Saturday, April 8, 2017

Home Sweet Home

Does this look different?     No ???     Well, this blog is being produced on a brand new computer and it's a big deal to me.       This is a MacBook Air.   My 9 yr old MacBook Pro was on it's last leg.   We'd replaced a few of it's parts but it still only had 20 min of battery time, got too hot to hold when charging and the mouse pad was failing.   When we were in Scottsdale, the Apple store was calling and we answered.     I'm still in a bit of a learning curve but I love all the additional features.

 We are home !    But far from settled.     The stairs are still missing most of their railings and some touch up painting is needed and the patio hasn't been started.    But our stuff is all here and this is where we'll finally hang our hats.    

Before we headed north, we settled into Jeff and Jen's guest room and their beautiful home in North Scottsdale.    We shopped and ate and had the RV worked on.   The pool was too chilly but still nice to lounge around.   

Guinness also lives there.   He is a tad suspicious and does not like to have his picture taken.   Every time I raised my phone, he quickly retreated.    I finally tried the dog bone bribe but his wary look says he still didn't trust me.   He's a great little gentle dog.   

 A couple weeks ago, we joined Jen and Jeff at their Club for 9 holes.    I meant to take a lot of pics of this scenic course. I only managed to capture one of Jen before I forgot about photography and had to concentrate on staying out of the desert.    There were snake (rattlesnake to be specific) warnings and I gave up a ball to the cactus field instead of risking my life.

Another day, we headed down to Tucson to the Pima Air Museum.   We'd been there years ago but it has changed significantly.     This is the trainer that P learned to fly in when he was just a kid and 

beginning Navy flight training.   

 And this is the same kid at the hanger dedicated to the Vietnam conflict.   Still very cute and young at heart.

Jon had a short layover in Phoenix and we were able to meet for breakfast.    Jeff is now a manager at the GM Autonomous Vehicle site and he gave us a grand tour.    Very interesting to learn how they are developing an autonomous driving car and partnering with Lyft to get into that market.

Jeff, Jon, the matriarch and patriarch and Jennifer....... a mighty fine looking bunch I think.

The weather is warm here on the western slope but very very windy.   Lots of snow on the peaks and the trees are leafing out.    We will get back in the golf and pickle ball scene once the winds calm down.    Until then, there are still boxes to unpack, pictures to hang and friends to catch up with........

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Counting the days..........

Our time in the desert is winding down.      We head north in about 2 weeks and I am ready.   We expected it to be warmer here and most everyone has said that this is the chilliest winter they remember.   But then, it went from the 70's to the 90's, all in one day and now the daytime heat is really too hot to be out in for any length of time.   The mornings and evening are lovely and we really appreciate the dry comfortable air.    We remember that Florida humidity  and don't miss it.   

A quick summary of the last month or so.     We met up with the Cobble Creek Hiking Club in Tucson and had great times, superb food and a challenging hike.    We spent one day in Sabino Canyon climbing ever upward among the Saguaro and early flowers and great views.   The trail was difficult because of the large rock and boulders which required careful foot holds.   We were only at about 4000 ft so the altitude and uphill climbs were not an issue.   And, it was too early for snakes ( or so they told us).    But it was tedious to always be watching your feet on the narrow trails and we will appreciate our smoother paths in the San Juans.     The next day we headed south to an old Spanish mission and did a dusty trail along the river.   The trail ended in the arty little community of Tubac.    This was a trail followed from Mexico to San Francisco in the 1700's.   I hope the trail got more interesting for those travelers because all we saw were mesquite trees, trash, occasional river views and a dead smelly horse.   I'm really not complaining because I'm glad we saw the contrast between the river lands and the mountains but once was enough.   Fortunately, it was cool for both hikes so we didn't have to deal with heat and dehydration.   

The rest of our days are taken up with Pickleball, lots of PB, and an occasional round of golf.   The course here is a Par 3, 18 hole so just a quick walk around a beautiful setting.   We've met our neighbors and often meet for Happy Hour on someone's patio.   Always fun to meet like minded RVers and hear their traveling tales.   
We revisited the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum  and enjoyed the 2 miles stroll thru the various gardens and settings.    I so resent seeing the captive animals.  I understand that they are probably rescued and couldn't survive in the wild but I want to see them running free.   It was spring break at the museum and listening to the kids comments is always refreshing.   

This is a crested Saguaro....quite rare.   I'm sure it was transplanted to be at the entrance but I was glad to see one close up without hiking thru the desert.

Meanwhile, back at the homestead, the painting and remodeling is getting done.   We have cameras in various locations so we can get some idea of the changes.    The workers know of the cameras.   We're ready to be back and to get settled once and for all.    It has been in the 70's and I hope it lasts.   We have a full golf membership this year, I have new shoes AND a new golf club so I am anxious to get my game back.
I had more pictures to post but can't get them downloaded.   Imagination is always better anyhow.

See you when we get home.....unless life gets more interesting........ !

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Catching up.......

We're still in Montrose.    I had thought a couple of weeks would be enough to make some decisions about the house but finding that not everyone works at my pace.    It's good to be back amongst our stuff and to empty boxes and either feel like it's a box of gifts or wondering why would we still want THAT !     The Heirloom Hospice store is a recipient of our nicer leftovers.....the shop is on Main St and looks like a very  nice boutique  filled with furniture, housewares and lovely clothes.   

So, I've managed to arrange for painters.   The Lady Painters have a great reputation and I am impressed with their abilities to build scaffolding, patch and retexture walls, move heavy furniture and do it all for a better price than our friend and local builder.     The new color will be called Blanched Almond by B. Moore.    So much better than the lavenderish grey now residing on the walls.  

These pics got reversed and my computer is getting old and cranky (no comment please ) and it's lost most of the touch pad so can't click and move them.    Anyhow, this is from Houzz...where I spend too much time looking at ideas....   This is the stairway look that we want......

This is the stairway we have !!     No, the walls aren't that crooked.....I just can't hold my phone straight.       It is busy and distracting and overpowering...... Those wall sconces ( There are 4 of them ) are also going away....onyx and dark brown metal and are free if you pay the shipping....they are heavy !

Meanwhile, I love the kitchen and find that I almost enjoy cooking........ After having delicious pizza at Jeff and Jenn's last month, I splurged on the Williams and Sonoma pizza maker ( on sale ) and it does a great job.    I used pizza dough from the market and skipped the meats and cheese and it was perfect.   I suspect the oven works just as well but now that I have room for gadgets and small appliances, why not......Come over and I'll make you one !   One should always edit their pics....when I enlarged this I noted the tomatoes stuck to the heating coil (they were still fine ) and the island is rather messy.  

This small rural community seems to be growing.    The official population is 20,000 but we hear of new businesses and future plans for growth.    Just in our development, new homes are going up and there are plans to expand into another section.   Seems like most of the newbies to Cobble Creek are either from the Front Range ( Denver etc) or Texas.      The biggest event of late in Montrose was the opening of the new Rec Center.   It is stunning.   This is just one pool area....there are lap pools and diving and swimming pools on the other side of that wall.   The windows on the left become doors that open in the summer to more pool area and slides and such.    There are 8 pickle ball courts inside and 8 outside.    It has a walking trail with hills...inside and of course, a huge climbing wall and fitness area.     It is a wonderful addition for our town.   

 Weather had been quite lovely around here.   In the 50's and 60's and the golfers are out in force.       P headed back to AZ this past week for some PB events and said it was finally getting warm there as well.   He won some and lost some and came back just in time for the cold and rainy weather to move in with heavy snows in the mountains.

We'll head back to the desert this week.     Have to finalize stair plans and design ideas for the patio and outdoor fireplace and then we just wait until it's all done.............

And in-between it all, I'm finding things I love in the boxes.    I have done several needlepoints but this was always a favorite and somehow, it got sorta lost.      I got this in London over 10 years ago and now I hope to finish it.  

Thursday, January 26, 2017

I remember when..........

........I used to be a pretty good photographer and eagerly shared my efforts on the blog.    I carried the big camera on grueling uphill hikes, thru botanical gardens, focused on distant vistas and captured the grandkids in special moments.    Fast forward to present day......  My camera is rarely charged and my iPhone becomes the go-to short cut to capturing my world.    I think it reflects most everything about today's life.   The short attention spans and the inability to stop, look and listen as we seek instant gratification.      I must get better........Meanwhile, here's my snapshot views of the last couple of days.   

My  sisters came to AZ this week.    We gathered at Jeff and Jen's beautiful Scottsdale home and filled in the spaces since we last shared a bit of wine 18 mos ago.     They are funny, generous and very talented 'younger' sisters.     We also met up with a favorite cousin.    We laughed over all the childhood memories and found that the years hadn't diminished the stories.      From L to R    Sandy, Diane (the favorite cousin), the author of the world wide blog and Maureen.         It was a special time.

The next day, we loaded up the Jeep and headed north to Colorado.      Having only spent a couple of weeks in the new house, I am needing to get some things done and make arrangements for painting and some remodeling.     It's 550+ mi and doable in a days drive.    But, the mountains have been buried in snow so it was very slow going over Lizard Head Pass south of Telluride.    The views were breathtaking.    Maybe I could have captured the beauty with the other camera and the willingness to stop and step outside the car...... but we were anxious to get to lower levels before dark so the trusty phone had to be good enough.

After getting to a lower altitude and the setting sun, we had to deal with deer wandering the roads....very scary and this year, with the tremendous snows, the deer are leaving their safe areas to find food and the carnage on the roads has increased dramatically.    This morning, I read that they are setting up feeding stations to keep them off the roads.   

The undercarriage of the Jeep was heavy with chunky ice....this morning it cluttered up the floor.

It's good to be home !      ( for a week or so ).

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Alive and mostly well.......

 After getting partially settled, we left the cold west and flew to the cold east on Dec 22nd.    Prior to departure, we received word that there were evil germs lurking in the body of this innocent and adorably cute kid.   However, we felt brave and invincible and armed with a store's supply of ColdEze and hand sanitizer, we forged ahead.

 On Christmas Day, this very tall 13 year old, who preferred not to be photographed, came down with the bug and spent the day prostrate on the couch with a 103 temp.   It was over for everyone by that time.   One by one, we succumbed.  

Despite all of the misery, it was a wonderful family gathering and almost worth every sneeze.

Feeling rather crummy, we took the plague with us and flew back to FL to retrieve the RV.    Despite a strong will, we had to say no to a neighborhood gathering that the Scott's so generously planned.  We will surely miss them and the good times we've shared.
We gave ourselves an extra day or two to try and heal ourselves but then we had to leave as there were no more reservations to be had.     We limped westward until we got to San Antonio where one of us finally gave in and admitted to being really sick.    Drugs became his friends.  

Eventually, we made it across Texas and into Arizona and finally settled into our spot  at Palm Creek Resort in Casa Grande.     
It's nice here....lots of activities, lots of very nice RV's, lots of small houses, lots of Pickleball and a golf course.   We haven't explored the surrounding area but don't think there's much to see except desert.    We have several CO friends about 30 min away and look forward to catching up with them on Saturday.   Jeff and Jen are about 90 min away and we will get up there when they are not so busy.

We would like to drive back up to the house ( a long day's drive) to get some things we neglected to bring.....hiking stuff, bikes..... But the roads throughout CO are inundated with snow and avalanche warnings and closings....we'll wait  for clear weather and venture forth.  

The weight of buying and selling and selling and moving and moving  has finally been lifted.   I can't wait to get back to the house and get settled.... probably not before late March or April.    Until then, we'll enjoy the sun...........

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Making progress.....

My neighbor became  a new grandmother and I had picked up several of these kits awhile ago.   I knit one up quickly, amid packing boxes and found it to be just the cutest thing.    I made the small for a little tiny boy, Caleb.   I will probably donate the others when I finish them.   Great fun knit.  

 A view of the emptying home as it waited to be loaded on the van.   We tried to be organized but that wasn't always successful.     We look forward to the day when we are all reunited in one place.

And for those of you who have never visited, yes, that is a giraffe.   My dad carved carousel animals and all of his children and grandchildren each have at least one.    They are a wonderful heirloom and a conversation piece.   The movers pondered and measured and wrapped and wrapped and found a safe place for both the horse and the giraffe in the van.  

It took a full day to load everything.    The next day we cleaned  the house and loaded the RV.    We had planned a dinner out with friends but this old couple just plain wore out and ran out of time.    We moved the RV to a nearby RV park where we could plug it in to keep the refrigerator and freezer cold.   ( I had cooked up a boatload of food for our trip west).    Early Saturday morning, we caught a flight to Denver.    
We always enjoy our time in the big city with Mike and Jenna.    Alex was the only 'grand' at home but the dogs and birds filled in.  
On Monday, we headed west to Montrose.    There were chain restrictions in effect on I-70 for the truckers which meant snow and ice so we opted to head a bit south to 285/50.   I'm always in awe of the beauty of Colorado.    The fresh snows made it a Kodak moment everywhere we looked.

The house looked good and warmed up quickly .    The fireplace is a magical thing with a remote for all the different settings.   I'm used to just flicking a switch on the wall.  

The movers said they would be here on Fri or Sat at the latest.    I think they were  overly optimistic
 as we can track them on their website and they are not even close.   Maybe Monday ?   I was hoping for the maximum days to unpack before we leave again on the 20th.

It's cold here but pretty.    We had a nice coating of fresh snow and the man of the house was able to use a broom to clear the driveway ( no shovel in the garage yet ).    The air is so dry that we really don't get the snowman/snowball sticky snows.    Today we are taking a break and heading over to the iconic Victorian mountain town of Ouray for lunch and some wandering about.    With all their snow and Christmas decorations, it will look like a postcard.      Pictures soon..........

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Done and done.......

I see a bit of snow at the end of the tunnel......and we're heading right into it.    Remind me again why we decided to move from summer to winter !  

Movers arrive in a day.   I will be very happy to see them cart all these boxes away.   Currently, every room has large boxes, a disarray of furniture,  a lack of livability and an occasional gecko running amok in it all.   (we've had the doors open and I've spotted 2 of them inside ).   They usually just dehydrate fairly quickly and end up a mere shell of their former creepy selves.)

The most daunting part of this is that I have to UNPACK it all in very short order.    We've thinned the detris quite a bit but also decided to take things to donate to Habitat resale store in Montrose.    Yes, we are PAYING to ship stuff so we can give it away.     We have donated some things here but the local  places don't need it as badly as our new community.

We've been saying our goodbye's and hoping we can encourage them to come for a visit and see why we left  "America's Friendliest Hometown"  .    We wined and dined on Thanksgiving with a very delicious traditional dinner prepared by Nina and Bob.    And then, the next day, after a mediocre round of golf, we went back and finished off some of the open wines and tasty leftovers.       And yes, we did eat it all, including the turkey......and our arteries didn't clog up and our stomachs behaved.  But we're back on the wagon and more comfortable.

In between it all, I have been reading....." The Underground Railroad" is unsettling and unforgettable and I highly recommend it.  "News of the World" was an easy, if rather violent read about returning a 10 yr old white child to family after living with an Indian tribe for 6 years.   Haunting and sad.  

We do have a contract on the house.....seems like it was a bit too easy.    A neighbor stopped by while walking her dog and inquired about the house.    They are new to TV and have decided they want a bigger house but want to stay in this neighborhood.    We close on the 16th or sooner depending on when they come back from the north.(we will be long gone)     So, no realtor again, no FSBO and not much angst.   We did have to pay mightily to have a pool part fixed but at least no new roof or sinkholes lurking .

It's been a fun time these last 8 years but it's time to downsize from the two house thing.    We'll look forward to doing some exploring in the winter months  and having all the 'stuff' in one place.

See you down the road  in a bit..........

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Moving right along......

 We finally have new neighbors...... This lovely couple seem to have moved in and enjoy daily lunches in the back yard.     Sand hill cranes mate for life and I suspect there will be a little one in the spring.    When they are small, they look like yellow chicks with short necks.

We have been back 5 weeks and have yet to hit a golf ball. !    That seems very wrong.    Our new sport involves packing and packing and more packing.    We won't talk about whether we have sold this house (don't count your chickens and all that )  but we are headed west very soon.     Movers will be here in 2 weeks and  the month is full of changes.    

We really really look forward to getting settled once and for all.   We've been in a state of upheaval for months and it's time to put our feet up and enjoy the view.       Selling two homes, buying another and all the upheaval and stress that accompanies it is not for the faint of heart.    One of us has a steady hand and smart, well thought out approaches to make our plans a reality.    The other is good at whining but can declutter and donate with abandon  and lift heavy boxes.    We make a good pair and will celebrate 53 years of happily ever after soon.        We are very proud of the life we have made together and even prouder of the amazing family that surrounds us.  

Sunday, October 16, 2016

We're getting good at moving.........

We've been back a week and we've hit the ground running.    The 'to do' list is massive and overwhelming if we look too closely at it.    First up was the semi-annual cleaning of the lanai.   It is really unusable until the dirt and black mold is excoriated from every inch.   It took me two days to clean .   It's always a challenge to remove the debris and avoid washing it into the pool or spa.....altho it sure is tempting.      The drains have small holes and it is tedious to force the dirty water in that direction.     I was doing well until I accidentally hit a dying jade plant with the powerful water spray and dirt and dying jade went everywhere......on the screen, the furniture and in the pool.     What a mess.    We tried to get some of it out but the pool girl had to work extra hard this week and she did a good job cleaning up after us.     With the semi annual cleaning, we also have the gecko round up.    They are disgustingly dirty with their droppings (like mice) and I become obsessed with their demise.   There weren't as many this year and between the wet-vac and the washer, I probably removed about 10 from the reproductive cycle.    One year I got over 30.    

 The weather was coolish and overcast for much of the week and that helped a lot with P's efforts power washing the outside of the house.    ( coolish is 80's, breezy and less humidity).  

We met with the realtor and she assured me that we don't
 have to paint which was a big relief.   But we will have the driveway and walk's a thing down here and gives a good first impression but it's never interested us.    After all, it's just a driveway.       And no change in the landscaping needed altho I'm of the opinion that it could use a bit of a refresh.    We can't list it until the driveway is done in 10 days so in the meantime, we are decluttering and packing.

Not sure why there is such a rosy glow to this pic but since this view yesterday, I have packed 8 large boxes.   Movers will do the dishes and pictures and mirrors and such but I'm on a roll now.     I think half of what I come across will go to the Habitat resale store.

Meanwhile, in the midst of our chaos, Jenna drove here with Becca from Denver to get her situated in an apt and new job in St Petersburg.     She will take some of the furniture and linens and such but I'm sure much of her grandparent's stuff is not what a 25 yr old considers usable.   We are excited for her and believe she is more than ready to begin her new life.    But sometimes, it feels like we should shelve our plans to leave and stick around.....just in case a grandmother is needed !

Enough of this boring chatter.....mostly, this is just a note to let me know where we were when I check back in a year or so.         We're tentatively pulling up stakes in about 6 weeks and time is flying by............

Friday, October 7, 2016

Holding in Place.......

We are currently in Gaffney SC.    It's in the western part of the state, near Greenville/Spartanburg.    We have the annual RV maintenance done here each year on our trek to FL.    We had hoped to leave here tomorrow and be back in TV by Sunday.     But based on the initial forecasts, we will probably avoid the mess farther south and enjoy the parking lot of this place for a couple of days.    Once we learn that the roads are open and winds/rain are long gone, we will tiptoe our way south.....we'll probably have to head west again, towards Atlanta instead of Savannah.
We left our new unfinished home on Sat, as scheduled.  It was hard to leave.   I have a lot of plans for it and am anxious to get settled.    Of course, the weather was just perfect but the day after we left, the chilly jeans and sweater weather settled in.
The drive thru the mountains was gorgeous with the changing aspens and dustings of snow on the peaks.     We had a relaxing weekend with the kids in Denver and ate lots of good Mexican food.

Since then, it's been long days  across the plains.    The weather has been good, even tho we had to drive a bit longer one day to leave some tornado watches behind us.      We usually schedule a day off along the way but this year, its 400-500 mile days with no breaks.    Last night we stopped to enjoy Nina and Lillie in Lexington (great nieces, 2 and 5 and so good to be around the young ones again).   Then it was dinner at the unique Windy Corner Market..... highly recommend it !   Plus, the drive down country horse lanes with impressive estates is a treat.

So, now it is Friday morning and we are stuffed after oatmeal at Cracker Barrel.   Of course, I had to have part of a pancake as well....they are fluffy and served with real maple syrup.... yummy!     There's not much to explore around here, plus it's raining.    So, we sit in the waiting room with CNN blaring every detail of the weather in the background and hoping the MH will be done in a few hours.    No problems, just annual   ( expensive) stuff.  

Talk soon..........