Thursday, March 22, 2012

Out and About With Skip

For those of you who don't live in New England, you may not be aware that we're having the freakiest week of March weather ever in these parts. Continuing the trend of mild weather we had all winter, March has been very warm, with temps in the 70s on Wednesday. Thursday is forecast to hit the mid 80s, over 10 degrees above the previous record high.

Skip and I had to take advantage of this weather, and get her out and about. Sadly, she has not been out with me in the car since dinner with friends on January 12th, the night before her flap surgery. The other day, she made a foray out onto the patio for a bit of fresh air and sun. Besides that, she's been truly housebound this winter.

We had planned to take in a movie, but there really wasn't one thing showing at nearby theaters that interested us. So, a late lunch out at Legal Seafoods was followed by a drive around to two 55+ condo communities that I wanted to see.

Legal Seafoods is a chain that started as a fish market then single restaurant in Cambridge, Mass about 50 years ago. Now, they're a chain that, I believe, has locations up and down the eastern seaboard. It's our favorite place for fish and Skip was hankering for one of their lobster rolls. We got there around 3. Our waiter greeted us warmly. He's seen us every few months for a meal there for years and years. Skip got her lobster roll and I decided to try a crab roll. I'm too embarrassed to list all the sides we had. Suffice it say it was a feast!

Eating out at off hours is good for us. Skip's hands are so weak now that, even with her specially adapted silverware, she can really struggle eating. What often happens is she'll start off eating on her own but as the meal progresses that becomes harder and harder as her hand gets weaker. I eat faster than she does, so when I'm done with my own meal, I take over and feed her. A quiet restaurant with only a few other patrons is a much easier setting for Skip as she's embarrassed by having someone else feed her. I say, screw it, don't worry about the other folks, but of course I have no idea how I'd feel were I the one in her shoes.

After rolling out of Legal's, we went off to scout out two condo communities that are limited to 55+ and have units for sale in our price range. The first consists of 150 2-story townhouses that are built out in little clusters of 8-10 units per street. In the listings online, they show a second story, but the units only have a very large loft room there, both bedrooms are located on the first floor. This community is appealing because it's in our preferred area and the housing stock consists of townhouses, but all the units are larger than I'd like - in the 1700-1800 sq ft range. I am more interested in 1100-1200 sq ft. At that size, though, the units you find are typically more like apartments in mid-rise buildings. Which, coincidentally, was the configuration of the other condo community we drove by.

Driving through the first community, I tried not to sing "Little Boxes," by Malvina Reynolds. The chorus goes something like, "Little boxes on the hillside, little boxes made of ticky tacky, little boxes made of ticky tacky and they all look just the same ...." All the houses were all tan, some had two garages, some had one. Some had walk out basements if they were built on a slope, some did not. But, they all looked virtually the same. I could live with that, though I'd prefer a bit of individuality. What surprised me a bit was that each entry had 2 steps up to a small landing and then a step up from there into the house. Aren't these places built for old folks with limited mobility? It makes me wonder if there are steps from the garage into the house. And, is a single car garage wide enough for us to lower the ramp out the side in The Toaster and for Skip to wheel in and out of the car? These and other questions will be answered when my realtors and I go for a tour of some units there

We then drove over to the other community, which has a couple of units available now at the bottom of our price rangeThis place is a recently built 3 story building with about 20 units. It looked nice, with a low row of garages across the street from it. Behind the building looks treed, and there's water in the name of the place, so maybe there are walking trails by a river there. It's surrounded by townhomes that I expect are also 55+ but are probably outside of our price range. Also, they looked to have the bedrooms on the second floor, which is clearly an impossible setup for us. Also in this complex, there's an "Inn." Inn is a euphemism for an assisted living place with an Alzheimer's unit attached. I was offended that they couldn't be more honest in their naming.

As I drove home, I mused over the possibility of staying in our current home. That says to me neither community, from the outside, knocked my socks off. I really hope those little houses on the hillside knock them off when I get to see their insides.

One other thing I was musing about on the drive home. The weather felt like early summer, but it's just the second day of spring and there isn't a leaf on a tree anywhere. It's a very strange combination to have: this wonderful balmy weather without the usual green leafy trees and bright green yards everywhere.

I'm glad Skip and I got to spend time out together. Great meal. Good data gathering. It's nice to see her getting back to a bit of normalcy. Now, if only a good movie hits the big screen, we can head out to a weekday matinee.


lightning36 said...

Sometimes we forget and take for granted little things like being to go here and there whenever we please.

I still contend that you need to change the title of your blog. Many cranky posts since I have been reading. : o )

Cranky said...

lightning - in our case, the situation is ironic in that I'm a lot happier being a homebody than Skip. She'd much rather be out and about.

Trust me, I am still cranky. Ask Skip, she'll be happy to confirm!

Have Myelin? said...

"Little Boxes," by Malvina Reynolds was the theme song to "Weeds" on Showtime for awhile. =) I loved it.

Yeah, you don't sound so cranky. Just saying.

Cranky said...

Sherry - I watched that show once and Little Boxes, unfortunately, was my favorite part. I was so surprised to hear it ... probably the first time most viewers had ever heard anything by Malvina.

Yeah, I'm not as cranky as I used to be, it's true.