Friday, July 24, 2020

13 years -- 134 Days


Thirteen years is how long it has been since we left WashPA and started our adventure of living in a house on wheels. In that time we have traveled to every state in the US and most of the Canadian provinces and territories. We have also vacationed and cruised to nine countries in the Caribbean, Central America and Europe. For all that time we were in tourist mode. 134 days is how long we have stayed at Shelter Inn Place. Wow, what a change! That said, we are very happy that we are in a stix and brix rather than Opus as many of those tourist things we love doing are either closed or open with very limited access. 

The last year has been a roller coaster of high highs and low lows. We only travel 1894 miles while spending only 140 days in Opus at only nine different parks. Last July we were in WashPA for a our three month stay. We did all the usual things we have done there every year, doctors and dentist for the last time there and getting together with our many friends and family. A real highlight while there was our eleven day trip to Europe for a Rhine River Cruise. In the middle of October we headed south with a stop to see Nanc's sister Michelle and her husband Keith before going to the Outer Banks for three weeks. One of those weeks was a wonderful celebration with friends and family of our 50th anniversary. From there it was a five day sprint to our place in Stuart for six weeks. It was great seeing friends George and Nan who also just bought a place in Stuart. Joe and Kathy were in an RV park near Stuart and spent a few nights at our place. Mark and Renita, who were visiting their daughter in St. Pete, came over for a couple nights so we could show them around our new hometown. We also flew to Mexico for a relaxing week at Secrets Capri and to DC to spend Christmas with Michelle and Keith. Overall, the 2019 part of this year had more highs than lows.

On January 1st we headed to the Florida Keys for a month long stay. While it was great seeing so many friends that was where things started going downhill. On January 7 we got the call that Michelle had passed away from the cancer she had been battling for three years. We flew to DC to spend time with Keith and attend the celebration of her life which was much too short. We headed back to Stuart in February looking forward to having visitors from up north who were escaping the winter chill. Georgie came down for a week and John and Patrice, who were staying near Miami, came up for lunch. We then drove to Ocala for a celebration of life for Beth, an RV friend who had passed away at the Elks in December. Next Rick and Denise came for a visit and while they were here we got together with Marty and Missy who were spending their first winter of retirement in Florida. At the beginning of March Mike and Sherri came down for a few nights. Soon after they left our Aussie friends Brian and Karen stopped for a visit and fulltime RVers Dave and Kathy come by. We had a great time showing all our friends around our new place. This is how we expected it would be when we bought a place in Florida, being able to share our new home with so many friends and family. Little did we know things were going to take a BIG change with the arrival of Covid-19.      
134 Days
As I wrote in the last couple posts, our stay at Shelter Inn Place started on Friday, March 13. Little did we know what that would portend.  I also wrote about a few projects we did in the condo, but for the most part we have been staying home. One thing we missed was a vacation to Mexico in April with Rick and Denise. Also, our friend Mary Lou, who used to have a place in Jupiter, had to cancel her plan to visit. During this time we received more sad news. In March our friend Celine from Quebec lost her battle with cancer, in May we learned our friend Ollie from Abbeville had passed and just this month Diane, whom I worked with in Washington, died unexpectedly. So thus far, 2020 has had way too many lows. 
We have tried to make the best of a bad situation while still keeping our distance from people. We have learned and taken advantage of technology, communicating by text, phone and face time with family and friends. We did go for a walk on the beach one day. Unlike the pictures you see of crowded Florida beaches, we had no problem social distancing.
Walking away from the parking lot we pretty much had the beach to ourselves.
When we first saw this dark spot in the water we thought it was seaweed. On closer inspection we discovered it was a massive school of silver minnows. We were surprised that there were not more fish feeding on them. We did learn there were sharks spotted not far off shore, thus no swimmers either. 
One good thing about being stuck here we have been getting plenty of exercise. We are up and out early nearly every morning for a walk or run (Nanc). I have built up to where I did a marathon last week, 26.2 miles in seven days. Not a real marathon but very good for me. This picture is a Sahara sunrise from the sand that had blown across the Atlantic from Africa.
It's the rainy season down here so we often have interesting sunsets. 
We got together for an Independence Day celebration with our Lex Lakes happy hour group. Hector was all decked out for the holiday. He is another morning walker and has a different coordinated outfit and shoes every day.
Cookie and Mark, no masks, with their daughters Rachel (black dress) and Leah and Rachel's friend Derrick. The new members of the group wore their masks and social distanced.
The rest of the group Jim, Diane, Morgan, Nick, Claudia and Nanc. It has been great getting together with this fun bunch.
Did I say it is the rainy season. Our 4th of July picnic had to move into the garage when the clouds moved in.
It really came down hard and after about 10 minutes I asked, Morgan did you close your car window? Well, not only had she not closed the window, the sun roof was also open. It was very wet but there was no real damage.
I have done a couple projects. This kitchen cabinet needed more storage space.
We installed double sliding shelves giving us a lot more storage space. Something you need here as we have learned we need to be prepared if there is a hurricane and the power goes out. 
The new shelves have much more space. I was happy we were able to buy a standard unit that fit with just a small bit of modification.
Another happy hour and a happy birthday to Cookie. 
This is the sofa that was here when we moved in. It had seen better days and was not very comfortable. Since we have been spending a lot of time on it we decided we needed a new one. We went to Rooms To Go for their Independence Day sale and ordered a new one. 
It was delivered by these two gentlemen who were very efficient bringing it in, unpacking it and putting it in place, all in less than five minutes. As you can see, masks were mandated and they did a great job.
Happy wife happy life. Nanc toasting the new couch.
We don't have to venture far to see birds here at Lexington Lakes. A beautiful spoonbill.

Lastly, our plans for the future ????????????????????  While we have no idea what we will be doing in the future, with everything else that has happened in 2020 we expect we will be experiencing a hurricane in the next two or three months.