Wednesday, February 27, 2008

If the gods had wanted us to fly..........we'd be born with parachutes.

We are DONE !! And we are HOME !! (barely and by the skin of our white knuckles, but more on that in a minute.)
There are no pictures today, just my chatter and important ?? thoughts on life and moving.
The final hurdle of emptying the house and cleaning has lingered in our brains for several weeks and so it was actually good to get on with the final task. The interior of the house needed a good painting and if we had actually sold the house in the normal fashion, we would have painted before the Sale sign went up. But, I decided to fill the nail holes and touch up the smudges and finger prints. I was completely out of paint from recently painting the kitchen so Paul picked up a quart , thereby submitting himself as the culprit. I diligently went about the house, kitchen, family room, stairway, upstairs hall, living room and dining room.....all the same color, a light yellowy colour called Powell Buff by Benjamin Moore.......great color. When it dried , I was horrified to see that it didn't match....not at all. So Paul picks up a gallon of paint and this time it glides on and blends in perfectly.......beautiful and we felt really smug about our success........NOT. It dried and didn't match again. I talked with the future owner and her son, the realtor, and told them they had a polka dot house and then we wrote out a check to have the walls painted. Painful but it needed to be painted anyhow.
The neighbors had a Farewell gathering Sat night and we will miss this generous group. They were so helpful when Paul was on his back. They built the wheelchair ramp into the house, provided outstanding meals to us for several weeks. They mowed our grass and our favorite opthomologist plowed our driveway with his BIG truck and teenage son after every snow fall. Doug, our favorite Dr, brought us a large package containing all our medical records from his office. Beth and Danny hosted the event. They are a young and generous couple. AND, reponsible for our selling the house to Dan's mother. They are very special and we will miss them.
We signed the closing papers at the lawyers, said goodby and "see you very soon" to Andy and Mason and Jon drove us to the airport in the rain. (beats snow). By the way, Andy was very concerned about the dinosaurs and their disappearance. He asked me if I knew where they went ( because grandmothers know EVERYTHING ) and then asked if I knew that fish need to live in water . It was all very cute and he has pondered these important matters since pre-school that day.
We intended to catch the 4:20 flight but managed to arrive as the 3:20 was boarding so we stepped up to the gate and said, " Can we go on this flight instead? and the nice agent smiled and said "Enjoy your flight" and I thought I saw a sardonic grin on his face. The plane had only about 50 others on it and we made ourselves comfortable, again very smug that we had managed this smart move. We took off thru the rainy clouds and it was a bit rougher than I like but then, I don't like anything but SMOOOOOOOTH sailing. I settled down with my iPOD , my knitting and my generous bag of 3 mini pretzels. It was cloudy all the way. And a bit bumpy.......then we descended a bit and slowed down. I noticed that we were making wide circles....that western sunset kept reappearing out the window. And that we were over water. And that there was large dark very scary looking weather to the west with lightening. And the thought went thru my brain that we would have to go in that direction in order to land. Finally the Capt,with the soothing calm voice , said that the storms were over Orlando and that we couldn't approach from this direction so would have to fly to the other side and approach it from there......well, that got my attention !! (By the way, since I dislike flying so much and do it so often, I am intune with every sound and movement of the plane and can generally recognize when things are changing....but since I have close friends who actually fly these things, I try and understand that they are well trained and that this is all very routine.......but I also hear the stories of the occasional dorks that sit up there and make stupid mistakes.......but that's for another story). So we turn Right and head towards that nasty sky. It was not fun.....Captain Paul kept saying in that calm soothing voice that it was "MODERATE" turbulance.......I can't imagine what anything worse would be called.....but then I wouldn't care as I would be dead of a fatal panic attack.
We somehow made it across Florida thru hell with all plane parts intact and then started circling again. The Capt with the calm soothing voice said, "Well folks, it seems that we will have to keep holding as Orlando is now closed due to the weather (I was sure it was because some airplane, not screwed together as well as ours, had just fallen to the ground) and we will have to go to Ft Myers for additional fuel. !! By this time, I didn't care, I just wanted off and intended to do just that once we landed. We would rent a car and drive .... I had my speech and tears all prepared to present my case to Paul. And then , after flying for 20 min in smooth air, we turned around, he said we were going to land in Orlando after all ( so what's with the needing fuel issue.....are we on fumes ??) We turn around, it is now very dark and we descend in relative calm and finally we LAND on terra firma. The plane erupted in applause. As we departed , I hugged the Captain, with the calm soothing voice, and offered him my last born grandchild in appreciation for saving us. ( We won't tell him that Mason is currently in the midst of the Terrible Twos .) Paul had nary a bead of sweat on him and probably would have slept thru it if it weren't for that clinging hysterical woman next to him. As we came out of the jetway and I saw all those innocent soon to be passengers, I wanted to shout, "Run, don't walk to the nearest rental DON"T want to go up in that sky.! " But I didn't and smiled as if I'd just gotten off of a Disney ride.

Here's a little humor from Jon.......

So we are HOME and it looks great and we can get on with enjoying it. But, it is COLD and they are saying lows in the 20's tonight. What is with this. ?? Haven't we been thru enough already.? I want warm and sun and a cool drink by the pool . With my luck lately, it will probably snow .......

Friday, February 22, 2008

Farewell gift

View from the front porch......just a little joke from Mother Nature to remind us of why we want to live where palm trees grow. Paul's flight to Newark today has been cancelled and he will try again tomorrow. The snow is to continue for awhile and then change to freezing rain......yippee.
Fortunately, I made it to the yarn shop yesterday for an emergency supply of sock yarn. Not that I don't have enough (well, you can never have enough....) but its all down there in the warm house. I also had to stop in and see Patti, at The Dressing Room. How convenient is it when your favorite yarn shop and clothing boutique are next door to each other? I will miss this wonderful little shop but mostly, I will miss Patti. What a great friend she has become. I'm sorry that I don't have a picture to share as she is GORGEOUS and the classiest fashionista.
I think that The Villages needs The Dressing Room II.
And do you see those temperatures on the Rt side of the blog.........painful to look at.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

How cold is it ?

In the fine print of the site, it says that it feels like 10 degrees. When I arrived home yesterday, the wind was fierce and the house was chilled to 50 degrees. It took layers of clothes, hot tea and a blanket to warm me up. Where is that husband when you really need him? Oh, yes, he's in FLORIDA.!!

The leaves are frozen into the pond. I wonder how the fish are doing. The previous years, they have survived and multiplied. But the ice looks very thick today and not sure they were able to escape to the bottom. Last year the frogs didn't make it. The new owner says she wants to keep the pond.

There is still snow around the yard and more predicted for tomorrow. Paul is scheduled to fly in on Friday and I suspect the airports will be a mess. I will pick him up if he actually gets there.
After over 2 years of complaining about my cell phone, I broke down and bought a new one. Now, my preference would have been an iPhone but I didn't want to give up Verizon service. I had a nice salesperson to assist me and explain, in simple terms, all the phone options now available. They are many and I'm sure I will use about 2 of them. This phone has a camera, an MP3 player, a GPS and email. Those last 3 items have charges so I don't plan on using them.

But this is why I really wanted it. It has a KEYBOARD. Now for you technophiles and teenage grandchildren, this is not news. But for me, it has made a big difference in my texting abilities. Alex was very surprised that I even sent text messages and said, "You're just like a teenager!". Before, I could manage to pound out a couple of I can write a novel. I feel like we have been moving for months instead of weeks. The process just goes on and on. I am just anxious to get this all over with and head back to the warm.....and our stuff....and our new life. Today I will drop off clothes and more clothes to charities. Friends will stop by and pick up various pieces of furniture that didn't fit in Florida. I am getting rooms cleaned and touch up painting done.. On Monday a company comes and cleans out all the leftover debris and then we are DONE. We will let the lawyer handle the closing later in the week while we are basking in the sun on the golf course.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Disney World and Lizzie World

We had a wonderful 2 days at the Magic Kingdom with Lizzie, Alex, Becca and Nicholas...and of course, their parents, Mike and Jenna. Weather was perfect and the crowds were impressive. We noticed that Disney did not provide an abundance of benches for waiting and resting. Unless of course, you wanted to visit an eating establishment. But we managed to put in long days and evenings with a big smile on our faces and even bought a multiple day pass so we can return anytime. Here is a picture of Lizzie and Becca sharing a bench with Walt and Mickey on Main Street. Paul , Nicholas, Alex and part of Jenna on Main Street. I am not really pleased with the pictures taken but I think you get the idea. Mike took zillions of pics and I will hopefully post some of his at a later date.

Lizzie looked adorable in her beautiful and cute costumes . Jenna made and designed them all and they were even mentioned in Lizzie's critique. Most of the girls wear ice skating type costumes and they are VERY the hundreds of dollars. Becca was in charge of hair and make up and getting Lizzie to the judging on time. Jenna was in charge of worrying. Mike was the photographer and Nick and Alex enjoyed being surrounded by so much beauty. As grandparents, we were adept at applause, cheers and hugs.

This picture gives you an idea of the venue. Each girl (and a few guys) did their presentation in front of a judge in this large auditorium. Lizzie insists it was fun and not nerve wracking.
This is Lizzie during one of her modeling competitions. She also did marching and a twirling presentation. It was a wonderful experience for her in developing poise and concentration and we're glad she wasn't stressed by it.

We managed to stand in quite a few lines in order to enjoy the various shows. We had to make the required stop by "It's A Small World" ..... and yes, the song stayed with us the rest of the day. We stopped by to watch the Disney Extravaganza at the castle. The castle changes colors throughout the presentation. A firework display is the finale.

It really is a magical place, for any age.

Paul is off to Miami for a week of work. I will fly up to Pa. on Wed and he will arrive on Fri. We will clean and empty the house and then complete the papers for the closing.

Today I played my first round in the Inner Circle Ladies Golf. Despite brief showers , bright sun and fierce winds, I was fairly pleased with my game. And I met 3 nice neighbors.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Tough travel days

We so enjoyed having the kids with us once again . The unpacking was put aside as we shared the sunshine with these cute little ones. Weather was mostly cooperative until the night before they left when we were under tornado warnings. The weather alert radio went off and it is a deafening alarm. Doubtful we could ever sleep thru it which is comforting to know.
Mason has a VERY strong stubborn streak and was determined to help with the bags. He actually managed to get it out of the house all by himself. Because Jon flies for Continental, they can fly standby on flights (fortunately, so can we). The Orlando to Newark flights looked great and off they went to the airport. By the time they checked in, everything was falling apart due to a combination of very bad weather in the Northeast and in Florida. Realizing that they had few options in Orlando, they rented a car and drove to Tampa, hoping to get on the 2 pm flight. They eventually got on a flight at 6:30pm and then had a tough drive home in the dark with the ice and snow.
But it was not time to put away my worry beads. The weather in Denver was deteriorating rapidly with near blizzard conditions forecast for today. Mike, Jenna and all the kids are planning on flying out to Orlando this morning. In text messaging with Becca, they had a slow drive thru bad conditions but so far their flight was on time. I'll relax once they are on the flight and heading towards the sun. Mike came down with the flu last week....the real thing, Type B. (He did get a flu shot) He has been pretty miserable and I'm sure will be pretty wiped out but maybe the sun will help. We'll head down to Disney tomorrow and Saturday to see everyone and cheer Lizzie on in the Twirling Events. You can be sure there will be pictures.
PS: They landed just 17 minutes late.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Andy and Mason came to visit.....

We are so happy to have Andy and Mason with us ....and of course, their parents. They had a great Disney visit and now are spending a few days with us, exploring our new home. Today they are at the beach, somewhere on the east coast. It is a beautiful sunny day. Looks like lunch is still on the face.
View from the lanai out to the golfcourse. Paul and I played our first round in the Inner Circle Couple's Golf. It was the longest and hardest 9 holes I've played. The course is nothing by small mounds, dotted with either sand or water......and the greens undulate in every direction. It was painful. We play best ball per couple so that helps some. We play the next couple on Thurs.....same course. Hopefully , different outcome.
View from the living room. Looks well put together doesn't it ????? NOT. I'm slowly getting thru the major boxes but then I forget where I put everything. I think anyone over 60 should be prohibited from moving unless they have a keeper.

Can't wait to see Mike and Jenna and the kids on Thursday when they arrive for Lizzie's international twirling extravaganza at Disney.

A VERY SPECIAL WELCOME TO MATTHEW CHRISTIAN HOLTAN born on February 9, weighing a healthy 8 lb 15 oz. Congratulations to First time Grandparents Annette and Mark. Welcome to the wonderful world of little boys and diapers once again.....

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Can you guess ???

That line on the right is the space shuttle as viewed from our back door. If I had Jeff''s massive lens, it might be more apparent. No , we can't actually hear it go up but it's kind of fun to actually see the contrail. According to the lawn person who was watching from his mower, the night launches are very impressive. Paul and I remember watching Sputnik race across the sky on clear nights in North Dakota.....or at least that's what we told our parents.

The process is going better today and I am making progress. An update from Jon and Marybeth at Disney today reports that Mason (2yrs) fell asleep standing last evening and also slept thru the character breakfast this morning but otherwise is having a great time. I'm sure that Andy slept thru nothing.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Doesn't this look like fun.?? No, it's not !!! I won't whine the entire blog as I am thrilled that we are finally moved in,........ not settled, but we are together with our material world. In order to find our things, we have to unwrap and then discard masses of paper. It can be recycled but just the physicality of handling it and the boxes is tedious. And then there's the puzzle of trying to find a place for everything. We need to get shelving and storage areas. I worked all day in the kitchen and probably have a third left. Since I had the movers pack the kitchen, I have to wash everything before I put it away........after I lined all the drawers and shelves. And of course, since I put everything away, he who lives with me won't be able to find a thing for months. I recently read a favorite blog about this situation and it even has a name.....Male Patterned Blindness !! Since we did not bring much of our furniture with us, we have had to get creative. Here's the latest in affordable and recyclable TV stands.
The move was not without its drama. We had the movers load our things on Friday (until 11pm) with plans for them to drive to Florida and deliver on Sunday. Not. Bad weather in Pa delayed them and they said to plan on Monday. So we flew out on Sunday and arrived at a friend's house in time to enjoy the excellent Super Bowl game. On Monday morning , the driver informed us that he was an hour away but had been stopped by police and was cited for driving too long and had to take a 10 hour rest break. So we geared up for a Tuesday delivery. We were up early and finally got in touch with the driver only to find that he was lost. Paul was able to figure out where he was and agreed to meet him and show him the way in. But, while turning a corner, the driver cut it too close and slid off the road into a ditch.!! Paul found him and watched as the tow truck managed to pull him out without having to off-load the truck. Finally, they arrived at the house at noon. The driver and his two assistants were very nice and did a very good job.....just a bit disorganized at times.

Jon and Marybeth and the boys arrived at Disney yesterday. The weather is perfect, or maybe a wee bit warm (mid 80's) and Andy was way too excited. They will be here late Friday.

And the best part......the gecko was waiting for us on our arrival. Well, maybe not in the grass but he was at the post office. Thanks Lynne for brightening up our day and our lanai.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Happy 13th Birthday Alexander Lee Miller

Today is a very special young man's big day.....he's a teenager. It's hard to believe that this delightful grandbaby is growing up....and doing it very well. He is coming back for another visit in March and we can't wait. Notice that Alex is holding a club with no head on it. It WAS my favorite 3 fairway iron. While we were at the driving range a few weeks ago, he hit a very nice shot and then saw the head fly away with the ball. It was nothing he did. That club was just accustomed to the power of a grandmother and couldn't take all his strength. It is being fixed but not sure if it will ever be the same. Of course, it will always serve as my excuse for poor shots.
The worst is over but I long for the day when we are finally settled. The movers were here from 9am to 11pm !!!! They were slooooooow but seemed meticulous in wrapping and handling everything. The same crew will unpack us on Monday.....hopefully that will go faster.
The house is almost completely empty except for the basement and garage. We've hired someone to clean out what's left and dispose of everything including chemicals, pesticides and electronics. We have a bed, a chair and a TV .....everything we need.
Tomorrow we fly back down and continue with Part 2.