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Indiana, United States
Debt free empty nesters...ready to stretch our wings. Life is good and we plan on making it even better. This blog is mostly about our trips to Vieques Puerto Rico, with a few odds and ends thrown in about our life after the mortgage.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Back in the saddle again....

Yep...been nearly one year since I've last posted. YIKES!!!!

I've been thinking a lot about this post. I wanted to title it "back in the saddle", because...we are  back in the saddle again ( but lorrie thinks the video is too risque). So probably, it's more of a dream on sort of post. I've always liked that song, and now, being ...ahem...older..it's seems quite applicable.

Great song...dream on...keep dreaming on.

But I still think back in the saddle works better.....it just makes for a better segue.

You see,  getting back in the saddle undoubtedly originates from being out of the saddle, or being thrown off your horse.  So...I guess that's where I will begin.

A year ago...you know "mojito Monday" or thereabout we were on island to sort of celebrate our signing of the paperwork for the house in Los Chivos. Lorrie hadn't even seen it yet. Well..we had both seen it for nearly 6 years..but she had never been on the property or been inside the house. I had when I flew down earlier in the year to start the paperwork. Anyway...we were really within reach of getting our house on the island.

That's when we got thrown off the horse.

It was actually a two fold buck, if that makes any sense. Anyway...while we were making plans and just dreaming (here's the dream on theme) about how we wanted to finish the place I got a phone call...yes while I was on island, that my job was ending in a few months. Well...sheit. Not that we couldn't make it work, I had planned on retiring in the next year or so, but we were planning doing all this stuff, and me, being pragmatic and all, got really, really nervous. Then...we find out that our daughter is getting married in a few months.

Well...that just about sealed it. Definitely out of the saddle...again.

We flew back to Indiana...in a real state of depression...on the one hand..but really excited on the other about the wedding. We waited a week or so after getting back to make our decision. Then we called the real estate agent and explained the situation...with my job. We forfeited a modest down payment...and a huge dream.

Ah...such is life. And as it turned out, I didn't miss a lick of work..moved right on to another job without even a single missed day. Jeez....could of, should of...and all that sort of hindsight. Lorrie plowed herself into wedding planning with Jessica. I decided I needed to build something. So...a barn/greenhouse/70's kickback man cave was my new project.

If this blacklight poster from the 70's doesn't cause a flashback...skip to the next pic.

Silver faced pioneer receiver bring back any memories?  

Surely these acoustic research speakers from 1969 make you think back. I have 4 of them I got off ebay. I had to refurbish all of them. 

Well...if you were a child of the 70's you had to have seen the poster on the right of the two lovers. I've got black lights over each poster...it's a real trip with the lights out. 

If none of that brought back any memories...I'm sorry you missed it. That was a great time to be alive.

Ah..but I digress....

Between the barn, the wedding, a 2 hour commute and just life in general...last year flew by. The wedding was in October and we had family in from all over the country and even out of the country. It was a wonderful moment in Lorrie and my's life journey.

So...after the wedding we really started feeling this empty nest sorta thing. Nevermind that Jessica has been out of the house since her first year in undergrad. There's another feeling when your child is married ...a finality of sorts. 

We had already decided that there would be no trip to Vieques in November, much to the dismay of our friends. We told ourselves, ti was best. We had too much going on in the fall. My work, the wedding...plus secretly we were still licking our wounds from letting go of what was a dream. I dove headfirst into my work and the barn. Time past and, with a lot of reservations, we opted to forgo our Feb. trip. 

Now missing the November trip was bad, but missing the Feb trip was huge. I tried to treat it as a test of sorts. To just see how much it bothered us, not going to Vieques. I mean...I had my barn project, Lorrie was busy helping Jess with her new life and her medical career. 

I got a phone call from Judy and Andre. They were about to leave for Vieques and wondered when we were arriving. Arrgh...that was tough telling them we wouldn't be there this year. I was telling everyone that I needed to finish this job and then I was retiring, which I was, but that was no reason not to go. 

Then the grey days of January and the cold really set in. Gawd...it was killing us. I've had people write me that read, or at least used to when I was writing, the blog asking if everything was ok. Bill and Joy threatened to come to Indiana and "drag our asses to Vieques (gawd I love those two people). 

Yesterday, Andre sent me a video of how shitty the gallery looks and about how much cleanup is needed. Then today, Dave sent me pictures of his son Silas doing flips on La plata and a new cabana his wife Andrea had bought. 

So this evening....it's 25 outside and the wind is blowing like hell. I make my way out to the barn and when I get inside I take a look at the temperature in the greenhouse (yeah..there's a greenhouse attached to the barn). It's 90 in it. I open the door and it's like, well...it's like heaven. The sun is shinning bright through the roof and it's WARM...like Vieques warm.  I run back to the house and tell Lorrie "you've got to come out to the greenhouse", you need it. 

So out she comes and the smile she gets on her face when she feels the heat  is priceless. We are really digging the heat and then she notices I have on my Mambo T'shirt. It's just about too much. 

There were a lot of firsts, and last that have happened in the  past year. First time I watched my daughter get married (and by the looks of how much they love each other,  it'll be the last time I experience that). First we've missed our semi annual trips to Vieques, and according to Lorrie it's the last time that's gonna happen. We've got things going for November already. First time I've been able to do things according to "my schedule" and the last time I'll be wearing a hard hat. Yes...I have finally retired. 

So with that, I'll say, to any that might still read this thing, I am indeed back in the saddle again. It might be vicariously, through my good friends who are now on island, but come November it's the real deal. 

And since I'm feeling kinda perky with all these life changes...here's the video I wasn't supposed to post...sorry Lorrie.



  1. Glad you guys are back! Enjoy reading your posts. In fact, reading your blog was one things that inspired us to go!

    We were in Vieques in April, 2016. By far the best beaches I have been to. Truly secluded too..just like you said. Unfortunately, a day before we had to leave, we had a major medical emergency and my wife had to be airlifted out ( thank god for the Mayo Clinic employee air evacuation perk ). Literally a lifesaver.

    Also, funny about the cabana. We have the exact same one! In fact, I have a picture of it up on google maps :


    1. THank you Kevin...you made my day. So sorry to hear about your emergency, but good to hear that you were able to work with what was available on Vieques. Would be curious to hear more about how that worked, if you ever feel comfortable sharing your experience. This is a major worry for people I talk with. Luckily we've never had to utilize it.

    2. Just saw your response.

      We think what happened is that she came down with severe food poisoning. I'm not going to name the restaurant because we cannot conclusively prove anything. However, she could not keep anything down at all. She also is a type 1 diabetic (wears a pump) and generally in good health. Unfortunately, constantly throwing up is about the worst possible illness for a type 1 diabetic. To spare all of the details in this post, the progression of the illness was surprisingly similar to this :


      Needless to say, she was in really bad shape when I decided to take her into the 'hospital'. In hindsight, we shouldn't have waited so long and should have preemptively went into the 'hospital' to get a fluid line, etc...

      I say 'hospital' in quotes because Hospital Susana Centeno is absolutely terrible for emergency situations. They did the best they could though...gave her fluids, etc...but were certainly not prepared for someone in her condition. I can tell that the hospital doesn't get nearly the funding it should.

      They ended up transferring her to a hospital in Fajardo. Unfortunately, they could only take one person with on the transfer. My 17 year old daughter stepped up and went with (major props to her for doing that). I stuck behind with our 14 year old. Not fun at all. The Fajardo hospital was a bit better but wasn't great.

      I then spent many hours on the phone with the Fajardo hospital and the Mayo Clinic employee emergency folks. It took a while to get it approved by the Mayo Clinic. The hospital had a hard time believing that Mayo would actually send a plane down to get someone! Once the wheels were in motion, Mayo was absolutely fantastic. They flew an air ambulance jet into San Juan, chartered an ambulance to pick her up in Fajardo, and flew her all the way back to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN! We are extremely grateful that she is a Mayo employee. Believe it or not, the air ambulance service is a little-known employee benefit.

      My son and I ended up having to stick to our original flight plan and were able to wrap things up in Vieques, etc...although we were obviously horribly worried. Our daughter kept in touch though.

      So the moral of the story is...be extremely careful if you visit Vieques and have a pre-existing condition! The health care there is truly a 'little above third world' in quality. I don't mean do scare folks off...but we also know someone that grew up in Vieques and they say that you either have to have lots of money...or have connections to get decent healthcare in ANY part of Puerto Rico. If you do have a pre-existing condition....maybe consider some sort of emergency insurance supplement ( i.e. - air ambulance ).

  2. Glad to know you are back. Slow go on construction of our house. Just now laying block and got windows and doors ordered this week. I've been going down every month sense last Aug. hoping it would speed things up, just wishful thinking. Headed back down on the 21st. The plan is that Steph and I can stay in the house middle of April and start painting and doing all the final touches. The person that bought the Los Chivos house are just now doing work on it. The pit bulls have been moved across island to a new home. Lets us know when y'all are headed back so we can get that drink.

    1. Great to hear jon. Would love to see pics and hear about how crazy its been so far.

    2. I will email you a few pics and crazy doesn't even come close to explaining what we have had to deal with so far. Do you have the same email as you did last year?

    3. Yes the same or if you dont have it use the contact on the blog. Cant wait!

  3. This is a fantastic story! Well wishes to all and glad to see everything is falling in place!

    1. So good to hear from you Amalia. Yes...life just seems to work that way. Getting lots of texts and pics from our friends on island now. Good fodder for blogging. Knee deep in maple syrup season, messy business. Would rather be knee deep in salt water though.