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August 2017
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October 2017

September 2017

What Really Matters

Some times the days seem to fly by as we work our way down the endless list of things we still have to do before we move. And sometimes the days drag on as we go from task to task. We’re at the point now where, although leaving will be hard, we are ready for this phase of our transition to end.

A lot of our work goes into deciding what to take and what to leave. What will we regret not having taken, and what will we wish we had left behind?

On Saturday morning we took a break and cuddled in bed as if we didn’t have a care in the world. When we reluctantly untangled ourselves and got up to face our to-do list, Peter commented,

“We’re taking that with us to Washington.”

Body Update

Fall is a good time for a body update because my annual medical appointments come around in September.

The good news is that my body still works fairly well, albeit a bit more slowly.

This month, I’ve had a bone density scan, a colonoscopy, a mammogram and my annual checkup, I’ve had an appointment with the endocrinologist who has finally persuaded me to do something about my not-so-strong bones, so I am having an infusion next week to deal with this problem. Which leaves just my dermatologist coming up early next month.

I have wonderful doctors and it’s daunting to think of establishing relationships with a whole new set in Washington when we move. It makes me realize how lucky I am to have had such good medical care.

When I think about what’s happened in the Caribbean, I am even more grateful and so aware that everything could change in a heartbeat.

Downsizing (Part II)

You may remember Ed Grimley, comedian Martin Short’s character on Saturday Night Live in the 1980’s and the episode in which he opens his refrigerator and bushels of onions come tumbling out. He asks, “Onions, onions, why do I have so many onions?”

Grimley and his onions came to mind on Sunday when I cleaned out our attic storage space. My “onions” were endless suitcases, dating back to pre-historic times.

We have four suitcases that we currently use--two carry-ons and two larger ones for longer trips. But we also have kids' backpacks on frames, two huge black suitcases on wheels that preceded the more reasonably-sized turquoise ones we use for serious travel now. There are assorted duffels (two aqua and a once-white one and a blue duffel bag on wheels that I don’t believe I’ve seen before). There is the dazzling red print Vera Bradley (without wheels) that I use for weekend car trips, etc.

Our trash collectors can’t wait 'til we’re gone.

Bicycle Farewell

I could describe in detail every bike I’ve owned since I got my first two-wheeler—brand, color, number of gears, etc.

Those bikes transported me back and forth to my job, gave me twenty-five years of biking vacations, allowed me to pick up and go on my time schedule, park where there were no parking spaces and smell the lilacs blooming each May as I whizzed by them on my way home from work, all without polluting the planet.

But there is a time and place for everything, and now that Peter can’t bike any more and we are moving to a new city, it seemed that it was time for me to say good-bye to my bicycle.

I offered it for sale on our neighborhood List-serve, and within minutes had several responses. In the end, ten people wanted it and I sold it to the first responder. She offered to let me keep it until we move, but I thought I should let it go immediately. It wouldn’t get easier. She said that having my bike would be like keeping a bit of me here.

It will be more than just a bit.


It feels like it was just yesterday that we flew to Minneapolis during a freezing February to meet Leo, our three-week-old first grandchild.

So when we visited him and his family in Maryland last weekend, it seemed that he had become a six-foot-one-inch-tall-thirteen-year-old overnight. How did an awkward and very shy pre-schooler turn into a first-rate soccer goalie, looked up to (literally and figuratively) by his teammates?

We had a great weekend with everybody, as we always do. But what I found most exciting and gratifying about our visit was my Sunday afternoon conversation with Leo about his future. His grandmother (me) has helped others imagine their futures for decades. But on Sunday, it was Leo who was looking to me for advice. Thirteen is way too early to choose a career, but not too early to learn how to think about choosing one.

Over the years, I’ve done my best to give advice, but never with more pleasure than on Sunday.

A Ray of Sunshine

If we were to tally the good days vs. the bad days since we put our house on the market, the bad days would win in a landslide. (Boy, the lessons we are learning!)

So when we had a good day this week, it lifted my spirits. And what made it so good? The extremely professional and competent man who did the nasty job of cleaning out the mess caused by our dryer’s broken vent. Unbeknownst to us, the vent that was supposed to send the lint from our clothes dryer in the basement through a crawl space under our patio had broken who-knows-how-many-years-ago and deposited dryer lint that we never saw into the crawl space.

But our potential buyer’s inspector had removed the panel hiding the entry to that crawl space and discovered the above-mentioned mess of lint and cobwebs covering everything.

Someone recommended a jolly “I’ll do anything kind of guy” whom we called and who came to fix the vent and clean out the crawl space ten days ago. The problem--he was obese and couldn’t get through the opening to the crawl space to do the job.

So we turned to a professional dryer vent cleaner. We described the situation to the owner over the phone. He told us it wouldn’t be a problem and sight unseen gave us what seemed like a fair price. And on Tuesday, he fixed it. For the fair price.

It was a good day.

Harvey Update

A year ago, I wrote about our friend Harvey, who had just finished a punishing six months of treatment for a rare blood cancer that no one had ever survived. His doctors had just harvested his cancer-free cells for a stem cell transplant, their only hope for a “cure”.

Having survived the most aggressive of chemotherapy, accompanied by several middle-of-the-night emergency room visits, the goal was to stay well until the transplant, scheduled for last November. Harvey did stay well, and the transplant was a success.

The restrictions on patients who have received such transplants are strict because their compromised immune systems can’t handle infections and other challenges. The patient is vulnerable while his immune system re-establishes itself. The hope is that, like a newborn baby, it will develop a new immunity over time.

Harvey couldn’t be in crowds. His doctor told him that he couldn’t get on an airplane for a year. The slightest cold could turn into a disaster.

We spent Labor Day weekend with Harvey and Tina in their Berkshire home as we have done (except for last year) for years. Although Harvey never lost his sense of humor and upbeat personality during his treatment, being with them last weekend was like old times for people who have been friends for thirty-seven years.

Harvey seems as good as new, and when I told him that, he responded…

“Not quite.”

Not-So-Great Expectations

We all have expectations. Sometimes they’re realistic. That’s good. But when expectations are unmet, that can be not-so-good.

And that’s what happened to us recently.

Twenty-three years ago we bought our house from a very nice realtor. Over the years, we’ve kept in touch, and he shepherded us through many for-sale-condos as we explored the possibility of downsizing.

So, we didn’t think twice about asking him to sell our house when we decided to move out of town to be near our children. We live in a desirable neighborhood, and our realtor told us that there were no homes for sale here besides ours. He said that the house would sell the first weekend that it went on the market, that there would be a bidding war, and that it would sell for more than the asking price in cash and without a home inspection.

That didn’t happen.

I have long warned others to keep their expectations in check. I did not take my own advice.