Getting connected

I’ve been thinking that I need to expand the subjects for my journal. I’ve been writing about the process of retirement and moving for five months now. I suspect that my journal entries are repetitive and a bit boring. There are so many things that I could be writing about. The snow geese and trumpeter swans are arriving in Skagit County. We’ve already seen small groups of the birds. By the end of December, there will be 10,000 to 12,000 trumpeter swans in the area. Smaller numbers of tundra swans and snow geese also winter in the area. At 25 to 30 pounds, trumpeter swans are among the largest birds capable of extended flight. They are magnificently beautiful in flight, on the water and on the land. Their distinctive calls are the reason for their name. They have also been called whistling swans. I plan some excursions out into the county to photograph the birds this year and I want to discover where they are congregating so I will be able to show them to others when the pandemic eases and we are once again able to welcome guests to our home.

Although it is just 25 mile away, we haven’t been to the coast to gaze out at the islands and watch the ferries. There are dozens of interesting topics for my journal just a few minutes from our home.

However, the process of settling and adjusting are the topics that are occupying my mind at the present and therefore the easiest topics for my journal. After a dozen years of writing a daily essay, I’ve learned that the topic that is on the top of my mind is often the easiest way to produce a journal entry.

Today marks one week of being in our home after our last of four trips to make the move. We no longer have a home or any of our possessions in South Dakota. I turns out that our timing was fortunate as infection rates soar in South Dakota. The risks are still high here, but with a mask mandate and restrictions on gathering including no dining in restaurants, it seems a bit safer to us. Settling in and unpacking is occupying our time and we aren’t venturing out in ways that increase our exposure. So far our bubble includes only our son and his family. Of course their bubble includes others, so our bubble is bigger than just those five people, but it remains quite small.

One week into our settling, our house is beginning to feel more like home. We still have boxes in several rooms, but there are fewer of them. We are getting unpacked and organized bit by bit. Our garage is still filled with unorganized items, but we’re tackling that as well. Yesterday felt like a day of big accomplishments. I got the leaves raked and the lawn mowed. It didn’t hurt that we had a whole day without rain. The big accomplishment was that we finally got connected for Internet service in our house. That is so different from the last time we moved. Back then Internet wasn’t considered to be an essential utility. We had a land line telephone connected and I used a modem to connect to the internet at very slow speeds. We didn’t stream video or visit with family over Skype or FaceTime. In this move, we are using our cell phones and probably won’t get a land line for telephone. But having high speed internet with plenty of bandwidth seems essential as it is our way of connecting with our daughter and her family - something we are used to doing daily. There are some very good places for free Internet in the city, including the parking lot of the library where our son is the director, so we have been able to connect each day. Still, it seems nice to have gotten connected in our home so we can browse the Internet whenever we want. Last night we were both on our computers for quite a bit of time after dinner.

We’ve got all of the utilities connected. We’ve figured out how to shop for groceries and we’ve found the hardware store. We’ve unpacked and organized. We’ve even gotten the lawn mowed. Our son and I are setting up a shared shop in their barn and we are looking forward to several shared projects. By the end of the month we will, for the first time in several years, have no need of rented storage space. More importantly, we’ve hosted our son’s family for dinner and been out to visit at their farm several times. It feels like the first week has been a time of accomplishment.

We are working down the list of places where we need to register our change of address. It seems like that list is a lot longer than it was when we moved to South Dakota. Back then we weren’t on Medicare, we weren’t taking any daily medicines and we didn’t have a list of medical specialists with whom to connect. Back then we switched our primary bank in the move. This time we had to be careful about the timing of reporting address changes to our bank and credit card company so that we would know what zip code to use when using our credit card at gas pumps during the trip. There are a lot of complexities to the move that we had not fully anticipated.

Still, we feel a sense of accomplishment in having met each challenge and figured out a plan to get the things we have done taken care of. We have received and paid all of our last utility bills form our former home and we are connected to all of our utilities in this home. We’ve received mail at our new address including mail that was forwarded from our old address. I’ve even received magazines here, and magazines are not forwarded by the US Postal Service.

The news is that we are settling and making connections in our new home. I guess that’s not too bad for our first week.

Copyright (c) 2020 by Ted E. Huffman. I wrote this. If you would like to share it, please direct your friends to my web site. If you'd like permission to copy, please send me an email. Thanks!