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!

The Husband

Carl’s Career Retrospective

In honor of his retirement, I thought it would be fun to document Carl’s 33-year career in the (mainly) sports field, starting after obtaining his Master’s degree in Sport Management in May of 1986 and our marriage in June of 1986. This helps show our moves through 6 states throughout our marriage! I also asked him to share what he liked about each job, what he didn’t like and a favorite memory.

June, 1986 to September, 1986: Wichita Wings Soccer Club, Wichita, KS

Minimally paid intern but you have to start somewhere (they did provide up an apartment for free).  Involved in advertising sales, season ticket sales, special event and game promotions, summer camps, and club publications.

Leaving Wichita!

What Carl liked about the job: Right out of school. First real job. Talking about soccer. Talked to a lot of businesses about sponsorships. Got me out of my comfort zone.

What Carl did not like about the job: Trying to sell advertising.

A favorite memory: Playing volleyball with the actual team at a charity event and doing pretty well. I’m such a natural athlete!

September, 1986 to January, 1987: Memphis Storm Soccer Club, Memphis, TN

Involved in the formation of this new soccer franchise.  This included the development and implementation of the marketing strategy, advertising and ticket sales, community relations, the conception and production of special promotions, and game day operations.

1986 Storm Sales Associate

What Carl liked about the job: Soccer! Close to home. Small staff.

What Carl did not like about the job: I seem to recall new ownership and not being thrilled with them.

A favorite memory: Trying out for the team. Spending a weekend living on a billboard.

1986 Billboard

January, 1987 to May, 1988: Preparing and Studying for CPA Exam, Memphis, TN

Since the job with the Memphis Storm turned out to be heavily sales-oriented and wasn’t what he was looking for, Carl decided to become a CPA to increase his marketability. He took CPA prep classes and spent endless hours studying each day. During this time, he worked some various jobs, including selling cars and working at a summer camp, Wal-mart and the Federal Reserve Bank.

Studying for CPA Exam 1988
Studying for the CPA Exam

Lexus Dealer, Sales Associate

What Carl liked about the job: Got to try out new and used cars. Change of pace.

What Carl did not like about the job: I am not a good salesman…I’m not a closer.

A favorite memory: Meeting Carl Perkins


Wal-Mart, Sales Associate

What Carl liked about the job: Setting up a new location.

What Carl did not like about the job: Dealing with idiot customers. I remember really trying to help them with nothing in return.

A favorite memory: I think that this is when I decided to go back to school and study accounting as a career. I remember that Kristy and I were at the Germantown Pizza Hut when I had this epiphany.

Federal Reserve Bank, Clerk

What Carl liked about the job: Pretty cool working in the bank with all the security. Smelled like money.

What Carl did not like about the job: People smoking.

A favorite memory: Studying for my accounting classes in the library.

May, 1988 to April, 1990: Arthur Andersen & Co, Memphis, TN

Staff Accountant in the Audit Division doing boring accountant stuff. He also took and passed the CPA Exam during this time.

11.87 Carl's Job Offer from Arthur Anderson as an Accountant

What Carl liked about the job: The feeling of professionalism. Nice to be an accountant/CPA. Traveling to perform inventories.

What Carl did not like about the job: Ticking and tying. Reading over financial reports for punctuation errors and other typos. Long hours.

A favorite memory: none

April, 1990 to June, 1991: University of Memphis, Memphis, TN

Athletic Ticket Manager coordinating all aspects of athletic ticket sales for the University.

9.90 MSU Office (1)
Painting a mural in his Athletic office

What Carl liked about the job: Enjoyed working with tickets and numbers. Liked attending the events. Meeting the athletes.

What Carl did not like about the job: I don’t remember. I had trouble with the boss but I don’t know why because we did get along.

A favorite memory: Changing from accounting/auditing to something different.

June, 1991 to August, 1991: Unemployed and Moved to Chicago

Unhappy with life in Memphis and Carl’s frustrating job history there and new parents of one-year old Kelly, we make the radical decision to sell our house and quit our jobs and move to Chicago without a definitive plan in place. We knew we could stay with my mom for a while and that there would be many job opportunities for both of us once we got there.

6.91 Saying Goodbye (28)

August, 1991 to May, 1992: Two Accounting Firms, Chicago area, IL

Worked as a staff accountant for two firms doing more boring accountant stuff. The first firm was quite a distance away in Northbrook so he found a different one with a shorter commute.

What Carl liked about the jobs: I was grateful for a closer workplace in Schaumburg versus Northbrook.

What Carl did not like about the jobs: The return to accounting work.

A favorite memory: Being on the phone with US Soccer to get that job.

May, 1992 to December, 1995: US Soccer Federation, Chicago, IL

This is where things finally start to take a major turn for the better in Carl’s career and he finally breaks into big-time professional sports. He is hired as Ticket Manager for US Soccer and for the 1994 World Cup and travels frequently to all games in various cities across the country to handle all aspects of ticketing and ticket sales.

Vegas (3)

What Carl liked about the job: Tons of travel to warm climates. Being a part of a small team on the road. Meeting a lot of people from all over the country.

What Carl did not like about the job: After the World Cup, I was in no man’s land. They moved me to a new office with very little personal contact. Hated that. Plus they had me doing bank reconciliations.

A favorite memory: Attending the 1994 World Cup games and the World Cup draw in Las Vegas.

December, 1995 to April, 1999: DC United Soccer Club, Herndon, VA

Vice President of Finance for MLS Franchise managing all accounting, finance, human resource and ticketing functions.

6.98 VP of Finance (2)

6.96 Carl's office


What Carl liked about the job: Start of a new franchise. All of the different tasks.  Just a few of us running the whole office. Winning 2 championships.

What Carl did not like about the job: Got to be monotonous at the end.

A favorite memory: Winning the first championship in Boston in a rain storm.


April, 1999 to August, 2014: MN Vikings Football Club, Eden Prairie, MN

Controller for NFL Franchise doing mainly boring accounting stuff. I’ve always said that Carl was working at the place that he always wanted to work, he just wasn’t doing the work that he always wanted to do.

1999 Go Vikings (1)

2014 Office (1)

What Carl liked about the job: Minnesota Vikings – my dream team. Earning my NFL pension to be received at age 65.

What Carl did not like about the job: Having to actually work. Dealing with some difficult people on a regular basis.

Vikes Game (11)

A favorite memory: Working the scoreboard at the games. Spending a week with the team in London.  Walking up the tunnel with the team after pregame warm-ups. Family Christmas parties at Nickelodeon Universe at Mall of America. There were lots of cool and interesting perks.

9.29.13 Wembley Stadium (3)

August, 2014 to April, 2019: Jacksonville Jaguars Football Club, Jacksonville, FL

This consisted of his 6-month job with the Team as Director of Financial Planning and Analysis and then his transfer to the Foundation as Director of Finance and Funding Development.

2014 Carl's office (2)
“Team” Office
Jaguars 012
“Foundation” Office

What Carl liked about the job: Working on things to raise money to help people. Working with a small staff. Wearing many different hats. No pressure.

What Carl did not like about the job:  Having to work with the Jaguars to get things done. The Foundation is a second class citizen. Being treated like crap at the end after 20 years in the NFL!

A favorite memory: The winning season, making it to the championship game and almost going to the Super Bowl.

May, 2019 to August, 2019: SMG, Jacksonville, FL

Hired as the Accounting Manager but spent all of his time working on the Capital Expenditure project management.

What Carl liked about the job: I have learned a lot of new computer skills. I enjoyed working with the City of Jacksonville.

What Carl did not like about the job: Seriously? I do not want to be an accountant any longer.

A favorite memory: When I came home from my latest blowup with management and Kristy asked how can we pay off the house so I could retire and we agreed it was time!

It’s been a unique and interesting career history that has taken us to many places and filled us with many memories, both good and bad. We are grateful for the opportunities that Carl was given and for God’s constant provision and unexpected blessings throughout his career. It’s been a heck of a ride but it’s definitely time to get off the train.

What are you gonna do now Carl? Time to paint the house!

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


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.”


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


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, The Husband, The Relatives, Traveling


After finally getting to Memphis and crashing at Marilyn’s house for the night, we woke up and got ourselves ready to finally surprise Sue at home. Carl’s sister, Leslie, met us at Marilyn’s house and the four of us drove over together. Marilyn rang the front doorbell while we hid to the side. After Sue answered the door, Marilyn said “You forgot something last night” and we popped out and greeted Sue. It was great fun and Sue got all teary-eyed, so it was worth it!

8.2.19 Marilyns (1)

We sat around and visited for the afternoon. Leslie left for a while to go take care of her kitty and when she returned, she had surprise #2…Carl’s brother, Jim, also surprised Sue for the weekend.

8.2.19 Marilyns (3)

So Sue had all three of her children home with her…what more could a mother ask for?

Marilyn, a truly gracious and hospitable friend, had us all over on Friday night for a great BBQ dinner and drinks. We are so thankful for Marilyn helping us to make the surprises happen and for putting us up at the last minute after all of our delays. Thanks Marilyn!