Q. Where are you?
A. Eugene, Oregon.
Q. Why are you in Eugene, Oregon?
A. I’m exploring the city in the expectation I’ll “hang up my keys,” sell the RV, and live here.
Q. Why Eugene?
A. It appears on the same lists as Berkeley and San Francisco, my two favorite places to live. Currently, however, the Bay Area is too expensive for me.
Q. How’s it going?
A. Slowly. I’m in an RV Park about 10 miles away from Eugene. Normally that would not be a problem, but without a car it’s challenging to get into Eugene and around in the city.
Q. What happened to your car?
A. I don’t want to talk about it. Suffice it to state that no one was hurt but the car is totaled and will take me a while to receive payment from the insurance company, what with having to first apply for a Duplicate Title
Q. Are you kidding me – did you really lose your Title? How does that even happen? I thought you were an organized person.
A. Nope, not kidding. Not sure how something so vital simply disappears. According to a woman at the insurance company, this occurs “more often than you’d expect.” And I AM organized. What I try to explain to people who aren’t is that as an organized person, when something is not where it should be, I’m out of ideas.
Q. So are you renting a car?
A. Can’t. I use Debit cards only. All rental car companies require a Credit card so if I drive off into the sunset they can charge my (nonexistent) Credit Card something along the lines of $20,000. Who knew?
Q. So how are you getting around?
A. Public transportation. Plus, I recently signed up for a Zip Car. The Zip Car key card should arrive any day now, enabling me to take a bus into Eugene and pick up a Zip Car near the University of Oregon campus. For now, I am entirely dependent on public transportation, which actually works well in Eugene, as long as you’re not in a hurry. That’s where the “slowly” part comes in. The price is terrific, though. Given my advanced age, I secured an Access Pass, permitting me to ride for free.
Q. What are you learning about the neighborhoods?
A. Which ones to avoid, a category that so far covers the campus and downtown areas. I also checked out a neighborhood, Whiteaker, that’s reputed to be gentrifying. Given that (A) I may as well as put a sign on my back that says, “Want to mug someone? Try me – I’m old.” and (B) I doubt I’ll live long enough to see the neighborhood returned to its former glory, I’m adding that area to my “Nope, Do Not Live Here” list. I saw some very nice units on a place called Goodpasture Island. The problem is that apart from multi-million-dollar homes and miles of apartment complexes, the area lacks amenities such as grocery stores, coffee shops and restaurants that make it feel like a neighborhood.
I plan to visit other apartment complexes soon, including senior housing.
Q. I thought you were going to avoid apartment complexes and senior facilities.
A. Yeah, well, so I was. I’m nothing if not flexible. Given the lay of the land, I’m broadening my search criteria.
Q. How’s the weather?
A. Hot and sunny during the day. Nice and cool at night. No rain. I’ve somehow convinced myself that I’ll enjoy the rain. Well, at least not mind the rain. Well, not mind the rain too much. I know I’m going to enjoy having a real autumn and should it snow, I know I’ll like that, too. It’s just the expectation of constant, dreary, unending rain that has me concerned.
Q. How are you feeling following your Mother’s death?
A. Turns out I miss her every single day. I had no idea how often I would make a mental note to tell my Mom something the next time we spoke. I know she was ready to go but had I realized it would be this difficult for me I’m not sure I would have been as supportive of her decision.
For starters, I lost my most sympathetic listener.
Per my Mom’s request, I plan to write more about the experience of being with her at the end. Preview: In addition to ice cubes, her “starvation” diet consisted of mac and cheese and See’s Candies. She had a surplus 2-lb box of See’s, which she informed me was to be opened at her Celebration of Life. I crossed my fingers when I agreed to those terms.
Q. How’s your Dad doing?
A. Fine. Just fine. I think part of my Mom’s decision was based on seeing him pretty much forget everyone he ever knew. It was a kind of sick comedy when I’d remind him that Mom had passed away. Out of a sense of mercy I simply stopped saying anything, apart from the time he asked, “How’s Mom doing?” My reply, “Not so good, Dad. In fact, she’s doing about as not so good as possible.”
The one time I knew he understood my Mom had died is when he said, “Joan left me.” Now THAT’S my Dad. It’s always about him. Bless his heart.
We (my brother Gary and I) expect our Dad to live another 10 years. Dad’s health is so good that I’ve taken into account the financial consequences of my pre-deceasing him, while Gary is starting to line up our sons to take over Dad’s finances if something happens to him (Gary) while Dad is still alive. When Gary is in town, he’ll go down to San Diego monthly to make sure my Dad continues to be well looked after. I’ll take over during the months Gary is out of the country.
Q. How’s Missy.
A. She’s GREAT! She adored being at Michael’s, both for the room she had to run around and his particular type of attention to her (he rough-houses; I don’t). Missy also enjoyed seeing Cousin Suzi, who took care of her for the several weeks I was in San Diego. To be more specific, Missy was happy to see Suzi once she realized that no, she wasn’t going to be kidnapped. Again.
Q. What’s next?
A. How am I supposed to know? Stay tuned.