With Betty Lou’s death, I assumed I would be on my own for unpacking and settling in. I looked around at the herd of brown cardboard boxes, wondering what was where, feeling lost and overwhelmed. I remembered the signature line on my friend Nanette’s email that concluded “Do not do anything for anyone that they can do for themselves,” something that had seemed cruel to me when I first read it. But now I saw what it meant: I had ceded doing the move to Lizz and now I was seriously disempowered to finish it, in part because I didn’t know where anything was, but more because Lizz had done for me something I could have done (more slowly, less efficiently, more clumsily) on my own.
“OK”, I thought to myself, “get it together. Start Doing Something.” At which point I got a text from Lizz: “Heading to your place to do some unpacking do not argue about this it will do me good.” And she swept in and unpacked 90% of the boxes, finally admitting exhaustion about half an hour after she should have. She was so worn out she forgot her coat and arrived at home without her keys.
Last evening I had supper with the Wittwers, the couple who live one floor down and who attend my church, the people who gave me the tour of Terwilliger Plaza that opened my mind to the possibility of a retirement home that wasn’t depressing. The pizza and salad were delicious, the conversation was lively, I met a man named Tom who fought in Italy in WW II and writes articles for the Terwilliger Plaza monthly newsletter. BJ Wittwer invited me to come back for breakfast, but I declined, thinking, “ I am seriously in need of some solitary time in my new place.”
I should have accepted. I’m sure BJ’s oatmeal would have been better than mine, and I won’t be solitary here anyway – I have to get my internet access* scheduled, and I need to arrange for my complimentary hour of maintenance time to get my TV and pictures hung on the walls. I need to pick up my cat Ochi from where he boarded over the weekend. I need to figure out what supplies I need and order or buy them. There’s a monthly meeting of the TP Residents Council this afternoon that I’d really like to attend – it is open to all residents, and it will give me a flavor of how things run around here. I’ve already met one of the two floor reps, a guy named Al, who told me, “Most people are pretty reasonable. There are a few bad apples, but you will figure out who they are.”
*Internet access. There is public wireless access in the common rooms (like the sixth floor lobby where I am now, looking out over downtown, thr river, and the hills of east Portland), but I need to get it hooked up in my room. I had to ask three or four people before I found someone who knew the password to the public wireless – those who want internet access have their own, and those who don’t don’t care. I can write these entries in my own place, but I can’t post them until I walk my laptop down the hall. Good exercise, but I WANT MY OWN INTERNET!! You can guess which tasks will get top priority today.