The Sandwich Generation

My generation is sometimes called the “Sandwich Generation”…we have our own kids and also aging parents, and we are often are helping both.

I have been helping clients transition for several years. I hold the Seniors Real Estate Specialists® designation through the National Association of Realtors. I am so glad I have this experience because I am now helping my mother transition from her home of 40 years to an Independent Living facility.  The article I recently re-posted on social media about Nobody Wants Your Parents’ Stuff really hit home for me. I hope it can help you also.

So, what have I learned over the years that might help you?

  • While it is difficult to have a conversation with our parents about moving to independent living or assisted care, it is one that will likely be necessary at some point. Start talking about it early on, before it is time to make the move.
  • When it is time for the move, it may happen really fast! Having some idea of the facilities near you and/or your parent is important. Visit them ahead of time and start eliminating those you don’t like. You will be glad of the time saved when things move quickly.
  • If they have a home to sell, what is the current value? Do they or you have a Realtor® who can help you determine that? I help dozens of families every year with an updated market analysis. If you are not in the San Diego area, I can refer you to an excellent agent in your area who specializes in senior moves.
  • It is time for you and your siblings to take your “stuff” home with you, the things Mom and Dad have been keeping for you. Take it with you and either keep at your house or dispose of it.
  • If your parents have things that will likely sell at a decent price you need to know who the best estate sale companies are in town. What do they charge, how much lead time do they need (most need six to eight weeks minimum)? Will they dispose of everything remaining in the house after the sale?
  • Are your parent’s affairs in order? Is there a trust in place and is the designated Successor Trustee available for the sale, if necessary? If there is no trust or the trust has not been revised in many years, now is the time to seek the advice of an estate planning attorney to have a review and make changes if necessary, while your parents are able to make changes.
  • If there is a home to sell, open a pre-escrow and pre-title before you put the property on the market. The title company will review the trust documents before issuing title insurance. The trust documents must be in order or you will not be able to close escrow. I have had many transactions with older trusts and a recent Power of Attorney. The title companies have told me many times that “the Trust has priority over a Power of Attorney”.  If the trust does not mention a Power of Attorney, they may not accept one, so please seek the advice of an attorney.
  • Order a property inspection and wood destroying pest inspection of the home. Provide these documents to agents prior to their making an offer. It makes it much easier to sell a property in “As-Is” condition and without renegotiating halfway through a transaction.

Another great article is about The 4 Boxes Approach to help families start eliminating “stuff”.

If you need a consultation or help with this process just let me know. I would truly be honored to help you.

Some Things Are Hard To Change

What is it about women and their hair stylists? I don’t know a woman who doesn’t struggle with changing hair stylists. The exception is when we move out of the area and HAVE to change. But even then we struggle with the change…how do find a new stylist, the right one? What if we don’t like them, what if they don’t like us. What if we don’t like the products they use…it goes on and on.

I recently was forced to make a change. It was then that I realized just how long I had been going to the same stylist for my hair color. It started in my 20’s when I moved to San Diego and just added a few highlights for that “summer” look.  After my daughter was born, I started seeing a few gray hairs. After a while, we (my hair colorist and I) added color, to cover those pesky gray hairs AND highlights. Once my daughter was in college, the gray had outnumbered the non-grey and I no longer needed highlights, just color (am I seeing a pattern here…Does child-rearing have something to do with gray hair)?

When I moved to San Diego in the 1980’s and my search for a hair stylist here began. It didn’t take long, it was the second salon I ventured into where I felt at home. They were from New York City and had studied in Paris. I was impressed. And they were really good. The place busy with clientele from all over San Diego.

You may be wondering how many years has it been between then and now? 34 years. 34  years of monthly conversations about life’s ups and downs. About marriage, divorce, pregnancy, childbirth, work, fun, family, travel, health…you name it, we talk about it with our hair stylist. We celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays with them. We laugh and cry with them.

Why did I stay for 34 years? As I told an office friend recently when asked why I have stayed with the same real estate company for 23 of my 25 years in the business, there just wasn’t a compelling reason to leave. I was happy, we danced to the same tune. Why change for the sake of change? I believe in loyalty.

My friend of thirty-four years, my stylist, isn’t well now. Her health prevents her from working. I never thought this would be the way our story played out. I guess I thought we would be white haired old ladies together.

So, what is a girl to do? Fortunately, I have a great hair stylist who cuts and styles my hair. I had absolute faith in her that she could step right in and fill a big pair of shoes. And, she did, brilliantly. Thanks, Mandi. Who knows, maybe there are another 34 years on the horizon.


The Sleeping Porch

When I was a little girl (eight years old and younger), one of my best memories was visiting my grandmother’s childhood home in Ft Smith, Arkansas. My grandmother, our “Mimi”, grew up on a farm in Oklahoma. Her family moved to the big city of Ft Smith, Arkansas, when she was a teenager.

My family lived in Dallas when I was little and one would think that nothing could be more oppressive than the heat and humidity of a hot summer Texas night. But they had never been to Ft Smith, Arkansas.

I remember stepping out of the old claw foot bathtub in the Ft Smith house and never being dry for the rest of the day. Before you could dry off, the humidity had wrapped its arms around you and you were “damp” for the remainder of the day. “Damp” is a lady-like term for “sweating” where I grew up.

The “Sleeping Porch” was a screened in porch that wrapped around a quarter of the upper story of the family home in Ft Smith. In the “Sleeping Porch” of nothing but beds…the old-fashioned beds with lumpy mattresses and iron headboards. With cotton sheets and pillow cases that smelled like they had been freshly laundered and ironed. Some of the pillow cases had been hand embroidered by my grandmother and her sisters.

My sisters, cousins and I would climb through the “window” that led to the “Sleeping Porch” and the fun would begin. Pillow fights, arguing about who slept with whom, great aunts laughter … I can hear it now like it was yesterday.

As we “settled” for the night, the screened in porch allowed for the sweet, cool summer air to overtake us. We listened to the crickets and other “bugs”, looked at the moon and the stars and told stories until, one by one, we fell asleep.

Inevitably, when we awoke, the great aunts and my grandmother were already awake and gone, making us wonder what we had missed! We would bound down the  back stairs to a breakfast of whatever we wanted…yes, the great aunts would make whatever we wanted and laugh the entire time. The loved us well and unabashedly.

I wish I had told this story before I lost my lovely Aunt Carollyn earlier this year. I am glad I am telling it while my sweet Mother is here. sleeping-porch-bed-design-ideas Continue reading