The struggle is real for people caring simultaneously for their children and parents … what is referred to as the “Sandwich Generation.” (It’s not nearly as delicious as it sounds.)
Something that never entered my mind as a young moron was what you’re supposed to do with your parents when they get too old to take care of themselves.
The wife and I have only recently begun asking each other what we’re going to do when either of our set of parents begins pooping in the hamper and sticking the cat in the microwave.
One of the biggest issues with this is that some of our parents are so nutty to begin with.
How will we know when they start to slip?
And, let’s say they do come to live with us—where are we going to put them?
I guess I could stick them in the basement like that John Carpenter movie The People Under The Stairs.
How creepy is that going to be when the voices start wafting up from under the floorboards?
“Please feed us, Benjamin, we’re so hungry.”
“The wife said not to.”
“I’m sorry I called you an ‘uneducated bum.’”
‘No, you’re not.”
“We haven’t seen sunlight for months.”
“Sorry. You should have thought about that when you bought me women’s swim trunks for ninth-grade pool class.”
I guess we could use it as an excuse to get revenge on our parents.
But I’m not that kind of person. (I mean I’m not the kind of person who is stupid enough to admit to a crime in writing before I commit it.)
On the upside, I’d get to be the one to say, “Don’t make me come down there.”
Of course, I am never going down there.
They’ll be OK if I toss some canned tuna and peanut butter down the steps, right?
There is this old cinder block one-car garage out behind the house that kind of looks like a 1950s bomb shelter. I could always stuff them in there and hope for the best.
Of course, the neighbors might get suspicious when they see me trotting back and forth with cans of ensure and bags of cat food.
Not to mention the stench—there’s no bathroom in there.
Nothing but minimally adequate for our elders.
And what happens if both sets of parents have to move in at the same time?
They don’t really care for one another, by which I mean the Bloods and the Cryps don’t really care for one another.
My living room will look like the Gaza Strip.
Oh, they’ll promise Jimmy Carter peace at the breakfast table but by the time Dr. Phil is on, they’ll be hurling insults and rocks, and by then, probably poo, too.
I guess I can keep some canisters of tear gas on hand.
Does Amazon carry tear gas?
We could stick them all in a nursing home but frankly it would be too cruel of treatment for my in-laws and way too nice for my parents.
Besides, my wife put herself through school—all twenty-eight-and-a-half years of it—by working as a nurse aide.
It’s how she ruined her back and managed to be in constant pain for the rest of her life.
I’ve heard enough horror stories over the years to know that I’d rather be sold to a Slovakian circus or end up a carnival sideshow attraction than be sent to a nursing home.
“Step right up! Shiver in terror at the ungodly ear hair! Gasp at the amazing man-boobs! Dare to bear witness of Middle-Aged Dad!”
Anyways, those nursing homes are nuts!
And I don’t mean “nuts” in a “Mr. and Mrs. Gohs, the side-effects of the mercury Benjamin drank are worse than we had originally feared. He will never play the cello.”
I mean those nursing homes are just a balls-to-the-wall free-for-all of pant-pooping, boner-popping, old-person-sex-having prison where they are dropping like flies—insane, wrinkled, pee-soaked flies.
One day you’re getting punched, dry-humped and cried to—all by the same resident, by the way—and the next day you’re putting someone else’s stuff in their room. (Not so feisty now, are ya, granz?)
People don’t realize it when they tour these places but it’s death’s waiting room.
(Cue voice-over in creepy Boris Karloff tone.)
“Welcome to Expedient Meadows Retirement Community, we just had a room open up! Does grandpa bruise easily when punched?”
Of course they have a vacancy.
There is only one reason those rooms are empty … and it ain’t cuz grandma got better and went home.
Oh, sure, they try to dress the place up with a meeting room where they serve ice-cream on Tuesdays and hold a happy hour on Fridays.
Because if it’s one thing grandpa needs on top of all his medical conditions and medications is sugar and alcohol.
“I’m sorry, we’re at full capacity. But if you could call back on Saturday I think we might have an opening.” (Even sooner if the lady in room 12 doesn’t lose the attitude.)
And don’t think you’re getting off cheap.
Even the really crappy ones are charging like $1,000 a day—a day! You could set grandpa up with hookers, blow and an all-u-can-eat buffet in Vegas for that kind of cabbage.
(Note: remember to schedule trip to Vegas when book is finished. Also, stop calling money “cabbage.”)
I guess we could make things interesting and force our parents to “Thunderdome” it but I don’t think any of them have the vigor necessary to swing swords or chainsaws.
There’s no getting around it.
If we end up with all four of them at the same time, my house is going to look even more like a Wes Anderson movie than it already does.
Mom’ll be in the corner painting portraits of naked U.S. Presidents.
My father-in-law will spend his time lecturing everyone on the weather patterns he tracked throughout the 1980s.
And, dad, dad will continually interrupt my mother-in-law’s obsessive pulp fiction reading to horrify her with his vast repertoire of “dick” jokes, but only until he drinks himself to sleep each noon.
Now I understand why my biological father disappeared when I was seven.
I’ve got the perfect nursing home in mind, should he ever return.
Find any of this funny?
Consider getting one of my humor books.
They make great bathroom/waiting room/marriage-counseling-session reads