Kittens. And of course, we had to revert to the new family favorite of 4-Up 4-Down.

We had hamburgers on the grill before Jim had to leave for his return flight home.

8.4.19 Game Day (2)

I am so happy that Sue had all three kids home with her for a few days.

8.4.19 Game Day (6)

The best gift ever!

8.4.19 Game Day (5)

Carl and I had a somewhat less eventful return trip home. After boarding our plane and getting comfortable, the pilot announced that due to weather in Orlando, the FAA was holding our flight for an hour. So instead of arriving back in Orlando at 7:30pm on Monday, we arrived at 8:30pm. By the time we got our luggage, took the shuttle to the car park lot and drove the 2+ hours from Orlando, we arrived home around midnight. YAWN!

It was a hectic but great weekend away and we are so grateful for every moment of family time. Until next time!

It's About Me, Praises, The Husband, The Relatives, Traveling

Sue’s Birthday

Saturday morning was spent completing all sorts of home maintenance projects for Leslie and Sue/Karl. Carl went over to Leslie’s house to help her with trimming her bushes.

8.3.19 Leslie's (1)

Jim worked at Sue and Karl’s house setting up automatic sensors on all of their outdoor light fixtures (so the lights go on and off by themselves). I worked on all of their electronic/technological needs :).

After attending mass together, with Marilyn, we took Sue out for dinner at a nice Italian restaurant.

8.3.19 Birthday Dinner (3)

We all returned to Sue and Karl’s house for after-dinner drinks.

8.3.19 Sue's 80th Birthday (1)

Sue opened all of her cards from family and friends.

8.3.19 Sue's 80th Birthday (2)

And then we had one more surprise for Sue…an Ipad from all of her children. It’s a great upgrade from the Amazon Fire tablet Sue has been using for years.

8.3.19 Sue's 80th Birthday (8)

It was a great day (and weekend) spent celebrating a very special woman.

8.3.19 Sue's 80th Birthday (4)

I am grateful for the role-model that she is of patience, kindness and love.

A very happy Birthday to Sue!

It's About Me, Praises, The Husband, The Relatives, Traveling

Memphis Weekend

It was my mother-in-law’s MAJOR birthday (I’m not allowed to mention a number but it’s the same year that the Wizard of Oz was released and the Worlds Fair opened in New York) over the weekend so Carl and I thought it would be a special gift to fly in for the weekend to celebrate with her. But first we had to actually get there.

We started by buying round trip tickets on Frontier airlines for super cheap to go from Thursday until Sunday. Unfortunately, the tickets were out of Orlando but they were direct flights.

But a week prior to leaving, I woke to an email asking me to call Frontier regarding our tickets. Turns out Frontier canceled all return trips on Sunday. There were no other options until the following Thursday. Nope, that’s not gonna work so we accepted $250 vouchers each for our canceled flights. After investigating all options, I finally found some decent return flights on Southwest for Monday.

Last Thursday, our trip started with driving in a torrential downpour to Orlando. After finally getting there and getting to our gate in plenty of time, we sat and waited for boarding. Shortly before boarding, they announced that they were “Swapping Planes” and we’d be leaving from a new gate. After getting to the new gate, Carl stood at the window and watched them start loading luggage onto the plane. Then he noticed them standing around the engine with tools. Then he watched them start unloading luggage from the plane. The aircraft staff (pilot and flight attendant), who had been standing near the gate waiting with us, suddenly disappeared. And that’s when we looked up and noticed this:

8.1.19 Traveling (1)

After a confusing 10-minutes, they finally announced that we needed to return to the check-in counters at the front of the airport for further instructions. After making a beeline to the front and waiting in line, we were finally given papers that gave us the option to 1) cancel the trip and get $500 vouchers from Frontier or 2) rebook on another airline (with the cost to be reimbursed by Frontier) and get a $100 voucher each. We went with option 2 and frantically got on my cell phone and attempted to book new flights with United Airlines before everyone else got all the seats. Done, but unfortunately they were not direct and we now needed to travel to Houston first.

After starting to run to our gate for the flight leaving in 1-1/2 hours (originally it was scheduled to leave in 1/2 hour but thankfully, it was delayed an hour), we stopped and said “WAIT! What about the luggage?” only to read the notice on the bottom of the paper that said we needed to pick up our luggage at baggage claim and recheck it with new airline. Done.

After starting to run to towards security, we stopped and said “WAIT! What about our TSA Known Traveler Priority Access?” (because the security lines were ridiculous and we didn’t have time to wait), we returned to the United counter and got new boarding passes with our TSA Precheck.

8.1.19 Traveling (2)

Finally, we got to our new gate and made the flight and arrived in Houston with a two hour wait before our final flight. Shortly before that flight was to board, we again heard those dreaded words “Folks, we are going to have a slight delay while we swap planes.” SWAP PLANES…again? We were sure that meant that they would end up canceling it and we’d be stuck in Houston for the night but luckily, after an hour delay while they changed a tire on the plane, we were in the air, arriving in Memphis at 1:00am.

Instead of arriving in Memphis at 5:30 pm, Ubering to Marilyn’s (Sue’s friend) house, where we would walk in and surprise Sue as I had arranged with Marilyn, we got to Marilyn’s at 1:40am, used the key hidden under the door mat, quietly snuck upstairs to the guest bedroom and crashed for the night until we could surprise Sue the next day.

WHAT AN ADVENTURE!

It's About Me, Praises, The Husband

CAM Consulting/KLM Bookkeeping

So a month ago, I told you about Carl’s job search. At that time, he had turned down a full-time position with SMG and was going to begin working with them as an independent contractor. After doing so, the Finance Director kept after Carl about working with them full-time and Carl kept saying “then come up with more money.” Well, last week, SMG came up with more money! This morning, he begins his permanent, full-time position with them as Accounting Manager. We do lose our NFL retiree medical insurance but SMG actually has even better insurance. So now Carl just has to work with them for 9 years until he reaches 65 :). In case you were wondering, it seems like doors were closing with the other position that he was interested in which was another factor in him accepting this job. Congratulations Carl on your new position!

================================

Occasionally, when I am having a slow week of work, I will look at ads on Craigslist for a one-day a week bookkeeper to add a regular client to my repertoire. I have found two new clients in the past that way (one who was one full day once a week – although it is now down to every other week usually – and one who is one full day once a month). I recently responded to one of those ads and after talking with the owner of a bookkeeping company last week, I have accepted a part-time position with her firm. It will actually be 15-20 hours a week or more! But the pay was too good to pass up and she is my spirit twin…we are both bookkeepers, we are close in age, she has three kids, she was born and raised in Arizona and loves Tucson, she is a professional organizer, etc, etc. Plus, most of the work will still be done from my home, with only the occasional necessity to go to a client’s office. I am going to do that in addition to keeping the 10 clients that I work with on my own, so I’ll be approaching full-time work some/most weeks. So yay for me (I think)!

Side note: When I was discussing the potential new client with my husband, unsure of if I wanted to take on that much more work, he said “what do I have to give you for you to take it? A new used car?” I immediately jumped on the offer (seeing as I’m driving a 16 year old Lexus). So I’m documenting it here. After working for 4-6 months, my husband has promised to replace my vehicle. There’s no going back now, Carl! These are my witnesses.