Arizona 2020:
Day 3 - Mesa


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Arizona 2020: [Day 1 - Driving] [Day 2 - Mesa] [Day 3 - Mesa] [Day 4 - Mesa] [Day 5 - Mesa] [Day 6 - Driving] [Day 7 - Driving]

Thursday, April 23, 2020: After a very deserved full night's sleep, we were up by 7:00 AM Arizona time. We went downstairs for the hotel's continental breakfast. Since offering a full breakfast wasn't safe, the hotel offered microwaveable items, including breakfast pizza and "egg sliders" which were basically scrambled eggs in a pastry crust.
We were here to take ownership of Debbie's father's condos since her stepmother, Becky, had died one week earlier. Cross-country travel was strongly discouraged, but her stepbrothers had made plans to come down to claim some possessions so she and Doug needed to be involved. With no end in sight to the pandemic, it turned out to be better to handle it immediately rather than waiting months.
We had brought along lots of cleaning supplies, especially precious toilet paper.
Debbie's stepbrothers had arrived the night before and had tried to get into the condo but had problems with the keys. They called us after they were able to get into the condo in the morning.
After a brief chat to catch up and discuss what needed to be packed, ...
... Debbie got to work taking a quick photo inventory of the condo. Everything in the condo was to go to Debbie and Doug with a few exceptions, such as these two paintings and the wooden carving over the hallway, ...
... this china cabinet and its contents, ...
... this rosemaled wooden plate in the dining room, ...
... and a silver-lined Noritake china set in the kitchen.
We encouraged David and Dan to see if there were other things they wanted as well, and we saved some areas for stepsister Katy to go through when she arrived the next day.
There was so much stuff in the kitchen, it took several days to clean it all out.
The bedroom was just as Katy and her mother had left it last July, when Katy helped Becky move back to Minnesota after Debbie's dad's death.
Katy had packed Becky's van with all of her clothes and as many other belongings as she could, ...
... so some of the closets were pretty cleared out already.
However, there was lots of personal stuff left to go through, ...
... including knickknacks and wall decorations.
With some things obviously meaningful to one family or the other, we didn't have any problems dividing things up to give Becky's family.
The study closet where Debbie's dad, Bob, stored his clothes had been cleaned out by Debbie and Katy following Bob's death last July.
Doug would be renting a trailer so that he could take Bob's train table and train set home with him.
We discussed what to do with this large grandfather clock that used to belong to Becky's stepfather. No one in either family wanted it and no one wanted to lug it home with them, so we left it in the condo for the time being.
The front door was blocked by a metal shelving unit with a curtain in front of it, turning it into a makeshift closet.
Tom dismantled it all in no time and opened the front door for the first time in at least a decade.
The laundry/utility room was packed with stuff too, so we sent a few things home with David and Dan.
We left all of this to go through later in the week.
This outdoor wall hanging got loaded into their rental van to go back to the cabin in Bemidji.
Stepsister Katy and her husband were flying out the next day to drive the Toyota Avalon back to Minnesota. Tom did them a favor by washing nine months' worth of dust and dirt from the windows before their arrival.
Next, he went over to the clubhouse and found that Becky's obituary had been posted by someone on the community bulletin board.
On this printed list of special shopping hours for seniors at local stores, someone had written in ink on the bottom: "Humanity is doomed." Someone else crossed it out, but it was still clearly visible.
A copy of the most recent issue of the community newsletter had been posted. Bob had been the editor for many years, but in recent years had been responsible for layout instead.
In the bottom right corner, we learned that Bob's layout responsibilities had been taken over by his brother-in-law, Terry, which was nice.
Neighbor Ralph's ladyfriend and fellow community member Phyllis wrote and posted this poem about the coronavirus.
In two hours, David and Dan had finished packing and were ready to hit the road. After our success in driving through the night, they were both fired up about doing the same so they could get home to their patient wives who had barely seen them for the last two weeks.
Once the guys left, we got started on sorting through items in the house. The study was nearly all of Bob's stuff so it was easy to sort.
It was sobering to see that the model train calendar on the wall was still displaying July 2019, the month that Bob died.
Debbie had negotiated with Doug that she could have Bob's amazing label printer, but with so many other office goodies to choose from, we realized that we needed an easy way to split it all up, especially all of the 3M products we found all over the house, including in two 3M gift boxes from years past. Doug came up with the brilliant idea to gather it all and split it up schoolyard-pick style when we were done.
There were lots of collage frames on the walls, so some got saved for Katy, some got photographed then dismantled (with photos going to Susan and the frames being donated), and the two frames of our wedding photos went home with the respective couples.
This frame featured the 2007 Schilling Reunion.
Doug and Debbie were both excited to see Bob's guitar, having grown up with a dad who played guitar at family singalongs and at campsites. But the moment the guitar case was opened, it was immediately obvious that this was not the guitar they remembered. Doug brought it home for a friend who was very grateful to receive it.
Tom took some photos of the exterior of the condo.
With the front door now accessible, that sign on the front door directing people to the carport was no longer necessary.
That Bob and Becky sign over the carport was no longer needed either, and Doug took it home with him.
Being a retired 3M employee, Bob made good use of 3M products, so it was amusing to us to discover these cable-organizing Command Strips tucked on the back of one of Bob's desks.
Susan took our Del Taco order and Doug went out to pick it up for lunch for all of us.
Debbie texted her stepsiblings to see if anyone wanted the extensive Corelle sets in this everyday pattern ...
... and this Christmas pattern. Katy responded that both of these patterns are at the cabin up north, so Tom packed these up for Katy to take with her the next day.
This painting was painted by Debbie and Doug's Grandma Normark, so Susan contacted our Seattle-area Normark relatives to see if they wanted it. They brought it back with them to give to Aunt Ruth, the artist's daughter.
Doug went through all of the many pens in the house and tested each of them to see if they still worked.
Neighbors strolling by struck up a conversation and learned that we were cleaning out the condo, so they notified the residents who run the annual flea market for the community. The nice flea market folks agreed to come by a couple of times a day to take anything we wanted to give away, since they had a storage area where they could keep it until the flea market next season. We piled things up by the front door and then Tom would box it all up, leave it in the carport, and it would magically disappear.
We stored our piles of stuff in the dining room while Doug and Susan stored their piles of things to take home in the living room. For several days, it was absolute chaos and stuff everywhere.
It was this messy when the appraiser we hired came by to do an appraisal of the two condos we had inherited.
Anything we thought Katy would need to review got stored on and around the bed in the bedroom. Debbie sorted Becky's desk, dividing things into separate piles: trash, shred, recycle, send home with Katy. Having spent days going through Bob's things together last summer, Debbie and Katy had built a lot of trust in each other so it was helpful that Katy didn't have to spend the time to do this when she arrived.
Susan texted pictures of items to Katy so she could decide whether she wanted something packed to take with her or not. Susan found this children's book and immediately claimed it for herself: it was written by Katy's husband, Guy, who kindly told Debbie the next day that he would get her a copy too. (He did! What a wonderful book!)
Doug and Susan took home this family Bible. We don't know the history of it, only that it was always in Debbie and Doug's home during their childhood. The embossing indicates that it was probably a wedding gift.
Some things don't need to be kept, just photographed, and this C Flight AJPR Golf League Tournament Champion trophy from January 23, 2007 is one of them. This treasure was hanging in the utility/laundry shed.
Here's another treasure to be photographed but not kept: an old padded envelope sent by Debbie and Doug's Great Aunt Beatrice in 2009, the year before she died. She never met an envelope she didn't want to decorate with a sticker.
As 7:00 PM neared, we were winding down for the day. Doug showed Debbie some goodies he had brought for her, ...
... including some Washington brewery beers, ...
... and a whole bunch of flavors of Schilling Cider, many more than what is shown here.
We left the remaining items out for the flea market volunteers and parted ways for the evening, completely exhausted.
The two of us knew exactly where we'd be going for takeout: Del Taco for the third time in 30 hours.

We shared a romantic dinner in our suite and fell asleep early.

Day 4 >


Arizona 2020: [Day 1 - Driving] [Day 2 - Mesa] [Day 3 - Mesa] [Day 4 - Mesa] [Day 5 - Mesa] [Day 6 - Driving] [Day 7 - Driving]

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