We’ve been settling back into our NY home this past week. Most of our time (despite cleaning) has been getting our utilities back up and running. We’ve been using our time to mostly do updates and upgrades. For example, our original internet service had a download speed of 5.67mbps and an upload speed of just .32mbps. Translated, that meant when I used to upload my photos (which is prime important) the service was so slow, I used to play at least 3 games of solitaire while I waited for my photos to post. Not good for a photography buff like me.
The other thing we had to contend with was the cost of all these upgrades we were doing. We made a few phone calls to check out other companies and the costs (well over $100) was not adhering to our frugal rules. We want the best, for less, is our motto. Once we got the newer prices in line, I went back and called our original providers, asked what they could offer us and what additional speeds etc. we could get.
Our main concern was our internet service and our satellite TV service. Both have been basic packages ($40 for internet, $47 for basic TV, fifty channels). If we had cancelled these two services, both contained penalties ($100 for internet, $80 for satellite). If we upgraded, we would also have to pay for installation charges ($150 for internet due to new wiring, $100 for satellite, again for new wiring and new settings). Our new internet service is quadruple the previous speed and our new satellite service is for 200 channels and On Demand service. We used to have Netflix and Hulu but I cancelled both of them. Also, in order to keep the new costs down we cancelled the DVR service with the satellite company thus saving us an additional $12. The new costs are $50 for internet (just $10 more, installation fees and penalty fees waived) and our satellite service is now $63 a month (just $16 more, with all installation and penalty fees waived).
Minor things like canceling mail forwarding, re-instating sanitation service and basic clean up, Nick took care of. New items on our spring agenda is to have a new wood, laminate floor installed in our master bedroom (bye bye 17 year old carpeting!) power wash the home exterior and some other minor repairs to replace the molding around our front door. These should all be accomplished by end of April, for sure!
When my dad died in 2004, he left me some money to finish this house. One of the things I did with the money was to have this all-steel barn built for Nick. That was in 2005. It wasn’t until 2016 that we were able to finally have electricity installed. So, Nick is anxious to get his barn in order, extend the electricity and install lighting and heating. This is his ‘new’ man cave. He’s got a 2000 Cherokee Jeep in their just itching to have its motor replaced. Nick had been saving this project for his retirement and come this spring, he’ll finally be able to make his goal happen. MEN!
We’ve decided to sell our Florida condo. It’s already up and on the market. No matter how much time and energy we put in to the place, the realization that our time in Florida had lost it’s way, settled into our brains. We concluded (after 1.5 years of condo ownership) that the new vibe of Florida did NOT jive with our minimalist, frugal style of living. Nick and I are country bumpkins. We like peace and quiet. And you just can’t get that anymore in Florida. The Florida that I remember as a child is long gone. In its place are strip malls, congestion, confusion, overpopulace, overbuilding and a total destruction of what once was a tropical paradise. The last straw for us (in addition to my rude, obnoxious, cigarette chain-smoking neighbors……yes! it’s true what they say about Floridians) was when our condo company sold 100 acres around a once glorious, scenic lake to make way for a Costco. Floridians are consumers. Period. They welcomed the new shopping center. Nick and I were disgusted by it because we used to go to the lake to find a bit of solace. Now, with the peaceful lake views gone, there was nothing left to hold us there. Nick and I do NOT agree with the new trajectory Florida is taking (we blame Governor Rick Scott for this disaster). We understand that 1000 people a day are moving to Florida. We just won’t be part of them.
You don’t see these trees anymore. You see and hear the constant traffic from I-75
Nick and I will make a nice profit from the sale of our Florida condo. The cash will be laddered into several ROTH IRA’s and FDIC savings accounts paying upwards of 3.05%. Any outstanding debts we have will be paid off (like my RV loan). We will once again be 100% debt free. And a whole new future will once again lay in front of us. We still have to solve our need for a warmer climate, especially for January, February and March. I have no idea where that new place will be. I’ve rearranged our travel schedule and next winter we will head out west to Arizona (and that friggin Grand Canyon!!) in our RV and discover new places, new ideas, new climates and whatever else comes our way.
You really don’t know a place till you buy and settle down. We’ve been wintering in the Sarasota area in Florida since 2005. But until you buy and live there as a resident (Nick was elected president of our HOA board) you really do NOT know what you are getting in to. Period. There are so many variables (such as: cigarette smoking neighbors……I had NO idea cigarette smoke would impact my life so negatively!)
One thing we learned is that our current New York estate is a keeper! There is NO way in hell we will ever leave this property (3.5 acres) unless its in a pine box (or, in my case, an urn). We know New York is listed as the Number 1 place NOT to retire, but for us, our life here, as well as our expenses are manageable. I’m entitled to a plethora of benefits and discounts, due to my age (our Governor Andrew Cuomo has implemented many new laws to keep NY seniors here). New York has the best consumer protection laws on the planet (no smoking is permitted in any multi-family buildings. PERIOD!) Nick and I have a new perspective on tree-huggers. NOW we understanding what ‘saving the environment’ and no-fracking is all about! Cuomo has spent billions fixing up all the state parks, camping grounds, hiking and biking trails, restrooms and camping facilities. We are looking forward to visiting Lake Placid, the Adirondacks and Letchworth State Park (the Grand Canyon of the east).
Live well and prosper, my friend. Live well and prosper.