Welp, it was only slightly better than a hamburger. I started for Castro street (aka restaurant row) in Mountain View, thinking to go to Casa Lupe, a modest little Mexican café that we went to many times. Except approaching it, it occurs to me that I’ll likely be recognized by the waitress that served us many times over the years, and I don’t want to answer the inevitable question. And in fact I don’t want to go to where we went as a couple many times, including, I realized, the last or nearly last time Marian was able to go out to a restaurant.
So there I was wandering down Castro and more or less at random picked a modern Indian casual place where I ordered chicken curry and naan. The waiter wanted to know how spicy, and I said, oh, medium. Whoa. I do not want to know what that cook thought was really spicy, because the dish I got was barely edible, and I usually enjoy hot food. Anyway, back home, watched a little TV, got a serious case of the yawns about 9pm and went to bed, knowing it would mean being up early on Sunday morning.
And was: up and dressed and had finished the NYT puzzle (38:40, not too far off my average) by 7:30. Out to the old coffee shop with the winter sun just up, shining through broken clouds. Walked along being very consciously aware, in the moment, apprehending the air and the light and my body, thinking, “this is me, this is mine,” deliberately claiming life as a solo person.
And of course I was home again with plenty of time on my hands before I was due to meet Dennis for a movie at 1pm. In the email was the info from Alan that I requested yesterday, on three additional independent living facilities (ILFs, henceforth).
I added their numbers to my document and then made up a little table of their monthly rentals on a 1BR unit, which range from a low of $3200 to a high of $8800.
Given those numbers, it appears that a ballpark estimate of the annual cost of living in an ILF is $60,000, give or take. $45,000 minimum. And when I think about that, I hear The Clash in my mind,
Should I Stay or Should I Go?
I sat at the desk going through the check register and the online bill-pay record for the past 12 months, making an estimate of what it costs to live for a year in this fully-paid-for suburban home. In very round numbers: utilities $4K, insurance $4K (earthquake insurance is a bitch), maintenance including gardener, another $4K, taxes $2K (thank you Prop. 13!). Allowing a very generous $30/day for food adds $11K. So a ballpark estimate to merely stay put is $25,000 per annum, or about one-half the annual cost of an ILF.
The decision to “not be a home-owner” was one of the first conclusions I came to when I began thinking about my future as a widower, months before the event. I felt tired of having the responsibility of worrying about building and appliance maintenance and taxes and insurance.
Wanting a fresh start, too; to force a break with the past and to begin a new form of life with minimum baggage.
Is it worth $25K a year for a fresh start?
Or, here’s another way to think about it: apparently I’m willing to consider spending $60K/year for a residence and food. What could I have, if I stayed put and spent the other $35,000 right here? That much money would buy all-new appliances and an upgraded car — and that’s in just the first year.
Hmmmmm…. This indecision’s bugging me… don’t know whom I’m sposed to be…
To be continued.