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!
- 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).
- 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!