Mother Moves Again

When Mother decided to move from her apartment to the health care center in the wake of her 98th birthday, I pitched in to give her a hand. I went down the week of the move and here is my story.
Sunday, March 1, 2009

a field of windmils generating electric powerOn Sunday I took a leisurely drive down I-5 on a stunning day through miles of blooming almond groves. I by-passed the Grapevine and L.A. in favor of the Tehachapi Pass, crossed the desert, and landed in Redlands for the night.
On Monday morning I passed through the windmills outside of Palm Springs, crossed the many desert miles to Phoenix and arrived around 2 p.m. My only regret was that I did not get up early enough to stop for a date shake in Palm Desert.

Mother sitting in recliner in her new room

Monday and Tuesday

I had planned ahead and talked to various people at Royal Oaks. The room that Mother was moving to was ready to be occupied, so I hoped to talk her into going there to spend the night. There were chairs, a bed, and a TV there already. The next day we could orgainize the rest of the move. She agreed. I stayed in her apartment. On Tuesday I took over clothes and furniture and tried to make things comfortable. All went very smoothly.

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday

Another view of Mother in her new roomThe rest of the week was spent walking a million miles between the assisted living apartment and the new room, which are at opposite sides of the campus, as we made sure the right things were moved.

What was left, I took to the Thrift Shop (six or seven trips), a shelter for battered women and children, the local food bank, or sorted through and kept, shredded, or discarded. And, of course, there was the paperwork and plenty of conversations with Mother’s friends and well-wishers.

As you can see, everything fell into place. The staff even brought Mother a beautiful quilt for her bed after she had explained that she did not have an appropriate bedspread.

All has ended very well.

Utah! a family summit meeting

Here are glimpses of our family trip to Utah in December 2008.
Pictures may be worth a thousand words, but even pictures can not capture the time we had together.

Mother Moves – not all moving events are in California

When Mother decided to move from her apartment to assisted living in anticipation of her 96th birthday, we all pitched in to give her a hand. My brother from Texas spent the weekend before the move helping her decide what to take and what not to take, as well as making several runs to the thrift shop, UPS, and various stores to both rid her of excess and find items that might come in handy in the new place. I went down the week of the move and here is my story.

Saturday, October 7, 2006

Taking close up of a bee on a flower On Friday I took a leisurely drive down 101 on a stunning day. The Salinas Valley has never been prettier.

On Saturday morning I did a 5K in Woodley Park in Van Nuys sponsored by the Valley Trauma Center. In the afternoon I decided to see the famous Huntington in San Marcos. Talk about overwhelming! The 207 acres includes over 100 acres of gardens, a conservatory, a huge library of ancient books, and an art museum (once a residence!) that is closed for a three year renovation.

When I ODed on visual stimulation, I turned to photographing people taking photos.

Sunday, October 8, 2006

Saturday, after leaving the Huntington I drove on to get a head start in the morning. I soon learned it was Bikers’ weekend in Palm Springs. There were thousands of them having what looked like a good time.The Hyatt was headquarters. I would have joined in, but sadly my Saturn did not let me qualify. Looked like there was good food and good music. I continued on to Palm Desert leaving the action behind.

I had my usual AZ trip date shake breakfast at Shields Date Ranch after spending the night in Palm Desert and arrived at mother’s about 12:30. We had lunch as usual with the regulars. The rest of the afternoon was spent with last minute details in order to be ready for the move in the morning.

Monday, October 9, 2006

The moving crew arrived as promised promptly at 7:00 a.m. and Mother and I vamoosed to eat breakfast in the dining room, something she had done only once before in all the years she has been here. We spun it out as long as possible, stuffing ourselves on omelets and drinking plenty of coffee.

When we arrived back at 9:45, everything had been moved, or close to it. Mother was invited to the new place at 10:30 to find that the furniture was all in place, the boxes were being unpacked, and it looked ready to live in.

And it was by 1:00 p.m. with bed made, closets in order, towels in the bathroom and all pictures hung.She was dumbfounded.

Ben moving the sofaOn Tuesday the main event of the day was when my nephew’s good friend and best man arrived with his roommate to take the furniture that had remained behind. He has a new house in Tempe but no furniture, so it was a good deal for all.

During the rest of of the day, I got know all the volunteers at the Thrift Shop after making six trips (one of which was to retrieve things Mother decided she wanted after all)

When all was loaded (except two casters for the bed, which had fallen off the frame, and the remote for the TV), Ben dropped in to graciously thank Mother. She was entertaining two of her friends and all were delighted.

I mailed him the casters and remote.

Ben and MomI had left my camera behind and had a chance to try the one I have in my new cell phone. As you can see, I have finally figured out how to get pictures out of my phone and onto my computer. Here is a picture of Ben and Mom




Assisted Living dining roomWe ate in the dining room that night after a brief housewarming and sip of champagne for Mother’s friends who who could hardly wait to see her new place.

Of course, Mother knows almost everyone there already. The menu is the same as the one in the big dining room so life goes on as usual.


Mother's new living roomFor those who have been there, the new living room does not look much different from the former one. The only thing that did not come was the wing chair that Mother said was uncomfortable anyway (Ben has it.) and the sofa that was so soft that no one could get out of it once they were down. (Ben has it too.)



Mother's new kitchen The kitchen occupies a corner and has ample cupboards, a microwave, but no stove. Although the refrigerator is dinky, Mother feels it may be adequate. We shall see.




Thursday, October 12, 2006

After a day and a half of taking care of loose ends, I headed back across the desert. I had to stop in Palm Desert again to pick up the clothes I left in the closet of the motel I stayed at. (Dumb) I have become good friends with the new owner, a woman who has just opened up and with whom I can talk “hotel talk” again.

I finally stopped in Pasadena around 7:30.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Now that I am back in highspeed internet territory, I am posting this from my motel room in Pasadena while waiting for the morning commute traffic to ease up a bit–I hope.

I will stop at Harris Ranch on my way home and pick up steaks for dinner and rest easy knowing Mother is settled at last and no longer has need to endure the anxiety of anticipation.

All has ended very well.


Ben has sent pictures of the furniture that has found a home at his place. See for yourself!

Ben's new sofa Ben's patio Ben's recliner Ben's table

March 2009 Update

She’s moved again! Click here for the latest


Rows of wildflowers on a Texas wildflower farm

A Texas wedding – relatively speaking

My nephew’s wedding in Boerne, Texas, provided a good opportunity to poke around in a part of the country I have never seen before. Although the flight on the day of the most recent terrorist arrests involved a few challenges, it went quite smoothly all in all.

Thursday, August 11, 2006

I had time today to take a trip into Texas Hill Country. Fredericksburg, forty miles north of Boerne, is a shopping (and tourist) mecca. Although I briefly hit the main street, I am not much of a shopper. I did buy a hat to ward off the Texas sun, but then headed east to Wildseeds Farm where acres of flowers stretched off to the the hills.

Because there was a windy back road running through the hills back to Boerne, I had to take it. And what could I do on the way but stop in Luckenbach…Guitar playing and singing with a chicken looking on

and hike along backroad creeks? Huge trees line the river bank

What will happen tomorrow? Probably a wedding since I just got back from a wedding rehearsal dinner.

Brittany and Spencer at wedding rehearsal dinner

Wedding Day – Friday, August 12, 2006

In the morning there was a brunch honoring the bride at a beautiful home overlooking San Antonio. Mary Ann, my sister-in-law, Emily, my niece, and I attended along with many others.

Emily and Mary Ann at brunch (Sister and mother of groom)

In the afternoon I made the obligatory trek to see the Alamo and learned a little history in the process.

The Alamo with hordes of tourists

The site of the 6 p.m. wedding was a beautiful historic chapel at the Lutheran church in Boerne (pronounced Burney)…

Flowers at end of every other pew
Elegantly restored chapel

…where we all congregated before the wedding for picture taking and taking pictures of picture taking.

A picture of picture taking

Half brother and mother of bride, bride and groom, mother, sister, and father of groom

And soon it was time for the music to begin.

Harp and violin provide music

After the wedding pair had skipped back up the aisle (you did read that correctly), they drove off to the reception in an elegant Model A.

Bride and groom in backseat of Model T in front of chapel

The rest of us took their lead and headed for a night of feasting and dancing…

An eleganty Model T with a tasteful Just Married sign

…except for the ring bearer whose responsibilities had overcome him.

The two-and-a-half-year-old ringbearer crashes at the reception

Tonight San Antonio; tomorrow night Maine.

Spencer and Brittany dance the first dance

Aftermath – Sunday, August 13, 2006

The party continued much of the night. By about 5:00 a.m. the reveleries and late night chatter had ceased as even the most stalwart of the bridesmaids and groomsmen finally followed the lead of the ringbearer. Fortunately the entire thirteen room hotel was occupied by the wedding party, so tolerance prevailed.

During the course of the day the mother and father of the groom (my brother and sister-in-law) and I returned tuxedos, provided airport shuttle service, and finally drove the bride’s car back to the newlyweds home in Austin.

Craig in front yard at Spencer's house

We slept well Sunday night.