It is no secret that Barb and I have spent a considerable amount of time with my mom in Western Washington the past year and a half. We have taken care of some of the property and rental maintenance, her finances, and made sure she was able to continue to live 'on her own'. This was the only thing she asked of us when Dad passed away 17 years ago, "Let me live in my own home". Between me and my two sisters we have worked hard to grant that wish.
Deb and Jim moved mom to her new 'crib' the second to last weekend of June. I can't even imagine how difficult that was for all of them. She lived there with Dad for nearly 52 years. My sisters and I grew up there. BBQs, family reunions, and all those years in between. Everything we are is a result of that environment. It was a great time to grow up in Western Washington.I gave everyone several more weeks to let mom get settled in as she remembered everything she forgot to bring before I flew home. This time was also tainted by a couple of disagreements with my siblings that we had to just put aside. It was also quite the juggling act for Barb and I as it was the year to power wash the house, clean and wax the RV, as well as an unexpected dental surgery to replace my loosening bridge. We did get the new barn roof in place before my departure. Once again, Barb was tasked with taking care of our home front when I flew to Washington. I only booked a one way ticket from Traverse City to Seattle as an 'open ended round trip' was $$$ and I didn't really know when I was returning home. The price was a very reasonable $305. I would figure out the leg home later.
I spent the first week inventorying the house, deciding in what order to do what, what to sell, and what to haul to the dump. With a little help from my friends, that turned out to be the easy part. I spent the first 5 weeks camped out in the house as my office and base of operations.
Selling the assorted items turned out to be a FAIL as I ended up coming down so much on items just to move them. I did cut my youngest sister a huge break on mom's antique china hutch. One sofa and an oak entertainment center ended up going with the house. Once the house was ready and cleaned, I moved in with friends for 3 weeks.The buyer is mom's neighbor, a contractor who wants to renovate the house and move his own aging mother in next to him. Our renter would be able to stay on as well. It is a WIN WIN for everybody. Negotiations with them not only went very well, but the offer was very fair and mom decided to accept. A bit of email and Verisign Magic back and forth to Salem, OR and the deal was in place. The rest of the process took nearly 2 months total for financing (twice), house inspection, appraisals (again twice), septic pumping and repair (with county code certification) and home insurance matters. There is a rental unit on the property as well adding another dimension to the sale process. Our renter was an absolute angel throughout this entire process. She has lived there for 12 years and will always be family to us. Several issues with paperwork plagued us requiring days to solve. Every place has it's own issues and I learned damn near every one of them. I did have to make two day trips to Salem, OR (350 miles roundtrip) for Power of Attorney updates and to open Mom's healthcare trust account. We finally closed on the house sale September 19th, 8 weeks after my arrival. I seem to remember this naïve dude in Michigan saying he should be able to wrap this up in about a month.
After a last look around with a few tears and hugs from everyone I left home traveling south to Salem, OR to return mom's van to her and spend a few days before flying back to Michigan. I still managed to get decent plane fare home on a 'red eye' from Portland, OR for $350. Barb has a kidney cyst that although benign needs drained and I want to get back for that as well. We head south again soon.
I owe a big debt of thanks to all the friends who helped Barb and I throughout not only this trip, but the entire process the past two years. You helped me with 'dump runs', kept me company, fed, and out of trouble. Dan and Carol Taylor, Annette and Clarence Stancil, Dan McNamara, and most of all John and Wilma Meek who not only helped with the garage sale last summer, but hauling to the dump this trip and housing me for the last 3 weeks. We love you all. I head home now, very ready for a reunion with my own family and of course the mandatory slobber survivability test with the furbabies. Behind I leave a piece of personal history and many, many memories. This blog chapter is but a 2 month part of those memories.
It is said that when God closes a door, he opens a window. Mom is enjoying her new 'digs' in Oregon and for that I am so very grateful. She is very near family on a daily basis as well as able to enjoy her life and my sister's good cooking. Barb and I look forward to visiting her in the future.
Another part of the journey. I pray for many more years that mom can help keep my sorry ass in line. You will always sit at the head our table, mother. We love you.
"Your age is measured by your dreams, not by the years"
WiFi courtesy of John & Wilma Meek