Between June and August, we worked very hard to tackle all the jobs on our honey-do lists. We cleaned out closets and cabinets and donated a huge amount of clothing, kitchen items and much more to Goodwill!
Finished all of the work to the house.
Rich really did the majority of the packing of our items as I was still working 9 1/2 hours per day, so I could only pack in the evenings and on weekends.
We put our home up for sale at the beginning of August, and even though it was not “season” yet, we had high hopes that we would sell our place quickly.
Rich was in touch frequently with Ben from Noble Shipping. Ben, at first, was very helpful, friendly and knowledgeable. The original estimated quote was for 50-55 boxes and was approximately $3,000. Once the deposit was paid, he became less accessible and only got back to us via email. He advised that our items would be picked up in Fort Myers and taken to Miami, be shipped to the nearest port on the Yucatan Peninsula and would be delivered to us within a few days of our getting a physical address in Mexico. We rented a storage unit in Fort Myers where we stored all the boxes that were to go to Mexico, so that we could show the house without all the clutter. Eventually, after all the packing, we ended up with 70 boxes which was, of course, an additional cost. Rich scheduled the pick up of our boxes for two days prior to our leaving for Mexico.
In the midst of all our planning for Mexico, Hurricane Irma hit the West coast of Florida in the beginning of September and was coming straight for the Fort Myers area and we had to evacuate. It was interesting taking ourselves and 4 pets and lots of luggage, water and food in a Kia Soul, but we did it!!
We eventually ended up at the Holiday Inn Tampa Westshore where we stayed for 6 days. The manager and all of the staff were really wonderful throughout this entire time and we were very lucky to be able to stay there with our pets and not be charged anything additional.
It was costly staying at the Holiday Inn though, so after the 6 days, while we were waiting to find out when we could get back to our home, we went to a FEMA approved “Suite” in Ocala, which turned out being the exact opposite of the Holiday Inn. The “suite” was a room with a bathroom, that’s it. There was only one channel on the TV and it was The Weather Channel. After watching news and weather for almost a week, the last thing we wanted to watch was “The Weather Channel” and of course, we called down to see if someone could come up and look at it and the woman at the desk hung up on us. It stunk horribly of cigarette smell, we had a double bed which was VERY uncomfortable. I even went out and bought Febreze, extra pillows, towels, a coffee maker and some food because we did not know how long we were going to have to remain in that “hell-hole”.
Praise the Lord, the next day we found out that we could return to our Tropicana community and we were out of Ocala like a shot!! Never to return!!
We lived in a mobile home community and from watching the news, we were unsure if our home would even be there anymore!! After driving six hours, we finally made it home and found only minimal damage to a few plants in our yard. We were very lucky, some people in our community had lost roofs, carports and many trees were toppled.
Fort Myers After Hurricane Irma
Unfortunately, Hurricane Irma threw a monkey wrench into our “home-selling” timeline. 😦