Home is where the heart is …
1 August 2017, Mount Pleasant PA USA
So, if you read my three-month update, you know that my sweetie Glenn, sister Barbara and I made it successfully from Minneapolis to Pittsburgh with my car and a U-Haul. I will be eternally grateful to them for their help.
When we arrived in Squirrel Hill, my new neighborhood, last night, we left the U-Haul in the parking lot of my apartment building. I breathed much easier when it easily fit in the underpass to the back parking lot. Glenn got his car, and we drove here. Tomorrow he has a 4-H meeting in Harrisburg, and Barbara and I will return to Squirrel Hill to start the move-in process.
This morning I got the keys to my new apartment and met Aaron, the landlord. Actually we ran into him just after we pulled into the parking lot. He seems like a nice fellow, open and friendly and involved in his properties. The steps to the third floor (second floor for my European/African readers) aren’t as bad as I had expected, and the apartment is bigger than I remembered. Definitely need chairs for the living area and a rug for the hardwood floors.
We drove across the river to The Waterfront in Homestead. The Waterfront is a river side development that breathed new life into a dead steel town, a “new town” with shops, restaurants and curbside parking as well as big box stores on the edges. And along the river housing units — apartments and townhouses — and a biking/hiking/walking path the follows the Monongahela River for many miles.
At The Waterfront Target store I found the same rug that Barbara and I had seen in Minneapolis. I bought it and left it in the apartment along with a few other things. Tomorrow the local movers come to schlepp everything up the stairs.
Of course it was a hot, hot day, but that’s why I paid to have my worldly possessions carried by professionals up to the third floor. My apartment is right at the head of the staircase, making the trip the shortest possible. Still, all three fellows were sweating up a storm. I passed out cans of cold water. They put the plastic caps under the heavy bedroom dresser and re-assembled the bed and a bookshelf for me. And Barbara and I started unpacking, also sweating. Once everything was in and the movers left, I turned on the air conditioner — window-style in the living room. Took Barbara to Mitchell’s for lunch. That’s my favorite seafood restaurant along the river at The Waterfront, and it has great air conditioning for a day like today.
We’re staying at Glenn’s again tonight since I don’t have enough things unpacked for a comfortable night here. He had to be in Harrisburg for a 4-H meeting today but should be home by the time we get there.
2 August, Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh
First night in the new place. Slept well. Barbara said the blow-up mattress is comfortable.
The days are a blur — unpacking, shopping, cleaning, organizing. And since lots of others in the building are doing the same, the trash bins remind me of Rome — full to the brim and overflowing onto the ground. I hope tomorrow is garbage day. And I have to ask Aaron which bin(s) is for recycling and which for trash — they all say recycling but are definitely full of trash. Taking Barbara to the airport shortly. It’s been so great having her here and her help has been invaluable. As I said to her the other day when we cleaned the living room window, sisters are wonderful, tall sisters with long arms are awesome.
Later, Mount Pleasant
We made a stop in the Strip District for a bit of wandering and then brunch at a restaurant that Barbara and Chris had found in March. Excellent food. Was strange walking in the Strip District in warm weather; we’re usually here in hockey season. Lots of vendors with sidewalk displays, several huge fresh fruit and vegetable stands. i stopped at the Italian store and got some prosciutto for Glenn, and picked up a lovely looking cantaloupe to go with it.
Had one of my driving adventures when I allowed the GPS to take me a short cut. It took me through assorted neighborhoods until I got to the Fort Pitt Tunnel, which I had been trying to avoid. Ah, well.
7 August, Happy Birthday to Christopher’s sweetie Jennifer
8 August, Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh PA
On the way to IKEA today Glenn and I saw a real anomaly — a pick up crossed the double line in the Fort Pitt Tunnel. It’s only the third time in my whole life that I’ve seen that happen. It’s illegal but more importantly, everyone knows what a total disaster even a fender bender can be in a tunnel.
At IKEA I bought a television stand and small nightstand, both of which Glenn carefully and laboriously put together after carrying the boxes up here. What a wonderful man! I told him if he hadn’t been around, I’d’ve paid IKEA to deliver and assemble as I do not have that kind of patience — or I’d’ve gone to a furniture store. The apartment is looking more like home.
Glenn put the television in place, disconnecting all of the cables and wiring and reconnecting them so they are all behind the table. I tried my Apple TV and yet again could not get it to work. It hadn’t worked yesterday either. Much frustrated, I went online and arranged a call back from an Apple Genius. I explained the situation and he gave me two different things to do with no result. Then he asked, “When was the last time you recharged your remote?” And I replied, “I’ve never recharged my remote. I didn’t know I had to.” Duh. Connected the remote to a recharging cord and voila! It all works now.
Glenn brought his younger granddaughter Emma into “the city,” as my great-nephew Alijah called coming to see me in Minneapolis. I showed her the toy box and she took to the Matchbox cars as quickly as AJ from Stevens Park had.
We drove up to Frick Park, which is only about six blocks away but all up hill. There’s a big playground, and Emma had a ball climbing and sliding. She especially loved riding down the concrete hill/slide on a piece of cardboard. After lunch at Eat’n’Park, we spent a little more time at my place where she found the toy box again, then later fell asleep for a while. Pappy took her home before dark.
Glenn’s tied up with preparations for the Westmoreland fair for the next few days. I’ll be continuing my move in process and preparing for trips back to MN.
15 August, Golden Valley MN
Relaxing with friend Jan after flying in from Pittsburgh and driving from the airport. I hate rental cars but it’s a must this trip — my appointments are too spread out. Going to water ex in the morning, then to see Janet and Ed about last minute party issues. They have graciously allowed me to use their home and yard again. Not sure what I've done to deserve such wonderful friends, but I'm definitely keeping them!
Just a couple of regulars at water ex this morning, but felt so good to be back in the pool. Afterwards, Bente and I asked another woman in the Y locker room take our photo. She'd promised one to the GYN we share.
After water ex, breakfast at Elsie’s with David and his wife Nara who are home from Paris. David and I worked together on the project I managed in South Sudan, and we’ve kept in touch. He took a job in Paris a couple of years ago which means annual trips back to his home state, Minnesota, and catching up.
Tonight I have hair-and-dinner with friends Connie and Tom. We met in Adult Fitness at the Y in the late ‘70s, and Connie and I ran our first road race together. She’s done my hair almost since then, and now I have to find a new hair dresser.
17 August, my sister Barbara’s real 65th birthday
Barbara has to work late tonight so she can take tomorrow off. Can’t do anything special today, but tomorrow brother Dan arrives. We'll go to breakfast and take her to dinner at St. Genevieve to celebrate.
18 August, Happy Birthday to niece Tomery
Picked up Dan at the Metro, then breakfast with Barbara, meeting with financial planner, then time to relax before dinner. Having the three of us together was great; it’s been a long time. And the dinner at St. Genevieve was as good as the reviewers predicted. Barbara and I both had the excellent and perfectly prepared lamb.
Everything’s pretty much ready for Sunday. Niece Tomery has arranged “brunch,” her ruse for getting Barbara to the party. Tomery will bring Dan and Barbara as well as her beau Clint. Christopher will pick up Barbara’s New York friend Sharon who’s flying in. Our cousins Melanie and Dan and their spouses will drive from Illinois and join us. Looks like about 25 people in all.
I called Barbara’s friend Sharon this morning to learn when she’d land in case I could pick her up at the airport. Her flight was delayed. We talked about getting her together with Barbara on Saturday as Sharon has to leave early on Monday, not much visiting time. We agreed she’d call Barbara and say her NYC delay meant she’d missed a connection to a flight to Tahoe. Sharon texted me when she arrived, and we agreed she’d call Barbara once she’d checked into her downtown Minneapolis hotel.
Barbara, Dan and I were sitting on the deck at Barbara’s condo enjoying the beautiful day. When Sharon called, Barbara looked at her phone and said, “Oh, that’s just Sharon wishing me a happy birthday. I’ll call her back.” I told her to answer and to check the voice mail that was left but she declined. Via text to Sharon, I suggested she try in an hour. That time Barbara answered, Sharon told her our story and Barbara excitedly invited her to join us, which she did. Later in the evening, on my way back to Jan’s, I drove Sharon back to her hotel, and we agreed Barbara was clueless about the party. Amazing.
20 August, the big day
Yep, Barbara was actually surprised. I cannot believe we pulled it off.
Every one of Barbara’s friends told me on arrival how much she hates surprises, which I know. “This is one she has to endure,” I’d replied to each. To make it easier on her, I had everyone go out into the Fosters’ front yard as she arrived. That way we wouldn’t overwhelm her. I put the biggest surprises, Sharon and our cousins, in front
Because it was so hot, everyone mostly stayed indoors, but I think a good time was had by all, especially the guest of honor. And I loved finally putting faces to all the names of her friends and colleagues. Barbara said the only thing that gave her pause was Sharon staying at the W, a pricey boutique hotel. She couldn’t imagine an airline footing the bill for that.
We three Kanyrs and Sharon stayed at Fosters into the early evening while Barbara, Sharon and Janet’s son-in-law John played “Did you know? Do you remember?” about Denver and Colorado. John and Peggy live in Fort Collins, and he grew up in Denver.
21 August, Squirrel Hill
Craig brought Jaiden to Jan’s this morning, then Jaiden and I returned my rental car to the airport, checked our bags, got through security despite the forewarnings about possible long lines and off we went to Pittsburgh. Glenn and his older granddaughter Sara were in baggage claim waiting to meet us. We stopped at Cracker Barrel for something to eat before going to my place.
After Glenn and Sara returned to Mount Pleasant, Jaiden and I went to The Waterfront in search of food and a bit of leg stretching. We hit a few stores — he’s a price conscious shopper — then Giant Eagle (Jiahnt Iggle in local parlance) for some groceries. Mostly snacks and breakfast stuff since we’ll be sightseeing most days.
Back at the apartment, I got the blow up bed ready. Plenty of room so we won’t need to deflate it nightly; we can just push it to the corner.
What a day. Sunny and warm, perfect for a trip to the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium. Glenn and Sara arrived mid day, and Glenn drove. I didn’t recognize a thing — definitely not the zoo I saw at the kids’ ages. Now it’s a more animal friendly place, no cages, confined spaces are more natural. But it was hot and many animals were keeping cool in the shade or in the case of smallish cats, flaked out and asleep on tree branches. A female lion graced us with her presence and when we returned a few minutes later, she’d gone but two big males were visible. The monkeys had a good time swinging on their ropes course, then went indoors to cool off.
Zoo pix of Sara and Jaiden:
We were en route to the Children’s Zoo area when the heavens opened and quickly soaked us. We headed for a shelter, hopped a passing zoo train and rode toward the parking lot. By the time Glenn got to the car, the rain had stopped but we were all soaked.
Back home, Glenn made spaghetti with his homemade sauce for dinner. Mmm, good. As I’ve said many times orally, he drives, he cooks, he makes me laugh —he’s a keeper!
|Jaiden on Mount Washington|
A drive around and up to Mount Washington just before dusk.
This would’ve been my dad’s 101st birthday.
Gorgeous day again. Glenn called this morning to say that he and Sara wouldn’t join us today as had been planned. Sara’s pooped; last night she was asleep by the time he got to Murray Avenue (two blocks from my apartment).
Jaiden and I set off for Carnegie Museum only to discover it was move-in time at Pitt. No parking, mucho double-parked cars/vans/trucks and more than the usual number of people. I drove around the blocks a few times before giving up. (Aside for those not familiar with Pittsburgh geography. Streets are platted to the rivers which form The Golden Triangle, and thus one cannot make three right turns and end up where she started.)
Off we went to the Strip District to shop for tee-shirts and caps and such. Actually found a meter near the shop where I mostly find such things. Jaiden again played money-wise shopper, and we went down one side of Penn and up the other before he made his purchases. From there, the GPS helped me get to Station Square across the Monongahela River where I found a parking lot near the Gateway Clipper river landing. A boat was leaving in an hour, but we hadn’t eaten so we hustled along to Houlihan’s for lunch first. While there, we decided to check out the baseball schedule. Found a Pirates-Dodgers game at 7 pm. Downloaded an app to buy tickets, another to secure parking and we were set. We returned to the Clipper in time for 4:15 sailing, all three rivers with interesting commentary by a guide and the captain.
Because I couldn’t locate the digital baseball tickets on my phone, we went back to the apartment for an hour. Still couldn’t find tickets but printed the receipt along with the parking voucher. Glenn’s handy Garmin got us to Allegheny Center parking way faster than I’d expected. From there we followed the crowd to PNC Park a half mile away, got tickets at Will Call and found our seats with the help of a couple of attendants. Great seats just to the right of home plate and about 10 rows back with no one in front of us. Since we hadn’t eaten, we got hotdogs.
Slow game — Pirates got one man on base and that was due to a Dodgers’ error. Dodgers left 8 or so men on base but scored no runs. Jaiden asked what happens if no one scored. I explained how extra innings worked. Top of 10th and Dodgers didn’t score. Then Josh Harrison for the Pirates came to bat — and hit a beautiful home run for a Pirates' win. What a game for Jaiden to see.
Because I decided to let Jaiden sleep in this morning, we didn’t get to the Westmoreland Fair until midday. Glenn returned shortly after. We saw Sara and her rabbits, watched the hopping contest, visited animal barns, wandered. I met some of the “names” that I’ve heard about and saw a few folks I’d met before. Glenn’s Uncle Victor and Aunt Louise arrived, and Louise took Jaiden for ice cream before we departed.
Back in Squirrel Hill, we decided to go to a movie at The Waterfront, and Logan Lucky started in 20 minutes. We were easily on time, but the movie wasn’t, technical problems apparently. The film finally ran and we enjoyed the caper film.
Exited to find it had rained. We went to the Murray Avenue Eat ’N’ Park for a late dinner.
25 August, Andover MN
Nephew Craig called this morning to find out where we were. I said, “In my apartment in Pittsburgh.” He'd misread my message about our arrival time and was already at the end of the Minneapolis Light Rail looking for us. Later he texted that April would meet us at the established time.
Back in the apartment, Jaiden got packed, and the air bed went back into the closet. Much laundry to do when I return. Glenn drove us to the airport and again things went smoothly on both ends. April arrived at the Target Field station about five minutes after we did. I’m staying with Craig, April and the boys tonight and tomorrow. Alijah was happy to see me and had to show me how well he’s riding his bike. Craig said he’s quite the moto-crosser.
Rain, rain, go away. But even pouring rain couldn’t put a damper on the Hagen family day at niece Michelle and hubby Jon’s lake place. Everyone made it, even sister in law Sally from Bismarck and niece Dyana back from her last overseas assignment and settling in CA again. Evie insisted on a tube ride despite the rain, the Hagen boys went fishing and we celebrated Sally’s 70th birthday. Glad I was able to return for this.
27 August, Minneapolis MN
Barbara picked me up at Craig and April’s this afternoon, and I’ll stay with her tonight and tomorrow, then I can take the LRT to the airport on Tuesday morning.
Had a lovely catch up and dinner with friend and former neighbor Maryanne at Mercury tonight. Because it had been drizzling, Barbara dropped me off but I was able to walk back. Much needed exercise! Now to bed.
29 August, Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport
Yesterday was hectic. Got a ride to my financial planner meeting with Barbara since her office is nearby, and a ride back to town with my broker. He and his wife are expecting twins in October. Stopped to see friend Susan for a few minutes after shopping. Actually found a sweater and a jacket at Off 5th; I never find anything there! Dinner with Barbara at a nearby restaurant/bar that’s definitely been renovated and updated. And ran into my former next door neighbors Ryan and Chelsey as we walked back to Barbara’s.
Barbara dropped me at the LRT on her way to work and all went smoothly. I had plenty of time to grab some food and coffee before my flight. Now I sit and wait …
Later, Squirrel Hill PA
That wonderful man I love was waiting for me at baggage claim again. Usually he’s very early and has time to relax; today the traffic was so heavy that he said he only beat me by five minutes. We stopped for dinner on the way back, to avoid rush hour. Not good planning of arrival time on my part, but …
Back here, the landlord called to say we have plumbing problems again. Can’t use the shower, dishwasher etc. and only flush if necessary. Argh!
31 August, Mount Pleasant
Well, when we got up yesterday, there was no word on the plumbing/water situation. Glenn suggested coming here. I had planned to drive out on Friday morning, after doing laundry and a few errands in Squirrel Hill. But when he suggested packing up the laundry and doing it here, how could I refuse? A driver, a cook and free laundry — big smile on my face.