After my mom and I spent a long weekend on OKI in mid-May, we had plans to end the month by taking my grandparents down and introduce them to where we'd be moving. The night before that trip, my parents got a call from Matt, and it wasn't a good one. He had an accident while helping a friend move and was at the ER in Chicago with a broken ankle. Hoping we'd find out the next day that the break wasn't too serious, and not wanting to disappoint my grandparents, we left for the beach as planned the next day. At about the time we arrived, Matt called with an update. His break was worse than first thought, and eventually we'd find that he'd require two surgeries and nearly 10 weeks of staying off his ankle completely. That's a whole different post though, and not my story to tell. What I will say is that during that trip to OKI with my grandparents, we fit in showing them around the island, delicious food, and beach time in around meetings with the builder my parents had chosen, looking at house plans, and making arrangements to get to Chicago to be with Matt for his surgery. It was a crazy start to June, that's for sure!
|Our traditional "1st lunch" at Fishy Fishy|
June continued to be crazy! The day after we all got back from the beach, my parents flew out to Chicago for Matt's surgery. My dad came back home after less than 48 hours there to take over dog duty while I flew out for a fantastic trip to the US and British Virgin Islands! Matt had his surgery while I was out of the country, and Echo had surgery on his leg to remove a cancerous tumor the day after I got back.
|Jost van Dyke, BVI|
I celebrated the 4th of July in Chicago with my mom and Matt, and by the end of my Chicago trip, even more changes were in store. What I haven't mentioned yet is that in the midst of all the craziness of May and June, there was even a little more going on. I happened upon a job posting that sounded pretty perfect- the description was exactly what I wanted to be doing, in the field I wanted to work in, and it was a full time telecommuting position- which means I could work from home. I couldn't pass up sending my application and resume in, but knowing how many applicants there were, pretty much forgot about it for nearly a month after I applied. So you can imagine my surprise when I received a request for an interview for that job. Well, that interview turned into three rounds of interviews, and in early July I was officially offered and accepted the job. Starting August 1, I'd be embarking on a new career and working from home...which meant there was nothing to prevent me from making the move to Oak Island. What's even more fitting? I got the phone call with the offer while I was in Chicago- out on a short walk with my mom, the person who kept telling me that it would all work out for me to move.
|It wasn't the ocean...but Lake Michigan had to do!|
So to finish July, and soak up what would end up being my last summer off, Echo and I took off to visit and explore Oak Island on our own the week before I started my new job. We spent tons of time on the beach, watched sunsets from The Point nearly every night, and checked out house progress. At this point, the lot had been cleared and that was it....but it was pretty exciting to see!
|OKI lot is cleared!|
|Echo loved being a beach dog!|
|Best travel buddy|
On August 1, I started my new Instructional Designer position. Writing this 5 months later, I can say that even without the upcoming move, making this career move was one of the best decisions I could have made. For the first 11 years of my career, I'd always been a teacher in some capacity and I'd always worked for the state of NC. As much as I loved teaching, this new position has showed me just how ready I was for a break. Also in August, my mom finally came home from Chicago- and the house construction finally got started.
In September, October, and November, we made several more trips to the island to check on things with the house. Not because we don't trust the builder, who is amazing, but because it is SO HARD to know your house is being built and not be able to see exactly what is going on daily. Most of these trips were just mom and me- because although my dad is excited about the move, he does not get excited about traveling back and forth. We feel pretty lucky that he tells us to go and that he'll be just as happy staying home and taking care of the dogs. One of those trips in September was special because we took my grandparents back to the see the house. At that point it was just framed, but seeing that only made us more excited!
|OKI House in progress|
In December, Matt came home and we made time to take him down to show him where he'll be visiting the next time he comes back to North Carolina! Having Matt see the house just made it feel "really real," and we were ecstatic at all the progress that had been made! It was also the first time since mid-October that my dad had been there in person! Also in December? My parents sold their house...without it even being listed! In another sign that everything was meant to be, our fantastic real estate agent called my parents to let them know she wanted to show the house to a couple- even though she knew the plan was that my mom and I would move when the OKI house was finished, and my dad would stay behind long enough to list and sell the house. We have three dogs and knew showing the house with them around would be way too much trouble! Well, in just another in a string of 2016 surprises, the couple loved the house and it was under contract the next week!
So, here we are in January of a new year. In less than two weeks, we'll be moving to Oak Island. Not to our house- but to a rental for a month or so until our house is finished. And yes, as my mom and dad keep correcting me every time I say "your house", it is our house. At least until I move forward on the plans to build my house on that second lot.
There is one more little twist of fate, coincidence, kismet, or whatever you want to call it that I'll close with. Remember in Part I when I reminisced about that trip to the little beach house on Long Beach? Well, back in 1999, Long Beach and Yaupon Beach were consolidated to found the Town of Oak Island. So all these years later, we're returning to live in that sleepy little beach town where we had so much fun on vacation. We spent a while trying to figure out where exactly Aunt Sarah's house was on the island after we realized that Oak Island and Long Beach were one and the same, but could never quite nail down the location. A couple of months after the lots had been purchased and construction on the house started, one of my mom's relatives reached out to see if she realized that the house we'd visited before was on the very same street where we're now building a house. In fact, it was actually just a couple of houses down- but no one could remember the exact number and none of the houses looked like we thought they should. While going through pictures last week in preparation for our move, I unearthed these. And it finally gave us the address we'd been searching for. In case you can't see those tiny numbers, they read "326."
|Nearly 3 decades ago...who knew we'd live across the street one day?|
I've never been much of a believer in signs, but how's that for it all being meant to be? I've always been a planner and I've never liked change, especially change that I wasn't in control of or driving. In all my life-planning, I'd have never guessed that 2016 could have brought the changes in my life's direction that it did. But I have to say, that if nothing else, 2016 taught me that sometimes, you just have to have a little faith and trust (and maybe pixie dust), because even though it may be hard to believe at the time, sometimes those changes in direction end up leading to something that you may have hoped for, but never really believed could happen.
Here's to finally answering the ocean's call!