The last couple of months have been chaotic. First, I had problems with my computer. My printer kept having paper jams. I called tech support, and they tried to resolve the problem remotely. When they realized that wasn’t working, they sent a tech to my home. At first, he was confident it would be a simple fix, but after a few minutes, he said, “I hate to give you the bad news, but the problem is not with your printer; it’s with your operating system. Windows 10 is corrupted and is not communicating with the printer. There’s nothing that can be done.” I asked him if this would spread to other programs, and he said it was unpredictable. It would probably totally destroy the computer, but no one could guess how long or what programs would be affected. I decided to replace the computer but tried to keep it hanging on a little longer, as I was sick at the time. However, in a matter of a few days, all the programs I use regularly quit working.
I have been sick for a significant amount of time for the last few years after I moved into the senior assisted living facility. I used to say it was a good thing I moved when I did, so I had the care I needed. I have more than a dozen chronic conditions, but the sickness I’d had off and on for almost three years wasn’t easily identified.
Then unexpectedly I got a notice of a rent increase and a requirement to sign a new lease as of July 1. I imagine I had the notice on June 1, but I wasn’t aware of it until mid-June. Since I was so ill, I didn’t get out of bed much and didn’t check my message inbox outside my apartment door. A friend brought me an envelope from the management, but I never opened it as I thought it was a receipt for my rent payment. When friends started talking about the terms of the new lease, I opened the envelope and discovered it was a notice of a rent increase and the requirement to sign a new lease. I was surprised, because I had only one lease with the facility, for one year, from April 23, 2020 to April 23, 2021. In the ensuing years, I’s had a rent increase, but I never signed a new lease.
I found the terms of the new lease unacceptable, especially in light of issues we had been experiencing. We had only one elevator, and it was not working for three weeks in December. Between January and June of this year, it was out at least once a month, for periods from four hours to four days. Since I was sick much of that time, it was scary not having a way to get downstairs in my electric wheelchair. There were other problems as well, so I gave notice that I would not be signing the new lease and would move out at the end of June. That gave me ten days to find a new apartment and move.
When Jack and I were first married, he traveled a lot for his job. Every time he was away, I visited his grandmother and took her shopping or out of eat. We often just spent time together in her apartment, where she tried to teach me to knit and crochet until she finally had to admit it was a lost cause. But I fell in love with Old Mama, as his grandmother was affectionately called, and I fell in love with the building she lived in. It was one of the first assisted living facilities in San Antonio.
Long after Old Mama moved into a nursing home and then passed into Heaven, there was a fire in the building. It was closed down for a number of years, and it had not opened when I moved out of my home. I had wanted to stay in the neighborhood I’d lived in for fifty-three years but couldn’t find anyplace I could afford. Now when I was desperately searching for a new home, a friend told me the building I loved had been completely renovated and was now open as a 55+ active lifestyle apartment complex. I visited two days in a row and chose an apartment on the second visit.
With the help of fifteen friends, I was out of my previous residence and into Ensemble Senior Living by the last day of June. I am so grateful to all those who helped. Some packed, some ran errands, some moved, some unpacked, some helped set up the new apartment. Four of the helpers were clergy. It almost sounds like the beginning of a joke: Three Anglican priests and a Baptist preacher … Most of the people who helped were from my church, All Saints Anglican. Others included my next-door neighbors from when I lived in my house, a lady who worked for the moving company who moved me from my home, and a client who has become a friend and her husband. I appreciate the help of each and every one of them.
After a month, I’m finally settled into my new home. It’s much larger than my last apartment. It has wonderful, huge windows in both the living room and bedroom with nice, wide windowsills that I have filled with plants. Everything is comfortable and functional to maneuver my wheelchair, although I did run into door jambs quite a bit at first. I discovered that white weatherstripping is ideal to put on the areas that I tend to run into. It isn’t noticeable against the white walls, and it protects the walls, my wheelchair, and my arms.
I’m still working on a solution for the bathroom. I thought I could get into the tub/shower because the tub has a cut-out. I have a bench that sits outside the tub and extends inside so I can slide across. Unfortunately, the shape of the tub puts the bench too far forward for my legs to fit through the cut-out and too far back to reach the faucets. We’re figuring out a conversion to make it work. In the meantime, I have a home aid who comes twice a week to give me a bath. She lifts my legs through the cut-out to get in the shower so she can reach what I can’t. Between her visits, I give myself sponge baths using the sponges similar to what hospitals use.
I’m very happy in my new home, and best of all, I haven’t been sick a single day since I’ve been here. I don’t know what was causing my illness in my previous apartment, but I’m thrilled I don’t have to contend with it anymore.