Friday, December 21, 2012

The State of the Union

Dad is living with his lady friend, a gal more than 15 years his junior. When they were considering their current living arrangements I talked with his lady friend to try to determine her motivation for moving in with Dad. As he was still dealing with details of his disastrous divorce, I was hesitant for him to begin another messy situation. She seemed genuine enough and seemed to be involved in the relationship because she cared for my Dad, not for his money. She said he was like an Oreo cookie. The part on the outside was OK, but inside there was some really sweet stuff.
Recently my dad's lady friend was asked what she envisioned as her future when my dad passed on. She surprised me by saying she wanted to get a small apartment, downtown, where she could be near restaurants, museums and other cultural activities. I had figured she would want to stay in the continuing care retirement community. I began thinking that Dad may be a ball and chain, holding her back from her own dreams. So, today I took her out for lunch so we could have a frank conversation without 'you-know-who'!
What a wonderful woman! She felt that Dad was requiring more of her attention at this point in time than he had last year, but, she said she was still fine with the arrangement. She agreed to let me know when she needed more help, whether it was my taking on more responsibility, or arranging for some additional care, or whether it was that Dad needed to consider moving to an assisted living situation. She didn't feel that her life and happiness were compromised by her involvement with my dad.
After the disaster of his brief marriage, to a whiny, self-centered woman, this lady is remarkable! But, you know, I don't think Dad would have appreciated her as much had it not been for living with someone who was so totally opposite!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Checking It Twice

I don't know about you, but I rarely write checks anymore. Dad is no different. He writes a few checks for Christmas gifts, and he writes checks for his taxes. It takes Dad a while to write a check. He flips back and forth between the check and the check register, loses his place, and finally figures out where to write everything. As long as he has only one check to write, everything goes smoothly. However, he gets confused when he has to write several checks. He forgets who he has written a check to and has trouble getting each check in the correct envelope. Then, when they are in envelopes, he forgets that he has written a particular check, and will try to write another. Luckily almost all of his bills are handled through bill pay. Most are on auto pay, and the rest I take care of for Dad. When he gets a bill, he calls me and I access his account and fill in the necessary information to have the bill handled. 
I bought a "Paid" stamp for Dad. I think he'll like it. It will give him a job to do. It will also help avoid his panic when he stumbles on a bill and thinks it hasn't been paid. Dad will spend hours at his desk. He'll go through the file cabinet and look through papers he finds in there. For whatever reason, he thinks they are all current. Now, as long as he doesn't use the stamp until he has talked to me about a bill, he'll know the status.