Paring down is something most of us do as we age. When I moved from a home in Rochester to a 1200 square foot condo in Seattle, I did the major winnowing — and I got rid of a lot. When you have to pay to move stuff across the country, you really think about how important each item is to your ongoing life. When I moved from 1200 square feet to 900 square feet, I pared down more. My apartment with the great view of Mt. Rainier and Puget Sound had next to no kitchen — clearly not designed for people who intended to cook even simple meals. I didn’t even have a toaster, because my very limited counter space didn’t allow.
I’ve been using the heck out of my new toaster, which sits easily accessible on the counter of my wonderful kitchen in the home I’m renting from Sara.
As part of a periodic financial review, I’ve been looking at retirement communities here in Seattle so that I understand the different financial models and options. Basically I don’t like any of the financial models, most of which involved putting down a huge chunk of capital in return for lifetime security — a promise only good until the next big earthquake or until the management company goes bust or until the economy tanks and the financial projections for solvency no longer work and only changes to the contract will ensure staying in business. In some places you can put less down and get nothing back, which seems equally bad for me and entirely to the benefit of the retirement community.
A few places have no big upfront pay, but a much higher monthly fee — and in Seattle, most of those places are too far out geographically for me to be interested. My adult kids lead busy and hectic lives, and they are not going to drive to the hinterlands to visit me if there are better options.
I won’t go off on an extended rant about these business models — although I could. Suffice to say that if and when a retirement community is in my near future, we’re talking something more like 650 square feet.
I’m trying hard not to add things back in — and yet. I have no mixing bowls, having gotten rid of those on a previous move. Sara and Ben are going to made guacamole for my birthday barbecue, and they’ll do it here. I’m happy to get the ingredients, but I’m tired of saying “And by the way, bring your own bowl to prepare the guac.” At Easter brunch, which I enjoyed hosting, we had nothing in which to cook an amount of bacon sufficient to feed all the guests. My one frying pan of decent size was otherwise in use.
In Rochester we kept a full bar. Here, I have wine on hand, and Scotch — the latter only Matt and I drink. I asked the kids what I might get to augment my offerings for the birthday barbecue, something short of stocking a full bar. Sangria? Gin and tonic? Nah. My kids drink Dark & Stormy, a concoction made of rum and ginger beer. Ben and Sara are bringing the supplies, which they will leave here. I think they’re calling dibs on who picks the rum. 🙂
The short point of this rather long post is that I’m selectively adding back: mixing bowls, a griddle, and some more drink options. Oh, and inexpensive glasses for mimosas and bubbly, both of which my kids like.
Trying not to go wild with my purchases, which is tempting when I have a kitchen full of lovely cabinets and everything I’m talking about makes perfect sense and will be put to good use. 🙂