Welcome to Naples, Florida, where the people are friendly, dogs wear Doggles, and we now own a second home. On I-75 between Fort Myers and Naples, I saw something unique: a motorcyclist with two unusual passengers standing in an open trailer. Their ears flapped at 70 mph. I think the dogs were smiling at me.
Look for Naples to the west of Miami. That’s where we now own a house to rent until we retire.
My husband and I have six days to repair and get our house ready to rent. Why? Because we’ve been brainwashed to believe that as long as you work hard, you can achieve anything you put your mind to.
Day 1: Land at Fort Myers airport at 4:30 p.m. Rent a car, plug in GPS and pick out a slab of “affordable” granite in 15 minutes. Hope we picked the right slab and right guy to replace our kitchen counter-tops. Spend night in an inexpensive motel, since house is empty.
Day 2: Get Starbucks–there is no Peet’s in Naples, sob, sob–drive to beach and breathe in some early morning salty air, while looking for that one special shell.
The beaches on this part of the Gulf Coast are a shell collectors’ haven.
Buy a mattress from Craigs list and hope the guy will deliver the same day.
Two Brazilian guys measure our counter-tops. The sky decides to throw buckets of LOUD rain on our roof. We can’t even hear each other speak. I have a pounding headache. Duke gets a fever, and we both wonder if we made the right decision. Is the weather really this cold and gray in Florida? Rent a wallpaper removing steamer and realize this is more work than I thought.
This is me hard at work for 4 days removing wallpaper. No I’m not a plumber showing off my derriere.
Dinner at Randy’s fish house is excellent. A two hour wait, but Duke gets two barstools and we eat potato-crusted salmon in the lively crowded bar, and meet people from Chicago and Boston. Great atmosphere.
SUNNY!!! Remove wallpaper, replace fans, decide to rip out old bathroom and update. Many trips to Home Depot, buy paint, paint walls, get two more guys to yank old tiles off wall.
View from our back yard. We have 12 pineapple bushes and an orange tree.
Same routine of painting, and working.
Granite guys remove old counter-top.
Day 4: Freaking out. Still lots to do and only two days left.
Two guys remove old bathtub, dating from 1970.
Day 5 and 6: Paint two bedrooms and baseboards. Run back and forth to Home Depot and other stores to get things we forget we need.
Photos of new bathroom kindly taken by my blogger friend Nancy, who lives in Naples, and checked on the final touches for us. We had a lovely dinner with Nancy and her family. Thanks for all your help. Thanks to my blog, I now have a new friend in Naples.
Duke and I returned exhausted from six days of hard work. Well worth it. We still have more to do before we can rent the house out. There are two sunken boats, and a pool that need some attention. My husband did so much with a fever and chest congestion. The day after we returned to California, he put on his lawyer’s suit, and was back at the office.
Now back to reality and my memoir revisions. Entering edits on computer.
Please share anything you wish to, perhaps a project you’ve worked on?
On the last day I started making mistakes from lack of sleep, and my body saying enough.
I'm exhausted just reading about your six days. Everything looks wonderful though!
Projects embarked on? Adopting kids – lifelong project; 3 yrs volunteer work in China. But I would never renovate a house!
Gutsy! I'm so happy for you and your husband! You new retirement home is very beautiful. Nice job with the remodeling.
Naples Smart Girl says
Hey, CONGRATULATIONS on your move! I hope you love it hear in Naples!
Wow, girl your a go getter like me! Every is shaping up great. Both the house and the view are beautiful. I'm excited for ya'll and can't wait to see your finished product. Woohoo!!!!
God bless and have a fabulous Friday!!!
The last four summers my husband and I have spent remodeling our kitchen, baths and flooring. I FEEL YOUR PAIN! Especially in taking down wallpaper. I have vowed NEVER to put wallpaper in another home I own. You are a miracle worker accomplishing so much work in such a short period of time. BTW-I love your vanity choice. Hope your next trip to Naples will be more relaxing.
A book writing project and a house renovation project at the same time….you are for sure gutsy. Can't wait to see both finished products. Good luck on your efforts this week.
Midlife Jobhunter says
Oh, but you will enjoy it so when you finally get to stay there. I'm amazed at how much you got done in one week. Hope you have a nice tub to soak in at home.
Ballerina Girl says
We are in the same process….sort of. We bought our new house in Key West, but are not renting. So we are taking our time little by little, furnishing mostly…
Now you have another friend in FL but I do not live there permanently…
Phivos Nicolaides says
Wishing you all the very best in your new house!
Pseudonymous High School Teacher says
You do great work. Really impressed.
wow, you've been working hard!
Our moving is easy to compare all the work you've done in 6 days!
We're still in Cairo for 11 days and then we fly…again! 🙂
I'm not sure if you received my comment since I did it on my phone.
Sonia, we had a wonderful evening with you and Duke–we hope your next visit is extended.
So glad we met through blogging!
Your place looks great! And the work you did also. You must be so proud of everything. It feels good to do it yourself, right?
I hope you find the right renters too!
Polly Dunn says
I am in awe! I cannot believe your energy level and your home renovating knowledge. I expect one of your next books to be a "how-to" book on home remodeling…you could whip it out in your spare time? You are amazing!
The Caffeinated Globe says
Just wanted to let you know that we like your blog and we mentioned it on our blog. Please see "NOTES" in this post:
January Asia & Steven Hui
Miss Footloose says
Sonia, just catching up. Oh, my goodness! This is wonderful! This is so exciting and you must be exhausted.
We're still trying to figure out where to go, maybe near Naples, but the one in Italy 😉 Will write more later. Good luck with everything!
Robert the Skeptic says
We just purchased a a rental house on Monday and have tenants already lined up. I've done a lot of remodeling but I must confess, you have accomplished a LOT of upgrades in 6 days. Quite a miracle. I hope on the 7th day you rested!
Kelli Nørgaard says
what an awesome adventure you 2 are on!! And working toward something like this TOGETHER… VERY COOL! Retirement will be amazing for you with a place like this!
Lisa Petrarca says
Wow…you're amazing! I'm stressed just reading about it, LOL. What a gorgeous place.
Congratulations and GREAT job!
Nice to meet you ! I just read your profile and must say you had a quiet interesting but at moments certainly also a hard life ! So now you settled down in California as I understood. I am not a photographer, I just do it for fun and when the picture comes out nicely I am happy. I paint too mostly cats and I love to write. I am German but moved with my parents to Brussels 51 years ago ! Now I am happy in Waterloo where I live for 35 years now.
Renovating a house is a lot of work, I remember when we did it with my son's house in London !
Donna B says
WOW!!! You are one amazing woman and your hubby sounds incredible too. Imagine doing all that work and being sick! Talk about SUPERMAN! I am so far behind in my blog friend reading…so much to do over my direction…but reading what you two just accomplished, I feel like I am standing still.