You Can’t Stop Progress

February
27
2014

 

You’ve probably noticed I haven’t written in a while.  Mostly it’s because nothing has been happening on our building!  Whoever coined the phrase, “You Can’t Stop Progress” never tried to get a building built on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  I guess as John would remind me, that’s one of the reasons we are moving there, life goes by at a slower pace, we don’t have to rush, rush, rush all the time.  But still.  Slow is one thing.  Not moving at all is quite another.

As you would imagine, there are quite a few “gotchas” when you are building on the water.  Of course you have to take the weather into consideration.  The house and roof have to be built stronger than an inland home since the storms can be very severe.  Also, you need to build it up off the ground more, either by adding more soil, or adding more foundation, or doing both, as we will do on the house.  So, even though we were going to build up the soil for the metal building, we found out we have to build it up even higher. Resulting in more time lost and more costs!  Another “gotcha” -  if you add a building where there wasn’t one “grandfathered” in, you need to plant trees and bushes equal to the square footage of that building.  And they have to be native Maryland plants to insure they will grow.  Now I guess in the grand scheme of things it’s a good idea.  But I think it’s human nature not to like being told you HAVE to do it and what you can and can’t plant.  So, anyway, after these few hurdles,  slowly but slowly things are kind of moving along.  Sort of.  The company building the metal building is now backed up because of the weather.  So we’re hoping around St. Patty’s day is when we’ll start to see something going on.  (We originally thought we’d have it up before Thanksgiving!)

This is really what has been going around here:

February snowstorm

February snowstorm

 

Back Yard

Back yard

 

A friend of mine

A friend of mine

 

It did melt a little this past weekend, so today it looks like this around here:

 

Front

Front

 

This and That 2014 004

 

Here's my friend again today

Here’s my friend again today

And her friends

And her friends

 

The other day there were a couple of foxes in the back!  The animals  are having a hard time finding food.  And one thing I’ve learned about foxes…. they are very itchy.  Must be dry winter skin.

Little Choptank 2014 B Feb. 21-23 112

Little Choptank 2014 B Feb. 21-23 089

Last weekend we decided to take a quick trip to Maryland, and there’s NO SNOW there!  Another reason why we are moving there.  The winters are shorter because the weather isn’t as severe!

Looking toward the entrance

Looking toward the entrance

 

Our Bocce Court (Just past that little tree on the right is where we will build the house!)

Our Bocce Court
(Just past that little tree on the right is where we will build the house!)

 

 

Looking across the water

Looking across the water

 

 

And of course, our beautiful sunset

And of course, our beautiful sunset

What Does Retirement Mean To You?

December
3
2013

 

I am heading out of town today.  Our “little girl” is getting “sworn in” tomorrow, and I am driving down to Virginia to be with her and witness this momentous occasion.  Yep, we have a lawyer in the family. (John and I are very proud parents.)  I will write about our experience later this week, so for now, I hope you will enjoy this article, written by Jean C. Setzfand from AARP, July 12, 2011.  (The pictures, though, are mine.)

Few people see retirement anymore as a time when they’ll put their feet up and do nothing. Increasingly, people expect to work past 65 or 67, even if their job is something completely different from what they’ve done their whole lives. They’ll do this because either the work is rewarding or, more often these days, their budgets require it — especially for health care costs and even if it’s not full time.

But in this new era of retirement, planning shouldn’t focus solely on finances. Without doubt, money is a huge part of retirement planning — probably the most significant part — but it’s not all of it.

Sunset in Key West

Sunset in Key West

When planning for retirement, having a balanced approach that considers both life (what it will look like on a day-to-day basis) and finances will help you achieve the most positive outlook. You must prepare mentally and emotionally for what happens when you actually retire.

For some, retirement means resting and relaxing.

What do you picture when you think about your retirement? It’ll be different for everyone. Is it the luxury of sleeping late and not rushing to the office? Is it the fear of losing the thing that gave your life the most purpose, and maybe your identity — your job? Or is retirement the opportunity for you to do something very specific with your time on your terms? This could mean volunteering, studying photography, writing the novel you never had time for, traveling or even working 10 to 15 hours a week for your former employer or some other organization.

Sunset in Turks and Caicos

Sunset in Turks and Caicos

As I look into the future, I dream of running a community-sustained agriculture (CSA) farm. In the most traditional sense of retirement, that dream is about 20 years away, but I’m imagining right now what it will take to make that dream my future reality.

What does retirement mean for you? Write down a list of specific retirement goals and then try to trim it down to your top five goals. Be creative. Start a collage or a journal with photos, magazine images, words and phrases to help you visualize your goals and make them more concrete. Or start an online community for people imagining retirement. Hearing others describe their plans can enhance your own perspective.

Sunset at our place in Maryland

Sunset at our place in Maryland

Weekend in Maryland

November
20
2013

We went to our place in Maryland for a long weekend and it was just glorious.  We visited with one neighbor for coffee, and we went out to dinner with another.  It poured two nights, but well after we went to bed, it made me think of the song Camelot, where it doesn’t rain till after sundown.  Two mornings were very foggy (it’s supposed to disappear by 8) but it was very interesting looking and it cleared enough for us to go fishing on Sunday.

But first, our winter sunset.  It’s over the trees this time of year instead of over the water, but still beautiful.

We arrived at sunset

We arrived at sunset

We woke up to a thick fog where you couldn’t tell the sky from the water.  As it cleared a bit, we found we had some visitors.

Little Choptank 2013 I November 14 to 18 025

Who then made themselves right at home.

Little Choptank 2013 I November 14 to 18 026

It stayed foggy most of the day, but we didn’t mind relaxing and reading and putzing.  (That’s John, he likes to putz.  Or he is a putz, one or the other, I forget.)  We also had a nice visit from our neighbor, Judy, who came over for coffee.

Sunday, we were determined to go fishing.  The weather was supposed to be warm and sunny, and we were a bit surprised when it was also kind of foggy.  We had to wait for the tide anyway, and as it got a little later, the fog started to clear.

Little Choptank 2013 I November 14 to 18 034

Little Choptank 2013 I November 14 to 18 033

Little Choptank 2013 I November 14 to 18 035

This is across the water from our place.  It looks like a painting with the fog.  It’s such a cute little building, and we always wonder who lives there.

As we headed out to the Chesapeake, the fog was still hanging onto the water.

Little Choptank 2013 I November 14 to 18 040

We hardly saw this guy till he got a little closer.

Little Choptank 2013 I November 14 to 18 039

But then it cleared, and we went out to find some stripers!  Or as people in Maryland refer to them, rockfish.   This is the big prize, since they have to be a certain size in order to keep, plus some of us who aren’t that crazy about eating fish (me) will eat striped bass.

These we caught out in Montauk one year, one of our FAVORITE places to go on vacation.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Our little family of fisherpersons:

Copy (2) of Montauk Vacation July 22-29, 06 148

And this one John and our friend Bill caught last summer, right out in the Chesapeake.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And this one John caught last December! He was fishing with our electrician, Rick, in the Chesapeake.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So, anyway, we’re no strangers to catching them.  And did we catch any you may ask?  Um…. no.  We didn’t.  We caught two crab buoys.  Which we certainly didn’t intend to catch.  And we caught a giant net that must have broken off a commercial fishing boat, it was so big!  We could hardly lift it, so we didn’t bring it into the boat, but I wish I took a picture.  You know what I could’ve said then….   nothing but net.

We did see a pretty sailboat though.

Little Choptank 2013 I November 14 to 18 fixed 043

And we caught the sunset as we were flying home to get in before it got too dark.  It was such a nice weekend, we really can’t wait till we move down there.

Little Choptank 2013 I November 14 to 18 048

 

 

 

The Crab Shack

September
25
2013

Little Choptank Nov.5 to 7, 2011 078

 

A kind reader asked me to show you around the inside of the “Crab Shack.”  You’ve seen the outside, and I’ve mentioned that we actually were going to build a different building, one we called the “Boat House,” modeled after the lighthouses on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  But, after all the soil testing and the modifications and the collapse of the economy, we scaled it down.  John found plans online, Katrina cottage plans, and much to our builder’s delight, we still decided to build something.  We love our little “Crab Shack,” and yet, if we had it to do over again, there would be a change or two we would make.  We don’t have room for a table and chairs, so we would probably push the front of the building out maybe four more feet, giving us room for not only the table, but a dishwasher.  It would also make the “living” room a bit bigger, and with the amount of company we sometimes have, that would be a good thing.  But for the two of us, it’s wonderful.  Have a look:

This is what you see when you walk in the front door

This is what you see when you walk in the front door

 

When Thom, our builder, first painted the place, he called us and said we should come down and take a look at it.  He thought the color might be too dark.  So we took a trip down, looked at each other and said, “It’s perfect!”

As you first walk in, the kitchen is to your right.

As you first walk in, the kitchen is to your right.

While we were looking at tiles for the backsplash (and bathroom and fireplace) John saw these heron tiles for behind the stove and just fell in love with them.  We (as you will see) love using herons in our decorating, so these were perfect!  We had to “fit” a refrigerator into the space, we only had so much room, and we were lucky to find something that fit exactly right.  I have learned, however, that I don’t really like the freezer on the bottom!  I know it’s very popular now, and many people really like it, but I find that things get buried down at the bottom, and with “Reynauds” in my hands, rummaging around in the freezer is not my favorite thing to do.  You understand, right?  I’m going to stick with the side by side for the main house.

The "living" room is to your left when you come in the front door.

The “living” room is to your left when you come in the front door.

 

We had this couch, chair and coffee table from our place in Pennsylvania, but we think it goes pretty well here.  We had Thom make the TV stand to fit right in between the windows and we bought the leather chair and ottoman because it was a smaller profile and fit in that space so well.

When we first started building, we decided John would do most of the “decorating” of the Crab Shack, and I would do the house.  We both wound up making the decisions, but the Crab Shack does have more of a “fishing” cabin feel because of his choices.  It’s cute though, it fits the area.  The chair on this side is from my mother in law’s apartment, we also think it fits in well.

 

Looking back at front door

Looking back at front door

The stairs at the far end of the living room lead up to the loft.  Originally we thought John would use the loft as an office, plus it would also be a bedroom for guests.  We found out, however, that the reception for his phone (and therefore his internet connection through his phone) was not the best up there, and he moved his office to the room above the garage.  So now, it’s a guest room.

Heading up the stairs to the loft is the fishing wall of fame.

Heading up the stairs to the loft is the fishing wall of fame.

 

The loft area

The loft area

 

From up in the loft

From up in the loft

 

Looking down into living room.

Looking down into living room.

 

 

See our fun fan?  We first saw it at the Blue Point Restaurant at the Hyatt Resort in Cambridge, MD.  (If you’re ever around there, give it a try, the food is great!) It reminded us of boat propellers!  So we tracked it down, went to Dan’s Fan City in Laurel, MD and we think it fits in perfectly!

Okay, moving on, as you walk down the hallway, the first room after the kitchen on the right hand side is the bathroom.  When we first saw the room before it was actually built, when it was just studs, I couldn’t picture how everything would fit it!  I thought we’d be squished in the shower so that your arms would be touching all the walls!  But, small as it is, it’s got plenty of room!

Here's what the kitchen and bathroom looked like

Here’s what the kitchen and bathroom looked like

Little Choptank 2013  H August 2 to Sept 4 500

 

Little Choptank 2013  H August 2 to Sept 4 503

 

After the bathroom, again on the right hand side, is the mudroom/laundry room.  Thom did advise us to add to the original plans in the back part of the house, so we expanded it about 4 feet.  It gave us a bigger mudroom, and also a bigger bedroom.

Looking from the door in the hallway out to the back

Looking from the door in the hallway out to the back

 

This angle is from the back door to the door in the hallway

This angle is from the back door to the door in the hallway

And then, if you’re back in the hallway, the room on the left hand side is our bedroom.  We’re so glad Thom advised us to make it bigger.  We love waking up and being able to look out at the water. We pinch ourselves and can’t believe we were lucky enough to find and buy this property.

Looking in from the door in the hall

Looking in from the door in the hall

 

We recently purchased the artwork that is over the bed.  Again, herons.

We recently purchased the artwork that is over the bed. Again, herons.

 

Here's a closer look at the artwork.  Looks like it was just made for us!

Here’s a closer look at the artwork. Looks like it was just made for us!

Heron lamps too!

Heron lamps too!

 

Looking back to the hallway

Looking back to the hallway

 

Back deck and patio area.

Back deck and patio area.

Thank you for joining our tour of the inside of the Crab Shack.  It was the first time we built anything, and we never realized how many decisions and choices we’d have to make.  It gave us a good preview of what we’ll be doing when we start building the house next year.  I’ve read if a couple can survive building a house together, they can survive anything.  We say, bring it on!

 

Crab Shack and garage from the water.

Crab Shack and garage from the water.

Enjoy the sunset!

Little Choptank Nov 13, 14 2010 067

Looking Out My Back Door

August 7, 2013

We are spending August in Maryland, at our future (semi) retirement property.  We’re very comfy, with our garage, our dock and our “Crab Shack”, but what we don’t really have is great internet. Or even good internet.  It’s a problem down here because there isn’t enough people (a/k/a customers) to warrant internet providers installing anything like we’re used to (Fios)  – or anything at all, really.  So, it’s on our list of things to research this month because as much as we would love to have good service now, we’ll absolutely need it once we move here.  (Probably spring of next year.)  John’s job depends on it, plus really,  how could we live without it at this point!

So, all this to say, I plan on posting probably once a week until after Labor Day, and hopefully on Wednesday.  I hope you’ll visit each week, and if you have some ideas about getting good – and by good I mean fast – internet service, please let me know!  This is serious, people!

Here are some pictures of what I see from my back door….

Sunset, first day of vacation

Sunset, first day of vacation

Little Choptank 2013 H August 2 to Sept 006

Dock, with new light out there by the boat

Dock, with new light out there by the boat

Light's fixed on the flagpole! It was flooded in the spring storm.

Light’s fixed on the flagpole! It was flooded in the spring storm.

 

Osprey checking things out from the tree on our property

Osprey checking things out from the tree on our property

Sundown.  Or sun's down.  Sounds more grammatically correct.

Sundown. Or sun’s down. Sounds more grammatically correct.

Crab boats are out early in the Little Choptank River.

Crab boats are out early in the Little Choptank River.

 

 

Our new pedal boat! I can’t try it out till my knee is better.

Our new pedal boat! I can’t try it out till my knee is better.

 

Kyle and crew planting our new experiment, palm trees!

Kyle and crew planting our new experiment, palm trees!

 

Aren't they cute!  If they grow, we'll plant  more.

Aren’t they cute! If they grow, we’ll plant more.

Okay, that’s it for now.  It took me two days to be able to get this post up!  So put on your thinking caps, we need some good internet ideas for rural areas.  We’re using either my Ipad hotspot, or John’s phone’s hotspot, but the service is spotty.  We could use the MiFi from Verizon, but the service would be the same as the Verizon hotspot we’re using now, I assume.  So if anyone has a Hughes Satellite, I’d be interested to hear if that’s a good option.  Thanks!

We have a boat!

April
30
2013

What do you think you get right after you build a dock?  A boat, of course!  This is a big part of the dream we have for our retirement.  We’re a fishing family, we all love it.  And anybody who doesn’t want to fish, well, just enjoys the ride.  John was thinking we’d get a “real” fishing boat first.  But after a bit, he agreed that the fishing boat could wait, and we’d get a “putzing” boat!  A party boat.  A cruisin’ around taking in the sites boat.  A pontoon boat!

Little Choptank, NEW BOAT, April 08 034wtmk

Here it is getting delivered.  It’s a used boat, but in great shape, and from this day on I call it MY boat.

Little Choptank, NEW BOAT, April 08 041wtmk

Little Choptank, NEW BOAT, April 08 045wtmk

 

Little Choptank, NEW BOAT, April 08 048wtmk

Little Choptank, NEW BOAT, April 08 054wtmk

The guy from the marina is explaining to John how my boat works.  John’s a licensed captain, and he’s familiar with boats, but each one is different, and it doesn’t hurt to know all you can.

Little Choptank, NEW BOAT, April 08 060wtmk

John’s fixing up the piling so my boat doesn’t get scratched.

Little Choptank - July 08 new 116wtmk

Here’s the inside….. it’s like having your back deck on the water.  The seats are so comfy, there’s a table for your snacks, holders for your drinks, and a great stereo for listening to Jimmy Buffett!  I sound like a pontoon boat salesperson!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

And  the moment we had been waiting two years for –  (since we bought the property)……..    our first boat ride!

Little Choptank, NEW BOAT, April 08 070wtmk

Who’s happier than us right now?

Little Choptank, NEW BOAT, April 08 080wtmk

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And here are those osprey nests I was telling you about……

Little Choptank, NEW BOAT, April 08 078wtmk

Little Choptank, NEW BOAT, April 08 077wtmk

Little Choptank - July 08 new 122wtmk

See, that one has a little solar panel to keep the nest warm.  Cute, huh?  I really don’t know who set up these osprey nesting areas, maybe the DNR (Department of Natural Resources).  I’m not sure, but that would make sense to me, so that’s what I’m going with.

Here’s my boat all tucked in……

Little Choptank, NEW BOAT, April 08 094wtmk

Try not to wait too long to start thinking and planning and dreaming of what you’ll do in the next chapter of your life.  I’m so glad we have a plan, and something to look forward to. It makes all the difference.  Enjoy the sunset………

Little Choptank - July 08 new 106wtmk

 

A House on the Water

April 2 2013

sign_by_me_#2

The one thing John and I knew, without even a second thought, was that we wanted to live on the water.  We did once before, we  lived on a canal on Long Island (an area that sadly was devastated during Hurricane Sandy).  And yes, even though there are major precautions to take when living on the water, we wanted to do it again, and on a grander scale.  We love to fish, we love having boats, and we wanted them handy.  We didn’t want to have to traipse to a lake and trailer the boat.  So, that decision done, we moved on.

I asked John today, how did we decide we wanted to build a house rather than buy a house?  We’re not sure how we came to that decision.  It may have been because we still owned a “vacation” house in PA, so buying a “lot” would be less expensive than buying a house. (so we thought at the time!)  Or it might have been because we saw house plans and fell in love, and to get that house we’d have to build it.  Either way, that decision also, seems to have been made easily, and without much anxiety.  And ask anybody, I am usually not one to make quick decisions.

But where, exactly, would be look?  Back to Long Island?  Many of our family and friends would be nearby if we did that, but the cost! The taxes!  And the crowds!  No.  We quickly ruled that out.  We thought maybe south Jersey.  We took a day trip to look, but not only was it very expensive with very small lots but it confirmed that we didn’t want to be on the ocean.  The water is a little too rough for us these days.

We took out our handy Atlas, came up with another criteria, a sunset view, and picked the Chesapeake Bay!  It wasn’t an area that we knew anything about, but was still close enough to family that we could drive to visit.  It’s also big enough so that there are plenty of places to explore, and the fishing is great!  We thought it wouldn’t be as rough as the ocean, and would have that “I can get out into the ocean and go anywhere” feeling.  You know that feeling?  The whole world is open to you, with endless possibilities.

For us, surprisingly, it wasn’t hard to come up with an area to concentrate on: the eastern shore - which offered beautiful, flat waterfront property with a sunset view.  And because there are so many rivers and tributaries right off the main body of water, it wouldn’t be as rough as the Chesapeake itself (as we found out), but still allow us access very quickly.  It’s worth it to spend some time figuring out what you want for your future.  Balance the wants with the needs, the costs and the responsibilities.  Then add in the dreams.  And the gut feeling.  It’s worth it.  So worth it.

Heaven.  That’s all I can say. sunset, sunset view, pontoon boat 116wtmk