Friday, January 20, 2012

Final Days in Albuquerque

Have you been missing me? I hope so!

Life has been moving at warp speed for us, lately, and my blog has suffered from neglect. Maybe once I get this move out of the way, I’ll have more time to be creative. Maybe.

So what has been keeping me so busy?


For the past 5-1/2 years I’ve worked the same job, and it has typically been a low-stress, not-so-busy position. However, now that I’m about to retire, everyone is giving me last-minute projects, knowing that it’s their final chance to have my help. I’ve been swamped and, most days, working over-time.

We took Tim to dinner one evening earlier this month to celebrate his 36th birthday. It was actually a dual-celebration - for his birthday and for a wonderful job promotion that he just received. Some of Tim's friends - a couple and their two daughters - joined us at the Mongolian Grill on this occasion.

Since Christmas for Mom and Tim was derailed due to hazardous road conditions, we thought it would be nice to have a Christmas-in-January get-together, over the MLK weekend. Tim and I both had that Monday off, but Dan had to work so wasn’t able to go with us. We went down on Saturday and came home on Monday. We had a very nice visit which included opening presents; Sunday morning worship; Sunday lunch with Mom’s lunch-bunch; a trip to Carlsbad’s wonderful little coffee shop (The Yellow Brix) on Sunday afternoon; some game-playing; and non-stop conversation.


This last part of our move was supposed to be easy, but I'm struggling with indecision at every turn. When I try to sort things according to their final fate - to be moved, to be given to friends, to be donated to Goodwill, to throw away - I just seem to be spinning my wheels. Over the past year I've parted with many, many things. Some of them were major items, such as pieces of furniture, small appliances, etc. But now, at this crucial juncture, I find myself standing and staring at such insignificant things as a plastic pancake turner or some worn-out hot pads, and agonizing over whether to take them or leave them. I’m also struggling with timing. For instance, is it too early to pack or get rid of kitchen things? If I pack things up, that means the kitchen is basically CLOSED FOR BUSINESS. The indecision is making me begin to wonder if I've lost my mind!

Saying good-bye is hard, but doing it over a meal seems to make the best of a difficult thing.
• I’ve occasionally mentioned our friends, David and Lorraine. They were our neighbors until we sold our house. And no one could have asked for better neighbors! We will surely miss them. Right before Christmas we got together with them for dinner. The plan was to go to Olive Garden, but when we learned that there was an hour’s wait to get seated, we walked next door and dined at Red Lobster. We talked about getting together once more, before our departure, but time has gotten away from all of us, and I don’t think that will happen.
• I’ve known Pam since we first moved here, and we’ve become close over the years. “Our place” for lunch has always been Sweet Tomatoes, which is where we met last week to share a meal, share family news, and say good-bye. Surprisingly, I learned that Pam is also moving from Albuquerque, in fact she will be leaving before we do!
• Our friends, Mike and Paula; Gabe and Alicia; and, possibly, Nolan and Shirley are taking us to dinner this evening at El Pinto, one of Albuquerque’s oldest and best Mexican restaurants. We eat Sunday lunch with these folks every week, so it will be a bitter-sweet time, knowing that our shared times together are coming to an end.
• Next Wednesday we will probably eat far too much, since my colleagues are taking me to a retirement breakfast at The Range; Dan has been invited to come, as well. Then, at noon, Dan’s office friends are taking him out for a retirement lunch at P.F. Chang’s, and I’m invited to that! With all that good food, we won’t need to eat anything the day before or the day after!


I’ve been trying to figure out the logistics of the final cleaning of the apartment. If we clean one day, and then spend the night there before leaving the next morning for Texas, we’ll end up having to use the bathrooms again, to get ready, and then have to clean them once again. But, unbelievably, this whole thing has been solved for us. A dear friend from our church family, Wayne, who takes care of the maintenance on our church building and keeps it sparkling clean, told us he wants to give us a going-away gift . . . to do the final cleaning of our apartment after we leave, and then turn in the keys for us. I tried to say “no,” but he would not hear it. What a blessing this is going to be! Thank you Wayne. We love you!

Tim asked me, the other day, "What will you miss after you leave Albuquerque?" I've actually been thinking on that question ever since he posed it. Here are the things that have come to mind:
• Tim
• Our good friends
• The Northeast Church of Christ
• The light . . . The quality of sunlight at this high altitude, and the amazingly vivid blue skies, can't be matched at lower altitudes.
• The hot air balloons . . . Not only during the once-a-year Balloon Fiesta, but for most of the year balloons are dotting Albuquerque's early morning skies. I can't help but smile whenever I see them.
• The mountain . . . the mountain that lies on the eastern edge of Albuquerque is beautiful, especially in the evening, when the setting sun (there's that sunlight, again!) turns it a brilliant red. By the way, that mountain, glowing red at sunset, reminded the early Spanish settlers of a slice of watermelon, which is why the range was named Sandia, Spanish for watermelon. We won't have any mountains to look at in Temple.

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