On Moving (November 23rd, 2019 - January 10th, 2020)
A month and a half has nearly elapsed since I last wrote. We made it to our “new” home safely (whew!) and are currently awaiting our furniture to deliver any day now...(and since I started writing this, it has since been delivered and we are almost settled). But before I go into my rant on moving, let me bring you up to speed.
I left off in Cottondale, FL at the Hitchin’ Post Corral where we spent 2 days just relaxing, playing Frisbee, and taking some down time for ourselves. On November 25th we drive about 5 hours to Wekiva Falls RV Resort. During our last hour, We noticed we had a flat tire on the trailer. We unloaded the Jeep and decided to get to our RV park before dealing with the flat tire (the rim floated once the Jeep was off so we figured we had some buffer room to get parked first). Unfortunately that wasn’t as simple as usual this time. Our total rig length is about 60’ which includes the Glamper and flatbed trailer with the Jeep strapped on it. We try not to disconnect the trailer from the Glamper since it’s a pain in the ass, especially when it’s for just a few days. This place had really long sites but all were back-in style and all the connections were in the back of the site. Many of the sites available were either too narrow to back our whole rig into or were really muddy giving strong potential for getting stuck. After another hour of us riding with the staff to find a spot, Ted finally agreed to one. Ted was adamant that he would not disconnect the trailer since he called ahead and confirmed that the sites were big enough for the whole rig. Honestly, if he hadn’t been so pissed and angry by then, I would have just dropped the damn trailer and parked the Glamper next to it. The entire hour wasted wasn’t worth the hassle, stress, or negativity from my perspective but alas sometimes it’s better to stay quiet than to start an even bigger ruckus. Despite the escalating attitude from my significant other, this RV resort was really nice...and BIG! It’s the largest we have stayed in, boasting over 800 sites, daily activities and a spring fed river and water playground. Our first priority the next morning was to get the tire fixed. When we purchased the trailer over a year ago, we knew nothing of trailer tires...more than 4 blown tires later, we have a complete set of class D tires now. We did some shopping with Punch, made a fire, discovered that S’mores might actually taste better without chocolate and ordered our Christmas cards. The following day we went for a morning walk, practiced archery, watched Frozen 2, picked up the Christmas cards and stamped them up. Ted also pointed out to me that my notes don’t make sense. When I take notes for myself, I use nicknames, abbreviations, and even symbols. But my notes are exactly that - MY notes, for me, I hadn’t planned on having anyone else use them so legibility and clarity were not high on my list when I was making MY notes!
Moving on to Thanksgiving day! We mailed the cards (several of which came back - sorry if you didn’t get yours!) and headed over to our cousin’s house for a beautiful Turkey Day lunch. The table was beautiful (we still use our name cards today), the company even better. Ted was introduced to Tom & Jerry's - which he loved! We swam in the neighbor’s pool, took a shower in a giant shower (which we didn’t have to shut off in the middle) and made it an early night. Azlan was pooped and slept the whole way back to the Glamper. November 29th we took our last leg of this part of our adventure - straight to our “new” home! It was almost fully glorious...one of the roads was closed which added an hour to the trip with the reroute, then the gas station we stopped at didn’t have diesel and when we found one that did, the pump was on the slower than slow fill side of the Glamper (we can fill it from either side but one is just a “c” hair slower than the other). This all pissed Ted off to no end but as usual, he got over it (snap your fingers now) “just like that”. We were greeted by my dad and my brother’s potentially future father in law as they were cleaning the house like crazy. The remodel was just barely over and we rolled right in. My dad got these big sturdy shelves for the garage and the guys set them up while I unloaded our stuff from the Glamper. We worked until about 5 and then went down to Ted’s dad’s house...approximately a 10 min walk away. A few cocktails later and a delicious meatloaf with mac n cheese dinner fixed by his amazing roommate, we were totally spent. That night we stayed in the Glamper as the mattresses were still in there...unfortunately I didn’t get much sleep. The next day went like this: unload, get groceries, unload, clean, scrub the floors to get the fine construction dust out, unload some more, clean, scrub, scrub, scrub, and off to Ted’s sister’s house for Thanksgiving leftovers - YUM! This night was our first official night in our house and it was uneventful save the light in our bedroom coming on by itself sometime in the middle of the night - for real! Holy cow it’s now December 2019! The Glamper unloading continued, I found ants in our house so back to the store for traps, and on our way home we stopped at Tiger Shore beach. It’s a lovely beach with lots of sand space and not crazy crowded - we look forward to going back with more time. At the moment the focus needs to be moving in! Our awesome neighbors were getting rid of a sofa bed and we gladly accepted their offer...a place to sit in our own home that’s not a folding chair? #poundwinning! That evening, after showers (where we discovered our water sucks and smells bad - fixing that is now also a top priority item), we set up our baby Christmas tree and cuddled on our “new” sofa in our “new” house and enjoyed our little tree glowing in front of us.
The next few weeks are a blur - I didn’t take notes and here I am, 48 whole days later, trying to piece it all back together. December 3rd we dropped off the Glamper for repairs...hoping that they take their time since we don't really have a place to store it before we take off for next summer's travel continuation. Ironic how we spent all the other times wishing they would rush and finish the job, huh?!? The next day we went south down to Miami, stopping at Azlan's eye doctor on the way. We now have to up the eye patch to 4 hours a day - that's going to suck when school starts! Miami boasted a fabulous boat ride through the bay and the next day Ted and I flew to Houston leaving Azlan behind with my parents for a week of spoiling and fun. This was the last big trip of 2019 we would take - the Carnival Vista Cruise through the Western Caribbean (Honduras, Belize, Mexico). The cruise was booked around March, so a long time coming, and we joined in on it to celebrate our friend's retirement from the Army. This is the first cruise we have taken that is with friends, not that we have taken many...it's only my 4th and Ted's 3rd - so totally not expert cruisers. That first night in Houston we got to hang out and crash with one of our friends from Germany and the next morning he took us to Galveston so we could board the cruise (thank you Tenderloin!!!)...let the crazy fun begin - "Let's get Ship Faced"!!!
December 7th we departed, 8th and 9th were at sea. Our group consisted of 5 couples, of which we only knew one (and luckily the other 3 were all really cool too). Trivia, overpriced massages, dodgeball, ropes course, sky bike, water slides, burritos, piano bar sing-a-longs and a fancy dinner were just some of the activities we partook in during these 2 days. Our first port of call was Roatan, an island off the coast of Honduras. Here we had rented a private 52' Catamaran for snorkeling through West Bay Tours and it was amazing!!! By far the best part of the trip from my perspective and really one of the better days of my life. Our friends were a little nervous since they had not traveled out of the US before and were worried that we booked an excursion apart from the ship...the initial departure from the port and short walk outside the gate, passed the security guards with machine guns didn't help ease their fears. We chose to book excursions apart from the cruise lines for better prices and more privacy. However, our driver was there to pick us up and once we got to Wikkid Resort where the boat was docked, they relaxed...but just a little. The phenomenal crew of 3 helped us aboard and off we went to enjoy a glorious half-day on the water. Drinks and delicious snacks were abundant as we cruised around to the secluded snorkeling spots. And by secluded, I mean away from all the other tours and boats that had 40+ cruisers smashed together with screaming children trying to see a fish that they had already scared away. As far as snorkeling goes, it was one of the best I had seen so far. Shark's Cove on the North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii was my top pick with Bora Bora as my second. Roatan is now tied with Shark's Cove. The water was very clear and the amount of life we saw in the water was incredible. I had never seen so much live coral and variety of fish and sea life before. No turtles or sharks that day, but we did see a funky lobster. I told our friends how lucky we were to see that...unfortunately I don't think those reefs will be there in 10 years, much less 20 with so many cruise ships and tourists going in and out...not to mention global warming and careless pollution. Roatan is a relatively new discovery - I suggest you go before it is destroyed by big tourism. Oh yeah, almost forgot, what completes a sunny day on a boat?!? Tigers. For real. Someone had a few tigers in a cage and our boat came in close to the cage edge for a quick view - I didn't see that coming!
December 11th we stopped in Belize. Ted and I had been throwing around the idea of one day moving to Belize since his retirement can get us so much more there than in the US. However, I think Roatan might be our new target. The ship docked in Belize City, and here we had booked a private Cave Tubing and the Altun Ha Mayan Ruins Tour via Belizing. Our guide was fantastic, he got us to the tubing place early so we could beat the crowds. Water tube in hand and water shoes on our feet, we trekked about 20 mins, crossing the river a few times, to enter Cave #3 (which is like the 9th cave down the line....not sure how their numbering system was developed but it didn't make much sense). Once we were all seated and tied together, he guided us through the caves pointing out the different stone formations and baby bat boroughs above. At one point he instructed us to shut off our head lamps, be quiet and still and succumb to the pitch black...there was a surprise awaiting us ahead. If you are claustrophobic or don't like being in dark places while floating in water in a foreign country - this is not for you. As promised, our surprise appeared....there were some natural sky lights in the cave and POW! Shimmering bright green foliage exalted from the dark - it appeared out of thin air. The contrast of the bright color appearing from the depths of the dark was quite unique in a natural habitat. Combined with the humble silence that allowed you to hear the water flow made for a fascinating experience which again we were very lucky to be a part of. You can only see that pop of color when there is no other light in the cave, any later in the day and the cave would have been jam packed with tourists turning their lamps on and off - not to mention making a hell of a lot of noise. A few of us opted to swim a little on the way back and when we got out of the water for a return walk - it started to rain. Truly a Rain Forest experience! Lunch was a mouth watering rice, beans and chicken take out from the Xibalba (translated to hell in the Mayan language) Cafe. This was the best food we have had on the cruise - and we weren't even on the ship! We held on tight as we sped through the narrow highways to Altun Ha. It's one of the few communities that did not sacrifice humans in the Mayan world according to our guide. This place thrived from about 400-900 A.D. with parts dating back to 800-900 B.C. During our visit we also learned that the Tapir is Belize's representative animal (we saw a few at the San Diego Zoo) and that Belize's flag is the only one that has humans on it - hello Trivia!
Our last port of call was Cozumel, Mexico. Here we opted to just chill on the beach and took a taxi to Mr. Sancho's Beach Club. An all inclusive with beach tables, chairs, pools, bathrooms etc... You had to pay extra to use the water floats, snorkel gear and anything that wasn't food, chair or drink. Some of us opted for a lovely parasail adventure, others for henna tatoos, others for pool time. It was a great day until it was time to leave. By that point Ted and I were drunk - which will explain some of the behavior I am about to share. So, everyone is ready to leave and we all go to the bathroom. Now, I am pretty sure that I mentioned in a previous blog that my body is reacting poorly to alcohol. So my time in the bathrooms was a little longer than everyone else's. When I walked out of the bathroom, I saw one of our friends. She said "Where have you been?!? Ted is ready to leave you here, hurry up!". I climbed in the van thinking to myself that there was no way he would leave me in a foreign country with no ID or cash (he had the back pack with him). So I pipe up and apologize for taking a while in the toilet and reassure everyone in the van that he wouldn't have left me. Fuming, he belts "Oh yes I would have!" and some other things I have already blocked out of my memory. We "discuss" it in harsh tone for a minute and he convinces me he would have left me there. My heart broke. I've only felt that way once before and it sucked beyond words. It was a very quiet ride back to the ship. The anger I felt was putrid - life sucking anger - followed by a ton of disappointment. When we stopped at the port I snatched my Passport and Cash and walked off in search of illegal drugs...in Mexico...maybe not the best idea. Luckily my drunk ass realized that and I walked back to the ship in a wave of self pity. My partner for life, by travel buddy, had made me believe he would leave me behind. It was a calm night on the ship, I didn't see Ted until somewhere around 2 am when he walked in the room. It was a short conversation but the anger had left and sorrow had been my companion for a few hours already. The next morning he apologized, we talked about it, he bought me a beautiful ring and said he would never leave me behind. I didn't want to spoil the last day on the cruise so we made up for now. I think this is a discussion we will have a few times over in our future, but for now things are ok. That afternoon we got some hot tub time in, had a last supper with our Ship Faced crew and docked safely back in Galveston the next morning. The best parts of the cruise were hanging out with our old and new friends, the Piano Bar lady (Elizabeth Setzer - check her out!), the Roatan Catamaran and the Cave Tubing in Belize. The worst parts were the motion sickness, the bad food and the poor cleanliness on the ship. Overall, we had a great time, but to be honest I don't think we'll choose Carnival Cruise Lines if we decide to cruise again. And so, our vacation from our 15 month motorhome vacation came to a close and we flew back to Miami to pick up our sweet boy. We stayed in Miami a few days to enjoy another boat ride and dinner with my bestie. On December 17th we drove back to our "new" home and proceeded to camp out on our Glamper mattresses beholding all of our belonging on the living room floor. Over the next few days we got Azlan's physical done - poor thing had to get 3 shots in one sitting - talked to a few water filtration companies, had the giant crack repaired on the Jeep windshield, ate dinner with our neighbors from when we lived in Hawaii, visited with Ted's dad, decorated Ted's dad's Golf Cart for a neighborhood parade and waited for our furniture to be delivered. Fortunately, they delivered our furniture early, on the 21st instead of the 23rd. Chaos ensued as they came in with box after box - a totally normal moving day. Ted's dad's roommate came to help out which allowed me to stealthily unpack all the kitchen boxes while the movers brought in the rest of the house. Here we go - ON MOVING:
Moving is a Pain In My Ass - PIMA. I can account for at least 16 times I have moved in my life so far, the last 5 of which have been through the Army and their subcontractors. The great part about the Army moving us is that they pack all the boxes and unpack all the boxes and put furniture together for you #winning. However, the mess that comes with moving sucks. Ted and I are both very organized people and I am a recovering clean freak (well to some I am just a clean freak - always). We like things to be in their place because we like to find things easily when we need them - can I get an Amen from all my OCD people out there?!?! The need for things to have a place was intensified after living 15 months in a 300 sqft Glamper - when in tight quarters the smallest things scattered around look like total anarchy. So, here we are, 4 days until Christmas, boxes stacked in corners, oodles of stuff piled on every horizontal surface you can find and me, in the kitchen trying to find the right place to put things I haven't laid eyes on in well over a year. I can't recall exactly which day I had a meltdown - there was more than one - but it wasn't pretty. The overwhelming feeling I experience when I can't find something I need, the feeling like I am making no progress - just moving a stack of crap from one place to the next. The dust and dirt tracked in by so many feet going in and out. Pee on toilet seats. Not enough lighting at night to continue the job. It feels like there is no light at the end of the tunnel - hell, it feels like no end to the tunnel at all - like I will have to relegate myself to living in this disarray of box skyscrapers and filthy floors forever. Be that as it may, everyday some progress is made...and progress is progress! Ted is really good at reminding me that we will get the house settled, we just need to tackle one thing at a time, one room at a time. We worked hard for two days, attended a neighborhood party and took off to Miami on the 23rd to spend Christmas Eve with my parents. My mom made a phenomenal dinner, the festivities turned out to be much louder and went much later than we had anticipated. The next morning, we opened presents around the tree and headed back North for a quick nap. Christmas dinner, prepared by my brother and sister in law was fantastic! We enjoyed some quiet family time before we headed home to continue the unpacking, sorting and cleaning on Boxing Day. The days between Christmas and New Years were spent visiting with family, unpacking, unpacking, unpacking and purging. It was like Christmas continued, we didn't remember what we owned - it had been a year and a half since we had seen our things after all. The Salvation Army received many a donation as well. On December 30th we drove back down to Miami and the passing of 2019 into 2020 was spent sleeping on a boat under fireworks in the bay next to Star Island. Believe it or not, I was sober!
Welcome to 2020! I have no New Year's Resolutions, I am just going to be the best and do the best that I can and learn from my mistakes. As long as I don't lie to myself, I'll be ok. There are some things I would like to accomplish this year like doing a full unassisted pull up and teach Zumba - totally achievable if I put in the work (like with everything else in life). The first day of the year we drove back to Palm City, and guess what?!!??!? That's right!!! We unpacked some more! We got internet installed in the house, Ted's brother, nephew and his girlfriend came into town, we enjoyed some boat rides and kept getting the house in order. It was around the 4th that we started hanging pictures. That's my favorite part. Our art work is a collection of pieces from our travels around the world - deciding where they are placed on the wall is crucial to completing the ambiance in each room. Azlan's room was completely finished by the time he started school on Monday, the 6th. Poor baby was so nervous! Luckily one of our neighbor's little girl was in his class which helped ease his worries. We all love his teacher and know he will do great things in school. This week flew by, Azlan was pretty tired after school everyday - waking up early and no naps wasn't very fun according to him. Ted and I did a Cross Fit class, rendering ourselves sore for at least 5 days...but it was awesome! We attended our very first PTA meeting with a Rock Paper Scissors ice breaker. It was pretty fun and Ted even won! As the next few weeks go by we will have visitors, throw a house warming party 'Condit Style', and continue to meet new people as we establish a routine. What about jobs you ask? Ha, we answer! I foresee volunteering and book writing in our immediate future...but I still want to teach Zumba and eventually we will become adults again....maybe!
Daisa, Ted and Azlan
P.S. - Since we aren't traveling for a minute, I may write some blogs on things like planning, meal prepping, cleaning, life, whatever. If you want my thoughts on anything specific, please ask and I will write about it.