Saturday, August 15, 2015

The New Adventure Begins!

Yes, I know I should have been documenting everything that happened since we visited Florida in February, starting us down this new and very unexpected path, but things were just too hectic, too crazy and too stressful.  I'll recap briefly:  In early February our friend Nedra called to invite us to see her new place. She'd sold her house and bought a manufactured home in a 55+ community in Sebring, Fl and was loving both the community and the savings.  Because Art hates the long, cold, dark (and snowy!) winters in Louisville it didn't take much encouragement to get us down there.

Once we saw her community and her house (adorable!!!) the wheels started turning.  We figured we could sell our house in Louisville, move to Florida, pay cash for a new place and have not only snow-free winters, but also more money to travel.  Win-win, right?  We had a five week vacation to Italy and England scheduled for June/July, so our plan was to get the house ready, go on vacation, and once we'd returned, put the house on the market.

Being the planner that I am I contacted a few neighbors to see what, if anything, we needed to do before listing our house, i.e. notifying the Board.  Before we knew it one of our neighbors called to say he had two people who wanted to the our!  Things just snowballed from there.  We bought a "For Sale By Owner" sign, printed a few flyers and within eight days we had a nice offer from an all cash buyer.
Additionally this buyer knew about our vacation plans and was willing to delay closing until right before we left.

Now life being what it is things didn't go quite as smoothly as we would have wished, but the obstacles we encountered were eventually overcome, and in the end we packed up the house, put everything into storage, closed on the house, went on vacation, returned to Louisville then drove down to Florida with a car filled to overflowing!  We'd contacted a real estate agent we'd met when we visited in April for a scouting mission, and he'd arranged a three month rental for us.  Although we'd seen pictures we had our fingers crossed that our temporary home would be suitable, and it was/is.

Our landlord, who's bought another house in the area and has this one on the market, left us with all the conveniences of home, right down to the dish soap, paper towels. toilet paper, laundry detergent and cleaning supplies.  We have basic cable for our 42" digital TV (which we upgraded, at our expense, to include WiFi and more channels), a washer and dryer, bed and bath linens and a fairly well-stocked kitchen.

I'm slowly discovering what I miss from my own kitchen:  my scale, my juicing tool, and rubber spatulas!  I brought quite a few disposable plastic containers to use for storage, my stick blender, a few cookbooks, and each trip to the grocery adds a few more staples to my pantry.  I'm really, really missing my water softener because the water here is very hard - I'm sure we'll go through a lot of hand and body lotion!

Right now we're staying in Clearwater, but we seem to be gravitating to Largo, just south of here.  It's a slow time of year, with not much on the market, but we're hoping that by being here and contacting as many real estate agents as we can that timing and opportunity will be on our side.  If we haven't found our new home by the end of October we have no idea what plan B is.  We may stay here and continue the search, or we could take the hint and begin a new search elsewhere.  Que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Fiscally Conservative And Socially Liberal

I just read this article, posted as a link on Facebook (where else do we get our news from these days?), and it struck a nerve.  Here's the article:  7 ideas completely lost on people who are “fiscally conservative but socially liberal”.

In my profile to the right I've listed some of my qualities, and among them is "Fiscally conservative and politically liberal".  Needless to say I was curious enough about the article to read it, and here's what I think:  The term "fiscally conservative" does not mean I think people should live in poverty.  I do NOT.  I support raising the minimum wage to be a LIVING wage.  I think the tax code should be overhauled, and that the richest of us should pay at LEAST - preferably more - the same tax rate as the poorest of us, without loopholes and off-shore hideaways.  I think everyone is entitled to healthcare.  And childcare.  And a decent education.  Free college works in other countries, why not here?  How can you get any job without a basic education?  

I could go on and on, discussing all seven points at length, but maybe I should just tell you what economic conservatism means to me.  It means not spending more than you have, either as an individual or as a government.  It means having priorities.  It means we take care of those who need it, and don't give handouts (or tax breaks) to those who don't.  It means churches should pay their fair share of taxes, and most churches should do a LOT more regarding feeding and housing the poor, instead of buying their televangelist preacher a new jet, or a vacation getaway, which would really help take the strain off the government-funded social services.  

Being fiscally responsible means not funding 'bridges to nowhere', or hiding special projects behind important legislation.  It means not building equipment the military does not want or need, but it DOES mean keeping our infrastructure in good repair.  Being fiscally responsible means that everyone should have the ability to earn a decent living without worrying there is no safety net.  We, as a society should make sure that the poorest among us have a fighting chance, and as we all know, that takes money.  Let's spend OUR money wisely.  Let's invest in our future by educating our children, making sure they go to school well-fed and well-rested, not hungry and sleep-deprived.  Let's decide to make our standard of living for ALL Americans one that is the envy of the rest of the world, not one that's an embarrassment.