And, we are all going to move into smaller quarters one day. Those are the givens.
If we really want to cause our families a lot of work, we can hang onto all of this stuff and let them clear it out after we are gone (temporarily or permanently). But, if we really love them, we really should make a really serious shot at reducing all of this stuff.
Sure is easy to talk about it, but not so easy to follow through.
Helped move a woman a while back. She is about my age, which is early ancient. She had thousands and thousands of books. Her new living room has steel floor to celling book cases lined up like the stacks in an old college library.
Family told her to get rid of a lot of them, but says she, they are her friends. Some one will get the task of going through all of them one day. Lucky them.
Every so often I get going on a serious attempt to reduce our collection. It goes pretty good for a while, but never quite makes it over the line to noticeably serious.
As an artist I have had great empathy with the minimalists. As a human I am not quite so minimal, but like christian perfection, it is an endeavor worth pursuing.
On the way back from San Francisco yesterday we went through, or near a lot of small towns.
The first part, through California and the middle of Nevada and was on the freeway, so you only get close to the small towns, the last part, through Nevada, Oregon and into Idaho is 2 lane road with a lot of small towns.
Not many are doing too well.
We used to have to slow down going through Rome, Oregon, now there is not even a speed limiting sign. The only business still open is a bar/convenience store/ gas station/RV park, and it does not look terribly prosperous. In Nevada nearly every business has a slot machine or two, with casinos in the smallest towns, but even with that lure, the towns are not doing well.
Daughter Dea lives in a small town, population about 4000 people. The town is 20 square miles in size, but nearly all of that is water. There are several restaurants, a bar or two, some professional offices, and a couple family operated small grocery stores.
But, there is one very successful business that you might not expect: the local hardware store.
As a hardware geek, I find the place a dream. Lowe's may only sell wood screws in over priced little boxes, but the hardware store still has them in bulk, at a better price, I might add. They have a better selection of bolts than than Home Depot. It is a do it your selfer's dream.
The town has a few professional plumbers and electricians with some highly skilled carpenter, but most of the customers at the hardware store seem to be people fixing and repairing their own homes.
I am glad that the hardware store is doing well. I wish Jordan Valley and Rome and Orevada and McDermott were doing better, but they are not.
As our country looses it's small towns, we loose part of our souls, I fear.
One VW bus with the side door open, the other with the engine compartment open. Sounds like old times. I owned one of these oldies once. Always seemed to be a right sized vehicle, but no one, and I mean no one, can keep them alive very long. The best mileage I ever got on my VW bus was 21 mpg and a $600 (for parts) engine rebuild ever year. My '92 Chevy pickup could do as good on gas and it went 240,000 miles with the same engine. Today we will get about 19 on the '03 Dodge.
As always, we enjoyed our visit with family, but the time comes to pack up and go home.
This time we are taking grandson Griff with us. He will spend some time with us as well as with two of his aunts families (our washington and oregon daughters).
We will go camping this weekend. Finally it looks like we will have some decent camping weather. My 2nd most favorite camping partner is going with us (Miriam hold the place as my favorite camping partner). David and I have not been camping together for a long time.
So today it is north on 101 to I80, then over the Bay Bridge to Oakland and on to Sacramento, over the Donner pass to Reno (we won't even slow down) and on through a lot of Nevada. Somewhere along the line we will buy some fuel and keep on going.
Even leaving here after breakfast we should be home before dark. Going this direction the worst of the traffic is the first part and we will go through that mid morning.
It will be a cool but sunny day on this end, but Idaho is expecting thunderstorms, so it will be interesting.
And just to make it all go easily, I have loaded Mark Twain's Huck Finn to listen to on the iPod/pickup stereo.
It will be good. Miriam and Griff are both good traveling partners.
Our oldest grandson lives a few hours away and he and his wife came down for the day. We met at our daughters house and took her mini van, so we could all travel together. (Daughter and her husband are both our of town on business, leaving us with the grandkids – such sweet punishment).
I first went to this zoo when I was 12 a heap of years ago. It is the only big zoo I have visited infrequently through the years. My memory is that the SF Zoo was one of the better municipal zoos in the country.
But budget cuts have hit hard. Lots of empty displays. Fewer animals. Large buildings designed to show off the animals were closed, some with plywood in ways to suggest they were not opening any time soon. There was more over grown vegetation here and there. The whole place looked a bit neglected.
There was 6 of us: 2 seniors, one kid and three adults. Cost about as much to get in as to buy a tank of gas for my pickup. Maybe not too much by city standards, but way over this small town kid budget – very often at least.
So the more it is neglected, the more the fees are raised and the fewer people come to visit and the less pressure on the “deciders” and the cycle continues.
For so many years our budgets were big and full and expansive. Now they are lean and tight and tightening. Where will it end?
I fear we have not hit the bottom yet.
But, in spite of it all, we had a good day together. Grandpa, Grandma, grandsons #1, 4 and 6 along with granddaughter in law one!
This blog began as a spot to vent about my life with Miriam and her time with Alzheimer's disease.
She was diagnosed in '99 and her decline has been quite slow. In fact some of our best years of our long marriage have been these recent years.
Alzherimer's, at least her version is a disease of waiting. One shoe drops and it can be a very long time before the other one drops.
So life goes on.
At the beginning of this blog I told the story of our courtship and marriage, about out family and our personal journey with this disease. The part that scares the most is the anticipation as the disease slowly progresses.
So, I will touch on that subject from time to time, but the entries will tend toward comments on life. I'll leave politics and religion for others to worry about, not that I don't have strong opinions!
I have my hands full just looking after my wonderful Miriam.
We met when we were 6, began dating at 15 and have been together since. We will have our 56th anniversary this June.
We have four wonderful daughters. Smart, independent, awesome. They have given us 7 grandsons and 4 granddaughters. None of them are little any more. The oldest is 28 and married, the youngest is 14.
Until this last fall we lived in a hosue I designed and built in the '70's and it is pretty weird and wild, but very comfortable. Last summer the girls came to the conclusion that I really did need help dealing with Miriam. Now we live on a couple acres with daughter 1.
Life has been good. There is not much I would do different even if I could. We are rich beyond belief but chronically short of cash!
And, unless stated otherwise all the photographs are mine.