Coffee heat rising

Tempus Continues to Fidget

Crimineee, here we are halfway through the first month of another year. Who’d’ve thunk it possible?

When you’re old, time shifts into the higher velocities. It passes with absurd speed.

Yesterday I had one of the strangest experiences I’ve enjoyed in quite some time. I happened to be driving around on the east side of the city’s venerable North Central district, and in a moment of idleness, I roamed into the neighborhood where one of my old friends grew up. He lives in Portland now, his parents are deceased, and I haven’t seen any of that crowd in years.

There’s a Weirdness to driving around places you haven’t visited in forever: It looks familiar, and yet it doesn’t look familiar. 😀  I recognized the neighborhood, but I didn’t recognize it. Exactly.

When that friendship was active, his parents lived there. It’s a pleasant little middle-class neighborhood of pleasant little middle-class homes. Dates back to the 1950s or 60s, I’d guess.

Surprisingly, it hasn’t run down. To the contrary! Apparently centrally located single-family homes are hot property! The place looked as good as or — IMHO — better than it did when Dear Friend lived there. The houses are maintained as well or better…actually, I’d say significantly better. That property, because of its central location, is now worth FAR more relative to the rest of the city’s going value. Yet amazingly, it was full of families with kids.

Presumably the kids of doctors and lawyers…there’s no way the average tract-house family could afford that location.


If the houses were not significantly older than mine, I might consider moving into that area. But they ARE older…a LOT older. So they would require a lot more maintenance, much of it very expensive maintenance.

On the other hand…they’re a long way from the grim slum that borders my neighborhood to the north. And they’re nowhere near any piles of grim (indeed!), crime-infested apartments like the mess that borders us to the west.

But on the third hand…those older houses are not cheap to maintain. Plus because of its location, the taxes might be higher than mine or my son’s. They’re practically uninsulated, and so summer power bills are astronomical. How you would insulate such a place escapes me — we blew tons of insulation into M’hijito’s attic, and the AC bills on that place, which is similar to the houses I was admiring, simply defy belief. My house, which is larger but 30 years newer, has significantly lower power bills than his does…and his house is probably newer than the places I was coveting yesterday.

Heh! While all that tempus has been fidgeting, a whoooole lotta changes have happened.

My friends divorced. Both have remarried. One lives in Portland, Oregon. The other in Seattle. DXH and I also divorced, though we both still live in lovely Phoenix, where our son also lives. Said son is now a middle-aged man with a highly responsible job and a house rather like the place pictured above.

I’m now retired and, freed from the joys of teaching college students, spend a great deal of time loafing around a pretty little North Central shack. I love my house but could do without the pool — and the house full of juvenile delinquents my bosom enemy installed across the street.

The hassle and expense involved in moving, however, outweigh the potential benefits. So far, I have yet to find a place that looks like its benefits would trump the hassles. The other day I did see a very pretty house within walking distance of my son’s place. But it was in the upscale neighborhood that borders Central Avenue: the price defied belief. Not only that, but because of its age and construction, the cost of running it would have been phenomenal.

Today, it’s highly unlikely that I could afford a house in an area where I would want to live — between about 7th Street and maybe 15th Avenue, from about Missouri to about Northern. The prices are so Californicated now that the cost of buying is in the stratosphere…and that doesn’t even include the cost of packing up and moving.

And so…time passes.

3 thoughts on “Tempus Continues to Fidget”

  1. Have you and your son considered moving in together? Selling both your houses could give you a big down payment, basic bills would be lower than the sum of your separate bills, and you’d have combined income. You could look for a layout that gives both of you privacy and separate entrances. He might have peace of mind knowing that you weren’t alone in a dangerous place. In the years I’ve been following you, a desire to move has been a running theme, and I don’t remember if this was ever discussed.

    • We would make each other crazy. Both of us are used to living alone and having our own way whenever we please. We’re capable of indulging in some astronomical fights over things that make most people no never-mind. Trying to live together, you can be sure, would not work. That’s “not work” to the point of disaster.

      I’m doing fine on my own here at the Funny Farm. The two drawbacks are the harassment campaign from the Romanian Landlord and high crime and noise levels from the slums directly to the north and to the west of us.

      The truth is, if I’m going to move, it would make most sense to go into one of the residential high-rises on North Central Avenue. These are relatively safe from burglars and muggers; two major hospitals are close-by for when I do have a heart attack or stroke (pretty much inevitable at this age, unless I fall and do myself in that way); most of the time someone is posted at a desk in the lobby; and they obviate the endless hassles of exterior maintenance and termite fighting. The drawback, however, is that I would not leave a nice house and a pool to my son when I finally croak over.

  2. I will believe you about the inadvisabiliy of living with your son! It’s why I don’t live with my mom.

    I’ve worked with elderly people in senior housing and their own homes, and my observation is that it’s much much better to focus on a safe and happy living situation for the parent than to worry about how much they are leaving to the kids. I’ve seen people shorten their lives and increase their suffering just so they don’t touch the inheritance. Sometimes, this ends up increasing expenses in the long run. Sometimes, the kids don’t want the money as much as they want to not worry about their parents.

    I’m an internet stranger, and my input is worth what you’re paying for it. Having said that, it’s worth a frank conversation with your son. What does he think you are leaving him? Is he counting on it? (Some are, and that matters.) Is he worried about where you are? What happens if you are disabled enough that you can’t keep up the house, but not enough that you are likely to die? We are all temporarily able, some decline is inevitable. What does quality of life look like to you? If you can no longer X, then you no longer want to live – what is X? You CANNOT ask him to assist, but if you opted for suicide at that point, how would he react? It’s not an easy conversation, but it will make everyone’s decisions easier down the line.

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