Thursday Thoughts

I Can’t See!
Beta Carotene and Vitamin A are plentiful in carrots, and that’s why they are purported to help us see better. However, if it was up to King Soopers, we would all be blind. I went in yesterday afternoon to buy some carrots and celery to make chicken noodles soup. We don’t have colds, but I’m finding it more and more difficult to think about what to cook for dinner these days. Soup always sounds good. I was easily able to find loose celery for my soup. However, there was a disturbing lack of carrots. There were no loose carrots. There were no bagged carrots. There were no baby carrots. You simply can’t make chicken noodles soup without carrots. Finally, I found a bunch of carrots in the organic section of the produce department. I grabbed them before someone else could beat me to it. I am always struck by what sorts of things become unavailable during this post-COVID, high inflation period. But carrots?

Who’s Making the Donuts?
It was our second day in a row to run head-first into a 2022 situation post-COVID situation. We decided night before last to grab dinner at our nearby Chili’s. (See above: I’ve become very uncreative, and quite unenthusiastic, about cooking dinner these days.) It was around 6 o’clock. We walked up to the door, and there was a hand-written sign on the door: We have a shortage of help this evening. Be prepared for a lengthy wait. We walked inside to see what was going on, and the same sign was on the hostess station. There seemed to be a decent number of servers, so my best guess is that it was the kitchen that was desperately in need of help. You can have a million servers, but if you have nobody cooking the food, lines are going to be long. We didn’t stay, but instead went and had Mexican food at our neighborhood joint.

When One is Simply Not Enough
Following our Mexican dinner, we walked over to the technology store that is in the same shopping center. We have known that we wanted to buy a new television. The one that we currently watch is probably eight or nine years old — ancient by today’s technology standards. We’re able to stream, but not easily. We tried Fire Stick. It worked for a while, but then gave up. We had decided to move into our new apartment with a brand new 55-inch television set. We walked back to the TV area, and Bill immediately spotted a 55-inch LG television with smart technology and 4K (whatever that is) for a mere $319. Smokin’ deal in anyone’s book. I readily agreed to buy one for our new living room. But he began lobbying me to buy a second for our new bedroom. I was reluctant for a couple of reasons. 1) Our current bedroom television works fine; and 2) I was concerned that the screen size might be too large for a bedroom. My words were ignored. Two is always better than one in Bill’s book…..

We’re going to leave them in the box and let our movers haul them to our new place.

School Daze
Hard as it is to believe, our Denver children went back to school this week. Magnolia and Kaiya both started high school, which just crazy. Thomas Jefferson High School will have three McLain kids for one year until Alastair graduates. Kaiya is attending the largest high school in the state. I can’t even imagine this little girl finding her way amongst the throngs of students. They will all be fine.

Ciao.

Blockbuster

Between visits to physical therapists and audiologists, Bill and I made a lot of progress yesterday in our packing adventure. Bill jumped into cleaning out his office with both feet, which is pretty tricky when you consider that there is barely room on his office floor to walk, much less jump.

In the course of cleaning out, I have talked about our nostalgia as we consider what to do with certain items that have good memories. What I haven’t mentioned is how much outdated technology we have encountered over the course of the past weeks.

The other day I was looking for blog ideas, a never-ending enterprise. I came across a suggestion of writing a post in which I tried to explain modern technology to someone in the 1900s. It occurred to me that I didn’t have to look that far back into history to flummox someone with technology. I only have to look as far as my grandkids.

Take the ancient technology that was in my beloved yellow bug. I was driving with my granddaughter Dagny one day. It was probably four or five years ago.

“Nana, what does Rew mean?” she said, pointing to my tape deck. (Because, yes, my car was two or three technologies late when it came to music. I skipped the CD era completely.) I explained (or tried to, at least) the notion of tapes and tape decks to this young lady who was only familiar with Spotify on her iPhone. Spotify doesn’t need to be rewound.

As we have made our way through our 30-year collection of stuff, we have found film cameras, CD players, Tom-Tom GPS systems, boxes of transparencies. Yesterday I found — way in the back of my desk pencil drawer — a Flip video camera. I remember when I bought it. I thought it was super-cool because you shot your video using the camera, and then it plugged directly into the computer so that you could download your pictures. No cable needed. I loved it, and shot a lot of videos using it. Unfortunately, they are videos that I now can’t share with anyone because the technology is no longer pertinent.

“Don’t throw it away,” Bill said. “It’s so cute.”

“Yes,” I said. “About as cute as the videotapes in our basement of what seems like every movie ever made.” I don’t think even Goodwill wants videotapes. I’m proud to say that I didn’t come across a Betamax or that game in which the ducks floated across your television screen and you shot them with a fake gun. We do have an ancient Wii game, however. Does Wii still exist?

We came across a DVD that Bill had made 20 years or so ago, in which he had all of the home movies he shot when his kids were little transferred. Now, that technology is dated and nearly nonexistent. We still have a DVD player, but it’s pretty dusty at this point. For heavens’ sake, my wedding video was shot on a VHS tape. I’m confident I can get it digitized. (Digitized is a word I didn’t know would ever exist 10 years ago.)

And can I tell you about the number of cables that Bill has kept over the years? He has — quite literally — hundreds of cables that he is afraid to throw away because he’s certain he will locate the piece of technology that requires that specific cable. I’m working on him, people.

I have said it before: I can’t even imagine what technological advances will be made in the next 10 years.

Scamarama

Yesterday, Bill and I were having lunch at one of our favorite neighborhood joints. It’s called Crave, and it offers barbecue and hot dogs. How can you go wrong? I was worrying about the chili and onions on my hot diggity and how the woman who would be giving me a mammogram in about a half hour would handle the smell of onions mixed with mouthwash, when my phone rang.

It was a number I didn’t recognize. Historically, I have disregarded any number that didn’t come up with a name from my contact list. But since I am in continuous contact these days with various people affiliated in some way with our move, I can no longer ignore unfamiliar telephone calls.

“Hello?” I said into my cell phone, wondering if it would be the mover or the packer or the window dresser.

There was a lengthy pause, and then a computer voice announced that it was T-Mobile, alerting me to the fact that someone had purchased a $1,300 cell phone using my account. Never fear, it went on, because if it wasn’t you, press 1.

I hung up, but I immediately began worrying about whether or not someone using my T-Mobile account was purchasing a cell phone while I was eating a chili dog. The recording sounded very legit.

“If anyone buys a new iPhone, it’s going to be ME!” I told Bill.

Despite the fact that my mammogram appointment was looming, we drove over to the T-Mobile store that was very close by. I explained my situation. The nice man asked me to look and tell him the phone number from my “recent calls” list. I did, and he assured me that it was a scam call.

“T-Mobile would send an e-mail instead of a phone call,” he told me. “And if it was a call from T-Mobile, it would be an 800 number and not a local call. You were smart to hang up on the call.”

Aren’t we all having to hang up on more and more calls these days? I’m thankful that my phone tells me when an incoming call is a scam, or at least it tries. But I will tell you that mixed with my relief at dodging a scam bullet was a sense of sadness that there are such awful people in the world.

Bill and I are both pretty careful about phone calls and emails. We check with one another when we question a text’s legitimacy. But I know some very smart people who have been fooled by a convincing person with a convincing message.

Stay vigilant my friends.

And I really do wish my window dresser would call me back!

Days Gone By

Yesterday was another tedious day of cleaning out and downsizing. Perhaps it was the most difficult day of all. I had to take two dressers and a large armoire and fit it into one dresser. To make matters worse, it was really the first time that I had to pull Bill into the picture because much of it was his stuff.

Up until now, he has putzed around in his office, mostly moving stuff around. He has done some in the garage, but frankly, most of the stuff in the garage is going to be pointed to and junked. I’m still hopeful that someone will take some of his glorious tools.

I began on my own in his armoire that is filled with sweaters he’s collected over the years. Keeping in mind that we spend winters in AZ, I kept a few and set the others aside for Goodwill. His t-shirts were a mixed bag, with some in pretty good shape, but others with necks so stretched out that they would go over the head of Godzilla. Those I simply threw out because I don’t think Godzilla shops at Goodwill.

And then I got to his keepsake box. (By the way, I don’t think he would call it a keepsake box, but frankly, it’s where he keeps his treasures.) The box contained things such as his wedding ring from his first marriage and a Mass card from the funeral Mass of the federal judge for whom he worked after law school and whom he loved and respected. But it also contained about 10,000 tie clips that he had collected over the years, some gag gifts, and some western wear accessories. I challenged him, reminding him that he no longer wears ties, that the gags are long forgotten, and that he never wears western clothing that needs accessorizing. I laid down the law: The ring and Mass card stays; the tie clips go. He got up and walked downstairs.

Given that I’m a pain in the butt, I followed him, continuing to nag him about the need for getting rid of things because we are moving into a smaller place, blah, blah, blah.

He looked at me with sad eyes, and said, “It’s really hard, isn’t it?”

I felt about the size of a peanut.

“Yes, it is,” I agreed.

Because it really is. I’m not sure exactly why. A photo of these items would be nearly the same as keeping the item itself. I think maybe it’s just a reminder that we’re getting older and there is more life behind us than there is in front of us. It’s a somber reminder of our humanness.

The good news, however, is that I was able to fit all of those items into one dresser. Well, with a few going into the little dresser that was Court’s when he was a baby. Don’t nag. It’s little and will fit in our closet.

And, by the way, I have little room to talk. While he needs to work harder on his office, I have yet to tackle my basement storage room with its popover pans and dumpling steamer baskets.

Saturday Smile: Heart Roomies for Life

Two of my favorite people — my sister Jen and my granddaughter Adelaide — spent the last two weeks as roommates while Addie took classes to be certified as a CNA. Jen loved having Addie as her house guest, and Addie told her mom, “Aunt Jen is really FUN!”

Jen’s dog Winston grew to tolerate her and she grew to tolerate him. That’s the best I can say about that relationship.

By the way, Addie passed her exam with flying colors, as we all knew she would. I can’t wait to have her take my vitals.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday Thoughts

It’s Just Peachy
We got our annual box of Palisade peaches yesterday from our neighbor, who sells them for his Optimist Club. He gets them from the same farmer every year, and they are delicious. Now I have to figure out how to use them before they start to rot. Yesterday I made a peach pie, and it was delicious. I won’t bore you with a photo, because I have posted so many photos of my pies that even I’m bored. But I will assure you that it was beautiful, as all homemade pies are. My niece Jessie and I were recently trying to figure out why we enjoy making pies so much. We mutually agreed that they are so yummy, but most of all, they are so pretty.

Tomatoes, Tomahtoes
I have finally been harvesting my tomatoes. This year I planted grape tomatoes and an heirloom red tomato. The small tomatoes have been ripening for a couple of weeks now. The larger tomatoes have only now begun to ripen. They’d better hurry up, because I’m quickly losing interest in all of my outdoor plants……

Another Step Forward
We learned yesterday that our financials passed muster with Wind Crest, and we have been approved as residents. Things could potentially move quickly from here on, but there is one hold-up. We decided to extend the flooring out from the kitchen into the rest of the apartment except for the bedrooms. Unfortunately, we can’t move in until the flooring job is completed. They are still awaiting arrival of the flooring, and then it takes a full TWO WEEKS to lay it down. I’m joining the masses of people who are frustrated about having to wait for supplies and services. I’m luckier than many, so I will stop complaining right this very minute.

School Daze
Our grands are all getting geared up to return to school. Magnolia has been attending freshman orientation classes all this week. Kaiya only has one day of freshman orientation, and it’s Tuesday. School starts Wednesday. I can’t believe those two girlies are entering high school. Yikes.

Ciao.

Gratitude

As we drove home from our finance meeting yesterday, Bill was quiet for a bit. Then he said, “We are really lucky, aren’t we.” I agreed, and decided it’s time again to stop and think about five things for which I’m grateful this very day.

  1. I’m grateful to have a wonderful son of whom I couldn’t possibly be more proud. I’m also happy that he forgave me for not remembering to call him on Monday to wish him happy birthday until 7:30 that night. Oy vey. Happy birthday Son!
  2. I’m thankful for all of my grandkids. This very day, however, I’m particularly thankful for my eldest grandchild, Addie. She called me on Monday when she got home from her CNA certification class. She had studied Parkinson’s Disease and other progressive diseases, and called to promise her love and support for her papa and me. She asked me lots of questions about our new senior community and about how PD is affecting both Papa and me. I couldn’t stop smiling after our talk.
  3. Yesterday before our meeting with the finance people at Wind Crest, we had lunch at a restaurant in Highland Ranch’s Town Center. The area is very near Wind Crest, and will likely be visited by us very often. It has a Target, an Office Depot, a Home Depot, lots of restaurants — both fast food and nice sit-down, hair salons, nail salons, etc. It will be fun to get to know our new neighborhood, and I’m thankful for all the amenities the area offers.
  4. I’m very happy that Bill is getting used to his new hearing aids so easily. He had trouble inserting them the first few days, but the process has gotten much better. And I’m grateful that he can hear me when I talk to him.
  5. I’m so very thankful for all of the help that our kids are providing to us as we clean out the house and get ready to move. We couldn’t do it without their help.

Sometimes it’s important to stop and think about all of your gifts.

Think of the Toilet Paper

Erik-the-Moving-Company guy came by yesterday morning and walked through our house. As he looked around, he wrote down every single thing he was going to move — down to the cans in the pantry. (He doesn’t know this, but I will probably move the items in the pantry myself so he doesn’t see that my grandkids eat sugar cubes right out of the box. #Truth. They skip the middle man and just eat the sugar neat.)

At the end of the walk-through, Erik commented on our house and how pretty it was. He was surprised to learn that it was only 2,800 square feet. Or 2,900 square feet. We’ve never been quite sure. Do you count the basement?

Anyhoo, he was quite taken with our house.

“Would you like to buy it?” I asked him. “It’s for sale.”

He apparently thought I was being serious, because he quickly explained that he was single and he didn’t need a house with four bedrooms. He went on to tell us that he walked through a house last week that was 6,000 square feet, and occupied by a single man around the age of 35. “I think he had family money,” he opined.

The house has 27 bathrooms. That means he can use a different bathroom almost every day of the month. He juuuuust misses the mark in February.

As it turns out, the man is agoraphobic. In fact, he is more than that. He had a fish tank that seemed perfectly fish tanky. But when he would walk by the tank, he could “sense” that there was mold behind it. He got it checked out, and he was correct. He apparently has very strong senses. Because I went out and got my M.D. last night, I think that’s why he is agoraphobic. He is over-sensitive. You’re welcome.

I’m rambling, when all I really want to say is why would a single person in his or her mid-30s need a house that has 27 bathrooms? In fact, why would he or she need 6,000 square feet to wander around in all by oneself? I’m pretty sure that even if I had “family money,” I wouldn’t need 6,000 square feet. Heck, I have a hard enough time finding Bill in our house that is half that size.

I’m going to be perfectly happy in my 1,200 square foot abode.

By the way, Erik (who seems to know a lot of gossip for a mover) told us that he was moving a single woman into an apartment in our building this week. Here’s the gossip: She has — and is bringing with her — a ping pong table. She plans on having sliders under her furniture so that when the urge for a ping pong game hits her, she can simply slide the furniture out of the way and unfold her ping pong table.

Apparently the moving consultant tried to talk her out of the ping pong table. She explained to her that there is a ping pong table at Wind Crest. No go. When this woman wants a game, she doesn’t want to have to wait in line!

She is going to be my new best friend. Not because I like ping pong. But I like eccentric people.

One Man’s Junk…

I imagine my blog readers are getting mighty sick of reading stuff related to our move. Geez, you are likely thinking, does she think they’re the only people who have ever moved?

The answer is that I am fully aware that thousands of people move every year in the United States alone. I don’t care about them. That sounds mean, I know. I wish them all well, and hope their move brings them much happiness. But the reality is that my entire life these days has something to do with our move. I am either cleaning out a cupboard or closet, making hard decisions like how many ice cream makers do I need to take to a place at which I will be offered dessert any time I’m interested, or trying to come to grip with getting rid of some of my puzzles…..

(I admit I’m considering taking them all and hiding them under the bed.)

Wind Crest (who must be run by angels) is making this as easy as possible for us. If I even THINK about something that is causing me concern, I receive a phone call the next day from a company that my personal moving consultant angel is referring to me. You have large items you’re not able to take? Gone For Good will come move them. Are you concerned about window treatments? A custom window treatment person will call before I can even say the word VALANCE.

It’s as though they have gone through this with someone else who has lived in the same house for 30 or more years! What? I’m not your first?

Today, following a haircut (that I desperately need because I’m starting to look like a werewolf), I will meet and greet the men and women from Gone for Good, a junk hauling company with a heart. Apparently if I am getting rid of something they think someone else can use — say, victims of a fire or another tragedy — they will donate some of the things we are having them haul away. I hope a homeless person can use my popover pan or my extremely tarnished silver tea set.

Once those have left with myjunk, I will await my next visitor — Erik from the moving company that works with Wind Crest. He is just stopping by to say hey, and to see approximately how much he and his folks will have to move on moving day. I will need to point to the things that I know I’m taking, he will do his calculations, he will provide me with a quote, I will gasp at the cost but almost certainly will accept his quote. After all, Wind Crest will credit us in part for our move. Because they’re angels.

I am hoping against hope that after we meet with the finance angel at Wind Crest tomorrow, we will have a date for our move. I’m not one for vague calculations. I like to be able to write things down in my calendar in pen.

By the way, Dave and Jll and the kids stopped by yesterday late morning on their way home from church. Just a drop-in, Jll said. Fortunately for Bill and me, and unfortunately for them, we were just getting started bringing things up from the basement for the junk people.

“So nice to see you,” I said. “By the way, can you carry up four or five boxes of books, a huge Christmas tree, five or six various baby seats and strollers and mattresses (all of which Goodwill will no longer take).”

The kids started to trudge downstairs and began bringing up all manner of, well, junk that will fill up one-quarter of a dump truck…..

I’m certain that won’t be the last time we see Gone for Good during this move.

Every day that goes by is one day closer to moving into our bright and shiny new apartment.

Saturday Smile: Do You Think One Will Be Enough?

Bec, Bill, and I went out yesterday morning for breakfast at the Original Pancake House. I love their blueberry Belgian waffles, and Bill always orders the apple pancake. He always tries to talk me into splitting it, because…..

It’s always a no-go because see above: I love their blueberry waffles. When he ordered the apple pancake, he asked the server (tongue firmly in cheek), “Do you think one will be enough?”

It was. And it was delicious. So was my waffle, by the way.

Have a great weekend.