Shades of Change Part I

Ginny has a friend named Lois who has been in her condo complex for 25 years. Lois knows people. She had been on the board for many years and has always been a source of information for mom. They used to go to lunch and local plays together. They weren’t best friends, but she has always been an important ally to mom.

Ginny called Hailey today with an announcement “Lois is moving in two weeks.”

“Wow – that’s sudden” Hailey responded.

“I guess that she had been looking at assisted living facilities for a while now and she’s decided to move to The Groves, it’s almost right around the corner” Ginny continued.

“Well, that’s good news for Lois” said Hailey. “But, you’re going to miss her. Hey, did she happen to mention how much something like The Groves cost every month? I just thought places like that are really expensive” she added.

“No” mom responded, laughing, “I didn’t, but she mentioned that she will get two meals every day.”

About three weeks later, I receive a text from my sister-in-law Betsy to call her when I have a minute. I promptly call.

“You are going to love me when you hear this” she laughed.

“I already do!” I exclaim “what’s up?”

“After your mom’s hair appointment, she didn’t want to go home. She wanted to go out to lunch.”

I groan. Ginny had tried this tactic in the past to use Betsy for social reasons. This is not her role.

“I’m sorry. I’ll talk to her about that” I respond.

“Oh, it’s ok. I think she had something on her mind and I was right. She started to ask about Lois, and wondered if we could drive by her new place to say hi, and I agreed. Honestly, I wanted to see it too.”

“So we decided to go there right after lunch, and as soon as we walked in the door to a beautiful lobby, your mom got excited” Betsy continued.

“Look, they have my colors, look at that blue couch, look at the walls” Ginny stared, absorbing the visuals and stunning shades of blue.

When they walk up to the front desk, they ask for Lois and are told that no one named Lois has recently moved in.

“It’s possible that she’s at The Grove Gardens” offered the assistant. “They are similar names.”

Betsy looks at Ginny who is frowning, confused about where her friend is, but she is continuing to look around the lobby.

In a split second decision she asks “is it possible to get a tour?”

“Absolutely” was the response and apparently they proceeded to see the available one and two bedroom units in the independent living section.

“I have family art I would put up on the walls” Ginny stated “is that ok?” and the spokesperson replied “Oh, of course, you move your own furniture in and hang anything you like.”

As Betsy was sharing this story, my jaw was dropping. Ginny was falling in love with this facility and the very best part is that the visit was totally her idea. She was in control. Of course, the point was to connect with a friend, but it evolved in a welcome way.

They even walk to the library to discuss other amenities and the price.

“And now for the part I know you are interested in, the cost is $2399 per month” the salesperson said. “We do have a one-time community fee at the same price” she concluded.

Apparently, mom repeated to Betsy more than once on how she was nervous to “tell the girls.”

“I don’t know if it’s too expensive or they just won’t like the place, but I love it” she added.

Betsy replied “Oh, I think they will try and support this if it’s what you want” smiling inwardly because she knows our concerns about Ginny living alone.

Mom and I talk soon after. She is genuinely excited.

“So mom, it sounds like you were impressed with The Groves, and it’s not easy to impress you” which made her laugh “it sounds like this is something you want to do.”

“I do” she responded simply. Somewhere, I swear I hear the majestic sounds of a choir of angels.

“Do you think it’s worth looking at a couple of other places while making this decision?” and she immediately responds “I’ve been looking at places for the last 20 years. I don’t need to look at any other places.” (Hailey drove her to ONE place ONE time to check it out about six years ago.)

There are more phone calls to discuss a last minute trip over there for Dennis and I to have lunch as guests at The Groves and take the tour. The cost sounds promising, and Ginny’s enthusiasm is palpable, but it remains a fact-finding mission.

Hailey contacts The Groves and sends me a text confirming our lunch is at 12:30. A few hours later, she sends this:

I called mom to tell her some news about a family friend, but she started right in on how SHE was supposed to make the lunch arrangements. She’s mad I did that. She also said that we should dress on Friday like we are going to church. No beach clothes, like shorts.

Really? I mean REALLY? This is the kind of comment where I have to scream PATIENCE! My head knows it is not worth it to engage, but my heart is now surging with passive-aggressive tendencies and I want to wear a beach cover-up and heavy make-up. I want to throw a roll at my husband during lunch. It’s a prime example of her “knowing best” which on the flip side of that logic infers that we don’t know what we’re doing. It’s just an unnecessary comment that frustrates me. And for the record, she has it backwards. They aren’t evaluating us, we are evaluating them.

“I’m hoping for big things to happen next week” I tell myself. “Just park your thoughts there.” Sometimes though, I let her get to me.

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