Our Schedule

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

We are thrilled with it!!!!

Cullman, AL

Life changes!      As I wrote in my last blog, I saw a property and house in Alabama on Realtor.com.  I left a message for a realtor to call me.   I got two responses both saying they would call me later.  I waited until the next day.  Then I went back online and found the link to the listing realtor and sent off a message.  She immediately called me.  You snooze, you lose.

She told me about the property and said there were 3 other people interested.  I told her we would not be in the area until December 2.  However, Len called our son and daughter-in-law who live in Cullman and asked if they would meet with the realtor.  They did on Saturday and gave four thumbs up.

So, what to do.  We decided there was no reason to remain in PA. until Thursday except that we were paid at the campground til then.   We decided to get on the road yesterday and arrived in Cullman today.  

In the meantime we received a call from our financial planner that we had two large CDs about to come due and did we want them to roll over or cash out.   We had til Dec 2 to decide.  After Dec 2 there would be a penalty to cash them out.  We decided to cash out now. A good size down payment.

We put in a bid on this property sight unseen with a contingent it passed a home inspection and we like it.   Sunday night the realtor met with the seller and presented three bids.  Our bid was $2,000 under asking, the homeowner buys a one year house warranty and she leaves the washer and dryer.    We waited..... we  nervously waited.   We got the call.   Our bid was accepted.

We thought of paying cash.   But our financial planner pointed out that we will be hit hard with Federal taxes.   With a mortgage, we get the tax benefit.   Each year (me being old) I have to take a mandatory distribution on my 401(k).  In two years Lens will have to start withdraws too.  After talking to the local bank loan officer, I find that just my distribution would pay for entire years mortgage plus.   WOW!

Tomorrow we meet with the loan manager in the morning and the home inspector in the afternoon.

Today we met the Realtor and toured the house.  WE LOVE IT.

From the driveway.    I really like the tin roof.  And carport.

Back deck.  Note the swing.

One of three outbuildings (not counting the carport)

What is this building???? Len will find a use.

Front of the house.  Decent landscaping the a terrific porch.

House sits about 300 feet from the road.  A total of 4 acres.  300 feet deep more behind the house, most of it wooded.

Dining area

Living room

Kitchen.  Appliances need updating.  All in good time.  House was built in 2001

Spare bedroom

Another spare bedroom

Utility room

Master bedroom.  That blue paint HAS TO GO.   The master bedroom has a walk in closet.  The bathroom has a spa tub, a huge vanity, a large shower.   There is another bathroom with a good size shower.

A 26 x 26 finished basement room.

On the property is a double wide trailer that will be moved.   The garage type structure will remain.  It will eventually be Len's workshop.    What is really neat is when the double wide is gone, there is the electrical pole, water and sewer .... perfect for a RV site.   Just where our fifthwheel will find a home when we are not on the road.  Plus, a great place for visiting family and friends.

Everything just fell into place.   Almost too easy!  Got more, much more, than we expected to ever find.  Settlement expected to be around January 6.  Oh almost forgot.  Alabama has very low property taxes.   This property?    $250.00 a year.

Until next time.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Is it time?

AOK Campground
Jonestown,  PA

Is it time?   Do we ever know when the time is right to make changes?

For about a year we have talked of settling down and travel on a part time basis.  Ideally 6 months at our "home", 6 months on the road.

But where?   Louisiana? Texas? Alabama?  NJ?  PA?  MD? We have chiidren and grandchildren in 5 states.

When we met and married Leonard moved up to NJ from Louisiana.  The deal was we would live and work in NJ until retirement, then move to Louisiana.  We have 6 grandchildren and a daughter in Louisiana.  Last year we started looking at property in Louisiana.   WOW!   We were shocked at the cost of land.    Well, probably not Louisiana.

We have a daughter, 4 grandchildren and 2 great grand kids in Texas.   Well, we know from when we started full timing this would not work.  The costs of vehicle insurances are prohibitive.  The costs of land where we would want to be also.  Several financial reasons it would not be Texas.

Yes, my sister and brother live in NJ and that will always be home to me.  A daughter and grandson live in PA, a daughter and two granddaughters live in MD.  But...... it is the northeast.  Cold, cold, cold in winter.  Cost of homes, heating, property taxes high.  And there is that promise I made 28 years ago.

Son and family live in central Alabama.  They, too, get cold weather and occasional snow.  But it is about 1/2 way between PA/MD/NJ and SW Louisiana.  Maybe a good compromise?  Housing costs are lower, taxes way low.  So.... let's talk Alabama.

Early this year we looked at a manufactured house.  Fell in love.  Looked around at nearby property. Leonard must have some acreage.  Not a lot.... four to eight acres would be good.   Mulled it over in our mind.

A few weeks ago I went on Realtor.com to check out what is in the area.  Found a house on 21 acres for a reasonable cost.  A benefit to looking in this area is that our son and daughter-in-law can check things out for us.  Daughter-in-law checked on the property and talked to the realtor.  Found out why so cheap.  An elderly woman lives in it alone except for a house full of cats.  Walking into the house one is knocked over by the stench.  Floors and walls would have to be ripped up and replaced.  No thanks.

Yesterday I went back on realtor.com and found a property and house on 4 acres at a cost we can surely afford.  And we like how the house looks.  Perfect size.  Son and daughter-in-law took a look/see.  Could not get close to peek in windows as the house is occupied.  Said it is in a nice area.  No trashy properties around.  Just was listed yesterday.

I contacted the agency and got two replies by brokers via email.  Both said they would call me later.  Well, that was early yesterday afternoon.  No call.  Wondering if I want to deal with them.  I will give it a little while and if I don't hear I will make contact with another agency.

In the midst of Len and I talking about this possibly yesterday, we talked about how we would purchase the house.  We were thinking cash and said we would need to talk it over with our Financial adviser.  Can you believe it?  At that moment he called us.  It is time for me to get my annual Mandatory Distribution from my 401(k).   We told him what we were thinking.  He recommends not paying cash as we will be hit with a major tax bill.  He explained how much money we have that is not taxable and suggests mortgaging the rest and paying it off over 5 years.  Makes sense.

Friends and family.  NOTHING is settled.  We are just exploring the options.  I feel housing costs will be going up.  At this time interest rates are extremely low.  There is the very real possibility that with a new administration banking regulations will be changed and interest rates increase.   So, is this the time?  If it is, things will fall into place and we will feel good about it.  If not, we continue as we are and still feel good about it.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Friday, November 11, 2016

How many connections can there be?

Jonestown AOK Campground
Jonestown,  PA

About a year ago I connected with a lady on Facebook and I don't really remember how.  Sorry Jerilyn.   Was it related to Rving? South Jersey history?  Locations?   About the same time we both realized we knew someone in common.  The person in common (my HS friend Carolyn who now lives in Tombstone, AZ) sister was the best friend with Jerilyn's mother.    Follow that?  It gets trickier.

So, we "friended" each other on Facebook.

Sometime over the year she posted about her experiences at a Methodist summer camp in Malaga, NJ that she went to in the early 50's.  So did I.   We compared memories as we are close to the same age and were probably there at the same time.   We both remember the standard lunch fare.... bologna sandwiches.

So, I should say we grew up about 25 miles apart, in different counties.

In August I wrote a blog of tribute to a dear friend who had died.  Well, Jerilyn immediately posted that in reading my blog she realized that Clare was a HS classmate.  

Jerilyn recently asked me how I knew the Crowfoot family.   I explained that I met them back in the 70's when they moved next to the church where I attended.   In seems that she was a good friend of the mans sister, Eleanor.    Before the Crowfoot family moved into the house next to the church they lived closed to where Jerilyn grew up.

In the course of the year, Jerilyn posted on FB about her father-in-law once being the Pastor of a small church in Cumberland County, NJ.....Newport.   Another connection.....my daughter was married at this small church.

Knowing that she attended a rather large church in Collingswood, NJ, I asked her if she knew Rev. Robert K Hill and his wife Olive.  Rev. Hill was the pastor in my hometown church back in the early 60's.  She not only knew them but lived next door.  Their granddaughter was her best friend.  Rev. Hill officiated at my wedding to my first husband.   When he left our church, he moved back to Collingswood.

Okay..... understand the many connections?   Now it really gets spooky.

A couple of weeks ago she posted that her uncle had died.  He was being buried in the small Green Bank, NJ Methodist Church.   I posted my condolences and told her I have ancestors from the area.  Scott, Ford, Fowler.    Ford??  Ford???  Ford????   Yup....... she comes from a Ford line.  She is really into genealogy.  She asked me if I have relatives named Cobb, Snuffin.  Yup.  My fathers aunt was a Ford who married a Cobb.  She told me his name was Ridgeway.  That seemed right to me.. I don't remember him but I can remember they called him uncle Ridge.  As far as Snuffin.  She told me my great-great grandfather married a woman whose last name was Snuffin.   My older daughter has the family history.  I asked her.  Yup, that's right.  

Jerilyn lives in Wilmington, DE and we are here in PA.  So yesterday we met for lunch half way between.  Compared some notes.  I know little of family lineage.  She knows a lot.  My daughter knows a lot.  Will have to compare notes.

 Here is Jerilyn and her hubby Tom.

What other connections could there possibly be.  Nothing would surprise me.

Until next time......

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Mooch-camping and some special people

Jonestown AOK Campground
Jonestown,  PA

Here we are back in Jonestown AOK for the month of November.   Hershey Thousand Trails closed for the season on October 30.   Our reservation here started November 1.   That left us two nights wondering where to go.  What to do.  What to do.

Along came an invitation from our friends Darlene and Jim.  We met this couple last year when we were in this area.  Readers might remember that Darlene is a reader of this blog and made contact with me when she read we were camped 3 miles from their home.    They often camp at Hershey TT. They were there the same time we were back in the Spring.  Then they were at Sea Pines TT in south Jersey when we were there.  And they also were back at Hershey TT until closing.   So, appreciating their invitation, we accepted.   Our spot for two nights

Darlene and Jim are in the process of getting their home ready for sale.  They have purchased a F450 dually and are looking to upgrade to a new fifthwheel.   They have one in mind.  We hope they get it before we leave the area..... so looking forward to seeing their new acquisition.  Darlene and Jim:

Thank you Darlene and Jim for allowing us to Mooch-camp.

Yesterday we drove 3 hours back to NJ for a follow-up with our dermatologist.  We both had biopsies done a few months ago and each had one pre-cancerous skin result.  So back to get them frozen.   And this is just plain crazy...... I had 5 spots the Dr. wanted checked.  However, Medicare will pay for no more than 3 at one time.  So, three were removed a couple of months ago and 2 yesterday.   Tell me, does that make sense?  Is it REALLY cheaper to force two Doctor appointments when it could have been done in one???

After seeing the Doctor we met up with our friend Tom for lunch.  This is the first time we've seen Tom since are dear friend Clare passed in August.   We know this is a difficult time for Tom but he is finding he is stronger than he thought.   We wish him well.

The diner is not far from the home of a childhood friend I have not seen in more than 50 years.  I also know her husband Sam, as we all went to school together.   Susan and Sam:

What a treat these people are.  And fascinating too.  They built their own house back in the early 80's.  It is built from the wood of 22 foot tall vinegar vats.  A food processing plant in a neighboring town closed.  They purchased the huge vats and dismantled them.  All visible wood inside the house is from the vats..... the floors, doors, trim, exposed beams.  Beautiful.  They designed the house, carved designs in the wood, everything!  Susan always was a talented artist as were her parents and sister.   And Sam has other skills too.  He took over the family business of restoring and tuning pianos.  Both so talented.  I loved hearing about their lives together for the last 50 years plus.   Fun, fun, fun to see a person I was always fond of when we were children.

Until next time.