Thursday, August 4, 2016


            Kim and I have become adjusted to our apartment. We pretty much know where the light switches are, and we have found the waffle maker. We have discovered that we don’t really need most of the stuff we have crammed into storage, though our buried jadeite dishes would improve our quality of life. I like living a few yards from the fitness center, though I’ve only been there twice in a month. And it’s nice to call Maintenance when something, such as the water that drips from the ceiling of the garage, goes wrong. Even if that something doesn’t get fixed, it’s not my responsibility. Just the way we are adjusting to the changes that come with age, we are adapting our routines to our new environment. Change is good.

            Just so we would not get too comfortable, we invited houseguests for a 10-day visit. They left yesterday. We have not known this couple – we’ll call them “Randy” and “Linda” – very long, but in the last few months we have become good friends. We soon found out just how good.

            Randy and Linda were easy guests to have, providing us with cheerful energy, morning and evening hugs, time for us to go off and do our own things (though we never went farther than one floor away), and generous and sincere offers to help out and to pay. Linda's almost daily exercise sessions were a great example for us, though we did not follow her example. Our houseguests were a warm and welcome distraction from ongoing medical issues, and they acted as cheerleaders in our continuing search for a place to live. Our friendship deepened while they were here. I even bought a shirt like Randy’s.

            Still, as hosts we felt we “on” all the time, worried about a variety of things:

·      Are you sleeping OK?
·      Are you having a good time?
·      Is the food suitable?
·      Is the swimming pool temperature OK?
·      Is it OK if we don’t watch the political conventions on television?
·      Is the temperature on the air conditioning comfortable?
·      Do we wake you up when we get up early?
·      Are you OK with riding in the back seat as we drive around?

            We had planned each day of their visit so we could work their tour of Michigan – including barns, the Ann Arbor Art Fair, Ann Arbor without the Art Fair, Ypsilanti, the Eastern Market and Pewabic Tile in downtown Detroit, some of our favorite restaurants, and the Inn at Union Pier across the state on Lake Michigan – around Kim’s medical appointments. In an effort to create a comforting (to me) feeling of control, I printed the schedule and placed it on a kitchen counter.

            Randy, like Kim, is a photographer. Though they did not take many photos on our travels, we can share some of Kim’s images from one day of active shooting.

            Kim’s shots below are from Saline Mills, an old building that had been used for grinding grain and now is used to collect stuff that appeals to its owner, Taylor Jacobsen. Randy and Linda also took some, but they have not (yet) shared them with us.

            They also photographed some nearby barns – a novelty for people in Florida. Here are some of Kim’s images:

            As houseguests, Randy and Linda really wanted to help. They made their bed every day, they cooked a few meals, and they attempted to clear the table and wash the dishes. I say “attempted” because Kim, on most occasions, would not let them. She has her own very efficient system, and I, as dryer of dishes, pretty much know where things go. Randy was persistent in clearing the table despite Kim’s pleading and insisting. It became a game – one that was fun to watch.

            After dropping them off at the airport, Kim and I sat at the table for our mid-morning coffee. Kim looked up and said, “I miss them already.” But she did sleep for ten hours that night.

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