Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Des Moines-the same and different

It was a very strange feeling.  I was home again, but I had no house.  I was comfortable driving around the city, but I was staying at a hotel.  Since September there were new buildings and sculptures and every one's life had moved on...Sad? No.  Nostalgic? yes.

Starting our travels with Gretchen and Craig in Cedar Rapids, we had a great meal and wonderful visit.  Somehow it seemed important to touch base before they travel to Mexico for the winter.

With Joleen and Roby
Mike and I met up with friends at our old watering hole, Wellman's Pub in West Des Moines.  It was wonderful to see Kristi, Betsy, Joleen and Roby.  As work colleagues, we each had a special connection and friendship which remains unchanged despite my retirement and move to a new city.

Sculpture at DM Botanical Center
Ruth on Principal River Bridge

The next day my friend Ruth and I started our afternoon with a great lunch at the DM Botanical Center. 

It was a beautiful, unseasonably warm November day.  Somehow ice skating and mid-60's weather worked...

And then the beautiful river and bridges...

Bridge, bridge,  bridge

And I couldn't believe a new sculpture garden arose in the 2 short months I was gone.  DM is developing an amazing reputation for public sculpture that goes beyond the downtown Pappajohn Sculpture Garden.

Later that evening we caught up with friends Emily, Brian and Maggie for some home made pizza, wine and ice cream pie.  And of course too many stories to fit into a single evening...

Emily, Maggie and Brian

Maggie's bedtime

It was a very strange feeling.  I was home again, but I had no house.   Being in the DM again was nostalgic but not sad as I realized that the friendships were so much important than my house or job.  All of these friendships grounded me.  They continue to be my "home" in a city dear to my heart.  And that makes me smile...


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Indiana wants me...

I should probably write a primer on moving to a new state because it’s not really that straightforward or easy.   But  I barreled through it anyway…

First snowfall November 12th

Bright and early on a snowy Monday morning, I visited Mike’s local insurance agent and moved the car insurance on one of my vehicles.  This was pretty easy.  Just write the check, make the insurance effective immediately, and then call the Iowa insurance company to cancel.   

Mike has done business with them for years, and I think they know his and my life history.  I had to smile when I was told “we love Mike” and now “we love you too”.  I don’t know, in all my years in the insurance business, I don’t remember ever saying “love you” to a customer.   Hoosier hospitality???

After studying my Indiana driver’s manual diligently, I set out Tuesday morning to get my driver’s license.  Armed with a passport, social security card, credit card bill, bank statement and medical bill, I was able to prove my identity and that I was really living in Indiana.  Seems that Indiana issues secure ID’s that follow rules from the Dept. of Homeland Security…

I passed the test.  And now that I’m a newly minted Indiana licensed driver, I’ve been boring Mike with all my new found knowledge:
  • ·      500 feet-distance you must turn on low beams when approaching oncoming car
  • ·      100 feet-distance you must stop when approaching railroad crossing arms that are down
  • ·      45-max speed in construction zone
  • ·      55-max speed on “urban” interstate
  • ·      When stopping at a stop sign without a crosswalk, you must stop parallel to the stop sign.
  • ·      Only 1 car can be in the intersection when the light is yellow.
  • ·      Fascinating facts about parallel parking which was met with much laughter since I can’t parallel park to save my life!

Of course getting a license involved 2 trips to the BMV, 2 pictures and twice as much time as I wanted to spend there because “downtown” didn’t accept the license using my middle name when my passport used a middle initial.  

Hey, my second picture turned out better anyway, and this was compliments of this nice older woman who waited on me during the 2nd visit.  

She was from the Quad Cities area, and we had a great discussion about Iowa.  In the short time it took to get my 2nd license, I learned a lot about her life.  She was a bit lost since her husband died earlier this year, and she was contemplating moving back to Iowa to be closer to family.  She felt that she wasn’t ready for the decision, and I suggested she take her time for such an important decision.  I am not sure why she divulged all of this. Maybe she just needed to talk.  I wanted to hug her as I left the BMV…

The next day  I dragged Mike to the BMV for the 3rd visit in 2 days so we could get my 2 vehicles registered and licensed.  Actually this experience went very quite well.  We were excited to learn we could get the same vanity plates for the Challenger “IH8SLOW”.  Of course several days later we got a nice notice in the mail saying this vanity plate was “declined” because of “inappropriate content”.   The only thing we can figure out is that Indiana does not like the word or any representation of the word “hate”.  So back to the drawing board on that one…

So with my pocketbook about $800 lighter, I am getting firmly entrenched in Indiana.  I must say that I was sad to give up my Iowa drivers license and license plates and say goodbye to my Iowa insurance agent who said they would “miss me”.  Funny how all of these little things are are outward symbols of leaving a state where I have lived since college. I miss Iowa, but rest assured that I will be proudly wearing my University of Iowa sweatshirt!

And in between building new friendships with the BMV and insurance agents, I found some time for creativity…Ornaments, purses and sun catchers oh my…


Have a great week!


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Ordinary days

Of course there are ordinary days too...

Most of them revolve around making this "our house" which requires compromise, creativity, communication and humor.

Lately Mike's favorite phrases are "putting 10 pounds of stuff in a 5 pound house" and "it's no longer my house".  But we keep plugging away, moving boxes out of storage and into the house.  And yes, there's a lot of give and take along the way.

And guitars are everywhere

Guest room
My furniture occupies the guest room, and Mike's furniture completes the dining room.

Mike and I spent an afternoon hanging my photos in the upstairs hallway.  Somehow seeing these photos each day really makes me feel at home.

Finally we were ready to move my clothes into the house.  For the first time in over a year, I would have all my clothes in one place.  

Of course we had to share the master bedroom closet which was full of Mike's clothes!
Storage unit evolving
Staging my clothes in the garage

I'm sure there was a look of pure shock on my face when Mike answered "never" to my question about when he last sorted through his clothes and got rid of those he didn't want.  Although this surprised me at the time, I'm concluding that men just don't pay that much attention to closets or what clothes occupy them.  A basic difference from women...

Here are just a few of the things Mike found in his closet...and I'm surprised you couldn't hear me laughing hysterically.  Ok, some of this is finding it's way into the costume bin...

Keep this vest?
Why not?

Sherlock Mike?

But we made it, and my clothes are in one place.  And the sheer volume of clothes at the local Goodwill increased tremendously! 

But there is more to life than unpacking boxes and making room for stuff...

We attended a great dinner at the Indianapolis Zoo where we learned about their conservation work in far away places like Namibia and Russia.

Yesterday we watched my nephew Adam run in a state cross country meet.  Despite some back pain, he finished 11th out of 50 runners which qualified him for a regional meet in Chicago next weekend. We are really proud of him!

And today we attended a great Veterans Day concert by the Indiana Wind Symphony.  Our friend John plays percussion, and he did a great job on the drums during Sousa marches and other patriotic songs. 

And during his "free time", Mike is researching cable and satellite TV.  Possibly my influence here... 

And I am working on some Christmas projects.  

And if I get really bored, I'm reading the Indiana Driver's Manual.  Nothing like having to take the written driver's test after 40 years of driving experience.  Ok, despite my whining, I am actually learning a few things about Indiana laws...

Have a great week!