This is not really a blog, plus how the Geriatric Express crashed into my house

First off, I guess you have to link to more stuff, generally be more informative, and probably say less (and yet more) in order to be considered a blog.  So I shall consider this a journal, because with no readers and no real links, that’s pretty much what it is.

Second off (which you never hear, actually), we are having a little family drama and its playing out in my living room.  We have no children, my husband and I.  My family is all pretty distant or pretty well taking care of themselves.  My only-child husband still has a father, though.  His mama passed away a couple years ago and was a very tough blow for my hubs.  The father-in-law, however, as it turns out, is as much like a child as a child would be.  Well, except without all the cute and the home-schooling and the crafts.

Pops-in-law has gone and dug himself into a little financial ditch in the past two years.   He was on the Financially Irresponsible track for the first year and a half -after Moms-in-law passed – and did a lot of damage with no assistance from anyone.  And then he (somehow) met a 20-ish year old female who has taken him on a rather sizable ride.  That crashed at our doorstep when we found out.

I should state that Pops-in-law is 83. Years. Old.

He drips from various orifices.  He shuffles when he walks.  He farts loudly and is seemingly unaware of it.  He tells the same stories over and over and over again.  He has trouble projecting his voice sometimes.  He always has his cell phone on speaker, but he holds it up to his head anyway…  you catching my drift?  The man is old.  He gets around fine – still drives, still walks & stands, is still continent and, from a distance appears completely functional.  But it’s a lie.  No, it’s not his advanced years or dementia or the A-word – it’s total irresponsibility driving his bus.  You know, the one that crashed?

During his 40 year marriage to Moms-in-Law (a freakin’ saint, by the way), they had little debt, 3 credit cards between them, a paid-for house and 2 paid-for cars.  They were a school teacher and a guidance counselor during their working years.  They are patriots and Methodists in retirement.  But ever since Moms passed, Pops has seen fit to open 12 more credit cards, buy (finance) a muscle car (that he can’t drive, tyvm), eat out in restaurants for every meal and generally throw away half of all that he has.  Granted, little Vixen scammed him out of half of the half, but I can’t blame her too much, because after reviewing 6 boxes of random papers, it is CLEAR that Pops was headed here anyway.  It’s like he has zero financial management skills.  Plus, he is a very skilled liar.  Bonus!

He has been carrying on with his floozie, or hooker, or friend, or adopted granddaughter, or whatever the hell she was, for several months, and has never breathed a word to us.  We are at his house twice a week and speak to him every day, but neither one of us had a clue.  I mean, I wouldn’t, of course, because he’s not my dad.  I try not to pry.  But still, how do you keep such a big secret for so long at his age?  The answer is, of course, you can keep it forever unless you max out all of your credit cards, run out of money, and start buying your dinner with cash only after your credit cards are declined.  That, my friends, is what tipped us off.  Until all 14 cards were maxed, though, the only way to know would have been to dig, unprovoked, through all his papers.

Sadly, after we cut off her utilities, made Pops change his phone number and bank account, we thought he might not be safe at home, so we brought him to our house.  Where he has proceeded to drive me entirely batshit crazy.  We have a 2 bedroom house.  It’s not like we’re overflowing with accommodations here.   I mean, he can buy Vicky’s Secret undies and rent fancy cars and co-sign leases and keep big terrible secrets… but he can’t make his own damn sandwiches or do a dish.  It’s a bit perplexing.

And also, I’m angry with him.  I mean, he’s been given numerous opportunities to come clean, but he keeps up the lies.  And he continues to try to hide things from us, even though the jig is entirely and irrevocably up.  His gal has made herself scarce for fear of an arrest for exploiting an old man, so he definitely knows he was had, but clearly, he felt it was worth it at the time.  Then again, I do not believe he knew just how deep the hole was that he was digging.

So here we sit – my Pops-in-Law and me, while my hubs works second shift and I cook his dad his meals.  And listen to his rambling stories.  And listen while he reads off all the school closings out loud every time there is storm even though neither one of has kids, knows kids who go to school, or find the closings in any way relevant to our lives…  and when I’m not doing those things, I’m trying to wrap my arms and my brain around this giant financial mess, one piece of random paper at a time.

Life’s little surprises… always entertaining.

So I’ve searched the internet and found all kinds of stuff about abuse of the elderly.  Financial exploitation being one form of abuse.  And I know that he was abused.  But I also know that he was 100% willing.  And that he was already blowing all his money anyway.  And the cops all say there is nothing he can do because they were all gifts.  And they were because he signed every check and every credit card receipt.  And the websites don’t say anything at all about what to do when your 83-year-old Father-in-law has a mid-life crisis and takes up with a 20-year-old prostitute and ruins his financial life.  If you have any ideas, share them.  For our part, we are doing what we can to explain to him where his behavior has landed him and to try to get him to right the bus.  I am pretty sure, however, that if I put a credit card in his hand tomorrow, he would use it tomorrow.  And no one has any advice about that.  Nor can they tell me who is going to support him when he loses everything.   Because we sure as shit can’t.

So there you go, interwebs.  One for the pile.

xo

Lucky 13?

2013.  Good luck or bad luck?

I am betting on good and acting accordingly!

I have so many resolutions that the only real strategy that I have for this year is to do the best I can.  All the time.  I am trying to be cleaner, more frugal, more organized, more on top of things..  blah blah.  I have spent so many years feeling defeated by so many things that as much as I love to organize and clean and be on top of things, I really do not operate to my fullest potential.  Oh, and I work too much.  Way, way too much.

With my husband working evenings so often and with a vow I made some months ago to work less, I am finally feeling like I have enough time to actually DO stuff.

And do stuff, I am!  For instance, I have been putting off dealing with a major problem.. you know, something that sounds a lot like schmaxes… for so long that it has turned into the voracious stress monster that threatens to consume my whole life.  And HAS, in fact, consumed my fear machine for a really long time.  But those days are about to be over.  I have finally buckled down and do intend to deal with this issue… regardless of the very-much-dreaded consequences.  I am almost there.  Contact has been made, work has been nearly finished, and appointments are about to be set.  The dragon is about to be slayed.

I am so committed to this conquering this beast that I’ve even decided to get the jump on it for lucky 2013.  So, I can proudly say, my system is in place and the first 12 days of the year are DONE.  Take that procrastination.  Right in the sack.

I learned, with one of my businesses, that there are software tools out there that can really help you keep the money & paper beast under control if you will invest the time and energy (and yes, a small amount of money) up front.  I refuse to backslide, at work or personally, on these issues anymore.  In fact, anyone who doesn’t wish to get on board with my plan that ought to is being asked to bow out.  So, head’s up.. if you work with me or live with me or do any sort of business with me, you better get your bucks in a row. Because mine are and if yours aren’t, we’re done talking.

Also, for the record, we sold our much bigger house (for less than we could have, had we waited) because we thought a smaller, more efficient house would be better.  We were right.  We picked a house that could meet some of our somewhat unusual needs and chose to focus our initial efforts in the house on things that encouraged better efficiency, more energy efficiency, and overall compatibility with our lifestyle.  Our house is not perfect by such a long stretch that we look like slackers, but we’re not, I swear.  I mean, if we had thousands of dollars to invest in it, there is a lot we would do, but what we DID do is working.

An example, you ask?  Okay!

We have cats.  We love our cats!  However, we do not love living with litter boxes and cat hair and scratched up furniture.  Honestly, our cats are so much more destructive and messy than our dogs.  When we were house shopping, one of our highest priorities was either a screened-in porch or a porch that could become screened in.  For the cats.  When we saw the house we live in the first time, we knew we were going to try to buy it as soon as we saw the porch.

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Cats are scratchy, though, so we went ahead and took the screened in porch a bit further and wrapped the screened areas in chicken wire.  Voila!  Then we cut a hole in the side of our house and put in a cat door so the cats could come and go from the porch at will.  We no longer live with litter boxes in the house, the cats (especially two of them) spend tons of time on the porch and are much happier, there is far less hair in the house, and as a bonus, we also enjoy the porch constantly when the weather is nice.  Yes, we do have to clean the porch, too, but somehow, the litter and hair are a lot less offensive on a porch.

Unusual need 1:  met.

Another example, you ask?  Okay!  I hate clutter (i.e. not my decorations of which there is a lot, but nothing else!)  My husband, on the other hand, would live in a TGIFriday’s given the chance and keeps every damn thing he thinks is neat or cool or sentimental.  Therefore, we have large storage needs:  me for stashing everything that can be construed as clutter, my husband for stashing everything he has no business keeping but keeps anyway.  I believe, in this house, we have finally established some balance between his clutteriness and my anticlutteriness.  The house is now almost entirely about function, with some attempts at “cute” layered on top and the storage is ample.

I WILL be applying a layer of organization to the storage, at some point, and I will not allow that shit to get out of control… battles to be fought with the husband, but at least we don’t have to live with the battle in our living room.

This house came with spacious closets for it’s few rooms (we only have 2 bedrooms!), but it also came with a garage and a HUGE, unfinished attic.  We spent the money and installed organizers in all the closets so what’s inside, functions beautifully, and everything else heads up or out.  JOY!

But unusual need 2: met.

I will not regale bore you with anymore about this crap.  I just wanted to share that bigger is not always better – what’s best is really analyzing how you live and purchasing something that suits it.

xo

The Pinterest Trap, and I need more time

I adore Pinterest.  I mean, FINALLY… porn for women.  Pinterest is nothing but cleaning porn, decor porn, craft porn, clothing porn, hot & mysterious men porn, and every other kind of porn image that a woman could love.  No, it is not heavily influenced by male porn as it lacks a preponderance of nudity, sex acts, and degrading positions to place a woman in… but it is still porn.  Show of hands, ladies.. has anything on Pinterest every gotten you feeling a little frisky?  Hell yeah, you know it has.

I have always heard, and heartily believed, that men were visual, women were aural.  So men like porn, women like to hear (as in, talk dirty to me).   As it turns out, women can spend hours looking at pictures, too.  Of cleaner houses, prettier rooms, cooler outfits, better hair, blah blah blah.  It’s not that we aren’t visual, it’s that image after image of sex is not always what turns us on.  It’s not even what mostly turns us on.   Don’t argue with me on this one.  I know some women like real porn.  I know some are turned on by it.  I know some like it as much as the average man does.  That is not the point, and you know it.  Although, if all the cute crafts on Pinterest had hot, naked men making them, that might be a turn-on.  Just saying.

Speaking of Pinterest porn, the fingernail porn kills me.  I have been so inundated by cute/cool/pretty manicures on Pinterest that I started doing my own nails, something that I used to let the nail salon handle for me years ago.  I abandoned nails, though, because mine suck so I was stuck with fake ones and that’s expensive and time-consuming, so bag it.  I mean, I do have short, stubby man-hands and I am constantly doing stuff so no real-nail manicure holds up for more than a few days, so the falsies make my hands look so (soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo) much better and they last a lot longer.  Still, I decided to get a grooming kit and some couponed nail polishes and I’ve been DIY’ing my nails for about a year.  My results are horrible.  Yes, I can improve the look of my bizarrely dry and mangled and fast-growing cuticles, and I can even improve the look of my flimsy and splitt-y and short/chipped/uneven nails, but ain’t nobody mistaking my work for a real manicure.  My nails just straight up suck.   But I consoled myself with the money-saving and the fun colors.  But the fun colors don’t even last 24 hours when I do it myself.  I mean, seriously, I can do 1 coat or 2, a basecoat and/or topcoat, a nail hardener or a gel, but that shit is peeling or chipping off before it’s even dry.  If I can even get it to dry before ruining it.  (Hairdryer, hello, only way I can escape a self-manicure without a serious smudge).

So I threw in the towel and went to a nail salon for a manicure.  Which turned into a set of acrylics.  But it didn’t go well.

I allowed myself an hour and a half for a 45 minute appointment.  There were all of 3 people in the salon and 5 ladies working.  It still took them 30+ minutes to even start on me.  And the lady’s english was terrible.  And she cut me… DEEP.. with the nail file.  On a high-use finger, on my right-handed hand, and then doused it in the stings-for-24-hours-stuff, and giggled about it.  And that was last week.  I still have the sore finger and the cut, thank you very much.  AND she did them too thick so I can’t pick my nose or scratch an itch.  So the color is nice and that’s holding up very well, thanks, but it wasn’t worth it.  $35 for aggravation and pain and some fake nails that will need filling in another few days from now, but that shit is so not happening.

Disappointing.   Not as disappointing as, say, getting nothing for Christmas or finding out your husband lied to you about something really big and important, but still, disappointing enough to say “screw you little nail ladies, I’m out”.

And now I have to start from scratch and with a half-moon indention in my nails after I bite these suckers off, which I will certainly do the first time one chips or breaks or gets all flappy and loose.

Bitches.

In other news, I have been jonesing for a bookcase for my unread books that tend to pile up around here as I have far more desire than time to read.

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I found this cute little guy last night and I LOVE it.  Bonus: I did not have to assemble or paint it.  It just came CUTE.  And that is my stack of books to read.  40 of them.  There’s another 7 or 8 on my Kindle, too.  I’m in a book club, which I love, but damn, that one book a month they make me read really cuts into my reading time.  That said, my goal for the year is to read each and every book in my possession that has not yet been read as well as the 12 book club books.  Reading is a major priority for 2013.  58 books.  That’s the goal.  Last year I read about 40 books.  A pitiful number for me since I read pretty darn fast, but I was tired a lot and worked a lot, and watched a lot of TV.  What I need is about 20 more hours in my week.  10 for reading, 10 for doing homely crafts or crafty home stuff.  Okay, plus a bonus 10 for more sleep.  If anyone is reading this, see what you can do about adding some hours to the week, please.  I’ve tried sacrificing sleep, but that only works for about 4 days, then I need a damn nap.

xo