Adventures in Alzheimer’s – New front porch edition

by Julie Frayn on October 25, 2015 in  Adventures in Alzheimer's,Mama Bird

Mom on her new old front steps 1971

Mom on her new old front steps 1971

Mom’s front steps are the same cement blocks they’ve been since 1971. The same pre-fab porch with those stupid horizontal raised grippy bits that hurt bare feet like a mofo. Pretty sure I had three parallel bruises on my ass through most of my formative years from sitting on that damn stoop.

The blocks that make up the steps from the porch to the driveway are arranged in a quarter-circular, narrow staircase. Over time, they have shifted, some dipping at the back and some loosening. Basically, a death trap.

Oh, and no banister. Since 1971.

None of this was an issue until lately. Mom can’t maneuver so well anymore. Those steps are now scary, especially when you are the one on the narrow side, balancing on seven square inches of cement while you hold onto your mother to prevent her from falling. And taking you down with her. The base of the porch is crumbling, the grippy bits broken off in places, the broken cement sharp.

Something has to be done.

demolished porch with jackhammer (artsy title, eh?)

Enter my neighbour – he of the excellent construction skills – and his buddy. They also built my sturdy, lovely new fence after the original fell down in a windstorm this past spring.

The construction took a few days. First was the jackhammering that nearly sent Mom into a coma. She grabbed her head and swooned. A bit dramatic, really. I was standing right next to her (inside the house with the door closed) and it wasn’t that loud. Then again, her hearing has become superhuman.

Magic sign

Magic sign

We had to take some precautions so Mom wouldn’t wander out her front door and be reminded the hard way that her porch was gone. So we did what we always do. We put up a sign.

Of course, the TV people were talking about ‘those boys.’ And every time she peeked between the closed drapes and looked down at them, they were staring up at her. And why were ‘those boys’ trying to get in her front door?

They weren’t. They were working on her porch, JUST OUTSIDE the front door.

Before construction, she was so excited that she’d have new stairs. I try to remind her of this now that they are installed. Don’t get me wrong, they are wonderful. Wide and level POURED cement. The new porch is a good ten square feet larger. It is perfect.

But for Mom, it is a hazard. Where is the railing? Why didn’t they put in a railing?

Me: Well, we never had one before, but I did mean to get that done and forgot. I’m working on it.

Mom: Someone is going to fall off and die. It’s so high.

Me: It’s the same height it always was. They didn’t raise your house or lower your driveway.

Mom: But it used to be safe.

Me: Um…. no. No railing. Same height. Same difference. Just better.

Mom: Why didn’t they fix the driveway?

Me: Say what? I didn’t hire them to fix the driveway. That’ll cost about 20 grand.

New stairs!

New stairs!

Argh. Change sounds good until change comes. Then it is the worst thing EVER.

But no matter. New stairs. (Banister to follow).

Still winning!

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary Smith October 25, 2015 at 5:54 pm

Maybe I shouldn’t have, but this made me laugh. I could ‘hear’ the conversation in my head. Hope you get bannister done soon and sincerely hope your mum doesn’t decide to hire someone to do the drive :)


Julie Frayn October 26, 2015 at 6:36 am

I’m so glad you laughed. That’s my hope, to find the amusing side. Her side of the conversation was made into something that made sense for the reader. I get babble that I have to interpret. I’ll do a post on that, but I have to record her. I can’t ever remember the convoluted nonsense that she says. And no worries about hiring anyone – she has no access to her money or her credit card :)

Claire October 26, 2015 at 8:10 am

I laughed like an idiot. Then I started chanting “Change costs change. Big change costs big change.”

At least I amuse myself.


Julie Frayn October 28, 2015 at 1:16 pm

Laughter is the perfect reaction. Sometimes I’m all the amusement I need. Go ahead, amuse thyself :) xo

Kathi October 29, 2015 at 2:25 pm

“They didn’t raise your house or lower your driveway.” You’re absolutely sure about that, right? LOL

Isn’t it great to have handy neighbors??

xoxo, Kathi


Julie Frayn October 30, 2015 at 6:50 am

Yes, the handy neighbours are very handy indeed :) Mom also thinks the lawn is where the cars used to park… Um. Nope! xoxo back.

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