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Crazy4Canning

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Well, if you don't hear from me for a while, you know there's a reason.

 

The past almost 3 weeks have been full with parent stuff. I was able to take a few days and get some writing done, but not enough. In spite of it though, I did meet with my professor and he thought what I had done was excellent. I have one more huge chapter to go, then a final review.

 

After I came back from the coast, I had a meeting with a private investigator for my father's criminal case. These meetings were like depositions! They went into such levels of detail, it was amazing. His requests for documents left me opening 7 years (yes, 7, literally) of my dad's mail. Seems when he did open mail, he put it back into the envelope. All this was tossed into a box, sometimes manila envelopes. He called this 'filed'. Ummm...in who's world?

 

So, I had to sort, clean, and toss things. It took me sometimes 2 days per box. We had almost an extra bin of recycling. I kept hoping for papers that might exonerate him but found more to condemn.

 

What I found was that for over 7 years they were living well beyond their means. When my mom fell and broke her hip almost 7 years ago, Dad had to stop working, take early retirement and take care of her, particularly since she fell blind soon after. It's a rather sad journey, actually. My folks beat the recession by about 2 years. They went from living in the house they were going to keep through retirement to declaring a bankruptcy (again) and moving into a rental. That house, in all honesty, was too much for them, but he kept doing it anyway. Once he got caught up in the email scams, it was all over, but the fact that he did it for 4 years in a row is just incomprehensible. Every utility was past due when they left their old city. I've had a couple debts cancelled, but one may not go away.

 

Last night, though, was rough. My parents called me over for a "meeting". I took my husband. I knew that it was going to be a 'beat up on me' session.

 

A little background - Ever since my mom found out earlier in the week she is getting social security to bring them up about $500/ month, she is wanting to do the Biblical 'tithe' of 10%. No amount of reason can tell her that the past, almost decade, of living from hand to mouth has left them with NO cash reserve and that I, under no circumstances, can give them cash money from their checking accounts. This is my personal vent here - I think that the organizations they want to support are shiesters. They seek to take money from those who can't afford it in return for some flawed doctrine and philosophy.

:soapbox:

 

So. Stepping off, the soapbox. ..

 

My mom felt that I was being stand-offish and rude when I told her they couldn't afford to tithe $200 a month, she wanted to do it anyway and she was going to have her way. She thought I was deliberately not returning calls to her, I just talked to whomever picked up the phone, not her specifically. She said I was being 'heavy-handed' with their money and I had no right not to let them spend it how they chose.

 

Thankfully, my husband acted as intermediary, excusing me for not picking up the phone every single time they called. He also got them off the tithing box and focused on getting a new vehicle and other needs like a new chair or furniture. With her extra income, inside of a year, they could save up enough money for a decent car. My husband said the court may force car payments because of credit history, mom refused the idea. It seemed like any idea that wasn't hers, she refused. This went on for an hour.

 

I ended up apologizing for not returning her phone calls, telling her it was also her obligation to tell me if she wanted something because I wasn't always able to check my voice mail. I told her that if she wanted to talk to me, when I called, she needed to tell Dad, and then tell me what she wanted, that she needed to hold ownership for this too.

 

I just can not believe how stubborn she is. I don't think she realizes that if I were to give up guardianship, they would get a public official who would NOT let them tithe as much or interact with them as much as they want. A public guardian would force vacation of the storage unit and wouldn't care how it was done.

 

Ugh.

 

They received monthly checks yesterday, so I have to head over to their place today some time this weekend and drop by a gas card, pick up some cat food, and some scrips.

 

I want to think my low tolerance of this drama is due to my dissertation stress level and my hormones (terrible girly time this month) but my realistic self is beginning to think not.

 

I hate to admit it, but I may well give up guardianship. In so doing, I may give up all support as well (Costco, etc.) My sister-in-law reminded me quite painfully, that my parents and I hold different ethics and boundaries. They are in their mid-sixties and I have to deal with this every month for the next, oh, 25 or so YEARS. (25 x 12 = 300, times 2, one for each parent). It will constantly be a battle to meet their needs while maintaining some level of non-extremism. She also reminded me that they are still in deep denial - and that not once have they said 'thank you' or admitted how bad the previous living situation was. If I do bring in a guardian, I just can't imagine all of my work for the past 7 months being for nothing. . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

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:hug3:

 

I remember when my grandfather finally understood that his beloved and much younger second wife was "just like a little bitty girl again" and that she would never get better. It was like he aged twenty years all at once, and they weren't good years.

 

Maybe you should sit down, perhaps with a professional, and quarter a large sheet of paper. In one quarter, write details of the situation as it would be if you handed over guardianship now. In another quarter, list details of what would happen if you handed over guardianship in six months (roughly--meaning four to eight months). The third quarter is for handing it over in one year (12-15 months). The fourth quarter is for handing it over in two years (24-30 months). There's no sense going beyond then because over time the variables will add up to a bigger pile than the constants. In each case, would the extra you-time applied over those additional months make their situation substantially better? If so, list exactly what concrete ways.

 

I like to make lists and charts. They help me put facts together in coherent patterns.

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I don know how you have managed this long. :hug3:

 

I was stunned when you said they were in their mid 60's. That is not old by todays standards. Heck, I'm getting close to my mid 60's. I know everyone is different but all this time I was assuming they were closer to their mid 80's. :pray:

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This has not been for nothing. If you make that decision, at least you will know you gave it your best shot. You will know that you did everything you could to help them get back on their feet. You will also know exactly what the guardian is dealing with, so you will not be tempted to pick it back up or attempt to. this last month has shown you how difficult it will be, and if we face facts this is only the beginning. Do you really need this stress every time they want to spend more than they have? the pattern of over spending is a life long habit. They will see no reason why they cant continue doing it. Yes it sad that it is happening, it is sad that you are caught in the middle, but if you continue as guardian, then more and more of YOUR money will be spent on the little things they cant afford. You cant do that. They are adults and now must live with their decisions. It might have been Dad that has been the worst offender, but remember that if it is your mother ringing now, then much of it was done with her knowledge and agreement. I think you will need to step back, and it will be hard, but an independent guardian will make sure they have somewhere to live and food to eat. there probably wont be any extras, but they have had their entire life time of extras all ready.

 

If you do step back, then you also need to put in place a system of accountabilty with your husband, so when they ask you if you could just get them this, that or something else, you can honestly say 'sorry but hubby wont let me' this will deflect their anger from you to him, but if he is strong enough to do it, it will ease your vulnerability to harassment from them.

 

it is hard to teach our teenagers these lessons, knowing that they will leave home and need to face financial facts of life, but to face it with adult parents, who will never take the burden on their own shoulders, I do not know how you have done it to this point. Take heart, you have been the most kind hearted daughter, many would not have done what you have. I applaud you.

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A little background - Ever since my mom found out earlier in the week she is getting social security to bring them up about $500/ month, she is wanting to do the Biblical 'tithe' of 10%. No amount of reason can tell her that the past, almost decade, of living from hand to mouth has left them with NO cash reserve and that I, under no circumstances, can give them cash money from their checking accounts. This is my personal vent here - I think that the organizations they want to support are shiesters. They seek to take money from those who can't afford it in return for some flawed doctrine and philosophy.

 

 

First thing that popped into my mind... accounting... manual accounting. Manual accounting puts it on paper in 4 - 6 column sheets, easy to see the monthly totals and to 'see' debt balances go down. They are of the age generation, where what they can physically see is real. It puts the finances into a realistic perspective that is easy to assimilate. Bills are this much and you get this much, all you have left over for groceries and gasoline is this....

 

When asked 'what bills', manual account can show exactly what bills MUST be paid. And, will show alternative costs, such as, ".. we can pay this much to them and they will accept the "payment", but you will have to continue paying them until it is paid off...", if possible, pay their bills in front of them.

 

As for the tithing, I do not want to lay another burden on you, but, pray about it. Do some research into what your parents believe and you believe. Try to look for something that agrees with what you believe and what they do. Maybe, find some literature, tapes, etc. that would encourage them enough, to tithe to someone you can trust, instead of the shysters and their schemes.

 

:pray:

 

the pattern of over spending is a life long habit. They will see no reason why they cant continue doing it. Yes it sad that it is happening, it is sad that you are caught in the middle, but if you continue as guardian, then more and more of YOUR money will be spent on the little things they cant afford. You cant do that. They are adults and now must live with their decisions. It might have been Dad that has been the worst offender, but remember that if it is your mother ringing now, then much of it was done with her knowledge and agreement. I think you will need to step back, and it will be hard, but an independent guardian will make sure they have somewhere to live and food to eat. there probably wont be any extras, but they have had their entire life time of extras all ready.

 

If you do step back, then you also need to put in place a system of accountabilty with your husband, so when they ask you if you could just get them this, that or something else, you can honestly say 'sorry but hubby wont let me' this will deflect their anger from you to him, but if he is strong enough to do it, it will ease your vulnerability to harassment from them.

Well said, Lady.

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You may have to give an accounting to the court for where their money is going. Check on that please, because the guardian in our state is responsible for how the money is spent, and bills must be paid first-no matter what one feels about tithing, etc. Here, the guardian has a fiduciary responsibility to follow the prudent man rule.

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Thanks for all the advice. The paper list was a grand idea - I will certainly do it. I cam already anticipate that not much will be changed, with the exception of my dad's court situation.

 

About their monthly accounting - I have always given them a spreadsheet for expenses coming in and going out. ALWAYS. And yes, I will have to give an accounting for EVERY PENNY spent by me for their 'estate' to the courts. I am hoping to request a court mandate that they can only spend so much on tithe and to force their hand to get rid of the storage unit. My big complaint has always been that they aren't dealing with their storage (out of sight, out of mind) and that is bill is one-tenth of their current income. $125/mo is a chunk of change. It's a car payment! Now that Mom is getting money, she doesn't think there is a need to change, basically because of her over-spiritual justification that "God has told them" to hold on to all of their stuff.

 

I've come to the conclusion that my sister-in-law and a good friend (who I've known for over 20 years) are right - that my parents haven't treated me as a daughter for a long time and they don't have boundaries, good communication skills, etc. I believe the technical psychological term is that they are content in their enmeshment, thrive in their dysfunction, and structure their reality to suit themselves. This is why, no matter how I would present Scripture, any supporting texts or authors, etc. that I will always be wrong. I have been wrong since I was 18 and began to come into my own as a person and adult. I will never do a right thing or be a good person in their eyes.

 

I took on the guardianship because I am the only living child - my younger sister died tragically in early 2002. I did it out of respect for my parents because I had to *try* to do what was right by them; because though I may disagree with their spiritual interpretations, they are still my parents. I was hoping that by modeling what I had never been shown - love, communication, common sense, practicality, restraint, etc., that perhaps they could see a different type of life was available to them; one where they could live within their means. I realize now that I don't think they will ever see it.

 

I'm also beginning to see that I'm dealing with a life-long pattern here and it's something that I can't fix. I can suggest fixes, but they must take ownership for their actions. Living with the consequences of a lifetime of behavior is hard. I think they are just now realizing how hard it can be.

 

I will tell you this, though. It has made me even more determined to do BETTER than I was raised, to make better decisions, and wiser ones. I have learned to treat people with greater respect, watch what I say, and do more good than I receive, and value my friends. I've watched my mother alienate friends, family, and people around her because it's 'her way or the highway' and over 20 years ago, I made a choice to be different.

 

I will know when it's time to let go. For now, though, I will hang in there and make what decisions I feel is for their best interest, as I have been mandated to do by the courts. When I gave them their monthly spreadsheet yesterday, it showed no tithe, simply because there wasn't money after their bills. I will NOT over-draw them at the bank simply because they want me t0, not when they're over-spending.

 

Hugs to you all. :grouphug:

Edited by Crazy4Canning

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Perhaps now that you have all the bills figured out, it may be time to give it to a 3rd party. I know they do that with people on welfare at times. Those people do this as a profession, so they are used to dealing with people and the manner in which they react.

 

I say let go and let a 3rd party do this.

 

I cannot imagine the mental and emotional strain this puts upon you and your dh.

How can your dad even drive if he is in this sort of mental state? Is this one of the issues the court will be deciding ? They seem so young to act so foolishly. This situation is mind boggling, to say the least !

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Annarchy - I did try to pay their bills in front of them and Dad kept taking the check book from me and demanding to know why he couldn't do it. It took *forever*. He kept questioning of paying by the internet was safe. How did I know "big brother" and the 'bad guys' weren't watching every move I made? Hence why I just pay the bills, set most everything up for online payment and drop by a rent check once a month. He still seems to take great pleasure in coming up with "Oh, by the way, we need money for . . . " Everything to him was an emergency. I had to remove all the drama he was thriving off of, and let him see you CAN live without it. He still searches for it and every once in a while finds it.

 

Violet - My dad's dementia is of a higher functioning sort. His form of dementia, and we're still searching for a precise definition, is dealing with numbers, math, precise details, higher order thinking, and the like. Driving literally uses a different part of the brain. He can get confused if he's not been in a certain area before, but who doesn't? Believe me, if his driving were affected, I would have his license pulled. I can do that. Right now, he is safe and I really don't need or want to be my parents' chauffeur.

 

Sue - Yes, you are right. All my learning has not been for nothing. I've learned such a tremendous amount. If only to, at the end, remind myself that I CAN, but CHOOSE not to. My husband has been most supportive.

 

Jeepers - Yes, mid-sixties. Hard to believe. I'm not yet 40 myself. That's why I look at the next, what? 30+ years and ask myself WHY? Why should I compromise my life because my parents failed to plan? Looking back over my life, and going through the paperwork helps, I realize that they have probably always lived a little beyond their means. We always had big houses, lots of *stuff* and we went to private school. How they paid for it, I really don't know.

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