"Why are we still here?"

Moving (December 1999 & January 2000)
It didn't look like we were going to be leaving DC by boat this winter, so we decided to move to Florida, then bring the boat down the ICW in the spring.

First Half of December, 1999: We've been in limbo for much of the month. Though we've decided to move to Florida, we haven't found a place to live there yet. We considered making a special apartment-hunting trip to Tampa, but we're driving to the Keys for New Year's, and it seems that we should take advantage of that time to find a place to live. In the meantime, we've scoured the Web, and talked with Christy & Fred (who used to live there) and Kelley & Keith (who just moved there). Now all we can do is wait...

Saturday, December 18, 1999: Theresa's mom was up to visit, and we took her out to the boat for the first time. The weather was cold, so we didn't go sailing, but I think Theresa's mom really liked being aboard.

Thursday, December 23, 1999: Theresa and I drove to Charlotte to spend Christmas with my dad. Unfortunately, this was the earliest day that I could schedule Garth Hitchens to winterize the boat, so they started on the job while we were in transit. When I spoke with them that morning, everything sounded like it was going fine, but when we got to Charlotte, I had a message on my answering service that there had been a problem: While they were pulling hoses loose to bleed the lines, one of the through-hull fittings deteriorated, springing a leak. They couldn't do anything but bung the hole and schedule a lift for the next day to haul the boat. This winterization just got a lot more expensive!

Friday, December 24, 1999: I got another message today from Garth Hitchens. They fixed the through-hull fitting, and the job is now complete. Just in time, too -- they're calling for snow. My only question now is, "How do I de-winterize the boat?"

Sunday-Tuesday, December 26-28, 1999: Theresa and I drove to St. Petersburg and, after much searching, found a place to live. It's a charming 3-bedroom, 3-bath townhouse, right on a canal, with a slip directly behind it. It also has a garage that will hold two cars parked end-to-end.

Wednesday, December 29, 1999: This morning, the real-estate agent called to say that the owner of the townhouse (Frank) is concerned on our behalf about the depth of the slip. The agent gave me Frank's number in New Jersey, and I called him. Frank's neighbor "deepened" his slip for his sailboat, so Frank is checking into the feasibility of deepening our slip too. If that can't be done, we'll just put our boat in a nearby marina.

December 30, 1999 - January 4, 2000: We spent New Year's in the Keys, then drove up to Flamingo, in the heart of the Everglades, to do some canoeing with my dad and Judy. We were majorly disappointed in the scenery. We didn't see but four alligators, and they were medium-sized at best. Worse yet, there really weren't many birds either, and we didn't see a single fish. In fact, the whole marshland seemed really desolate. I can't recommend it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2000: I sent an email to Raytheon today in an effort to find out why my AutoHelm keeps showing "No Link". ("No Link" to what, exactly??)

Thursday, January 13, 2000: We've hired movers to load our stuff up here on Sunday, January 23, and deliver it all to our townhouse in Florida on Wednesday, January 26. We're taking a day on the drive down to do some furniture shopping in High Point, North Carolina, where we hope to acquire some respectable furniture for our new place.

We'll be putting our Alexandria townhouse on the market next week. Once we get settled in Florida, we'll start planning a trip (for March, probably) to bring our boat down the coast to join us, hopefully in time to enjoy it some before the start of hurricane season.

Week of January 17 - January 22, 2000: We put our house on the market Monday morning, and we had traffic all day Monday and Tuesday. By Wednesday, we had two offers, one of which was at list (which we set higher than any townhouse ever). We waited a day to see if we would get a third offer, but none arrived, so we accepted the offer at list. Both of my parents worked in real estate in Charlotte, and I have never seen a place sell so fast! This is the craziest seller's market I've ever seen.

Meanwhile, we spent the whole week packing. (Meaning, of course, that half of these would-be buyers saw our house in complete disarray. Makes the speed with which we sold it seem even more amazing.) Looks like we'll be ready when the movers arrive on Sunday.

Sunday, January 23, 2000: The movers (Two Guys And a Truck) showed up on time, and we spent several hours loading everything up. As soon as we were done with the house, we caravanned out to Annapolis to clean out the storage warehouse. There was ice on the ground from earlier in the week, and it started snowing again as we were finishing up. The movers took off, and we wished them well until we meet again in Florida.

After that, Theresa and I stopped by the boat to drop some things off, and to say goodbye for now. Our boat looked kind of lonely, sitting there in her slip, with all the neighboring boats long-since headed south. She seemed to say, "You promised that you'd take me out in the Tropics. Where are you going?" I promised her we'd be back in just a few of months to bring her down to sunny Florida.

Theresa and I drove back to Alexandria, and finished cleaning out the house. We said our goodbyes, then left Alexandria behind, and drove south to Raf & Reena's house in Durham, NC, where we collapsed from exhaustion, and slept like rocks.

Monday, January 24, 2000: We drove to High Point today, in search of furniture. Thanks to my heretofor unwillingness to invest in the stuff, Theresa and I have been living with my old college furniture for most of our adult lives. Now that we've decided to maintain a terrestrial home indefinitely, I've agreed that it might be nice to have comfortable furniture for a change. The challenge is finding furniture that Theresa and I can agree on. We had done quite a bit of fruitless searching in Virginia, but we hit paydirt in High Point, and ordered a living room suite. (Furniture is the last thing that I ever figured I'd write about in our "cruising" logs, but what the heck, it all relates.) It started snowing like a banshee around 5:00 when the furniture stores closed, so we didn't tarry in High Point, but plowed on down to Charlotte, and spent the night at my dad's house.

Wednesday, January 26, 2000: After driving all day yesterday, we arrived in St. Pete. We picked up keys this morning, and the movers arrived this afternoon. One of the two "guys" failed to show up, so Theresa and I helped unload the truck ourselves. (We did, of course, leave all the heavy stuff for the mover.) Now we finally live in Florida!


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