Party of Three

The Sansbury’s are officially a party of three.

Introducing Bimini, our nine week old Irish Goldendoodle, who is a tiny bundle of awesomeness covered in soft auburn fur.  Fur that doesn’t shed.

#winning  #nomorelintrollers

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We honestly wrestled with getting another dog for a very long time… We really missed having a fur baby in our lives but felt like we were cheating on Yingling & Corona, even though they were happily living their golden years with their foster family who loves them to pieces.  Even after we ended our sailing trip and moved back on land, we knew that taking them back wasn’t an option.  They have a new home in which they are loved and well cared for, and that’s all we could ever ask for.  When got the news this fall that Corona had passed away after 13 wonderful years, we were devastated.  The end of an era had come.  Perhaps it was time we allow ourselves to move on as well.

Welcome, Bimini.  Named after one of our favorite islands in the Exumas, she entered our lives and filled it instantly.  She’s the fresh start that we’d been searching for since we moved to Key West almost a year ago.

But boy, did we forget about the puppy stage!  The razor sharp teeth and new puppy smell; the boundless energy; the crate training.  Oh, how I hate the crate training!  She’ll cry and whine to be let out, but we want to avoid any accidents in the house.  It seriously breaks my heart  to hear her get so worked up.   But I know that proper training is absolutely necessary to having a well behaved companion dog in the future. It just kills us to have her unhappy 🙁

So far she loves socializing with people and strutting her stuff down Duval Street.  She’s already an Island dog who enjoys the beach, chewing on coconuts and chasing the roosters that roam the streets of Key West. Funny, because most of them are bigger than she is right now.  Wonder how she’d do at the Hemingway House with all of those six toed cats?

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Key West-ers

We’ve officially been living in Key West for one week now, and we haven’t gotten lost in the 24-7 nightlife of Duval Street or attacked by any of the many lizards and chickens roaming the island.  Matt’s even found himself a job.  I’d consider that a successful first week, wouldn’t you?

But what a week it’s been! After our visit home, we made the loooong drive from MD to FL with a loaner truck from Matt’s uncle stuffed to the brim with stuff we’d need for the house (yard tools, paint supplies, tools, etc).  Google told us the trip would take us around 18 hours, so we left at 4am and started ticking off the states as we headed South.  Originally our plan was to do 3 hour driving shifts, just like we would do an overnight trip on the boat, however we both forgot how much we hate I-95 and found ourselves shortchanging our shifts as the day wore on.  I think we were down to switching every 90 minutes or so, which was timed perfectly for when we were in need of a bathroom break.  Damn coffee. We must have hit every rest stop along I-95 from North Carolina thru Florida. We ended up making it to Ft. Lauderdale in just over 16 hours, even with all those stops. No shocker here that Sansbury time trumped Google.

Since we enjoyed the drive SO much (insert sarcasm here), we decided to spend just one day on the boat before turning around and doing it all over again on the final leg to the Keys.  To say we were dreading it would be an understatement.  We’ve been on a boat for six months!  No driving!  My right shin was killing me from working the pedals and my butt was sore from all the sitting.  Pretty funny, huh?

Because the back of the truck was already filled to the brim with house stuff, we had to buck up and rent a moving truck to get the rest of our things down to the house.  We had cleared the boat of most of our belongings when we returned from the Bahamas and and shoved everything (rather haphazardly) into a small 4’x6′ storage unit.

I think it says a lot when you can ft your whole life into less than 200 cubic feet of space. Sigh…

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Matt was wondering if the 10′ rental truck would be big enough to fit all the stuff from our storage unit.  Um…. I think we’re fine.  You could stack all of those bins in the back of the truck and still fit a dining room table for six in there. Probably should have went with a van.

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The drive from Lauderdale to Key West took about 5 hours.  Two of those hours were spent on Rt.1 from Lauderdale thru the sprawl of Miami.  Once we get a SunPass (like an EZ Pass, but for some unknown reason, Florida has to be different), we can hop on the turnpike and should be able to shave the drive down to about 3 hours or so.  Once we sell the boat, we’ll have no reason to come up to the mainland at all (except to the airport every now and then), a thought that makes me very, very happy.  The Keys are awesome.  Ft. Lauderdale/Miami is not.

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So…. here it is!  Our new house!  Isn’t it cute?  Exactly what I picture when I think of Key West.  We absolutely love it… all 780 sq. ft of it 🙂

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The past week has been spent organizing, organizing, organizing!  When we packed up the boat, we basically threw everything and anything into whatever bin/bag/box we had on hand.  Spices were mixed with socks.  Office supplies were co-mingling with toilet paper.  It was a hot mess and pretty much threw me into a meltdown whenever I tried to find anything.

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This week we’ve also been doing a lot of painting.  SO. MUCH. PAINTING.  A previous tenant must have been an artist, because both bedroom ceilings and the pantry were, uh….. artistically enhanced?  Some people will probably look at these pictures and think these murals (?) are cool/charming/beautiful.  Trust me, they are not. In fact, it looks like someone tried to get rid of the bamboo scene in the pantry, but had a change of heart at the last minute.  By day two, I took care of finishing up where they left off.

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Speaking of the pantry, that’s where our stackable washer and dryer will go one they come in.  These, combined with a full sized kitchen (including a dishwasher – thankbabyjesus) and a private bathroom are the trifecta of everything I dreamed about while living on a boat.  Unfortunately the first unit we schlepped all the way from Home Depot in the scorching heat and humidity on our own was defective. SUCH a let down.  We’ve been paying for laundry in shitty marina laundromats for TWO YEARS and I was anticipating that unit more that anyone will ever know.

HD’s customer service was awesome.  Not only did they upgrade our unit, but they threw in free pick up of the old one and free delivery of the new one as well.  I guess now that we’re back on land, Home Depot is our new West Marine. Suburbs to Sailing to Suburbs?

New Beginnings

Only a few days left back here in Maryland before we return to Florida and begin our next adventure…. one that involves a certain salty piece of land that we absolutely fell in love with early on in our travels.

Yep, we’re moving to Key West to settle down for a few years until we decide to throw it all in the blender and mix it up again.

Why Key West?  Why not?  It’s absolutely fabulous there!  We love the quirky people and the tight knit community.  We love that every street is lined with palm trees and that chickens roam everywhere.  We love that it’s the USA but doesn’t feel like the USA (like, not at all).  We love that we’ll have amazing reefs to snorkel and still have (two!) well stocked Publix grocery stores to shop from.  It’s the best of the best.  Our Bee’s Knee’s.  And if we really, really want to go someplace “more exotic”, the Bahamas and Cuba are still closer than the Florida mainland.

We’ve gotten some comments asking us why we didn’t cruise longer.  We were gone for a total of six months, only two of which were spent in the Bahamas.  Much shorter than our original plan to cruise for a year plus, and to cover more ground – water? – deeper into the Caribbean.  Truth is, we sorta ruined ourselves by going to Key West first.  The time we spent there over the holidays were completely amazing… and we ended up falling in love with it.  The Bahamas were beautiful – the water was the best I’ve ever seen in all my travels; the hundreds of islands provided literally something for everyone; the people were kind and welcoming – but in the end, all we could do was compare it to Key West.  It’s like finding the perfect dress but trying on a few more just to say you did, all the while knowing your heart was already set on that first one.

While we knew we wanted to return to the Keys, we didn’t know exactly when.  Two factors worked together to make the decision for us: our cruising budget was running low and we knew the time was approaching where we needed to get jobs again, and Matt’s uncle surprised us by buying a house in Key West and needed someone to live in it.  The stars can’t align much better than that, so we took the leap and committed.  And we can’t be more excited for the next step.  True, we didn’t sail around the world for several years, but we did have the guts to dream up something crazy and actually GO DO IT, and that alone is farther than most people get in their entire life.  Boom.

So, that means that we’ve put Foxfire on the market (view the listing here).  That’s the part that really makes us sad.  We’ve put so much love and pride into making her our own, it’s strange to think that she won’t be ours anymore.  Selling Foxy is so much harder than it ever was selling a house…. she made it possible for us to have an amazing adventure, possible for us to find ourselves in the process, and possible for us to start this new chapter in our lives, one that we have no doubt is going to be pretty f-ing fantastic.  It’s been a great two years, Foxfire.  Here’s hoping that we’re able to find you your next set of owners that will love you as much as we do.

 

Avalon, NJ

We took a long weekend to join Matt’s sister and her family in Avalon, NJ for a little vacay.  Honestly, I wasn’t sure of what to expect from the Jersey shore; my experience only being a bachelorette party in Seaside Heights (from what I can remember anyway), and the ever infamous MTV series, Jersey Shore, both of which were not what I would compare a quiet family vacation to.  And what’s up with using the word shore, anyway?  It’s a beach, damn it!  Anywhere else in the world one would describe a place with sand/ocean/lifeguards/coastline as a beach.  But not our Jersey friends.  To them it’s The Shore.  It is also funny to me how people from Jersey always refer to themselves as being from one end of the state or the other.  A simple “Where you from?” is followed by “North/South Jersey”.  I got a good dose of that during my freshman year in college, where about 40% of the class was from… you guessed it…. Jersey.  Um  hello, last time I checked it was still one state, or have you been successful in succeeding from the Union?  I also had to teach my roommate how to pump her own gas because they don’t let you do that yourself there (something about creating jobs or something), so instead they jack up the prices and have someone else pump it for you.  But I digress… Avalon was actually pretty wonderful and gave the Delaware beaches I raved about in this earlier post a run for their money.

Plus we had our adorable niece and nephews to hang with for four whole days.  We were in heaven.

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Since the weather was sorta crappy, and the attention span of kids under six are extremely limited, we only did a few short outings to the beach.  However, this gave us plenty of time to do the typical beach activities – building sand castles, searching for shells, burying children, flying kites, you know, the usual stuff.

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How cool is this kid?  Future’s so bright, he’s gotta wear shades…

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Natalie got the award for best sand castle village.  She didn’t just build one, but an entire freakin’ city; all with shells and other random embellishments including a feather atop the highest one to tell which way the wind was coming from.  I think we may have a future crew member in training!  There was no actual award, just lots of praise and attention which seemed to make her just as happy.

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I even managed to get in some Kindle time, devouring a new book that Jill had suggested.  Let’s just say it was comparable to the Fifty Shades of Grey series, and I was glad to be reading it incognito on my tablet instead of in actual book form.  And Matt got some adult playtime in with a willing participant, Brian, for some paddle ball.

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Our nights were spent visiting the local ice cream shop – NOT soft serve mind you… there IS a difference – where the special was a massive Man vs Food creation that consisted of 12 scoops of ice cream with 15 toppings served in a pirate hat.  All for $30. I can’t even imagine what effect that amount of sugar would do to kids.  Well, I actually could, since there seemed to be quite a few of them raging with what one could only compare to as superhuman energy bouncing around all round us. We opted to just buy the hats and forgo the meltdown that would inevitably ensue around bedtime later that night.  Let’s call that a win-win.

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Matt and Andrew pretending to be pirates.  You know, with the squinty eye and the hook finger.  Spot on, boys!

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The highlight of the trip was being able to celebrate Jameson’s 2nd birthday on the actual day itself.  Natalie and Andrew and I made him a homemade cake to celebrate.  Don’t ask me why there are actually 16 candles on the cake or why only half was covered in sprinkles.  Kid logic is a mystery to me.  The cake was pretty damn good though.  I can’t deny that I may have had it for breakfast a few times.

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Unfortunately, he WILL be 16 at some point. Probably a heck of a lot sooner than any of us adults would like to acknowledge because that means we will be old. Maybe not 50 old (well, at least not some of us), but older none the less.  How time flies.  Just stay two forever, Jamie.

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We took the ferry from Lewes, DE to Cape May, NJ to break up the drive a bit, and boy it was cool.  Funny how boats just seem to be our preferred mode of transport these days. Now if we could just figure out a way to get our car onto the catamaran… Guess that’s what the dinghy’s for.

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The views were fantastic, including this particularly interesting parking situation.  I wouldn’t want to be the owner of that silver car, especially in rough seas.

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Fenwick Island, Delaware

This weekend we took a trip to visit Matt’s dad and step mom at their house in Fenwick Island, Delaware. We settled on our house last Wednesday (finally), and wanted to get some family/beach time in before the wave of boat projects start up again.  Surprisingly, it felt sorta strange to not be be homeowners anymore.  I expected to feel more indifferent, considering we’ve been on the boat for over a year now.  I guess cutting that one last tie made our situation seem so much more… permanent.  Not that we’re regretting our decision to live aboard for one minute… its just that we no longer have the option of moving back into the house, and back into our old life. As Boyz II Men put it so eloquently back in 1991, It’s so hard…. to say goodbye… to yesterday.

After an hour at the beach I got over it.  We’re in total countdown mode now.

One thing I love about spending time at Jim & Patty’s place is that it’s so darn relaxing.  They retired to the beach, so they wake up to paradise everyday. With them, there’s never any rush to try to cram in everything in a single week, which makes everything more relaxed (read: lazy) when were there.  We sleep in until 9:00, spend another hour sitting on the couch talking (usually trying to figure out what day it is), then mosey on about our day.  No aggressive agendas about places to go or things to do.  We start our day with no plan, and do whatever we want, whenever the mood strikes.  At night we caught up on our favorite Netflix shows – Orange is the New Black and House of Cards – since our subscription expired and streaming movies is damn near impossible with our marina wi-fi. We’ll have to pick back up when we visit again in September. God I miss you, Comcast.

Love sitting on their back deck and watching the sun set….  It reminds us to slow down and enjoy the NOW.

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We drove down the coast to Ocean City, Maryland for a day on the boardwalk.  Man, that place has gone downhill. We must have past a hundred shops blaring rap or hardcore reggae selling the same dumb shirts with a Jersey Shore reference on them.  Or bars with crowds of drunk fortysomethings hanging by the door chain smoking.  Or maybe they were twentysomethings that’ve lived a hard life.  Did I mention it was noon?  Ugh.  Sorry to all of you who just love this place… my family included.  Places like this just give me an anxiety attack these days.  A deserted tiki bar on some Bahamian island is now my version of the perfect vacation.  Sorry Maryland, but the Delaware beaches totally win this one.

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Back up in Delaware, we stopped at this ice cream place in Rehoboth Beach that had the most interesting flavors.  I got a scoop of This Ish Is Off The Hook, which is basically Crack with some chocolate chips and caramel in it.  Matt went more traditional with an Almond Joy and Cookies & Cream mix.  I would have gotten the Better Than Sex, but after tasting how good the other flavors were, I was afraid that it might actually be true.

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We saw quite a few dogs at the beach, which really made our hearts ache for the girls.  We keep in touch with their adoptive family who report that they’re doing great and have transitioned well, which calms our anxieties a little.  They are definitely in a good place, which we will be forever grateful for.

Since we didn’t have to rush home, we took our time, driving the back roads and stopping at local produce stands for fresh tomatoes and peaches.  We bought the biggest watermelon I’ve ever seen on impulse.  Now I need to figure out what the heck to do with the thing.  It must weight 10lbs.

We stopped for dinner at a place called the Jetty just before the Bay Bridge.  The food was just OK, but the view was incredible.  Anyplace that we can be this close to the water is where we want to be.  Sorta reminds us of home… the floating kind 🙂

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