12 October 2008

The Once and Future Life (Part 3 of Moving to Virginia)

With the Baby Blessed, the Family Reunioned, and the newlyweds off on their Honeymoon, we stopped overnight again in Houston then flew back to Virginia to start a new life - or should I say restart the life we had when we left 5 years ago? We spent 4 weeks in hotels before our house came open. It was suppose to be a time of rest and recuperation from our hectic summer activities. It did not exactly turn out that way. The problem with not moving for 5 years, is one forgets how much work there is to do, how many things need to be re-established. Everything from which cell phone plan to get, to establishing residency to get new drivers licenses, vehicles registered, and a thousand other things. Not sure how we ever did it with kids to get registered for shcool and all that on top of it.

Now, 10 weeks later, we are in the house, our possessions arrived mostly intact, but we are still working on the house, to help it recover from 5 years of renters, and basic neglect. There was no serious damage, just the house was filthy, carpets worn out, and all our painting and decorating had been white washed. So we rolled up our selves, dipped in the paint brush, and went to work. We are still working. It seems everything in Virginia costs twice as much as we expected. Every endeavor is another shock to the system. Our savings that was suppose to last us a while is quickly draining out as we replace flooring and make needed repairs.
But this will be home for us for a few years at least. I reach a milestone in 3 years when I can retire from the government service and immediately start drawing retirement pay. I will not have the means to stop working then, but it opens up possibilities that are not available to me now. But that is for another time...

We look ahead to new adventures here in the eastern USA. Lots of things to see and do. No family near by, but they are much closer and easier to go see from DC than from Germany. Also much easier to call. The house in Germany started to feel empty after all the kids left home for college and missions. It takes some getting use to being empty nesters.

Germany, so real and dear to us for so many years seems now just like a dream. Were we really there that long? Did we really do all those things? It is hard to re-adjust to life here in Virginia. I never really got use to it before. But will have to now. Even while we miss our past life, we know that with time memories of this place will be made, and someday we may even look back fondly on our time here.

The memories of living in Germany hang in our minds, like the pictures and souvenirs hanging on the walls in this house. I gaze around and wonder if it was all just a sweet dream that I have awakened from, or is this all a dream and I will one day awaken from it. My mind knows this is real, but my heart misses the friends and places so familiar.

Now we have a new reality to experience. A new life to build. New chapters to write in the story of our existence. Thank you all for the memories, and may our roads cross again on some distant path.

"is it living, or just existence?"

Wedding Bells (Part 2 of Moving to Virginia)

After visiting our new granddaughter and her proud parents in Houston, we flew to Spokane Washington for a Family Reunion on Elaine's side. It was a bit hectic with all the family in the Christensen Homestead, but we all got along, and enjoyed each others company. The girls had a wedding shower for Adri,

..while the men went to shoot each other with paintballs in the heat. I am certain the women had a better time than we did. That may be the last paintball event for family reunions, as us older guys are getting a little slow running around in the desert with heavy clothes. But it was good to see most fo the family together again. Mom & Dad do a good job of getting the family together every other year.

One of the highlights of the week was going through the Spokane temple with Adrianne and Russ as Adrianne took out her endowments. It was neat to be there with Grandma & Grandpa and Garrett & Tyler & Russ all together in the Temple.

After the reunion, Everyone flew back home - to Provo or Mesa to prepare for the Wedding. Tyler and I drove 12 hours to Provo one day, spent the next day getting him set up for school, and left the next day with Garrett for another 10 hour trip to Mesa.

Because of the heat in Arizona in August, Adri & Russ decided to have their reception the night before the sealing. We spent the day getting the cultural hall decked out, and enjoyed the festivities.

I dont have many digital images of the reception or wedding. You can link to Adri's Blog Blog or the Stinson Clan blog to see many images. I include a few of the set up, for completeness.