More Random USA Pictures

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I’m here two days in a row! (This is a continuation of yesterday though) I started in California with my older daughter and her family, and then went on to Seattle to see my younger daughter and her family. And for even more fun, my older daughter came up for the weekend so we had a couple days all together.

Spring in the Pacific Northwest is very pretty with all the flowers, flowering trees, and greenery everywhere. We walked every day in the neighborhood so I had chances to enjoy all the beauty.

We also took a walk in a wooded park. The kids were very excited to find slugs on the ground, and they even found a snail! There were various wildflowers blooming and with the frequent rain and high humidity, many of the trees were covered with moss. The kids are experienced hikers and we all had a good time exploring.

Later we went to the mall for lunch and heard Chris LeVaughn performing. He’s a good singer and I enjoyed talking with him a bit after his gig. It’s interesting that instead of a tip jar he had various QR codes to apps where you could support him. Times have changed.

And speaking of changing times we went to the Amazon Fresh grocery store. You scan a QR code on your phone as you enter, put whatever you want in your basket or shopping bag, scan your code again as you leave, and you’re done. No check out needed. The dozens and dozens of cameras hanging from the ceiling make note of what you take (or put back), tally it all up, and charge your account accordingly. To us old folks it seems like sort of crazy magic! I like the human interaction with a cashier at checkout though, so I think I’m fine with the traditional shopping experience. We had to try the Amazon thing at least once though.

The granddaughters both take dance class and they were preparing for a performance. The younger one had dress rehearsal while I was there but unfortunately they were in the big room with the windows covered and we couldn’t see anything. But, a video is supposed to be coming out at some point. the kids were super cute in their costumes though. I have to include this awesome sky we saw as we left the studio!

There is a heated pool in a nearby park so the kids have been swimming fairly often. The older granddaughter put her face in the water and decided that wasn’t so bad. I felt like we witnessed a big breakthrough because within a day she was paddling around everywhere with her face in the water and she was jumping off the side of the pool. It was cool to see her confidence and sense of accomplishment.

Housing in the USA is crazy, and we got to see a bit of that. I am so thankful that both of my daughters have houses because I don’t think they could afford anything today. The house across the street from my Seattle daughter sold a few weeks ago. It’s single family home, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, walk out basement just like hers. It was owned by an elderly couple who both died, and it was vacant for a few years while the family sorted out what they wanted to do. It was terribly outdated and probably needed everything redone. My daughter said the street was overflowing all weekend with shoppers, and the house sold in one day for $1.1 million.

My sister and her husband are moving from Dallas to the Boston area for retirement, and just bought a condo about 30 minutes outside of Boston. They were really frustrated that they couldn’t get an offer accepted on anything they were interested in buying. They finally found a condo, offered $110K over asking price and got accepted. I think it ended up costing a bit under $800K. There’s no way they could afford anything close to the city.

We looked at a townhouse around the corner from my Seattle daughter listed for $675K. It’s townhouse so you share a wall with your neighbor, and if you sit on your back terrace you could almost touch your neighbor’s terrace. There is a steep set of stairs going up in the home, and a small kitchen and living room on the first floor. There are two bedrooms and two bathrooms on the upper floor, and another set of stairs to get up there.

This is one more but very important reason we’re so thankful to be here in Panama. We have a comfortable house, 3 bedrooms, two baths, fenced yard with fruit trees, nice neighbors mostly professionals, teachers, blue collar workers and their families, minutes from shopping and everything we need. $385/month. No, I did not leave out any zeros.

So now I’m back home and back to our usual life. It’s strange. I feel like I have three different worlds and I’m comfortable in all of them, and I can instantly (well with quite a few travel hours) move from one to the another. Now I’m in Panama, rainy season, daytime temperatures in the 80’s, rain expected most afternoons, everything super lush and green, bird singing everywhere, dogs doing their jobs (barking at anything remotely noteworthy), and the things we worry about – is the trash truck coming today? Should we go walking now before it rains? What’s for dinner? This is a good world for me.

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