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Senior Wisdom? Lesson learned: what can go wrong in moving from NH to VT in banana and liquor boxes


The Senior Wisdom Examiner has acquired more wisdom than she ever bargained for. The move from Exeter, NH to Burlington, VT was supposed to be a snap. The movers were scheduled for 7:30 a.m.; The storage locker was all set to receive; the motel where the Elderly Couple was to stay until their apartment became available expected them.

And then the fun began. Everything was to be packed in marked boxes by that morning but they didn't quite make it. Promptly at 7:30, three men swept in, gobbled up the entire contents of the apartment in such a flash that many last minute items were packed helter-skelter with no demonstrable sense of order.

Gloating over how simple this exercise had been, Elderly Couple hit the road a few minutes behind the moving van. One last item: drop off 'the digital box' at Comcast on the way out of town.

Crisis #1: They arrive at Burlington Self Storage within minutes of the moving van. The van driver checks to see if his load will fit in the 10'x10' locker partially filled a few weeks earlier. No. Fortunately, Elderly Husband had anticipated this and arranged for a larger locker 'just in case.' The driver gave his first command: "Move everything from locker A to locker B, and keep the 'A' stuff to the rear." The job was completed in record time; the only glitch being extra time (money) to switch lockers to a 10'x20' - big enough to live in.

The Couple moves into Smart Suites Extended Stay Hotel, takes a quick peek out the window at Shelburne Bay and the Adirondacks beyond, then sleeps 'til well-beyond dawn.

Crisis #2: The next morning they eagerly contact the manager of their Senior Inn apartment. Now comes the 'wisdom' - something about hatching chickens. Don't count them. Seems the Couple is not eligible for said apartment. In December they were. In January they weren't. The building is in the Low Income Tax Credit Housing program but had some 'market rate' units for tenants with an annual income under some forty-five-or-so thousand dollars.

This January, the investors in the property needed more money to update things like elevators, etc. so they went back to the till (HUD) and received the money with the stipulation that the income threshold be lowered to $32,000, thereby eliminating now Homeless Elderly Couple.

The Smart Suites is clean and comfortable, the view is spectacular, breakfast is included, toilet paper is free and the extended stay rates are reasonable. That is where they will stay until a catastrophe or hard winter creates a vacancy in one of the Senior Inns they have chosen.

 Crisis 4:
Resignation sets in - until they realize all their clothes and pills (omg, the pills!) are packed in the back of the storage locker. Two boys are hired to climb over the 6x6 foot mattress, three bureaus, the big cherry electric fireplace, and half of the 98 banana boxes to squeeze a few items out of the morass.

Now, one month later, they are settled in their newer room with an even better view; waiting, just waiting, but as Elder Husband always says, 'Nothing is so bad it can't get worse.' I prefer 'This too shall pass.'

The wisdom here? Stay put, or hang loose.


  • Patty Davis 5 years ago

    Does waiting for a vacancy in senior housing involve reading obits? We did that many years ago for my mother-in-law. She stayed with us until a vacant apartment could be had in the senior high rise. I called every time I saw an obit for a resident. I think they moved her up the list just to keep me from calling again.

  • PatFlorio 5 years ago

    Gail, I never realized you were the wisdom examiner. I'm signing up for a subscription.

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