A Long Road To Get Here

I am back after missing last week's blog post. It was an extremely hectic time leading up to our departure to Phoenix. I was able to get the final U-Box container loaded (with the help of Dolly movers) and we were able to send nearly everything we wanted this go-around. Mother decided to hang onto many of her favorite collectibles which is perfectly fine but she did send along the Limoges boxes, china sets and all of the Christmas decorations to sell except for the large tree which did not fit in the container. It is a very nice slim profile tree packed in a quality carry bag. For now it is in her garage and if a good sale comes up I will see about including it. As far as my items go, I sent my entire sterling silver jewelry collection which needs to be polished and priced. This will be my winter project. As jewelry is completed, I will ship it back home for it to be sold. First priority will be rings as I have sold so many this summer and fall.

The day before our Palatine sale started, what Kuochun and I thought would be a quick snowthrower dropoff turned into an entire afternoon. Unfortunately he could not get it to start. We made a trip to the auto parts store to get some gasoline refresher but it did not help. Kuochun can occasionally be quite stubborn and did not want to get new gas for it, even after receiving advice (and my reading online) that fresh gas was needed to get a snowthrower going. He called a man who had done maintenance on it in the past and the man made a house call to the sale on Friday. The man got it going at a cost of $100. I never heard anything about the snowthrower after that so I assumed it did not sell. However, after the sale when I asked about how to get it home I found out it was mistakenly sold for 50% off when it was supposed to be on reserve for full price. After expenses, the net received was only $140. We were both crushed that it was given away like that.

It was back-breaking, exhausting work but I really made major strides with the organization before it was time to go. I have furniture, home decor and jewelry on consignment at a store in Lake County and was not able to make an in-person visit but I did set aside the items to send to her and Adam will deliver it for me. He works with the store as well. I also organized just about all of the backstock into shoeboxes labeled with the handy Brother P-Touch. I priced a ton of the Czech rhinestone jewelry but still could not get through everything. There is plenty to sell for this holiday season. Unsigned and new costume jewelry is organized in my rolling cabinet. The signed pieces are not filed away yet but are still easily accessible. Overall I feel great about how the jewelry was left. The next step will be to have Mike come and update all of the medium size cases. Even though we are almost to November, I would like him to make a case with costume jewelry in Fall colors as well as a couple of sparkling cases for the holidays. I will not be there but the jewelry will be totally up to date each week.

Kuochun and I went to Marshalls and bought a new suitcase to check on the airplane (our other suitcases were already in AZ) and he wanted a personal bag as well. They had a really cute men's backpack by Dickies which is a camel color canvas with suede straps. We loaded our bags with estate sale paperwork, all of my expense receipts for 2022, jewelry to sell and more.

It was quite an early day on Saturday, nearly an all-nighter as the time to get up was the time I usually go to sleep. Frank very kindly picked us all up and took us to the airport. It was a great deal of worry for months wondering how Vivi and Margot were going to do at the airport. We checked with the vet and she suggested some anti-anxiety medication. It was different than the medication prescribed to Margot to get her to be more calm during grooming. We gave it to her once and she was groggy for three days afterwards. I was kind of skeptical but decided to give it a try. The last thing I wanted was to have airport personnel tell us they could not fly due to their behavior.

However I never guessed at what was to come. The terminal was absolutely loaded with people like I have never seen before. I was surprised as it was so early on a Saturday morning but I am sure people were taking advantage of lower fares, as we were. We went to check our bag and it ended up being 9 pounds overweight. While I was offloading the extra weight, airport personnel were questioning Mother about her oxygen machine. They asked her how long the battery lasts and she said "one hour." They then said, well you cannot fly!  We had to make a snap decision and as badly as I felt, I knew Kuochun, Vivi, Margot and I had to get on the plane. We could not go through everything that we did to get there again. Time was wasted and we had to leave Mother alone in the wheelchair. The line to go through security was so long and there was a drug-sniffing dog there. Vivi barked at the dog and then we were told we had to leave the line and go to another one. Instead of hundreds of people in line, there was no line. It was just as well because we made it to the gate just before boarding started. Margot did not make a peep through the entire process and we kept her in the carrier the whole time, other than to go through security. Kuochun walked Vivi through the terminal to the gate and she did very well. She only took a left turn when she noticed someone eating McDonald's french fries. While we were waiting in line to board the plane, the flight crew decided to have everyone check their carryon bags so a woman kept walking back and forth with people's bags, constantly talking. After about 5 passes, Vivi had enough and let out a big bark! People in line jumped out of their skins because they did not expect our luggage to talk. Kuochun deftly moved to stand in front of Vivi's face so she could not see what was going on and that did the trick!

We had requested and paid for three seats together but that is not what we received. They had Mother and I together and Kuochun separate. We were able to ask to switch the seats and to let the staff know Mother was not traveling so Kuochun and I could sit together. It was difficult to get the dogs and carriers in place and impossible to get the carriers under the seats in front of us. It was not bad though, we each put our legs on either side of the carriers. Luckily the flight crew did not notice. I thought I had the window seat and Kuochun had the middle but it turned out I had the aisle seat. The woman who had the window seat allowed me to stay there and she took the aisle. It was a big benefit to her because she did not have a carryon bag and totally took off as soon as everyone was given the go-ahead to get out of their seats. We waited until everyone left the airplane before attempting to leave. The flight was smooth, on time even though everyone boarded at the last minute and both dogs were quiet.

One thing I regret but will not happen again was renting the car through Turo with pickup at the airport. It would have been so much easier to take a Lyft to a Scottsdale location to pick up a Turo rental but we just did not know how the dogs would be. It was a 3-hour nightmare getting the car and poor Kuochun was left at the terminal with Vivi and Margot the whole time. The pickup instructions were basically non-existent. I got on the wrong shuttle bus to get the car and then was dropped off at the wrong place. It was a 20-minute walk but I was eventually able to figure out how to get back to where I started. I then got on the right shuttle bus and the rental car host had still not given me the lock box code to get the car key. I finally got the code and then I could not figure out how to get out of the parking lot. Once I got that information from the host and entered the airport to pick Kuochun up, I found it slammed with bumper to bumper traffic. It took an hour to circle the loop and get to where Kuochun was. In hindsight, I should have just had Kuochun take a Lyft to the house but I did not know about the traffic until I got into it. For some unknown reason the police had two lanes blocked at the end of the route. We were never so happy to get to the house! The dogs were still in a relaxed state and never complained throughout the whole thing. Thank goodness for the medication!

Mother could not get any help from the airport personnel, they left her stranded in the wheelchair. The Uber pickup is a terminal over so she was helpless. She had to call Frank who was already back in Barrington and he went back to the airport and took her home.

It was difficult to find the energy but after a bite to eat at Ranch House Grille down the street and a trip to Safeway for some groceries, we went to buy the car as we promised we would be there that day. Purchasing the car was a great experience, the staff was so nice to us. The man in Finance knew where we came from and said to me "I don't detect an accent!" I said it was because I am not a South Sider. Then he said he was from Chicago, hopefully I did not insult him! Learning about all of the technical features of the car was a challenge because I was practically falling asleep but I think I retained things pretty well. We just love the car and it has been wonderful and easy driving it around town as I predicted. The turquoise sparkles in the sun and it is so pretty. People are definitely turning heads when they see it. So far we have seen other Konas but none in the Cactus Fern color.

We have been in Scottsdale a little over a week now and are making progress at the homefront. The three U-Box containers were delivered and with Dolly's help, unloaded and picked up. In spite of one half of the garage being filled with leftover construction materials and the other half with items we are going to sell, we were able to fit a few things in there and everything else in the house and out on the patio. The two upstairs bedrooms are right next to each other and are long and narrow. They are the same length and one is a foot wider than the other and has a larger closet. The smaller bedroom has open sections which look down onto the first floor and there is no door on it. The previous owner left an older flat screen TV in the larger bedroom.

Before we arrived Kuochun asked me to switch his bed from full to queen to accommodate Vivi and Margot. Even though I could use the closet space I was planning to stay in the smaller bedroom with the smaller bed. However Kuochun wanted to stay there. Overall it is working out fine for both of us. We put Kuochun's new bed together and got him a new mattress cover and bedding. He is a good sport - the comforter has a modern small flower print but it was by far the nicest one at HomeGoods. Vivi and Margot just love the new bed situation!

After a year of being in the garage in Mount Prospect, I am so happy the furniture is finally here. The furniture is mis-matched between the two rooms right now but I said we will go with it this year and straighten it out next year once the second floor is remodeled. Because I am in the larger bedroom I kept the larger desk in place. I moved the photography equipment out and replaced it with the little Drexel Counterpoint vanity and chair I picked up at someone else's estate sale this summer. It matches the bookcase headboard and smaller desk I bought at one of our estate sales. The other company's estate sale had the matching highboy and lowboy but unfortunately they pre-sold them before the sale started. I definitely would have been a buyer had I known they were pre-selling. The cool 1950s oak highboy and lowboy I bought last year and had refinished are also separated for the moment. I have the lowboy and Kuochun has the highboy. The Drexel Counterpoint desk is in Kuochun's room and I have the headboard. I could use a printer stand, I have been using a leopard print TV table which really is not sturdy enough in the long run.

The jury is out on the new sofa. The fabric is a performance velour and totally stunning - it is a vibrant yellowish green with baby blue piping to coordinate with my other furniture. The wide arm rests are so nice and sturdy enough to place items on them. However the cushions are too full and are a tight squeeze to put in place. I am hoping that they settle down with use. Kuochun is not a fan but I am asking him to give it a chance at least until Mother arrives and she can judge for herself. Unfortunately one of the movers skinned a corner of the sofa on the driveway and there is a small hole but it is in the back corner. 

This past week we have been working on getting Mother approved to fly. It is a good thing that Kuochun and I made the choice to get on the airplane because it could have ended up being a big loss. We took trip insurance but since we booked the tickets through a third-party website, no one will take responsibility for rescheduling Mother's ticket. Our only recourse is to file a claim with the trip insurance and hope they will reimburse us for the ticket. Mother was understandably concerned about trying to fly American Airlines again so we are going to go with another airline. It has been quite a challenge but we are at the point where we feel comfortable booking a new ticket. I found a double-length battery on eBay for the oxygen machine, it is supposed to last 13 hours. The recommendation for this flight would be 6 hours, or about 1.5 times the flight time allowing for delays. Once it arrives we can test it out. The other step which is proving to be more challenging is to get the pulmonolgist to fill out the form authorizing Mother to use the machine on the flight if she needs it. It is very hard to get the office staff to do anything extra. The entire office closes down for lunch and every time we call, we get the answering service. In the meantime, Maureen took Mother to her appointment there to get the ball rolling with the approval and out to get some food. I have been filling in with a couple of delivery orders of groceries from Mariano's as well as Jimmy John's and Subway. The hope is to get Mother on a plane by the end of next week. She is really looking forward to a good meal!

I wrenched my neck by sleeping funny, this happens to me about twice a year and normally takes three days to go away. This time it is a bad one and a week later I'm still in pain. It has been a setback as far as work and cleaning up the house but I am hoping to turn the corner soon.

I was not able to post any new jewelry these past two weeks but plan to get back to it next week. I do have some very beautiful pieces to post! It looks like we are going to hold our Scottsdale sale the weekend after Thanksgiving. I would really like Melinda to help out and that is when she will be available. She will be great at making sure the customers are respectful to the neighbors and not block their driveways. I am going to have the customers come in through the garage, walk through to the family and dining areas, more shopping on the patio and then they can exit through the alley. We have so much to sell I bet we will need to use the kitchen as well. Fingers crossed that everything goes smoothly!