The End of a Decade

First, I want to address the big changes in 2019 as it has been a whirlwind of a year once July creeped around. In July I started a new job, October we sold our house and moved back into the RV and in November I started taking care of me. I’ll expand on all of this in a minute. In the meantime, let’s look back on the last decade.

In December 2009 I moved to Nashville to start a new journey. I received my bachelors degree the day before I made the move. My children were all grown and had left home doing their own thing, my husband had passed away 22 months prior and I needed a new start. I moved hoping I could find myself and learn to live on my own terms. This would be my first time ever being on my own with no one to care for but myself. I was scared and thrilled all at the same time. People thought I was crazy to walk away from the only life I had known and start over with so many unknowns.

Bachelor Degree Graduation, 2009

The years following brought 3 new grandbabies, 2 marriages (one of which was my own), 2 new homes (one in 2013 and one in 2018), several jobs and a lot of traveling. My life was turned upside down and right side up many times over through the years that followed and subsequently ending a decade of my life in 2019.

GRANDBABIES

My first granddaughter, Madison Grace, was born in 2013. I wasn’t able to make her birth like I did the first grandchild in 2004, but it didn’t make her arrival any less eventful. Nana arrived about 3 days after she got here and was thrilled to finally have a little girl to shower my love and attention on. I handmade several outfits and have continued to make clothes and purses and other things for her throughout her first six years of life. She likes gymnastics, loves to read and is finally coming out of her shell.

Madison Grace, 2013

In 2014 and 2017 I gained two more grandchildren, a boy, Jackson Brian, and a girl, Ryan Mackenzie (brother and sister). One was born in Nashville and the other in Louisiana. I was fortunate to be there when they were born and love every minute I get to see them. Jackson is the most laid back child I have ever seen. He is very well mannered and loves animals. Ryan is a spitball and full of shit and vinegar (a saying my mother use to use back in the day). Both are loved by many and missed by their Nana more than they will ever know.

Jackson Brian, 2014

Ryan Mackenzie, 2017

MARRIAGES

In 2014 we had two weddings, mine and my daughter, Christine. The timing might not have been the best, as we were married exactly one week apart, but we made the best of it and both had the wedding we wanted. She got married in a church and I got married in a little chapel, both here in Nashville. My mom was able to attend Christine’s wedding which helped make up for those that weren’t here. It was hard to get through the day without her dad. No daughter should have to get married without their daddy walking them down the aisle.

Christine’s Wedding, 2014

My Wedding, 2014

JOBS

I started and ended the decade working at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Unfortunately, I did not work there the entire decade. Instead I had several jobs in between as we traveled the country from 2015 – 2017, which didn’t allow for a steady job. I took jobs to feel in the gaps and provide a little play money along the way. During my many jobs I have made friends with some wonderful people with whom I will always be grateful I have in my life.

MEMORIES

One of my fondest memories is from 2010 when I went to karaoke at the Maxwell Millennium Hotel. It was always a thrill to get up there and sing even when I picked the wrong song and sounded like a doofus. The memories made will last a lifetime.

Going through online studies for my masters degree made a lot of memories that I would rather forget. The late nights studying and the aggravation made me question my sanity sometimes, but in the end it was worth all the headaches when I received that degree.

Masters Degree Graduation, 2012

The one thing about memories is they are always in our memory bank and there is no way I could ever express all the memories I have made in the last 10 years. I am so grateful for all the people with whom I have met and shared this last decade with.

HOUSING

In 2012 my daughter Christine moved to Nashville and for about a year we lived with each other, but then we decided it was time to get our own places, so I decided it was time to buy a house. I was excited because I had never bought a house on my own. I closed on the house in July 2013. It was an older house that needed some renovating, but because I love a good DIY project, I was looking forward to making it a HOME. I would stay in this house until December 2014, when we sold it for the RV life instead.

My First Home, 2013

In the summer of 2018, we started looking to buy a house. I had gone to work full-time and we both thought we wanted something different for a change. We closed on our house in October and put the RV in storage. By October of the next year we were closing on the sale of the house and moving back into the RV.

Our New House, 2018

TRAVEL

Other than trips back and forth from Tennessee to Florida, there wasn’t much traveling until 2014 when FSU went to Pasadena, California to play in the National Championship against Auburn, which FSU won. I had only known Greg (now my husband) for about a month when he sprang this trip on me. Since he’s a Tennessee fan I was quite surprised when he wanted to go watch my team play. This was the first time I had ever been to California and one of the best trips I have ever had. Everything from the hotel to the stadium to the beach and boardwalk, it was just magical. I felt like a princess with her prince. It was truly a remarkable adventure and one that I will never forget.

On the beach at Santa Monica Pier

Rose Bowl Stadium

A view from the stands!

Santa Monica Pier

Our next couple of trips would be to West Virginia and Gatlinburg. We didn’t go on a honeymoon other than to the Grand Ole Opry, so in May of 2014 we decided to join his family at their fishing camp in Hinton, West Virginia. Being on the river and seeing the beautiful scenery was great. We went back in July of the same year and ventured out to see the coal mines and back country roads. After a few days in WV, we headed to Gatlinburg to a cabin we had rented. The cabin was gorgeous along with the view and the hot tub and everything in the city. It was perfect in every way.

West Virginia, 2014

Gatlinburg, 2014

In March of 2015 we would embark on our RV journey that would take us through many states over the next three years. All of that is documented on the blog and can be found by doing a search of RV Life. I believe we visited a total of 20 states throughout the 3 years that we traveled in the RV. One day we will continue our journey and see many more.

In the summer of 2015, we took our grandson, Colby to Tennessee to visit Ripley’s Aquarium and Cades Cove. He got to see his first black bear in the wild. We joined him and his parents the following week at St. George Island, Florida for a week on the beach.

Ripley’s Aquarium, 2015

Black Bear in Cades Cove, 2015

RV LIFE

In August of 2014 we decided we wanted to start RVing full-time, which would require a lot of preparation. We had a house and lots of possessions to sell as we didn’t want to put everything in storage. It took several months to get this accomplished, but once the house went up for sale, we had a cash offer in a matter of two weeks and closed in December. We traded an RV that Greg had when we got married for a Heartland Gateway and took our first weekend trip in October. That weekend ended with the RV falling on the truck. By Thanksgiving we had both repaired and we were headed to Florida to see my parents. When we came back, we decided to stay in the RV since the closing on the house was only a couple weeks away. As they say, “the rest is history.” All of our adventures and mishaps can be read on the blog by searching for RV Life.

Heartland Gateway, “Homer”

In September 2016 we traded the Gateway for a Keystone Montana 3791RD with lots more storage and a couple extra feet in length. In 2018 I started remodeling it by painting the inside and changing out some of the furniture. At the end of the decade it is still a work in progress.

Keystone Montana

WEINER DOGS, aka Dachshunds

Starting a life traveling in the RV, just the two of us, wasn’t enough. We added a couple of companions on the way. Both are chocolate dachshunds and we wouldn’t trade either of them for anything. Oscar was born in January 2015 and we brought him home in March. Harley was born in May of 2015 and we brought her home in July. They are our constant companions. They have been in more states than most people and have really become accustomed to life on the road.

Bringing Home Oscar

Harley’s First Day in Her New Home

Oscar and Harley, 2019

WHAT A DECADE

The last decade has had many fun times, some sad times and times that will remain in my heart and mind forever. I have found love and laughter. I have discovered things about myself that I never knew and never would have found out if I had not been on this journey. I started a self-care program for myself in November of 2019 and I plan to continue that journey into 2020 taking myself to new heights, new adventures and new life.

For 2020 I hope my readership will grow as I strive to stay on task with my blog. Documenting the important things in life to share, not only with my readers, but my family is important to me as I want my children and grandchildren to see what my life was like and the adventures and endeavors I undertook.

My Top 3 goals for 2020:

Complete my weight loss program.

Stay on top with blogging.

Travel to new destinations.

Some of my favorites of us!

They became fast friends!

One of My Favorites of the Furbabies!

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Christmas was a little quiet this year. It started out with just me and the puppies but ended with me joining Greg in Knoxville. We had a great evening with his parents and then a remarkable night with just the two of us talking and opening up about things that married couples talk about. It was a very special night. The next day we took a drive up to Cades Cove and were lucky enough to spot a few deer. The drive there and back is always a treat as you never know what you might see. Traffic was a little heavy in Pigeon Forge and even worse in Gatlinburg, but it was still fun to get out and enjoy some time away from the house and hustle and bustle of our normal day life. We came home on Friday and continued to have a great weekend.

I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas.

Oscar and Harley wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

Cades Cove, December 2019

On the ride to Cades Cove, December 2019

Madison telling Santa what she wants for Christmas, 2019

Jackson and Ryan wishing everyone a Merry Christmas!

 

A Time to Give Thanks

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

Today is a day for all of us to be thankful for what we have and this week I am thankful that I still have my husband. I rushed him to the ER on the 16th as he was having the same pains he had when his colon ruptured in 2016, so our fear was that we were fixing to relive a nightmare. Instead the EKG showed a blip that the ER doctor was concerned about and wanted him to have a stress test. Unfortunately, they couldn’t do it until Monday so he would have to stay in the hospital the rest of the weekend. He decided he didn’t want to do that, so we left. On Monday he called his primary care physician who got the test scheduled for the 22nd. I got a call after his appointment saying he was being transferred to the ER and I needed to come immediately. I had no idea what was going on.

Again, we were told that something was going on with his heart and he would need a heart catherization. The only problem was it couldn’t be done until Monday, so he would need to stay in the hospital until then so they could keep him closely monitored. That was the longest weekend in history. Come Monday, he has the procedure and we find that he had 99% blockage in the main artery. They put a stint in and he says he feels better than he has in months. Now we wait to see if the stint rejects and how long it will last. With that much blockage you would think they would have done bypass surgery instead.

For the past six months we have been worried about my heart only to find out there was nothing wrong and his was blocked. He never knew he had any type of heart disease and it doesn’t run in his family. He is now on a low sodium diet that he hates.

Luckily we were home in time for Thanksgiving, so I cooked up a few of our favorites and we had a great meal. I watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and had a leisurely day.

Greg & Anna, Thanksgiving 2019

Closing on House is Complete

The closing was on October 4th and of course we had a few bumps in the road right at the end, but we survived it. Just made it where neither of us really want to get bogged down with another house again. Now we have 2 storage units full of furniture and stuff that we have to figure out what to do with it. When we went full-time the first time back in 2014, we sold all of our furniture so when we bought the new house, we had to buy everything again and at the time we thought we would end up selling the RV and stay in a site built house, but it just wasn’t meant to be. I want to sell it all, but husband says he wants to hold onto it for a while in case we change our minds again and want to get another house. After he pays storage fees for a year, maybe he will change his mind. Its better to get some money out of it all than get nothing and pay storage fees for the rest of our lives.

Renovations have been very slow as it is harder to do things when you live in the house. Hopefully we will have it all completed by the end of the year.

Right before we moved back into the RV, I was having some health issues which has taken away from me being able to do much painting. It’s hard to paint above your head or bend over when it makes you dizzy every time you do so. I woke up a couple days in September feeling like the room was spinning. This went on for several days and then were times when my chest hurt as well.  Sometimes I would have these spells when I was sitting at my desk at work. I would be in the middle of something and the room would spin, I’d feel like I was going to pass out. I was nauseated sometimes and feel like I was in another world. It was crazy.

Well it happened again over the last weekend of September and I ended up in the emergency room on the 30th after I went to work, and they wouldn’t let me stay. They all freaked out knowing I drove while dizzy and feeling as crappy as I was. We had been working on the renovations over the previous weeks working late nights and Saturday and Sunday, so I really thought I was just tired and the stress of selling the house, moving and all that was just getting the best of me.

The visit to the ER didn’t provide any answers. Their first reaction was an EKG because they thought it was my heart. I kept telling them I’m dizzy, nauseated, spacey, but no matter what I said they wanted to test everything to do with a potential heart attack, so after a CT Scan, x-rays and blood work they said it’s not a heart attack.  Well duh I told you that. They give me IV fluids and said I was probably just severally dehydrated, which I might have been due to all the work I was doing and because I hate water I don’t drink enough, and it was during some hot days and we were back and forth in and out of the house.

House Officially on the Market

We officially listed our house for sale on the 4th. We had two showings by the end of the day, which led to our first offer, but on day 2 we received a cash offer from an agent who hadn’t even shown the house. The buyer saw the listing online, liked what they saw and wanted another investment property. We accepted their offer because it would give us the quickest closing and less headaches. The first offer we had received wanted us to pay over $10k in closing cost for the buyer alone, not including our closing costs. There was no way we would accept that.

We didn’t expect to sale as fast as we did and had started renovating the RV in hopes of having it all done before we found a buyer. However, when everything happened so fast, we ended up having to find a place to move the RV almost overnight as it had been in storage for nine months. Renovations were put on hold and off we went.

By the 16th we had moved 60 miles away so I could be closer to my job, which was the main reason for us moving in the first place.

Time to Sell Our House Again

In the beginning August we decided we were going to sale our sticks and bricks house and move back into the RV. It has been less than a year since we bought this house and were afraid, we would never get what we needed out of it.  In the last couple weeks, a realtor came by asking if we would consider selling and my husband was like no we could never get enough money out of it to make a deal. He happened to have some comps for the area and said that the market was really booming in our community. I started looking into it and sure enough several houses were being sold for $10k more than what we had paid for our house less than a year before.

We didn’t really care if we made any money off the sale, but we had to get what we owed on it. I kept researching and because I have a background in real estate, I decided I would list the house myself as a For Sale by Owner. After more research I decided to go with an MLS Listing Broker who would list our house on the MLS to get us a better opportunity to get showings and get us listed in all the major publications. In addition, we wouldn’t have to pay a commission to a listing broker. Instead we just paid the MLS Listing broker a flat fee, which was only $499. Way cheaper than paying 3% commission.

Since the house was brand new when we moved in, there was nothing that had to be done except find a listing broker, do some staging, take pics and get it listed.