Can you really ever plan something?

About two weeks ago I prepared myself to be a long-distance grandma. I began to investigate photo frames to get pictures all the time. It would be some time before David and I could travel to be together. Thoughts went through my mind, and I felt sad but hoped that by moving to another state her family would find peace and happiness.

Packed up and ready for their big adventure!

My daughter and family sold their house and packed up to move to Knoxville, Tennessee. This was a sudden decision pushed forward quickly by the CoVid 19 pandemic. School was starting soon and her thought was attending school was better than distant zoom learning. Well, after driving for 4 days in the van with her family of 4 boys and a small dog they arrived in Tennessee. Driving up a road named 13 curves proved to be Knoxville’s undoing. Got a call, and in less than 2 weeks, the family arrived back in Sacramento on September 8th. Costly lesson learned. Don’t buy a house sight unseen in a place you have never visited. Luckily, her husband was able to resume his job.

Life has been a bit of a roller coaster ride. Charlie enjoyed having visits with the boys. Eli is particularly good with him. and his pitching arm has landed a couple of balls in my neighbor’s yard. Lucas, the four-year-old, helped with the training by playing a game called, “Mother May I”. The baby has clean toes compliments of Charlie’s licking them. Wyatt, the two-year-old just thinks Charlie is funny.

So Eli started third grade on Zoom, the family made use of our water (showers and laundry), and my stressed-out daughter took care of reestablishing herself. Moving is always a stressful situation. Looking for a home with a contingency is not much fun. It is a seller’s market. Good for the house she is selling in Tennessee, not so good for finding a home she plans to live in.

All her stuff finally made it to Waldon, Tn. in a Pod. It took almost a week of negotiating a “Gypsy Moth” form to get her possessions to return to California. It was filled and refiled almost a dozen times. The date of arrival is in early October. The question remains, where will this family of 6 live???

Tension abounds here, and everywhere.

The strangest year – 2020 – note the cobwebs!

Inhaling the smoke from the fires that surround the area can be the equivalent of smoking 20 packs of cigarettes according to the governor. Add to this a presidential election year. Sorry no pictures. I only went outside to take Charlie out for many, many days.

This is a very, very, very important presidential race. This county desperately needs some sanity in a leader.

Becoming “Ruth less” with the passing of the Notorious RBG. I think this was designed before her passing, and I hope that next year she will reign supreme!

RIP Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Add to this the large response to protest continued police killings of our black citizens and the tension is felt by all. Some of the businesses are boarded up to prevent loss of property. While many peacefully protest there are others who take advantage of the situation and break, trash, and steal.

Boarded up windows provide a place to share words of hope!
I found this painted on a parking lot space

And then there is CoVid 19.

Face Covers Required

As of this writing, more than 200,000 people have died here in the United States. It has been 7 months since the Corona Virus has taken a firm grasp in our state. I heard rumors of a virus in mid-February, but it was March before changes started to happen. Now in downtown Sacramento, there is evidence of this pandemic.

Reminders everywhere. Masks help reduce the spread of CoVid

To mask, or not to mask.

Sorry sight. I’m sure there was a trash can close by.

To go along as if there is nothing to be concerned about, or to ask the question, “Is it worth the risk?” For the most part, my husband and I have chosen to be cautious. David is a diabetic who smokes. I have a post nasal drip that will probably clear out anyplace I venture out to. Most of our shopping has been online. Many of my activities have been delegated to Zoom Meetings. Even Charlie is being trained on Zoom. When I do go out I am masked. Actually, since the arrival of my puppy, there has always been someone here with him. We go to no restaurants, travel no further than a couple of miles, and if I am out it is an outdoor photoshoot with few people around me. So all the family comings and goings started to play on our minds. This did not sit well with all. No one likes this intrusion into our way of life. But I want all to be safe rather than sorry.

This past weekend I ventured downtown to meet up with my CTD friends. Since 2017, Sacramento has invited artists to participate in “Wide Open Walls”. Murals are painted on the walls around the city. The event usually runs about 10 days, but with the smoke, heatwave, and CoVid 19, and political tensions have extended the event. This time I did not capture any artists hard at work.

There is much evidence that this country wants to unite for the good of all its citizens!
Black Lives Matter. We stand with you.

For many years I taught 4th grade with the social studies curriculum being California. This mural reminded me of the first chapter where I taught the four regions – Coast, Desert, Valley and Mountain regions.

California diversity. Four distinct regions of the state.
PEACE – Amazing artwork.
Making the alleys soar!
Painting on such a large canvas. So peaceful looking.

Sometimes parts of murals interest me.

This mural fascinated me the most.

Along with the murals I enjoyed walking the streets of downtown Sacramento. This year I missed the “Chalk It Up” event. To create a safe environment this event was spread out . I came across this one, and wanted to show myself enjoying the artwork. Plenty of electric scooters just left on the sidewalk. Bumper sticker that says it all! Vintage retail sign l liked.

This mural prompted me to look up Betty Inada

You Never Know… 

Time to make a change. With my parent’s death I pondered how this will affect me. Thinking I have less on my mind I found that I have been trying to find a way to simplify. One idea I had was to finally make my house exactly how I want it and remodel my house of 31 years. The other idea was moving.  Back and forth we went.  So in June I started to investigate. Live through a remodel or move.

The Internet makes looking easier. I looked out of town, and out of state, or stay in the area. I drove out to see a 55+ Del Web community, but it didn’t feel right for us. Looked at nearby community of Gold River, a group of villages with varying HOAs. A possibility, but not quite.  Then on June 4th we looked at a couple of open houses. Walked into a house that felt right, and we made an offer. Back and forth, and on Tuesday July 11th we signed the papers. Recorded on July 12th, and we have a new house. The actual move won’t happen until the first week in October. Since this actually was a fast decision I now have time to get my house ready for sale. Of course, this also means looking at all the stuff accumulated over the years of raising two kids, grandkids and job paperwork.

Should be celebrating, but instead I have been spending time at Kaiser Hospital in Roseville. You  never know. My 15 year old granddaughter had emergency surgery for appendicitis on July 11th. Turn out it was much more serious, and her appendix burst. Pulls through surgery only to be back in the hospital two weeks later because of an abscess from the surgery.  The day before school started in early August, the drainage tube was removed. Alyssa did not have much of a summer vacation.

Sacramento weather has been particularly hot. No days under 90 degrees. I spent August preparing to sell my house. Decluttering, packing, organizing. I learned that I am an organized person who saves everything. I have files filled with receipts going way back. If I stop to look at them it can be amusing. Seeing the cost of things, how long some appliances last, the number of times I fixed the same item.

I had a storage box of memories. I kept my kids artwork from first scribble. I dated these pictures and wrote what it was about. First teddy bear, first shoes, every Mother’s Day card, every story and homework project saved. This made for a fun trip down memory lane. I then got two bags and passed this along to my children. They probably recycled all of it.

I also found a box of correspondence I saved since moving to California in 1978. This must have been the last time I purged my stuff.  Long 6 page letters from busy mothers with young children. With the coming of cell phones and reduced costs the letters stopped. We now catch up a couple of times a year, or follow each other on Facebook.  This blog serves as my journal, and my need to record my thoughts. Somethings don’t change. Are you a saver or do you quickly discard?

Delayed posting this blog because I wanted to add some photos that I had on my iPhone 5s. That proved problematic.  Photos were too pixilated.  I guess I should figure this out before I plan to use iPhone photos here. So I will end now sans photos.

The Stuff Surrounding Us 

Shall I extend my living space into the garage? Or incorporate and recycle into my home?

Shall I extend my living space into the garage? Or incorporate and recycle into my home?

August 25 my parents move into assisted living.  Early September the second stage of this move began. Downsizing. Is it easier to downsize for yourself or for someone else?

My parent’s 2 bedroom apartment has plenty of places to store belongings. Huge linen cabinet,  a room-size storage area, and two walk-in closets contain a plethora of stuff.

The kitchen space is easy to empty. No need for any cook ware at FountainWood. Mini microwave eliminates larger dishes. Knives already out of the apartment for safety reasons.

Linen serves as useful packing material. Pillows and blanket are also set aside for packing. With medicinal items dates matter so this an easy call. I follow this rule when I downsize my wardrobe.  If I didn’t wear it during the season it is a candidate for donation but this doesn’t work for someone else. Cotton tee shirts make great rags. Comfortable shoes count above style for me, and the empty shoe boxes are repurposed. Decorations, collections, and odds & ends end up on a table. Quickly selected or unchosen and set for donation. The place empties slowly. I take all historic documents, photo albums, Rolodex, and address book. I need to be careful going through all the drawers and papers. I find photographs tucked between papers and I don’t want to inadvertently throw photographs out

On and on, room by room the place empties. Some things mean something my brother. Other items find a home with me. Some pieces of furniture replace older ones at my house. A Cosco Step Stool has always been in our house while growing up, so my brother took it because he said it was in his DNA. Little by little my parents things are incorporated into other homes. A new life for stuff.

My garage is temporarily storing furniture until I can get it moved into place. Then I need to decide what stuff I should eliminate.  Cycle, recycle, and decide what has meaning in my life.

Family Reunions of the Crises Kind (Part 1)

Sometimes they occur during a time of crises. Sometimes family reunions happen under good circumstances and are planned in advance.  In the past two weeks I have experienced both kinds. It comes as no surprise that I found the second reunion more enjoyable. More about that in another post.

As I mentioned in the previous post my parents lost the ability to care for themselves. Physically my father  at 96 is frail. He depends on his walker completely, spends much of the day in bed sleeping, and has some problems communicating. This is due to hearing loss and some processing issues. My mother is now legally blind due to macular degeneration. The routine of spending every day in bed proves the saying, “If you don’t use it, you loose it.” I listened to their outer voices, paid attention to their needs, explored possibilities, and finally found a new place for them to call home.

Once the decision was made I called my brothers to help with this move.  Moving into an assisted living takes a lot of preparation. It is not just the regular things when moving. Now there is down sizing, TB tests, doctor visits, and paperwork. I soon realized that I would need to start the ball rolling. At times my parents accepted this outcome. Then they forget and choose to baulk at making a move.

My brothers arrived in Sacramento for a 5 days of packing, and moving fun. The three of us are so different in our approach to life and this really became evident the more intense emotions got. Crises family reunions show that we are family, but ideas and emotions can bring out past hurts. But then again, friends are chosen, and family is family!