I'm experiencing a huge amount of culture shock. Two months ago, I was a hard-working teacher, setting my alarm for 5 a.m., worrying about whether or not I was ready for my 8 a.m. class. Every morning,I left my three-bedroom rambler with its shabby carpet and 1980s wallpaper, got into my ten-year-old Buick with 180,000 miles on it, wondering if the streets were icy and if the predictions of three inches of snow would actually come to pass.
This morning, I am in our rented house on the 9th hole of the Pebble Creek golf course in Goodyear, Arizona, and it's supposed to get into the mid-80s today. The greensman just went by my patio, mowing the grass, getting ready for a busy Sunday on the golf course. I am securely locked into a gated community where no one is granted entrance unless they have the proper credentials. The community is a maze of cul-de-sacs; the map looks like a paint-by-number picture. I have no idea where I am, so even if I took the car keys, I wouldn't know where to go.
The only thing I know for sure is that my granddaughter is approximately three miles away. If I should feel the urge, I can just call up my son and his wife and say, "May I come and give Colbie a hug?" Chances are very good that they will let me. Yesterday, she smiled at me five times, even though she definitely prefers her mom.
I am still tiptoeing uncomfortably around the rented house, even though we stayed in it for the first time last night. To say that it is twenty times more elaborate than our house in Alexandria would not be an exaggeration. I am trying to figure out the light switches, the "activity remote control," the stove that looks like a spaceship, and the three pages of instructions on how to operate all the technology. I am also trying to understand how much money you would have to have to paint the inside of the garage chocolate brown and put in crown molding and baseboard (really!!). I do think about starving children when I look at some of the extravagant features of the house.
My comfort level is a little shaky right now; I believe a stranger might say I have a "deer in the headlights" look. I've put a couple of pictures below: one is inside the house and the other is out on the patio, looking out over the golf course. Hopefully my adjustment period will be quick. After all, we've already paid the rent, so I might as well enjoy all this opulence!
Formal Dining Room and Kitchen
View from the Patio (this is half of the patio!)