While we’re waiting for something new to report on Daisy (she did finally have a poop after 3 days without one, so we’re happy about that – something only family can appreciate though, I think! ), I thought I’d tell you why I wasn’t able to blog for the entire month of October. And why we had no Halloween decorations up this year. And no Halloween costume for Daisy (which I’m sure made her happy). Or fall trips. Poo.
Last year’s humiliating Halloween skirt. Daisy was mortified!
Well, I was totally consumed by THE MOVE – moving my 90-year-old aunt from her house an hour away from us into an assisted living home in the town next to us. (We’ve been trying to get her to move closer to us for 20-30 years!) She has no one besides us, so the distance was really bad; we couldn’t get up there often. Plus she needs more help with mobility, her house was falling apart (literally), and unscrupulous people were taking advantage of her. It was all so upsetting, especially when I knew she could be living a much better life. And now she is.
I love antiques, old architecture, and history. So her house, built in 1915 and only having one minor update in the early 1920s to convert gas lighting to electrical, was an endless source of fascination for me. She’s lived there for over 60 years!
It still has the original light fixtures, doorknobs, locks, etc., plus the original wide, beautiful molding strips are still around doorways and along the floors and ceilings.
Look at this old two-stage glass ceiling fixture! Such beautiful craftsmanship.
Metal ceiling fixture with exposed bulbs. No one today would want those bulbs exposed, but still, there’s a charm about the style of that old-world metal fixture.
Decorative brass doorknobs with backplates.
All the floors on the first and second floors are inlaid parquet, which would cost a fortune today and were a major selling point.
Wish I could have transported these to my house!
Small bumps protrude from the walls, which are caps over the original gaslight pipes.
One per room, one in the long upstairs hallway – it must have been quite dim and hard on the eyes during the gaslight years.
The bathroom has the original cast iron claw-foot bathtub and pedestal sink. Closet doors have working locks with keys (!) and heavy glass doorknobs.
Heavy glass doorknobs.
For heaven’s sake, there were still the original filled fire bombs in the basement surrounding the furnace! You never see those – they’re blown glass globes filled with liquid chemicals and mounted on the ceiling that explode when there’s a fire and help to put the fire out. Still there, still intact!!
The Realtor we hired (who was FANTASTIC and worked a not-so-minor miracle in selling this place) was fascinated when he walked around the house – it was like stepping back in time.
If I could have salvaged the architecture in this house, I would have done it in a second. I know the new owner will just strip everything out and junk it all. What a shame.
It’s rare to see those things still intact, and if the house had been well maintained, it could have been a showplace – a wonderful fusion of yesterday and today.
That’s the positive side. Here’s the flip side of the coin, the side that kept us working there 8-10 hours a day every Saturday and Sunday from the end of September through October – she has never bothered to maintain the house one bit over the past 30 years. Unfortunately she’s just that kind of person – if no one pushes her hard to keep herself or the things around her up, she just lets everything go. My grandmother (her mother) was meticulous and used to constantly push my aunt to maintain herself and help with the house, but she’s been gone for a long time. So as a result, time froze after she passed – carpeting and drapes in this 4-bedroom house were all from the 1960s, I kid you not. It’s not that she couldn’t do anything in all those decades, it’s that she just didn’t want to be bothered. She’s the extreme opposite of my grandmother.
Horrible 50-year-old kelly green wall-to-wall carpeting on the first floor and stairs was torn and tattered as were draperies with orange and green designs. She didn’t care; in fact, she didn’t even seem to notice. Hardwood floors underneath a large area rug in the dining room was many, many shades lighter and brighter than the exposed flooring surrounding the rug. The kitchen still has old metal cabinets and an old sticky linoleum floor. It’s all this and so much more unimaginable filth, broken down furnishings, and accumulations in areas of the house where we never went that shocked us so much and took all month for us to clean up and clear out. We spent every weekend up there working 8-10 hours – I had to wear a surgical mask and use surgical gloves to keep from repeating our first “day of discovery” there, when all that uncleanliness actually affected my lungs and sinuses for 24 hours afterwards.
Still though, the most important thing is that the house has miraculously sold and my aunt is happy in her new surroundings. Not only is the assisted living home she’s in bright and clean, but she gets three beautiful meals a day plus there’s a Happy Hour with hors d’oeuvres, wine, and cocktails. (I think maybe I’ll stop by around then….) She’s no longer isolated and has lots of other people to socialize with, as well as activities, trips, and beautiful scenery around the place. No comparison to the dark, dingy, dirty house in an economically depressed town she was in. It’s like she was reborn. She rarely used to leave her old house except when we drove her down here, so she’s amazed by the huge supermarkets like Wegman’s, the strip malls, and everything else that’s happened in the real world over the past 40 years! Every time I take her out, it’s like watching a child on Christmas.
I’m still struggling with her paperwork and financial issues and I suspect I will be for a while (nothing was maintained – bills and financials were scattered about in their original envelopes!), but it was definitely all worth it. :)