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Move = Complete


Hi friends!

I hope you had a great weekend! We arrived back in Tucson yesterday after a whirlwind of a trip and I have never been more thankful to sleep in my own bed!

Initially, my brother was going to go assist my Dad with loading a moving truck a month or so ago but, due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control, that didn’t happen. My sister and I were both unable to go for the originally scheduled move date but I decided to go over my Thanksgiving break since I had a few days off from work (though one is never really “off” in academia – I monitored my email daily).  At first I had booked a flight to go alone:  fly out on Monday, load on Tuesday, then fly back on Wednesday so I could spend Thanksgiving with my own family. But after some thought and discussion, we decided to make a family trip of it. I’m so grateful it worked out that way because I really needed the emotional support of having someone else there with me. Moves are stressful enough (one of the top 5 life stressors according to here), but I think things were exacerbated a bit being that this move was not exactly a happy, exciting, or even desired thing. It was more a chore of necessity to get my Dad somewhere closer to family where he can be helped and watched over better.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t leave town until Wednesday because hubs’ work had him busy all the way through Tuesday evening (he worked late to finish up on time). So we made a 14-hour drive on Wednesday (some of it in snow driving only 20 mph). It was nice that we got to spend all day Thursday hanging out, enjoying good food, and visiting with extended family that I don’t get to see too often. On Friday we had movers, so we fortunately didn’t have to do any heavy lifting, but we still had to direct things which was rife with stress given that not everything could go (my Dad is downsizing), and this was quite troubling for him to see things get left behind.

After the truck was all packed, my family went and checked into a hotel (there was still a guest bedroom set that was left behind in my Dad’s house so he still had someplace to sleep but his other bedroom set was packed). We all took a long family nap, and then met back up with my Dad that evening to go see the Christmas lights at Temple Square. Besides it being the coldest weather the girls had ever experienced (bundled up in 4+ layers and still complaining of the cold in 23 degrees), they really enjoyed seeing all the lights! I can’t wait for Christmas this year – it’s going to be such a fun holiday with them!

We left town on Saturday morning, but split the return drive into two days so it wasn’t quite as grueling. Still not what I would consider pleasant by any stretch of the imagination, but far preferable to our 14-hour one-day drive. Plus – the girls got to see and play in snow!!! They’re obsessed with Frozen (they were late to the Frozen game because we didn’t let them watch movies until just relatively recently), and they kept pointing at the snowy mountains saying, “Look!!! Elsa’s ice castle!!!” Pretty adorable!

Financially speaking, the trip didn’t cost us anything since my Dad covered our costs for gasoline, lodging, and food (all of which was pretty minimal. It actually saved my Dad money for us to all drive compared to what my plane ticket had cost). The only other cost incurred was that of missed work for hubs. Yes, no one really works on Thanksgiving Day, but he could have worked over the weekend and was unable to since we were out of town.

Speaking of….I’ll be posting a debt update later today. I have to maintain a positive attitude and realize and acknowledge that November is always a relatively down month for hubs’ business. But, of course, it’s a bit disappointing to not have earned as much as we would have liked/needed in order to make our astronomically large planned debt payment (we’d planned for a $4500 debt payment and didn’t come anywhere near that). Those numbers will be up later.

But to end on a happy note, I’m so thankful that the first phase of this move is complete. My sister will be meeting the movers in Texas and overseeing as things are unloaded. She will also be the person to help actually set things up once they come off the truck. And, just like that, the burden has shifted off my shoulders and onto hers. I’ll still be primarily responsible for paying my Dad’s bills, but all the day-to-day things will surely fall to my sister now that he’s close to her.

Right now my Dad does NOT want to sell his old Utah house. We’re trying to take things in baby steps so, rather than pushing him too far, we decided it could just sit for now. I’ll be hiring a lawn-care company, his brother (my uncle) will check up on it regularly, and we will revisit the issue in the Spring or Summer. It’s likely we’ll make another family trip up there at that time so hubs can do some general handyman work around the house and we can finish clearing it out of its leftover contents.

I have to say – my Mom has been caring for her aging mother (my grandmother) for a half decade. My grandmother did not do a great job at planning for retirement so the financial burden of her care has fallen directly to my Mom as the only child. It pains me to see the stress it has caused my mother and the financial toll is not trivial (over $4,000/month). I hate that my siblings and I are in the caregiver role for our father, especially at such a young age. That being said, I am beyond grateful that my father took better precautions than my grandmother had, and that he actually has assets (both liquid and real estate) to help pay for his care. As stressful as the situation has been for us, I cannot begin to fathom how much worse it could be if all of these costs were falling directly onto our shoulders. My heart goes out to anyone who has had to financially take over caring for their parents. This has definitely been a lesson to me to get our financial house in order so we never leave our children with the burden that’s been placed on my mother in financially caring for my grandmother. It’s hard enough to take over as caregiver. The least we can do is make sure that we have ample money available to pay for whatever care we may need as aging adults.

Food for thought on this Monday morning. Have a good one!


  • Reply Cathy D |

    Thanks for sharing your Thanksgiving trip Ashley! Sounds like you stayed within your budget and really made some wonderful memories. Thank heavens we have cameras on our phone these days and can capture all these memories so much easier than years past. Your careful planning for your dad has worked out well and how fortunate that he has his children to help him. I enjoy your contrast of financial situations between your grandmother and your dad. I find it so interesting that some people plan for their future and some do not. My father-in-law planned very well for his future, but since he retired at 62 and he is now 85, he is beginning to run out of money. He is also suffering from dementia and that is becoming expensive. He has a 50 year old son taking care of him and living with him, but the son (my brother-in-law) has not put any money away for his future. Not sure how he plans to live once his father is gone, but he does have two brothers in other states that I’m sure he expects to help him out. Again families are interesting and I find planning for the future to be a fabulous topic. Thanks again for sharing this!

    • Reply Ashley |

      Thanks for the comment! I worry about my Dad running out of money, too. He has amassed some degree of wealth for himself, but as you allude to with your FIL, money is finite and can eventually run out. In my father’s case, his prognosis was 2-20 years. If he lives 10 years or less then he’ll be just fine. But if he starts pushing toward the 20-year mark we may run out of money. One of my big goals in the next couple months is to meet with a financial advisor to try to better allocate his current assets and make sure he’s making the highest possible return on investments. It’s a tough subject to tackle because its someone else’s money (and to this point, I’ve really focused only on finances in my own household). But if you find it helpful or interesting I might start to sprinkle in more tidbits here and there. It’s certainly something I’ve been spending a lot of time dealing with.

  • Reply Jen |

    You.Are.AMAZING !!! I’ve never commented before, but my heart really goes out to you Ashley. It must have been a heart-breaking experience to watch your Dad go through this at such a young age. And this is on top of the actual logistics of the trip that you took …. I cannot even fathom the challenge that you had in planning such a long drive when you are busy in a brand new job, have only a couple of days off (?!), have a husband with a very busy business and two young kids??!

    You must have amazing stamina to be able to pull all of this off. Your family is very lucky to have you! Please take care of yourself.

So, what do you think ?