To quote Dickens, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Isn’t that just the way life works? I always thought so. How would you know what the highs were if you didn’t have any lows? And sometimes, the lows lead to the highs. This brings me to the high and low of 2022.
To start the year, a quick substitution was just what we needed.
This one kind of slips in from 2021. If you have followed this blog for a while, you know that we booked a Christmas Market river cruise with Viking River Cruises that was expected to sail in early December 2020. Well, we all know that didn’t happen, so we postponed to December 2021, but then the Delta variant of COVID showed up just before Christmas. Even though Viking still sailed the cruise, we let them keep our money for another year because most of Europe shut down their Christmas Markets. But that second cancellation killed us. And that’s how we ended 2021.
But that brought us to one of the high points of 2022—our Sail with Seth cruise on Holland America’s Nieuw Statendam that we booked as a quick replacement. We went with my brother and sister-in-law and had a Neptune Suite (a last-minute upgrade), some incredible food, found new parts of the Caribbean that I actually liked (Bonaire and Grand Turk) and just generally had a great time.
Old condo problems lead to a new home that we LOVE.
Our disillusionment with our former homeowner’s association started a long time before Spring 2022, but that’s when things went from bad to…we have to get the hell out of here. We had lived in our condo for 23 years (two months before we got married), and to be honest, we really loved living there. So we made the decision to start looking for a new place. To be totally honest, I was sure I would never leave that place and making the decision to move from our close-in, easy-to-walk-anywhere condo where we had the best neighbors anyone could ever want was both tough and quick.
Kathleen and I have always made joint decisions quickly. When we bought our condo back in 1999, we weren’t even looking. We just stopped to see an interesting model home, liked what we saw, went for coffee for half an hour and then went back and bought it. Moving this year was no different. We already knew the area we wanted to move to (Trilogy Redmond Ridge, a 55+ community about seven miles from our condo), and we found an awesome realtor (Hi Linda) who took us to see a grand total of one house—the one I am sitting in right now. We walked in, looked around for about 15 minutes and told Linda to make an offer. Then we went and looked at another place so that we could see what else was out there but to be honest; it could have been wonderful (it wasn’t); we still would have bought the one we now call home.
We love living here! And I would say this was the best thing that happened to us this year. Of course, there is always a downside. We had two big downsides. One, we had to leave behind the world’s best neighbors, Jayesh and Lisa. Sure, they are only 15 minutes away (we are having our annual New Year’s Eve dinner with them on Saturday), but it’s not the same as sticking our head over the fence or having drinks on the spur of the moment to celebrate that it’s Friday. And two, we actually had to pack and move. But that’s another of this year’s highlights.
A Moving Experience
I hate moving. In my past life (BK=Before Kathleen), I moved a bunch. But since we bought our condo in 1999, we haven’t moved. Not for 23 years. The idea of taking things down off our walls, packing all our belongings, dealing with multiple trips to and from the new house, getting the condo ready for sale, and getting all the stuff done we would have to do to move into the new house…I hated all of it. But sometimes, good things come from bad things. Like the day in April when all our kids and grandkids showed up to help us patch walls, touch up paint and clean our old place to get it ready to sell. It makes a dad and grandpa very happy to have his entire family coming together to help.
Unless you have been to our house, you have no idea how much art we have hanging on our walls. Just the downstairs powder room alone had 84 framed pieces of art on the walls. We know because Maylee (our awesome granddaughter) counted them for us. And in our kitchen, we had more than 60 decorative plates hanging on the soffit. Those all had to come down, have the holes spackled and then have the paint touched up. There were other things that needed doing, including moving a bunch of stuff to a storage shed. But everyone pitched in to help, and we got it all done. Special thanks to our eight-year-old (at the time) granddaughter and our eleven-year-old grandson because we struggled to figure out what to have them do, and they just grabbed the spackle and the paint and went for it. They did an awesome job.
We should add that they all returned again a month later to help us move out of the condo and into our new house. And all of them worked their butts off that day as well. As I said, it brings a tear to this old grandpa’s heart.
Our travels: some good and some bad
As I mentioned at the top of this post, we had a great time in the Caribbean on Nieuw Statendam in January; then, we sailed on a May cruise on Celebrity Millenium from San Diego to Vancouver, BC. And we had our BIG trip of the year—our Viking Ocean Mediterranean cruise from Athens to Barcelona that took us to Europe for almost a full month.
Since I have detailed so much of this travel before, I will just list the tops and bottoms of that travel:
The WORST parts
- Kathleen falling and breaking her elbow when we were in San Francisco on the Millenium cruise. Six hours in the emergency room, two long cab rides, one surgery and about ten weeks of recovery, all while we were moving, was not fun. All of this happening on a cruise that proved to us beyond a shadow of a doubt that our favorite cruise line (Celebrity) was not what it used to be and that this might have been the worst cruise we had been on in years. It is just sad.
- Catching COVID in Venice or at least realizing we had COVID while we were in Venice. No awful symptoms (just a slight sore throat), but still a pain. Kathleen’s cough went on for a month.
- Kathleen getting food poisoning on Viking Sky and then being quarantined because of something the cruise line did.
- Us realizing that 28 days is too long to be gone from home.
- Being on Nieuw Statendam with our good friend Seth (Sail with Seth) and finding out from him that he had been let go from Holland America on the day before the cruise, with his last day being in July. That was not cool, HAL. They then expected him to do his job helping the sixty or so people in the Sail with Seth group have a fun time.
The BEST parts
- Most of our Viking Sky cruise around the Mediterranean was great. We had a great time, and we enjoyed Viking, but our expectations were a little too high.
- I had at least two ultra-amazing photo-shooting experiences, one in Venice and one in Tarragona, Spain.
- We spent another amazing five days with the grandkids at the beach (we have been doing this for a few summers), celebrated Maylee’s birthday and played MULTIPLE games of Skipbo.
- Going back to Amsterdam and the Banks Mansion.
Hopefully, I will be back tomorrow to finish the year with my best photos.
The good times of today, are the sad thoughts of tomorrow.