Deb’s Fitbit reminds her to be up and walking every hour. Unlike my Apple Watch, which just wants to make sure I’m standing up¹, Deb’s fitness tracker insists she actually move every hour. Thus Deb has developed the routine of walking around the ground floor of our house in a deliberate but not always predictable pattern until she gets her required steps registered. Sometimes while she walks she catches up on emails, sometimes she checks Facebook, sometimes she ponders things.
And then shares them.
DEB: Y’know, if we really wanted to make this house single-floor living, we could do it.
Up to this point I had not realized we were considering this. Our bedroom and two bathrooms are upstairs on the second floor² while our library, parlor, dining room, kitchen, laundry room, powder room, and family room are on the first floor. The basement is storage and exercise machines. NOT conducive to old codgers unable to easily navigate stairs, a state to which we aspire some day. So the Grand Plan is to move to a retirement community with single-floor living arrangements and professional staff available for assistance on short notice.
At least that’s what I thought we were doing. Did I miss something?
DEB: So we convert the library to a first-floor bedroom. We take the pantry, add a wall on the kitchen side, knock down the walls on the powder room side, and turn that into a shower. We punch a door into the library to get into the laundry room so we can turn that into a closet.
ME: Where does the stuff from the pantry go?
DEB: We have cabinets in the kitchen we hardly use. We just organize a little better.
ME: Also, we turn the parlor into the library.³ It’s basically just furniture storage now.⁴ Maybe the dining room too, because we never eat in there even for family gatherings, since we got the four-season porch.
DEB: This would cost a lot of money.
DEB: Probably cheaper just to move to the retirement home.
ME: Which we’d have to do at some point anyway, when we need staff to help us.
DEB: I know. It was just a thought. At some point it’s going to be hard to give up our yard and our house and our memories.
ME: And our stuff.⁵
DEB: And our stuff. But we don’t want to put anyone else through what we had to go through with my parents and your parents. So we’re still moving.
ME: But not yet.
DEB: But not just yet.
I live with a smart lady. She thinks of things. Then we talk about them, because that’s what partners do. Sometimes something comes of it, other times not.
¹Leading to occasional arguments with the watch about “What do you think I’ve been doing the last five minutes while I’ve been working on dinner?” that has Siri responding with “OK, five minutes and counting!” while she starts the timer — don’t argue with the digital assistant, it wastes your time and just confuses the AI.
²This would be the first floor for you Brits out there. Possibly some of you Commonwealth folks. Anyway, Tracy, A Maguire, Agnes, Stuart, and others are probably able to translate Yank nomenclature by now. Or is this another “everybody but the North Americans” thing? Stephen M. Tomic, what’s the standard in France?
³We will be having a book sale at some point in our future. Buy one book, get five random ones free. Something like that.
⁴Deb inherited many lovely pieces of antique furniture, current market value in negative dollars because a vast number of households in the area are downsizing and the market is glutted. And by “glutted,” I mean none of the millennials and Gen-Z types understand why people would ever want these things in their homes.
⁵Deb’s mom had a five-room apartment with stuff, after Dad died. Not a lot of stuff, but her stuff. Too much for a single-room residence in a retirement home, which is all she could afford. So Deb mostly lived with her the final year of her life, and Mom got to see her great-granddaughter’s first birthday party, and got to be with all her stuff. And then Mom died, and it was all the family’s stuff.
Deb and I have a LOT more stuff than Mom did. Before we move (almost) everything must go.
Copyright ©2021 by Jack Herlocker. All rights reserved, and if you steal this I can promise you drones will be delivering boxes of our books to you from 400 feet altitude.