Greetings from Seattle



Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Full House, Empty House

It's done.  


In just three weeks and one day since Jill received notification of her new job, they have moved into their new home. 


Three weeks to pack up, travel and haul, arrive, unpack and store, move in, find a rental house, get set up at the new school, move out, and set up the new house.


Of course we couldn't have done it without help; help in Colorado from Corey's family, and help here from day laborers and then JT and Bob, Jill's friend April's guys, and sister-in-law Jan and Ann.  Thank you to all of you.


At the storage unit on Sunday.

Jill checks the master list to see what stays and what goes to the house.  Corey set up a scanning code and labeled every box.  Jill could look on the master list or just check it on her phone.  Amazing.
 At the house.  The caravan made two trips.  All of the hauling was done by lunch time.
It's beginning to look like her house.  Jill has found her spot and takes a time out to keep Corey informed.
Of course then the work really began.  It took all afternoon Sunday to sort boxes and start unpacking and arranging.  On Monday Jill went to work, attending training sessions.  Tom and I and the kids went shopping for bunk beds and a book case and utility shelving, plus various and assorted this's and that's.  Monday afternoon and evening things were constructed.  I concentrated on unpacking more boxes.


My God, they have a lot of stuff.  I spent forever finding places for all of the toys.  The kids would get excited as they saw stuff coming out of the boxes.  As soon as I got one section set up, Irene would be there, making a fort or a store or an office, or something.  She got very annoyed with me when I kept closing her down to add or rearrange more stuff.


When we went back on Tuesday the bunk bed was set up, and that was the kid's new joy.  And still we sorted and arranged.  The dressers that went upstairs in our house now came back down and over to the new place.  And finally Jill came home from work and stuffed all of her clothes in her car and brought them over.  


I cooked dinner again Tuesday evening for everyone, and then they were gone, Tom and Jill to carry in one last dresser and vacuum the floors.  Tom made it home to watch the second half of the Sounders match with me on live streaming on the computer.


Jill and the kids spent last night in their new home.  This morning they practiced getting up and getting to school.  Tomorrow it's the real thing.  School begins.  And they are ready.  


Oh, Jill still has some sorting and arranging to do, and some shopping to fill the refrigerator, but we sent garden produce home with them last night.


And us?  Well, we do feel a bit like we've been hit by a hurricane - Hurricane Irene, and Isaac, and the force that is our daughter Jill.  Today we're beginning to put the house in order and get back to normal.


I just got back from a two and a half mile walk.  It felt great.  On the counter I found the mail, including a note from Isaac, which he apparently put in the mail box yesterday afternoon:
     I am getting a new house.  I'm moved in. Bot a new bed.  And very excited to see you soon.


And that is when the tears finally began to flow.  Yes, we were hit by a hurricane, but in our storm, no damage was done.


It's all good.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Summer Sun and Sounders

Let's see.  What have I told you and not told you about the happenings of the last 2.7 weeks?  


I think you know that Jill and the kids are living with us temporarily.  You may not know that Jill has found a house.  In the mean time, we have helped Jill set up her classroom, Tom and I have taken the kids shopping for their school supplies, Jill has put in several days training, school starts next Thursday, and tomorrow Jill will head up a crew to start moving into her rental house.  That's all.  Not much happening here, huh.


But today we took the day off to attend a 1:00 Sounders match.  Between our supporter groups we came up with tickets for Jill and the kids.  At 10:45 we headed for the light rail.



Our destination was Occidental Park, where we would meet up for the March to the Match.
We headed up the notorious Emerald City Supporters.  Irene wasn't so sure about this, but Mom was recruited to hold an end of the banner.
At the stadium, we had our hot dogs and drinks in the shade, but at match time we took our seats in the sunny stadium.  Irene was my seat mate.  Tom and Isaac were "over there", an aisle away.
Mommy Jill was "way over there" at the other end of the stadium.  Just look for the big hair.  Two people to the right is Jake.  In between is friend Tyler.
At about minute 36 Irene and I had to take a shade break, so we missed goal # 4, but it was HOT there in the north end, and we needed refreshing.


The end result was Sounders 6, Columbus Crew 2.  Whoo-hoo!  And then we hung out in the shade waiting for Jill to find us.






We took the train downtown, looking for new Crocs at Westlake Center, but struck out.  So we hopped back on the train to come home, went right to Southcenter Mall, where we scored Crocs for Irene (purple and pink) and Isaac (Sounders green), and then on to Red Robin for dinner.


This evening, after we get the kids to bed, I'll sit down and watch the match on TV, recorded, to see the parts I missed.


And then we'll all get to bed.  Tomorrow is moving day, again.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Contented Kids

Jill and the kids are settling in nicely after the whirlwind of the last two weeks.  Yesterday we all went to Jill's new school to unpack boxes and set up her classroom.  We got lots done, and took time out to go see a rental house.  Jill signed papers, we paid the initial fees and she now has the keys.  We can make the move slowly, as we have time.  It's a small house, not what they are accustomed to, but it will do until they can get clear of the house payments in Colorado.


This morning Jill went off to work, to attend an all day math workshop.  We had the kids and we all were ready to take it easy.  Grandpa took the kids out to pick produce in the garden.  Can you spot the Rainbow Girl with her baskets?

Isaac and Tom did the actual picking of the beans.
There were cucumbers to pick, a few more zucchini to add to the pile all ready in the refrigerator, and then carrots to pull.


That done, I wanted to keep the kids outside on such a beautiful day.  I suggested that Irene could make the picnic table her office.  That's all it took, that and needing a card board box, which I supplied.  They were still playing here when I went off for a lunch date with retired teacher friends.

When I got home about three they had moved the whole kit and caboodle up to their room, where they played for several more hours.


We grilled burgers for dinner, served up with some of those fresh veggies picked this morning.  It was a restful day for all of us.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Camera Fun: Focus on Flowers


Jill and the kids extended their stay on Whidbey Island, so I've had Sunday and Monday to putter around.  It was time to take the camera out into the garden and get up close with some of the many flowers blooming right now.



 There is lots of buzzing about.  So many different kinds of bees!
















The vegetable garden has more flowers than food, but we are getting beans, carrots, beets, cucumbers, and lots of zucchini.  I saw one tomato showing color today! 
 And then I picked this bouquet for the house.  I love summer flowers!



Sunday, August 21, 2011

Oregon in August: Farms and Family and Food

The Willamette Valley is bountiful this time of the year.  Much of the spring green has turned to harvest gold.  The corn is tall.  Grain and seed crops are ripening.  Berries are past their peak, but still available   Peaches are ready.  And the hop fields are a sight to behold.
My mom and dad both spent many days in the hop fields in the thirties and early forties.  The ropes the hops grow on would be let down and the pickers would pluck the hop cones from the vines into tall wooden-slat baskets.   

Hops are an important ingredient in beer making, and hop picking was one of the few ways to make any money back then.  Now, of course, the hops are picked by machine.
We had seen signs for Garden World, and since we had a few extra hours Saturday morning, we followed them to see what we could see.  Garden World is a large nursery dealing mostly in trees and shrubs.   
We have several gaps in hedges to fill this fall, and we liked the looks of this pee gee hydrangea.  We'll have to watch to see if they are reduced in price for fall clearance.


Back in Woodburn we had seen a sign for a Saturday market, so we returned after it opened at 10:00, because I was looking for some fruit to put together a fruit compote for the picnic later.


We found an antique car show, with the shiniest old cars you could ever see.
 Not all old things have been cosmetically enhanced.

 The August flowers in the market are just glorious!
And we did find fruit.  I bought a pint each of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and cherries.  I took them back to Mom's little kitchen, washed them, put a touch of sugar on the blackberries, put them in the one bowl Mom had that was big enough, and chilled them until it was time to go to the picnic.  That was the one food item that was completely eaten up.
 We arrived early at Myron and Nancy Mohr's house because I couldn't put Mom off any longer.  She was so excited to go and didn't want to miss a minute of it!


This is the annual Mohr/Hofstetter Picnic, reuniting cousins and their descendants.  My Grandmother Hofstetter was adopted out before the age of two when her parents divorced.  Her brother Henry Mohr stayed with his mother.  We have a photo of the family before the breakup, standing in front of their Nebraska sod house.  My grandmother and her family came to Oregon and the two siblings lost touch until Henry located his sister Meta years later as an adult.


The Mohrs were caught up in the Dust Bowl and the Depression in Nebraska and in 1939, they came by car to Oregon to live with Meta, who was now married to Otto Hofstetter, my grandfather.  In fact my mother was 18 at the time and she and sister Alma were in the hop fields when the cousins arrived, five boys and a girl, along with their parents, suddenly descending upon them.  A very strong bond was formed that has lasted these many years.


Now we celebrate in bounty a connection that was formed in time of great need.
Mom and my sister Laurie check out all of the pot luck food, so Mom can have a plate prepared for her.
While we had visited outside earlier, by now the temperature was over ninety, and we were grateful for the in door, air conditioned dining.


 After the meal, Mom's cousin Julius...

 ...and her cousin Alvin told stories about the Dust Bowl days in Nebraska, and then the trip out to Oregon.
It's hard for Mom to hear, but she wants to know everything.  We try to help her "hear".
 And then we moved from talk of deprivation to this!  Dessert time!
We returned Mom to her apartment and headed for home in Seattle  about 6:00.


We look forward to returning to my homeland next month.