Wednesday, August 13, 2008

upcoming vacation

Next week Myron and I will be visiting the ever-popular Francie Whitlock in Anguilla. Hey, her blog demands you visit her, so how can I turn that down? It also has the byline Udder Chaos ... I'm sure my therapist would have something to say about that.

I'll turn 35 on August 19th, then on August 21st we fly to Montserrat. Take a minute to review the link if you're not familiar with Montserrat. Some of what follows won't make sense out of context. Okay, now that you're edumucated you're probably thinking to yourself "Charles has lost his marbles. He's visiting a tiny island in the middle of nowhere with an active volcano covering more than half of it!"

Well, there's a story behind it. We booked the trip to Anguilla back in December specifically to be there for my birthday. While discussing the trip with Francie she mentioned in passing that she had a friend from Montserrat who wanted us to visit there as well. Myron has been intrigued with Montserrat for over 30 years, and that actually heightened when the volcano became active in the mid-90's. I'm pretty laid back when it comes to travel so I was game for it.

In mid to late January we started researching Montserrat and a things got interesting. First we discovered housing prices in Montserrat have dropped precipitously because of the one-two punch of Hurricane Hugo in 1989, then the volcano becoming active in 1995 and erupting in 1997. A large portion of the island was evacuated for several years, so real estate prices plummeted.

The next interesting bit was our own housing situation. When we got back from Lotusphere we were surprised to find the house next door was up for sale... for $1.4M. We immediately started thinking "what if..." [As an aside, Myron bought our house in 1982 for $87,000.]

The final piece that fell into place is Myron's tenure at his job. He has worked in a state position for 35 years and can draw a retirement equal to 60% of his current salary. That can be transferred to anyone, so I will also get a chunk of his retirement, assuming he predeceases me and doesn't decide to get rid of me between now and then.

Everything pretty much came together between February and April to the point we decided to go house hunting in Montserrat. Myron will officially retire on August 16th, take two weeks off, and go back to work on August 31st earning his same salary while also drawing his retirement.

The past few months have been a dizzying whirlwind. If all this planning and life changes weren't enough, you can add this to the annual Dining With Friends benefit we did in May, my unanticipated solo presentation at ILUG in June, and the chaos at work since the fire in July.

I'll blog more later about what we're thinking of doing once we get there. For now we need to visit the island and see if moving there is a viable option, then we'll make further plans.


  1. Wow. What a lot going on.

    I hope it works out and that you are happy and at peace with life.

  2. I'm looking forward to visiting Montserrat and staying with friends. :-)

    I hope all the plans work out ok.
    Have fun with Francie!

  3. We are PSYCHED about your visit and I've got a long list of beach eateries for you serving roti, fish wata, conch fritters, fresh coconut wata, lobster and of course rum punch. I can't wait to share this little peace of paradise with you guys and am excited about your reaction to the stunning beauty of it and it's people.

    And just think of the awesome house-swap possibilities when you guys have a house in MonsterRat (as my kids call it)!

  4. Craig got it right -- Wow.

    Good luck and enjoy -- life's an adventure and you might as well live!

  5. I was supposed to tag team you in the SXM airport Sunday, but your cancelled flight wouldn't allow it! Excited to hear about your trip and house-hunting. Happy birthday, too!