Moving Mom Part Thirteen – or Let’s Reward Ourselves

March 14th – Mom was up ahead of me (again), had her breakfast and when I walked to the kitchen I found her half inside the refrigerator, purging out things that we won’t need now that the move is days away. As she worked, she cleaned each shelf, removed every drawer and the door “cubbies” (there’s probably a word for those) and washed/dried them.

We ran a few errands including another stop at Goodwill with donations, ate a quick lunch then cleared the dining room table. I brought out the MAC, she grabbed the maps, TripTik and Travel Guides that Spence had provided from AAA.  Until 2014 (when she flew), Mom has driven by herself each summer from Florida to Michigan – sometimes in 4 days/3 nights and at least once in 3 days/2 nights.  “What’s your preference?” she asked.  I said “4 days/3 nights” and from her reaction it was clearly her preference.  It’s a road trip after all. And I bought 4 bottles of wine yesterday to enjoy after each day of driving (plus have my wine tote with corkscrew, wine glasses, bottle stopper and even 2 small cloth napkins).

Not that it’s just about the wine (it kind of is).

Mom is a member of Club Carlson and likes the Country Inn and Suites because they include refrigerators, microwaves and a full hot/cold breakfast – and the rooms are always well appointed and clean.  Based on her history, she chose where she’d like to stop each night and I booked the rooms for Tifton, Georgia, Loudon Tennessee and Dayton Ohio.  Should we need to modify based on traffic or weather delays, we can cancel before 6:00.  Done!

Earlier we’d discussed dinner and as we’ve emptied the fridge/freezer quite impressively, we decided “let’s reward ourselves” and headed out for a favorite local Italian place, Bianca’s Ristorante.


The site of many a wonderful meal and memories, it seemed only fitting that we come here.

Mom had her favorite – beef ravioli with their terrific house-made marinara; I choose the Calamari and Clams, sautéed in butter and garlic finished with a white wine sauce over fettuccine.  Their garlic butter rolls topped off this fabulous meal.  But wait……no room for dessert. Never fear, our server Ava brought us two house-made tiramisu’s to go.  It’s a state law that you have to order the tiramisu at Bianca’s. (Look it up if you doubt me)

Good times with Mom and a fitting reward.

And upon arriving home, a beautiful sunset!
And upon arriving home, a beautiful sunset!

Moving Mom Part Twelve – or Taking a Day Off

March 13th  – With the POD fully loaded a full day early, we made a plan to take “a day off” and head to Sanibel and Captiva Islands.  I haven’t been there for a few years but in the 30 or so years that Mom has lived in Florida, we’ve made many a memory there.  This would be our last hurrah before we get back to the final days before “moving Mom”.

After winding through Ft Myers in the high season traffic, we arrived at the bridge, paid our toll and started across.  Wind surfers were having a blast on this breezy day, their colorful sails whipping back and forth, tossed up and down in the sparkling aqua waters.  It was an exciting sight to watch them as we traveled over the spans connecting Ft Myers to Sanibel.  Arriving at noon, we headed straight to our favorite lunch spot, Sanibel Cafe.


Amazingly, we got seated immediately at the last table for two.  We ordered a couple glasses of Pinot Grigio, getting our drink on as evidenced below:

Mom ordered their shrimp salad served with lettuce, tomato with a side of fresh assorted fruit and a grilled croissant with their homemade raspberry jam.  I ordered the Rusty Pelican which I thought would be easier to explain by snapping a picture of the menu:


This cafe has been around since 1984 and each table has a glass top over a navy backed shadow box of shells.  Here’s a bit about that:

Every table is a virtual shell extravaganza!
Every table is a virtual shell extravaganza!
From the menu explaining how they did it!
From the menu explaining how they did it!

Too full to even think of ordering their delicious key lime pie (even to split), we headed out to Captiva for a final look.  Captiva has a wildness about it as well as high-end real estate, hidden from sight by strategically curved driveways, some lodging, great restaurants like the Bubble Room and The Mucky Duck.  It was fun to drive out until the road ended and then we headed back through Sanibel to its end at the lighthouse with a pier and shell studded beach. Having given away her beach chairs, we’d grabbed an old picnic blanket, Mom’s visor and Kindle, a cooler and my iPhone to capture the beauty.  First a selfie:


Then the walk:

A group of friends:



After watching for dolphins (which sadly didn’t appear), we headed back to Pinocchio’s Ice Cream for a refreshing treat (and also our tradition).


I had Gator Stew – vanilla with swirls of peanut butter and studded with peanut butter cups – and pale green (Gator perhaps?) and Mom had the Heath Bar Crunch.  The smallest bowl was still substantial and we scored the best Adirondack chairs on their deck, in the shade and finished every bite.

A great day off indeed!

Moving Mom Part Eleven – or Sometimes You Have to Accept that the Universe is Giving You a Gift

Really freaking fragile stuff


March 12th – I wake up at 5:30, take my thyroid pill and decide to meditate for a bit so that when I emerge from the guest room, my attitude from last night is decidedly more positive.  When I come out, Mom has already had breakfast and has clearly been up for awhile (in fact 4:30 a.m. – yikes!)  She’s on a mission.  I quickly throw down 2 cups of tea and an english muffin (using the broiler since the toaster is packed) and immediately go to work on disconnecting all her computer components, then packing like a woman possessed (mirroring Mom I might add).  Finally at 10:00 I’ve reached a natural stopping place and head for the showers. Mom knocks on the door to ask me  the same question that just had popped into my head, “Shall we call Hugo and tell him to come now?”  I think I said “Hell yes”  but maybe thought the Hell part and just agreed.  By the time I’m out of the shower and dressed, he’s at the door.  We’d already covered and padded the sofa and love seat (that was loaded a few days ago) and quickly give him a synopsis of what we’ve got going on – fragile, very fragile, clothes, kitchen miscellaneous (you get my drift).  Hugo is great (forget my  disparaging comments from the last post when we suddenly found out he had to come a day earlier than originally planned).  Like a master puzzle-maker, he fit everything in, crawled over boxes to secure the ropes through the “eyelets” then stood up, grabbed a rail and Tarzan-style, swung out over the boxes rather than risk walking over them (quite impressive let me tell you).  He was done in under an hour.  I think Mom and I were in shock.  This was a gift – we just gained a full day by the universe sending us a virtual kick in the pants to ramp up the packing.  We were euphoric, nearly giddy.  She paid him, we high fived, hugged, locked the POD.  I slapped on a bit of makeup and we went to Heavenly Pizza for lunch and a glass o’wine!  (toasting numerous times over the fact that the POD is PACKED)

We went to pick up her taxes (another nod from the universe) that had just been completed.  Then came home, had a piece of key lime pie and went to our respective rooms for a nap. (maybe the packing, the excitement or stress or the glass of wine – don’t judge)

Here is a gallery of the garage, boxes, packing, Hugo and the POD.  The sense of relief is HUGE. (or shall I say HUGO? – another pun – sorry I’m a little delirious)

The moral of the story is that sometimes the universe sends you a gift.  Maybe you don’t “get it” at first.  Maybe you don’t like it. But take a breath (or two), sleep on it – and the next day you’ll appreciate it more than you could have imagined.  Lesson learned universe….and thanks.


Moving Mom Part Ten or Detour, Plot Twist – or Both

March 11th – I don’t sleep particularly well, but am rested enough.  However as soon as I see Mom, I know she hasn’t slept well at all.  At 9:30 her realtor picks her up to sign the closing documents for the sale of her home of 26 years, we have two full days of packing ahead and I can tell her “brain is too full”.  While she’s gone, I decide to really hop to it, clearing, packing then wiping down shelves, drawers, and scrubbing both pantry floors on my hands and knees – something that physically is challenging (especially the getting back up part). After they return, her realtor comes in to meet me and give the house a once over, remarking “oh you’ve still got a lot to do”.  I’m not amused but am sure she didn’t mean it offensively, she’s been great to Mom throughout the process.  And Hugo isn’t coming till Friday at 8 a.m. so we have the whole rest of the day and all day Thursday.  We’ve got this.

Pack, pack, pack (Same Old Shit) or “I’ll Take What’s Behind Door #2” (Crazy New Shit)

Look out for the Detour:

We pack, mid-day we do our root beer float break, pack more, then dinner.  We even toast as we polish off a bottle of Malbec about how swimmingly things are going. I compliment Mom on coordinating the myriad of “moving parts” (pun intended).  She thanks me for the gazillionth time for everything I’m doing to help her. She’s really beat and says that she’s probably going to turn in at 8 p.m. then hit the ground running Thursday.  Then she remembers that even though Hugo just stopped by to confirm the POD packing Friday at 8 a.m. a few days ago, she’ll just “touch base”.  She leaves a voicemail.  About five minutes later he calls back and I can only hear Mom’s side of the conversation but here’s the gist “I can’t do Friday, my trip to Miami has been moved up by a day.  I have to come Thursday”.  “WHAT????”  (the voice inside my head screams –  really loud) We are NOT READY for tomorrow and she/we are exhausted.  She bargains and cajoles, he agrees to come at 1:00 rather than the morning.  We allow ourselves to vent to each other for about five minutes. Now fired up we know we have to knock out more packing tonight.



I walk into the garage to grab a couple of empty boxes only to find a pipe from the attic actively dripping and soaking those boxes –  and the floor under them (we’d had quite a rainstorm late afternoon). It’s 8:30 p.m. and I now must inform Mom of the latest plot twist.  Mom is seriously upset as this pipe/leak thing has been repaired twice. The last time (quite recently) cost a bit extra but came with assurances that “it will never happen again.” She calls the after-hours line for the company and tells them to get someone out here tonight. Within 30 minutes, the guy is here, goes into the attic 30 minutes later – he’s fixed it! (though he seemed perplexed that it happened at all but then he’s gone…. into the dark of night)  Mom mumbles, “I’m going to bed” and disappears into her room.  I hit the showers since I feel like a piglet (and not the Winnie the Pooh kind of piglet) and then collapse.  We have already agreed to get up early and pack, pack and pack before Hugo arrives at 1:00.

A wise quote from a wise woman (is my best guess)
A wise quote from a wise woman (is my best guess)

Stay tuned……and enjoy the scenery (again, pun intended)

Moving Mom Part Nine – or Everyone Should Have a Root Beer Float Break

March 10th – later that day….  Upon our return from lunch and a last stop at a favorite boutique, I could no longer put off the task of unhooking “the music system”.  Mom loves her music and she’d invested in a very good Yamaha stereo system which was also connected to her TV to enhance any show with music.  The entertainment center and TV (and for a few more days, the DVR from Comcast) would remain with the buyers of Mom’s house.  Unable to move this piece of furniture away from the wall, armed with a flashlight and wedging my right hand and arm into the tight space, I get my first look at the back of the stereo.  “Holy crap” I thought.  More connectors than I’d expected but not one to back down from a challenge, I was the only one who could do it. So I sucked it up and began.  The young whiz kid that hooked this up had thoughtfully zip-tied the cords however so I had to snip those (carefully).  Saying a little prayer I began painstakingly disconnecting one connector at a time.  And I found almost immediately that I first had to unhook the DVD/VHS player (more cords) and get it out of the way. Drawing diagrams on note pads (in a way that probably will only hold meaning for me and possibly ancient cave dwellers) I taped notes to cords and to the respective pieces of electronics;  I’ll be the installer when we get to Michigan.  Not my favorite part of the moving story thus far but I did it! (Insert sound of applause and slaps on the back here)

Kudos to me!
Kudos to me!

Mom, perhaps taking pity on me – or being thirsty – or with a compelling need to finish off the vanilla ice cream and 1/2 liter of root beer, suggests “how about a root beer float break?”  To which I perk right up and say “yes and let’s do this every afternoon” to which she readily agrees.

Root Beer Float Break - a necessary diversion and a mighty tasty, frosty little beverage.
Root Beer Float Break – a necessary diversion and a mighty tasty, frosty little beverage.

After dinner, Mom can barely crawl off to bed (at 8 pm) and I’m not far behind.  Two more days of packing before Hugo arrives to pack the POD.  Tick tock.

Moving Mom Part Eight – or One Bittersweet Goodbye

March 10th – Today Mom and I both awake well rested, even sleeping in a bit. We do a little strategizing but then must freshen up and head out to meet her dear friend Colette for lunch and one bittersweet goodbye.

Backstory: My stepdad Chuck died of pancreatic cancer not long after they built this house we’re packing up. Hospice was called which helped Mom immeasurably in getting him through his final days at home.  Fast forward a few years, wanting to pay it forward she began volunteering for Hospice.  After working in various capacities she was assigned to work in their office for Colette, who supervises over 100 volunteers.  Colette, (a few years younger than me) and Mom just clicked.  When Mom had to give her notice due to her imminent move, it was a sad day – for them both – but not goodbye just yet.

Since Colette is very busy, Mom had her choose a date, time and place for lunch.  Mom and I arrived first and when she saw Colette, the two of them had a long embrace, both emerging with tearful eyes, which made me tear up as well.

Emotions in check, we placed our order for crepes – Chicken and Almond (Mom and I), Vegetable (Colette).

It was a spirited, fun lunch as we caught up on recent events.  Finally it was time for goodbyes, lots of hugs, a few tears; hopeful that their paths may cross again, knowing regardless that they’ll stay in touch.

Moving Mom Part 7 – or “It’s a Post-It World & We’re Just Living In It”

In an effort to give us a sense of progress, I’ve gone closet by closet, cupboard by cupboard, drawer by drawer and when empty, placing a post-it (the Gallery below is but a small sampling).  There’s a sense of accomplishment though I’m pretty sure we’ll do a final sweep, side by side and look into everything one last time, especially since the buyer’s of Mom’s home are keeping a lot of her furniture.

And this is the inside of the POD


We are most grateful tonight as several family friends (younger, stronger with better backs and shoulders) came by to see the POD then loaded the sofa and love seat.  Even though Mom’s hired Hugo (who’s worked for her before) to load the POD, those pieces couldn’t be moved by one person. Between she and I, neither has the back, shoulders or strength to help him.

So to those kind, dear friends – you lightened our load and we thank you.

Remember to follow if you like this series….it’s far from over.

Moving Mom Part Six – The POD Has Landed

March 9th  This is the day the POD arrives.  The POD people emailed Mom last night estimating an afternoon arrival and promising that the driver will call when he’s en route.  Shortly before 2:00, Tom (the driver) called as promised.  She moved her car onto the lawn since otherwise we’d be car-less until the 16th when it’s scheduled to be picked up and sent north. Here’s a little gallery:

Car is out of garage, POD has pulled up in front of house
Car is out of garage, POD has pulled up in front of house
Tom is hooking up the apparatus that he will
Tom is hooking up the apparatus so that he can “drive it” off the truck and into position.
Apparatus is now in
Apparatus is now in “wheels down” position.
The POD has landed! Mom purchased the lock & key set, in her hot little hand.
The POD has landed! Mom purchased the lock & key set. It’s in her hot little hand.  Ain’t no stopping us now….

POD THE MOVIE – starring Tom and his remote control guidance “thing-y”.  Get ‘er done!

Moving Mom – Part Five or The Day Before the Pod People Arrive

March 8th – I slept in, even with losing an hour to Daylight Savings Time.  I knew Mom was going to church at 8.  She loves this church and had to say goodbyes today to people she’s become very close to. Most special is Pat who is in her 90’s, who she sits with every week and that goodbye was emotional.

When I got up I found a note proclaiming “Baked Oatmeal – delicious”.  I’d made it the night before using my recipe (featured under “Recipes” category on this blog) with a few modifications as I was working with the ingredients at hand.  I had to agree, it was great.  As I was finishing breakfast, she returned and we discussed what we need to accomplish for the day.  She had some paperwork to sort through so I decided to skip over to the pool for a bit. (no I didn’t actually skip, I’m 58)

The most perfect pool day!
The most perfect pool day!

With a robust breeze accompanied by a brilliant blue sky and puffy clouds, it was probably the most glorious pool day ever.  I arrived a bit before noon, sure that on a Sunday the pool would be crowded.  It was empty!  Only a 2-3 people in their respective lounge chairs, I dipped my hand in the water to find it pleasantly warm.  Dropped off my iPhone and Kindle, towel and flip flops and took advantage of having the pool to myself.  It was heaven and when I did get out, I had to wrap up in my towel because that breeze felt cool even though it was 81 degrees.  I read for a while, took a call from Spence who put Tipper (one of my kitties) on the phone to say hi (I did most of the talking).

Tipper, as I imagine he looked hearing my voice but wondering when he’ll ever see me again. Soon, kitten, soon.

I finally forced myself to go back after 1 1/2 hours but no complaints, it was perfection.

Had a quick lunch, finishing off the yet another freezer container.  Quick shower and then back to trip preparation/organization.  Mom had cleaned out the car while I was gone so we reviewed what would stay (provisions for the road) and assessed the size of the trunk and backseat.  What doesn’t get loaded into the Pod, must to go in the car – or be left behind.  Got notification that the Pod will arrive tomorrow afternoon, right on schedule.  With the Pod people coming, tomorrow will be an eventful day. We accomplished more today, especially Mom, sorting paperwork and her desk.  At one point we high five’d, then fist bumped.  For the life of me, I can’t recall why, only that we were celebrating progress or another good idea, perhaps both. I guess it’s not important, it simply illustrates our positivity.

That's one way to look at it.  We'll choose positive, it's just who we are.
That’s one way to look at it. We’ll choose positive, it’s just who we are.

So our message to you Pod People, “Bring it!”

It’s a long journey and I hope you’re enjoying it….more to come from the Moving Mom series here at, thanks for joining us.