Waiting for Rope Drop

The main difference between our situation and the “Arizona” guy mentioned in the previous post, Leaving Las Vegas – Did We Miss Our Opportunity?, is that I’m assuming he moved back to where he was from. The hardest part about leaving Las Vegas (30 miles from the California border) is that it usually means a move to Florida, moving me 2500 miles from my home state of California. And I always get homesick.

Watching Fresh Baked “Disney” videos reminds me of who I am and who my people are, and I start to get homesick before we even leave. It would help if I could find more Californians in Florida because as soon as somebody finds out I’m from California, they shut down. And then I shut down. It’s hard for me to make new friends in Florida. In California, I feel surrounded by friends and family just because that’s who they are to me – I grew up there.

Plan B is to ask for a transfer to the Florida office, but we’re just not sure we want it or if they would grant it. We’ve done that a couple of times in the past and it worked out temporarily. Maybe if we were more sure of what we really wanted, we’d go for it. We’d prefer the perfect opportunity to tap us on the shoulder.

In the meantime, our Disneyland Food & Wine trip is coming up and we’re still discussing whether we invest in an AP or take it one trip at a time, taking a wait and see attitude about our future. Rich called it this morning when he said, “We’re waiting for rope drop.”

 

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The meeting went well yesterday. Now we wait for the next step. But what a thing to deal with when we’re grieving for our Lovey. Skipper slept most of the day, then got up for lunch at around 3 p.m., let out a big howl, and ran upstairs and went back to sleep. Shadow ran around like a crazy man, knocked over his cat tree, howled, and ran upstairs. I feel like doing the same. Instead, I’m blogging. 🙂

Grieving for Buddy was so all encompassing – I didn’t want to go through that again. But you can’t really tell yourself not to. You must grieve. Wondering how long it took to get over the initial grief, I realized, well, until Rich was in the hospital. That put things into perspective. But maybe that was just a temporary halt to the grief and the grieving only lessened as we rebuilt our lives, just the 4 of us, by changing our environment. We had a brief 4-month stop in Portland, Oregon for Rich’s job, and then Sunnyvale, California for a year.

So maybe a move would be a good thing, although if it’s Florida, this would be the first time the “original” 5 of us wouldn’t be going. No Buddy. No Lovey. Somehow that feels less than, although we’re already talking about getting a new girl kitty once we get settled, should we move on.

The hardest part is watching Skipper grieve his Lovey. They truly were husband and wife. When we first got Skipper, well, it was love at first sight for me. I felt so guilty because I’d sworn my allegiance to Ginger. I didn’t think I could ever love a kitty more than I loved her. He knew she was the Queen and he gave her proper respect, treading lightly, giving her a wide berth as we hugged the walls. When she was gone, he mourned for 3 days, and then he realized he was the new King and he took over, as the dominant cat.

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Buddy and Skipper, brothers, as Kittens

Three or four weeks later we brought Lovey home, and Skipper fell in love immediately. He was so much bigger than her, but he was very gentle, and came to her rescue whenever he thought she needed it. Even when Rich picked her up to show her the outside, Skipper would give us a look that said, “Hey, be careful with her!” And those two were inseparable. He became hers – she was very possessive – and I had to admire Skipper from afar. Now I have him back but it’s not the same because the real joy of Skipper, as it turns out, was watching him with his Lovey. It’s so painful to see him mourn her. I want to take away his pain and bring his Lovey back.

After Buddy left, he was the brother-in-law, Lovey and Skipper only grew closer. It was a beautiful thing to see, and I’m thankful to have witnessed it. But I’m grieving for so much more than just Lovey. I’m grieving for Skipper and his Bride.

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Skipper and his Bride of 15.5 years

Summer of 2015: Calling 1980 or Do You Know the Way to San Jose?

One reason I started thinking about the ’80s is that, after working at home in some form of writing endeavor (tech writing contracts, fiction writing, songwriting) for several years now, I’m starting to get a little bored with being at home full-time without a car. I’ve been “in-between” contracts for a while now, and have no idea if another one is coming my way. Eventually, I’ll be of official retirement age – what will I do then?

So I started thinking back to the ’80s when I worked swing shift for a major San Francisco Graphic Arts firm and had my days free. I remember being quite happy with that schedule. How did I spend the daytime hours? What did I do? Where did I go? Who did I talk to?

The first thing I remembered was the pool/hot tub so we decided to finally get that hot tub we’ve been talking about for years. The electrician is working on the installation today. We also got some chaise lounges with pads and I’ve already enjoyed those. I’ve even been rereading some of my favorite books from that time – Oriental Hotel and the Wagons West series.

Walking has always been my thing – I do it to relax, to think, and to exercise. Struggling with the ups and downs with my weight, I was tired of being hungry and lightheaded. I was determined to walk off the weight instead of starve off the weight, even if progress was slow. No more crash diets – no more diets at all. I began long-distance walking.

Three days a week I would walk 3 or 4 miles each way for a total of 6 or 8 miles. It all depended on if I walked from my condo in San Bruno to Millbrae (6 miles round trip) or drove to Millbrae and walked to San Mateo (8 miles round trip).

Then I read A Walk Across America and I was mesmerized by his long-distance walk. I began thinking of walking to San Jose – approximately 42 miles from home. Maybe then I’d walk to L.A. – 424 miles from home.

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I made it to Redwood City, 18 miles south of San Bruno. It took me 6 hours and I got so sunburned that day. I flopped down on the couch when I got home and slept for hours. And while I continued my 6- and 8-mile walks, I put an end to that idea of walking to San Jose and beyond. 🙂

Summer of 2015: Vegas Pools and Hot Tubs

Our new hot tub is scheduled to be delivered today. Yay! The rest of the backyard is ready – chaise lounges with pads, outdoor wine glasses, and even a small beach ball Rich got from the Tampa Bay Visitor Fair to Allegiant Airlines – was that a surprise!

Then our summer vacation can really begin.

For some reason, I got this idea that I wanted to relive my summers from the ’80s in my Bay Area condo. Water is an important piece to that because my condo complex had a pool and hot tub (and tennis court – I’m terrible at tennis).

The condo was brand new when I moved in and the pool was heated by solar panels. Later, the HOA added an enclosure to keep the heat in. It’s funny to look at a pic of it now because I remember it before the cover.

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My San Bruno Condo from 1980-1990

And then there were all those trips to Vegas where the pool was the main event, spilling into the ’90s and my life with Rich.

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Mirage pool (our first trip to Vegas together)

Before that, though, I remember trips to the desert with my grandmother and her husband, visiting some of their friends. And one friend, in particular, had a rather rustic pool in their back yard and there was something special about the contrast of the dry, desert air and the water.

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Nothing like water in the hot, dry desert

The first year we lived in Vegas, we had the backyard landscaped with plants, trees, desert rock, and plans for a hot tub, fire pit, and patio with cover that was approved by the HOA Board.

But not long after that, we started thinking about moving back to Florida and so we put off the hot tub and cover part. Now that we’re back, it’s time to make the most of our backyard (believe it or not, larger than most in Vegas) and water is an important part of backyard joy.

Of course, earlier, we’d flirted with putting in a pool but after seeing the neighbors’ pool problems and the house go on the market as a short sale, well, we were put off by that huge expense. Besides, we mostly soak anyway. A hot tub will serve us just fine, we think.

Does this mean we won’t move to Florida again? Not at all. It’s still possible that sometime, perhaps around my official retirement age, we’ll move back. Or we could wait until Rich’s retirement, although I may be a bit too old for that big of a move. But anything is possible.

In the meantime, I plan on spending my summer vacation in the backyard enjoying the water, the lounge chair, a paperback book, some music, and dreams of trips to the beach and Disney. Ah, yes, I may be older now but some things haven’t changed all that much since the 1980s.

Summer of 2015: Sunset Park

Our last outing in Catching up with the San Francisco Bay Area was Lake Elizabeth in the Good-bye Tour. When I was newly-single in the early ’90s, I lived in an apartment across the street from Lake Elizabeth (part of Central Park in Fremont, CA). After work, especially in the summer, I’d walk the 2-mile walk around the lake just before dusk so I’d see a marvelous sunset just before crossing the street to my apartment.

I sometimes walked the lake with friends; I often walked it alone. I wore my red shorts and I was flattered when younger men hit on me. I’d been married for so long, I’d forgotten what that felt like. It was a time of introspection and dreaming, of figuring out what I wanted next. Feeling it was tumultuous at the time, when I look back, I see that it was a very special time.

This is where I lived when Rich and I got together. I’d sneak over to the “Christian” book section in Barnes & Noble when I was in the process of leaving the JWs. Rich would drive across the Bay on the San Mateo Bridge to see me and we’d walk the path around the lake together. We’d talked about living here when we got married but I didn’t want my JW friends to harass me about leaving them. I wanted a clean break so I ended up moving into his apartment on Redwood Shores when we got married.

Fremont was an important part of our story, so it was especially nostalgic to walk Lake Elizabeth during our year in Hotel California. And as difficult as that year was, I’m so happy we got to revisit our favorite places in the Bay Area.

And now that we’re back in Las Vegas, we’ve returned to Sunset Park with a path around a lake very similar to Lake Elizabeth. It seems even more special having recently walked around Lake Elizabeth. The trail is only half as long as Lake Elizabeth so we walked it twice for a total of 2 miles. It’s an easy walk and one we’ll return to over the summer.

parkCentral Park, Fremont

SunsetParkSunset Park, Las Vegas

elizabethLake Elizabeth, Fremont

SPLakeSunset Park Lake, Las Vegas

This Time Last Year

This time last year we were living in Hotel California in the Bay Area and I wrote a post called “8 Months in Feels like Home.” At that time we didn’t know how or if or when we’d get to move back to our home in Las Vegas. But at least it wasn’t feeling quite as strange at that point.

After we’d lived in a few other states, we couldn’t go back to the place that had been our home for over 20 years. It was even more crowded, more expensive, and now felt claustrophobic after enjoying the wide open spaces of the desert.

This morning I walked the neighborhood and was thrilled to be back in our Vegas neighborhood. I was reminded of our first home, a tri-level townhouse on the west side of Portland, and how we’d walk the single-family home neighborhood nearby and wonder if we’d ever live in a single-family home.

In the Bay Area, we’d only dreamed of a townhouse and we had to leave the area to get one. But, alas, when we moved to Tampa Bay, we were able to buy our first single-family home. We still get nostalgic about it and as much as we loved it, Las Vegas is home.

More reminiscing this morning about how we got together in the first place when we met on the job in Silicon Valley. And our spiritual journey to the Orthodox Church. What heady times those were! Hard to believe so much time has passed since then but we’ve had quite a few adventures in-between.

We figured it would take us a year to get fully settled here in Las Vegas. At first we were terribly disappointed that his employer would only allow him to work remotely for 3 months (they were cracking down on remote workers). But the day after his employment ended with them, Rich started a new job. It’s been a tough 6 months with a career change and promotion but now he can say that he enjoys this job much more than the one he had to give up by moving back home.

We’ve been back for 9.5 months now and our kitten is the same age – he was born the day we left Hotel California. He seems to grow and change every day. We’re looking forward to when he will no longer chew electrical cords and pull on the drapes. We have a feeling we’d better plan on keeping Christmas simple this year. 🙂

Disney Resorts

disneyland-hotelAs we’ve been wrestling with “What to do about Disneyland,” we’ve realized one thing: staying onsite is at least 75% of the Disney experience for us now. Blame it on WDW, but we got used to that (even when we lived in Florida). Nothing like snuggling into jammies in your room with milk and cookies (or wine and cheese) after a busy day in the parks.

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And because won’t be stopping off at World of Disney to spend our points on our October trip, we’ve decided to shop online. The Disney parks robe really spoke to me so that’s what I’ll be getting.

loungepantsRich found some lounge pants and long-sleeved tee to add to his collection – he loves these and they’re great for the cooler months here. And it reminded us, once again, that Disney is all about the resorts for us now.

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The Disney Parks robe and lounge wear will bring home that experience and help us look forward to and plan that next onsite trip. When we lived in the Bay Area, we only went to Disneyland once a year so that’s probably how often we’ll do it in the future.

The effort entailed just isn’t worth it when staying offsite. We’ll just have to go less often but do it up right when we do go. This is the way Disney likes it – the trade-off is that we won’t renew our annual pass.