Trash Day is back after 18-months in an apartment with a chute and no set pick-up. Early in retirement I stopped using the traditional days of the week and began to name them by activity. Trash Day originally became the start of the week, replacing Monday. (See Post #987). Bins went out on Sunday nights, as will be the case going forward here in Florida. Our three containers were delivered this morning, after I stealthily added my trash to the neighbors under the cover of darkness last night. The service is part of my HOA fees instead of a separate bill, saving about $35 a month. I also get basic cable service, lawn care, activities, and recreational facilities for my monthly dues. This includes two heated pools, fitness center, dog park, gated security, pickleball/tennis courts, and common areas. It’s like living at a luxury resort.
This morning I ran the neighborhood streets and did a few laps in my private pool. Our schnauzer Tally has taken a liking to the screened-in outdoor space out back. Our new bed is being delivered this morning that will hopefully help with my aching back from sleeping on an inflatable. This will eventually go in the guest room if our possessions ever arrive from Portland. Right now they are three days past due and still in the mover’s warehouse awaiting a driver. In the meantime, we are improvising or buying fill-in items to serve as places to sit or eat. The folding chairs are getting more and more uncomfortable.
Tomorrow is our 20th wedding anniversary so I will post a poem about our trials and tribulations in getting to this Florida forever home. We also have reservations at a popular local restaurant called Fins for a sunset view and celebration of love. Hopefully, I won’t have to listen to another rendition of Margaritaville, although certainly appropriate of the setting. It sure beats Cooking Night where I stumble around in the kitchen trying to make dinner. With this in mind, three days of the retirement week have already been established in this new lifestyle – Beach Day, Cooking Day and Trash Day.
This is the second time that I selected “Life’s A Beach” as a title for one of my silly blogs (See #1573). In fact, it was the last time I wrote one from Florida, as we were checking on the construction of our new home. Here we are again – months later- with the same sunny thought in mind. Back then, we did go to the beach but our backyard lanai and pool were just starting to take shape. This is the first week of enjoying all the hard work that’s taken place since we decided on Florida as our forever home.
We spent this morning at the dog beach – a furry of activity! This afternoon it’s relaxing by the pool. I think I just might like this new Florida lifestyle. Last night, we made a repeat visit to Dockside for seafood chowder, crab cakes, shrimp, and key-lime pie. The musician was not too loud and the marina view was awesome. However, please don’t play “Wasted Away Again In Margaritaville” again. We can also now get in and out of our gated community without having to check-in with the guard. It’s already a memorable first weekend in Venice.
My son has been over several times to help hang the few items we had sent here. All of our mail has been forwarded but inconveniently none of our stuff. Our possessions sit in the Portland warehouse awaiting a driver. We bought a bed yesterday after nearly a week of sleeping on the inflatable. My wife also purchased some pool furniture so we would have a few more places to sit besides two folding chairs. A fry daddy, and a cushioned bench that serves as a drop zone for pet and running supplies. These new additions to the house will be delivered in the next few days. We’re missing our clothes, valuables, oriental rugs, electronics, furniture, artwork, cooking supplies, utensils, and collectables. Improvisation is the current state of affairs.
Rain is in the forecast but so far we’ve been greeted with nothing but sunshine. Tally is enjoying the lanai and had a good time at the beach. We’ve left her alone on a few occasions, adapting slowly to the new surroundings. The peaceful sounds of a fountain and the birds have replaced the noisiness of downtown Portland. Today will be my first day in well over a year to go entirely mask-less. We did don them for dinner last night, but it’s easier to maintain safe social distancing unlike our former apartment building. The suntan lines on my face from the mask will soon disappear. I guess I can’t state it enough -Life’s A Beach!
Our schnauzer pup Tally is not fond of the tough southern fauna, as opposed to the soft Oregon grass where she’s used to doing her business. The blades are thick and pokey in Florida, so it will take some getting used to in our move. We did finally arrive in Venice with no further delays. I thought of many things that could go wrong on our cross-country journey but never once kidney boulders. To be honest, I did imagine car break-downs, accidents, speeding tickets, flat tires, credit card problems, theft, and even snow. However, we were lucky to avoid them all.
There were many scary moments of pain for my wife along the way, but one funny story emerged from the adventure. She innocently asked the parking valet at our downtown Atlanta hotel last night where she could find some “green.” She of course meant a grassy area for Tally to pee, seeing nothing but asphalt and concrete surrounding us. He noticed our Oregon license plates and commented, “you have access to the good stuff back home, but I can hook-you-up if you want.” She chuckled and didn’t know quite what to say, but clarified by asking for directions to the nearest park. Far from what he was thinking! I did see that same valet later that evening sharing a joint with a buddy down the street. I guess we’re lucky to have been reunited with our car this morning, worried that he might have rummaged through the dirty laundry bags in the trunk looking for our stash. After all, we were looking for grass!
Tally is still looking for the “green,” scared by the loud clomping sounds of a horse pulling passengers along the brick street in front of our hotel last night. She was absolutely petrified! She then refused to lift a leg, tugging frantically on the leash to get inside and away from the scary downtown noises. I eventually had to lift her up into an elevated planter so she could ultimately do her business. She’s a worried puppy thirteen states from home and confused about the long car rides that used to be fun. Tomorrow, we’ll get her settled into a new home, but it will take some time to adapt, especially in anticipation of the further disruption associated with unpacking and new faces. Hopefully, she’ll find green pastures again!
We’re about to cross the Georgia-Florida line, as my wife takes over the driving responsibilities. It looks certain that we’ll arrive in Venice before our stuff, delayed because of the unavailability of drivers. North American Van Lines faces monetary penalties for not delivering according to the contract, while we will undoubtedly spend the first nights on our inflatable bed. Is this too all Covid related? Fortunately, we had the foresight to bring the blow-up on our last Florida flight a few months ago. It was the last live look at the construction progress that has since been solely through Facetime or photos. Tomorrow we move in!
Our schnauzer Tally does not yet realize that this will be her last full day in the car. Last night was an absolute hassle, staying at the downtown Residence Inn. We tried yo get a dog-friendly hotel near the home of my wife’s niece. With our ER and medical delays, we arrived at a time that interfered with her evening Asian conference call, so she was unavailable to visit. We spent most of our hotel stay arranging for valet parking and hauling our valuables up to the 20th floor. First, we had to navigate the uneven brick sidewalk and then lug our numerous boxes and bags up a set of stairs to get to the elevator. All this coupled with Tally’s dog bed and overnight supplies. Mother Marriott should have been paying us rather than an outrageous $100 pet charge and $50 for parking, plus tips for very little help. Hardly – dog friendly or even handicap compliant.
We won’t get to our new Venice address until after the gates are locked this evening and the office where we pick-up our keys was closed. This means another night in a hotel with more luggage hauling and pet fees, not to mention forking out inflated Spring Break rates for the crappy room. The bath towels will probably be like tattered sweat rags, and the neighboring Cracker Barrel will have to suffice for take-out since dogs are not allowed. The good news is that this is one Florida vacation where we will never make the return drive. Yes Tally – the dog days of long distance travel will soon be over!
Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida are the last 5 states on our 13-state cross-country journey that started in Oregon. Atlanta, Georgia is tonight’s goal, as Tally continues to wonder where we are going? She looks content in the back seat bed, but it’s really boredom. She isn’t getting her long walks and has so little room to stretch. Occasionally, she’ll ride on my wife’s lap. We drive in 3-hour shifts between food and gas stops, putting more and more miles in the rearview mirror. This is her first day of not experiencing pain, following the kidney stone surgery in Indianapolis. I’m sure that’s a huge relief for her.
We continue to look forward to seeing our new home and addressing any unfinished business. At least two more nights of hotel living now stand in the way. We can pick up the keys on Wednesday morning, but still have now idea where are possessions are sitting. Presumably, they are still in the Portland warehouse awaiting a driver. At least, it’s not a frantic race to the finish line. We might even have a few days to get organized before the unpacking process begins. Plus, it’s another blue sky day for driving.
I got to visit with all my Indy friends and enjoy time with my wife’s family. They were very gracious about our extended stay, giving two sisters a chance to catch-up after almost two years of separation. It also gave me a chance to play my newest role of GUM -Great Uncle Mike. It was a good visit for all of us -long overdue. Back home again in Indiana with Georgia on my Mind.
After meeting my two great nephews yesterday, I found myself with a new nickname – GUM – Great Uncle Mike. The youngest of the two took right to me, sticking to me like gum and comfortably crawling into my arms. This is not usually the case for me with young children. I’m usually more scared of them than they are of me. However, Carter is my new buddy. Maybe, when I get settled in Florida in a few weeks, I can become a good grandfather? It was a step in the right direction – double bubble delight.
Yesterday was a welcome day of rest for all of us weary travelers. My wife had to cancel her lunch plans with friends because of a doctor appointment, but other than that the day was all about dogs and children for her. I got all our new home utilities in order and enjoyed the outside weather. Today, we’re getting some Indiana rain, reminiscent of Portland. Tally and I will spend the afternoon in our favorite bar, waiting for my wife’s surgery to be completed. Hopefully, a couple friends will join me at our outside table. Poor Tally is afraid of little kids and has to deal with a cantankerous cousin pup at my wife’s sister’s house. She has spent most of her time on a leash, but surely better than being stuck in the car all day. She’ll hopefully be right at home in the bar with me.
My list of things to do for the move is growing shorter. The next big step is to change my credit card billing addresses now that we officially have a home. The remainder of the cross-country drive is on hold depending on any complications from the surgery. We still plan to meet with more of my wife’s relatives in Atlanta and hear all about my twin great nieces in Jacksonville, Florida who will someday also call me GUM. I have great nephews and nieces in both Indiana and Florida, as well those on the Ban(n)ister sides of my double life as an adoptee. Come to GUM!
I’m feeling a sense of relief while moving from one crisis to another. Moving is the key word here as one of the biggest, most stressful hassles in life. We just spent three long days in the car getting from Portland to Indianapolis. Fortunately, we are not racing the North American Van Lines driver to Florida since our stuff is still sitting in the warehouse awaiting transit. I received our fully signed closing documents on our new house this morning and am in the process of setting up all our utilities. In the meantime, my wife has now been to two ER facilities and a urologist with Kidney Stone concerns. It looks like tomorrow will be the out-patient surgery, but if they need to add a stint we could be staying in Indy longer than expected. Fortunately, she gets to spend time with her sister and family while recovering.
As I was waiting for her to get checked-out at the hospital yesterday, I met a good friend at a nearby restaurant, TD Alibis. It’s been the sight of many gatherings through the years, once close to my house and an advertising agency that I worked closely with. It was like stepping back in time, although I’ve never shared my bar stool with a dog before. Our schnauzer Tally has been cramped in the car along with us in route to Florida. She’s been upset, seeing her “mom” go in and out of these strange buildings and not sure where she’s headed. My friend and I got an outside table and Tally joined us for a beer. She got some ice water, several bites of my ham and cheese sandwich, and many treats from our server. I had her bed set up in the shade and fed her dinner while we waited for word from my wife. We were both glad to not be sitting in the car on another beautiful day.
We’re also no longer homeless as of today. The apartment is now 2200 miles in the rear view mirror, as are our possessions. We may need to stay a week in Indy before we can start the leg to Atlanta. This means that all plans are on hold, including some other family get togethers. We have our fingers crossed that our load of furniture we be delayed just as long, so we don’t have to rush to meet the unloading crew. Tally and I may return to Alibis again tomorrow to wait out the surgery. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it. Man and beast deserve a break from all the stress of moving. At least, we survived all the inconveniences of notarized paperwork, wire transfers, spousal discomfort, dog duty, and packing. Hooray, we’ve Closed!
We made it to Burlington, Colorado just in time to take my wife to the ER with severe kidney stone pain. She was at Kit Carson Memorial Hospital for nearly four hours, treated by Dr. Quinn, Frontier Medicine Woman. While she waited, I checked us in at the Best Western Plus Carousel after prying poor faithful Tally from the door my wife last entered. A dog is woman’s best friend and she proved it true, worried that she might never see her again. However, food soon became a priority and she hopped in the car. This was not the only trauma of the day, because I soon discovered that a computer wire transfer of our home closing funds was not possible and the nearest Chase Bank was 6 hours away in Kansas City with another time change between. We would need to get an early start.
The drugs knocked my wife out for the night, but I slept restlessly. After getting up at 3:30 a.m. and running the minimum mile, I packed the car and walked Tally. Fortunately, my wife felt well enough to drive the first shift, while I relaxed by writing this post. The sun was just coming up as we traveled the flat, uneventful highways of Kansas. I checked in with the bank, moving people, and title company as they all reported to work for Monday morning duty. Tomorrow is Closing Day on our new Florida home so everything has to be in order – money and paperwork! It’s exciting but exhausting as I fight off a headache.
We missed dinner last night, so a sugary pastry, Nature’s Valley peanut bar, banana, and bottle of Sunny D orange juice served as nourishment on the go. The rising sun is in our eyes and Tally sleeps in the back seat, finding the once exciting “ride in the car” to be undesirably boring. Hopefully, closing details will go smoothly and my wife will have a pain free day, avoiding another trip to the ER.
We’re surrounded by packed boxes and a moving crew. Everything we own has a sticker, as we spend the last few hours in our Portland apartment. The final things to be packed will be my printer, computer, and office TV. It’s stuck on the Food Channel since the Xfinity service has been transferred to our new Florida home. Tonight, we’ll stay at the Waterfront Residence Inn for my farewell run past the cherry blossoms in the morning. Tally will rejoin us for the night with take-out from DeNicola’s. After the run, we’ll begin our 10-hour drive to Ogden, Utah, the first stop on our journey back to Indiana – more than halfway to our new Florida home.
While I thought my streak of finding dimes ended yesterday, one turned up by chance in my suitcase to make it four straight dime days. I’ve yet to come across one yet today, but Portland is giving me more than just pennies as we say goodbye as residents. We’ll certainly be back to visit family, but the last few days have been nostalgic as I followed the running route that was part of my mornings for the last year-and-a-half. Along the way I counted blinking security lights on parked cars, waved at the familiar Blanchet House volunteers along the stretch of homeless camps, observed the activity along the Willamette River, shook my head at all the boarded-up businesses, and played the silly alphabet game to ease the strain of the third mile.
Tomorrow on the riverfront, I won’t have to worry about crossing streets and rail lines. Tally’s walk will be much more peaceful without the traffic noise. She’ll be wondering what’s going on? We’ll be back at the hotel where she spent her first nights in the city. Then, it was a high-rise glass apartment, followed by a house on a steep hill, and finally this unit that we’re moving out of today. We further confused her with a couple nights with my wife’s daughter, her husband, and Falco. She’ll have very little space in the car for the next four days before we arrive in Indianapolis for a short break. It will be a long haul for her, filled with concern, as we all say, “Farewell Portland.”
Today was consecutive run #4477, with some unplanned major changes in the routine. First, was the new shoes that I was forced to buy because the packers stuffed mine along with my transistor radio in the bottom of one of hundreds of boxes sitting in our apartment. Tomorrow, they will all be picked up to start their route to Florida. On the positive side, the crew apparently found a pair of of my wife’s missing Apple AirPods that showed up mysteriously on my desk. In the meantime, she had purchased an additional pair, so I claimed these as mine. They also mistakenly packed the charging cord for my new watch so it will be powerless for the next few weeks. As a result, it was brand new Brooks Glycerin shoes with the Nike Run Club app providing GPS tracking and music over wireless buds. Welcome to the 21st century, Mike!
I’m simply transitioning away from my favorite radio station in Portland – KINK a few days early. I will need a new source of entertainment for my runs going forward and this new workout source is the ticket. Tomorrow will be the last day of my routine course after we move to a hotel and start the cross-country drive. The app tells me the half-way or turnaround point of my 3.1 mile route. I will certainly need to adjust the music since this morning it was hardcore hip-hop with a female Australian DJ named Dottie. The lyrics were about sperm and germs – hardly my style of poetry set to music. I will change that for future runs. The cherry blossoms along the Willamette waterfront are in full bloom with photographers everywhere. That everyday scene will soon change to palm trees.
I did not find a dime today or even spot a lost penny. Fortunately the weather was warmer than normal since I didn’t have my windbreaker, also packed away in a box. Schnauzer Tally was not part of my daily routine for the first morning in a long time, since she spent the night with her doggy niece Falco. This keeps her out of the way of the movers and hopefully reduces her stress. Although reportedly she is bummed out being away from home, suffering from fears of abandonment. Her departed sister Tinker taught her all about the trauma of seeing suitcases being packed and the need to worry. Normally, I do her first outing of the day prior to my run. She obviously missed out seeing my new shoes.