Sunday Morning 8/14/2022: What a Week!

The living room and dining room look out to a wooded area behind the apartment complex

I think I can safely say that we are settled, or at least very close to it. Only a couple of things are left to arrive: the credenza for the TV and Brett’s desk, but otherwise we finally have an Internet connection; the living room, dining room and bedroom are mostly put together; and the kitchen is organized with everything put away. We’ve decided though to return the rug we ordered. There’s nothing wrong with it but we thought it would be better to wait and add a rug later after our puppy is more settled. All of the stuff we mailed to Massachusetts arrived in good condition except for four items which broke somewhere along the way. It was sad to lose them but none were heartbreakers as some of our other things would have been. Finding a place for everything has been a bit of a challenge though as the apartment lacks storage (IMO) – we’ve made a few trips to Target and such this past week to pick up organizers, things like a shoe rack and hanging storage for the closet among other items in order to get everything to fit. As much as we downsized before our move, apparently we still have too much stuff.

The apartment is lovely though. We somehow ended up with an “upgraded” unit, so have wood (laminate) floors, nicer kitchen and bathroom finishes, more windows, a larger bathtub, and other things including a full-size washer and dryer. We’re on the ground floor, but for the most part the upstairs neighbors are quiet, especially compared to what we put up with back in Hawaii. The apartment’s floor plan is great, it’s a nice size for the two of us, and we’re conveniently located just across the driveway/parking from our daughter-in-law. There have been a couple of problems though – the electrical outlets in the living room have stopped working and the storage locker was keyed wrong so we couldn’t get into it – but the complex’s maintenance crew has been quick to make contact and get things fixed or at least get started on it. The air-conditioning is sublime as it’s been hot and humid since we arrived. Today’s temperature is supposed to reach 91 degrees.

I feel totally lost here though. The area and neighborhood where we live is beautifully landscaped and filled with shopping areas, but everything looks alike to me and I can’t remember where I’m supposed to turn (same for Brett at times although he mostly is oriented now). Although I think we can now get to Target, Costco, Aldi, and Trader Joe’s without assistance for everything else we don’t dare to go without the GPS turned on. Brett has also figured out how to get to and from K’s school, but she will take the school bus beginning next week so we’ll rarely need to go there.

This morning I am thinking about:

  • What we accomplished: 1) We picked up our car the day we arrived, and even though everything was supposedly done beforehand, the process still took nearly three (exhaustingly boring) hours! We’re extremely happy with our new car though. 2) We had several tiring days in a row of unpacking and putting things away, but got that done and all the trash that was produced disposed of. 3) Brett has had to assemble something almost daily but there are only two more pieces to go (one scheduled to arrive later today). The bed frame arrived without instructions, but after a moment of panic he laid out all the pieces, looked at them and at a picture of the bed and put it together beautifully in around three hours. At the same time he began I started assembling the shade for the lamp we purchased for the living room but I only got 2/3 of the way through by the time he finished! Brett said the lampshade assembly – 72 strips which had to be fit into the shade – was far worse than assembling the bed. I finished it the next morning though and we love the lamp! 4) We shopped at Aldi, Trader Joe’s, and Costco and have enough food to get us through until the end of the month.
  • What we’re looking forward to this week: 1) We are bringing our puppy home this coming Saturday! The kennel sent us a new video of him this past week, and he sure takes after his toy poodle dad versus his Shih Tzu mom. Other than adding a few pounds he’s fully grown and very energetic. Our DIL and K will be going up to Indiana with us to bring him home. This coming week we’ll be picking up items we’ll need for him for the journey home and after: a crate, leash, harness, collar, etc. 2) We’re looking forward to getting the last pieces of furniture delivered and getting those in place so we can finally say we’re finished. 3) We’re going to being able to relax and rejuvenate a bit this week. The last two weeks have been crazy busy and we’re ready for a rest!
We have an actual jar this time for our change and $1 bills.
  • The ways we saved: 1) Our son and DIL surprised us with a $300 Target gift card, which helped in a BIG way for the many things we needed to replace here (broom, organizers, soaps, shelf liner, etc.). 2) Food prices here are quite low compared to what they were back in Hawaii (but of course more than Mexico), and between Aldi, Trader Joe’s, and Costco got everything we needed for the rest of the month and came in right at what we had budgeted! There is normally sales tax on food in Tennessee but it’s suspended in August so we saved a bundle on that as well. 3) We had allotted $500 for gasoline for our drive from Massachusetts but spent only $272. 4) We brought along just $40 cash with us on the drive, and saved all the $1 bills and change we received back along the way and are starting off our new change/$1 bill jar with $21.72! 5) We ate free breakfasts at both hotels we stayed at, skipped lunch, and got dinner for free at the second hotel as well. We didn’t use our credit card once during the entire trip (hotels were paid for in advance).
We shopped for the first time at a U.S. ALDI and it lived up to the hype. It will be our primary grocery store.
  • Thinking of good things that happened: 1) Two and a half long years ago we left Japan, and this past week we were finally reunited with our son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren. We had missed them so, so much and we’re having a wonderful time with them. Our son and grandson will return to Japan next week but will be back in December. 2) Everyone we’ve met so far has been very kind and very helpful which has made this transition much easier. 3) Meiling sent us a huge box from Chewy filled with chew toys and other fun items for our puppy. 4) Everything we have purchased online for the apartment has either arrived early or on time, and in good condition. So far we love all the furniture we chose. 5) K started kindergarten this past week and had a great time. C finished up his two weeks of outdoor camp and already wants to sign up for next year!

Pretty much all that will be left to do this week is hang pictures, but that’s going to be a bit of a challenge as we’re not allowed to put any sort of nail or tack into the walls. I’ve been researching Command hooks and other products and we’ll eventually figure out which will work best. Another project for me this coming week will be to figure out my new air fryer as I hope to use it as much as possible instead of the oven to help keep our electric bill down. Otherwise, I plan to read, read, read this week.

We’re glad to finally be here and settling in, and thrilled to be with our family again. I hope everyone reading had a great week as well. Our week was a very exhausting but productive one, and we are looking forward to what looks to be a more relaxing week coming up. Here’s to more good things happening, good books, good food, and family and friends!

23 thoughts on “Sunday Morning 8/14/2022: What a Week!

  1. I’m so glad to hear that you’ve settled in so quickly, and that the move went smoothly! I don’t know anything about Nashville, other than it’s a country music hotspot, so I look forward to hearing more about it as you start to explore 🙂

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    1. It’s beginning to feel as if life is returning to “normal’ or something like that. We’re looking forward to exploring Nashville as well – apparently there’s always a whole lot going on. Brett refuses to go to the Grand Ol’ Opry though (neither of us are big country music fans).

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  2. So much good news! It’s such a joy to see family when you haven’t been able to for ages. I love that lamp! And big kudos to Brett for putting the bed together without instructions. 😀

    Can’t wait to see pics of your puppy! We have had such a great experience with Chewy. We bought two beds before we came to the one that worked and fit into our dog’s crate. When I requested a return, they refunded me completely (both times!), suggested we donate them to an animal shelter and said they hope we find the right one. Seriously great customer service!

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    1. We missed them so much! We’re watching them both tonight so our son and DIL can go out to dinner, and then C will stay and spend the night with us.

      Brett is a savant when it comes to assembling things. I had no doubts he could get it done.

      I spent the afternoon perusing the Chewy site. Brett wants to shop locally first, but I found the harness I want on the Chewy site so we’ll see. Thanks for the good review! We are so excited to meet Kai, and hope we won’t be overwhelmed/worn out too quickly by his puppy energy.

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  3. Love your furniture and the view! So, so happy you are with your grandchildren and their parents!!! So fun!! Yes, Aldi has good prices.

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    1. Thanks, Cindy! We’re very happy with the furniture. Just one more piece is left to arrive and assemble (on Wednesday).

      We loved Aldi – the one here is similar to the one we used in England, but of course different products. It was nice to go back to Trader Joe’s as well.

      We are having a wonderful time with our grandkids (and their parents, of course)!

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    1. We had a chance to switch to an upstairs apartment with a fireplace, but decided to stay on the ground floor for our puppy, and after seeing the stairs it was a good choice. We would have also had carpet upstairs – so, so happy to have the laminate floors here.

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  4. I’m so happy for your new living arrangement. But mostly I’m just mouth gaping in awe of how organized, efficient and speedy you both are. You’re my inspiration.

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    1. We were so motivated this time to get settled as soon as possible so we worked extra hard. Having our furniture arrive two days after move-in also was a huge motivator to empty the boxes and get rid of the trash! I knew I wouldn’t feel settled though until the kitchen was done but I finished it yesterday. It took some thought and effort as storage is limited there but I found a place for everything that works.

      We still have to get our TV set up but need to get the LR outlets working again and get our TV cabinet delivered to get that last task done.

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  5. All I could think of when I saw your lamp picture was having to dust it! But one of those telescoping dusters would work great. You’ve done a marvelous job getting settled! I can’t wait to see puppy pics – good call on the rug and yay for laminate floors! I should be passing through around the second week of December and can’t wait to catch up in person!

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    1. We had the same lamp in the apartment we stayed in during our 2019 summer in Portland. It wasn’t very difficult to clean (thank goodness) as there are next to no horizontal surfaces.

      We will welcome you with open arms in December. You can stay here – we have a sleeper sofa now!

      Kai is adorable but very active (of course – he’s a puppy!). Almost can’t believe this time next week he’ll finally be with us. Our previous Shihpoo leaned heavily toward Shih Tzu, but Kai leans more poodle size and shape.

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  6. Everything looks so good, and having easy access outside will come in handy with the puppy. The tone of your blog is back to normal, it conveys different energy.

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  7. Welcome home! Things look lovely. Hoping you will share menu plans for all the yummy things you’ve stocked up on, your meals always look delicious.

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  8. The Grand Ole Opry just once is a must! I think it will be more interesting than he expects. Nashville will be humid! It is in a bowl, so flooding is common, too. But, it will be a great experience. Try Printer’s Alley.

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  9. I’ve never been to Nashville but a friend of mine was there recently and went to the Grand Ole Opry and enjoyed it, and she is not a country music fan, so I think you should check it out at least one time. Glad to hear you are getting settled and spending time with your family. My business trip to Montreal went well and I was amazed at how empty the airports were. I was not expecting that and I guess I must have been very lucky. Looking forward to seeing pics of your new puppy!

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    1. OK, you’re the second commenter who has said something positive about the Grand Ole Opry so maybe we will go check it out one of these days. Now that we’re almost done with the apartment we’re ready to start researching where we should go. First trip (after getting our puppy in Indiana) will be down to the Shiloh Civil War battlefield. Brett and I have been before, but it’s a very moving place to visit. We may also head down to Chattanooga to visit the city and the Lookout Mountain battlefield.

      Can’t wait to meet our little guy on Saturday!

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  10. Glad all is going well and you are getting settled in. Enjoy this special time with your grandchildren! And good luck with the puppy! Better you than me. LOL

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    1. We are both excited and nervous about adding a puppy, but the kennel says he is a love so we’re going with that. I think we’re ready too – picked up all the necessary supplies yesterday so we’re ready to bring him home.

      Otherwise we’re almost done with everything in the apartment and ready to relax and start enjoying our life here.

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  11. Welcome home! How wonderful to see the family! Command hooks are amazing. We hung pictures and curtain rods with them in our last house. We did it again when moving into our current house. We did “match paint” at Sherwood Williams when a bit of paint came off after the seven years of adhesive. Still, way less damage to the wall
    Have fun in your new adventure!

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    1. Command hooks come in an amazing array of sizes and uses now. We found most of what we needed at Target and Lowes, but I did have to order some speciality ones for hanging larger pictures on Amazon. We only hanging a few pieces of the art we kept here. I’m trying to keep it simple because we know we won’t be here that long.

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