Sue Martin: Dreams Fulfilled from a Bucket List of Yesteryear

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This is the third in our end of year bucket list series coordinated by Maribel Steel

Sue Wiygul Martin Shares Her Bucket List Adventures

In this post, Sue Martin picks up from when she had just shared the stage with Debby Boone in Hollywood and shortly afterwards, went on a mission to "share the stage with Dean Koontz." But life is never that simple...Life Got in the Way

Kismet, My Seeing Eye Dog Died Unexpectedly

Kismet, my beloved Seeing Eye dog who had faithfully and skillfully guided me over a decade died unexpectedly. Life came to a screeching halt. I had an application in to retrain with a new dog at The Seeing Eye and, at that point the application had been in over eight months.

But for ten days after Kismet’s death all they could tell me was, "We don’t have a dog for you." I was penciled in for the class that began February 1st. The class supervisor came back to work and, voila, one of the trainers produced my Quan dog. I went into class February 1 and brought Quan home, two weeks later, after a lot of hard work I might add. What a joy this dog has been! He’s big, calm, brilliant. We’ve been together about ten months now and, thanks to The Seeing Eye, it’s another match made in heaven.

I Publish "In Dog We Trust"

Sue squatting next to guide dog

As noted in my interview about this book in April, 2016, Mary D'Apice states, "Martin reflects on her 30 years of marriage to Jim during which they shared careers in vision rehabilitation and a passion for outdoor adventure. But the book is ultimately a Valentine to her life partners of the four-legged variety. Martin has penned a loving tribute to her Seeing Eye Dogs." You can read this book on Bookshare.

The Chance to Work Remotely and My Dream Home

For the past nine years I’ve been part of a team at VA which ensures information technology used by VA is accessible to individuals with disabilities. The past several years I only went into the Birmingham OIT field office once a week. So it was clear I could do my job from anywhere. If we were going to move to Maine I had to go full-time remote and, in the way of large Government organizations, that proved to be no small feat. After several false starts – they kept changing the rules on me – I finally achieved full-time remote status towards the end of last summer.

Bucket List Dream: Let’s Go!

We always knew we’d move back to Maine in the end so, with retirement in his sights and my remote job, my husband Jim started looking for a house in Maine. Although we considered several other houses and locations along the coast, we set our sights on the geodesic dome in Franklin.

geodesic dome house

We put our house in Alabama on the market, made an offer on the house in Maine, and the wheels of buying and selling real estate moved into action. As the weeks passed things fell into place one by one. Jim set his retirement date; we started packing; we gave away loads of possessions; we sold what we could through a combination of a garage sale and an estate sale; we scheduled the movers for November 14.

Jim drove away from the house in Alabama late in the afternoon of the 14th with our two pet dogs, Lukas and Soldier, and Cheeto, the cat. The movers pulled away next and it was just Quan and me left in the house where we had lived almost fourteen years. A little while later my friend, Jeri, showed up and I, too, left our Alabama house.

Four days later we all converged on our new house in Maine – arriving within an hour of each other – an achievement! I walked in the house with Quan and sank onto the couch before a roaring fire. We were home.

Our "Forever" Home

Our new, and we hope final, home is the most energy efficient home I’ve ever experienced. A geodesic dome simply looks like a mixing bowl flipped over. The walls are about 2.5 feet thick so we’re well insulated for those long cold Maine winters. We have a windmill and two arrays of solar panels with which we produce our own electricity. While we’re "on the grid," we draw very little conventional power for the day to day operation of the house. We’re heating the house almost exclusively with wood and solar heat. I’m amazed at how efficient it is!

Opportunities arise and, if I’ve learned nothing else in my sixty years on this planet, you have to grab them when they come along. We’re in our dream home now – our forever home. It wasn’t easy getting here but we dreamed big, worked hard, and here we are!

My Bucket List – A Moving Target

Sharing the stage with Dean Koontz someday will have to move to 2017 – sorry about that Mr. Koontz – please don’t take it personally. Moving back "home" to Maine really did have to take primacy of place this year.

Personal Reflections
There are currently 7 comments

Re: Sue Martin: Dreams Fulfilled from a Bucket List of Yesteryear

Sounds lovely and would seem you got all of the bases covered. We decided to begin a new tradition by fighting global warming by purchasing a live tree for Christmas. It is a 3 foot Norfolk pine. It was easy to decorate with only a handful of things brought from our daughter's home that each hold personal history. It has now been divested of its holiday finery and is awaiting the digging of a hole to be the first of our new home's grove of trees to mark each new year in our aging in place accessible home. We have added a barn door slider to the master bathroom, and a dropdown table to the end of the kitchen counter to provide Curt easy wheelchair access to a work space. Congratulations on the new home, new dog and book.

Re: Sue Martin: Dreams Fulfilled from a Bucket List of Yesteryear

Congratulations on your "forever home" too, Quietwater! Here's hoping that Norfolk Island Pine is the first of many!

Re: Sue Martin: Dreams Fulfilled from a Bucket List of Yesteryear

I just loved reading your Bucket List and the results you shared with us through this article. Your forever home sounds perfect. My husband and I bought our Forever Home in 1967, and that is where we still live. It is in rural western Pennsylvania, and I can walk on the ridge overlooking the Connoquenessing Creek every day - as my ancestors did in the 1700s when they arrived at this same place. I understand how a home can be the center of your life and I am so happy to read about it. There is no place like HOME! Wherever it may be. May your adventures continue as you pursue your bucket list in 2017.

Re: Sue Martin: Dreams Fulfilled from a Bucket List of Yesteryear

Thanks so much River_Woman...! Your home sounds pretty perfect too. Best wishes to you for a fantastic 2017.

Re: Sue Martin: Dreams Fulfilled from a Bucket List of Yesteryear

Sue: Thanks so much for telling us about your new home and ability to continue to assist the veterans with technology issues. I am sure you and Jim are experiencing continuous "we're home now!" feelings. I pray you have many years of enjoyment and blessing others with your beautiful home. Everyone, no doubt, will enjoy it most of all because you and Jim and all of your animals are there!

Re: Sue Martin: Dreams Fulfilled from a Bucket List of Yesteryear

Thanks Lynda...! Come see us -- we have plenty of room! :)

Re: Sue Martin: Dreams Fulfilled from a Bucket List of Yesteryear

Congratulations Sue on all your accomplishments! Your new house is awesome! Your bucket list is inspiring...what will 2017 look like for all of us?

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