Friday, December 31, 2010

We are now “In Between”

What a busy week!

Christmas Eve was spent with our sons and a nephew plus their families. Paige’s parents, in Duluth, were not able to travel this year so we traveled there for Christmas day and the following day. David and Valentina came with us. While there we saw the light displays at “Bentleyville”, a display of Christmas lights setup near Duluth’s harbor:

For more information, see

With the Holidays over, the work really began. Monday morning was spent getting the motorhome out of storage. Good thing the Class C closer to the camera and the 5th wheel farther away had no plans to leave anytime soon.

The rest of Monday was moving clothes, books, music, and utensils into the motorhome. These items wouldn’t be bothered by the low temperatures. Since our driveway is not level, the refrigerator/freezer will not yet be started so we will move the foodstuffs later. Next was the piling of stuff: donations here, throw-aways there, and recycling stuff elsewhere. A couple of pieces of furniture had been given to family members recently, some others were sold through Craig’s List, and the buyers came to pick them up. Tuesday we rented a truck for hauling all left-over furniture to Caring Bridge as donations.

It was surprising to see how active Craig’s List has been during this time of year. We would have expected much less with all the other activities taking place. The other big surprise was the activity in the real estate end of things. The house has been on the market for over a year, and I don’t remember the last showing to potential buyers, but there were also a number of showings while we were in the midst of our piling/packing/loading disarray. We were preparing to leave the house under the control of a 3rd party agency that would bring in their furniture, and keep it in show condition. Then we got the biggest surprise of the year: We got an offer for the house on Wednesday! Talk about waiting ‘til the last minute! Depending on weather, we will be on the road in less than a week. David has “power of attorney” so we will stick with our travel plans and let him represent us at closing.

Yesterday we had a celebration dinner with our children/grandchildren. It was a celebration of Paige’s last day of work, the sale of our house, New Year’s Eve Eve, and the start of our new adventure. We gave and received lots of hugs from everyone!

So we are now truly “In Betweens”, not yet Fulltimers but already out of the house.

HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Something NEW!

It is really easy for an old-time Minnesotan to get jaded with winter stories.
- Been there, done that
- Back in my youth, things were a lot worse (does every oldtimer say this?)
- This isn't as bad as.........whatever / whenever

Well, everyone East of the Rockies has some stories to tell about this year. Not a lot different here in MN: yes, we had a snow event.......not the worst, but made the top 5 ever. And yes, it got cold afterwards; not during the snow fall, and it really wasn't all that cold. We had a brisk breeze, but not a stiff wind. All in all, I don't consider it to have been a real blizzard like some I remember

But still, we got quite a bit of snow, and it is still early in the season. Normally it gets pushed into piles and we wait for Mother Nature to melt it sometime in April. It's not unusual to see front end loaders putting the snow into dump trucks to be hauled away, especially from large parking lots like shopping centers.

Here is something new that I've never seen before. We did some Christmas shopping earlier today, and I just had to watch this operation:

This rig is parked on top of a storm drain.  The front end loader was dumping snow all day long.  The tank on the left hand side is the propane to fuel the burners.  The melted water is going right down the drain (out of maybe a 6 inch pipe).  WOW, maybe now I've seen everything.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sleepless in New Hope

Today was a mixed blessing here in Minnesota.  This was the weekend we targeted for doing our cookie decorating with the granddaughters and we also planned a day of shopping at the Mall of America, rides in the Nickelodeon amusement park, and lunch at the Rain Forest Cafe.  Well, Mother Nature intervened as often happens this time of the year and we postponed our granddaughter weekend for another week when we heard the forecast of a huge snowstorm.

We woke up to snow and it continued all day.  Bob estimated about 12 inches came down over the course of the day.  If was a beautiful day - very Christmas-y - and it gave us the opportunity to stay in and continue our efforts to sort and organize.  We've been working at this for well over a year - with the goal of moving into the motorhome.  Well, I (Paige) have been having trouble sleeping recently with so much to accomplish prior to the start of our full-timing.  Today we were captive in our house so we took advantage of this time to empty closets and organize into keep- and donate-piles.  I'm hoping that this will decrease the number of items to think about so I can sleep better tonight.

There was a pan of lasagna in our freezer that was waiting to be consumed.  As our house has limited seating, we arranged with our good neighbors, the Buehring's, to bring the lasagna and cheese bread to their house for dinner,  After bundling up, the walk to their house seemed longer than normal in the wind and snow.  We enjoyed their great company, festive decorations, good wine, and recently created cookies.  It was a wonderful ending to our snowy day! 

Time seems to be moving faster and faster lately.  Bob's retired now (one long awaited goal), now I'll be retiring - only 9 days of work left.  I'm training 2 people in on my job prior to leaving.  Christmas tasks are looming still.  And, of course, the emptying of the house and move into the motorhome.  Lots to do!!
Our sons got new laptops from us as an early Christmas gift.  These laptops will benefit us also as they'll now be able to Skype with us.  The granddaughters Skyped today - this will be so great when we're on the road.  See what we mean?  Here are 3 of our 4 granddaughters, and their dad, with the photo taken from our Skype session:

So, ok - enough snowstorm now.  We're hoping to get out to church tomorrow - although I see on TV that many churches are cancelling services for tomorrow already.  I just hope we'll be able to get the motorhome out and loaded in 3 weeks!!  Once we are officially "snowbirds", we will know what we are missing!