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.

Don’t Wait Until You Move

Don’t wait until it’s time to move to look at your stuff and weed it out. Trust me on this. I knew I had too much stuff but had no idea how much stuff I actually had until it was time to move. This always happens, but I’m moving out of a big house instead of a small apartment, and there is just so.much.stuff! We’ve taken several car loads of boxes to Hangers for Hope, and given boxes and piles of things to the Veterans. And at least 20 bags of trash. Movers come today to pack up what’s left and I move tomorrow.

Look in the bathroom. How many half-used bottles of shampoo or lotions do you have? Get rid of what you don’t actually use now. How many towels are there? Maybe you changed color schemes and kept the old towels. Time to bag them up and take to an animal shelter. They LOVE old towels. Old makeup? Dump it.

Look in the closet. This one you already know. We all have too many clothes. Body sizes change, life activities change. Do you like it? Do you wear it? Take things you no longer want to a consignment shop or thrift store and relish the space in the closet. You don’t need or use all those shoes and purses either.

Look in the kitchen. Are there pots, pans, speciality gadgets that you no longer use? Why are you keeping them? How many plastic storage containers do you have squirreled away deep in the cabinets? Recycle at least half – you’ll never miss them.

Look at cleaning supplies. Honestly, how many different things do you actually USE? It’s time to throw out products that don’t work quite as well as you’d like. And if you have a housekeeper, you only need to keep what she uses, not an assortment of specialty products that no one ever uses. Tho you do need sponges, but perhaps not as many as I apparently collected.

Look in the garage. Are you really using all of those tools that you used to use? If you pay someone to maintain your yard, you don’t need them all. Weed out.

We all do this weeding when we move, but don’t wait that long!

Everything is moving fast

My house is so empty now. Oh, there’s furniture, but there’s just a lot of … space with so much already sold or donated. The Veterans were here yesterday for a pick up and I have a car full of boxes for Hangers of Hope in Tyler. The kitties are anxious and I’m not sure if they’ve noticed that porch furniture is gone, too.

It’s been a whirlwind week of almost frenzied weeding, sorting, and packing. My sister-in-law was here last weekend, and I wouldn’t be this far along without her! She also helped me with my move here from Connecticut and I am so grateful for her love, support, and hard work. And my friends here in Emerald Bay liberated furniture, stuff, and even plants, giving them new homes and new life.

I have just so much stuff even after letting go of so much already. Next priorities are pantry and fridge clean-out, and going through boxes of holiday decorations. Anyone want vintage Byers Choice carolers?

God is Winking

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The neurosurgeon told me this week that I needed spine surgery (specifically a lumbar laminectomy) to be scheduled in 3-4 weeks. But I was going to MOVE in 3-4 weeks. You can’t have surgery and move at the same time, especially with cats. How can things move that quickly? Moving takes time. But God is winking.

A week ago today I decided to sell my house and move to Meadow Lake. Two weeks from today I will actually do it, which is crazy. Things are racing along at a speed I could never have planned or expected, and this morning I set the date for the local movers to come and pack (August 4) followed by moving day the next day. My house will be listed after I’m gone.

People seem surprised at how quickly I’ve gone through items and pulled them out to give away or sell, but the truth is, I’ve been looking around at my stuff for a while as other friends have moved away, because moving is when you make those big decisions about little things. I’d look around a room, and mentally think, “Keep, keep, toss, keep, sell, toss” and just move on. Now that it’s time to really do that weeding, it’s actually quite liberating and freeing to let it go because there isn’t room. I don’t hate a thing and would probably keep it if I stayed … but in letting go, I have permission to put something else into that place in my life. Big things like furniture and small things like that 3rd set of plastic measuring cups. Who needs that many? Not me.

Last weekend I had a “house cooling” event, posting pics of bookshelves full of mostly decorative give away things and a kitchen table covered with pans, trays, crockpot, cookie jars, etc., that I wouldn’t need. It was a first pass through, but there was still a LOT of stuff. People stopped by and picked up more than they thought they would because, let’s face it, I have nice things in great condition. Some also wanted to see the house which was fine.

But then the God-winking continued. One person came for a few things and bought the couch, and then asked about the chair that coordinates with it. I hadn’t necessarily planned on getting rid of the chair but, sure. Another came for a few garage items and took pics of the dining room table and chairs for his daughter to consider. A friend offered me packing paper and boxes, and ended up offering to buy my guest room king size bed that I had just decided the night before I wouldn’t be taking with me. A brief conversation with someone in the office ended up promising her the bistro patio set. A text message asked if I was selling my washer, dryer, and fridge, and if they could buy them as a set. The Veterans are picking up in my area and will take all the furniture I don’t sell or give away. The moving company, which usually doesn’t accept checks, will accept one direct from Meadow Lake, which is covering up to $3,000 of moving costs.

I mean, really?

When things fall into place this quickly, this effortlessly, it’s not coincidence. God is winking and I’m paying attention.

Surprise Decision

View from my new living room

I’m moving! This wasn’t anywhere on my list of things to think about this week. But after a tour this week, I’m not only moving but doing it very quickly, because the apartment is almost ready now and the housing market is hot. My house on the golf course should sell quickly. It’s not on the market yet but will be soon.

So where am I going? A first floor 2 bedroom independent living apartment at Meadow Lake, which is a “continuity of care” community in Tyler not far from where I live now. It’s 1400 square feet, much larger than any apartment I’ve ever lived in, and is spacious and nicely appointed. They are screening in the patio for me which will make the kitties happy. Which of course makes me happy. The plan includes all my utilities, weekly housekeeping, and one meal a day. Everyone I’ve met is friendly and welcoming, including some friends from my current community who moved out a few years ago.

It’s the right move at the right time. But I’m very conflicted because I love this house and it’s been in the family since 1985; my parents were the original owners. I spent time and money doing that renovation (remember how fun that was?) and replaced all the windows. It’s beautiful and comfortable; I have history here, and friends, and a job. But it’s just too much space for me and the girls, and I’ve been worrying about being here alone if there are medical issues to deal with.

Having made the decision, I’m excited about the move. I’m used to apartment living and used to moving, which is a good thing because I have a TON of things to get rid of before I go, and I need to do it fast. I’m concentrating on making keep/donate/sell/trash decisions and will hire a mover to pack for me since the cane is making it awkward and slow to move boxes around. It hurts my heart to let some of the things go because I know their history – things like great-grandma’s blue and white platters, and the sterling bread trays that belonged to another great-grandma. But the family doesn’t want them and it’s time for hard reality of letting them go.

And for those wondering about my job – no worries! I’m still planning to work at the church which will be 12 miles away instead of just a golf cart ride, but very doable, especially since I’m working from home at least one day a week. I can meet friends for lunch and play Mah Jongg, and come back for special events if I’m invited.

I have a lot to do in a very short time. Say a prayer!