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In my fav motel room in Marion Ohio. Home of Warren G Harding. You can tour his home place...Whoo Hoo...This is a little more than half way home for me, was going to try and get a little further south but heavy rain, fog, construction, 8 hours driving, I’m done in.


No immediate crisis but haven’t seen folks since I got them in AL mid December. Bazillion things to do down there....Check on folks, meet with realtor, go file stuff at courthouse, get new title for car....can’t find it anywhere.....Try and finish clearing out old paperwork, pictures, any valuables from house....And on and on.....


Neighbor lady visited mom and dad yesterday. Her report....Mom is still mad at me....Dad has lost his wallet and watch....He can’t even see his watch....I had cleaned out his wallet except for worthless cards and grandkid pics......Mom says she owes some gal money for buying her some clothes as I dumped her in there with nothing..omg.....And mom told her there was hundreds of dollars in their car....


And so it goes. God only knows what I’ll find when I get there. Staff tells me they’re doing pretty good. Dad hasn’t tried to break out and find his car for several days now, so that’s good.

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Windy, this sounds so very much like FrequentFlyer's mom and dad trajectory..... mom totally unaccepting and dad kinda of confused but glad to be in care.
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Exactly Barb.....The staff sees the person that IS....

The staff person in this case is the activities director. She sees Dad wandering around, very confused, needing something to do. If I tried to get him to do a model airplane or a puzzle he’d just think I was nuts. My kid? What does he know......

Mom, on the other hand......Much tougher case. A little more with it, but has suffered from serious depression her whole life. And now, a series of bad falls, head injuries and dementia coming on fast. Other than dinner time where she’ll visit with her friend E, they can’t get her to do anything. I don’t see that changing much.
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Windy, when my very shy and very unsociable mom went into Independent Living, we feared it would be the end of her (you know how people here say "My parent would DIE if they went into a facility!)?

Well, mom kinda sorta blossomed. Discovered that if she could sit in the library each morning and engage one person in conversation, she could decide for herself if she wanted to pursue a friendship. She ended up making a very good friend, a lady who was legally blind but still a spitfire; she got mom to come to "stock market club" (turned out mom was a great stockpicker and was much sought after as a partner--this from someone who bought into my dad's view of the market as a ponzi scheme). She went to EVERYONE's religious services, because she'd always been fascinated by religion. She went to jewelry making class. It was totally amazing.

When it's the right facility, it can be a miracle for our parents.

I'm reminded of a story from many years ago; there was some tangle with my dad, and I was able to figure out what to say to him to get him on my side.  My mom was a little put off by that.  I said to her "I've know daddy my whole life; you've only known him for 20 years".  

The social workers and staff who meet our parents in old age don't see the person that was; they see the person that IS.  They understand how to engage them in the moment and don't bother with preconceptions about what came before.  Does that make any sense to you? 
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After two days of snowy, sloppy driving, finally back home.

Staffer from AL texted me pics of Dad working on the model cars and airplanes I got for him. She had suggested I get some for him and said she would help him. Amazing what they can get him to do......Models!?.........Bathing!?
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This so reminds me of our 17 day blitz of trying to sort through 83 years, 3 generations of "collections". There was a huge box of slide cartridges, all carefully numbered, and we could not find one of the cartridges..........A month later.....Duh....it was IN the 1950's hulking slide projector!!! Good luck you you on your mission.....
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Sometimes the smaller local town libraries like to have photos, as there may be someone in town who is into local history big time.

Oh, my Dad has a ton of "slides" but try to find a projector now a days. Dad had one, but he probably took it apart to see how it worked and never got it back together at his age. I use to have a Kodak circle tray that use to hold dozens of photos. So there I am, holding up the photos to the light bulbs :P

There is a photography store in the area that will take slides and put them onto a disk. I will see if they could make actual individual photos instead because a lot of my cousins my age don't even own a computer.
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I found all the old 8 mil films, and projector. The old screen is with the junk in the garage. It’s unlikely I’d ever get the old stuff to work. All the films are ever so dry and brittle.

Fortunately, Dad had all the films transferred to DVD not too many years ago. It’s all great stuff that I’ve seen a hundred times growing up.

Weather clear, heading north in a few minutes.
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Windy, my dad too had the 8mm movie camera and the light bar.
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Yes Golden, you have to downsize, even with the pictures. When I was born, 1954, Dad took lots of pictures with the Kodak brownie(?) and the classic 8 millimeter home movies. He was always coming at us with the crazy, hot light bar in one hand and the camera in the other.

Later, Dad got into computers and had a ball for years until the dementia knocked him down. He took hundreds of pictures of five grandkids and spit out dozens of copies of each picture on his printer.

OMG.......It took me forever to sort this stuff out, save a few copies and ditch the rest.

And the really old stuff......I know who most of the pictures are and labeled them as best I could. This is stuff from around 1890 to 1940. Thing is, I’m the last person on earth that these pics have any meaning for.

I thought about showing some to mom and dad to identify. Maybe someday I can but right now they are too confused and upset with Any memories of home and family. It would just put mom in turbo weepy mode.
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windy -glad you could make a deal with the sump pump repair.

Photos are a dilemma for me too. My kids aren't interested in them. My sis has our family albums, but I still have many photos. I think I will scan them and send copies to my kids, my nephew as he may get nothing from my sis, (my niece will get the album and she has no kids) and the cousins. If anyone is interested, I can send them originals. What's left will be tossed unless there is something I want to hang on to. As you downsize yourself, you have to get a bit ruthless.
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Sunnygirl, I have been roaming Ancestry.com and every now and there I will see someone else has the same identical photo on the website. Oh my gosh, now I have a name to match this person. Usually the person who has this photo on-line is not related to me but had stretched his/her family tree waaaaay out.

Since I have no children, all this research will be going to a cousin who has been doing her own family tree since we share the same paternal grandparents, and would love to get the information and photos that I have. Plus she has 3 grown sons, history buffs, who are married with children, so the info can keep going to the next generations.

Oh, I plan to hand over the photos as they are, not scanning them. For some reason it feels like it is taking the "history" out of them if they are printed. I have many that are on cardboard like the old photographers use to use. My Dad's mother's father was a professional photographer, there are many family portraits. I find it interesting in how they dressed back then, plus the hairdos :))
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With all the talk about old photos, it brought a question to my mind. What do you do with boxes full of old photos and you have no idea who they are. My LO has severe late stage dementia is of no help. She's the last one in her family. Other cousins on other side have not contacted her in years. There are no other family members left who would know. Any reason for me to take the time to scan them? None of these people, assuming they are alive had visited her for 10 years prior to the dementia, so, I don't think they want them.  There are no other children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc.  in her line.  (Except for my line of family.  I have those photos for safe keeping.)
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Pam — Scrapple and deer bologna. YUM.
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That was meant to be wacky tabacky.. LOL And no I was not partaking of that nor a martini when I wrote it.. :)  Funny this came up this week. Hubs and I drove to the place to day to make sure it's doing OK,, and to take said neighbor some scrapple and deer bologna ( he keeps an eye on the place for us)  Ice on the river!  but the place looks good, just some mouse evidence in the kitchen where hubs and FIL left some saltine packs and sunflower seeds out.  Swept up,, will wash up when we turn the water back on in the spring.  Better than last year when the mice ate the soap ( no lie) and tore up the TP.. I stored it all in plastic containers  this year. 
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Windy, all those old photos. When you get a chance, take the photo of people you have no idea who they are and let your parents write on the back in pencil who is this person. I can just imagine the conversation between your Mom and Dad. "That's Uncle Joe when he was a kid", "No, that is Cousin George", etc.

The reason for this, my parents left me with a bin full of photos. Many of the photos might as well be people in the witness protection agency. Since I have been climbing the family tree, which keeps getting taller, I would love to match these photos to the names. Oh how I wished I did that back when my folks were still around :(
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Appreciate the advice Rainmom. I missed the boom in this area by about 5 years. It’s a totally saturated, overbuilt mess here. For years there was no zoning. Now? You’re not allowed to do anything as a developer. The powers that be let them totally screw the place up for 30 years then cracked down on em after the area was destroyed.   Any place they could scrape a  200 ft flat spot off a hillside there’s a mini mall or a double wide. Like much of Appalachia I guess.

But this area is a little more affluent than most. Ill get some action but not at the price I could have a few years ago. My folks should have been in AL five years ago but hung on till the absolute end. Same old story we all know well.....
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You probably already know this...

“Just in case”, be sure to give yourself some wiggle room on the house price. Even selling it “as is”.

Against my instructions my parents signed the contract with the real estate agent without me being there. The agent talked them into listing it at the bottom price they would accept - and quite a bit lower than I believe they could have gotten.

Sooo- even though it was an “as is” when the inspection found a crack in the sewer line my folks had to knock an additional $8,000 off the price to keep the sale from falling through - and then having to fix the sewer line - which would have fallen to me to arrange - and then starting over and relisting.

These older houses, lived in by even older folks can be land mines. 
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Thanks guys...

This is a small 2 bedroom house but it’s amaxing how much stuff has been compressed into it since 1957. One large dresser drawer would fill up 3 trash bags. Small closet.....6 to 8 bags.

My goal on this trip was simply to get out personal stuff, pictures (Huge boxes full.  And this really derails you.  Hours of going through pics back to 1920s ) declutter, and very basic cleaning which consisted of basically lots of febreeze and carpet fresh. So now the house is not disgusting and the garage has aprox 50 full garbage bags. Real estate lady called it “Very cute little house”. She was a great find.  Been moving units around here for 40 years and knows every developer, contractor, county commissioner ....Truly remarkable lady......

I’m leaving all the furniture here as it’s all junk. The sofa appears in pictures from the early 70s. The house does have good bones, pristine oak floors under nasty carpet (Why did our folks all do this!?) and everything is in working order. Not pretty but functioning. For those not terribly discriminating,  people could live here

It remains to be seen if a developer will shove it down for a subdivision or someone might want to remodel with additions. So I’m keeping the place on basic life support.

It will be sold as is, removal of furniture , possibly a negotiated issue in price. If it becomes a shove down the end loader can eat couches along with the walls.  At this point I plan to do as little as possible with the place.

I’ve already gotten the good stuff, tools etc, out of the garage. I’ve been sneaking stuff out, especially power tools for about 3 years now. And just this am, bartered the trade of 2 dead tractors and 2 dead chain saws with some good ol boys who will fix the sump pump in the basement and build a small block wall around it. This was a job I was dreading and I’m am beyond happy with this deal!  

Just waiting for all the weather to the north to clear and hope to get outta here Monday. Meanwhile...Got a dead car in the garage to screw with and several other fish to fry.
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Good Lord! The whole getting the house ready to sell nightmare!

My parents had been in their home over 50 years - and in the last 10 to 20 did very little in maintenance, let alone keeping it current!

But the house had “good bones” as the realtor said and it was cornered in a trifecta of very good neighborhoods. Well, two were very good and the third was experiencing a Renaissance,
popular with trendy hippies who had money.

But all the stuff! We - my brothers and their families, along with my hubby cleaned it out in one weekend. The trick? Rent a construction site size dumpster and don’t get emotional over it all.

I felt awful about tossing so much but we were under a time crunch - and my brothers made it clear they weren’t making Goodwill runs. I felt both better and worse when three different guys showed up with trucks and asked if they could go through the dumpster. It was kinda creepy but at least the stuff - everything a “valuable antique” according to my mother, (NOT) didn’t end up in a landfill. I swear I could have saved myself six years of caregiving had I told my folks the demise of their stuff. Both would have keeled over on the spot.

But desperate measures in desperate times, I guess.

The highlight of the house clean out was when I peeked under a corner of the 25 year old wall-to-wall carpet. Gleaming, pristine hard wood floors - in every room and hall on the main floor of the house. Gorgeous! We pulled up all that carpet and suddenly I had hope for selling the house. I will never understand why wall-to-wall carpet became the raging trend that it was!

Anyhoo - summarizing after my babbling trip down memory lane - Do get a dumpster. Don’t get mared down in sentiment. And, I’m wishing you a bunch of finding hard wood floors!  Figuratively. 
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Windy, reading about you emptying the house brings back memories when I had to empty out my parent's home. At first glace I thought this shouldn't be too bad, I will do this and that, until I found this and that had a mind of their own !!

What did you do with all of Dad's workshop stuff? I called in a handy man who did some minor fix up in exchange for anything he wanted in my Dad's workshop. He would say when he saw something quite old "Good Lord, this should be in a museum".

I had a Goodwill close by so easy to carry stuff in good shape went there. I wanted them to pick up the furniture but one had to book them 2 months out. Well that wouldn't work, so I scheduled Salvation Army. Well, there was a glitch there, if the stairway was U shape, they couldn't move the furniture. They took just what was on the first floor. Then I had to call one of those hauling companies which took the rest. This all took a month of Sundays.  A plumber who was at the house fell in love with an antique curve glass china cabinet so I just gave it too him, as I could tell from what he said he knew his antiques. 

Then I had to play detective to find what was causing the water leak in the basement as water was pooling in one area with no trail. Sure, I have nothing else to do :P
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windy -you are continuing to do an awesome job! I know that visiting them is tough. ((((((hugs)))) for your fortitude. You learn as you go about what works. You already have someone interested in the property??? That's wonderful and could get you so far ahead in the job you are in the middle of.

wacky tabay??? - heard of wacky backy!
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Windy, you are the best child anyone EVER birthed!!!
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No, it ain’t martini country down in these here parts....


Wacky tabay?
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I have a vacation home in WV,, and I have never seen any martinis either! Our neighbors make moonshine in the kitchen however.. And have many late night bango and guitar playing gigs,, with some wacky tabay! we sit on our deck and laugh!
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Still alive and well.  Been a crazy week with all the house stuff, realtor, lawyers, getting new title for the car (just four trips to DMV!) and visiting folks every day.

The every day visits were probably a mistake. They had been adjusting pretty well but my presence re kindled all the confusion and WANNA GO HOME stuff.  So had to run through the whole chain of events, Fib, dodge and weave all week.  Kinda put us back to check in time two months ago. But the dementia for both of them is such that I think they will get back in the groove pretty quickly. Mom has really gone down hill. She will be pretty with it, then look at me and go WHERES WINDY? Oh boy.....

Long story but am starting guardianship process.  No originals of POA can be found.  No prob with banks or dmv but prob with selling land.  I’ve got a great realtor who hooked me up with a good attorney. And already have an interested buyer for the property

Trapped here thru weekend due to weather from here to thar. So will head north Monday. Not like I’ve got nothing to do. Forty trash bags and counting......
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Started on mom’s room today. 12 forty gallon trash bags later you can see the floor and the dressers are empty. All legal stuff is just a disaster. Spent an hour at dmv, such a lovely place, then they announced the computers had crashed. Won’t even go into bank/poa crap.

But the good news....Folks seem to be in the AL groove pretty much. Had dinner again with the other ladies, mom eating like a horse, complaining about all the food.....It is pretty gruesome. She and dad joke and carry on with the other ladies. Mom is just downright prissy! She loves making E laugh, but I don’t think the bar is very high for E to laugh.

On the other hand, mom is really going downhill cognitively, and can’t transfer to wheelchair without major assist, much less walk. But she seems happy enough. Maybe happy is too strong a word, but there’s no talk from either of them about WHEN ARE WE GOING HOME.....

Dad is very confused but not agitated and didn’t do any great escapes today.

Tomorrow: Actually cleaning mom’s room. The window sills...OMG
And before anyone suggests cleaning service, trust me, this is not deep cleaning. My goal is to declutter and febreeze enough so the real estate lady won’t faint dead away.
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windy - you are doing a terrific job. I am glad mum is not as frosty and has made a friend. I think it is going well and as expected. Sorting out their stuff is a huge chore. I hope it goes relatively smoothly. Give yourself some breaks...
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Windy ridge, you're from WV? Haven't lived there since college graduation in 1971. Not up on the current drinking trends. Come from a family of teetotalers.
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I laughed when you talked about how hot it is. I'd be sweating within about 3 minutes of visiting my mom - winter or summer. It was ALWAYS hot in her place. And she liked it that way. I'd leave and be dripping.

It sounds like things are going as well as can be expected. You've done a great job (and continue to do) for your folks. Good luck with selling their house. I don't envy you that process.
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Dear Windyridge,

Thank you for the update.

I have to agree with Barb, Capri pants work great for the short ladies.:-)
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