Perfect day with friends…More rain predicted…Nothing like a comfy chair and friends…

It’s no wonder the chicken proliferates and hang out at the beaches when surfers and bathers can’t resist feeding them their lunch. No one seems to mind the chickens and roosters, instead finding humor in their presence, as we do.

Yesterday, we spent the entire afternoon at friend’s Elaine and Richard’s home meeting a new couple, Carol and David. Oh, good grief, we all had so much in common and many stories to share.

We told Richard he was the best matchmaker of people in the world, a true proverbial social director and people connector. It requires tremendous self-confidence to be able to step back from the limelight in a friendship to introduce one’s friends to new people. Not everyone can do this. Richard is an expert in this area and we appreciate both he and Elaine.

At times, on clear days, a perfect stretch of beach is unoccupied such as shown here.

They set a beautiful table and their gorgeous home was, as always, impeccably appointed and inviting. Sitting in the beautiful living room after our delicious meal all of us relaxed while the animated conversation continued.  Richard insisted I sit in a comfy chair next to his favorite chair.

As I reclined, finding the soothing comfort in the chair, I was reminded of my comfy chair in our old life, a chair that offered cocoon-like ease that allowed my mind to flow with thoughts, plans, and ideas as I sat there for 11 months, day after day, planning our worldwide travels. 

Alternate view of a section of Anina Beach.

I‘d stop only long enough to head to the health club for my workout, a quick trip to the grocery store, a fast meal preparation, or a visit with family or friends. 

Day after day, I sat in that beautiful Flexsteel chair, two of which we’d had made specifically for that room many years prior, each slightly different. Writing here, documenting, calculating, and planning every possible element of the first two years of our travels, now since the past was spent in that chair. 

Bathers continue to visit the sandy beaches on overcast days.

I know I’ve mentioned this in past posts but, for those who’ve come in partway in reading our over 900 posts to date, that chair held a special meaning for me, far more than any item we had in our home that we’d acquired together over the years. That chair.

In October 2012, when the estate sale professionals came to our house for four days, (we’d moved out to live with my friend Karen) in order to sell our belongings, my heart ached over the eventual sale of the chair.

Anini Beach shoreline on a cloudy day. 

At the end of the first day of the sale, the estate sale company owner asked me to stop by to see how the first day had gone and to discuss price reductions for the next day. I arrived too early. The sale was still in progress.

As I walked around the house, I saw my chair in the dumpster. That chair. Apparently, someone had purchased it and when moving it out a leg broke. It was placed into the dumpster. Who’d buy a chair that couldn’t stand on four legs?

One of our favorite dinners consists of meatloaf stuffed with hard-boiled eggs, wrapped in bacon, green beans, coleslaw, and our homemade coconut biscuits, all low carb, grain-free,  gluten-free, starch-free, and sugar-free.

My heart ached as I stood at the dumpster looking at that chair and for the first time, asking myself, “What in the world are we doing, selling all of our worldly possessions, leaving everyone we know and love for some elusive dream?”

Not one to cry easily, I returned to my car parked out of sight and cried my heart out. “Let go!” I reminded myself, “Just let go!”

There’s another grocery store in Hanalei, Big Save. Unfortunately, their inventory is less robust than the Foodland in Princeville which is lacking in some products we use frequently, requiring us to drive 30 minutes to Kapaa where there’s a health food grocer and a larger Safeway.

After 20 years of pain and poor health, totally at bay due to the dietary changes for over a year at that point, we could finally travel, see the world, spread our wings, and stretch ourselves beyond the self-imposed limits of a lifetime. 

“Don’t cry over “stuff.” I told myself. I “pulled myself up by my bootstraps” as they say and went back to meet with the estate sale guy. I can’t say I never cried again before we left. After all, leaving everything and above all, everyone, wasn’t easy.

We continue to encounter one-lane bridges in Kauai. A posted sign states, “No more than seven cars may pass at one time.” Drivers are courteous in complying, counting the cars as they pass.

But, like the fulfillment of all dreams, sacrifice is a necessary element. Nothing worthwhile comes easy, a painful lesson we all learn in life as we mature into adults.

Agave plants can grow these snake-like protrusions.

So, yesterday, as I nuzzled into Elaine and Richard’s comfy chair, surrounded by friendship and love, a wave of divine happiness washed over my heart in such a way, it almost felt as if it rolled over in my chest. 

These types of signs prevent lifeguards from answering endless questions.

No, we don’t own a house or have an apartment somewhere. We don’t have a car tucked away in a friend’s garage. We don’t have storage space with “stuff” awaiting a time we’ll settle down. And, we don’t have a comfy chair we call our own.

A sign posted at Tunnels Beach.

What we do have travels well, isn’t heavy, and doesn’t require any special handling. Its passion, enthusiasm, optimism, and hope. Its curiosity, a sense of adventure, awe, and wonder. For this, we are grateful. With this, we are “home.”

                                                Photo from one year ago today, March 1, 2014: 

No photos were posted on this date one year ago. Finally, after an overnight and day of travel, we’d made it to Morocco and we busy getting situated. Tomorrow, we’ll share our first photos of our arrival in Marrakech. Please check back

Photos of upcoming vacation home in Nevada!…

Pool and Spa
Pool and hot tub in Nevada house.
Living room
Living room.

Below are the photos of the Henderson, Nevada vacation rental we’ll be moving into this upcoming Wednesday after a five-hour drive across the desert. We posted these photos many months ago, doing so again today for our newer readers.

Master bedroom.
Second of three bedrooms.

A charming house with great reviews in located in the fabulous Green Valley Ranch area in Henderson, a suburb of Las Vegas, will definitely serve our needs for eight days over the holidays with family and friends coming to visit for the three days between Tom’s 60th birthday on the 23rd and Christmas.  We couldn’t be more thrilled.

3rd bedroom
Third bedroom.

Over the next two days, we’ll busily pack for the eight days in Nevada, finish the balance of our paperwork, pack the food and cooking supplies we’ve accumulated while in Scottsdale, and the hardest part of all, decide what we’re leaving behind in one final bin we’ll leave at son Richard‘s house.

Kitchen, dining area.

This is the hardest part.  Once we leave the vacation house in Henderson on the 27th, we return to the vacation house in Scottsdale for our final packing before leaving on January 1st for San Diego to ultimately sail away on January 3rd.  Any items we don’t bring to Henderson now become a part of our luggage, an impossible scenario.

2nd Living room
Casual dining and lounge area off of the kitchen.

We have warm clothes that we aren’t bringing (Good thing we brought them along for the cold weather we’ve experienced lately), piles of papers to pass off to my sister Julie who’ll spend Tom’s birthday and Christmas with us as well. 

Pool Table
Pool table in the living area.

Julie will keep our medical files with test results, our health care directives, and stacks of legal documents that we completed on Friday.  We’ll leave our tax prep receipts in a banker’s box with Richard

The kitchen is dated, but serves our needs.

Oh, it goes on and on.  There’s so much to remember much of which I listed on a Nevada “to do” and others that require me walking around and “looking” at everything to further remind me. Thank goodness, my memory is serving me well. 

Living room
Main living room.

Not only will we move into the house below, but we’ll get ready for Christmas, baking (for guests), decorating (just a little), and go to our dentist appointments for final cleanings.  After the dentist, Tom has an appointment at a local travel clinic for his last TwinRix vaccine. 

Hot tub as part of the pool.

Plus, we’ll complete the arrangements for the sale of Tom’s car (prospective buyer in the works), hopefully, to transpire while we’re in San Diego over the last two days.  If that doesn’t work out for any reason, of course, we have a Plan B. 

On January 2, we’ll take the SUV to a local dealer and sell it for whatever they’ll give us.  Apparently, there’s a shortage of clean used vehicles. After pricing it at Edmunds, we feel confident that we will sell it for close to the dealer’s wholesale price. It’s a 2010 model and in perfect condition.  We’re already prepared for a low offer accepting this reality as part of the process, especially after doing so poorly at our estate sale. Ouch!  Nobody cares to pay what we feel “our stuff” is worth.  

Here’s the link to the details and photos about the Henderson home.  (Please excuse the formatting issues. It’s rather tricky copying and pasting photos from other web sites.  As I’ve mentioned in the past, web design is not my forte).

Happy retirement party day, Tom…Sick or not, I’m in!…

Last night at 8:45 Tom took me to urgent care.  My voice gone, gut wrenching coughs overtaking me, it was time to address this three week old flu.  

An hour later with prescriptions for Z-Pack and codeine cough medicine in hand, we left the all night pharmacy to return to Karen’s home and some much needed sleep. 

It was a fitful night, tossing, turning, dreaming and coughing.  Trying not to take the cough medicine before bed, like a fool, at 4 am I had no choice with the coughing continually awakening us.  The pharmacist had stressed, “Do not take more than one teaspoon.  Its a new formulation and could be dangerous.”  

“Good grief,” I thought, “Why give me such a dangerous drug?” With only a peculiar looking plastic measuring device that came with the red syrup I struggled to measure out one teaspoon.  My contacts were out.  I couldn’t see. With the intent of erring on the safe side, I poured what may have been a mere 1/2 teaspoon.  

In a matter of minutes I conked out to awaken at 8:15 this morning, head a little less foggy, voice somewhat “hear-able” and the coughing cut in half.  Who says antibiotics don’t work for a virus?  Although still sick, I now can manage to hostess Tom’s retirement party with a renewed expectation that I can make it through the busy day and night.

We invited less than 100 people but with the help of a co-worker and friend of Tom’s, Jer-Bear who enthusiastically invited many more, we could have a substantial turnout. After forty two years on the railroad, Tom with his outgoing and friendly demeanor could certainly warrant a reasonable turnout.  Thanks Jer-Bear.  

The last day of our estate sale is going on as we speak.  They’ve already called me twice asking for our “lowest price” on a few of the bigger items. Hopefully, they’ve been sold.  

Worried as to how much will sell, we are discussing plans for the “leftovers.” We must decide by Monday morning when the estate sale people return to donate, to dumpster and to clean the entire house (for an extra fee, of course).  

This is an angst ridden process: selling everything one owns and then disposing of many of those items that one considered to be treasures.  It not only hurts the pocket but, also the soul.  

We all want to believe that we have impeccable taste and yet, we all want to be unique.  That, my friends, is an oxymoron.  Uniqueness dictates that only certain people will find that which we have as “purchase worthy.”  Others will thumb their noses with their distaste.  So it goes in Life, yin and yang.

Tom’s SUV loaded with party supplies, soon I’ll leave to pick up Camille, my daughter-in-law who has been my loyal and official helper through thick and thin during this entire moving process.  She and I will pick up the food for the party, the cake (I’ll post a photo of the amazing cake next time I write), drive the long haul to the VFW party hall in Coon Rapids, Minnesota to set everything up for arriving guests at 5 PM. 

Tom will drive himself in Camille’s SUV to the party and then I will drive us both home in Tom’s SUV at the end of the evening, designated driver that I am with a relatively inebriated and outrageously humorous passenger in tow.  

As we move into the next phase toward Tom’s retirement date and, our departure date of October 31, 2012, I’m filled with sorrow, anticipation and elation all at once.  

The goodbyes beginning tonight, continuing over the next four days, will surely be the most difficult part of this many month’s long process of planning to travel the world over the next five to ten years, as vagabonds, gypsies, and adventurers. 

Not too bad for two typical Minnesota home bodies, having lived a joyful life of routine and familiarity, who’s world will soon be upside down. 

Solutions as we wind down..

Although now sick with the flu, I’ve had no time to rest in an effort to speed my recovery. Forcing myself to continue running around, making phone calls and completing tasks in preparation for leaving Minnesota in five days has been trying.  

Tom’s retirement party is tomorrow, Saturday at 5 PM. My voice sounds like Minnie Mouse and I’m weak, coughing and foggy headed.  Perhaps, this is Nature’s way of warning me to slow down.  Not a good time to teach me a lesson, Mother Nature! 

The mailing service, MailLink requires notarization of legal documents with literally no daytime hours for Tom to go to a notary.  After speaking with Eric at MailLink he reassured me that there was nothing to worry about.

He suggested we go ahead, sign up, pay the $156 annual fee for the largest mailbox via PayPal to get the documents notarized when we get situated in Scottsdale.  In the interim, they won’t be able (due to state laws) to forward our mail until they receive the forms.
Over the past several months I’ve reduced the amount of mail that we receive by contacting the various companies requesting they only send online notifications and statements.  Most were able to comply.

In the near future, it appears that snail mail will become a thing of the past as evidenced by the financial difficulties of the USPS. Today’s fast paced technological advances continue to have an enormous effect on the use of paper and mail in general. Perhaps, in time as we travel, we’ll no longer need the services of any form of a mailing service, receiving all communications by email

A portion of Tom’s income from his work will no longer be paid by direct deposit as his paycheck had been over the past many years. This in itself presents a dilemma. How do we get the paper check “mailed” to us into the bank? He requested direct deposit for these payments to no avail.

We considered asking one of our adult children to receive the payments by mail immediately depositing the checks. Realizing how annoying and inconvenient it would be for them with their full and busy lives to be watching for the checks and subsequently depositing them, we decided it was too much of an imposition.  We didn’t want that inconvenience ourselves!  Why would we impose this on our children?

In speaking with MailLink, they suggested we do what their other clients do in a similar situations:
  1. Use the provided MailLink  address as our mailing address
  2. Provide them with deposit slips and mailing envelopes made out to to our bank’s department that handles incoming snail mail deposits.  
  3. MailLink opens the envelope, scans a copy of the check to our email, signs the back of the check, “deposit only” and then mail in one of the envelopes provided.  No deposit slip is required per this service offered by our bank.
  4. Within 2-3 days the deposit it made into our bank at which point they email us a receipt for the deposit.
  5. Check online banking to verify the receipt of the deposit.
Cumbersome?  Yes?  Alternative?  Hire an accountant or certified money manager and pay $100’s in fees each year?  No, thank you.

Next task? Oh, yes, they continue.  Insuring our belongings.  With the documents signed on the sale of the house, we are ending our homeowners insurance on the day we leave, October 31st.  At that point insurance ends on our belongings as well.  Today, I will wrap up the details of our new “personal property” insurance.

The estate sale is in progress.  Yesterday, the first day, was a bit challenging.  It was snowing, the roads were slippery and the wind was whipping at the time the sale was to begin. 

At 7:00 am yesterday morning, sick and miserable, I showed up the house to meet with the estate sale people to finalize pricing and details.  The wind and sleet on the peninsula felt like a hurricane as I nearly was blown away finding my way from the driveway to the front door in the dark.  Somehow, the detector for the exterior lights were turned off. 

By 9:00 am, as the sale began, I was visiting with our friend and neighbor two doors down, peeking out the window to witness the caravan of cars driving down the narrow road to examine and hopefully buy “our stuff.” It was hard to watch.  I left an hour later for a delightful stress-reducing lunch with the neighbors at our favorite local restaurant, as opposed to the breakfast we had planned earlier.  Its so hard to say goodbye.  The worst is yet to come.

Once again cocooned in this comfy leather love seat as I write today, my voice is gone, my throat less sore and the cough is slightly better as I prepare for the tasks of yet another day in limbo:
  1. Finalize personal property insurance policy
  2. Go to bank to get extra deposit slips and arrange for the mailing service to send them the pension checks
  3. Pack a box of overflow to be shipped to Scottsdale and held by UPS until we arrive on November 4th.
  4. Check on final details for Tom’s party tomorrow.
  5. Grocery shop and prepare dinner as I have done each evening since moving here last Sunday. After all, a good house guest must earn their keep.

Yep. Five more days.

Out of my element..

Its not easy for us to be house guests.  Our hostess and her family couldn’t be more accommodating, easy going and welcoming.  

By the time Tom returns from work, reads the paper, showers and watches the news, he joins us in time for dinner. We’re both a little tired, yet to fully recover from the packing, the cleaning, the lifting and the hauling.  We try to go to bed by 9 or 9:30.

I’ve been making dinner for six the past two nights, shopping creatively each day to accommodate the diet and likes of each of us in the group of five at Karen’s home.  Mostly, they eat as we do; gluten free, chemical free, starch free and sugar free making this task easier than it might be for some.  

We are enjoying dinners together, all of us sitting at their big square table, a table similar to ours in our now former home, about to be sold along with everything else we own, at our estate sale starting tomorrow. 

Tomorrow morning, I’m scheduled to meet the estate sales people at our house at 7 am to review the final pricing on the bigger items.  Its not easy.  That which we found to be unique, custom made by devoted craftsmen and befitting our lodge-like lifestyle will have considerably less value to a potential buyer. 
When done, I’ll leave, as requested by the estate sale people.  Its too hard to see, they say…too hard to watch one’s lifetime belongings wander down the long narrow road to be placed into the bed of a truck or plopped into the trunk or back seat of a stranger’s car.  Oh.
When I leave our home tomorrow morning, not to return until the sale ends, my dear friends/neighbors and I plan to have breakfast at our favorite local restaurant, The Hazellewood Grill for a meal and our final goodbyes.  

There has been four of us girls as confidants, friends, helpers, supporters 
(now  down to three after Sue left for Florida last Saturday) all of these years. The goodbyes begin.  I knew this was coming.  I avoided dealing with it.

Yesterday, I watched our little three year granddaughter practicing for her upcoming dance recital next Tuesday, the day before we leave. I will be there. Tears welled up in my eyes watching her, knowing the time is near.  Those little faces, those precious smiles, the delicate tiny hand to hold.  Ah.

Awaking with a sore throat today, I best stay in and take it easy.  Today, I must arrange for “renter’s” insurance for our personal belongings.  We are cancelling our homeowner’s policy on Halloween.  

We must set up insurance coverage for our luggage, clothing, digital equipment, all those items I posted here to enhance our world travel experience, all of those items for safety and security, all of those items for comfort and ease.  

When the agent from State Farm in Henderson, Nevada suggested $15,000 in coverage in an email yesterday, I cringed.  Our digital equipment alone will fall into that range. I will make an itemized list sending it to the agent today to ensure we are properly covered.  Its worth paying a little more.
We must set up our new Nevada address and mailing service before the end of the week. I should have done this sooner.  When I started the process of signing up yesterday, I realized that both of our signatures must be notarized. Oh, no. We must do this soon.  Tom doesn’t get done with work in time to go to the bank. I’ve waited too long to do this. I’ll find a solution today.

A week from today, two hours from now, we’ll be packing Tom’s car to begin our journey.  The retirement party will be over, the sale will be over, the tasks will be completed and the goodbyes will be shared.  Ouch.

Estate sale prep…not so easy

We sending this painting of our house to my sister Julie in California. Goodbye house, goodbye painting. Ah…goodbye sister.

They arrived on time, all five of them, loaded up with bins, tables, price tags, papers, armed and ready to begin sorting and pricing a lifetime of our stuff.

Suddenly, furniture was moved, drawers were emptied and the laundry basket I was using to do laundry was filled with items to be sold.  I quickly emptied it and filled it with my dry laundry to be folded, laundress that I am in the worst of times.

I felt panicky. I’d sent a few texts to friends, eliciting comfort for my stifled hysteria while quietly roaming about gathering endless piles of items to be moved out with us.  They responded with compassion, although I could sense that they were baffled by an appropriate response.

What does one say to a person who has loved to entertain guests, possessing all the perfect accouterments in an effort to make each experience a memorable event for every guest, when all those items become nameless and unattached?  

Wandering from room to room, I felt a sense of robbery, pillage, detachment, not over my personal effects: clothes, cosmetics, jewelry and trinkets.  The sense of loss was born over the those items that I had used for years to create ambiance, warmth, love and sharing with family and friends over a lifetime, or to design a romantic dinner for Tom and I with specially prepared food and thoughtfully chosen drinks, soft music and a fresh bouquet of flowers.

The arrangement of it all, pleasing to the senses with the ultimate desire to have the experience linger.  As they cleared out our aperitif, wine and shot glasses, a plastic enclosed piece of paper dropped to the floor.  I noticed that it sat there undisturbed for awhile while I was cleaning a drawer.  

Picking it up, my heart sank while at the same time a wide smile came across my face from the happy memory. It was a drink list I had prepared from which guests could choose their favorite wine, beer or cocktail.  We kept no less than 15 different brands of beer, 12 types of alcohol, 6 liquors and a wide array of mixes and popular concoctions to satisfy every guest’s personal taste.

Tom or I would said, “Pretend you are at a bar and choose your favorite drink. We will make it for you.”  And make them we did; in the perfect glass served with a  little napkin to catch the drips, an umbrella if appropriate, a decorated little stick to hold pickled mushrooms, olives, onions or maraschino cherries, a slice of orange or a perfectly cut lemon or lime.  This menu of drink options, elegantly typed, slipped through my fingers and into the trash.  No one will buy that. 

The estate sale people, although quite busy with the stuff, took the time to be kind and sensitive in handling all of our belongings and to the reality of the loss. Thank you Jim, Nadine, Jason, Lena, Sheri and Jessica. So kind.

I didn’t cry. Taking deep breaths, answering texts and taking calls from some of my amazing friends; Karen, Chere, Carol, Jamie and Steph, all brought comfort.  My thoughtful daughter-in-law Camille, looming in and out all day, aware of my angst, offered a safe haven every few hours by phone and by text, is coming today. We’ll  spend time with the three little grandchildren while she drives me around, laughter and stories coming from the three little passenger in the backseat.

Stranded that I am, we’ll go to the UPS store to mail the above painting of our house that has hung over the fireplace in the kitchen for years to be sent to my sister Julie in Los Angeles.  Goodbye picture!   

(We’re not ready to face the goodbye of loved ones yet. I’ll write about that  later).

As I sit here in my comfy chair, soon to be moved to a more “sales orientated location,” I write today, an off day.  Usually, I write this blog every other day but today was different.  Perhaps, I will write every day once we are “out in the world” but today was truly different.

We’ve decided to move to Karen’s home on Sunday, getting situated before the Vikings game at noon.  Tom can watch the game on her big screen TV while I go to Costco to order the food and supplies for his upcoming retirement party on the 27th.  So much to do.  So little time.  

Who am I to complain or feel sad?  We have the most exciting life that we could ever have dreamed, ahead of us.  But, that’s the magic of Life. We are allowed to feel, to laugh, to cry, to whine, only moments later to rejoice.  Who’s to say it should be different?

Are there rules regarding the order in which we feel? Should sadness only be reserved for sad times and joy for happy times?  It’s ironic how we often laugh at wakes and funerals and cry at movies, having little to do with the state of our lives at the time. 

I give myself permission to feel a little sad, however fortunate we may be, in the process of letting go of a lifestyle that has so much enriched our lives and filled us with a lifetime of memories.  

Perhaps a year from now while living in Kenya, we will cry when we witness a lioness and her cub sitting along the road as we drive to the grocery store or laugh when a zillion tsetse flies are flying around our heads while we cook outdoors at the braai.

Ah, Life, thank you for being so rich.

Goodbye party on the point…Thank you…

Saturday, at 4:45 pm, after a laughter and tear-filled day spent with son Greg and daughter-in-law Camille, and going through a lifetime of photos, handing off precious bits of memorabilia, enjoying a homemade low carb gluten free pizza, we realized it was time to get ready and head down the street to our party.  

Scheduled to begin at 5 PM, it was a short walk of only four doors down the road to attend a going away peninsula party, hosted for us by our friend Sue.

Twenty six years of blissful dinner parties, cocktail parties, cocktail cruises on the lake, lawn parties, neighborhood parties, 4th of July celebrations, graduations, holidays and birthday parties.  Ironically, each of the three husbands in every other of five houses in a row on the point were born on December 23rd, which included my Tom, Doug and Chip. Coincidence?

(And most recently, hundreds of friends and family members came to celebrate his life and to grieve the loss of our dear friend Chip, Sue’s loving husband’s memorial service at the nearby University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. He would have wanted a party, but it was hard to celebrate without him there. Then again, he was there in all of our hearts).

The thoughtfulness, the love and the generosity of a friend, amid the throes of such loss, such grief, so zealously decided to throw a party for us. Mind boggling. Beautifully executed. Gluten-free foods for us. Our neighbors, our friends, in attendance, happy for us, wishing us a great adventure, interminable safety and relentless freedom.

We couldn’t have had more fun. Thank you, dear Sue. Thank you dear friends. How lucky and grateful we are.

Sunday morning, we faced yet another day of seemingly endless list of “to do’s.” Starting our day with a big breakfast of free range organic eggs fried in a dab of coconut oil, topped with guacamole, nitrate free bacon, a thick slab of nitrate free ham and organic chicken sausage with spinach and feta cheese, we were fueled for the day.  

Since we started this way of eating almost 15 months ago, we aren’t hungry all day. Formerly grazers, it’s a pleasant sensation to be comfortably satiated all day, free of the endless search for the next “food fix.”  

Eating low carb, gluten/grain/starch/sugar free diet prevents the addictive centers of the brain from crying for a constant fix of high carb foods. Over the past year I’ve been following the new research that is emerging daily clearly defining that our relentless hunger is a result of blood sugar spikes and brain chemistry.  

By eating a moderate protein, high fat, low carbohydrate diet, we have found it easy to stop thinking about eating, simply enjoying two delicious and satisfying meals a day. More on this later.

So, we hauled our six orange Antler suitcases to our friend Karen’s home where we will reside from the night of October 24th until the day we leave Minnesota, October 31st.  

The thought of staying in our house during the estate sale seemed preposterous to us and to our estate sale guy, Jim Anderson.  Most likely, the furniture will sell first. If returning during the sale, we’d witness the vacant spot where our two comfy chairs had been or, see strangers traipsing down the road with their arms loaded with our stuff.  No thank you.

It’s unusual for us to stay in another’s home.  We seldom traveled over these past years together, rarely feeling compelled to leave the lake or our pups (dog lovers understand). When we did, we stayed in hotels, fearful of imposing upon others in varying parts of the country. 

Let’s face it. I am not the easiest house guest.  Tom is.  Not me.  My family and friends accept my cooking and eating habits along with my endless array of eccentricities around the house; nary a dish in the sink or an item of clothing left in the laundry basket.  

Of course, my ultimate desire is to avoid making others uncomfortable with my peculiarities. Thus, I am somewhat of a “closet” perfectionist. 

It is only this confession that so clearly reveals why all the details of the planning of this year’s long adventure is not laborious to me.  It fuels my passion for the infinitesimal, researched and documented until there is no more. Then, the finale, let it go and enjoy it.    

Thank you, dear husband Tom for accepting my eccentricities with your usual aplomb and great sense of humor, for teaching me to laugh at myself and not taking it all so seriously.

So, house guests, we will be.  I will temper my ways, saving room for the relentless teasing I have so welcomed over the years while trying to simply enjoy the process.  

In 9 days, we move out for good.  In 16 days, we leave.  Thank you, family. Thank you, friends. Thank you, husband. Thank you, God, for them, for the joy they’ve given us and for that which the world has yet to offer.

Car sold!…Seamless transaction…

In a 24 hour period from Thursday to Friday, I drove over 150 miles around town, meeting prospective buyers to finally sell my car.  Slightly nervous about meeting strangers, I chose public parking lots, close to busy roads.  

Tom suggested I turn over the keys to any prospective buyers to test drive it on their own rather than join them, better to have a stolen car than to be kidnapped!  I agreed.

Listed on Craigslist for free, CarSoup for $9.95 for one month and Auto Trader for $20 for one month, I was delighted to notice an increase in activity when I placed the last online ad on Auto Trader, resulting in a sale only a day later. Had I known Auto Trader reached such a wide audience, I would have listed it there in the first place. Who knew?
The last car I’d sold several years ago was the result of an ad in CarSoup. This time, I didn’t have much time to be overly creative or frugal. With our high level of motivation I was determined to get the car sold as quickly as possible, leaving one more crucial task out of the way.

Oddly, it sold to a dealer, Patrick O’Conner/owner/dealer of a finance company, First Source Financial. Patrick had a potential customer on hand.  My instincts told me that his buyer may have required “special financing” allowing him to resell it at a higher price than he paid me, a price with which I was satisfied. Win, win for everyone.

Treated with kid gloves, not only did I feel at ease throughout the transaction working with Patrick but also with his delightful assistant Jennifer, who was kind enough to drive me the long way home after I’d dropped off the car at his dealership on Friday. 

It was an odd sensation when Jennifer left me at home. Looking out the window, I realized that for the first time in my adult life, I didn’t have a car of my own. For a moment I felt trapped, even lost.  Tom’s long work days left me at home certainly with plenty to occupy my time over the next 17 days when we move to our friend’s home as the estate sale begins.  

Suddenly, everything is moving quickly. While grocery shopping early in the morning before turning over the car, I carefully calculated each item that I purchased to ensure that it was “just the right amount” to last through our remaining days.  I started saying goodbye to the staff of many years at our local grocery store, knowing that I may only be back one or two more times.  How odd.

I’ve lived in this general area of the western suburbs of Minneapolis for the past 40 years, seemingly far away yet only 30 minutes to downtown.  For years we used the same bank, the same library, the same State Farm office, the same drugstore, the same Target store, and the same post office. 

On Tuesday, I sadly said goodbye to the staff at the post office while dropping off a package. Over the years I’ve come to know and  appreciate each one of them for their kindness, their great service and for remembering me each time I entered their door.

We won’t be able to say goodbye to everyone. The time is flying by so quickly that I am now left wondering how everything will get done in time, let alone having time to see everyone to say goodbye. Now, with no car, I am dependent upon friends and loved ones coming here to say goodbye.  Some will come, others will not.  I accept this.  
That which seems so huge and meaningful to each one of us is often, but a blip to others, as we all get caught up the whirlwind of our daily lives seeking a sense of achievement, of fulfillment and of responsibility.  
I have no expectations other than to embark upon this adventure with an open heart and eager mind, to learn, to grow, to experience and of course, to share. 

Not only will we share this life changing experience with one another, but with all of our readers who may in some small way find their own sense of discovery in the never-ending details, the not so professional looking photos, from the heartfelt perspective of two determined retirees as they travel about the world.

Estate sale, pantyhose and Eggs Benedict…What???

Ha, ha!  A lifetime of panty hose that I pulled out of a dresser drawer!  I can’t imagine these would sell at the estate sale!

Over the past many months in preparation for unloading all of a lifetime possessions, I’ve emptied drawers, closets, and a few cupboards. After all, we are living here, continuing to prepare meals, do mountains of laundry, endlessly entertain and amuse ourselves utilizing copious technological devices.

As time marches near, two months and four days from today, I peruse the items left on the shelves, in the closets,  packed into kitchen cabinets and overstuffed drawers and of course, the intimating array of tools and miscellany in our old basement, Tom’s domain. 

What’ll we do with all of this “stuff?”  

We’ve packed no less than 15 totes of items (the tip of the iceberg) to sell at our upcoming estate sale beginning on Thursday, October 25th, jammed into one of our three guest rooms.  Good grief!  No overnight guests, please! There’s no room to walk around the bed, let alone lay in it!

Another guest room is jammed with banker’s boxes of six years’ of tax returns, plastic totes filled to the brim with “can’t part with” Christmas decorations, photo albums and memorabilia, to be stored by our adult kids (thanks kids!).  

Other than the storage of these six totes, we will have no storage, no “stuff”, nada, nothing when we own other than the luggage in our possession.  

Months ago, we arranged with Jim Anderson, owner of Caring Estate Sales to conduct our sale.  We’ve met with him twice, spoken to him on the phone a few times, feeling confident about having chosen him.  

When we met with him, he specifically stated, “Take everything you want to keep out of the house before October 25th;  luggage, totes for the kids to store, food in cupboards, leaving behind everything to be sold, including the clothes in the closets.  Leave everything in its place!  Don’t pack.”

I packed the 15 totes.  Why?  I don’t know why.  I just did it.  It made sense months ago to start going through everything, tossing unwanted unusable items, taking usable items to Goodwill (which I did) while sifting for morsels of memorabilia.  Now I must stop.

Speaking to Jim again yesterday, apologizing for asking the same question over and over, acknowledging this would be the last time I’d ask, “Do I really leave “stuff” in the cupboards, closets, drawers?  Does Tom need to go through everything in the basement, sorting and tossing?”

His answer, “Yes, leave the stuff in its place and no, Tom doesn’t have to go through anything in the basement.  We prefer to do everything ourselves, pricing as we go.  You will inspect and approve the items and the pricing before the sale begins.”  

I’m flabbergasted! It finally sinks in: leave everything in its place. Stop packing except our luggage and the totes for kids.

What does this leave me to do in regard to “stuff” only, that I haven’t done thus far?  (Bear with me, it helps to make a partial list to which I continually add as I really dig in after Labor Day. I’ll copy and paste the list to my “to do” tab in Excel).

  1. Empty and clean the two refrigerators and huge freezer in the basement, the Subzero in the kitchen, distributing all usable food to our kids and neighbors.

2 Clean out all the food in the storage room in the basement and all food in kitchen cabinets.

3. Remove all wine from the Subzero wine cooler in the kitchen, beer in the basement and distribute them to family and friends.

4. Empty and clean cabinets in bathrooms of all toiletries.

5. Finish cleaning dresser drawers of all personal effects such as underwear and pantyhose as in above photo (who’d buy used pantyhose or underwear, anyway?)

6. Clean Tom’s walk-in closet. He has the equivalent of three large totes of relatively useless papers to go through. 

7. Go through all the kitchen drawers in search of memorabilia

8/ Go through all of my approximate 100 cookbooks, scanning favorite recipes, keeping in mind our low carb, gluten-free, sugar-free, wheat and grain-free diet. (Good job to start today!)

Of course, this list does not include trip related tasks: second passports, visas, banking, doctor appointments, final immunizations, prescriptions, insurance, selling our cars, setting up our mailing service in Nevada, changing addresses for all of our insurance, credit cards, banking, etc., on and on.

I’ve had way too much time to think about all this. Realistically, if we waited until the last month, we’d somehow get all of this done.  

Now, I have to go dig out my favorite recipe for Hollandaise Sauce from The New Antionette Pope School Cook Book, published in 1973. 
This is my double boiler which  purchased years ago at an estate sale for $2. I gave it to my friend Karen who kindly offered her home when we’ll need a place to stay before the sale begins at our house.
It is this very recipe that assisted me in winning First Place in an Eggs Benedict Contest entitled, ‘The 1986 Eggs Benedict-Off”.  Here’s the recipe for the sauce. Its much easier than it looks.  

I must make this recipe one more time before the sale using my absolutely perfect 1950’s glass double boiler that I bought 30 years ago at a garage sale for $2. OK, I will go get the double boiler from the storage room in the basement and take  a photo which is below. Bye, double boiler. Hello, world.

Page 1 of recipe. Click to enlarge
Page 2 of recipe

Jewelry sale day results…strange visitor

This worm or caterpillar was atop Tom’s blue Croc as the last shopper as the jewelry sale walked out the door and screamed.

We live on a peninsula, a narrow “road to nowhere.” We are the second house from the end. With water on both sides of us, there is no sidewalk, no curb, no gutter and little parking room. We’ve always considered this a small price to pay to be surrounded by water.

As a result of this parking dilemma, in 26 years in this house, we’ve never had a garage sale.  The idea of strangers coming to our home, parking on the lawn when the few space run out, made us cringe.

Alas, our estate sale guy Jim Anderson suggested I sell my costume jewelry rather than leave it for the estate sale where it becomes difficult to control with many shoppers hovering about.  

As I wrote in last week’s post, I sold my loose gold and silver while awaiting an offer on my wedding ring, hopefully to hear soon.  A sale at our home was the most practical solution, albeit our concerns about the parking.

My dear friend and next door neighbor offered to be “the guard,” helping me put up the signs and keeping me company, making the event less dreadful.  

I hoped for rain so I could cancel it, watching the weather report every few hours.  Why put off the inevitable?  Then, I looked up “jewelry lots” on eBay, hoping to find that I’d get a good price for the entire batch. Not the case.

The signs I made on neon pink poster paper with a huge black marker, all purchased at the Dollar Store for less than $5, easily glued to the sign bases Tom made for me last weekend using four $1.69 wooden stakes, nailed to four pieces of particle board the hardware store cut for me for $9.00.  Total sign cost was around $20.  

The signs read:

Fashion Jewelry Sale
Today 2-6
Nothing Over $21
With the signs in the ground appropriately scattered throughout the neighborhood, my dear neighbor and I sat in my kitchen sipping frosty glasses of iced tea, viewing the pleasing display of the 200+ pieces patiently awaiting the first customer. We were tentatively optimistic.

As it turned out 2:00 pm was a poor time to start a sale.  We were hoping to catch the “on their way home from work” crowd, which we did to a degree. But the first three hours were a bust.  A kindly, experienced garage sale enthusiast suggested we try in the early morning when the serious shoppers are frantically driving around.  

The end result of the sale was $152, not what I’d expected.  I looked up “jewelry lots” on eBay again.  My dear neighbor pushed me, “Let’s do it again next Thursday. I’ll help!”  Grudgingly, I agreed.
Next Thursday at 8 am we’ll be ready to roll again.  I’ll change the time on the signs with the purchase of one neon pink poster for $.69, cut into small squares to tape over the old times with the new times.  

As the last shopper walked out the door, her plastic bag of jewelry in hand, her daughter let out a gasp.  This is what she saw, atop Tom’s Croc, outside our kitchen door:
Anyone know what this is?  Or what this will be someday soon?  Is it a worm or a larvae?  I don’t have time to look it up online.  Good thing this critter wasn’t inside his Croc when Tom slipped his foot inside.  

guess Africa will have bigger, scarier such things.  I didn’t scream. Instead, I took a photo.