Are we there yet?

No, we are most decidedly not there yet….but, we will be very soon! As we made our way home last November, it was our intention to return to Zoe at the end of March after our grandson’s first birthday. He’s our first grand baby, so there was no way we were missing that little guy’s first birthday! Before we move forward, I decided to give a little backstory as to how we ended up still in Arizona until June.
We returned from Zoe at the beginning of November last year (2020). It had been a very shortened, but very rewarding, sailing season despite Covid restrictions and being unable to go beyond Greece’s borders. Remaining in Greece was our choice due to the lockdowns in Europe, and our inability to return to Greece if we left. We spent a very brief week at home reconnecting with family and getting ready for our next adventure. 
Before long, we were jetting off to the island of Maui. My parents have been part of a partnership in a condo on the water for many decades. Since they no longer felt the desire to travel, Dan and I have assumed that ownership. Because of the lockdowns, no one had been to the condo since February, so we felt the need to get out there to check in on things and take care of some of the tasks that couldn’t get done during the lockdown. Of course, there would be adventure and fun while we were there!

The many charms of Maui
Blowhole on the north shore
Stop on the road to Hana
Sunset view from Ka’anapali


One of our dear friends came out to join us, and we spent our days exploring as much of Maui as we possibly could. I’ve included some pictures with captions to help share some of the beautiful sights of Maui. 
Our plan had been to stay in Maui until November 30th and then return to Arizona (seems like a lot of my sentences start this way). Life had other plans for us.

Loving Maui!
Headed down into the depths of a lava tube
Honu – the green turtle endemic to Hawaiian waters.

Ten days into our trip, I received a call from my sister that our mom had fallen and broken her femur. She was headed to the hospital to undergo surgery. At her age, this was not good. The 3 of us (remember, our friend was still with us) scrambled to get packed up and headed to the airport to catch the next flight home (this is definitely one of those times where we were very grateful to have airline employee benefits!). We landed at the crack of dawn the next morning and quickly joined my family. In the interest of keeping this brief….my sister and I ended up caring for our mom at home after she developed a MRSA infection post surgery. This took almost a month and took us into Christmas. On a positive note, my mom got to spend Christmas with family despite all the lockdowns (she lives in a care facility with my dad). She has since recovered and was back with my dad right after Christmas.

Christmas was a bit of a let down since Covid was surging out of control in Arizona, and everyone was being told to not get together with anyone outside of your own home. We followed this fairly well but not perfectly (it was Christmas after all….a time to be with family). We had a small Christmas Eve gathering with Dan’s family and then had Christmas dinner at our house with the addition of my daughter and her boyfriend and Dan’s son. My other son was living with us at the time with his girlfriend and their 9 month old baby. You know this is headed somewhere, don’t you? 2-3 days after our dinner, the 3 kids from outside our household all tested positive for Covid. One by one, we all fell. Soon the 5 of us living at our house all came down with Covid (yes, even that sweet baby). It was a miserable 2 weeks, but we all survived!

Christmas in the desert


Once recovered and feeling strong again, Dan and I decided to take a trip to the mountains to enjoy some time in the snow. We drove up to a town called Show Low for some time in this snowy haven. It did not disappoint! No sooner had we arrived, when they shut down the roads coming into Show Low due to heavy snow conditions and dangerous driving. No worries! We were happily settled into this great log cabin we had found online complete with roaring fire. We spent our days doing long walks in the snow and exploring the area. Again, I have attached some pictures with captions.

Cabin in the snow – a four hour drive from the warm desert of Phoenix
Not a bad place to be snowed in for awhile!
Snowshoeing in the National Forest outside of Show Low
Our dog, Sierra, loves the snow!


When we returned from this little trip, my son and his family decided it was time to move out. They had been living with us while their house was being built, but with both of them working from home and a baby on the move, they decided they needed more space and child proofing. We were heartbroken to see them go but totally understood. Since they were no longer living with us, we decided to roll the dice and put our house on the market. At this time, the housing market was going insane in Arizona! We had 3 offers the first day, and 2 were way over asking price. Like I said…..INSANE!. We ended up selling very quickly which meant packing up our entire life and putting it into storage. Did I mention that this was a sellers market, so we had no house to move into??? No worries! We were headed back to the boat until November! We didn’t need no stinking house! Oh, how wrong we were……

Sold in two days!


Our next tripus interruptus came with the announcement that our age group was going to be eligible for the vaccination way earlier than we had expected. Needless to say, we had to stay for that. This would make travel so much easier. At this point, we are bouncing between friends’ houses and my sister’s house, trying not to overstay our welcome at any one place. 
We have now reached mid-April, and we are still here. At this point, Greece is now closed to sailing until mid-May (maybe). We can still get to our boat, but we cannot put her in the water and sail her until the restrictions have lifted. Europe is once again locked down 🙁 We decide it’s time for a camping trip. We load up our little transformer trailer and head north to a town called Sedona. We are joined by our good friend Emil, Dan’s son, and Dan’s nephew and his girlfriend. Dan and I spend a week up in Sedona hiking and taking the Jeep out on some trails. Once everyone joins us, the party really starts. 

Heading out with our Turtleback off road trailer
A birthday camp trip with Jacob, who lives nearby in Flagstaff
It was great celebrating Jacob’s birthday in Sedona with family and friends.
Lots of 4×4 fun in the Red Rocks of Sedona. This is Broken Arrow Trail
Our rather large Gazelle tent that pops up in minutes
As you can tell, we don’t “rough it”
Sedona vistas
The top of Broken Arrow trail


After a dusty, hot and dirty trip up to red rock country (Sedona), we make our way back home. At this point, Dan talks to him mom and discovers she has been sick with pneumonia and is getting worse. Again, I will give you the reader’s digest version of the story. She continues to get worse over the course of the week, and we finally convince her she needs to go to the hospital because she is not improving (also what the doctor ordered after putting her on antibiotics). They end up admitting her, and it just goes down from there. It turns out she did not have pneumonia but Stage 4 lung cancer. After 5 days in the hospital, where she seemed to just get worse, she said she was done and just wanted to go home. Dan and his sister brought her home to his sister’s house so that she could be cared for and tended to by family. A week later, she passed away surrounded by her kids and grandkids.
I think it’s time to lighten the mood a little bit. We are now in early May. We have discovered an area in the northwest part of Phoenix that we have fallen in love with and decided this is where we want to live. There are several builders getting ready to build there, but their grand openings keep getting delayed. We participate in a few bid wars and lotteries which end in disappointment and heartbreak. I know, I said I was going to lighten the mood…..it’s coming….stay with me 🙂 The last builder to the table is one we were super excited about. They tell us that they don’t do lotteries or bid wars. It’s like home buying use to be….you pick your house and lot, and you buy it. Nah….it’s not that easy (we are still in an insane housing market remember?) Their catch is that you have to be one of 50 callers when they open up pre-sales. You can’t email, text or leave a message. You must speak to someone. Yep, kinda like those radio station prize giveaways.
Well, the announcement comes, and Dan gets on speed dial. Over and over again, we finally reach someone and get ourselves one of those coveted pre-sale slots. We are so excited and terrified all at the same time. Are we going to be crushed again? The downside it the appointments aren’t opening up until mid-May….another delay but well worth it. A little more good fortune came our way when the agent called to tell us there had been a cancellation for the first day of appointments and asked us if we would like it. Absolutely! Long story long….we got the lot we wanted and the house we wanted with a potential close in March (yeah, I know…..don’t count on it….but it’s a start!). This whole bit of excitement added some delays as well. We had to wait a week to sign the sales contract and then wait another two weeks to get both of our design center appointments in (you have to pick out ALL your design features, colors, styles, etc…..before they will ever start building). We were in a race against the clock between our desire to choose all our options in person, get our house started as soon as possible, and get back to our boat to start sailing!

Getting a home built in this crazy market is no easy task!


There are still a lot of Covid restrictions in place, and unfortunately, the countries of the EU are NOT all on the same page. We have had to jump through a ridiculous amount of hoops to make sure we meet the requirements not only for flying but for cruising.
So, now you are up to speed with our crazy off season. Despite all the ups and downs (including wearing a mask for almost 24 hours straight in airports and airplanes), we are now self isolating in a hotel room in London until our flight to Greece tomorrow. By tomorrow afternoon, we will be getting Zoe ready for sail. We will launch her on June 23rd, and the adventure begins. This year, we will be journeying beyond the borders of Greece and can’t wait to share the beauty of this part of the world with all of you!

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Karen Hunter
Karen Hunter
1 month ago

Oh, Wow! That was an intense read. Blessings and heartaches. Time to take a deep breath and refresh. Safe travels. Let this new adventure begin. So excited to live it with you vicariously. Hugs!

Melissa
Melissa
1 month ago

Wow! Such a crazy year. It sounds like you both accomplished so much through the ups and downs. So, sorry to hear about Dan’s mom passing.

Nora Espenshade
Nora Espenshade
1 month ago

Wow! You certainly do not live a dull life. So sorry to hear about Dan’s mother; but, grateful she didn’t suffer very long. Also, so very glad you were able to recover from COVID so quickly. That is truly a blessing. Now go conquer the world and let me watch through your blog.