Moving During a Pandemic

I’ve been thinking about moving into a senior independent living apartment for a good while now. Every time a problem occurred with the house—such as having to replace the sewer lines under the house, not once but twice because the first contractor botched the job—I wished I didn’t have the responsibility of the upkeep of the house.

My husband Jack designed and built this house in 1964, and I’ve lived here since our marriage in 1967. I spent my entire childhood on the farm and my entire adulthood in this house. The only times I’ve lived anywhere else were the three years I was in college (I was in a hurry and finished early) when I lived in the dorm during the school year and stayed with an aunt two summers to be near a job.

Every time I thought about moving, I realized I wasn’t ready to leave the comfort of my home, the place where I shared forty-five years of marriage with my beloved husband, the place where we raised our son from the time we adopted him at age eleven until he left home as an adult, the place where I’ve worked as a writer and editor for twenty-four years, the place filled with love and joy and beautiful memories.

But in the past year, my mobility has decreased significantly, and just getting dishes out of the cabinet was a challenge. I’ve been blessed to have a friend living with me the last six years. She has been a tremendous help to me; I could not have continued to live in the house without her help. Now, though, the difficulties of living in a house that wasn’t designed for wheelchair access are becoming more than I can handle. So I put my house on the market and started looking for a new home. I figured it would take at least six months to do everything I had to do. Planning to move in the summer, I started my search in late February.

Then I made my first visit to view an apartment at Timberhill Villa. The owner picked me up, as I didn’t have anyone available to take me and their van was on a scheduled trip. As we drove up to the front door, I fell in love with the beautiful setting—lovely trees framed the beautiful entrance. When I toured the building, I loved it more and more. I almost took the apartment on the spot—it was the last studio they had available, and it’s a lot easier for me to get around in one room. However, I didn’t think it was prudent to take the first place I saw without seeing what else was available.

The following week, my friend Pam took me to look at the only other senior apartment building that fit my budget and specifications. When we got inside, we looked at each other and shook our heads. However, we stayed for lunch and took the complete tour to ensure that this wasn’t the place for me. We then went back to Timberhill, and when we reached the beautiful lobby, Pam said, “You’d be crazy not to sign the lease right away.” I made special arrangements for them to hold the apartment until the end of April, as I just given my tenant two months’ notice.

Then came the business of selling my home of 53 years. This was a high-speed series of ups and downs as circumstances changed. At the beginning the prospects were rosy for selling quickly for cash at full price. Then suddenly it wasn’t safe for someone my age with the medical conditions I have for strangers to roam through the house. The real estate agent tried to keep me safe while showing the house, but as restrictions on contact were imposed, we realized selling the house the conventional way was not a good idea. So I sold to a lady who flips houses. I didn’t get as much money, but I had a lot less hassle and was safer from the coronavirus.

At first, everything was on track to move into my new apartment without a hitch. Now, as restrictions have tightened, no one is being allowed in the building except residents, staff, caregivers, and medical personnel. I can get in, but the movers or even family and friends can’t bring in my furniture. I’ll be using borrowed furniture from a model apartment, and my meals will be delivered to my room.

So it will be my smartphone (which I just got and am learning how to use), my Kindle (which contains more than 800 unread books), and me enjoying a reading vacation for the duration of the lockdown. When I get my freedom, I’ll have my furniture delivered and my computer set up.

Then I’ll be back online and back to work. See you on the other side of the pandemic restrictions.

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