Some of you may recall that I wrote about 2012 and how I felt it was going to be a significant year:

I have some ideas as to how to make 2012 the best year ever, only time will tell if those ideas, or the simple coincidences of life will prove it to be… or not.

The simple coincidences of life? Oh my goodness. I’ll try to be as brief as possible but suffice to say, fate grabbed us by the arm and changed everything in our lives. It was a wild ride and one I could not be more grateful for.

Before I wrote that quote last year, I knew that we had already made the decision to move to Tucson to start a magazine. Our plan was to continue operations of SOKY while we built the new business. Carrie grew tired of just dreaming and planning, on December 27, 2011, she ‘demanded’ that we decide. So that night we decided that we would hire some local help and move to Tucson. It was a good plan and we were committed.

The next day changed everything.

After making the life changing decision to move on the 27th, I received an obscure email on the 28th. The email – from someone who knew I was exploring my options – asked if I was “interested in an opportunity.” While I knew who it was from, I was very sceptical and proceeded with little hope that anything would come from it. Something definitely came from my open-mindedness and willingness to explore.

Long story short; We met with the people implied in the email on January 5th, by February 1st, the business we had built for the past 5 years was sold - lock, stock and barrel. Yeah – 3 weeks that changed our lives forever.

After spending a few months – as agreed – writing the “book of SOKY” and being available during the transition we started getting antsy and ready to start the next chapter. We put our house – for sale by owner – on the market in March. We just put it on Craigslist and let our Facebook friends know, but nothing really happened.

By May we were going out of our minds, decided to hire a good Realtor and headed for Tucson in my 1995 Chevy Tahoe. It was loaded to the gills with the heavy stuff like tools, weights and so forth to reduce the moving bill. ($.53 a pound)

This is where it really got weird (good weird).

We rented a hotel room and headed out to look at several homes we found for rent online. We “settled” on one – settled because the kitchen was sub-par and there were a few other things we just accepted – and talked to the broker about moving in immediately. According to the broker, we needed cash or a cashiers check if we wanted to take possession right away. Impossible because we used local banks and all our money was in Kentucky.

So, we decided to rent a vacation home for 9 days, pay the ransom on the rental with a check, go back to Bowling Green and move in on August 1st. This was on July 3, 2012.

We found a wonderful place at the top of Alvernon, near the Finger Rock trail-head, about as high into the foothills as you can get. As with most vacation rentals, the place came with everything from TV’s to sheets to dinnerware. Unlike most rentals, the quality of said amenities were above expectation. The furnishings were exceptional and everything seemed very high quality. With a pool, a hot tub, a spa bath in the master suite, we definitely were not settling on this place – rightfully so because it was very expensive.

So July 4th we assumed that the broker would be closed. We chose to enjoy the cool day doing some work on my truck with my son and his wife who had moved here a year before. It was a wonderful day!

On the morning of July 5th I called the broker and asked her, “Are you ready to rent a house?” To which she replied, “Yes, but not that one, we leased it yesterday.” Huh? What? That’s right, the place we settled on was gone and though we settled, we had already started thinking about the good stuff so it was disappointing to say the least.

I jumped on the Internet and quickly noticed that we had exhausted our options. Nothing really caught our eye so we piled into the Tahoe and started driving neighborhoods. That’s when I got a call from the owner of the vacation rental. Barb wanted to know if she could drop by to pick up a hair dryer she left behind. I said sure and made a beeline for the house to make sure it was cleaned up. I really wanted to be there to talk to Barb because she is a Realtor and might have some leads on a rental.

Barb arrives, gets her blow-drier and I showed her a fountain that had stopped working. While in the yard I shared our predicament and she suggested we rent her place, the vacation rental. Eh, about 3 times our budget I explained and asked if she knew of anything else. She remained fixed on renting us her vacation home to which I explained the budget shortfall.

Still trying to stay brief I assure you.

We received a call from her partner a few hours later with a deal we couldn’t refuse. If we would agree to rent the vacation home for 3 years, they would not only reduce the rent to remain in budget, but the rent would go down each year. Huh? Oh, but only on one condition… we had to keep all of the furnishings, accoutrements and supplies. Huh? They also agreed to continue to pay the pool guy, the gardener and the Culligan man. HUH / HUH? Pinch me – I must be dreaming.

Needless to say – Carrie and I had a grin on our faces so pronounced the Joker would be proud. People who saw us in public must have thought us crazy because of our smiles and good mood. I just kept saying “wow.”

As fate would have it, our Realtor/s back in KY had an open house scheduled for the upcoming weekend. I called them and told them that we would sell the house furnished for any offer at our asking price. I sent a list of what would be staying and low and behold, the house sold that weekend. We had a contract before we returned to Bowling Green.

We were allowed to leave my Tahoe and all the junk we brought in the garage of our new rental and we flew back to Bowling Green.

Another “weird” thing. We pay our mortgage through autopay at the bank – have been doing it for years – for some strange reason, our mortgage check was never received by the lender. I visited with them and explained the issue. They reversed the late charges and then it happened… I explained that the house was sold and the lender allowed us to make an interest only last payment saving us hundreds of dollars. WOW.

Our plan was to drive the Tahoe to Tucson, leave it in the house we rented – which we did – wait for the movers to pack and load our stuff and drive Carrie’s Saturn to Tucson. Since we sold all our big stuff with the house, we decided to rent a U-Haul for the remaining stuff to be moved. We also rented a car hauler trailer for Carrie’s car. All told, we saved more than $7,500.

If that weren’t enough, the coincidences just kept happening! For example; After being here (Tucson) for about two months, Carrie decided it was time to start looking for office space. We decided for starters we would just drive in the areas of town that we would want our offices. Within a few hours, we found this wonderful office/warehouse space with 8 offices, a conference room, a small kitchen and enough warehouse space for 20-30 pallets of magazines. The rent was below budget too. WOW

But wait – there’s more. The current tenants were still in the space so I let them know through the property manager that I might be interested in whatever they want to leave behind. In the end, we got 25 pieces of office furniture including desks, tables, bookcases and filing cabinets. They even sold me the network connection device that enables us to use the existing wiring with no installation for our phones or computers. Get this… it was all for less than $350. WOW

The coincidences have been profound and they are also helping us in building our team for the new magazine. Patience has been the facilitator and perhaps the hardest part of the journey. That said, being patient while sitting on my porch in the desert southwest is not so bad.

Oh – it’s not been all butterflies and rainbows – there have been some challenges. Like the booster coil going out on my truck in New Mexico. Like driving the biggest U-Haul available for 30 hours, dragging a car-hauler the whole way; which was a test of strength, endurance and will. Or the slight pack rat/mouse problem I faced – and eradicated. Or even the old guy next door who likes to clean his pool in the buff – just look the other way. There have been a fair share of challenges but we just keep plodding along in faith that it will all be alright.

Why Tucson Arizona? It’s more than the weather, more than a vibrant community, more than the larger market I’ve been longing for the business. Tucson is home! Carrie and I met here 30 years ago this month. We were married here. Both of our sons were born here on base. It’s familiar to us and we love it. Strange how when you leave your home town for 25 years; when you finally return it seems so much better. I find myself appreciating things that I took for granted while I was growing up. The smell of the rain, the beauty of the mountains, the creatures of the desert all have new and profound meaning to me now.

I will always have fond memories of southern Kentucky. It was a wonderful place to raise our children and frankly, a great place for Carrie and I to grow up too. Beit working in the basement as a salesman or web master, or building a travel agency from scratch or starting a new and popular magazine in and for the community, Bowling Green KY will always have a special place in my heart. Many people came through our lives and some remain near and dear to us.

Frankly, one of the hardest things about leaving SoKy was leaving so many people we love behind. We’ve only been gone a few months but the loss of such close friends is still painfully profound and offers the slightest of regrets. I wish I could get them to move here - I miss them so much.

We are here – we are happy! We are looking forward to new friendships and people to love. We love Tucson and we are excited to help make it an even better place through our business. I just read this to Carrie and she agrees; we’ve made the right decision. This is home and the place we will live out our days.

Call it fate, coincidence, energy or the hand of Almighty God – something has been guiding us, creating opportunities and situations for us, holding us up and keeping us strong. It just feels like we are supposed to be here, supposed to be doing what we are doing and we are inspired to keep our minds open, our hearts full of love and continue this journey.

So as you can see, 2012 was a very significant year for us both. It might also explain why there have been so few blog posts here. We have been enjoying the slow times by cooking and eating. But taking the time to photograph and chronical our culinary adventures has not been something we could do.

The coming year will be a challenge as well. We have a good foundation but still a lot of work to do. We look forward to it. The last time we started a magazine we did so from a much weaker financial position – not to mention I didn’t know the hardware or software. Last time we were on our own – this time we can have a staff in place to help from day one. Last time the formula was only loosely defined – this time we have a proven technique that we know will be successful. We are excited to say the least and look forward to a great 2013.

2,000 plus words – if you’re still reading, thank you for your interest. As I mentioned last year, there will be some changes to my blogs as I refine content and focus – that is when I start writing regularly again. Be sure and stop by from time to time for updates.

As always – Thank you for reading and Happy New Year!

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