Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Out of Necessity, Some New Things Done

Everything comes to pass, nothing comes to stay. -Matthew Flickstein

In the past week, I realized that I have done some things I have never done before.

Although we had just been at the Queen Mother's house just three weekends ago, my husband revealed that he was hoping to place the house on the market in July. I called an estate sales broker and made arrangements to meet with her on the last weekend in May, which was meant that one of us had to be at the Queen Mother's house and that "one" was going to be me.

We packed up Dragon Heart with everything we were adding to the sale from our home and then...

I drove to Florida alone, completely and utterly alone. (Well, okay, my Lord was with me and we had a nice conversation). Last Thursday I left my husband, who promised to work in close to home, and my daughter at home to care for themselves and our pets and my gardens, while I drove the eight to nine hour drive to the Queen Mother's house in Florida. My husband actually worked a few hours away, which meant our daughter was home alone during the day Thursday and Friday while neither one of us could get home within 20 minutes, if needed. (Sometimes I have to remind myself that she is sixteen and at sixteen I could run a household if needed.)

My husband usually does the driving when we are together, so for thirty years I really have not driven even a portion of a trip like this (except for when we took two vehicles the last time we went)...and I really enjoyed the drive. The traffic was much lighter than I expected for being the Memorial Day weekend. The worst time for me to drive, even a short time, is in the afternoon when I can tend to get sleepy, if I am not highly engaged in something, and I would be on the most boring straight and flat highway for about two hours at that time of day. I have found, though, that a few sips of a 5-hour energy drink has just enough caffeine and B vitamins to get me through that afternoon drag when I am driving.

I arrived in the evening on Thursday and was not at all tired, so I not only unpacked the van but I began moving furniture, grouping items, and unpacking our things. (The Queen Mother has about 70 pieces of Capodimonte alone!) I had called my husband to let him know I arrived, and then my phone needed charging...but when I plugged it in to be charged, I discovered it would not charge. I called my husband at the time we usually talk when we are apart to say good-night and told him I had 6% left on my phone so whatever he needed to say, to say it fast. We had already turned off the phone, TV, and Internet service at the house three weeks previously, so I felt like I was cut off from the world and it was at that moment I realized...

I had never been alone at night in that house before—and I. did. NOT. like. it!

I finally made myself stop working and went to bed at 3:00 a.m. The next morning I thought I would sleep in but, no, I was wide awake at 7:00 a.m. with that not-enough-sleep hang-over feeling that makes one want to wear sunglasses when they should not be needed. I had yogurt and vitamins for breakfast and started looking at the drawers in the Queen Mother's room that we did not yet go through. I was just trying to fill my time until Best Buy should be open to find out if I needed a new phone, battery, or wire for charging. (Yes, I added that emphasis for a reason.)

Since I could not check the store times on my phone, I left the house at 9:00 a.m. and went down the road a little over a mile to the mall area with Best Buy across the street, but the parking lot was empty. I looked at the sign on the door and they would not open for another hour...in fact, nothing around there opens until 10:00. At home, some of our stores open at 7:00 and 8:00, but most are at 9:00, however Best Buy is 10:00 here also. Still, it seems Florida has its own alternate dimensional time zone, everything is slowed down and opens later in the morning but closes not late at night, perfect for the retirement crowd, I suppose.

So, I drove back to the house and then returned an hour later. Thinking that if I had to get another phone, I might not be able to pull off the information from the internal storage and that would mean that I do not even know my husband's phone number to call him, but I did know my daughter's as it used to be his work one, then it was mine when I had a flip-phone, and I passed it on to her. Still, it was going to be a huge hassle to set up a new phone that would take more time than I had to spare on this trip.

After waiting for about twenty minutes in line, I was beckoned up to the Geek Squad counter, probably looking like a woman on the edge with sunken, black, baggy eyes from lack of sleep and slumped shoulders of defeat, as I begged the young man in desperation: "I need you to save my cyber life!" After disappearing with my phone into the back room for a few minutes he returns and gives me the verdict. Later I called my husband to say that I had bad news and good news. The bad is that new phones are very expensive and the good is that I only needed to replace the wire, which was the cheapest of the three possibilities and the most convenient for me!

Once my phone was charging and functioning, I noticed I had a voice mail from the estate sales broker, who said that she was waiting for me to call to set the appointment for that day. As I remember it, I was to call her on Friday (that day) and she would come on Saturday, but I was flexible so she came that day. As she looked around, she said that she had a sale that fell through for next weekend so she could have her ladies start preparing ours next week as we had so many little items, but the sale was scheduled for the first weekend in July...well, it was for a few hours until my husband talked to her and backed it up another week.

My husband asked me to try to come home on Sunday, but with Friday being what it was and I being as tired as I was, I did not think I could unpack everything while kind of categorizing the items to make it easy on the ladies and so I could see everything and find the boxes that the Queen Mother kept from most of the collectibles; pack up all that was left that I needed to take; label the large items, mostly furniture, that we did not want to sell and my husband would be picking up in a month, a week before the sale; and move most of the personal items the Queen Mother might like or need when or if she goes into assisted living into her closet with a label on the door that nothing was to be sold from there; and pack up Dragon Heart all on Saturday...and be able make the drive the next day safely and alert.

I finished everything but packing up the minivan at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday and did the last of it when it was cooler in the evening. Although I went to bed at 11:00 p.m., I usually wake up at around 3:00 a.m. every night and easily go back to sleep, but at 3:20 I decided to just get up and go. I almost left the house exactly at 4:00 a.m., but I could not find my bluetooth, which was turned off so my locator app would not work. My Lord is so good to me...I honestly could have looked for an hour and never have thought to look where it was, but I placed my phone down on the bed I used and I felt something hard next to my fingers under the cover.

Then I was in the van and started to pull away, when I remembered the broker telling me to be sure not to lock the dead bolt on the side garage door as I had only given her the key for the knob and I had the dead bolt key made and left it inside for them as they would be there the next day. So, I stopped and unlocked the dead bolt. Thank you so much for that reminder, my Lord.

Then I was thinking that this could be the last time I ever stay at this house. In a month, my husband will take the few pieces of furniture we wanted and the next week everything will be sold. Then it is just clean the house and put it on the market, although we already have two couples are interested that are looking to move near their families, so we may not need a realtor. Property values have increased $10,000 since the first of the year, a realtor told us, so we are thinking about it all.

As I began my drive, I thought about surprising my family by not letting them know when I left. My husband asked me to call him when I stop for gas and I promised I would. I did that on the way down, so I thought that when I got over the Georgia state line (half way) with cheaper gas prices, I would stop for gas, maybe breakfast, and call him but not tell him that I am stopping for gas. So...I did. I told him I had grabbed breakfast and was on the way, so he was expecting me for dinner.

The really funny thing—and quite possibly proof that we have been married for a very long time—is that he was calling me as I was stepping up onto the front porch. He thought I should be stopping for gas and he wanted to talk to me about ordering pizza for dinner, however he also said that he thought that I would leave early like I did. We unpacked the van and then we joined our daughter, watching Daredevil on Netflix and had pizza for dinner.

Then my husband left to catch his flight for work the next day, but he was bumped twice so he decided to drive to North Carolina and catch up with his luggage which flew there without him. I decided not to try to do errands today and enjoy the summer rains after being in the seriously dry, drought in Florida. Perhaps because it is a dark rainy day, the Princess is still in bed after 10:00 a.m., but she knew I was going to be have a day of rest.

I love being home.

Thank you, my Lord, for being with me when I was so far away from my family, helping me with all the decisions I had to make and work I had to do, and just for loving me. Thank you, also, for reminding me that things are things and of little lasting value especially in comparison to the gift of Your Presence.


  1. I know you have heard me whinge & whine about our city driving but I have never minded long distance drives on the highway. One can go very fast & I like fast. ☺

    1. I only like fast when the highways are not busy and that is not common in the Atlanta area. I used some highway on our errand day every week, but I never really enjoy it.


Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.