Wednesday, October 26, 2016

What are we going to do about Mother?

Oh dear. A day of phone calls, texts and emails between Mother's children. Tradie Brother said to Sister that Mother was an effing selfish bitch and for the first time, TB heard heard the same effing word from Sister. TB and Sister were nearly in tears when they spoke. That is so silly and just illustrates how clever Mother is with manipulation.

I will try not to make this too long and keep it simple.

It started with Mother's circuit breaker tripping when there was rain. She called an electrician, acquaintance of ABI Brother, who only charged her $100 for diagnosis and rectification. But it wasn't. The light circuit tripped again as soon as it rained and a couple of times more.

Mother is now officially stressed, worried, panicked and afraid at home.

She sought another electrician and he actually solved the problem, by disconnecting Mother's lounge room light. But why aren't the lights in the rear bedroom extension working, I wondered. This electrician gave Mother grave news. Her house needs rewiring as the wiring is in a dangerous condition. My goodness, she will be electrified in bed, or burnt up like  a cinder.

The electrician offered to send a quote for rewiring. What email address, he asked, should I send it to? To Son 1, me. $11,000 to rewire the house. The light circuit is the worst and could be done for $5,000.

Mother immediately went into survival mode and called me. I flatly said no, we are not paying, but in not so many words. Your galvanised iron water pipes are tenuous, your water spouting is in decay. Your home is collapsing around you.

Mother argued that we children should spend the money on the wiring, as we would get the money back when the house is sold when she dies. Well, while the cost of a nursing home for old people is not so bad, if they are high functioning, they will go into hostel care, and that is not cheap, as I understand.

I was quite negative and suggested to Mother that she really needed to consider her future life.

I called Sister Saturday night with no answer. She called back Sunday morning and we discussed. She then sent me a frank text and called Tradie Brother. TB subsequently called ABI Brother and then later me. TB wants to set up a balance sheet for what we each give Mother, aside from just paying for her meals when we are out. TB also called Mother to Sister, as selfish old bitch. Oh dear. He was very cross that Mother asked Sister for the whole amount, after I refused.

Easy. Me, $200, R $200, Sister umpteen hundreds. Bone Doctor $5,000. ABI Brother $600.

TB Brother has a granny flat at his place, occupied by a tenant and it is well set up as that is where Ex Sis in Laws parents lived in comfort.  No way will Mother countenance moving there and selling her house. She is probably right suggesting that she and TB would clash. Bone Doctor's medical practice has associated accommodation for old folk, but no. She clearly doesn't want to depend on Sister and well, I don't blame her too much for that.

Mother's partner died six years ago and she should have moved on back then, to somewhere comfortable and sustainable for her old age by selling her house and moving to a unit. Hey, R and I did that in 2001 when slightly more older than teens. '

The upshot is she either stays in her decaying house or buys a granny flat to put into ABI Brother's back yard. ABI Brother is happy with that. He already does her daily shopping and sleeps over on Friday and Saturday nights at Mother's as she is afraid of murderers, youth, vandals, rapists etc. It kind of suits him, as he can have a drink at his local club and walk home, whereas it is a much longer walk to his own home.

Boiled down, Mother can stay in her dangerous house, that does have a very good electricity circuit breaker, until any decision is taken out of her hands or she could sell her house, worth around $350,000 and live in comfort in a unit or retirement village for about change over dollars, or for about $80,000 have a granny flat in ABI Brother's back yard and have plenty of money to spare once her house is sold.  

She has agreed to the granny flat but whether it will happen, who knows.

Stop the presses. I called Mother to ask if she wanted a joint appointment with her bank manger or should I just go. Suddenly, Mother loves her home and does not want to move.

All quite predictable.








25 comments:

  1. Andrew your mother is really manipulative person. I ma sorry about that. Take care

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    1. Gosia, she is, but at least we know.

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  2. Oh Andrew. This post tripped a circuit breaker of memories. Except that my mother preferred to attempt (sometimes successfully) her children against each other. Or their partners.
    Stay strong.

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    1. EC, I think Mother would do that if it suited her purpose. I am careful what I say to her about my siblings.

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  3. I am so pleased that decision was taken out of my hands when her consultant told her she needed 24 hour care and would have to go in a home. His bedside manner was appalling but I could have kissed him. What the doctor says is gospel to my mother and not another word was said! Best of luck with this one.

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    1. Marie, that is the way it should be. Mother is not really frail enough to need care yet but by golly, I hope her doctor does as your mother's did. Elderly care is better in GB than here.

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  4. It is always difficult for all parties when children as adults take on the quasi parenting role for their own mothers and fathers.

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    1. Victor, and you did it all on your own without help from siblings. That may be a good thing.

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  5. Victor is right
    Do your best x

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    1. John, a balance between best for her and her children.

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  6. Failing pipes, failing wiring, what a predicament.
    I can see how a granny flat at ABI brother house would be the perfect solution, but knowing how much your Mother resists change, it probably won't happen soon. You all need to find ways of talking "up" this solution every time you can. Work it into conversation, say nothing but good things about it until mother sees it as the best possible option.
    Words like 'new' 'comfortable' 'reliable water and electricity' 'ABI right there should anything be needed immediately' and so on. Something that might sway her decision would be the amount of money left over for her to be able to spend after the sale of the current home.
    Good Luck.

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    1. River, all very wise, but I know what the clincher will be, freed up money, which she won't spend wisely but that is ok. None of us have factored in an inheritance to our futures and her father's money paid for the house.

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  7. P.S. remind her that things need not be so different, she can take her things with her, the furniture she is used to, her curtains, dishes and saucepans etc, all will be still with her, plus the added bonus of having night time protection just a few steps away. Keep it all in her mind until she thinks of it herself as her own great idea. Be as manipulative as she is. For her own good of course.

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    1. River, the only thing is, at 83 she is old. A granny flat will require quite some effort by at least three of her children. I think she may live to be quite old, but there are no guarantees. We do all this work to install the granny flat, then she has to go into care in a couple of years. If she will stay where she is now, it will be a natural process where there will be stay in hospital for something, and she just won't go home again.

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    2. good point, but could the granny flat be used then by other family members or friends as holiday accommodation?

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  8. $80,000 seems a bit cheap for a Granny flat but it's a good idea until you think how fast she will go through the excess money. It will be the land you will get the big money for not the house and if it comes to that, triple the blood pressure pills.

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    1. Jah Teh, yes, yes and yes. The flat would cost 50 to 60 and Tradie Brother estimates connection to services, paths etc, 20 to 30. Add air con, a clothes line and other extras, best part of 100, but it will be her money.

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  9. How big is your mum's garden? Can it be sub-divided? If so that might be a way to get some extra cash. And if the new owners build on it immediately, it might convince your mum to move! Vik.

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    1. Love your new Bunyip Yip nick. Have you ever tried to explain a bunyip to your students? Perhaps there is an equivalent in Japan....in fact I am sure there is. Some time ago we suggested what you suggest to Mother. Some developers will build the new place first so that the old person can move in then subdivide and do something profitable with the old place. But no, the way to go in Mother's areas is units. Hers is a big block of 1940s size. A workmate of ABI's bought the place next door and she is sweating on Mother moving so she would have two very large blocks that could take god knows how many units. She has already told Mother to come to her first before engaging a real estate agent if she ever wants to sell. She will be hoping to get it cheaply, but I can't see it will ever be a rushed sale.

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    2. I haven't tried to explain bunyips to my students but I have talked about them with various non-Australians I've encountered here. This is kind've a Japanese version - the kappa. They live in water but can walk on land, they're mischievous, have bowls on the tops of their heads and love cucumbers!

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    3. And so funnily, today on Mother Day, I saw a sign to the town of Bunyip. I'm with the kappa, cucumber is good.

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  10. This could be every elderly mother, or father, that I know of. The only useful thing I can say is that once our parents have gone, the hole is bigger and more painful.

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    1. Hels, once she is gone, we will have invent new glue to keep the family together. Perhaps that is an exaggeration. We will just wait. She has no money to maintain her house and lives above her pension income and has always lived above her income for her whole life. That won't change, but she can't expect her children to spend money on her falling down house. We already pay for many things for her. I hope your parents were a bit more independent, financially at least.

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  11. That sounds like a right proper mess to say the least.
    i would never ask my sons for financial assistance, but then I'm not likely to be in your mums position.
    I reckon she should get the worst of the wiring redone & if she can't afford that - move!
    Someone in your family has to get it through her head for 'now & future'.

    My late dad once asked me to drive him and my late mum to Hobart whilst they attended a function & for me to sit in their car in the cold (dead of winter) no dinner (evening) wait for them, then drive home to Devonport at night. I told him NO, he wasn't pleased with me at all, i didn't care but he never asked me again. he got over my rejection and didn't go to the function in Hobart.
    if i had said 'yes' i would have been driving them both all over the place. I'm glad i nipped it in the bud.

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    1. Thanks Margaret. I think we have made the point that there will be no major expenditure on her house by us and that there is a viable alternative for her. You did well to make you yourself independent of thought with your parents. My mother would readily take advantage of such a situation.

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