Seester Sunday Returns

Welcome back to Seester Sunday! These are our recaps from Sunday, October 25, 2020.

Mel:

This morning began with prying myself out of my warm bed with my two personal space heaters:

I attended 10:30 a.m. mass at the Basilica of St. John and the monthly parish council meeting afterward. This was a bittersweet Sunday as I took in all of my surroundings, because it was my last Sunday as a parishioner there before I move to Davenport next week. I will deeply miss the basilica parish family.

After mass, I made my weekly grocery run. Trader Joe’s is my favorite grocery store, but I did not feel like driving out to West Des Moines, so I went to Hy-Vee on Fleur Drive instead. It was busier than a usual Sunday, and I realized while overhearing conversations at the check out that several people were stocking up for the pending snow storm. However, according to the forecast I saw, we are predicted to get only two inches of snow. Better safe than sorry, I guess!

Since I will be moving in ten days, I have lots of random stuff to do. Today I painted two pieces of office furniture – something I have been putting off for nearly a year! I guess it takes a move to get random things done. 🤷‍♀️

Aside from all of that, I spent a good chunk of time on my couch, snuggling with the pups. We are trying to soak in the final few days in our apartment before moving day, as we will be in Eastern Iowa for a few days later this week and early next week.

Chilly days equal snuggly pups.

Hope you all have a wonderful week! 

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Sarah:

My Sunday was similar to Mel’s, but add in getting puked on by the baby and forgetting to take any pictures!

We got up and were out the door, driving by 8:05am with extreme difficulty, mind you, and with 7 kids. I stayed up way too late the night before and Mary was up at 6…so I was tired to say the least. We attended Mass and Kateri threw a huge fit when we were in the front of the Communion line, so that was fun and I got to take her out of church after that. After Mass we ordered and picked up a breakfast pizza and went home to eat it, which didn’t take long with 6 kids eating!

I did some house chores and the kids were all just so crazy. What is it lately?! Is it just me?! I don’t know but my kids have been nuts. SO, we decided to mandate a 1 hour quiet time for everyone, not just the nappers. And can I say…..It. Was. Glorious. I read out of 2 separate books and cuddled Mary for a solid 1.5 hours. After that it was time to make dinner and do that whole routine. We ended the evening with watching part of a Lego documentary on Prime that was really good! Lego has an awesome story!!!! Now I’m about comatose and thinking about ice cream….we shall see. 

Have a great week!

Downtown Davenport Adventures: People – City’s Nature

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During my two years and almost six months of living in Downtown Davenport, I have witnessed a lot of change in this small city. Most recently, this change has involved looking out my windows at night and seeing – gasp! – neighbors right at my sixth floor level across the street in nearly every direction.

Two sets of neighbors have rooftop patios, which I really want. They are small patios sans pools or gardens, as my dream patio would include. Yet they are still pretty cool. One even has tiki torches. And then at night time, I realize all of the downtown construction has yielded people in higher level lofts whose televisions I can see. Hmmm….if I can see them, they can see me. I am not a super risqué gal, and yet I should probably close the blinds during certain points of the evening and early morning.

Today I was reading the May issue of Vogue – love the magazine yet am perpetually two months behind with reading it – and one of the columnists stated that people are city’s nature. So true!

When I first moved to the downtown of “my small city,” as I like to call it, I was refreshed by a few weirdos here and there. I love walking around during the day time and especially on Saturdays. However, during weekday evenings and on Sundays, my small city can sometimes feel a bit deserted. So I welcome the new apartments and businesses with open arms. I need more action and somewhat crazy people, even if it does mean feeling obligated to close my blinds once in a while.

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Downtown Davenport Adventures: Return of the Spiders

The spiders returned sometime back in March.  They are still friendly spiders strung across the outside of my high rise windows.  Fewer have shown up this time.  Whereas last year, two appeared in each window, this year each window so far only boasts one.  So, is this one George or Ethel, or neither?  I am in a naming conundrum.  Since I like to name things, I might as well just start over.  In my bedroom windows I have Thing One and Thing Two.  Kitchen: Barack in window one; Mitt in window two.  The living room’s two windows will be claimed by Lola and Ginger.

I mention the spiders to others and they get visibly creeped out.  However, I researched this spider phenomenon last year, and the spiders have remained outdoors.  Here’s to hoping we continue to co-exist peacefully!

Downtown Davenport Adventures: Spiders

The spiders in my windows have disappeared.

Back in May, the spiders mysteriously descended upon every window outside of my sixth floor Downtown Davenport apartment.  I have six windows, and each one had two spiders in it.  Sounds like the beginning of a cheesy sci fi movie, I know.

Of course I freaked out, but only momentarily.  Then Google and I got to the bottom of the situation.  As I fired up the HP Mini, I was having flashbacks to spring 2005 in the southern Houston suburb of Pearland.  I loved my apartment there, was all settled in, and then one night I came home from work to discover large, flying tree roaches had invaded my apartment.  I promptly went across the street to Walmart to find every roach exterminating product that would not kill Jag.

And Jag had been freaked out by the roaches too.  He chattered and chased them but didn’t find them desirable to eat.  He was a good spotter for me though.  If it wasn’t for Jag, I may have missed a few of them.

Now Jag had tipped me off again, staring at the upper corners of the windows.  At least this time around the subjects in question were outside.

I found when googling spiders in windows that this was a common site in high rise apartments.  That made me feel uber urban chick.  Granted, I was on the sixth and top floor of my miniscule version of a high rise, but I qualified in the same category with New York City urban dwellers.  Very cool.

Eliminating the spiders was an option with the help of either bleach water or lemon juice.  However, the prevailing thoughts seemed to be to leave them alone if they weren’t bugging anyone.  Hmmm.  But if they decided to bug me, there were twelve of them, and by then it would be too late to preserve my sanity.

But then I thought about all of the other bugs that may invade during the upcoming summer months and how the spiders would keep them out.  Various opinions on Google said to let them do their work.  Whereas the roaches had no use, the spiders did.

So I peacefully co-existed with the spiders.  I even named most of them: George and Ethel, Wilbur and Charlotte, Mo and Larry, Thelma and Louise.  I left the spiders in my bedroom windows nameless in case I had to start killing them.  The ones near my bed would be the first to go, after all.

And the spiders never came inside.  They magically disappeared each morning and then reappeared at dusk each evening.  A few of them became really fat and even scarier, but I took a deep breath and continued to smile.

Then a few nights ago I realized they were gone.  It must be the cooler weather.  No, they have not appeared in my apartment.  I tell myself they must be hibernating in the bricks and mortar.

A part of me misses my eight-legged friends.

Downtown Davenport Adventures: 5am Wake Up Call

It recently occurred to me to begin some downtown entries as a weekly part of my blog.

Even though Davenport is not a huge metropolis, I am always experiencing something new.  Case in point: crazy guy with fire sprinkler/alarm issues on Sunday, July 10, at 5:00 a.m.

I awoke to an intermittent buzzing sound, looked out my apartment peep hole, and discovered the fire alarm lights in the hallway were flashing.  I threw on some clothes and debated whether to drag out the carrier for Jag.  No, I’d have the firefighters rescue him if necessary.  I figured this was either a small contained fire or someone pulling a prank.

It took me a few minutes to find the staircase, since I always use the elevator.  Six flights down.

As I stood outside on the street, I was reminded of my days in the Kresge dorm at Simpson College.  We had a run of about six weeks when the fire alarm was a weekly part of our routine, thanks to drunk guys pulling alarms.  Funny how history seems to repeat itself.

But then as I saw fire truck number three pull up, I began to have doubts.  Maybe this was the real deal.  Then no one was running, and we weren’t herded to the opposite side of the street, so I knew it had to be under control.

The firefighters let us back in after about 20 minutes (who knows how long the alarm went off before I realized it and made my way out of the building), and while I was curious what happened, I didn’t stop to ask them.  Enough people were asking questions, and I overheard a sprinkler issue discussion.  Besides, I wanted to go back to bed and knew I’d hear all about it later. Climbed up six flights of stairs.  Tired.

A neighbor told me the entire story later that afternoon.  A crazy 40-something guy on the third floor thought the fire sprinklers in his room and alarms in the hallway were videotaping him, speaking to him, etc.  So, he decided to bust them up.  Nice.

All part of living downtown.

Appreciating Home

“A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body.”  – Benjamin Franklin
While at cousin Tess’s 21st birthday festivities this weekend, the subject of home came up a few times.  Of course, small town Iowa and Minnesota were mentioned in the mix, but mostly as a launching ground more than a home.  Past, present, and future home cities Chicago, Davenport, Denver, Houston, Minneapolis, Seattle, and New York City were all mentioned.  (Now, I know Davenport isn’t even close to the size of the rest of those cities!)
When visiting another city or home, one can’t help but to compare it to his or her own home.  We realize we often take our own homes for granted, whether they offer solitude, city life, mountains, or great scenery.  Cost of living is another factor that inevitably makes its way into the discussion.
Last night, I realized that I am pretty comfy in my new Davenport home as I looked out the window at the Mississippi River and small city lights.  Each place I have lived has offered a different element of home for me.  Fredericksburg was the childhood home of familiarity.  Indianola was my college home.  Des Moines was my first adult home.  Houston was the out-of-my-comfort-zone and warm-weathered home.  And Durant was the transitional home to help me determine my next step. 
Not sure what the official role of my Davenport home will be.  I just know it was a welcome site on Sunday evening.

Main Street Davenport vs. Main Street Durant

Day 9 in my new digs at 324 North Main Street in Davenport, and I can’t help but compare and mostly contrast my new surroundings with the old.

I’m taking on a Letterman format with this one.

Top Ten Differences between Main Street Davenport and Main Street Durant, Iowa:

10.  On Main Street Davenport, I can open my windows.

On Main Street Durant, I could only open two of my twenty windows because they were either painted shut or too broken to open without losing the entire thing.

9.  On Main Street Davenport, I am within walking distance of the Figge, Redstone Room, restaurants, library, St. Anthony’s church, and a tattoo shop.

On Main Street Durant, I was within walking distance to nearly everything in town, with the hot spots being the Dew Drop, Westfair Drug, Jeff’s Market, and the American Legion.

8.  On Main Street Davenport, my apartment is small and cozy.

On Main Street Durant, my apartment was large and cozy.

7.  On Main Street Davenport, I am greeted by lots of people on the way to my car in the morning – apartment staff, the deli guys, a random homeless person, and a new person who wants to chat.

On Main Street Durant, I was greeted by people honking their horns thinking I noticed who was driving by.

6.  On Main Street Davenport, my new apartment was spotless when I moved in.

On Main Street Durant, I had to clean my apartment multiple times before it was suitable to live in.

5.  On Main Street Davenport, everyone seems to want to swing by and say hi.

On Main Street Durant, only friendly stalkers would want to swing by and say hi.  Everyone else would say, “Where’s Durant?”

4.  On Main Street Davenport, I hear random city noises, but the inside of the building is relatively quiet.

On Main Street Durant, no city noises existed.  I’d hear the occasional fire truck since the station was across the street, along with a teeny bopper squealing tires.  Inside, I could hear downstairs neighbor Kathy yelling at her grandson, arguing with her daughter, or talking to her dead husband.

3.  On Main Street Davenport, I say hi to the property owner in the hallway and the next day I have a discount on my rent.

On Main Street Durant, my landlord only visited the property when something had been broken and I repeatedly called to have it fixed.  And then I had to fight just to get my deposit back.

2.  On Main Street Davenport, I have some anonymity.

On Main Street Durant, everyone was watching.

1.  On Main Street Davenport, I feel at home.

On Main Street Durant, I felt at home for almost four years.

Camping Out in My Old Living Room

I wrote this on Saturday evening, February 12, 2011:

Silence – except for the humming of the old refrigerator.  I savor my glass of Yellow Tail Shiraz and Cadbury egg.  I watch Jag nose his way under the sleeping bag.

Then I become annoyed.  My wireless signal is weak.  No internet.  Am inspired to blog but now must physically write my thoughts in my notebook.

I moved today.  Finally.  From decision time to moving day was only 16 days, but that 16 days took forever.  And then it was almost here and I was scurrying to have everything packed by this morning at 9:00 a.m.

My official paying and move in date is in three days, so now I wait some more.  I’ve had my keys for nine days now.  Susan said to start moving in whenever I wanted to start.  So I took a couple of car loads earlier this week.  I don’t want to abuse my privilege and stay overnight there until the 15th though.  I prefer to pay courtesy with integrity and respect.

I am so excited!  The building is older, nothing too fancy.  But it is cute and downtown.  I feel life there.  One only has to look out from my top floor corner windows to see something happening.

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And then I return to my 99% empty apartment here.  I moved my TV with the 99% – figured it would be good to go without it for three nights.  But it’s weird not having the noise.  I won’t be home very early during these last nights here, but I like the late night re-run sitcom TV.  I am doing without it tonight.

I am camping out indoors.  My suitcase, sleeping bag, and netbook are within reach.  One final car load, after some final cleaning, and this home will be history.

I will read my Time magazine and go to bed.  I am physically exhausted even though I didn’t do any heavy lifting today.  Four adults and a toddler helped.  Many hands make for a smooth move, especially when they belong to my fabulous friends and family.

Now the process of unpacking begins.  Of course, I started that today also.  Old things seem new in a different place.  I guess the same applies to me.

From Small Town Mouse to Small City Mouse

Things have been a bit crazy since I last posted.  ‘Tis the season for filing taxes, assembling the annual Scott County Republican Women‘s directory, assembling packets for Gloria Dei’s annual meeting, and taking on new things every day.  The latest new item is moving from Durant to Davenport.

I received a certified letter from my landlord on the last Tuesday in January, notifying me that my rent was increasing by about 30% a month, effective March 1.  My heart sank.  What timing.  I’m totally finding my groove with my semi-hippie lifestyle (sans hallucinogens), and that is when he decides to raise my rent for the first time in almost four years.  True, my rent was cheap to begin with.  But in exchange for that, I accept that my landlord does not do snow removal and also slowly responds to maintenance requests (even when it’s an urgent thing like not having water).  However, raising my rent and having to deal with those slum-lord-ish issues is not acceptable.

I allowed myself to be angry for about ten minutes before I went into action mode.  Anyone who has talked to me about housing during the past four years knows I have continually planned to move to the Quad Cities, only to put it off for another few months or another year.  Now I had my sign.  It was time to do it once and for all.

I’ve had my eye on The Davenport apartment building since doing some work for Landmark Properties as a Victory Enterprises consultant in late 2009.  I called them up, and they had two open apartments.  I looked and fell in love.  Then I crunched the numbers.  With the Durant rent increase, it would cost the same to live in either place.  Within two days of receiving the terrible rent increase letter, I had sealed the deal on a new place and literally opened a new door in my journey.

I am more city girl than country girl, but I’ve been living in a town without a stop light for nearly four years.  How does that happen?  Convenience and cheap rent.  It was easy to move my furniture in storage only four blocks down the road, especially after having hauled it across the country from Houston.  It was easy to commit to cheap rent and no lease.  And it was easy to be in close (lately too close) proximity to family after missing them for so long.

While Davenport is no Houston, it offers just enough city life to get me excited.  I will be within short walking distance of the Mississippi River, Rhythm City Casino, RME, Figge, and various restaurants.  And days after my decision was made, I found out RAGBRAI would be ending on Bix weekend, with everyone celebrating in adjoining streets to my new place.  I’ve found a place to belong!

Durant isn’t bad – it just isn’t me.  I have been able to live here only because I didn’t grow up in this small town.  No one really knows me, and I don’t socialize much here.  It’s my bedroom community.  Working at the church has introduced me to more people, but even that becomes suffocating when people comment on what they saw me doing outside of my car that morning, whether it was checking oil, scraping car windows, or looking ridiculous hauling too much in one trip between my car and apartment.

Moving is a great chance to reflect on a segment of life in one residence, while looking forward to a new start in a new place.  Whether it is moving across town, to a nearby town, or across the country, the act itself can be therapeutic.  I think back to where I was when I moved into this apartment in March 2007 and marvel at all that has happened in life since then.  I recall hosting a bachelorette party here and naming the various rooms “Powder Room”, “Ladies’ Lair”, and “Diva’s Den”.  I think about seeing this place trashed when I moved in and gradually transforming it into a cute place, with help from a little carpet shampooing, paint, and friends and family.

And now I have the opportunity to create new memories in a sixth floor downtown apartment.  I can’t wait to be a small city mouse and have new places to explore and people to meet.  I have splendid visions of my new artsy-fartsy decor, as well as not having to shovel myself out of my apartment in the foreseeable future.

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