Sunday, December 20, 2015


2015 Dec 18

It has been one month, and a couple of days, since our return to the western Pennsylvania area. It has been a month of adjustments, changes, and adaptations, along with new beginnings in old situations.

We have settled in at our new-to-us home, in Ambridge.  We have met a few of our neighbors, and discovered that, in addition to us, there are several other newcomers to our immediate neighborhood. We felt extremely blessed that the weather in western PA was unseasonably warm during our first month back. That made for easier adaptation, after experiencing little true winter weather these past four years. 

We have gotten much of what we needed to furnish and make our house functional. Because of the kindness of Martha, we have seating in our den, and side tables in our family room/man cave. In the living room, we have a brand new sofa, thanks to the benevolence of Carolyn. The future family space, or man cave, in our finished basement, has plenty of seating thanks to Barbara, who also, through her generous gift to us, made possible several Craig’s List purchases, and the ability to hire people with trucks to haul Martha’s wonderful donations, as well as the family room furniture. And, dear Pat and Van, supplied us, through their bountiful Home Depot gift card, a new microwave, and large wheeled trash receptacles! The previous owners left us a couple of lamps, as well. All in all, the only things still on our list of needed items are a bed frame and headboard, and more kitchen chairs, and possibly an expandable table, for when more than four people are eating together.

We have a wonderful bunch of friends and family, who made the adjustments that much easier. Dear Laura, who in the midst of her own life altering events, came to North Carolina, as promised, to drive our Jeep back for us. I cannot  thank her enough! My brothers, Vinny and Davey, who loaded all the stuff that had been stored in Vinny’s attic and basement, and brought it to our house AND unloaded it! All before we ever arrived! Again, thank you pales as a response to their hard work. And again, Vinny, on the day we arrived from North Carolina, spent five long hours, helping us unload the RV, and bring all that stuff into our new home. THEN he drove the Jeep, following me to the storage facility where the RV is now living. I am lucky to have such a brother. And Bill & Ann, my brother and sister-in-law, who are Ambridge residents, who have been helping us each step of the journey, though their guidance, their local knowledge, and their kindness. My sweet niece Jennifer, who brought us a beautiful Himalayan Salt candle holder, and offers unending positivity and love. 

On December 1, I began a new beginning, in an old situation. I returned to the family for whom I previously babysat. Another blessing, to be sure! When I was their babysitter in the past, there were two children, now there are three. My previous young charges have grown and changed. The boy, who is approaching nine years old, informed me the other day, while crossing a busy street in a commercial area, that he really didn’t hold anyone’s hand anymore. I explained that while I certainly understood, I was a bit nostalgic for the little boy whose hand I used to hold and who willingly held mine. His response: "That’s what my Mom says, too". The girl child, too, has changed from the tomboy, who happily wore her brother’s hand-me-downs and played in the dirt, to a junior Diva, with a flair for the dramatic, who loves wearing party dresses. The youngest, who came along after my tenure, seems to be a sweet, soft-spoken child. He and I are just beginning to establish a relationship. The only drawback to the job, is my commute. It is a 35-40 minute drive in the morning, which is long, but manageable, since the hour is early and traffic is usually light. However, my return commute is long and for three quarters, usually heavily trafficked. It sometimes stretches to 60-75 minutes, deals with crossing bridges at the downtown area, which any Pittsburgher will tell you, is stressful. I am attempting to learn calmness and developing the ability to go with the flow, even if the flow is only moving at 5 mph.

All in all, I am glad to be back. Nearer to family. In a familiar situation. In a house which is much more manageable than the one we left. And, the lessons we learned along the way, have made us different people than the ones who headed out on the road. Better? Maybe. Wiser? Definitely.

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