Until Next Time Arizona...

It is hard to believe but my time in Scottsdale is coming to an end for now. The feeling is definitely bittersweet - I have really enjoyed it but look forward to returning to Mount Prospect as well. There are family obligations to take care of and I cannot wait to see my sweet Margot who I have not seen since November. Next time no ifs, ands or buts, she is coming with us! There were a lot of ups and downs but overall the time was overwhelmingly positive. We have a strong team and with their joint efforts they all enabled me to work from Scottsdale while the business continued without a hiccup. I originally thought I would go back and forth for shorter trips but now that I know that I can handle the desert climate including temperatures up to the mid-90s, the plan will be to split the time 50-50. November-April will be in Scottsdale and May-October in Mount Prospect. I actually wish I could be in Mount Prospect for winter and skip the hot humid summer while not missing out on the 60s and 70s in Scottsdale! But alas, something has to give. This schedule is best overall for work since we do not conduct as many sales in the winter.

I have not been able to post here for nearly a month now I see, a lot has happened since the last posting. Mother flew back to Chicago, Vivi and I were on our own for five days and Kuochun flew to Phoenix the day before we left for Tucson. I decided at the last minute to also pop up at home base that same week. Many thanks for the team effort to successfully pull off the event on short notice - Mother, Kelly, Mike, Sue and Mark. We shopped 'till we dropped in Tucson, Kuochun was so patient with me. Once I decide to purchase from a vendor, I can quickly decide what I would like to purchase but it takes a long time for the vendors to put the invoices together. Most of the time they need 30-60 minutes or more. Kuochun even tried to anticipate what I might like to purchase from each vendor based upon what I was selecting and got it right most of the time! I do plan to write about these experiences in detail in the upcoming weeks.

Everything was going well on the home front until the week before last. Mother was out to lunch with a couple of her Park Ridge pals and found she was unable to drive home. One of her friends drove her but she was still not feeling right, most notably with a major headache so she asked Mark to take her to the hospital. It turns out she had a stroke and is now in rehab at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights. One of the reasons I chose Mother's neighborhood was the proximity to the hospital, it is less than a mile away. I never dreamed we would need it in an emergency situation so soon. It looks like it will take some time but we pray for a full recovery.

Mother was taking care of Margot at the time. We were not sure what happened at first so Mark kindly went to Mother's home to feed and take Margot out. Once we realized Mother was going to be in the hospital for a while I asked Mark to bring Margot to my home, where she is most familiar and comfortable and can use the pet steps to get in Kuochun's bed which is where she normally sleeps. We tried to find a pet sitter through Rover, we had such a fabulous experience with the Scottsdale sitter we found for Vivi but had no luck. Many of the sitters were in not so good Chicago neighborhoods, some only take the dogs out every 8+ hours and many had numerous other pets. One person already had four dogs and five cats, no thank you! We thought we found a good candidate in Morton Grove, but when I went to contact her the app said they do not take intact dogs. So poor Margot had to stay home alone for a week. Thank goodness we had Mark, Maureen, Sue and Kelly to help us out with her care. Margot came out of it OK but was definitely very lonely and probably confused by the situation.

Rachel flew home Friday night to bridge the gap until Kuochun and I can drive home. She took Margot back to Mother's house where she is staying and Margot was so grateful to have the companionship. I am extremely appreciative of Rachel making the trip home on such a difficult day. Her beloved Doodle crossed the Rainbow Bridge that evening and she had to say goodbye to him before she got on the plane. Doodle was a Morkie which is a cross between a Maltese and a Yorkie. Rachel saved Doodle from a sad life of living in someone's kitchen. His name was Dongle and Rachel promptly changed his name to something more upbeat. He was in a Spanish-speaking household so he did not know English. When she and her previous boyfriend broke up, he thought he would be taking Doodle but Rachel put her foot down and did not allow that to happen. That decision changed John's life forever. Doodle was a sweet little guy who never let his ailments get him down. He really lived his best life with Rachel and John. The last time Mother and I saw Doodle and their other dog Tootsie was when we were in town for the wedding. Doodle was John's first pet and while it is always very difficult to lose any pet, the first one is definitely monumental. Kuochun experienced this when we lost Ruby. He did not feel he could ever love another dog but now cannot imagine life without Margot. I know when the time is right Rachel and John will rescue another dog. My heart goes out to them as they cannot go through this difficult time in person.

This past week Melinda hosted a combined estate sale for her next door neighbor and some of her friends. I put together a jewelry caravan with new pieces from the Tucson trip and posted the advertising as I normally do for sales in the Chicago area. The sale was a tremendous success - so much so that the decision was made to cancel the fourth day. A local food truck decided to capitalize on the big turnout and parked across the street on the second day, we thought it was hilarious! Last night Melinda and I were already planning a boutique sale in her finished garage in November. I will bring jewelry and more displays from home and leave the four adorable jewelry cases Mother put together for me early on here. I never did get to try and sell the clothing or designer purses Mother and I both brought to sell but they would be great additions for the sale as well. Also, I have way too much Christmas decor and although it will be difficult because it is all amazing I will need to let go of some of it. If I am going to be in Scottsdale for the holidays from now on I do not need eight ceramic Christmas trees. Mother's favorite store in Old Town Scottsdale is Retablo, they specialize in handmade Mexican items such as furniture and pottery. They have tin items as well, such as the pretty mirrors which they are also famous for. On our last visit I noticed that they have tin Christmas trees in a variety of sizes, all with colorful glass stones. I may just have to get one (or two!) to add to my collection.

This weekend an estate sale was held here in Golden Keys so that left me very encouraged that estate sales are allowed in our community. Kuochun and I visited the sale which was family run (they did a great job!) and I wish I would have asked if they were moving. As there are no homes available for sale in Golden Keys at this time and the sale was only held in a portion of the home, I am thinking they are not. There was a mention in one of the past monthly newsletters that there is normally an annual community garage sale weekend in January but that it was cancelled this year due to COVID. I sure hope they will bring it back next year. My suspicions were confirmed that people LOVE jewelry here and at half off the jewelry caravan cannot be beat. There is nothing remotely like the jewelry caravan in the Phoenix area. We saw a Native American jewelry trunk show at Mother's favorite antique mall but the prices were $$$$, way out of the range I would even pay for myself.

It is a little scary thinking of pop-up sales in the Phoenix area as this is the way the estate sale business in Chicago got started, with sales for friends and family. I was not looking to conduct estate sales in Arizona but with Melinda here and her local connections along with folks in our Chicago group who would love to come out for a working trip a high-end sale once in a while would not be out of the question. Oh boy, that is what I used to say about estate sales in Chicago - first it was if we could do one sale every other week that would be nice, then it was every week would be good, then two per week is great, then no more than three per week - and now we consistently conduct four sales per week with usually a fifth sale at the peak time of year. Oh well, my Business Law professor at Marquette always said "grow or perish!"

We are planning to start the drive back to Chicago on Thursday. I have not booked any hotels yet, we have not yet decided if we will make it a three or four day driving trip. There are still things we need to do before we leave and it is more than we will need to do in the future. In case our insurance woes are straightened out and we can start to put the main bedroom back together while we are gone, I will have to make sure the bedroom, family room, dining room and kitchen are cleared of any small items. The plan is to remodel all of the first floor at the same time because it will cost less money than having the trades come more than once for each area. It all will need to go upstairs as certain items will become compromised if they are left in the hot garage all summer, namely rubber or plastic. I have hired a professional service to check on the home once a week to make sure everything is safe and in working order. The air conditioner has been serviced and I will just need to put the cable TV and internet on hold once we are totally finished with it. Mother has a huge pile of bins she wants us to bring back for her. I am the opposite and want to take as little back with me as possible. I bought a really pretty artificial plant which I would like to bring back for my living room and next trip I will bring the funky plant with the spun acrylic shades here to Scottsdale. Here is hoping it all will fit and there will be more room for Vivi this time.

Next time I write we will be back in Chicago, see you then!