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  • “I can’t stay here anymore, I have to get out of here, it’s just too much for me”, said my ninety three year old father-in-law. Where he really wants to live is in the Landmark, a senior community in Huntington Beach, California. Where he lives is in the Wrigley area of Long Beach. He owns his home and for all the years he has lived here in the states he has accumulated every tool known to man for working on cars. A GMC mechanic for over thirty years, his garage smells of oil, carburetor and brake fluid and is piled with boxes of oil bought on sale and oil filters for cars that have since passed on to the great wrecked car pile in the sky. Brake drums, brake shoes, engine blocks, a completely rebuilt transmission (used for parts, because you never know). When we talk to him about getting rid of those precious things because he will never use them and we don’t want them; his stands, his creeper, his compressor and why does he need all this oil, and the bumper from the 65 Pontiac, he says, “someone might need this and pay good money for it”.

    One garage wasn’t enough for him, so we built him a shed for his gardening tools about 20 years ago and now that is also packed. All this makes moving or selling a house a logistical nightmare. Of course he has to take his bench and compressor and a few other items because they have one car garages at Landmark. "So we'll pay for your oil change" we say, "get rid of it". I tell him the old tires have got to go, the wheel rims are of no use to us anymore. End of discussion we get into the car and are ready to drive off. He says, “you know, you really should oil the door hinges with a little WD40”. We say, “When we find you a place, we’ll give you a call. Happy birthday Pop.”

    Ten miles down the road the phone rings, it’s Grandpa,”Just wanted to tell you that when you find my place make sure it has a gas oven in it, because the electric ovens have caused nothing but problems for some of my friends and in some of the newer units they have already converted over to gas”. “OK, got it”, I say. He says, “It has to be in Landmark, because Irvine is too hot.” Yes, Grandpa.

    One thing accomplished today, he will allow us to pay for a gardener, even though he says he is perfectly capable of trimming the hedges, pruning the roses and mowing the lawn and repairing the sprinklers and on and on...
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