Tag Archives: moving

All Three Made It!

We moved last weekend. We still haven’t found our normal toothbrushes or silverware yet but I cooked for the first time (pre-formed meatballs, jarred spaghetti sauce) the other night. We haven’t started on our offices yet and bathrooms are still in disarray but my computer’s running and we have made a sideboard and two bookcases once those boxes get unpacked. At this rate it’ll be a couple of weeks.

Today is my pantry, knives, spice rack, coat rack and my husband’s new, still-in-the-box sit/stand desk which he’s excited to open. The cavalry is coming in in the way of my housekeeper and a friend so we’ll bang some tough things out. Like the bumpers on my dining table and my husband’s glass desk. The bumpers came off the furniture so he got new ones, we have to replace them, clean the glass and the movers put both glass tops on upside down so that’s a two-person job at least.

The first, pristine box I packed included the remains of two of the sweetest dogs I’ve ever known. Chani was an abused Golden/X from a shelter who I rehabilitated and had for ten years, and Zoe, another shelter dog, this one a pup, an Aussie mix who my husband and I adopted at five weeks of age and had for fifteen years. Chani is in the the heart of a teddy bear she found at a flea market sale in a local park. She just walked up to the largest stuffed animal she saw and picked it up in her mouth so for fifty cents I let her have it. A dear friend who is gone now, a milliner whose husband, a Navy Captain (ret.) married us, thought that bear would be a perfect final resting place. After scattering most of Chani’s ashes in her favorite park and planning a tree ceremonially (which is doing great!) she took a bit of the ashes in a little baggie and sewed them behind a red felt “heart” trimmed with lace and teeny beads.

When Zoe, our next dog, was a pup we moved next door to prove a point and a couple of friends came over to help carry things over. I told her that Zoe could have any of Chani’s stuffed toys save one, the teddy bear with Chani’s remains. Zoe shows up at our new place with my friend and a huge brown teddy bear sticking out of her mouth. “Look, Mommy!” Since then it’s been safely on a high shelf. Zoe died in Texas, while I was in the hospital three years ago. Her remains are in a small cedar box with nameplate and lock and key. We also have her paw print framed in a shadow box that hung in the kitchen over her food bowl, her favorite place in the house.

So now that my two favorite dogs were safely ensconced in a box and the move was on, I told Lulu, our young, dear headstrong full Mini Aussie that if she was good, she could move with us as well. Honestly, she might have been happy wandering the halls of our old tower, happy to be taken in by all the friends she met there! She made it, of course, and is getting used to the new place. I’ve only found two of her three beds so far and there’s not a shred of wall-to-wall carpet in the bedrooms (a good thing) so she’s looking for hangouts by the windows. Same view, well, similar, 300 feet further in from the Lake and 30 feet lower. But it’s a huge place and once we hang the quilts it should be less cacophonous. A better view, actually, with the two balconies and view of the bike trail below,

We needed the extra space for what has become a Zoom career and we just love the view and the old Olmstead parks that dot the shoreline. It’s city but not. It’s our home base for now. Hopefully it’s for a while because moving is a bear that I do not want to repeat anytime soon.

I called my housekeeper a “moving goddess” this morning as we talked time of day for her to slot us in. Two weeks ago she cleaned while her dear big sister helped me pack two sets of fine china and all the crystal. Nothing broke. One of my old-fashioned glass lemon reamers broke, but I’ve two others. I packed that one. Oops. All the china and crystal is put up, and I even have room for it! We’re down to probably thirty boxes to unpack. Most of them are books, office stuff and pantry items.

A couple of weeks and we should be able to entertain should we be up to the task. Lulu made it here. She’ll entertain before next week is out. Rue wants to come over for a play date, and we just met Jack, a toy Aussie just rescued last week. Her date book is filling up quickly and it includes an annual vet visit just before her third birthday on New Years Eve. I’ll be up to making cookies, perhaps chicken liver cookies this year, for her to give to friends on her special day. That’s something for a retired pet parent to look forward to. Back to work, must make breakfast for the gang. Cheerio! Dee


They Took Our Toothbrushes!

Yesterday we hired two “packers” from a national company to help us in the final stages of moving. First we had to pay the company for their time, for them to collect later. We estimated four hours. The company said we could easily change it to three if we called them the next day. They lied. The kids, yes they were kids, showed up and I had asked the company if they could move a few things to trash for us first. OK.

I’ve tried for weeks to find our ten year-old sofa a home at a local charity but to no avail. One wouldn’t take it because they no longer enter people’s homes for anything since COVID, another because we don’t have a driveway or garage on the 15th floor, and the last because it looks like someone had sat on it once. So it was sadly trash-bound. One of these kids wanted it for himself or to sell. So they spent an hour using nearly an entire roll of our cling wrap to protect it from the rain and place it in their truck.

The first hour was shot. Then I found out they didn’t know how to pack a box, even how to use a mover’s tape dispenser. There was no way these kids were getting near my mother’s Lenox gravy boat. As they tore off two-inch pieces of tape to seal an overstuffed or under-packed box, another hour elapsed. Then they quit for lunch and left for an hour.

When they returned they still didn’t know how to pack a box or use tape, I set them to books. A little better. Then bathroom closets. I asked them to stick to closets but no, even after being asked to leave everything be because we had to live here for two more days, they didn’t listen. They packed our toothbrushes in the toothbrush holder, how I shudder to think but I’ll buy new toothbrushes before using those. Then they packed my husband’s glasses. My husband can’t see without his contacts. Practically blind, after he takes out the contacts to go to bed, he puts on his glasses with titanium frames so he can lose them if he falls asleep watching the Tonight Show and they’ll survive.

Gone. We let them go an hour early. I just couldn’t take it anymore. They left thinking they were the cat’s meow and that they’d certainly be called back again. And in taking the sofa cushions now that it had stopped raining (and draining us of a number of tall kitchen garbage bags), they dropped the note containing their payment code by the elevator. I didn’t know what it was so when I found it, I threw it away. They called moments later from the road, and I searched for and found it. Yes, they got paid.

I’ve always believed in our public schools, and was a product of them when my very Catholic (at the time) mother checked out the parish school in our small village and found it wanting. This is something else altogether. One of them was just lazy and stupid and will get what he deserves in life. The other has potential, and a one-year old daughter, but may be limited by his education if he doesn’t know to fight for more. He thinks he can be a music consultant because he likes rap, but has never picked up a musical instrument. No, I didn’t let him touch my instruments, as I had already packed them myself.

Moving is a bear, but hopefully the extra work left to us to accomplish alone will get done. Today we get the keys to our new place, and a new living room carpet and sofa will be delivered there, that won’t have to be moved on Saturday. Lulu’s at doggie camp with our long-time in-home pet-sitter who she loves (I’ll bet she’ll run around with his dog and barely miss us) and we have movers coming tomorrow morning. We have the weekend to finish the move and lock up a ten-year phase of our lives.

That’s life as the sun rises over the lake and I get to packing. How’s your day going? Cheers! Dee

A Sense of Place

As I continue clearing out to move in a few weeks, there is some trepidation as I decide on which pile and how much to save. I know that anything I place in storage will go unheeded for perhaps years so I try to throw more away.

As we age, however, there are some things one needs to have a true home. My husband appears to be quite nonchalant about things in general. My “I might need that” is tempered sometimes by his “we can always get another.” Some things, however, are not easily replaceable. He has no problem with the thought of getting rid of everything and going to live on the road. Not me. I’ve been collecting for forty years, since graduating college, and these things mean a great deal to me. We did pick up once and live overseas for a few months, but kept our home as it was and moved right back in after we picked up our dog from a friend.

When we got married, his mother gave us three quilts. I never learned to even sew, having failed that, my first and only badge attempt, in Girl Scouts. One she started when she got married, a crazy 70’s geometric quilt with every color in the rainbow. A second quilt, small and dainty with little flowers, had been in her family for a couple of generations and is made of flour sacks. It’s about a 5′ hexagon that she backed and bordered and it hangs in our guest room.

Another has never been on a wall, it’s of little boys in overalls with sun hats that she made to put on my husband’s bed when he was a child. I’ve never asked but I’ll bet his little brother has one as well.

I have framed photos that I’ve taken of the places we’ve lived and I’ve visited over the years, and artwork that my father has painted, and a beautiful drawing of a pas de deux from an American art museum that Dad bought at auction for me. Neither of us have a childhood home to visit, anymore, so I’d like to make sure that as we take this next step toward a “forever home” we bring our pasts with us into our future.

For him, I chose a shabby chic Texas flag quilt for his new office. We’ve asked the artist to place a sleeve on the back so it can be hung, so that should be done next week and shipped to us before we move. I’ve chosen a country sampler quilt, from Canadian artists. That is on its way here as I write this, and the artist will be happy to know it is going to a good home.

I love the story of the quilters meeting every month for lunch for a year, until they finished their twelve blocks each. That they’re Canadian makes the story even better as it makes me think of three infamous sisters from Montreal, who are no longer with us. My mother and my two aunts loved Canada. Her eldest sister lived in Montreal and Toronto all her life, and the youngest moved to the States, near our family, became an English teacher and in the 1970’s became a U.S. citizen. Mom lived in the United States for fifty years and remained proud of her Canadian citizenship until the day she died.

So, to our new home, far from family and childhood memories, we will take a version of them. Perhaps as we gently age, gracefully I hope, looking at our walls will stir memories and stories of days gone by. My mother-in-law introduced me to quilts as an art form. Thanks, M. Cheers! Dee

A Fresh Start

OK, I’ll say it. I’m over sixty years old and this is the first time I’ve ever lived in the same place for ten years. I remember putting my tooth through my lip at age six while playing jump rope with my sister. I tied one end of the rope to my bike and twirled the rope while my little sister jumped, and our neighbor Joey took my bike as a joke. I fell, in the driveway, and missed my class trip to the zoo the next morning. But I can’t look out the window of that family home and say, it was there, right there! I don’t even have a photo of it but I do remember playing touch football in the street with the neighborhood kids, and then the country house climbing a rope down the 150′ cliff by our front door (my parents made us use the back door) to play in the creek. But I can’t see it for myself. Even my husband’s family’s farm that they built fifty years ago has recently been torn down for “progress” that is Dallas needing more and more miles to grow northward.

Now my husband and I have been in the same place for ten years and I’m about to learn a new word, again. Purge. I’ve ten years of stuff to purge so we can move in five weeks time. We’re not going far, same town for now, even. It’s even smaller that that, or bigger, both. One tower to another. Bigger.

Purge, once begun later today, will probably become my favorite word for a while, because I want a shiny new home with everything in its place. But I’m scared to take that first step, our closet. Then begins the separation, as we’ll each for the first time, have a separate office. I have to “divorce” our books. Software manuals in his office, cookbooks in mine. We’ll each have our own sanctuary and the dog, who must be by one of our sides at all times, will have to choose.

COVID was a prime instigator of the move. If my husband’s clients are not back at the office en masse yet, he has to professionalize his home office to be able to Zoom well, and that includes equipment for meetings and for teaching teams. He much prefers one-on-one training sessions but this’ll have to do until everyone’s vaccinated. That and my need to change things up a bit.

When we brought home Lulu at eight weeks, nearly three years ago she inherited our old dog’s beds and food bowls. I never removed the few “doggie nose” prints on the lower windows from Zoe, our fifteen year-old Aussie mix who died, because I thought the pup might need to know the best places to lay her head. Now, she does. When I see Lulu lying in the guest bath door a few feet from the front door with her head in the hall so she can make sure no-one comes or goes without her OK, I see Zoe’s head in the same location. Or propped up on the radiator looking out the 15th story window to life below, all the birds and squirrels and doggie friends. Fresh paint on the walls, new carpets and appliances, and a few new things and it’ll be a jump-start that we need after twenty years together. Yep, we met at a TGI Fridays 20 years ago today, over 2,000 miles away. We’ve lived in seven places together, so far, since that day. This’ll be lucky number eight.

We’re not getting any younger, so this will be another stepping stone to our forever home, where we can retire and enjoy our time together and apart. When he was a kid he built himself a workshop, while his younger brother concerned himself with outdoor activities like canoeing. I see a large workshop for him that he can tool up for whatever he wants to build. Rockets? OK, but only if you aim them away from the house. That’s fine, dear.

I’m content with an eminently workable kitchen, pantry and garden and look forward to having a shady, verdant back yard with quiet spaces to enjoy and entertain with a woodburning stove. And a separate space to throw a ball or do some agility with the dogs. Whoops, did I say dogs? Nothing, honey, I didn’t just say that, really. Yes, when we get Lu a little sister. But that’s the future, this is now. Consider this boot camp. Before Thanksgiving we’ll have a new HQ. You’ll still know where to find me and I’ll try to check in from time to time. Hope the Fall is treating you kindly. Cheers! Dee