Wednesday, November 27, 2013

SOLD! - The End of an Era

November 26, 2013
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

At long last, we officially sold our condo, located in the Zona Romantica section of Puerto Vallarta, just two days before the Thanksgiving holiday!   As new construction in the busy resort town boomed, our well-located but older property, dubbed Casita Encantada for rental purposes, had languished on the real estate market for almost two years.  We were beginning to despair of ever being able to move on from that snap decision we made back in 2005.  It was a highly rentable, charming little condo with lots of great memories attached to it, but since moving back back to the US in 2007, it no longer fit our lifestyle.  It had become a bit of a challenge to manage from afar, to say the least.  It was time to move on.

Casita Encantada
We had accepted an offer several months earlier that had eventually fallen through, as is not uncommon in Mexico, and even as we accepted yet another low-ball offer, we were cautious about counting our chickens before they hatched.  It was a complicated transaction (especially for such a low-priced property), what with arranging for our power of attorney and transferring the land trust as well as the recent changes in Mexican capital gains tax laws and laws preventing money-laundering.  But our British expat real estate agent, Johnny, really rose to the occasion and got it done.  As our closing date loomed, we spent the final weeks jumping through hoops getting numerous documents notarized and apostilled (look it up) and then visiting our local DHL office four times (and at great expense) to rush courier them down to Mexico.  

Our power of attorney and friend, Mark, who sold us the condo initially, instant messaged Caroline as soon as the close was finished, as she was  busily preparing her bourbon cranberry sauce for the coming holiday meal.  She expected to feel more relieved, jubilant even, but it didn't yet seem real.  Our condo now belonged to a Canadian couple whom we will never meet.  

The reality of it began to sink in when, the following day in Lake Tahoe, where we were spending Thanksgiving with friends, Scott checked our bank account balance and much to our relief and delight, found the proceeds waiting for us, just as promised.  Oh, the joy!  

Looking back at how far we've come over the past nine years, it truly does feel like the end an era.  And now we're ready for a new chapter; we just need to figure out what our next real estate venture will be! 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Happy Birthday, Scott!

November 24, 2013
Golden Haven Hot Springs Spa & Resort, Calistoga, CA

Although Scott (obviously) celebrates a birthday every year, it was an unusual occasion this year as it was the first time that Caroline can remember that Scott's birthday did not fall on our near the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  Typically, Scott's birthday gets 'celebrated' at the annual casino night we go to with the friends we celebrate Thanksgiving with in Lake Tahoe every year.  In other words, poor Scott's birthday usually falls by the way side, being swept aside in favor of other traditional holiday activities.

It's been a stressful time for us this fall.  Following Nestle's many reorganizations over the summer and Scott's recent promotion to Finance Manager, Scott has been spending more time  than ever at the office.  Add to that that we have been jumping through paperwork hoops trying to close on our Puerto Vallarta condo - yes, we finally found a buyer! - which is scheduled for today (fingers crossed!) and will be leaving to drive up to Lake Tahoe tomorrow morning for the Thanksgiving holiday, where Scott will spend the day working remotely amidst the pre-holiday chaos and there just wasn't much time to plan (or energy to participate in) a birthday fete.

Desperately needing some relaxation (and a massage sure wouldn't hurt either), we decided to book a couple's mudbath and massage at an old favorite, the Golden Haven Hot Springs Spa & Resort up in Calistoga.  Easy. Relaxing. Enjoyable.  We've been going to the Golden Haven, known for their restorative mudbaths, for well over twelve years now, so there were no surprises and no guesswork involved.  It was a beautiful, sunny weekend and the grape vines were ablaze with fall color, only adding to the enjoyment of the weekend.  It was just what the doctor ordered.  Happy birthday, Scott!

Posing in the cutouts simulating the couple's mudbath experience
The Golden Haven added bocce courts since our last visit
The birthday boy
Over the years, it's become a bit of a tradition to pose in front of the fountain