Where Do You Live?

People often ask me why I don’t move into a smaller place with less maintenance. Believe me, before I moved to my present home, I gave that question a great deal of thought. I used to live in a large four bedroom, four bathroom , two-story house that sat on a large city lot. When my two kids were still at home the space was perfect, but I knew once they left, I too would make some major changes.

I often thought that I would love a centrally located condo in downtown Toronto. It made sense in that both my kids lived in the city, and I truly love all that a big city has to offer. At the time, my eighty year old mom was still living, and I knew she was more comfortable having me nearby, but that was not the only consideration in my decision to stay where I was already living.

All my friends live close by, and I knew if I moved away, I would see a lot less of them. It was an important factor in my consideration. We do things together several times a week, so my lifestyle would have changed dramatically. Yes, I could make new friends, but at this point in my life, I am rather attached to the ones I have had for many, many years. I was definitely not prepared to trade them in.

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About a year after my kids moved out, I decided to look at some local condos and townhouses. It would definitely be a lot less work to move into something smaller, and the financial benefit was a given, but I could not get used to the idea of being attached to my neighbor, having little or no yard, and rules…lots of rules.

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So, I decided to simply down size to something more manageable. I hunted and waited until I found the perfect fit for my lifestyle. It ended up being a detached, two-story in an old neighborhood of my city. There was plenty of work to do to make it just right, but I loved every bit of it. It is less than half the size of my previous home, but plenty of room for my needs and best of all a nice yard to putter in. 

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My plan is to stay here until I can no longer manage by myself which I hope is never. People often remind me  that the stairs will be a problem, that I only have one bathroom on the second floor, that the yard is too much work, and on and on.

There has been a lot of buzz about “granny pods” recently. They look like small cottages constructed in your children’s backyards. It allows for independent living, but your family is close by to help out as necessary. MedCottage2

I’m afraid this is not an option for me; although, my son has offered his garden shed. He owes me after turning my shed into an art studio when he was in high school. There was no electricity! No problem! He ran an extension cord from the house for lights and an electric heater ALL winter. I don’t want to talk about my electric bill, but trust me, he owes me big time.

Another option that has come up in conversation with the girls is”cohousing”. Apparently, this new trend is becoming quite popular. Statistics show that seniors who cohouse with friends live ten years longer than their normal life expectancy. Socializing is a key component to a long life. About a year or so ago, my friends suggested to the owners of our favorite pub that they build apartments upstairs. That way we could live together, and not have to go far from home for wine. I think we were on to something before it became a trend. 10246695_10152384871960049_3597235499566508595_n

So, where do you plan to live as you get older? I guess no one knows for sure what lies ahead, but it is nice to have lots of choices. For now, I plan to stay right here in my own little piece of heaven and enjoy. 20180528_182906.jpg

Oh, by the way, if you are thinking of making a move and you are in the Toronto area, I happen to know an amazing real estate agent. Give her a call!

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Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

 

Who’s In Charge?

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There is nothing like a health scare to get your attention. Most of my life, I have sailed along enjoying good health and apparently taking it for granted. With the exception of a gall bladder surgery almost 18 years ago, I have not had to deal with doctors or medication. Getting older, of course, brings the aches and creaks of joints, but I try not to give it much thought.

I have lived in my own home and managed just fine for almost 40 years. My independence is my most prized possession and I guard it closely. So, when a recent health issue threatened that possession, I was alarmed.

My problem started with a lovely walk to the hospital to keep a friend company as she sat with her son who was in a coma. It was cool, but the sunshine felt wonderful. I arrived in the I.C.U. department and sat in the lounge to wait for my friend. As I sat there, a pain developed first in my chest, and then between my shoulder blades. Next, I felt chill, but perspiration beaded on my forehead and I could feel a headache gaining intensity. When my friend came to join me, I told her I wasn’t feeling well, and shortly after decided I should go home.

As I walked toward the exit, it occurred to me that I should walk directly into the emergency department, but as I processed that idea, I noticed the taxi phone at the door. I picked it up and called for a ride.

At home my symptoms remained the same, so I took an aspirin and went to bed for a nap. When I woke several hours later, I still felt terrible and in the darkness of the night, I also felt scared. I could have and should have called someone, but I was determined to muscle through this.

By morning, I felt somewhat better. After all, everything seems more manageable in the daylight. The cold sweat had disappeared, but was replaced by nausea. The chest pain was almost gone, but the headache remained.

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Common sense kicked in and I called the doctor and made an appointment. A short while later, my son called. He asked how I was, and I admitted that I had felt better. I gradually retold my experience, and he listened patiently until I got to the part about going home instead of to the emergency.

“MOM! What were you thinking?” he exploded. I knew he was right, but I said nothing.

“That’s it!” he announced. “If you can”t look after yourself, I am going to move in to look after you, or you are going to move in with us. It is obvious that you are irresponsible about your health.”

Well, that certainly got my attention and frightened me more than my symptoms. Remember my closely guarded independence? No one messes with that!

“I am doing no such thing,” I retorted. “You are not my boss!”

“Well, if you aren’t going to take care of yourself, I WILL be the boss.”

I told him that I had a doctor’s appointment and if the pain resumed, I promised to get to the emerg immediately. For the next several days, he called or texted to check on me. Sometimes the message said simply, “Are you still alive?” which made me giggle.

My doctor arranged several tests which did uncover a health concern, and I am now taking medication for the first time in my life. My independence is still intact, and I will continue to protect it with my life. I have a great many things on my bucket list, and I have no intention of jeopardizing my future. So, just a reminder, if it doesn’t feel right, get it checked out. Do as I say, not as I did!

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I’m the one on the right!!!!

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo