Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sparky Has a Case of the Guilts

Well, Sparky's break lasted one day, but it's a start. It was really HARD missing a blog! But it will get easier for sure..She'll shoot for every other day, and then gradually wean herself away and do the blog about twice a week, as long as she has something to say. Well, she has something to say EVERY day, but it's not always blog fodder....

Sparky learned something about herself today...She is NOT a painter. Sparky tried to save money by doing the den herself after we had hired painters to paint the great room and tear all that nasty wallpaper off 17 foot ceilings in the master bath. It was WELL WORTH it! Sparky had the best intentions in the world this morning starting the den at about 9:00 AM. She knew that painter's masking tape is a girl's best friend so she dutifully taped off the one window, all the baseboards and trim, and started in edging....

Merrily along she rolled...It was a good thing Eldy had errands to do...He would have seen Sparky changed corners several times before finishing one......
Sparky paints a room like she thinks...ALL OVER THE PLACE!  Eldy came back and caught Sparky in some weird painting attire, the top's ok, but the bottoms are Sparky's jammies! She wanted to be comfortable!
This is a nineties house, and Sparky ran into a problem right away...popcorn ceilings and flat troweled walls with a slight texture. Ever try to edge the ceiling wall edge through bifocals and too short a ladder? No, well, trust me, it's VERY hard! Sparky got frustrated a lot! But she kept on paintin'......She did complete the room except for one architectural shelf above the closet. Our ladder doesn't reach high enough to reach across the shelf section to the back wall. Phooey! Not sure how we are going to finish the wall back there, but maybe Eldo will have to take over.

When it was all said and done, Sparky pulled the blue painter's tape off and discovered that the tape didn't adhere well to the white woodwork. NUTS! Sparky is going to have to do some touch up with a smaller brush on the woodwork, and a couple of OOPS! on the ceiling where her paint brush mysteriously jumped up and slapped the ceiling. (I think she was getting tired at this point, says a sympathetic E.) He wanted to help, but NO-O-O-O.....Sparky was stubborn and wanted to do it herself, trying to do something nice for Eldy as he ALWAYS does nice things for Sparky. And besides, sometimes it's better to work on your own than get in each other's way.....With Sparky's luck, she probably would have whacked Eldy in the head with the painting extension pole if he had been in there, she was having a hard time controlling it! Sparky also learned that even if you think you've covered a white wall in a rich color, it takes TWO coats to catch all the little nooks and crannies in a textured wall....Maybe anybody who sees it won't notice those tiny little white spots here and there. Sparky tried to get two coats mostly on the walls, but wore herself out in the process. We'll go back and revisit the room in the day time when we can see a little better....Geez, painting is HARD WORK! Sparky is really tired and really sore from all that painting and climbing up and down the ladder today.

As you can see, Sparky's into brown lately...She used to have everything in blues and whites years ago...Always white ceilings and walls. But now, Sparky loves the color milk chocolate...See? She's thinking of candy while she does this paint job! What Sparky keeps forgetting is, the color dries DARKER! Shoot! The den is a little too dark, but it's cozy. Wish we had a before photo--the whole room was white everything. But here's a quick look at Eldy's Man Cave.......He wants some golf pictures on the wall and a bar in the closet. :-) We'll be working on it!
Sparky picked out this lamp...She thinks it looks cool in the den! And it has a rectangular shade with a little shell finial on the top. The table has rattan details on it but they are hard see. It's a masculine looking room, that's for sure! Now Eldy can crank up the TV which takes up one whole wall. :-) A true man cave once he gets a bar in there.....And then we'll be ready for company! (WHOA! Not for awhile! Lots left to do worries E.) Yep, but time to slow down and spread these things out a bit....We'll be heading to Red Bay next week, so we do need to slow down and enjoy the holiday weekend coming up....
See you later...maybe a lot later, maybe not....We'll keep you guessing! :-)

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Time Has Come, The Walrus Said....

To talk of many things....

Only that's the problem today....Sparky doesn't have much to talk about....She's still battling this flu/West Nile thing or whatever it is....She feels really great for much of the day, then nauseous and yucky towards the end of the day....Still on medication, but that's just about done....The least little bit of exertion REALLY is dragging her down, so she's slowing down..(FINALLY! says a relieved E.)

So the blog is short and sweet..Sparky might even take a day or two breather from the blog here in the next day or two...Kinda spread it out a little more. There's only so much you can say about painting and fixing stuff and running errands. Sparky lost her printer cord in the move and it's driving her crazy. When she started out packing up the motorhome, she was pretty organized--"DESK CONTENTS"--"BATHROOM"--and then, it got a little nuts. When she couldn't think of a main category to call the box, she just started throwing stuff. Then it got down to throwing stuff in bags and boxes and the heck with the labeling. That's kind of how we had things stored in the motorhome--fitting things in every little nook and cranny, so related items weren't always sitting side by side in the cupboards, you know? And that's how Sparky packed it. She DID find power supply cords for phones we haven't had in a couple of years. Hunh? But no power cord for the printer. Gr-r-r-r--r....

We are getting settled in...We have our living room furniture just about situated to where we want it...We're getting a couple of tables tomorrow...Gotta have something to put your feet up on while sitting on the couch, don'tcha know...

It's unbelievable how much STUFF we stashed in the motorhome. We're finding stuff we didn't know we had in the motorhome! We're actually starting to fill the house up to the max with all our "stuff" from the motorhome. And that doesn't even begin to cover what's in the storage shed back up in Indiana! Eldy's worried...Where are we going to put all THAT stuff? Well, that's what you have guest bedroom closets for, right? :-) Eldo says, just as long as Sparky doesn't try to put ANYTHING in his man cave, which is the den.

Hard to believe we've been in the house one week...We've gotten a LOT done! The whole living room/great room painted, and old stuff cleared out and donated to Salvation Army, and the motorhome is just about all the way emptied out. (HOLY COW! Where did all this stuff come from and where's it been hiding all this time!??? wonders an incredulous E.)

We're learning the Bradenton area so we know where we are going. It will be a LONG time before Sparky knows where she is going! But we are five minutes from I-75, and it's two exits south and we're back at Sun 'n' Fun or downtown Sarasota....As long as Sparky knows how to get to 1) the grocery store, 2) Michael's, 3) Hobby Lobby and 4) Joann's, she's a happy camper.

Here comes the weekend....Hope we aren't too tired to enjoy it! SO MUCH going on in Sarasota! The Grand Prix Racing Festival is coming up this week--BIG boats, FAST racing....The Florida Blues Brothers were playing tonight at a block party in downtown historical Sarasota, but we were too pooped to go..Farmer's Market in Sarasota Saturday is having a band from the '60's play music and a shrimp and lobster fest at the same time..Guess where Sparky is going Saturday morning? There's a street parade for Nik Wallenda, the Grand Canyon wire walker, on Sunday night...and of course, all kinds of festivities for July 4th coming up...Like a Miss Super Boat Grand Prix bikini contest...Eldy thinks he might want to go check that out! :-)

If we don't see you for a day or two, don't worry....we'll be back. Sparky keeps saying that, but she really does need to take a break from the blog for a day or two...maybe cut back to every couple of days. After blogging daily for over 1106 posts straight, Sparky's perfectionism streak (E. adds  AND her stubborn streak) is making it hard to let the blog go for a day or two.....Now everybody say together, "It's OK, Sparky, to not write every day...." You give her permission to ease up, right?

She says thank you! :-) and she will just say...."See you later"....   :-)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Miracle Drug! and Sparky on the John

Bradenton, FL      High:  89     Low:  77

Guess we are in the sweltering, rainy season for Sarasota/Bradenton. It's hot, hot, HOT---humid, humid, HUMID, and sweat pours down your back just walking from the car to the store. Ya better get used to it, kid! everybody says. It's going to be this way from now till October. So Sparky went to the grocery store and didn't come home with fruits and veggies, no siree....She came home with little tiny tubs of Hagen Daz ice cream and 100% fruit juice icy bars. I mean, if you are going to be bad, be bad in a little way not a big way...They are so cute!

She did buy other stuff, some healthy stuff--apples...low calorie frozen TV dinners--She knows, NOT very healthy really, but Sparky does read labels and looks for low in sodium/sugar/no high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, etc. kind of stuff. Sparky IS going to cook after we get settled in a bit more. Things are really coming along.....

Oh, and by the way, Sparky feels 110%! She thinks the meds are to blame for waking up at 2:00 AM. this morning and staying up ALL DAY. One of the side effects of prednisone is insomnia--grea-a-a-a-t! Sparky is extra hyper today, too. You'll see by the end of the blog..(Heck, you're seeing it now, explains E.) But all aches and pains are gone,  so are the swollen lymph glands, so is the fever. And the appetite is majorly back..which is NOT such a good thing.  "I'm BA-A-A-A-C-K!" (She's definitely back and wearing me out! sighs E.) Sparky went like gangbusters today....loaded more boxes from the motorhome, brought them back to the house, unpacked, helped Eldy fix the bathroom toilet which was leaking. He put in all new guts...Sparky had to get down on her knees and help him find the holes in the tank. He needs my knees and flexibility, Sparky needs his expertise on HOW to do the job because he reads all the directions first, thoroughly, and Sparky just jumps in and then gives up about half way through. Just like a little kid! This was no easy job. Ever look UP through bifocals, with your head just about upside down trying to align holes? Yeah, it's a real fun job...the lines on the glasses kept getting in the way. It's sort of like being half blind.  Kinda like looking through Eldy's dirty camera phone lens.... :-)

And you thought today's blog was going to have something to do with Sparky getting another symptom and spending lots of time in the bathroom, didn't you? Uh-hunh...Sure you did! And bet you're glad it didn't! :-)

It was a little complicated toilet fix only in terms of tight working quarters and getting in and around this ceramic (?) cultured marble (?) type sink extension OVER the tank. So Eldy was trying to get the tank off first, work on it away from the bathroom, then slide it back in and hook it back up. At any rate, he had trouble getting down under the tank. Sparky, not so much. Sparky had trouble getting the wrench to hang tight against the nut, gave a good tug, and BONK! whacked herself in the forehead. Got a nice little red knot where there wasn't one before. "Here, you try!" she says to Eldy.....He said it was tight enough and maybe that knocked some sense into her head. HA! One can only hope.....

Then, it was carpet cleaning time...Off to rent the machine from Lowe's, purchase cleaning materials, and by the time we got the upholstery cleaner as well, it was more than what one of those coupon special deals for "clean three rooms for 49.95. That's ok, we needed to get it done today! They couldn't come for a few days...

Then Salvation Army came and gladly took away some VERY old furniture that we couldn't use that came with the house. Some we are keeping, and Sparky is going to repaint and whitewash the finish...Like this dining room set. Here's an example of one of the chairs.

She is going to replace the cushions with some kind of tropical or ocean print. She's thinking marine blue,  cornflower blue, or cadet blue--remember, Sparky used to be a teacher, she likes to name colors she sees by the names she remembers from the 64 color box of Crayola crayons she had when she was a kid. So, SOME kind of blue seats with tannish starfish  or sand dollars stenciled on the fabric.....MAYBE....

What else today....That was enough, don't you think? Hey, glad you guys are still with us....Hope you'll stay awhile longer...Sparky thinks she will have lots to talk about for awhile and will try to keep your attention if she can keep her own focus! (And she's not kidding, folks! Starts doing one thing, changes to another, back to the first thing, loses her multiple lists, starts a list on her phone, starts another one on paper, forgets what she was going to get from the next room, can't find what she just unpacked, changes the location of where she's going to set our stuff in the cabinets more than once because she decides it's "not going to work", changes topics mid sentence, forgets where she was headed with the conversation--geesh!  I'll be glad when she finishes those meds!) So will Sparky. She's wearing herself out with exhausting, racing mental thoughts and not enough sleep. Maybe tonight will be a more restful night. (One can only hope, says E., who is struggling with his own sleep problems from what appeared to be an excellent mattress upon inspection, left by the previous owner, but now appears to be really bothering his back.)

To be continued.......

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The House Gets a Haircut

Bradenton, FL      High:  91      Low:    77 of the dilemmas of a new homeowner is where do the initial outlay of dollars go? Why out the window, of course! And that's OUT the window, not FOR windows. :-) But we decided that after painting, maybe the house trees could use a little trim. There's a right way and a wrong way to trim a tree, and Sparky has probably done most of her tree trimming (the smaller ones) the wrong way. You know, pull out a scraggly branch as tall as you can reach and drag it down and chop- it- off- kinda trimming so we had an expert, an arborist do the trimming for us. The "before".......
The tree on the left is a carrotwood tree. Sparky thought it was very cool when she first saw it, with all the berries on it.

Oh, good! Birds love berries, maybe we'll have some interesting birds to look at! The downside...It's a very "dirty" tree...It throws down lots of junky exploded "pods" and dead berries. Sparky's been sweeping the sidewalk twice a day ever since we moved in and it just keeps raining berries. So far the only birds we've seen are blackbirds noshing on the berries.

 The "after"....Ah-h-h-h....Much better!

We had the locks changed on the house....It took Eldy awhile to find a good locksmith. LOTS of horror stories out there on reviews and alarming reports of people being taken on that type of service, price gouging, etc. The fellow that came out did a fantastic job, and boy, was he a fountain of knowledge about a whole lot of other stuff that he felt would be beneficial to share to new Florida residents. He has rental properties so he had LOTS to share about everything related to home ownership...Sparky thinks he might have been a little ADD, he was yacking a mile a minute about all kinds of stuff! Pest control--when to spray, how to spray, the scoop on St. Augustine grass--how to fertilize and water it, what height it should be cut, how people take advantage of new homeowners moving to Florida, what kind of locks he recommends...By the way, think a dowel rod in a patio door is going to add some security? Nope! That only holds one door secure. There are better ways to secure a patio door and at reasonable prices. Check out your local home improvement store for more information.

We were glad to learn about some of this stuff! Whew! Kind of forgot how much there is to do when owning a house! But Sparky really loves doing anything in the way of making a house a home and really doesn't mind cleaning. Now, toilets, that's another story! Sparky is gonna have to clean tile floors OFTEN. Certainly gonna take more than the 30 minutes to clean house as it did in the motorhome, lol! ....The bedrooms have carpet so that's nice.

Sparky's mind is always going a million miles an hour making it hard to sleep sometimes. Two 'o'clock this morning, she couldn't sleep, so she got up, and went Etsy browsing for ideas for decor for the house. (ooo-o-o-oh, not good, sighs Eldy.) She saw a wooden silhouette of a mermaid on Etsy...covered in sea shells, selling well over $200.00. She thinks she can make the very same thing for a whole lot less. That would look cool along the long entry hallway, she thinks. It would take a TON of different kinds of shells....We'll see...Eldy is just waiting to see what happens...This is one of those things where you just love it, or you think, "What is she THINKING!!????" Eldy is quietly waiting to see when Sparky is going to change her  mind. It's very possible there WON'T be a mermaid in the hallway, but a copper turtle or some other Floridian decor....NOT a manatee, though, so don't worry.....

Well, gotta run, lots to do.....Sparky's lovin' all the planning and organizing (which is a surprise, sort of, 'cuz she's a little DISORGANIZED in some ways, as you might be able to tell, explains E.) But that's because it gives her a focus every day and things to do, which makes her less likely to get antsy and head out to a craft store or a yarn shop or a bead store, which gets her into trouble!

To be continued........

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sparky's Been Bit!

Sarasota, FL      High:            Low:

Well, you know how we said Sparky was feeling better? Not so much....that was a temporary lull...Sparky started feeling feverish again yesterday afternoon, REALLY feverish. Cheapy thermometer said 99.9, but Sparky felt a lot worse than that. Off to an Urgent Care Center, affiliated with Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

Wholly Moley! 102.7 degrees! No wonder Sparky felt bad! She has not had a fever in YEARS...Seriously!  Talked to a terrific doctor, he went through all kinds of checks, but no blood work. He thinks it's either the flu, (did Sparky get a flu shot this year? Nope..."they make her sick"...) OR West Nile virus....Sparky had been bit twice a few weeks ago in the back of the head/neck area. The doctor put her on prednisone for a few days, then a provisional antibiotic IF she doesn't feel better in two days. We both felt that it wasn't necessary to test for West Nile. Sparky is gonna feel better anyway with some kind of treatment.

The doctor said just about everybody living in Florida would test positive for the West Nile virus if they checked them. The West Nile virus has very similar symptoms compared to a flu....And before Sparky could start panicking, the doctor said MOST people don't have signs or symptoms when they've been infected. Twenty percent will go on to develop an infection called the West Nile fever. The symptoms are:
* fever
* headache
* body aches
* back pain
* eye pain (occasionally)
* swollen lymph nodes
* skin rash (occasionally)

Sparky had every one of these except the skin rash.....

In 1% of cases, the West Nile gets more serious...this is the one you read about in the papers, where the infection gets into the brain...This is from the Mayo Clinic:

Serious infection signs and symptoms
In less than 1 percent of infected people, the virus causes a serious neurological infection. Such infection may include inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) or of both the brain and surrounding membranes (meningoencephalitis). Serious infection may also include infection and inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord (meningitis), inflammation of the spinal cord (West Nile poliomyelitis) and acute flaccid paralysis — a sudden weakness in your arms, legs or breathing muscles. Signs and symptoms of these diseases include:
  • High fever
  • Severe headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Stupor or coma
  • Tremors or muscle jerking
  • Lack of coordination
  • Convulsions
  • Pain
  • Partial paralysis or sudden muscle weakness
Signs and symptoms of West Nile fever usually last a few days, but signs and symptoms of encephalitis or meningitis can linger for weeks, and certain neurological effects, such as muscle weakness, may be permanent.

And this is where people end up in the hospital....As the doctor said, you don't read about the 9,999 cases where people got over it just fine, you only read about the alarming, slim statistics that affect less than 1% of the population who get West Nile virus. At any rate, Sparky is rapidly improving and back to unpacking and moving stuff from the rig to the house. (Sparky is very stubborn. Believe me, I'm trying to get her to SLOW DOWN and TAKE IT EASY! but it's not working, says a frustrated Eldy.)
Sparky wants to get as much done as possible before we head to Red Bay....

Today, the painter started working on the bathroom. With the very very high ceilings, we hired someone. Sparky and Eldo do NOT wish to fall from a ladder trying to save some money. Besides, we don't have a ladder tall enough to reach adequately. (Hmmmm...I might see a Little Giant Ladder in my future, says E. I've been wanting one of those for a LONG time! Now that I'm a house owner once again, I think I'm gonna need one soon!) Boy, talk about a mess. There was old old old wallpaper on the walls, which peeled off and left the paper behind, even after steaming. The guy scraped and scraped. It took all day.....

He did a GREAT job priming, sanding, and repairing some damaged areas....
In between the old and new
After all that, Sparky thinks she picked the wrong color. Eldo was NOT happy to hear that! We'll live with it, then we can always change our minds. (You mean, Sparky will change HER mind! reminds E. I'm just gonna go with the flow.) Sparky can be a little impulsive when it comes to making decisions. 
(A LITTLE????? clarifies E.) We-l-l-l-l-l...guilty as charged. Sparky will just have to be patient and wait a LONG time before changing the color....The colored tile messed her up along with the lighting...
Sparky is going for strong colors this time around. She's had white walls in every single house she's ever owned. Eldy is being VERY flexible on this, thank goodness! He digs in his heels on other stuff (which hasn't done me a whole lotta good, fusses E.) But Sparky is going to let him have full rein on the "Man Cave Room", so cheer up, sweetie!  :-)  Actually, he likes the colors so far...  Whew!

P.S. Sparky will be getting a flu shot this fall....

To be continued.......

Monday, June 24, 2013

Feeling Better!

Sparky is feeling sorta better! She's got a low grade fever going on with some sinus pressure...and some stomach pain as well. The fever comes late in the afternoon, after feeling pretty darn good for most of the day. Sparky will give it a couple more days, then it's time to find a local doctor.....Merikay was talking about how to find a good dentist, which we also need to do, too, but that's what you gotta do when you move to a new area. Ask around, try to get recommendations. Sparky HATES researching that kind of stuff. Eldy is really good at it....  :-) :-) :-)

Forgot to share the wonderful gift our realtor gave us, and which is a great idea for anybody who wants to give a housewarming gift. Sparky thinks this might be a common tradition, but it's never happened to either one of us before!  We got this very nice card....

One by one, our realtor pulled out the items---a baguette loaf, some salt....
A cool bottle of wine....
On to the first "remodel" job in our new home...Sparky needed a two bin trash receptacle under the sink as recycling is really big here....and it's big to Sparky as well....Eldy to the rescue! Sparky is handy with tools (My woman knows her way around a tool box almost as well as most guys! says a proud Eldy) but she wanted to let Eldy get in the groove, as lots of ideas (uh-oh! worries E.) are floating around in her mind.....He's ready!
And TADA! A nice under cabinet storage roll out tray for two trash baskets....Thank you, sweetie!
Sparky has her eye on some more metal roll out trays for a very plain wood pantry. In the nicer, newer kitchens, the metal roll out trays are very beautiful. Unfortunately, they are VERY expensive--about 55.00 a shelf! (ouch! ouch! OUCH!) At least the ones called Rev-A-Shelf are. Someone is not very happy about that. Maybe Sparky will buy one every other month and get the pantry done that way.... :-)

The first thing that's happening besides the little stuff--replace a cracked wall switch plate, get the leaking toilet fixed, get the dishwasher unwrapped....

Fix the laundry hot water connection...It's leaking too, is to try and figure out how to budget everything because you just can't do everything all at once. We figure the most important places to work on and make pretty are the places where you sit and relax, and where you sleep. So, we first decided to get the living room painted. With about 17 foot ceilings, we aren't up to climbing ladders and stretching beyond our normal reaches, so we had the living room painted...Here's the before.....
And here's the AFTER.......
Color blocking is very trendy here in this city...We saw this a lot in the model homes we visited, and liked the look. Sparky was a little nervous about the two tone on part of the great room, and not on the blue wall, but this was a recommendation from a couple different designers (free of charge at Lazy Boy and some furniture stores in the area like Baer's. They will even come out to your house at no charge and give you advice.)...We thought, hey, we'll try the colors and if we don't like it, we can always paint it later. (MUCH later! says a weary E.) Sparky changes her mind a LOT with this ADHD thing going on, so today's color painting job COULD have had a different outcome if it was tomorrow. She's already thinking about a navy on the bottom down the road.....(sigh.....)

Well, we're pooped! Did we get any exercise today? Heck, no! We're just running around taking care of this and that...organizing pick up dates for different things, like Salvation Army...Thinking and arranging makes you tired! And it's very, very HOT....Sparky will plan on riding her bike soon when things calm down--probably early in the morning, or late at night.'s bye for now......

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Movin' In.....And Taking a Little Break

Bradenton, FL           High: 92    Low:   74

This is actually kinda fun! Sparky and Eldo are movin' in... SLO-O-O-W-LY.....trips back and forth between the rig and the house. Sparky keeps wandering around the house, because it seems so BIG! She thinks she will be getting a lot more exercise now that we have all this space!  Hahahahaha.........The previous owner left a BUNCH of styrofoam exercise barbells, maybe his kids worked out in the pool or something. So soon, after we get a little more stuff put away, Sparky is gonna  start a pool regimen.

Sparky started this blog earlier today, but got to REALLY feeling punk as the day went on...battling a little sinus/stomach bug....Sparky is sorry to be so under the weather today as to not be able to do a nice blog...She might even need to take the next day or so to get back to feeling her best. If you don't see us for a day or two, don't worry, we'll be back!  And if she's feeling halfway normal, she'll be back tomorrow! With pool pictures!  But no pool babes, sorry!

Bye for now......

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Best and the Worst Experience

In going through this whole process which started about 4 months ago when we first decided to start house hunting, we had the best and the worst experiences, mostly the best. BUT--it was a BIG roller coaster of emotions. The first house we fell in love with, we made an offer, they accepted our offer, and we thought we were on our way...We had signed papers, so a contract was in the works.. We waited for the seller to sign at her end, (she was in Hawaii, so there were some time zone issues), but she took another offer while we were waiting for her to send our signed one back!

On to another house we fell in love with.....Somebody put another offer in right under our noses, we tried to moved fast, but we weren't fast enough! Then we made an offer on a bank repo. The bank took FOREVER to come back but they were ridiculously too high. On to another one, the final one.

It took us 52 houses to finally find the right one. Here's our file of houses we looked at!

We kept coming back to the one we finally chose because the price was right, the house was on a golf course, and it had a pool. As we narrowed down our choices, which were starting to get narrowed for us by the real estate market changing for the better, we decided to make a move. And that's where the aggravation and nerves started ratcheting up. Today, if you buy a house, be prepared for a complete financial investigation of everything down to the most minute detail. It used to be a credit report check, proof of earnings, and not much else. Today, it's give them your bank statements in detail for the last three months, your tax returns for the last two years, and be prepared to explain with letters why certain deposits show up, be able to document that automatic payroll deposits are going to continue, what certain line by line items are in your statements are for, and for heaven's sake, don't buy anything or take out any new credit while undergoing the loan application! We didn't, but we just couldn't believe the amount of detail the bank kept asking for!

As we went through the process, we had a TERRIFIC sales agent team--Craig and Brenda Wilson of Keller Williams Realty.  They were fantastic! They are a very warm and friendly,  easy going, PATIENT couple who work as a team to represent you. They are the kind of people you would love to have as neighbors.  Craig went above and beyond the call of duty. When we got word of a damaged roof with rotted wood under the lanai extension from the inspector, Craig came out on a Sunday, with his tools, and he and Eldy repaired, drywalled, and then Eldy painted the repair so we could have a faster turnaround to try and have our closing at the scheduled time. Which ended up not happening, but we were ready anyway!

The roofers took care of the roof up top and the decking, but they didn't repair the rotted wallboard underneath the overhang. And what appeared to be a very small hole and leaking damaging drywall by the roof skylights, ended up being a very LARGE hole which Craig repaired for us. And he wouldn't take a dime for his Sunday afternoon of work!

We were assisted yet by another wonderful guy, Mike Tullio, a mortgage broker with Kroboth and Helm. He was FABULOUS! He stayed one step ahead of the bank, making sure we fed him with the necessary documentation, so it was there and ready if the bank asked for it, and they did! He and his processor, Debra, kept things moving for us. He got us the best rate, watching it day by day, and locked us in when he thought it was going to move up, which it did, the day after we locked in our rate. He was VERY on top of any emails we sent him. He would get back to us within the hour each and every time to answer questions, and soothe our nerves, especially Sparky's! Very knowledgeable, talented guy with a great team behind HIM. AND, he's a former teacher, which makes him a very personable guy and great to deal with. Gotta love that!

Time for the closing..June 14th. Hold on now..That isn't going to happen. The inspector can't get back out to the house just yet to confirm the roof repairs were made.  Let's try for early next week. Besides, it's raining every day this week. Next week comes....Has the report made it back to the bank? Yep, but their people have to confirm and ok it. Now the closing is set for 3:00 PM on a  Thursday afternoon...Uh, wait, NOPE! It's been delayed. Looks like it might be Friday. The bank is notoriously slow, Mike said, and they were....About twelve different people had to put their stamp of approval on the loan app. Something to do with HUD as well. Not sure it's going to happen. We wait...we go cruising around the city. Closing is back on. Time is now set for 4:00. We show up at 4:00 at the title company office. Nobody else is here. We wait...5:00 comes and goes..We hear from Mike and the lady at the title company office, Paula.  She is waiting for the closing statement stuff and final approval to come from the bank. She forgets about her normal quitting time and waits to hear. It's gonna happen, she says. The final papers come!  They start feverishly typing up the documents and closing statements.  It is 5:45, we start! Woo-hoo! And it's a done deal! We are the proud owners of a nice house in a golfing community in a beautiful neighborhood!

All and all, if we hadn't had Craig, Brenda, and Mike and their staff helping us along the way, we think we would have lost more hair, swallowed more TUMS and generally been in a lot worse shape with our nerves! :-)

Now it's time to start moving in! THAT will be a job! Moving just about everything from the RV to the house. The time where you open up drawers and think, oh! I can't put my utensils in there until I get some drawer liner. Start making a Lowe's list. What do we need for the house? Where are we going to put the recyclable bins? Where's the silverware, honey? I don't know, it's around here somewhere. I think it's in THAT box. You know, that kind of stuff. Eldy has already replaced the shower head in the master bath, put together two patio chairs, and we are right smack into the homeownership/maintenance routine. Now, if we can only figure out how to hook up the internet and cable boxes.We're lovin' it!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Sparky Comes Out!

No, not out of the closet.... :-)   As many of you have suspected, Sparky and Eldo have stayed in Sarasota for so long because we decided we loved Sarasota so much, we are buying a house in Bradenton, very very close to Sarasota. Yes, we are coming off the road after full timing for three years...Interest rates are very good but starting to climb, properties in Sarasota are HOT, HOT, HOT! So are the temps, but we are getting used to them. It's just a good time in the economy and our personal life all the way around for us to move from full time traveling back to a house in our retirement. So hot is the real estate in Sarasota County, the inventory has really dropped since we started looking a couple of months ago. Apparently investment companies are coming in and buying up houses by the dozens, driving up prices. Their plan is to rent them until the housing market recovers, then sell for big profits. Hm-m-m-m...that sounds like the beginning of the real estate bubble that burst back around 2008 when properties values crashed in Florida.

We are selling our Tiffin Phaeton, diesel pusher, 40 foot, QTH. We have ads online for it, on RVOnline and National Multi List, if anybody is interested. Down the road, (heheheh) we hope to get something smaller and still travel occasionally, but for now, we are going to stay put, fix up our house, and enjoy Sarasota to the fullest!
What does the house look like? It's beautiful, of course! Two bedrooms plus a den, AND a craft room for Sparky. And, Eldy is finally going to have a MAN CAVE! He's been looking at free standing bars and sports decor.....Here's Sparky's craft room...She's got LOTS of ideas to brighten and make this room a FUN room to create in!

The house has a pool, and it's on a golf course with a fantastic view out the back of the lanai. We will have a spare bedroom room for visitors.... :-)

It comes mostly furnished, which will really help our budget for awhile. The inside is white, white, white--- but there's lots of PINK, too. The previous owners liked pink--pink tile in the kitchen and baths, pink and mauve wallpaper on the walls. Pinkish kitchen cabinets....

This is the breakfast nook area....

Sparky is not too crazy about the pink tile floors in the bathrooms and kitchen, but we'll live with that for awhile. They swapped out all the appliances and put in all brand new, but left the really old cabinets in place.

We've had to think about getting some furniture to make more our own. We're not fond of mauve and teal everything. So we'll be refurbishing some of the finishes on some pieces, getting some new stuff, and donating some things.
Part of the great room
Guest bath...It already has palm tree towels and shower curtain!

Formal dining area...

We didn't want to say anything in the blog until it looked darn certain that everything was going to go through without a major hiccup. It was REALLY REALLY nerve wracking! So much information that the bank kept asking for, a roof repair that held things up for awhile, tropical storm Andrea that held things up...etc., etc., etc.
Guest bedroom
So THAT'S what we've REALLY been doing these past few weeks in addition to continuing to explore Sarasota. Window shopping for furniture, waiting to hear if the next step in the loan application was proceeding, looking at rugs, flooring, investigating all kinds of things we MIGHT do to the house on a limited budget. It's been really really fun looking and dreaming! First on the list of things to do---PAINTING....We're going with cocoas, browns, tans, and slate blues...We'll do some before and after photos as the weeks go by.....

Sparky just read an article about a guy who remodeled his house in Seattle with mostly Craig's List the tune of over $300,000. We'll be on a much smaller budget, lol...MUCH smaller! We'll check out estate sales, garage sales, you never know what treasures you might find.
pink and mauve everything in the master bath
We are closing on it soon....We'll keep you posted! Sparky will keep blogging daily until we have moved in, and then will probably blog about once a week....We still have another trip to do--to Red Bay and up to Indiana to empty out a storage locker up there....We'll be doing that in a few weeks.

And if you know anyone looking for a class A motorhome, spread the word about our Tiffin Phaeton, if you would...Email us for more information if you need it. We thank you!

Are we going to miss traveling? You bet, but all of you will keep us posted as to what's going on, cool places to be, great marvels to see, and who knows, some day we might be back out there joining you once again.

Until next time.....   Jeannie and Eldy

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Some Great Guitar Pickin'

A quiet day spent trying to keep cool...It was 95 yesterday until some rain storms blew in..Sparky briefly contemplated a trip to Alaska in our future, but hey, it's in the nineties in Alaska, too!

"All-time highs were recorded elsewhere, including 96 degrees on Monday 80 miles to the north in the small community of Talkeetna, purported to be the inspiration for the town in the TV series, "Northern Exposure" and the last stop for climbers heading to Mount McKinley, North America's tallest mountain. One unofficial reading taken at a lodge near Talkeetna even measured 98 degrees, which would tie the highest undisputed temperature recorded in Alaska.

Read more:

We stopped off at Ocean Blues supper club last night to hear George Worthmore....he's a fantastic guitar picker and acoustical guitar player. Sparky likes the hats he wears. This one makes Sparky think of "Charley Weaver" who was really Cliff Arquette, comedian/actor, that short guy with the mustache on Hollywood Squares...Here's Charlie...
And here's George....George is funny, too, and can he play guitar!
One thing we like about Sarasota, is the high quality and variety of music offered in the city...You can go to many, many places to hear all kinds of music--blues, rock and roll, funk, and classical.

George has played backup guitar for Bo Diddley, Lou Christie, and The Platters. He's also an interesting guy. He lived in South Africa for 12 years and operated the world famous Blues Room, the country's award winning, number one live music venue. He's also an actor, having performed with Ron Perlman, William H. Macy, and Robert Vaughn. 

So we were delighted to be able to see him this evening at one of our favorite music venues, Ocean Blues.
George plays everything from classical pieces, ragtime, to raunchy Delta blues songs. He's a storyteller, too. We learned a lot about him this evening, that he got hit by a car which almost derailed his career and how he basically did his own therapy to recover the use of his hands so he could keep playing. In and around some fantastic picking, and a guest guitar artist doing a duet with George, (sorry we didn't catch his name), George talked a bit about how important music is in our lives and how our souls need music....Amen!

We thoroughly enjoyed hearing him this evening!
A big announcement coming soon........Stay tuned....  :-)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

All Over the Place

Sarasota, FL      High:   89     Low:  77

Warning: This blog is all over the place...(that's because Sparky is A.D.D.--she has attention deficit disorder, we're pretty sure. Never officially diagnosed, but boy, does she have an attention problem BIG TIME! explains E.)

Ummmmmm...what did we do today? We went to a craft fair in downtown Venice...a rather small one. But Sparky enjoyed herself. She loves talking to vendors, finding out more about their crafts....She talked to Marisa Lugar at Divine Designs, who makes wind chimes out of beads, antique glasses, driftwood, all kinds of stuff. (E. says you can see why Sparky might like this kind of thing, it's a hodge podge of stuff, just like her craft corner in the RV!) Many vendors say no photos, understandably so, so people don't go home and copy it and sell it on the internet the next day. But these folks let Sparky take a quick photo with her iphone, having forgot her camera today. Phooey!
Check out this booth that was getting a LOT of attention--Sewing All....Velcro and fabric doggie harnesses with matching sunglasses for your pooch,  a bazillion of them! Step in harnesses, leashes, collars and carriers were all over the place.

Venice is that quaint artsy, fartsy touristy downtown with all the dolphin and turtle statues. You can find them all over town.
Speaking of turtles, which Sparky is into lately, she saw this metal turtle sculpture. She loves it! But didn't buy it. No place to hang it.....

There were the usual organic pet treats, lots of jewelry booths, leather, paintings and photographs. We had seen coin carvers before at the Cortez fishing festival, and there was a guy here today doing the same thing, he might have been the same one. He takes coins of all denominations, many of them foreign currency, and with a special hacksaw blade, carves out sections of the coin and makes cool jewelry from it.
Then it was a trip over to Ellenton Mall to look for some duds for Eldy, as in clothes. He hasn't bought himself anything in a LONG time!  He didn't find anything...We'll have to go on another shopping expedition again soon. Sparky likes to check out kitchen stores, in case they have samples....SCORE! The Gourmet Chef had dipping sauces and pretzels, about 7 different kinds. YUM! This crazy lady was serving some kind of barbecue sauce with a peach flavor on kielbasa. Boy, that was good!
A trip to Costco's to get some cute jammies for Sparky's little grandson, and check out the food samples (uh, that would be Sparky AGAIN, and yes, I make sure she gets three squares a day, laughs E. That girl likes to eat regularly or she can get cranky! Me, I can go with two meals a day and be fine.)

The finale was a trip to Anna Maria Oyster Bar in Sarasota on Tamiami Trail. They have three locations! They have fantastic all-you-can-eat fish for 6.95 from 2:00 PM -3:00 PM, and 7.95 from 3:00-4:00 PM. Fantastic fish, fantastic hush puppies and a great house salad with romaine, spring lettuce blends, strawberries, blue cheese crumbles and almonds.

All that shopping wore Sparky out...Neither one of us really likes to shop, but it was something to do to keep cool today....Time for Sparky to call it a day.....We'll see you later......Now that wasn't too disjointed a blog, was it?  :-) Sparky was going to throw in the latest about Nik Wallenda and his mother joining him on the practice wire today, but will save it for another time maybe.... :-)   Bye....