Quite A Journey, But We Made It

The beginning portion of the week was filled with estate sale work as well as a little preparation for our transition to Scottsdale. Prior to last year, we flew Frontier but as of late there have been no direct flights to Phoenix. I found that American Airlines has a lot of nonstop flight choices and I signed up for the American Airlines AAdvantage MasterCard a year ago. I have plenty of credit cards but it was a great deal to receive 50,000 bonus miles. The miles took care of two sets of one-way tickets for Kuochun and I with about 6,000 miles to spare. Also, our first checked bags are always free and if we like we can receive preferred boarding. The annual fee is $99 but the free bags more than cover the fee.

Wednesday was Kuochun's birthday and he chose Boston Fish Market in Wheeling. It was our first time to visit this location. We have carried out from the Des Plaines location a couple of times but have not dined in because I am not a fan of crowds or community tables. I also will never forget the time the owner was slurping up a huge platter of cooked dandelion greens while we were waiting for our food. So gross! Kuochun took friends there who were visiting from Boston and they dined out on the patio which has individual tables.

The restaurant decor in Wheeling was a cute nautical theme. The huge parking lot was totally jammed but the restaurant was not too busy. We were not sure where all those people went. I selected the pesto gnocci and shrimp special which as $39 was the most expensive entree I have ever ordered but was on the lower end of the menu options. It was good, the pesto sauce was very smooth which was different. Anyone who knows me well knows pesto is one of my favorite foods, I do not eat condiments but I use pesto on my sandwiches and of course on pasta. Kuochun enjoyed his red snapper which was a huge portion with Greek potatoes and roasted vegetables. He was able to stretch it into two large meals.

I gave two of my five shrimp, our remaining family-style Caesar salad and a piece of garlic bread to Mother as she did not join us. We ran the food right over to her and she loved it. She was not up to going but I took her to Mariano's earlier in the day for a flu shot and she picked out two birthday cupcakes from the bakery for us. They were pretty good, yellowish cake with frosting in a floral motif but I think their chocolate is better. If I compare Boston Fish Market to Bob Chinn's, as a person who will only eat shrimp or fried calamari I would say Bob Chinn's is a better value and experience. Their garlic rolls beat Boston Fish Market's garlic bread for sure!

Kuochun told me he feels full of life and is ready to make this a great year! I am very proud of the way he is tackling his medical issues head on. A recent visit to a lung doctor resulted in wonderful news - he does not have lung problems and the coughing he has been experiencing is due to allergies. He is trying out some over the counter allergy medication as well as a nasal spray. Something that has also helped in this arena are Sans air purifiers. I learned about them through Faceboook ads. They look attractive as far as air purifiers go, are super quiet and are portable with a built-in handle at the top. Earlier this year I purchased two, one was to go in each of our bedrooms but I ended up letting Mother have the second one. She needs it more urgently than I do. This machine has greatly reduced the sound level of Kuochun's snoring and when he cooks, it springs into action to clean the air of cooking odors. I just purchased one for Scottsdale and received an offer to purchase a second one for a big discount so I took advantage of that. One machine covers about 1,500 square feet so we will use one on each level. Eventually I will get one for my room in Mount Prospect as I hope it will help me with my allergies.

Thursday it was my turn to have an annual checkup, flu shot and mammogram. Everything looks good health-wise but the flu shot made me kind of ill and I ended up really bruised and with a big lump and sore arm from the blood draw. This has never happened to me before. The bruises are fading but my arm is still sore. Hopefully by this time next week it will be back to normal.

On Friday I had to run to the Secretary Of State facility in Schaumburg to bring my van's license plate sticker up to date. I tried to renew it at a currency exchange but I missed the 2022 renewal so they said they could not give me a 2023 sticker. I do not recall receiving the notice last year and I did not receive one this year but know my renewal month is October. Last winter no one drove the van but now we have Alan helping us with pickups and he has been using it. I needed to get this squared away before I left. The penalty for missing 2022 was less than I expected at $20 but paying two years with a B truck and a vanity plate came to $358. I could have given up the vanity plate and gotten a new license plate but I could never do that, as I have had it since I was 15 and Dad got it for me. I also packed and shipped one box of vintage Native American jewelry to Scottsdale so I could continue to sell it. All of the pieces in the box are online.

Saturday I ran around like crazy to put the house in order but was not able to do much with the garage. We would have stayed another week or two but needed to go back a little early to make Mother's important doctor's appointment next Monday. I will need to ask for help to get all the jewelry I want to Scottsdale and put the remaining tables from the pop-up sale back in place. Luckily Mike is an online seller and knows how to pack things. He will be coming on Monday to help out. This worked out well because we are having a moving sale in the town where Mike lives this week but they cannot have us start the setup until Tuesday. The priority will be to ship the rest of the vintage Native American jewelry that is currently online and the pieces that are new to me that I have not processed yet.

I will see how much selling space I have to work with and go from there. I do have a lot of vintage sterling in Scottsdale which needs to be polished and priced. Once I complete that I can ask for more to be sent. It was a big goal for me to catch up with the vintage sterling but since I bought more now I will just take things step by step. In June I shipped about eight boxes home thinking I could get it all online but that was way too ambitious. I should have known better with it being the height of the estate sale season.

Because I have so much Gem Show jewelry Kuochun is suggesting that I take a year off from buying. I would still like to take a trip to Tucson though because I really enjoy visiting and was so sick most of the time we were there last year. We missed going to Tubac which we all enjoy. From where we live, Tucson is an easy drive, similar to driving to Milwaukee. Now is the time to book a place to stay before all of the best places are snapped up. Kuochun and I loved our stay in the Oro Valley area, the only drawback is that it was nearly 40 minutes north of the shows. I am definitely going for a single-family home this time, it will be way more comfortable for 3 people and 2 dogs. I have my eye on a home which is closer to Oro Valley but not quite all the way up there. It looks to be about 25 minutes away from the shows which is helpful. The home is beautiful and has a nice fenced-in yard.

It is really desert style in Tucson, I had to eliminate quite a few places because the entire grounds were nothing but dirt. They did not look comfortable for the girls to run around in. I am also considering this home in the Sam Hughes neighborhood which is supposed to be one of the best in town. The house is older and very charming but the furnishings are not as beautiful as the Oro Valley home. The location is in great proximity to the gem shows and I really like that there is a parking pad for the car inside the fenced-in yard.

We were shocked to find that when we arrived at O'Hare Saturday night that there were hardly any passengers there! Both the ticket counter and security had very minimal waits. It was a lot to travel with three people, two dogs, three large checked bags and Mother's carryon, two personal bags and oxygen machine but we focused on getting the girls safely through the process and Mother received help from the airport staff with wheelchair transport. The flight was very efficient, strangely enough the captain never spoke to us but the tradeoff was we left a little early and arrived early. It was a challenge getting all of our belongings to the ride share area but I did it in shifts. Luckily there could be a person on each end to keep an eye on things. Overall things went way more smoothly than they have but were not without hiccups. Vivi was stressed out and completely chewed through the chest strap of her harness, which is thick with two layers of Velcro. She also cried as we made our way through the terminal in Phoenix. Somehow she knew to keep quiet at the most critical times - going through security and while onboard the airplane. We never heard a peep out of Margot.

What we did not anticipate when we finally arrived home was that we would be locked out! I mentioned it several times including while I was at O'Hare waiting for the flight to take off but the caretaker still forgot to unlock the door from the garage to the house for us! I was very specific each time to say this is when we were coming and we had no keys. I was so upset, I did not take the situation as well as Kuochun and Mother did. At least we were able to get into the backyard because there is a lock box there for the landscaper. I called and texted the caretaker but she did not respond. She lives in the neighborhood so Kuochun walked over there and knocked on the door, again no answer. I then called a locksmith who said to stay alert because someone would be calling. We waited 45 minutes, no call. Mother called the police but there was nothing they were willing to do to help. I then called another locksmith who thankfully had someone dispatched fairly quickly. It took him all of 3 seconds to pop open the door with a tool which kind of looked like a drill. The charge was $179! Great line of work if you can get it but I can understand the potential danger of being an overnight locksmith. We finally got into the house at 4:00 AM Central Time.

We were worn out but on Sunday the Bears game definitely cheered us up! It took a lot of figuring but Kuochun found a way for us to be able to watch the games. We can watch them here but using our Xfinity DVR from at home. We do need to wait until the game is over before we can begin watching and although we can fast forward through the commercials they do not move along so we have to guess at where to stop. But after missing a few games last season we are grateful to be able to watch and it was a great game to see! One time I would like to try going to a local place where Bears fans gather and watch a game in public. There are so many Chicago transplants here.

The plan for next week is get back to a normal schedule of posting jewelry purges and unsold pieces online. Also, I would like to get right to work preparing for the next pop-up sale. I was very surprised to see tons of dust in the garage and sitting area between the front gate and front door. I have my work cut out getting everything cleaned up. Melinda kindly offered to come over when she returns and lend me her power washer as well as the Elfa storage she is driving home from Chicago. It will be a great way to display all of the Christmas decorations Mother has for sale. I also need to get in touch with the super handyman to put the finishing touches on the garage, such as installing the shelving which has been unused for 12 years! I will post updates on the process as it goes along.

Hopefully by the community garage sale in February the laundry room will be complete as well. It is still unfinished from the remediation needed after the water damage in 2021. Melinda is bringing out the leftover cement tile from the breezeway (nearly four full boxes) for the laundry room floor. I was able to find the tile through a Google image search and it is still available for sale so I should be able to buy the remaining tile I need to complete the task.

See you next time with jewelry news!