The Father’s Day Gift

So I got Dad what he asked for, a new razor for his face.

So apparently, once upon a time, about 50 years ago, razors were really simple to operate and didn’t require any operating manual or special knowledge.

Apparently this razor can do everything but make coffee, my Dad’s favorite expression. The used car I bought last year can do everything but make coffee. The tablet where he listens to recordings of the church services we miss also can do everything but make coffee. Coffee is really important to him.

So after about two hours of him manhandling this poor razor I finally convinced him to just plug it in and let it do it’s thing.

“But these metal things are supposed to touch these metal things and they don’t!”

“Um,” I said, looking at it for a moment. “Actually, they do.”

“They don’t lock together!”

“They’re not supposed to! They’re just supposed to touch and from that touch they gather up all the electricity they need.”

“Well, how is that a good idea? That’s not how it was when I was younger.”

Anything I say after that point is going to get me in trouble. So I say the next best thing. “All those razors you had when you were younger broke, didn’t they? Well, here’s one that works. Just let it charge up some.”

I know I’ll get old too but I hope that my “old” isn’t like his “old”. I need to be a nerdy old person who can plug and play.

 

 

 

 

Terrible Days

Life is hard enough when you have a job to go to. For a caregiver, it’s so much more complicated. Now, caregiving encompasses all sorts. Moms, Dads, grandparents who are raising their grandkids. All of that is caregiving although the word traditionally refers to those who are caring for someone who is incapable of caring for themselves.

My Dad’s PCP prescribed a  new medication for him to help with the neuropathy that he’s not having issues with. The way she stated it the medication can actually help some nerves to grow back.

I don’t believe that.

Fast forward a month and my Dad can’t focus long enough to hold a conversation. He’s very unsteady on his feet and is sleeping 12 – 16 hours a day. It’s gotten so bad that dialysis is calling me to tell me what happened during dialysis sessions because they know he won’t remember to tell me or remember instructions they gave him.

This is sad to me because I know on some level that the PCP meant well but my Dad has lost ground. I only hope he gets it back.

Yesterday was hard. I had to do a bit of all three jobs and I had to do it all in one day. Dad ‘remembered’ that I need to order his medication like five times so he told me all five times about it. Then there’s the endless probate. Thank heavens we’re nearing the end of that. I hope. And then there’s working. I’ve had people tell me I shouldn’t be working, not with all the responsibilities I have. But I get something out of my work. I get personal growth and I learn how to not to murder people who intentionally irritate me because they think if they make a big stink and get messy and loud I’ll give in and give them the fan they’re not eligible for. Um. No. I will, however, call security.

So it’s today now and hopefully will be a slower day, one where I can think more and not make snap decisions that end up getting me stuck in traffic because “I haven’t gone home this way in a long time. I wonder why.”

 

Who really knows what time it is?

Part of my job as caregiver is to put out fires. By fires, I mean the little things an old guy just can’t manage to accomplish on his own. This morning, it was breakfast. Yesterday, it was all about time.

So an alarm clock is necessary because my Dad’s on lots of medications and doesn’t just hop up out of bed in time for events. So we’ve been on the search for the perfect alarm clock. As is typical, it’s more like a tale of Goldilocks. We have yet to find the Just Right.

So the first clock was a purple flower that Dad wore out. And also he couldn’t always count on the twelve being up. If he wasn’t careful it would read five o’clock instead of eleven. So I got him a digital. Joining the 21st century. That thing was going off at all hours of the day and night because my Dad and digital are two objects never in the same sentence. He hated that one too. Then came the tiny wonder. It was loud. He accidentally pulled one of the little dials off the back, the one to set the alarm time. Then came the dynamic duo. One is a wind up – more his century – while the other has a battery and a little light that illuminates the clock face at night.

The only issue with the dynamic duo was that the dials are all labeled in writing Dad can’t read. “And there’s too many! Who needs this many dials on the back of a clock? I don’t know what any of them do!” So I come out with my sharpie and label the clock dials. Works great on the white clock. Not so much on the black. My Dad is not into glitter pens yet so I had to come up with another solution to label the black clock.

Pink Nail Polish!

He seems satisfied despite his declaration of “that stinks!” But it’s the point. It’s not the huge issues of everyday life that caregivers must smooth over. It’s the little things. Like how to work a clock.

Ironically enough, Dad has kept every single clock.

So now he has five. Oddly enough, none of them have the same time.

Saturday

I don’t want this to take the place of my journaling. However, maybe sometimes I want to post things that might be read by someone else, versus the diary, which I don’t want anyone to read but me.

It’s so nice to have a day where I can rest and – Who’m I kidding? I’m a woman! I’ve got laundry and chores to do! There’s no rest when you’re a caregiver!

But I’ve also got some shopping to do and I think I might dip into the mad money today just so I can get some of that old retail therapy. Something has pricked me and I feel the need to go to Mardel’s. Haven’t been there in years. And I might swing by Joann’s on the way to get cat food and people food. I’d better leave soon because in about ten minutes, it’ll be a 110 outside.

 

The Evils of Probate

First off, let me start this by saying I’m doing my best today to stay positive. Still fighting the good fight. Second, let me say that I too was once one of the masses, one of the lucky who had never experienced probate. I’d heard about it, of course, mentioned with a shudder by those persons who’d had to handle that. Up until now I’d always managed to avoid it.

Second, let me state that attorneys are these useful people who are versed in the laws of the land and how to handle certain situations that might get sticky or otherwise hairy if not done in just a certain way. I had an attorney service I’d kept for a very long and I told everyone how great they were. Well, you don’t know you’re getting bad advice until a judge says that it’s bad advice.

Third. Probate always starts with a death. Kind of like a murder mystery. The mystery here is why probate is still the same as it was in 1810. So the point is to make sure that when someone dies their property goes to the person they wanted it to go to or, if there is no will specifying who gets what, that it goes to the legal heirs. Okay. So probate also makes sure the bills get paid and all of that. Sounds great. Simple.

Holy Frijoles! This has gone on for a year and for the most part that is because the court is ineffectual, loses stuff, mismanages documents and just really makes a big mess of everything. Keep in mind that this stuff they’re managing is what you’re paying an attorney thousands of dollars to do. Probate does not come cheap.

Uncle died. He never probated his mother’s estate. Guess who owned the house? Okay. My mom died. The attorney from the service said do nothing and it will automatically go to my Dad. I took him at his word. Turns out he knew nothing about probate. I wish I could say the same. Judges who take things out of order just because they can and create legal nightmares for constituents whom they are allegedly serving are also part of the nightmares. I understand there are procedures and codes about how to do things but for the love of PB&J please, please, at least try to know what case you’re working on. I swear, I think the man forgot my name about five times in that two hour period.

Additionally, the judge talks this weird, legalese that makes absolutely no sense. “Did you sign the release of something something and waiver?” Um. I don’t know what that is. “Did they tell you that you were getting something?” Yes.

Why not just call it the waiver of you’re getting something?

In addition, in order to start a probate you have to have an attorney. Dallas requires it. You cannot have a probate without at least one and possibly more attorneys. Everyone expects to get money from you. Each document you must submit comes with a submission fee of at least $400. Each. Document. Each time you submit it. If it’s faxed to them upside down (How do they know?) it will not be accepted and must be submitted again and they expect that fee. I mean, really, how do our roads not get paved? I know I have submitted a lot of documents in this last 15 months!

We are making progress. For a simple probate ( i.e. there is a will and only one heir ), it has taken a year, an insane amount of money, a lawyer who will call multiple times a day to remind the clerks that if you lose the depositions we spent thousands of dollars getting from the elderly lady in Michigan who’s still fighting cancer and can’t come to Texas, we will be speaking to your supervisor’s supervisor. (Yes. They lost them. But they did find them again. Eventually.)

In all honesty, you can really see on their faces that they don’t care. They’re there for 8 hours a day and just sit there in their suits and nice outfits and listen to people drone on and on with that legalese that will slowly drive you mad while the AC churns away to keep us all in comfort and luxury. I wanted to jump up and yell, “Ya’ll talk right now!”

The only good thing I can say about probate is it’s almost over. The attorney promises it’s almost over.

She said that last year too.

The one and only enjoyable part of probate so far has been the view. The 22nd floor of Renaissance Tower. Because the court house is being remodeled/updated, they moved to a flashy high rise in downtown where you can see forever. Yep. That’s what I was doing while they were droning on and on. Watching traffic stack up on Woodall Rodgers.

Adulting

I had so many plans for my evening. As an office worker, I get the privilege of coming home to a few hours which are mine to fill. A busy day at Pantry, taking care of Dad, taking care of the house and myself ( a chore in itself ), and making sure things get accomplished, bills paid, tasks checked off the list – all of it together does get overwhelming even though many people think my life is easy. After all, I only work part time, because taking care of an elderly person is super easy and never stresses you out. Unless you are related to that elderly person. In which case it’s super stressful.

I’m fortunate enough to live 10 miles from work and Dad’s dialysis. I came home after dropping him off because I left my phone at home. So, while I was here, I decided to make a pizza. I enjoyed that in front of the TV. DCI Banks was just winding up it’s last season on Amazon Prime. I had enough pizza for lunch and then some for dinner.

Got home from work and made Dad dinner then ate myself. As an adult, pizza affects me differently. Used to, pizza was just one of those things I can eat and then eat more of later. Now, ten minutes after I eat it, I’m asleep. So my evening hours which are so precious to me – Yeah. I slept through them.

There were so many promises of adulthood. Grownups have more fun. They get to play adult games. Take vacations. Drink. All lies. Most adults I know hurry home so they can get back in bed. Adulting is hard.

 

Nancy

So, I guess I’ll begin with a confession. I’m a negative person. I grew up with negative people. I find them everywhere all around me. But now, now I work in an area where people go out of their way to be positive. One reason for that is, in the food pantry, we see a lot of terrible things. Domestic violence, people who can’t seem to escape whatever it is that is haunting them, or those who just simply can’t get a break. Secondly, and possibly most importantly, those who work with me are all happy, cheerful people who work hard everyday at helping others. It’s hard to do any of that when you’re down in the dumps.

So there’s me, I’m the negative Nancy but I try to keep it hidden. I don’t always succeed. I find myself going on silent rants inside my mind that really were a huge waste of time and creativity. So I’m trying to be better. Some days I succeed. Some days I’m Nancy.

But it is hard to basically go against your personality. I’m a melancholy, for those who know the reference to that. It’s natural for me to be blue, down in the dumps. My childhood hero was Eyore. Even though he was always depressed, he was always invited everywhere and participated in so many things that didn’t always work out but he was always around people.

Anyone who has ever been a caregiver knows that caring for anyone means spending a lot of time on your own. Even when I wasn’t alone, it wasn’t as if I was with someone. Old people sleep a lot, usually in front of a blaring TV that is on some objectionable channel. However, if you try to change the channel while they’re sleeping …

Working at the pantry is always busy. There’s always something happen and it’s exciting and busy. So why do I want to quit? Maybe because I’ve been a caregiver for so long that it seems like another planet some days. I can barely keep up. But it is a place that has forced me to change, grow and become something else. Something other than Negative Nancy.

Despite all of that, there are days when Nancy wins. I try to make those times more and more infrequent.