Living alone sucks

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Forum topic by richgreer posted 07-07-2011 03:18 PM 2181 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3039 days

07-07-2011 03:18 PM

My wife (of 40 years) and I have a difficult situation. My wife’s father, in Michigan, needs 24 hour care and she has gone there to care for him (she is a retired RN). I can’t join her for a number of reasons, including an old dog suffering from sessions of congestive heart failure. The dog needs special medications and may need an emergency trip to the animal hospital. We’ve already made one such trip. We can’t ask anyone else to care for a dog in this condition.

So – for the time being – I am living alone with a sick dog and another healthy dog. It sucks and hopefully it won’t last too long. Do I dare hope the dog dies? Please don’t tell my wife I said that.

This situation creates an interesting woodworking issue for me. I had never thought about this much before but now I realize that I took some comfort in knowing that, in an emergency, my wife could take me to an emergency room. She’s already done it once when a large piece of walnut jumped off my lathe and struck me in the head (9 stitches).

I’m not going to stop woodworking and I always try to be careful, but I think I will be extra careful while she is gone.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

18 replies so far

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3268 days

#1 posted 07-07-2011 03:30 PM

ahhh, this is also known as a rock and a hard place…...i guess its not a doable situation to have her father come there while he i assume will get better…maybe the dog could comfort him while he rests…and you could get your wife back… i guess your going to loose some weight from all of this huh…or are the local church ladies keeping you in food…or maybe you cook yourself…..well whatever the situation…...there is always the new forum rich, we can chat with you and make sure you stay out of trouble…or maybe we could scheme, and get you into trouble…i hope there are not any new tool needs…but this might be thge best time so sneak them in…..well keep your chin up…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3039 days

#2 posted 07-07-2011 03:41 PM

Having my wife’s father move in with us is something we would both really like but he absolutely refuses and he can be very stubborn. He also absolutely refuses to consider a nursing home or assisted living facility. For a couple of weeks we were paying for 24 professional in-home nursing care but, at about $500/day, that is not an acceptable long term solution.

Regarding taking care of myself – - I’m a pretty good cook but I will loose weight (which is a good thing) because I just don’t like cooking for myself or eating by myself. However, I do have some new freedom. I can eat a snack of green onions just before going to bed.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4183 days

#3 posted 07-07-2011 03:46 PM

Like Grizz says, at least you have us to talk to Rich. :-)

I have a 12-year-old dog whose health is not the best, so I know what a drag it can be to be tied down by pet care.

I know what you mean about woodworking alone. I have often wondered about the same thing when I am home alone, working in the shop. Hopefully, I would still be able to call 911 if something happened.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View BarbS's profile


2434 posts in 4050 days

#4 posted 07-07-2011 03:53 PM

Rich, I’m dealing with a 90-yr. old mother at home, still on her own except for the heavy stuff, thank goodness. One suggestion I’d make is this: approaching him with the idea that moving in with you two “Would make Our lives better,” may help in swaying him from being so stubborn. I’ve found that when I really need a change, logic is useless, but playing on mother’s sympathies in what is good for me (making her feel guilty) usually works. It may sound bad, but phrasing is sometimes the key. “I want you to move in here as a favor to Us, because I refuse to put you in a stranger’s care” may work where “It’s better for You” may not. Much of this stubbornness, I find, is a last ditch heels-dug-in effort to maintain some kind of control over a life rapidly losing all control over one’s own decisions. And every time I have to do it, I see myself later, and how I’m going to be just the same! Good luck with all this. Life just never seems to give up on testing us, does it? Go with the flow.


View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4170 posts in 3129 days

#5 posted 07-07-2011 04:05 PM

When my wife is not home, I am usually still working, and also doing all of her chores as well as mine. It is not a lot of fun, so I sympathize.

From what little you have said, and short of practicing medicine here, I will just say that this is not a good situation for your wife or your father and is not sustainable. It should be dealt with as soon as possible. Perhaps consultation with a physician, be it yours or your father in law’s, would be appropriate.

These are tough situations, and the caregivers usually suffer the most. That is the real problem in most cases.


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Bovine's profile


114 posts in 3293 days

#6 posted 07-07-2011 05:17 PM

Rich, it’s funny you brought this up. Just a few weeks ago, my wife took the kids to Minnesota to take care of her mother who was in the hospital.

I was on the router table and got my finger caught in the blade. Took quite a bit of meat off my finger too. Anyway, I made it into the house, wrapped it up in a towel, and went to the neighbors. Luckily they were home and were able to take me to the Emergency Room.

I guess what I’m saying is, you can still get by in an emergency. Just make sure you have good neighbors, know who you can ask for help, and if all else fails make sure the phone is nearby so you can call an ambulance. You have plenty of options in an emergency…but I know you’re a safe guy too.

Take care, Rich!

-- Kansas City, KS "Nothing is as permanent as a temporary solution"

View Richard's profile


297 posts in 2502 days

#7 posted 07-07-2011 05:22 PM

You don’t live alone… you have a ton of friends sitting right there beside you.
Sorry live is handing you such a heavy load.
When it gets too heavy, just lean back a little… we are right here.

-- 'I sand, therefore, I am'. Richard. PNW.

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3251 days

#8 posted 07-07-2011 05:31 PM

Rich, good point! I was really glad Monday morning that my wife was home when I sliced open my hand.
I guess I could have made it to the ER, but having to put pressure on the wound and drive one handed would have been difficult.

A while back my mother-in-law asked my son if he kept his cell phone on him while working alone at the shop.
He asked why. Her reply—”If you get hurt and pass out, you need to be able to call for help”
Do I need to share his answer?


View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3139 days

#9 posted 07-07-2011 05:58 PM


A pretty sad situation. My sincere hopes and wishes that these stories all end well—whatever “well” means.

Meanwhile, I’d recommend you keep your cordless/cellular phone on your belt … just to make an emergency phone call easier … in the unlikely event.

It is amazing how easily we just get used to our partners being around, isn’t it ?

-- -- Neil

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3123 days

#10 posted 07-07-2011 06:22 PM


I’ve been trying to get rid of my wife and three young children and two dogs and two cats and untold numbers of fish…maybe I’d get some work done!!!

Seriously, more than it being a shop safety concern, I’d just miss them after a while. I work in the shop alone anyway. I’d just make sure I have ready access to the phone.

As far as parents, sometimes you can’t give them a choice. Perhaps your father-in-law is not ready yet, but at the point of 24-hour care you have the right to dictate certain health care issues, including moving him in with you. You and your wife are to be commended for taking on that burden…I believe we owe that to our parents for all they do for us during our lives.

I hope you can be reunited with your wife soon.

-- jay,

View Randy Sharp's profile

Randy Sharp

363 posts in 3637 days

#11 posted 07-07-2011 06:40 PM

Good post Grizz,

My bride goes on a week-long mission trip each summer. While she’s gone, I take a couple of days off work and build a surprise for her (this year the pergola).

I have my cell phone close by, but I also let my neighbor know I’m in the shop and ask him to check on me periodically. He’s a woodworker too, so he understands. Plus, he gets to check on the progress of the project and talk shop!

-- Randy, Tupelo, MS ~ A man who honors his wife will have children who honor their father.

View KnickKnack's profile


1088 posts in 3531 days

#12 posted 07-07-2011 07:03 PM

If the wife’s away, which is, thankfully, rare, I self ban myself from any power tool work. And I mean any – the orbital sander attacked me once – luckily a superficial head-wound – so nothing is safe.
I have neighbours, but they’re a ways away – I figure it can wait, and it’s safer for it to wait, than to take the risk.

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 2845 days

#13 posted 07-07-2011 07:39 PM

My wifes family lives out of town and she will go spend the weekend with them every so often. I don’t know about you guys but in my case when my wife leaves I get a LOT more woodworking time. I can work in the shop for hours with no interruptions..

I suppose if it was longer then a weekend I would get a bit lonely though.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View Verna's profile


202 posts in 2738 days

#14 posted 07-07-2011 09:12 PM

I do sympathize with you, Rich. I have an extremely stubborn father (now you know who I take after!!), who is 81 years young, but he’s starting to realize a few things about himself. Such as accepting a Garmin from my brother and I after Daddy got lost in an area he knows like the back of his hand. His wife won’t take his license, and I’m not looking forward to the day that we have to do that. Until then, he is getting adept at using the Garmin, his new playtoy. He is well aware of the “take me home” button, and knows what it is for.

But anyway, Rich, I live alone and I do most everything around the house, plus woodworking. I always have my cell phone on me, plus I have have numerous landline telephones around the house and in the workshop. If I’m going to do something I’m not sure of, I’ll call my brother and tell him to call me back in a couple of hours. If I don’t answer, he knows what to do since he’s a woodworker who lives alone, too.

So, be careful, think even harder about consequences of actions in the workshop and home, and take care of the dogs. They can listen very well to your conversations, and you’ll never be accused of talking to yourself!!!

-- Verna -- Indianapolis, IN

View HorizontalMike's profile


7749 posts in 2879 days

#15 posted 07-07-2011 10:23 PM

My mother was the same with regards to being stubborn, however, last year we three kids agreed “to place” our mother in assisted living. It was one of the hardest things in the world but it needed to be done. Our mother continued to fall, forget, etc… Well, it has now been a year, we sold her house and belongings (actually my older sister did this since the other two of us were out of state) and our mother is now grateful and understands that intervention was needed. She turned 88 last month and I even made it up from Texas to Indiana to visit with her on Mother’s Day. All is well with her and she has the best care that her condition requires. Not to be harsh, but none of us gets out alive. IMO, step in and do what is needed NOW, because it does NOT get any better towards the end.

Been there, done that and don’t wish it off on anyone else, but understand that this is in ALL of our futures…

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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