Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Roofiing on a Snowy Day

With one more week left, it appears that the workers will come close to reaching the announced goal of having the structure "closed in" by the end of 2009. The photo above is of the East wing and you can see that trusses have been placed at one end and roofing boards nailed onto them. While this is taking place, the remaining trusses are being lifted up by a huge crane and put into position. Our apartment on the third floor corner will be among the last to receive its roof. Meanwhile, the West wing is fully covered and almost completely shingled.

So, the race to the finish is taking place. And it's happening while we continue to receive a fine dusting of snow each day, with temperatures ranging right around the freezing mark.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Dusty Hands!

Have I mentioned that we have had the wall paper torn off the kitchen and lavatory walls? It needed to be done, having been on those walls for the past 27 years!! The area is a mess now with fine dust everywhere, but once the painter has finished, I'll go through the cabinets and sort out the stuff that I won't be taking to Beacon Hill.

In the meantime, we are still going through the crawl space. Today Stan brought out three boxes with my name on them containing old scrapbooks from my childhood, boarding school and college days. There also is a collection of letters my parents wrote to me while I was in college, as well as documents from my trip to France the summer of 1952. I'll look through them after we have moved to Beacon Hill. It's original source material for my memoirs!

We drove by the construction site this morning and were pleased to see roof trusses going up on the East wing. Meanwhile, the roof on the West wing is being completed and shingled. I hope to have a photo to post for you soon of our corner apartment with its roof trusses.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Realtor Decision

In my last post, I mentioned that the two Realtors whom we are interviewing were coming back for a second visit with us. We sat down with each of them earlier this week. We asked each of them how they would market our house and got a better feel of how it would work to have them as our realtor. While we were certain that either of them would do a good job for us, we had to make a choice.

One of them had personal knowledge of the community in which we live and could probably do a better job of selling the community. We are in an urban area, with sidewalks, neighborhood schools that kids can walk to, with shops and a good library nearby. Buyers who are looking for open spaces and rural settings would not be interested in our house. For buyers who want a good school system and don't want to have to transport their kids every day, our location is perfect.

The marketing plan was the deciding factor for me. One realtor, in addition to advertising on the Internet, would do the more traditional approach of monthly open houses and news print ads. The other realtor doesn't do open houses, relying instead on professional staging of the home and a professional photographer to market the house on the Internet. These days most people start their search for a home on the Internet. Gone are the days of driving through neighborhoods on a Sunday afternoon to visit Realtors' open houses.

I think that once we get the house ready for the photographer, with all the clutter and personal stuff put away, I will be able to keep it neat and tidy for the times when the realtor has a potential buyer who wants to see the house. As you have by now surmised, we decided to accept the services of the Internet savvy realtor who also has an excellent track record of sales.

I must close now and get back to cleaning out the basement!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

News Briefs

Forgive me for just giving brief comments in this post, but there is so much going on. Here's a drawing of our kitchen. Note the top mounted refrigerator, which I have chosen over the double door refrigerator with ice and water in the door. Beacon Hill offered it as standard but we don't need such an expensive appliance and we'll save on energy with this one.

Today is Saturday, and the workers are up on the roof of Beacon Hill at Eastgate installing roof panels, in spite of very cold weather and over 10 inches of snow having fallen. It's sunny, so I did some errands and drove past the place to see how it was coming along.

I took some old books to a used book store and the dealer bought all of them! I didn't get a lot of money, but it's better than nothing. I'll go back with more books another day His shop is right on the way to downtown.

The Salvation Army received most of our Christmas decorations - pine cone wreaths which I made years ago, our old tree stand, artificial garlands and miscellaneous other stuff.

My last errand was to pick up a floor lamp that I had rewired to make it safe to take to Beacon Hill.

Our television console arrived yesterday. It will be perfect in our apartment. I selected it at our town's oldest furniture company. A gift certificate that I won in a raffle helped pay for it.

The two real estate agents have called and made appointments to see us next week for further conversation about selling our house. I'll let you know how those visits went next week.

Friday, December 11, 2009

When to Sell the House?

The market analysis done by each of the two real estate brokers who have visited us arrived this week. Both agree with our Personal Relocation Manager that housing values are going to continue to decline through next year. Why? One reason is that there are still foreclosures occurring. Also, folks who don't have to sell right now are waiting for the slightest sign of improvement in the housing market before they put their homes up for sale. Finally, Michigan has been hit especially hard by the loss of manufacturing jobs. Our unemployment rate is among the highest in the country. People have been leaving the state for places where there are jobs. In other words, there will be more supply than demand for some time.

When we spoke with our Personal Relocation Manager (provided to us by Beacon Hill), she suggested we might want to get ahead of the falling prices by putting our house up for sale this coming February or March. We might get more for our house than we would almost a year later, but we would have to store our furniture and move to a temporary location until our apartment is ready. Fortunately we both agree that having the house ready to sell in early spring of 2010 is not a possibility. So, we'll take our chances with the housing market and put the house up for sale in early 2011. This will give us much needed time to clear out the basement and do the necessary sprucing up where needed.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Putting Our Marks on the Designer's Plan

We had our meeting with Kevin, the project designer, yesterday. I took Stan along because I thought we would be asked to write a check to pay for our special requests. I want Stan to understand what the "upgrades" are and not be shocked by the additional expense. As it turned out, we won't know the total payment required until after Kevin has had time to price out everything. What do I mean by "everything"? Just those extras beyond the standard offered by Beacon Hill such as Berber carpeting in the guest bedroom/office, corner cabinets and a pull-out wastebasket in the kitchen, a roll-out clothes hamper in one linen closet, and a built in the wall ironing board which I discovered in the Internet. The latter fits between the studs and is electrified so that the iron plugs into the unit and turns off automatically when the board is raised and the door is closed. Neat and safe!

By the time we had gone through all our requests, Kevin had red marks all over a fresh copy of our apartment plan. One surprise for me was that the light fixtures have all been chosen for us. The chandelier over our dining table is not one which I would have chosen, but I'm willing to go with it as I know how difficult it is to chose those things. Besides, I didn't want to add another sum to the total that we will have to pay for our preferred "upgrades" and additions.

At the end of our time with Kevin, Laurie, our Beacon Hill Marketing Consultant, displayed my flooring, cabinet, and counter top samples for Stan's information. I'm so glad my husband is willing to turn those decisions over to me and trust that I will do a good job of planning an apartment that will be attractive and comfortable.

I'm glad to have all those decisions finalized. There is just one more construction related task remaining for me, and that is to think about the master closet. But, I'll wait to post a discussion of the closet plan another day.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Design Details

There is so much going on right now that I find myself thinking about apartment details frequently during the day. Each time I come up with a new idea, and often it's a good one that changes the previous plan. That happened with my choices of flooring, cabinet finishes and counter tops. I went over to the display at the sales office three times, well maybe four times! I'm very thankful my husband is willing to turn this responsibility over to me as he would become very impatient with the process. I'm finally ready to meet with the building design staff next week and give him my list of decorating choices.

The kitchen plan needed quite a few changes. I was confronted with blind corner cabinets and I couldn't imagine myself on my knees with a flashlight peering into the inaccessible lower cabinet to see what I had stored there! I have changed that to a corner lazy susan with a corner wall cabinet over it.

Another major issue for me was the placement of the dishwasher at the end of the kitchen as far removed from the dish cabinet as possible. I have asked for it to be moved to the other side of the sink and a pull-out wastebasket to be put in its place. There was one other blind corner base cabinet at the end of the kitchen near the dining table. I will have a base cabinet there that will open into the main room which will give me an easily accessible drawer for place mats and pull out shelves for my Christmas dishes.

When I told my daughter that I was enjoying figuring out these details and that maybe I should have been an interior designer, she said "It's not too late to do that, Mom." Isn't it great that our kids have such confidence in us!

I did go over to see the construction in the snow yesterday, but it wasn't worth a photo. It was a dark day and there was no contrast between eight inches of snow on the roof of the West wing and the grey sky. I'll wait to put up a new photo until there is something dramatic to see on the East wing.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Beacon Hill at Eastgate had its annual Christmas party for incoming residents last night. It was another opportunity to get acquainted with future residents. Much of the discussion centered around individual requests for changes to the kitchen plans and contacts with real estate people. One woman has learned that they recommend she remove wallpaper and paint certain areas. She has already hired someone to do that for her. I know that needs to be done in our kitchen and dinette also and have a handyman who will do that work later this month. Since we spend several months at our summer home, we need to do as much as possible during these winter months to get our house ready for the real estate market.

Speaking of winter, we found six inches of snow on the ground this morning, our first snowfall of the season. The photo above shows the roof on the West wing, partially completed. I'll trudge over in the snow later today to take a picture of our wing, with six of snow on the floor of our apartment!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The building is going up so fast, I'll have to post a new photo every day so that you can keep up with it. When I was out in the car this morning, traffic was blocked in both directions while a huge flatbed trailer turned into the construction site, loaded with roof trusses. Here's a photo of one of the guys up on the roof. Their goal is to get the roof on by the end of December. It will be tight, but at the rate they are working, I think they will do it.

While the builders are working hard, I've been working too, modifying the kitchen plan, adding some special touches, and choosing carpet, counter tops, cabinet finishes, etc. We have an appointment next Monday to share our choices and make our special requests for changes and/or upgrades to the basic apartment plan. Actually, I enjoy doing this sort of thing. Maybe I should have gone into interior design instead of sociology/social work!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Downsizing Details

Some time ago I set a goal of getting something out of the house every day in preparation for moving to Beacon Hill at Eastgate. I admit I haven't been very good at meeting this goal, but over Thanksgiving weekend I had a bit of help. The kids were here and took a small freezer, a three drawer file cabinet, bird feeding polls, their dad's old Flexible Flyer sled and other small items. In addition to this help from the family, I contributed some Christmas decorations to the Salvation Army.

In the meantime, Stan is making progress, going through old files and getting rid of papers. Our recycle bin is overflowing every week. We are thankful it gets collected every week.

But, there is still more to do...........

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Our Apartment is Taking Shape!

I remembered to take my camera with me the day after Thanksgiving when the Northern Michigan part of our family was with us for the holiday. We were walking around the neighborhood and stopped in front of Beacon Hill at Eastgate for this photo. Those of you who have been following my blog will notice that the third floor is taking shape. That spot right on the corner is ours. You can see that the interior walls are going up at the same time. I'll post another picture when the roof is being added.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My Saturday Walk

It's a lovely fall day today and I decided to take a walk. As usual, I walked over to Beacon Hill and was surprised to find the construction going on, even on a Saturday! It's exciting to see Tyvek (I call that "gortex for a building") going up on the West wing and roof trusses starting to go up as well. There are stacks and stacks of walls on the ground, ready to be lifted up and become the third floor of the West wing. Forgive me for not having my camera with me on this walk. I'll be sure to take it the next time.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Construction Continues Apace

So, what does that rather old fashioned word "apace" mean exactly? I'm assuming in this case that it means rapidly, because that is what is happening with the facility construction. As you can see, the second floor of the East Wing is going up and the third floor will soon follow. If you've been reading earlier posts, you may notice that the office building which is behind the facility is starting to disappear.

We've been told that the goal is to have the roof on by the end of December. At this rate, they just may make it!

Monday, November 16, 2009

First Contact With a Realtor

Well, I've met with a realtor and taken her through the house. She lives in the neighborhood, so she is familiar with the schools, etc. The house next door sold last spring and is similar to ours, so she offered that as a "market survey". I'm not sure that one house is enough as that house sat empty for a year before it sold and ours has some nicer features, but I'm prejudiced, as you can imagine.

Anyway, she went through the house taking pictures of everything, the mess in the basement included! How embarrassing. Oh well, if we chose her to be our realtor, won't she be pleasantly surprised when we get this place ready to sell?

I'm waiting for the other possible realtor to come to meet us and see the house, then I'll decide which one to work with. All of us who are planning to move into Beacon Hill at Eastgate are being assisted in the move by a Chicago company called Moving Station. I have a contact there who can advise us and will keep the realtor on his or her toes. This a complimentary service offered by Beacon Hill. The realtors will make their reports to my contact at Moving Station and she will advise me of what we need to do to get the house ready to sell. Clean out and paint the basement and the garage are the two biggest projects. If we are wise, we'll do the basement this winter and the garage next spring.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Getting Serious About Downsizing

Now that our new home is being built and we can see daily advances in the construction process, it is time to get serious about downsizing. After 47 years in our home where we raised three children, we have accumulated a lot of stuff and nearly all of it is ours! Our adult children all have homes of their own and have long ago taken their stuff with them. Sometimes I hear folks our age tell me that they still have their kids stuff, closets and even rooms full of it! I tell them, just have the kids come and tell them it's time to grow up and take care of their own stuff.

I've set a goal of getting something out of this house every day. Setting out the trash and recyclables on Thursdays counts, as does taking things to the Goodwill, and giving some books to a friend who has a used book sale business. For Mothers' Day two years ago I gave rings that had belonged to my grandmother and Stan's mother to our daughter and daughter-in-law. Those were tiny items to get rid of in the bigger scheme of things, but nevertheless, I counted them toward my goal of getting rid of something every day.

It's not easy. I will share my efforts at sorting through the memories at another time.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Solid Foundation Has Been Laid

I have fallen behind in showing photos of the construction. I took this photo of our Southeast corner three weeks ago. I'll be posting more photos from now on as the construction process is proceeding rapidly.
I drove by on a really rainy day recently and was surprised to see a crew at work on the West end of the building, in the rain! We were told at a recent gathering of future residents that there is a crew of about 60 working on the construction with another 60 or 70 to be added in the near future. It's a local construction company doing the job and all materials are being purchased locally. That's helping our local economy. We like that feature of Beacon Hill at Eastgate!

Monday, October 19, 2009

See Betsy on Her Balcony!

This is the closeup of the southeast corner of Beacon Hill at Eastgate model that I promised to post in my last blog. That's me, standing on our balcony. Well, not really me, but it's pretty cool to have the figure there, identifying our spot. The window behind her will let the winter sun shine into our dining area and the window to the left is where our master bedroom will be.
The driveway at the back of the building leads into the basement parking level where we will have a parking spot for our car. We think that's a really cool feature of this facility since we are already used to an attached garage and like not having to trek through the snow or rain to bring in the groceries.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Here is What is Being Built

Architect's Model of Beacon Hill at Eastgate
Before I show you any more photos of the construction, I want you to know what the architect's vision for Beacon Hill at Eastgate looks like. This is the model that we saw in the sales office over a year ago when we first started thinking about moving to a CCRC. Remember, that acronym stand for Continuing Care Retirement Center.
The facility will sit on a 16 acre site where there formerly was a small hospital. You can see the two wings, each three stories tall. The center or common area is where the three restaurants, library, meeting room, swimming pool, exercize room, etc. etc. will be located. The plan includes supportive care and nursing facilities to be built behind the common area.
Our apartment will be in the West Wing which is on the right side of the photo. I'll show a closeup view of that wing in my next blog.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Making Choices

Last week I attended a "Moving Made Easy" seminar for future Beacon Hill residents. Actually, it could have been called, "It's Your Choice!" We learned about the choices we will have for kitchen cabinets, flooring, wall colors, carpeting, etc. The plan is to make it easy for people like me, who like to look at all the possibilities that are out there before making my choice. I will get to chose from four or more choices in each category. In a couple of weeks I'll take my fabric samples to the sales office and see what will look best with our furniture.

Bridget, who showed us the sample choices, is an interior designer whose specialty is designing senior living centers. That's Bridget in the photo. I think it will be easy for me to chose the items that we will be happy with.
Now, it's getting seriously exciting to think about moving!!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

More Photos Taken Two Weeks Ago

Here are two more photos that I took a couple of weeks ago. On the left is a view of the corner where our apartment will be located. The building in the background is a medical office building unrelated to Beacon Hill. On the right is a view of the signage, warning would be trespassers that the area is under video surveillance.

Climbing the Blogging Learning Curve

I've not been very faithful about writing in my blog lately. My daughter called today to remind me to keep writing, so here I am again. I guess I was discouraged by not being able to figure out how to add a photo of the construction of Beacon Hill at Eastgate. I'll try again today and take my camera to the site tomorrow to get the latest photos to you. I drove by it yesterday and real progress has been made since I took this photo.

I made a little progress on the clearing out stuff process today. Sent an antique item to an auction house in Delaware, Ohio that had been referred to me by my college friend, Alex Heingartner. Later today, the Director of an arts organization stopped by to make a pitch for support and I gave her a book for their library. So, that's two out the door today.

Okay, now I have posted a photo. It actually shows the corner where our apartment will be. That's the curb for the driveway leading to the underground parking. I'll try posting this blog and add newer photos tomorrow.

Monday, September 14, 2009

My first photo of the construction

At last we can see the construction taking place, although it seems like it is taking forever to get the foundation in place. I was able to take some photos last week and will see if I can post some on this blog. Our corner apartment will be on the front of the building and the photo actually shows where our balcony will go. They are evidently getting all the cement work done at the same time, as I can see the curbs for the driveway to the underground parking garage. Water service must be in place, also, as there is a fire hydrant visible.

The next photo post will have to wait until later this month when we go back to town for meetings and appointments. I hope to see steel girders going into place by then.

Oh My! That learning curve was just too steep!! I'll have to consult with someone and learn how to post photos. Time to take a break.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Time to Get Serious About Moving

Today is the day after Labor Day. Kids are back at school. The lake is quiet. Time to get serious about all those tasks we have been putting off until "we have time". Our youngest child says he could use our small freezer, so we'll have him take that when he comes to our house for Thanksgiving. The middle kid wants the huge old oak chest of drawers in our basement. He may want to get it at Thanksgiving time, also. It's full of "culch" and will have to be emptied. My husband wants to bring a lot of stuff that's in it up to the cottage, but I don't want to have all those odd pieces of hardware and tools hanging around this place, taking up space, for another 47 years. So, I'll try to argue in favor of sorting through stuff and putting much of it into a garage sale.

We're going home for a couple of days this week and I'm eager to see how the construction is coming along. I hope to see a lot of progress having been made in the five weeks that I have been away. I'll take some photos and learn how to post them on my blog. That will be another learning curve for Granna.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Postponing Decisions

It's so easy to postpone decisions when the deadline is way in the future. After having fun with furniture placement, I started to think about how to get rid of "stuff" and getting ready for the move. Originally, the planners of our retirement home were going to have it completed in the fall of 2009. Thank goodness, that didn't happen because they weren't able to get the loan from the bank until the spring of 2009. In addition, housing prices fell and mortgages money was harder to get. And we are definitely not ready to move out of house this fall!!!

At first, I was trying to "get something out of the house" each day. Taking used items of clothing to the Goodwill and giving things away to people who could use them was easy. Trash collection every Thursday counted, as we are compulsive recyclers. I took advantage of our city's once a year rubbish collection to discard those old awnings (not used for over 30 years) and the garden trellises that supported lovely climbing roses when we first moved into our then new house 47 years ago. I also made an appointment to recycle all the hazardous waste in our house - oil based paint cans, pesticides, and fluorescent light bulbs that contain mercury (and wear out so fast when you turn them on and off frequently).

But the daily discipline of getting stuff out of the house wore off. With construction finally taking place, and move in time tentatively set for winter of 2011, time is starting to run out. We'd better get serious about going through all those places that we have stored stuff over the years.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Apartment B319 is Ours!

Those premiums for promptly making the decision were just too good to miss. After thinking it over carefully for a week, we met again with the sales staff, deposit check in hand, and changed the red pin for a blue pin in apartment B319. There were papers to sign proving our ability to manage the apartment deposit and monthly fees as well as proof of our good health and ability to manage our "Activities of Daily Living". We made it through those hurdles and were presented with our signed formal agreement and a residents' handbook detailing all the advantages of the facility.

I went home with the apartment plan and began to make a list of furniture which we would take and what we would leave behind. The antique desk that belonged to my Revolutionary War ancestor would have a place of honor in the living room, as would the antique tilt-top table that my father had purchased from a home in Connecticut. But would I have room for the antique revolving bookcase that I purchased from the estate of my parents' best friend, also in Connecticut? There was no question about taking the old Morris chair from my husband's family home in Portland, Maine. I thought it would fit nicely into the second bedroom which would serve as our office.

While my detailed plan has changed several times, I had a lot of fun measuring furniture, cutting out tiny pieces of paper and placing them on the apartment plan. I'm still thinking about furniture placement, over a year later as we await construction of our new home.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Visualizing our Apartment

When I read over the last posting, I noted a typo in the location of our chosen apartment. Perhaps you wondered what was meant by the "SC" in the last paragraph. I should have typed SE for Southeast, as it was our choice to begin our days with the morning sun streaming into the many windows on that side of the building. In the winter, when the sun is lower on the horizon, the windows on the south side would bring that welcome warmth and cheer to the winter days that we spend in Grand Rapids.

That reminds me to tell you that since we spend four to five months of the year at our summer home in Northern Michigan, one of the great benefits of the apartment for us will be the ability to shut the door and depart for the summer, knowing that we won't have to plan for lawn and garden maintenance or pay a security service to "watch" our house. So, no more lawn mowing, weed pulling, grass watering, and snowshoveling for us! At least, after we have once moved into our apartment.

I'll tell you about my plans for the apartment in my next blog.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Getting into the Details

A week or so after the "free lunch" we met with the marketing staff who explained all the aspects of the planned CCRC as well as the financial arrangements. We were able to ask and have answered all the questions that had come to mind in the interim. The more we heard, the more we liked the plan as well as the flexible financial arrangements.

A center common area would house the reception area, dining rooms, library, mail room, meeting room, etc. It would be located between the two apartment wings, each three stories tall. A swimming pool and craft room was planned for the lower floor, in addition to underground parking (one space for each apartment). Did you get that? UNDERGROUND PARKING! In Grand Rapids, where it snows all winter long.

There were several choices regarding financial arrangements. The deposit required for an apartment depended first upon the size of the apartment and then upon the percent of the deposit which we wanted to have returned to us or to our estate. When we made the decision to have a certain percentage of the deposit returned to us, then the cost of the apartment and the monthly maintenance fee were determined. In our case, we chose the plan with the lower monthly maintenance fee which would return a larger amount to our estate.

Now, I must say that the marketing staff was very highly skilled. She was also delightful and highly motivated to sell the plan. She told us that if we would return within one week with a check for 10% of the apartment deposit we would be given some special premiums which included $2,500 toward any "extras" that we would want in our apartment. In addition, while we were waiting for the facility to be built, our money would sit in an escrow account at the bank and could be returned to us plus interest, should we decide to cancel our plan.

So, with nothing to lose, we went into the model room and put a red pin into our SC corner apartment on the third floor of the B Wing!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Who Says There's No Free Lunch?

In the winter of 2008 we began to receive some mailings about a retirement community that was being built in our neighborhood. It intrigued us, as we couldn't think where there was space for such a facility in our fully developed city. Then an invitation came for a "free lunch" which we decided to attend in order to find out what it was all about.

While we were initially skeptical as to whether we would like the facility and also whether we would feel welcome there, we were pleasantly surprised. The facility was to be built just a half mile from our home, on a large piece of land that had previously been occupied by a hospital. The plans appeared to be well conceived and the people on the sales staff assured us that progressive people like us would be welcome, and were in fact already represented in the group who had made the decision to move in.

A scale model of the complex was set up on a large table, complete with tiny cars on the driveways and tiny people standing on some of the apartment balconies. By the end of the meeting, I had made not only my choice of apartments but also its location. My husband's comment in answer to my question was, "It looks pretty good." That was high praise from one who does not easily commit himself! We made an appointment to discuss the details and financial commitment the following week.

So, "No Free Lunch?" Well, if we decided it wasn't for us, then the lunch would have been free.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

It's a Major Decision

So, the question is, do we stay in our home or move into a CCRC? CCRC --- that's shorthand for retirement community where life care is guaranteed. The decision involves thinking about growing older and perhaps needing assistance with housework, medications, getting around, bathing (ugh, what an awful thought, needing help in and out of the tub/shower), or worse. Finally, there's the thought we all want to avoid, what if we need full time nursing care at the end of our lives?

If you are like most people, you want to avoid thinking about any of these things and assume that life will just go on as it has. If we're lucky, we'll just die in our sleep one night, a shock for our family to be sure, but the best way to "go".

So, let's just stay in the house we've lived in for over 40 years, says my husband. It's paid for and conviently located near a shopping center, library, pharmacy, grocery, etc. Many of our friends have long ago sold their family home and purchased condos. But, my husband says, we couldn't get nearly as nice a place for the money that we would get out of this house. That's true when you consider the in town location, which we enjoy.

Now, you need to know that our house is a traditional two story house with four bedrooms and two baths upstairs. In the event that one of us becomes unable to climb the stairs or bedridden, we would have to convert the dining room into a bedroom. Let's be realistic, say I, think about how inconvenient the tiny half-bath on the first floor would be for an invalid.

So, we delay the decision and the years go by. But I remain open to the possibility of moving to a retirement community, thinking about how it was a good thing for my mother. I know I'd like having someone else decide what to fix for dinner each day!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Our Mothers' Decisions

Before I begin to tell about our decision to move to an apartment in a CCRC, I think I should share with you our mothers' experiences. My mother was ready at age 80 to give up housekeeping and moved into a retirement home. Even though she had only one small room with a half bath, she was happy with her new social contacts and loved having those "nice girls" serve her meals in the common dining room. My husband's mother, on the other hand, considered such a place to be anathema. When we dined with Mother as her guests, Stan's mother saw someone with a walker and asked if they issued those to all the "inmates." That is actually the word she used, inmates!

Then when Mother needed nursing care, it was right there for her and her new friends could visit her without leaving the building. Remaining in her apartment, Stan's mother required meals on wheels and a home aide to assist her during the day. Eventually it became obvious that more help was needed, and round the clock, so we had to find a nursing home for her. That was not an easy task and eventually meant a long drive for us to go and visit her.

I have always been thankful that my mother made the move to Pilgrim Manor, our UCC related CCRC in Grand Rapids. She did the tasks of sorting through her possessions and discarding those that she thought her children would not want. Then, she let me decide which pieces of furniture I would like for my home and we had a sale for all the rest. Perhaps that is the reason that it has been so easy for me to decide to move to a CCRC. But more on that, to come.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My First Attempt at Blogging

Well, here I am, attempting to start a blog. My daughter, who is an expert in social media, thinks I have something worthwhile to talk about, and encouraged me to do this. I have great respect for her, and always try to live up to her expectations of me. so, I'll try to do this.

I'll be writing about our decision to move into a Continuing Care Retirement Community, or CCRC as they are known in the field. I hope it will be a good thing for both of us as well as for our children who won't have to worry about our care when we get to the point where we need assistance of (heaven forbid) nursing care. But, more about the reasons for the decision later. Today, its' enough just to get started and hope that someday someone may want to read these musings.