Thursday, July 07, 2022

Home Sweet Texas


 Thankfully, Jake only had to go #1 as there was a no dumping sign nearby.  But this is our stop near Lake Belton when we arrived.  Nothing notable happened in Lubbock other than a quick rest and return to the road.  Our AirBNB is in an area called Morgan's Point, north of Belton where Sonny and Karen live.  The roads there meander in the rural area which I didn't see a single yard fence.  I think there was a reason.

It is hard to call this place anything but beautiful.  The inside is stunning and perfect for our 1 month adjustment to the area and transition to Nolanville.  So far everything is looking good on that front.  Speaking of front's, check out that deer on the right near the porch.  This area is swarming with them and, yes, they are protected.  Below is what the yard looked like in the afternoon.

They also hang around the back, outside the windows.  This house is actually a few streets off from that first house we almost bought.  I didn't know when we heard about the deer that it would be this much of a part of living there.  Nice area though.  I'll throw a few more photos in as well but right now it is time to unpack and arrange things for the next few days.

Tuesday, July 05, 2022

I Knew I Shoulda Taken That Left Turn At Albuquerque!


I can't avoid thinking of Bugs Bunny when thinking about where we woke up today.  It was a hard drive as the potholes in Arizona are no joke but day 1 is finished and we pulled into Albuquerque for the night.  I feel sorry for anyone living there only for the fact that they have to spell the city's name over and over.  But, again we were pretty tired and ready to pass out.  The doggies traveled pretty well once we got going.

The next morning we were ready to hit the road and Jake did a quick inspection of the car and truck as I pulled the tarp on the truck tighter.  If he hadn't done that, we wouldn't have spotted our deflated tire.  So, after unsuccessfully attempting to inflate it as we got our morning coffee, we decided to head to the closest tire store to ensure we would be safe for the road.

One new tire later, we are on our way to Lubbock and our new home state.

Monday, July 04, 2022

Emptying The Nest and Hitting The Road


Today is the day.  This photo above is our final farewell to the valley I called home for the last 50 years.  The next 50 look pretty bright with my co-pilot for life.  The packing and loading would not have gone as well as it did without the early assistance of my brother-in-law Cory and the sweat and hard work of my sister-in-law Kelly and nephew Jake.  Although we thought we would have more than enough room, we did not.  A last minute save came from our neighbor Roy.  We were unable to get our BBQ, lawnmower and many last minute big items in and he took them off our hands.  We were at wits end and he made it happen.  I hope he can use the items or sell them and make some cash.

It was a tough day as beyond the loading of things, our baby bird flew the nest.  David is growing with his job (recently promoted internally) and has a relationship he wants to stay and build on.  This wasn't easy but I'm so freaking proud of him and the man he's become.  I know he is meant to do great things in this life and he is well on his way.  It is just going to be tough not having him close.

You can see how tightly packed the trailer was in the photo of Jake and David.  There were some tearful goodbye's.  It was really hard on Kerry but I also know she has been ready to leave for awhile.  The gameplan is to make it into Albuquerque, New Mexico tonight if all goes well.  I feel like we got away with something because there were so many ways for this to not happen or happen within our timeline.  Wish us luck and send a prayer or two.



Saturday, July 02, 2022

Farewell Las Vegas


It has been a flurry of packing and arranging with a few breaks inbetween.  We started loading the moving trailer today after my last physical day at work.  My co-workers came out tonight to the Crown & Anchor not far from the big green monster and had some food and drinks.  I also dragged my wife's family with me as it was the last we would see some of them although two of them are helping during the move.  We had a great time and stayed long enough to take a few waves of photos.  I know we missed photos of several others but this was really nice and a preserved memory.

I have always loved the food and have some great memories of the place.  So it was a farewell to Crown & Anchor as well.  I couldn't have worked with a better staff and in my resignation letter I urged the department head to keep this family together and strong.  They are a special crew and I have amazing memories with each and every one of them.  I'm blessed to have known you and I've become a better person in your presence because of your presence in my life.

Yes, I think you now know what I mean by feeling overwhelmed.  It is going up somewhere that I will be able to look at it often.  They are pretty amazing friends and I'm going to miss them.  Thank you for everything.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Long Goodbyes And Signs


It isn't easy to announce that you are leaving when you have 3 months before leaving a job that you've had for almost 3 decades.  Heck, it's hard to tell family that you plan to leave the area after 5 decades as well.  I let just a few people know early on.  The timing was odd as a co-worker had recently passed away, another was announcing his retirement and one out fighting cancer.  And (on the family side) I mentioned my brother moving back to town which was giving my mother the idea that all her family was now going to be close again.  We decided in early April to move and I was more forthcoming about it by the end of May and June was openly talking about it.  There was a wide range of shock as I was never someone that mentioned wanting to leave the Las Vegas valley.

Long goodbyes are tough.  If you are at a party and an hour in you walk around mentioning that you are going to leave and then you are still there hours later, those people you told spend those hours thinking every time they see you "he's leaving soon" and may start wondering why you are still there.  That was the last thing I wanted.  I actually had someone tell me how hard it was to see me because they knew that I was soon not going to be there.  Life is weird like that.

So it suprised me when I walked around the corner during work and saw someone writing on something.  It seems that my friend Tony talked to another friend Don about painting a Raider logo on a framed canvas and my co-workers were writing farewell notes on it.  I don't think I've ever been emotionally hit like that at work.  I love the crew that I work with and it may be the hardest part of leaving.  So, I slyly took a picture of it and put it aside for now.  I know that I'll be staring at it often once I move.

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Overlooked But Not Underappreciated

 Remember that house hunting marathon I mentioned?  Well, we had our top 2 that we were interested in and at this point we agreed to deals but something was wrong with both.  I think those are big learning experiences as long as we apply them appropriately in the future.  So, there was this other house but something seemed off about it.  I think we shut down our open minds when Kerry found something that I would optimisticly call carpet glue coming up the baseboards in one room.  By then we thought we had 2 good contenders and shut off all thought about it.  But, we refreshed our minds with photos and decided to move forward on this little home (ok, it's 200 sq. ft. bigger inside and a 4,000 sq. ft bigger lot than our Henderson house.)

Situated in the small town of Nolanville, this 4 bedroom and 2 bath home, to me, is a perfect blank slate.  There is nothing that direly needs repair but a lot of areas we can make improvements and where we can put our own personal touch.  There were some minor issues that we need to work on but nothing that is immediate like a possible fire hazard.  I would definitely have to get used to yard work again.  Our fingers are crossed on this one.  We have started the process here and it looks like we may close just after our escrow with our Henderson house ends.

I said there might be some upside to our dalliances with those 3 other homes we were involved in.  This was among the group we went house to house viewing last month.  The Zillow listing on it might have kept it on the market longer than it should have been.  There were photos mixed in that didn't belong to the home and as the main photo of the house (which should be the one I posted here) was instead a photo of the back of the house.  So, when going through homes it looked odd as there was no garage, driveway or noticable front door.  The brain doesn't want to process odd when thinking "home."  We were able to offer $4,000 less as it was still sitting on the market and we saved some more by timing it with the other closing.

As of today, we are under 4 weeks from moving so we decided on renting an AirBNB for a month.  Our reasoning is that, if we don't secure a home in time, we have a place to rest our heads.  It also gives us time to do work and slowly move our things in.  The math also works out as we were looking at several motels and the lowest we found was $99 a night average even if booked for a whole month.  Then there is a $30 per dog daily fee added on...and we aren't going to go without them.  So $159 per night is pretty hefty and for that $99 we got a whole house which allows us to treat our helpers.  Kerry's twin sister Kelly and nephew Jake are coming to help us move.  A friend of Kelly's is going to join us for a bit once we get to town as well.

Friday, June 10, 2022

This Little Indian...

 Thankfully, both of those offers were accepted for the top houses we saw on the trip.  We pulled the other offer a few days into the process and went forward with a house on Cherokee Dr. in nearby Harker Heights.  It financially fit, was a good amount of square footage, Kerry liked the backyard, I liked the sun room and we both liked the kitchen.  So we paid for an inspection and I started adding it to my resumes I was sending out.

Once we got the inspection back, there were quite a few items that needed work but most important was the electrical system.  The breaker box was recalled decades ago, was overloaded, several outlets were missing grounding, reverse polarity or not working.  For someone that works from home, that would be a big problem.  So we got an estimate back and sent that along with our counteroffer.  It was going to cost close to $8,000 to replace and move the breaker box (which was in a hazarous spot close to clothing in a closet), rewire and ground all the outlets (several GFCIs were missing.)  They came back with a $1,000 price drop and said that was the estimate they got.

So we had to consider if we were overquoted, are we getting a quote on his side from a friend who isn't going to be fixing everything needed, are the issues beyond the electrical going to add that much more to the price and what if there are more things that we don't know about yet.  I should probably mention one issue specifically, the sun room.

I really want an area that we could put our workout equipment and, as you can see from the photo, you could watch the sun rise as you hit the treadmill or weights in the morning.  Maybe we could even sit down and have coffee and watch the news a little afterward.  But, being optimistic, there are a few holes in the windows in the room from small rocks?  Or maybe BB's?  There are also few outlets, little insulation and, if this is included in the square footage, it makes the interior even smaller than we thought.

With so many variables and what seemed light an offensive counter-offer, this Chippewa withdrew from Cherokee.  It cost us for the expedited estimates and the inspection but it was worth it.  We learned a lot and we will be using the same inspection company again.  But I think that this was meant to be as, if we had gone through with the purchase, it would have cost us more to get a bridge loan until we sell the Henderson home.

Monday, June 06, 2022

Tangled Woods And Timber

That first choice really did speak to us.  There was something about the inside of the home that was warm and...ok, I think Kerry liked the barn door to one of the rooms.  But it was a big house with a big split-level backyard.  It was on a street called Tanglewood and there are a ton of trees.

Love the stone work on the outside and it really is nice.  So, a few days into the process, Kerry and I pulled that offer.  There was something that stood out and worried us.  It was that split-level backyard.  The area is split by use of a retaining wall that was held up by railroad ties (usually soaked in creosote.)


So, the thing that keeps the wood from rotting is also considered an environmental hazard.  If we were to get a bobcat back there to rebuild, the removal of damaged railroad ties might become an issue.  See the wood brace that is in the middle of the screen?  It means the owners were worried about it collapsing and I can't imagine how much the work would be and costs to remove and dispose of the wood would be.  So...we still have our second option which was really nice as well.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Kinda Day-Trippin'

 So, we decided to do something a little crazy.  Ok, it's hard to say that so soon after saying we are moving.  But, since we know we are moving and we know we need to see some of the homes we are deciding on, we took a drive to Texas.  With our 3 vehicles, we decided to drop one off there so we could drive 2 of them when we move on July 4th.  We scheduled a flight for today and that meant that we would try to hit as many homes as we have on our list before leaving.

Kerry drove the first leg and "kicked Arizona's ass."  I took the next leg and we arrived in Temple early yesterday.  We needed a quick clean up and decided to go to Buc-ee's.  I really should take some time and talk about its gloriousness but this is about the trip and a crazy 48 hours.  We grabbed food and went to get coffee before meeting with our agent Tiffany.  If you are looking in the area, I highly recommend her and can get you in touch.

At this point my brain was kind of shutting down.  I let Kerry take this leg of the trip as we followed Tiffany house to about 9 houses all over the area.  By the end, we had a really good idea of what we were interested in and went to Texas Roadhouse for dinner before going to sleep.  Prior to going to sleep, I told Tiffany to put offers in on two of the properties.

We woke up the next morning, went to see aunt Karen and uncle Sonny and dropped the car off with them.  They took us to the airport and we are now home.  This was a crazy trip but highly productive and we've heard back from one of the offers already (our top choice) and started the process.  The ball is rolling.


Tuesday, May 17, 2022

I've Seen The Future Of Christian Worship Music...

 With the packing, organizing and house search, we needed a night out.  So we went to see our final Vegas concert as locals.  We've seen For King & Country several times before and this would be the first time since the release of their new album.  The surprise would be the opening act Dante Bowe.

We had heard of Bowe before with his recent solo singles and his work with Maverick City Music.  But, I have to say that he is electric.  He works the stage with swagger and command.  He emotes moments of pain, heartache and joy in ways that brings you into the moment.  I took a moment to tell the wife, "That's the future of gospel and contemporary Christian music."  Absolutely amazing.

For King & Country were still great.  I miss the set from their Burn The Ships tour but they didn't disappoint as they brought in some props from recent videos and took flight (you'd have to see it.)  They even brought Bowe back out for, "Unity," a song from their new album.  Fun time and it was a good way to enjoy one of our last nights out in town.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Don't Fence Me In

 So, the hunt for a home is really on the wild side.  It is a seller's market which is good to be selling and the purchasing is a lot easier in Texas as it is in Nevada.  We found a lot of houses in the area we want to move.  Yet, it is a little speculative to be trying to buy something you haven't walked through.

We put our first offer on a place in Belton.  We decided to enlist our aunt and uncle in the area to check it out for us.  It is smaller than we were used to but it has a big big yard, a detached extra garage/workshop, tons of parking area and deer...yeah, deer walking around like it isn't anything special.

I mean, pretty cool, right?  We put an offer in and had a fighting chance for it but we pulled back last minute.  Why?  Well, there were a few problems.  It has no fence around the property (making our doggie door trained pups would be at risk), it also is just over 1,200sq.ft. and they have a single bathroom with a toilet that seemed like more of an afterthought as it was crammed in a corner.

Needless to say, we keep looking at what's available and know there is better but also want to time it with the sale of our home so we can use that for the downpayment.  It may require another trip.

Monday, April 25, 2022

A Wet Day At The Park

 Of course, another bit of odd timing with moving was that it came just as my brother Michael moved back to Vegas.  Which meant that the family was all together again for a short while...and now I announce I'm leaving.  But, we had a great day today!  Kerry and I spent the day with my nephew (name withheld to protect the innocent.)  He has a ton of energy and a good heart.

After hanging out with Kerry and the doggies, I took him to Acacia Park near the house.  It's a beautiful little place with a few places for dogs, baseball area, soccer area, slides, jungle gym and splash pad.  I've never seen anyone that excited about a splash pad.  The big plan was to let him wear himself out a bit but he met a few other kids that ran around with just as much enthusiasm.

We did dry him off before Michael came to pick him up but I'm so overjoyed to have a moment in time with this young man.  If he's anything like his parents, he's going to be a light that attracts many people.  It was a great way to say goodbye to the park.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Hennessy Clearing House


Very busy.  It just so happens that our HOA community has their only designated date for yard sales this week.  Of course, this is great timing as we are looking at things and wondering... do we want to bring this all the way to Texas with us?  That is the case with this futon.  We printed some photos and put it on OfferUp and Facebook Marketplace but I guess I'm not too worried about how it ends.  Kerry has been dying to move on from our sectional, the treadmill and dining table.  We are listing things individually and letting people know to come and get it during the garage sale.  Kind of like reeling in extra customers.

The home walk through went well.  I started guess my trying to drain the water heater wasn't the best idea because the sign of some water here at the bottom of the pan got them concerned.  This was an updated photo he asked me to take to ensure it wasn't leaking.  Crazy thing is that ever since then, the pipes started squeaking.  I heard it could be air bubbles in the tank that need to be released etc.

Speaking of water, I got a few texts talking about excessive water use.  I'm hoping that Ryan Reeves isn't at my door.  Seems like spam or they would just call or write.  Very strange.


Saturday, April 09, 2022

Post-Trip Considerations And Fetching Offers


Just a pleasant day hanging out with the dogs.  We missed these girls on our trip.  Thankfully, David took good care of them.  I don't know if they get more possessive after we've been gone or not.  Hope the snuggles make up for it.

I figured that I should fill you in on what has been going on since the flight back from Texas.  Well, we had several delays due to miscommunication from the airline we took.  This left us with way too much time on our hands (like more than half a day at just one of the terminals.)  Kelly and Greg were browsing online job prospects in Texas.  And, I can't say I blame them.  It's beautiful out here and, for us, it is going from a metropolis of over 3 million to a county (Bell) that in 2020 had just over 153,000.  I have to admit, we even looked at home prices and jobs in the area.

Walking the dogs later that week we saw several homes in our development up for sale.  There is something human about comparison and, when you see a home that looks like yours nearby for sale, you get curious as to how much they are selling it for.  Anyhow, then during one of our cuddle sessions with the dogs in front of the TV, a commercial comes on for OfferPad about finding out how much they would offer for your home.  Kerry and I looked at each other and said, "What can it hurt to find out?"

The gears that were slowly digesting the idea just a few weeks ago started moving a little more.  And the offer we received -- was for more than that other house (that I think was renovated more recently.)  We suddenly had to seriously consider things.  Kerry's job gives her the ability to continue working remotely.  I know that Kerry would like to move but, with all my family here in Vegas, she would never ask me to relocate.  I would have to make a career change but the physical wear on my body was not going to improve.  The benefits of small town life, David having a steady job and already looking to move out...maybe using the equity in our home while the market is exploding would be the smart thing to do.

I would say we took days to contemplate it and weighed the possibilities but I think we were on the doorstep before we called to ask about our home's value to the buyer.  We cleaned up a little, let them come and do an inspection of the home and decided to do it.  When asked if we wanted a 30-day, 60-day or even a 90-day close of escrow, we went for the latter.  It will give us time to maybe get rid of some stuff, gain some paid time off from work and organize ourselves.  Looks like these dogs are getting a new home.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Texas Trip 2: Day 6


Today was our final day in.  I figured we should see where we were staying.  As I said, the view is awesome but I have to say that the place grew on me.

One thing that needs mentioning is the steep stairs going up to the door.  They are wobbly, have just one rail and don't inspire confidence.  But this is your first view of Greg on the trip as we pack up the last of our stuff and head to the airport.

How about a purposeful selfie photobomb?  I mean, you have the lake back there and the family too.  It doesn't get much better.

But, it wouldn't have been the same trip if it wasn't with this wonderful woman right here.  I love experiencing new things with you.  It's weird to think how comfortable this was here.

And we are off!

Well, we thought we were.  The trip back was nuts and after some yelling, screaming, tears, hours and promises not to fly a certain airline again, we made it back home.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Texas Trip 2: Day 5


 So today was a pretty full day.  We drove around a little here and there but the major stop of the day was Aunt Karen and Uncle Sonny's house (also called Crazy Acres) pictured here.  I still think about seeing my first cardinal sitting on a tree out here almost 5 years ago.  I also remember trying to take some seeds from one of the flowers they have on the property and trying to grow it at home.  I guess I have to settle with memories and photos.

This trip was a little different from the previous year as Texas gained another family member, Grandma Janet. Funny, cute and sharp witted...we now have evidence of where Kerry got her height.  She's due to turn 100 later in July.

Here we got all the girls together.  I love seeing the smiles and there were some great moments shared here.  But hunger called and it was time to revisit an old friend...Rudy's.


I had to make sure to get a photo of their menu because it is a blur when you go through the ropes and you want to try so many different things but there is only so much room in this stomach. 

Grandma Janet was a little broken up when we left.  We told her we will be back so she needs to hang around for us.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Texas Trip 2: Day 4

 Beautiful view of Lake Belton.  This was a slow and easy day.  We decided to drive around a little and look at the town after seeing where you could pull up an RV and make a weekend of hanging at the lake.  So different from my memories as a kid of having to wear shoes to run out to Lake Mead so the sharp rocks don't hurt your feet.  And now... well... apples and oranges, I guess.

Today we saw a few more new homes being built in the Temple and Belton area and roamed around a little.  I think we are getting an idea of where we are.  Ok, let me rephrase that, I think Greg has a good idea of where we are as I'm not driving during the trip.  I'm a happy passenger.

Monday, March 21, 2022

Texas Trip 2: Day 3


 Again, gotta love this view as I'm having coffee this morning.  We have a trip to San Antonio planned.  I really don't know much about the area but the tours should fill in some of the blanks.  Kerry's been there before though.

The four of us took the boat tour on the river walk and did get a history lesson but also it was a chance to just unwind.  Of course, there isn't anything quite like this in Las Vegas. 

Our vantage point for these shots was a little restaurant called Saltgrass Steakhouse where we grazed.  Good food.  I thought we'd be taking some back with us but we killed it off before heading off for a little shopping and the trip back to the lake house.

So, upon our return to the house, our phones started going off like crazy.  My first thought was it was an Amber alert... it wasn't.  It was a tornado warning.  It was heading in our direction and we were advised to not go out and to prepare at home.  We were planning to grab dinner but instead hunkered down and maybe had a few more drinks than we originally planned but it took the edge off.  We learned that the tornado went south of us down to the towns of Jarrell and Elgin.

Knowing we were in the clear, we went out to get some BBQ at Clem Mikeska's.  Good food.  But I really should have tried a sampler of their items to get a better idea of what they have.  Maybe another time.  After all that excitement, we went back and crashed for the night.