Archive for the ‘California’ category

Why Blog?

March 29, 2018

The time has come to answer the question “why blog?”. I have been writing this blog now for about six years. Here I go. In March, I turned 70.

I started the blog back in the spring of 2012. My wife Paula and I had made the decision to sell our house in Billerica, MA and move to San Pedro, CA to live with Paula’s aging  mother. At the time, we had lived in the house for 30 plus years. Moving across the country was not going to be easy. Thus the name of the blog became “Cal-here-we-come”

So, what do I write about? Blogging gives me the opportunity to document the things that are going on in our lives. So I write about Mary and the the trials and tribulations of elder care. I write about our travels. In 2012, I wrote about our trip to Ireland. I write about books I’ve read and movies we’ve seen.

Paula’s mother had her 94th birthday back in January. Back in 2012, she was living alone. Paula’s Dad had died in 2009. Paula is an only child, so there was nobody else to step up to the plate to watch over Mary. We were beginning to hear stories of occasional falls and trips to the ER. Nothing very serious but it was establishing a trend.

She has been living in a 3 bedroom condo since about 2010. There was plenty of room for us.

Another factor that helped in our decision was that one of our sons lives in the area along with our two very cute grand children. We have another son who lives in Salt Lake City. If our sons were still living in MA, we would have flown out to San Pedro, packed Mary up and moved back to MA. But they live out here now, so we are too.

In 2011, Paula had been out to visit about three or four times. I couldn’t go, because I was working as an IT contractor at IBM. No work, no pay. We had a mortgage to pay. After each trip, she came back with more stories of woe.

So on April 1, 2012 our house of thirty years went on the market. We were lucky, we had an offer in 10 days. It happened a lot faster than we expected. So Paula and I both gave our notice to our jobs. Then we both filed for Social Security. They say that the three most import rules of real estate are location, location, location. In our case, selling our house, it was timing, timing, timing.

Closing was set for June 21, 2012. Time to start selling furniture and making arrangements to ship the small amount of stuff we were going to send to California.

We spent two weeks in July of 2012 touring Ireland. Finally, we shipped a few more boxes of stuff to LA and then on August 2 we hit road for LA.

Caution: Rainy When Wet

March 6, 2018

2018-03-06 11.58.40I live in Los Angeles. It doesn’t rain very often here. in the past couple of days, we’ve had the first measurable rain in the better part of a year.

I even had to turn on my windshield wipers. Let’s see, where’s that knob? Wow, they still work.

So after seeing pictures of the flooding back in Mass. over the past few days, I was amused by this sign on the door to our local super market. I guess they felt the need to tell people that the floors get slippery when they get wet. Of course, today the sun was shining. It may of course rain again this year. Can’t be too careful.

Bacon

December 10, 2017

Today I was with my family eating breakfast after church at one of our favorite places called the “Pacific Diner” in San Pedro. By now, all of the wait staff generally know that I will be ordering Bacon and Eggs.

So several months ago, I was sitting next to my grandson Jonathan. So, he asked me what was on my plate, pointing at the bacon. That’s bacon, I tell him. Would you like a taste? Yes, he says. From that day forward, Mike would have to order a side of bacon for the kids.

So fast forward to today. Jonathan has an omelet of some kind with bacon. So I tell him how men eat bacon. You don’t eat it with a fork and knife. You can pick it up with your fingers if you like but that is not ideal.

I show him how to pick up a half slice of toast, add some jelly and put the bacon on the toast and then fold in half. Tastes great.

So Paula asks me why men always eat bacon on toast like that. I tell her that’s because it’s the right way to eat bacon. Gotta teach young lads early.

Home

May 25, 2017

I’m just beginning to unwind from our whirl wind trip to Massachusetts. We visited many friends and family over a six day trip. Weather was very nice. We had a great trip. I even saw a thunder and lightning storm. Luckily I didn’t have to go out and drive in the storm. Don’t see that very much out west here.

Many of our friends said to us “Welcome Home”. But here’s the thing. I have spent most of my life living in Mass., including 36 years in Billerica. We have been living in San Pedro now for almost 5 years. Mass. doesn’t feel like home anymore. San Pedro is our home now and it feels like home to me.

Will we ever move back? Don’t know. Probably not. I don’t like moving. We’ll be back again next May.

LAX Sucks

May 23, 2017

LAX is one huge airport. We arrived home last night after a long non stop flight from Boston. The service was great on Delta and the flight was pretty much on time. Smooth sailing all the way until we got to LAX. That’s when thing went south. 

Our Boeing 737 pulls up to the gate. Seat belt sign goes off and everyone rises to gather their belongings. And then we wait. There was no gate agent to operate the jetway. So finally after 5-10 minutes, the jetway is moved into place and everyone proceeds to exit the aircraft. So were at gate 21 in terminal 2. So I think to myself, this is pretty good, not a long walk to baggage claim. 

So we get on the escalator down to baggage claim. Sign says our luggage will be on carousel 5. There is no carousel 5 in terminal 2. There are carousels 1-4. Carousel 5 we learned is a way down the road in terminal 3. Not good. My legs and feet are killing me. About half way there, we meet some of the people that were on our flight heading back towards terminal 2. So we do an about face and head back to the carousels in terminal 2. They tell us our luggage will not be on carousel 5 but on one of the carousels in terminal 2. So eventually we find our luggage coming down the chute on carousel 2. No notice, no signage.

So with luggage in hand we head out to the street to look for where our shuttle to our parking lot would be. There were signs for rental cars, hotels, etc. but nothing about parking shuttles. We see one of our shuttles fly by, but we were to far away to flag him down, That happened one more time. Feet and legs are getting worse.So eventually we find a small sign that states that parking shuttles are up stairs on the departure concourse. So up the escalator we go. Finally we got on a bus for “Wally Park” only to find out that “Wally Park” and “Wally Park Express” are two different parking lots and shuttles. “Wally Park Express” (which we were looking for) picks up down stairs. ARGGGGG!!!! Nice driver agreed to take us to WPE. I think maybe he was fearing for his life if he didn’t take us. So he took us to our car and he helped us load our luggage into the Jeep.

So we got into the Jeep and settled up with the cashier. Then off we went heading for the 405. We stopped at an In-n-Out burger joint to pick up a hamburger for Paula and a double-double for me. Man it was good to get into my old Jeep. It’s well broken in and comfortable. I was much relieved to turn in the rental Ford Expedition. More about that later. It’s good to be home.

Harold’s Slides – Deep Dive #2

March 17, 2017

I was back to scanning my father-in-law Harold’s slide collection. A few weeks ago I finally purchased a scanner for 35mm slides. The current batch is from 1977 and 1978. I can tell that because the slides got imprinted with the month and year that they were processed. There are boxes and boxes of slides tucked away in the store room down on Gaffey Street. I took one box that has 10 slide trays. Each slide tray has about 100 slides. Today I did about 200 slides. They cover a bunch of activities and events. There was a trip to Hawaii, a trip to Yosemite National Park (I think for a Park Service reunion). A wedding for someone named David. [Paula sez he was one of Harold’s students]. Still don’t know who the bride is. Nice looking couple but I don’t have a clue who they are.

So here goes:

Yosemite

Hawaii

Nice Sunsets:

Cornerstone Pictures LA Harbor Lodge

Looks like I’m going to be doing this for a while.

  Mary

March 13, 2017

Time for an update. On Sunday afternoon Mary and I are sitting at our dining room table. Paula is out walking around the neighborhood. 

So Mary is reading the Sunday newspaper. She sees a full page for the show called “Shen Yun“. Shen Yun is a Chinese music and dance production that tours every year throughout the USA. 

Seeing as our daughter in law is from Taiwan, we tend to be aware of Chinese cultural stuff. So we had taken Mary to see a production about three years ago in downtown LA. It’s a quality production and worth going to see it. But I don’t feel the need to do it again.

So Mary says to me, I’d like to go see this. I then told her that it wasn’t going to happen. I explained to her that we went to see it three years ago with you. Do you remember? Of course not.

I try to explain to her that the production is downtown LA at the Dorothy Chandler pavilion and parking is difficult. Even with her HP placard, there would be a lot of walking and lots of steps.  She doesn’t handle walking long distances well. And it is especially difficult for her at night when the way forward is not any too clear.

So I tell her that prices range from $70-$200 per person. The cheap seats are in the balcony and she certainly wouldn’t be able to navigate to that locale. I told her not going to happen. Not on my watch. As it stands right now, she has to sit and rest while walking to the elevator which is about 20 yards.

At this point she breaks down and starts to sob. I try to tell her that until you can manage the little stuff you can’t do the big stuff. Mary has a habit of canceling at the last minute if she is feeling dizzy (which is most all of the time). So it would be high likelihood that we wouldn’t go and get stuck with cost of three tickets to the show.

One of the really nasty things about dementia is that steals away a lifetime of memories. Much as we try to show her pictures of her. They do little good to remind her of what she once was. Very sad.

I guess the crying and sobbing was her thoughts on her current situation. I.e. Going downhill. We try to push her some to get up out of bed and do things but the call of the bed is very strong. As time goes by, she is doing less and less. This month she will not be going to the Assistance League luncheon. She used to always go and get her hair done before. Now, it doesn’t happen.

In other news, we have found a couple of friends (one from church, one of my Lodge brothers) willing to come stay with Mary while Paula and I go to a movie. Truly a God send. And, flight reservations have been made and paid for our annual trip to Boston in May. We have requested care givers from a local agency for the week that we will be gone. We so look forward to this trip to get back east to see many of our East coast friends. 

TTFN

Joe