Thursday, October 10, 2013
So It Goes with Grayish Woes
Getting older is a barrel of laughs. Or a barrel of monkeys--remember that expression? (If you do, you're probably old, too.) Actually, I don't think a barrel of monkeys would be all that much fun. For one thing, they'd probably all be in a bad mood because of being piled on top of one another. And there would be a lot of mess to clean up, too. I've seen monkeys: They do a lot of monkeying around--of all sorts.
And that's the problem I want to write about today. I've posted here before about the clutter in my life--the stuff that has somehow ended up in our house. Most of the time I try to ignore it, but other times I look at it and wonder what-on-earth I'm ever going to do about it. Ignoring it is the best idea, I think. I mean, who cares if we have piles of books on the floor? And I also think this: Every second I spend dealing with that stuff is a second I'm not reading or writing or being with Joyce or ... You see?
But this problem relates to a more serious one. We love our house; we love its design; we love its location. We are less than half a block from the village green, and we can easily walk (and do) to the following places: coffee shops, banks, Post Office, grocery store, clothing stores, dentist, optometrist, bookstore, library, restaurants, etc. We do not have to get in the car to do many things we need/want to do. And that is fantastic.
But ... a more worrisome issue. We do not have a full bath downstairs. So what? Well, I'm pushing up against 70 years old now, and if I were, say, to take a fall on the ice this winter (not unthinkable) and break something (not unthinkable), what would I do? We have no bedroom downstairs, no full bath (as I said). Would it mean staying upstairs until whatever-is-broken heals? That is not appealing. Or a temporary move to a rehab center? Or hiring an aide to come in and help me get up and downstairs a couple of times a day? And, of course, my cancer may decide one day--without much warning--that it's time for me to go to bed.
So ... we've been looking at alternatives. We checked out several stages-of-care places in the area, but neither of us was too crazy about any of them--for a variety of reasons. We also looked at some retirement communities near us--you know, the places with little gray ranch houses with a little stonework, attached two-car garages, little lawns, and cute street names (Mockingbird Lane, Cutsie Cove, You-Ain't-Really-Old Court)? We actually went inside a few of them, looked around, tried to picture ourselves there. Couldn't do it. Those places seem to have been designed for people who don't have the books-and-clutter that we have--or who have a stronger will to do something about it. (We didn't see any with much open wall-space where we could build shelves, etc.) And all of them are beyond walking distance to just about anything. So ... a car ride to accomplish any small errand. We're spoiled. We haven't had to do that for a long, long time.
And so we're looking into some options here in the house. We have a screened back porch--actually a pretty good size--that we could convert to a year-round space (not cheap). But we'd need to get heat out there somehow--and A-C. And install a small bathroom in one corner. We're getting some estimates. And laughing at the expense. Funnier than a barrel of monkeys.
So, right now, I don't know what we're going to do. Whatever we do, though, I know this: It's not going to be fun. Or cheap. Or convenient. Or psychologically simple. Or emotionally soothing. But I'm afraid something is necessary. This cluttery monkey business can't go on forever ... can it?