Friday, August 26, 2016

Sizing Down, Down and Down Again

When we decided to go to the Middle East, I had to consolidate and get rid of many of our possessions (and junk).  I was eventually forced to hire a company to bring a full size dump truck to our home to haul away the junk and things that could be recycled. I completely filled our garage with junk.

After I was done with all of that I felt like I had downsized very nicely. We left our 6,000 square foot home in Virginia to move to Bahrain taking only about 50 boxes with us.



The rest of our household goods and furniture went into storage in a facility in Delaware.


Even after I "downsized" in our big house, se still had a large amount of stuff.

In Bahrain we had a 3,000 square foot flat.

This is a picture of our boxes getting ready to come back to the US. I can't find my good photo files from Bahrain. I think the photo drive is still on that slow boat from Bahrain that has not arrived in the US yet.  They think (remember they are coming from Bahrain so this is just a suggestion) they might arrive in September.
This is taken in our Bahrain living room.
The Bahrain flat did have some spectacular sunrises.

We downsized from Virginia by 50%.

When we left Bahrain we shipped back 78 boxes. This was a few more than we took because of the wonderful carpets and art I collected there.  Today those boxes are in route to us and I believe they are still on a boat. Pretty soon they will arrive in Miami.

 However I keep telling myself these are coming from Bahrain so don't count on them arriving until they arrive.

In late June when we arrived back in the States from Bahrain we moved into one of our rental properties in Florida that is furnished. We brought with us only what we could carry in 6 suite cases.

The condo we are in has 1,100 square feet. 




The condo is small, but it has a nice view for sunsets.

We downsized from Bahrain by 60%.

TODAY we will be moving out of the condo into a great house built in 1992 that we are going to COMPLETELY remodel inside and outside. It could take up to 6 months so we will be living in one of the guest bedrooms with an attached bathroom and we will have only 400 square feet.


Another downsize of 54%.

Whewwww!

For those of you who have downsized, you understand.  For anyone who has not downsized, it is a great feeling to reduce your footprint.  You feel liberated.

This will be a short-lived freedom.

Our TWO moving vans filled with possessions from Virginia will be delivered to the new house in just a few days.  I am not at all sure what I will do with all of those things while we complete our remodel work. This will definitely be a challenge.

Our 78 boxes from Bahrain should be delivered sometime, maybe in September. REALLY? I certainly do not know what I will do with all that stuff.

I guess I better start searching for a good consignment store.  LOL

It really is a first world problem and you won’t hear me complain (much).

Cheers,
Brenda

Monday, August 15, 2016

Another Pinch Me Weekend

I have to admit I just had a “Pinch me -- am I really here?” weekend with granddaughter ML.

ML is an engineering student at the University of Oklahoma. After graduating high school at the top of her class and becoming a National Merit Scholarship finalist, ML received a full scholarship to study engineering at OU. 

We could not be more proud of her.  Even though she is in the rigorous honors program at OU, she is still maintaining her high grades.

What a wonderful grandparent experience it is!

This summer ML participated in an engineering internship in Ft. Worth, Texas.  After she settled in I suggested that I come for a visit. She was thrilled and all summer we planned the fun things we would do during my visit.

While Hubby D and I lived in Bahrain, ML came to visit us. It was very special and I knew this trip would also be a special memory.

ML and I toured the Bahrain Grand Mosque together when she came to visit.
My arrival at the Dallas Ft. Worth airport was during the workday so I decided to rent a car and drive over to ML’s little apartment. I arrived safely and texted her to let her know.

Hi! I'm here!
ML's apartment was over a garage in a very quaint part of town.
The wysteria bush at the top of the stairs grabbed me every time I went in or out.
The building where ML worked is the tall glass one.

When I was growing up I had visited Dallas a few times. Dallas has great shopping and of course the Six Flags Over Texas amusement park.  Once I even attended an OU football game in the Texas stadium.

The first thing that jumped out at me was all of the Tex-Mex restaurants everywhere. Even the airport was filled with them. And, there was one at every intersection. In Florida we have drug stores on every corner.

Airport Tex-Mex.



Much to my disappointment, ML does not like Tex-Mex food very much so I missed that experience while in Ft. Worth. I did not mind. We had other great food we both love.

Sushi was on our list for the first night. ML learned to love sushi from Hubby D and I when she was younger and she would come to visit us in Virginia.

Maybe sushi is something we could have as a tradition for our first meal together? In Bahrain we also had sushi the first night.
Sushi in Bahrain.
Sushi in Ft. Worth

As it turns out, the restaurant she had picked out, Little Lilly Sushi was voted one of the best in Ft. Worth. We went home stuffed and satisfied.



While ML was at work on Friday, I ventured out into Ft. Worth and ran a few errands for her. The Italian leather shoes we bought together in Rome had a stich coming out. They had become one of her favorites so I was on a quest to find a shoe repair shop that could do the repair immediately. Luckily I found the perfect shop and the shoes were as good as new.  I was very proud of myself.

On our brief tour of the neighborhood late the night before, ML had pointed out a grocery store she assured me was the best one she had ever seen. The Fresh Market store seemed huge.


For lunch, I decided to stop by and see what their deli had to offer. IT WAS JUST AMAZING. Why oh why can’t they have stores like this in Florida????

This store had to be great. Look at all the orchids!!!!!


And,  a FINE selection of hams!

I bet this hummus is good but I did not try it.  There was too much of the other stuff that I haven't had in years!!

When ML arrived home we headed out to take in double-header movies at the local Movie Tavern.  They don’t have these kind of movie places in Florida either.  Life is really good in Ft. Worth.


We snagged great seats and ordered dinner to enjoy with Jason Bourne and dessert to enjoy with Star Trek.  It was a really different AND FUN experience.

Check it out!  A huge menu of yummy food right here in the theatre. 
Saturday morning we were up early to head over to Dallas for some serious shopping.  ML researched great breakfast restaurants where we could start off with some fun and trendy nourishment. She found the ABSOLUTELY PERFECT spot in an artsy area of Dallas, Odd Fellows.  We had Texas style eggs benedict in the cutest restaurant that was packed with yuppie types. 




We shared a blue berry pancake.  YUMMMY!
COME ON NOW!  This is not right.  Coffee grown in Austin?

With our hunger satisfied, we were off to the biggest outlet mall I have ever seen.  Shop ‘til we drop was the goal.

Several shopping bags later we headed over to North Park Center, one of the hippest and largest malls in Dallas.


One of the items on our “must have” shopping list was a new computer/book bag for ML. We searched and searched until finally the perfect bag was found at the Madewell store.  The only question was what color.


As we wearily headed back to Ft. Worth, ML asked me if I was sure I wanted to go out to dinner as we planned. I assured her dinner was definitely on the agenda. There was an adorable local restaurant down the street from her apartment that had a big banner advertising their crab festival. Crab legs with ML were definitely a MUST DO experience.

Lucile's State Side Bistro was a fun restaurant and the crab was great.
Stuffed and tired I collapsed on to my sofa bed that night with fond memories of a great time with ML.

Sadly the next morning I had to head out to the airport early.  A hug, a kiss and a couple of tears later I started driving in the direction of my flight home.


In Florida we don't have a lot of highway interchanges with multiple roads. Certainly they don't have these in Bahrain. I just had to stop and take a picture. There are 5 roads converging here.

During my visit ML and I had some great fun. In between the fun, food and shopping there was a great deal of serious conversation.

ML and I talked about life goals, friends and relationships as well as family and her plans for the future. Although some of our conversations were extremely serious, I loved them all. They were definitely the highlight of my trip.

ML has a handle on her life. She knows herself and her values. She knows what is important to her and what she wants out of life.  Achieving her goals won’t be easy but she is determined to do it all.

I have always felt that the way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure.

ML is headed for one great adventure and I am just thrilled to be a part of it.

Cheers,
Brenda