Monday, August 10, 2009....
From reading the comments on Thursday's post, it seems as though I've created a mystery with how I lost my key privileges to my parents' home.
I initially emailed two people with a very, very brief explanation and realized my email explanation sucked -- so, I decided to try to capture it in this post.
First, I need to set the stage....
1... I never was asked to give back the key I had for decades. I surrendered my key because an extra key was needed (either a sibling was visiting for an extended stay, or one of my parents lost their key). It was trying to getting a key back a decade later that I realized my privileges were revoked.
2... For purposes of all future posts, my dad will now be known as Spidey Man.
Second, you need to know a bit more about Spidey Man.....
1. Both parents grew up during the depression and lived a frugal lifestyle.
2. He worked till the age of 75 because he LOVED what he did and LOVED commuting into NYC everyday. Up till this age, he had a wallet. A few weeks after retirement, he traded the wallet in for a rubber band to secure his cash and carried a little notebook to record each and every purchase made (God bless my mom).
3. Spidey Man was a friend to all, but stubborn and ALWAYS believes he is right (this becomes crucial fact).
4. After retirement, Spidey began to donate to everyone - nuns, Indian reservations in TN and I bet even foundations that supported midgets water wrestling [okay, he didn't, but he did donate to groups that sent him lovely items to thank him for his generous support, a.k.a. crap (favorite is the hand-crank paper shredder that he tried giving me this past Christmas. It stood about 2 ft high and I wondered what 3rd world country was exploiting children to make this)].
Between the ages of 75 and 87, Spidey began to become more and more paranoid about dispensing personal information (maybe not such a bad thing since I've had my credit card # stolen twice) which perpetuated his need to sign up for "FREE" credit screening services.
During this same time, my mom started to go further and further into the deep end. Spidey wasn't really ready to see it, but I think she knew something was amiss. At one point, she stopped eating. He couldn't coax her to eat so my sister and I would go to the house and convince her to eat. My sister took the dinner shift, me, the lunch shift as I worked from home.
Although mom was always home, I asked for a key. I figured since Spidey was out frequently, mom might just lock the door and I wouldn't be able to get in. Instead of Spidey saying 'sure', I got the response, "we'll leave the door unlocked, don't worry, no need for a key."
Hmmm...okay. Didn't give it much thought because I was focused on getting mom to eat lunch. Eventually, things got back on track and I forgot all about the key brush off. Alright, I didn't forget, just didn't feel it was worth it to find out why no key for me.....
Fast forward Fall 2008....two things happen:
1....My hubby and I go over to look at his lawnmower. Lawnmower outside and not of interest to me. I decide to stay in, but the way Spidey kept asking me to come out with them, you'd think he was afraid to leave me alone in his house with his valuables (a bunch of old romance novels, Emily Post Etiquette book and the free crap from many charities). I refused and stood my ground. I could tell he was unsettled and really didn't care. On the way home, I asked my husband if he noticed Spidey's behavior. He said 'Yeah, it's as though he acted like you were going to rob him.' So, it wasn't just me.
2....Two weeks later, Spidey calls me about some charges on his credit card bill. He asks if I signed him up for anything and I said no. I think he thought I stole his credit card while in the house and signed him up for .....wait for it.... "discounted prescription drugs offered to Senior Citizens".
Besides the fact I wouldn't do that, how do I get passed his rubber band wallet?
After saying no, I explained that credit card companies offer their customers special services at a reduced rate - did he get a call? No. Of course not. What was I thinking? The man probably did, but refusing to admit he has a hearing a problem would mean he screwed up.
I think he asked me several times. If he weren't 86 at the time, I could be offended. Instead, I backed up his plan to take it direct to his bank for a new card and explain the charge was fraudulent.
He goes. He obviously gets the right person because I have the following phone conversation with the bank teller:
bank teller: Ms. LMB, your father is here with me and I need to ask you a question.
LMB: Are you wondering if I made a charge with my dad's card?
BT: Why, yes. How did you know?
LMB: Because he can't believe he could. I went further to explain, he keeps the card and all financial information close-to-the-vest and I have never even touched his credit card (rubber band has made that impossible for anyone to). Please remove the charge, cancel his card and we'll set up a plan to ensure that this will not be happening in the future.
Things with my dad changed after that. My sister really began to look at his finances and I helped clear a bunch of stupid items my dad charged on his card.
Spidey will never admit he screwed up. I will never correct him. I'm flattered that Spidey thinks I could pick his pocket, master the rubber band makeshift wallet and put everything back in place without him noticing (I should mention, I think he has his notebook and rubber band wallet are on his person 24/7). I also know how important it is for him to have some dignity while growing old.
However, I don't tolerate certain behaviors that I know really help him anymore. Hearing aid must be in when around me and if I need something, he now gives it to me -- like a key to the house. :-)
Okay, that's my story. Not sure if funny, but trust me, if you saw the rubber band wallet, you'd laugh.