Temporary halt in writing to catch up

detourTHE VALUE OF MULTIPLYING YOUR REACH WITH PROPER HELP

I have 30 partial posts.

I have bunches more ideas.

I have the Author Photo series halfway done.

I am giving up on promotion for the immediate future – it’s up to those of you who read to poke your friends. I’m mostly hand-selling to people who I meet online who turn out to be copacetic – and that takes a lot of time.

This would be a great time to write the review you always planned to write, to give Pride’s Children to a friend – or to point a friend here for an electronic Review Copy.

The biggest new commitment is long-term dejunking.

Yup, and since I can’t do it, I have to make the decisions for my new assistant, who is vastly over-qualified for the position and a good friend – and this is planned to take 4-9 hours weekly for the indefinite future, or until this house has lost 80% of its current contents, with another 10% clearly labeled as already selected to be given away/junked.

The plan is to just keep doing this until every drawer, shelf, closet, wall unit, and underbed storage box is down to the minimum necessary. And basket. And garage. And basement.

Our plan – should it work out – is to move to a Continuing Care Retirement Community in the next couple of years – so we’re not responsible for a house.

Which means settling the last child, taking care of some problems, selling the house, and finding the place to spend the rest of our lives.

The benefits?

Someone else will become responsible for everything.

No stairs.

I’m not getting better or more mobile; I need to make the move before I can’t, or my brain goes even further and I can’t qualify to live in a CCRC.

I don’t want independence – I want convenience, and a pool, and a gym, and dinner, and medical rehab facilities onsite. I want the husband to have plenty of things he wants to do (me, I write), so finding the right place IS critical.

I want to be able to walk out my unit’s door, lock it, have arranged whatever supervision might be necessary with the staff, and go someplace else without worrying about the ice dam or the furnace going out or mildew or the ice maker or…

I loved doing all those homeowner things – when I was younger and not disabled.

What does this mean for the blog and the writing?

Probably not much, except for the first few weeks.

I’m not going to do anything organizing-wise without my assistant, and I’m going to try to be coherent while she’s here. So it should come out of the time I’m currently wasting because I have no energy to use it.

I’ve had assistants before, lovely people. It works.

It has just become completely shortsighted of me to try to force myself to do things the way I’ve been trying to operate.

It will be a bit harder with the husband retired, because he’s not used to having someone around. The benefits – a boost to MY capabilities – should compensate.

I’m the problem here, and the pivot point, and possibly the solution.

Wish me well – expect it will be a couple of weeks of less engagement online while I get the system sorted out.

It has already begun

The first day was last Wednesday. I made about a thousand decisions – but they all got acted on instead of being admired and re-stored. Good intentions get very little actual work accomplished.

Bags of stuff left this house, destined for the trash or recycling. Books went to the Friends of the Library, for their sales.

I have to go take a nap – she’s coming at three.

Remember – if you like the prose…

Try the fiction – written by the same person. See sidebar for link.

I promise – I’m working madly on Book 2, and have some shorter stuff to put up.

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27 thoughts on “Temporary halt in writing to catch up

  1. dgkaye

    Good for you Alicia. That sounds like a major feat, going through a lifetime of possessions. Glad to know you have help. There are many days I wish I could just de-clutter too. 🙂

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    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      It requires physical and mental energy to make the decisions and dispose of the accumulations – neither of which I have. My assistant is a marvel – you wouldn’t believe how much stuff she’s helped me process already. Best assistant ever – and says she likes to do it because of family circumstances that didn’t let her do it before. A true treasure. I have said many prayers of thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

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  2. Janna G. Noelle

    Good luck on putting these plans in action, especially the de-junking, which is an arduous and overwhelming job that often gets left behind for the kids to do after the parents are gone. Glad that your writing and blogging won’t suffer too much.

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    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      The plan is already in action, and after two sessions (with me wiped out at the end of each), the progress is huge.

      Because I have already made many of these decisions, and the stupid CFS kept me from executing them.

      Had I been myself, none of this accumulations would have happened. Since I lost that ability, I have been dreading training yet another assistant – because it took me six months last time and she told me she couldn’t do it right after I had her doing it! Over a year has passed – assistants who can do what I need don’t grow on trees, and teaching someone all the ways of this household is a daunting thought.

      Cross your fingers that the arrangement will last until I need it to – but there was NO training necessary, and that’s been a huge gift.

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    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      It’s very much like the process that goes into making a will the first time you do it. There is a superstitious gut feeling that makes people think (us included) that you are telling Fate and the universe you’re ready to go.

      We did our first one when our oldest was born – and included ‘all further children, natural or adopted’ in the list of beneficiaries – and appointed a Guardian for the kids. Then we ignored everything until lately, when we realized that some changes were necessary – made them, got it over with, and again felt much better (it took me over two years to make it a priority because the first lawyer was an idiot). We’re all set, but I have to put an intellectual property rider on it now that I have published work (Kris Rusch has me persuaded), so that, if there’s any value to it after I’ve gone, people don’t rip off my kids.

      Again, Universe, it does not mean I’m settling accounts and getting ready for anything except peace of mind.

      Part of the fear is of the unknown, but a significant part is just the fear of doing it wrong and the inconvenience of doing something new and rare. The peace of mind is wonderful; it was worth it.

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  3. Capricious Lestrange

    I have at times wished such places existed for the disabled who are not yet retirement age. I’m sometimes bedbound with my ME, but even when Im not, Im not so useful anymore. My husband tries, but he has his own challenges. We’re empty nesters and our son lives out of town. Things get neglected, including me from time to time. I feel like it would be a good solution and even look at places online sometimes though I’m only 44. In some ways, it would offer me more freedom, since I’d be able to do community things when well enough, go to the pool, etc. I rarely leave my apartment now.

    So I think it’s a grand idea and it sounds like a smart way to get what you and your husband both need! Best of luck getting everything settled quickly so you can get settled in your happy new home!

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    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      CCRCs often do have age limits, but there is no uniform one. Check around.

      It probably will depend on both age and your capability to live independently now.

      It IS a problem – I don’t know what the solution is for younger folk or ones who can’t pass the requirements. The economics don’t work out for the community is they accept people who already need a lot of help, but if it’s NOT in the minimum activities of daily living, it may still be possible.

      Check around – report back!

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      1. Capricious Lestrange

        So far my searches have turned up nothing for anyone below 55. I’m in the US, though. I’ll definitely let you know if I come across something! Come to think of it, some do let younger spouses in if the other qualifies, so the 55+ communities will be in reach in a few years. My husband is 51. By then, you’ll have had plenty of time to learn and share all the pros and cons with us! 😉

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        1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

          See, you already found the loophole you need. You have a few years to decide if the concept might work for you and if you can afford to get in.

          Maintaining a house is a choice. It takes a lot of effort and money. It’s not the only choice, nor the best one – but you make it and then get everything just right (my perennials garden is amazing).

          But I don’t have the energy to do the maintenance that used to be my contribution. Perennials need weeding and mulching and pruning at appropriate times. We have a gardener now – which is an expense but fine – but I don’t go out there and sit very often when everything is in bloom, because I can’t take it. What I love are memories – and I’m still here! A younger couple, with kids, should get this house. Or people who like gardening. Or someone in better shape.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Capricious Lestrange

          It sounds lovely and like it wasnt an easy choice to make. We lost our house when I was forced to leave my job, so it won’t be so tough for us. Best of luck with everything, dear!

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    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      Some people value independence.

      Most people wait until way too late to make plans – and can then find they can’t pass the required exam to live in a community which needs to keep some controls on costs, as they offer life care. For example, though some places won’t take people with some physical problems (each is different), many won’t accept people moving in who are already showing signs of dementia – because dementia care/memory care is more expensive.

      Your are generally expected to be able to live independently when you move in (defined differently at each place); some of the members of the community will then progress to Assisted Living, Memory Care, and/or Nursing Home care. They then have medical facilities on the premises and connections with a local hospital.

      It’s like insurance: you have to buy it before you need it or the risk pool is skewed. You’re betting you will be in the group which doesn’t need the advanced care.

      Anyway, the whole topic should be addressed in the 50s and 60s. If you don’t make decisions like these when you’re young enough and healthy enough, your family or the state will be making decisions for you (possibly even with your own money) when a crisis hits. A crisis limits your choices considerably.

      Community living is not for everyone, but everyone has to think about slowing down. “My kids will take care of me” is unrealistic. Just at the time you need care, your children may have their own kids to care for.

      I planned to be in the group who were out hiking in their 90s; it isn’t happening. You can’t always will yourself into better health.

      Mainly, I don’t want my husband burdened with my care, or decisions we should have made together. And I want him in a good place for him, which may take some doing – he’s a very intelligent man, and I think he’ll do best if there is a nearby University for lectures and such. Even better, he can decide if an existing place offers what he wants.

      Sorry for going on – but it sounded as if you weren’t very aware of the concept. You’re probably way too young.

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      1. Bun Karyudo

        No need to apologize about going on! 🙂 I’m interested to hear about it, especially since I’ll shortly be entering the age group that you mentioned should start thinking about such things. (I’ll turn 50 in about half a year.)

        I do have some knowledge of such places, of course, but not in any detail. From your explanation, I can well understand the reasons why community living is an attractive option for you and why you are thinking seriously about. I hope you can find a place near a university or some other center of intellectual activity that offers lectures, such as a good museum.

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        1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

          For a rough idea, you need to be thinking about these things in your 50s (for long-term care insurance – if you’re going to get it, it is cheaper if you start young and relatively healthy, and it will help pay for things like caretakers later), and I’d say between 60 and 70 for where and how you’re going to live in your older years.

          I’ve seen several people NOT make these plans – and lose the ability to make good choices. A friend with a disability became the caretaker when his wife developed dementia – now they’re/he’s doing it piecemeal because they didn’t do it before, and now they have much more limited options. But in general, the entrant to a CCRC is around late 70s, early 80s. Depends on your risk tolerance, and whether you still have responsibilities to your kids.

          I’m working on walking better, but have spent way too much time dragging myself up stairs, literally. If it were my husband (who does all our grocery shopping, for example), I’d have moved us already. But we are still dealing with a child with some medical problems (my okapi – if you’ve read that post), and I’m not comfortable with making plans for selling the house and essentially kicking her out until she’s stable and can manage – because it’s easier to just maintain the home right now. But it’s costing me physically AND it’s depriving me of things I need, so it’s MUCH harder for me to deal with my problems. Tradeoffs, tradeoffs.

          I’m not advocating everyone quick get themselves into a home; I’m suggesting that THINKING about options sooner rather than later is better. It has been forced on me, but also very true from seeing two of our parents go, and the remaining two needing assistance (the crisis method of dealing with life) that THEY should have planned for, and instead left to the kids. Us. And I already CAN’T help with what they need.

          Disability (five times more likely than death during the working years) throws a monkey wrench into lives. Assuming it won’t happen to you is nice, but risky. It wasn’t supposed to happen to me because I’m supposed to be the healthy one.

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        2. Bun Karyudo

          Your advice that it is better to think about my plans for my later years sooner rather than later sounds very sensible to me. I’m not sure whether a CCRC would suit my wife and me or not. I’ll have to do a bit more research into them. It does seem like a very wise idea to at least consider the option, though. After all, I’ll have to live somewhere when I’m older. Rather than just hope things work out for the best, it’s better to find out what’s out there. I’ll have more options and make better decisions if I begin thinking about it early.

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        3. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

          I read somewhere that 50% of people who reach 85 have dementia. It’s a sobering thought. I’m more like my Dad, so I hope I’m immune genetically, but my mother and my maternal grandmother both had dementia into their 90s and have required a lot of care.

          Look to your family history.

          Do a worst case scenario (physically and mentally), and do a best case one. I’m not saying anything is the right solution for everyone, just that ignoring possibilities often lands people in the position of taking whatever is available to them when the inevitable (yes, inevitable) crisis hits.

          And don’t be like someone I know and love who has saved diligently all his life for a rainy day, and never used any of that money, even when the rainy days turned into monsoons. Passing your money on to your kids is nice, but it is also telling them you don’t trust them to manage their lives. It’s true some can’t – they are excused from this discussion, and you will have to make sure they are taken care of if you are the responsible party (many people make their disabled kids dependent on them, instead of insisting they develop life skills, and then die).

          I don’t know why I’m so grumpy about all this lately; possibly because I have to wait to make decisions – and I’m worried the delay will cost other people options.

          Just review periodically, make sure you have a will (you have a will, don’t you?), and talk about these things with your kids if they’re old enough.

          Then go back to being happy-go-lucky for another ten years. Can’t wait for that.

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        4. Bun Karyudo

          Dementia is a big worry for many of us nowadays. With people living longer than ever before, almost everybody seems to know friends, acquaintances or relations who suffer from it.

          I do have a will, I’m glad to say. There’s precious little to share out, but at least there shouldn’t be any confusion about who gets what. 🙂

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        5. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

          Dementia is going to be a huge cost, as physical ailments claim people’s lives later (IF they are well cared for).

          I keep hoping for a cure – my mother is 93 and I’d love to have her back.

          Is it a curse to have both dementia and longevity genes?

          Liked by 1 person

  4. juliabarrett

    I do wish you well. This is a grand plan. You will feel so much better, so much more at ease and confident. And rested.

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    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      Thanks – the current lack of system has been a nightmare. If I have energy, I want to write. If I write, I feel guilty.

      I’ve been looking for an assistant – but the assistant has to work with me, and I’m, well, challenged. She’s known me for ages – and SHE brought it up, knowing I needed help. Couldn’t get any better than that.

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