What I’ve Learned

Credit: Ourmindfullife.com

I think we all ask ourselves this question from time to time. Why did this have to happen? I know I’ve certainly thought it a lot over the past six months or so. But I’ve decided that it’s best to identify what I have learned as a result. What is the silver lining in all of this?

From the pandemic

I’m a natural in a pandemic. Staying home? Not a problem. Yes, I miss a few things but I really don’t miss eating out. We’re getting takeout on a regular basis to “support local”, but it’s fine not going to a restaurant. This is much faster. The only thing I do miss are breakfasts, lunches, and dinners with friends. And not getting to take our vacation in August.

I can still spend money during a pandemic. I’ve learned about a new fabric designer – Tula Pink – and I’ve bought fabric to make project bags. I’ve also bought fabric to make a Christmas apron and a table runner for my niece in Germany. I’ve also been going crazy buying up cardmaking supplies – stamps, dies, stencils – you name it. I tell myself, not this time, but then a couple days later, I go back and order the latest thing. Help!!

Wearing a mask with a hearing aid is a pain.

I like my hair longer. When I finally got it cut after 12 weeks, it was actually a good length so I’m letting it grow again.

People are crazy!! I don’t understand the big deal with wearing a mask or taking other precautions. If we want to get back to “normal”, it’s going to take everyone’s cooperation.

From taking care of my parents

Both my mom and dad have so many friends thinking about them. I’ve heard from so many, some of which have started following my blog. I’ve become Facebook friends with some of them too. It’s wonderful to hear how much my parents have meant to them.

Don’t have a Power of Attorney (POA), especially a financial one, written in such a way that you must be incapacitated in order for it to go into effect. My mom’s and dad’s are written to require a doctor’s affidavit, stating they can’t handle their affairs. This makes it very challenging when one of them is of sound mind but simply doesn’t want to handle things anymore. Note: ours are written correctly.

When I sign up for Medicare, make sure I know the full impacts of my choices. My mom and dad have a Medicare Advantage policy, which is great in that it requires no premium. And it covers prescriptions. Their company was great to work with during all my mom’s cancer visits and her knee surgery. But they aren’t so great when it comes to skilled and long term care. Maybe no company is great with that. But I want to make sure I completely understand what I’m choosing. It may be better in the long run to pay a little premium but have better coverage when you really need it.

It takes forever to process a long term care claim. Granted, the fact my mom wasn’t staying anywhere very long complicated things, but we’ve been working with her LTC company since February, her 100 day elimination period was up on May 11, and we still haven’t been approved or denied.

Taking responsibility for your parents is like a full time job without a day off. I’m not complaining; I just didn’t realize it could be so time consuming.

I could never be a caregiver. I am great at handling all the tasks like making appointments, paying bills, etc. Just not so great at the caregiver part. I’m so thankful there are people who are good at it. Besides, and I’ve heard this said twice now, I’d rather be a daughter than a caregiver.

My mom did almost everything. She kept decent records but there are still things I can’t find. And my dad knows almost nothing. It reinforces the need for my information binder, which I keep reminding Tim about.

I need to be aware of my limitations and make day to day decisions based on that. We all get old and it’s not a sign of weakness to say I can’t do this anymore or I need a cane to help me walk. We will monitor our abilities over the next 20 years and make changes instead of fighting it.

Getting old is not easy. My goal is to remain active and positive for as long as I can.

Everyone has their own parents story. This is just a natural part of life.

About myself

I’m very much like my dad when it comes to keeping in contact with friends. It’s a good thing we have friends who are good at reaching out, and many of his have called and stayed in touch with him. I’ve suggested he might call them from time to time, but I also know I’m not very good at that.

I have confirmed I don’t like talking on the phone. If you look at our cell phone bills, I used to have probably less than 10 lines of calls in a month. Now, I have over 3 pages!! I’ve even started taking my phone into the bathroom with me (when I shower) because I never know when I’ll get a call that I don’t want to miss.

Even though many people have it worse than I do, it doesn’t make my struggles and disappointments any less relevant.

It’s easier to buy new clothes than lose weight. Although, I haven’t bought enough new things. I guess I think the weight is going to magically disappear. When I finallly go through my closet, I’m going to have to make some tough choices. Do I think I’ll ever be able to wear that again? But I love it. Doesn’t matter if I’ll never fit into it or look good in it.

It’s easy to lose motivation. I think I’m having a great day and then I get one of those calls and I’m done. I can be a bit of a procrastinator but I haven’t been able to do that lately. Things have to be taken care of right away. And my stuff takes a backseat, mostly because I lose my energy once the other stuff is done.

I don’t like distractions or interruptions. Right now, there is so much on my mind, I have trouble concentrating when I’m disturbed and I want to quickly get back to it. I think I miss a lot of what Tim says to me because I’m so focused on something.

In the yard

Next year, or maybe this fall, I must prune the clematis. They are beautiful this year but very top-heavy. When I learned last year they will grow back on what looks to be dead branches, I didn’t want to cut them. But this year, they’ve grown almost entirely on the old wood, so they’re bare at the ground and super thick at the top. The trellis almost can’t handle it.

I can take care of baby birds. We had a cardinal family build a nest in the thickest clematis. I’ve never seen a cardinal nest before so we didn’t disturb it. We saw four eggs in the nest and waited for them to hatch. Shortly after they did, either they were too big for the nest or it wasn’t on a sturdy enough branch, as all four babies fell to the ground. I couldn’t just let them die!! So, I tried to salvage the nest and get them back in their home. I actually picked them up!! The mama and papa did come back and feed them, but we think only one survived, at most. Now we know why they lay so many eggs.

Buying the $12.99 a bag potting soil is worth the money. My flowers are growing like crazy.

In general

I miss cooking. A little anyway. Since my mom’s fall on February 1, Tim has pretty much taken over the grocery shopping and cooking. Initially, he was home nursing his arm injury and I was getting home after a long day at the hospital or care center. He’s working again but still handling all this. There are nights when I’m extremely grateful but then others when I feel like I should be cooking.

And I even kind of miss the grocery store. Never thought I’d say that. It’s also great having someone else do the shopping, but he doesn’t shop the way I do. He needs more direction in terms of brands and sizes. Plus, he’s too good at bringing home goodies neither of us needs. (See losing weight above.)

Phone calls will always come at the worst time. In the heat of the pandemic, our governor had a daily 11:00 news conference and I liked to watch it. It seems that’s when everyone chose to call about my mom. I’ve also never had so many calls while in the car.

It’s easy to buy eyeglasses online but it’s not any less expensive.

Being a grandaunt is as great as being a grandmother. Sophie will be two months old by the time we all get to see her in person. I’ve already told you about the afghan, the bibs and the burp cloths I made for her. Well, now that I’ve learned her room will be decorated in woodland animals, I found the perfect birth announcement and I’m cross stitching like mad to have it finished. As my dad says, she’ll be spoiled!!

Is there anything you’ve learned in 2020?

13 thoughts on “What I’ve Learned”

  1. My wife’s daughter absolutely hates speaking on the phone. She’s perfectly fine with a text-only relationship, which of course drives my wife nuts. I’m not sure how they’ll come to a resolution to that dilemma.

    I keep hearing about how LTC companies abuse that 90 day waiting period they have, and your experience is no exception. It worries me; though, I also remind myself that LTC insurance is the a purchase that one makes hoping that it’ll never be used.

    1. I wonder if LTC companies hope the same thing!! My mom’s paid in a ton of money for a situation just like this and she should get her benefits.
      I’d also be happy with a text only relationship, I’m afraid. But I think that’s even more common with the younger crowd. Tim’s kids are like that too.
      Thanks Marty!!

  2. I don’t understand what the big deal is about the masks and social distancing is too. People are acting as if it’s an imposition on them personally. I don’t know if these restrictions are doing any good but on the chance that they are, I’ll abide by them.

    1. Anything I can do to help stop the spread, I’m doing it. It seems so simple. But then I am able to stay home without too many complications. Let’s hope this second wave is over soon and it doesn’t get any worse.

  3. This post proves what all of us ‘Jo and Barney’ fans have been learning through this time…
    You are every bit as amazing and possibly even more impressive than your stellar parents.
    Thank you for sharing, and inspiring!
    I sure look forward to the day that I hopefully get to meet you in person.
    I’ve learned a ton also during this time and during the past few years with my parents, but my cluttered ‘Covid brain’ is too scattered at the moment to share any one thing!

    1. Thanks Steve. Even as long as this post is, I continue to think of things I forgot to include. It’s good to remind ourselves there are positives amongst all the negatives.
      You are more than kind. My mom and I differ in so many ways but I hope I picked up a few of her good traits!! You are one of the many who are special to them that I would like to meet someday. Thanks so much for caring!! ❤️

  4. Love your writings and hearing about you and your family.
    My heart just breaks for your happy vivacious Mother and Dad.
    Life certainly has its twists, curves and bumps in the road.
    None of us want to think about it as we are keeping busy in retirement!
    Need new clothes? Tres Teal in Ames is a wonderful place to buy clothes and they are having a great sale starting July 16. And we wear our masks! Would encourage the trip!
    Again, thank you for your writing!

    1. Hmmm. May have to make a trip to Ames!! Although I’m pretty cautious about going out right now. Would be tough to go to Ames and not stop at Hickory Park. 😋
      Thanks for reading and caring about my mom and dad.

  5. Well, I already knew I didn’t like talking on the phone…..I learned new things to do with my planner….I learned that there is very little decent TV that I want to watch….other than that….meh

    1. You are so right about TV. Oh, that’s one thing I forgot to include. I loved the CBS Sunday Night movie. I wish they’d bring it back permanently.

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