(First let me say that while it was freezing in Boston when I left, in the single digits, I had hoped Texas weather would hold steady in the 40 – 60 degree-ish range for my visit. No such luck, I brought the cold with me. However, it was kind of funny to watch people get somewhat hysterical over a sprinkle of snow or sleet. Businesses, schools – shut ‘em down!)
I had to go to Texas last week to try and work on convincing my mom to downsize her life. It hasn’t been an easy road, every time I bring up the subject over the past year or so she claims to be too tired to talk, period. Let alone about that. A four bedroom/two bathroom house, a yard, repairs. Kids live far away. All by herself…ain’t nobody got time for that! She spends all her time, energy & very little social security trying to keep it up. I know it is an overwhelming thought for seniors to make the move to downsize. Trust me, it is just as overwhelming for their children to put into motion a plan to do so in a way that benefits everybody. My mom doesn’t want to leave her home she has lived in since 1972, but it is too much for her to manage. When I visit her, I watch her doing laps, as I call them. Wake up, have some coffee. Complain about lack of sleep due to noises in the night. Take out the trash, water the lawn, sit and rest, make some food, go over the bills, run an errand, turn the heat or a/c up or down in an attempt to save money, then turn the heat or a/c back to where it was to stay comfortable. Listen to neighborhood dogs bark incessantly. Honestly, it seems as though her entire neighborhood is filled with forgotten neglected dogs chained up in backyards that bark all the time because of a lack of any other activity. It isn’t like I see up here in my area, people walking their dogs. No, they just stay chained or penned up barking to each other or at the numerous feral cats that run up & down the alleys.
This is where I come in. I am the self proclaimed ‘senior citizen manager’ of this family, since I have managed two others into downsizing successfully…and just as important, they ended up happy with the outcome.
I always start my trips to Texas with a visit to my sister & her twins in Austin. Sweet little three year old boys that know my name and what I like to wear (mama’s red fleece!) when I am there. They like the meatballs I make. They let me change their diapers. I get some snuggles. What a privilege! Usually I take the bus from Austin to Dallas but this time I had the distinct pleasure of getting a ride from one of my best friends, Rick. Road trip! Bangin’ music, fun company, lots of laughs, good conversation. He treated me to my first kolache. We had to snicker about winter weather warnings – I mean, really, a dusting of snow? Still, my husband called us during the ride to check in on us & make sure we were ok, and to thank Rick for driving me. We ended the day with me finally getting to meet his very sweet sister and all of us eating at La Madeline.
My mom, though happy to see me, played it cool until I brought up the idea of going to look at an independent senior apartment. Then in an instant she was ready with all of her objections, as if she had been tipped off by someone that knew that was my plan. I told her we were going anyway since I had put a deposit down on a nice place. She went without saying much. It didn’t take long for her to see the benefit of living in a place where she wouldn’t have to worry about repairs, maintenance, garbage, neighbors on all sides with dogs barking all night. Gated community. Covered parking, elevators. Copy, fax & notary on site. Beautiful pool, park with walking trails. 24 hour workout room, two media rooms, transportation for those in need, activities, a hair salon with super affordable rates. The complex is only two years old, so everything is still fresh & new. Once we sat down with the manager, my mom was going over which type of apartment she wanted, on what floor, and which direction she wanted it to face. And it is all in the same town she has been in since 1972, so she doesn’t have to adjust to a whole new situation, find new doctors, pharmacy, etc. Score!
She admitted later that day that is was probably a good idea because she was tired of taking care of her home. She was tired of shelling out the bucks to heat and cool it all. Tired of watering the lawn all the time. I put the wheels in motions at that point. Got a real estate agent on board, starting scoping out movers, that sort of thing. Trying to make it easy on her. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.
One thing about my visits with my mom, I know she needs her space. I made sure to leave the house for an hour or two in the morning so she could wake up slowly, like she prefers. Call while I am out to see if I can pick her up some groceries or run an errand. Return to help clean or organize something. (Her fridge! Oy!) Come the evenings, I can see she needs some time to herself again. Lucky for me my aforementioned friend Rick had taken some time off from work that week, so I got to hang out with him a couple of more times. It was a good way to not only give my mom her space but also for me to catch up with my friend I have known since 1989. Helps me decompress. Grab some food, see a movie, close down a wine bar laughing over a nice Pinot Noir. That’s a good time right there.
I am sure I have many trips to Texas in the near future to try and manage all of this. Do I think it will all go off without a hitch? No one can say either way. Just gotta deal with whatever.
I am so glad – relieved! - my mom finally sees that downsizing doesn’t mean she is losing anything but burdens, as well as gaining new freedoms I do not believe she has known in decades.
I am digging this type of dancing, electroslide. It’s got classic Charleston foot work updated with some shuffle, slides, and smoothness that takes practice & confidence.
My nine year old son wants to learn to dance like this, so he can “woo the ladies”. I said, “You’re nine! You don’t even like girls yet!” His reply? “Yeah, well, dad says someday I will, so when I do – I will be ready!”
Better get to work, kid.
Dancer – Just Some Motion
Song: “All Night” by Parov Stelar
Even if you are trying to be as ‘green’ as possible, plastic bags are a part of life. So let’s use them as best we can to our advantage before sending them on to a landfill!
Bags from your cereal…use them for freezing your ripe bananas. Ready to go for smoothies or my yummy banana bread recipe.
I like to use some of the resealable plastic bags, like the flax seed bag, for when my kids have field trips and are instructed to bring a bagged lunch that can be thrown away. Good for sandwich, snacks, chips, etc.
Make a note if your child shares food with another child of what food has been in that bag, in case of any allergies. We all know how rampant & random some children’s allergies can be.
I was thinking about someone from my past the other day. The word ‘bully’ pops up all over the media these days. I hear the word ‘bully’, and you might as well say his name. Ryan.
If you follow Live Green Mom, you probably already know this about me. I was raised by a single mom in Dallas, Texas with my three sisters. We got by. Food in our bellies, roof over our head. But there wasn’t room for extras in our lives. Our clothes came from K-Mart or Target. In case you didn’t know, Target, back in their early years, was the equivalent to K-Mart. Sometimes from the Goodwill, sometimes a garage sale. Payless for shoes.