Monday, July 6, 2009

The Battle of Growing Older and Making Changes

In my travels back to Connecticut yesterday, I stopped at my father's. Poor Dad is still living in the family house but all by himself. He is a very gregarious person and known for his many, many stories. The house is far too big for him and he is too remote to interact with others. He has to purposely go out to meet people. I’ve been really making an effort to see him when ever I drive down to CT and try to get something done in the house in hopes that he will soon see the light and decide to:
  • Move in with us
  • Move in with another friend or family member
  • Move to a 55+ community

Anyway, in my visit yesterday, I really surprised him. He had splurged and bought himself a HDTV so he could really enjoy his one pleasure in life --- the Red Sox. He had also bought a tv stand and apparently had already tried to put it together but said that the pieces just didn’t fit. He was going to call a cabinet maker to put it together (If you know my Dad’s propensity for procrastinating, this probably would never happen and everything would sit where it was left). I told him that I would look at it when I got down there. I wondered what he could have bought that would be that difficult to put together. When I got there and found it was just a Sauder, which is meant for the consumer to put together, I knew it couldn’t be that hard. I had the whole thing build in about a half and hour. Then to further impress him. I unhooked his old tv, dvd, and cable box and hooked up the new. I think after almost 39 years, I really impressed him. He and I were always considered the inept ones when it came to tools. If something needed to be done, my brother or mom would take care of it. Unfortunately, my mother died in 2001 and my brother – well, he is a whole other story. He knows he should help, but (fill in the blank with some excuse or better yet just don’t show up). So Dad was thrilled that he would now have his Red Sox in High Definition. At almost 70, that is the least that I can do for him.

Moral: So if once you were not good at something, try, try again.
You’ll either learn how to do it or you’ll blow yourself up.

I also tried again to encourage him to take little bites out of the clean up of the house. It is very hard for him to get rid of things and the whole house just seems so overwhelming to him. I try to do bits when I’m down there, but now that we’ve moved I’m not so close anymore and the visits are less frequent. So for example, I explained on the phone the other day. Go through your old records and get rid of some of them. Of course he came back with his pat, “But they could be valuable” line. I assured him that my scratched Disco Duck from 1970 something held little or no value and could certainly be tossed. He had yes’ed me on the phone, but I knew he wasn’t really going to work on it. So when I was down there, I showed him the records I meant. “Oh, I didn’t realize we had those” (that was kind of my point – thus it would be safe to get rid of them). Then, though, I saw exactly what I was talking about tucked in behind the records – four JCPenney catalogs from circa 1988. Hello – not really useful, but will save us about 20 lbs when he finally gets really serious about moving. Little steps. Little steps. When you finally put them together, you can accomplish a marathon. Truthfully, I expect little to be done until I get down there again. If he could mentally get ready for a change, I would so happily physically get him ready, but the one thing I have learned is that you cannot push.


Gauri said...

Enjoyed reading this post Dawn. :)

Dawn said...

Thanks, Gauri - Good to hear from you!

Dawn said...

It's a good thing to start taking little steps to getting your dad's house organized. My grandma has lived in the same house for about sixty years, the last thirty or so alone. She's now in the hospital and moving into assisted living when she gets out. We now have the monumental task of selling the house and figuring out what to do with all the contents. It's a little overwhelming like you said.

Dawn said...

Dawn, I dropped you a quick email. I will be praying for your grandmothers recovery.