Ten Things I Love About Returning To My Hometown

At the early part of July I moved back to my hometown of Kellogg, Idaho. Any of you that have moved know that part isn't fun. It can be a lot of work when the weather is hot and there is lots of heavy furniture and tubs of holiday decor.

The transition from our house in Kettle Falls to the house we are purchasing in Kellogg has been draining also. My life has been consumed with paperwork, flood inspections, insurance research, repairs on the house in Kettle Falls, bank business, and appraisals. I am sure this will all end soon.

I do love living in Kellogg, Idaho and here are just ten reasons:

1. I live next door to my mother. 
It is so nice to check in with Mom over coffee in the morning, over the fence while we are gardening, or even by phone when we are lazy. Meals are sometimes shared and Mom outdoes herself with her signature dishes that I love to eat... like her potato salad today.

2. I live five minutes from my sister and her family.
What a joy to be able to see my sister and her family more. We can enjoy dinner in her beautiful back yard, have a movie night, or just catch up on what is going on. My nieces are gone or will soon be gone again for the school year, but it was a joy to spend time with them also.

3. People in Kellogg are friendly. 
Every place I go, people are so friendly. They go out of their way to help at stores, parking lots, and around the neighborhood. We feel so welcome here.

4. Sunsets.
This may seem a silly reason to some of you, but where I lived before we never had a sunset. The sun disappeared early behind Bangs Mountain and we missed the enjoyment of sunsets. Here they are spectacular and daily.

5. I am three minutes from a grocery store, espresso stand, and hardware store.
 During the last twenty years I have had to drive thirty minutes or more to get anything at a store. Coffee drinks were a big treat. I don't have to fill my trunk with food and paper products to last me for weeks. I can buy when I need things. Wow.... a big change.

6. Good restaurants. 
 If we choose, we can eat at a good restaurant any time of the day and only have to drive five to ten minutes. For many of you that is a given. It hasn't been for us for a long, long time. It is such a luxury now. We are enjoying it.

7. I have lifelong friends here. 
I haven't had time yet to really connect with many friends, but I love that two showed up at my door to welcome me home, many joined me up the river to celebrate our birthdays, and I have reconnected with others at places I have gone in the valley.

8. We don't have to take out a second mortgage to pay for gas.
That is an exaggeration, but I can't believe the difference in our gas bill since we relocated. We don't have to drive fifteen to thirty miles each time we went  to work, to shop, play, or eat. Awesome.

9. I get a real newspaper. 
When they stopped delivering the Spokesman Review to my rural route in Ferry County I was devastated. It is just not the same reading it online. It is a simple pleasure to wake up, make coffee, and have two real newspapers to read in the morning. Just call me Old School.

10. JEJ likes it also.
It was quite a change for my husband to make, leaving an area he had lived for many years, but he was ready for a new adventure. I am so pleased we are on this adventure together and he likes it also. We have many more adventures ahead that I will share.

Besides, where else can I be the descendant of a jackass?

Sibling Assignment #168: Seeing the Pacific Ocean With New Eyes

Sister Carol gave the assignment this week. "Write about some of the memories you have when we all gathered at the Oregon Coast and share those memories and stories in your next post." I will link the siblings' posts when completed. 

This was very difficult because every trip to the Oregon Coast held its own set of memories. Even though I wrote about this trip on Sibling Assignment #104 which you can find here, I am going to write again about our 2009 trip to Rockaway Beach, Oregon. We rented a house close to town and the ocean. It housed all of us, but some beds/couches were a bit awkward and uncomfortable, but we survived with laughter.

This is the last trip we took as a family anywhere.   It is hard to manage schedules with busy family members, people moving, and other events that get in the way. I hope we are able to schedule another trip some time that includes everyone. 
The most significant thing for me about this trip was Everett seeing the Oregon coast for the first time. It was like seeing it with new eyes . The northern half of the Oregon coast is the most beautiful to me. Rockaway was a new place to explore. As I said in the first post, what I loved the most about it was the ocean beach. It was crammed with people, it was easy to navigate, and Mom with her new hip could even take a walk on the beach. The dogs loved their first trip to the ocean and if Paul hadn't caught her, I think Annie would have chased a seagull all the way to Seaside. Everett appreciated the beauty of the ocean and the scenic views on our drives.

We stopped along the way at  these scenic points so Everett could grasp new information about the Oregon Coast and I could take lots and lots of pictures. Of course there are always outings. If you can blend a trip to the Tillamook Cheese factory and a winery in the same outing, that is a good thing. It is always fun to take site seeing trips with my family. Everyone finds little treasures or a good bottle of wine or fine cheese to try upon returning to the beach home. Often, sweatshirts or jackets from the place are a perfect remembrance of the trip. 

The other thing I remember about this trip is every was relaxed and had fun. There were no schedules, no things that had to be done, no agenda. Everyone felt comfortable choosing some of their own activities. We divided up the chores and cooking. It was another family gathering that bonded us closer together and created memories that are always brought up when speaking of the trip. We will always remember  Mom's wisecrack crossword clues, board game playing that made us all laugh, spectacular sunsets, sandcastles, photo opts, Bill singing to the iPod, and family. I was pleased Everett got to experience one of these trips with all of us. It was a perfect set of memories. 

Sibling Assignment #167: Images of Summer

I gave the assignment this week. 
"Pick a series of photos from your collection that symbolizes summer to you. Write a reflection on the summer photo choices." I will share the siblings' links when they are posted.

In our adult lives we three siblings have never lived in the same town, or even within a couple hours of each other. Our early adult time was occupied with building, rebuilding, and ending marriages, raising children and pets, continuing with studies, and a focus on the work of our professions. We each had a house to keep up, gardens to grow, and friends to see.  We worked on trying to see each other during a small window of time when we were free in the summer at the same time. Sometimes it helped if there was a special family event like a wedding. It helped also when we weren't all doing extra jobs in the summer like Shakespeare Camp for Bill, the 6th St. Theater for Carol, or the Writing Project at U. of Idaho for me. In recent years we began to plan more intentially to spend time together. We called our time sibling outings. Sometimes we went somewhere together, sometimes we just had lunch and toured a park to take pictures, other times we all gathered at my house or Carol's. They weren't always in the summer either. The summer ones have good memories though.

 I created a collage of photos that shows the love, laughter, and the happiness we feel and were able to demonstrate in these pictures. Often Mom is part of our shenanigans. What I do know is that whenever we are together I can guarantee it will be a blast. We can laugh at just about anything. We can talk about serious things, and make family decisions and suggestions that impact the care of our mother.  We prepare meals together. Our sharp memories bring up stories that keep the laughter going. We love good food, Inland Empire places of interest, good drinks, and time. We appreciate simple beauty and are awestuck often by the beauty of northern Idaho and eastern Washington.  We aren't too fussy. We stayed in  a rustic cabin with no wifi where the Lochsa and the Selway merge and had fun even when we got a bit lost trying to find falls that were a bit dried up. 

In the picture of my sister in the middle at the top she was taking a series of photos on the ferry crossing Kootenay Lake in BC. It is memorable because she is in her zone not realizing I was trapped in the car on the ferry because I couldn't squeeze out of the small space provided. I still laugh when I see that picture. By the way, she got great photos.

We have phrases and words that make us laugh. In the picture with our mother Carol said one of those childhood words that nobody else would see as funny. We did. I couldn't even hold my head up I was laughing so hard. Not fussy... just three people that have made a point to put family first in planning events at least twice a year. Things have shifted now. I am living in the same town as my sister and mother. Brother Bill plans longer trips to spend here with the family. I am sure the sibling outings will continue.

 I have shared the quote below before. It is a favorite one that speaks to the relationship of siblings. 

 "To the outside world, we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters.
We know each other as we always were. We know each other's hearts. We share private family jokes.
We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time." - Clara Ortega 

Sibling Assignment #166: The Toughest Day in July

Brother Bill gave the sibling assignment for this week: 
I think we'd all agree that July,2015 was a most eventful month for all three of us. Choose one day out of this memorable month and focus on it and what happened. Write about why it stands out to you as especially noteworthy. Bill's is here, Carol's is here.

In July 2015 we finished packing a house, moved six cats to a new house, cleaned a house and prepped it to sell, moved as many plants as we could, weeded, moved two dogs, bought an air conditioner, helped load U Hauls on two different occasions, sprayed for yellow jackets, hornets, and wasps,  moved to a new house, began unpacking boxes there, got the animals settled, cleaned, began washing dishes by hand, began hanging clothes on a clothesline, began searches for lost items, celebrated four birthdays, one wedding, prayed for and visited a sick son in the hospital, met up with old friends in my hometown, had a cousin visit, and celebrated a milestone birthday with the Class of '73.

I could add more to the list which landed me back to Kellogg next door to my mother. The week we were packing and moving was the hottest early July I remember. One day it was 105 degrees. Lots of water was drunk and we were thankful for the AC and wasp spray at the Martin Creek house. 

Moving day July 6th was memorable because of  how the family worked as a team in hot, hot weather to pack a U Haul, two cards, and pick up with what was most important. I am so thankful for Everett, Paul, Carol, Bill and Molly. 

The day  that stuck out the most to me was July 8th. We couldn't fit everything in the first U Haul. We had lots of outdoor items and garage items that didn't fit. We all wanted to rest, but planned another trip to Martin Creek. Bill volunteered to travel with Everett and me to get another load. 

We knew it would be hot. We knew there would be lots of heavy items, and they would be loaded into a hot, stuffy trailer. But you know what?  We didn't slow down. We decided to do it.  Bill followed us in my car, we stopped and got a U Haul trailer, and we were back at it. 

Bill was instrumental in keeping a workable pace with Everett. Neither of them felt pushed so they took rests, pulled lawn chairs right up to the AC in the living room,  drank water, drank ice tea, told funny stories, and ate snacks,  Doing a job like this is tough when you are thirty, but we are seniors now.  We aren't used to heavy lifting. We aren't used to the hot temperatures while working. A big cupboard from the garage was moved, a table saw was loaded, more garden furniture was arranged, wasps were sprayed each time we hit a nest, and the blistering sun never went away. I swept and cleaned and moved outdoor decor.  We filled the trailer, the back of the pickup, and the back of  the car.  Bill kept the atmosphere upbeat and took care in our well-being. Nobody complained. We just worked.
We left Martin Creek that day feeling  accomplished.  We were hot and tired, but we smiled and waved and off we went for Kellogg. A cold drink from the fountain at Chevron never tasted better. The hanging flowers I wanted in Colville fit in the last open space in the back seat. We followed Everett and his load in case he needed a break. Everett suffered from cramps in his hands along the way, so we again took a rest and cooled down, but we prevailed. 
As we enjoyed the cool northern Idaho evening, I felt love and thankfulness for my brother Bill. He traveled across the states to be with us and help, he kept the whole moving experience upbeat, he never slowed down, he never complained, and he helped us persevere.  Thank you brother Bill from the bottom of my heart.