April 2023 brought lots of fun for us here in Mexico, and lots of trips to El Cielo which is the southern tip of Cozumel… So in this video, we are sharing all the fun we had crossing over to either Cozumel or El Cielo where some of the most beautiful water can be found. Our first trip was Easter Sunday and what better way to spend it than with our friends on board Journey making the trek across to El Cielo. This is the best friend group and we loved this day that we got to spend together. At the time we did not know it at the time but it would be one of our last when we would all be together. We had a great crossing and a beautiful day enjoying the stingrays who are always super friendly to everyone. Remember this is Easter Sunday and it is crowded along the sandbars of El Cielo…
The next trip was a special request from Jack and Cathy and some of their friends. We set out on a beautiful, actually perfect day. It just does not get much better than this on the water. Cathy was able to reel in her first fish, a baby mahi, we gave him back to grow a little bigger for another day, but she enjoyed the experience. Once again we settled into a beautiful spot on the sandbar to enjoy the day. And the stingrays were just as friendly as ever! Check out how beautiful this water is with white sand down below. (See Video)
Our third trip was a little different, as we had some friends who were stopping in Cozumel for the day on a cruise and we could not miss the opportunity to go across and visit even if the waters were just a little rougher than we like. We enjoyed visiting and hanging out before they had to go back on board. Dee and I had gotten a slip in the marina for the night and loved the marina, but even more so when we were able to watch the sun go down into the water. We have missed these sunsets. The next day the seas were a little better and as we set out across Dee caught a mahi!
Our final trip was to celebrate an engagement. The son of some friends of ours proposed to his long-time girlfriend here in PA. This is a favorite place for them both. We took them and their friends across to El Cielo before they headed back to the States. The sun didn’t cooperate as well as our other days, but all in all, it was a great day. Soon they will be back saying their vows here in Mexico.
This is the only word that I can find to describe the six weeks that Dee and I spent back in the States. We could not catch a break, but we accomplished so much. We know that somehow God has a plan that we are headed toward and it will be Good! Words you have to remember when in the midst of the storm. Our Dee’s favorite song, The Eye of the Storm ( Ryan Stevenson)
We kick off this whirlwind with my 55th birthday here in Mexico. We met friends at Latitudes and enjoyed way too many Margaritas, but it was a fun and memorable birthday. Dee and I suffered traveling the next day — car rides and plane flights — a little yucky, but we survived to arrive back in NC and at my parents’ home by 8:30 pm. Long day, but glad to be home and see family and friends, especially Lilia! On our first full day back, Dee was given bad news about his business as he prepared for separation from his parent company and independence for his agency. His biggest company he thought so highly of decided he was not worth appointing. This is a big blow as the finality of his partnership with AA and the uncertainty of the future for the business are just about to begin on July 1.
July 1 is a Saturday and the good news is that Lilia has arrived to bring smiles to our faces! We so love having her around and watching her grow and learn. She is the funniest and sweetest. Aldo and Hannah take a night to themselves in a hotel before heading back home. We get lots of Lilia time - Parks, Ducks, Restaurants, and the July 4th celebration. We spent the afternoon out at the lake with good friends, Eddie and Joan. Chelsea and Garrett whose son is Lilia’s age brought out all the water toys and Lilia had a blast. It was hot and she is a trooper so we called it an early night for her. The 5th is our last full day with her and we get all the love we can before meeting Hannah halfway on the 6th to give her back. We are sad, but Dee has lots to do and I need to learn how to be his backup and help out so he and Stormi can work. During Lilia’s visit, Dee still did lots of hard work on the business which was hard with Lilia here, because he had missed her and needed her love.
Sat. July 8 we took my parents to Thomasville to see a camper they had been looking at and they decided to buy. It is beautiful. While we were there, we decided to sell our motorhome and buy their fifth wheel for our new North Carolina home. More on how that will work when I tell that drama story. After making the decision to sell the Motorhome we must begin the clean-out so we can take pictures and have her ready to sell. So Monday morning, we begin the process which takes us two days and we have her ready for Facebook and up for sale. This is good because now we are packing bags quickly to leave for Alexandria, VA, and a visit with Jesse, but first, we stop in Durham to see Hannah and Aldo’s new house. Lilia is at daycare so we must wait for those hugs just a little longer, but we love the new house and can see the potential it has for them. I know Hannah is glad to have a place even though I also know how much she loved traveling around the country, but with a child and two dogs, it just was too hard.
We make it to Virginia and enjoy our time with Jesse which includes a 5-hour worship service at NCC on 7/13 beginning at 7:14 and ending at midnight at 7:14. Yes, it means something! 2 Chronicles 7:14, " If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” On Saturday we were supposed to hike, but the weather canceled it so we spent an evening at Port City Brewing a great little brewery in Alexandria. We also had some pool time and worshiped at NCC, and heard Mark Batterson preach before leaving and heading back toward Durham. Now we get Lilia's love and hugs for a few hours anyway.
At this point, I think my body decided to take a break or break down, and I got sick. Thankfully I had an antibiotic from Mexico and started taking it, but it still took about 4 days to get it out of my system. Yet, I could not stop! We had motorhome showings and Dee had to keep plugging away at work. By the end of the week, we had a deposit on the motorhome. Wow! That was fast, but this part of the story is not over. The weekend arrived and it was finally time to pick up Mom and Dad’s new camper and get it set up and the Jayco moved up to our old site so they could move out slowly and organize into the new camper because for sure my Mom needs it to be right! After all this hard work we needed some downtime, so we headed out to the lake to hang out with Mark and Lisa to float in the lake, spend the night, and enjoy a fabulous meal cooked on their Blackstone grill.
Dee is still working but Stormi is on vacation in Hawaii, so I start the week working with him in the office, on Wednesday we head back to Durham to pick up Harley and get more love from Lilia. We also begin the process of building a patio cover that needs to be put together for Hannah and Aldo. We were going well until Hannah remembered she had her online class. Oops! We still have so much to do, but stopped and took Lilia to Chick-fil-A with Jesse. Then we head back to my Mom and Dad’s with Harley. I am now working from Mom and Dad’s to take care of Harley as the weekend hits. I head back up with Mom and Dad to work on setting up the new camper while Dee takes a break and gets his Harley time. On Sunday we are headed back to Durham to work on the cover and return Harley to Jesse. I didn’t mention that Jesse had a Bachelorette weekend. We worked for several hours but still could not get that patio cover done. Hannah and Aldo finally finished it during the week. I wish we had kept track of the hours it took to build. You will know why soon.
We started the next week off with Dee continuing to work super hard and long hours while I worked with Mom and Dad up at their camper helping move items from one to the other along with some other items that needed to be done so they could hopefully be living in the camper some. The camper is like their summer home. We also delivered the motorhome to be checked out, especially the generator, which was a good hour's drive away. On the next evening which was a Tuesday, Dee and I rented a car and headed off to Florida for a 24-hour trip to get the title for the motorhome. It took exactly 24 hours to make this turnaround trip, but we did it and are ready to finalize the motorhome sale.
The day after our Florida trip, we head over and pick up the motorhome and meet the couple from Lumberton at Concord Mills, and sell her off! Feels good to know someone will be using her and we can’t wait to get the Jayco set up for us in Mooresville. Sometimes you need your space! We close out this week with a sunset cruise on the lake finally! July is gone and it is August before we get a sunset on Lake Norman. The cruise was awesome and it is hard to believe this is the first time we saw the sunset as our stay is winding down. Dee and I spent Saturday morning helping Mom and Dad again move items and working on their setup.
On Sunday, we rested as my sister went with my Mom and Dad to the camper and then to their pool. So we just relaxed, but Hannah finally said they wanted us to do their garage floors, which we had offered on the first stop to see the house as a housewarming gift. Her life has been just about as crazy and she finally says yes, so off to Lowes we go. We got all the supplies and the paint kit. This week brings great news as Jesse’s job finally posts! We are so excited and pray that this is what God wants for her. On Wednesday we head to Durham and start the floors. We have dinner with Aldo, Hannah, and Lilia at Growler Girls or that is where the beer came from. The pizza was next door not sure of the name, but super yummy! We topped the overnight stay of by Dee and I stayed in the dirtiest Airbnb ever but it was for just one night. The next morning as we headed to finish the floors I was concerned we might be accused of making it dirty. I had taken pictures so decided to report it, but we did not ask for any money back. We felt the man must really need the money. Airbnb did give us a little back probably their fees, but it took a while before they got the apartment down. I hate it for him, but the filth, etc., was indescribable. I hate anyone who lives this way. I pray the money he received was well used. That next day we finished the garage floors and they looked great. We can’t wait to see the downstairs of their house finished. They have so much going on it is crazy! Hannah and Lilia packed up and headed back to Mooresville with us for the weekend. I think Hannah just needed a place to live for a few days with furniture! We needed more Lilia love so it worked out for us all. We took Hannah, Aislinn, Jenna, and of course Lilia out on a sunset cruise. The girls took off for girl time and we took Lilia home and enjoyed a few extra minutes of love although she was a little grumpy before bed. We finished off the weekend with dinner with my parents, sister, and brother-in-law. A great family celebration and get-together that we really should do more often.
This last week in the States brought packing up, Hannah had a big storm that destroyed the patio cover we all spent hours building gone in seconds along with Lilia’s play set. Very heartbroken for them and it seemed they were in shock over it. This is what Hannah and Aldo need just a little more on their plate.
Now, I have to back up and tell another story that is happening during this entire 6 weeks that culminated on our final weekend while Lilia was visiting which really did not give us enough time with her before we left especially Dee who had to deal with most of this issue. Dee’s cousin had her mobile home on the land Dee inherited from his parents, the land was originally his grandfather's and she had been promised she could live there as long as she needed back in 1985. She called on May 14, to tell us she was moving into an apartment and that the mobile home was no longer a safe place to live she was giving him notice and promised to have the mobile home torn down by the end of July. He thanked her for calling and taking care of the mobile home and told her she did not have the pay the little money she did to lease the land. Sometime around mid-June, Dee reached out again to her to find out what was going on and she told him she had a realtor and was selling it. I knew this sounded crazy so I went straight to Facebook and found the post but at the time failed to notice that the mobile home was not posted by her for sale. He asked to be kept informed. I really can’t remember if there were a few more times Dee reached out for information, but after the 4th of July, he received a call from her sister saying she was trying to handle all of this and would he be interested in the title being signed over to him. We walked through it and knew it was a no for us because we felt it needed to be torn down. On the same day, they called back to say that they might have a buyer. Dee tried to understand the pricing, the Facebook person who we finally saw was not her, and the moving of the mobile home off of the property, but neither wanted to communicate and answer questions. In fact, she hung up on him 3 times in one morning because she could not answer questions that were being asked. On this same morning, we sent a message to the woman on Facebook and told her she no longer had permission from us to be on the property. She never responded. We asked for her credentials as a realtor which his cousin kept calling her. Although we knew she did not have to be a realtor to sell a mobile home. We were out of town visiting Jesse at this time, but when we returned we went and posted No Trespassing signs on the property, and a sign on the trailer that it had been abandoned and the owner was not communicating with the property owner.
At some point, we believe the Facebook lady found all this as she finally answered the message and asked us to sign a Hold Harmless Agreement which he refused. His cousin began sending emails at this time, we feel because Dee refused to talk to her sister any further and she needed her help. After reading these and going by the property we knew someone had been on the property so we reposted signs and blocked the driveway with a sign again stating that the property owner and mobile home owner were not communicating with each other. Dee answered an email from her asking her to put him in contact with anyone who had purchased the mobile home, and he would not remove the signs until he knew what was going on. He laid out what would probably happen because she would not choose the right path and almost word for word it happened our last weekend home while Lilia was visiting.
Our last Saturday morning in the States while having coffee the neighbor who is a renter called to tell us a lot of people we're on the property. Dee flew out of the house and asked her to call the sheriff's office because he did not know who was there. When he arrived it was the new owner and a moving company who failed to read the signs and just moved the barricade out of the driveway. The deputy explained everything to them about how they could be arrested and why didn’t they call the number on the sign, but Dee, giving everyone some grace, said give us a minute to see if we can work this out. While discussing with the moving company why they had not contacted him they continued to say they just assumed the owner of both was the same. They ignored the sign. He told them he needed their insurance before they could start. His cousin shows up and the company then pings her for money because she was not forthright with anyone and had stopped their work. After lunch, we met back to get the insurance and for his cousin to pay the moving company the extra money they required for the incident. Dee spent most of the weekend out there telling this company what they were going to run into and continuing to have to ask them to correct mistakes like a broken water line which caused the other renter to be without water for hours, and not realizing how embedded the mobile home was in the ground after so many years. He made sure it was done right with little damage to the property and that they cleaned up and dressed the lot which they did not want to do, but when you are caught breaking the law then you concede a little to correct your mistakes. The worst part is that Dee spent almost all day Saturday, Sunday, and Monday on the land watching this “shit show”. If it had not been for one of their contractors (it was a family business) then it would have been really bad! As I said before everything he predicted in the email to his cousin happened, and it cost her more money. Let’s see you sell for $1,000 and then have to give the moving company $800 for your lies. Seems like a lot of work to be deceptive for nothing. But now we can look forward to having a great little spot to put the fifth wheel and a place for us here in NC.
We have to end this all on a good note and that is All About Lilia or Sunshine as Dee calls her. She lights up our life. She loves animals and is curious about the world around her. Her smile lights up the room, and she is quite the comedian. She is really understanding that I am Meems (Allie). Well, right now she thinks we are both collectively Meems, but we are working on it for Capi (Dee).
Here’s to hoping our next trip home is not exactly like these six weeks were this past summer.
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