Everyday Adventures in Havachon Heaven

The Good, Crazy, & Adorable Life of One Havachon Puppy

The OTHER Big Event

on November 21, 2013

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! πŸ˜‰ ), 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!

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. πŸ™‚

I love antiques, old architecture, and history. So her house, built in 1915 and only having one minor updateΒ 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.

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 that old-world styled metal fixture.

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....

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!

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 - must have been quite dim and hard on the eyes during the gaslight days.

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.

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 sheΒ couldn’t do anythingΒ 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. πŸ™‚

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. Β πŸ™‚

24 responses to “The OTHER Big Event

  1. Misaki says:

    So glad to hear your aunt is living a much better life now and that your hard work has all paid off xx

  2. Wow, tons of work but it sounds like it all worked out. Me…i would have taken the old light fixtures and especially those blown glass fire balls.

    • raisingdaisy says:

      Heehee I did take the blown glass fire balls along with their holders! I had always said I’d take the old light fixtures, but when we saw how old the electrical was – it was still the original fuse box and everything from the 1920s conversion – we didn’t want to mess with it at all. That’s all we’d need – we finally clean the place out and sell it, and we cause a major electrical problem by trying to replace the old fixtures with new ones! Every turn we made in that house was another new problem – my husband called it “the gift that keeps on giving” – and we both decided to leave well enough alone with the electrical fixtures. So instead I took pictures instead of the actual fixtures. πŸ™‚

  3. Honestly, I’m amazed you accomplished all of this in the amount of time you did! And you’re still standing! I do love the architectural detail and those “fire” bombs in the basement? Never even heard of them. Amazing! My mother-in-law was a lot like your aunt in just not caring to put the effort into home maintenance, some of it was financial, but she really didn’t keep up with things. And as she entered her 80s she was strong and healthy, but very isolated in a home that was falling down around her. We accomplished much the same thing (with much less work) and she lived another decade in a social climate that was so good for her. She didn’t want anything to do with, calling herself a “happy recluse” and yet when she settled in, she didn’t just do well, she thrived! I hope the same for your aunt, and I’m so delighted for you to have her closer. It’s a wonderful thing for the whole family…

    Oh…and good job Daisy! πŸ™‚ ox

    • raisingdaisy says:

      Thanks Debra. Looking back, I can’t believe we got all that done in such a short time either! My aunt, unfortunately, has lymphoma and a 3mm lump in her breast, but it seems to be a slow-moving cancer and thankfully hasn’t impacted her at all. We really wanted her remaining years to be the best they could be, and we’re just praying that she can go on enjoying her new life as long as she’s with us.

  4. I’m glad your Aunt lives closer. I love old things too. We had so much fabulous and antique things in my crib too, sadly we had to remove a lot of things because of the insurance. I understand that you are happy for the poo after three days, I felt the same as Easy had a surgery once, it was like a relief (for all).

    • raisingdaisy says:

      What a shame you had to get rid of your antiques, I can imagine how hard that must have been. Yeah I think pet owners and parents are the ones who really “get” the relief of having their pet or baby go back to normal after illness or surgery. Every little thing they do that’s like “normal” feels like a milestone!

  5. barb19 says:

    The glass ceiling fixture in the first photo is beautiful and I would have been tempted to remove it and take it home! You have done a great job and I can imagine how exhausted you guys must be. A relief to get it all over with and your aunt in a much brighter place with people round her, and closer to you.
    Yaaay for Daisy’s first poo following surgery! I went through the same thing once with one of my dogs and was both excited and relieved when she finally “performed”!

    • raisingdaisy says:

      Haha Yes, we’re celebrating all the little milestones – today she had her first mini-bark, which was so good to hear. I’ll be really happy when I see those back legs stop trembling. I’m really anxious for our vet appointment this weekend, I have so many questions!

      I had always said I would take those light fixtures – particularly the glass one you referred to – but when we saw how old and bad the electrical was, we decided it wasn’t worth the risk. You never know what can happen when you try to connect modern lighting to old, worn, brittle electrics – too scary for us, so I decided to take photos instead. πŸ™‚

  6. 2browndawgs says:

    It is so nice of you to help your aunt. I have known older people who do really well in assisted living and embrace all it has to offer and those who hate every minute. I am glad your aunt likes it there. πŸ™‚ It is too bad the house wasn’t maintained better, but at least you don’t have to worry about it, or your aunt anymore.

    • raisingdaisy says:

      My friend’s mom thrived in the assisted living home she was in – it added years to her life and life to her years. She was active in lots of groups and organized a few herself. She was an amazing woman, and when she recently passed away at 96, almost every resident in the home turned out for her. She was so loved and made every minute count. My aunt isn’t as robust or sharp, but she’s enjoying the things she can and her life is much easier now – that’s what counts.

  7. optie says:

    Your aunt is so fortunate to have you care for her wellbeing and provide so much assistance to her. So many old folks are just left to manage on their own and no one cares that they are not coping. It’s wonderful that her final years will be spent in comfort with lots of company around her. So get your relief at Daisy’s first poo πŸ˜‰

    • raisingdaisy says:

      Thanks Optie. It’s always upset me to think of anyone being alone and lonely, suffering through things alone, or needing help but getting lost in the shuffle of life – whether it’s people or animals. I can’t help everyone, but at least I can do my part wherever possible. And hey – we had a second German Shepherd-sized poo last night! Woohoo! (This is what my world has been temporarily reduced to LOL!!)

  8. snoopys@snoopysdogblog says:

    Glad to hear Daisy’s big news! πŸ™‚

    But also what a story about your Aunt! Those pics were awesome, I bet you didn’t know what you’d find each day!

    Wags to all,

    Your pal Snoopy πŸ™‚

  9. Dawn says:

    Very nice! I’ve never heard of the glass bulb thing by the furnace. Very interesting. BTW, you were missed. Glad you’re back and that your grandmother is enjoying herself. When I get to be her age, I wouldn’t mind living in one of those assisted living places.

  10. kolytyi says:

    What a beautiful story! I think even for most electricians would pose the renovation and maintenance of those beautiful old things a serious challenge! Perhaps there is a past master among the new neighbors of your aunt who could have helped! πŸ™‚
    Have you already seen this film? http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfilms/film/quartet

  11. granny1947 says:

    Oh wow…I am exhausted just reading about all you managed to get through. So glad it is almost all over and she is happy.
    Also glad Daisy missed Halloween! πŸ™‚

  12. megtraveling says:

    It sounds exhausting but you have been a wonderful niece and did the right things for your aunt!

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