Do you ever have times when everything going on around you is just overwhelming? So much to do, and so little time to do it?
I started out my year of 2018 feeling that way. My husband and I go to Florida the third week in January every single year. He has a timeshare in Panama City Beach, and that is his week. It is about 20 degrees warmer in Panama City Beach than Missouri, so sometimes it can be pretty chilly there. To make his wife happy (that’s me), he plans a second week farther south in Florida so we can enjoy truly warm weather during this cold winter month. This year he added two weeks to our Panama City Beach vacation. I am looking forward to the warmth.
In December we took a trek California to see my son and his family and to celebrate an early Christmas. On our way back we stopped in Phoenix, Arizona, to see if we could find a property to purchase so we could become snowbirds in the winter. We originally thought to do this in Florida, but on thinking what was most practical, Arizona jumped into our heads. Living in Phoenix was an old dream of mine. When I was a young, single mother, I dreamt about living there, and not fighting with the weather in cold Missouri. When Dennis mentioned the possibility of Arizona, I realized this was the correct place. I have a 2 year old grandson in the Los Angeles area. If I winter in Florida, he will never get to know me, and I will never get to know him. Phoenix is about a five-hour drive to Los Angeles.
We contacted a relative who is a real estate agent, and asked him to show us homes while we were in Phoenix. The first day was so frustrating. We had seen the real estate list, photos and all, but seeing a place in person is a real eye-opener. I had a major headache by the end of that day, and I don’t get headaches! I put myself to bed at 7:30 pm. I am not sure if the frustration made me that tired, or what. The next day, we were ready with a new list of homes to view. The second day was a better day. However, my husband is a civil engineer by education, and he is looking for the most energy efficient home we can find. Unfortunately, most of the places we looked were older and were not that energy efficient. We looked at homes in communities for people over 55. My reluctance to that is if or when we want to sell our property, it limits who we can sell to—I don’t like to be limited. Finally, on the third day, my husband told the realtor to find us new homes. We were trying to be practical, moderate priced, and something we could live with. We found a neighborhood at the foot of a mountain—a mountain that is owned by Maricopa County, and they have seven hiking trails for all levels of hikers on this mountain. The lot we got should have been a premium lot, but they had two buyers for that lot, and both sales fell through. Now, they are building homes all around this lot. If you are familiar with homes in Arizona, everyone has a tall privacy wall built around their lots. Construction will be more difficult once all the houses around are built and the privacy walls up—they need to sell this piece of property before the houses around it are completed. Therefore, they offered this lot at NO premium. We did not have to pay a dime extra to get a mountain view from our yard!
We came home feeling really good about our decision to have this home built. We can have it just the way we want it, the location is perfect, and if we ever sell, we can sell to anyone. We got a call in late December telling us we need to meet at the design center in Scottsdale to select our interior finishes and we need to do this early January. We found some really cheap flights to a regional airport in Mesa, flew down and stayed a few days at a cousin’s home who lives near our future home.
We are home now and getting ready to go on probably our last Florida winter vacation. We will be gone three weeks. While we were in Arizona, we were told that there is a walk-through once the framing is completed on the house. That could be late February or early March. I am starting to feel overwhelmed. We will be home a short time, and then we have to leave for Arizona for the walk-through. Granted we could have our agent do this, but this is our home, and we want to make sure it is what we need. This is our job, not his. So, I have these trips, one week in Arizona, three weeks in Florida, and another few days back in Arizona.
Now to complicate matters and make things even busier. I have won an “Honorable Mention” in a contest. They have asked me to fly to California for two days for a photo shoot. I will get my hair done, makeup, and a new wardrobe I can keep for this photo shoot, along with a gift card for my trouble! They pay for the flight, hotel, and my meals. The only problem is, they wanted me to come during the time I was in Florida. I told them if I came, they would have to fly me from Panama City Beach, but my return flight would have to be to Fort Lauderdale because that is where we were going to that weekend. They said, “No problem.” I will write a new blog in the future, how and why I won this honor, but that is not what this blog is about today.
We will have been home exactly seven days and then leave for Florida. I need to pack for three weeks, for different weather conditions. On top of that, I need to take an extra bag that I will use when I fly across country for my photo shoot. I am very excited, but feeling a little overwhelmed by it.
We travel, but we do reasonable travel, but somehow this year, that has gone out the window. Last September one of my sons got married to a lovely young woman from Seligenstadt, Germany. Because of her immigration status, she cannot leave the U.S. for a while until all the paperwork and proper documentation is gathered, so they planned a wedding reception in Germany for mid-May. Dennis thought it was only right that we attend this reception. I have never used my passport, and when we got married, Dennis promised me that sometime he would take me to London (the one place I wished to see). So as not to disappoint, he made us reservations to fly to London and spend a week there before moving on to Germany. We will fly into Frankfort and stay at an Airbnb in Seligenstadt for 10 days. Sometime during those 10 days, we will take a train to Paris for two days. Talk about a dream vacation. I am super excited. I cannot wait to see these beautiful places, and meet the family and friends of my daughter-in-law.
Back to our home in Arizona—the builder told us this week that the house may be done early May. We will have to go out a week ahead of closing for the final walk-through. We are good with that, but if for some reason that gets delayed, we told the builder we couldn’t come out for the walk-through and closing until June after we come home from Europe. I need to take a few deep breaths—that’s a lot of traveling in a short period of time.
We plan to continue living in Missouri for a while. We have realized though, that we have to prepare our home in Missouri for the possibility of selling. This home is 4,500 square feet (our new home is a reasonable 1,600 square feet). There are two huge libraries of books not counting the many, many closets of stuff that need to be sorted through, some thrown away, some donated, some to sell, and some to keep. We have house plants that will need to find good homes if we are going to live between two homes. All of this is work and time consuming.
If you are reading this blog, I assume you have read some of my past blogs, and know the hardships I had endured in my past. I would have never in a million years thought my life would ever turn out like this, and I am forever grateful to God and all his blessings he has given me. I have had times where I paid the electric bill one month, and the gas bill the other. I have had times where my mom delivered groceries to me so my children could eat, and she clothed my children also. I do not take all this travel, buying a 2nd home, or anything I have for granted. I am overwhelmed by how much my life has changed. I am grateful that God has given to me a man who loves me for who I am, and doesn’t require me to change myself for him to love me everyday!
I have to take a deep breath as I plan this year. In between all the traveling, I need to clean out closets, drawers, and bookshelves. I need to decide what stays in Missouri and what goes to Arizona. I need to decide what memories of material things I can let go. (I will always keep my mother’s Tupperware colander, not only because it is the best colander I have ever had, but every time I use it, I think of her). Those are the kind of decisions I will have to make this year. If I think about it all, I get very overwhelmed. As I learned in my 12-step group for codependency, I need to take each day one at a time. Do what I can do today. I will be setting up a calendar of tasks to be done so that each day I see only what that day will bring, and not the overwhelming amount of everything.
I will also not forget that through all this, I need to keep my focus on God, and my family and friends. They are more important than all these things, and all the things I need to do.
I will breathe — I will breathe — I will breathe. It will all work out. I will have time to do what really needs to be done. I will lean into God to hold me up. A year from now I will write from a warm sunny backyard looking at a mountain instead of ice and snow. I am blessed, and I will breathe . . . .