Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Now for a moment of public bitching.....  I know I should keep this stuff to myself, showing grace and patience, but I just can't.  I need to publicly shout the things that I can't shout at my father or I may explode at him in a spew of vitriol that I can't control.

My father is almost 92, is in good health except for using a walker and has all his mental faculties.   He continues to live in his own home because 1) it is nice and big and it is his and he has lived there for over 30 years, and 2) it is across the street from his girlfriend.  It is an old house and it needs a considerable amount of maintenance.  My father is much better at making money than at spending it.  It needed a new kitchen when my parents moved in and it still needs a new kitchen.  It needed new bathrooms when they moved in and it still needs new bathrooms.  These updates have not been postponed for lack of money but because my father just doesn't want to part with his money.  Because this is now an old house that has not had the requisite remodeling done it continues to deteriorate.  And because it is an old home it doesn't have a bathroom on the first level so consequently he must climb up stairs each time he needs to use the bathroom.  He is also basically blind, having macular degeneration and blindness due to glaucoma (which grew progressively worse because he didin't like putting in the eyedrops so I have only limited sympathy for this).

Because of the stairs, blindness, and concerns about him cooking for himself I have hoped that he would move into a nice retirement apartment building close to his house.  He has been on the waiting list for a two bedroom apartment there for over a year.  (This place is highly sought after, you basically have to wait for someone to die to get in.)  They finally had a two bedroom apartment available which we went to see today.  It is actually the BEST two-bedroom apartment in the place because it is one of  the very few with a balcony.  It was a lovely apartment, he could choose on a per-meal basis to eat in the dining room, they have lovely reception and common areas, a van to go to shops and errands, and he has friends who live there.  He turned it down.

So we return to his home and I start on my list of fixes that need to be done to try to make his home safer for him to remain.  Make arrangements to have a backup electric generator installed, have stair elevators installed, find a personal chef (who will probably only last through one meal prep session since he will find fault with everything), and a lot more smaller fixes.  This still doesn't solve the problem that the cleaning lady does an awful job keeping things clean and he lives alone and can't see but I can't tackle everything at once.  I tell him I'm heading to the grocery store and ask what he needs.  He opens the pantry to take stock and it is like an Alfred Hitchkok movie about ants.  They are everywhere!  Now I had just sprayed for ants yesterday where I saw a little trail of them but from this is clear they have invaded like a conquering army. 

So after a trip to the grocery, a trip to the hardware store for ant spray, removal of everything from the pantry, and spraying everythng with ant spray and cleaning all the shelves and putting down ant traps, and calling an exterminator, he still doesn't understand why I think that he would be better off in the retirement apartment and that the house is really too much for him (and for me).

Now off to shower and hopefully get rid of the feeling that things are crawling all over me.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I've been in Florida during the George Zimmerman trial and got suckered into watching portions of it on TV.  It was on every major station so if you turned on the tv at any point during the day that was all you had to watch.  It was fascinating.  The prosecution did a totally piss poor job even to my untrained eyes, and the defense lawyer was a complete and total ass.  I guess that what they pay him to be but I just wanted to slap him. 

It was pretty clear that the prosecution hadn't managed to make their points or provide a coherent explanation on why George Zimmerman's acount of the night didn't make sense and even I would have probably had to return a not-guilty verdict on second degree murder based on the evidence presented.  The manslaughter charge should have been the initial charge and if they had done that they may have won that one.

But, as my daughter pointed out, the real lesson here was that it allowed me to find out which of my friends are racists. The conversations during the trial, and it really was a major topic of every conversation down here in Florida, gave insights into peoples' perceptions and fears of young black males that were so saddening and disheartening. Many of these people have never had a actual personal or friendly relationship with African-Americans, especially young men.  The young men who serve them at the local McDonald's are probably the closest they have ever been.  These white folks have no context except their longstanding belief that these kids and families are somehow different and dangerous and they firmly believe that Trayvon was a thug in training who had some kind of superpower that made George Zimmerman so fearful of him that he "had" to shoot him.  That's because these folks don't see that Trayvon was just like their kid, if their kid wore a hoodie and ate skittles and iced tea.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

movie recommendation

Watched "Nowhere in Africa" on Neflix instant streaming tonight.  A German film from 2001, the original title was "Nirgendwo in Afrika".  It won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film for 2002.  I highly recommend it.  The advertised plot is that a German Jewish family flees to Kenya just before WWII to work on a farm.  Although critical to the film the real story is the difficult decisions that people must make in their lives.