Jeff and I sat down and had a heart to heart talk about aging, health, our future and things that need to be done to make this house work for our changing needs and stages in our lives. We would love to be able to move to Idaho, but we have to be realistic at this time and figure that we will most likely be here for many more years, possibly for the rest of our lives. With only one of us able to work outside the home and both of us having health issues (him with degenerative disk disease, foot problems and tendonitis), we have to face the facts that we cannot keep up on the gardens the way they are now, and the house needs some modifications to help me on those days when I am having trouble walking and climbing stairs. I will never be healed of CFS and Fibromyalgia and find that as I age, things are getting worse, not better for me. Now that our home is fully paid off, that leaves us some money to tackle some of the projects that have been put on hold.
The first thing on the priority list to to rebuild the front steps coming into our home. They are currently a one piece cement monstrosity that is crumbling. The stair rise is also too high for me and for our youngest grandkids. On days that I am in lots of pain, getting up or down those things is exhausting and painful. I asked Jeff if when he tears out the old concrete ones, if he could change the rise of the stairs to make it easier for me and for the grandkids. That will mean at least one more stair, but the rise will be shorter per stain and that will make it nicer for us all. He offered to just put in a long ramp, but I told him I am not ready to admit total defeat yet. 😉
The next thing on our list to to redo the back screened in porch, tearing off the old plywood and, if we can swing it, redoing it with Trex Deck and also rebuilding the stairs up to it. The ones there now are super thin and both Jeff and I have slipped on them in the past, We used the porch about 8 months out of the year and I want it to be nice for us and our family (both human and furbabies).
The third item on my list is the gardens. It is getting harder for me to bend over to plant and harvest things. My back freezes up and then spasms. Weeding is extremely painful for me and Jeff has had to take over doing that. He has back problems too. What I proposed was that we put in raised beds where we can sit on the sides, to plant, harvest and even weed. We will have walkways between the beds that are covered with a weed barrier and either gravel or wood chips. This will cut the area that we have to weed way down also. I would also like a small greenhouse to start things in and also extend the growing season. As Jeff retires (in about 10 years), we are going to have to live on much less income so I am looking forward to ways to help cut our cost and growing more of our own food is a good and healthy way to do so.
Pets...we love our fur babies and they are part of our family, but they can be expensive. Caesar is HUGE and eats a lot. Our 3 cats are on an expensive food due to Doofy's allergies and go through a lot of cat litter. Before I go on, let me say that we are not planning on giving away any of them. This is their forever home and I hope they will be with us for a good long time to come. Realistically though, as they pass away, I am thinking that we may not get another dog, as much as I love having one. Caesar is a lot of work and needs to be walked, makes a huge mess of the backyard and produces a lot of dog messes that need to be cleaned up. Jeff is the one who has to handle that and I would like to make it so he does not have to do that after Caesar is gone. I am also thinking 2 cats would be reasonable since they could keep each other company and do not require as much work as a dog. That would also leave us free to go somewhere overnight, just setting out extra food and water, whereas right now we have to hire someone to come in and take care of our fur baby tribe due to the dog's needs.
I know that we are also going to have to add "grab bars" to the walls in our bathroom as this is also becoming an issue for me on some days. It will also make it easier for my father when he visits on those days when he is having a rough time. He has come back so far from his stroke, but on days when he is tired, he needs some extra help too. He and my mother come and stay with us at least twice, if not more, a year so I want everything in place for him as well as for Jeff and I.
Carpets still need to be ripped out and replaced in all 3 bedrooms and I am hoping our boys can help with that huge project. We have the carpet but just have not had the time or manpower to get it all done. All the furniture needs moved out, carpets ripped up, floors sealed and then new padding and carpet installed. We may just have to hire someone to do the carpets and I just have the kids help us move all the furniture out to the porch and then back in again when the weather is good. I can't lift any of the stuff anymore and Jeff should not try to do it all by himself.
So there is my list so far. Not all of these things will be done right away. The stairs do have to get done this Spring or Summer though, for safety reasons if nothing else. Between aging, health and finances, we have to prioritize big time. It will get done, slowly but surely.