Saturday, February 22, 2014

Thinking Back Over My Week

I can't believe how long it has been since I posted here.  Things have begun to melt outside, and I've been taking advantage of it to get out and about and run errands.  Last week, my husband went to California to treat his daughter and granddaughter to a trip to Disneyland during their school's midwinter break.  So I had the whole week to myself.

I decided to spend some time helping Mom.  She lives alone in the house where she has lived for the last twenty years.  Her house is about an hour and a half away so we don't see her as often as we should.  She doesn't want to move, but problems have a way of popping up around the house.  We usually don't know much about them because she "doesn't like to complain".

This is my mom at Christmas:

She has made it through the recent snow, ice and arctic cold without losing power.  However, one section of the house had no power because a fuse blew (or the breaker flipped).  She didn't have power in the hallway, hall bath, second bedroom or office.  I suspect it happened because she had a heating pad wrapped around a pipe to keep it warm.  I drove up there on Wednesday and had a look at the breaker box.  For some reason her utility room is at the back of the house and can only be accessed from the back yard.  So we had to go through remaining ice and snow to get to it.  I looked over the box, trying to figure out which switch went to which places in the house.  I noticed that one of the switches had red next to it while the rest had black.  So I flipped that one over to black.  (You can tell I don't know much about it.)  We crossed our fingers that that had fixed the problem.  We went inside and it worked!  One problem solved.

Then I brought her down to stay with me for a couple of nights.  She wanted to look for a new car.  She has been driving an ancient station wagon that is on its last legs.  She doesn't drive much, just to church and the grocery store, and she doesn't drive at night or in bad weather.  My next door neighbor (the two cat-loving ladies that help our cats when we travel) has a car that they love.  I decided Mom might want to look at it to consider getting one like it.  I had looked online for a car suitable for older drivers and one that she could afford and this one fit the bill.

I invited the neighbors over for dinner so Mom could meet them and look at their car.  We had a wonderful time visiting and Mom enjoyed meeting them.  They drove the car over so she could have a look at it.  The next day we went to the dealer and got some information.  She wasn't ready for a test drive, though.  She used to have an old Buick that she loved and is also considering another one of those.  My brother-in-law is working his magic, looking online for a deal.

The next day I took her to meet with an elder law attorney.  She has been worrying about her estate.  My husband and I had attended a seminar at our local library and was referred to this attorney.  We met with him for two hours for a free consultation.  He explained so much that I'm afraid Mom's head was spinning.  He gave us a book that explains everything.  After we came home I went over it with her.  She's still confused but I promised that my sister and I would help her through it.  I marked places in the book that apply to her, and she wants to discuss it with some of her friends who have gone through the process.

We went to lunch with my sister and explained everything to her so she can help too.  That same evening I showed Mom how to use the new digital camera she got for Christmas.  I had her practice with it and told her to keep practicing at home so she doesn't forget.  If it's too confusing for her we will find a simpler one.

Yesterday I drove her home.  On the way she told me her kitchen sink is stopped up and the dishwasher won't work.  Oy vey!  I asked if she has a plumber she trusts and she said yes.  So I told her to call him.  She has plenty of money to have things fixed but she still has the "depression mentality".  I think I convinced her to spend money on things she needs.  She is also going to contact the local public transportation service to sign up for trips where they will pick her up at her house to go where she needs to go.  She said she used to do that before she remarried but stopped needing it when her husband drove them both.  I urged her to start using it again.  I will make sure she calls them and the plumber.

Now I am spending the weekend catching up on things around my own house.  It's warm and sunny now, but we are expecting another cold snap with possible snow next week.


Pam said...

Lovely photo of your mum! "She has plenty of money but still has the 'depression mentality'. Battling with the oldies here too with this. My mother-in-law wouldn't even put on her well-functioning air-conditioning in the extreme heat saying 'oh well, they battled these temperatures in the old days without anything, and anyway it keeps the electricity bills down'. She has more than enough to keep comfortable., and her home was like an oven.

judy in ky said...

Oh Pam, your mother-in-law sounds so much like my mom! She did grow up during the depression and had very little. The strange thing is, she has a brother who doesn't hesitate to spend money. Of course, he went through bankruptcy some years ago. It seems they each went to a different extreme.

rachel said...

It's such a generational thing, isn't it? More money than they know what to do with, and still so frugal. But they cope - probably better than we would!

judy in ky said...

Yes, it is definitely a generational thing. My mom doesn't know any other way to live. She saves everything.