A Winter Hat

Last Saturday, my husband, my son, and his girlfriend and I went for a small hike outside Colorado Springs. It was to Paint Mines, which is an area of rock formations called hoodoos. A hoodoo has a hard rock cap on the top of softer rock, which erodes into a pillar of rock.

Hoodoos in the distance

In getting ready for the hike, hubby and I were gathering our outdoor gear. Gotta be prepared for any type of weather! As I was looking through gloves and scarves, I discovered that I don’t have a winter hat! What happened to the one my mother-in-law made for me? Or the cute purple cap? They were not with the vacuumed-sealed package of outdoor gear. I borrowed my husband’s yellow and gray beanie for the hike.

But yellow and gray don’t go with any of my coats, so today I got onto the REI website, and searched for a cute topper, one that would coordinate with my winter coat.

How hard can it be? My coat is black, so everything goes, right? But my scarves are either burgundy/cream or multi-colored pastels. Not easy to match.

Plus, it’s really important to me that the cap completely covers my ears. That’s what gets cold when I’m hiking in the snow. So the beanie needs to come down low enough to keep me warm.

I don’t look good in hats. My hair is short, and so when it’s all tucked under, I look bald. Or one glance at me and one assumes I’m bald. So I want a hat that’s cute, maybe just a little big for my head so that it’s not completely tight.

I found three on the website. I ordered all of them (free returns) so I could try them all on. Make sure they meet the criteria of cute and ear-covering. We’ll see which one makes me look less bald!

New TV

We got a new TV tonight. It arrived from Amazon via UPS. Husband was practically “chomping at the bit” for it to arrive this evening. Of course, the moment it did, we set it up.

He’s been talking about a new TV for several years, though, honestly, I didn’t see anything wrong with the old one. But this one is bigger and with newer technology, which, it turns out, makes a huge difference in quality and picture.

I didn’t realize how heavy our old TV was until it came time to install it in our new house. There’s a built-in shelf in the living room for the TV to sit on. Hubby expressed concern that it wouldn’t support the weight of the old TV, and that got me worried. What an amazing mess it would be if the whole shelf pulled off the wall! So then I was really nervous about having our TV in the living room, and I insisted that it go on the huge TV stand in the basement. Which meant I was suddenly more interested in a new TV than I had been before.

Turns out the new TV is amazing. It’s only 50ish lbs., and the picture quality is incredible. It’s 3D. I didn’t realize how two-dimensional the people were in the show until we resumed playing it mid-stream. Suddenly, it’s as if they’re acting in my living room. The sound quality is good – no need for the sound bar. I’ll see how it plays my music tomorrow.

I’ll admit that a new TV was not on my wish-list, until I worried about the weight of it on the shelf. I had always written it off as something the hubby wanted, not me.

But I’m pleased it became a priority in our purchases. It’s actually the first new thing we’ve added to the new house – before the bookshelves or area rug. And I’m glad we bought it.

It will make “date night” at home so much more enjoyable!

Getting Ready to Move

Moving is hard work!

I’m out of sorts this morning. Maybe it’s because the first thing I did – before I even got out of bed – was fix my Fitbit account – that took 20 minutes! Maybe it’s because I had to get up earlier than normal today. Probably it’s because I’m a little overwhelmed at packing up the apartment and moving within the next several days. This is going to be a weird weekend, as we want to be in our new house, but the movers don’t come until Tuesday.

We could start moving boxes from the storage unit and some from the apartment to the garage at the house. Maybe organize them by room. We don’t want to take them immediately into the house, as we’re having it cleaned and new carpet installed in the master bedroom and on the stairs. We don’t want to be in the way.

It will be nice to have all our belongings back together under one roof. Although I’ve discovered – by living in the apartment these past four months – that there’s a lot I can live without! I expect to do some sorting as we unpack, and get rid of some items, particularly small kitchen appliances, that I haven’t used for years. And they’re big small items – like a rotisserie and a bread maker; they take up lots of kitchen territory.

We have the walk-through today. That will tell us if we need to do any painting. In one room, the previous owners have lots of stuff on the walls. So we’ll check to see if we need to spackle and paint. Of course, our painting supplies are in some box in the storage unit, so they might be tough to find. I guess we’ll know what to do after this afternoon.

We close on the house tomorrow, get the keys Friday. Someone comes to clean on Saturday, and carpet is installed on Monday. Then Tuesday, we have movers lined up to help us with the heavy stuff, furniture, etc.

I’m overwhelmed, but so excited!

Not the morning we had planned

We were just going to pick up a few things at the grocery store. Including cold medicine and cough syrup, since we’ve both been hacking all week.

It’s 30 degrees, so we decided to get a car wash first, and park in the sun so the locks wouldn’t freeze. There were 4 cars in front of us, plus the vehicle in the wash; we guessed we’d wait in line for 30 minutes. But the Kia is filthy, so we knew it was necessary. We pulled forward, turned off the car and chatted each time a vehicle went into the wash.

Finally, it was our turn. We paid for the Deluxe Wash and waited for the car in the wash. We saw the brake lights through the door, and pushed the Kia’s start button ignition. Nothing.

Tried again. Just a click. Dead battery sound. The car wash line behind us was now 5 long – oh, they were going to be so mad at us!

Hubby got out and told the woman behind us that our car was dead. Then went to the hood and looked at the battery. All connections were tight. Got back in and tried it again. Nothing. Another try. Nothing.

Lady behind us pulled out of line, leaving a space for us to back into. We put the Kia in neutral and hubby started to push us backwards, with me cranking on the wheel to turn. Gentleman in line got out and helped push us into a parking space. He got our already-paid car wash as a thank you.

We Lyfted home and got our other car and tool chest. Then went to Walmart to buy a new battery. There was one left! Back to the car wash. Now hubby is installing it.

So, no groceries. No cough syrup. No car wash. We’ve now been at this craziness for two hours, and we’ve accomplished nothing.

Update: new battery and Kia started right up. There are 5 cars in line at the car wash – we’ll go next door and have lunch – maybe the line will be shorter when we come out.

We’ll stop at the grocery store and get our much-needed cough syrup on the way home.

And here I was wondering what we’d do today!

A High School Friend

I had a very best friend in high school named Sue.  We actually became fast friends in 8th grade, after she came over to ask me about a book I was reading – Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume.  From that interaction forward, our friendship grew and we became virtually inseparable for several years.

My family had moved to the area at the start of 8th grade, and up until Sue, I didn’t have any close friends.  My home was a little bit chaotic – a big rambling house with my folks and my sister, our two dogs, lots of boxes in the basement, and eventually my 87 year old grandfather.  He’d been a bachelor for many years, and it was quite an adjustment for all of us as he moved into a family with busy teenagers. My dad went back to college and became a business student, my mom worked part time, and our social activity and closest friends were from church, none of whom were my age.  Looking back, I see that I was a typical teenager, wanting to escape my house, and Sue’s home became the respite. She lived in a wealthier part of town, and her home seemed calm and put together, where mine felt discombobulated somehow, as our family was in transition for several of those years living in Michigan.

Sue had lots of friends, was very popular, an athlete and accomplished musician. I was shocked and delighted that she wanted to be friends with me, a gawky geeky girl.

We’d get home from school and check in with our moms, and then call each other to arrange getting together. We’d leave our houses at the same time, and meet half-way between our homes, walking the rest of the way around the neighborhood and end up at her house.  She’d often play the piano and I would sing along – she helped me to learn to read music, which aided my efforts at piano lessons. Or she’d play her dulcimer or banjo. She was very musical, and we had lots of fun, singing at the top of our lungs and entertaining her mom with our latest renditions.

There were times when Sue came to my house. My folks would often drive us to the mall to walk around. Of course, my folks walked around, too. I remember Sue commenting how cool it was that my folks still held hands, a fact I took for granted. She came with me to some church activities and retreats, and we had many spiritual discussions.

We wrote letters to each other almost every week. Just silly things, like which boy we thought was cute or all about that English assignment, or the latest gossip on one of our teachers. She always signed her notes with smiley eyes and hair.

(I came across those letters a few months ago, as I was cleaning out to get ready to move to Colorado. I didn’t remember that I had kept them, and I read several of them before deciding it was time to part with them. Maybe that’s why she’s on my mind – I’ve been subconsciously thinking of her since I disposed of the letters.)

She taught me to make chocolate chip cookies – we did that a lot. Her dad would come in after work, a very tall distinguished looking man – and he’d give her a huge hug, all the while dipping four fingers into the cookie dough behind her back and coming away with a handful to eat. Her mom, of much smaller stature – would just laugh and remind him what was cooking for dinner. Her mom had a wonderful laugh – kind of like a tinkling bell.  They both welcomed me into their home every time I came over. Her brothers were typical brothers – one a couple of years older, the other younger.  I remember one time when Sue and I were watching a scary movie by ourselves in the family room, with all the lights off and we were huddled under a blanket, and the older brother snuck into the room and jumped out at just the right moment to scare us like crazy!

Sue taught me the joy of lying under the Christmas tree. We’d turn out all the lights in the room except the tree, and we’d lie under the branches and look up. The soft glow of the lights reflecting off the ornaments was so peaceful. We’d recline there and listen to Christmas music and talk about our holiday break and family traditions.

At some point, in our Junior year I think, we became less exclusive, and our friendship circle expanded to include two other close girlfriends.  I found another friend to hang out with sometimes, and Sue’s and my friendship shifted. We were still close, but had lots of room for others.

My folks moved away during my Freshman year in college, so I never had the experience of “going home” to reconnect with old high school friends. My relationships shifted again, and I lost touch with most of the girls and guys we had hung out with.

Sue and I went to different colleges, and I remember visiting during her nursing undergrad program with my boyfriend (now husband) and another close friend. That was one of the last times we saw each other.

We exchanged Christmas cards for a few years, and then we got busy with our families.  I lost track of her as we moved across the country. At one point,  I found one of her daughters on Facebook and asked her to get a message to Sue, but nothing happened for a couple of years, until I found Sue on Facebook and we communicated briefly.

In the past year, I’ve reconnected with another high school friend, Chris, and it’s been so fun to catch up with short phone calls filled with stories of our families, and laughter at reminiscing. It turns out that she is practically neighbors with Sue, and they see each other for social activities together. I’m glad – Sue makes a great friend.