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Leaving Home: Stages 1 & 2

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Ariele M. Huff | Apr 16, 2018, 6 a.m.
The Dayton house we called Bluey.

Leaving Home?

First Stage

Not sure of the percentage of elders who downsize or trade locations as a part of aging, but it must be a lot of us as we hear so much about downsizing and moving.

And, here it is. I’m 68 and he’s 56—already too disabled rationally to keep doing his lifetime career as a horticultural specialist (gardener in common verbiage). He had a hip replaced last December and by April, I knew we were in the short count for him at his job.

So—I began to look at options.

1) Our house is paid for, so we stay in Seattle (most expensive cost of living by some standards) and I contribute my paltry Social Security check, continuing to earn my paltry salary…working for the rest of my life. Sadly, this option falls to pieces when we look at the monumental difficulties getting accepted onto disability and the price of health insurance. On to the next option.

2) He continues to work and to take pain killers and get steroid shots until he breaks the new hip or is in so much pain that everything including our marriage breaks down. Next option, please.

3) We move to another home—worth less than our current Seattle home and live on the proceeds until we get some funds from his disability insurance or, at least, his retirement IRA (not available until he’s 59 ½--so three and a half more years). Depends on the house…cost, whether it serves our purposes adequately, and makes us not too sad to leave the home we’ve massaged in 30 years to suit us quite well. Sigh. Best option.

Then I started looking at the available homes.

1) Nothing in Seattle. Anything cheaper than our house is either tiny, a trailer, or a Meth house. Next option.

2) Checked up and down the West Coast…from Bellingham to Oregon. Wow, still too expensive, even for the tiny, the trailers, and the Meth houses.

3) My grandfather spent part of his childhood before coming to Seattle in Pomeroy, Washington. He loved the Palouse and I now have the gorgeous picture of it painted for him by my mother. So far, so good. Checked house prices. Yay! Considerably cheaper than everything west of the mountains.

A few months later, things got more critical. Time to visit those Zillow houses I’d found online.

Oh, my good grief and gravy. The drive is seven hours. But the Palouse area is magical. “I could live here,” I repeat dreamily to my husband as he drives. But he is all caught up in the practicalities like his two elderly parents on the west side of the mountains and our lame old cars making this drive.

We look at Pomeroy and find it depressing…lots of people unemployed and homes often in disrepair.

I’d also looked at some close neighboring towns, and we had discovered a favorite home in Dayton—about twenty minutes from Pomeroy.

We like Dayton—discrete and pleasant and the house too, when we see it in person.

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