Changing Your Life

Consider Getting Small

It’s 2015, and Shannon and I have done the usual things like working hard, buying cars and clothes, and going on vacation, but mostly we’ve taken going into debt with new gusto.

After visiting with Dad and Edie, we begin to realize how precious and short time can be. It was great seeing the folks and having our daughters visit with them. Our last dinner together before heading home was at Duke’s, at Nawiliwili harbor. Delicious as always, we topped-off the meal with Hula Pie for dessert. Can’t beat that.

Dad’s about 6’2 and 190 pounds. He’s mobile, but he’s got Alzheimer’s, and it’s getting tough around the house. Their home is two stories, and Edie’s never going to be able to help him get up the stairs or even up off the floor if he falls.

We hate to move him, but there aren’t many options on Kauai. We’ve been lucky enough to have the VA consider transporting him to Tucson, AZ, and then after a few months, to Phoenix. It’s $8,500 a month in Tucson. Yikes.

At the last minute, there’s an opening at the Yukio Okutsu State Veteran’s Home in Hilo. It’s on the Big Island of Hawaii, and none of us have spent any time there. Edie finishes the arrangements, and my sister Cathy visits several times after he’s moved. It’s an experience.

The staff is terrific, but nothing is like being at home, so Dad’s a bit disoriented and uncomfortable. He adapts, and Shannon and I think about making some changes to our lives. We’re going to get small.

As for our debts, there are several options everyone faces: strict budgeting, better-paying jobs, bankruptcy, debt consolidation. After weighing the options, we pay-down some debts by taking cash from Shannon’s savings. It’s a risky move, but we weighed the pros and cons and moved forward.

We plan a new trip to Hilo, HI thinking that we might buy a little land there for the future. In the meantime, we’ve been looking at homes all over the island. It’s Hawaii, so prices are crazy, but raw land isn’t terrible if you don’t mind the rain.

We’ll have to detach ourselves from most of our belongings and go the tiny house route if we want to manage the move and the financial changes. We’re considering everything, including a shipping container home. Nothing is off the table, yet.

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