The Drama of Dad’s Wheels

My father’s car has been sitting, mostly, for two months. I’ve driven it a few times. It isn’t needed by anyone. My mother is legally blind, so she has never driven. So it should go. Simple enough; we sell the car.

It’s a 2007 Saturn that my parents bought a few years ago. They traded in the little pickup truck that my father loved, because it wasn’t very practical for two older people, and it was horrible in icy or snowy conditions. This all seems very sensible.

However, they took a loan. And now the loan still must be paid on this car that no one needs and no one drives. And whatever my mom can get for the car if it’s less than what she owes, she still has to pay the difference. So, my mom might have to pay to get rid of this stupid car. This stupid car that seems like it was a better idea, but is somehow the worst idea.

And isn’t this just what it’s really all about. A hundred and one little things, little decisions that were made, little things that have to be dealt with, and everyone more complicated than it ought to be. Gotta sell the car that the bank has the title on, so we have to find a buyer and then arrange to meet at the bank, so they can actually give the money to the bank, and pay the difference so that we can stop making payments, and then we can also stop paying the insurance. And since my mom isn’t the greatest at the internet, I am the one who has been posting ads, trying to find a buyer, answering questions, and trying to set up appointments, all from California, for a car that’s in Washington.

We tried to start all of this before Dad passed, but then we couldn’t because my father’s name was on the title along with Mom’s. That’s when I learned about a power of attorney. (More on that later.)

Every step of the way, through all this, so many speed bumps and roadblocks, and so many lessons I’ve learned. It’s maddening.

So, can I interest you in a 2007 Saturn Ion with 106,000 miles on it?

Endings

My life is a shitshow, so what better time to restart this habit.

My father had a stroke at the beginning of February.  About a month ago he passed away. And because life knows how to pile it on, in that time my relationship of the last almost three years fell apart, so I’m single again.

Backing up, for a second, because this wasn’t supposed to be that year. I just started a new job in January, two weeks before my dad’s stroke.  Two endings and a beginning.

The other day, someone asked me if I’d gone back to work yet. And I was flabbergasted. Whose life did this person think I was living? That is not how it works in my reality. I haven’t taken a single day off since my father passed. In all the time since the stroke, I’ve only taken two days, the week it first happened. It never occurred to me to not go to work. I have to work. Is this a thing that people do? Just stop everything when someone dies? I get the requisite bereavement leave my company offers in this case, five days. I am saving those to help my mom move out of her house later this month, because that’s our reality. While my father was alive, they had a decent income, but they were paycheck-to-paycheck like most of America. They didn’t have any savings. Just steady pension and retirement checks. And the second that he passed, most of the income went with him. My mom is boned, and there isn’t any time for either of us to fall apart.

It sounds luxurious, to be honest. So decadent, to stop working because my father died. To fall apart for even a moment feels like something reserved for the upper-crust of socioeconomic strata. How elegant. Does the fainting couch come standard with that plan? And the on-call doctor with a bottle of valium.

So I power through, like I’ve always done. I go to work. I’ve flown back and forth to my mom’s house every two to three weeks, slowly slipping into debt that hopefully, someday I can get out from under. And if I’m honest, I’ve drunk more than is probably necessary. I haven’t even remotely begun to grieve. First things first, and someone has to keep it together.

I hope I keep writing. I have a lot of material right now, honestly. This I have to say about how hard it is to find out information about services and housing available to an elderly, low-income parent. That there should be a number like 1-800-MYPARENTSAREOLD. There’s all the lessons my parents have taught me of the “what not to do” variety. About the importance of a durable power of attorney, and the fact that you’re never too young to make sure you have one for your parents.  About wills, lawyers, real estate, estate liquidators, medicaid, medicare, hospice, and the VA. Maybe I’ll write about some of that, or maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll write about being single again, suddenly, and what it’s like to be a single woman in her 40s in the age of Tinder, or maybe I’ll go nowhere near that crap. Hopefully I’ll find whatever humor there may be in this situation.

I’ve been through so much. I’ll get through this. Want to come along for the ride?

Favors I May Ask Soon

The following is a list of unusual requests that I might have to make from some of my friends when I get home:

“Excuse me, but can I hide under your furniture?  I think the Responsibilities may have found me.”

“Please take me somewhere now where I do not have to think.”

“In reagards to myself, could you please lower your expectations several notches?”

“I just want to do something normal, and not talk about It.”

“Please stop trying to cheer me up;  if you ignore my Grump, it’ll go away.”

I promise I won’t stay like this forever.  You’re just going to have to trust me on this one.

A Day in My New Life

I guess I’ve sort of abandoned this blog.  The reason is mostly that my life is pretty boring right now, and I don’t have anything to write about.   I’m still at my parents’ house, and have been for over three weeks.   My dad went into the hospital for surgery to remove his tumor almost two weeks ago, and he’s not recovering very well.   They’re going to be transferring him from one hospital to another where there’s a rehab clinic.   Hopefully they’ll be able to get him up and he’ll get his strength back.

So basically, I get up every day, and I log on to my work laptop and the VPN, and I work as if I’m in the office.   Then at noon, I take my mom over to the hospital, and hang out for ten or fifteen minutes before leaving her there.   Then I come home, and do more work until about 5:30 when I go back to the hospital.   I don’t really hang out there very long, because mostly my dad is just sleeping a lot.

In the evenings I have dinner with Mom, and then we retire to separate corners of the house to relax.  I’ve been reading a lot.  I’ve read six books since I’ve been here.   I’m halfway through the  sixth of the seven Harry Potter books.

So, there’s just nothing all that exciting going on in Whoville.    Or rather the things I have to get excited about mostly have to do with my dad’s digestive track, and I assume no one wants to read about that.

Just sayin’.

CSGL and the Chamber of Freakishly Weird Dreams

I’ve been at my parents’ house for a week now.   My dad is going to be having his tumor removed on Friday.   Since he’ll be in the hospital for at least a week, and my mom does not drive, I’m here to help out.   My company has graciously allowed me to work remotely while I am staying with my parents, which is very cool.   I’m not burning through PTO while I’m here.

So what am I up to?   Well so far I’ve just been working, driving my folks around, and reading.   Reading the tail end of the Chronicles of Narnia and starting the Harry Potter series.    I’ve also seen more than my fair share of ESPN’s various programs and many episodes of MASH.   What can I say, but it’s what Dad likes.

It’s pretty odd being here, at the folks’ place, as I’ve never lived here.   This is my parents’ retirement home in Washington.  They moved in about three years ago.   I’ve visited quite a few times, but it had been over a year since I had been here last.  So, while it’s my parents’ home, and I’ll always be welcome and free to make myself at home, it’s not my home.   I don’t know where things belong in the house, and I don’t know my way around the neighborhood very well.

So, I don’t know whether it’s the stress of the situation, the strange surroundings, or my reading material of late, but I’ve been having some very strange dreams.    Dreams about just about everything and everyone.   The happy couple redoing their wedding, because they decided they wanted a much more formal affair.   My house being home invaded while only myself and one roommate were home, and the robbery being done by a girl I went to Junior High with.    My teenage self being told by my parents that they were expecting another baby.  A friend’s bed being full of random strangers, one of whom was very angry with me for being better liked than her.   And finally last night, Nova doing everything in his power to try to keep me from going to sleep, even though I was really exhausted.

So, I wonder what I’ll be dreaming tonight.   But before I get to bed, I’ve got to find out what’s going to happen to Harry Potter next.   My guess is that there’s going to be some stressful scenario where he could either die or be expelled from Hogwarts.  I mean, as far as I can tell, that’s the whole plot of the entire series.   Of course, I’m only on the second book.   I’m not too fond of these constant traumas, though.   Why doesn’t that idiot just go tell Dumbledore?  Geesh.

OK, yes, I am a nerd.

Just sayin’.

Return of My Old Nemesis

So, if you’ve been following this here blog for very long, you probably remember back in March when I was celebrating and dancing on Cancer’s grave. I really thought that it was in our past, and that myself and my family could relax.

Well, the Bitch is back.

In April, just weeks after I got my final all clear, my father was diagnosed with cancer. In the last few months, he’s undergone chemotherapy and radiation treatments. In August, he is scheduled for surgery. I will be heading north, and will be staying with my folks during the surgery and recovery. I’m very thankful that my company is being very flexible, and allowing me to work remotely during that time.

My father’s prognosis is very good, and with the surgery, he should make a full recovery. However, it is still a very stressful time for us all.

And I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t fucking with my head at all, the number of family member who’ve dealt with cancer in the last few years. It would be nice to have just six months without it. Or to be able to come down from one loss or one battle before then next comes along.

I am exhausted. I am unmotivated.

Just sayin’.

Daddy Day

To all the Daddy’s out there, I hope you have a very happy day.

I have always been the biggest Daddy’s Girl.   My whole life, I’ve always been fascinated by all things Daddy.  I always wanted to be with Daddy.  If Daddy was cutting the lawn or washing the car, I wanted to be there.  I wanted to watch the baseball game, too.   My dad was never one of those guys who treated his daughters like princesses, so that’s not why I was so obsessive.   Maybe it was because he wasn’t there all day, like my mom was when I was younger.   Maybe he was just more of a mystery, because he left the house all the time and went to “work”.    What ever it was, it doesn’t really matter why.    I just wanted to play catch, and do whatever he was doing.  

So, here’s to Dad.