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!

 

Living in Las Vegas (Summerlin), 3rd Time Around Highlights

We’re more than halfway through our Summerlin rental here in Las Vegas, so I thought I’d post a video of some of the highlights of being back, including the business trip last summer that started the path to moving back for Rich’s job here at headquarters from Central Florida.

Malbec, Margaritas and Martinis seem to be the stars. Besides the Pahrump Winery, our favorite hangout this time around is Hussong’s Cantina (video of the original in Ensenada, Mexico is in the sidebar). Enjoy!

Neighborhood Walks in Summerlin (Las Vegas)

I’ve been taking morning walks around the neighborhood before it gets too hot. It is so beautiful, especially in the shade – lol! Summerlin is quite lovely (similar to Irvine, CA) and the best place to live in Las Vegas, in our opinion, and where you can find more California transplants than anywhere else in the Valley, but our old neighborhood in Southern Highlands still holds our heart.

I thought I’d share a few videos from my morning walks taken from my iphone (still working on my “YouTube” voice – lol!) And in the third video, I mistakenly called the new condos “apartments.” Ooops!

I haven’t figured out how to add captions to correct wrong information, and not sure I will take the time to figure it out. My youtube adventures are just for fun, as writing and music are my main priorities. But sharing videos is also a creative endeavor so you never know. I may even get out the GoPro again.

Hope you enjoy a peek into this new Las Vegas world we’re experiencing – at least for the moment. 🙂

Neighborhood Park, Summerlin (Las Vegas)

Single Family Homes, Summerlin (Las Vegas)

Townhome Community (with peek at new Condos), Summerlin (Las Vegas)

Money Pit, Kitty Haven, Awesome Studio

The master toilet was leaking. Rich took a photo to submit for repair but, first, after work he planned to see if he could tighten it and maybe that would do the trick. In the meantime, the second floor toilet decided to stop up. I got out the handy plunger and while I seemed to be making progress, I gave it a final flush and it blew like a volcano. Huge amounts of water regurgitating round after round.

I called Rich and while talking to him, I did my best to turn off the water but first turned in the wrong direction. Finally, I got the water off and Rich was on his way and I started mopping up the volume of water all over the bathroom and kitchen floor. Thankfully, it didn’t get beyond that.

Rich called the plumber – the company we’d used before when we lived here – and they sent out a technician within two hours. So all is well that end’s well – just our bank account is a bit lighter. Sure, we could have submitted it for repair but the soonest anybody would come out for an “emergency,” if they deem it one, is 48 hours. On most cases, they have a full 30 days to repair something. So, we’re pretty much getting the fixes done ourselves. What a money pit.

I’ve never really had to deal with anything like this before. Most of my life – childhood and adult – I’ve lived in new homes or had a 24-hour apartment maintenance service. Nothing like finally learning some basics at my age – lol!

We are settling in here, and it’ll be good to get most of the things fixed on our list. The cats are loving it! Daisy loves the master bedroom on the third floor – it’s her queendom, and both cats love the stairs.

I’m loving my studio. We got a really nice automatic portable heater that’s working well for the cooler time of year. And just before the hot weather arrives, we’ll make sure they do fix the A/C in here. Something about a missing remote and/or locked box – maybe. Guess we’ll find out then. Hopefully.

I really love having a separate space for my writing and music – especially for music. I stayed out here all day yesterday.

Studio

Balcony between house and studio

Studio setup

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.

A Rental House is Only a Place to Sleep

We made a list of what needed to be fixed for this house to be liveable but it became clear they weren’t going to fix them or if they did, it could be months out. After all, according to them, it’s basically just a place to sleep. So we’re making the fixes in stages. First up: the tri-level staircase was dangerous for the cats so we hired a contractor to come up with a fix, which we will then have him remove and repair on our way out.

Actually that wasn’t first. First, we had to install a shower head because it was in shambles on the floor. Then second, we had to install drapes in the master bedroom because the blinds were broken and only covered about a foot of the window at the top.

We replaced two toilet seats with slow-closing because who wants to use someone else’s toilet seat. We had the HVAC guy out to clean and replace the filters and discovered there is no heat or cooling in the Casita which is where I’d planned on using as my studio and the whole point of choosing this property.

The kitchen sink faucet is super slow, the garbage disposal has been removed, and the cook top doesn’t work. We’re using the electric skillet and microwave and oven for cooking for now. We submitted the requested photo but they insist on a part number that we can’t find.

There are numerous more things that need fixing and if we owned it, we would fix everything. But for now, we’re priotizing the necessary fixes. Oh, and yes, the doors had different locks and we weren’t given keys for all of them but told we could change them, which we also did. And we brought our security with us.

This is the problem with the rental world post foreclosures. We saw the same situation in Orlando and why we ended up in an apartment instead of a house. We didn’t want to do the apartment thing again so we took a chance on the house.

It’s located in really the most desirable area of Las Vegas – quite lovely – and so this is giving us a different experience than what we had before, although it was also in one of the Master Planned communities. But there’s a lot more happening in this area. Lots of upscale shopping, restaurants, and a nice locals casino is just a mile away and we’ve been having such fun having brunch or lunch or dinner or just cocktails there. Super awesome! Good to have that back.

The following photos show some of the drops and the platforms we had built to protect the kitties.

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More Moving with Cats Fun: Florida Storm Kicks us in the A** and Daisy Hides in the Dishwasher

So we headed for I-10, which goes all the way to Santa Monica, for our eventual destination of Las Vegas. But first Florida had to have her say in our leaving once again. This was the worst storm we’ve ever been in. Lightning right over our heads, buckets of rain so bad I don’t know how Rich could even drive, thunderous roars. This went on for hours – until we crossed the border into Alabama. Whew! Never want to be in one of those storms again!

Unlike our very first cross-country move when we moved from Oregon to Ohio along I-70 with 10-hour days, our days on this route were no more than 8 hours long. We stopped just north of New Orleans in Covington on I-10. I don’t recall any weirdness that night.

The next day we were thrilled to cross the Mississippi and stay over at one of our favorite hotels in San Antonio. Why? Chester’s Burgers and Beer. Yep, Rich just walks over there, gets our burgers and beer and walks back. No problem. And delicious Texas food! But they’ve removed the carpet, like so many are doing these days (Disney, for example), and I detest wood floors in a hotel room. I want the warmth and passing of carpet when I’m in a strange place, getting up in the middle of the night. Daisy hated walking on the wood floors.

The next night was El Paso, the place I dreaded the most and why last time we took I-40, which was a huge mistake. This time around I was rather impressed with El Paso – it’s coming into its own. I wouldn’t mind returning on a pleasure trip – the food is awesome and then there’s Carlsbad Caverns, of course. Haven’t done that since I was 8.

New Mexico was a welcome sight – after the border patrol, of course – and then our last night on the road was in Phoenix. Goodyear, AZ, actually, and we were very impressed with Good Year. We could see ourselves living there. I forgot to mention how Daisy would hide every morning just past first light, knowing we were going to put her in a cage. At each place we stopped, would check out all the possibilities so we’d know where to look for her. Well, here she was able to squeeze underneath the cabinet framing and climb underneath the dishwasher.

We waited for her to come out but after awhile, we realized she wasn’t coming out and we needed to get on the road to get the keys to our Vegas rental by a certain time. So we called Maintenance and he eventually had to remove the dishwasher in order to get her out. He says he has to rescue a cat or dog at least two or three times a year, but this was a first for the dishwasher! Crazy Daisy!

The day’s drive was only about 4 hours to Las Vegas, but we stopped by the rental company right away with the cats. The plan was for me to stay with the in the car while Rich got the keys. We’d already signed the lease and paid the deposit online before we left Florida. Well, that’s when all the rental fun began – just as bad as when we were trying to rent a house in Orlando. He insisted we both come in with our cats so he could read the lease aloud to us.

If you get the idea this guy was a real jerk, well your instincts are correct. He went on and on and on about worst case scenarios and when I mentioned the casita, he said this house didn’t have one and said, “Are you sure you’re renting *my* house?” It isn’t *his* house, he’s just an employee of the company handling the rentals of another one of those enormous companies who snapped up repos and are now renting them out. But I think he was right about one thing. Basically, you’re only guaranteed a place to sleep. More on that fun in future posts.

Welcome to Las Vegas – home sweet home – lol!