Moving Day: Saying Good-bye to Our Dream Kitchen

Since our previous long-haul driver lived in New Smyrna Beach, we’d hoped we’d get him for the trip back to Las Vegas. Sadly, it was not to be. I mean, he was incredible! It would have relieved our minds to have had him at the helm. The guy who showed up and his two helpers were very slow!! Friendly, but oh so slow.

I think he overheard us and he tried to say he’d be done by 1:00 but it was more like 3:00. The other driver, Chris, had been done by noon. I was running behind them cleaning and vacuuming, mostly because we had an open house the next day.

Eventually, they were all loaded up so we loaded the car and the cats (yes, Daisy was in her cage the entire morning), and we headed for Residence Inn #1 in Jacksonville. We wanted to get a head start but make it a short day, having planned out each day.

I took photos of each room of the house and said good-bye to our dream kitchen. And then we were off!

Really hard to see this kitchen, especially after living with this one for a month now. Sigh…

Farewell Thanksgiving at Wine Bar George and the Chicken Guy

When we got the email about Thanksgiving at Wine Bar George, we knew we had to do it for our good-bye to Florida. This would be our third time at Wine Bar George and one of the places we will miss when we’re back West.

It was a beautiful day – we arrived at Disney Springs at around 10:30 a.m. for our 11:30 reservation. The lime garage was already full but we’ve grown to appreciate the orange garage so that was no problem. We strolled around the springs, enjoying the atmosphere and Christmas decorations and our first stop was the Ganachery – another place we will totally miss. We got some chocolate toffee bark to take home and a milk chocolate Mickey and a vanilla with dark chocolate, shared them, while we strolled the Springs and made our way to World of Disney to get our first peek at the remodel.

We browsed and ended up getting Minnie Mickey coffee mugs. By this time it was getting close to 11:30 so we headed back to Wine Bar George and were seated on the balcony across from another couple, who were just being served a huge plate of Thanksgiving turkey. We exchanged appreciative glances and comments and ordered the same. The dinner was a traditional turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and haricot vert. We paired it with Argyle Pinot Noir. It was quite tasty, but I asked for a box to take half of it home for my evening meal.

We skipped dessert but made a point of stopping at the Chicken Guy. I’m not a fan of chicken tenders, but this was our last chance to try them. We were especially interested in the Nashville hot honey sauce – we were wowed by Nashville’s hot chicken when we evacuated there last year. I’m not usually a fan of hot chicken as in Buffalo Chicken Wings but Nashville chicken is amazing!

Anyway, we picked up an order of 3 tenders and the Nashville sauce for Rich’s evening snack since he managed to finish his turkey dinner. And then we headed home. It may seem to silly to complain about an hour and fifteen minute drive but it does get old. But that’s probably because we’re so ready to move back west. Our Florida vacation this time around is so over.

The toffee was incredible, my leftovers were even tastier heated up later, and the bite of chicken tender I had was the best chicken tenders I’ve ever had, although Rich remembers Cane’s in Las Vegas as being just as good if not better. We’ll have to make that one of our first stops when we get back so we can double check that memory. 🙂


Saying Good-bye to Skipper’s House

Looking back on our time here in Florida this time around, we see that this was Skipper’s house. At 18 years old and never a fan of stairs, he loved ruling the single-story. We were able to give him the extra care he needed. He thrived here as much as an 18-year-old cat can for the last year of his life. And when Daisy joined us, he enjoyed the little girl’s company, and the way she would walk underneath the big guy. Skipper knew all the cats – those who came before home and those who followed him. It isn’t the same in this house without him.

Skipper’s house is now on the market. We’ve met with the movers. We’re finalizing a house with our realtor in Las Vegas for the Shadow and Daisy chapter of our lives. We’re very excited to do Vegas a bit differently this time around. Rich’s boss, direct reports, and co-workers are ecstatic. I’ll have a dedicated music studio in a casita-type feature of the new property. And I’m ecstatic about that!

I won’t miss the mosquitoes in Florida. I’m one of those people mosquitoes feast on. It’s been a hot and humid fall this year and I can’t seem to go outside without getting eaten alive. I’m up scratching as I write this. It wasn’t this bad this time last year.

We’ve got a couple of days planned for our Disney finale. I’m pretty sure we’ll miss the access to Disney and the beach, which are always the draw for us. And then we should be home for Christmas.

Thumbing through our photos on my phone over the past year and a half, I can see that we’ve had one heck of a Florida vacation. We started this chapter chasing Margaritaville and we certainly found it.

But now I’m looking forward to our next adventures together, and the comfort of being home.

Leaving Florida: What I Will Miss

I will miss the morning sunlight peeking through the trees,
Soaring birds chirping their morning wakefulness,
Squawking gulls flapping their wings,
Treading shore birds scanning the pond for breakfast.

I will miss sipping my coffee on the lanai greeting the dawn with prayer,
Scribbling my early thoughts,
Clearing my mind of nighttime fears,
Making room for gratitude and thankfulness.

I will miss cocktails and apps overlooking the springs at the BoatHouse,
Strolling World Showcase,
Martinis in the Wilderness,
Dipping my toes in the ocean.

I will miss our dream kitchen,
White cabinets and quartz countertops,
Undermount lights with a view,
Morning walkers and evening golf carts.

But most of all I will miss
The last house where Skipper lived.


Notes from the Road Day 3

After purging our home of appox. a quarter of our stuff, we expected the packing to go rather quickly. How wrong can you be? Rich kept me updated with text messages. So… the guy in charge usually works the moving end of things – not packing – and it showed. He was horribly slow and moronic. His “helper” was faster, brighter, and efficient by far. I felt Rich’s pain having to go through that from 7 am to 6 pm – so tired he could barely stand by the end of the day. We’ve had really good packers and really awful ones, and this guy beat the record of being the absolute worst in our relocation history – simply unbelievable!

I was feeling my own pain stuck in the hotel with the cats. Finally, after the maids had quit for the day with no possibility of them entering the room and letting the cats out, I went out for a walk. Whew! Much better out in the fresh air. I swore I would never let myself be in that position again, not if I could help it. When we buy our next home, we’ll do the packing as we do when it’s a local move. For cross-country moves, the packing must be done a certain way and we pay for the moving company to do it.

The good news is, Rich arrived back at the house bright and early this morning at 7 am to be there before the 8 am arrival of the driver/loaders. The “helpers” followed Rich to the house and organized much of the work by place boxes in the garage. The driver was right behind them, so we’re off to an early start.

The other good news is the driver lives in New Smyrna Beach, not far from our new home. The downside is because we’re moving into an apartment, he may have to shuttle the stuff, which means moving everything to a smaller truck – a longhauler might be too awkward. Just one more time I’m so sorry we have to move into an apartment. It will pay off later down the road once we’re finally in our next new home. I can’t wait for that day.

Rich took a photo for me of the longhauler parked in front of our house – for the last time. Bittersweet but so excited to be moving on!

Rich relaxed in our backyard for the last time while the movers loaded our stuff onto the long hauler. Thankfully, the driver and his crew were awesome and they were finished loading before noon.


Notes from the Road Day 2

This hotel is one of those hotels that has a cooling/heating system that is either one or the other – there is no off switch. Too cold at 72, I punch it up to 73 and the heater comes on. Too hot, I turn it back down. Too cold, I’m wondering how I will sleep at all.

I remember spotting a blanket in the coat closet so I get up in the middle of the night, rip it out of its plastic bag and place it on the bed. Rich pulls it up and thanks me. That’s the perfect solution.

Still, I can’t sleep. I have so many worries on our mind. I check the weather for the stops ahead and notice that we’ll land in each town the day of a storm – we must be driving with it. I worry about the condition of the car – it was just serviced and it’s only 3 years old, but it idles roughly, and I’m worried.

Skipper wakes us at 6 am, as usual, and we get up to feed him and to drink our morning cup of coffee, which tastes like Princess coffee, which is pretty awful. Not hungry that early, we skip getting the free breakfast and eat a protein bar instead.

Rich leaves for the house to take care of a few things before the packers are scheduled to arrive sometime between 8 am and 10 am. It’s 8:23 now and Rich just texted me that they should arrive in about 30 minutes. In the meantime, I couldn’t find my workout pants and had Rich scouring the house only to discover they were still in my suitcase, hidden in a dark corner. Ooops – so sorry about that.

Skipper and Shadow, who are normally very close, have been fighting – Skipper must feel like he needs to re-establish his dominance in a new place.

Shadow sneaks into my office chair as soon as he spies a chance (like at home), and Skipper claims the bed.

I’ll spend the rest of the day writing, reading, watching GH at 1 pm, snoozing, and eating – we brought a few frozen meals, snacks, water, soda, wine, and sandwich fixings with us. Rich should return sometime this afternoon after he drops off the cable box after the packers are finished. He is so worn out but I’m hoping that each day will ease his burden and he’ll recover for the 2500-mile drive.


Yesterday we sold our house! This called for a celebration, so after church last nightish, we went to Tommy Bahama’s Restaurant & Bar at Town Square. It’s the place we go when we want that Florida vibe.

The blazing desert sun was practically setting my hair on fire so when we arrived, the dark bar with live music beckoned. Happy hour was in full swing, and we were seated in a dark booth.

We both started with a strong and refreshing Mai Tai and shared the Duo of Dips for an appetizer, both on the Happy Hour menu. For our entrees, Rich had the Grilled Baby Back Pork Ribs, and I had the World Famous Coconut Shrimp appetizer portion, also on the Happy Hour menu. Both of our entrees included the best slaw ever – the onion really made it. We’d planned to order Key Lime Pie for dessert but were too full. 🙂


Mai Tai

Flor de Caña 4 Year, Orgeat, Orange Curaçao, Lemon, Lime, Pineapple, Dark Rum Float


Duo of Dips: Craft Beer Cheese, Spiked Guacamole, House-Made Chips


Grilled Baby Back Pork Ribs with Sweet & Spicy Blackberry Brandy BBQ, Island Slaw, Cauliflower-Potato Mash

World Famous Coconut Shrimp with Papaya-Mango Chutney

Mai Tai and Duo of Dips

Ribs with Cauliflower Mash

Coconut Shrimp

Rich poses with Town Square foliage

Kathy finds shade