teaching life in a virtual world
On the road again. Just a whistle stop in the States, ten-days: Jersey City, Atlanta, Big Canoe (in the mountains north of Atlanta), upstate New York (Albany, Round Lake), New York City and now waiting for a plane Newark – Toronto – Beijing. Just a short visit to see family, friends, our money person (who said we should not take a year off – what? We have to keep working to see the world? Damn!) and assorted people who keep our life moving forward: Chris, Narda's son and his wife in Georgia – thanks for the three days in the mountains what a relaxing time. And we even had a day we did not spend money except for some fridge magnets I bought at a very southern garage sale. Seven magnets of seven states all of which we have lived in at some time for a total of three bucks. My fridge is covered with magnets
of where we visit – Narda says I can only buy where we have stayed at least one night. Why do wives put restrictions on us normal humans who collect stuff and cart most of it from place to place? OK so we have stuff in storage or in homes in China, Australia, New Jersey (yes that is a country) and in a shed in between our houses in upstate New York, but a few more things to keep especially as small as fridge magnets surely is domestically legal. The stay in Big Canoe, which incidentally is not a big canoe as in the Big Banana in Queensland, or the big lobster in South Australia and other such stupid things but the name of a closed community where the wealthy folks have 'cabins' they retreat to when city life is too consuming. Our cabin was a three story house that could have easily housed three families or in some cultures ten families. Porches that were screened in so we could sit out and watch the days come and go – see two blogs earlier. And staying with them in Atlanta was good too. I was able to find a Goodwill store and bought a tie to add to my collection of more than a hundred ties that are not the regular wear-to-work type of ties and I found a shirt, that Narda was quite opposed to – that probably came from a black school marching band.
Our Jersey City tenant – a couple with a two-year old from the same country that we work in.... what a mess our house is in. It is a three-story townhouse built in the 1800's. We left it in quite good shape with our furniture – some pieces are antiques and are from my father's home that he had before I came along more than sixty-years ago. Their two-year old has taken over the house and I think it will take a lot of cleaning once they leave. The good thing is that they are staying for another year saving us an agency fee of getting new tenants.
Our upstate New York, Round Lake, tenants; churning out the babies, but they are staying for another year and are looking after our homes and making our gardens looks specky. Below 15 Second Street – we only lived in this for one year and we lived in 13 Second Street before moving to NYC and our current tenants have lived there for six-years whilst ones before lived there for a year. We will be getting the front painted this year
An elderly driver crashed into the porch of 13 Second Street a couple of weeks ago and knocked part of the steps away as well as a load-bearing pillar which is bit of a concern. Apparently he was on the Northway (the freeway between Albany and Montreal) when he realised his brakes were failing so he coasted off exit 11 – Round Lake – managed to cruise into the village and down our street and bang right into the porch. Helpful for us is that our tenant works for our insurance company and she is getting it all sorted out
We also met with our painters, William and his wife – Sue, they have been painting and repairing a side each summer for years and this year they are doing the front all the way to the peak including putting some fancy antique lightening rod thingy on top. An interesting note for us is that they found a photography of the house from the early 1990's that had been hand coloured and the colours were very similar to what we have had it painted in. The quick story of the nine colours of our house is that we hired someone we had heard about who chooses colours for Victorians. He has a national reputation. He sat in the park across from our house and spent an afternoon looking at the house – 'communicating with the house', he claims. People around Round Lake would stop at our house and ask why was this person staring at our house talking to himself and writing down notes. Nevertheless we went with his recommendations exactly; every railing, trim and side – he charged us like about $900 and we are still using the same colour scheme.
Our little claim to fame is that possible President Roosevelt stayed our house, FDR – apparently he was on holiday in the Adirondacks when the then president died – the person living at our house had to go and find him and inform him he was president. Round Lake in those days was a major train stop. This information is from the village's local historian who when we lived there would tell us stories of not only our house but the village itself. Stories of bootlegging during prohibition and various characters who lived and visited the village. Now it is just a great Victorian village waiting to gain some fame so the prices will shoot up and we can sell out and retire. Our money manager person said it is not good owning two houses on the same street though not being a money person myself I do not recall why. I think we have a great set up where a family can live in the big house and put the grandparents or grown children in the little house. In other words buy the two properties and set us free.
I think I will try sleeping. Riding the 13 hour flight from Toronto to Beijing – and there is still nine hours to go whilst the people around me are asleep and I am the pesky human with a computer blazing as I listen to Jimi Hendrix on the flight's recordings. Way to go Air Canada – keep us baby boomers happy though the Chinese people around me probably would not be impressed. My sleeping pill is kicking in and before I start drooling down my shirt, snoring and flopping around the place I should position myself for sleep. Perhaps I will put my legs over the seat in front of me though that would probably piss them off to no end. Narda has a relative who took a stilnox sleeping pill and apparently undressed in the laboratory – though the story has taken on several angles since the first telling of it – I am sure I will just go for a walk-about and hopefully not out any doors at 50,000 feet.
Before I do though... I have my vegetarian meal which is good because I get it before all those pork and dog eaters or whatever it is they are eating around me dive into their blood and gore of a meal. But I knew the person next to me would be getting a vegetarian meal too. Humans are so predictable. Probably a student returning to some international school in Beijing and her hippie parents. Not only did she too get a vegetarian meal but I noticed her name on her meal, 'Hope', gosh why do parents name their kids this way? I know when my first son, Sacha was born in the Northshore Hospital in Hawaii I wanted his middle name to be 'Unity' because he was born on a Sunday and had Leo rising and his initials Sacha Unity Neuage would = SUN. His alleged mother was opposed to the middle name and we ended up with Urij, a Russian or Ukrainian name which is what the alleged mother is. He still has the SUN initials. I think I let women boss me about too much. One simple fact is that my hair would be a lot longer if I had my way and why don't I have my own way? I believe wives, especially previous mother ones who raised males – take raising three males for example as Narda did, us husbands get tossed in with the raising-sons mindset. I was like a mother for a long time, raising my two sons without female intervention between 1984 and 2001 but I was let-the-world-be-of-ones-making-type-of-parenting.
I wrote in my previous blog about the meaningful visits with our real-estate agent, Kathy, my first girl friend back in 1963; Marta – my role model for living life without restrictions, and my sister and her family. I met my sister in 1991 I think it was. I was young, just in my early 40s at the time. Our mother had put me up for adoption in 1950 – my birth certificate had a misspelling for my mum so I was unable to track down my family until the mid-1980s and finally met them early 1990s when I was living in Australia and my sister in New York. We have seen each other twice since.
We visited my only living relation – from my growing up adopted family – Joyce. Her son was visiting and there was a bit of a standoffish thing happening at first. My last interaction with Joyce was when we lived upstate in about 2002 – whenever that little tousle with Afghanistan began. Narda and I were so opposed to going into Iraq – we said it would be trillions of dollars, lots would be killed, and nothing would change except the States would go deeply in debt and regret and lose. Holy cow is that not exactly what happened? Joyce was so 'let us go kick their butts' that we ended with door slamming and bitterness with only a bit of a retrieve when my adopted-father died a few months shy of 102 http://neuage.org/101 I suppose the fact that Joyce's son, Derek, volunteered to go to Iraq gave her a bit of a red-neck leaning in favour of that adventure. I am sure when we got to see Joyce last week, Derek thought we would say something about the great things for the world that the trending activists Snowden, Assange and Manning were accomplishing. But as Narda and I are so far from being political we scarcely know what anyone is doing in any country or for any cause. We are often too busy planning our next trip to know what is going on. Is this un-patrotic? Irresponsible? Or just living the moment to the fullest? We talked about life in China and obviously we had not gone communist or anti-American describing our experiences and insights – damn, they block Facebook. YouTube and Twitter how could we be pro-China. As the morning progressed Derek could see that we were not a threat to his ideology – hell, we would go to Iraq and Afghanistan – but as tourist and of course I would want to buy fridge magnets and Narda would want to buy clothes and probably shoes. And to further our retirement plans he said our houses in Round Lake would go up in value with the chip factory there and that he was planning on teaching at the college there; he works for GE (General Electric) with heavy ultrasound stuff – testing building structures using ultrasound and lasers. And that he may be able to inform us where to advertise to attract the tech people with too much money, Overall a good visit.
I think the percentage of people who carry photos of their lives everywhere they go are less than 7 % worldwide. Not to worry I carry thousands and thousands wherever I go just in case I forget something or in this case want to show a photography.
Our NYC visits as I discussed in my previous blog were great.
Our Jersey City stay was a bit budget. We have been doing Air B&B for the past few years always with great success but this place was the shits. It was not the narrow small flat but how dirty it was. Narda wanted to move to a hotel within a few minutes but we had already paid for four days and after our mishaps with luggage and Delta airlines I just wanted to settle anywhere. We spent most of our time roaming The City and visiting but if you are staying at a Jersey Air B&B don't stay at 323 5th Street. The location is great, fifteen minutes to the PATH but the place is just dirty. Though to me it was OK. It was what I was use to from the 1960's living in the lower east side in various flats; it was probably even cleaner but we won't tell Narda that. She still speaks of when she first met me, after I had spent a week cleaning in preparation of her first visit – how she was shocked that someone lived like I did – something about having so much stuff – hording I think she calls it – but I was a single parent with two adolescents and I am a male, what was she expecting?
And that is the US of A for another while. Maybe we will get back next summer, June – July, maybe not. It looks as if Australia is our future life but we still have property to get rid of and Narda's son lives in Georgia and I am a Yank even though I have an Australian passport.
With my boys, 1997, Hackham, South Australia, waiting for the future to unfold: Sacha, left, age 16, me age 20, Leigh the tallest age 14.
ah back in Beijing with the pollution so thick we spent fifteen minutes on walking-about and our eyes and throat were sore as shown below whereas the States – blue sky and clear. After no sleep for 24-hours it is good to hop into a bed. And of course Narda managed to get into the baggage room to meet me, she was on the earlier flight and walked past the guards with them chasing her and she had to find someone who spoke English to explain that I was in the baggage area and did not have my suitcase and she would need to go to baggage claim with me as I would not know where we are staying. In other words she told them I did not know my ass from a hole in the ground, and there she was. As I said in my previous scribble, at St Luke's, Narda is a verb meaning to go ahead and do it then explain. Good golly she will be the death of me. And all ended well with my suitcase being the last one, we are not good at waiting.