Saturday, September 28, 2013

Winter Lodging: Update

Maybe it's luck (that intersection where preparation and opportunity meet) and maybe it's divine providence, but we have found ourselves the most amazing opportunity for the winter.  The birth of the idea to secure a furnished cabin for the winter was actually Brian's and the task felt daunting.  We had just over a month to figure out what we would be doing.  I am, by nature, a worrier...and not having a concrete plan for when we got off the plane in Phoenix in the wee hours of November 1st was causing me some pretty intense anxiety.  Add to that our limited budget...that already includes paying for our tickets back to the mainland for the month of October...I had concerns about how we would pay deposits and other expenses that usually accompany renting.

It's been years since we have been renters.  We have owned a home for over 14 years.  This home is, in fact, a rental property and we are landlords.  We know first hand the trials of being landlords.  With our previous tenants, receiving monthly rent in a timely fashion had been a struggle even prior to leaving Pennsylvania and only grew worse as the distance between us and our former home grew.  In addition, since our departure from Pittsburgh in February, we have had two major repairs...both the furnace and the hot water heater decided to stop working.  UGH!  And then in May, our tenants broke their lease without notice.  They left the house trashed (literally) inside and out.  We have been lucky to find new tenants, who seem to be excellent all around, but our last experience has left us feeling cautiously optimistic.  Only time will tell.  How were we going to assure our own landlords that we would be acceptable tenants? 

My worry is spins and spins and tends to snowball out of control. 

As I stated in the previous post, I sent out numerous emails into the abyss of cyber space.  When you do this you never know what you will receive in return.  Will anyone respond?  The response was actually overwhelming.  We had properties to choose from.  One particular email stood out from the rest.  It was from a couple named Brad and Caryl.  They had read the blog and addressed the email to all three of us by name.  They mentioned the property was prepared for children, equipped with a diaper genie and toys.  The only drawback (for us) was that the property was in Arizona, and after our previous experience in Arizona, we were hesitant to commit to spending 6  more months there.  Also, the Heber property, though ideal was approximately 30 miles from Show Low (where I already have a job prospect and interview scheduled for the first weekend in November).  The deep discounts and amenities they were offering meant it was an option we could not avoid exploring further.  Through our continued correspondence it was disclosed they also have other properties in the area. 

I had shared our struggles as landlords and I guess they felt a kindred connection to our story.  I also disclosed our financial situation, which included not being able to pay rent until the fourth of each month.  I was entirely anticipating a generic"thank you very much for your inquiry into our property, but we have changed our minds" response.   Instead, they sealed the deal with an offer we couldn't refuse.  They lowered the monthly cost again and offered use of the Show Low cabin for the winter.  All they wanted in return was for us to handle a few simple affairs for the properties in their absence.  You see, we were actually an answer to their prayers.  They are in the process of moving across the country and were becoming increasingly concerned as to how they would handle maintaining their properties while they were so many miles away.

I'd like to share with you a brief portion from one of their emails.

"The cabin in Show Low is a true log cabin, very nice, on about 3 acres, it features a master bedroom, and an upstairs bedroom, the master has a king size bed, full closet, full size bath, the other bedroom is a loft, which features a new trundle bed, with a bathroom shower instead of a tub.   The kitchen features granite counter tops (all new), new sink, new fridge, new gas stove, and plenty of new hickory cabinets.  There is a new leather full 3 piece suite couch, loveseat, ottoman, and our custom built alligator juniper coffee table.  It's main source of heat is a wood stove, which is extremely efficient and will heat the whole place very nicely, but it means dealing with building the fire and stocking wood for the winter.  We do have some space heaters, and the bathroom downstairs features one as well.  It has well water, with about a 10,000 gallon storage tank, and about a 3000 sqft garage.  We just had new decking installed about 1320 sqft of decking, and our new Starcraft camp trailer sits on the property in it's RV spot.  It is a true show place."

We will begin our stay in the Heber cabin (the link we originally posted online) and then will be moving into the cabin described above, once they have left for their new home.  They actually prefer we stay in the Show Low cabin.  For those friends looking for a getaway to the White Mountains this winter, I highly recommend you check out the Heber cabin for your stay.  It turns out, we will be yours hosts.  As Brad explained to me via phone, all their renters are not actually renters, but guests...this includes Brian, Truman and I.

You see (and I quote) Brad is of the opinion that...

"Of course we are always trying to avoid your unfortunate issue where tenants just break a lease and trash your place, but we have to trust everyone at some point."

We no longer have a need to find lodging the night we fly into Phoenix.  We just have to get in our car and drive to the Heber cabin.  Due to the time difference, we should arrive "home" shortly before midnight on October 31 (Hawaii Time...that is).  We already have the key code and well as detailed directions to the property.  We have been advised there will be food in the fridge...because isn't everyone hungry after a long trip? 

Our goal when leaving Pittsburgh was to find adventure outside the box.  We may have been short sighted in the beginning and have definitely had our share of bumps and growing pains along the way.  But, I have a good feeling about this.  It is my hope that this is just the start of wonderful things to come. 

This newest development exceeds even our wildest dreams. 


  1. That is a fantastic bit of luck!

    1. We do feel very lucky. 28 days and counting. Thanks for reading!

      Traveling Light,