FnEJ’s Hideaway – Branford, FL 1-30-2022
We kinda fell off the grid in 2021, surrounding ourselves with a few close friends, and basically operating under a veil of secrecy because we didn’t know what we were doing half the time. We kept saying we knew what we wanted to do and then we would do something different. But we knew one thing we had to do was to simplify no matter what torturous path it would take to get there.
After handling the dispersal of Dad Putnam’s estate, EJ and I vowed to each other that we would not put anyone else through a similar exercise in the event of our demise. So after wrapping up Dad’s affairs in 2020 (after almost three years in west Texas), we headed back to Orange Park, FL. to spend 2020 Thanksgiving and Christmas with friends which didn’t happen because the events were canceled due to covid fears.
But we did get to spend New Years in our motorhome, Miss Mosey, parked at a friend’s house on Seymore Point in NE Florida celebrating with like minded friends.
After New Years we returned to where our townhome was (this is called foreshadowing) to begin eliminating the clutter we had accumulated in 43 years of being together. We call this the “purge”. It was disheartening to see how much stuff we had squirreled away and never used.
But first a sidetrack. We had discussed that since we didn’t really like to spend the 9 hottest months of the year in Florida, we only needed an address for legal purposes. We don’t really need a house to take care of as we are quite content to live in Miss Mosey. So we spent a major portion of this year looking at properties in Florida. As our realtor friend says “Buyers are Liars”. And we fit that description to a tee. We started of saying we wanted 10 acres at least, no neighbors and the ability to see the horizon. We ended up buying a quarter acre, surrounded by homes with about 70 feet of waterfront. And it was a jungle. We took it from this…
And as you can see it had a storage building. We changed the shed from this…
Not the Taj Mahal, but clean, dry, serviceable and air conditioned. It would do for a base camp.
While all this was going on, EJ had cataract surgery on both eyes which put her out of commission for about 3 months. In the mean time I continued to chip away at the property, repairing fences, battling vines and generally trying to keep the jungle at bay. In the meantime we continued trying to decide what to do with the property. Finally we decided this really wasn’t what we wanted and sold the property in September.
We continued to chip away at the “purge” without any real urgency when all of a sudden October was almost here and we had commitments to honor. EJ wanted to freshen her big rig driving skills so she found a class in Ocala, FL. After 2 full days of driving instruction, she was ready to hit the road.
After the class we drove the motorhome to Kansas to meet up with Frank’s brother and sister to honor Dad’s request to have his ashes spread over Ivy Cemetery and the farm he grew up on, both close to Admire, Ks. He also asked that Mom’s ashes be spread with his in the cemetery.
After that, EJ and I wandered around in Kansas and Oklahoma enjoying the vistas and quiet solitude while discussing the next steps in our future.
And we had fun doing sightseeing too.
Lest you think it was all fun and games, chores and projects still needed to get done. Our washing machine died and needed to be fixed. It took me a month to work up the courage to tackle that project. With the encouragement of an RVing friend we finally took the plunge and got it done.
While all this is going on we still had to decide, stay on the road now, or head back and finish what we started. We received an invitation to take part in Thanksgiving with our extended family and longtime friends back in Bostwick, Fl. That was the “kick in the butt” we needed to get started on the next phase of our lives.
After the Thanksgiving holidays we contacted our realtor friend and arranged to put our townhome on the market. We now began to scramble to finish the purge. On December 3 the “For Sale” sign went up. The next day we had multiple offers.
In the midst of all this, we had something else percolating in the background. For the last year we had been looking for a “real” homebase, some place to park and protect Miss Mosey when we were in Florida. Of course it was during this frenzied “purging” time that a property which interested us came on the market. We drove down to Branford, Fl, looked at it and made an offer on the spot. Nine days later it was ours. Our own little 2 acre RV site out in the country.
Back to reality, we had agreed to a December 30 closing date for the townhome and now panic really set in. We only had days to empty the house. Fortunately the buyers bank stepped in and delayed the closing to January 5th . Believe us, we needed every minute to finish up.
We camped out in Miss Mosey in front of the townhome while we finished the “purge”. This allowed us to get early starts on cleaning up and getting out.
The house we worked so hard on fit our needs is now pretty much empty.
For folks that are wondering what in the heck were we thinking, it’s like this. We loved our house and had we been able to move it somewhere else we would have. But the place we lived, Orange Park, was no longer the quaint country town it was when we moved here. We could see the signs that the population demographics were changing, the friendly people we used to do business with were disappearing and it was getting way too busy. Traffic, the constant noise, and the crowds all outweighed the convenience of the location. We wanted peacefulness along with a slower pace and Orange Park no longer offered that.
Now that most of our belongings have been sold, given away or donated, this is what the remaining 43 years of accumulation stuffed in a 10x10 storage locker looks like…
And of course the year hasn’t gone by without some stray cats adopting us. (Warning! Multiple obligatory cat pics follow).
If you have made it this far, there is another cat story, but it’s a sad one. Miss Maggie crossed over the Rainbow bridge this year (2021). She had been part of our merry little tribe since September of 2016. We adopted her from a shelter in Priest River, ID. She captured EJ’s heart as she was an elder kitty, considered to be unadoptable because of her age and health issues. But EJ and I decided to give her the best life she could have for the rest of her days. We really didn’t expect her to survive 6 months, but she surprised us and lived over 5 more years. She was the best lap kitty ever according to EJ.
She is free of pain now and we loved her dearly.