How I won big time by losing the sure family bet #CBF17

background image by Amin Allen Tabrizi courtesy of Flickr

I went to lunch with my grandpa. No, it wasn’t his birthday. Nor was it a holiday. I went because I could. Something I wouldn’t have been able to do a year ago and something I’d bet I would never be able to do without days or weeks of planning.

I mean that quite literally. But before I get into the bet, I should explain. My grandpa, now in his nineties, has lived his entire adult life in Flint, Michigan, and though he occasionally suggested he might be willing to leave the great white north, he would change his mind in dramatic fashion the minute my mom ever made the mistake of taking him seriously.

Then one day quite out of the blue, my grandpa announced he was ready. Not ready to move down south, oh no, no, no, but at least ready to move to a place down the road where we didn’t have to worry quite so much about his roof collapsing under the weight of snow or someone breaking into his shed. My mom and her siblings did not waste any time, appearing as if by magic, to help move his essentials and clean out the family home before any second thoughts got the better of him.

His new living arrangements weren’t perfect, but it gave us a sliver more peace of mind. Still, the family home remained off the market, though it remained unoccupied.

We worried it would remain that way for some time. We also worried that it wouldn’t, at least, not legally anyway.

You see, in addition to being ranked among America’s most dangerous cities, Flint, Michigan’s water crisis, which began in 2014, though it took another year to be recognized for what it is, has still not been resolved. At least not fully. While the water in 57% of homes tested in December of 2016 contained no evidence of lead, it took until March 2017, for a judge to approve a deal to improve the water lines for an additional 18,000 homes – improvements which do not have to be complete until the year 2020. (source AP: A Timeline of the Water Crisis in Flint, Michigan, US News.)

The lead in the water was only a piece of it. 91 residents of Flint and Genesee County, which includes Flint, contracted Legionnaires’ Disease. 12 died. Children born after the crisis began had an average birth weight 5% less than those born before with a higher than average risk of developing irreversible neurological conditions, and fetal deaths spiked by 58% (source Flint Had a Lead Crisis in Its Water. Now It Has a Fertility Crisis, Mother Jones).

Is it any wonder then that Flint might not have the nation’s hottest housing market?

You might then be asking why my grandpa was so unwilling to move. We openly wondered about that on more than one occasion too. I can only assume I get some of my stubborn refusal to accepts facts as presented grit from him.

Back to the bet. As the summer neared its end, my mom eagerly told us that grandpa had changed his mind yet once more. This time it was different. He would brave the change. He was ready to pick family over the familiar. She asked me if I would mind sparing my hubby for a few days to help with the heavy lifting.

Of course, I didn’t believe it for a second. I bet her she was wrong. I told her if and only if he still wanted to go through with it when the time came, I’d be happy to solo parent for a couple of days. It was an easy gamble.

A week passed. The story from my grandpa didn’t change. My mom, stepdad, and my husband booked a truck. I bet them he’d send them back the first day. They spent the day packing, finishing up a day earlier than expected. I bet them they would make it as far as Ohio before grandpa asked to turn the truck around. The truck stopped in North Carolina at a nice retirement complex ten minutes from my home.

I bet them they would make it as far as Ohio before grandpa asked to turn the truck around. The truck stopped in North Carolina at a nice retirement complex ten minutes from my home.

So instead of being right, I sat to Grandpa’s left as we enjoyed a lightly seasoned piece of baked fish. We met Irwin, another 93-year-old transplant from the north with a sharp wit and love of terrible puns rivaling my own. We met Paula a self-professed trouble-maker with an eye for cleanliness and efficiency in the German tradition who came to the US from Bavaria with the intention of staying two years only to stay sixty-five. We met soft-spoken John who was just as welcoming. I heard my grandfather laugh and for dessert, they served apple pie.

Losing a bet was never more delicious and I am happy to report, my grandpa’s house sold.

With an upside like this, it’s enough to make you wonder why, for so many of us, it takes so long to brave the risk of a little change.

The hashtag, #CBF17 in this post’s title, is in reference to the Cherished Blogfest, an annual event in which bloggers share something they cherish. Special thanks to Ally Bean over at the Spectacled Bean for sharing the details about this event as well as her own cherish story.

31 thoughts on “How I won big time by losing the sure family bet #CBF17

  1. This is a lovely story. I’m glad that you lost the bet. What a treasure it is to have your grandpa so close by with all his new friends. So happy you decided to join in the Cherished Blogfest.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As a follow up, I went over today as I have most every day for the last two weeks to see my dad and he declared himself all moved in and says he doesn’t need to see me every day. After a quick feeling that I had been ‘demoted’ I can see this as a very, very good thing. I think it is his comfort knowing that he has been welcomed by all and that he won’t be forgotten that has put a pep in his step. Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to eat with him and his new friends. The relief I feel in having him close is beyond description.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He told me how much he appreciated everything you have done for him.

      I don’t blame him, after being on his own for so long, we probably are a little overwhelming.

      His new friends are a hoot.


  3. I loved this story! You are so blessed to have your grandfather still around, probably telling engaging and entertaining tales. I recommend getting him on video telling some fun ones that you can share with your kids when they get a little older. This summer we moved my father-in-law into a community near to us–he has never lived nearby for the fifteen years my husband and I have been married–and it is so great having him so close at hand! The grandkids are very excited to be able to see him so often. Glad you lost the bet, and kudos to your mom for all her hard work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was fortunate to receive one of those recordable storybooks a few years back which was the Night before Christmas as read by my grandparents, mother, and my siblings. My grandmother has since passed so hearing her voice is particularly treasured

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow. That’s wonderful news. Way to go, Grandpa! And I’ll bet he loves his new home and fun new friends. I would like to meet them too. Gosh, change can be hard, and also, good grief about the situation in Flint. Still! Amazing his house sold!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Let’s just say the house was priced to move, which was heartbreaking, but the alternative far, far worse.

      The only other sad part of the situation is how much he is kicking himself now for not moving sooner. We tell him that doesn’t matter anymore. All that matters is he is near now.


  5. God bless your grandpa. Decisions like he made are very difficult as we age. Right now, the thought of moving out of my home is overwhelming. For the time being, I’m stuck like glue to my house on 2/3 acre in a lovely community. Hopefully, I’ll not have to make a decision about moving. Lovely story, however. Glad you lost the bet, too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can understand the reluctance to leave a lovely community. Grandpa had a couple very nice neighbors, but its so much better knowing he won’t be stuck in the cold alone this winter.


  6. I don’t know how I missed this, Allie. Awesome story and it sounds like your grandfather made the wise choice when he was ready. Perhaps there’s hope for my parents who are in their mid-eighties and stubborn as mules. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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