Altering Habits

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Scotty's Place





Scattered again
2005-08-17, 1:30 p.m.

Day 359 Skipped the gym again (or - scattered thoughts again)

Bad, I know. 5am is just too early to be getting up. Gotta work on that. Thing is, I like a little alone time before I head off to bed. Just to unwind my head a bit, maybe do a little reading. Having to wait later & later to get that time, and it isnít helping out mornings any.

FIL is still with us. In the sense that heís living at our house, not just an alive Ďwith usí sorta thing. He is slowly driving C and I completely bonkers. Itís frustrating really, knowing what he once was, to see him in his current condition. He wants to help around the house. Keeps him busy and makes him feel like heís contributing. He empties the dishwasher, but leaves most of the dishes on the counter because he canít remember where anything goes. The alternative is completely random placement of dishes, glasses, utensils, etc. Weíve lived in this house for 12 years, heís spent every summer with us. Some years, heís been here for up to 6 months even. The dishes donít move around a lot. Now, I empty the dishwasher before he gets up. At least things are put back where they belong. But itís one less thing he can do.

During our house painting project earlier Ė heíd love to help. But it got to the point where him helping was costing us both time and money. Wrong colors, missed spots, general bad painting. Had to re-do everything he did. At least we waited until he was at BILís house for a couple of weeks before we re-did it all. Early on in the project, I would go out in the garage and kinda thump and pound around, burning off some steam. I think he knew I was a little agitated about the Ďhelpí I was getting. That was upsetting him Ė knowing I wasnít pleased with what he was doing. Sometimes I think thatís why he stayed down at BILís house for more than a week at a time. At least we could get things redone. And really, he doesnít remember much of it anyways.

Now we fret about whether or not we can really let him go back to Florida and live on his own. From his house to the closes grocery store there are 5 turns and 2 traffic lights. Itís all of 1.5 miles. This past spring, he asked me to drive to a restaurant in the same plaza because he couldnít remember how to get there. Maybe he was just unfamiliar with the restaurant, not the plaza in general.

The week C was laid up at home with her leg clot dealie Ė her dad tried desperately to take care of her. The first two days, C was starving when I got home because FIL had failed miserably to get her an edible lunch. That Monday, all C wanted was a bowl of soup and a tuna sandwich. FIL couldnít find the soup in the Lazy Susan. Soup he helped me pick out the day before at the store. Also couldnít find the tuna. In the same cabinet. Couldnít find the tossed salad from the night before in the fridge either. Think C survived that whole first day on ice water. The second day was the boxed mac & cheese disaster. FIL poured the macaroni in a sauce pan, added some water and dumped in the cheese sauce mix. Cooked it till the macaroni was soft. C had a bite and feigned nausea the rest of the day. She asked her dad if he had cooked the macaroni separate and drained it. Thatís when he explained his cooking method. He saved the leftovers for later. I tried some of the leftovers. Then I understood why C about gnawed off my arm when I got home. The next two days, I made up lunches ahead of time and left them in very prominent places in the fridge. Had the Friday of that week off so I could take care of the cooking again. Plus, FIL decided that was a good time to head back down to BILís house for a week or so.

So if he canít take care of his daughter Ė even just a simple task like getting lunch Ė how can we trust that heís going to take care of himself? This is compounded by the fact that we know heís getting worse. Quickly. He lives like a hermit down there. I worry that heís paying his bills on time. He has many of them set up for automatic withdrawl (utilities, phone, cable) so heíll have the basics covered as long as his checking account is solvent. Last I saw there was about $10,000 in it. Thatís where his social security and pension checks get deposited, so I think heís safe for a while. Also saw some statements from his investments. He just had an annuity mature. Then thereís his 401K, stocks, and house. He is very comfortable monetarily. Someone needs to keep an eye on it. Florida is a haven for people trying to swindle the elderly Ė and FIL is a sucker waiting to go broke.

What I think we need to do, and soon, is get a durable power of attorney set up. By some horrible piece of luck, I am designated the executor of his estate. C has said that because of this, it would be best to get me set up with the power of attorney. Her brother even agrees. Try as I might, I donít see me wriggling out of this one. Hard part Ė getting FIL to agree. Harder part Ė getting him to remember he agreed. Possibly this Christmas will be the time to get it done. Somehow, establish an allowance for him, then get all the bills and bank statements re-routed to me.

Maybe, (actually this is now bordering on probably should . . .) C, myself, BIL & M and FIL should get together and get this started while heís still up here for the summer. Then we can all agree on an approach, who should have the nasty job, whether or not weíll require 2 signatures on everything or at least a monthly or quarterly review. If I should remain saddled with the task, I would like at least regular reviews. Dual signatures would slow things down too much, but the reviews would be nice for everybodyís assurance. Iíd also like to learn how to start pulling money out Ė put it in trust funds, etc. and keep it away from blood sucking nursing homes. I think thereís a 2 or 3 year window that has to be satisfied, before the nursing homes consider the money out of reach. Need to know. Need to get agreement on how to handle the money. Need the patience & wisdom to deal with this whole thing. Cís too close and frantic about it, BIL is too detached, BILís wife just collects old men like pets anyhow. If I can slip in there someplace between C and her brother and make sure heís well taken care of . . .

359 days down. Wow Ė thatís a lot. Itís also not enough.

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old habits - new tricks