The Christmas Missives


Christmas 2020

Seasons Greetings, one and all!

2020—the year we want to remember and the year we want to forget.  The high points were high, the low points lower than low. We lost Victor’s Mom to Covid-19 two weeks before her 94th birthday.  Pandemics, lock downs, toilet paper shortages, flour shortages, massive misinformation – all were the tip of the negative iceberg. Besides finally making it back to the west coast, the real high was welcoming twins into the world! Our nephew, Bill, and his wife, Christine, brought Finley and Elise into the world on November 23rd!

Naturally, they are completely adorable. And so are the new babies!

We won’t bother to mention the election, except to say the outcome was delicious. We were able to vote absentee ballot from Pennsylvania, so it’s nice to think we had a hand in putting Biden and Harris over the top!  Stay vigilant, boys and girls. There’s a lot to undo, redo, and do anew.

After almost 20 years on the east coast and a false-start in February before the pandemic hit, we finally had the house on the market for our move west. We sold to a really nice, young couple with a pretty new baby. They are going to fit well into the changing demographics of the neighborhood. They asked for a 2-month closing so they wouldn’t lose out on a lease. We said yes. The wait was difficult, especially since patience is not a virtue either one of us possess in great quantity, but moving day finally came in late September so we loaded up the truck and we moved to Beverly… er… Beaverton. Right into  an Extended Stay Hotel. We know that for millions of people, moving into a place like that would be the epitome of luxurious living.  However, a 2-burner stove, no oven, and a dinky refrigerator was definitely a step down for us.

We managed a few culinary masterpieces, of course. We are us, after all…

We did a five night/six day drive from east coast to west since we’re dragging the Benzedrine-fueled days of our youth behind us. This probably won’t surprise many, but the culinary choices along I-80 are reasonably dismal. In these days of Covid, we weren’t about to do dine-in, so most of what we ate was drive-thru. It was quite painful, but we did get some really good takeout from a tavern in Evanston, Wyoming and great delivery from a restaurant in North Platte, Nebraska.  All of our hotels offered some sort of breakfast—most of which consisted of things that probably would not be classified as food in the European Union.

The remarkable news is we found a house immediately! It was the second house we looked at on our first day of looking—in the exact area we wanted! The housing gods were definitely smiling down upon us! The sellers wanted a 45 day closing and up to 30 day rent-back, meaning we could have been looking at moving in the week before Christmas. Not exactly what we had hoped for, but we really liked the house and location, so we agreed. The good news is they found a house immediately, upped the closing date, and we were able to move in November 16th—55 days after leaving Pennsylvania.

Naturally, there had to be a hiccup in the process—Bekins screwed up on our furniture delivery date. We had put everything in storage when we moved out here—bringing minimal essentials with us—and expecting delivery a few days after we moved in. Those few days ended up being November 30th. We lived with an inflatable bed, a folding table, a borrowed TV, and high speed internet access. Priorities.

We wanted to take advantage of the time to carpet the living room and hallway, install an air conditioner—we’re old, we want cool air in the summer—and gas lines for a new gas stove, and gas grill on the deck. In typical fashion, they couldn’t get anything scheduled before the furniture arrived—that would have been too easy. Not to mention we had way too much furniture for our downsized house in the first place. But… lots of local charities made out well and we survived.

Blanche adapted extremely well to losing her home, being driven across the country in the backseat of an SUV she could barely jump into, living in two rooms, and meeting new dogs, cats, and people…  We brought her bed, her favorite toys, and gave her plenty of encouragement and praise. We’re sure she was ready to just go home and lay under her favorite bush and bark at the UPS driver, but she now has a new backyard, new bushes to lay under, and new UPS drivers to bark at. She adapted better than we could ever have imagined.

And one final piece of good news… Tim paid a hacker to get TJRecipes reinstated back onto Facebook—more fun recipes and food blogs to come!

So here we are at the end of 2020. In the immortal words of The Grateful Dead, What a long strange trip it’s been.

Happiest of Happy Holidays to all—and a readily available Vaccine, quickly!


Tim, Victor, and Blanche