Friday, April 28, 2023

Snowbirds going home tomorrow

This was our tenth year as snowbirds in Tucson. A few things made it less satisfying than usual:

  • Larisa, our Designer Cat, crossed the rainbow bridge on December 1. She was 17 and had been ailing for a couple of months. Being without that girl has been a big deal. We weren't ready for a new cat for almost three months. 
  • Dutchy, our new Siberian Forest cat, is also Designer Qualified. We drove five hours from Tucson to Kingman to pick her up on February 26. Nine weeks later, she has become part of the household, but so far, if I want to pet her, I have to bend over where she is lying stretched out on the floor. She won't share a chair or a couch with us yet. She ignores Art except at feeding time. Tomorrow she is going to take her first airplane ride.
  • Tucson had a cooler winter than usual, with more cloudy days. We kind of skipped spring, as the temps went from the 60s to the 80s just a few weeks ago. 
  • The resort swimming pools underwent maintenance for much of the season, so water exercise wasn't in the cards for me this year.
  • My left knee needs to be replaced. I have an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon on May 8. I didn't want to have surgery and then physical therapy in Washington's fall weather, or arthritis as I was recovering, so I bit the bullet and accepted the awkwardness and pain of bone on bone.
Still, a bunch of things were just fabulous:
  • I love playing handbells. The only times my busy mind is quiet is when playing bells or doing yoga. 
  • We painted all the cabinets in our park model. They'd been brown wood, and now they're a pale gray-green. The place looks bigger and lighter. I'd never even thought of paint until this, our ninth season.
  • My next door neighbor Sharon has a wonderful eye for decorating. This year we replaced the faux leather loveseat that came with the place with a new-to-us LazyBoy sleeper sofa, and the Ikea desk with a couple of Wayfair pieces that I would never have considered except for Sharon's recommendation. I love the new look.
  • We have a dinner group - eight people that go out to eat every Friday. We meet at a restaurant of choice at 4:30 and we're home by 6:45. Living the life! 
  • I led an online class through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (Olli). Three 90-minute sessions in March. The class was called "Saying Yes to Life After Retirement - Making a Difference." It took time to prep for the class, and I was quite nervous during the planning part, but the class went well.
  • I still volunteer at The Inn of Southern Arizona, though in a different capacity than a few years ago when I worked a shift with asylum seekers in the basement of a Tucson church. Now I'm vice president of the Board, so I get to have input on both current issues and planning for the future. 
  • We spent four February days in Sedona. Five of our eight grown kids joined us. During the day they did all the adventurous things while Art and I hung out in our condo. Each evening we gathered for dinner, either in a restaurant or in a condo unit. We have some good cooks in our family!
  • We've decided not to bring a second car to Tucson next year - road trips aren't as fun as they were when we were younger and our bodies were more flexible - so we traded in our battered, high-mileage 2005 Prius for a 2009 model in better shape and with lower mileage. Art drives it now, but next year we will share.
We're ready to go home tomorrow, to the greener Pacific Northwest.

Saturday, April 1, 2023

March was quite a month!

 I thought I'd write all this down so I don't forget what happened in March.

  • First, of course, is our Dutchy. She's the most interesting cat I've ever owned. Follows me around. Brings catnip mice to the foot of my bed. Steals my recliner as soon as I get out of it. Has the zoomies every morning and every evening. Lies flat on the floor to be brushed or admired. Really a fun addition to our household! Next week we'll take her to the vet for a first checkup and to be chipped so we can find her if she ever gets out of the house.
  • One of the residents of our winter retirement community, Fran, was a cardiac nurse for many years. Since 2014 she has held three chest-compression CPR classes each season. First- or second-year medical students, sponsored by the Sarver Heart Center in Tucson, come to the Voyager to teach the procedure to residents. The Saturday after I took the class, Art had a cardiac arrest on the pickleball court, and I saved his life.

        I tell the story in my blog post dated January 26, 2014: CPR in the real world

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from Fran asking if Art and I would be willing to talk to the class about our experience. Of course we said yes. I believe that storytelling is a powerful way to make a point; the immediacy of an actual experience is more compelling than a lecture or a set of PowerPoint slides. Art had a dentist appointment so he missed most of the talk.

The communications person at Sarver Health was unable to make it to the class, but came out two days later to interview Art and me about our experience. They plan to put the edited video on their webpage to let people know about this method of CPR. 

  • I had the opportunity to be a Study Group Leader for a three-session Olli (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) class on Zoom called Saying Yes to Life in Retirement - Making a Difference. I kind of got talked into it, and I worried about it for a couple of months before the actual dates. The last session was yesterday. Overall I'm happy with how it went.
  • Last Friday night Art and I went to a going-away party for a friend. The next morning, two of the attendees tested positive for covid. Art had sat next to one of them during the meal, and by Tuesday he tested positive.  I hadn't been close to either person, so I didn't get covid from the party; I got it on Thursday from Art. This is a second round for both of us. Fortunately, both of us have had mild cases so far. It has been a very long time since we have spent days in our pajamas. It will be good to get out of the house again.
We're beginning to make our going-back-to-Washington plans. We fly home on April 29.