Feel like writing, but can't settle on a topic? Realize that you haven't posted to your blog in weeks, but finding no water in the well? Mine your own ideas by going back through comments you've made, and you'll soon be giving your writer's block its what-fors.
For the past few days I’ve been thinking more and more about the events of this past week and needed an outlet to vent my anger. As the week progressed, I found myself getting angrier and angrier that cowards like the 2 brothers could bring a large city to its knees.
When I saw the blood stained US flag of one of the hero’s my rage started to boil over even more.
This week was a horrible week for many of us. As we saw in horror the terrorist attacks in Boston, I personally sat transfixed listening, reading about and watching the news feed both on-line, on the radio and on television the progression on how as these home-grown terrorists had justice served to them. These cowards (and I’m being generous with these words) killed and maimed innocents at Boston Marathon.
My personal reflections on this weeks events:
- Both of these cowards came to America as refugees and America opened their doors to these losers (as their uncles called them). The US Government took these boys from their war-torn country and gave them the opportunity to start a new life.
- The Russian government had given the US government a heads up on the older brother’s actions as well their suspicions in 2011!
- Why didn’t the US secret service keep the older brother on the watch list and keep an eye on him and his actions after his return from this 6 month visit to Russia?
- The 19-year-old younger brother was a recently naturalized citizen (on 9/11/12 – ironic isn’t it?), and was going to an American college on scholarship.
- How many millions and millions of dollars in resources did we spend to bring these terrorists to justice?
- How many millions and millions of dollars are we going to spend to keep the 19-year-old alive in the hospital, for the trial and in prison? At least the older one died violently which was a good thing.
- Are these weeks attacks a part of a larger nefarious act of a “sleeper terrorist cell” that is planning other attacks? How do we act quickly and exterminate these sleeper cells?
As a citizen, I applaud the tenacity at which the local and federal law enforcement officials collaborated to swiftly bring these 2 brothers to justice, These cowards kept Boston and the surrounding suburbs of Boston in terror for the past week. Without doubt the veracity and the swift actions of all the first responders, FBI, local police, and all law enforcement officers in Boston, showed our resolve and that these acts of cowardice will be met with swift justice.
I’m almost certain these home-grown terrorists would have done more harm to the innocent citizens of our nation of over the next few weeks. With the amount of explosives and firepower they had in their possession, it was obvious to me that the Marathon may just have been the first of many acts these horrific human beings had planned.
Some of the questions that raced through my mind during this week:
- To hear of a “All American” 19 year old turn into a terrorist is just disturbing.
- What made these 19 and 26 year old immigrants become such horrible human beings?
- What made them turn into menaces to the same society that embraced them and gave them the opportunity to have a good and prosperous life?
As I sit here writing this post, I have a sense that the other shoe has not yet dropped and the senseless act of terrorism that we saw this week in Boston may not be the end.
The one consistent lesson our country has taught terrorists we capture/kill:
“You can run, but you cannot hide from us – We are strong and unified.”
God bless America and I wish the speediest of recovery to the victims of this horrific act that we were all a witness to..
- Security theater moves to Act Two following arrest of Boston marathon bombing suspect (dprogram.net)
- Boston Marathon bombing suspect in custody (espn.go.com)
- No, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Is Not An Enemy Combatant. He Is A Criminal. (outsidethebeltway.com)
- Boston bombing suspect faces special interrogation (scotsman.com)
- FBI Hunting Terrorist ” Sleeper Cell ” In Connection With Tsarnaev Brothers (youviewed.com)
Last week I was driving my daughter to a friends house and got into a car Accident. Now we are both fine and the only physical damage that occured was to both cars. BTW, I was not at fault! As many of my readers know, Dad’s Taxi is always driving the kids around yet the decision of which car to drive determined the outcome of this accident.
Fortunately I was driving a 4×4 when I was sideswiped on the driver’s side of my car. If I had been in a sedan, only god knows what the outcome of that collision would of been. Now back to my original thoughts which I had distracted myself from.
If I had taken the normal road to get from Point “A” to Point “B”, I don’t think I would have gotten into the accident, but in my infinite wisdom, I decided to take a shortcut. Since I took the shortcut, I ended up in an unfamiliar turn off which would have been familiar if I had taken my normal route to get my destination. So the road not taken led to a series of events which led to the accident.
This can apply to almost every aspect of life. If you think back, how many times have you made decisions that triggered a series of events that could have gone in two universally opposite directions? For me, I can honestly say it happens to me all the time!
Most decision you make in your daily life has consequences and reprecussions. Even the smallest decision you make in life may have either positive or negative outcomes. I see that more and more every day. Perhaps this train of thought is starting to “paralyze me with anyalsis”, but when I reflect on my life, many of the decisions I’ve made have send me in a positive path or a long term negative path.
Here are some classic critical decisions points in life as I see it:
- When you are a growing up, you are taught to do the right thing, and to be nice to others. Now if you follow this mantra, you will either have lots of friends that will like you for being “nice” or you will have many people be guarded against you for being pretentious.
- In my Teens and Twenties, I was always thinking about two things: Money and having a good time. Of course both of these goals were always at odds at each other, as financially you may not be able to support your desire to have a good time (which of course will need finances!). Since I wanted money to have a good time, I worked hard with multiple jobs to have money, which of course impacted my academic career. Again, if I had decided to pass on the financial rewards, I may have dedicated more resources to academic success.
- What do you want to be when you grow up? This is a huge question that many struggle with. Once you commit to one path, it’s hard to change.
- When and who do you marry? Now I think this is the biggest “Road Not Taken” thing I can think of. Who do you marry? Do you marry your soul-mate or do you marry the one you love? Now remember there is a clear distinction (in my mind) of a difference between both.
There is so much more I can write about. As a reader, what are some of the road’s not taken instances that you have faced?
I play tricks on my family all the time.. I don’t need April fools day to do this. What is your best April Fools joke/trick that you can share with Dad?
So this is the spring of 2013. Yet when I go outside, it still feels like Winter of 2013. The temperature is still hovering in the mid 30′s and I’m cold.
To me this spring is always the start of something new. This year, it’s the end of a burden and the start of a fresh start for something that I’ve written about in many of my postings. This topic of course is the ugly head of debt.
For the first time in over 20 years, I can truly say that I have zero credit card debt. Unfortunately, I was able to achieve this success not due to my ability to save money and pay off debts but due to the passing of my elderly father and his ability to save money for his children, so they can have the fruits of his love. The art of being frugal and saving.
I tell you, to have this burden of debt lifted off my shoulders is like having this huge elephant (that has been following me around for so many years), disappear. Now the task that remains for me is to make sure that I NEVER EVER get into this situation.
Here are some of the things my dad taught me that I didn’t learn till after he left us:
- Live below your means. This doesn’t mean you have to live like a miser, but if you have things that work, why discard them for the latest greatest thing? For so many years, he lived with a 25-year-old 19 inch tube TV which was not even cable ready. Not until, did the picture fade, did he allow me to get him a new television. Once I got him the new flat screen, he did realize what he was missing, but he still said, “I could have lived with the old TV”. This may sound crazy to most but it makes sense to me now: This is how he lived. He didn’t need the latest greatest gadgets. He lived in a very modest apartment and to him, he had everything he needed. A sofa, recliner and his TV. He was happy with this so he could watch his beloved Yankees. Till the day he passed on, he didn’t even own a cell phone!
- Don’t incur debts you can’t pay off – My dad, lived debt free for all his life. He never, ever had a credit card debt. As a matter of fact, he didn’t even use an ATM. If he spent $1 on credit card, he immediately wrote a check for $1 to the credit card company. I remember when he got me my first credit card when I graduated from college. He said to me: “If you can’t pay off what you buy, don’t buy it”. Now I get it.
- Live to save for tomorrow, for tomorrow you may not have anything to save: Savings and self-preservation were the two of the mantra’s my dad lived with every day of life. He felt he would lose everything and would not be able to live independent. He didn’t want to be a burden on his kids, so he saved, saved and saved every day. I was always on his case to live a little, but he would just shake his head and say “one day you will understand”.. Well Baba, I get it now.. Thank you.
- Live Frugally: My dad, was so frugal that he didn’t need to buy new clothes. Ask yourself, how often do you buy new clothes, when your clothes in your closet will do just fine? Every aspect of his life defined frugality. He owned a car that was over 10 years old, everything in his home was things he had acquired from people who left stuff behind when they left the complex he lived in. He lived with the bare necessities and didn’t need much more.
- Vacations – Are a luxury not a necessity. When we were growing up in NYC, my dad took us on vacations, yet he only took us to places that he could afford. It was not a democracy. He worked for the airlines and we traveled by air for free and stayed in budget motels. No 3 or 4 stars for us. To me, I love vacations, but vacations always added to my debt.. I was taking vacations that I could not afford! So basically my taking 2 vacations per year put me in a deeper and deeper hole..
Living in debt was part of my every day life and I was (am still) obsessive/compulsive about it. I wanted to defeat it.. on my own terms.. I failed miserably. To me debt was always a moving target that no matter what strategy I tried, I could not defeat.
Today, as I look forward, living debt free is not just my goal, it is my passion. The lessons I didn’t learn over the past 20+ years will be etched in my memories. I never ever want to go backwards into that hole of despair.
I guess that’s what spring time is for, as the seasons change, so must I and grow.
- 20 Ways to Become Debt Free (nationaldebtrelief.com)
Here’s a deal for the Redbox fans, you can get weekly/monthly free movies as well as half price rentals via codes sent to your smartphone. A quick moving deal that will expire this week!
If you use Redbox for your DVD movies:
- From your SmartPhone text “DEALS” to 727272.
- You will get a confirmation back with coupon and deals from Redbox
Don’t forget to download the REDFLIX app for your iPhone to get more Promo codes you can use!
Starting today, I’m going to put out questions to my readers that have been gnawing at me
What’s the best way using Social Media for you to tell everyone to avoid doing business with a company that did not deliver on what they advertise or sell?
Last week, I lost my father to the complications of dementia and other medical ailments, after Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey. Actually posting this entry today is ironic in that today is the 100 day anniversary of Hurricane Sandy and it was right after Sandy that his downward spiral was noticed by me.
For years he hid his dementia from me and his family by being what they call a “functional dementia patient”. He could get basic tasks done as long you did not disrupt his established routine. I won’t go through his last three months, as the pain of seeing him suffer still continues to numb my senses.
He was 84 years old and he fought bravely for 3+ months through hospitalization/rehab/assisted living. So now that leaves me and my brother as “middle aged orphans”. For the past week, my brother and I have reached such a tremendous outpouring of love and affection from our friends and family that we are at a loss to define our gratitude. I realize that many times, when I write Dad’s taxi, it’s with my personal brand of humor, but this time, I’m writing to put my feelings into words so I can look back on these words and get a true understanding of my emotions at this time. I guess that is the best I can do at this time.
I didn’t think it would be this difficult at the passing of our father, as much as a sense of loss I felt when I lost my mother 13 years ago, but when you lose your parent (regardless of how you felt towards them when they were alive), many emotions come flooding to you. For me the feeling of emptiness, relief and just a sense of numbness all collided simultaneously. I wanted to cry, but tears would not come. All I felt was a feeling of solitude with my inner child and knowing that I’d never be able to see my dad and that after this life event, I’d no longer have any parent who would give me the unconditional love every child craves for from his/her parent.
Luckily I had my family and friends surrounding me to help me balance my emotions on my dad’s passing. The support I received from my inner circle of family and friends from all over the world helped me understand the impact my father had on others and how to celebrate his life. This helped me to reconcile my emotions which had continued to collide on a daily basis during his life and his death.
As my brother and I continued to wrap up the memorial services and financial matters, we both gained strength from each other and just talking. Even as my brother is a few years younger than me and much more logical, his range of emotions allowed me to understand and grasp the loss in the proper context.
When you lose both your parents, the void left cannot be measured by words. The emptiness that you no longer have a mother or father who loved you unconditionally is a difficult concept for any child to grasp. My relationship with my father for most of his life was strained to say the least. Yet during his last 3 months of his life, I gained closure on a my emotions as I took care of him and saw him deteriorate into a state of despair as he realized that he would never “go home”.
Everyday as I talked to him in his state of dementia, I realized that I no longer had any rights to feel the anger that I felt for most of my life. Now was a time for forgiveness and understanding. This allowed me to move on and take care of the necessary tasks a son has to do when he is taking care of his father. Yes, I may sound cold and heartless when I say these words but everyday I spent with him chipped away at every ounce of the residue of anger which I carried in my heart every day of his life for the way he treated his children and his wife when he was of sound mind. His toughness and independence was a staple of his existence of 84 years and I realized that if live to his age, I may not be able match his courage and dignity he showed till the day he passed.
When my dad left us, he left under his terms (peacefully) and with grace. He left telling the nurses “He would not be in the hospital after Today (January 29th, 2013)”. And as in his life, he kept to his word. He fought till the to get out of the bed that had imprisoned him.
At his memorial service, I spoke from my heart when I eulogized him and it enabled me to let go of all the emotions had kept pent-up inside for years. His fierce independence, his sense of right and wrong, and above all his wanting not to interfere in the lives of his children.
Yes as I normally do, I ramble on and on..
Dad, I hope you rest in peace and your soul finds rest wherever you are!
A friend of mine sent me the following in an email. It put many things in perspective for me as I go through a rough patch in my life.. I hope it helps you as much it helped me!
Over the past 6 weeks after Super Storm Sandy, it would be an understatement to say that my life has spiraled into a life of daily chaos and additional stress. With my elderly father’s ongoing battle with his health and his mental faculties being so impaired, let’s just say.. “the hits keep coming”.
I’ve decided selfishlessley that this blog will be my outlet for all the frustrations I’m currently facing. As many of my readers know that I usually laugh at most of the things that happen around me.. Now I’m laughing (or crying) at the things that happen TO ME directly.
It’s like the heavens have opened up and blessed me with multiple challenges and decisions that I need to make on the fly.. I hate making decisions on the fly.. I’m into organization and planned decisions. If you look up the definition of what the personal traits of a Saggitarian you would see my traits. We don’t like surprises and are quite inflexible when it comes to surprises. I’m one of those classic Saggitatians. We want the world to be perfect (as we are) and get bent out of shape when the the world does not live up to our expectations. That’s me in a nutshell. I’m sure my family and friends would agree on this statementYet I also know that that’s all in a perfect world, and I live in the most imperfect of worlds.
After Superstorm Sandy, I realized that my elderly father was in need of medical help and as the “good son” and only son in NJ, I’d have to take the burden of caring for my father. Let me start of by saying that my relationship with my father has never been (to put it mildly) a relationship based on mutual love and respect. Yet the one gift that my father did give me over the past 10 years is the gift of raising my family without his distractions and worrying about his welfare. Pretty selfish statement, but in reality, he gifted this to both me and my sibling who happens to live in Texas.. Yes I’ve written about my visits to Texas!
My dad was admitted to the hospital about 6 weeks ago in a state of anemia, pneumonia and a state of dementia. Of course all conditions developed over time (especially the dementia), but because my dad was living alone, he was able to hide these symptoms from me for a few years.
Over the past 6 weeks, it’s been trips to the hospital (daily) and rehab (where he currently is) and planning on HIS future after rehab. At the same time, of course my daily chaos with my home life is (as Barney says on “Big Bang Theory” —> LEGENDARY). ongoing.
How I’ve managed to maintain my sanity, I really don’t know, I guess being numb during chaos and just reacting is a great way to maintain your sanity. The future looks bleak for my father as he will need 24×7 care after he leaves rehab and our great medical system “draws down all his finances, so Medicaid can take over”. He will never regain his independence and will never be able to constantly remind me that my inheritance (now none) is what he will leave for me.
As luck would have it, my employer has been totally understanding of the choas in my life and has been unconditionally supportive and allowed me take time off to address my dad’s illness. I do not know what I would have done, if this was not the case
My brother came to NJ from Texas for a week and we researched and educated ourselves on the assisted living and nursing homes. We quickly realized that the our current situation with our father was payment for being allowed to raise our families in peace over the past 10 years without having major home issues because of the possible influence of our father in our life.
I walk around in a state of total exhaustion both mentally and physically as I now realize that every day puts forward a new challenge on my ability to reason with the events that are going around me. Sound pretty pathetic, but when I say the “hits keep coming”, that is the truth.
- Super Storm Sandy and loss of Power
- Elder care and illness of parent daily issues
- Work related stress
- Tennis injuries (don’t get me started with this one)
- Car Repairs (I guess you really do need brakes to stop a car)
- Holiday cheer (I’d call it more holiday depression)
- Differences, benefits of Medicare and Medicaid
- Self forgiveness and letting go of the guilt.
- Putting things in perspective.
Yet the whole experience over the past 2 months has been humbling. To see a man who all his life was a miser and self-centered, become totally dependent on others for his daily care. He’s actually mellowed out in his “state of confusion” to where we get along better now then we have ever gotten along when he was NOT in his delusional state. Each day, I spend time with him and realize that his ongoing battles with sanity have enable me to forgive him as well as myself for our inability to have a good relationship.
I see myself through his eyes and in his wheelchair in another 20 or 30 years I see myself struggling to maintain cohesiveness and losing my freedom and become dependent on others to take care of me. If these thoughts are not humbling, I really don’t know what is.
I’ve now learned to take each day “one day at a time” and instead of feeling sorry for myself, just accept the situation and deal with it in my unique way.. Using sarcasm, humor and plain self understanding is the way to come out of this unscathed.
I’ve become educated about:
- Elder care and its financial impacts on families.
- What it takes to take full health and financial responsibility for another human being who cannot take care of himself. Specifically the legalities of the healthcare system in our country
- What the words “draw down the assets mean”.
- Showing empathy when in reality, you are struggling with your internal strife and emotions.
- Being able to adjust to change, when inherently your nature precludes change.
- Finding outlets for the stress that are both healthy and self-contained.
- How to become organized and make decisions that are outside your comfort zone.
- How expensive elder care is in this country for those with assets.
- How important it is to have a healthcare directive and a Power of Attorney (POA)!
- what’s the difference between Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
I could go on and on.. but you can see that the past 2 months have been so difficult that my senses have become numb that the only way to I can adjust to my “New reality of my life” is to write about it..
- Home Help for the Elderly: Is it Right for Your Loved One? (assistedlivingtoday.com)
- 5 Things Caregivers Must Know About Elder Care Law (assistedlivingtoday.com)