Nesting With a Vengence

I’ve spent most of my adult life living in apartments with white walls, white kitchens, and beige carpet. You brighten things up with colorful art and accessories that you bring with you from place to place. Even the Emerald Bay house mostly had neutral walls and carpet, at least until I did some renovation. So that’s what I’m used to, even though I’m someone who loves color.

When I saw my Meadow Lake apartment in July 2021, I didn’t really compute that I could change things because, well, it was an apartment and you don’t change apartments. I moved in 3 weeks after seeing it, then spent 10 weeks in rehab before coming home almost exactly a year ago. I concentrated on functional things because it was necessary – but my home didn’t bring me a lot of visual pleasure. I did try to screen in the porch but that didn’t work right because the sides were done with solar screen that cut off my line of sight and blocked the light.

Well, things have certainly changed. I didn’t exactly do things in any planned order, but everything works. My floor was replaced with new luxury vinyl plank in a lighter wood stain than what was here before, which brightens everything. I bought a new couch and coffee table for the living room, with lots of bright print pillows. I’ve ordered a teal lift chair that should be here this week.

The kitchen was completely transformed. I replaced the granite with something brighter, and just had the cabinets painted off-white with a blue/green paint called “Swimming” on the walls, which makes the cabinets pop. I have black cabinet pulls that work with the black appliances and are easy for me to open using my grabber. Everything is fresh, clean, and bright – so bright! The kitchen feels twice as large and I love looking over at it from my chair.

And today my porch screen was fixed, with metal trim and bug screen replacing the dark stuff that was there. MUCH brighter and it opens my view and my world.

I’m really happy with the changes. It feels like me. It feels like home. I spend so much time home, especially in my chair, and I hadn’t realized how much the dark floor, cabinets, and blocked porch view impacted my mood. I plan to stay here for a long time and now that feels like a gift and not a sentence.

And In Today’s Shop from Home Episode

I welcomed a new loveseat and coffee table to my living room recently and love the look. Today I took the plunge and ordered a new lift chair for myself. I know, I know, I just got the one I have in December. But it’s not really right for me; I bought it because I couldn’t sleep in my bed and needed a place to sleep. The dimensions make this better for someone taller – and, let’s be honest, who weighs less than I do.

I wanted something very sturdy made for heavy people with infinity positions that would let me use the chair to comfortably read and watch TV, nap, or sleep. I needed something properly proportioned for my height. And because of the blood clot and concern that another might appear, I wanted to be sure my legs were raised up higher than my current chair allows. I also wanted a chair made by a company that makes lift chairs, not all kinds of furniture with a few lift chairs thrown in on the side.

I found one and ordered it today from Spinlife.com. The chair is sized for me, has 3 motors, and is made by Golden Technologies, a company that only makes lift chairs and scooters. I splurged and am getting heat and back massage, too, because why not? It will take a while to get here, but it will be worth the wait and is definitely a good investment. Now I have to stop buying things.

One Year Ago Today I Moved

A year ago today I moved from my family home in Emerald Bay to an apartment at Meadow Lake. I hate moving and don’t do it very often if I can help it – all that sorting, packing, hauling, finding, unpacking, arranging, and rearranging of everything. But this move was necessary and timely, and I’m grateful beyond words that I paid attention when God kept opening a lot of doors one right after another last summer. Everything I needed was here, especially the cats. Emma did not want to get picked up and moved from the back of the corner kitchen cabinet, but we all made it safe and sound.

This has been a good place for me at the right time in my life. My home is spacious and comfortable – the largest apartment I’ve ever lived in – with a screened in porch for the cats and for me when I can manage it with the walker. I look out at grass, trees, a garden, and have blooming crepe myrtles outside my windows which make me happy.

I didn’t know when I moved here that I would be in a wheelchair within a matter of days, but this is exactly where I need to be. I have the tools I need to live independently – housekeeping, maintenance, lots of grab bars, wide doorways, roll in shower, and a medical alert system. Because I can no longer drive, I’m grateful that weekday transportation is available to doctors and grocery stores. We also get amazing meals once a day so I don’t have to cook much, though I have a full kitchen.

I’ve made friends here with residents and staff. Almost all the residents are much older than I am, but there are a few closer to me in age – and really, I don’t care. I’ve never been with a more friendly and welcoming group of people. In many ways it’s like living in a dorm and not apartments, because we all look out for each other. The hard part is the high turnover as neighbors die, move closer to children, or go to assisted living. There are nine apartments on my hall and six turned over in the last year, including mine.

Moving was hard but I’m glad I made this one.

Venturing Out for Solo Walks

This week I ventured out and took walks out in the hall by myself, without a trailing wheelchair in case I needed to rest. This was a first here. I’ve been building up to it by walking around the apartment with a walker instead of the chair. Obvious differences were distance and turns; the hallway is straight and the apartment has me making circles around furniture and turns into doorways. But it was still good practice and the living room looks way bigger without the wheelchair sitting in the way.

My first trips took me from my chair out the door, then a turn and down the hall to the first apartment, then turning around and going back to the chair. Today I upped the effort and went past the apartment to the fire doors before turning around and going back. Not sure how many feet that is, but it’s getting closer to the whole distance I did before with a trailing chair. My legs and feet weren’t tired, but my arms were. Note to self: more arm exercises are in order. I won’t push my luck, though, and will aim to do what I did today twice tomorrow.

I also called and made an appointment for my Medicare Wellness Visit with my primary care doctor, as well as researched local dentists. I really need to get my teeth cleaned but was worried about how to handle the visit in the wheelchair. Friends in my Facebook group for spinal cord injury rehab gave me some good tips and I will call this coming week to make an appointment. Hmmm. I also need to make an appointment with the cardiologist for my annual visit.

What bothers – not worries, just bothers – me the most is the amount of edema I have in my right foot and leg all the way from toe to groin. The left has some, but the right is really excessive. I’m already taking prescription diuretics balanced by extra potassium, drinking water, adding as much movement as I can. I sleep with my feet elevated as far as my adjustable bed will let them go. And I try sitting with legs elevated rather than the chair with legs down where that’s an option. So I hope one of the doctors has a good suggestion.

I did something else for myself this week: new granite countertops for my kitchen. I loved my new granite at the house sooooo much and then left it to move here, where the kitchen was nice but dark. I have warm wood cabinets, black appliances, and dark floors. I came to really hate the black patterned granite that always looked as though someone scratched it. I was really lucky to update my counters with granite remnants from a local company that were expertly cut and installed. They look fabulous and really brighten up the kitchen, especially with my pops of red on the counters. I lived in white apartments for so long that I learned how to perk things up to suit me, and my bright red Kitchen Aid mixer is a big part of the decor as well as a kitchen tool.

House warming 9 months late

I had a house warming party yesterday, over 9 months after my actual move in August 2021. But what with rehab and covid, it wasn’t realistic to have it earlier. Meadow Lake made it easy, though, and provided a private lunch followed by photos and a visit to my apartment, which most of my friends hadn’t seen. It was hard figuring out who to invite since I know so many people and we picked a date that fell on a Monday when the club was closed to minimize conflicts. It was so much fun to see these dear friends and to have the chance to share some of my life with them. I hope those who weren’t able to make the open house are able to come at a better time for them for lunch and a visit.

Housekeeping came Monday morning and did a great job making things tidy. I spun around on the weekend and put away papers, threw out random stuff, and dusted everything – which isn’t particularly easy to do in a wheelchair. My neighbor came over and swept off the porch so there weren’t rolling balls of cat fur or dead bugs. The weather was perfect for having the door open, letting in fresh air, but the cats showed no interest in being safe on the porch when they could be running around under foot, in the closet, or under furniture. They didn’t escape and were happy to have the house to themselves again after everyone left.