Four things four times (days 3, 4, 5 and 6)

Third, fourth, fifth and sixth days of Passover. I was too tired to write Tuesday and Wednesday I was thinking about April Fools’ and yesterday I was exhausted again. I’m listing that as the first thing.


A week ago, I rented an airBnb for June and July, as a “just in case” measure. It’s just a room with shared kitchen and bathroom, and it’s 50% refundable before June 1. I also started looking at houses yesterday. I am not a motivated buyer and the local real estate market is in an insane state. Given how uncertain I am that I want to own a house (or even a condo), I lack both the personality or the impulse to participate in bidding wars.

Today I looked at a house on a different part of the same road I grew up on. This is the first one I’ve seen that would be a possibility. I’m not emotionally ready for this step quite yet, although if I’m going to do this I’m going to need to get myself there pretty quick. This house will probably be under contract by Monday at 5 p.m., at 25 percent over asking.

What struck me while I was there: Tthere are seven houses on that part of the street — a farmer sold out in 1970 and a cluster sprung up there. At one time I knew five of the families. Collars, Paschkes, Steeles, Kettners, Blecks (we were kissing cousins to the Blecks, dad did a lot of the work in that house, and if that one had come on the market I would have bought it immediately). Mrs. Collar was mom’s emergency babysitter when HL was little, and I was in school and in church with the Paschkes’, Steeles’, and Kettners’ kids. They’ve all moved away now. Us too, in eight weeks.


In the last two days, I have also ordered for dad: a twin bed (mattress, foundation, frame, headboard), bed clothes (mattress cover, mattress pads, sheets, blankets), towels (five bath, twenty hand, twenty washclothes), a very compact reclining chair, a wall mount for his Smart TV, and diverse toiletries and other supplies.

Somehow ordering towels online has become really complicated. My decision fatigue is at a near all-time high.


I still need to get a bunch of things including some new clothes and smaller furniture, but I think it’s going to require me showing dad in person that his current stuff will not actually fit in that room. So HL will have to be involved.


After the last episode when dad narrowly missed being phone scammed, I decided to try to transition him to a GrandPad. I had resisted it really for two years, even though the caregiver coach felt strongly this step would solve our problems. My main issue was the level of autonomy he’d lose. But the advantage of the GrandPad over the Jitterbug is that the GrandPad only accepts calls from a pre-approved list; additionally, it has an Internet blocking tool and will only go to pre-approved sites. (There are other advantages — it gets along without passwords, so I won’t have to jump in after dad locks himself out of his various accounts on the computer anymore, either.)

All of this is contingent on his willingness to cooperate. Either that, or his capacity to understand. I’m still trying to figure the difference between those things out.

Theoretically, if dad could follow the basic principle of not answering the phone if you don’t recognize the number, he could keep the Jitterbug. (The computer is a separate issue — a lot of the scams he’s fallen into involve him typing something he wants into the computer, taking the price he likes best, and then typing his credit card number in.)

The last episode: We’d watched a news alert on the local news about how people were being hit with a scam where the caller claims to be from Amazon, says that you’ve been charged an astronomical amount, and they’re checking to make sure it’s a legit charge — and then they ask for an Amazon password. Not twenty minutes after we saw the alert, dad got a call on his Jitterbug from just such a scammer. First, he answered it (don’t answer a number you don’t recognize! All your regular callers are programmed into the directory!). Then he said, oh, yes, I’ll get on that, I’ll have to ask my daughter for the password. Then he turned to me and accused me of getting scammed and insisted I give him the Amazon password.

This is the thing that flummoxes me about this kind of situation over and over again — he’s suspicious of my financial activities, but a total stranger calls him on the phone and he’s ready to give away the farm.

I told him it was a scam, and he insisted I needed to give him the password, and I said I wasn’t going to and he should hang up the phone. Eventually, after about three more attempts at convincing me to share the password, he gave up.

The conversation that ensued was not pleasant, and I didn’t lose it but I came close. You need to ignore calls if you don’t recognize the number, I repeated — at least five times. He said that if he did that he would miss important calls. I asked him what important calls he had missed this year because of doing that and he couldn’t name any. Finally I said — if you want to help people steal money from you — be my guest — and I left the room.

And this is another obstacle I fall over again and again. My default assumption is that he’s capable of rationality.He always presents his behavior as normal: I’m the one who’s crazy. He doesn’t have to do what I say.

When we went to look at beds, he got three nuisance calls while we were in the store, two of them while we were talking to a salesperson, and he actually yelled at me to shut up while he was listening to a recording about a car warranty.

It finally hit me: if the phone rings, everything else turns off. He can’t make a rational judgment about accepting a call or not. He can only answer.

I’m not to the point (and can’t imagine I will ever be) where I’d deprive him of a phone just to keep him from being scammed. At the same time, the amount of energy required to clean up after he has been phished (not to mention the money) is non-trivial.

So we’ll try the GrandPad. At least that way, everyone who calls him will be someone known to him and me. As it has a tablet / smartphone set up, I hope he can manage it. We had actually switched him back to the Jitterbug because he had struggled with the smartphone, even before the stroke.


In the same vein, we’re going to try a pre-paid card debit for him. At least if he falls victim to the scam, the financial damage will be limited (and I won’t have to spend hours on the phone).


Next week’s film for “History Goes to the Movies” is Persepolis (2007). I found the graphic novel fascinating (Satrapi is six months younger than me, and I remember the Iranian Revolution pretty vividly, as it was on TV every night for months).


I did not cook for Passover and I will not cook for Easter. I ordered an Easter dinner for two from a local supermarket. I am craving this. Also this, but with Tafelspitz. Next year in _______?


The testimonies so far at the George Chauvin trial are heartbreaking. If we can’t agree, regardless of our politics, or of the larger political context, that Chauvin murdered George Floyd, we’re really in trouble.


Dad and I are both deep into the Easter candy already. What’s your favorite? I like just about anything Lindt makes.


This week Wednesday is Moderna #2. Hopefully the side efAfter April 21: haircut! movies! However, the case counts are creeping up here again. So who knows.


Dad really loves Penn & Teller Fool Us. We watch it religiously. I find myself oddly fascinated by Teller.


The 2017 Howard’s End is on PBS on demand, so I’m going to try it. I’m not sure it’s a great idea to be a watching a darama about a house. And my attention span has been more Escape to the Chateau lately. But the music seems to be getting through my shell.

~ by Servetus on April 3, 2021.

22 Responses to “Four things four times (days 3, 4, 5 and 6)”

  1. I’ll be the first to admit i’m a technological idiot but does jitterbug have a spam blocking feature? The hubs has it on his iPhone and it prevents the phone from even ringing when it suspects the call is a spam. I’m not sure if that would be helpful for your dad but I figured it was worth a mention

    Good luck on buying a house. The market here is insane as well. Moderate priced homes in fairly good condition last maybe a day or two


    • Dad has the Jitterbug flip phone, and the tech on those can’t block numbers. Sadly.

      I was thinking I’d just stay out of the market for a year until the pandemic effects recede and people start moving again, but since the Fed announced they will keep interest rates low until 2023, that would be a bad bed.


  2. Good luck on the house hunting. We where at our last house far less time than you at your but I understand the ties one feels to a house. The last one we brought home our boys to that house and got married there. We now been at this one longer. My husband has also did major work on both houses. I said last time i would not get so vested in a house but I have once again.


    • Yeah, it’s hard not get invested if you make renovations. And then there’s all the trees my mother planted.


  3. I hope the GrandPad solves these difficulties. It must be exhausting. Good luck with the house hunt!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s been a major stressor. And since I’ve been paying attention to this problem, there have actually been court cases that expand the right of robocallers and nuisance calls. It makes me angry because the phone should be a lifeline for dad and it’s just a constant source of danger.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’d like to put in a good word for renting. I’ve been a home-owner for almost all of my adult life, the conventional wisdom always being that owning a home was an investment, while renting was like flushing money down the toilet. (I still own a vacation home that I’ve had for 40+ years.) When I retired, I sold my primary home, and decided to move into the city where my children and grandchildren lived. I’ve been in the area most of my life — just living in the suburbs. Since I wasn’t sure whether I would want to stay, I rented a home two blocks from my son and his family. That was a dozen years ago, and I am still here — in the rental. And I love it! If something goes wrong or breaks, I call the landlord, and he takes care of it immediately. I put the money from the sale of my house into an investment account, and it’s been doing very well. Would another house have been a better investment? I don’t know, of course — no way to really know the value of a house until you go to sell it. I just don’t bother my pretty little head about that. I’m very happy not having the responsibility of another house. The one at the shore is quite enough, thank you. I’d sell it, too, but it is a big part of my kids’ (and now their kids’) lives, and that brings me enough pleasure to make the aggravation palatable.


    • I don’t disagree with you. I rented my entire adult live until five years ago and even then I wasn’t the homeowner. I really loved someone else being responsible for everything, I always had good experiences renting, and I liked the fact that there were other people around most of the time. The problem is that the situation in my hometown is that if I don’t get back into the real estate market immediately with the proceeds of this sale, I probably won’t be able to get back into it here until at least 2023 and maybe longer. I am not set on staying here, but I would hate to give up the opportunity entirely.


  5. Persepolis (2007) GREAT CHOICE 🙂


  6. Like

  7. This all a lot to deal with, the house hunting, your father’s phone, preparing to move, etc. I can imagine your head isn’t free for much else. Wish the load could be lightened but I guess it’s just something you will have power through.

    I somehow completely missed Persepolis but it does look very good!

    I caught bits and pieces of that trial and it is so depressing to see how murder like that can be justified… I can’t watch anymore until I hear the final outcome.

    Easter candy – always chocolate for me (preferably milk chocolates with nuts).


    • I would really recommend Persepolis — it’s short, well-made, and thought-provoking without being too heavy.

      Yeah, it’s a lot. Although I think I’ve decided that if we get the big stuff done and move him in, we can do some of the littler stuff bit by bit.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I hope too that all goes well with the house hunting. It is difficult to top Lindt chocolate, particularly Lindor for me.


    • Lindor is the best and there are little Easter eggs.

      My main insight: house hunting is really alienating. At least if you don’t have infinite amounts of money to spend, which probably applies to most house hunters.


  9. We’re house hunting in Andalusia since January 2019. Thanks to Covid and the need for our dogsitter to come and stay at our house while we are away it is not easy. Hope we’ll be able to go to Jerez again come May and continue our search… I wish you luck! And apparently I need to catch up with your posts, I’ve somehow missed the the turning point.


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