I told my kids, “I’m doing your work.” Four carloads of give-aways to Goodwill. When Bob and I downsized and moved from the mountains to Senior Living, it was to be our last stop. What happened?
As the quote goes, “…the best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry…” happened after four years. In October of 2008 Bob and I had moved into a Cottage (euphemism for house) adjacent to the Lodge. We liked the idea of living a seven minute walk from the main building. We had wonderful neighbors and life was good. After Bob died I remained in the cottage.
I liked the privacy and enjoyed my walks to the Lodge for activities and meals. While some of my cottage neighbors drove, I took pride in walking. Coming back home after dinner was beautiful, mainly down hill with the glow of the sunset over the mountains.
Making the Decision for Change
In the spring of 2012 I began considering moving to the Lodge. It was not so much that I wanted to, but the practical thought was that I was four years older and getting older every year. Yes, I am extremely fortunate to be healthy, physically strong and vigorous and liking my independence. But nothing goes on forever. If my husband were still living, there would be a support person in the house, but being alone means everything was my responsibility.
I told the Executive Director that I wanted ‘the perfect apartment’. Perfect for me meant located close to the dining room as I watched some residents who had difficulty walking struggle down the long halls from their apartment to meals. I wanted to avoid that as I aged. Also, I wanted a wonderful view of the mountains. And I needed less space, which meant a reduced monthly charge. I was in no rush.
My kids were surprised by my decision. They were particularly concerned about my wish to live in the midst of so many people. However I was confident I was making a realistic practical decision. “What about your psychotherapy practice?” I explained that I would not consider an office in my new apartment saying, “Can you imagine young people wandering through an old people’s home to see their psychotherapist?”
I was happy that nothing was available during the summer. I figured it would be my last summer surrounded by green and Colorado’s wonderful sunshine and I cherished every minute. By fall I was getting tired of walking back and forth to the Lodge, sometimes three times a day. Fortunately, someone needed to move to Assisted Living and the right apartment opened up.
The Big Day Arrives
Moving is not a life skill of mine. As a child I moved once, twice as an adult and my move here was my third. I had thought that move would be my last and then my four families, grandchildren and baby great grands could do the rest. Dump or save; it would be their choice. Instead I am stuck with the decisions.
The move went well. I don’t have a lot of furniture, but I do have three very large pieces—all eight feet. Without a freight elevator it was a challenge to get my furniture to the sixth floor. The movers managed and I unpacked and settled in.
The next evening as I lay in bed exhausted from unpacking in my new home, I began wondering about my jewelry. I hadn’t seen it. Everything was unpacked. I dragged myself out of bed and began looking. I couldn’t remember taking the jewelry I had hanging in my closet. The movers had packed my cottage closet and hung everything in my new closet. What had they done with all my necklaces? Maybe they left them, or stole them. I got out of bed again. I couldn’t go to sleep with my jewelry missing. I looked everywhere. I was getting frantic. It was midnight when I called the Concierge asking if someone would look in my cottage to see if I had left anything. With the helpful response that is typical here, I got a call back. The Security Officer had gone through my cottage and it was completely empty.
By now I was sure the movers that I had felt so good about a day ago had stolen my jewelry. One of the men had left the crew at lunch. I didn’t know why nor care at the time. Now as my distress heightened I was sure he had stolen my things. Why had I signed off on the move so quickly and paid and tipped those wonderful people. There was nothing more I could do at 2 AM and I was so tired, I fell asleep.
I immediately called my daughter in the morning to tell her what happened. She had been with me off and on during the move. She had no recollection of the jewelry, but would check with her 17 year old son, Graham, who had helped move some things the day before. Graham had not seen my jewelry, but he recalled unscrewing the rack I had hung my chains on. His girlfriend had been with him that day, so he asked her if she had seen my stuff.
Guess what? His girlfriend had seen me put the jewelry in a large baggie and drop it into the bottom of an antique umbrella stand that the three of us had moved to the apartment the day before the movers. Really? I didn’t remember that.
And yes, surprise, surprise, the jewelry baggie was in the bottom of the umbrella stand, safe and sound. The weirdest part of this whole story is that while I was placing ornaments and light pieces of furniture I had moved my umbrella stand several times before I found the right spot for it. And of course I was unaware that anything was lying in the bottom of it. Thank goodness for Graham’s girl friend. I might have lived the rest of my life without my jewelry and thinking the movers had stolen it.
Written by Margery Fridstein, an author and retired psychotherapist specializing in child development. Margery currently lives in a continuing care retirement community outside of Denver, CO. She is chronicling her senior living experience in the monthly series, “The Last Stop With Margery Fridstein.”