Sunday, January 30, 2011

Burger bash

Every Friday at The Resort, the park where our home is located, there is a "Burger Bash" around the pool. The large grills are set up and resident volunteers do the grilling.

Only sometimes it is a "Chicken Bash" and sometimes, a "Brat Bash."

Well, we attended the Brat Bash on Friday.

Over 300 people attend and somehow all are served. How it is done so quickly and efficiently is beyond me. I have trouble getting two dishes done at the same time to serve the two of us.

The bash starts at noon. But you must get a ticket in advance ($5), and you must arrive at 11:00 if you want a chance at a place to sit.

But you are rewarded with musical entertainment while you wait. While I'm not overly fond of country-western music, our guitar-pickin' singer kept us in a lively mood and accompanied all the chatter without drowning us out.

Most tables were filled with groups of friends, and most were involved in card games as they waited. You could quickly tell they were veteran resort dwellers. In fact, many have been here for over twenty years and know each other well by now.

Our own table was filled with friends as well. We joined Mary Kay and Bob, our long-time friends from home, and some new friends, Glen and Nancy, who hail from Washington and live across the street.

Our wait to eat was well rewarded with brats served on a really fresh bakery roll, sauerkraut and potato salad. We've learned to bring our own beer or soda along, but if you're not with the program and you didn't bring your own, you can buy it.

Being entirely with the program, we brought our own.
Our afternoon was complete with an invitation for dessert on the porch at the Minars: lemon cake with an orange glaze.

Great weather, great food, great friends. Life is good in Mesa!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

You know how it is

You buy something as simple as a pillow. You end up changing the decor of the whole darn room just to match the pillow.

Ours began with the purchase of a couch. We wanted a sleeper sofa to accommodate extra guests, and the former owners had only two recliner chairs in the living room.

As I said in the last post, the couch led to new carpeting. New carpeting led to new drapes. New drapes led to new drapery rods. Then we needed a new chair to match the room. The couch, chair, new carpeting and drapes led to painting the whole room.

Painting the whole room has now led to painting the bedroom as well. Painting the bedroom led to new curtains. New curtains led to a new bed skirt and quilt. New paint led to new closet hardware.

We're exhausted. What made us think this was our retirement get-away where we could relax and enjoy life at a slower pace?

Ah well, it's coming together and the end is almost in sight. I am certain we'll agree it was a worthwhile investment and a good plan in the end.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Who's impatient?

The other day, I was mentioning all the things I wanted to do to redecorate our new Arizona home.

Everything is in good condition, but is very outdated. The living room carpeting is turquoise, the curtains are light blue and pink, the recliner is aqua, and, showing signs of wear, they need to be replaced. The walls need painting, as walls do every few years.

My husband heard my litany as I listed off all the changes.

Oh yes, I continued, we new new floor heat vent covers, the master bedroom needs painting, and we either need new floor lamps, or we need to paint the existing ones, and we need new lampshades to replace the worn ones. And new cabinet hardware.

Would you believe he actually accused me of being impatient? Me??? Impatient???

Okay, I conceded and 'fessed up. Yes, I said, you know me well. And I agreed to slow down and wait to do things one at a time. Little by little. I'm just happy to be here, I humbly proclaimed, and yes, we don't have to do everything right now. I even went out on a limb and agreed we could hold off on most things until next year. (That was really a stretch.)

Yesterday, the new couch we ordered a month ago was delivered. We're pleased with it and stood back to admire it, when all of a sudden, my husband announced we need new carpeting. And declared that first thing in the morning, we were going shopping.

And, of course, then the drapes won't match, so we need those as well. (Never mind that I had warned him that light blue and pink curtains wouldn't match anything.)

And before we put in new carpeting and drapes, we need to paint the walls, he went on to expound, as if it just occurred to him.

I just smiled and said, gee, honey, you're appearing awfully impatient about all this. What is the sudden rush?

He mumbled something to the effect that I was right, and off we went this morning, bringing home paint and carpet samples to study.

Is it okay if I gloat just a wee bit?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Ups and downs

Being in Mesa, Arizona in January is just about the most wonderful thing I could imagine. One beautiful, sunny day after another leaves little to complain about.

In fact, I can only think of one teensy complaint. But it's a daily source of frustration.

Of course, I brought my own computer and its associated gadgets from home. But to get online, I need to come to the park's library where there is Wi-Fi. Now this is a delightful and short three-block walk and a great reason to just be out and about.

The library is quiet, cozy and comfortable. It has excellent high-speed internet access with computers and a printer available for common use, as well as space to sit and electrical outlets if you bring your own equipment.

So, the problem?

I feel completely disconnected from life.

You know how it is. When you want to send an email, you want to do it NOW. When you want to look something up, you want to do it NOW. When you want the weather forecast? The news? A price on something? Yup. NOW.

Hopefully, I will find a remedy soon to get wireless connection in our little mobile home. Thinking my techie grandchildren can help me with this, I'll place an SOS call to them. And you'll hear from me on Cranberry Tree more often.

Now that could be good or bad...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Settling in

I never thought I would be tired of shopping. Especially home decor stuff. Bedding, towels, bath supplies, kitchen spices, a coffee pot, iron, paper products, and things for the walls.

All to make our new home is Arizona feel like our home.

When we arrived, we found boxes that had been packed for our former owner's move to Florida. On about the third evening here, we sat and opened all the boxes. It felt like Christmas all over again. We were like little kids, wondering what was inside each item we unwrapped.

We discovered to our delight many usable things, all wonderfully new to us. But, of course, there was a growing list of things we would need or wanted to change. So shopping we went.

My husband easily grows weary of it. He would take his list, look at one thing in the store, and put it in his cart.

Not me.

I have to look at five, at least, of the same item before deciding which is the best quality, the best looking, the best bargain, the best all-around fit for our needs.

And this has its advantages. I get to go shopping by myself.

It is a great way to become familiar with the streets and roads in a new town. Try to find the nearest Target, JC Penney's, Best Buy or Kohl's, and you have navigated the main thoroughfares.

Now we are settling in nicely, putting up new curtains, programming the new TV, subscribing to the local paper. We're almost finished and are ready for a new daily routine. One that doesn't include working non-stop from morning to night.

I must admit it has all been rather fun. Kind of like newlyweds. And like a new bride, I get to select new bedding and towels, some new appliances, new places to put things in clean cupboards.

But mostly, it just feels good to be settling in.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

At home in Mesa

We started our three-day road trip from Minnesota to Arizona early Christmas Day, leaving the snow behind as we drove out of Minnesota and through Iowa.

How fortunate we were with no snow or ice, dry roads, clear skies, and the most beautiful scenery along the rest of the way.

I had never been through Missouri, Oklahoma or New Mexico. It was a good thing my husband was driving through New Mexico and into Arizona. I ooohed and aaahed and gasped at the incredible beauty of the landscape, and had I been driving, I would surely have gone off the road.

I could never even have imagined such majestic views of the mountains, or the stone cliffs, or the red rock along the highway. Such a marvel, God's beautiful creation.

We arrived at our new home, unlocked the door, and looked around at our new home which we had not yet seen. Remember my post, Sight unseen? We had purchased the home in early spring, only having seen photos of it.

We were more than pleased. It was everything we had envisioned. And we knew we had purchased and entered a home where love had dwelled.

Its former owner, Theresa, had been in failing health when she listed the home for sale. She planned to move to Florida to live with her daughter. But her health suddenly declined, and she passed away in Arizona as she was preparing for the move.

And so, as I unpacked the dishes she used, the pans she cooked with, made the bed, and discovered all the little touches of the home, I thought tenderly of her.

I discovered her craft supplies: beads and acrylic paints, all neatly organized. And a ceramic Santa and a wall sconce with her initials on the bottom. A lovely piece of white Hardanger embroidery. Those things I will send to her daughter, but I'll always have a little of her spirit there and will treasure it.

We vastly underestimated the effort of moving into a new home. Organizing and making our own spaces for things, creating our own place there, has taken some time and much energy, but it has been a joy and an adventure.

Now we're also getting acquainted with our new neighborhood. Where's the grocery store, the drugstore, the library, the churches, the garden center, the restaurants? We've driven around in circles and have "followed our noses" more than once trying to navigate an unfamiliar city.

I'm looking forward to sharing our adventures with you as we discover the new sights around us.

But, for now, we are here and are happy. We are at home in Mesa.