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Lots of updates -- home improvements, money, and family

October 19th, 2015 at 12:30 pm

Very eventful weekend.

We finally heard back from our contractor about the basement bathroom. Just to get it up to code, it would be $4300. To cap it off and make it unusable, would be $1000-$2000. The getting it up to code wouldn't fix the walls or floor when they're done, though the shower walls and floor would be fixed. To get walls and floor refinished would take us up to $6000 or $7000

We spoke with our downstairs neighbors and they agreed we should do the basic up-to-code work for $4300, and that we'll attempt the floor and walls as a DIY tiling project. It'll be a good practice one because the basement bathroom isn't one we're worried about, looks-wise; we just want it functional for guests.

Since we're planning on the shared-ownership thing eventually, the neighbors want to pay two-fifths of it, which will be our division of expenses (mortgage, utilities) when we get everything straightened out. So our share of this project is going to be $2850.

That's good news, since we only had $4000 set aside for the basement bathroom issues.

We got the radiator covers in the living room and dining room! Hand-made by a guy who lives just three blocks away, really beautiful, and he finished them less than two weeks after we ordered them! Only $1100 for all three (already figured in to the decorating costs I listed a couple blog posts ago).

My sister visited this weekend, so we dipped even more into our UK airfare savings to buy a few meals out. Only about $200, plus about $50 for wine for the house, so not too bad.

The first day here she started talking about how I should go visit my parents. I started making excuses because we already saw them this summer at the family reunion, and now we're saving up to see the other grandparents in England next year, etc.

But she stopped me and said the reason she thought I should go now is that my mom isn't doing too well.

My mom is 81. She's really out of shape and probably has lots of undiagnosed problems; she refuses to visit doctors because she doesn't want to find out, basically. She did visit a doctor in 2012, because she had a small heart attack. They fixed her up and recommended she get some exercise, but of course she didn't listen and continued to sit around 23 hours a day. Her legs and knees tend to bother her when she does move around so she just avoids it as much as possible. She's been going in this direction for decades, ever since she hurt one of her knees in her 50s or 60s.

My sister explained that her legs and arms hurt constantly now, and she can't even stand long enough to make a cup of coffee in the kitchen, so when my dad is out and about (which he is a lot, because he's very active with lots of travels and projects) she just sits around, not even able to get coffee. My sister said her hearing is really going as well.

My sister and her family live somewhat close so they try to stop by when my dad's out of town, but it sounds like my mom is basically lonely, in pain and going downhill faster than before. She told me I should come see her before she's in so much pain and her hearing is so far gone that she won't be able to enjoy a visit from me.

It's hard to tell how fast my mom is going (especially hard with no doctor opinions to go on, and I know no one is going to be able to get her to visit one), but it did sound to me like she's on the decline.

So I made the decision to visit her next weekend. It's my only free weekend until late November. My sister said it wasn't THAT urgent, but after hearing all that, I didn't want to start gambling with how much fully lucid time my mom has left or anything.

I'm taking the kids since she really lives for her grandkids. The three of us are traveling Spirit for $948. Probably could have gotten there a lot cheaper in November, since this purchase was so last minute, but again, I didn't feel like quibbling on price.

I'll be staying with my sister, so no costs in that area. Maybe some eating out but I bet family will take care of most meals. I'll also try to see AS's mom, since she'd also like to see the kids.

I'll get there 8pm Friday night so not sure if I'll see my mom that first night or go straight to my sister's. Stay all day Saturday and leave 11am Sunday morning. So I don't know if I'll see my mom Sunday either. I'll have to work it out with my sister. I suppose there's some chance I could stay at my parents' house. My mom is a controlled hoarder (held back by my dad's organizing and decluttering) and they used to have a roach infestation, but I heard they got that taken care of. So maybe I'll try to stay at my mom's house Saturday night so I can have some time with her Sunday morning. (My sister lives about half an hour drive away from my parents.)

Hopefully I can just get AS's mom to visit at my mom's house, so I don't have to be away from her for a few hours in the little time I have there.

Still ironing out the details. We'll see.

If I sound calm, well, I DO feel pretty calm. I really faced my mom's mortality in 2012 when she had the heart attack. And I got a lot of crying out this past Saturday. I still feel freaked out that I'm writing about my mom as if she's going to die. But this last blow from my sister has made me finally accept it. It may not happen for months or even over a year, but of course she is, just like anyone else.

Anyway, I'm taking the money for the plane tickets out of the $4K I'd saved for the bathroom, since we only need $2850 plus some for DIY tiling supplies. So I'm not worried about the money. We have been spending a lot of money this month, but facing mortality makes me less afraid of spending, if it's spending that's really giving me something. The stuff we're doing to make our house our own, and money to hang out with my partners, my sister, my mom and dad -- these are things worth spending money on.

8 Responses to “Lots of updates -- home improvements, money, and family”

  1. CB in the City Says:

    You won't regret spending time with your mom while she is still able!

  2. snafu Says:

    As a parent whose much loved DSs have settled into careers more than 6 hours Is it out of the question to get one [personal] day off work to end the the visit a bit? You know that there are opportunities to make more money but there is no way to buy back time.

  3. snafu Says:

    sorry, lost a sentence...I'd encourage your visit, I think it's wonderful to take the grandchildren

  4. ceejay74 Says:

    I had one half day of PTO left for the year, so I'm using it to get to the airport on time on Friday. Plus, I didn't want to disrupt AA's kindergarten schedule, so I timed it around that.

  5. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    I think this is a very good use of that money. {{hugs}}

  6. creditcardfree Says:

    It sounds like the right time to spend some time with your mother. Love on her while you can.

  7. Livingalmostlarge Says:

    You can't buy back time with money. I say that as someone buying time right now.

  8. VS_ozgirl Says:

    Sorry to hear about your mom! Hoping that the visit is very special

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