We’ve finally found our niche, Part IV … wrapping it all up

They’re really pretty short little blurbs, but if you need to catch up, check out Part I, Part II & Part III before proceeding. If you’ve been following along, continue on.

Not going to lie, 2016 and 2017 were pretty shitty (pardon my language, but that is the most appropriate term in my humble opinion), especially to Chris. We did finally sell our California house in 2016, but that was the only big positive thing that happened during that time.

In February of 2016, Chris lost his sister, Angela, to cancer. Then in May of 2017 his father passed away of a heart attack. Shortly thereafter he learned that his position at Wallops was being dissolved, and he would no longer have a job as of August 1, 2017. Then we got word about his mother passing in late September. It was a really rough, somber time for Chris and me.

After we returned home from Chris’ fathers funeral, we talked seriously about possibly moving back to the Midwest. We wanted to be closer to “home” mainly to be able to visit with Chris’ mom more frequently. She was by herself and wasn’t in the greatest of health, though you never would have known it if you were just meeting her for the first time. We figured we’d take a year or so to come up with a plan. Well, little did we know we wouldn’t have that much time.

Several months after Chris’ mom passed, things started to calm down a bit. We decided we did not want to move to the midwest, but would much rather stay here. Whether we are a stone’s throw from our family members or a thousand miles away, there’s nothing we can do to keep certain things from happening.  Chris found work at a local retail outfit that sold lawn equipment and repaired small engines.  It was something different, he was working with a close friend, and it was temporary.  He enjoyed it for the most part, but it just wasn’t him.  He actually tried to purchase the business at one point, but just couldn’t make it work.  The price being asked versus the profit the place made just wasn’t a good idea.  So he left there and moved on.

He’s currently working with a private carpenter, learning all kinds of new things.  Which is great given our current situation…

I am still working at the animal hospital, but have also been teaching a group exercise class at the local YMCA for the last 2 years.

About 5 years ago I became interested in group exercise.  I had already been running for several years and was working toward bettering my self in terms of my health and physical fitness.  I enjoyed (and still do) running, but needed something different.  I needed some other type of training to work on strength and flexibility.  I started taking some group exercise classes at a local boutique fitness center.  One of the classes I started taking was called Pound.  Oh my goodness, you talk about FUN!  And a killer workout too!  I enjoyed the class so much that I looked into what it would take to become certified to teach the class so that I could bring it to more people.

In March of 2015 I became a bonafide Pound Pro!  I taught classes at the same boutique studio that I was taking classes.

POUND Pro Training March 22, 2015 in Springfield, PA.

My POUND Posse shortly after becoming certified!

Not long after becoming certified for Pound, I learned about another pre-choreographed format of group fitness called SoulBody.  They offered two different types of a barre-inspired workout.  After looking into it I realized that it was right up my alley.  I looked into trainings to become an instructor and found a training being hosted in Bethany Beach, DE.  That was only a little more than an hour drive for me.  I signed up immediately.

In May of 2016 I became a certified SoulBody instructor and have been loving bringing this format to as many as possible.  I started at that little boutique studio.  After a few months, I wanted to do more, so I started to check in with other gyms and fitness centers.  I finally was able to convince the YMCA to bring SoulBody into their Group Exercise line up in 2017.

SoulBody Barre UNHITCHED March 2017

We have both come to love the Eastern Shore of Virginia, especially our little neck of the woods.  We live on a nice sized property in a very quiet, almost secluded area, surrounded by trees and agricultural fields.  Our community is very generous and friendly and we couldn’t imagine living anywhere else on the ESVA.  Once we decided we wanted to stay here for good, we started looking into buying the little piece of heaven we’ve been renting all these years.

On Tuesday July 16, 2019, at about 4:00 PM, the property became officially ours.  The rest of the story has yet to be written…..

2012 after Hurricane Sandy swept through.  She was a Tropical Storm by the time it reached us.

More of our Winter Wonderland!

Our little abode covered in snow.

CJ waiting for someone to toss his aerobie!

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We’ve finally found our niche…Part I

…or so we think and hope.

Since we met 23 years ago, Chris and I have lived in just a few different places. We spent some time in Omaha, Nebraska while he was in graduate school. Then we took off to Southern California where we spent 8 long years on the Western edge of the Mojave Desert. We have since found ourselves on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. We have been here now for 12 years and have come to love the area so much that we would love nothing more than to spend the rest of our days here.

When we were in California, Chris applied for, got and accepted a job at Wallops Island on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.  I had never been to Virginia but had heard of and read about such areas as the Blue Ridge Mountains, Richmond, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and the entire Hampton Roads area.  I was less than thrilled to be moving into a “city.”

As chance would have it, we had a friend in California that was from the Eastern Shore of Virginia.  We started to ask him for some information about the area.  As it turns out, the “Eastern Shore” is actually a little peninsula that lies between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.  The area is very rural and riddled with agriculture and aquaculture.  I became very interested and wanted to learn more!  I didn’t have much time to learn about the area as Chris accepted the position and we were on our way from the West Coast to the East Coast in just a matter of a couple of months.

Chris left California and reported to work about 3 weeks before my departure from the West.  I was left behind to tie up all the loose ends; pack up the house, meet the movers, hire handymen to come in to finish all of our incomplete “home improvements,” get the house on the market, and so on.  Unfortunate for us, this relocation was happening right at the time of the last housing market crash.  We had a buyer initially, and all went well until the eleventh hour when their funding fell through and…no sale.  Thankfully these folks agreed to rent the house until they could make another attempt at purchasing the home.  We allowed this to happen because we didn’t want the house to sit vacant as we continued to pay a mortgage on it as it was losing value.  No worries, right?  That’s a whole other blog post…

After traveling far and wide with my riding partner, my adventurous Uncle Don (who flew out to CA, helped me finish up some final touches around the house for a couple of days, helped me pack what was left in the U-Haul trailer, and put up with me for about 3,000 miles), I made it to my parents’ house in Northern Illinois just before the Thanksgiving Holiday.  Chris flew out to join us for Thanksgiving.  Then he and I, Chompers, C.J., Penelope and Lazarus, finished the last leg of the move East together.

NO trip through the mountains between the months of October and April are ever going to be without some kind of weather hazard.  Well, we ended up spending the night in a parking lot outside a gas station somewhere in West Virginia/Western Maryland.  I cannot recollect the exact location, but I do remember looking for road signs for hotels and there were so few!  We saw one early on and, of course, they were NO VACANCY.  By the time we made it to this service station we were done risking the hills and winding roads while pulling a U-Haul trailer behind us!  Things got really cozy in the back of my 2001 Ford Escape with 2 big dogs and 2 cats!  We’d get up from a snooze every so often to turn the vehicle on and heat it up when needed, but we stayed relatively warm, but cramped.

The next morning we had breakfast at the little diner attached to the service station we used as a camp site.  The people were very friendly and the food was, well, it was a diner and it was breakfast.  It was eggs, bacon and toast.  Delicious always.

It took about 8 hours for us to get from our makeshift campsite to our NEW HOME on the Eastern Shore of Virginia!

I cannot lie, when we got to Annapolis and to the Bay Bridge, I was not convinced that we weren’t going to be living in a congested area.  I am not a city girl, I do not enjoy city living, and I was not about to go from where we were in Rosamond, CA to something more populated and ridiculous.  Chris assured me it would all change in just 20 minutes after we get over this ridiculously high and long bridge.  I’m glad he was driving at this point.

Wow, this post is going on a lot longer and in much more detail than I anticipated.  I think I’m going to have to do it in parts because, thinking about all of the happenings from where I started (in 2007) to today, a LOT has happened!  I’m having diarrhea of the typing fingers and thoughts I guess.  I digress…

Chris was right.  After we crossed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge from Annapolis to Kent Island, it only took about 15-20 minutes before civilization nearly ceased.  There were buildings here and there along Route 13, with some homes scattered along the way.  Whenever we were coming into a town there would be your little service station, maybe a restaurant/diner or two, and some other small businesses (used car dealer, pawn shop, thrift store, coffee shop, home store, … it was varied).  I was ecstatic!  THIS is what it was like growing up where I did!  I hated it as a child and young adult, but have learned to appreciate the serenity and sense of community as I’ve aged.  I couldn’t wait to see our new, temporary home!

We signed a 6 month lease on a property that we never saw in person, but we knew they were relatively close to Wallops Island, and dogs and cats were allowed.  We figured we’d only be there for a few months anyway.  After all, our house out West was in escrow.  After we take care of that we could look into buying something out here on the Eastern Shore.  We’d find an area we really like and start seeking properties for sale.

…to be continued…