Both my parents were dead by the time I was 29 years old. My father had Alzheimer’s, and by the time I graduated from college to come out and help my mother take care of him, it was essentially to put him in a rest home. He died there one week later.
My mother, due to the stress of taking care of him, contracted lymphoma and died four years later. Her sister was in a rest home with MS, and we had been visiting her there for years. With my parents gone it was left up to me. She had a daughter who lived back east, but she had stopped visiting 5 years earlier. It was just too painful. I must admit that the visits came to be less and less frequent. She was in a new full blown rest home, and she was actually one of the lucky ones. The place reeked of urine and feces, people were literally moaning and screaming and wandering the halls, mostly in their wheelchairs. It was a difficult place to visit, and I used to have a few pops before I went up every time. I think when she passed it had been nine months since I had seen her the last time.
This is how we take care of our old and disabled.
My grandfather was in the VA, and when grandma was alive we visited him almost every afternoon. We did see hundreds of people in the halls, but most never had any visitors. We use to walk around award from bed to bed and make sure everybody in there had a little bit of attention and some human contact. I think I was six years old then, and I still remember how bad it was.
This was all over 30 years ago. I can’t imagine what it is going to be like when we baby boomers all start dropping like flies. The lucky ones of us will just die, the unlucky ones will have to live through it.
We go our entire lives assuming that we deserved Health Care, and then somehow it will be provided for us. Regardless of Obama Care and all of the best intentions, without a major revolution there simply is not going to be any way to pay for our Health Care.
It will literally take a village. Without it we will be lucky to be given enough morphine to ease the pain as we are left in a corner in her wheelchair to quietly wait for death.
Aside from local governments, I have only encountered one group that is trying to do something about it: The National Compassion Holiday Petition group http://nationalcompassionholiday.com/ led by Michael Villalpando is that group.
If you have parents, know of anyone disabled, or plan to ever come incapacitated yourself, you might want to pay it forward and at least sign this guy’s petition. It’s free, unless you feel called to contribute, and only takes a second. Your old age Karma might just depend on it.
Category Archives: ethics
Both my parents were dead by the time I was 29 years old. My father had Alzheimer’s, and by the time I graduated from college to come out and help my mother take care of him, it was essentially to put him in a rest home. He died there one week later.
Law enforcement officials in Boston tell reporters that they have arrested a suspect thought responsible for Monday’s deadly bombing.
CNN confirmed the news at 1:45 p.m. local time when journalist John King said both a federal source and a Boston law enforcement source confirmed the news. Reporter Fran Townsend then added over the phone that “there is an arrest that has been made in the Boston bombing case based off of two independent videos.”
The suspect is now expected to arrive at a federal courthouse in Boston.
Earlier in the day, CNN reported shortly after 1 p.m. that a suspect has apparently been identified. The suspect’s name has not been made public as of this time, but he is reportedly a dark-skinned male, according to police.
According to CNN’s sources, surveillance video from a Lord and Taylor department store and a local television station are believed to have helped authorities identify the person sought responsible for Monday’s incident, which US President Barack Obama said on Tuesday is being investigated as an act of terror.
CNN’s King reports from Boston that the video footage helped police narrow in on a person being considered a suspect in the attack “to such detail, I’m told, that they believe they have a clear identification, including a facial image of a suspect.”
The footage, sources say, show the suspect carrying and perhaps placing down a black bag that is thought to have contained a bomb that was detonated at the second of two crime scenes near the finish line of the annual Boston Marathon just before 3 p.m. on Monday.
The mayor of Boston, Massachusetts has confirmed that a suspect was ID’d, and officials are expected to speak to the press at 5 p.m. Wednesday afternoon. According to sources speaking to the Boston Globe, authorities may publicize their findings at that briefing.
Yeah, talk to me about rights. What rights do we really have?
You have the right to remain silent, unless doing so pisses me off and I slap you upside of the head with my pistol.
You have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? I’ll go with the last one, but as far as the first two I think that is kind of up to God.
Did the victims of baby Doc, or Hitler have the same rights? I’m not necessarily saying it’s not correct for protecting our own shores, but what rights do they have at Gitmo?
You have the right to work your ass off, be the best you can be, and hope to heck somebody doesn’t shoot you in the face. That is all.
Rights are like entitlements. They do not exist in the real world.
Have we gotten so fat and freeking Arrogant that we think the world owes us a living, and somehow is obligated to take care of us?
Let’s face it, baby boomers. We have no right to anything but to work our asses off.
There are so many of us, there is nobody left to bail us out. The days of peace love and dope in the Haight-Ashbury are over.
Face it, you are not going to be guaranteed healthcare, a sweet old peoples home with chirping birds and basket weavers, or a nurse name Consuela to come and wipe your ass when you poop your pants. Some of us are going to starve, some of us are going to croak on the streets from heart attacks, and some of us are going to stroke out.
What you have the right to do, is your best. Work your freaking ass off as hard as you can for as long as you can, treat the people you love with love, and be thankful for every breath you have the “right” to take.
And you do have the right to thank your God, however you envision that, for every good minute you’ve had.
By Antsy McLain
It had been a rough couple of weeks.
I had just buried my father, and began joylessly exploring the prospects of life as an orphan. Mom had passed away the year before. I recalled Dad’s last days and the final, numb march of his funeral as if looking through thick, gray gauze. Pieces of that day still hung around me like stale air freshener. I could hear the voice of the pastor from the little country church Dad called home, his words blank and void of passion until the eulogy turned abruptly to an alter call. My blood still rises a good twenty degrees hotter when I think about it, especially after he mispronounced Dad’s name. Twice.
“How long do you have to be a sheep around here before the shepherd remembers your name,” I whispered to my wife as he plowed carelessly through my father’s identity.
I can still hear the three distinct gun blasts of his military send off, the triggers pulled by two middle aged reservists in uniforms three sizes past snug. The blasts rang in the air, followed by a flutter of birds and a burst of sobs from my uncle Sonny. He had held up well until then, laying to rest the brother with whom he had climbed these trees, plowed this farmland, chased girls, raced cars, and buried loved ones of their own together. When a person dies, they take a part of you with them, a part of you no one else on earth knows. Sonny was letting it go with all that gunpowder.
All of this kept flooding into my heart and washing back out, taking grains of me with the tide, and bringing back untold questions from the mysterious deep. I was caught up in a tide of discovery, of new and old being swept away and washed back up on my empty shores until I didn’t know what was me, what was God, what was real or what was counterfeit.
As they say in times like this, when it rains it pours. Life had decided, for whatever reason, to make me its student in an intense crash course that would change me forever.
When I had come home late from work around 10 PM one night, the last thing I needed to see was the lifeless body of our family pet, Moo Moo, in the cul de sac in front of our house.
I knew it was her immediately. I stopped the car in the middle of the road with the lights on, and ran to her. As perfect a dog as she was — and she was a gem — she had one fatal flaw: she chased cars. She had apparently caught one.
Moo Moo was named by our kids because she had spots akin to a Holstein cow. Black and white, part Jack Russell, part Blue Heeler, Moo Moo was a herding dog. If you’ve had a herder, you’ll know that often equates to the dangerous practice of chasing things, including cars. Two years of training did nothing to curtail the deep, innate urgings of her DNA. This was who she was.
Moo Moo and I were soul mates. She swooned when she saw me. When I would come home from work, no one else existed. She would hop up on the back of our sofa, where she could be closer to eye level, and she would wag and whine until I acknowledged her shameless treatise for attention. When we hugged, all was well with the world. Every shirt I owned at the time was speckled with short, wiry white dog hair. I did nothing special to woo her. One day as a wiggly puppy, she just looked me in the eye and latched on, as if to say, “I choose you.” We were buddies from that day forth. The kids had picked her out, had fed her, even named her, but it was clear to everyone, Moo Moo was Dad’s dog.
So, there I was, awash in the white, hot light of my car’s headlamps, sobbing over Moo Moo’s lifeless body. “No, no, no, no, no,” I said, over and over, wanting to turn back time, not only 30 minutes or an hour where she could be on the back of the sofa to greet me, but a year, or two years before when I had parents, when I had a tangible guiding force in my life, a voice on the other end of the phone that could tell me I was doing the right thing, or that I was screwing up – anything at all. This was just too hard to endure on my own, without those familiar, comforting voices. And now, it would be harder without the unconditional hug of this beautiful dog.
I carried her past the flower garden behind the house, past the swing set, past the tall elm tree where I had built a crude but functional fort with my kids. I set her gently down on the ground behind the shed. And then I went inside to tell the family. Their moans and cries broke my heart, and made me cry even harder. We held each other, pulled ourselves together and buried her together under the moonlight.
My wife took the kids inside and tucked them in, and stayed with them until they fell off to sleep. I finished the burial duties, cleaned up, and went to move my neglected car. It had shined its lights as long as it could, and now sat dark and still in the cul de sac out front. I groaned a “now what,” and went to the garage where I had a new battery. Rather than deal with it in the morning, I decided to do it then, before I went to bed. Sleep probably wasn’t going to come for hours anyway.
I took a flashlight, the battery, and the tools I’d need, and walked back to the car. I took the old battery out and installed the new one, making sure all the connections were tight. I tried to start it. Nothing. Not even a spark. I checked the connections. Nothing. I went into the house, got the keys to my wife’s car, and drove it to the front, and hooked up jumper cables. Still nothing. I checked the connections a third time. It was now around midnight, and my patience, historically short anyway, was wearing very thin.
After checking the connections a fourth and fifth time, I got in the driver’s seat, shut the door, made sure the windows were rolled up tight, and I turned the key over.
The sounds that came out of my mouth over the next 5 minutes were unlike anything I have ever heard before or since, and I’ve seen a lot of Martin Scorsese movies. I cussed myself out, calling me every name in the book; I cussed God, telling him where he could shove this life, and this earth and everything on it; I cussed out my father for leaving, and my mother for dying, and anyone else I could think of who had a hand in my immediate misery. I pounded the dashboard, slammed the steering wheel, and screamed until my voice was a raspy whisper.
Then, as the last echo of my screaming faded away, I quietly, resolutely shut the door of my car, and drove my wife’s car back into the driveway. I left the hood up to my car with the cables still attached, and went inside. I checked on the kids, who were fitful but sleeping. I collapsed next to my wife and whispered a gravelly “Goodnight,” as we held each other under a blanket still speckled with Moo Moo’s hair.
I called a tow truck to haul my car to the garage, telling them “It’s a brand new battery, and it wasn’t turning over at all, so it must be the alternator.” I expected to hear from them later that day with an invoice I couldn’t afford.
I was barely at work 20 minutes when the garage called. “Your car’s ready.”
I was dumfounded. “Already?” I asked.
“Yep. You can pick it up anytime.”
“But, I mean, I – what was wrong?”
“Who installed your battery?” the mechanic asked drily.
I weighed my options. I could blame this on someone else. I could tell this was not going to put me in a good light. “Me,” I said, flinching, waiting.
“Well, you know those little plastic caps that come on the posts of new batteries?”
“Yeah,” I lied.
Well, you have to take those off before you hook up the cables or you won’t get a charge.”
“We won’t charge you for anything,” said the mechanic, fighting a chuckle, “We found it right away. Just come by the office before 6 to get your keys.”
I thanked him numbly, and gently set the phone down on its cradle. I leaned forward and placed my head in my hands. I sat that way for a long time before I moved again.
How often I do this: blame the world around me – anything else around me – for what I have done to myself out of ignorance or pride, or simply by just being in the dark. We’re all in the dark sometimes, trying with whatever tools we have to fix something better left for the light of another day.
I picked up my keys, and the mechanic showed me the little black plastic cover, like a top hat for a little bird, and I took it from his grease-creased hands. I held the little culprit – this source of my great and horrible frustration the night before – and couldn’t believe how such a small, lightweight thing could cause so much trouble. But then again, I knew it wasn’t the cap. It was me. I put the cap in my pocket, and drove home. It sat on my dashboard for months, an amulet of sorts to remind me of the magnitude of little things. It now sits on some bookshelves in my studio at just about eye level. Beside it is a little jewelry box holding a black and white collar once worn by a herder who chose me to be her soul mate.
I apologized to God by the way, for all the things I called him. I haven’t heard back, necessarily, but I reckon he had a good laugh over it.
By Antsy McLain
As I write this, a steady rain taps on the window to my left, and distant thunder promises more of the same for the day. A gray Schnauzer sits a few feet away as I write this. He’s 6 years old now, approaching mid life, and seems to be content to be anywhere I am, doing anything I want to do. This, I’m sure you agree, is not the kind of relationship we can have with other humans.
We’re about to go “bye bye” to the store on the corner, so I can’t write for long. I have already said the words bye bye, and therefore set him at his hyper alert state, giddy at my slightest movement, and ready to bolt toward the door. He just whined a little, his low mournful whine that sounds so human, I’m thinking this sentence may not even get finished before I have to leave. (There. A few Snausages. He’ll be fine for a few more paragraphs.)
As we drive to the store, I will crack the window and let him smell everything outside the car as we ride. His nose will add the tell tale streaks on the glass as he watches the world go by. I’ll see the streaks the next time I get in the car without him, and smile. I’ll tell myself I need to wash them off, but I know I won’t follow through with it.
I wrote the word ‘dog owner’ a few times above as way to describe myself, and it immediately felt awkward. It didn’t sound right because it’s inaccurate. Charlie found us, and we never “bought” him from anyone. I don’t think of myself as “owning” Charlie. He’s a part of the family, or more accurately, we belong to the same pack.
Our son Grant was playing outside our house with his friends, and Charlie strutted up to him, picked Grant out from all the other kids, and didn’t leave. The kids all played with him, but he hung out with Grant. It was the same later when he met the rest of the family.
He had a collar with a tag that said “Buddy,” and we called the number. He had gone missing three months earlier about 40 miles away. They told us they had already replaced him, and we could have him. They offered to mail us his papers — meaning his pedigree (they proudly announced he was AKC) — but never impressed with the papers or credentials of humans all that much, we didn’t see why having papers would make this good-hearted dog any more valuable to us than he already was, so we declined.
Grant renamed him Charlie. Being schooled in the art of incentives (at least in the human family), I set out to learn Charlies favorite things, and within days discovered Charlies’s incomparable talents as a ball retriever (only yellow tennis balls, I found out), singer, and cuddler. Like all dogs, he responds to treats and the imminent possibility of road travel. Come to think of it, my favorite people also hold travel and junk food in high regard, so maybe it is “a pack thing.”
I wrote the song with Charlie next to me. I thought of him in every verse. I’ve had many dogs in my 50 years, some of them very close to me, two of them were soul mates. When Moo Moo died, I cried in long, hard fits that left pieces of my soul in dregs along the backyard to where I buried her. Those pieces of me are still there.
But never have I connected to the soul of a dog like this moppy, gray haired barker at my feet. And never have I learned more from an animal.
But you know, they say when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. And maybe it’s me. Maybe I was getting in my way all along. Charlie was out there. Waiting. And when it seemed we were ready, he came loping up the street and made friends with Grant.
We thought he was just sniffing us out. But more likely he was saying, “Hey, let’s go on an adventure! With lotsa treats, tennis balls and road trips! It’ll be fun! And you just might learn something.”
OK, Charlie, ready to go “BYE BYE?” Oh, man. You should see him now. ha.
CLICK ON THE PHOTO
When Isaac Lamb decided to propose to his girlfriend, Amy, he knew he wanted to do something over-the-top. but not even Amy was prepared for the elaborate proposal he staged with 60 of their closet friends and family members. The video went viral – and has already amassed almost 6 million views on YouTube at last count.
The video even got Bruno Mars’ stamp of approval!
We’ve all done it before – called in sick when all we really wanted was an extra day off to lounge on the couch or hit up the mall. Most people in this situation simply tell their boss they’re sick and can’t make it into the office, but you might be surprised at the excuses some people come up with for missing work.
CareerBuilder’s Annual Survey, released at the end of 2011, revealed some of the most unusual excuses employees gave for missing work. And these aren’t your run-of-the-mill “my car broke down and I can’t get another ride” excuses – they’re much more creative.
The top 15 unusual excuses for calling in sick include:
- My 12-year-old daughter stole my car and I have no other way to get to work.
- Bats got in my hair.
- A refrigerator fell on me.
- A truck accidentally dumped flour into my convertible while backing up.
- A deer bit me while hunting.
- I ate too much at a party.
- I fell out of bed and broke my nose.
- I got a cold from my new puppy.
- My child stuck a mint up his nose and had to visit the emergency room.
- I hurt my back chasing a beaver.
- I got my toe caught in a vent cover.
- I got a headache from visiting too many garage sales.
- My brother-in-law was kidnapped by the Mexican drug cartel.
- I drank anti-freeze by mistake and had to go to the hospital.
- A bucket filled with water fell through the roof of a bowling alley and hit me in the head.
The moral of this story? Make sure you have a real reason for calling in sick, or simply be honest and tell your boss that you need an extra day off. Otherwise you might find yourself in danger of being caught.
In fact, the survey found that 15 percent of employers have fired a worker for calling in sick without a legit reason, and another 28 percent have checked up on an employee by:
- Requiring a doctor’s note (69 percent)
- Calling the employee (52 percent)
- Asking another employee to call the worker (19 percent)
- Driving by the employee’s house (16 percent)
The survey further found that employees are most likely to call in sick between January and March, and that 29 percent of workers admitted to playing hookey, mostly to run errands or do things with family and friends.
Writer and content creator specializing in everything from recruiting and job searching to social media and technology. Check out PCRecruiter.net for more.
Aside from the humanitarian aspects, I have personally experienced and witnessed that unhealthy employees cost a company far more than healthy ones do. It has been estimated that unhealthy staff costs billions of dollars each year for businesses, related to:
- Costly temporary staff replacements;
- Backlogged work;
- Ineffective workflows that create business disruptions;
- Increased heath care premium costs; and
- General lower productivity.
Lessening Stress Promotes Healthy Staff
I also noticed that as a healthy worker, I was far more productive than when I was ill. Nearly every sickness I ever had was related in some way to the often needless stress from:
- Lack of organization;
- Unrealistic workloads;
- Being continually exposed to employees who were sick.
Doctors have recognized how stress plays a large factor in illness. Stressed out, overworked staff will spend more time at the doctor’s office which drive up health care costs. Additionally, unhealthy workers greatly contribute to business disruptions.
Many European businesses have been way ahead of the U.S. when it comes to the overall treatment of their employees. For example, when I worked with a bank that was based in Amsterdam, I was shocked to learn of the various health-related perks:
- 100% paid health care plan;
- Fully paid gym memberships;
- Three weeks of paid time off for vacation immediately;
- Unlimited, paid sick time;
- Doctor visits counted as paid sick time;
- Twelve days of personal time;
- Every major holiday off;
- Extra bank and European holidays; and
- Bonuses paid in cash or time off.
I had thought that allowing employees to take unlimited sick time would encourage abusing this privilege. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Because I knew that I would be covered financially should I become ill, I found that I almost never needed to take a sick day off. Of course, part of the reason that I stayed so healthy was probably due also to:
- Realistic workloads;
- Positive, thoughtful work environments;
- Communicative management; and
- Less chance of contracting an illness, since people stayed home when they were ill.
Rarely did anyone in the office need more than a few hours to a day or two. Usually, “sick time” was used to go to the regular check-ups that the company also encouraged that each employee take advantage of, through its fully paid, no-co pay health plan.
What’s more, I was never made to feel badly about visiting the doctor or staying home if necessary. Rather, I was encouraged to do so. This company understood that having sick employees in the office was not good for business. Illnesses are spread and there is nothing productive about insisting that employees who are sick come to work. For this reason, I now choose workplaces not entirely by compensation, but by the culture of overall health that they adopt.
It can be a real hassle to manage a retirement fund. The stakes are quite high, because that fund represents someone’s life savings and is what they are expected to live off of for the rest of their life.
Getting to the point where someone has saved up enough money to retire is one thing. But that’s really only half the battle. Then comes the challenge of trying to make that money last enough years — and perhaps even do enough to where that nestegg actually grows, too. Read on for some quick tips on how to manage a retirement fund.
One of the biggest tips that makes it much easier to manage a retirement fund is to retire with enough money in that fund. Now, that might seem like common sense but many people rush into retirement with too little saved and then are unable to make the money stretch out for the length of their retirement.
Work with a money manager to make sure that there is enough money in the retirement fund to last. People are living longer and longer these days — many into their 90s — which means the money has to stretch longer than ever, too. Get some help understanding exactly how much money is needed, and how to make it last.
To manage a retirement fund is to understand all of the expenses that come with retirement. One of the big expenses is health insurance, which becomes more and more important as people age and require medical care. Make sure that the expense of health insurance is factored into any plan.
While it might not seem like a big deal now, especially if an employer is paying for insurance, it will become much more pressing once retirement hits. Health insurance can be a challenge but it does not have to be a scary thing if it is prepared for.
Lump sum vs. payout
It might seem like a good idea to get a huge lump sum from a 401(k) plan, but it is actually one of the common pitfalls of retirement. While seeing that huge amount upfront can make someone feel pretty well off, it is actually often a better idea to get a yearly payout. This can help someone budget and it guarantees that they won’t spend it all too soon.
Where to seek advice
Remember, any time that a client has a specific question about their retirement plan, a financial expert should be asked for help. There are a lot of standard replies to questionst that do not consider the specifics of a plan, growth rates and more.
Seeking advice online may seem easier, but the answers that the web provides are not as assured as the answers that are offered by an expert that actually manages the account or accounts in question.
Robert Seitzinger is a copywriter for Majestic Eagle Insurance, a Portland insurance group that can help with retirement planning.