Driving Monitor

Watching your parents age is tough. Those people who loomed larger than life, who seemed to be able to solve all of life’s problems, are no longer what they once were. There is neither bad nor good to this: it’s just life. Aging sucks.

But what about your elder parents and driving?

I don’t think any of our four parents should be driving as they once did.

There. I said it.

I don’t think any of the parents should be on highways or driving at night.

I’m guessing this would be an unpopular opinion for anyone who might be older than me, but really

  1. slower reflexes
  2. eyesight not quite as good
  3. thinking they can make turns and merge the same way they were once able

I’m not being mean, or petty, I’m just stating the facts. I’ve been in cars with them. I will no longer get in a car with any of them driving. Period.

So this leads me to my next point:

I understand that it is not feasible to have people over a certain age take driving tests. Plus, I get the whole age discrimination thing…

but…

Should people over the age of 75 be required to have some sort of dashboard monitor or app to monitor their driving?

While I get that accidents happen to everyone of every age, and that those between the ages of 16 and 20 are most likely to get into accidents, there is a case to be made that older drivers do get involved in more accidents than those who are younger (meaning 50s and 60s)

I’m aware that you can anonymously send a complaint to DMV stating that someone should not be driving, and that DMV will ask for a retest, but is that the best way to handle the issue?

What do you think about people over 75 driving? Do you think there should be retests after a certain time? Do you think drivers over 75 should be required to have a driving monitor?

Discuss

Anything Can Happen Friday- The Scam

So my Mother called me the other day…

She received an email from one of her neighbors. The email said that this particular neighbor was having a rough go and needed my Mom to get her a gift cardfor either Amazon or Apple.

Now, I know most of you are thinking the same thing as I thought about this email…

But my Mom…

My Mom can be a very trusting and helpful sort of person. If someone is in trouble she will try to help. She has a sort of Capraesque view of the world, where good wins out over evil and all the other stuff. She assumes that people are good, and that no one tries to take advantage of another.

In theory I guess it would be nice to be that trusting. But you know…I’m a realist not an idealist…so most of the time I’m looking for the angle.

Is this real?

Can I trust this?

What’s the possible downside?

My mother emails back, asking how she can help. She gives her “friend” her phone numbers in case her “friend” can’t find them. And then she proceeds to try to figure out how to buy the gift card.

Now this is a time when I am glad that my Mother is not tech savvy. She couldn’t figure out how to buy the gift cards.

My Mother then calls her friend, to tell her that she can’t buy the cards…

You probably know that the friend’s email account was hacked.

My Mother called me, worried that these scammers have her phone number, and she responded to the email. She was worried that accounts could be opened up in her name using her phone numbers. Honestly, I don’t know anymore what people can and can’t do with information, any information, so I told my Mom to watch her statements and she uses one of those companies that call you when an account is trying to be opened, so I told her to just monitor things…

After I got off the phone with her I heaved a big sigh. While I have got over scams with my daughter ad infinitum, I never thought I would have to go through this with my Mother. I assumed that my Mother would just know when something seems off…But now I really have to worry that she will think the Crown Prince of Nigeria really needs her help.

I love that my Mom is trusting and wants to help others, but now this is a new worry that I have to contend with. Realistically I know that I can’t protect my Mom, but it sort of crushes me that I can’t stop bad people, bad things from hurting her. This is the part about being a daughter that no one really talks about- when the child becomes the parent and the protector.

I sit and try to figure out where to go from here. Is there anything I can do to help my Mother than I hadn’t thought of? Is there any way to prepare? I have to remind myself that there’s not always a solution to things: that there are things that I can’t write as a list and check off the things I’ve done and look ahead to what comes next…

I realize that this is where I need hope: hope that things won’t be too bad, hope that I can fix whatever happens, hope that life will be pleasantly uneventful.

Hope. Sometimes it’s the best option.

What is Love? Ha Ha Ha

Love is the quality of attention we pay to things.

J. D. McClatchy, Love Speaks its Name as quoted in Conversations on Love by Natasha Lun

In her book, Lun states that sustaining of love is to create a space for simple moments and then to notice them. Seems so simple, right? But is it?

The incident Lun refers to is about cooking a meal with her partner- being present in the moment and just enjoying each others company. To be present with one’s partner…

What simple moments have you shared with a partner in the past? Do you recall those moments with a sense of peace? Are they pleasant memories?

It doesn’t have to be romantic love though. It can be love of a friend, love of a child. When I think about my closest friends, the thoughts that always pop into my mind are of simple moments of just being together, or talking about nothing. A few months ago we got into a day long text chain about staplers. One of my friends remarked that day that this is why she loved us: because we could spend an entire day talking about staplers. And now, when I see a stapler I think of my friends and the thoughts are happy- it’s about a silly conversation that just sort of captured all of us in a perfect moment of togetherness.

It’s your turn: Is love the quality of attention we pay to things?

Is love noticing the small moments that make up life?

Discuss:

What We Miss

My daughter is about to go back to college (for her final semester if you can believe that!!!) It’s always bittersweet when I give her a hug as she lugs her bags into the cab to take her to Penn Station to catch the Northeaster to Union Station… There are parts of me that will miss her, and their are parts… not so much.

I love having my daughter around because she is intelligent and we have great conversations. She is well versed in current events and culture, and has a mind of a sponge because she remembers things that were taught to her in years past. Yesterday we were at MOMA and as we looked at an exhibit she recalled things her 8th grade social studies teacher did as a lesson that correlated with the work we were looking at.

When she leaves I miss the conversations.

My husband doesn’t eat cheese. When I say this I mean that he doesn’t eat nachos or cheese fries or a charcuterie plate that includes cheese. While sharing cheesy tater tots isn’t an activity to base a marriage on, his not eating cheese and most things dairy can be difficult to plan meals around and takes away some small things that I find pleasurable. My daughter eats cheese.

When she leaves I will miss having someone to snack on cheese with.

My daughter will pretty much try anything cultural. Off beat play? She’s in. Weird art? She’s in. Foreign film? She’s in. Golden Girls themed dinner? She’s in.

I will miss having her around to see things and discuss things.

My daughter likes to stay out late. She doesn’t do this every night, but one or two nights a week she is out late. If she’s not home I don’t sleep well. Just can’t.

I will not miss being bleary eyed because my daughter was at a club till 3am, and then had pizza.

While my daughter is highly intelligent, she is also mainly book smart. She lacks life experience and a certain amount of maturity that only comes with the years. Because of this she can be righteous. Oh boy can she be righteous.

I will not miss the righteousness.

She asked me the other day if I missed her being younger- she said there’s been a lot of TikTok’s about how parents miss their kids when they were younger, when they had trouble walking in snowsuits and mispronounced words and just generally the things we find endearing about the not so fully formed humans. She asked if I ever wished she was five again…I told her that while I have many fond memories of her younger years, I have appreciated every stage of her life: but, I don’t wish she were younger or had stayed frozen at any point in time. I have enjoyed the journey of parenting her from being pregnant (ok- not morning sickness) to toddler to preschool, elementary to middle to high to college, and now as an adult. The memories are wonderful but I don’t want to live in the memory. I’m ready to close out the undergraduate years and look forward to watching her as she encounters the next step on her journey.

When you say you miss your kids, what is it that you actually miss? Do we really miss kids as they were, or is it just a little wistful to look back at time and see how fast it really goes when you’re not paying attention?

Friendship Envy and Honesty

Have you ever been envious of a friend?

It’s Ok if you have: I think there are times we see what someone else has, and we do get a little green at the thought of it. Maybe your friend has a great job, or a wonderful new relationship, or is pregnant- and you might really want these things, but at the present time it just isn’t there for you. Perhaps it makes it difficult to spend time with this friend, or maybe even be happy for them.

These are honest emotions, and you shouldn’t berate yourself for feeling them.

But…

Maybe you should have an open discussion with your friend about how you are feeling.

In Conversations on Love by Nathasha Lunn:

At times, that ongoing conversation might include sharing painful thing. Saying I’m proud you are achieving so much in your career, but sometimes that reminds me I’m struggling with mine…Because Susie made me realize that my envy was not only rooted in wanting what others had. Really it grew from a fear of being left behind , and of loneliness.

When you are envious of a friend, what is it really about? Is it really wanting their great job, or is it because you just aren’t in a good place at the moment and you feel scared and alone and afraid?

FYI- we all feel scared and alone and afraid sometimes. Really- we do. It might not look like that on social media, but there isn’t a person out there who hasn’t had moments of doubt and insecurity. But that’s why you need to talk to your friends about how you are feeling. They are your friends for a reason: share what you are going through. Chances are they will be scared of something too, just maybe not the same thing as you are.

Be honest with your friends about how you are feeling. Talk to them. Communicate. Having emotions is a part of being human- you just need to learn how to deal with them in a positive and healthy way.

Why You Should Plan Better

A few months ago, I asked my husband what he was doing on a night about six weeks in the future. My husband said he was free. I said do you want to go to X on that day 17? He said sure. I bought tickets.

About two weeks before the event, my husband says-

“K just sent a reminder about doing something on day 17. We made these plans six months ago and I totally forgot.”

I looked at him quizzically, opened up my calendar, and said- You know that’s the day we are supposed to do X…

He stops, realizes his error, and says “I’ll call K to cancel.”

But on the road to cancelling, my husband finds out that out of the six people who were supposed to do something on that night, four people had already bailed. The only people left going were my husband and the organizer.

At this point I felt horrible. My husband had made these other plans way before I asked him to go to X. I knew the organizer of the other event really wanted to do this thing, and I couldn’t let my husband bail out on that. I told him to go to the event with K, and that I would find someone else to come to X with me.

Here are some discussion points:

  1. Should my husband do a better job of noting his plans? (he always double books things btw)
  2. Should my husband have cancelled the plans with the other person?
  3. Was I right by letting my husband out of his plans with me?
  4. Anything else?

What would you have done in this situation?

Have you ever double booked something and not been sure what to do? If so how did you handle it?

Pick anything you want and discuss!

Believe

As a child, when your Mother believes in you, you believe in yourself, and when that happens, there is nothing you can’t do. As a Mother, that is the greatest gift we can give to a child

Caroline Kennedy- She Walks in Beauty: A Woman’s Journey Through Poems

The holiday season has just left us. You’ve recycled the environmentally friendly wrapping, or put away the gift bags to be used next year. The credit card bills haven’t quite hit the mailbox yet. But the gifts have been given. The physical show of love has been exchanged…

I’m all for gifts. I still remember when my daughter was seven and she received the Hannah Montana Malibu Beach House, the years of the American Girl stuff…This year the highlight was tickets to see Funny Girl on Broadway. To be clear, I like the idea of giving gifts. I think it’s OK to want something tangible, or an awesome experience.

However…

Even though I have given my daughter a lot of physical things…

The greatest gift I ever gave her was the that I believed in her- that I thought she was strong and capable and had the ability to set a goal and work towards it. I taught her that it’s is OK to make a mistake, to fail. I taught her that the greatest asset you can have is resilience…

Physical gifts are wonderful, but they won’t make you a better person. Buying something doesn’t give you confidence. Owning something doesn’t make you stronger. The things that really matter are the things that reside in your head and heart: confidence and determination and a thirst for knowledge. These are the things that a parent or primary caregiver can give a child.

So next time you’re with you’re kid, remind them that you think they are special. Give them the courage to try something new. Be there to pick them up when they fall, but then push them to try again. These are the best gifts to give a child- the gift of you believing in them.

Look at Love

Over the summer my daughter got me hooked on this awful reality dating show. I openly admit it quickly became a guilty pleasure.

The show was called “Are You the One”. The premise was that there’s a group of twenty something’s, in the case of the season that I watched there were equal numbers of women and men, and I think there were about 14 in total. Before coming on the show, the contestants were subject to personality tests and interviews, and their friends and families were interviewed. After review, each contestant was said to have a perfect match that would be in the house/on the show with them. The trick was to figure out who your perfect match was.

Cheesy. Tawdry. Ridiculous. A way for people to just sleep around in the hope that they spot their person.

I was all in for the ride.

So once you get past the drama and the craziness of a house filled with horny, attractive people, you get down to the concept of a computer finding your perfect match. And I had to wonder: should there be a computer generated dating show for people that are older?

When you’re young and looking for love, you may have unreal expectations as to what your ideal partner would be. But when you’ve been around the block a few times, you get down to knowing what does and doesn’t matter. You’ve made the mistakes, you’ve paid for the mistakes, and in many cases you’ve returned the mistakes. Would an older person be more ready to accept what the computer says is the ideal person for you?

Should we trust the science when it comes to relationships?

Does a computer know best who our person should be?

What do you think of computer generated matches for compatibility? Do you think a computer would be better at finding a mate than a person looking across a crowded room and seeing someone?

Discuss:

The Fighting

My parents have never had the greatest of marriages: at best they had reached a sort of d├ętente that allowed them to coexist in the same unit. What kept them together was a strange mix of Catholic guilt, shared political ideology and fear of not having enough money if they were to operate two separate households.

Neither of my parents is without fault- my Father is stubborn and spiteful, my mother is pushy and a know it all who will harp on you until you submit to her thoughts because you just can’t take it anymore. She is also not so great at adapting. Add in to this the inevitable aging process, where sometimes your worst traits get amplified, and you have a situation set to explode.

My parents are not getting along. They fight constantly. Neither one of them is rational or willing to listen. And I am getting to the point where I just want to close my eyes and pretend that none of this is happening.

I do not know what to do about my parents, their aging and their fighting.

I have tried babying them. I have tried tough love. I have tried coddling. I’ve tried ignoring (which is my favorite method but probably least effective). I’m running out of ideas. I have talked to their Doctor. I have suggested therapy and anti depressants and anti anxiety meds.

I realize that my Father is ill, and his body has been through a lot. I realize that my Mother is annoying. I know that pandemic was not good for their mental health. I know all the big facts.

Yet, I have no clear path on how to help them.

It’s really starting to fray at my nerves. While I am coping, and making sure I take time our for myself, I still feel helpless. Part of me doesn’t want to even try to help anymore, because everything I try is futile. And for a can-do woman of action, who is the persona I am most likely to take on, this is not a look I want to wear. I am meant to solve problems, not to ignore them. I see a problem, I figure out what to do, and I act. The way I normally am is just not working right now. Part of me, a really big part, just wants to give up…to pass the buck to my sister and let her figure it out…But there’s that little piece inside of me that still thinks she has to protect her sister…and her parents… I’m really starting to hate that little responsible gremlin living inside me. Who knew being responsible would be such a travail?

After I end this post, I will look at my to do list and get on with my day. But there’s that nagging feeling that I should be doing something, doing more than I am to help out my parents, a nagging little bit of guilt and a nagging little bit of adulting…the unwritten to do that I just can’t shake…

Drop In

When I was in college, a friend and I drove down to DC to visit a friend who was working there that summer. On the way home, we saw a sigh that said JHTYG 90 (for clarity sake, JHTYG is a town that I made up because I didn’t want to use the real town name. I think 90 might be the correct amount of miles away). JHTYG was the town where one of our friends lived. It was also 90 miles opposite the direction we were headed. So of course we went to drop by… I think it was the only time I ever dropped in on someone without their prior knowledge. 1985.

I do not like the drop in. With the exception of one of my best friends dropping in to see me as a surprise because they were passing through NYC, I’m not a big fan. We have a neighbor who sometimes lets her dog out of her apartment- the dog then sits outside of our place and barks. Theoretically, the neighbor wants company…my husband will go out and talk for a few minutes, but I pretend I can’t hear the 30 pound dog barking…If I am lucky enough to be home alone, I’m staying that way… So unless you are M, G or A, (I would also allow any of the S’s, and M and C but M and C are less likely to drop in than I am) please call before coming by…

But that’s me.

What do you think about the drop in visitor? Are you excited for the company? Are you mortified that your house isn’t “clean”? Do you gleefully open a bottle of wine or put up a K cup of coffee, or do you consider hiding when the doorbell rings? Is not answering the door for an unexpected visit the main reason that people get those special camera doorbells?

In a post pandemic world (sorry to inform those of you clinging to masks and self tests case numbers, but we are how in the AC era) is there even such a thing as a drop in visitor? Is our busy world too jam packed with TO DO’s that drop in’s are a TO DON’T ? Booty calls are prearranged on Tinder. My daughters playdates were scheduled months in advance because you know how crazy the life of a three year old is…

Will people ever really go back to the world of come on knock on my door, we’ve been waiting for you. Did we ever want to be there in the first place?

Past: Did you like the drop in?

Present: Do you answer the door for an unexpected visitor?

Future: Are you going to drop in on someone you know?

Discuss