A brief note, the posts for a while will not be my normal food or saving money type of posts. I stated in my last post things have been crazy for the last year. I don't think it is fair to expect you, the readers of this blog, for me to just pick up like nothing happened. I think you deserve an explanation and to be completely honest, I need to get this stuff off of my chest. Please bare with me and things will get back to normal.
Last May we spent nearly a week in the French Quarter of New Orleans. This was one of the most breathtaking, emotional, and wonderful weeks in my life. It was a celebration of sorts. It was the first vacation that my husband and I took that did not include family. Nothing against our family, but all vacations had been centered around returning to our home state of Michigan to traverse the countryside from home to home. We visited family members from both sides for a day or a few hours and then on to the next home. This was mostly exhausting and stressful despite the joy of seeing loved ones that we rarely see. In the past few years we have spent less time in Michigan and more time in Illinois visiting our beautiful daughter and her family.
While we were in New Orleans we determined that we would spend one week of vacation a year just for us. It doesn't really matter what we do because we have fun together. It's more like a back to romance time with my best friend. I am a very lucky girl!
My mom called me while we were in New Orleans to let us know that there was a bid on my parents home in Michigan. This was amazing. The house had been listed for sale on and off for years. It just never sold. My parents lived in this home from 1965 until July of 2013. 48 years of accumulation and my dad being a hoarder or pack rat, if you are being nice, is a lot of stuff. My parents had an auction years ago because they hoped to move then, but it didn't happen. The auction helped a lot, but my father had begun collecting all over again. I drove up there and took a month off of my work at Bath and Body Works to help pack up. I only spent about 2 weeks there, but vacations and other stuff were going on at home so it became 1 month off.
My father did not want to move to Florida, yes he said he wanted to move, but no, he did not want to move. He did not want to sell his "precious". We would call it junk. There is so much to say about my dad. I think I will leave him to another post, but anyway. He did a better job of packing than I expected. Mom rented a U haul that was just a truck away from being the largest they offered to the public, at least that is how I remember it. I could be off by one truck size.
They brought almost no furniture. Mom packed very little except her office stuff and some personal mementos, clothing, kitchen stuff she would need, and linens. The rest of the truck was packed with things that my dad deemed necessary for him to move. The final item we hadn't gotten onto the truck was dad's riding lawn mower. My father basically said he would not move unless the lawn mower came with him. Actually that is exactly what he said. He dug his heels in. This was a huge problem. One in which he could not have his way if the lawn mower didn't get on the truck. I mean what was he going to do? Hide out in the garage so the new owners wouldn't notice him? Thankfully Chris was coming up for the weekend to finish packing and drive the moving truck home. He helped get the lawn mower onto the truck. I had spent 2 weeks without him and here he was riding this lawn tractor up a ramp at almost a 90 degree angle. I did not need my husband to end up in an accident and injured before we drove home.
Chris flew into South Bend Regional Airport on Friday night. I started crying when I saw him. I was very emotional. I love my parents, but my dad has a way of putting so much stress onto me. I can't even begin to express it. It was as if my dad was the spoiled child and I was the nanny taking care of him. I couldn't discipline him, but he could throw temper tantrums. My mom would send me away "for my sanity".
Here I was in my old home, my old hometown, no husband, my normal life that was quiet and happy just the way I liked it was nearly 2000 miles away. The best way you could see what I went through was by being there. My only peace came in the form of four women from my childhood. Nancy and Laura had been my best friends from first grade on. We had lost touch long ago, but through the magic of Facebook, we reunited. Nancy was home from Mexico and Laura was all excited to show us around her home. My friend Sharon who was my best friend through out most of high school, and my friend Barb, who was also a close friend in high school were there too. Again, we all had lost touch, but Facebook helped bring us all together again. These four beautiful women were my rocks. They whisked me away for dinner, to visit places, and just spent time with me. Sometimes they just loaned me the use of their internet as my parents did not have the internet at their home. The gave me coffee, wine, food, but most of all love and friendship. I would never have made it without them.
While in my parents home I was writing blogs in my mind. I made all kinds of excuses as to why I didn't write my blog. I had the little computer with me. I could have written it on notepad and uploaded it when I got to the internet. I could have hand written it, but half the time I can't read my own writing after I write it. I just kept making excuses.
I went to Founder's Wine Cellar in Baroda, Michigan. Laura, Nancy, and I went to Lavender Hill Farm in Niles. Chris and I had dinner at Long John Silvers in Niles. My dad took me to McDonald's for lunch in South Bend, Indiana. I bought donuts at Meijer's in South Bend, food stuff for me at Martin's in Niles, and went to Apple Valley Market in Berrien Springs. I bought a birthday cake for Laura and myself at Tosi's Bakery in Stevensville. Each thing I did, each place I ate and each place I visited could have been part of a blog. To be honest they all deserved to be. Well, minus the Long John Silver's and McDonald's. Meijer and Martins are grocery stores and as good as they are, grocery stores are grocery stores.
*Founder's Wine Cellar, I enjoyed. The wine was good, the gentleman behind the counter was kind and I ended up with 4 bottles coming home with me. There will be more coming home the next time we go back up. The tasting room is large and inviting. I think it is well worth a visit if you are ever in Southwest Lower Michigan.
**Lavender Hill Farm was in full bloom. A bit overpowering for me, but what I would expect Province, France to be like, just on a much smaller scale. The little shop was cute and set up well. I hope to return one day. I would also recommend going there. A true treat is the lavender honey. mmmm. I savor mine for as long as I can. They also sell lavender essential oil that is at least 97% pure. It has been over a year so my memory is not perfect.
***Tosi's, is well Tosi's. The bakery is actually named Bit of Swiss, but growing up there it is just Tosi's. The most amazing cakes and pastries, with the grouchiest older ladies behind the counter. If this was any other place, with lesser quality of baked goods they would be out of business because of these women, but with the amazing pastries they serve I would gladly put up with the sourpuss looks and enjoy the food.
Chris drove the moving truck home and I followed behind him with the pick up truck. We left super early in the morning on Saturday and were back in Florida on Sunday. Our daughter, her husband, our son, and his family were waiting for us with pizza, smiles and 3 granddaughters. My heart swelled with joy. I could not ask for a better welcome home. Our son in law, our son, and Chris unloaded the moving truck in less than 3 hours. It took myself and a friend of my mom's about a day and a half to load. My parents stayed behind waiting for the closing. They got to my house the day before we were leaving to head back up to Michigan for our vacation.
It is funny how life moves on. I had come to grips with my parents never moving to Florida. I understood that as dad got older someone would need to take care of him and that meant me if something ever happened to my mom. The discussions went back and forth with Chris as to what if were no longer needed. They were moved and living in my house until we found them a home and fixed it up. Life was changing and change is good.
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