First long weekend trip.
We closed on the townhouse by mail around the middle of May 2013. It was strange owning a property and not going inside for 10 days. We were excited about our first summer at our beach house. Our first night was Memorial Day weekend. We left on Friday after work along with my sister-in-law’s family. I now know that Memorial Day weekend in Myrtle is bike week. The traffic began at what should be 45 minutes away from the beach. It was a mixture of motorcycles and trailers hauling motorcycles. We finally arrived around 1 AM and the Myrtle Beach streets were crowded. The streets near our townhouse were surrounded by bikes, bikers, cops, temporary barricades, and traffic cones and the sound of bikes revving and brakes squealing was continuous literally all night.
There was not much relief once we got inside. The townhouse was dirty, smelled bad, and had terrible paint and tile colors. We had no furniture, nor mattresses, and were sleeping on the floor. My wife and I did not get much sleep that night, and both admitted to each other later that we had second thoughts, while trying to sleep on that disgusting carpet, listening to screeching bikes.
We did a lot of cleaning and spent a little time on the beach that weekend. We painted one room. Well, my brother in law did. I spent over 500$ at Walmart and Lowes on everything from patio furniture to trash cans to alarm clocks to a cheap charcoal grill. By Monday the weeds were gone in the courtyard, we had one freshly painted room, 2 out of 3 working toilets, and a slightly less disgusting townhouse. The only furniture was patio furniture in the courtyard.
Waiting for summer break.
It seemed like the next 2 weeks took forever as we anticipated our second trip. Mattresses and couches are the last thing you want to transport that far, but friends and family kept giving us really large stuff. Our garage became packed with stuff preparing to fill our townhouse. I hooked the trailer to the Jeep. We loaded up 2 mattresses, a bunk bed, 2 couches, old mismatched dishes, and tons of other stuff that had always been kept in the attic. It rained the whole trip down, but somehow the tarps kept everything dry.
Longer summer trips.
We made 5 beach trips in the summer of 2013. I hauled the trailer on 3 of the trips. It is not like a typical beach vacation. We never drove on the weekend. There is no pool. It is a half mile walk or bike ride to the beach. We had internet, tv’s and Netflix, but no cable. There is always work to do.
The money goes quickly. Some of the stuff is fun like beach chairs, a surf board, and a hammock. Most of the items are painful to buy. I had no idea mattresses cost that much. It gets old buying second sets of things like vacuum cleaners, shovels, the dog’s dish, or mops. By the end of the summer it was finally fully stocked. It still felt a little sparse on furniture and the some of the walls felt a little bare, but it was coming along.
I did some necessary repairs. All the toilets worked again. I learned that plunging and snaking are no match for a purple Crayola marker. You have to remove the toilet, reach into the bottom of the toilet, and angle the purple marker just right to remove it. Then you get the frustrating job of trying to get the new wax ring to seal properly when you reinstall the toilet. An hour swim in the ocean is the only way to feel clean after that job. I think I was in the water 3 hours that day.
Making progress and having some fun.
It is probably selfish to start with the master suite for the first significant project, but I felt selfish. We pulled up the stinky carpet, bathroom vinyl, and removed all the closet shelving. We put in fresh paint, new tile bathroom floor, new laminate bedroom flooring, and a closet system. (I know. Laminate sucks, but it sure is cheap.)
The first summer at our beach house began to spoil us. We could get in the car without packing, and take a 5 hour drive to the beach. When we arrive, there is no check-in process. Cold drinks are already in the fridge. There are flipflops, bathing suits, and t-shirts in my bedroom. We have beach chairs, bikes, and the old used surfboard we bought. I love checking Facebook in the summer at Myrtle Beach. There are always people I know in town.
Summer comes to an end.
By the end of our first summer at our beach house, I was feeling great about the purchase. What is the worst that can happen? We cannot afford it, and have to rent it, or we have to sell it. There is only so much land near the ocean. Some people bad mouth Myrtle Beach, but I have scanned Zillow for real estate at all the beaches. Myrtle Beach is the only place where I could possibly buy property. The real estate market was depressed. Interest rates were really low. I have to believe that 30 years from now, I will be bragging about this deal.