Love my Hood


Thank you Tara M. Farrell Photography for this wonderful collections of photos from our neighborhood.

Thank you Tara Farrell Photography for this wonderful collection of photos from our neighborhood.


I love my neighborhood.  I mean, I FREAKIN’ love my neighborhood.  We have sidewalks, a tree lined Main Street that comes with a 4th of July parade, cottage style homes built circa 1918, Easter Egg Hunts in a Ravine, Halloween nights than include over 300 kids stopping by  and good neighbors. Our kids walked to pre-school and elementary school, we can ride bikes to the library and a yummy cupcake store. The elementary school is located on a historic river that has beautiful sunsets, a fishing pier and a playground.  I can walk to one of my favorite restaurants of all time, which comes in handy after a few drinks. We have a

Our neighborhood pier in the winter.

Our neighborhood pier in the winter.

neighborhood women’s group that meets once a month, a book club and garden club (ok, I don’t really participate in the book and garden clubs, but it’s nice knowing they are there). We have acquaintances and friends.  Good friends. I have the type of friends that when I disappear for weeks on end or don’t show up for a party or two and don’t return calls, they will come knock on my door and want to know what is going on.  They care.  I know they do and they show me.  I can walk or ride my bike to their homes and my kids can do the same.  It isn’t uncommon to come home to a note, flower or some small gift left on my front porch. When I have one too many and I get sappy and sad and start to feel sorry for myself, they let me. And then they are still my friend the next day and tell me it is ok, I am allowed.  I wouldn’t have been able to start this blog or continue with this blog without the support and help I have received from them. I am not sure I can really put into words the pulse, love and sustenance that comes from being part of this community. We have lived here ten years and although I sometimes complain about the small yard or small house, old windows, old bathroom and work that constantly needs to be done, I absolutely love my neighborhood. But the problem is…..

When someone has Alzheimer’s Disease, they no longer see things that have to be fixed or quite understand how to fix them.  Remember when I said the neighborhood is circa 1918?  With an almost 100 year old house come LOTS of little things that constantly need to be done.  Some are simple. Some take more time and brain power and some take lots of money.  Jim worked with electronics in the Air Force, so in the past, he was able to do those little things around the house.  He was able to multi-task. Changing outlets, putting up ceiling fans, painting, putting up wood trim, caulking around the tub….all the things that home ownership requires were easy.  Now I feel like the house is falling apart around us.  I’m not allowed to get frustrated with Jim for not being able to do it anymore. I sure as Hell can’t do most of it myself and I don’t have the funds to pay someone every time a little something needs to be done.  Coming home to chipped paint, old outlets, and weeds upon weeds is driving me crazy.  Well, one of the things driving me crazy.

Frances heading to the Fourth of July parade, 2007

Frances heading to the Fourth of July parade, 2007

Jim has been out of work for over a year.  I made the terrible mistake of realizing he has been out of work for over a year and hasn’t gotten one single project done around the house.  NOT ONE.  First of all, I need to stop thinking like this, it isn’t productive and it doesn’t do any good.  Second of all, not one project in over a year.

Ok, I’ve made my point.  So, while I am wondering how to remedy this, I am forced to recall something I heard at one of my first Alzheimer’s Support Groups:  Don’t focus on what he can no longer do, focus on what he is still able to do. He still makes the kids’ lunches and walks our son to school.  He still does dishes and helps with the laundry and vacuuming and cleaning the bathrooms and mowing the grass and going grocery shopping (that will be a whole other story).  He is still doing.  Breathe Karen.  He is still here. In the now, love his abilities now and put the things he used to be able to do in the memory bank.  Realize that person is gone and the person you have in front of you now is doing the best he can for as long as he can.

Brad searching for Easter eggs, 2009.

Brad searching for Easter eggs, 2009.

Each day I must repeat these steps.  As the man I have known for over 17 years slowly slips away from me, I am forced to change my ideas of the perfect life and what is acceptable and what isn’t.  I have to let go of wanting my home to look like a Southern Living Magazine. Or at this point a home that doesn’t need a million things done to make it as nice as everyone else’s .  There, I said it out loud.  I still compare parts of my life to others and let’s face it;  My life isn’t like ANYONE else’s that I know and won’t be for a very long time. I need to accept the love that fills my home and realize that is what is really important. Thankfully the neighbors and friends I just spoke of don’t keep tabs on the work that needs to be done or the fact I no longer invite them over for dinners or gatherings.

Besides, isn’t it every woman’s dream to have a spouse that does the dishes, bathrooms and vacuuming? Even if it takes him 3 times longer than it used to?  Even if I catch him using the dish detergent to clean the bathtub? As a good friend pointed out, “It made the bathroom smell so much better than Lysol.” So there! I have friends that can keep me in the now and  I have every woman’s dream man. And he is mine, all mine baby!




posted by Karen in Early Signs of Alzheimer's,Early Stages of Alzheimer's Disease,Uncategorized,Younger Onset Alzheimer's Disease and have Comments (11)

11 Responses to “Love my Hood”

  1. Carol says:

    So sorry you have to go through this my Mom is 90 and lives with us she has Alzheimer’s I can only imagine if it was a spouse. A huge bump in the road no doubt. I am dealing with my own journey into uncharted waters if you like join me. Regards, Carol

  2. Yes I understand, the stuff hubs used to do around the house just doesn’t get done. I have learned to let the details go, and look more at the big picture, we are all fed,(not always nutritious) we sorta have clean clothes to wear, (socks NEVER match), house is clean (meaning vacuumed and picked up), lawn mowed (not edged or weed whacked), kids are at their sports practices etc. The details that I used to attend to need to go by the way side in order to maintain my sanity! It’s hard not to compare and it’s hard to not want our old, normal life back. But press on, and make the best of it! :) Hang in there!

  3. Jill says:

    We mom was diagnosed depression set in and for the first time she had to start meds – she hated it, which required more meds. She lasted 9 years, the last 7 years living here with us and though she was no longer mom, I look for her. She passed in my arms 3/22/2012. By this point she sill knew our names but only watched TV. We miss her homemade biscuits, yellow squash and onions, and mac & cheese. I so wish I had taken the time to learn before she got the disease.
    You are doing a great job! Just make sure to use names of everyone when they come and go and it will help as he progresses. My mom’s last sentence said “Malcolm gives such good manicures”. Malcolm is my husband, she call him our husband (dad died 2/13/2009). I could never do her nails as well as he could. Warmed my heart.

  4. Michelle fox says:

    Your story today is filled with hope and reality. You are accepting Jim, as difficult as it is, at the point he is in his life now. Recognizing the joys of a wonderful hometown and great friends. Don’t beat yourself up for getting upset, you are in the fight of your life but so good to look beyond the disease and try and enjoy the memories you are making now. You will be so glad you did because….this to shall pass.

  5. Dennis DuBois says:

    I have learned, over the past nine years, that what was once normal, will no longer be. Your “new normal” will be changing as the disease progresses. The best you can do is make each day the best day it can possibly be. You never know what tommorrow will bring. Every case is different. There is no way to know what will happen next, or when. You must take one day at a time, and some days, you’ll take 5 minutes at a time. Hang in there! You are not alone!

  6. John Rothwell says:

    I am glad to know that I am not the only guy that makes lunches, does dishes, and vacuums. I just recently learned to change outlets. My wife won’t let me touch a fan. Once I tried to change the cord on a dryer but wasn’t sure it was the correct type of “pig tail”. So I plug it in…BOOM! A big blue spark and I flew 10 feet onto my … you know what. I won’t even tell you what my wife said. The abbreviation is “DA”. Needless to say, we have been together almost 18 years, I still don’t do much with electricity or power tool or automobiles. I do however provide lots of hugs, cook dinner, and can wash dishes (I’m not allowed to touch laundry either but that is another story).

    Thank you Karen for sharing your family and encouraging us to remember the “here and now”. My continuous prayers to you, Jim, and your family.


    • Karen says:

      Hi John,
      Congratulations on your graduation this past weekend. So proud of you! Way to go!
      Thanks for reading and for writing to me. That means so much. I appreciate your kind words and your encouragement.
      Take care and thanks again,

  7. dona says:

    I also have alzheimers whole life has changed durong these past 5 yrs. I feel like I’m a burden to my husband, &hate that feeling. Your blog is helping me also. Thank u

  8. […] prejudice, but they are my life, and I am one proud mamma. I have a home in a nice neighborhood I am alive and healthy. My children are healthy. My parents are still alive and help as much as […]

  9. […] amazing children. I know I am a little prejudice, but they are my life, and I am one proud mamma. I have a home in a nice neighborhood. I am alive and healthy. My children are healthy. My parents are still alive and help as much as […]

  10. […] amazing children. I know I am a little prejudice, but they are my life, and I am one proud mamma. I have a home in a nice neighborhood. I am alive and healthy. My children are healthy. My parents are still alive and help as much as […]

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