Wednesday, September 25, 2019


This is all still working out much better than I'd feared.

Yesterday Mom seemed in a good mood. I think overall she's happy with her new apartment. (And it is a beautiful space, with a window wall and lots of light.) I think the biggest challenge for her may be managing intrusions from the assisted living staff. They'll knock on her door several times throughout the day and she's just not used to that. But she also seems receptive -- yesterday the assistant activities director came and asked if she wanted to go to a piano concert that evening, and to my astonishment Mom said "Yes!" (Hopefully she actually went and didn't back out at the last minute -- I'll find out today.)

She was very bothered that some of her clothes were missing -- my brother left a few business suits back in her closet at the old place, thinking she never wore them and wouldn't miss them. But she knew they were gone -- she kept taking clothes out of the closet and looking at them, and gesturing to the space where the suits were supposed to be. So I went and got them, along with a handful of other things we hadn't brought yet, and she seemed satisfied.

Occasionally, as we sat on the couch, she would utter a spontaneous "Oh, God!" I wondered if she was suddenly being struck by the reality of the situation. Maybe she occasionally has a Talking Heads moment, thinking, "This is not my beautiful house!"

My brother, meanwhile, has been coordinating all kinds of things, like getting her TV running via a forceful phone call to the cable company. He and I also worked on the old place yesterday. Mom had already downsized a lot, but we're paring things down even more -- all her kitchenware, for example, which she won't need since she no longer has cooking facilities. My brother's keeping a lot of it -- he has an attic for storage.

Mom still has the petrified, ancient spices she brought from our old house! I couldn't believe it. These have to be about as old as I am. That rosemary and curry powder are priced at only 49 cents apiece, and the oregano was 31 cents. My brother kept them, at least temporarily.

Here's our old bathroom scale -- also easily as old as I am. The trusty Zero-Matic from Sears, which ironically weighs about 30 pounds all by itself.

It still works -- although I think it may read slightly heavy. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it! I'm usually about 180 pounds.) The fate of the Zero-Matic hasn't been decided, but I'm betting my brother will keep it, sentimental collector that he is.

Last night I finally got a decent night's sleep, too, so that was a blessing which will no doubt help my mood! I think we'll go back and finish cleaning out the old unit today -- and hang out more with Mom, of course.

(Top photo: A morning glory at Castaway Island, on Monday.)


Yorkshire Pudding said...

It has been a great transition. Fingers crossed your mother will soon forget that she ever lived in her previous apartment. Who needs "Best Before" and "Use By" dates? Before such labelling happened people's lives trundled along quite happily.

Alphie Soup said...

Really Steve, your mother had ancient spices in her cupboard. Now, let me think. Ah yes, I recall reading a post on this blog about spices in multiples/well past their use by date in your kitchen cupboard. I laughed out loud when I read your reaction to your mother's collection.
And the suits. Of course your mother there would miss them! They probably share a long history.
You've both done a grand job, there'll be a few more wrinkles to be ironed out but the truly enormous task is behind you now.

Ms. Moon said...

Those spices tugged at my heart. And the scale made me laugh!
We had one older than that. I wonder where it went.
I'm so happy that your mom has been easy with this move. That is a real blessing.

The Bug said...

This post made me feel very relieved for some reason - I'm so happy that this is going well & that you have a take charge brother who is also sentimental.

That bottle of rosemary looks VERY familiar. Except I don't THINK ours is Dalmatian. I'll have to look when I get home.

Every time we've moved we've gotten rid of TONS of stuff. And in our new home I would invariably go to where a particular item should have been only to realize it didn't make the move. What's extra hard is when we're not sure whether or not it made the move & we tear the house apart. Getting older is just loads of fun. Sigh.

ellen abbott said...

my sister has the scale that was in my parent's bathroom when we were kids and it still works too. the thing has to be nearly as old as i am (69) maybe older. you know nothing made today would last even 10 years. have we forgotten how to make quality goods or just no longer care.

glad to hear your mother is making a painless transition, for her and you.

robin andrea said...

Spices are such funny things. When I was growing up I think we had the same spices in the kitchen cabinets for 20 years. It never occurred to any of us that they could "expire." I love how you and your brother are helping your mom make this necessary transition. When I read the things she says it so reminds me of my mom. Changes are hard and made only easier by love and patience. You and your brother are the best!

Catalyst said...

Your former colleague (probably), Mark Bittman of the Times, says spices should be tossed out and new ones purchased after one year! I think only chefs do that.

Jennifer said...

I'm so happy for you and your brother and most of all....your mom! She's a fortunate woman to have sons like the two of you. ❤

Sharon said...

I'm so glad to hear it's still going well. I hope she did go to the piano concert.
Those spices made me chuckle. I remember a few years ago when I decided to clean out my spices. I had discovered two or three bottles from a grocery store in St. Louis that I bought when I was working there back in 1996. I decided it was time to clean out all the old ones and emptied them into a trash bag. By the end of the day my kitchen smelled like a Marrakech spice market...or at least how I imagine a Marrakech spice market would smell.

e said...

Wow, what a relief all round! I'm happy for all of you that your mother is able to settle in quickly. I hope you are able to enjoy the remainder of your visit there. Please tell her hello for me.

Colette said...

I'm am quite familiar with that "Oh, God" exclamation. I often say it when I'm overwhelmed but there are people around who I need to interact with.

jenny_o said...

It's so great to hear that things are going smoothly with your mom.

She clearly took very good care of her belongings.

If you or your brother are into eBay, it seems that there are people who are interested in old containers of all kinds and other things you wouldn't believe. For examples, here is a blog written by a person who scavenges people's garbage for a living. It's amazing what he finds, and what people will buy from him.

Red said...

It's a challenge to move a senior. You feel guilty but you know it has to be done.

JanF said...

It sounds as if everything went as well as possible for the move, I agree with Jennifer that she is unusually lucky in having such helpful and loving sons.
When my daughter came here she wanted to fix a special Brazilian meal and mentioned buying paprika. I told her we had some but had not used it in a long time. When she found the bottle she laughed out loud, it was older than she is!

Elizabeth said...

I'm envious that you can step on a scale and publicly announce your weight. I'd rather die. Ha ha ha!

Steve Reed said...

YP: I agree! Especially where spices are concerned. What could possibly go bad?

Alphie: Ha! With OUR spices it's the multiple bottles that drive me crazy. Some of them are old but they're nowhere NEAR as old as my mom's!

Ms Moon: This whole thing has been a blessing. I feel so much better now that she's in a place where she'll have some attention.

Bug: It is a huge relief! I agree! I don't think Mom will miss any of the stuff we're not moving to her new place.

Ellen: It's "planned obsolescence" now, right? Nothing can last forever because then people wouldn't buy new ones! This scale was made at some manufacturing plant in the Midwest and it's solid steel. American definitely doesn't produce anything like that anymore.

Robin: Expiration dates on spices ARE rather ridiculous.

Catalyst: If I made Mark Bittman's salary I might agree! LOL

Jennifer: We've been so lucky with how smoothly this process has unfolded.

Sharon: I asked her if she went to the concert and she said yes, and I asked her if it was good and she said no! LOL! But honestly, she may not have even gone. I have to get the facts from the activities director.

E: I will tell her!

Colette: Yeah, it's her way of saying something and I'm sure it does have some connection to her mood. But I told her last night, when she said it again, "Mom, I don't know what that means. Are you happy? Are you sad?" We'll probably never know.

Jenny-O: Oh wow, I can't wait to check out that Garbage Finds site! You KNOW I'll be into that. I told my brother this vintage packaging probably is worth something.

Red: I feel a little guilty, but honestly I feel more relieved than anything.

JanF: Ha! I bet if she'd used it it would have been fine.

Elizabeth: Ha! Funny how weight is such a taboo subject sometimes. Our oppressive culture!

Edna B said...

I had to laugh about the spices. I do that too. Keep things way too long. It made me take a look at my spice rack, and sad to say there are only three current little jars on it. The rest are old! hahaha. I hope today goes well. Enjoy it, hugs, Edna B.

37paddington said...

Just catching up here. So your brother is a collector too? Where do you think this trait in both of you originated? Glad things are continuing to be tranquil with your mom.