Coffee with Mimi

Published 8:46 am Friday, June 26, 2020


I married later in life than many of my friends. There were some consequences of this choice, not the least of which is that I am way behind my age peer group in milestones such as when I had children. I had joked that I would really have liked to have had all my children attending school before I turned 40.     

That was not to be so. As the years progressed, we did our part to serve as PTO president, swim team parent group president, church nursery attendants, snack chair persons, and so forth. There was more than one incident when we were thought to be the grandparents of our youngest child.

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This parental status was further confused as prematurely gray hair runs in my family. I don’t have the patience to manage hair color, so it is what it is, despite sometimes awkward comments when meeting the comparatively young parents of our children’s friends.

As the years passed, and our own children moved through life’s stages on varying timetables, matters sort of evened out. Typical parent activities such as moving kids in and out of dorm rooms and apartments were part of the routine. 

As an adult child reached the milestone of a home purchase, we rejoiced that this would be, for a reasonable period of time, the last moving van rental and offer of volunteer labor for that family unit.

And, now, we are thrilled to report, our youngest has taken the leap to home ownership. She has found a delightful place with room to grow in a pleasant neighborhood with sidewalks and trees. The home has very nice private outdoor space and an awesome two-car attached garage.

By all real estate estimates, it is an exceptional opportunity. You may want to remember that phrase. The new home is a two-story townhouse. Townhouses, by definition, have stairs. All bedrooms are upstairs. The laundry is upstairs. There is great storage space upstairs. I’m sure you get the picture.  

It really was kind of fun back in the day when moves were from a dorm to an apartment to an upgraded apartment. Packing boxes and bags into cars and unloading into the new space was exciting for the kids. 

If there were two sets of parents to pitch in, all the more fun. Someone always knew someone with a truck or a van to lend for the few bigger items. More often than not, there were young friends to happily haul in the couch or bed frame.

Pizza and sandwiches would be set up in the kitchen to keep everyone energized. Moving day was a social occasion. 

If the move was into a first home, repairs and improvements were often a family affair. Paint and patch here and there hopefully before moving day, or if not essential immediately, here and there as time allowed in the weeks and months after the move.  

So, our last adult child has a contract on this aforementioned great space. Possession is tentatively set for about three weeks away. Notice at her current apartment has been given.  The clock is ticking. Once before she needed to store furniture and bunk up with a friend when apartment timing wasn’t favorable. Not doing that again.  

Yes, the place is a great buy and a projected great investment. The old adage, location, location, location is a perfect description. However, prior to occupation it must be completely painted ceiling to floor and every floor surface replaced. Upstairs and downstairs. 1600-square feet of living space must be redone.  

Could this work be completed in phases? Absolutely not. The home has had an unfortunate history of tenant occupation. The evidence of this history is unquestionable and plentiful. A complete redo is a complete must before the first moving box is placed on a floor or towel folded into the ample linen closets.

We are old. Our bodies aren’t what they used to be. The prospect of several days, or more, hauling paint and supplies, climbing up and down ladders, ripping out floor coverings and hauling the old stuff away is no longer as appealing as it once was. It could be a case of mind over matter, but we aren’t even contemplating that option. We are older parents and we will sit this one out.

We have developed a stash of names of cheerful, efficient and accommodating persons who possess appropriate vehicles, necessary equipment and back strength to complete the whole process from start to finish. Over the last few years we have called on these individuals for more and more of the tasks associated with home improvements, and subsequent moving, as we became less and less eager or willing to nurse sore backs and legs. We will watch and cheer from the perimeter.  

If asked, we are more than willing to comment on paint colors, flooring options, repairs, and furniture placement. We can be persuaded, if asked, to clean up the patio planting areas or break down and carry out the packing boxes, but we are staying out of the way of the real work.

We will order the pizza.