Summerlin to Southern Highlands (Florida to Las Vegas)

After being notified of my “memories” from two years ago today (the Magic Kingdom at WDW), I began sorting through my videos, and I realized I hadn’t updated you guys on recent ones:

(1) Scouting out the neighborhood pool before we got the pool key – you can find this video here.

(2) Visiting our favorite park path in our old neighborhood – checking out a potential house here.

(3) Solo trip to the Magic Kingdom at WDW from two years ago (we’d just landed in our Orlando apartment, waiting for our house to be built, so I did a solo trip to the MK while Rich was at work) – that memories video is here.

And then I realized I hadn’t written up the trip report from my birthday trip to SoCal, catching up with Disney and the beach. In my defense, I’ve been participating in 50/90 where you’re challenged to write 50 songs in 90 days. It began on July 4th, and so far, I’ve written 11 songs. I’m totally exhausted already – lol!

 

What a Difference a Year Makes

It’s shocking to note how different our lives were one year ago. There we were in January 2018, new owners of a Florida beach house, buying new furniture, getting new kitty, new car, settling in, so pleased to see how much Skipper loved the single story – he never did like our two-story house in Vegas – not the stairs anyway.

And here we are in January 2019, Skipper is gone, my dad is gone, Rich’s dad is gone, and now his aunt is gone. Such losses and we feel every one! On the house front, here we are making repair lists for a rental home in Las Vegas, a bit shocked at the new home prices in Vegas (so outrageous, they’re bound to crash and burn again – does nobody learn anything?), Disneyland prices, and travel prices in general. I blame the vloggers on YouTube. 🙂

All in all, I’m very happy to be here. It’s home. The morning desert sun peeks through the red-tiled roofs of the neighboring houses and I feel like I’m in California. The Summerlin/Red Rock area is so very nice, if you don’t mind high-density living, but, then, that’s Vegas just about everywhere now. Forget backyards – we used to feel so smug at the size of our Southern Highland backyard – but now you’re lucky to have a driveway. I guess the desert is precious land now. Must conserve the dirt – lol!

We’ve been having such fun catching up on old and new favorite places, returning to our church, which is such a blessing.

Well, I think this just about catches us up with the whole “Florida beach house to Las Vegas RV boat house” report. Moving forward, we’ll be planning our first trip back to Disneyland this spring before the whole Star Wars hysteria begins.

Red Rock Casino – you might recall we stayed there last August on Rich’s business trip – a trip that was the instigator to calling us back home, both job-wise and personal-wise.

 

Hussong’s – there are two Vegas locations of the famous Hussong’s in Ensenada where the Margarita was invented.

Video captured from one of our cruises to Ensenada, Mexico.

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.

 

Downsizing

This house has become too big for us. It was the perfect size when the Budster and Lovey lived here. Buddy was a wild man, racing around the house, chasing and being chased by Lovey. And Lovey ruled this house. It was her house. I’m so happy she was allowed to spend the rest of her days here.

But now we have Skipper and Shadow. Skipper is 17 – he never did like the stairs and now he gets lost in the middle of the night and howls until I call his name. And often that means getting up and going downstairs. I’m starting to feel the space, as if it is no longer wanted. And the stairs.

We analyzed those stairs and why this house feels so big. You have to walk from one end of the house to the other to get to the stairs, and then back to the other end of the house to get to the living areas. Downsizing is in order.

Reading our journey on this blog, you know some of the challenges we’ve had getting a decent house rental remotely. The process has changed so much since the last time we did that. Investors snapped up hordes of repos and created property management companies that are unwieldy, unresponsive, unreliable, and dishonest.

We were frustrated trying to deal with a couple of them, especially when they showed their smarmy lying sides. We were starting to worry about this gigantic move and depending on these people for a place to live. We began to read scary reviews of a few of them. Comments like, “Do not lease from this company. RUN from them!”

Rich became so stressed, he couldn’t eat or sleep, and when he said, “I don’t want to read these reviews anymore,” I said, “We don’t want to find out the hard way.” So we hit the panic button, rightly so, and called off the move.

Rich chatted again with his co-worker in Orlando, and she told him of their property management nightmares. For one thing, after driving all of their stuff and their two kids across the country in a UHaul, the house wasn’t ready for occupancy for another two weeks past their lease date.

This whole rental house process has flipped on its side from just a few years ago. It’s like the whole world has changed dramatically from just a few years ago. You can’t help but want to keep the status quo so you can ignore what the world is doing. “If I don’t change anything, the world can’t change me” kind of thinking. And then you’re stuck with something you no longer want.

We regrouped and realized we still wanted the move, but the best thing to do to secure a place to live on the other side would be to rent an apartment. More reliable, and less money upfront with every deposit up the wazoo, with changing dates to charge you more fees upfront.

Still smarting from that apartment a few years ago when we returned to Silicon Valley for a year, I tried my darndest to avoid apartments. We were no longer 20-, 30-, or 40-something. Dark, depressing, and small with unwelcome middle-of-the night alarms going off, well, let’s just say that “Hotel California” was not my happy place. Btw, we discovered that two-bedroom apartment, which was an outrageous $2600 in 2013 is now renting for $3600.

Sometimes you have to do what you have to do and it’s not for like forever. We found a brand spanking new resort-like apartment with all the amenities you want in Florida. We’re going into this with the attitude of an adventure, a resort vacation. It’s just a year. After that we can make a different choice.

I’m trying not to worry about our big house furniture and where it will all fit in this downsized space, but we do need to make some decisions about what to bring and what to leave behind. It’s hard to really know how much space we have, other than the overall square footage. The only visuals I have to go by are one photo of the living room and kitchen and a floor plan. I keep saying, “Surely, this apartment isn’t as small as it looks.”

But if it is, well, then, now’s the time to downsize. Before all this big furniture, acquired while living in this big house, is hauled up to a third-floor apartment and stuffed to the gills.