Thursday, October 28, 2010

Escape From the Rest Home, Part I

So my aunt & uncle from California call me Monday to tell me that my father has informed them that his younger brother in Colorado is coming to take him to Denver where Dad, younger brother, younger brother's wife, and their crack-baby granddaughter are all going to live together, happily ever after. WTF? I know Dad was bummed that he didn't win more at last Thursday's Casino Run, but I didn't think he was that unhappy.

So I talk to the director at Shady Acres and ask what I need to do to prevent this from happening. She tells me that based on the power of attorney documents she copied when we checked him in, I must do nothing. It's already done and in force. I am the only person who has a say in where Dad lives. Done, finished. Like He-man, I have the power. Relieved, I go back to work without even visiting him since he's not expecting me until Tuesday.

Tuesday I show up at the expected time figuring he'll tell me all about it. He only tells me part. Says he's not happy at Shady Acres. He's not as disabled as I think he is. This is not how he wants to spend the end of his life. Blah, blah, blah. Not one word about younger brother. Not one word about talking to real estate agents or loan officers. I humor him. I ask if he wants to go look at houses. He says yes. I say look through the paper and tell me which ones you want to see. I leave.

I'm so flustered by his bombshell, and his lack of full disclosure that I forget his laundry. But it's the perfect excuse for my stealth mission the next day. I breeze in five minutes after they put lunch on the table at Shady Acres so I can have some alone time in Dad's room. Just me and the numbers on his telephone's Caller ID list. God I love technology. I copy down the list paying special attention to the numbers in Colorado. I gather the laundry. I kiss him goodbye and return to work.

Where I proceed to Google each and every number on the list. Telemarketer's are the toll free numbers. A couple of the numbers must belong to younger brother. I hit pay dirt. One of the numbers belongs to a loan officer at a Colorado mortgage company and her web page has an email link. I explain to her that the man she's been consulting with is an assisted living resident that is not currently able to leave assisted living and that since I have power of attorney over him and his affairs, I hope she hasn't gone to too much trouble coordinating the stated needs of my Dad.

She responds that she had no idea of his real situation, could only go by what he'd said on the phone. I responded that I was sure that was the case, gave a few more details and my sincere apologies for any inconvenience she may have gone to. Five minutes after I click send my cell phone rings. It's the loan officer. She is calling to give me a pep talk, support, and to tell me of her own horror stories when she went through the trials of an aging parent. We cry on the phone together. Later she sends me the contact info for the real estate agent Dad's been talking to.

In the evening I touch base with the California relatives, who know that Dad is right where he needs to be, and they tell me that they spoke with Dad after my lunchtime visit and Dad told them that the Colorado relatives were NOT going to rescue him after all. I am relieved. Not that they could take him out of there; the staff at Shady Acres is aware of the plot and have orders not to let Dad depart the premises without my blessing or company. I'm just not looking forward to having to sic the police on people who are in not much better shape than Dad is. However I think they are just after Dad's money so that mitigates any misgivings I have about ripping them new a$$holes. At this point, having talked to the loan lady and knowing I will do the same with the real estate agent, I think we've pretty much put closed to the issue.

Today I emailed the real estate agent. He responds that he has already talked to Deb and is aware of the situation. He wishes me the best of luck in getting Dad to accept the situation. A few hours later he calls to say that Dad has contacted him again to tell him what areas of Colorado he would like to live in. Double WTF! Dad's not actually thinking he can move somewhere alone, is he? I would say that even no-good younger brother as a housemate is better than none, but I know the no-good younger brother, he is not better than none. Real estate agent then proceeds to tell me his personal horror story of his father, who had Alzheimer's. I am surrounded by fellow travelers who feel my pain and offer support and kind words.

I would love to see my father living independently in his own home, but given his current physical state, and sometimes foggy mental state, this is not possible. My plan is to have lunch with him on Sunday and explain that I know all about the sneaky dealings he's doing with the Colorado business people and that they have been told that someone other than him has power over his affairs. I will encourage him to participate in medical care that would improve his physical condition to the point of independence and that when he can demonstrate that independence to me, I will be happy to coordinate finding a new home for him.

Wish me luck. I'm going to need it.

Friday, October 22, 2010

For a good laugh...

My tools display tells me the top searches that returned a link to this site are:
  1. roman bust
  2. pharoh
  3. roman busts
  4. life imitates art
  5. roman bust sculpture
You'd think this was an Art & History blog, eh?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Please take the time... go to this website and vote. It's a contest where the winning group gets $5K in pet food coupons. I personally have voted for Buddy and the Border Collie group Border Collies In Need Inc. There are 10 rescue organizations to choose from, each has a short printed blurb plus a short video detailing their story. You don't have to watch the videos to be able to vote and I will ask you to vote for Buddy and his group (they're #4 in the running right now), but make your own choice if you feel like spending a little time to view the entrants.

Please take the time, it's a really good cause. Please pass this on.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Kansas Primary: August 3, 2010

Before we move on to our day-before elections coverage, let me just say that Dad's settling in nicely at what we lovingly refer to as Shady Pines, but what I really came here today for was to get some of this election poison out of my system.

Get out and vote. Don't sit there and tell me your vote doesn't matter, it does. If you want our elected officials to stand up for the principles they espouse, you need to get off your ass and stand up for the principles YOU espouse. You have a better chance of seeing the candidate you want elected than you do of winning the lottery.

I know I knowingly came to a Red State when I moved to Kansas so I am pleasantly surprised by the wealth of candidates the Democrats are fielding for the primary. Unfortunately I think they could have winnowed out some of the less-likely-to-win candidates in favor of a cleaner ballot and spending more on the few to reach more "undecided" ears. Hopefully this oversight will be rectified by the time November rolls around.

I'm not going to leave my party (too much) in my nit-picking other than to say that I was unaware that there was so much voter fraud going on in the state of Kansas that someone felt the need to make it the #1 issue in their campaign and, really, do you want to send someone to Washington who's only campaign promise is that they're going to "stick it" to Obama and Pelosi? That frightens me more than I can say.

Please note that I am only commenting on races in which I am actually able to vote. The rest of you can do your own research 'cause that's part of the voting process.

For US Senator we're fielding:

Robert Conroy, a man who has no idea how he ended up on the voter rolls as a registered Republican. Thanks, I don't need someone that clueless representing my interests.

David Haley, the only one with legislative experience and my common-sense vote but for the fact that he's so soft spoken I don't know if the people in Washington or Kansas can hear him.

Lisa Johnston, whom my gut and my heart tells me will do the best at the job but for the fact that she has no experience swimming with sharks.

Charles Schollenberger, who says many things I agree with but again, no time in the shark tank.

Patrick Wiesner, who has ten things on his to-do list, seven of which I agree with but I vehemently disagree with those other three.

For the US House of Representatives our choices are:

Cheryl Hudspeth, who is far too valuable at the local level to let go to Washington.

Thomas Koch, a man who can kindly be described as an eccentric Kansan.

Sean Tevis...I don't believe I'd ever seen a left-wing nutcase until I took a browse through his website. I believe he must be friends with the KU alumni who is convinced the Russians are controlling the weather and using it as a weapon against the United States.

For Governor/Lt. Governor there is only one choice, Tom Holland and Kelly Kultala and I don't have a car with a big enough bumper for that sticker but I would vote for Satan himself if he was running against Brownback. Oh wait, he is running against Brownback...

For Attorney General and Treasurer we have Steve Six and Dennis McKinney respectively, so unless I'm doing the write-in thing, X marks the spot.

And, finally, we have the battle of the Chris' for Secretary of State. Chris Biggs hasn't put much on the web to defend his current job or give retention reasons but Chris Steineger has a "billion dollar list" on his website detailing things he'd like to try to reduce the deficit. Because the list contains humor, he will get a vote from me.

So there you have it Dems, these are our choices. All three of us need to get out tomorrow and vote!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy

Where did April go? We put Nephew on a plane to Air Force Basic Training on March 30th and spent the month waiting for letters (we got 2, one of which was a form letter). I have to admit the letter he wrote was impressive. It was a page and a half long, had no mis-spellings, remembered both our names, and the names of all the animals. He sounded great and it looks like we found a place where he can thrive and mature. We go for graduation on the Wednesday before Memorial Day. I am looking forward to San Antonio as I've never been.

I brought my 75 year-old father from Oregon to Kansas this week. He's been gradually slowing down but resisting any type of assistance. Two phone calls, one from his brother and one from the family that lives next door to him made it clear to me that he's no longer able to live alone safely. I've been dreading this day imagining the fight to get him to agree he needs help and that it's best done close to my home. I can't keep flying off to another state every time he has some sort of crisis.

Surprisingly, he's been very agreeable. When his brother first posed the idea that he needed to go into Assisted Living, Dad asked his brother to look into facilities near him (in southern California). I talked to Dad about his reasons for not wanting to come to Kansas and was able to shoot them all down.

    Dad: I don't want to live in snow anymore.
    Me: (thinks to self---how many more winters are you really gonna see, Dad?) Well Dad, how much time exactly do you spend outdoors each day? And I don't know if you got the memo or not, but Kansas got electricity last year and we now have air conditioning that keeps us warm or cool depending upon the season.
    Dad: You have a point.
    Me: Next reason?
    Dad: My brother and his wife can visit me in SoCal.
    Me: You're talking about the people that travel 10 months of each year?
    Dad: You have a point.
    And what about me? How often can I visit you in SoCal?
    Dad: You have a point
    Me: Next reason?
    Dad: Well all my friends live there.
    Me: Dad. Honestly. Not to be morbid or anything, but how many of them are still alive (none)?
    Dad: You have a point.
    Me: So what do you want me to do Dad?
    Dad: Look around and tell me what you've got there for me.

So I suppressed my knee-jerk reaction to hop on a plane. I knew the neighbors would continue to look in on him and either send him to a hospital or get someone to come in the home and care for him until I could get there. I took the time to tour all the facilities in my area and then I went to Oregon. For the first two days I suppressed my instinct to help with every little thing and just observed. That gave me good idea of what he can and can't do for himself. We filled any needed prescriptions, visited a doctor for a specific problem he's having and got the green light to travel to Kansas.

Today we toured some of the places I found acceptable and tomorrow we'll tour more. Friday we have an appointment with an attorney that specializes in Geriatrics and we'll see what sort of money assistance he's eligible for so we can determine what he can afford.

I'm a little stressed, but without the tooth and nail fight I was expecting over this, it's going easier than I could have hoped.

I'd also like to take this time to thank Senator Chris Dodd and President Bill Clinton for the FMLA. Pleased I don't have to worry about losing my job.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

March Madness

How did I succumb to March Madness this year? I've never been a basketball fan. I don't think it's the game that I have no interest in, I'm pretty sure it's professional basketball players. The ones I have the most exposure to are the ones in my birth town and the ones that get the press there are just not nice people off the court. There is nothing about them that I think should inspire the sort of worship they receive.

By virtue of where I work, sports are a big thing. Every year there are brckets to fill, this year they happen to be tied in to some charity donations, but they would be there even without the altuistic tinge. This year I filled one out. It's my Underdog Bracket. With the exception of how I determined the winner in the Michigan game, every one of my choices was based on advancing the team with the worst seasonal record. I actually made it through 3 days of play before my bracket bit the dust.

Today is Elite Eight day and my local team is still in it. The game they played the other night, the one that landed them up against Butler today, was the most exciting basketball game I've ever seen. I'm watching the game today for two reasons. To see if my enjoyment the other day was a fluke and, if they win, I'm going to have to go in to work to open up the phones for retail. They will put in some extra hours so they can sell Final Four tee shirts. Don't laugh. We sold out of our Elite Eight shirts in less than a day. Go Cats!

Eats at Barleycorn's Update

Well, Barleycorn's has become the new favorite. I go there any chance I get and have even taken visitors from out of town there.

The three cheese tomato soup is still my favorite, but the chicken noodle is pretty darn good too. I've managed to go beyond the Chipotle Chicken Wrap to try the Jalapeno Chorizo, the Cajun Chicken and the Club Sandwich. Hopefully it does well enough that I will eventually be able to make my way through the complete menu.
Stay tuned.