Next year's birthday is such a big-deal, round number that this one, particularly as I'm in the midst of selling one home and moving across the country to a new one, is slipping by without much notice.
Today is filled with an early dental appointment (my denture adventure has pretty much settled down to normal), an appointment at home with the moving company to give me an estimate of costs (I know this will give me a hot, stabbing pain) and a whole bunch of paperwork for the title companies here and in Oregon that keep dropping into my inbox.
So instead of further musings on getting old which have been the blog tradition on this day but which are not on my mind right now, I'll try to answer some of your questions about my move.
Regarding my enthusiasm or lack thereof, Mary Jamison suggested my mood would improve, Chancy of driftwoodinspiration thinks I was “just tired out” and Ashleigh Burrows of the The Burrow attributed my negativity to airplane air.
Right you are, all of you. I was so discouraged after the first day of looksees – all carefully selected and vetted as much as possible from online listings – that I stayed up all night broadening my search.
The next night, after making an offer on what is now my new home, I hardly slept and the last night, I stayed up late with my brother and his wife after a fabulous meal of Dungeness crab - a local delicacy that will take the edge off missing cheap lobster.
I had not been home more than an hour Friday evening when chills and fever set it. I'm convinced it was a bug from the airplane - they are just massive, tin, disease propagators, you know.
Until today (Tuesday as I write this) when I woke up feeling fine again, I've slept about 18 hours a day since my return. When my temperature hit 102.6 on Monday, I considered seeing the doctor but couldn't make the effort to dress and went back to sleep. I'm fine now. I choose to believe this indicates I have a strong immune system.
I'm also feeling much better about my new home choice. I like the woodsy surroundings. The nearby river is the Willamette which divides Portland east/west and runs into the Columbia River which flows to the ocean. Of course, there is Lake Oswego itself where I regularly fed the ducks when I was a kid. Maybe there will be ducks on the river too. I have always needed to live near water.
Frank Paynter of Class War mentioned the trolley into Portland. It is almost on the property of the condominium complex, just a two-minute walk from my apartment. Missanniescandy asked if the condominium is located at Oswego Pointe. Yes it is, although I don't know the significance, if any, of that yet. (I look forward to meeting your dad and your friend, Annie.)
The apartment has been excellently maintained and improved. New interior doors and moldings in 2007. New carpet, toilets, kitchen floor and appliances in 2008. New cupboards, granite counter and sink in the kitchen in 2009. New energy-efficient windows will be installed before I move in. The place passed inspection with nothing but a few nitpicks of little consequence.
So now that I'm not sick anymore, I'm beginning to feel excited. There is a lot of work to do packing and preparing to move. I had three months to leisurely do so in New York; only six weeks this time. I'm hiring a helper near the end.
How Quickly I Found a New Home
Rhea of The Boomer Chronicles commented, “Wow, you don't waste any time.” Well, yes; I have no patience for house hunting and a lifelong history of fast decisions in regard to housing.
In New York as a renter, you have to take any apartment that meets not much more than basic needs the moment you see it because it will gone an hour later. I horrified friends when I told them the home I bought in Greenwich Village was the first and only one I looked at. I was happy there for 25 years.
Although I visited Portland, Maine three or four times to get the lay of the land while I was waiting for my New York apartment to sell, on the final, must-buy-now-or-become-homeless trip, I selected seven apartments to look at and stopped at number four. I like this place so much that if I could take it with me to Oregon, I would.
There is also the problem of money. Temporary quarters while looking for a home in a new city is expensive and it's wasted money that reduces the amount to spend on a purchase. I'm budgeting this move to the penny and even so, will be dipping more than I want into savings to do it. Those are strong motivators to find a new home quickly.
Some others before him and Citizen K recently said that it “takes guts” to make this move. That depends on what he is referencing. If he means going to a new city – well, in my case, it's not Kabul. THAT would take courage.
I'm going to an area where I lived as child and which I've visited regularly over the years since then. And, it was my second choice when I left New York. Maybe it's good I waited these four years. This new home or something similar would have cost half again as much in 2006, and I don't think I would have been as attuned then to the need to plan for old, old age.
Practicalities of Age
Mary Jamison recalled that early on in this adventure I considered a single family home. One of the difficulties in Portland, Oregon is that most of them come with gigantic back yards and I have no intention of mowing the south 40 for the rest of my life.
Another consideration is future upkeep. I alone would need to pay for major repairs or replacements. In a condo, exterior maintenance is borne by the homeowners' association to which each owner pays dues every month. Sharing expenses, particularly in retirement with a limited income, is a good and prudent thing.
I did look at a lot single family home listings. There was a charming Victorian in my price range that I kept going back to and a few others with (relatively) small yards that I liked. But most also had stairs, sometimes quite a lot, to the front door and many of the most attractive were two-stories with the bedrooms upstairs.
I'm fine with that now, but I don't know how much longer that will be so. An elevator building or first-floor apartment, as I chose, are better bets for old age - I don't want to have my bed in the dining room someday.
Elderbloggers and the Move
The number of Time Goes By readers who live in or near Portland, Oregon surprises me. Not that you haven't mentioned your location in comments and on your blogs, but I hadn't been keeping track. Now it makes a difference.
So I have decided that when I am reasonably settled - sometime this summer - I will hold an elderblogger meetup at my new home so we can all get to know one another a bit. Information will be forthcoming after I've made the move.
Thank you all for your encouragement and support. You're right, I'm going like my new home once I've made it my own. In fact, I'd like to have the move over and done with right now. Amusing story:
A few months before I left New York, a famous, young movie star bought the two-floor apartment above mine. When moving day arrived, she was nowhere to be found – just three personal helpers in her stead.
Over the next couple of weeks, they unpacked, arranged all her furniture, hung paintings, placed her tchochkes, clothes and other belongings around the apartment. I could only assume they had done all the packing at the other end of the move too.
At the time, I laughed. I couldn't imagine that other people could put together my home in any way that would please me. (I suspect this falls into the category of "the rich are different.") But guess what? I would welcome it this time and make adjustments later.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Lois Cochran: Mind If I Gripe?