Notes on My 69th Birthday
Wednesday, 07 April 2010
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?
An elderblogger meetup at your new place sometime this summer? Yea! :) That is really something to look forward to!
Posted by: Lydia | Wednesday, 07 April 2010 at 03:12 AM
...and Happy Birthday, Ronni. For some reason I thought it was last week so I left what I thought at the time was a belated birthday wish.
Posted by: Lydia | Wednesday, 07 April 2010 at 03:14 AM
HAPPY BIRTHDAY RONNI!!
I loved the pictures of your condo and think you made the right choice.
Glad you are feeling better....
Posted by: Nancy | Wednesday, 07 April 2010 at 03:54 AM
Happy Birthday! What could be a better gift than to discover, again and still, that you do a good job of choosing wisely for yourself, even under pressure. Exhausted, ill, and nearly a whole year older, you found Ronni a great place to live. You've still got it, girl: superb self-nurturing skills, practicality, and fabulous taste. What a woman! Wish I lived close enough for that meet-up, too!
Posted by: Nance | Wednesday, 07 April 2010 at 04:50 AM
Happy Birthday, Ronni!
Wishing you a great day, and many years of good health and great happiness!
I think Portland, OR, is a great idea and the move will be good for you.
Posted by: Always Question | Wednesday, 07 April 2010 at 04:55 AM
After you have recovered from your moving estimate, think about shipping some of your books - especially the old friends that you may not be able to replace easily. Maybe they can stay at your brother's house for a week or so.
Price the post office (Back in the olden days there was something called book rate) and companies like UPS.
Posted by: Susan G. | Wednesday, 07 April 2010 at 05:04 AM
Wishing you the happiest of birthdays...and the best on your move. You have been an invaluable friend to me on and off line. I look forward to your move and new adventures and can't wait to hear more
Posted by: NancyB | Wednesday, 07 April 2010 at 05:17 AM
Happy Birthday, Ronni. What a great birthday present you gave yourself. A new home where you have longed to be. I am so happy for you and know you made a wise decision.
Visit my blog today for a message for you.
Posted by: Darlene | Wednesday, 07 April 2010 at 05:20 AM
Happy Birthday Ronni!
Sounds like you've chosen a nice place there, especially with the trolley into town.
My mom left you a birthday wish on her blog.
I love the story of the personal helpers.
My mom is flying in to Boston later today and I'm her personal chauffeur.
Posted by: Steve Garfield | Wednesday, 07 April 2010 at 05:25 AM
Have a Very Happy Birthday, Ronni.
BTW-Thanks to Darlene and Millie (I ran over for a quick look-see) I've started my day with a big smile.
Posted by: la peregrina | Wednesday, 07 April 2010 at 05:42 AM
Congratulations on your new home...it is lovely! Happy birthday and I hope your move goes as smooth as butter.....
Posted by: Dani | Wednesday, 07 April 2010 at 05:48 AM
Happy Birthday, Ronni!!!! And many more!!!! Glad you liked the entertainment!
Posted by: Kay Dennison | Wednesday, 07 April 2010 at 05:50 AM
Happy Birthday, to you, Happy Birthday, to you . . . Hope it's a great day. I'm glad you're feeling better, Ronni. You'll need to be in good shape to get ready for the big move! I know you're going to be happy in your new home.
Posted by: Lois | Wednesday, 07 April 2010 at 06:02 AM
Happy, Happy Birthday sweet Ronni...I hope you have something special lined up for yourself today. I'm so glad you're feeling better physically and personally about your new apartment. As I said before...I think it is just beautiful. I can't believe how quickly you wrapped up the whole deal on your short visit. You were a lady with a mission...and by God you accomplished it. I hope your excitement grows with each day as you prepare to move.
Happy Birthday again dear friend....stay well and wonderful. Love, Joy
Posted by: Joy | Wednesday, 07 April 2010 at 06:10 AM
Every birthday is a triumph, I think, and a reason for joy and gratitude. So I hope your birthday fills you with both.
I'm so glad to hear your zestfulness again in your post, although I don't want to sound as if it's obligatory! I'll be 59 this year, and you're giving me a lot of insight into the years ahead as a single woman. (Presumably!)
Posted by: mary jamison | Wednesday, 07 April 2010 at 06:17 AM
Happy Birthday, Ronni. I hope your next year is filled with joy, a real time of coming home and making it all yours again. You will be starting off your 70s (which many tell me are very good years and from what i saw of my own elder relatives, I think it's so) with family and in a place that your heart knows.
Posted by: Rain | Wednesday, 07 April 2010 at 06:47 AM
Happy Birthday! So glad the bug passed through and went on its way. (While we are down with these things, we usually urge the microbes to relocate to Dick Cheney ... he needs them.)
I'm sure you'll make home on the other coast. Someday I'll get to that Portland.
Have a great day!
Posted by: janinsanfran | Wednesday, 07 April 2010 at 07:11 AM
Is it THAT time of year AGAIN?
'Course it is! Hope this year is vintage for you.
Love you bunches,
Posted by: Cowtown Pattie | Wednesday, 07 April 2010 at 07:37 AM
Happy birthday! Wishing you all the best.
Posted by: Abhijit | Wednesday, 07 April 2010 at 07:41 AM
Posted by: Average Jane | Wednesday, 07 April 2010 at 07:53 AM
Posted by: Sheila Silver Halet | Wednesday, 07 April 2010 at 07:59 AM
Regarding the dangers of airplane air, my doctor gave me a great hint about something she always does when she travels -- rub some triple-antibiotic ointment up inside your nose before you board the plane. This seems to guard you against the free-floating germs in the recycled air in the plane's cabin.
Suggestion number 2 -- take the train! it's a beautiful ride from coast to coast. And for a few dollars more, you can get a "cabin", and as I remember, the extra cost includes all meals from the diner for the trip. And there's a nice senior discount ;-)
Have fun in your new house ... and remember to take a fresh loaf of bread and some salt with you when you first enter your new home, and you will always have the necessities of life there. Oh, and don't forget to leave the old broom at the old place and buy a brand new broom for the new home.
Posted by: Miki Davis | Wednesday, 07 April 2010 at 08:24 AM
Happy birthday, Ronni. No. 68 will be coming up for me in a little over a month and I feel the same way about it--70 will likely get my attention more. Somehow, I wound up here in the benches of Mt. Olympus in Utah for our retirement. Hubby found the home and bought it without me ever seeing it. The setting is awesome, similarly wooded like your new place but the back yard slopes upwards, is naturally landscaped with mostly wildflowers and NO LAWN to worry with. I lie here many mornings (I'm in chemotherapy and sometimes complications make me feel bedbound sometimes) and look out to see deer skitting by, magpies dipping and soaring and chasing sparrows away (meanies but beauties!) and rabbits were playing in the snow, and I wonder how in the world I ever wound up here. I hope you feel similarly about your new place soon. This house is the one I have to be taken out of feet first. But the outlook of my type of therapy and treatment indicate a very high percentage rate for survival, especially due to the fact that we caught it so early before it was spread. Again, happy birthday! And good luck on the big move!
Posted by: Alice | Wednesday, 07 April 2010 at 08:44 AM
Happy Birthday Ronni. Many happy, healthy returns.
How are you getting your car to OR?
If you're not driving, the train is a relaxing way to go. I took it to Eugene about 4 yrs ago. The meals do come with a sleeper and, believe it not, they are quite good.
Posted by: Estelle | Wednesday, 07 April 2010 at 08:55 AM
For your birthday I wish you a summer of joy in your new home with a happy cat and wonderful neighbors.
Posted by: liloldme | Wednesday, 07 April 2010 at 09:08 AM
Oh, Ronnie.......happy birthday, happy lovely condo day, happy getting over the blankty blank bug day, and remember the bottom line is books and your computer.
You also have local trains, Amtrack, trolley's, and Powells. Wonderful friends abound up there, and you are going to love that beautiful place.
Posted by: Mage B | Wednesday, 07 April 2010 at 09:46 AM
Happy birthday, Ronni. Sending wishes that this be a very wonderful year of your life. Your new place sounds better and better, and I am glad to hear about the PDX elderblogger gathering, too.
Happy you are feeling well.
Posted by: Gaea Yudron | Wednesday, 07 April 2010 at 10:34 AM
Happy Birthday, Ronni! Many happy returns of all you share!
Posted by: Cile | Wednesday, 07 April 2010 at 10:35 AM
Happy Happy Birthday, Ronni!
Posted by: Kate | Wednesday, 07 April 2010 at 11:53 AM
Happy Birthday, Ronni, and happy exploring your new domain.
Posted by: doctafill | Wednesday, 07 April 2010 at 12:26 PM
Happy birthday! You'll be celebrating next years "big" one you mentioned in your new abode. Here's wishing you many more BDs. Interesting how much our physical state at any given time influences our attitude, feelings and, sometimes, even our behavior for better or worse.
Posted by: joared | Wednesday, 07 April 2010 at 12:53 PM
Happy Birthday Ronni
I am so glad you are feeling better. See I was right. Not only were you tired when you returned from Portland Oregon, you were SICK too.
Here's looking at you Kid. :)
Posted by: chancy | Wednesday, 07 April 2010 at 01:15 PM
Hi Ronni -- happiest of days. I've been following your journey with great interest. I love that you shared your insights on the reasonings behind your choices. Resonated greatly with me -- especially your comment on the bed in dining room. Enjoy the tribute to your move: http://www.genplususa.com/happy-birthday-ronni/
Posted by: Janet Wendy Spiegel | Wednesday, 07 April 2010 at 02:30 PM
Happy Birthday Ronni! I wish you many more!
Posted by: Peggy | Wednesday, 07 April 2010 at 03:36 PM
I'm adding my birthday wishes to all those who got here before me. Happy Birthday. Happy Moving.
Posted by: Elaine of Kalilily | Wednesday, 07 April 2010 at 04:16 PM
Me too. Happy Birthday Ronni!
Posted by: Frank Paynter | Wednesday, 07 April 2010 at 05:32 PM
Another wish for a happy birthday, good health, and a wonderful year ahead in your new home!
Posted by: joni | Wednesday, 07 April 2010 at 05:47 PM
Happy Birthday Ronni! I'm glad you are feeling better. Your place is beautiful and I'm glad that you are open to meeting my Dad and friend.
Posted by: [email protected] | Wednesday, 07 April 2010 at 06:36 PM
Happy happy birthday. May you have many more.
Posted by: Genie | Wednesday, 07 April 2010 at 07:32 PM
Posted by: Caring for Aging Parents | Wednesday, 07 April 2010 at 10:06 PM
Happy Birthday! Thanks for the shout-out; I've never been quoted before and I have to say I feel very special. And that's the gift you are bringing to Oregon - the wonderfulness that is you.
And just look at you - you're already planning a party!
Posted by: Ashleigh Burroughs | Wednesday, 07 April 2010 at 10:11 PM
happy birthday i do admire your decisiveness. I have been wandering for the last 6 years trying to find a place to buy. previously I rented a house on Cape Cod for pennies for 20 years. Then, for 4 of those wandering years I couldnt afford to buy so moved from one expensive rental to another. Now, due to an inheritance, I can buy but have spend the last year racing between Cape Cod and NH (where I ended up re; taking care of my mom in her last year of life) and driving myself and my friends crazy with my indecisiveness. Meanwhile my brother is charging me rent to live in Mom's house, which he inherited. As you say, money to put into a new place going down the drain.
I am soon to be 65, so the considerations of steps etc that you voice are also some of mine. I have looked at only one or two condos, the rest single family homes, but being alone and 65 I also dread taking on all the home repairs and the lawn care as you voice.
Hmmm, wish you could loan me some of your ability to make fast home decisions though. I will most likely go mad if I continue on this way.
Best of luck with your move. Portland sounds a great place to move to!!
Posted by: suki | Thursday, 08 April 2010 at 04:35 AM
Happy Birthday Ronni. You're right, the comments are a wonderful part of the blog but....you are still the best part....I know you will be happy once you move and start gathering "experiences" that make it home and a comfort. Your condo is lovely, warm and inviting. Thank you for sharing with us. You are an inspiration.
Posted by: Ronnie Mulqueen | Thursday, 08 April 2010 at 11:37 AM
Wow! If you have an elderblogger meetup in Portland I will make special efforts to get to it!
I'm guessing too that you may feel less stress when you are not dealing with a climate as harsh as Maine's.
Posted by: Hattie | Thursday, 08 April 2010 at 01:52 PM
Happy birthday, Ronni, and may your move to Portland, OR be an easy one. Portland is my second favorite on the west coast and I have friends there. (My own L.A., specifically the South Bay part, is #1.San Francisco is my third. My aunt lived in Portland in the Presidential Towers until her death in the late 1980s so I got to spend quality time there.
My own home is on four levels, three of which I use consistently and at 72, it does take some concerted effort. So far so good, but I think you are very wise in choosing what will also be good for you as you continue to age.
How I wish you could take your current home with you, but--
Posted by: Fran aka Redondowriter | Thursday, 08 April 2010 at 09:56 PM