House Beautiful Enough for Those Over Seventy and Nearsighted

We have all our lighting on dimmers.
I don’t wear my glasses in the house.
I try not to do anything to make tracks in the dust on tables. (Luckily my husband can’t see well either.)
A leaf blower on my walker is easier on my bad back than vacuuming.
I spot mop the kitchen floor when my feet start sticking to it. I put on my glasses, spray 409, and rub the spots with a rag under one foot.
For $5.97 at Walmart there are washable house slippers with dustmop bottoms. They feel great. You can also order child sizes on line for the grandchildren. You can make a game of getting them to scuff their feet in corners and under tables and chairs.
We downsized, so now there are full plastic boxes under all the beds. A foot in a dustmop slipper scooted around the edges is all it takes until actual adult house guests are scheduled.
When we moved into our small new house, I considered having all the furniture refinished, but decided that would be an exercise in futility with as many grandchildren as we have.  Besides, those teeth marks, cola rings, and heel prints represent lots of memories.

Plants cover a multitude of furniture scars and are a cheap way to decorate. At our age we’ve ended up with a whole lot of lovely houseplants from family funerals.  Shedding leaves can be scooped back into pot plants for mulch as I walk by.  My husband is allergic to mold, so I keep plants in vases of water in the areas he uses daily and simply rinse them out once in awhile. To avoid extra trips, I roll my large plastic watering can around the house on my walker.

Since I’m old, short, unsteady on ladders, and out of sight means gone forever, we have no kitchen cabinets, just a walk-in pantry with open shelves.

When the garbage has Stouffer’s Boxes in it, I take it out before my husband comes home.
He’s probably not fooled, just glad he didn’t have to take out the garbage.
When I put the right two kinds of canned soup together, it appears homemade.
If my husband has cereal for breakfast, melted cheese, ham, and egg on toast can be dinner.

I buy cheap saucepans so I can throw them out when I’ve been smoke detector forgetful while cooking.
I consider myself lucky, because I get plenty of exercise forgetting why I’ve come into rooms, and searching the house for my glasses and things I have put away for safe keeping, evidently for eternity.
Kleenex boxes, wastebaskets, post it note pads, and pencils strategically placed every six to eight feet save me time and frustration. (I can get an idea for a blog or something I need from the grocery and forget it before I can get to my computer.)
Designing our house so a bathroom is just steps from an outside door has cut down on panics (and mopping.)

Building our house in the woods on a lake with the back of our house all long windows means no matter how long any recuperation may take, we have constantly changing beauty to see. And we have birds, waterfowl, deer, racoons, and even foxes to watch at the birdfeeders.

But we’re close enough to town that when my husband had serious chest pains, I got him to the E.R. in four minutes.

Being old has its challenges, but once you’re brave enough to face it, there are ways to compensate.

About Eileen

Mother of five, grandmother of nine, great-grandmother of five. 1955 -1959 Rice University in Houston, TX. Taught primary grades; Was Associate Post Director of Religious Education at Ft. Campbell, KY; Consultant on the Myers/Briggs Type Indicator, Was married for 60 years to an Architect in Middle Tennessee.

Posted on January 20, 2013, in Gifts of Age and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Love your practical tips presented with such a dry wit! I have really enjoyed reading this post Eileen and browsing through others too. Your writing is personal and powerful. Thank you. Philippa


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