Sunday, January 28, 2024

Get Ready to Get Older

 Yes, it's 2024.  I keep having to remind myself, which is funny, considering that I don't write checks these days.  Yes, I am still working on my doctorate, but the end zone is in sight.  Turns out that writing a doctoral thesis is more time consuming than previously thought.  

But enough about me.  

My parents are getting older.  They're still spry, but they're slower these days.  My mother-in-law, on the other hand, has not been so good. She spent about a month in the hospital with pneumonia, and long story short, she can no longer take care of herself.  Or her dog. Luckily, a friend was able to find a new home for the dog.  

This was unexpected, to say the least, and I have learned all sorts of new information. Mother-in-law wasn't always able to make decisions for herself, yet decisions had to be made.  It would have been nice if plans had been made for this type of situation, but they weren't.  That does not mean that someone my age cannot sit down and plan for them.  

First of all, who has power of attorney for you?  This is a very important document; it give permission for another person to make decisions for you when you are unconscious or otherwise incapacitated.  It can be a document that is notarized, or it can be something you scrawl on the back of a takeout menu.  The person with POA can be your spouse or another relative, and should ideally be aware of your wishes on a variety of topics, such as organ donation.  

Next, what happens if you can no longer live independently?  Some individuals choose to stay at home with a 24/7 caregiver, but let's be realistic, that will eat through the money pretty quickly.  If you need to live in a nursing home, and you expect Medicare to pay for it, then you may want to talk to a lawyer or accountant and get everything set up BEFORE you get to that point.  The latest trend here is group homes for seniors.  Four elderly folk living in an actual home with a caregiver who lives in the home and cooks, cleans, hands out medications, etc.  

Third, do you have a DNR?  This is a document that says that you do not want any efforts made to resuscitate you should your heart stop.  Do. Not. Resuscitate. Think about this one carefully, because sometimes the efforts to pull a person back from death can be worse.  Talk to a physician about it, if you need to.  Definitely make sure that you talk to your loved ones, so there's no brawls at the bedside.  

Then, do you have a will?  There are websites, books, etc., to help you with the language needed to write out your final wishes.  If you want to donate your coin collection to the Smithsonian, this is where you put that. My husband had all sorts of issues when his uncle passed because there was no will and all of these unknown relatives showed up when it came time to sell the house. Don't do that to your family.

Finally, funeral plans.   It is not morbid to think about this part of death.  It does not hurt to look online.  At least then you will have an idea about costs and other information to help you decide.  There are people out there who will take advantage of your family when they are grieving your passing; help them out by making a few decisions for them.  

Planning out these events while you are healthy will make sure that your wishes are clearly outlined and your family knows what you want in the event that you are no longer able to tell them.  Things happen when you get older.  Plan ahead.

Friday, December 30, 2022

2022: The Year That Ran Away Very Fast

 I woke up the other morning and realized that it is about to be 2022.  Then I really woke up, because it is about to be 2023.  Say that to yourself.  I'll wait. 

What happened to 2022? It seems as though we just began this year, and it is already over?  I was going to do the usual, lose a bunch of weight and finish up my doctorate, finally clean my house, and travel the world.  I was going to craft my little heart out, relax more, and be ridiculously happy.  

Only none of those things happened.  Instead, I slugged my way through a year that felt rushed, like there was a bouncer behind the curtain saying "Move along" over and over.  Events that happened in January 2022 feel like they happened at least three years ago.  Maybe it was that the pandemic seemed to be finished (it is not) or that life was getting back to some semblance of normal.  Maybe it was the medication my doctor prescribed me for sleep (maybe?).  Maybe the world just began to move at its former pace, but no one got the memo or we just put our fingers in our ears.  Stuff happened, but it mostly did not register, because more stuff happened.  

I got moved to a high school for the first time since 1994.  I love it, of course, but it is a bit more fast paced now.  Of course, there have been a number of security changes since the tragedy in Uvalde.  I will get upset about that, but mostly angry.  I firmly believe that if you kill something, you eat it.  That is an established rule in our family. I think that this should be the rule of law in Texas.  You get convicted of shooting someone?  Here is your fork and a bib.  I think that this would at least make a person pause before committing murder.   Nobody needs these assault rifles in civilian life. 

We found a kitten with a lot of health problems, who did not live very long. I had never seen a cat have a seizure before, so it was a shock to see the little precious go flying out of my husband's arms all the way over the coffee table.  She was beautiful, and we named her Galadriel, but she succumbed to her illness after six happy months with us. It was a family decision. The vet we took her to allowed all of us to be in the room, and Larry got to hold her.  I still miss that spunky kitty, and every other animal that has passed over the rainbow bridge. 

My son started HIGH SCHOOL. I am still not over that.  HIGH SCHOOL.  He is enjoying himself, and informed me that he wants to get his drivers license when he turns 16.  "But you just GOT to HIGH SCHOOL!!!"  I told him, and then went into my room and cried in secret, as you do.  Meanwhile, my boy is heading toward six feet while eating every item of food in the house.  Typical boy.  I am trying to let him make some decisions for himself, even if in my head I am explaining why his decision is not a good decision. The boy needs to find out for himself, and there is only one way that happens. I was a dork in high school, too.  

We finally watched Yellowstone.  By the end of the first episode, I turned to Larry and said, "Sopranos of the West." He agreed.  Kevin Costner's character is Tony Soprano, that guy Rip is his consigliere, etc.  The reservation people are a rival gang.  All the dudes with the brand are made men.  No sin to move a classic show like the Sopranos into Montana and call it something new, but they should have been more honest about it. 

World Cup was very exciting--I picked Argentina to win, but since I am bad at gambling, I forgot to sign up or did not sign up correctly. But almost every game was a nail biter!  Congratulations to Argentina for their heroic play. You can go ahead and brag until 2026.  Messi and I share a birthday, so I take just a tiny bit of pride in his win.  A teeny-tiny bit. I am so happy for him, and he deserves all of the accolades he gets. 

And Donald Trump is still an idiot who deserves some slapping, and it looks like he might actually get it.  I would volunteer.  Maybe like that scene in Airplane!, we can have a line of citizens ready to slap waiting outside the courthouse. 

Happy New Year!  May 2023 slow down enough so that you can enjoy it!  

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Are the 80s back?

I feel as though the 1980s are repeating themselves, what with Russia acting the fool and trying to bully the rest of the world.  War, particularly the nuclear kind, was one of the main topics of conversation when I was in high school, right next to what Mr. Stant was teaching in senior English. The entire era of the 80s was all about the bombs dropping, end of the world, so party hard NOW.  Russia's at it again, it seems, and now my son is talking about Ukraine with his friends.  More horrible decision appear to be heading our way, mostly in the form of higher gas prices.  

Then I thought about all of the actual horrible decisions I made in the 1980s, including spiral perms and college Trash Can Punch. For the unenlightened, you buy a clean trash can and pour ALL of the alcohol in there, and throw in some Kool-aid for flavor.  If I remember correctly, the concoction tastes like nuclear waste of some sort.  The hangovers were ridiculously painful, and we all swore that we would NEVER drink that stuff again, just beer.  That promise was never kept, because generally the punch was free and the beer was not.  College was a time of frugality, after all.  

Other aspects of the 80s appear to be showing up in stores, such as the Little House on the Prairie dresses.  The show was all right, and maybe I had ONE dress that might have qualified as prairie-wear, but I looked as though I were dressed in a sack wearing it. Actually, I think the dress was made by Gunny Sak, so that makes sense. Not in the least bit attractive.  And what is with all the long hair with a middle part?  Is there some strange, poorly dressed cult out there that I don't know about?  Not that there's anything wrong with that, I suppose.  I just find it odd that women who are coming in to their own would enjoy looking like every other woman. 

Thankfully, Cabbage Patch kids have NOT made a comeback. 

My point is that maybe the 80s are better off in the past. It wasn't a horrible time, but I cringe now thinking about the decisions I made with my hair (like an accidental mullet), my fashion sense, and my social life.  It was a darn good thing that there was no such thing as a smart phone back then.  Perhaps everyone could just repeat the trends that were popular 100 years ago, instead of the 80s?  How about if we repeat the trends of the 1920s.  The Jazz Age, short haircuts, flappers, those cute little dresses with the fringe and the adorable hats?  Those were the bee's knees!