Sunday, January 15, 2012

Hiatus, Holidays, and Moving

It has been nearly 6 weeks since my last posting. It wasn't really my intent to take off so much time although I have enjoyed the break :-). We have been pretty busy since we returned to Nashville. I'll take a few minutes to go over what we have been up to. I'm sure I'll leave out something along the way.

Our time back home got off to a somber start. In the first week we were home we attended two memorial services. The first memorial service was for David Tade who was a friend of my mom and dad. The second one was for Alethea's grandmother Barbara Patterson. She passed away while we were on our transatlantic cruise. Both ceremonies were very nice. Alethea did a a great job reading a poem that she had written about her grandmother that was very touching. We spent the rest of our first weekend at home with the Patterson family in Orlinda and celebrated our first bit of Christmas.

The next trip we took a couple days after getting back from Orlinda was an overnight trip to Chattanooga. Our first stop in Chattanooga was to visit the grave site of Alethea's grandmother. She is buried in the Chattanooga National Cemetery alongside her husband. While there I also found the tombstone of John Clark who is believed to be a relative of mine died in the Civil War. He fought on the side of the Union. We then spent a little time driving around downtown Chattanooga including the campus of UT-Chattanooga where Alethea graduated from college. We then met with friends of Alethea at the Terminal Brewhouse for dinner. After dinner we drove up a little bit up to Alethea's uncle and aunt's house in Hixson to spend the night. The next day we drove by her grandparents old house in Red Bank just outside of Chattanooga before making our way back to Nashville.

John Clark - quite possibly a relative of mine who fought in the Civil  War for the Union
I pretty much had the week off from traveling but Alethea did not. Alethea and her best friend Amy Johnston took a girl's get away trip to Tunica, Mississippi the following week for a couple nights. Alethea won the trip for finishing 4th place in a photo contest in the Tennessean. The picture that won was taken on our round the world trip in Rome at the Vatican Museum. Alethea and I were going to go together but when she mentioned they were going to take a girl's only trip I gladly ceded my spot for Tunica. I have been to Tunica more than once. There isn't much to do there outside of gambling. Alethea and Amy had a great time though. One good thing that came out of their trip is that Alethea surprised me with a Christmas present of ribs from Rendezvous in Memphis ( Rendezvous has some of the best dry ribs I've had anywhere in the world. Half the reason I have made trips to Tunica in the past have been to include side trips to Rendezvous. Numerous celebrities from Bono to Elvis to the Rolling Stones have eaten there. President Bush even took the retiring Japanese Prime Minister there a few years ago as part of a going away trip that included a trip to Graceland. I sure did enjoy the ribs!

Next series of activity for us involved Christmas. We spent the 19th at Alethea dad's home in Franklin. We went to the Alethea's mom's on the 23rd and the 24th  before spending Christmas Eve at my parent's house where we went to church and opened presents. The next day on Christmas we drove to Indiana to visit my mom and dad's family. Alethea had the benefit of flying using her mom's discount on Delta. I dropped her off in the morning at Nashville's airport and picked her up at Indianapolis's airport that evening. She would have actually beat us by quite a bit if it wasn't for a mechanical issue with one of her flights. We trekked up to Bluffton, Indiana to attend the Holloway Christmas party on the 26th and celebrated with my dad's family the following day before traveling back to Tennessee on the 28th. It was a lot of traveling and coordinating but I was glad to be back home for Christmas this year. Last year we were in Vietnam and Laos for the holidays. It was one of the few times I really got home sick during our trip 9th month trip. New Year's was spent quietly at home. I barely made it to midnight.

Alethea with one of her Christmas presents, some nuts :-)
What else have we been up to besides visiting with friends and family and celebrating the holidays? Just sitting around taking it easy? Nope. We have actually been quite busy with our impending move to Portland, Oregon in January. We have spent several hours over multiple days on various activities related to the move. One of the first priorities has been to organize and go through what items we will pack, sell, or store. Alethea has far more stuff remaining than I do. She has spent many days working all day long sorting, taking pictures, posting, and dealing with prospective buyers. I have spent several days working on my remaining items too. I've sold a bike, some camping gear, a toaster, a coffee maker, and a digital camera. I spent several hours researching my baseball cards to see if they are worth anything and turns out they are essentially worthless. I collected cards for about 4 years in the late 1980s but that happened to be the time many of the future steroid users were getting their careers started. 

Doug with two of his Christmas presents - beer & a chef's hat
I have probably spent more time researching places to stay at in Portland than I have selling stuff. It took a lot of time and effort to find a place. We had certain things that we were looking for that were not willing to compromise on. Eventually, we did find a place. The place or the person who owned it actually found us. We posted an ad on Craigslist and the owner emailed me. We have used this method before with success. We have committed to a 3 month lease in a furnished triplex in southeast Portland. We feel that we will know within 3 months whether or not Portland will be for us or if we'll need to consider other places.

Dad, Grandma, Aunt Jane, Uncle Lou
One thing that we realized back in December was that we were not going to have enough time to go through all of our remaining stuff combined with all that comes with all the holiday activities to be ready to fly out to Portland on January 4th. We did a little research and discovered that we could change our flights on American without any penalties or cost as long as our beginning and ending cities stayed the same. We pushed out the day we are flying to January 25th.

Me with one of my Christmas present - gourmet bacon
What's next for us? We will spend the remaining days selling, giving away, and storing our remaining stuff. We'll then pack which will be interesting. We both will get 3 checked bags for free plus two carry on items for our flight. That is all are taking with us initially. We will send for other items when we feel like we will need them. We will also spend some time with friends and family members before we leave saying our goodbyes.

That is all for now! I intend on picking up the pace with blogging over the next few weeks as make our move to Portland.