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Peace of mind a priority

Couple puts plan into place to live at Ashby Ponds

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July 21st, 2014
Suzi Weinert on set of her movie
APL_Weinert_web.jpg

In the popular and touching song “Beautiful Boy,” John Lennon quotes writer Allen Saunders, singing, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

But for writer Suzi Weinert, who recently found fame as the author of Garage Sale Stalker and Garage Sale Diamonds, making one simple plan has provided her the peace of mind to fully enjoy life and its great surprises.

Suzi and her husband Don, a retired Army brigadier general, recently joined the Ashby Ponds priority list, with the hope of providing the perfect setting for the next chapter in their lives.

By joining the priority list, the Weinerts ensure that a home at Ashby Ponds, an Erickson Living community in Ashburn, Va., will be available to them when they are ready to move.

Firsthand experience

“Coping with our own parents’ aging taught us that as an elder’s independence fails, it’s tough for caring adult children to put aside other obligations to solve their parents’ periodic aging problems,” says Suzi. “Don and I also realized that if we “aged in place” in our own home, we would burden our kids with our home’s upkeep and repair, as well as managing our in-home caretakers. 

“We know that our children would devotedly add our plight to the running of their own homes and lives, but we were determined not to become a problem for our children. We wanted to choose an appealing, safe destination where we could age gracefully.”

Because four of the Weinert’s five children live with their families in Northern Virginia, the couple’s search focused on the Washington, D.C., area.

“We visited every senior housing facility we could find,” says Suzi. “Several features quickly distinguished Ashby Ponds from the competition. We like that Ashby Ponds is a new facility with modern architecture and technology. It is evident that Erickson Living properties apply what they’ve learned from past endeavors to update and improve their newest ventures.”

Taking advantage

As members of the priority list, Suzi and Don make repeated visits to the Ashby Ponds campus for special events and receive information on new construction before it is released to the general public.

“We attend numerous daytime events including open house tours, lunches, and presentations,” says Suzi. “Every visit reinforces our decision. The apartment homes are attractive and inhabited by happy campers. And the meals we eat, prepared by the Ashby Ponds chefs, are delicious.”

Time to start something new

With the decision on where they will live completed, Suzi enjoys the peace of mind to embark on new and exciting adventures. 

At the age of 75, Suzi wrote her first novel, Garage Sale Stalker, a 351-page thriller about a fictional woman, Jennifer Shannon, who tracks down a killer, Ruger Yates, as a result of a yard sale connection.

“My experience shows that it is never too late to discover and explore new talents,” says Suzi. “This was the only book I ever expected to write, but when I finished the book, my publisher said, “Oh no. You’re onto something big. This is just the first of your Garage Sale series.”

She followed up the book with a second mystery, Garage Sale Diamonds, earlier this year. While writing the book, a Hollywood production company approached Suzi about making a TV movie based on Garage Sale Stalker for the Hallmark Channel. 

“We signed a contract, and the production company invited me to Vancouver, British Columbia, to watch the filming,” says Suzi. “It was a huge thrill.  The producer had a special chair with my name on it, introduced me to the cast and crew, and treated me like royalty.”

Director Peter DeLuise also invited Suzi to perform a walk-on role as a garage sale shopper. 

“He winked when he said he knew I wouldn’t have to study up for that part,” she says. 

The movie Garage Sale Mystery premiered September 14, 2013, on the Hallmark Channel and is now available on DVD. A sequel is planned for fall 2015 on the Hallmark Movie Channel.

Life starts now

The sequel will coincide nicely with the Weinerts’ plans to move to Ashby Ponds in late 2015. 

“When we first joined the priority list it was with a ‘some day’ in mind,” says Suzi. “Now we know it will be next year. We kept thinking we’d move some day—when we got ‘old.’ But guess what? Friends of ours making the same decision reminded us we’re ‘there’ because we’re their same age!”

With the majority of their 14 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren in the area, the Weinerts look forward to welcoming their family to their new Ashby Ponds home.

“Life is good and will be even better when we advance from the priority list to our Ashby Ponds home,” says Suzi.

For more information on Suzi and her Garage Sale Stalker series, visit SuziWeinert.com and GarageSaleStalker.com.

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