Where Am I?

Since moving to Denver some 45 years ago, I have mostly lived in the southeast Denver area. I have lived in several different abodes, but most in the City and County of Denver. I spent a couple of years living in Boulder while attending the University of Colorado, and I had an apartment in Thornton for a very short time. Other than those two instances, it’s been southeast Denver All The Way.

It’s funny (weird funny, not ha-ha funny) to move someplace where I don’t know how to get to the nearest Costco or where I’m going to have to figure out t,he location of the nearest CVS Pharmacy. There will be new restaurants, unfamiliar street names, and different hospitals. Our go-to freeway will no longer by I-25; instead, it will be C-470. Our light rail lines will be different letters. Our Chinese food will be delivered from a different restaurant, and who knows from whom we will order pizza?

The other night in bed, Bill admitted that he was apprehensive about the change. Me too. But we are both comfortable in our decision, certain that it is the right move for us at the right time. Our skittishness isn’t the downsizing aspect of our move. We have both said many times that one of the things we like best about our house in Mesa is its small size. It’s nice to have fewer places to search when you can’t find your phone. No more having to climb stairs when we leave our iPads in our bedroom. It’s just that both of us have lived in this area for over 40 years (in Bill’s case, over 50, and in this house for 30.

It will be nice to look out our windows and have a different view, though I will miss looking out my kitchen window and watching the squirrels and rabbits steal apples. We will no longer have a place for the grands to ride their scooters. The fact of the matter, however, is that they’re all really too old to ride the scooters anyway. They gave the scooters a good run on our big patio. They also gave the swing we had hanging from our honey locust tree for many years a good run. Every one of our nine grands used that swing, some when they were really too big to do so. It’s true that our youngest, Cole, didn’t spend as much time as the others. Still, he got in a few good swings before we had to cut off that limb that was nearly dead from over 15 years of swinging.

Our skittishness comes from change. They say that change is good for the brain, and I believe that is true. We are both very set in our ways. I read somewhere one time that it is good for your brain to shake things up a bit once in a while. I remember an example was to change the way you dry yourself off after getting out of the shower. Apparently we tend to always dry ourselves exactly the same way. I tried it then, and I have tried it a couple of times since. It really does feel uncomfortable.

All this is to say that it will take some time to get used to new places and things. Heck, it might even take some time to get used to finding the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Saturday Smile: Fitting It All In

Yesterday afternoon, we met for the first time with our moving consultant from Wind Crest. I’ve never had a moving consultant before. I simply packed up boxes, moved them into my new home, unpacked boxes, and put things where they fit. Our consultant walked with us around our house, took note of everything we really wanted to bring (as far as furniture), measured each piece, and then took notes.

When we were finished with the chore, she brought out of her magic moving consultant kit a big piece of paper that was our floor plan. She also brought out a magnetic board and a board that contained what seemed like 200 magnetic pieces representing furniture. We then sat together and decided whether our furniture dreams were realistic, and, if so, how to make that happen…..

God bless her. With her guidance, I got everything I wanted, including a little table in the corner of our bedroom for my puzzles. A girl wants what a girl wants.

I’m learning a lot from this experience. And having some fun as well!

Have a great weekend.

Friday Book Whimsy: Lessons in Chemestry

While in the late 1960s, women started making progress towards equality, men and women were far from equals in the 1950s and early1960s. Most women were homemakers. While some women worked outside the home, I would guess that many were in traditional “women’s” jobs such as teaching or nursing. It would have been a small percentage of women who were in the jobs traditionally thought of as males’ domains. Like chemistry, for example.

Elizabeth Zott — the protagonist of author Bonnie Garmus’s irresistible debut novel Lessons in Chemistry — is bucking all odds and working as a chemist. She is the lone woman in a sea of men, all of whom think of her as a pretty face who simply doesn’t know her place. That is, until fellow chemist Calvin Evans falls in love with her, and oddly, it’s for her brain and not her appearance.

Elizabeth isn’t trying to be a barrier breaker. She simply wants to be a chemist, and thinks being a woman shouldn’t stop her. She works away steadily, not making waves, but not backing down either. Eventually she and Calvin become a couple, and their relationship is nothing short of wonderful.

Life happens, but then an unexpected opportunity comes Elizabeth’s way. She is asked to host a new television cooking show called Supper at Six. She agrees with the caveat that she can develop the show the way she wants, with all eyes on chemistry. “Combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride” she says to the women eagerly watching the show. She teaches her fans not only how to cook, but also how to think for themselves.

Elizabeth Zott is a character I won’t soon forget. Nor will I forget the rest of her friends and family, including her precocious daughter Mad and her dog Six Thirty (named for the time of day she rescued him). Though I suspect Elizabeth would be considered on the spectrum these days, I cheered for her relentless pursuit to be admired for her mind and to be free to do any job she wants.

I highly recommend this book.

Here is a link to the book.

Thursday Thoughts

Treasured Out
I managed to finish emptying out my cedar chest, leaving only a few really special things. There was enough room to put my wedding dress into the chest. By doing that, I am hoping to delay the decision about keeping or discarding the dress forever. My plan is to move the nearly-empty chest into our closet in our new apartment. It will fit perfectly. It will also provide a place to put shoes, and purses, and other miscellaneous objects. If it becomes cumbersome, or either Bill or I trip over it too many times, my decision will be made. I will take out the dress from the cedar chest and hang it in the closet in the second bedroom, just for old times’ sake. At that point I will say bye-bye to the cedar chest forever.

Moving Closer
Yesterday afternoon, we interviewed a real estate agent who works with Wind Crest. I liked her very much. I especially like that she is familiar with people like Bill and me who must sell a house in order to make the deposit on our new home. Plus, she is used to working with seniors who have a lot of STUFF that they are having trouble getting rid of. She didn’t even flinch when she walked in the door and saw all of our boxes and bags ready to go to Goodwill. I invited her to take whatever she wanted, but she declined. From here on out, every visitor leaves with a door prize.

Tweet
I wish I knew a lot about birds. Every morning when I arise with the birds at 5 o’clock, I open up my back door so as to let in the cool air and hear the world come alive. For the past month or so, there has been a bird call that I can’t recognize. In fact, I’m not even sure it’s coming from a single bird. There are four chirps followed immediately by a trill. Yesterday morning the bird (or birds) changed it up a bit. Instead of the four chirps, every once in a while, they would throw in a single chirp followed immediately by the trill. I’m happy this year that, though the crows are still around, they have moved to a different yard and aren’t nearly as annoying. I’ve also observed the squirrels stealing the apples from our apple trees. Normally that would get on my last nerve. This year, however, we will probably be gone — or close to it — by apple harvest.

Next in Line
The next room I will tackle will be my office. Early this summer, I cleaned out the closet in that room, which is actually a bedroom. But I need to go through my files, most of which can be discarded. Who care about hospital bills from 10 years ago? When we move, Bill and I will need to share office space, which will also be a bedroom. It shouldn’t be a problem, because neither of us spend much time at all each day in our office. It’s the files that we will need to address. Bill is a pack rat when it comes to saving files. It’s the lawyer in him.

Ciao.

Pirates’ Booty

Yesterday morning I awoke, determined to put my shirt on with the front side facing forward, unlike yesterday when the shirt I wore backwards indicated the nature of my day. I gave a determined look at my cedar chest, and decided I was going to jump in with both feet.

My grandmother gave me the cedar chest when I graduated from high school. She and I walked from her apartment above the bakery about a half a block to Brenner’s Furniture Store. There, we looked at their selection of cedar chests.

I believe cedar chests have gone the way of the raptor dinosaurs. In fact, I don’t ever hear anyone talk about preparing their daughters’ hope chests. For that’s what it was. It was designed to be filled with mementoes of my life, and things to bring into my marriage. Maybe it was a midwestern thing.

To be perfectly frank, I never really liked my cedar chest. Fifty years ago, when I picked out my chest that would hold all of my treasures, dark wood and leather were all the rage. The chest indicates the dictates of the time. Somewhere along the line, the leather top was damaged. As I recall, I set a hot iron on it. Not good. The dark wood is a magnet for dust.

Anyway, true to its purpose, it holds 50 years of precious memories. Included with the chest, my grandmother gave me a couple of sets of pillow cases onto which she had crocheted beautiful lace. She also gave me several pairs of booties and a couple of baby sweaters in neutral colors of green and yellow that she knitted. My son never wore a single one of the sweaters because the sweater arms were disturbingly long and the booties would have fit a 5-year-old. Plus, in 1980, when Court was born, babies weren’t really wearing booties. They were wearing Baby Jordans.

But I was determined yesterday to open up the treasure chest and rid it of some of its contents.

The smell of cedar hit my nose immediately. The chest was filled to the brim with memories. I was determined to be brutal. But as I perused its contents, I was surprised at the number of tears I shed. I had forgotten everything that I had put in there over the years. Stupid things. For example, I saved every one of Court’s report cards from elementary school. (Hmm, I don’t remember him having those not-so-good grades in conduct.) I also saved every class photo from the same years. I have his high school diploma, along with his graduation cap. Oh, and his cub scout uniform, still stiff as ever.

I’m hoping he doesn’t read the post today, because I plan on bringing all of those things over to his house sometime in the next few days. He may toss everything, and I wouldn’t blame him. However, I don’t want to make that decision.

I did decide to toss the yellowed newspaper clipping and faded banner from my days as the Sweetheart Queen of my high school. I threw away graduation announcements from my nieces and nephews. I glanced at and then discarded cards from Bill’s and my wedding.

Buried deep in the bottom of the chest was a sad-looking silver cup with Court’s date of birth engraved on it, its uselessness apparent because it was smashed flat as a pancake. It took me a minute, but then I remembered it came from his great grandmother on his father’s side, a person he never met. In fact, I never met her myself. I hope I remembered to send a thank you note.

I worked for several hours, and then grew too weary to continue. Memories can make you tired. I will continue tomorrow.

Crazy

Yesterday was a crazy day. To illustrate just how crazy our day was, I will admit that for half of the day I had my shirt on backwards. Wait, that only shows how crazy I am. To be fair to myself, there is no label or any identifying features that indicate front from back. Oh, except for the fact that the back is higher than the front. You would have thought that the fact that I kept tugging on the top of the shirt, pulling it away from my neck because it felt like I was being choked, would have given me an indication of a problem. It did, but not until half the day was half over.

We were at our new apartment by 9 a.m., where we were measuring walls and counters, and taking pictures. Our custom design person was very nice. Except that she didn’t point out that my shirt was on backwards.

In the middle of our crazy day, we made another stop at Apple Store. We are becoming such familiar figures at the Apple Store that I’m pretty sure we have our own coffee mugs back in the employee lounge. You might recall that Bill and I worked together and managed to get first his Apple watch locked and then his iPhone locked. We were able to unlock the watch, but the iPhone was seriously LOCKED. Like, if-you-try-that-same-password-one-more-time-you-idiot,-the-iPhone-will-explode-and-kill-you-and-anyone-in-the-same-room-with-you LOCKED.

Of course, in order to get it unlocked, you have to prove you are the actual owner of the phone. The four or five different Apple support people with whom we dealt over the past week kept promising us that they believed us, but we had to prove it to people more important than them. And less human. We could have had Pope Francis vouching for us and it wouldn’t have mattered. We must resemble Bonnie and Clyde. (I wonder if Pope Francis forgets his password. Maybe he uses the same password for everything: ihatemypointyhat.)

I will tell you that the Apple support people couldn’t have been nicer. Including the one woman who I spoke to on the telephone. She was sure she had it figured out, and when it didn’t work, she nearly cried for me. I think she might have resigned from Apple minutes later.

The good news is that they were finally able to get his iPhone unlocked and now both his phone and his watch are up and running. Anyone who has tried and failed to get ahold of him in the last week can try once again.

We ended our day at the audiologist, where Bill once again didn’t disappoint. When his audiologist asked him why he was there, Bill, with a straight face, answered, “What?” He has given that same answer to every doctor who has ever given him a hearing test. He thinks he’s hilarious. He’s not only Clyde, but also Jerry Seinfeld. The result? Next time you see him, he will be wearing hearing aids. And still thinking he’s Jerry Seinfeld.

The rest of our week is similar to yesterday. But at least Bill will be able to tell time.

Worse Before It Gets Better

Our house is a mess.

I’m not talking about a few things out of place, or a little bit of dust here and there. I’m talking about boxes all around the house — some full and some empty. I’m talking dust over the furniture that is covered with STUFF. They say it has to get bad before it gets better, but seriously folks.

I want to move into a Residence Inn and stay there until the stuff magically gets packed, gets thrown away, or magically disappears. I think I will be waiting a long time.

Yesterday Court and his family stopped by. The main reason is that somehow the sprinkler system got messed up (probably in trying to improve the watering schedule and I’m not mentioning any names. The reality is, however, that neither Bill nor I could figure out how to fix it. So Court took a look at it and thinks he figured it out. Fingers crossed.

However, as they were here, we took a walk around the house to see if — and what — they might want to claim for their own before it goes away. I think we managed to find a home for our lawn mower, our lawn edger, our leaf blower (it amuses me that I’m using the word our when in fact I would never even know how to turn them on), some tools, our patio swing, our fire pit, and various other smaller items. Court was looking hungrily at my Kitchenaid Pro, but I told him, “Hands off Bud. I’m taking it along.” (If I haven’t used it in six months, it’s his. I’m not Atilla the Hun.)

We are about to call in the junk collector (800-Got Junk or a less expensive version) to start hauling away our 30 years of life. On Saturday, we made a stab at the storage room in our basement, and realized most of it will go bye-bye. Our daughter-in-law gave us some sage advice. “Don’t feel like you need to give all of the things you’re not taking with you to Goodwill. Let Got Junk take most of it. You won’t regret it.”

Boom. It’s a plan. Most of the stuff is too heavy to lift anyway.

I still need to tackle the storage room in the basement that has all of my ridiculous “can’t live without but only used once” stuff. Between that room and Bill’s office, we may just lose our minds.

Saturday, while cleaning out that storage room, I came across a box in which I had some old family relics. One of the relics was a weathered brown paper bag with words in my mother’s handwriting printed on it: Kris pony tails 1957. I opened the bag and, sure enough, there were two little blond pony tails, still in their rubber band. I can’t believe there was a time that I wasn’t gray. Here’s what I looked like shortly after those ponies were chopped off…..

I’m the one with the doll and the crooked bangs. I didn’t have long hair again until junior high.

I wonder what else I’m going to find.

Friday Book Whimsy: The Paris Apartment

Lucy Foley was the author of a book — The Guest List about which I was somewhat ambiguous. I didn’t hate it but I didn’t like it. I recall that one of my biggest problems with that book was that I really didn’t like any of the characters. I have learned over my 60-some years of reading that it really helps me to enjoy a book if I like the characters.

I had somewhat of the same reaction to The Paris Apartment, a book by the same author.

The protagonist Jess is running from a crime she committed. She contacts her half brother Ben, a journalist who lives in a fancy apartment in Paris. He reluctantly agrees to let her stay with him for awhile. However, when she arrives, Ben is no where to be found. There are signs of a struggle, but no clues as to where he could be.

Jess begins trying to find her brother. The house in which the apartment is located is divided up into several apartments on different levels. Sophie and her husband Jacque are very wealthy, having made money from a wine empire. Nick lives on another floor, and has secrets of his own, including that he is gay. Antoine is an abusive husband whose wife leaves him early in the book. Mimi is quiet and mousy, and very much in love with Ben.

Jess suspects from the get go that each of these people have their own secrets, and the secrets are not good. Though they say they are willing to help her find her brother, it seems as though they all make finding him more difficult.

The storyline had flaws and inconsistencies, but the plot kept me reading. I tried very hard to figure out what happened to Ben and who among the group of shady characters was responsible for his disappearance. Some of the plot twists were predictable, but I will admit that the ending caught me by surprise.

I liked the book, but disliked the characters.

Here is a link to the book.

Thursday Thoughts

Fishy
Yesterday Kaiya, Mylee, and Cole went to the movies. We started our afternoon my favorite way: eating sushi. Despite the hit my billfold takes, there is nothing I enjoy more than eating sushi with those three. We always go to the same place, and the proprietor knows us by now. He should know our order by heart, except that Kaiya changes it up once in a while. Yesterday she surprised me by ordering something called masago in addition to her regular veggie rolls (no asparagus). I had never heard of it. Masago is sushi made from the roe of the capelin fish, which is apparently a cold-water ocean fish. I tried a bite of the roe, and was unimpressed. Cole, however, ate much of one of them (she ordered two). As long as Mylee has plenty of green mussels, she is a happy camper. I eat my yellowtail hand roll and sit back and watch the food disappear.

Gru
Following sushi, we went to see the movie The Rise of Gru. I am embarrassed to tell you that I had never seen a minion movie, not even Despicable Me. I knew what a minion was because I don’t live in a cave. I had received two reviews of the movie — one person loved it and one person hated it. I fall in the middle. I love Steve Carrel and Alan Arkin, so I loved hearing their voices. The minions got on my nerves just a bit. Still, I admit that I laughed out loud in a number of places, and Cole thought it was very funny. A wobbly thumbs up from this reviewer.

Tech Troubles
At this point in time, neither Bill’s iPhone or Apple Watch are working. We have an appointment this afternoon with Apple to try and get the problem resolved. I have been to the Apple Store twice and on the phone once in an effort to get him back up and running. I hope this appointment today solves the problem. In the meantime, if it takes the 30 days they are threatening it might take, I will be buying Bill a burner phone, just like the drug dealers and the murderers.

For Sale
There are so many things that we won’t be able to take with us when we move, and some make me sadder than others. I haven’t played my piano for years, and yet it makes me sad to have to give it up. It seems, by the way, that no one wants a piano these day. If anyone has tips, it would come free as long as someone would haul it away. Oh, and definitely have it tuned.

Ciao.