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August 31, 2015

8

Two Countries, Three States, Four Homes

by frankandems

Wow. I just reread the post from last winter. It promised of charming tales about “Life in a Northern Town,” the posts I thought we would put out during our time in Ontario. And now it is nearly September. All of our family and more than half of our friends know where we have landed since . . . but it was a real wake up call last week when I received very lovely birthday greetings from some people I consider very good friends who said, “By the way . . . where are you????” That was the wake up call, perhaps, that the blog needed an update and that I need to do a better job of keeping in touch with friends.

Well, the theme for us in recent years has been that we’re always on the move. The last six months have been no exception. So far 2015 has included 2 countries, 3 states and 4 homes. Yeah, just in 2015. Let me explain – as briefly as I can.

First, a wrap up of the “Life in a Northern Town” chapter. We had visions of sharing stories about sledding and snow shoeing and learning the sport of curling, but it didn’t really pan out that way. We were in Canada from January to the first week of May. The two weeks before we left were just about the first time we saw the grass anywhere in the area. No lie. It was ice and snow all of that time. We wanted to embrace winter. Frank had proudly proclaimed that “If I can survive winter in South Dakota, how much colder can it be in Orillia?” We found out the answer . . . A LOT! Frank had also proclaimed that, “Once it gets below 20 degrees, how much colder can it really feel? Cold is cold.” He answered his own question on that one, too . . . with the same answer. Minus 20 degrees does not feel anything like plus 20 degrees. There is a difference! There were days and days on end when the temperature never got above zero. That said, our motivation to enjoy any outdoor activities was severely stunted. Still, it really was a beautiful area and we enjoyed the scenery and the very friendly people. The job was challenging and kept Frank extremely busy, and I made regular trips back to the states for either work or to check on family or the house in NJ. Driving became my preferred way to travel . . . winter flying on Air Canada’s tiny planes to the states was unpredictable at best. The 10 hour trip by car was much better and gave me a more flexible schedule to work around the weather. We rented a GREAT furnished house on a lake with super neighbors – and from the nicest people. We stumbled into that ideal situation! The lovely surroundings made it easy to come home at the end of the day and just hibernate!! We became part bear, I suppose. I’ll put in a picture or two here to make your hot, humid day feel a little bit cooler!

Home sweet home for a few months. Looks like a new house - actually a renovated older home. Very cool place.

Home sweet home for a few months. Looks like a new house – actually a renovated older home. Very cool place.

The view out the back door. That is a lake under the ice.

The view out the back door. That is a lake under the ice.

We did make it into Toronto for a weekend and paid a visit to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

We did make it into Toronto for a weekend and paid a visit to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Fast forward, the casino identified a new GM and Frank’s “interim” gig came to an end . . . but they had other plans for him. Staying in Ontario for a few years was presented as an option and we seriously toyed with the idea of bringing Eleanor Q up to Georgian Bay and hanging our hats in Ontario for a few years, but we both agreed that we missed our country (I’m not being trite there) and we missed being a little more accessible to family and friends. And perhaps, yes, it was a bit much to consider several more winters like that one!

A week before we left we got a glipse of what Orillia looks like in the spring! The ice melted around April 20th.

A week before we left we got a glipse of what Orillia looks like in the spring! The ice melted around April 20th.

After passing this giant Adirondack chair several times, I had to try sitting in it after the snow had melted off of it! Who remembers Edith Ann from

After passing this giant Adirondack chair several times, I had to try sitting in it after the snow had melted off of it! Who remembers Edith Ann from “Laugh-In” ??

While we had time on our hands during our evenings of hibernation, another plan was hatching. We have had it in our minds that our ultimate retirement location of choice would be Annapolis. Why Annapolis? It’s an easy drive to most of our family members, it’s right on the Chesapeake Bay and our favorite cruising grounds, and it’s a place where we’ve been hanging out for years on Eleanor Q. Hmmmm… the markets were up, interest rates looked like they were about to start moving up, the housing market was starting to pick up…was this the time to strike? I will spare you all the agonizing we went through re: “To Buy or Not to Buy,” but the moral of the story is that we (happily) purchased the home in Annapolis. It is a house that we had eyed up six months earlier, but we felt like the timing wasn’t right when we considered it the first time around. Here it was – our dream location – still sitting on the market. We didn’t walk away a second time – we bought the house. We plan to make that our home base for years and years to come. Being an older home, it has plenty of projects to keep us busy!

Eleanor Q's new home!

Eleanor Q’s new home!

image

But wait! What about that work thing we’re supposed to be doing? Frank’s company had the “permanent” position in mind for him around the same time that we were dreaming up our Annapolis plans . . . Hollywood Casino in Toledo, Ohio. Yes, you read that right – Toledo. (Hey, it’ still not as cold as Orillia, Ontario, I promise you!) Some of you might be thinking, “I didn’t even know there were casinos in Toledo!” The Detroit/Toledo gaming market has become a big regional gaming area and Penn opened Hollywood Toledo just three years ago. It is one of Penn’s “Tier 1” premier properties and truly a beautiful facility. Our cruising pals from Magnolia (you blog followers have read a lot about them) had a family reunion in the area and visited us and the casino – and gave it two thumbs up!

Hollywood Casino Toledo

Hollywood Casino Toledo

So, we have become a two state couple. We have an apartment in Toledo and the house in Maryland and spend time in both. Frank gets back to the Annapolis home about once a month for several days and I have been getting to Toledo about twice a month, so we are together a good portion of the time, but I home base more out of Annapolis. Baltimore airport is only 30 minutes away making travel for work very easy. From door to door it is a 7:45 drive from the MD house to the OH apartment. (Hey – less than the 10 hour commute to Canada!) I’ve been driving to haul things back and forth and he’s been flying to maximize his time back. We’re figuring out how to make it work.

Checking out the German Festival in Toledo.

Checking out the German Festival in Toledo.

Frank is in search of the largest soft serve ice cream twist. So far this one is the leader in the club house!! Toledo knows how to do soft serve!

Frank is in search of the largest soft serve ice cream twist. So far this one is the leader in the club house!! Toledo knows how to do soft serve!

Frank had the month of May off between the Canada gig and the Toledo gig for us to move out of Ontario, move out of our NJ house in the “retirement community” that served us well during our cruising time and move into our more permanent home in the sailing mecca of Annapolis. A few weeks later, we packed some belongings up again and moved into the apartment in Toledo as well. Notice that some form of the word “move” was used four times in those two sentences. April, May, June and July are just kind of a blur at this point.

We will make our home in both locations until such time as Frank decides to do the retirement thing again. Eleanor Q is not getting as much use as she would like, but I keep a watchful eye on her and spend time on her at the dock so she knows she is still loved. We get her out when Frank is in town. When the time is right, we will pick up cruising with her again, although our plan will be to split our time between land and sea. We learned that we like both lifestyles very much and don’t want to give up one for the other. Meanwhile, we’ll enjoy visiting some of our old favorite haunts around the Chesapeake… a BEAUTIFUL place to be.

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So between Ohio, Maryland and a variety of other locations required for work right now, when friends ask “Where are you?” the answer will still be a bit of a moving target. For now, Eleanor Q lies in wait to see what her next adventure will be down the road.

8 Comments Post a comment
  1. Kim Henderson
    Sep 1 2015

    You are so good at writing. Thanks for the update and the pictures. I LOVE PICTURES (hint hint)

    Miss you,
    Kim

    Reply
  2. Tara Hall
    Sep 1 2015

    So glad to hear from you! I love your stories as they are always captivating and entertaining…I think you should have been a novelist! Hope you enjoy the Fall – I know I am ready for it! Keep us posted! Tara Hall

    Reply
  3. Ellen Kelly
    Sep 1 2015

    Wow! I,m exhausted just reading that!! Enjoy, Ellen & Jimmy ⛵️

    Reply
  4. Loretta and Jim Elliott
    Sep 1 2015

    Always great to hear from you and find out what’s happening. Best wishes in this new chapter of your lives. I find owning two homes and a sailboat quite exhausting at times. How about you??? Have fun. Loretta and Jim s/v Plan Sea

    Reply
  5. Helen Copp
    Sep 1 2015

    I wish I had your energy! Give me a call and give me your new address. I’m still working at St. Andrew’s. Helen

    Reply
  6. Sep 1 2015

    Loved the update. I have been wondering where you two were. Sounds like the adventure continues. “Just passing through” would sum it up. Love you you both.

    Reply
  7. Gwyneth Michel
    Sep 2 2015

    Thanks for the update. And, yes, I remember Edith Ann…sigh.

    The Old(er) One

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Reply
  8. Lynn Brumfield
    Sep 4 2015

    Hi, MM. It’s great to hear from you. I love reading about all your travels. I was hoping to see you sometime when you were in NJ – I’m still living in the same place in PA and working at the same place in NJ – but I guess I missed my chance. But Annapolis isn’t too far. If you come to the Bethlehem area, let’s please try to get together! Tell Frank hello. Love you! Lynn

    Reply

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