Hello, my dear friends! I know if you follow my blog, you have no doubt noticed that I have been absent for some time! Let me just say that there have been MANY LIFE CHANGES for me in these past few months and I would like to share what has been happening! As Maria from Sound of Music so appropriately would say, "Let's start at the very beginning.......!"
Back in October, my husband Jeff and I made the very difficult decision to move.....not just to another neighborhood, but to another state, CA, to be exact! We had the opportunity to live with our son, help take care of his 2 little girls, and actually be real grandparents, not just distance ones! Jeff also had some opportunities for some teaching and after much soul-searching, and prayer, we knew it was what we were supposed to do!! Even though we were so excited, we were also scared and extremely sad, as we were leaving a place we had called home for 9 years, the longest I have ever lived anywhere in my ENTIRE LIFE!! We were also leaving our daughter and her new husband, as well as my wonderful boss Marlene, and my beloved job at New England Saltbox!! Believe me when I say there were many tears on all of our parts, but everyone understood and was so supportive!! I am so very thankful for the many wonderful customers who also became friends, during my time at the Saltbox, and I truly miss Marlene, my co-workers, Mona and Jan, as well as all the antique dealers who I worked with!! I will always be so thankful for my time there, for the chance Marlene gave me to use my creativity and to develop and grow as an artist!! I was so blessed to be able to work there and am grateful beyond words!!!
Marlene gave me a special going away party at a lovely local lunch spot and I was deeply touched by all who came, by their sweet cards, and kind words of well wishes!!! How very thankful I am for these wonderful memories!!! I was so happy I waited to open the cards later, as I had a major crying party with only one other person in attendance with big shoulders to cry on!!!
Moving day was set for Wednesday, December 19th, and so began a frenzy of packing, cleaning, selling, giving away, working, and training!! So much to do in so little time!!! Let me just say that it was very hectic and we seemed to be coming and going at the same time!! I was able to even do some creating during this time, but due to packing it became more difficult, so I had to have a deadline for that as well!! How we got it all done, I still don't know, but with the help of our daughter and her husband, we were able to finally get the VERY BIG YELLOW TRUCK all loaded!! The next day we were leaving!!! Little did we know that we had some unexpected and major difficulties to go through..........
I awoke at 6 AM ready for the day, only to be told the terrible news that Jeff's mother had passed away that night!!! We were in a state of shock, as you can imagine, but we both knew that she was now in Heaven, free from pain, and with her Lord, who she had faithfully followed and served most of her life!! Due to our move, the family made arrangements to have her funeral on the 29th, which allowed us time to get moved, and spend Christmas with our son and granddaughters, before we had to fly to Ohio for her funeral, which Jeff was officiating! His mother was a very organized person and had all of her plans in place, including her funeral service, so thankfully, Jeff had it all ready and did not have to worry about that detail in the midst of all that we were already going through!! Peggy Louise Nash Zakrzewski was a wonderful woman, who was always so very good to me and I will miss her terribly, but am so thankful for how she touched my life!!!
We started our journey that day by going to the rental place to add the trailer that would carry our car on the long trip!! The truck was the largest Penske has, 27 feet long, and then with the trailer added, we are talking ONE LONG VEHICLE!!! Boy, was I glad I got to be the co-pilot!!! Here are a few photos, to give you an idea of the size!
We had actually been toying with the idea of me driving the car, but kept feeling it would be better to just ride together and we are certainly glad we made that decision, in light of losing Jeff's mom, and also for what was to come!!! Yes, we still had more unexpected troubles to go through!!
We left WA on a drizzly day, gray, cloudy, overcast, and chilly! Nothing out of the ordinary, and so we headed south on I-5, for southern Oregon, and our first stop! We planned to drive to just before the border, to allow ourselves time to go over Grants Pass in the daylight. The rental place told us we might need chains (REALLY??) but the weather report said the weather was fine, so we opted not to and just made our way south!! Unfortunately for us, a MEGA STORM was moving in and as we made our way south, we were driving right into it!!! We hit really heavy rains first and had to make an unexpected stop for the night much farther north than planned, but got up early to leave the next day, only to hear that the storm was so bad EVERYONE needed chains!!!!
All the truckers were saying it at the truck stops, and we were pretty scared as this was new territory for us!! Long story short, we found a Les Schwab and bought chains for the 2 large back tires on the truck and for the back tires of the trailer and PRAYED that everyone was wrong and we would not have to use them!!!!! Well, let me just say that THAT particular prayer did not get answered the way I wanted it to be!!! All of a sudden the road was CLOSED!! NO ONE WAS GOING ANYWHERE!!! We pulled off at a rest stop with about 50 other trucks and waited, and waited, and waited!! Finally, a trucker came over and helped us put our chains on and WHAT AN EXPERIENCE!!! Those big one weighed about 35+lbs each and we were so thankful for his help!! We finally heard that the road was open and off we went.....clanking down the road!! Sadly, for some reason, one of the large chains came off and what a nightmare that was, with Jeff running down the road to retrieve it, and then both of us trying to put it back on, with trucks and cars whizzing by and getting absolutely FILTHY, with slush, rain and wind!! I was terrified we would get hit, or not be able to get the chain back on and all of a sudden I see flashing lights and a road worker stops, comes up to me and says, "You don't need the chains after all, so just take them off!" I just started sobbing as it was so stressful, but I was so happy we could take them off, so began the difficult task of taking them off, and getting them back in the truck!!! I have never been SO DIRTY, YET SO HAPPY, in my life!!! No More Chains!!!! Hooray!!!
We made it over the pass and were again headed south, when all of a sudden......NOT AGAIN!!! The road was closed ahead!!!! WHAT? REALLY??? Yes, really!! They had us detour at an exit and we were told that due to the snow, freezing rain, and ice, there had been a 60 plus vehicle pile up further south so the road was closed till further notice!! Let me just say that I was pretty much at my limit by that time and so was Jeff, so we just took it that God knew we needed a rest and so.....we rested!! At this particular exit, there was a casino, and so that is where we found refuge for the evening!! It was a really nice place, we had a wonderful room for a really great price, and they had a Seafood Buffet that night....all you could eat!!!! So we truly thankful for that short break!! The hotel was keeping us posted about the road and we found out they finally opened it but it would be closed again soon due to yet ANOTHER STORM, so off we went, again heading south!! We found out that ALL VEHICLES needed chains, so once again Jeff and I had to get them on!! We were experts by this time, and together we did it in record time!!! Jeff said he was truly impressed with my skills!!! We were all chained up and ready to go and went through a check point and off we went!! Our trip was ending up taking us much longer than planned and we were all pretty anxious, but at least we were safe! Then, for the 3rd time, they closed I-5 AGAIN!!! So, we stayed the night in Yreka, and left early the next morning with the hope that we could get through all this snow!!! After a very long and stressful drive, we again put on the chains and drove for quite some time with them, and FINALLY, the road was CLEAR!!! Off came the chains, and off we went for our new home!!! I will not bore you with more details, but we finally arrived in Highland, CA on the evening of Dec. 23rd!! We were a few days later than we wanted to be, but we were safe and sound and HAPPY to be there!!
We had a wonderful first Christmas with our 2 beautiful granddaughters, Bella, who just turned 3, and Sophia, who will be 2 in July, and it was so much fun to see them open presents and get to meet us too!! We had to quickly unpack the truck and just store things as we had to fly to Ohio for the funeral! We were able to be with family and celebrate Mom's life together and all in all, it was a beautiful time of joy, tears and memories! Jeff did a beautiful job at the funeral and everyone was deeply touched!! We were so very thankful we could be there and though we all miss Mom, we are grateful for how she has touched us all!!!
We flew back to CA on the 2nd of January and are presently making Highland our new home!! There have been some computer issues, Internet issues, and phone issues, and we are hoping to have things finally set soon!! I was without a computer for so long due to Internet issues, but am now back online and hoping to get creating soon!!! My life has certainly changed as I am now, "Gamma" and loving it, as I take care of the girls from Wed-Sat. and it is a very busy time, as you can imagine!!
Jeff goes to Phoenix to teach a class 2 days a week, and our son is finishing school, and starting an internship soon, so life is busy for all of us!! It has been MAJOR LIFE CHANGES for me, but I am embracing this new season in my life and am excited for the future!!! I am so very thankful for your friendship and patience with me, for all of you who have sent me emails and calls, asking how I am doing, and for your concern and prayers! Thank you for caring and for being a part of my life!! I'm sorry for such a long post, but just felt I wanted to explain what has been happening!! I promise the next one will be much shorter!!! Thanks for taking the time to stop by, for all of you new followers who came along in my absence, and for all of you who share your life with me!! I am so deeply grateful!!!
Wishing you all a wonderful week, my friends~~