I am amazed by how many young women, and men, simply don’t know how to do basic things, don’t have basic life skills. You should never be in a relationship because you can’t balance a checkbook or iron a shirt; these are not good reasons to pick a mate. And yes, you can pay people to do a lot of life skills things, but you may not always have the money for that, or wish to spend it on that. There are often far more important things to spend your money on; choices to be made. So it is important that you know how to live on your own and take care of yourself.
Remember we have always said there is nothing worse than a single man’s bathroom. If you want a second date, know how to clean a bathroom, especially the toilets. It not hard and you won’t catch anything. Spray, swish, wipe and don’t forget the underside, outside and the floor around the base!
Know how to cook a few basic meals. Remember you can put almost anything in a basic cream sauce and be impressive; butter, flour, milk, a little chicken, some rice, you are a genius. Spaghetti, eggs, salad, you know you can.
Know how to manage your own money, balance your checkbook and invest your savings intelligently. Shop sales and remember, never pay full price just because you want something today. Save something every time you get a paycheck. If you do you will retire with enough money to live. You will be able to help your children when they need it.
Know how to iron your shirts, when you have a job interview you need an ironed white shirt, always. And depending on where you work, you will need one for work sometimes. And know how to iron your pants. I hate to say it, but if you actually hang things up with a crease, they need less ironing. Maybe when you don’t have someone to iron for you, you will hang them up.
Know how to make good coffee, a reasonable cup of tea, a box of brownies. Know how to make your bed and run the washer/dryer. So many life tasks, so little space to write. Generally, be a competent self-sufficient human being. Know how to suit up and show up, feed yourself, do your bills and clean your house. Don’t depend on people to do these things for you. That way you can rely on yourself and find the people that enrich your life in real and special ways; not the people you need so you will have clean clothes.
So my dad feels strongly about keeping control of his money. I can understand that. I feel strongly about keeping control of my money too. Balancing his checkbook takes a really long time; I mean a really really long time. The last go round took him all day and he was lying in wait for me when I got home to try to find the several (very several) hundred dollar error. When I got it down to slightly less than two hundred, we just took the bank balance and called it a day. I couldn’t find the error. Even going through his fifteen year old pad on which he has written every check he ever wrote – except the ones he forgot to write down.
The check balancing thing doesn’t seem a matter of bad memory or incompetence, it seems a matter of alienation. He looks at the thing and it seems foreign to him, and familiar all at the same time. Then there are all the people out to get him, notably doctors. All the doctors really don’t know what they are doing. They are in cahoots with me to prevent him from driving, controlling his money, or ever getting better. His feeling is that without their interference he would be flying a plane, working, winning tennis tournaments and driving across the country. Age has nothing to do with it. And all those pills intended to “help” him just cause diarrhea.
This has been quite the discussion. We took him off all meds and then talked about what was critical to take and they added those in one at a time. So far so good. And he ended up so healthy that they permanently stopped several of his meds. He was down to 3 kind of critical ones for his memory and his prostate. No diarrhea. For months, and months. He took them in the hospital, he took them in rehab, he took them when he came home… for a while. Now he doesn’t take them, and the caregivers are afraid of him so they don’t insist; not that it would do any good. He is competent enough to know he doesn’t want to take his meds, even if he cna’t remember what they are supposed to be good for.
Diarrhea is back, couldn’t be the flu, has to be the meds so it is the last excuse to completely quit taking them (he was still good for a few times a week). He has a diagnosis of Alzheimers, early stage; and his memory is not so great (short term especially), but when is a person incompetent? How do you know when the alienation becomes so great that the familiarity is overwhelmed?
I see it happening more and more. His computer is a foreign country despite the millions of times he has clicked the same clicks. The remote control is becoming more difficult. Where “things” are is a constant battle of repetition. But he gets up in the morning, feeds himself, dresses himself and pays his bills (often several times).
So… where’s the line?