Author Topic: location, location  (Read 495 times)

Hopalong

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location, location
« on: January 12, 2018, 11:32:26 AM »
Thought I'd stick this on a separate thread since it's more practical than the emotional and relational stuff I'm working through about B.

He has acknowledged that we'll find a new home together if we go the distance--says he loves house hunting. He actually sent me a "budget" which startled me and is an inclination of how big is his minimum. He doesn't need the huge pile he's in now but more rooms than I'm used to. I have thought about it hard and think if it came to that (cart way before horse but never hurts to try to walk through things ahead of time), I'd ultimately be okay.

What I figure I'd do is remind myself that my little house would remain as it is, and I'd rent it out. It's in trust for my D and there's no question of selling it, so continuing to own it would be a kind of "safe space" for me. IOW, if I made a mistake, or a marriage failed, I'd just move back in here. Or, if he declined and had to move into some kind of assisted living before I were ready to, I'd move back here while daily visiting him. That sort of stuff. Ghastly fantasies but I'd be a fool not to have them, because those are the realities at this end of life. I'm a bit early at 68 to be pondering it all but y'all know I've been doing that (old age anticipation) for ages and with B in the picture, that's getting real.

One thing I do like is his engineery side is quite practical, and I'm confident he wants to think ahead and approach any plans, should we make them together, in a pragmatic way.

So. I LOVE my present location and would miss it. I'm 10 minutes from everything and it's super walkable. It's very near the old center of the city which is my happy place. He, on the other hand, is in an elegant development waaay outside of town which is beautiful (well, I don't like most new developments at all...don't even like "developments" because I like older places in neighborhoods...). He's smack on a golf course behind which you directly face the gorgeous mountains. It's like his is the biggest one there, and he also bought the corner lot where he's created a meadow.

What to do? Well, a woman I'm friends with is downsizing with her hubs. Similar couple in that he's  very successful and plays golf and all that. They are moving in from a very elegant development (other direction) to a closer-in area. I went and looked at it the other day. The "development" aspect of it does nothing for my soul, but the thing is...it is high on a hill and in the distance, you see the mountains. And, it's fancy new construction so people can choose all the finishes, etc. I could care less about granite and all that stereo decor, but think B would find it a nice compromise.

I could go on and on about my preferences but the thing is, should we find a new home together, B would be purchasing it, because I can't. I'm not giving up my little house in town, already told him it's in trust for my D. So, he is sanguine about him financing a new place, and if he's going to move off his fabulous golf course and come closer to town, I've got to compromise too.

This one, with a bit of struggle, I think I could talk myself into. The kicker is that it's very close to town. Just 15 minutes from my happy spaces...unless traffic's really bad. It's also very practical in terms of shopping, hospital, medical care, anything anyone would ever need access to. Being one of those manicured, elegant, HOA developments where you don't have a real yard and all that...it's not my kind of thing. But it would be safe, and pretty, and high-end enough for him. Long as I have two rooms of my own for art, writing, even sleeping when I can't share a bed -- I'd be okay.

That's it. Haven't mentioned the place to him because that's premature, but at least I can imagine something. If I glue myself to my little house without facing that in order to remarry one day, I might have to move...then that might be the end of the relationship possibilities. My little house would require, imo, a new wing in order to accomodate a couple happily.

I would LOVE to build that wing! I already see how I could create a master BR with bath, which would change this from a small 2BR-1BA adorable one-person or young-couple space, to a space that a couple or small family could share. (Plus a loft guest/study space....visualized.)

However. To do that, to this house, would basically take nearly my entire retirement savings. And that would be foolish. Can't risk it. It's a bummer because it really is a workable fantasy. My area is being upgraded all the time, with lots of additions onto modest cottages, because it's so close to downtown and also to the nature trail system (plus river) and is really a desirable location.

With my double lot, unusual here, I have space to do all sorts of things. I've even thought of an ADU (accessory dwelling unit) which would be a tiny-house-scale cottage in the back corner of my back yard. Thing is, zoning rules say yes, I could add it, but the rule is that the owner must live in either the main place or the ADU. I like the idea a lot as I could rent one and live in the other.

You know? I think that's my backup plan should a relationship or marriage end or fail. I'd build that little cottage and rent out my house, or the other way around. Either way, I'd increase my monthly income. And a cottage would be a good space for a caregiver to live on-site if I could pull off aging in place. With still so much yard space left that vegetable gardening and fruit trees would be just as possible as they are now. As it is, I've got a huge sunny yard with two little neglected raised beds. Great compost bins in other corner (where I used to imagine a small chicken house).....

Thanks for listening to the fantasizing. Lighter's moss and Tupp's flat and Amber's cabin all make me think I could post more about my physical surroundings sometimes too. Good to dream.

love
Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

sKePTiKal

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Re: location, location
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2018, 09:40:42 AM »
This is one of the main logistical problems in "olders" relationships, for me at least. I think you're dreaming along practical lines Hops. And I recognize the element of "safety" that the cottage represents. But you know I've finally sold the beach house and the little cabin - that was intended to be Mike's & my "getaway" place.

Our house in Winchester wasn't even listed for a year or two after we moved to the beach... then we had to deal with his mom's house when she moved in with us. In my case, all those places were basically a day's drive away from each other. NOT DOABLE. I hung on about the little cabin for a bit, thinking maybe I could coerce Holly & Matt to take over the farm... and I'd retreat down there. Except it wasn't going to work for me, my stuff... and after having the driveway (which is short but daunting) cleaned up... and realizing how very LITTLE usuable land I had... there was just no point in me hanging on to it. Even 2 hrs away - it was tough for me to pull myself away to do what needs looking after there.

The original 10 acres here is already more than enough for me to "play with" and keep on top of. I didn't "need" the additional acreage... and I bought it only to put the original land back together and create a buffer for my little homestead. A buffer that grows lots of trees for the woodstoves and deer and turkey for hunters, too. It's home to ravens and owls too - among other things I like having around. But except for the state forest management program, I have absolutely no plans in mind right now for that space except to keep it accessible.

Anyway... if B likes the real estate "exploring" game... it's maybe something you can do together. There are LOTS of online tools now - Zillow, Realtor, Trulia, etc - and you can email links to each other to discuss and dream. Use the search criteria to zero in on your ideal locations and the requirements you want. It's also a way to see first-hand what each other's preferences are... what matters when looking for a location. Without spending a LOT of your time travelling to look at and rule out properties. Holly and I are doing that now... she's had good luck finding places that are totally perfect for her... and impractical as all get-out (LOL) and I'm anxious to see them move out of the city limits.

And yes, it would be good to know if he has long-term care insurance (to pay for live-in help) or if he's planning on assisted living... or if he's expecting his choice of partner to play that role. And trade Hop's plan with him in the discussion.
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Twoapenny

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Re: location, location
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2018, 11:45:57 AM »
Hops, you might not be good at organising paperwork but you're very good at forward planning and thinking in logical lines!  I agree with Skep, keeping your own place and being realistic about the fact that one or both of you might need care is only sensible.  To be honest, even if 'care' never becomes necessary, I think just being close to facilities helps keep options open.

Hopalong

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Re: location, location
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2018, 01:10:57 PM »
Yup, yup....
We wouldn't be dealing with lots of driving to search as our location compromise is more likely to be the difference between 30 minutes from town (he's in an affluent area near a tiny growing country town with no hospital but basic stuff--some doctors, some shops and restaurants, enough to support folks who want close mountain views, exclusivity and privacy)...and 5-10 minutes from town (everything close). I lived there years back when it was orchardists and farmers, and the effect on the rural culture of all the city folks moving there has been heavy.

In this town, you can still see the mountains from any ridgeline street or hill and almost everywhere, you can see them in the distance. But like the satellite towns, growth in this small city is explosive. And RE costs are very high; 2nd-highest in the state. So, choices will be limited. In one perfectly-positioned area on the outskirts of town, very near a golf course and bucolic...the sole property for sale is a million. That's why I think a place like the new development I described (which does not speak to my soul at all) is likely the only sort of place available to us. There are very few remaining options near the city because of the land rush here, so if he's certain he doesn't want to live in town, I may have to let go of my preference for older, neighborhood homes with character. From his present choice, I think luxury is more important. Building-wise, I mean.

It's a funny thing, new construction versus old. My dad studied architecture before changing direction and I've been into it for a long time, just as an interest. My wee house, hahaha, is "mid-century modern." Never expected to like it but turns out it is SO liveable. 1955! I know exactly what kinds of quality shortcuts fancy builders take beneath the gloss. Still, it's undeniable that older buildings have maintenance needs that brand-new ones wouldn't until after we croak. Esthetically, the new HOA stuff just totally turns me off. They all look ALIKE to me! No diversity at all. Just hyper-controlled outer-scapes (would you like beige, or taupe!). I know the only respite for me would be indoors, since this ain't California.

As much as I love color and creative design, one too many HGTV shows where the designers always promote the exact same choices put me over the top:
--kitchen island
--granite or marble
--massive master bath
--neutral walls
--"reclaimed" wood accents
--enough storage so you can be certain minimalisim or voluntary simplicity are jokes
--hardwood matchy matchy (I like some, alternating with cork)

You can literally hear their feet clattering on laminate. No matter how much hyper-edited "decor" they stuff these creations with, I want to get a whiff of long-ago pipe smoke or dusty books, visualize dogs on the couch, and see color flung everywhere rather than imprisoned in "accent pillows" or stagey art. Ugh Ugh. It's all so self-conscious and for me, imagination deadening. Architectural details and built ins are nice but gluing them on...dunno.

Here's the wall colors I enjoyed choosing (his place is beige/taupe everywhere):
LR to back room -- warm animated soft gray (I know technically a neutral but it's vivid like fog on the Maine coast and in some odd way, full of subtle reflective tones--I see colors in it)
Kitchen -- odd orangey peach (slightly off what I wanted but works with a friend's painting)
bedroom -- the most beautiful soft blue that somehow has rose tones in it
study/guest room -- a soft quiet calming green that in a weird way invites introspection

One nice thing is that I have a hunch B wouldn't have passionate opinions about decor. He could...he actually went to art school at one point (bonus!) and was excited about a painting I did this summer. But if I can talk myself into a new-construction HOA, maybe I could still find joy in making the interior interesting.

Hugs
Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

Hopalong

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Re: location, location
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2018, 01:27:42 PM »
Forgot to say, we both have LTC (long-term care) insurance. Came up early on our dates, which is funny but probably common for older folks dating....

And I would make it clear to him, I cannot physically be a caregiver for a 6' 2" man who needs ADLs help. (Activities of Daily Living is the jargon--bathing, dressing, feeding, walking, meds). Period. If he were my spouse I would coordinate and be his zealous medical advocate. But trying to keep him home when it comes to lifting, leaning, all of that? Impossible. I won't promise it and wouldn't expect it either. (Will be plotting my escape from the planet if I can, should I wind up helpless. Tough to predict the timing but those have been serious fantasies.)

Then again, some old folks I live work [Freudian slip!] with are in diapers, and grit their teeth and endure it. They're mobile still, but two of them are on the precipice of losing that too.

The thing is, B could afford to hire an aide or whatever. So I won't feel it's all on me. After doing that for my mother and sacrificing my health and well being for a decade, I no longer can do that.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2018, 03:57:33 PM by Hopalong »
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

Twoapenny

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Re: location, location
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2018, 01:56:09 PM »
I hear you on the new builds, Hopsie, I much prefer old places but as you say, you can decorate any way you want and fill it with lived in furniture and colour.  And the same with the garden; I have an image of fifteen identical lawns with neat tubs by the pathway and then one garden with a riot of flowers and a swing seat in it :)  And yes, caring for anyone at any time is hard work, doing it when you're older yourself is just so much to do (and I know that many do it) but sometimes when we're out I see an elderly person pushing another elderly person around in a wheelchair and it just breaks my heart (mostly because I know how tiring pushing someone around is and I'm thirty years younger than the person I'm seeing in my mind right now).  They're necessary conversations to have.

lighter

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Re: location, location
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2018, 08:31:24 PM »
Hops"

I like the idea of a tiny house build on your large lot.  It sounds divine, and we're completely on board with downsizing and simplicity.  I think it could be nice to have rental property options. 

::nodding:

I do love color on walls.... the robbin egg blue makes me feel safe and happy.  Butter cream yellow makes me feel calm, and bright.  I like the idea of you choosing colors around your own paintings.

About long term care insurance.... I looked at it.  It's expensive.  I opted instead for life insurance, and would never consider creeping into a decrepit old age.  I don't fantasize about not going there.... I KNOW I won't go there.  We should have control over end of life decisions, of that I'm sure.

Lighter



 

Hopalong

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Re: location, location
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2018, 10:46:50 PM »
That's brave, Lighter. Which I am not...

It's hard, watching my two folks in their nineties reckon with where they are.
I can see it in their eyes sometimes. The gradual loss of hope that there will be periods when it's good, or good enough to feel worth it. They continue to hang on, but my older gent with zero family (and nobody visiting more often than me) -- sometimes it shows, that defeat is coming. He's had a fierce fight for life since I started with him a year ago when he was due a heart procedure. And it's been slow downhill since. He is SO willful (and driving) that when he decided he wanted implants, off he went to a dentist (whom I consider a profiteer) and had seven teeth extracted. While waiting for the new denture, he's lost 15 or 20 pounds he couldn't afford to lose. He's skeletal, hates eating, and only forces himself to.

The Nlady has a failing heart and one kidney, and a current kidney infection. Her survival is a daily surprise in a way. But her Nishness oddly is sustaining her. She is SO compelled to maintain image and illusion (I am still the charming center of everyone's universe) and seek attention/admiration that her drive is something to behold. She is, of the three, the most demented. I found her phone in a kitchen drawer the other day, and though we speak by phone in the morning, by the time I get there she's often forgotten I'm coming and masks it by being scattered. She talks nonstop and exhausts her friends, but I see them circling dutifully in the same way my mother's did.

I don't envy either one, and the two share many personality traits. It's all about control and all about them, absolutely nonstop.

My third lady is a selfless delight who thinks about other people all the time. She is the only one who thought of me at Christmas. She had her kids send me a cash card and she went to the trouble of buying a fancy water bottle for my pooch, whom she'd met when we swung by my house on day. Pooch scrambled into the car and checked her out, and she's not even a dog person I think. But she's kind and tuned in, and recognizes how much I adore pooch. I was very touched.

Neither of the Ns (if I don't go too far in calling them that, but I swear, I don't...how many are there in this world?) even paused to think of a thank-you or a card. I bought Ngent a fancy pillow and gave the two ladies a cute basket of chocolates. Gave all three a perfect holiday card that spoke of gratitude, with notes thanking them for all they've taught me.

Big OT ramble, Light, but I hear you. I'm such a coward that I don't know if I could pull it off but I always say I would.

xo
Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

sKePTiKal

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Re: location, location
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2018, 10:34:41 AM »
I think what speaks to us about older structures is the echoes of the life previously lived there - the people - the kids who ran a toy into the molding, and yes - that means the house wears it's bumps and bruises and "war medals" just like people do.

That's one thing about the new cabin that attracted me. Not only was it a decent layout for living on one floor (for me)... but I had self-contained guest space and the pretty good sized "utilitarian" downstairs. The downstairs still need "help" and since I'm annoyed by the wall/door layout... before I finally get rid of the carpet which makes no sense with all the wood dirt I get on it... I want my contractors back to tell me if my ideas will work.

I am committing the mortal sin of actually painting some of the trim in places. The interior walls are totally all pine. I LIKE that look, but it does get visually boring, despite the cozy feel.

The beach house was about the same vintage as this cabin; a little newer - but definitely a florida coastal style. And meant to impress the snot out of the "less fortunate". I hated that about it... so putting wood shutters to most of the windows worked to give it a slightly less snooty character. More Caribbean... and I deliberately created a style I called "post-modern pirate". Very simple, durable, "club style" furniture with some softer touches and eclectic as an indoor yard sale.... or open market bazaar.

I let Mike help me turn the poolhouse into total Margaritaville tacky.

That furniture transitioned to the cabin just fine (with some massive purging of pieces that were huge and simply wouldn't fit in here). For now. I'm just now beginning to think about tweaking it and blending it into a new "theme" which is industrial, rustic, viking "great hall"... LOL.

In general, I find older homes are better quality builds than new construction. That wasn't true of the beach house, however... so that statement doesn't always hold true. It's possible to find an older home with the character preserved... and the functional systems modernized already. With this house, I assumed the job of updating what needed it, and I'm constantly shifting focus from one area to another always prioritizing the work that should completed first (from a logic standpoint); safety; and modern efficiency. I've also seen new plans/builds that DO respect the architectural heritage of an area. The architects and contractors are sensitive to this buyer subset.
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Hopalong

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Re: location, location
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2018, 03:32:44 PM »
For me it's not so much the house building, but the context.

Trees GONE.
Land CLEARED.
Houses (even fancy) CRAMMED together.
Zero diversity, white enclaves
HOAs
No yards

All that bugs me more than the buildings, as with color and imagination any interior can be creative/original.

But taken in those new-development settings, it ain't worth it to me....
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."