Q. What did the hen say when she saw the scrambled eggs……
A. My children are all mixed up!
Meet Dad’s neighbor.
And yes, dad does live smack dab in Atlanta.
Perhaps an odd place to find free roaming chickens but-
it seems urban gardening has become all the rage you know.
The neighborhood where I grew up is now considered a prime section of Atlanta in which to buy a house. It’s an older area that has maintained its quintessential suburban charm–despite the fact that the “charming” area is shrinking into an ever encroaching city.
It appears this is a prime spot to still raise a family–far enough out yet close enough in.
The young family next door tends to 4 little chickens which they keep in a pen in their back yard. I suppose Zoning hasn’t picked up on the hens’ presence in the neighborhood as the yards are rather large for city yards and are full of trees and shrubbery—no one is the wiser that the newest neighbors on the block have wings.
A chicken just seems fitting to include in a post about Dad.
You know it’s been a while since we’ve chatted about Dad. . .
Two day’s ago I had gone out to get the mail.
Shifting through the unsundries of needles periodicals, flyers, and bills I noticed a letter from an insurance company that is not our insurance company. . .but I did recognize the name—“this is Dad’s” I silently note now gritting my teeth. Upon opening the letter it seems that at some wise point, not long ago he, me, we added my name to the policy as a contact.
“We are mailing you this letter to inform you that the above mentioned client is past due on his premium payment and if it is not revived by 3/14 we will cancel the policy. . .”
I’m sure you heard a small earthquake two days ago and have been wondering ever since what that was all about.
No worries, it was just me screaming as I stood in the driveway reading this letter.
I immediately grabbed the phone as fast as I could as I practically fell into the house.
That oh so familiar warble answers.
“Uh hello daughter.”
“I got a letter today from your long term care insurance company.”
“Seems you’ve not paid them in a while and they’re going to cancel the policy.
I want you to pay this thing now!”
“Uh,oh, uh, I, uh, oh, uh, let me call you back.”
About an hour passes before the phone rings.
“Uh I called the company, everything’s fine.
No problems. They say that the account is good, all paid up.
They don’t know why that letter came.
Don’t you worry it’s all good.
I did go ahead and pay them $1000 though.”
“I just wanted to make sure that things were fine.”
“Dad, if the account was fine and the letter erroneous, why are you sending them so much money?”
“Uh, uh, don’t you worry, everything is fine—got to go, the Olympics are on . . .”
Obviously it is time to get back to my weekly pilgrimage beginning today!!
I drive over to Atlanta this morning noting the downed pine trees littering the sides of the interstate–the tell tale signs of last week couple of week’s ice and snow storms. And I don’t remember all these pot holes littering the interstate.
I pull in to the ever familiar driveway.
As always I have to knock on the door and just hope one of them hears me.
Low n behold Dad shuffles to the door and proceeds unbolting lock after lock.
(when did he start calling me “daughter”?)
She’s cleaning out the cat box.
Bless Gloria, something as basic as cleaning and scooping is a major production for Gloria.
I ask Dad if we need to go back to “the office” (aka my old bedroom) and sort through anything.
A swift NO shoots my way.
I meander on back anyway.
“Oh my God Dad, what in the world?”
This as I stare at 3 massive stacks of scattered papers and mail perched around an antiquated Gateway computer.
“No no, get out, just leave all that!! I know where it is. That’s tax stuff. Oh just stop harassing me.”
“Dad, I’m not harassing you.”
“Dale, Julie is not harassing you, she’s trying to help”
“Dad just let me help you sort this out.”
“No, no, get out, get out now! Just leave all this alone.”
This as Gloria begins to moan and lament, with tears in her eyes, while Dad is hollering that I just seem to come up to “get her upset.”
A very long story made short and 3 hours later. . .
Gloria and I sat at the desk slowly making our way through the stacks of never-ending paper while Dad hovered in and out, pacing as if someone was having a baby, continuing the mantra of get out and quit harassing. Gloria just keeps mumbling “we need to be in a home, just in a home, I’m telling you, a home”
Suddenly Dad reappears at the door, this time cradling a stack of old Santa Pictures he wants to show me. Pictures of my brother and I with Santa.
Not so fast mister, I’m on to you Dad.
Gloria tells me that he hides the mail from her. And that he’s gotten so good at lying.
Really? Ain’t no doubt.
I immediately think back to his slick little story concerning the insurance business.
Oh dear Lord, it is now official, I am now the parent of a parent who is reverting back to his adolescent ways.
I make my way through the 3 mountains of papers, documents, statements, bills—sorting, pulling, tossing, and scrambling to make calls. Luckily we have the major utilities automatically paid. I did however have to make a call and phone payment to Visa, pulling money from his savings. I am embarrassed to say how much he owed. That was an event unto itself but thankfully the Visa man was very kind and waived the $35 late fee—which almost made me laugh as Dad owed so much, $35 was nothing.
Thank God he had the money in savings to pay it.
The car insurance may be canceled. Of course he no longer drives (thank God) but Gloria does so I need to look into that next week. I pulled out the top 10 “pay immediately” priority bills, organized those and had him sit down to write checks. All the while as Dad chants the “oh woe is me” tune—to no sympathy on my end.
By 2PM I had a massive headache.
“Don’t you want something to eat? Let me fix you something. You came all this way and haven’t even eaten. Of course I could go all day, I don’t need to eat” Gloria goes on in this nervous sort of stupor.
“No thank you, but you go ahead and fix y’all something. I know you both must be hungry.
You know I’ve got to get on the road if I’m going to beat the afternoon rush.”
Atlanta’s rush hour begins at 5AM and wends down around 7PM with window of a lull around 2PM.
I bid my farewells with Dad exclaiming “what, you’re leaving so soon?”
Are you freaking kidding me–this coming from the man chanting for me to get out and go home an hour earlier. . .
Hear my sigh. . .
I will be back next week
Same bat time, Same bat channel. . .
The moral of this little tale, if there is such a thing with an aging parent dealing with Alzheimers-
A. Don’t let Dad have credit cards.
B. Always have Gloria intercept the mail
C. Never trust Dad. . .if he tells you one thing, the opposite will be the truth
D. Don’t let too much time pass between sorting visits
E. Don’t trust Dad
F. Patience and humor are essential
G. Never trust Dad. . .