Thursday, January 26, 2012

God's Masterpiece

   Steve took this picture earlier down at the beach.   He gets off work at 4 p.m. on Thursdays- before the sun sets.  I didn't go with him and Walter for their walk, but I wish I had.  Isn't it beautiful?

Our First Outing

    Last Saturday was our first opportunity to do some exploring with the use of the rental car.  (There are three available cars here that are shared by six people on this project.)  The weather forecast called for a 70% chance of rain, but we decided to venture out regardless of the rain.  I'm so glad we did- not only did it not rain, but it was a beautiful day.  Our point of destination was to the Third Street Promenade (less than 5 miles north)  in Santa Monica.  Due to some navigation issues,  it took us a lot longer but it also allowed us to see more of the area.

    Third Street Promenade is a three-block stretch of stores & restaurants open to pedestrians only.  We enjoyed walking through the Farmer's Market seeing very unusual produce and plants.   There were a few street performers, but not the same kind as at Venice Beach (to our relief).  After lunch, we walked back to the car and drove to Montana Ave.  - which  according to TripAdvisor,  is "a great place to celebrity watch" as it has many upscale shops and restaurants.    Sounds like a good place to explore when family & friends come to visit- which speaking of, I'm ready to start booking reservations!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Walter's Wings

   Since arriving in CA, Walter has been drinking from the water bottle that we attached to his crate- which was required by the airline.   He still has his regular water bowl, but he prefers to drink from the water bottle- just like a hamster.  He doesn't seem to mind how long it takes to get enough water to satisfy his thirst, and believe me- it takes a lot longer than drinking from a normal bowl.

Several nights after we arrived, I was refilling the water bottle and saw something hanging from the clip which kept the water bottle in place.  I just smiled when I realized what it was- WINGS!  Walter had received Delta Wings!   Someone had taken the time to pin them to his water clip at some point during his long flight to L.A. - and I had been worried that he hadn't been well cared for!

In both of the above pictures you can see the wings hanging down, but they were just turned backwards.  



     To say the least, we were wiped out from our trip.  We left Ormond Beach at 2:30 p.m. EST and arrived at our apartment at 2 a.m. EST and it was 4 a.m. before we finally got some sleep.  The next day was a catch up day on sleep. (I'm not sure how Walter got the bed and Steve got the couch.)  It took several days for all of us to get used to the new time zone.

   Adjusting to our life here will be a process- day by day.  Steve is very excited about the new project he has been assigned to and the people he is working with.  We are very thankful for this job opportunity and feel very blessed.   I had a mini melt-down on our first day as the reality of the move began to sink in.  I have more free time than I can ever remember having and it is such a gift, but it is also an adjustment.   I am spending a lot of time reading, resting, (and blogging) and of course taking care of Walter.  We enjoy daily walks exploring the surrounding neighborhoods.

Venice Canals on the walk to the beach

Walter's Other Adjustments:
His fear of the stairs- we had to carry him up the first few days

. . . having a balcony

and watching the tennis players 


Monday, January 23, 2012

What Were We Thinking When We Got You!

    Walter became the newest member of our family back in late October.  We had no idea that we would be moving to California at that time- had we known, we never would've agreed to getting him.  It wasn't long before I was singing  "what were we thinking when we got you" to Walter. We already had a dog and never had we discussed adding a second pet.  Steve says he agreed to getting Walter because he was in too much pain at the time (due to severe headaches that were caused by a bulging disc); but nevertheless, he did agree and even said, "I think you need a puppy".  And what a cute puppy I got!
   It had been almost 13 years since our aging Kramer was a puppy, but I don't remember Kramer ever being as much trouble or as demanding as Walter.  Our oldest daughter, Allison, encouraged us to sign Walter up for some dog training which we did, but we had to wait till after Thanksgiving because we thought we'd have more time.  But as you know- by that time, we were very busy preparing for our move.

   Walter attended the first training session.  The next session was cancelled due to Christmas and the following session was his last group session.  Two days later at Walter's private session, I'm begging the trainer to cram the next 5 sessions into a special "I don't have time for this, just give me the instructions on how to train a dog" training session.  30 minutes later Walter had received an honorary graduation diploma and I had received lots of papers about how to train a dog.  And believe me, it was an honorary diploma alright-  I couldn't even get him to sit to have his picture taken (which was the first trick he supposedly learned).

 Just a warning for anyone wanting to fly with a dog- it's a very expensive and detailed process.  Each airline has its own guidelines that have to be followed step by step.  
  1. Your pet must travel in an airline approved crate large enough to allow your pet to stand, sit, and turn around without touching his head.  Have you seen what long legs Walter has?  The crate we bought was one step down from the largest (which he will need if he flies back when we return, but we will more than likely drive back).  We were afraid the largest crate would eat up a lot of our precious 700 sq ft in our apartment.  $$$
  2. Attached to the crate must be containers for food and water  $$
  3. A visit to the veterinarian within ten days of your pet's departure  $$$
  4. A health certificate  $$
  5. A label on the outside of the crate with your pet's name, your name and contact number  (free)
Walter checking out the bottom half of his new crate
     The day of our departure felt like scenes I've watched from The Amazing Race- in fact, the whole week before felt like it.  My friend, Lisa, kindly took us to the Orlando airport and we arrived 2 1/2 hours before our flight departed.  Plenty of time, right?  That's what we thought, so we got our tickets and went to the cell phone lot in order for Walter to use the bathroom one more time and I could administer his prescribed mild sedation.  (I had given him a trial dose the previous day just to make sure he had no side effects.)  We then said our good-byes to Lisa and began the lengthy process of checking Walter in.  I wish I had pictures of him  being checked out by the airport security guy.   Steve and I made it to our gate within minutes of boarding.


                                  WELCOME TO LOS ANGELES!


   Knowing that Walter was riding in the cargo area wasn't easy on me as I slowly watched the outside air temperature drop to -45 degrees.  I kept telling myself that airlines transport dogs every day and that he would be fine.  But when we had to wait about an hour for Walter to arrive at the special baggage claim- that about did me in.  I was quite relieved to see him again!


   And that song I used to sing . . . well now it goes, 
"I'm so happy that we got you!"  I'm very thankful to have Walter to keep me company while Steve is away at work.  I can't imagine being here without either of them.

Preparing to leave Florida

Now this is what a garage should look like!
    A little backtracking is in order before I continue to blog about our life in Marina Del Rey.  Believe me, preparing to move was an adventure in itself!
   We found out about our possible temporary move to California in the middle of November, but it was several weeks later before it was definite.  Our oldest son and his family (John, Tiffany, and Silas) just so happened to be looking for a new place to rent -so it was decided that they would move to our house, but with clear instructions that they make it their own.  They decided to utilize all of the house but the master bedroom (which will be nice for us when we travel back for visits).

Preparing our home for John, Tiffany, and Silas to live in was no small feat!  (I wish I had taken a picture of what our garage looked like on a daily basis prior to cleaning it).  We needed all the storage space that we could create for both our belongings and their storage items.    We were quite impressed with the finished project!

     The necessary work on the inside of the house was a slow process.  Between my work, helping with Silas, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and our youngest daughter, Natalie,  home from college- there was only so much I could do until the last week.  ( I was thankful that I had already organized the house  completely back in September.  I can't imagine what a task this would've been had I not.)  After Christmas, I emptied the closets in two of the three bedrooms and also my closet in the master bedroom.  Shelves, bookcases, and bathroom cabinets were cleared.  It really was a much needed purging which involved several trips to the Goodwill store and to the trash can.  Our kitchen was left untouched as John & Tiffany planned to store most of their kitchen items which saved me a lot of work.  My favorite preparation was painting Silas' room.  He wanted it painted pink, but didn't seem to mind the gray.

Getting this room ready . . . 

. . . for this little guy!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Our Home Away from Home

     Welcome to "My Adventures with Steve and Walter"- a blog about our life in Marina Del Rey, California!  Even though I am technically challenged-  I think it will be the best way to keep our family and friends informed about our new experiences here (and I will learn much about the tech world along the way!).  

   I don't expect to have any blog followers that I don't know, but just in case you are wondering- Steve is my husband of 30 years and Walter is our 5 month old labradoodle.  This picture was taken at the south end of Venice Beach on the day after we arrived.  We couldn't get over how wide the beach was nor how crazy it was on the boardwalk.  Too bad I couldn't get my phone out quick enough to take a picture of a woman dressed in a bridal gown made out of trash walking down the boardwalk (she had a trail of men following her due to the fact that her gown was split up the back to her waist - and I don't think she had anything on underneath!  Thank goodness she did have on a long veil!)   We also saw a pirate riding a bike and I really think that he thought he was a pirate- who knows,  maybe he was!  And I had thought that I had seen it all, having lived in Daytona Beach area for the past seven years!  

   Our apartment complex is much larger than I thought it would be.  I love how well manicured the grounds are- makes for some enjoyable walks with Walter.