Friday, January 29, 2016

Seesaw on the House Selling Wheel

So, just to bring you up to date on how our house is showing I thought I'd write a short post.
Sign went up Thursday, Jan. 21

 From my last post, we signed Wednesday, had photos taken on Thursday and listed our house on Friday. On Saturday, Jan. 23 it was available to be viewed by everyone on the Multiple Listing Service, commonly known here as mls. Here it is if your are interested in taking a peek into our 'current' sticks and bricks.

Friday night we got a call for 2 showings on Monday. Saturday night we got a call for a showing on Sunday. Monday, I nipped home from work to pick the dog up, straighten a few things and brought him back to work with me for 2 and a half hours.

Monday night we had an offer come in that sounded really nice and they let us pick the closing date. We accepted and left it with our agent to send back by 6 pm on Tuesday. Our closing date of choice was Apr. 25th. We were both so tickled that an offer came so quickly. 

Bill couldn't sleep, I got 7 hours.

Tuesday morning we got a call from our agent before she sent our acceptance in advising us that the 'prospective buyers' had changed their mind. They found a house next door and were doing a private deal. You want to say "now I've heard everything!" but we probably haven't. Talk about a let down after the previous night's premature high.

Tuesday we had 4 more showings so after lunch Clemson got another trip to our place of employment. We're glad he is so small and not a barker as he snuggles up in his bed in the backseat of the car, we bring the car into the truck bay and everyone is happy. After 2 showings and a no show we had an unexpected knock on the door from an agent to bring a young couple through with their parents. What?? Obviously a total kerfluffle in communication but they were pleasant and apologetic so we scooted out. We do, after all, want to sell our house! 
Clemson appears not bothered by all the fuss!

Wednesday was another busy day starting at 8 am so we pretended it was Take Your Kid to Work Day and packed Clem up for the whole enchilada of 8 hours. Don't worry, he gets treats, water and jaunts out for piddles and leg stretches. He even got to spend the lunch period with me!

Our agent called with another offer coming in, this one from the young couple we met the previous night. The deal looked good. The price was too low but the closing date being another end of April date inspired us to counter offer closer to our asking price. Sensing that it would spark a seesaw effect between us, we were still encouraged that they seemed really interested in the house. By 9 pm we had an acceptance ready for signing. Of course this all with conditions of house inspection and financing. We couldn't help but get excited, again, even though we try to reign it in. The 5th of February is when things will close if all goes well!

Bill had a lousy night's sleep, I got 7 hours.

Thursday, because of our signed offer we didn't expect any more showings but because of our previous 'wake up call' when a request came in for an evening showing, we said yes. May as well have someone on the back burner if they are interested enough to come through in these circumstances. It just might mean a trip out to a fast food joint for supper tonight since it is over the supper hour.

It has certainly been a busy week. Basically, we just shrug our shoulders, pleased with how busy it is, meaning we've priced it right. 

I usually like to include pictures related to my post but I don't really have any today. Well, wait a minute! I can end with these from my half hour lunch break with the pooch.
Dog nap
`Thanks Mom for bringing me to work today
We trust your fingers and toes are crossed for us? 

In the midst of all of this, the weather was perfect, the roads were dry and our rv dealer, CanAm was not busy so we took the Mobile Suite in for some work now instead of waiting until April The solar panels for one are being installed, the dishwasher pump and a few minor warranty fixes. 
One of the few remaining times we will see this happen
Thanks for reading, comments are always welcome!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Sign on the, sign on the, sign on the Lawn!

One step closer.

As January draws nigh to the end here we are inching towards the future. With a visit from our agent at Royal LePage on Saturday to have a peek around the place and discuss the important stuff we set up an appointment with her to write up the listing. Oooh exciting!

Wednesday, she came back and with a "Sign here please" and an "Initial here" our house is going on the market. We like having the price settled and are pleased with the lower real estate fee. Now we just want to get it sold. With a brother-in-law in real estate in Hanover, we get great guidance with a few perks too!

Thursday, I popped home from work to meet with the photographer and keep the pooch out of the way. I have already prepared my supervisor that there could be frequent (we can only hope!) text messages asking me to nip home for showings over the next month. With a small dog who is excitable with change and 11 years old, we want the opportunity to go home first and check for accidents and do the final walk through. With just over 2 mths left of employ, we knew this would not be a problem.

Last night, the For Sale sign went on the lawn. Today, Friday, the pictures are prepared and our agent has emailed them to us. What a beautiful little house! My sister said maybe we should put in an offer! She does have a great sense of humour, it runs in the family.
House for Sale
Bill has been so excited with this process or is it nervous tension? He does like to have things to 'worry over' (I say) 'think about' (he says) so there will be lots of things on his mind for the upcoming time period. Last night when the truck pulled up out front and hammered the FOR SALE sign on the lawn he waited for 10 minutes before saying "Is there a SOLD sign on it yet?" Lordy o' Lordy, how will I ever keep him restrained?

Spare Bedroom
We've managed to cart more 'stuff' off for donation, more 'stuff' to the garbage and even more 'stuff' to the recycle depot in the city. The poor dog can't understand why we keep moving things around, even his bed got moved out of the sight of the camera lens. To delve into that little brain would be the hilight of my day.

We're not piggies but there are still a few ground rules now that the house will be on the market. All dirty laundry goes in the basket, immediately. All dishes need to be cleaned up before we leave the house in the morning. We eat our meals in the dining room and we take the time for a quick run through with the carpet sweeper or vacuum when it is warranted, instead of waiting for the weekend.

Now it is biting our fingernail time. The market is pretty good right now in our fair city, we think the timing is right and the weather certainly seems to be co-operating. Let the texts begin!
Pond and back yard
Dining Room, kitchen and living room

Some of you may ask "what happens if you sell now? what if your closing date is March 30? where will you live?" These could be real stressers for someone who thrives on it but I don't. Yes, it may get tense if we have to be out of the house before April 1 but they are called back up plans and all positive thinkers have them. We'll deal with it, is all I can say.
Rec Room

Every one is a card


Thanks for reading and following along on the journey many of you have taken.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Plugging away at Partying, Painting and Purging

Well, the holidays are over and it is back to work for Bill and I. At least for a wee while.

During the 11 days we had off between Dec. 23 and Jan 4, we had a plan. There were some family things to do, some travelling and some work lined up.

Our house is in pretty good shape for being 40 years old but there are always those little touch ups that need attention, especially when it is going on display soon. It needs to have on the best dress!

So, first the partying. Since we'd had our Christmas party with CanAm  on Dec. 19 all that was left of that memory were a few pictures. 
Dinner with members of our CanAm family

Stepping it up on the dance floor, I realized how much I missed line dancing and movin' to the beat of good tunes.
Boot scootin' Boogie - oh yah!

Bill and Aunt Ruthie
On the 25th we had a nice Christmas dinner in Stratford at my sister-in-law's place and then on Boxing Day we popped in for a 'hey there' at Aunt Ruthies'. Such a dear sweet lady, we love her to death! 
On our way to Stratford
Then we drove on to Hanover for a couple of relaxing fun days with my sister, brother-in-law and Mom. 

Mom and I had a nice time working on her jigsaw

My Ridge garden in December

Playing with a new camera lens

Darn hawk flew before I could get closer although my lens did a pretty good job

 I was lucky (or should I say good) enough to have Santa bring me a new 70 - 300 mm lens for my Canon. I'm just an amateur at photography so this is very exciting and challenging to me. Let me rephrase that statement. I have been photographing people, things and places ever since I had my first camera in my teens but have just began to get serious when I bought my EOS 30D a couple of years ago. I just need to practice so had fun over the holidays doing just that.

Since our Mobile Suite needed a new roof (oh no!) from some mysterious tree damage (I'm still very questionable about the origin), we had made arrangements to drop it off at CanAm before the holidays while the weather was on our side. Hey George, we do have beautiful sunsets here too!
Leaving CanAm after dropping our Suite off
We came home from our two nights away and picked up our 'home' on Monday, December 28th. Tuesday it snowed so the timing was perfect, I was relieved and my husband was happy. Next to the happy know, we gotta keep our guys smiling too! They did an awesome job on the roof and all covered by insurance too.

Fun and games were over. We picked up some trim paint and set to work. 
touch ups on the stairs
I washed baseboards and windows and painted on my hands and knees while Bill taped and painted the higher places that required a ladder. It is amazing what a fresh paint job will do. 

The next job was to tackle the kitchen floor. Ever since we changed the colour of our dark kitchen cupboards to a bright yellow, I've hated the floor. Very bland looking, dull. Without wanting to put out too much money into a house we are about to sell, I had already purchased enough 12 x 12 stick down floor tile in a colour that I knew would compliment the cupboards nicely. 
Doesn't everyone have a fridge in their dining room?
Linoleum lifted

It turned into a bigger job than originally planned only because I have an anal husband. I never argue because I know the finished product will be worth it! There were a couple of cuts in the linoleum that would have created an issue if we had just peeled and stuck the new tile down.
Poor Clemson can't figure out what we're up to NOW
 So, of course the old tile had to come up and as expected, the finished job is terrific!
Should have done it months ago

new kitchen floor tile

We managed a bit of purging also in between going out for New Years' eve to celebrate 2016's arrival.  For our fourth year, we went to Archies for an early fish and chips dinner
My seafood platter at Archie's
 and then using a gift certificate from our daughter for Landmark Theatres scooted backout  to watch "Joy" at 9:50 pm.

The earlier show was sold out so by then we were hungry for the free popcorn and drink. 

We brought the new year in filling our faces in the lovely reclining seating. This was waaayyy past my 9 o'clock bedtime but I managed to avoid the pumpkin transition for once. The movie wasn't as rewarding as I expected and didn't really turn Bill's crank at all BUT we were together at midnight for the mushy 12:00:01 kiss!
Baa Baa Black sheep, 2 bags FULL!

Once more, I tackled the clothes closet in the spare bedroom. Time to really decide just how many dresses I really need. Come on!! Bit by bit, try on by try on, I managed to deposit more skirts than I care to mention, 5 tops and about 6 dresses into the donation bag.

I was in the mood to do it again and it worked in my favour.......or should I say in Bill's favour since with each Goodwill bag out of the house, more and more room appears IN the rv. It is like magic! Tadah!  It is truly getting easier to get rid of my 'beloved' garments because the future reaching out to me is almost within grasp. 

We were both feeling excited about having the house prepped so emailed the real estate agent we are listing with. Just a heads up "we will be ready near the end of the month to list".

The next thing was carpet cleaning. After working for a week, we decided that it was cost effective and time effective to hire a carpet cleaning company to come in and do our 2 bedrooms and living room. For the low price of $99.95, we couldn't go wrong. We couldn't have rented one and bought the materials for that price.

So Saturday morning, we prepped the three rooms. Removing the furniture we could into other parts of the house. Into the laundry room, into the hallway and closet and downstairs until we have only one or two main large pieces left in the rooms.
End tables in closet
Other pieces in laundry room
Master furniture shoved to one side
Congested dining room
Living room devoid of furniture. Only one confused cockapoo left!
Royal Steam were in and out in an hour, spot cleaning where necessary.
Nice job!

Well, in the meantime who doesn't want to save some money on a house sale so we decided to utilize our Swap Shop at work and offer it ourselves until we list. If there is that chance that 'someone' is looking, we could skip over real estate fees. Worth a shot and we are not obligated in any way at this stage. It helps that our brother-in-law is in the business in mid-western Ontario and can provide us with his expertise if we need it.

House for Sale!
Our house New Years Day night (huh?)

In the meantime, our house is pretty, we've sold some tools and household things and we are now in the year of our retirement.

Thank you for coming along for the ride and reading our story.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Dementia and Mom

I don't like this subject, none of us do but it is a fact of life which many of us are facing with an elderly parent or sibling. Speaking from my own experience, my Mom is a victim of this nasty 'disease, condition, illness'. I didn't know what to call it and then I found online a few blurbs here and there.

Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. Memory loss is an example. Alzheimer's is the most common type of dementia. Dementia is caused by damage to brain cells.

 I have posted some of the notations within this post. I need to remind myself of these facts so I, in turn, can understand exactly what Mom is going through in this later stage of life.

Dementia is not a specific disease. It's an overall term that describes a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person's ability to perform everyday activities. 

Memories of early days with Mom
Mom will be 90 in April and wow, she has led a pretty awesome life so far! Mom has been the pillar of the family for a very long time, we are not surprised that she is winding down.
Mom now still very healthy in 2015
Does our mind just get so full of all of the 'stuff' we are trying to remember that it starts to purge the new stuff that comes in? Wouldn't you think that it would be the memories of yore that are deleted instead of the more recent happenings? Which would be better?

To be considered dementia, your loved one’s symptoms must interfere with his or her daily life. The symptoms also need to affect more than one category of brain function, such as memory, communication, judgment, or language.

We first noticed the symptoms in early 2010 but only when our attention was drawn to them by Mom's partner, who lived with her day in and day out. The family didn't see it for quite a while because we only saw her periodically. 
Once we started really paying mind to her, we noticed things for ourselves. She would surprise the heck out of us with very clear memories of her past, and without the new knowledge we had of dementia, most of us would think perhaps she was fine after all. Wrong.
Coming together to clear out her house
We acted quickly after her spouse passed and put her little house on the market and sold her car. 

Things at first started slowly, the decline I mean. Looking back, I believe we acted exactly on time even though it was difficult for her at times. When she drove places, she would head in the wrong direction and see no reason why she shouldn't stop at a complete strangers house to ask for help. 
She would wonder about a trailer she owned and ask about the house. Mom had some trouble when we had to tell her that certain pcs. of furniture had been donated or given to a family member.
Each family member took what we could rather than donating it
 She would become aggravated thinking that she had no control and 'they' sold her house and things right out from under her! We 8 offspring were the 'they' she referred to. It was sad but decisions had to be made and we kept her in the loop as much as possible. She just didn't remember that part of it. 

There are five stages to dementia. 

The five stages describe a patient’s ability to perform in six different areas of cognition and functioning: orientation, memory, judgment, home and hobbies, personal care, and community.

Mom's stage of dementia began to deteriorate more rapidly and yet it was so much easier for us sibs to bear given that she was totally aware of her memory loss.  We'd heard horror stories of mild mannered parents becoming increasingly  bitter and irritable when it was pointed out to them, adamantly denying the obvious. Mom, on the other hand would ask a question of me within 10 minutes of having heard the answer and then laugh with "oh, I'm sure I've already asked you that. I don't know why I can't remember anything lately!" It didn't take a rocket scientist to realize that the more we filled in the blanks for her when she questioned us, the more dependent she became. In a way she became lazy and found it easier to ask then to think for herself. So, my one sister and I decided we were going to make her work a little harder at remembering, while she still could. Sometimes it worked to turn the query around to her and say "Mom, you know, if you just think for a minute, you know my daughter's name". She most often would remember.

When you learn about the five stages of dementia, you begin to understand how devastating these symptoms can be as they get worse. The majority of dementia cases are progressive, but there are some that are reversible.

I can remember spending time with friends who used to drink to excess in our company. The constant repetitiveness was very frustrating made even more infuriating because they were doing it to themselves.  Patients of dementia do not have that freedom of choice and that makes all the difference, we do not lose our patience. It is not an option.

If dementia is caused by an infection, a nutritional deficiency, as a side effect of a medication or from brain bleeding, the symptoms can be stopped and reversed as long as the underlying cause is treated. 

Since Mom's dementia was not the result of an infection or any of the above mentioned causes, it is not reversible and medications can only touch on slowing the process. We notice extreme changes now, so much so that we have stopped 'taking her out of her comfortable environment' any more than is necessary. Just over the last year we have noticed that she gets very agitated when not in her surroundings and becomes concerned about who is taking her home. She tries hard not to lose sight of her 'driver'. 
Mom, my two and me, 2014

In some ways I'm sure it is a comfort to her when we have a family gathering and all or most of us 6 sisters are in attendance. We look a lot alike and Mom still recognizes us, a blessing we know is short-lived, so if she feels lost she makes her way to one of us and latches on. The role of parent/child has reversed and when we think of how strong Mom used to be, the ruler of our home while our dad worked, we can only realize how devastating this would be to her if she was more aware of what is happening.

After reviewing the symptoms of Alzheimer's, it is obvious to me Mom's decline is leaning towards this disease. Short term memory, confusion, disorientation and depression are what we are witness to in these first five years of her dementia. 

There are blessings in disguise and sometimes as a family we have to talk about those things amongst ourselves. It helps us, too, to deal with what our parent is experiencing. So, yes, we may chuckle at little things that we are grateful for, even though some moments are sad. 

For example, we know that we can visit briefly or spend 3 to 4 hours with Mom on a great afternoon eating, talking and doing puzzles. We can say our goodbyes and walk out the door of her apartment after a challenging but great time. If we turned around and walked back in within 10 minutes, she would welcome us with open arms saying "oh! what a lovely surprise!"  She is always happy to see us and that is refreshing and so innocent.

After Mom's house sold, Bill and I provided her with a place to live for a couple of months while she waited for an apartment to become available in Hanover, near my sister. When she was first moved into her retirement apartment she really wished for company in the form of a cat or a small dog. She loved Clemson, our family cockapoo and since he was a lapdog, he loved her too.
Mom taking Clemson for a walk in 2010

As a family, knowing that she would eventually not be able to look after it properly just like she would forget what day it is and take the wrong pills,  we discouraged it best by not discussing a pet of that type with her. She soon forgot about the desire for a 4 legged companion..........and then realized on her own that it wasn't a good idea in case she forgot to feed him. Bless her heart!

She still wanted and needed something so we mentioned a budgie. My sister lives 5 minutes away and does the weekly cleaning of her apartment so we all knew that the bird would get fed, watered and cleaned out once Mom unintentionally neglected to do so. She loved that bird until last week, Tina, died. Mom was in tears at breakfast and my sister was called in to take care of the situation.   Out of sight, out of mind, Tina was eventually forgotten and my two sisters have replaced her with another budgie that Mom is going to love just as much. This one is a different colour so perhaps a wee bit of a test for her memory when she is alone. Whether she remembers Tina, we don't know but it doesn't matter. At least we know the grieving process was short-lived and thanks to her dementia she isn't dwelling on it anymore. 
Easter with Mom 2015
Now, in 2015, we see an increasing decline in what she remembers, what she cares about and what she wants to do on a daily basis. In 5 years she has lost interest in most of the things going on in the retirement home. There are bus trips, card games, sing-a-longs etc. All things Mom used to love. She can make up a multitude of excuses when my sister invites her to go for a walk on a balmy day as a reason not to go. My sister notices more than the rest of us but Mom has really slowed down. Through no fault of her own she takes 30 minutes to button her own blouse because she can't recall if she is putting it on or taking it off. 
Dinner in Mom's party room, 2015

Our sister has the patience of Jobe and the rest of us who live further away and can't be at Mom's 'beck and call' are so very grateful for Donna's care giving ways. Simple things like hygiene and clean clothes go by the wayside because Mom can't remember when she showered last or changed a piece of clothing. We try to come up with ways to be diplomatic in suggesting she find something clean to wear, still afraid of hurting her fragile feelings.

The best advice we can give ourselves and heed is to take advantage of the 'now' in our visits, remember that the visits are exactly for that moment and it is only us as individuals that take the memories away with us. I try to call more often and have simply stopped asking her questions "what did you do today? what was on the menu? are you working on a puzzle?"

Mom's dolls

Mom and her remaining siblings 2015
She doesn't know the answer to those things. Instead I talk about me and relate comical stories from home, from our past or about Clemson on our rv travels. She loves to hear about our trailer and camping as she has some recollection of it being in her life too. My sister picked up a few dolls for Mom so she could braid their hair if she wanted and that is something else we talk about. She describes them to us when we call. It doesn't matter how many times.
Family picnic with 3 girls,  2015

If you are living with someone like this, you, like me, have no doubt learned to develop more patience with them than you ever thought possible. I know soon she may not know my children, my husband, me and things will get even harder so I'll enjoy what I can with each and every visit. Now

I will always remember how she looked after me while growing up, my dating years, my marriage and raising my children. Mom has always been there for me, many many years of care and for that I can certainly allow her that faltering forgetfulness for as long as she needs me to.

Thank you for reading.