Here’s a special treat! Related to my past two posts about family caregiving and deciding whether to relocate when you retire, we have an essay my friend wrote when facing these two issues. Her story captures the humor as well as frustration and general craziness you confront in midlife.
The author’s contact information is at the end of the piece. I hope you enjoy her essay as much as I do!
Flying Nuns – by Dr. Pamela Kaye
Sarah and I were finally settling into a financially and physically secure retirement. Two years ago we bought our forever home, unpacked boxes that had been in storage and eased into the next chapter of life – for me this was focused on writing, painting, knitting and grandchildren.
This week we’re packing boxes and putting our house on the market for sale. We’re putting out $20,000 earnest money to reserve a new home being built in our community.
Aptly called “The Boat House” model, the home is crazy
Sarah, Kevin and I are moving forward with the Boat House assuming she’ll live with us in Marina, California. It will either be the perfect solution or the ruin of our finances, maybe even the wreck of family relationships. The whole thing feels risky, but also right.
Right now Mom is living in our guest room and Kevin is living in my studio space. We’re all still keeping up the cheerful demeanor of hosts and guests, but it’s wearing thin. I lost my humor two days ago after an hour and a half wait in the doctor’s office followed by a
For this I earned a PhD?
Recently, I’ve learned about incontinence products. First – you can’t buy singles to see how they fit; you have to buy a pack of thirty-two. When they don’t fit there’s no clear place to donate all the other thirty-one of them.
It’s tough to find products small enough for a 95 pounder. The right disposable underpants need to be reinforced with a night pad, but the pad gets bunched up in the crotch ‘cause the stick-em doesn’t really stick to the underpants—it does stick to your crotch though. So I’m picturing myself sewing pads into the disposable panties. Oh my God. (I ended up stapling the pads in; that works really well!)
Hair – it’s a big deal. Mom still goes to the beauty shop once a week and has her hair ‘set’ and sits under the dryer. I imagine this dryer time feels good because the Eliquis she takes is a blood thinner which means she’s always cold. She thinks it’s so cold that she wrapped up a teddy bear in a towel. I’m sure it also feels good just to be touched at the beauty shop.
Did you know that people don’t use curlers any more? The beautician ‘styles’ your hair using a curling iron. Mom brought three curlers with her to California and our dog ate one, so now I’m looking for curlers – who knew nobody sells them any more. Idea for a franchise – a mobile hair stylist who will do hair in your home just the way you like it—called Elder Hair.
Angels, nuns, willows
Mom is still about 80% mentally and physically with it, but at any given time the missing 20% can be pretty
A caseworker from Visiting Angels came to our home to discuss their services and to see how they might help. The next day I was talking about it with Mom and she called them the Flying Nuns. The following day she referred to them as the Weeping Willows.
A couple of nights ago, the real estate agent was in our dining room with us and I saw Mom head up the stairs. She did pretty well, one stair at a time, then her
Lost and found
We’ve got a bumpy ride ahead of us. We don’t know when or if our house will sell. We don’t know for sure when the house we want to buy will be finished. Mom doesn’t even quite know she’s moving from St. Louis to California, although the rest of us are planning on it. I have a vision, an intention, for where we’re heading, but I sure don’t know how or even if we’ll all make it. In the meantime,
I’ll try to keep
“Flying Nuns” was written by Dr. Pamela Kaye. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. That is when she’s not otherwise occupied with writing, painting, knitting, packing boxes or learning about incontinence products.
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