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So, I received surprising news today while working my second job. Quick Sidenote: Cell phones are not allowed at my second job, so I must wait until a break to use it. Anywho, I check my phone at 7:42 PM and find a text that came in around 3:30 PM that said "Your Dad is with us..." WHAT?!?! This text came from my Step Mom's (Dad's ex wife) husband (long story) who decided to take Step Mom to a surprise birthday dinner and bring Dad. I don't have an issue with them taking Dad to dinner. They've done it before, but I did not appreciate the "by-the-way...", last minute text. In fact, they chose a restaurant Daddy didn't like, so he ended up not having lunch or dinner! So, when I nicely asked if they could give me a heads up beforehand (as they usually do), I got screamed at! How DARE I reprimand her for taking Dad to dinner... how I'm ungrateful and rude. How I ruined her birthday... blah, blah, blah... I was LIVID!!! ANYTHING could have happened and I wouldn't have known until the last minute. Am I wrong for asking her to text beforehand?

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Hi tinyblu when I saw the title of your post, before I even knew what it was about, I thought that most people usually have a good reason to be upset, so the answer to your question was probably yes! And then I read your post, which reminded me of the time that my parents-in-law "kidnapped" my mom for Christmas - we were away on Christmas day, so I hosted a dinner for my parents-in-law and my mom two days before Christmas. My parents-in-law did not mention at any point that they would take my mom out on Christmas Day, which they had been planning for weeks. Mom had been talking about it, but with her dementia I was not sure if this was real. In any case my SIL (other side of the family) got really worried on Christmas day because she tried to call my Mom all day long and nobody at the nursing home could tell her where she was. When I confronted my parents-in-law about it, my father-in-law sniggered and said that this must be hard on my ego, while my mother-in-law huffed and acted offended. I also asked my mother-in-law to give me some warning before she would go and visit Mom - one day she told me she was planning to go, it turned out Mom was moving to a new room and the staff said that it would be better if she did not have any visits that day, so I texted my MIL to ask if she could go another day, and she did not reply to my text, but of course she went and spent the afternoon with Mom (who naturally made a big scene) and then called me to say that she had not been in the way at all! It is all about power and control for them (oh! the stories I could tell), and it is not difficult for me to imagine that there could be similar issues with your ex-step-mom. My advice to you would be to be smart about which battles to pick, because you need to focus your energy on your Dad. He was probably less affected by the situation than you are. Hugs to you
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It is OK for you to be upset. You own your feelings and no one can tell you if and when you can be upset. Acting on those feelings is a different matter but that does not mean you are right or wrong.
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...lots of underlying dynamics here that would take a lifetime to explain.
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NVM...
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Hover all you want if it makes you happy.
I googled Bonefish Grill and can see soups, salads, burgers and steaks on the menu, and of course there are always sides like fries or rice. I have no doubt he was excluded from the family games because he expressed he wasn't interested and a desire to have some quiet time. If he has reached a stage where he can't handle outings anymore then tell everyone that before they make an effort to include him again..
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I'm sorry for everyone that the birthday dinner didn't go better (and, by the way, no I don't think it's unreasonable to prefer people to mention their plans beforehand; it's just that if that isn't obvious to them already then you're probably wasting your breath trying to explain, don't you think?).

Hugs, Tiny. Some people can get very shirty when they've behaved inconsiderately and it gets pointed out to them, and it sounds like that might include your ex-step-mother - is that right? Ohgodi'msoconfused...

Maybe this won't crop up too many more times. Or maybe you could have a word with step-ex-step-father (?!?) and explain that you worry that your dad really isn't up to the spontaneous night out any more - not having any historic status to be prickly about, he might be a bit more understanding and a bit less Me Me Me.

Other than that, it really is nice that they want to include him, and haven't written him off. Such a shame. Sorry you got bruised over it, hugs.
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So why did you post this question, Tinyblu? You are going to fly that helicopter all day to make dad's best interest the top priority of anyone who spends time with him. Why ask us what we think?

Any care center could provide a resident with an impromptu meal better than Doritos and Coke. Even a banana and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich would have worked. Did he not think to ask for this? Did they not realize he hadn't really eaten?

It really sounds like former stepMom went off the deep end in her response to your polite request. Let that be her problem, not yours.
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Thanks for the input everyone.

I can be a bit protective of Dad, but maybe not so much in this case. Stepmom was married to him for 10 years. She knows he doesn't like seafood or "fancy" restaurants, so it may have been better for her to not take him to Bonefish Grill. Maybe visit AFTER dinner?

...AND I discovered that Stepmom's new husband had been planning this birthday dinner for a couple of weeks... plenty of time to send a quick know "We're coming to get Dad Saturday..." text.

I guess I was upset because had I known ahead of time, I could have made sure Dad had a snack beforehand or had the ALF staff to save him something for dinner. Instead, the ALF staff informed me that Dad had a completely miserable night upon returning. He was very confused and agitated.


According to Dad, after sitting through dinner at a place he did not like, Stepmom took him back to her sister's house where the rest of the family went into another room to play board games and left him alone in a room to watch a very small TV with the volume low. This is not the ideal situation for an 86-year old, legally blind, hard of hearing man with dementia who needs oxygen 24/7.

And despite my VERY nice "Thank you so much for including Dad. In the future, would you mind just giving me a little more notice before you come so that I can make sure Dad's ready..." spiel. I got ripped a new one.

So, no I'm not grateful that Dad was more anxious after their visit than before or that he had a lovely dinner of Doritos and Coca Cola -- a 6 feet tall and barely 120 pounds it's important for him to eat...

I'll fly that helicopter all day if I feel that his best interest isn't top priority.
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I would be upset too, but at least they did text and let you know where he was. Our experience was that people who were closest to grandpa understood his situation and limits; they were also the most kind about "filling us in" if they stopped by to see him. There were others who would do things ranging from mildly annoying to dangerous and irresponsible. They thought they were being nice and would make a big production, but it was actually really inconsiderate both to him and to us (since we would have to clean up the mess they left, etc.)

My guess about the screaming is that they found the outing way more stressful than they had anticipated, and freaked when you weren't "grateful." I understand why you got upset but I'm thinking they just have no clue how responsible you feel for him, or how difficult this is. I hope you feel better soon. You have enough on your plate without worrying about this.
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Dear Tinyblu,

I know you love your dad a lot and very protective of him. Your feelings are understandable. You are very invested in his care and need to know where he will be.

Try not to be mad at your stepmom, she probably didn't mean anything malicious by it but thought she was doing you a favor of sorts. It would have been more thoughtful of her to at least text or let you know in some way as courtesy. Some people are just like that and I hope you can forgive her.

Glad your dad is okay. You are doing the best you can for him and yourself.
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Don't turn into a helicopter caregiver, it isn't necessary to micromanage his life! So he didn't enjoy the restaurant, I'm sure there would have been something there he could have eaten if he wanted to, but he chose to behave like a two year old instead. Be thankful anyone else wants to bother with him at all.
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