The Last of the Leftovers

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What an authentic Thanksgiving Paul and I had this year.  It was quiet and relaxing and greatly appreciated after what can best be described as a tumultuous time in our lives.  We finished up the last of the leftovers in between unpacking, organizing, and Sunday paper reading.  It occured to me that, after days of eating the same meal over and over again, it was indeed time to move on.  Food as metaphor.

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A New American Dream

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Paul is “home”.  He pulled up this morning to two happy dogs and one very happy girlfriend.  It’s a long drive – 2,000 miles in a U-Haul by oneself.  Still, he feels good.  A little tired, but good.  Real good.  We both do.  Good and thankful!  Plus, it is a Sunday to boot.  We love Sundays on the Bay.  The first thing we did was take the dogs for a walk along the water. 
Tomorrow, with help from a couple of college guys, we unload and organize what is left of our belongings.  We are officially sans property.  Some people have said we are crazy to relinquish the American Dream.  I say we haven’t, really.  Now, we get to take care of other people’s American Dreams.  We are free to travel from home to home, taking care of each one as if it were our own.  I feel a new tagline coming on…

Making Time for Old Friends

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Laura and I at the Silver Lounge

Laura lives in Connecticut, (one of) my old stomping grounds.   We met several years ago while working for a mental health facility.  I remember her first day there and thinking then that we would surely be friends.  Maybe it was her Longaberger Basket purse.  I love Longaberger Baskets!  She sold them at the time.  They are pretty pricey, but these baskets are so sturdy and durable!  They made it through many a farmers’ market…but enough about baskets. 

The two of us are living a couple of hours (give or take) away from each other now,  and Laura drove out to visit me on Saturday.  We did a couple of fun things around the area (lunch is always fun!) but mostly stayed home with the dogs.  The time went by way too fast.  I still struggle with time – seems like I am still making time for time, even in my deliberate quest to simplify.  I had a Mountain Girl Organics (my business) meeting that I really could not reschedule, and some family drove over to visit with the dogs (Ty is doing better but still needs lots of encouragement).   Laura has two kids at home and more jobs than one person should be allowed, so her schedule is very tight…tricky.

Regardless of all that, it is always good to see her.   One day soon, we will visit with few outside distractions and an actual budget.  Maybe a spa weekend, or a retreat of some sort.  Maybe we could go on a cruise; a creative type cruise!  You know, where you listen to motivational speakers or something along those lines that feels relaxing and inspiring (in between ports, of course).  Laura is a Spanish teacher; perhaps we could go on a Western Mediterranean cruise!  I could polish up (ie relearn) my Spanish while we are there.  Here I go again with the distractions.  Maybe we could simply turn off the computers and phones and just hang out next time.  What do you think, Laura?  What do you think, everyone else? 

PS Thanks, Frank for suggesting the Silver Lounge in Falmouth – we really enjoyed it!  Plus there is a really sweet country store attached…always looking for new homes for my natural bath and body products line : )

A Day in the Life of a Caretaker / Future Poker Champion

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Linda teaches Judy and Valynne the Art of Texas Hold 'Em

I have heard it asked from a few of you…what exactly is it that you do with your time now, Valynne?  Allow me to enlighten.  A caretaker typically does whatever it is that the absentee property owner(s) would be doing had they not left the premises.  Each job is going to be a little bit, if not a lot, different than the last. 

Currently, we maintain a large home and property and care for two dogs.  Since Paul has been in Colorado tying up loose ends with the house sale, my focus has been nearly 100% on the dogs.  They are used to constant companionship, and one is not feeling so well lately, so my number one goal is to get him to his appointments and be sure I am doing everything I can in keeping him comfortable and helping him to get to feeling better. 

Other priorities include cleaning the house, keeping up on the yard work, forwarding any phone messages/mail, giving regular status updates on the dogs, watering the plants, starting the engines of idle cars, keeping appointments for any maintenance/repair work that needs doing;  that kind of stuff. 

It is very important for a house to look lived in from a security standpoint, so even an empty house that has no pets or plants to care for would benefit from having the newspapers taken in and the lights turned on each night.  Also, occasionally, things come up and need attending to.  For example, an inconvenient event like frozen water pipes or a broken window can quickly reach disaster status with no one to discover and tend to said event in a timely manner. 

What else am I doing with my time?  I am blogging : ) and studying computer stuff.  I am researching other natural bath and body products companies online (info on founders, case studies, business models, new products, etc) .  I am gearing up for an important meeting regarding the future of Mountain Girl Organics (thank you for your questions and encouragement while we figure out what the next step looks like and how to take it).  I am discovering more and more what it means (for me) to simplify and enjoy. 

The “enjoy” category currently includes learning how to really play Texas Hold ‘Em!  I’ve played a few times before and have always had so much fun, but my plans for a weekly poker night never made the calendar in Colorado.  I blamed this on a fledgling business, various part-time jobs, a house on the market, Paul’s new role at his job (not to mention his lack of enthusiasm when it comes to card games), and so on and so forth.  Now, here I am, making new friends while pursuing a new hobby.   

But enough about me.  Let’s talk about you;  specifically things that interest you.  What hobby would you pursue if you found yourself with more time on your hands?  Would this be a brand new hobby for you or something you have enjoyed in the past and would like to rekindle?  And, as always, if you have any caretaking questions/comments that you would like me to tackle/touch upon, I am all ears.

Commenting on a Blog Post

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We are so excited at having almost 1,000 hits on a blog that is just a little over a month old!  One thing I am still trying to figure out is how to get you, our reader, to leave a comment here on the blog, rather than responding via e-mail. 

Why, you ask, would it matter?  Because when you leave a comment on this blog, you are sharing with not only Paul and I, but an online community who is also interested in this particular topic.  You are helping me, the blogger, to establish a rapport. 

Obviously, this is not where you would want to share something personal.  But, if you have something to contribute relating to Caretaking Couple (and I know you do, based on the e-mails I am receiving daily) please, by all means,  share with the group! 

This will encourage others to join the conversation.  My goal for this blog is to not only keep in touch with old friends, but to meet and hopefully network with new ones.  This is already happening, slowly and surely.  From little acorns…

That is all well and good, you may be saying, but how exactly does one go about leaving a comment, then?  Well, if you look at the top of each individual blog, you will see a tiny comment link right next to a caption bubble thingy.   Click on the link.  Type whatever you would like in the comment box provided, and send it off. 

*I am adding this as of 6/10…if you have a website or blog, be sure to share the address when you go to comment.  That way, when people click on your name, it will automatically direct them to your site.  Cross promotion – it is a beautiful thing.

If you have a problem getting the comment to send, try sending it as “Anonymous”, then just sign your name to it so we know it was you.  When I have more of an idea how this works, I will explain it better. 

If you are unable to leave a comment, please e-mail me at Valynne@CaretakingCouple.com and I will do my best to figure out why, keeping in mind I am also learning as I go…

PS  Paul is in Evergreen as of today!  He can be reached at

 (303) 478-6058.

From Paul to Evergreen, With Love

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The Pond

Well, I hate to leave Valynne and Cape Cod, but when you need to see your drinking buddies then what can you do. 

The reality is I need to come back in order to complete the closing sale of the house, which I will certainly celebrate with a few pints. It’s been a long time coming. Then I will be looking forward to getting back to Valynne and our new life.

In my experience change is always rewarding and should be embraced rather than feared. Yes, you miss the familiar things and all the friendships you have made, but real friendships cut across all boundaries so I’m sure they will endure. I’ve always wanted to live by the water and now my wish has come true, so I’m not complaining.

I’m looking to get a flight early next week and be around for a week to 10 days and here’s the punch line…….I need your help. I still have a number of things to move out of the house. If you can help the beer’s on me…if you can’t…the beer’s still on me.  And the pizza.  Ken, can you organize an evening at my place? 

See you all soon.

PS If you have claimed or would like to claim anything on the Estate Sale list (Scroll down towards the bottom of the blog to see what is left) now is the time!  Call my cell at 303-478-6058.  Be sure to ask for your free bonus gift (from the garage) with purchase! That was Valynne’s idea.

Great New York Times Article on Caretaking

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Today, I am researching all things caretaking.  There is so much more info out there now!  When I was caretaking in my early twenties, it was word of mouth alone…no forums or links to articles or websites (that I knew of, anyway).  Still, I managed to keep myself busy; oftentimes I would go from sit to sit. 

Now it is easier to find quality caretaking jobs/caretakers than ever.  And no, I am not getting paid by anyone in the industry to say this – I am just a big fan of living simply and within one’s means (better late than never).  Anyway, here is the link to the interesting NYT article…

www.nytimes.com/2009/05/15/greathomesanddestinations/15caretaker.html?_r=1

Pretty cool, eh?  If you have any great pieces of information on this subject please let me know.  My goal is to have this site be an interactive point of reference for anyone interested in caretaking as well as a great way to keep in touch with everyone while on our caretaking adventures…

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