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Old Yesterday, 06:15 PM
1,469 posts, read 1,150,710 times
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Originally Posted by TamaraSavannah View Post
We-ll, the OP's argument is how I approached thesis. I continued taking classes, both in and out of my major, because I wanted something to keep me anchored, so I didn't approach each empty, aside from work, day as "I'll do that tomorrow.".

Further, it is a reason I am in no hurry to retire for I can see myself becoming a couch potato, an internet junkie, or even worse, one of those overseas leaders who they overthrew, put on house arrest, and gave them all the alcohol they wanted.......so they drank themselves to death.

So while I am no one to tell another how to spend their time.....I can see the OP's fears.
House arrest and an endless supply of alcohol doesnít really sound that bad.
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Old Yesterday, 07:18 PM
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One of the better threads I have read around here.

Lots of experience at the retirement game sharing the wealth with us.
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Old Yesterday, 07:24 PM
Location: Wonderland
46,035 posts, read 37,156,476 times
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Never underestimate the joys of a glass of iced tea sitting out on the patio with a dog at your feet.
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Old Yesterday, 07:39 PM
Location: New York Area
16,527 posts, read 6,522,456 times
Reputation: 12720
I have inserted into my Health Care Proxy the following language:

NOTE: Although not necessary, and neither encouraged nor discouraged, you may wish to state instructions or wishes, and limit your agent's authority. Unless your agent knows your wishes about artificial nutrition and hydration, your agent will not have authority to decide about artificial nutrition and hydration. If you choose to state instructions, wishes, or limits, please do so below:

I do not wish to limit the powers of my health care agent even in the areas of nutritional supplements, artificial nutrition and hydration. The proxy shall have sole discretion to provide or withhold such hydration or nutrition as is in their best judgment.
I do not wish legislators, judges, state or federal to in any way become involved in my personal health care issues even if they deem that it may involve my constitutional rights or other pretext for interference.
I inserted that because the hospice attempted to state that we couldn't know what my mother's intent as to post-hope care was.
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Old Yesterday, 07:55 PM
ERH ERH started this thread
Location: Raleigh-Durham, NC
1,220 posts, read 1,690,222 times
Reputation: 2292
Thanks, CDLand, for the thrashing. I guess I asked for it. If nothing else, I'm glad I gave some of you a reason to feel superior. (And, HEY, aren't you judging me for judging someone else? LOL). Apologies for the long post. I've tried to be generous with the paragraphs.

Points of clarification:

I am the daughter, not the son. The son lives in his own home with his wife (no kids) adjacent to this property and talks with his father as little as possible. Most of their interaction consists of a wave (from brother) as he drives past this house coming and going to his own.

Their relationship summed up (because CDers will jump to conclusions):

Dad worked all the time, we rarely saw him except for the weekends. Dad had no hobbies, just different iterations of work/earning $$. His day job was driving a semi-truck; nights and weekends, he built stuff for other people (kitchen cabinets, gun cabinets, jewelry boxes, hope chests, basically anything that was square/rectangular and could be nailed together without much fanfare). He worked this much to allow Mom to stay home with us (and also because he had "small man's temper" and would walk off the job if anyone looked at him cross-eyed, said my mom).

He and brother's entire relationship was built around work, work, work. When brother was small, it was cool to hang out with Dad, hand him the hammer, but not so much later on when he realized it was work. When Dad's schedule became more traditional and he came home every night at a decent hour, he and Mom spent all of their free time with (and extra money on) Eastern Stars. Brother wanted to play high school football in the fall. "There's no money for that, son." Brother wanted to play high school baseball in the spring. Same response.

Brother sucked it up, grew up, moved out, married, began his career, chose not to have kids (so he'd have enough $$ to do whatever he wants and buy whatever he wants), and spends every other weekend fishing and living the boat life. Dad, having no self-awareness, wonders why brother lives his life so "selfishly". On the surface, one might say brother is the lucky one, because he doesn't care one whit how Dad spends his days. I wish I could be that carefree (and callous). Dig a little deeper, and you see that brother carries that hurt even decades later. In his profession, treating that kind of hurt isn't tolerated, so...we all suffer from his cold-heartedness.

I have lived with my dad for almost all of the last 5 years -- first in a part-time capacity helping to care for my dying mother as I flew back and forth between here and my chosen home 3 states away, where my sainted husband and nearly grown children live). When she died, I started chunking my time to average about 8 months out of the year, serving as companion to a depressed and lonely widower. After about 2 years, it became clear that it wasn't grief, but depression, that seemed to carry the day, so I got him on meds and sent him to his one visit to the therapist (all he'd stand for). For the last year, I've lived here full-time. (And for those who will surely ask, my husband and I are happily married, and the kids are in college now. My absence isn't woeful neglect. Husband will transfer here as soon as his job permits.)

I am not retired -- I'm 50, and a young 50 at that, so I'm sure that colors my view. I work from home, which means I'm with him 80% of his waking hours, so yeah, I do happen to know, with rare exception, exactly how he spends his time. Today, for instance, he sat in his recliner watching Ray Stevens videos on YouTube. I give him a pass on that, because at least that's some kind of entertainment. He went to the convenience store to pick up snuff, since I refuse to do that for him anymore. He's been out to his shop 3 times today, but he hasn't opened the door, he only sat in his chair enjoying the humidity. In between these jaunts, he's watched me scoop litter boxes, vacuum the floors, mop my bedroom, take his dog out multiple times, and pull weeds in the yard. He watched the neighbors' kids play. Heck, he even sat here watching me work.

His health is excellent for his age -- he survived a heart attack at 40 and has been relatively good since. He takes a few meds to keep the BP where it needs to be, to help him SLEEP (maybe cut out the napping?), and manage the prostate. OF COURSE, he has aches and pains; don't we all? His memory is good, no Alzheimer's or dementia, thank goodness. He still drives (very well, or I'd get his license yanked).

As I said, he worked his butt off every single one of his working years. He was exhausted, no doubt. He retired once, then went back. Finally retired for good shortly before my mom's cancer diagnosis. He earned the right to spend his retirement any way he pleases, a point I believe I made clear. Believe me when he WANTS to do something, he does it 150%, almost always to the point where I have to force him to take a break, lest he keel over from the heat.

Is he bored? Hell, yes. Will he do anything to change that? NOPE. Will he listen to the suggestions I make? He hasn't so far, but I keep trying.

I enjoy going out to restaurants. He doesn't. I don't enjoy going alone, but I can't force him to come with me, even when it's something he'd like. At any given time, I have 5-10 books borrowed from the library, which I love to visit. He went with me once (to get the library card I need to check books out here). "Want to look around, Dad? They even have old movies you like and music you can check out." NOPE.

I enjoy live music/entertainment of all kinds (I'm seeing ZEDD 10/5, and I cannot WAIT to be with my people again!). He LOVES country music, but will he go to concerts? NOPE. Even in the tiniest of venues? NOPE. Walk the mall? NOPE. YMCA? NOPE. Driving around just to see what's new? NOPE. Walk in the park? NOPE. Fishing? NOPE. Hockey game? NOPE. Beach? NOPE. Lake? NOPE. Mountains? NOPE. Accompanying me home to visit his grandsons? NOPE. Visiting with his grandsons while they're here? NOPE. VISITING ME IN THE HOSPITAL IN JULY?? NOPE.

He likes to go to Walmart, but I can only tolerate those 3-hour adventures so many times (our next one is coming up soon, ugh). Same for Lowe's and Home Depot and anything else tool-related -- except he doesn't have my mom working part-time to give him spending money, and he won't spend his own, so he doesn't like to go anymore because he can't buy anything, or he'll go and pout the whole time. I bought him a Kreg or some such completely out of the blue, no birthday or holiday, but as a pure surprise. He'd been jonesing for one FOR MONTHS. He's used it exactly once; now, it's collecting dust with the rest of his junk (er, tools) in the shop (a 24x36 HUGE building).

He complained that he couldn't spend time in the shop during winter, so he started jonesing for one of those propane heater blower things that looks like a cannon. Brother bought him one for Christmas. It wasn't the exact one he wanted, but he wouldn't let brother return it; he said he'd use it. He used it once and declared it useless, but he wouldn't let brother return it even then. He bought himself the heater blower thing he did want, but he only used it a handful of times. It didn't work like he expected (he'd prefer 90 degrees throughout the entire building, which would require a full HVAC system), so he closed up shop for the remaining winter months.

Spring arrives, nice temps. Still too cold (he hates the cold) in the shop. Summer swoops in, humidity soars, it's a freakin' sauna out there. He should be right in his element. NOPE. It's too hot. "Well, yeah, Dad, in the middle of the day, but what about the mornings or evenings?" NOPE.

I will say, he does seem to enjoy the 2-hour drive to the cemetery, even if we only ever stay for 15 minutes. "Want to drive a little further north, Dad, to see what's in that direction? I've never been up that far." NOPE.

He mows the yard about every 2 weeks. This is his only outdoor activity. He slings sticks and rocks towards the car and the 8-foot-wide industrial sliding glass door at the back of the house. It's the *second* sliding glass door. Can you guess why?

He visits his (only) friend Curmudgeon (not the CD version, may he rest in peace) down the road once every couple of weeks. Two old men; they've known each other forever, they hate everything about the world in equal measure, and they bemoan the loss of the good ole days. Curmudgeon is meaner than hell, but his oldest son spends time with him, so he gets to lord that over my dad. (The son has been trained up in an environment of fear and tyranny, so of course he spends time with his father. The son who couldn't handle all of that died of suicide at 19.)

He complains he is lonely, but he won't do anything to rectify that. Volunteer? NOPE. Church? NOPE. Hang out at the library? NOPE. Go to a tractor show or old car meet-up? NOPE. Go to a bar? NOPE. I guess he thinks the good lord is going to drop somebody down from the sky. His one social activity: Eastern Stars meetings 2 nights/month. (He wants desperately for me to join him in their social gatherings. THAT. IS. NOT. MY. THING. I have no interest in being his faux-wife. NOPE NOPE NOPE.) I've even suggested volunteering at "the old folks home," but that's a no-go, too.

Politics is off the table. He doesn't know one of his grandsons is gay, because THAT would be THE END. If he knew that the grandson's boyfriend is AA, holy crap, I can't even imagine.

(It's after dinner. He's moved on from Ray Stevens; now, it's FactVerse, with the narrator who sounds exactly like The Gardener Guy.)

So, yeah, I know how he spends his time. And while it's his to spend, I wish he'd find a way not to be so lonely and bored.

So, with all of that said, here are a few posts I'd like to respond to, since you were kind enough not to run me through the wood chipper and offer a tangible suggestion:

<<Post #38: Just for fun, give him a sketch book with some pencil crayons and ask him to illustrate something from a memory. I suppose what I'm saying is : what can you do to make change while giving your father the impression that it is his idea to change?>>

I appreciate that suggestion, and I tried it yesterday morning. I wish I could show you a video of his facial expression. On another note, he is, as of late, hell-bent on finding a woman (something I have actively encouraged), but like I said, he wants her to pull up in the driveway out of the blue. And since he doesn't want to change his religion to Jehovah's Witness, the odds of someone other than one of those nice ladies coming to visit is pretty nil. He had no problem chasing tail 3 weeks after we put my mom in the ground, but he'd rather watch "erotic stories" on YouTube than actually interact with people. Google it. Apparently, it's a thing.

<<42: This is a great opportunity to spend time asking him questions about his life, what things he remembers growing up, family members, his parents, his grandparents, what it was like if he joined the military, stories about dating your mother, just anything you might want to know or think grandkids might want to know someday. These can be priceless memories he may not have access to in a few years as easily as he might right now. You could take notes or just record him talking, as a way of getting some family history and perspective. Once he's gone you won't be able to, so this would give him something interesting to do and think about so he can tell you. Maybe he'd even feel motivated enough to take some notes and then tell you the stories around what he's noted.>>

We exhausted those avenues in the year my mom died, because I realized, of course, that I'd never be able to ask her questions again. I've heard all the stories several times over. It always ends with something to the effect of, "they're all dead now," so that's a real uplifting conversation. And asking him about stuff he did with my mother is a disaster that ends in tears (his). He also can't speak of his mother without crying. He worships the ground she walked on, but in the stories he tells about her, she's always shipping him off to relatives for the summer.

Also, I admit this is a sore subject. The whole world is enamored with 23andMe and Ancestry.com, but my brother and I are adopted. It was always made very clear to us that it would be the HEIGHT OF BETRAYAL for us to go poking around in an effort to find our bio-parents. I have honored that so far, but it's pretty hypocritical (in my view) to get to spill all your family history and disclose where this one was born and that one was buried without giving me the same opportunity. I digress.

Here are a few more posts that weren't just "angry lynch mob," "get off my lawn" duplicates:

<<45: I'm curious, OP. In your opinion, what would he need to be doing to meet your idea of a goal or purpose? What activities would you consider to not be wasting "precious time"? Is he reading? Watching TV? Listening to the radio Ė in the hours between coffee and supper? Or truly just sitting there watching the clock and the grass grow? I hope that's a bit of hyperbole on your part. Have you invited him to do something on a regular basis with you? You've taken a bit of a beating here today so I don't know if we'll hear from you again.>>

I always come back to take my beating, because I can't stand it when others ghost. Unless I truly forget I've posted something in the first place, which has happened a time or two.

He does not read. I gifted him a magazine subscription for woodworkers, and his response? "There's too many advertisements." Never mind that I shoveled boxes and boxes of this same magazine (all of which were ruined by his and my mother's animal hoarding), into a dumpster so his home would not be condemned and prevent my mother from coming home from the hospital after brain tumor surgery/rehab. Every month, he tosses the magazine aside, and I collect them to donate.

Watching TV? Oh, heavens, YES, and at the same time he watches YouTube, too, so I guess he is busier than I give him credit for with all his multitasking. He watches every True Crime TV show there is, so if you want to know how to kill your spouse/lover and NOT get away with it, I can quote you chapter and verse. Need somebody buried in the back yard? I'm down to tell you exactly how to do it so you almost get off scot free. Funnily enough, my favorite show is Live PD, but he HATES COPS and thinks they're all out there shooting people. This from an 80-year-old white man. HA.

In a nutshell, he wakes up, drinks his coffee, gives the cat milk, hits the recliner, watches TV long enough to see what the weather is like, then turns on YouTube. If I'm not awake (I often work nights, so sleep a little later), he watches his YouTube stories. How do I know? When I wake up earlier than expected, that laptop lid slams closed. Dude, I'm a wife and a mom to 2 BOYS. I'm not stupid. My favorite, though, is when I'm sitting RIGHT HERE, not 10 feet away, and the instrumental music starts. It's meant to be SFW, words on a screen only, but the soundtracks are a dead giveaway.

After an hour or two of me being awake, he usually heads out to the shop. Unless he has a project going, I have no idea what he does out there, because no tools are running. Every time I look out, he's just sitting there. He doesn't clean up (he's a hoarder, remember). "Hey, Dad, if I buy the lumber, would you build twin beds we can donate? Wouldn't that be cool?" NOPE. "Hey, Dad, could you build me a smaller desk I can fit in this corner?" Him: "What do you need that for?" Never mind. Back on the schedule, rinse and repeat until it's time for his dinner. Some days it's TV, some days it's YouTube, some days it's both at the same time WHILE he's napping, but those are the days.

What do I want him to do? The only correct answer, I guess is: "Whatever he wants." He keeps saying he wants to clean out the unused bedroom. That would be a good 2-3 week project. He said last week he wants to add a wire backing behind the air filter in the A/C return, so the force of the air doesn't pull it in (like it does now). That would only take an hour. He wants to plant a cover crop to help the soil before it's time to plant the spring garden. He's already watched all of those YouTube videos, so it's just a matter of buying the seed and doing it. He wants to build a locked box for the back of the truck. Two sheets of lumber, a few cuts, some nails, staples, glue. Done. He wants to oil one of the SEVEN antique sewing machines he's collected. Get the oil can.

I can tell you that he certainly DOES NOT want to clean up anything, especially the messes his dog makes overnight, or the stack of dip-stained napkins piled on his chairside table, or the fruit flies breeding in the SPIT in the garbage can at his feet. Nor does he want to clear off the year's worth of mail stacked on the counter or burn the tree stump he's been saying he's been wanting to burn since we took the tree down 4 years ago. That pile of aluminum out in the yard? Can't move it now, it's all grown over. "Don't worry about it, it ain't going nowhere." HA

"Well, OP, maybe you could jump in and say let's do it together, then it would get done?" Been there, done that times a million. NOPE.

<<64: I think this starts at a young age. Someone tells him he's not doing enough.>>

You are correct. My parents have always called us "lazy". Even now, because my job is done via computer, he calls me lazy. I've worked for 12 hours' straight and don't feel like cooking dinner? LAZY. Walked 400 miles during the marathon Walmart trip and want to sit down for 5 minutes before we unload the food hoard? LAZY. (Don't mind me out there pulling weeds in 100-degree heat, since you won't spray them or weed-whack them or move the stack of blocks to a different location, so you can mow them.)

<<86: I just think it's the tone of the OP that people IN THEIR 80's who seem to have no desire to be productive are somehow pitiable and to pray that he never turns out that way.>>

I'm sorry my tone came across this way. See above. A few years ago, I had an 80yo boss. He and my dad had very similar early beginnings (rural farm kids), but their paths diverged significantly after their Navy service. The boss was educated, a PhD, and still works for a prestigious university. He travels the world on the university's dime. He jumps out of airplanes. He climbed Kilimanjaro (at 80). He dances at Arthur Murray, an activity he started with his wife and continued after her death (because he likes the pretty ladies and flouncy skirts). He goes to his grandchildren's school events, goes to church, volunteers for everything under the sun. I'm not expecting my dad to do all those things. He wouldn't have done a fraction of that when he was a spry lad, let alone now.

<<92: Yes, I'm sure watching him doing "nothing" is showing you a glimpse in your own future but it doesn't have to be that way. You do want you want to do when you're 80 and let him do what he wants.>>

This was really my point, that I plan to do everything possible not to end up that way. It's not what I want for my end-of-life journey. Granted, I have no idea what illness may befall me; but as long as I'm able, I intend to be doing something. I guess that's the wrong mindset, so judge away.

<<96: Maybe we're also discussing two different personality types. Some people are calm and take things at a slow pace and don't need to be doing much to be happy. Other people are hyper and can't sit still for a minute.>>

I only wish I was as hyperactive as the word picture you paint. My brain gets more exercise than my body does. I need to change that.

<<98: No we aren't considering that, because that would be making up some imaginary scenario out of whole cloth.>>

Isn't that pretty much the MO for posting in an internet forum? When an OP purposely does not spill her entire life story (because, seriously, who would read all this if I'd posted initially?), don't our minds naturally wonder about the context and decide the backstory before posting?

<<102: I remember the expectations I had when I was 40 for when I was 65. I didnít figure in the maladies and pain of your body in old age. I didnít figure in how your brain doesnít work as well, or that you can no longer run for fun. Youth simple never understands that when you get older you are not young anymore. My 36 year old son sees me as I was when he was 10 and I was 42(running up mountains) and simply canít believe that I can no longer do those things. He thinks that I am deliberately refusing to do it. How I wish he was right.>>

True that.

I'm sure some wonder why I'm even here, but that answer wouldn't satisfy anybody, so I'll keep that to myself. Another reason, however, is to make sure the house doesn't fall into any further disrepair than it's already in. My parents enjoyed spending their money buying duplicate kitchen appliances (there are 4 stand-up freezers, 3 onion choppers, 2 electric skillets, 2 coffee pots, etc.), hoarding food (expired food stored in the 4 aforementioned freezers), and building two rooms' worth of "fine oak cabinets" (that were truly fine, until the point when the cats urinated and defecated all over them) more than repairing the roof and everything else that needs to be addressed. If my brother were in charge, he'd tear it all down and plant sod.

Anyway, thanks CD for the therapy session! My next appointment isn't until 10/8, so I guess I needed to get a few things off my chest. LOL

I've almost convinced myself I just need to move back home, live my life exactly how I please, let my dad be lonely and bored if that's what he wants, saddle my brother with the burden he doesn't want, and only show up for the funeral.
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Old Yesterday, 08:37 PM
Location: Asheville NC
1,660 posts, read 1,350,772 times
Reputation: 4506
OP yes of course we wonder why you are there now. Five years of being a part time wife to your husband is crazy in my opinion. I could maybe understand the two years caring for your mom— but I would have moved her to me - I would never leave my husband that long.

Your resentment is obvious. I’m sure he feels it too. You are contributing to his depression. It isn’t your place to keep him from being lonely— he does have a friend as you said and is active in Eastern Star. Though you denigrate that group, they do good work. It is a social outlet for him.

How your father lives is his business as long as he is of sound mind. (How your parents spent their money was also none of your business- it was/is their money.) He will figure out how to eat his meals and live without you there. So what if the house falls into disrepair. (Or do you expect to inherit it.) Hire a cleaner to come in every couple of weeks and go home to your husband.

You have been away from your family way too long.
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Old Yesterday, 08:53 PM
6,589 posts, read 5,261,273 times
Reputation: 13620
Damn girl - get away from there. You are too young to be away from your husband and kids. Your father will be okay.

Go look for your bio family! Do the DNA test.
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Old Yesterday, 09:09 PM
Location: NE Mississippi
14,127 posts, read 8,837,553 times
Reputation: 20550
Originally Posted by ERH View Post
Thanks, CDLand, for the thrashing..........................(OK. No point in quoting the whole thing, right?
Sounds to me like Dad has you figured out and has figured out how to keep you around, too. Don't misunderstand; I'm not saying you are to blame.
We live in a world where all of us manipulate our parents and are manipulated by them. And that's not always bad. I like to believe I am fully aware of when my stepdaughters are manipulating me, and I usually just go right along.... Sometimes because it is easy, and sometimes because it just doesn't matter one way or the other, and sometimes because that's what I wanted to do, anyway.
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Old Yesterday, 09:14 PM
6,589 posts, read 5,261,273 times
Reputation: 13620
Don't end up ruminating over these lost years later on in your final years.

Get busy being happy!
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Old Yesterday, 09:34 PM
2,604 posts, read 2,980,002 times
Reputation: 2873
I think you need to get back to your family and let the chips fall where they may regarding your father. Thanks for expanding on the situation. I can relate to some of it.
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