"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Saturday, March 08, 2008

In Which I Head for the Nursing Home

No, it wasn't advanced age or infirmity that sent me to the county nursing home yesterday. I went for a celebration of the opening of the brand new, state-of-the-art, environmentally green, enormous, and beautiful new facility.

It's a gorgeous building, high on a hill, facing the river and mountains. (And the County Correctional facility where I occasionally spend time!)

On entering, one has a wonderful sense of entering a sunny, airy village center. On one side of the reception area is a sunroom with lovely wicker furniture. One proceeds to the courtyard area with benches, lamps, and "shop fronts" for the cafe and hair salon.

Painted overhead is this amazingly realistic sky--with twinkling stars. (In low light and at night they must look lovely!)

The County Clerk, County Commissioner, County Treasurer, Chair of the County Delegation, and the Head of the Nursing Home, who assists a resident with cutting the ribbon as part of the opening ceremonies.

A group of us--current and former legislators, newspaper reporter--had a V.I.P. tour of the entire facility by the County Commissioner, who promised we'd see cool stuff other visitor tours wouldn't see!

We started at the Hair Salon.

From an upper level, we could look down upon the courtyard.

We saw the kitchen, the laundry, storage areas, staff dining room, service elevators.

And, most thrilling of all, we visited the "pipe room" that houses the environmentally friendly geothermal heating/cooling system--probably the largest in the state.

Because groundwater is a constant 50 degrees, it's more efficient to heat and cool for furnace and air-conditioning. Our county correctional facility, only a couple of years old, also has a geothermal system.

The residents' rooms are quite pleasant, spacious, with natural woodwork window trims and cabinets, nice lighting, and huge windows--each one with a view of the terraces outside, or the mountains in the distance. Each wing has its own kitchen and dining area and activity room.

This bathtub cost $10,000.

Here's a view from the top level activity area, down the corridor from the chapel and conference room.

We toured the doctor and dentist's office, the rehabilitation center, heard about the activities for residents.

Then we joined the reception in the enormous activity room. The food was delicious. Several of us found a table in the Cafe and talked politics.

The current facility--parts of it are 150 years old--is situated right next to the new one. The very complicated move of residents and staff from one to the other will be staged this week. When they arrive, they'll find all their belongings waiting for them in their assigned rooms. I hope on the moving days the weather will be as lovely as it was on opening day!

From the nursing home my legislator colleague and I returned to our town for a radio broadcast from a local restaurant.

One of my consituents being interviewed.

The Chap brought home pizza for supper. The girls were very weary, as we'd had a trip to the vet's in the morning. Ruth had her annual exam and because Jewel has never been Home Alone, she came along with us. Both of them were insane with joy about the outing in the car. They've got a terrible case of cabin fever!

This morning, during a break in the rain, I ran local errands--bank, post office, garden center. I've re-potted my Crown of Thorns plant and set up the pots for rooting my birthday boxwood.

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