What a crazy end to the week. And I even had two snow days in a row. In the midst of Dinner Theatre prep, firming up details for when we sing at the Indians game on Mother’s Day, grades, visitors and other projects, there was some major discussion about the future, some big decisions made, and some major uncertainty left over. Time for some news.
Over the last month or so, the Thriller and I have had several heart-to-hearts about where we want to be in 10 years — or sooner. It’s amazing what ideas spring to life when you let your imagination fly, without any borders on what’s wise or most frugal or in the general best interest of everyone involved.
We’re talking about eventually living in a small space. Of course, my first reactions were Where will we put the family at holidays? Where will the grandchildren sleep? What about all our STUFF? The answers, while unclear at the moment, will more than likely work themselves out in time. It’s a tuffy for me because I’ve always held dear the prospect of having my children, their spouses and their children at my house for special occasions, that I would do the lion’s share (with sis Mavis) of the cooking, and that the whole affair is something we do for the kids to make their lives a bit less crazy for a day or night at the holidays. In other words, it’s difficult to envision my not being the matriarch of my little tribe — and that’s something I am going to need to learn to get over. Both of my sons already have more space in their homes than we do; yet, they and their wives are gracious and uncomplaining about stuffing everyone into our house for Hamsgiving and Christmas every year. I love them for it.
Truthfully, I think it will all be OK. Thousands — probably millions — of older parents travel to their children’s homes for holidays for myriad reasons, and it wouldn’t kill us to do the same someday. I must also consider that in 10 years’ time, our youngest grandchild will be in middle school and the eldest will be a junior or senior, and like it or not, coming to Grammie’s for an overnighter won’t be as exciting as it once was. I get all that. Time to move on, while never letting go of the joy of family. We can do it in a different way is all.
While we talked about living smaller, we focused on doing so with a bit more land. I’ve never been one to want to live in the country (and I still don’t want to), but we’re seriously considering an acre or two outside the city limits so we can team up with a doggy daycare business after I retire from teaching — or before, depending upon where the chips fall. The chips, of course, are real estate related: we want to begin the process of getting our present home ready to sell. To that end, the last several days have been full of ideas, priority lists, financial plans and visits from various people to give us estimates on certain projects, to wit:
- Our basement steps will be completely torn out and rebuilt next week.
- The plasterer visited and gave us a quote on redoing the ceilings in the parlor, guest room and main bathroom.
- We’re getting an estimate this week on replacing the backsplash tile, countertops and drop ceiling in the kitchen.
- Glass panels will be replaced in our front door and front porch, and new storm doors will be hung in the back and side entrances to the house — then we start saving for new windows on the main floor.
While the Thriller knows his way around car engines and can do basic repair jobs around the house like hanging doors and replacing drop-ceiling panels, much of this work is either out of his comfort zone or impossible for him to do physically with his bad back, and therefore must be hired out. As you might guess, all of this means that our Odysseys are at a standstill for a while. It’s a reality we embrace with considerable sadness. But hey, we’ll still be able to take long weekends to visit his family in Wisconsin and mine in Mississippi, and plans for a California trek to see Bob & Kay are still in the works. Seriously, we’ve traveled almost the whole country over the last five summers; we have nothing to complain about. If you’re new to RtB, or you just want to revisit the silliness, here are the links to get you started:
2010 – Route 66
2011 – Western US (heh — I’d forgotten that was the kidney stone Odyssey)
2012 – New England
2013 – Pacific Northwest
2014 – NYC
So it’s not like we’ve not gotten to do fun things. This new experience (I’ll call it the Austerity Odyssey ) will show and teach us many things as well. And who knows — we might even have some fun along the way.
Happy weekend! Back to the old grind.