We flew back to Texas and hit the ground running. Main objectives: Knee surgery for Frank and to finish clearing out Mom and Dad’s house so that it could be sold. I had begun this process in June and had only managed to clear out part of the house. There was much left to be done and it turned out to be a nightmare of epic proportion. At least I had help now with Frank there.
When we arrived at my parents’ home we were met with a grisly sight. My mother’s pride and joy was her yard and her flower gardens. These lovelies now resembled the gnarly grounds from the set of a horror film. Tall weeds covered everything. The lawn guy was taking monthly payments from my parents’ estate and probably pocketing the $ since he knew the home was unoccupied. On entering the house we were assaulted by a rank musty smell, and of course after a 23-hour international trip we were exhausted and just wanted to crash but we knew that wasn’t happening. Further into the house we saw that the entire ceiling of the formal living room had collapsed dumping wet sheetrock, rotten boards and insulation onto the piles of Nice Things I had previously sorted and laid out on the carpet there to either be donated or distributed to family members. There were leaks in the walls and ceiling of my parents’ bedroom, leaks in the kitchen ceiling and around the fireplace. What the heck had happened here?
From November 5th to December 31, 2013, Frank and I literally spent nearly every day from sunup to sundown working on Mom and Dad’s house while roofing repairs, plumbing, painting, carpeting and sheetrock work was happening all around us. We did manage a visit to Dallas for my Mom and Dad’s anniversary.
In the middle of this mess Frank was recovering from knee surgery that had been performed the day before Thanksgiving.
No one else in my family was available to help us out so I took it on. We were on our own for Thanksgiving so I dragged Frank on crutches along with my friend, with my friend Marianne Bullock to Luby’s for Thanksgiving lunch. Other than treating my daughter and grandson to Christmas brunch at the Galvez on Christmas Day, no one was available to spend any of the holidays with us. Therefore, our holidays were a bit depressing to say the least. Everyone is so busy these days. It’s tough when you are retired but everyone else is still working and has no spare time. I felt like this was probably a good thing because I felt relief at having the opportunity to devote myself to this task. It would have been too overwhelming for anyone else at the time. By the end of December, I wanted to stamp this project PAID and to move on. We couldn’t, but we did manage to break away for a while.
We drove to Denver for the month of January, to spend time with Frank’s kids and our Colorado friends. Patty and Tim Daly generously offered us the use of their downtown loft for the month. We enjoyed kicking up our heels and being away from boat work and the pressures the family home issues. Having had nearly every day and night booked with friends or Frank’s kids, our time there passed quickly. On the way back to Texas we stopped in to visit Sandy and Debra Sandoval at Pagosa Springs. During the drive we felt a strong conviction to try to find a USA-based home so that when we say we are flying home, we will actually have a home rather than living like vagabonds. We planned to meet up with a group of our sailing/cruising friends to attend the Miami boat show in mid February, and thought perhaps we should spend a little extra time there to look for a possible future home where we could eventually sail into with Destiny.
Back at Mom and Dad’s house we once again felt the weight of the house problems pressing upon us. I took some time to be with my daughter and grandson in between trying to wrap things up there, and then we were off to Florida for 10 days. The Miami Boat Show was fabulous as always. Getting together with friends we hadn’t seen since the S. Pacific was a special treat. We reunited with Brian and Isabelle of “Wasabi”, Jim and Martha of “Special Blend”, Mark and Laura of “Sabbatical III”, Kim and Bob of “Northern Winds”, Suzie and Tom of “Priscilla”. When the show ended we followed Rick and Robin over to Tampa, staying as their guests for several days while they took us around to look at real estate areas of interest. They made great tour guides. While we were in the area I managed to get in touch with my buddy Ryan Parker, who was captain of a large local tour boat, M/V La Barge. He invited us along for a group tour. Everywhere we went was beautiful, exhilarating and fun. Real Estate prices on the other hand were a bit overwhelming to us. We left Florida thinking that it will probably get marked off the list of potential home destinations.
Returning to Texas one final time we had one week to wrap everything up, including final visit with family, doctors and last minute shopping for Destiny. The house was on the market and was now out of our hands. Thank God!
Next adventure – the very long trip back to Fethiye.