Amy F. Quincy Author/Freelance Writer



Moving: Live and Learn

IMG_20151213_162220Make no mistake about it: Mom and I are in the thick of a traumatic event. They say never to purchase a house you don’t plan to be in for at least five years. Well, they obviously aren’t an aging woman and her handicapped daughter. We’re moving to Riverside.

I don’t think it’s a secret. I’m not real keen on Mom’s neighborhood. What with the speeding cars and basically taking my life in my hands every time I walk Frankie, it’s not exactly pedestrian friendly. There are very few sidewalks here and where there are, a car usually sits in the driveway, blocking my path.

Always on the lookout for a way to further improve my (and my mom’s) quality of life, a friend and I were talking about her recent move to Riverside. Then I took a scouting trip there, via JTA, to make sure I could get to places in my power chair. Publix and Starbucks were right across the street from my friend’s apartment building. Groceries and a latte? On my own?

Unless you don’t drive, it’s impossible to convey just how huge this is. And I mean HUGE.

To my surprise, Mom was open to the idea. She’d always wanted to live in Riverside, but my life was at the beach. I’m ready to correct that statement. My able-bodied life was at the beach. I moved here when I was 23. But that was back when I could drive. Or actually go to the beach. As in swim. I’ve lived in this community for almost 23 years. And people think going to Mexico was brave? This feels bigger. Much bigger. Home base is everything.

So now, in addition to the normal holiday stress, we have added living among boxes, preparing a house for the market and having a garage sale stress. Mom and I vacillate between biting each others heads off and feeling nostalgic about breaking up our little two-person, three-animal family.

But it’s time. I need to be able to get somewhere without bumming a ride and Mom needs to not worry about a yard, a pool, the roof (heck – a light bulb!) We’re moving into separate apartments in the same building. And as for that whole five year homeowner’s plan? Well, live and learn.

Update on the Air

130423_0012Bella’s worst fears were realized one night when I shifted to the opposite direction and rolled the entire mattress on its side. I dumped myself, Bella and all my bedding straight to the floor. Note to self: air mattresses can topple. They don’t just feel like they will — they’ll do it.

Frankie had already moved into the office to sleep on my power chair, but he did come over to check out the situation, wondering, I’m sure, why the heck I was on the floor. Bella leapt from the bedroom, never to return. Seriously, it’s been days and she won’t even enter the room except to pass quickly through it on her way to the litter box, let alone touch paw to mattress ever again. Frankie promptly curled up in my bedding.

The fall was in super slow-mo, very gentle. It didn’t even hurt. After all, I had the wherewithal to take a picture, didn’t I?

Cardboard Chaos

dreamstimecomp_22291750“Chaos in the midst of chaos isn’t funny, but chaos in the midst of order is.”

~Steve Martin

Let me tell you, becoming disabled is one big lesson in giving up control. I haven’t quite gotten it,┬ábut I’m getting better.

Silly me, I envisioned my pictures frames in the box of picture frames and the nightlight together with my lamp and stereo in a box marked “electronics.” (This is the freaky part of being a control freak.)

But when you don’t pack or unpack the boxes, and can’t even write the word electronics, you’re at the mercy of someone else’s organizational skills. And seriously, why should I care? I’m trying hard not to.

So while last week was about embracing my rolls, this week I’m embracing the chaos. Let the silverware get thrown in with my old albums from college. I’m throwing caution to the wind. It will all get there anyway. And really, I’m lucky to have friends offering to help. I’m taking a deep breath and trying to let go. C’mon June.

Next Door Neighbors

My future residence
My future residence

“Would you ever consider moving in with your mom?” my mom’s friend asked me in 2011.

“Oh, hell no,” I said.

As a wise friend is fond of saying — never say never.

I stopped saying “hell no,” particularly to my mom’s friends, when Mom reminded me it’s not a very nice thing to say. And once it became clear I was going to do just that, my standard response became “Yes, I’m moving to my mother’s, God help me.” I realize “God help me” is along the same lines as “hell no” and probably isn’t very nice either, so I’m going to stop saying that one, too.

My “wing”

Besides, (famous last words) I really don’t think it’ll be that bad. I’m actually looking forward to it. It’ll be nice to have everything new and accessible. Nice to have wide doorways that I actually fit through instead of accidentally chipping wood or gouging drywall. To have a bathroom I don’t have to back into. Or constantly sop up water off the floor because I’ll have a proper “roll-in” shower. Not to mention, my mother has a pool that we outfitted last year with a wheelchair lift. And best of all, there’s cable galore. My mom easily has a thousand channels.

Frankie will be happy too. He’ll have his two favorite people under one roof. And a new cat buddy, one that occasionally plays with him instead of hissing if he brushes up next to her on the couch. Maybe with two cats, he’ll get the message: cats don’t like repeatedly getting their butts sniffed. And there’ll be longer walks (and power chair rides) as we have to trek a little further to the ocean.

In fact, the only drawback so far has been the bruising of my ego. When you’re in a wheelchair and tell people that you live alone, they immediately assess the situation and conclude that you’re quite capable. If, on the other hand, you mention that you live with your mom, they consider you dependent to the point of needing 24/7 care and not being able to dress yourself.

My mom will do everything in her power to dispell that myth. Already she’s fond of explaining that the move will benefit us both. That she’ll be my body, reaching some item on a top shelf, and I’ll be her mind, figuring out her cell phone or reminding her where she left her keys. My mom values her independence as much as me. She’s even suggested I call before coming over to her side. At first, I found this ridiculous, but on second thought, it works both ways. Is it too silly to have a doorbell installed on the door that links her side to mine? Maybe an intercom? I’ll have a private entrance, a small living room and a kitchenette (with everything but the oven). We won’t be roommates so much as next door neighbors. In fact, maybe that’s what I’ll tell people: I don’t live with my mom, I live next to my mom.


Of course, the writer in me is looking forward to a plethora of new material. From renovation nightmares to disagreements over disciplining Frankie to crazy Carlito, my mom’s bipolar cat. I want it all to go well, but rest assured, I’ll be writing about it if it doesn’t. And so begins another chapter: a mother, a daughter, a dog and two cats. Wish us luck. We may need it.

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