We Are Family


Continuing in the tradition of a previous post, we flew to San Diego for a week to visit Linda’s niece and her husband and (almost) new baby. He’s seven months old, and we had yet to meet him. (Her baby, not her husband. We’ve met her husband, and he’s a little older than that.) We were originally going for five days, but when United Airlines notified us that, due to the coming winter storm, a number of flights might be delayed or even canceled, we decided to leave a couple of days early.

I was doing my DoorDash thing when Linda called and told me about the change. So I quit for the day and rushed home. We needed to leave for the airport in about three hours, which meant that we had three hours to take care of three days’ worth of stuff. Not just packing for the trip itself, but cleaning house in preparation for the house- and pet-sitters’ arrival. Fortunately, they were able to start early, too.

We’ve never done so much in such an insanely short time. But we managed and we got to the parking facility an hour and ten minutes before our plane was scheduled to take off. As we stood in the grey below-freezing afternoon, waiting for the shuttle, the snow started falling.

We rushed through the airport 1970s-O.J. Simpson-style, slowing only to zig-zag through security which, fortunately, wasn’t busy. We got to our gate as the last of our boarding group entered the jetway.

Then, we had to sit there for a while as a truck was called out to spray de-icer all over the wings.

As wiped as I was after our manic preparations, I had hoped that the typically cramped and uncomfortable seating on the plane would feel relaxing and pleasant. Alas, it was still cramped and uncomfortable, but it did feel good to relax for a while after our earlier exertions.

San Diego is beautiful. At least the parts we’ve seen. I was in San Diego when I was about six or seven years old. Needless to say, I remember virtually nothing about it, so I can’t comment about how much it’s changed, but apparently it has grown a bit.

Our visit with Jen and Brandon and baby Caden has been very nice. They’re extremely welcoming and have made us feel right at home. And we’ve seen some of the local sights, including the ocean, of course, Balboa Park and the Safari Park, part of the vast San Diego Zoo complex.

Linda has continued her teaching schedule while we’ve been here. It’s a little more complicated since she doesn’t have access to a keyboard, but she’s been making it work with recordings. She’s very resourceful.

Incidentally, the baby’s name is a little unusual. It’s the same name as Fiona’s husband in In Restless Dreams. They didn’t name him after my character, though. Apparently, Brandon knows a couple of people named Caden, so I guess it’s not as unusual as I thought.

We’ve shared our plans for moving overseas with them in a little more detail since we’ve been here. By the way, our plans have altered a bit. That, of course, doesn’t mean that they are solid and won’t change again. It just means that it’s what we’re currently planning.

As long as Linda’s parents (aged 96 and 97) are still alive, she wants to be available to them, or able to get back relatively easily in case of emergency. So our plans now are that we’re going to move to Mexico to start with, or at least “snowbird” there. It will be much cheaper, and will be, as I call it, a stepping-stone to moving to Europe when we reach the age when we can start collecting Social Security at the maximum level. Linda can fly back to Denver in a few hours from Mexico, as opposed to a long day from Europe.

I know, we were considering Mexico a while back and gave it up when we learned about the cartel violence in the area. So we began looking at other places in Mexico and including their overall safety ratings in our search criteria. One town we found, Queretaro, has an even higher safety rating than Denver. So we’re planning a reconnaissance trip there in a couple of months.

One thing I’ve noticed about our planning process is that, when we're focused on everyday mundane details, the planning can become, well, mundane. But, when visiting with people and telling them about our plans, while it doesn’t solidify the plans in any way (as we’ve discovered over the last couple of years, they can change in a moment’s notice), it does tend to renew and bolster our excitement about it. So as we spend time with relatives and see the sights in the area, we’re looking forward to taking the first physical steps in our journey toward the rest of our lives.

And, we neatly dodged a nasty snowstorm in the process.