Sunday, 22 September 2013


The sun is shining clear and blue, wisps of cirrus are sneaking their way across the open azure, the air is crisp with the promise of autumn, the wind is calm and easy. It is one of those amazing days we get here in Calgary, one of those wonderful, fresh, energizing days that comes on more than a regular basis, the kind of day where anything can happen, where all is possibility, where each and every moment is a treasure. I love these kinds of days.

Of course this upbeat mood is not the weather alone. I awoke this morning and there was no pain; I couldn't understand what was happening to me. I awoke this morning and there was no fear, no worry, no stress. I slept well, soundly and late. I am rested, feeling positive and alive, just the opposite of yesterday morning. While the pain is creeping back into me, the start of the day sets the tone and I plan on keeping that tone.

Yesterday, Peter and Jim, two of my brothers, shared their ideas with me on where I might live and how I might adapt to the changes in my body. We talked about wheelchair access needs, assisted living, care homes, buying, renting, modifying and a myriad of options that might be open to me. We talked about money, how much I have and how I need to make it work. We talked about how long I might live and what might happen if I run out of capital. We talked about life.

I've ended up with a plan. First of all, I am in no rush. I can stay here for a while yet, assuming my landlord does not demand another year lease. Even if he does, he is required to give me 90 days notice, so I have a few months yet. One of my options is to buy my current apartment and renovate it to make it wheelchair accessible. That would likely take about $25,000 down payment and $15,000 for renovations although Jim says he can do most of the work. Peter, in a wise observation said that if I am going to buy, I should look around at other apartments; I might find one a bit more expensive but with the adaptations made already.

The discussion of capital was a big part of this conversation. Since I am no longer working, I need my capital to live on. Once it wears out my pensions will provide basic support but will certainly not provide me with the kind of lifestyle I am used to; I will need help financially at that point or I will have to give up my home and move into care. However by then I will probably be leading a somewhat reduced lifestyle anyways; it may not matter and that's a few years away.

We talked about renting. In many ways this is less attractive to me than buying. When renting, a landlord can do all kinds of things and not all landlords are as good as mine. In addition there are not a lot of adapted apartments for rent here in Calgary; most of them are much smaller and more expensive than mine. Adapting a rented place myself will be costly and still leaves me renting. So while renting is definitely on the table, it might be tougher to find a place.

I am going to reach out to ALS Alberta and Accessible Housing  Society of Calgary to see what they can do. I am going to contact a Realtor to see what is available for purchase. These are my two paths. Both of them work. I have options. I am alive and in charge of my future. I have direction and forward motion.

Maybe that's why I feel so good this morning.

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