A New Chapter

All of Mother's friends have been notified so it is time to share her big news! She has decided to relocate full time to Scottsdale and has rented an apartment in a 55+ building. This is quite a change from owning homes practically her entire adult life but it makes sense for a number of reasons. The plan is for Kuochun and I to keep our schedule and go back to Mount Prospect as we have been with no changes to the estate sale business. I will need to arrange for help with everything I have been doing for Mother while I am not here in the summer months. We are hoping to find someone in the building who would be interested in making some extra money.

When I purchased my Scottsdale home, just west of the community was a small Fry's grocery store which had been vacated and remained vacant for the first two years I have been here. Then one day a flurry of work activity began with the teardown of the Fry's building - we did not know what it was going to be but kept an eye on the progress. Eventually a sign was put up that senior living apartments were coming soon. I remember not being too excited about it at the time because I thought it was a nursing home but as the exterior was completed and the landscaping installed, I saw how beautiful it was. Learning more about it, I found they are active adult rentals, not assisted living or a nursing home. The building opened to new tenants nearly a year ago. This past year, as Mother expressed a desire for her own space and reading about the building online, I thought this could really be a viable option for her and told her what I had learned. The travel back and forth between Chicago and Phoenix is challenging and we have set up a lot of great medical care here which would be broken up if Mother left for several months. It also does not make sense to have her home vacant more often than not and keep up with all the expenses.

It took some thought but then one day Mother asked to take a look at it. I scheduled a tour about a week and a half ago and she signed up for a one bedroom, one bath unit on the third (uppermost) floor. We received the keys this past Saturday. The unit has a direct view of Camelback Mountain, better than mine! This is the basic floor plan, except Mother's unit is flipped, with the kitchen on the left. Everything is so well thought out - she will be able to do her own laundry as often as she would like (full size top loading appliances in a closet in the kitchen) and I will not have to stand on my head in my cramped laundry room (with front-loading machines not on risers) to do the job here. There is a ton of laundry on a twice weekly basis, I do not have time to do it for her every single day. The living room is large enough for a sofa and TV setup. There should be room in the bedroom for a computer table. The bathroom is very spacious (much wider than mine) and the walk-in closet is generously sized. Additional storage is a separate option but I do not think it will be needed. When taking the tour, we noticed someone had a mobility scooter next to their apartment door and thought we would be able to park Mother's next to the elevator since the hallway is kind of narrow to keep it next to her door. Internet service will be half of what she is paying now and there is also valet trash service, where all she will need to do is place the trash outside her door and it is picked up five days per week. For an additional $40 per month, she opted for a balcony and I think this is a great choice. She will be able to get fresh air at any time without having to go downstairs. Plus it is another space to decorate!

The amenities are incredible, this place is like a mini resort! The first photo shows the beautiful pool area which has two cabanas as well. Outdoors, there is a outdoor grilling area, a pickleball court, putting green, cornhole and a dog run. Inside, there is plenty of common space including a living room, dining tables and a coffee bar where happy hours are held (with hot chocolate for us non-coffee drinkers.) Additional spaces include a game room with pool table, theatre room, arts and crafts area, fitness room and library. There are multiple activities going on every day. I feel the social aspect is so important for well-being, it is not something Mother gets much of living with us.

On Friday evening, we attended the first anniversary party for the building. Melinda came down so she could see everything. There was catered Italian food including a Caesar salad, three different kinds of pasta, garlic bread and cupcakes for dessert. There was a bartender and I heard him say the strawberry and cream was his favorite drink of the night. I tried a non-alcoholic version with sparkling soda, half and half and whipped cream. It was good! Since I showed Melinda the apartment first, by the time we were finished with the tour the dining area was pretty well full. Mother found a spot at a common table and Melinda and I sat right behind her at a bistro table. The main objective that evening was to for Mother to meet some of the residents. She had a great time talking with a few of the ladies. One of them was 83 so she felt better not being the oldest. They really hit it off! There was a DJ and people had fun dancing. They even made a conga line!

I think this place has massive potential. We just need to work out meals, help getting to appointments and possibly some daily tasks like pill sorting. There is a bulletin board in the mail room where we can post our requests. It is good that we will have a transition period from move-in to when it is time for Kuochun and I to head home.

Right now a couple of folks from the estate sale crew have been working with Mother in Arlington Heights to pull items she would like to send to the apartment. She has enough to furnish everything except the living room. This process is almost complete and the next step will be for me to order a U-Haul U-Box and schedule movers to load it up. Mother is sending her bed, antique dresser and arm chair upholstered with a vintage rug for her bedroom and a good amount of art to decorate the walls. She has two complimentary hours with the maintenance department who can hang TVs and art for her. Luckily she does not need help with the placement of the art and can just tell them where to place it.

We paid a visit to Avery Lane Consignment, which is a beautiful 30,000 square foot furniture and home decor store in North Scottsdale near the design district. We found almost everything for the living room. There were so many sofas to choose from and I suggested the idea of a sleeper sofa in case she wanted anyone to stay over in a pinch. In the end she chose a great-looking Danish Modern style sofa which is not a sleeper. We also found a cool coffee table originally from Restoration Hardware as well as an area rug. But the deals of the day were the Vail bar stools and dining chair originally from Denver Modern Furniture. I know them well, I had my eye on these for years and finally bit the bullet and purchased a pair for my kitchen here a couple of years ago. I chose the boucle fabric because it was less expensive than the leather.

I spotted a pair of the bar stools in grey leather (which Denver Modern does not offer anymore) and a single dining chair in saddle leather and they look amazing in the apartment with the color scheme. The sample photo of the bar stool is not the actual color but the dining chair is. They had all been in the store since last September and were eligible for the maximum discount. They ended up being more than 75% off original prices! It makes me wish I would have upgraded to the leather, they are so nice. We could use something to serve as a credenza for below the TV and a couple of side tables. For now, I think we will send a dresser from here. We do have a lead on some side tables I saw at Camelback Antiques so we may end up getting those.

I provided a lot of information here because relocating to an active senior apartment is a great compromise for those who feel taking care of a regular home is too much and want to simplify their lives but they are not ready for assisted living or a nursing home. The cost is a small fraction of those types of facilities with so much more to offer. They are big on giving their residents a balanced life and that they only spend what is needed as far as receiving help. I am very hopeful that things will work out.

As far as the Arlington Heights home is concerned, I presented Mother with the options. Either way we will work with realtor Julia, who helped us with the real estate process on the purchase of this home. She was with Picket Fence Realty at the time but has since moved on to Coldwell Banker in downtown Arlington Heights. Pros about selling are that current inventory is incredibly low (total seller's market) and the home has appreciated nicely in the six years she has owned it, also taking into account the great improvements Mother has made. I brought up the idea of renting as well, we could have received assistance from Coldwell Banker and hired a property manager to handle everything. There is high rent potential because the location is great, close to downtown. Renting was something I only would have considered because the home was a rental when Mother purchased it. If it were me, I would have rented the home fully furnished. But in the end she decided to let it go.

Once the items Mother is keeping are removed, we will do some rearranging and the home will be ready to go on the market. At this time, the plan is to send her Mini Cooper to Arizona. Melinda is planning a short trip to Chicago this spring and offered to drive it back. She will be able to visit a couple of friends along the way.

This has been an especially emotional time with all this happening with Kuochun gone. I never imagined that taking care of this home would become too much in only six years. I thought I would downsize there in the future but with the way the value has gone up it would not make financial sense to sell my Mount Prospect home and move there. It will definitely be very sad to see it go. We are treating this situation just like any of our other estate sale clients and will schedule a moving sale once a closing date is set. I will not be charging a fee but I hope Mother will allow me to sell jewelry there! :)

On Wednesday, Mother had her appointment at the senior center to have her taxes prepared. There are two senior center locations in Scottsdale and AARP sponsors the tax preparation for the south location which is closer to us. The experience was excellent, we had to wait in the common area while the taxes were prepared but they were so nice to us and helped us out with doing one final Illinois return. Because they wanted to run the state form past the Illinois team, we are going to pick everything up next week. How wonderful that Scottsdale provides this free service for seniors!

We had a last-minute estate sale booking over the weekend so that took time away from jewelry posting. I did have this lot of watches with vintage Native American watch tips ready to go. This represents about half of my current collection. Watch tips are very popular right now because with the help of connectors which can be purchased on Amazon, the tips can be attached to an Apple Watch. Paired with a leather band, they give a great touch of personality to the watches. The last time I offered watch tips they all sold but they were turquoise. I thought people would find these inlay pieces interesting and unique but no takers. Par for the course, turquoise rules! I am not worried because they will definitely sell online. In the meantime, if anyone is interested, I can connect you with a woman who makes black or brown leather watch bands which will work with some of these tips.

Next week I really need to focus on getting my taxes done, with April 15 falling on a Monday there are no extension days this year. I keep up with income throughout the year. Every year I say I will record the expenses on a monthly basis but I never get to it. Then I end up with a mad dash to get it all in on time. This year I have more 1099s than ever because I now sell on additional marketplaces. But I will plug all of the numbers into the handy form I created which goes in entry order with TurboTax. Once taxes are complete the hope is that I will be able to get back to jewelry posting again.

I spoke with Kuochun the other day, he sent me this adorable photo of he and his granddaughter. I am so glad they had this chance to become great pals. I told him before maybe she will come to the US for college! It is only 12 years away. Kuochun let me know that shortly after they celebrate his granddaughter's birthday on April 19, he will head back to Scottsdale. He is scheduled to arrive on the 23rd. Mother had wanted to move to the new apartment before then so I could rearrange everything for his arrival but we will see how things go. I can move any small items from my home to the apartment but the movers will need to pick up anything larger. The hope is that the U-Box can be loaded and picked up next week, and then it takes about 10 days to arrive. Luckily since I have gone through this experience several times I know what to expect. If there is enough room, I want to send my rolling cabinet on wheels here. I could really use the storage for all of my photography props and I can use the top of it for display or more storage. The color already goes with the garage as well.

See you next time, hopefully with more jewelry news!