Friday, February 7, 2014

As the old song goes: Galveston, oh! Galveston....

Tomorrow evening we board Turkish Airlines flight direct from Houston to Istanbul.  It is again time to return to BeBe.  We enjoy our trips to Texas but always look forward to being back on the boat!  This is the first time we have been fortunate to score a direct flight to Istanbul.  It will be wonderful not having to go through Frankfurt or Newark or Chicago.

The month of January whizzed by!  Seems like Christmas Day was only a couple of weeks ago.  

Elisabeth (BeBe), Zachary, Damien & Bill
Bill's brother, John, had us to dinner several times.  Always a pleasure.  One weekend we visited long-time friends Donna & Bruce at their beautiful country home.  Donna has become quite the gardener.  She gifted us with homemade grape jelly -- made from grapes she grew!  It was delicious!  Donna also gave us a jar of jalapeño jelly made from peppers she grew.  Her garden was quite prolific this year with half-dozen types of tomatoes and all kinds of other delights.

One day we took the 3 grandkids to see the big dinosaur exhibit at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.  A good time was had by all.

Tara Winery.  Tara Bed & Breakfast house in distance.

One week we made a trip up to Mabank, Texas, to visit long-time friends Bob & Barbara and very much enjoyed catching up with them.  Also enjoyed some primo barbequed baby back ribs!!  And they introduced us to the best fried pies in the world!  These were so good that we bought a dozen assorted flavors of frozen pies to bring back to Houston.  A high-calorie decadent treat.  But, who cares!  Cannot buy fried pies just any old day or place.  Enjoy them while you can.

Judy & Bill at Tara Winery.  Ever so slightly tipsy.

One day Barbara drove us to visit the Tara Vineyard and Winery.  That was an especially fun day!!  I think Bob secretly regretted not joining us this day.  We each did a 'flight' of 7 wine tastings.  Not one of us did the 'swirl in the mouth and spit' deal that one is supposed to do at wine tastings.  We drank every single little glass,  Which resulted in 3 smashed people eating lunch at the winery...each of us with another glass of wine.  

Bill & Barbara at Tara

Bill & Barbara at Tara

Bill and our tasting host at Tara

But by the time our leisurely lunch was finished we were fine to drive back to Mabank.  Bill and I bought 3 bottles of red wine from Tara which were in the $32-$45 bottle range.  The Carriage House was especially good.  We need to visit this winery again the next time we visit Texas.  

George W. Bush Presidential Library in Dallas
Leaving Mabank we drove just a bit farther northwest to visit the new George W. Bush Presidential Library located at the SMU campus in Dallas.  We had visited his dad's library at the A&M campus in College Station during our last trip to Texas, and we wanted to compare the two.  #41 had much more land space upon which to build his library than #43 was able to get at SMU.  Guess that is to be expected since SMU is in the heart of Dallas and land is at a premium in that area.  We enjoyed this library; it is much more interactive than the other presidential libraries that we previously have visited. 

The immigration plan that should have been implemented.

Sign in the library, quoting then Gov. Bush.

Replica of Oval Office 
Replica of Oval Office
There were two sections that we enjoyed more than the rest.  One was the tiny theater showing videos of President Bush being self-deprecating in various press interviews.  The man has a great sense of humor.  The other sections that we particularly enjoyed was the tiny area where audio clips of former Secretary of State Condeleezza Rice were played over various video clips. 

Replica of Resolute Desk

One quote from Sec. Rice hit home with me:  "If you were in a position of authority on 9/11 then every day afterward was 9/12.  You would do everything within your power to prevent another attack."  We Americans have exceptionally short attention spans.  That is one of our worst faults, and we really do need to remember 9/11.  I appreciate Sec. Rice's comment and think we need to remember that as our country moves forward.  

Layout of White House
Note upper left.  When did USA have a Queen?

After a few hours at that library we drove down to College Station to visit with Bill's youngest brother, Theo, and his wife, Teresa.  We saw them on Christmas Day but with 23 people celebrating Christmas that day there was little opportunity to quietly chat with them.  We enjoyed the weekend at their home catching up with each other.

One week we drove down the Texas coastline to Corpus Christi.  We have been searching for a place to buy a house that would be suitable for our eventual retirement from cruising.  We are nowhere ready to stop cruising but know that eventually we will reach a point when we can no longer live on a sailboat.  We are not getting any younger, and we realize that. 

Intercoastal Canal near Port Aransas

Last summer we checked out real estate from Crystal Beach on the Bolivar Pennisula westward to West Beach on Galveston Island and realized that the entire area was now out of our price range.  This time we checked out from Surfside all the way down to Corpus Christi.  There were a couple of communities that would suit our retirement, but it all came back to "why live somewhere that is a 5 to 6-hour drive from Houston."  So we decided to focus on older properties in Galveston that we could rent until we are ready to become CLODS (Cruisers Living On Dirt).

Drilling platform under construction near
Corpus Christi

There was a home for sale that we really wanted to see, but the tenant always had a reason not to let a real estate agent show us that house.  So we never got to see the inside of that house that was our first choice.  Maybe we would have hated the interior; who knows!  But while driving the area we discovered another small house in the next block on the same street.  And it turned out that the listing agent was my cousin!  Small world.

This purchase was rushed.  Unbelievably rushed.  But the title company was able to process the documents quickly and we signed the contract today.  And will sign a contract with a property management company tomorrow morning.  Then fly back to Turkey tomorrow evening.  The sellers are out of town and will sign their documents on Monday, so the sale is not complete just quite yet.  The title company has our money and there is no reason to think that the sellers will cancel out at the last minute; they are motivated to sell quickly because they have a mortgage and want to be free of this property ASAP.

Our 'new' little home in Galveston
Bottom line is that we are (almost) now the (proud?) owners of a small house on Galveston Island.  It is located less than 2 blocks from UTMB (University of Texas Medical Branch).  This should be a desirable lease property for a couple of students at UTMB.  Or a couple of nurses who want to be roommates.  Or an intern with a small family.  This is an older home -- aren't they all 'older homes' in Galveston? -- and it is small at just under 1300 square feet.  It was completely re-done in 2006 and 2007, and has crown molding throughout and granite counter tops in the kitchen, Hardiplank on the exterior.  A cute little old home in the typical Galveston architectural style.

It will be perfect for us when we eventually retire.

Added 7 Feb 2014:  Forgot to mention that our new little house is also only about 3 blocks from the Stewart Beach.  This is one of the reasons we focused on Galveston for a retirement location.  The sea has been such a large part of our lives.  Cannot imagine living anywhere that we could not see the ocean.  Or, in this case, the Gulf of Mexico.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Bill! Glad to see you are doing well. Going to settle on the boat in March and real excited. Thanks for all the help and hope to cross paths with you in the Caribbean. John Fearnow


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