carolinainmymind

can't you see the sunshine….

Returning to the move

Hard to believe that it has been since December that I wrote about our move.  Not because it was an awful experience but because I have not had time to write.  We have had a little cold spell here and sometimes I just  refuse to go out.  That makes time to write.

My last bit about the move was on my previous blog, about the first part of our trip through France.  (click here if you want to read it  first part of trip )   We did make it to Calais.  Had a great hotel across from this HUGE shopping area.  I walked over and had to practice great restraint.  There was a CarreFour.  Ohhhh, it was hard.  I made a farewell tour of the rose wine aisle.  Picked up some croissants and cheese for our trip.  Walked back to the hotel.  That is when I decided to pull out the paperwork about how to use the Eurotunnel so that we could talk about it with Enzo at dinner.  That is when it all went downhill.  I realized that I had booked the wrong day!!!!!!  The Eurotunnel folks had expected us there that morning and now we were going to show up 24 hours late!  I immediately burst in to tears.  Nothing to do but get Ben organized, get him in to the restaurant, collect Enzo and while eating dinner, explain to him what I have done.  I can only imagine how this looked.  Two men and one woman in tears at a table in a restaurant. With the woman doing all the talking first in English, then Italian, then explaining the French menu in English and then in Italian, in between sobs.   I had some wine and calmed down a little.  We decided that after dinner Enzo and I would go to the Eurotunnel terminal and chat with them.

Well, the Eurotunnel folks could not have been nicer.  Maybe this happens to others.  For 40 Euros we were able to get re-booked.    The next morning everything went well.  We managed to get on an earlier train.  To cross the channel you board a train made up of modified  freight cars and passenger cars.  We were going in a vehicle so we went into the modified freight car.

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Just like the ambulance in front of us.  Having a wheel chair person in the vehicle allowed us to board first, in the first car.

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Driving to the front end of the train.  Keep in mind this is a modified freight car.  So no frills.  I never got back to the walk-on passenger section which is most likely very nice.  Anyway the train starts.

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There are only windows on the side of the train car that we were in so it was just like sitting in the back seat of a car when it goes through a tunnel.  You saw sky, then you saw artificial lights and then you saw sky again.   Didn’t take long.  Very efficient loading and unloading.  And then we were in England.

Once upon a time, a long time ago, I owned stock in Eurotunnel.  Since then I have always wanted to go on it.  I was really tickled that I got to do it.

Without too much trouble we found our Air bnb rental in Southampton.  It was very well located near the dock where the Queen Mary 2 moors.  We had a lovely pub lunch

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Got settled in and watched the sun set.

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I had scheduled us to arrive two days before our sailing on the QM2.  Since we were traveling in December there could have been weather disruptions or vehicle problems.  The extra day allowed for that.  We had a quiet day and then we got to see our friends Howard and Margaret.  They drove quite a ways to visit with us.  We had a drink and dinner pulled together from the carry away options at Tesco.  So nice that we were staying in an apartment rather than a hotel.  We had glasses and china and were able to have a nice celebratory feast.

It was so thoughtful of them to come and that really meant a lot to both Ben and I.  They were off.  We all went to sleep.  Look for the next entry…..our trip on the Queen Mary 2.

 

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How to

dress a large man with balance issues on cruise ship in rough seas?

 

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make him stand somewhere and HOLD ON!  It was not easy.  And we got through the whole trip with out Ben falling.  In a large part to thanks to the Queen Mary 2 for having one of the best designed handicapped bath rooms that we have ever used.

 

 

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Condo Work

How is it progressing?  Well it has gone from this

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to this

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Actually it is more ripped out than this now.  Most of the side walls and the ceiling are gone now too.  The plumber has roughed in for the new fixtures as has the electrician.  The deck is done.

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The deck, ramp and  planter (big box at far left)

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The planter, almost 6′ long and 2′ wide.  Last week I was out there happily filling it with drainage rock when the electrician walked out and reminded me that he needed to run wiring through there and it would need to be inspected, so maybe I didn’t want to fill it up with rocks and soil just yet.  So I stopped.  But waiting is not a bad thing.   There are two big trees back there that still need to leaf out.  I need to see how much sun I will have.  I don’t think a lot.    Plant searching has started.

I am also waiting to see if I can stain a ‘rug’ on the deck.  I need permission from the home owners association.  We’ll see.

Anyway, 2 months from today (3/15) we should be ready to move in.  Who wants to come help us move, yet again?

 

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Our New Ride

As part of our move, we had to buy a car.  If we had more money than sense we would have moved our Fiat Multipla.  We loved that car.  It was very comfortable and ran well.

Anyway, we don’t have more money than sense.  So when we first arrived we rented a car for a month.  As that rental period came to an end we started thinking of buying a car.  But we hope that Ben will get a motorized wheel chair.  (He will be evaluated for one next week and told which type is best for him.)  It occurred to us that maybe we should wait on buying a ‘forever’ car until we have the wheelchair in place.  After all it is easier to get the car to fit the chair than to get the chair to fit the car.  So when our friend BK offered to sell us one of her cars, we snapped.   (This is the odd thing about our friend BK.  She has a thing about cars.  She is a PHD.  Was a university professor.  This sweet diminutive, little southern lady who has a thing about cars.  She once had a classic Mustang convertible.  She has had other cars that I would never had bought.  So when I write ‘one of her cars’, if you know her, you know that is not unusual)

And here it is….

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A 1998 limited edition (Cartier) Lincoln Continental, Champagne Color, of course.  The irony  is that for a period of time in the early 90s while still living here in Raleigh, I drove a baby blue Lincoln Town car.  So I seemed to have completely returned to my old life.

This land yacht has leather seats, easy for Ben to slide on.  Room behind the drivers seat for Ben’s collapsible wheel chair.  No lifting it up to get it in and out of a trunk.  Everything in it works including the AC which we used a good bit in February.  And now we have a trade in when we are finally ready to buy a ‘forever’ car.

Given the age of the car and our age I decided to embrace it.  This is the license plate

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Give us a wave if you see us cruising around Raleigh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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March 1, 1878 March 1, 2017

Look what I forgot to do this year.  Honor my Grandparents.  The folks who made our lives in Italy possible.  I feel badly that this has happened.  I think it is because I feel so far removed from our life in Italy.  Most of my time is consumed with caring for the two of us and the very minor role of making decisions about our condo being remodeled.   (Basketball might have consumed some time too)  Perhaps when we are in our own place, with all our things out and about I will think more often about living there.  Anyway, here is the story.

This is an updated version that some of you might have read before.  We were able to  ‘live the dream of Italy’ full time because of my grandparents. On my grandfather’s birthday, I like to remind others of him and all the folks, who either by choice or not, immigrated to America and helped to make it into a strong country.  If you are interested in more than my story I urge you to watch the series on PBS  http://video.pbs.org/program/italian-americans/.  While I don’t think that my grandparents had the same type of experience that happened in big American cities I think they had some of those experiences.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017 is the anniversary of my grandfather (nonno), Antonio Iaccarino’s birth. He was born in mille otto cento settantotto or 1878 so he would be 139 years old. His parents were Ferdinando and Maria D’Esposito Iaccarino. Besides my grandfather, I know they also had 2 daughters, one, Concetta, (my Zia or aunt) who was 4 years younger than my nonno and another that I never met, Josephine who lived in Connecticut.

In 2003 I began researching my grandparents’ lives so that I could apply to become an Italian citizen. In the process of this research I have learned some things which have brought me closer to my nonno who I never met. He died before I was born. I always think of him when I hear the Simon and Garfunkle song that starts “I left my home and my family when I was no more than a boy, in the company of strangers…” My nonno was only 12 when he joined the merchant marines (Marina Mercantile Italiana). Whether he joined willing or unwilling I don’t know. I do know that at that time he and his family were living in a room or rooms in this house in Meta, Italy.

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I have found this house because very dear friends, Tonino and Carmella Romano spent hours researching old town zoning records. It seems as if the town fathers in Meta like to rename and renumber streets all the time.  Only the Romano’s  tenacity helped me to find this place.

So my nonno went to sea. He signed on as a mozzo (a cabin boy). Fortunately, his seaman’s book is still in our family. The entries are handwritten in script that I can’t always read and understand. (Someday perhaps…) So far, I know he was promoted, learned great skills that he would use later in life and four languages besides his native Italian. From the log I can tell that he returned to and left Italy a good bit. Stamps in his book show that some of the places he went to were Greece, Liverpool, England, Marseilles, France, and Odessa, on the Black Sea. Can you imagine sending off your 12 year old son and for the next 19 years only seeing him periodically? And he comes back with stories of places he has been to and things he has seen. This is the view leaving the port of Naples that I am guessing is relatively unchanged even today.

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He did not always leave from Naples. Meta, the town south of Naples, where he lived was at the time a fairly large port and had a ship building facility. Today it is not. It is a small town with a nice sandy beach and a bedroom community for surrounding towns like Sorrento.

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Even though Sorrento and Positano have been popular tourist destinations since the late 1800s prosperity did not arrive until after World War II. Before that, a large number of people of all age groups emigrated from the area to the United States and South America. But our family name, a very common one still remains in the area.

From my nonno I think I have inherited my interest in other languages besides my native tongue. I do hold it against him that he did not allow Italian to be spoken in their house in America. My cousins have told me that he would scold my grandmother (nonna) if he caught her chatting with her friends in Italian (after they moved to America). He would say “We are Americans now, we will speak American”. (Italian men do so love to declare, dictate and proclaim, don’t they?) So my father never really spoke Italian. He never passed that on to me.

I also know, that from my nonno, the spirit of travel and adventure passed directly to my father and then to me. My passport is never locked up in a safety deposit box. I like to have it near me so if the opportunity to travel arises I can just go. And I have a very cooperative and loving husband. After I finally got my Italian citizenship he didn’t mind when I packed us up and moved us to Italy.

Recently, I was part of a conversation about ‘how many folks knew the name of a cousin of one of the their grandparents.’  On my mother’s side of the family I could say that I knew the name and I have a picture of the woman, sitting with my great grandmother (and her chickens!).  On my father’s side, I don’t even know the names of all his brothers and sisters.  And as his children die that information will be lost or much harder to find.  The point that I took from this discussion was that in a very short period of time this knowledge of family is lost.

Now I am climbing on my soapbox.  The story of my grandparents’ migration is because of choices that they made, a story of a fairly easy journey with a very happy outcome.  Everyday, here in Europe, we see stories of families being forced to flee because of war.  Their journey is not easy.  Their greeting is not with open arms.  Time will tell how their migrations will end.  Time will tell how many of them will remember or know the name of their own cousin, much less the names of previous generations.  I urge everyone of you reading this to examine your attitudes and thoughts about the current migrant crisis.  Do some research and remember how America was built on the backs of immigrants.  Immigrants who just might have been your relatives.  Remember the ‘Golden Rule’ that many of us learned as a child.  Wonder that if your ancestor had not have made a migration you might be not be enjoying the freedoms and comforts that you have now.

I’m off my soapbox now.  Little by little, with research, the help of friends and the memories of my family I learn about my grandparents. On Wednesday or when ever you think about it, please raise a glass of wine or a mug of coffee to my nonno and nonna who had the spirit and sense of adventure to try something different and create a new life for themselves. Most Americans have ancestors that emigrated. I have been lucky enough to be able to trace mine and fill in some of the blanks. If you have any interest in your own background you should try it.  You learn about the past and look what it led to for us.

Buon Compleanno Nonno!  And thank you from all of my heart!

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The Grandparents in the late 1940s.

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Thinking about death

Well, that’s a cheery subject for Spring, huh?   I think it is because I am reading obituaries again.

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The News and Observer has obituaries every day.  At least a full page, sometimes more.  In Italy, when someone died a notice was plastered up on a wall somewhere in town, usually at an entrance  into town.  Always in the same place.  Many times we would pass by and see an older person standing and reading the notice.

Here, this news arrives at my door step every day.  And I do give it a quick glance.  Sometimes more than a quick glance.   You know, it is up to a family member or someone who knew the deceased to write the obituary.  These are very  interesting to read when the writer has really struggled to come up with things to write  that are at least half way nice.   It turns out that my cousin Bonnie is very good at writing obituaries.  (Recently she has had to do it far too often)  She and I were talking about writing obituaries and I was reminded of this woman’s book.  Find the Good: Unexpected Life Lessons From a Small-Town Obituary Writer by  Heather Lende.  And then Heather Lende was here in Raleigh to speak at a book store.  (this was back in January or February)  I didn’t want to go out in the weather to hear her.  But for someone from Alaska our Raleigh winter must have seemed like Spring.  Anyway, I still wonder what she spoke about.  

And then there is this

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It’s the little hand written notes of addresses that I keep in my card box along with stamps.  I still send cards (actual mail) to people.  I have a number of older relatives and friends that aren’t (for one reason or the other) able to read this blog.  So they get a card or postcard every now and then.  Anyway, when I leaf through this list, which I started when we first moved to Italy, it is sad to see all the names I no longer send cards to because they are dead.

And then there was the discussion I had in the doctor’s office with the nurse.  She was entering info from Ben’s records into the computer and just started humming away.  So I just had to ask about her humming.  (You might remember my earlier post about singing when we entered France during our move. I will also burst into song or hum or whistle when I am happy or relaxed)  And this young woman agreed that her humming was when she was happy or relaxed.  She did not have a relative that did this.  Whereas I have my Uncle John.  I remember as a child that he would sing and whistle.     And then I saw this in an obituary

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In about the middle of the page ” The neighbors enjoyed Bob’s presence, especially listening to his whistling skills while doing yardwork.”    And I wondered will someone write something like that about me?   Maybe I should set to work writing my obituary or at least making some notes of what I want included…..

Anyway, a picture of something living, green and vibrate from a recent plant nursery tour to end these thoughts.

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Things I’m happy about

I occasionally do stop complaining.  Here are some things that Ben and I are delighted about, tickled about, happy about….

Fruit    I really expected crappy fruit and very high prices.  We are both very surprised at how good fruit is here.  We have had some very good cantaloupes.  Yes, I know they are not in season and not local, but they are good.  Really good and big.  We can manage to get 4 breakfasts from one of them.  Citrus has also been a surprise.  I was afraid I would never seen a blood orange again, but not the case.  And more variety than what we saw in Italy.  I am happy to be eating Temples and Minneolas again.   And tomatoes!  As good as ones that I used to buy at Esselunga.   Last week I even saw beautiful mix of heirloom tomatoes in my Harris-Teeter that were not too expensive.  But by and large I find groceries expensive.  However, I have to qualify that by writing, that we are shopping at a fairly pricey store, simply out of convenience.  Raleigh is blessed with many grocery store choices.  I know this.  I just need to plan our time a little better and start visiting a store more than 4 blocks away.   I think I am still seduced by 2 grocery stores that I can reach in less than 5 minutes.

Newspapers     One arrives at out door every day.  It is crap compared to what  I remember, but still a delight that it arrives.  I find that of the 60 some households in this complex where I share a recycling bin, we are one of the few that recycles a paper and I think gets an actual paper.

Weather    Oh, I know this is a true exception.  But it is sunny here.  No fog.  And at least one day a week in the 70s.  But I know it is still February and all this can change very fast.  I’ll take every 70 degree that there is.

Basketball!  Oh my goodness!  It is almost too much.  We need to schedule our lives around all these games.  But this too will end.  The almost, last big event, the ACC tournament starts on March 7 and then of course there will be the NCAA tournament.  And then it will be all over but…. by then nice weather will be here for sure.

Work on the condo    Progressing at a nice pace.  All the ripping out is done.  New walls are studded in.  The deck was approved and work on it will start this week.  That means Ben will be able to get in and see things.  I’ll be able to set up the planter bed.  We still have decisions that have to be made but maybe by the end of this coming week most of those will be done.

So by and large we are doing well.  Hope you are too

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Oh yeah, we can have BBQ whenever we want….That helps immensely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Work has started

A number of years ago, Ben and I spent a week in a small house in a very small village, in the south of France.  One day I put laundry out to dry and we left.  A wind storm developed while we were gone and when we came back we discovered that laundry was all over the place.  I had to go through several yards to reclaim my ‘knickers’ (as my friend Jules would say) and ended up in the yard of the manor house.  The husband of the woman who had inherited it all was there and we started chatting.  He was  Scottish, and had worked for BP all over the world.  Very interesting man.  Then he started talking about when they first got the place and started trying to clean and update it.  “I couldn’t believe the electrical box.  Wires coming out it from every where.  We started pulling wires.  Lights started going off in that little  house (pointing just outside the wall)  and then that one and then that one.”  Turns out that most of the village  was getting their electricity through his meter.  Ben and I snickered over that for the rest of the trip.

So this morning I was over to see how work was  going on our condo.  The electrician called me to show me this

 

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This is where my bathtub was.  The other side of the wall is a room owned by my neighbor.  Evidently this plug has been wired in to my electrical source for 30 some years.  I laughed and thought of that Scottish Frenchman.

Anyway, work started last week.  Just ripping out so far.  So this has become

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this.  Wow huh?  I guess I need to get busy and finish picking tile, cabinets and things.

Ben and I were both sick last week.  The whole week.  We are feeling better and got out today.  We’ll see what tomorrow brings.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

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Tuesday, January 24

We finished the first phase of our move.  You know, the move that started December 1.

In January, we had been having unusually mild weather and I felt like it might not last.  The lease period was running out on our rental car.  The pots and pans in our rental unit are all warped.  Rent would soon be due for the storage unit in New Jersey.   All good reasons to rent a van and make the trip back to Ocean City, NJ to collect the last of our belongings.

So this was our third rental vehicle.  Our friends BK and Jim drove us to pick it up.  Ben stayed in the car with Jim.  BK got in the rental van with me.  I started the van.  There were some random beeps.  We checked seat belts.  I checked all the display lights.  The beeps stopped.  We drove off.  The beeps started again.  Randomly!   I’m thinking maybe it is a speed warning so I slow waayyyy down and still the beeps are happening. Randomly!   I am getting more and more irritated.  BK has pulled out the manual and is looking for warning sounds. I’m screaming obscenities because the beeping is driving me crazy!  Randomly!   We arrive to where we are meeting Ben and Jim.  I’m still screaming.  Threatening to take the car back to the rental place.   Go to take off my seat belt and realize it is my cell phone that is beeping.   As I said, it was our third rental vehicle in less than 2 months.

Anyway, Ben and I made it up to Georgetown, Delaware and spent the night there.  The next morning we got up, drove to Ocean City, NJ.  My cousin’s husband, the wonderful Pete, met us at the storage unit.  We (who am I kidding, HE) loaded the van.  It was packed to the gills.  We drove back to Georgetown and met Ben’s son and his wife for dinner.  The next morning we drove back to Raleigh.  And finally on Tuesday, January 24, a total stranger who I found on the web site Moonlighting  (https://www.moonlighting.com/ ) helped me unload all the suitcases.

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So now the first phase of our move is finished.  Several times last week we made visits to the storage unit and found all kinds of treasures.  Teaspoons!  We have more than 1 now.  Pots and pans that actually touch the stove top.  Sheets, more than one set.  And our blue blanket.  It is amazing how a few items can bring such comfort.

We also picked out some of the finishes for the condo remodel.

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Flooring on the far left. Ben’s shower floor in the lower center.  Ben’s shower walls, the large bluish piece of tile.  Kitchen cabinets, hardware and counter top above.

We managed to pick up some replacements for the bits that didn’t move, like a slow cooker, a cast iron skillet, a snow/ice brush for the car (more about the car later) and paint samples to consider.  While that doesn’t sound like a big accomplishment you need to know that even though Ben and I lived in Raleigh, we have been gone almost 20 years.  It has changed a lot.  I keep getting lost.  For those who know Raleigh, you can laugh when you read that I am confusing Oberlin Rd and St Mary’s St.  So that when I arrive at Glenwood Avenue, at not where I thought I would end up, I am so irritated.  And then I keep thinking the Harris-Teeter is Big Star and the Bank of America is NCNB.  And Ben and I have to chat in the parking lot about how we are going to get somewhere, once we get there and start back another discussion ensues.  So any activity takes much longer than expected.  And we won’t even talk about Cary!!!!!!

We had BBQ at Clyde Coopers.  Good seafood in Delaware and Virginia  http://www.thegreatmachipongoclamshack.com/  (Tania and Keith did you get my email about this place?)  Lots of Asian food because we did find the new Super H (Asian market) in Cary and a spiral sliced ham that was soooooo good!  And we have managed to go a whole 7 days without having sauteed yellow squash.

So we are eating well.  Ben has received in-home physical therapy which he is, on his own, keeping up.    We have lots of things that make us feel ‘at home’.  We have seen friends.  We have a car.  We are moving forward with the work on our condo.  I am so grateful that things are going well and that it has been as relatively easy as it has been.  And I feel for all those folks who were approved to immigrate to the US and had their plans STOPPED!  If that had happened to us I probably would have had a heart attack and a stroke.

Now that we are more settled I hope to catch up on the bits of our trip that are missing and work starts on the condo next week so it will be fun to follow and there is the car.  Just wait until you see that!

 

 

 

 

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Lawd, Have Mercy! Marie Kondo help me now!

When we were in Italy, I had a vague idea of who Marie Kondo was.  For those who don’t know, she is a Japanese woman (definitely OCD) who wrote the book,  ” the life changing magic of tidying up”.  Any way, when we were in Ocean City, NJ I bought her book from a charity shop and began to read it.  It has some valid points and is motivational.  And I know that we need to get rid of more than we already have gotten rid of.  And that I need to become a curator, “a keeper or custodian of a museum or other collection”.  When we finally unpack; our lives, what we inherited from our parents, grand parents will all be housed in about 800 square feet.  If anyone needs Marie Kondo it is us.  And I will need to get it down to a manageable amount.

So what have we done this week.  Our first full week in Raleigh.  Monday was still icy and I was still unpacking.  Fortunately this rental has a large closet that was completely empty with hangers too.

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I have completely and totally filled it.  Most of Ben’s clothes are unpacked.  Only my winter clothes are unpacked.  (MARIE!!!!!!!)

Tuesday  we had a visit from Ben’s physical therapist.  To assess  him.  Ben had a doctor’s appointment scheduled but I had to cancel it because I couldn’t be sure that I would be able to get him safely to the car. It warmed up nicely on Tuesday and by late afternoon we were able to venture out.   We managed to make it to Bed Bath & Beyond and found a ‘wedge’ pillow  to raise Ben’s legs at night and a ‘boyfriend’ pillow for me to use on the whoop dee doo Italian leather couch which is so large that I could sleep on it, but sitting on it is sooo uncomfortable.  And to Walmart to finally buy a printer.  Then we met our friend Cathy for Asian food.  Back home, trying to watch a basketball game and trying to set up the printer was most difficult.  Finally, Ben figured it out and got it working but he has no idea how he did it.  A backlog of printing followed.

Wednesday was a trip to Oxford to see our friends Jim and BK.  Ben had seen them briefly last week while I was confabbing with the credit union lady about financing the remodel of our condo. So this was the first time I had seen them.  We had a nice long visit at the BoJangles in Oxford.  Can’t go  wrong meetin’ at the Bo!

Thursday was another meeting with the credit union and Ben’s first session with his physical therapist.  And we managed to squeeze in a trip to Raleigh’s Farmers’ Market for lunch and a little bit of shopping at Imports at the Market.  There is only one garbage can in our rental place so I thought a few nice flower pots (on sale because it is winter) would work as trash cans for now and nice flower pots for later.

Friday came along, another glorious day.   After the first of the week when a bottle of water in the car froze completely solid, we were back to 70 degrees (21 C).  Go figure.  We hustled over to Pullen Park so that Ben could take a shower in the family, handicapped bathroom and then back to meet our contractor, Reid from Original Space .  http://www.originalspace.com/.   We had a good talk with him and looking forward to working with him.

And now today, a visit to the medical supply store to order some of the things the physical therapist thinks will make it easier for Ben and me too.  We rented a storage space so that we were able to empty all the empty suitcases out of the rental car and we will have some place to store all the suitcases which are hanging out in a storage space in NJ once we collect them.  And a visit to Pier One where I found melamine plates on sale.  I am not complaining, but the four large square plates that we have to use here each weight about 16 ounces before any food gets on them.  I can barely pick them up.  I am terrified of chipping them when using or washing them (no dishwasher).  Something needed to be done.  The news ones were greatly reduced in price and weight.  We’ll see how well they hold up.

So that was this week.  I made it through the whole week without crying.  And I have a list of things I like

  • Therapists that come to the house
  • Grocery stores that are open 24 hours.  Other stores that are open everyday all day long
  • A CVS Pharmacy that is more of a 7-11 for students and has so little drug dispensing business that the pharmacist is able to take all the time in the world and chat with me
  • Meal Deals at grocery stores… The Fresh Market offered for $15, a 2 lb meat loaf, a box of risotto mix, a bunch of asparagus tips and a pound cake.  There is no way I could have bought the raw ingredients and made all that for $15
  • Apple TV,  now that we have figured it out (and gotten the EVIL little remote to work) and gotten a cable logon from our friends we are watching all kinds of things
  • Folks who come and chip the ice off of the walks and clear away the snow
  • Being so close to shopping that I really should walk instead of driving
  • seeing so many folks walking around all the time
  • living in Cameron Village

Things I don’t like

  • Oh my, the ads, the consumerism, “BUY THIS”  “EAT HERE”  “DO YOU HAVE THESE SYMPTOMS?  TRY THIS DRUG BUT DON’T TAKE IT IF YOU HAVE EVER SNEEZED OR LOOKED CROSSEYED AT YOUR MOMMA”
  • The big cars.  I saw one today that had a vanity plate that said ‘family of 4’ but could have easily carried around 8 people
  • The crappy local newspaper.  The Raleigh News and Observer used to be a good paper.  To me it now seems as if it is very locavore.  The local nightly news is that way too.  It is no wonder that no one here seems to care about folks in Syria or any where else in the world.  If a bomb didn’t go off since the last news cycle no one seems to know about anything else unless they make a real effort to be informed.  We miss the BBC.  We miss knowing what is going on elsewhere in the world
  • Packaging!  I can not believe how hard it is to get some of these packages open.  Really!  And the Tide  (laundry soap) package where you had to fit some little bit back in before it would zip shut.  Get over that.  Fair Warning!  If you bring a child in to this condo there is a package of laundry soap that is not sealed up tighter than Ft Knox sitting on a shelf behind a closed door that your child might sniff out like a bloodhound and chomp down on.
  • The total obsession with fame and stardom and who are some of these people…what have they ever done?  Why should I care?  And why are there so many programs on TV  reporting their every move…

 

So I almost forgot the best part.  I told my cousin that I was reading Marie Kondo.  Now my cousin has a lot of things.  All very neatly kept.  All very clean.  All rotated by season.  I am not criticizing.  She has a lot, but she uses and enjoys these things.  She is also one of the nicest, sweetest people you would ever want to meet.  Truly nice.  When she heard I was reading Marie, the remark was “Yeah. I follow her blog.  She has gotten married.  She has a child now.  Let’s see how ‘tidy’ she keeps things now”  And there was just the tiniest little hint of malevolent glee.  Too bad there isn’t an Access Tokyo that would tell us when Marie Kondo looses it because her child did not put a toy back in its place.

 

I’ll end with a picture of flowers I bought in the grocery the first week we were here that still look great and the going away card from Howard and Margaret and a Christmas card or two.

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