DS emailed out of the blue to say he will be coming back to NZ next month, after 8 years of living in Britain. I have to get a bed for the spare bedroom so he will have somewhere to sleep.
Viewing the 'family' Category
Yes I'm on a bare bones budget this month, but I'm not so hard up I can't afford to post a pair of handknitted sox to my dad. nz$4.50 I could have written a poem and paid just .50 cents postage, but he has dementia and I think he will appreciate the sox.
I talked to dad's lawyer today, and he is in favor of the house being sold. We have had an offer of $215,000nz, so settlement will take place in April. There is some furniture in the house I would like if no one else does, but I'm not too upset if I don't get it.
Bro has turned out to be an absolute ratbag. Knowing that dad was probably already suffering from dementia, he got him to sign some pieces of paper, including a will which left everything to him and cut us girls out completely. But the lawyer tells me it won't stand up in court. The kindest thing I can say about bro is that he has had mental health problems in the past and maybe isnt' entirely responsible for his actions. Anyway, dad may well live another 10 years and his money all get used for his care.
Spent the weekend in hometown and visited dad. He would be happy at the home except that my blasted bother had rung him and told him it was costing too much and his money was going down too fast. He claimed the accountant had cost over $6000 for one month. So we had a look at the statements and he had actually charged less than $400. The rest of the money was for various bills that had gone unpaid over the last 6 months while dad was in hospital. I am very annoyed with bro for upsetting dad, because he was the one who made a big fuss about dad not being competent to understand and he shouldn't be worried. My BIL is an accountant who has seen some funny deals in his time, and he is thoroughly suspicious of bro's determination to remain in control of so much money when he has no qualifications for investing. He is trying to run it like a business with absolutely no overheads, and spend as little money as possible on dad's care. Now dad has got it into his head that it would be cheaper if he were still living at home, which it would not as we would have to get in all cleaners and meals on wheels and people to make sure he took his meds. Anyway, the medical professionals are firmly of the opionion that the dementia will advance to the point where he does not know where he is. it was terrible to explain this to him as he forgets as soon as he is told something. He was very tired and frail, and I wonder how much longer he can last, but sis and i are determined his money will be used to provide him with the best possible care at the end.
I felt rather depressed, so i decided to cheer myself up by getting a haircut. $32NZ. I have fine problem hair, and it is worth my while getting a good hairdresser to do it.
Just a few odds and ends to keep you inthe picture. Sis is going to be spending the next semester studying in our town and will be staying with me. I won't charge her rent, as she has a car and we will split costs. She is planning to get a parttimejob to cover her expenses. However she is also making alarming noises about all the renovations she thinks i should do round my place. I will have to be quite firm and tell her i only intend to do what I can pay cash for. Having a high earning husband herself, she doesn't realise I have to be responsible for my own future.
I rang ds for his birthday in England. He sounds very happy and was in the kitchen making pancakes for his girl cousins and a lot of their girlfriends. That's my boy!
This morning the dayold bread bin was very well stocked. I got a bag of savory scones and a fruit loaf for 50 cents each.
Today they are phasing out 5 cents and bringing in the new lighter coins. I read an article that it will be good for the economy as they cost less to make. The article said that money nowadays isn't actually worth anything; the reason people accept it is they know they can pass it on to the next person. I was more interested in the bank teller's comment there will be more people dropping the new coins. I will keep a sharp lookout! i found one of the old 10 cent coins today, and I have a jar of coins that I must bank.
Ds took off for England this morning, and there is every chance he won't be back for a few years, as he may study or get work over there. I am left sitting round swigging endless cups of tea and contemplating the damage to my account. Of course I had to get him new socks and boxers before he left in case he gets strip searched at the airport, and a haircut so his passport photo would look presentable, plus a celebration night out with the family.
Hmm, did I say this was the month of minimum spending? Well, they say life is was happens when you are making other plans. Now I have to make some more plans to either get a housemate or a parttime job. At the moment I am just relaxing and slowly clearing up the mess in ds' bedroom. Then I shall think about getting some money together so I can go visit him in England.
Out of the blue ds received an offer to go to England, ticket paid for by dad. Great excitement and a furious rush to get things done on time. We had to get an urgent passport. Of course ds having happily blown all his cash on DVDs and satellite TV, despite my best efforts to encourage savings, dear old mum has to come up with the required $NZ300. Aesop should rewrite the fable about the ant and the grasshopper where the ant is too kindhearted to refuse to help the starving grasshopper when winter comes. Never mind, it's a great opportunity for him and I'm really happy. But I shall be lonely when he's gone next week. I shall have to get a housemate, which will help with finances too.
I am now drawing up a list of all the jewellry and things I want ds to buy for me in Europe.
Dad had another ministroke on Friday so I went to see him -$NZ60 return fare. Apart from that I have only paid for groceries.
My sneakers are getting pretty worn, so the question is whether I should replace them now, or wear the good leather shoes in my wardrobe. I must admit, I don't wear dress up shoes very often. Comfort is all important as i have to walk a lot for my condition. Lots of people would think themselves blessed to have 2 pairs of shoes.
Bro keeps talking about about the need to preserve dad's capital, which makes me think he is interested in how much he will inherit (has made some poor business decisions and needs a bailout.) I feel very guilty and uncomfortable at the thought if dad dies soon I will inherit over $100,000, but I must admit the money would be very handy. I would have to very careful and not squander what dad has spent his life building up. But really I wish he had taken the time to enjoy it more. He always wanted a trip back to the Old Country, but kept putting it off because he didn't think he could afford it - now he will never go. That makes me sad.
Last night I rang my brother as he and sis are no longer on speaking terms. I listened to his side of wanting to take care of dad. I see where he is coming from but he is so goshdarn high handed. Anyone who disagrees with him he calls an idiot. Well, dad has a hair trigger temper too, which is why I don't think it would work for bro to look after him. They always did quarrel about everything.
But last night bro kept his temper and even surprised me by suggesting my travel expenses to see dad should be paid for out of dad's funds. I would like to see dad as much as possible before dementia sets in. Already he struggles to remember gkids. Sometimes I think death would be kinder.
Dad has been moved back to the hospital in hometown in Central Otago so the family all went up at the weekend. It was fun seeing the neighbours again, I ran into an old schoolfriend who is now raising alpacas. It's getting late in the year for fresh fruit, but I bought some apples and preserved greengages from a roadside stall.
For Mother's Day, sis insisted we all go for lunch in Queenstown. We visited a vineyard with a winery and restaurant attached. As it is between seasons the price was not so bad, NZ22.95. Queenstown is very popular with overseas tourists, but to my mind it is very expensive and not at all typical Kiwi. There is no denying it is very beautiful, tho, and if I ever win lotto and have perfect health, I will buy a lakeside apartment there and spend the rest of my days bungy jumping, skiing and white water rafting.
We looked at some resthomes in the area for dad and found one very nice little one. I think it would be very nice for dad to stay there as long as he can, tho he may eventually have to be moved to a veteran's hospital in the city.
We also talked to the lawyer and a real estate agent about the house. We have had an offer of $200,000 from a builder, but it is obvious he only wants to subdivide the section, so we figured the back lot could be sold for $100,000, to help pay for dad's care, and the house with an eighth acre can be kept for the family to use when they come to visit. That is worth another $190,000, and we will gradually do it up as it is rather neglected. House values are unlikely to drop in the area as it is popular with developers, so by the time it needs to be sold, it should be worth quite a bit.
Altogether I spent about $100, including buying some pillows and towels for dad's house, but it was worth it.
i spent 4 days in Christchurch over the long weekend, staying at a retreat in an 1854 homestead. I spent $90, plus $10 for transport, for time spent meditating and yummy vegetarian food. Well worth it.
Then i went to my sister's, to try and settle what should be done about dad. She showed me a resthome which she thought would be suitable. It was nice, but dad has indicated he would like to stay in his home town. It would certainly be a lot more convenient for us to visit if he was in Christchurch, and I think there would be more interesting things for him to see and do. He admits it is depressing to see his old friends drop off one by one. OTOH, as the accountant says dad has plenty of money for his care, maybe we could keep his old home and use it as a holiday house when we visit. There is no hurry to make a decision, as there is still several operations on his leg to go, and in the meantime he is enjoying all the attention in hospital, but I would like him to be settled before winter sets in.(June in the Southern Hemisphere) Also, my sister is heading overseas in June, and I don't fancy being left to fight with my brother. Once a decision has been made, the Social workers will resist any change, as they hold it bad care to move old people from one place to another.
It is very emotionally draining. I have spent a lot of time sleeping and my diet is completely shot. I have put on 5 lb. I have told my son that he won't have to worry about making decisions for me. When I turn 70 I shall simply get myself into a home and then I shall laze about and eat all the food provided, without caring about living forever.
Dad had to have another minor operation on Monday, but is looking very bright and chipper now. The consultant is definite he needs fulltime care and would be better off in a place where he will have professional caregivers.
Dad has suffered some memory loss, but still remembers enough to take an interest in his affairs, and has been able to discuss his finances. The drs are unwilling to have him declared incapable yet. My sister and I have managed to get things into the hands of an account, and there is a good chance of overthrowing my brother's power of attorney, as dad didn't recieve independent legal advice before it was signed. I was amazed how much money dad did have, but it seems there are also some large sums missing, so we don't know if my brother has already raided his accounts. But he certainly wouldn't be taking an interest if dad wasn't rich.
Oh, well, these things happen in families, I guess, but I didn't think they'd happen in mine. It's sad when you can't trust your own brother.
On a brighter note, I have been attending a Job Club for people with disabilities this week. I have already been told of a job at an office stationery store, so it will be a great help if I can get a parttime job. Mind you, after this last experience, I'm thinking maybe I should spend the lot while I'm still able.
Glad to say dad is out of danger and recovering physically. Sadly there has been some brain damage and he will no longer be able to live in his own home. My sister and I are looking for a nice residential care home.
The horrible thing is that we have now learned my brother, who has drug convictions and has undergone Anger Management for beating his wife, had somehow managed to get Power of Attorney over dad's affairs, and, under the guise of using the money for dad, been raiding his bank accounts. It is bad enough to think we may not have dad much longer, but just ghastly to think my own brother cannot wait for him to die. He was not a perfect dad by any means, but now he is old and helpless and needs care. I hate my brother for taking advantage of him. Dad has been saving this money all his life, and my rotten brother thinks he has a right to it.
At all events, it is a good lesson to make sure I have proper legal safeguards in place, in case I ever lose the capacity to decide my own affairs.
This week has seen a major attack on my finances, but I'm happy to say I'm prepared like a good Girl Scout and surviving the storm.
1) I hired a skip and with the help of some friends cleared a load of rubbish out of the basement. That was planned for, but unfortunately the check to the waste disposal disappearred in the mail, so I had to pay a stop check fee of $20 and send another one.
2)My 20 year old fridge packed up and I had to buy a new one. Again, I had the money saved up, and I was able to buy a slightly scratched shop floor model at a reduced price.
3)My dad had to go into hospital. All other trials pale before that. I have my sister staying with me, and our meals are very disorganised, so haven't been able to shop for groceries with the usual care. Also spent quite a bit on taxis. The saddest part is that now my brother is insisting that dad should come and live with him. My sister thinks he is only interested in stopping all dad's money being used on longterm care. I don't know which would be worse in my old age - to have have no money, or to have lots and my children squabbling over it. It certainly has been a good lesson in putting money in perspective.