Monday, March 26, 2007

forsythias and crocuses (um, there aren't bullets in that, are there?)

Timing can be ironic at times.   Between Doug and I, never mind Meals on Wheels (I'm positive at least 4 out of 5 days, albeit my dad insists it's only 3 last week), and the reverse mortgage guy and the natural gas guy, my father has been visited several times last week.   Oh, and tons of calls, even earlier on Sunday. 

Yesterday, the lovely neighbor of his, dogwalker who used to bring Dad his paper every morning from the end of the driveway hill, hurried up to me after I'd pulled into Dad's driveway and was walking to get the mail.   "We're all worried about Mr. [dad]."  I'm wondering if I should be as well, or if this is in relation to "potential crisis" that was going on last week that we've resolved (it wasn't).   Did something happen within the last hour?  Seems no one has seen lights on at Dads for 10 days.   Not that he always gets them turned back off, if he's turned them on, so they tend to burn out (making mental note to check the lightbulbs).   That someone who told her that he's a good old friend of Dad's even pulled up yesterday a.m.   (Hmmmm, now that's intriguing, someone else trying to solicit Dad into selling the home, most likely, for what old good friend wouldn't try further contact???  I imagine Dad was sleeping, or, not knowing the person, refused to answer the door.)   That the mail has built up.   I remind her that I bring that in to him weekly, albeit last week, both my brother and I had been there a couple times.   She seemed to remember now that Dad can't come down the driveways hill and retrieve the mail.   Even if I do appreciate her concern, truly.   Some seem like scavengers, but she has been kind, caring.   We chat briefly, including with the two dogs who smell Daisy on me.   She thanks me for she knows he'd asked me to bring her cookies at Christmas time, for taking him the newspaper daily.   Dad looks out the front door.   Oh, I'd forgotten my hair cut/trimming accessories (and let her know I meant to bring them).   She and Dad wave and smile.  

Ahh, purple crocuses.  How deep and beautiful they are, spreading a bit from where planted originally, so many years ago.   I retrieve some trash that's blown into the forsythia bushes.   They get so beautiful, just starting their yellow now.  Dad asks me to shut the door after I'm done bringing things in (and trash and recycling out), but I don't fully.   It's too nice out, air things some, before pollens start choking us. 

We visit a while, I trying to reexplain all the financial and paperwork stuff that had gone on the past week.   He also shows me a HUD certificate that has him confused.   The reverse mortgage guy told me that he'd arrange for a telephone counseling session with Dad, and a counseling session is a legal requirement.   Dad has no recollection of it, not now, only the day he had it was he able to tell me, "Yes, I just got finished with them."  He asks me to call them, and I ask if he can, and he's confused.  Hhe also has trouble reading (even if reading glasses are near by).   I read further, hmm, 24/7.....  so I call.   With the certificate is a plan, recommendations.  The guy is nice, they are a neutral source, even if website surveys and such are recommended, Dad cannot do them.    He's not fully comprehending that the crisis is over, just dealing with this now, that they didn't stop it (okay, sometimes he realizes that but questions why not), that Doug and I did.  So, I offer to write it down for him, which he accepts.  

Other paperwork, other bills, including that precious hispanic-looking, hispanic-named boy from hmmm, Guatemala? someplace in South America, but he'd sworn it was Africa, not that he cares which continent, it's just he swore it was some kid in Africa.   I told him that perhaps the television ad showed Africa, but when he called, they may have asked if he was agreeable to helping a child with the greatest need.   I put up the boys photo, to remind us both to be sure his support isn't lapsed.  Ironically, he looks a touch like my brother did as a child.   We talk of soccer and kids sports and Doug's for football outfit.   And birthdays and his mothers would have been this Thursday.   Is it Gregory Peck wh oplays in "To Kill a Mockingbird?"  I try to bring up things he may know and remember, and he did know that movie.  M's reading that book in school right now, a connection for Dad perhaps, help him think some, and we discussed that one for a bit.   (I do plan to rent it for M to watch, cuz, that book is not easy to get through.   I'vetaken to reading it, also, so I can help her, discuss it with her, explain that the 10-foot arc of water off the porch is someone urinating sigh, it never SAYS that outright....)

"You were going to give me the number for Meals on Wheels, I tol dyou they didn't come Friday.  I haven't eaten since Thursday."  "Dad, you just finished a bowl of chili."  A fresh bowl, from the soup bar at the grocery store.   And, I'm learning, if MonW comes later in the day than he anticiaptes, he remembers the waiting and the waiting and them not coming, forgetting that they finally did.  And, he's had food over the weekend, but he doesn't remember it.  "Oh, right.," brushing off cracker crumbs.    It takes a bit of convincing for him to let me take his dirty shirt to wash, more so for his sweatshirt, "I may never see it again."   He asks me again about a sweater I'd bought him when I visited Bolivia, the one with the holes in the elbow needing repair.   And at least one other sweater that I do not have, and I"m unclear if this is some sweater he's remembering from many years ago, or recently and I'd tossed, or one he's misplaced in the house somewhere.   "This one keeps me warm, Robin, what will I wear?"     Luckily, when in Dad's room, I found a nice brown aip up combination sweater/ sweatshirt that my aunt Beth must have sent Dad, or perhaps Doug brought (yeah right). 

Branches in the yard I want picked up, maybe I could but I don't this visit.  I straighten the bird baths, no longer in danger of water freezing and cracking them.  Dad says his lawncare service starts in April, and we agree that they can do this (they've okayed that in the past, if talk with the owner, pay additional).   He seems pleased to hear of the forsythia and only mildly of the crocuses.   He'd always been so proud of his lawn and things that grew there outside.   He'd feed the birds religiously.

We talk more of maybe moving him someplace more manageable.   Selling it and doing that route.   He has his defenses way up.   The reverse mortgage he's not comprehending and asking ME very very basic questions about, is somehow going to solve all of his problems.   Uh-huh.   I remind him not to throw out the papers with the certificate (it's required and he wanted to mail it back to the HUD counselor, saying he's not interested in obtaining a reverse mortgage through them). 

He asks me about the toilet valve.  The valve Doug told Dad about last week, and said he'd told of before (but Dad and hence I, thought that meant shutting off ALL the water in the house), and Doug wouldn't turn himself.   Yeah, okay, Doug helps in a crisis but guess I'm the day to day.  It can work.   Dad had one plumbr come by, who provided an estimate, but didn't turn the valve or water off for Dad.   Dad tells me he can't turn this valve, and while I'm at it, can I replace a few lightbulbs?  Oh, right, yes, lightbulbs, it'll help the neighbors know he still exists.   He tells me what he's been using as a hammer, as he can't turn the valve.   I think he means some type of revolver?   "It's on the sink there near the toilet if you need it."  Dad stands at the bottom of the stairs and I change the hallway lightbulb, let there be light!  Then into his master bathroom, I try to turn the toilet valve with a towel.   I still hear water running.   The other sink, the vanity sink outside the bathroom, is running water.   Oh, right, as Dad's been really focused this past winter about making sure that pipes didn't freeze, he'd leave all the faucets running.   I turn it off, anyway.   There's no more danger of freezing now.   Sometimes housebound people don't receive thesame sorts of "clues" to help their mnds realize the changes in seasons.  Hmmm, still running, so I turn the valve completely in the other direction, which feels more correct for "off."  "Dad, which way do I turn it?"  "To the left."   "Does left mean counter-clockwise?"   "Yes."   Well, I did that.   Change another lightbulb, wiped down his sink some.   Gathered some dirty laundry, admittedly with the towel.

"Robin, did you even go into the yellow bathroom?"  "Huh?"   Oh.  All the time, I hadn't realized WHICH toilet.   There's the revolver, too, which I do not use as a hammer.  I turn it to point away from me.  Yet I still can't budge the valve.   "Do you have a wrench?"  "I can't find one, that's why I used the [name for type of gun]."

A coworker of mine told me she'd look for a wrench ather home tonight, and if I don't have one, maybe I'll just buy one.   Then Dad calls, somehow not asking for me to make calls, but verifying the amount of money in his account, remembering things today from yesterday.   He wants to contact a plumber, and plans to use the telephone book I left him yesterday.  (His other one got soaked.)    He'd called one who said they'd give Dad a free estimate.   If the plumber could give the estimate for other work, but still turn that valve off and unplug the one toilet (yeah, one is plugged again and I can't get it), Dad, that'd be good.   "We don't need it fixed, just have the valve turned off?"  It's a needed first step, not the full fix, and coworker is also trying to help me see about getting someone in for that, sort of, she's swamped with eldercare and single parenting, also.  "Dad, are there bullets in that gun?"   "Are there what?"  "Bullets?"   "Spell that."  I'm surprised he HAS a gun, having forgotten all about it.   "Oh, no."   Well, that does beat the headline, "elderly man accidental shoots self while trying to fix toilet leak."

I did get to try on some bright yellow shoes later, also!   Not quite my style, but I love yellow, and glad it's returning:)   This time of year, BEFORE the pollens / allergens out, is great.  

(Update:  Dad calls me back today, for the latest plumber has left, turning off ALL the water.   Not sure if turning off the valve wasn't sufficient enough to cease the water issues, or if it was too stuck to budge.  The extimate is $1,200 to replace the toilet, from this guy.  The other had estimated $500.   Not sure if there were additional costs included with todays plumber.  He was nice enough to not charge Dad anything for todays visit, however; it would have been $85.   I give Dad another number, which he takes down but he's calling lawncare instead........ I think for indoor work, whatever.   Still no word on when the appraiser is coming by from the reverse mortgage place.   They were scheduled last week, or so Dad thought.  Maybe, maybe that's okay, i.e., have it appraised AFTER this is fixed.  Even if I bring him bottled water and iced tea for now.   It'll be okay.

And I checked out capris at Old Navy for M, ahh, half the cost of Limited Too, and more the actual style M wants.   I have a budget I'll give her, and she can chose items.  Tis spring.  Even some yellow shirts there.  Even if the "theme" for her Easter basket this year, is "blue," and last years was bumblebees.   Maybe it's time to get some plants for us, too.  

1 comment:

  1. Robin,
    I don't know how you do it, but your Dad is so lucky that you do:)
    Sending hugs!