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Retirement Phase II Completed

It is now final, phase II is in the books! What started in October, has now come to fruition and it hasn’t been easy. We received our keys to our Sequim house just days before Christmas and the long process of moving into two separate residences began New Year’s Eve weekend hauling our trailer and the first load up to the house. The trailer was to be used as a place to sleep since we didn’t have any furniture up there yet! While we were there, we experienced a nice winter storm that dropped a nice deep blanket of snow that (a)caused us to have to leave the trailer there(we needed to bring it back for a repair), and (b)got our truck stuck in it coming up the driveway. You can watch a video I took of it as it began here. It was much deeper in the morning. We eventually dug the truck out. We made the best out of what we had in the trailer, borrowing plates, cups, pots and pans, camping chairs we set up in the living room, New Year’s Eve dinner on a card table and folding chairs, etc. It was an adventure to say the least! Thus began a six month ordeal that was exhausting and weekend consuming…..sorry friends and family.

The next pieces of the puzzle was to get our Snoqualmie house listed and find a place to call a temporary home while the both of us still have to work. Now we have been up here on Snoqualmie Ridge in the same house for 13 years. We thought about where we wanted to hang for the next few years until we can go up to the house full-time, knew we had to rent, realized that the rents here are crazy high, but since we had everything we were familiar with right here, we decided to stay. The hunt was on for a rental and with amazing luck, we stumbled onto a condominium that was just around the corner, and was roomy and the perfect fit for us. More good fortune was added when we discovered Debbie knew the owners. She just so happens to work out with both of them at her Crossfit gym. The deal was done, leased signed, and they allowed us early access to the place and we began the weekly slog of slowly emptying the Crestview house. The hardest part was deciphering was to be done with the 13 year accumulation of material goods. Some would go to the condo, some would go to Sequim, some would be sold/given away, but in the mean time we still had to live in and keep the Crestview house staged for sale. It was an arduous task and seemed to last forever.

Bye Bye Crestview House

Bye Bye Crestview House

The house got listed, weekend showings were done, we continued dragging stuff to the condo every weekend. A couple of times we would load up the back of the truck and head to Sequim with a load for the house there and enjoy a weekend of continued “glamping”. Finally an offer was made and accepted, appraisals and inspections done, and the real gutting began. It started bringing a feeling of melancholy along with the excitement as our beautiful home of thirteen years began looking like a shell. I always loved this house. It was our home of many memories and surrounded by great neighbors and would soon be empty of us. Two separate moves in as many of days were done with a great local mover to handle the heavy stuff and it was well worth the money! They did an excellent job and we had no damage to anything whatsoever! The only hitch was when we unloaded in Sequim and it was discovered my beloved desk for my office would not fit through any of the doors to the rooms I wanted it in. It sits in the garage there for sale….another story! We would also say what a pleasure it was working with our realtor, Bob Mathias, who is a good friend and Crestview neighbor. He did an excellent job and if you are looking to buy or sell on the eastside, he’s your man!

So after six long hard months of planning, strategizing, packing and carrying, we are done. Our plan worked flawlessly. We are mortgage free, our retirement location secured, and we have a great place to call a temporary home just blocks from our old house. All that is left for the final phase is to put in a few more years working for the man and stay healthy. Although we will miss our former home, we have a great new house and new adventure and also a great view from our rental. I say we had a lot of good luck in this, but we also acknowledge that we are truly blessed. Maybe it’s time to go back to church!

Condo View

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Maui

Another vacation in the books and the big adventure this time was a trip to Maui! We took the trip in May and it just so happened, it coincided with my birthday! What a place to be spending that!!! It was my first trip to any Hawaiian Island. Debbie has been to Hawaii before, but it was her first time on this island! The weather was nice and warm and sunny, just what we needed to offset the horribly cold and wet Spring we have endured this year! We rented a private condo at Hale Mahina Resort which was right on the beach and very nice and quiet! The setting was awesome, although the unit we stayed in could have been a bit cleaner and we could have done without the little mouse that scurried around from time to time. No big deal though, as it was time to start our adventures!

The first thing we did was to head over to a local dive shop and rented some snorkeling gear and headed up to Honolua Bay Reserve. It was absolutely beautiful and the snorkeling was spectacular. We spent most of the afternoon cruising the bay checking out the sea life. One minor glitch occurred when we were told at the beginning that we weren’t allowed to use sunscreen immediately before entering the waters at it harms the sea life. Therefore we experienced some bad ass sunburns on our lily-white Seattle skin! This made some poolside sun bathing difficult for a day or two. Next we rented a couple of moped/scooters for a screaming deal (you’ll find out why later). We had a blast on these little bikes and did some serious cruising. One drive we took them on was up to a Kahakuloa Village, just about as far as we could go on them and get back safely! This was like stepping back in time to old Hawaii, very remote and very beautiful. We were told to visit Lorraine’s Shaved Ice where Lorraine makes the best banana bread and shaved ice on the island. Boy were they right!!! She and her husband are very nice and gracious! Her store is in the basement of her home and you can sit in their backyard and enjoy your treats and socialize with her and other visitors who happen to be visiting. It was a very cool experience! This day also happened to be my birthday and we spent the late afternoon having some brews at Maui Brewing Company and then dinner at Roy’s …….yum!!! I couldn’t have had a better day!

Next day it was up early, and I mean very early 2am. We took the sunrise bike tour down the Haleakala Volcano. We were picked up at the condo and transported up with a group to the top of Haleakala to watch the sunrise from 10,000 feet! It was beautiful and cold! At 10,000 feet in elevation very early in the morning, you are up above the tropical weather in the valley and have to dress for it. We watched the sunrise and also looked around the area and crater. There is also an observatory and military installation up top which is not accessible to the public! Check out the sunrise pictures and all the photos of the trip in our gallery! After watching the sunrise, we biked down the mountain on specially braked bikes. You need great brakes on these bikes because you are going down the highway and it is a very steep grade for miles! On the way down we stopped for breakfast at a very strategically located market, can I say gold mine! It was an unforgettable experience and we were quite wiped out for the rest of the night! Another day of adventure took us on the road to Hana! On suggestions from friends and people we ran into here, we stopped at Charley’s Restaurant for breakfast on the way and were glad we did. The road to Hana is a long and winding road through beautiful and lush scenery, numerous waterfalls, glorious views of the rocky cliffs and sandy beaches. It is well-travelled and at times very narrow. At the end is the small and quaint town of Hana (Heaven). What a cool and laid back place to live! We slowly made our way back, stopping at waterfalls, scenic overlooks, and outdoor roadside markets. We also stopped at the Garden of Eden, a botanical garden and arboretum. It was full of beautiful fauna and great trails, but a little on the expensive side to be honest.

Other days were spent sunning at the pool or beach, we snorkeled right at our beach and saw numerous sea turtles. Some swam so close to you, you could almost touch them, which we didn’t because it is illegal. We explored Lahaina, Napili, Wailea, Makena, Kaanapali, and Kapalua. We loved Kapalua, very nice place and it looks spendy! We took in the Drums of the Pacific Luau at the Hyatt and did lots of shopping and eating at Whaler’s Village. We spent ten fabulous days in paradise, but wait, there’s more! I mentioned the deal we got on the scooters and also the luau was basically a two for one deal too! Why, you may ask! Did we get suckered into a timeshare presentation to enjoy these deals? Ummmmmmm yes! Ok ok now hold on before you jump to conclusions. We are not fans of the timeshare presentation as we have been to them before. The worst experience was in Cabo where we wasted three plus hours of our vacation trying to tell them we weren’t interested. We went to another one in Whistler which we might have bought had we not already decided on buying a boat! Well we went to another one and were cold and defiantly there just to bear it and enjoy our deals. This one was through Wyndham Resorts and our sales presenter, Timothy Gunn was a great guy that offered us no pressure what so ever! We didn’t have to sit through any sappy sales videos and sit in the boiler room of terminals, and high pressure sales reps that everybody else had to. We were immediately ushered into a private office after signing in and sat down with Tim. We told him how skeptical we were of the “timeshare thing” and he understood. He was a very good sales person, and after unravelling the timeshare mystery and showing us how it would work to our advantage, we were offered a deal that we absolutely could not refuse!!! We ended up buying and our base resort will be at the Kauai Beach Villas on the island of Kauai. Debbie is already learning the ropes of working the timeshare network. She took the responsibility herself! As a matter of fact, she has been the vacation travel agent for us quite awhile now and does a very good job! So expect many vacation adventures coming in the future from the Givens Estate! Now I must be off for a day’s worth of household chores and thanks for stopping by!

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