Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Too much

It never ends. The boxes just keep piling up and there is still more stuff to pack. Paul and I have been packing since arriving home and then today, the moving co. sent two guys to pack up pictures, lamps, the kitchen and all the glassware and breakables. Plus, they had to crate the carosel animals. My dad carved and then shipped those 2 animals in crates that he engineered in the only way he knew how............meticulous and designed to keep those animals safe. I wish I had gotten a picture of them in the crates . Fortunately, he marked the crates with directions as to which way the head went and how to position them. The packers were very impressed.

And there is still more to be done before the movers arrive in the morning. We are now making lists to make sure we don't forget to send everything with them.

Jon has been a big help in moving heavy boxes and assorted errands.

We are excited about getting moved in and settled and enjoying our new home. The Ladies and Couples golf groups for our neighborhood have started so its time to get back and play.

Paul has been burning old papers from the files (like 30 year old income tax forms and a title to a car that Michael bought when he was 18 (a Karmen Ghia). It's been hard for him to separate from his stuff. One of our major dilemas has been the boxes and boxes of photos. What do we do with them? No one wants to spend hours sorting thru them. Even the albums are tedious to go thru. And yet it would be sacriligious to throw them out. Jon transferred most of our slides to CD's. We were very surprised and pleased but its even hard to watch too many of those. So if someone has solved this age-old problem, please let us know. Altho we have thinned, downsized, discarded, given away and burned a ton of stuff, there is still much left. And I have no idea where we are going to put all the boxes when we get there. It will never fit.

Enough of my whining. I'm off to rest my achy fingers until morning. (the rest of me is fine but my fingers are really taking a beating for some reason)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Volunteers welcome

Just to let you know that we are home, it is cold, the task looks monumental at times but the light at the end of the tunnel will be warm.
The movers will pack us on the 30th, load on the 31st and move us into new spaces on the 4th. We are gradually filling boxes and garbage bags at the same time. The decisions are not easy. But we are grateful that we even have this opportunity for a new perspective in our lives.

I'm sure my little gecko friends are out of their 'hibernation' and ready to welcome us back.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Transition day

Alex flew home last evening , one tired boy. His flight was almost 2 hours delayed and didn't lift off until after 7pm. It was a great weekend with him .
Today starts the transition to our life in Florida. We will move our clothes and assorted accumulation over to the new house and clean the rental. Tomorrow, very early, we fly north. Then the real work begins. I have lists on paper and in my head of what we move down and what we don't. Brutal decisions will have to be made. It will be a cleansing experience....or not.

These are some neat shoes that Jenna gave me for Christmas.......a grey plastic very comfortable shoe.

These are socks that I knit.......and no, I'm not that talented.....the yarn self-patterns and creates this design all by itself.
These are the shoes and the socks. During the cooler weather, these have been on my feet and I just think it looks fun. Now, if I go without socks and just slip bare feet into the shoes, it looks too feet with no color....kind of cadaver-like. Too ugly to even photograph.
I have at least 2 more pairs of socks languishing on the needles. And one sweater and one shawl/scarf. I think I need to be snowed in to be motivated to get them knit. Sunshine and warm are not compatible with wool.

See you in Pennsylvania. Maybe the geckos will be waiting for us when we return in 2 weeks.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Alex came to visit

At the driving range
At the Golf Academy
At the golf course

Alex left cold Colorado and came to cold Florida. ....or at least by our standards. We managed to get a lot of golf in despite the cooler temperatures. He has never played golf but being the natural athlete that he is ( football and lacrosse) he looked like he'd been doing it for years. He impressed the golf instructor and his grandparents. Given a choice of seeing some Florida attractions or golf, he chose golf. Must be those good genes......

And here is the new golf cart. It is all bundled up against the chilly weather. Once inside and zipping along, it is quite cozy. Altho The Villages say you have to be 14 to drive a golf cart, we let Alex drive on the paths less traveled. As we were leaving the house yesterday, Alex noticed a Monarch butterfly on the driveway. They migrate down here and I have seen the distinctive caterpillars. This one had pretty crumpled wings, both the same, which probably meant it had just emerged from its cocoon and was drying and strenghening its wings as it could not fly. Alex put it in a safe place and it was gone later.

Alex flies home later today, after one more round of golf, and we will miss him. He is a quiet thoughtful young man, except when it comes to Rummikub or Backgammon. Hopefully, he will want to come back soon.

Still no geckos......

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

It's official

We closed on the house yesterday. Aside from signing way too many papers, it was a non-event. No lawyers, no bankers, no cheering crowds. The Villages , having done this for 40 years and over 34,000 new homes , has it down to a streamlined event. We had a 2 hour walk-thru with the builder and learned all the intricacies of the house systems. Whenever we found something that needed correction, he was on the phone and in a few minutes , someone showed up to fix it. It was all minor, cracks in the floor grout, some caulking in the windows, paint on the driveway. Now we need to contact and arrange for all the other details. We have to meet with the landscapers to learn about the irrigation system. That uses all reclaimed non-potable water and is totally separate from the house water. We need to arrange for pest control , lawn maintainance, lawn care and satellite. We've already done phone and DSL service, had the windows measured for blinds and met with the contractor about enlarging the lanai. Today the garage floor will be painted with some sort of acrylic covering that is not only attractive but much easier to maintain. This is the first house we have owned where the garage walls are painted and as nice as the interior of the house. The builder gave us a large, thick 3 ringed notebook full of all the guidelines for maintaining the house and the systems. It even tells me how to clean mirrors and toilet bowls.
Today we will go and order the golf cart. Thinking that would be an easy decision, we never considered how confusing (and expensive) that process would be. We have finally decided on brand, chose electric over gas and probably will get a navy blue metallic one but that is subject to change. We are not getting one that looks like a vintage car or a fire truck, or police car or in favorite sports team colors. Nor will we get one that is legal to drive on the streets and go faster.....somehow, driving one of those in competition for space with a truck or car doesn't sound very safe.

This is a street legal car....with seat belts and speedometer.

Cute with many different versions seen around here.This is what Main Street looks like on most days and nights. No parallel parking here. Everyone just leaves their golf bags on the back with no concerns about theft. Each brand of golf car has a universal key so our key will fit every car in that brand. You can get a security system but the salesman said we didn't need it. Because of the volume of cars and limited color choices, most people have their names on the as not to drive the wrong one home I assume and so you don't have to remember the names of your golf partners.
We've become members of the Inner Circle couples golf group and have been paired up with others for the next 3 months of play. It will be interesting trying to meet our obligations and move all at the same time but we've been assured it's just a fun time with no serious golfing allowed

Still no geckos.............

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Holtans arrived and the geckos left....

We are concerned about our delightful little anoles, or geckos as they are commonly known. Since our arrival, we have had them climbing and scurrying around the house (fortunately outside) in a variety of sizes...from an inch or so to several inches long. And then we had the 23 degree temperatures and we have not seen anything move. Not bugs (good), nothing flying around and especially, no geckos. Not one. I've looked in all the usual places and have been alert to sounds of rustling brush but everything is quiet. I'm sure they will be back and we will be out with our "Welcome Home " signs when they return.
In the meantime, we had guests to distract us from our sorrow. Mark (Proud member of the Class of 61, Jamestown High School, Jamestown ND )and Annette ( delightful and patient as we talk about the 'old HS days') Holtan, from Munster, Indiana and Naples, Florida, drove up to spend a couple days. We had enjoyed their lovely condo in Naples in October and it was good to see them again. We insisted they see every corner of The Villages so that they might be inticed to join us some day.

They are expecting their first grandbaby momentarily back in Indiana so won't be traveling too far from home for awhile. We are excited for them and await the Big Announcement. !
We're in the lull before the storm. The next few weeks are going to be incredibly hectic with every moment filled. I'm making lists and getting mentally prepared for the task of deciding what leaves Pennsylvania and what stays. Jon will help by putting some items on ebay.
This week we will decide on window coverings, a new golf car, movers and close on the new house. On Friday, Alex arrives for his golf weekend......what a fun break that will be for all of us. On or about Wed the 23rd, we head north and begin the Moving Process.
In the meantime, the weather down here is perfect. Come on down, we'd love to see you !!!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Look who came to play.......

Andy arrived on Friday evening to visit his lonely grandparents. Oh yeah, he brought his dad with him. Andy was very impressed with the high beds and immediately climbed up and proclaimed his happiness with being in Florida.

Before we know it, he will be able to drive the golf cart. For now, Jon enjoyed zipping around.
But the high point , in Andy's opinion, was the swimming pool. They are heated to 84 degrees and we only dragged him out when he began to resemble a prune. Temperatures were perfect, in the mid 70's, with clear brilliant skies.

Andy was a bit confused with the whole house thing. Between the rental, the new house and the Pennsylvania house, he's just not sure where we live but he thought the new one was 'cool' and enjoyed hide and seek in the closets.

Jon and Paul tried out one of the many golf courses.

This is what the Younger and the Senior thought of shopping.....................................!!

We have always viewed the buffalo from a distance but Jon decided we should get up close and personal and to encourage that, we had apple slices. Well, do you know how long and disgusting the tongue is on a buffalo? I tried to gingerly extend the apple out and hoped he would gently take it but no, he slobbered and snorted and got down right pushy trying to get it. I chickened out and left it on the post for him to figure it out. Meanwhile, Andy is viewing this all from the safety of the golf cart. He wasn't impressed.

Amid many tears and sobs and pleading not to go home, we drove them back to the airport this morning. They are returning in a few weeks but time doesn't mean much to a 4 year old. The house is much too quiet.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


For those of you considering a trip to The Villages to visit us in the next couple of days, be forewarned that it is no longer a tropical oasis. Note the temperature on the right side of this blog. Now add strong winds. Then cancel the morning walk, the golf game, the dip in the pool, lunch on the lanai and an evening on the square dancing the night away. Bring the parkas and the hand warmers. Better yet, cancel the flight and show up on Friday instead when temperatures will be back up to almost normal.
Guess we'll take our lawn chairs and go sit in front of the fireplace in the new house.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


A man of extraordinary strength, courage and bravery. And he's also very cute and nice. And did I mention sexy and handsome .? What more could the world ask for?


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