Hell of a Guy
The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it - Henry David Thoreau

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Let There Be Peace…


The opposing forces of World War Joe have reached an armistice.  The battle is over; there is peace (at least for now).  After many face-to-face meetings in a neutral territory the combatants came to an agreement, one totally dictated by Joseph A.  This war ended much like Viet Nam – honorably.  Joe won and the rest of us (aka the family) scurried away from it with our heads meekly held high…but knowing deep down, we lost, again.

Amazingly, Joe has shown a stubborn resilience, one greater than his children, for sure.  He looks better than he has in the past twelve months.  Time will tell if he is able to maintain his present state of mind, we can only pray, but given just how he has been this weekend, there is a good chance: at least a much better one than the one evident a mere three weeks ago.

Joe and I sat in his “Man Cave” yesterday afternoon and had a man-to-man, albeit benign conversation over a beer.  We probably talked for an hour or so, certainly longer than any conversation he and I have had, just the two of us, over the 20 years I have known him.  I loved it.  Earlier that afternoon, he and I worked in his garden planting tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and squash.  Gardening is hard, tiring work, and the beer break was a welcomed respite, but more for me than for him.  He didn’t seem tired at all.

So, for now, the family will withdraw from the front line and assume a watchful eye.  We have made arrangements for a third-party observer to make sure all parties involved keep to the terms of the peace agreement.  This will allow all those concerned to return to their respective abodes and resume their busy lives.  Time will tell if in this we have truly reached a peaceful settlement, or if this is just a cease fire.

And that is all I have to say about that…   

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

World War Joe…


A while back I heard someone utter the words, “Getting old ain’t sissies.”  My reaction, “Ain’t it the truth.”

The Nancy’s dad is 85-years old.  He is truly a hell of a guy, just a really nice man, a great dad, a wonderful, caring husband for 64 years before his wife passed away last June, and he is a pretty damn good grandfather.  These days, unfortunately, he’s also kind of in a sad state.  For the third time in the last year, Joe has spent some time in a hospital setting.  Presently, he is in a rehab facility but is soon to be released, or “set free” in his terminology. 

Joe has four children whose unconditional love for him includes a fervent wish for his wellbeing.  The problem arises when each side – Joe versus the children – defines what is best for Joe.  Joe says he will only be happy living in his home of 60 years.  The kids say, in the interest of his wellbeing, he can no longer live alone.  War ensues!

There are issues that arise when Joe is at home alone; namely, Joe doesn’t eat, Joe forgets to take his medications and he has a tendency to overdo adult beverages way more than he should.  He begs to differ with us on these deficiencies.  Eating, for instance; it is quite clear he doesn’t prepare any food in the kitchen, there are no dishes in the dishwasher and food we have prepared for him goes uneaten and ends up in the garbage.  We find medications he needs that are set up in daily containers that hold two weeks of doses are only being taken periodically.  And then there is the drinking, which we believe is the culprit of many of the ills that have befallen him.  He just doesn’t remember how much he has had. It is very sad to watch, because I, too, love this guy.

Hence World War Joe, the battle lines have been drawn.

There is a really nice adult-living facility near Joe’s hometown, about 12 miles away.  It is beautiful, relatively new, bright and well maintained.  I could live there, were it not filled with a bunch of old people.  There, Joe could receive the care he needs while still living independently in an apartment of his own.  Joe’s view of it, “It is not for me.  Come hell or high water I am going home.” He says this even though he has not even seen it.  Let the battle begin.

As an “outlaw” I really cannot say a whole lot.  The Nancy would love to bring him home with us, though we are not so sure we are equipped or able to handle his needs.  It would be like having an infant in the house.  Conundrum?  You bet it is. 

This war will heat up this very weekend when Joe is sprung from his “incarceration.”  Wish us luck.

And that is all I have to say about that.