Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Where Will I End Up?

My friend Don and I on the roof deck of his co-op in Philadelphia, PA last month with a new co-op building in the background


Oh, I know where I eventually will end up.  On a hillside cemetery overlooking Downingtown, Pennsylvania. I purchased two lots (one for me and one for Bill) after my father died in 2000.  Both Bill and I wanted a "good view" for our eventual resting place. We got that settled. 

But what I'm talking about when I say "Where will I end up?" is where will I play out my Last Act.

My original intent was to spend my final days here at Casa Tipton-Kelly, Sussex County Delaware. 

Case Tipton-Kelly - Rehoboth Beach, DE

I am very comfortable here on our almost an acre of Eden-like bliss. But folks, it does take some upkeep.  In fact, on this very mild day I should be outside right now (instead of writing this blog) doing some fall maintenance yard work.  But alas, I opted to write this blog instead.  

As much as I like yard work (and I do), I find that as each year passes I call on our local landscaper Miguel and his crew to give me a helping hand.  

Bill mows the grass, which is quite a job.  Even so, I still put out a couple thou a year for lawn maintenance (irrigation, feeding and weed control). 

We live in a BIG house (5242 hundred square feet).  I could take in one of those Syrian families and still have space to spare.  Do I need all this space?  Actually I do.

But, last month when I visited my longtime friend Don McK. in Philadelphia, I was intrigued by his two bedroom apartment in the heart of Philadelphia.  I love Philadelphia. Back in the late 60's and 70's (when I was young and very desirable) I lived in Center City Philly.  I LOVED IT!  But then came a time I grew weary of hearing the police sirens constantly and I yearned for wide open spaces. So I moved to the country. 


The view of the neighborhood in Philadelphia where Bill and I lived in the 70's from my friend Don's rooftop deck


We lived in the country (Downingtown) for twenty-five years.  Then the taxes got too much for me so I moved us (Bill goes where I go, even though he doesn't want to - he still misses our Pennsylvania home) to the flat, open coastal plain of southern Delaware where taxes are low and folks are gay friendly (mostly anyway). 

Now comes a time when I have to seriously consider how I would manage if I lived by myself.  Bill is 87 years old now and was a great help when I fell and tore my quadricep leg muscle and was incapacitated for a long twelve weeks.  I was helpless.  If it were not for Bill I would have been warehoused in a rehab center.  

I have arthritis throughout my body, especially in my upper legs and lower back.  I am so careful not to fall again and put myself in a similar situation of being totally dependent on someone. So I have to think about that possibility.

There is no way I would put myself in on of those assisted living facilities.  That to me is like a gilded prison.  No way will I go out like that.  

So, at the end of this month when I visit my friend Don in Philly, where I will be staying in a rented suite in his co-op building. I will seriously consider eventually moving to Philadelphia in the future if I'm around for a few more years.

Decisions, decisions, decisions. It's all a matter of survival folks. 

Our two plots at the Northwood Cemetery in Downingtown, PA
A lovely setting for our final resting place

18 comments:

  1. I have been contemplating the same sorts of questions, although I am about 10 years behind you. My brother has a 2 BR condo in the burbs which seems to be a decent compromise. Convenient, but not noisy and very little maintenance. He can walk to places for most of the necessities. Then he has more time and money to go visit the other places he loves. Not so bad, really.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jono,
      I prefer to stay where I am now but I have to face reality. If I fall and injury myself again how would I survive? Home health care? I have to admit I was attracted to the ease of living where my friend Don lives. And of course I've always loved Philly. Something to consider for sure.
      Ron

      Delete
  2. Well Ron - I'm glad you wrote this blog. You've got a great life - Bill is with you for company and you aren't alone; enjoyable part time job: the gardening; a lovely town. Nice neighbours. All good. And now to add to that you can visit Philly and enjoy the town. I am sooo looking forward to meeting up with you there in just over a week. A short stay but we can visit some of your old haunts and take in some new ones along with some great veggie restaurants. I love Philly, I love LA I really like Delaware - so many good places to live.



    Pat

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pat,
      Always have something to look forward to, that's always been my mantra. Philadelphia has changed a lot since I lived there in the 70's. It's now a happening city, which we discovered much to our delight a couple of years ago when we visited for my birthday. I'm so glad I can bring my friends (you, Don and Larry) together and meet. You're all nice guys. I have been so fortunate to have such good friends in my life.
      Ron

      Delete
  3. I moved from a 4500 soft home in Pa - it was too much to heat/cool, furnish and clean. Most of the rooms I never even used and I had a 3rd floor that went unused unless company came round. The best thing I ever did was to downsize to a cozy 2600 sq feet. I prolly have one or two moves left in my bones and those will require downsizing as well. maybe a single story when stairs become cumbersome.

    I will fight tooth and nail to maintain a larger yard with my garden.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. WIGUY,
      I moved from our house in Pennsylvania because it was just too hard to keep heated and air-conditioned. Plus, it was a traditional two story house in which I had to constantly climb stairs to get to my bedroom and home office. Plus, most of the house was unused. We had those rooms closed off.
      Here, we're mostly one floor living (Bill lives in the basement). I don't have to climb the stairs to my bedroom and home office which is a great relief. And I have my beautiful backyard garden in full view by my wall of windows in the great room (open kitchen/dining/living room).
      If I ever moved I would greatly miss my backyard oasis. I thrive there. A lot to consider.
      Ron

      Delete
  4. Ron,
    Guess at a certain age we all go through this contemplation. I know I am a lot these days. It is getting more and more difficult to do the upkeep, especially since more of the duties are falling to me as Lois' health keeps kind of sliding downhill. There is also the expense of this place and then there is the nagging question of what would happen if I lost my privilege to drive. Hard to survive here without a car. My health seems good, but you never know if that will continue. Also, having to manage stairs and steps could become a difficulty, even a hazard. It'll be interesting to see where we all end up.

    Lar

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lar,
      Hopefully I will be able to stay here for the rest of my life. But I do have to take everything into consideration. Injuring my leg earlier this year was a wake up call as to what my life would be like if I was incapacitated. I have to admit I was intrigued by the convenience of Don's living space and accessibility to everything he needs. Something to consider.
      Ron

      Delete
  5. Does Bill want to move too? There are so many great things about living in southern Delaware....I'd have to be dragged back to the city life but then again, if we wanted to downsize and be closer to things, have it easier to get around, etc then that would be a consideration. Why not get a condo here instead of keeping the monster house? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Andrea,
      Oh no, Bill definitely DOES NOT WANT TO MOVE. I wouldn't do that to him. I will stay here as long as Bill's health permits. I promised him that we would never move again (the both of us) and I intend on keeping that promise. I would never get a condo down here. If I stayed here it will be in our present home. But if I reach the age of 80's and have trouble getting around, then I may consider center city living, even though I will miss my backyard terribly. Hopefully I can stay here the rest of my life. I can satiate my "city living" yearning by visiting occasionally.
      Ron

      Delete
  6. I have long admired you two in your stamina to keep such a place as yours up and running.
    I am voting for something small and cozy (and less maintenance) as I grow older.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dr. Spo,
      I'm surprised that at our age (87 for Bill and 74 for me) that Bill and I are still doing yard work. We're definitely on bonus time here. But I have always considered something "small and cozy" as I get older. But I would only do it if I was by myself. No point in keeping up this big place by myself.
      Ron

      Delete
  7. I have so many of the same apprehensions, Ron, and I am admittedly terrified of the future. I love living here in the wilderness but it is a great risk, especially since I'm getting older. The cost of living is reasonable but the work is harder than I initially anticipated. And if anything ever happened to me, I only have a cell phone to depend on.

    I'd like to expound, but it's really difficult typing with this broken key.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jon,
      I don't want to unduly alarm you but as you get older, it is more dangerous to live out in the wild, so far away from everything. But you don't have to worry about that for a long time yet. You're so young and have many years yet to enjoy your beautiful wildlife refuge.
      Ron

      Delete
  8. I love my condo, I wish the community was more walkable. Moving into a smaller space requires letting go, the condo is just over 1,100 sq. ft, there is still a 1,700 sq ft house full of "stuff" in Lexington that we need to consolidate into this place someday. But I also let go of things I hated, yard work, snow removal, outside maintenance. I pay for it, but all I have to do is write the check each month.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. David,
      I have to admit that condo living is appealing. I love yard work but not the big heating and electric bills. Don tells me when he needs something done, even including changing a light bulb, all he has to do is call. THAT is appealing, I have to admit. (smile)
      Ron

      Delete
  9. That roof deck reminds me of the roof deck on a condo a friend of mine here in Philly moved to recently on JFK Blvd. One really nice thing about it was a communal herb garden. It's only been since last summer, but I think she really likes living there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Carol,
      I love that rooftop communal garden. When Bill and I lived in Philly, we also made a rooftop garden on the top of our townhouse. Living in center city Philly is very convenient, especially for us older folks but one thing I missed was my garden. Now that is an option when living right in the center of Philadelphia.
      Ron

      Delete