Archive for the ‘Mature Living’ Category

Do you have an accident waiting to happen at your parents house?

Are your parents climbing ladders and step stools because they feel they can do things themselves? Climbing the ladder to clean out the gutters or touching up the paint is something they always did and still feel capable still doing. Years ago that wasn’t a problem; they were a lot younger and much more agile and steady. But things are changing.

How can you stop them from doing this before they have that accident which could put them out of commission permanently?  Whether it is fixing the dripping kitchen faucet, changing a filter or light bulb, putting in the screens, or anything else that needs fixing.  What peace of mind would you have knowing that Dad and Mom are not climbing ladders or step stools, crawling under sinks, or make many trips down the basement stairs which are all possibilities for accidents.

There are plenty of small businesses that can help you help your parents.   Some of them you and set them up on a monthly retainer, and they will stop by your parents home on a regular basis throughout the month and take care of things that need fixing.  You know all the little (and not so little) do it yourself projects that you don’t have time to do for your parents. Arrange to have everything done without anyone in the family climbing a ladder and taking unnecessary risks.

All you need to do is keep a perpetual “honey do” list and once a month, as regular as clock work; this company would come in and do what is on the list. If the job was too big or more involved then they may need to schedule more time, but for the most part routine maintenance and repair projects that Dad or Mom want or need done are finished and scratched off the list.

Consider this type of service as a gift for the entire family!

 

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I Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream!

I would like to start a movement where ice cream becomes a daily food requirement.  Okay, it could be frozen yogurt, lactose free ice cream, sorbet, sherbet, or any other form of frozen delight yoImageu can find.

My sister told me today, Sunday July 15th 2012 is designated National Ice Cream Day.   I plan on celebrating later today.  I will take a leisurely drive to our favorite ice cream stand.  This ice cream stand set on a corner of a working dairy farm.   There are cows, yes cows, still in the pasture and the children can walk up to the fence and see a real live cow up close and personal.   That includes all the flies, odors, and country ambiance you can take.   It also lets the kids really know where their milk and other dairy products come from originally, not the local grocery store.

It is fun to;

  • go for a simple short Sunday drive on a beautiful summer afternoon
  • stop for an ice cream cone
  • see that there are still live cows and working farms
  • know that ice cream has its own special day.

Thank goodness we don’t have to wait for a special day to have ice cream, and there are still ice cream stands in the country where children and adults alike can actually see real live cows!

Condominium Living 101

Condominium living is wonderful, in my opinion.   You pay the money and someone else does the work!  No mowing the lawn, pulling the weeds, or shoveling snow, etc.  However, you need to be somewhat flexible with your expectations and not become angry or bitter when things are not done exactly the way you think it should or when it is done.

I have lived the condominium life for over twenty years and most of it has been a wonderful experience.  I am currently the chair person of our board of trustees and it has been an education and a challenge.    Everyone wants to have platinum or gold services but they only want to pay for Bronze, and sometimes they feel that Bronze service costs too much and we don’t receive the service.    I have to say that my board is extremely diligent in overseeing and counting our pennies, but there are always people who are not and will not be happy with anything.

Now that we are in landscaping season we are spending 90% of our time dealing with landscaping issues.  Spring in New England started early and the trees, shrubs, and other plantings really have had a growth spurt.  People are unhappy with the way the place is looking and they want it fixed and fixed immediately.   The board is in agreement, and is working on getting things resolved, but this is one of those situations that we are not going to please everyone all the time.   The board has the task of defining and implementing standards to guide the contractors in performing their jobs; for instance,

  • Keep the shrubs to window sill height and at least 6-8 inches away from the side of the building.
  • Ornamental trees should be trimmed and not be touching the siding or roof

It is difficult for many of the condo owners to adjust to condo living.  Because everyone has an opinion on how things need to be maintained, and when we owned our own home we did what we wanted.  If we wanted the shrubs to grow taller and cover the windows for privacy it was okay.  A condominium is much different than owning your own home.   Everything needs to be standardized, and just because you prefer it one way and your neighbor wants it another way, it all needs to be done uniformly in order to maintain a consistent look within the allotted budget constraints.  The contractors do not work for the individual condo owners, whey work for the total good of the association, and owners stopping the landscapers for trimming or cutting the lawns only disrupts the scheduling, uniformity, and costs everyone more money.   Yes, it is frustrating at times, and not everything can or will be done the way everyone would like.   The process is not instantaneous or perfect.   The board members are dealing with a management company, who works on our behalf, who is dealing with the individual contractors and vendors and it can (is) frustrating at times.  

Life in a condo will never be the same as owning and caring for your own home.  My advice to people thinking of purchasing a condo is to really determine why you think you may be happy in a condo.  Once you have the plusses then really think about any of the negatives that you have heard or can think of then weigh them.     If the plusses outweigh the minuses then a Condominium may be a great fit for you.  If not, then opt for a smaller home and arrange to have the services you need provided for you when and how you want them.   

What’s On Your Bucket List?

Saturday evening and I am home writing this blog!   What’s that tell you about my social life or life in general.   Actually, my life in a small town is not all that bad.   This evening, our regular group of ladies adjourned to the local pub after the 4 o’clock mass.   We do this most every Saturday evening, but we do vary our destinations among a few favorite hot spots in town.

Tonight’s conversation was about items we have on our bucket list, which I always find fascinating.  It always amazes me that some people don’t have that much on their list, while others would need to live two lifetimes to finish their list.   Pondering this topic I have added 4 new items to my bucket list, why? –I want to!

I added:

  • Take the summer off and drive cross country – stopping when and where I want until I do and see everything I want.    No planned itinerary just meander the back roads of America.
  • I want to go up to Canada and France to do some in depth, hands on research into my families ancestry on my Father’s side; and then to England and Ireland to do the same thing on my Mother’s side of the family.   I can only do just so much on the computer, I really need to get up close and personal to really understand the stories we were never told.
  • I want to write a book and have it published.  It would be my legacy to tell the world that I lived and I don’t want to be forgotten.   It will be my leave behind for the next generations to read and learn about their long forgotten ancestor.  I know when I find snippets of information on an unknown ancestor I find it fascinating.  So I hope that they will also.
  • I want to learn a foreign language that I never did when I was in school.  I think it would be French.  To be able to read and speak French when traveling would be helpful.

Of course, I still have plenty on the list that I am working on but these additions only add some incentive to keep on eliminating and enjoying the bucket list adventures.   Also, there is no bucket list police to say you have to do them in a particular order!   So relax, I am, and enjoy your bucket list items; the large ones and the small ones.   I think I deserve a Hot Fudge Sundae for writing my blog!

It Was Not Walden Pond, But It Was Beautiful

Back in the day, growing up in the fifties, the Fourth of July was always filled with family and friends celebrating our national birthday, swimming, a backyard cookout, and going to the fireworks.

I grew up in Concord, Massachusetts, the home of important historical places, events and literary notables, such as; the start of the Revolutionary War, home of Louisa May Alcott, Henry David Thoreau, and his Walden Pond.   Growing up in Concord meant we learned all these things, and we even had the privilege of taking swimming lessons at Walden Pond.  However, Walden Pond’s notoriety was too much for most town  residence and was often very crowded with visitors.  So many ‘townies’ opted to swim in a lesser known,  smaller, but just as beautiful, pond called White’s Pond.

Just as beautiful as Walden Pond

To swim at Whites Pond, you needed a membership for the Whites Pond Association which cost about $15.00 for the season.   Our family had a membership and it was a life saver on many hot, humid summer days.   On Holidays, like the 4th of July, we would spend hours at the pond.  All the kids would go with my older sister supervising a troop of 7 or 8 kids.   We all knew the rules, and my sister was always willing to bend the rules a bit, and it was a great time.  Eventually, later in the afternoon, the adults will come along with possibly another couple of kids who came late, and for the next hour or so we played and swam with the adults before going home for our cookout.

Our cookouts were huge affairs, with lots of friends, family, and food.   There was the usual cookout staples; hot dogs, hamburgers, and corn on the cob, along with a wide array of salads, fruits, desserts, and watermelon!   There was, or so it seemed, enough to feed and army.   It’s funny, years later when looking through family photo’s the only photos of my Father were of him cooking at our cookouts, and he was always smiling and happy!

To go to the fireworks on the 4th of July we needed to leave town.   For whatever reason, the town father’s of Concord never permitted fireworks, no matter what occasion.    So after our fabulous cookout was all over and cleaned up, the gang all piled into various cars, and headed to the fireworks in neighboring towns.

I can remember the anticipation I felt, along the excitement and happiness I experienced during throughout day.    Along tired satisfaction I had as my Dad carried me up the stairs and put me into bed having fallen asleep on the ride home from the fireworks.

These special days and events left vivid, loving,  and lasting memories, which now cause me to smile and wipe away a happy tear or two for the good times long ago.

Now That The Funeral Is Over, Now What?

The funeral is over and finally the last person has left the house, the last of the food  stored in the refrigerator, and everyone sits down around the dining room table and looked at each other and said, “Now what?”

For the past several days, actually several months, this family the moment on the moment and that was just dealing with todays problems, situations, and concerns.  With the death of their parent their primary focus then shifted to just getting through the funeral.

This family has several Now What questions to deal with immediately, because there is a surviving parent that has some concerns and issues that need consideration.  So before all the family members start to scatter back to their ‘normal’ life; work, family, soccer games, PTA, etc., it is time to focus on the ‘Now What?’ questions.

Everyone needs some down time, particularly after what they have dealt with, but first question and most pressing one now is:  Can Mom (or Dad) stay in the family home alone, or would it be better for her to go home with someone?  Once decided then you can move on from their.   Whether Mom stays at home or temporarily goes with one of the children the rest of the Now What’s will wait for another day.

What Your Mom is Not Telling You About Your Father.

When we live busy lives with spouse and children to care for we are often caught not spending enough time with our aging parents. If we are fortunate enough to live close to them, we might drop over quickly to see if they need something but often than not we will phone to check in.

The phone call is quick and expediant. A quick hello, how are you, the kids are fine, and then you say goodbye because you need to get dinner or something. Mom said everything is fine, so you take her at her word. Even if you stop by periodically you run in for a few minutes, chat about the weather and things, then you are off again.

Unfortunately, that is life these days. However you might be missing some vital signals and warning signs that unless you see first hand and ask the questions you will never know. Why? Because Mom, doesn’t want to bother you, and your Father told her not to tell you. Whatever it is, is their little secret. This happens quite frequently.

As the folks age and continue to live alone and are independent, we become comfortable not having to worry about them. It is important that we periodically take some quality time with your parents to see how they are actually doing. Develop a base line measure of their life, activities, and physical abilities. Then as time proceeds do it again, just to stay tuned in to the subtle changes that may be occurring.

Life is funny, we think we will have the folks forever, then without warning — or was there some warnings and signs — they are old and sick. We didn’t see it coming.

Fix Your Own House First!

This morning I checked the front page of the local paper and the headline above the fold said: “Cleaning up the game, Senators seeking tobacco ban for Series”.   This associate press article went on to talk about how say that several senators sent a letter to the players union to ban chewing tobaccos at games and on camera.

Yes, chewing tobacco is a disgusting, dirty, and potentially unhealthy habit.   However I feel that these and all other lawmakers, have far more important issues on their agenda’s that they need to deal with first.  They cannot get members of their party or the other party to agree on some very important issues like health care, economy, budget, and spending limits to mention a few.   Why do they feel that they can convince the NBA players union to do anything voluntarily.

The old saying about people in glass houses should not throw stones, is something the US Senate should bear in mind.   Clean up and finish your own pending business before you start something you cannot finish.   When I hear that social security recipients will receive a raise (first time in a few years) but the cost of medicare and supplemental insurance coverage is going up something is wrong with this picture.

I want my senators to focus on the real issues that are affect me and my neighbors and let the baseball commissioner and players union focus and clean up their own house.

Just my opinion, another frustrated taxpayer looking for my elected representatives to do the job they are elected to do.

 

 

Next Chapter

Two years ago I helped a family move their Mom from the family home out-of-state, to a very lovely Assisted Living.   They wanted to have their Mother living closer to them because health issues were causing more and more of a problems.   Mom and I hit it off great, and we had several nice moments during our time together.

Fast forward to two years, and I received a call from the same family and things are not going well.   Mom is having increasing amounts of issues and they are having to move her again, to a completely new and different environment.

I am happy that they thought of me to help them begin this next chapter in their Mother’s life.   I am sad that in just two years she declined so much, but I know that I am helping the family cope with the stress as they move into what could be the last chapter.

Quiet Progress

I met with a client the other day, she felt like she would never be ready to move by the end of the month.   Then she started telling me what she had all ready started and finished.   It was huge!

This small petite woman, realized that she needed to start doing something to make this move happen.   In her own quiet way, she allocated a few hours throughout the day to sort through dresser drawers.   Throwing out items too worn and unserviceable, collecting all good and usable items for donation, and neatly putting the keepers back in the drawer.   That is huge, and I told her so!

She did the same type of thing in the kitchen and bathrooms.  So when it came down to really getting serious about downsizing for the move, she have very quietly made progress toward her goal.

It is amazing what progress you can make with just an hour or two a day!   Try it, you will be very pleased with your results.

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