What Could Go Wrong?

I’m looking forward to hosting my folks at our house this weekend. Like for anything I’m planning, I try to visualize. I used to do this a lot more when I was working. I would visualize a meeting for example: participants arriving and having a refreshment, being greeted by me (what would I be wearing?), welcome and introductions, the agenda, breaks, lunch, discussions etc etc. I could run through the entire meeting in fast forward speed and use the visual to create the check list (another thing I rely on daily).

But meetings and trips and interviews are a piece of cake compared to dealing with my folks for several days in a strange (to them) environment. I keep hearing my mother-in-law tell me to go with the flow but I see so many pitfalls in my visualization that I try to shut it off. The thing is, I’ve seen my dad in action. His brain is 18 years old. His physical ability is 87. He wants to do things and he’s stubborn. So do I become the shrieking nagging helicopter minder or just let things unfold and hope that his own inner voice of reason kicks in.

Let’s start with the drive to get to our place. It’s about a 2 hour jaunt on secondary highways (single lanes) that zigzags cross country. My dad wants to drive himself. A few years ago (the last time they came) it took them hours longer than necessary because dad decided to take the coastal route. Mom is not a good traveller so by the time they arrived dad was pooped and frustrated and mom was frazzled. I offered to pick them up. After discussions (serious negotiations with my stubborn dad) we agree that I will pick up mom and dad will follow in his car. Whew.

I’m going to use veer off topic …

on my daily call this week with dad he tells me that he got a phone call from a doctor telling him his surgery is in September. He has no surgery set for September. But he does have a second cataract operation on the horizon for next year. He’s frustrated with the delay and my sister was looking into why it was so long between the second eye; she was going to find a possible shorter avenue in another region. This possibility excited dad and has (clearly) lodged in his CPU. So when he got the call he didn’t get the basic info such as name of the doctor (or anything helpful details) he simply hung up knowing he would ask me later. So I phoned all the possible doctors on their list. Nada. No surgery; no calls – a total mystery. Ok. Digression complete.

Once they arrive at our place they have to use stairs. Our bedrooms are 2nd level. Dad assures me that one flight is no problem and he refuses to even consider the main floor pullout. Ok no problem; second floor it is. There are three bathrooms on the second floor. Two are en-suites with walk-in showers. One is in our room so that’s not happening for my dad. He needs a private washroom. The other one is Ottos litter box. Problematic. The third has a tub/shower combo and that’s a nonstarter. Climbing into a tub to shower with no handrails is not happening. I think the solution is the main floor bathroom. It has s nice walk-in shower with a bench inside (it’s also a steam sauna). But dad will decide. If we have to juggle cat litter so be it.

What I’m hoping is that dad will be reasonable. He mostly is but sometimes he overreaches or is impatient. My sister can write a book about travelling with them. Some of the stories are hilarious but others are downright frightening. I’m hopeful that she can pop in this weekend. Frank takes it all in stride; his favourite phrase is “gong!”

It will be interesting….. stay tuned.

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