Thursday, January 20, 2011

A New Chapter

It's funny how a new chapter in your life dawns sometimes without any warning whatsoever.

The scene is new year's Eve, parents had just left 2 days prior from an extended visit for the holidays, Ray and I were planning on leaving Tuesday Jan 4th for a getaway visit to Florida before reopening the restaurant for the year.  We had even contemplated not going as it seemed we had so many other things to take care of.
The phone rings, it's our daughter. She asks " So, are you and Dad going to look for a house again while you're down there this year?" To which I reply, " No, I don't think so, not this year".  You see for a number of years now, ever since my parents retired to Florida, we secretly dreamt that one day we could get a house there too, where the kids and grandkids could visit and we could spend winters away from work and the cold and snow.  Several times we came really close only to have the houses sell the week before we arrived to see them. It just never seemed the right time. Last year we toured a number of houses but nothing clicked.
So after hanging up the phone I thought , well, I could go online and take a look and see if anything new is listed.......

The morning we left, Jan 4th, this was the sunrise as we crossed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. You can see the Cape Henry Lighthouse in the first shot as it beamed into the morning sky. The air was very cold indeed as we stopped at the lookout to take a few shots, these are taken with the new nikon, my first pictures. We were an hour and a half into the 13 1/2 hour drive.

We arrived late tuesday evening, went to see the house weds. at 10:30 am, put in our offer which was accepted and papers were signed right after lunch. Are we there yet? Talk about a whirlwind! But when looking back over our lives, most big decisions seem to have happened that way. I guess when the time was right we knew it and just jumped.  The family of the owners arrived on Saturday to empty the rest of the personal contents and sign their part of the closing and we had our closing on tuesday 1-11-11.  The pictures of the inside of the house can be seen here. Those pictures were all taken right after we signed on the first weds so have the personal contents still there.  The house is a manufactured home, 1456 sq. ft with a 10 x 26 enclosed front porch, a 9x12 shed and a nice long driveway with carport. This pix shows the newly planted gardenia on the west side of the porch along with the lemon tree and palm tree already on site.
The community is a lakefront community on Lake Juliana in Auburndale, Florida.  We are located halfway between Orlando and Tampa.  20 minutes from Disney. We had long contemplated both coasts but decided on being here as it was centrally located. An easy ride to most attractions which is key with young grandchildren, yet close enough to the coasts to visit for fishing and beaches. 
There are 2 clubhouses, upper and lower , 2 heated pools, shuffleboard courts, a dock, and many activities.  We are in the upper section, known as phase 2, number 242, and we are next to a retention pond which my dad says hasn't had a drop of water in it since they have been there in 18 years. The front of the house faces south, the west side is the retention pond so we don't have neighbors there, and the house backs up to an orange grove, orange filled trees are right outside our bedroom windows. The entire community was once all orange grove clean down to the lake.
This board shows phase 1 with the main clubhouse, pool, shuffleboards and dock down by the lake.

We drank champagne with strawberries out of plastic cups and spent one night there before all the work began! In the week before we left, we had the entire house painted inside, ceilings and walls, Ray replaced all the ceiling light panels and fluorescent tubes, the kitchen faucet and guest bath faucet, we cleaned the baths and kitchen and washed curtains replaced irrigation sprinklers and weeded and planted a gardenia which was an offshoot from my Dad's beautiful bush. We had someone come and give us an estimate on wood flooring for the kitchen, dining, living and hall areas which will have to be done while we're away.  We couldn't have gotten it all done without the help of my parents, who patiently drove us everyday to Lowes and all the other stores for everything we needed. I hope they're getting some rest now that we're gone!
With the forecast of snow and ice possible with ridiculously cold temps coming our way, I wish we could have stayed just a little while longer! All in due time I suppose.


  1. wow! Congratulations to you :) and gorgeous sunrise shots!

  2. Wonderful! Sometimes (most of the time?) the magic just happens when things are ripe and ready. Congratulations.

  3. Oh my goodness, Laura! No wonder things have been quiet on your end. YOu were up to your elbows fixing up a new house in FLORIDA!!! Well a great big CONGRATS is in order. This is huge news. I love it - taking your dreams in to your own hands at the start of the new year. I think it was truly meant to be. The community looks fantastic, centrally located for sure. And lots of great amenities for your family to enjoy. I am really happy for you.
    Those are fantastic shots from the Bay Bridge Tunnel...taken with your new camera? :-)

  4. OMG! Does this mean I'm going to have someone to play with ... maybe meet up at Websters! Congratulations!

  5. We miss you lots !! Wish you were still here , too...we will watch out for your new home & make sure all is well...can't wait for you to come back...we are so excited to have you in our little corner of paradise !!! Webster here we come !!!

  6. What a photographer you are !! Unbelievable shots from the Bay Bridge...contest material !! love you, Mom


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