T-minus 7 days and counting….

Right now Florida spring is in full bloom.  The redbuds and dogwoods have come and gone and everything has greened up.  Not so in West Virginia.  They are probably peaking their early spring bloom right now and only the earliest leaf buds starting to emerge.  Meanwhile, our dining room is in full bloom as well.  With camping gear and boxes of food all over the place.  Karen is an orderly person and I think her nerves are about shot as preparations have the house in total disarray right now.

You’d be amazed how much work it takes to not be home for six months. Every bank and utility we have has been contacted and auto-pay set up on everything that will allow auto-pay.  Credit cards linked here, bank accounts linked there. Its a huge web.

Now on top of that add that we had to upgrade Karen’s phone so we can both have data access while gone, our home phone put on vacation mode.  They charge a pretty penny to not use any services, and despite them telling us they could not disconnect the service until after May 2nd, they have already disconnected the internet.  Why is the phone company always so hard to deal with?  After three calls they still fouled everything up.  No worries. Verizon has a bit better customer service than Century Link so the phone is now tethering to allow us our last minute internet indulgences.  Even DirecTV was a snap – we were able to suspend service over the phone with the automated system in about three minutes.  Insurance on all but one car is on hold (left one active so we are covered in rental cars).  All the refrigerators in the shop are cleaned out and unplugged.  The refrigerator in the house is approaching college student status as we clean it out of all the oddball things we don’t really like eating.

Now comes the really hard part… the animals.  Last weekend we took both cats to a friend who offered to adopt them.  Super!  A two for one deal.  After we let them out of their carriers, they immediately found a way to crawl under the trailer and have hardly been seen since.  The food disappears so they must still be alive.  The cats were not hard, but the dog is.  Dogs are like humans and our precious Loretta is like a child to us.  Two weeks ago she developed an aural hematoma and had to have sutures in her ear and has been wearing an elizabethan collar since then.

A dear coworker has offered to foster her while we are away, and she has had one play date so far.  They already have one dog and one cat, and Loretta is great with cats.  But like all cats, theirs is wary of Loretta.  Their dog gets along great with Loretta and she also seems to have fun running back and forth along the fence with the backyard neighbor’s dog.  Loretta is a very social dog and will love it in her temporary home, but we will miss her dearly.  She goes to get her stitches out tomorrow morning and to her foster home tomorrow night.  It is absolutely gut wrenching to even think about not having her around.  I can’t imagine what its going to feel like two days from now, or one week from now as we lock up the house for good and head off to Jacksonville.

I have to change subjects quickly.  Cars.  Cars are non emotional, right?  If you know me, not so much.  I have an unhealthy attachment to them, but I will not miss them – they are just vehicles.  We are moving them all inside garages, will put a little Stabil in the tank and pull out the batteries.  I will leave one of them on a battery tender so when we get back we should have at least one working vehicle.  We have one more car than garage bays, so the 1970 Landcruiser has drawn the short straw and will have to sit outside for 6 months.  It’s survived 46 years of weather, what’s another 6 months.

Just a few days ago, as we were washing clothes and towels and trying to get everything all fresh for storage, the washing machine broke.  Great, something else to deal with.  Luckily its a common part (motor coupling) and a quick search on Amazon found one that could get here in 2 days (and it did arrive in plenty of time on Saturday morning to get laundry done).  Major appliances like that are so commoditized that they are actually super easy to work on and actually designed quite well (albeit cheaply).  Now we are just wondering what else will break with less than two days before we will have to leave and Captain Amazon will not be able to bail us out.  Think positive thoughts!

We planted blueberries last year and they are just about to ripen.  I hope we get to eat some before we leave but it’s not looking too good.  They are still pretty green.  Lawn service is set up, the weeds sprayed and mowed.  We fear a full summer of growth without the extra care we give the yard will end up looking like a jungle when we get back.  But there is no point in worrying about that.

In fact, there’s no point in worrying about anything.


  1. I’m very excited to keep up with you on your trip! Go ahead and leave now. You seem ready. 😉

  2. Brad Gustafson

    April 29, 2016 at 2:25 am

    Jim & Karen – You will be in our thoughts and prayers. Have a great time and enjoy life!

  3. Can’t wait to read about this adventure.

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