(I took this photo at Jaws, on Maui, 12-09-09, a unique setting where swells, winds, and underwater geologic formations rarely come together but when they do waves are created so big that the surfers have to be towed into them by JetSki type watercraft. They can’t paddle fast enough to catch them. Then the drivers rush to pick up the surfer and board after the ride and before they get crushed by the next wave. In this frame, the surfer is in and the JetSki is fighting to get out.)
I’ve been AWOL – well, not really absent without leave. I gave myself permission to leave. As many of my clients know, since I started the weekly email update nearly 10 years ago (blog format the last 18 months), I’ve taken the month of December off from the weekly musings and reporting. I have always made a post warning about it!
This year was a bit different for a couple of reasons.
1- I write the blog Thursday nights. And that was Thanksgiving which I usually pass on but catch up with. I participated in our Thanksgiving Day church service that morning and then had six over for a non-traditional pulled pork dinner. 2. Friday got crazy when my step-sister and I found out we had to get our folks into assisted living the next day and moved out of their house.
While we had known about issues, we didn’t know about this quick turn of events. With a million things to do for that move on Saturday and me leaving the next day for my (now) annual getaway, it was nuts. Nothing was prepared. Evan and Erin (my son and daughter-in-law) volunteered to cut their visit to Alameda short and flew back to S CA to spend the whole day assisting with the move duty, allowing me to act as ‘moving central’ in Alameda, contacting and coordinating all the people and places. At the same time I was able to get my work files in order and complete other personal business. What an effort by family!
To make a long story short, three moves were completed in 2 days. Yep, 3 moves. My dad(dealing with dementia) and step-mom (legally blind but very active) were moved into the 2 bedroom 2 bath apartment by noon on Saturday. By Saturday evening my dad was back at the house, not being able to stay at the apartment due to lack of a particular physician’s report. I had arranged for a 24 hour caregiver whom he promptly threatened with a call to the police to throw him out. Another sibling stepped in on that one, from out of state, and buh-bye went the care-giver until the next afternoon.
I departed for Maui early Sunday morning, and then remotely, with huge help from my step-sister (we now call each other Sista – and stay out of our way when we are working together…she is a get-it-done gal), dad was back into the apartment by midday on Monday.
This has been a monster learning process, with nothing prepared except for the Power of Attorney and a health care directive and release I was able to get dad’s attorney to update the week prior to the unknown move, when I was there for three days and I had the strong inclination to set that appointment the day before I flew south. And that visit got ugly because I took the car keys away for the second time. And this time it was bad. I thought my dad was going to hit me with his cane. I just kept walking, got in my rental car, and drove to the airport to head home.
And my trip? After three days away, I was super guilty about not being in CA to fix all the parent issues, and when I came to grips I just may need to cut the trip short and head back to CA , I relaxed. The next morning, I simply asked myself if being in Alameda would allow me to do anything more than being in Maui. And it was obvious that being a physical presence with the folks would NOT be an answer but a further aggravation to an already super-pissed off father. But I can’t much blame him – most of us get to plan a move. Three moves took place and no plan. Getting the car keys yanked ripped his identity to shreds. One move is bad. The rest is all bad for someone who has now seen manifest everything he has ever feared.
While I am still in the throes of figuring out accounts, bills, changing addresses, contact info, finding more bills to pay, the best way to get them paid, going paperless and online, doctors, prescriptions, phones, things to be done at the apartment, sending documents around supporting who I say I am, there is progress being made.
My daughter, Sutter, sent me a link to a master list that I am going to fill out for myself and then today I realized I needed to fill one out for my dad as well, with all the changed/changing info. Check this out “Organizing Your Life”. We ALL need to do this NOW (unless you want to punish your kids)! And get your folks to do it with/for you (unless they want to punish you)! And go through it together. My mom was good at putting this stuff together up until she passed on. And my dad was good about the basics, until he remarried and they figured out their own systems and kept it all to themselves.
With the internet, a wonderful set of businesses services where I say at the Westin Ocean Villas Resort, a very helpful staff, and a view of the ocean, I was set to do whatever it took to try to settle my dad, and work for my clients (sold one listing remotely, written two contracts on a short sale property for my buyers, submitted a short sale package for some listing clients, and initiated and returned calls and emails – with the help of my two backup partners at the office who provide a physical presence as necessary).
The time away has been a gift, wonderful in many ways, different in as many ways. I am most fortunate to be able to have the breathing space that a change of venue offers, for a fairly extended time. The weather has been perfect and big surf showed up (the last being five years ago when I got to see it then for the first time). I’ve played some golf , met some nice people (locals and visitors), and seen those in Maui with whom I do business and have become friends with over the years, read two books, and caught up on seriously needed sleep. The thinking and pondering time is priceless sans the usual distractions.
So now, true to form, I’ll do a catch up on the year-end real estate activity in Alameda the first Thursday of January.
I wish you all happy, restful, peaceful, calm (despite any chaos) days ahead and a Happy New Year – which can’t come soon enough for many.
Carry on! I’m around starting Monday morning and have property inspections and appointments this coming week. marilyn