August 2007

We moved Lucille's parents from Palm Bay, Florida to Richmond Hill, Georgia.  Overall distance was right at 300 miles.

Last month, we talked about moving Lucille’s parents (Jerry and Rita) to their new home, a one-bedroom apartment at Magnolia Manor in Richmond Hill.  They finally moved into the apartment on that first Friday.  Magnolia Manor has two rooms that can be booked for guests of the residents, available at no charge for five nights per year and only $35 a night after that – wotta deal!  We stayed in one of the rooms that Friday night to be nearby for any last minute issues that came up with their new home. 

The main meal of the day, lunch, is provided as part of the monthly rent.  Guests are welcome and pay a nominal fee with reservations required to alert the staff.  The four of us trooped in for our first-ever meal there, handed over our tickets, went through the buffet line, and proceeded to find a table for four.  And then the fun began! 

As we approached one available table (or so we thought), someone beat us to it and promptly sat his tray down.  We then found another table nearby and had no sooner settled in when someone else came by to tell us that this table was hers.   Yet another gentleman came by and proclaimed we were sitting at his table – what’s happening here?   After talking to the dining room manager, we learned that tables are unofficially assigned to the residents.  When guests are expected, the residents and their guests sit at a larger table.  Somehow, the left hand didn’t get the message from the right hand that we were to be shown to a special table.  The first day of their residence and already we’ve made an impression.  Lunch Day Two…we inadvertently make a small scene when we spill not one but two glasses of iced tea before we figured out the table at which we were sitting was actually two tables of uneven height but covered up with a cloth.  Lunch Day Three…what more havoc can we cause?  Ah, not to be outdone…we show up for lunch on Sunday at the same time as the past two days, start wondering why the dining room is empty, although the buffet line was open, then realized that on Sundays, lunch starts thirty minutes later to accommodate the church-going residents.  We’re three for three here, making a memorable impression, and may be banned from ever eating there again!  Not really – residents and staff are welcoming and understanding and we found one way to ensure everyone remembers us!

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The apartment at Magnolia Manor includes a combination living/dining area, bedroom, bathroom and kitchen.  There is also a screened balcony for days when the weather cools. 

On Saturday, Yvette came down to take Rita shopping for new shoes.  After lunch, Yvette and Lucille went grocery shopping to stock the fridge and cupboards.  Larry stayed busy hanging family pictures on the walls – the apartment felt more like home then.  We returned to Yvette’s to sleep that night, returning to Magnolia Manor on Sunday for any last minute items on the move-in honey-do list.

The folks were pretty much settled in now and after a final night staying with Pat and Yvette, we left Georgia to return back to Palm Bay.  We ransomed Shelley from the kennel – we missed our four-legged member of the family but she would have been woefully ignored while we were in Georgia, so kenneling her was the better option.

Meanwhile, back at the house in Palm Bay, Debbie, the woman we’d found last month to handle the sale of stuff that wasn’t needed in the new apartment, had started sorting through and pricing what was going to be sold for the estate sale scheduled for an upcoming weekend.  Most of the items were displayed on over a dozen folding tables that were covered with white sheets.   Debbie knows her stuff-- she supplied the tables, sorted, organized and priced everything, and then with some help, was ready for the public when the sale started on Friday, running through Saturday afternoon.  On Sunday, she returned to pack up the items that hadn’t sold, which were picked up on Monday by a local rescue mission, which she also arranged.  We were pleased with the proceeds and we're glad to have found someone who could handle all this – her commission was well worth having someone experienced handle the sale.

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What was not sold at the estate sale was donated to a local charity. Soon the house was emptied, cleaned and on the market.

The house was at last empty and ready for us to start prepping to put it on the market.  But wait…. two of the many customers that attended the estate sale were interested in the house and both presented offers to purchase the house as-is.  We didn’t have to paint the interior – yippee!  While we were waiting for counter-offers, inspections, appraisals, and approvals, we washed windows, polished kitchen cabinets, and did some minor repairs.  We’d already spruced up the outside – trimmed shrubs, pulled weeds, washed windows, pressure cleaned the pool deck and the front porch area, and made sure the sprinkler system was operational.  Our philosophy with the homes we’ve owned is to leave them in the same condition we’d like to find them, in other words, clean and welcoming and ready to move in.  More on the house in a bit.

Some of the fun things we did during August:  Larry continued to help building a home for the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate and Lucille volunteered a couple of hours weekly at the Palm Bay library.  One Saturday, the church we’ve been attending while we’ve been here, Fellowship United Methodist Church, had a Back-to-School Bash that we helped set up and later supervised some of the inflatable bounce rides.  Fellowship UMC provided backpacks, loaded with school supplies, to the first 500 children.  They also had free hearing and eye tests, finger printing, photographing, Karate and police dog demonstrations, hot dogs and drinks, train rides, live Christian music, and games, all happening in one afternoon on the church grounds and open to the public.  Even the weather cooperated, making the entire event a success.

One Sunday, Lucille’s cousin Diane and our friend Peggy, recently retired from the Air Force, joined us for the church service, and then we all went to Applebees for lunch.  Another evening, we met Rick and Eileen at the Rainbow Family Restaurant in Satellite Beach – excellent Greek food at a good price.  Lucille’s cousin Susan and her husband Ken invited us to their home for a wonderful lasagna dinner one Sunday evening.  Peggy joined us at our home on wheels for grilled salmon.  We enjoyed another dinner with Rick and Eileen, at the Cove this time.  Notice a pattern here…. we like to combine visiting with eating!

Larry started to complete the VA application to try to obtain benefits for Lucille’s father. The VA’s Aid and Attendance program is a largely unknown and little used program available for former military members who completed at least 90 days of their service during wartime conflicts.  We’re hoping to get her parents’ unreimbursed medical and dental expenses refunded under this program.  We met with a local VA representative who reviewed what Larry had done so far and gave us tips on what else was needed. 

Back to the house saga…things were rolling along on schedule but came to a screeching halt with the home inspection.  We suspect this particular inspector was paid by the word.  We’ll nickname him Henny Penny for running around yelling that the ‘sky was falling, the sky was falling.’ 

Even though we had the house in ship-shape condition, we expected him to find something and whatever he did, would be news to us.  He didn’t disappoint us either, but between his wording, and either his advice or someone else the potential buyer talked to, she got spooked and backed out of the contract.  He found about a dozen items to be repaired or addressed, which we promptly did.  (He also wrote a lot about things that were fine but those items such as the roof, the windows, the hot water heater, etc… should be monitored – definitely a lot of covering-his-butt type statements.  These are all things a normal homeowner routinely should be doing.) The most major item on the list was that the circuit breaker box had to be replaced.  When the house was built in the early 70s, along with thousands of others in the area and the country, aluminum wiring was prevalent.  Someone advised the potential buyer that she would have to rewire the entire house at a cost of $8,000-$10,000 – total misinformation, not about the cost but that the house had to be rewired.  The circuit breaker box, though, was definitely a potential problem because this particular brand had been known to occasionally cause problems.  We immediately contacted a licensed electrician and had it and all the breakers replaced. 

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Although the skies were hazy we were still able to see the launch of space shuttle Endeavour on August 8th.

As far as the sale of the house, it’s been like a roller coaster ride.  We’re lucky that we had one offer, let alone two, come in so soon after having it listed, especially during the current buyer’s market.  But they were both off the table by the end of the month.  The house is now back on the market – stay tuned for the next episode of “Is This House Going To Sell?”

Coming up in September: a few days in Jacksonville, Florida as we stop for routine maintenance on the RV; a few days in Kings Bay, Georgia; a week’s stay at Yvette and Pat’s front yard campground while we visit Lucille’s parents in nearby Richmond Hill; and playing at Kure Beach, just south of Wilmington, North Carolina, checking out a new-to-us military campground.   October we’ll be visiting friends in Virginia Beach, family in the Baltimore, Maryland area, and friends and family in Connecticut.  Watch out world – after three months staying put in Florida, we’re back on the road again!


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