Changes in Longitude

At 40 below zero, the gauge reads the same in both Celcius and Fahrenheit. At least that is what a Canadian friend told me on our last cruise. Winters in Indiana don’t get THAT cold. Perhaps a minus-ten-degree day, but never minus 40.

But, at 34,000 or so feet, the data screen on the back of the airplane’s seat in front of me reads -60 F and -51 C. Below my fellow passengers and I, somewhere down in Oklahoma, tiny little white wind turbines dot the landscape. Tiny to us at 34,000 or so feet, no matter how cold it is.

This is it, a new chapter in my life.

Wife is already in the City of Angels. She’s in our new kind-of-spacious 900 square foot two bedroom apartment. I just packed up the accumulated junk, belongings and “stuff” that we filled our 2,800 square foot four bedroom house with. Last week I watched the movers fit those boxes of belongings, two bicycles and less than half of our furniture into the front quarter of a semi-trailer.

We’d been decluttering and getting rid of belongings for almost a year now. But we still had a lot of stuff.

“This is a small trailer,” said the movers as I comment how little of the space in the long semi-trailer was occupied by our belongings. What was left was going to be sold off in a moving sale that would net us several hundred in cash.

After the moving truck left, I spent the following week in Indy, sleeping in a recliner. Our grown daughter was purchasing her own condo in Indy the next week. She’d be taking the furniture from my man cave, a couch and a double seater, rocker/recliner. But, for that week, with our new mattress strapped into the nose of the “small” semi-trailer, the cat and I would be sleeping on the recliner.

On my final night as an Indiana resident, I got to sleep in a real bed again.

Friends were kind enough to volunteer to let me sleep at their home, and have up to three dogs to keep me warm. I opted for a no-dog night, as my previously unnoticed allergies kicked in. Or, perhaps, I’m beginning a bout with a head cold. Since this new chapter in my life is beginning, I’m hoping it’s just allergies. But the head cold seems more likely.

We all awoke in the ungodly hours of the morning. Their dogs, overjoyed that the humans were up, began demanding their breakfast. To no avail. Food would have to wait until I was safely transported to the airport.

Getting through TSA was fairly quick. Since I had my 2nd carry-on item – an army-green soft case with foam trays full of the best little toy soldier army in all of Indianapolis – I was flagged by the guy running the x-ray machine, to have that bag checked by hand.

I looked at the agent getting ready to run the sniffer wand through the bag. “Get ready to inspect a bunch of little toy soldiers,” I warned him with a smile.

After waving his TSA wand of freedom around the foam trays, and gently lifting a few up at the corners to confirm their contents, he shrugged as he zipped the bag back up. “He’s new… it was obvious what they were.”

Naturally, the few hundred passengers I was congregating with all wanted the same thing at that time of morning. COFFEE!

I originally bypassed Starbucks, with about 30 people in line, and headed down a few gates to a sandwich shop. A bright idea, with terrible timing. the patrons in front of me placed breakfast sandwich and fruit smoothie orders. The lone girl running the shop wasn’t good at multi-tasking, and that order looked like a 10-20 minute wait for the rest of us. Back to Starbucks for me.

The flight itself gives me time to reflect on the past 50 years of living in my now former home state. There was good, there was bad. Some moments like closing the door one last time on the building we called home for the past 10 years will stick with me for a few weeks at least. The friends, my past clients, supervisors, and especially my students will be the fondest of memories.

But, the part of the relocation that I enjoyed the most was deleting from my web browser the two links on the main link bar that directed me to the weather conditions for Indiana.

No more will I need to spend all of March through November looking for rain clouds on the radar, or November through March wondering if I have enough gas in the snow blower for those pesky snow bands that roam Indiana like marauding hordes of Mongols.

Those links are gone. I noticed on the weather forecast this coming week for the Los Angeles area a predicted condition I’d never seen in Indiana: Brilliant Sunshine.

So it is, now that the bumpy weather over the Rockies gives our 737 a jostle, that I head off to new adventures, new friends, a new career, and new weather. Below, more of those little white wind turbines dot the landscape, this time somewhere in Arizona. I’m going to spend some time gazing out the window, as I contemplate the future.

Hello California. I think I’ll like Brilliant Sunshine.

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