Final Preparations 1/21/06

January 18, 2006

I told Anne today that I haven’t had a day off since I quit work. I need a break. This year so far we have bought a motor home and a car, sold one car, sold a house, moved property into storage and segregated our travel gear (some 600 pounds of it) from everything else in the house that has gone to auction. Today, we began loading the Winnebago Minnie Coach that will be our home for much of the next six months.

One accumulates considerable property over 24 years in a large house. It is difficult to part with many things such as large books and crystal balls that make little sense in the confined space of a motor home.

Chuck’s last act at Buchart-Horn on Friday January 6, was to sign a letter to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection on behalf of York City. Very appropriate. He then made a final walk around the building to give farewells to various friends. He missed some people including president Paul McNamee who were out, and then rushed home to meet Anne and drive to State College, the home of the Minnie that was to be purchased.

The weather was unsettled. The “closing” at AAA went well, but it was getting dark when we left. Chuck had to seriously drive the 29 foot “monster” Minnie over Bald Eagle Mountain and down the river in the dark and flurries. The construction zone in the Narrows was exciting, especially the narrow barricaded lane section. We had to get home because Anne’s sister Mary Helen was to arrive about 7:00 p.m. to help us move our property to be stored to storage on Saturday.

We also had two young friends, sons of friends, and a friend somewhat older than them arriving at 9:00 a.m. to help us load the U-Haul truck that Chuck had to go and get before that. So we were up early and moving fast. The loading went well, but a second trip was needed to carry all the furniture, kitchen wear, excess clothing, books, and all sorts of things that people in houses use. There were also goods belonging to our children who don’t have room for it.

We finished about 2 p.m. and traded the truck for a trailer. We loaded our dining room table into this and rested. On Sunday morning we attended a service at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of York, probably our last for some time. We were greatly honored by a lovely recognition ceremony and some tearful farewells. After lunch we began a drive to Chappaqua, New York following Mary Helen there to deliver what was now her dining room table.

On Monday morning we returned to York, but stopped at two Winnebago service centers. We liked Gayle Klines at nearby Mountville because of their attitude and location. We scheduled the coach for service on Wednesday. We then returned the trailer to U-Haul and began sorting through the balance of our property. It was a fearful task. We also struggled to decide how to get set up with a “dinghy” tow car. We had concluded that neither our Toyota Sienna (too big) or our Subaru Legacy (automatic transmission and all-wheel drive) would tow “flat” on four wheels. So we needed to sell two cars and buy one. We began looking at cars, finding one that would work for us. Chuck wanted it to weigh no more than 3,000 pounds. We visited dealers. So much fun.

So we shopped, sorted through belongings and dealt with the house sale that became snarled when the buyer had a financing problem. Chuck’s sister Laurie arrived on Friday and helped us greatly to get ready for the auctioneer. We were ready at 9:00 p.m. on Saturday evening. All that we were to keep was in the dining room and a couple of tapped closed cabinets and closets. On Sunday morning at 10 a.m. the Thomasville Auction trucks arrived. They looked the house over and began packaging and carrying everything out. At noon Chuck thought it would take two days, but by 3 p.m. they were done. The house was empty and full of dust. We thought of our first entry into the fine Springettsbury Avenue graystone house. Exhausted, we slept on an air mattress in our spacious but now vacant and dirty bedroom.

On Monday, our fine cleaning lady of many years arrived and together we cleaned from top to bottom. Friends Bernie and Alice invited us to dinner. We arrived to find Denny and Anna and Genevieve. We had a Newton Avenue reunion. We slept well in a now much cleaner bedroom.

On Tuesday and Wednesday we continued to deal with motor vehicles and house cleaning. We weighed all of our RV loadings and reduced them to 600 pounds, well below the 1100 pound maximum Chuck had calculated. On Thursday we largely loaded the machine. On Thursday afternoon we returned to Klines and hooked the “dingy” Ford Focus to the coach. We enjoyed a few terrifying experiences bringing it home and then to other friends for dinner and then to the Hotel Hershey. We enjoyed a luxurious last night in Central Pennsylvania and enjoyed a lovely buffet breakfast in the circular room. The sky was clear and we enjoyed views of the garden and of Blue Mountain in the distance. The windows were painted with North American birds.

We unhooked the dingy for the first time, another adventure. Then Anne drove to York to finish packing while Chuck returned to the room to finish typing a record of stored items and work on this. He is off to his probable final meeting with the Central Pa Chapter of the American Public Works Association executive board. Then home. With the house hopefully clear, we will drived the dinghy to New Jersey for a last visit with our children and Laurie. The motor home will remain in York.