Caribbean Queen…


In 1984 I had the BEST. JOB. EVER.

It was where I learned the sales game, and the thrill of the deal.

I was hired by a then rock and roll FM radio station in Greensboro NC that soon after changed to top 40. I was a year out of college, had worked in non-profit (read: no money) and had considered being a flight attendant. The FA option was nixed after I found out I would be on call 24/7 and would have to curtail my incessant partying with my friends. Flying with a raging hangover is worse than childbirth.

On my first day I had top sales training. It consisted of, “Here’s the Yellow Pages, go sell some air time.”

So I went door to door to every strip mall in Winston-Salem and talked it up incessantly to store owners, businesses and bars. After a couple of months I landed the account of all accounts, a national lube store. Nirvana I tell you. I was finally able to move out of my ancient roach infested apartment in to a brand new complex with a pool.

We got free tickets to concerts all the time. The radio crowd is a hard-core partying group (at that time). I did voice overs in my spare time for commercials. When people asked where I worked and I told them 107.5 KZL FM, they thought I was a rock star. It was the most fun a 24-year-old could have in a job with their clothes on.

And every week, Monday through Friday, I got in my little blue Toyota Tercel and hit the streets looking for the next deal. And listening to my station. Every time I hear Caribbean Queen it brings me back to those single days and the first time I felt like I was really grown up and making my own money.

Like college, without the classes but the same hangover…



This post is part of the Generation Fabulous Blog Hop – Our favorite summer songs–check out some of the other posts below!

Marry Me, Fly For Free! Our Life On Stand By….

Why am I always waving in pics? Milano 2008
Why am I always waving in pics? Milano 2008

This is a newer version of a post I wrote last year and I have revamped it for the Generation Fabulous Blog Hop this month-a blog hop on transformative travel. And boy, has my travel changed in the last 25 years..

25 years ago I was set up on a blind date.  With an airline pilot and former Air Force captain.  In my single days, I had a cousin who was a Navy fighter pilot, who had come to visit me on leave and practically got us all arrested, drank every bit of my meager supply of booze, and scared off my girlfriends.  I was NOT looking forward to this.  But I was bored and didn’t have much else to do that Friday nite so I decided to meet whomever this was.

A year later we were married and living in suburban Atlanta.  What was I thinking?

FLIGHT BENEFITS!!!!!!!!!!!   Yippeeeee!!!!

Even if the uniform is all polyester and he wears a clip on tie.  Wow, so hot….

So, over the course of our married life, we have been able to travel to some pretty great places around the world.  Even if we do stay in the airline discount places and not the Ritz. For a mere 72 hours…

BC and 15 on the way to Germany
BC and 15 on the way to Germany

Besides-I consider a hotel with a door to the outside camping and I certainly won’t do that.

And the great part of this benefit is you usually get in the business class cabin space available.  That is, until fares dropped, 9/11 tanked the airline industry, and it was cheaper to fly than take Greyhound.

The other benefit-or it could be a detriment, is that your child gets to fly anywhere too, and is eligible for business after the age of 8.  So every time we have flown to Europe, 17 has flown in business class. Good or bad, it is a great perk.


So many people come up to me and say, “Wow, you must get to fly ANY where for free! Do you go with your husband on his trips?”

And to that I politely nod and say that yes, we go, yes it’s free, but not without some serious hiccups along the way.  And I have to make sure I have plenty of my BP meds on hand because the life of an airline family flying what they call Non Rev (free) is not what it’s cracked up to be.

For instance:

* We only get on after ALL the paying passengers, upgrades and re-routed folks get a seat.

* We pray to the weather gods because if there is bad stuff somewhere else it’s either gonna screw us or help us.

* I have become all to familiar with the exit row. And you can bet that this chick will be the first down that slide if I have to use it.

* Domestically, we do not get served food (if they have a meal on a 5 plus hour flight or international) until the paying folks get theirs. And we get what’s left over. So that butternut ravioli with the green sauce no one else wants? Yep, that’s my meal. Thanks.

* I am not an early morning person. But I had to learn to be because I have to count on all the rest of you lazy asses to miss that 6am flight so I can get on. So if you sleep in, don’t feel guilty, an airline employee just got your seat and is thanking you!

* I have learned to pack light. I NEVER check a bag-even to Europe. Because if I don’t get on, there go my clothes and granny pants to unknown destinations.

* Airline kids (at our specific carrier) can not sit in business until they are 8. So, if you are in business and a toddler is driving you crazy or a baby is creaming bloody murder, rest assured that it does not belong to an employee and that they actually PAID for that seat…

* International non-revving is a whole other goat rope. You have to have a Plan B.  Luckily my Plan B is the fact that I have a sister in Germany and can get there if I get bumped.  We left a companion last week in Brussels that did not have a Plan B. Not sure when she got home but we were the last flight out to the States that day. Hello expensive hotel room…

* The employees in other countries are by and large not directly employed by our airline and are either other airline’s employees or contract workers. They really could care less if we get on a flight or not. Especially those bitches at the DeGualle airport that work for Air France. They all are wearing the tightest pony tail imaginable and sniff at the fact that you are on standby. “Oh so sorry Madame, I cannot tell you what zee numbers are for zis flight even though I am looking right at zem on zis computer..”

CDG Escalator
CDG Escalator

* My parents were non-revving in Germany and the gate agent in Frankfurt got so frustrated with every body that he finally yelled, “I hate this fucking job. I quit!” Yes, that is what he actually said and did. Mom and Dad didn’t get on, and had to travel to Amsterdam with no luggage, spend the night, and try from there. That’s almost 48 hours in the SAME pair of underwear…See pack lightly above…

* It has taken me over 13 hours to get to Jacksonville, Florida (6 by car) 16 hours from Orlando to Atlanta via Washington DC (with a toddler-THAT was fun) and the same once from Orlando to Atlanta via New Orleans. I could go on but you get the drift.

* If I could have a dollar for every time the gate agent has placed me next to a fearful flyer I would be rich. But it’s pretty fun to experience when they are a drinker….

Because of this perk my daughter and I have had the opportunity to visit many cities we would never have dreamed of, visit friends around the US and meet great people.


17 in Biz-on the way to Brussels
17 in Biz-on the way to Brussels

We have learned one thing. If the trip is less than about an 8 hour drive in the car then we drive.

Yes, we are ingrained in to the Stand By (or stand and say bye bye) way of life. And now that the hubs has over 27 years of service (and a plastic set of gold wings to prove it), we do get on more often than not.  With the great unwashed.  In coach.


Check out other travel stories below!

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I AM My Father’s Daughter….

In honor of Father’s Day, I wanted to put together a great, smushy, tear induced post about my father.

That’s just not gonna happen.

My funny has been a little broken over the last month or so due to way too much going on in our lives here at the hormonal household and after a week hangin’ with the rents in Florida I was able to rediscover my funny and  I was reminded  where I got it…


All it took was a card from Dad with a chimpanzee on the front strumming a guitar and singing about throwing poop for my birthday and the funny was back. Thanks for the reminder, dude!

These are the Reason’s I am My Father’s Daughter:

When he was in college (at the University of Florida) his dad made him come home because he had painted his room in the frat house black to cover the fact that it was a total pig sty. He also had a roommate with a large snake.

I myself, was never made to come home from college for these reasons, but was threatened with a move home to attend the local ‘Harvard on the Highway’ community college because of three C’s and a D my first semester. He kept asking me what the address was to the local bar because that, apparently, was where I hung out quite a bit.

He loves to tell a great joke. Or send you one via email. Or even play a joke on you by telling you that you are from the Sears Catalogue and if you keep up this behavior, he will return you at the local store. And I believed this for YEARS….

I enjoy all types of humor. Now I put most of it on social media for all to enjoy. I just thank God he doesn’t have a Twitter account.

My Dad has always been a snappy dresser. I remember him leaving for work in Manhattan with his suit, tie and hat on, ready for a dapper day on 195 Broadway at the phone company. Though retired, he is still a khaki and cotton button down kind of guy. I don’t think I have EVER seen him in a ratty t-shirt and holy shorts. I myself am still a prep, but all bets are off on my wardrobe when I am slumming at thrift shops or driving carpool.

Dad loves to dance. I learned the funky chicken from him as a kid and we still love to pretend to waltz at family weddings. With a little funky chicken thrown in for good measure.  When I got married, he would not hire a band if they didn’t know how to play ‘Shout!’.  Our first dance was to the song ‘Elvira’…


I married a man who, even in his darkest hour completely over served at a wedding, would not dance if you told him he would win the lotto even for one tiny step. He will, though, join me for the hokey pokey…..

Dad is the biggest flirt I know. I don’t think anyone will come close to the way he makes my mother and us three girls feel on a weekly basis. If I ever need a pick up, I just call Dad. His old high school girlfriend still sends him holiday cards, which my mother promptly begins to huff and puff about. His hair dresser loves him, the dog groomer loves him, the maid loves him, he makes the ladies feel like a million bucks.

I’ve always been a flirt. It didn’t do much good in high school but I more than made up for it in college. Hey, when you are 19, skinny, flat, wearing Earth Shoes and teeth impaired in college you gotta bring out the big guns. This is an essential skill. Also for job interviews when you graduate with a 2.4 average. Works every time.

The one thing I have yet to learn from Dad is his famous ‘look’. The dreaded Hairy Eyeball. This is that look you give your kid when they are in deep $hit. Really deep doo doo. Sent me and my sisters running for the hills. Or behind the couches in our case.

I have yet to master this skill.

Lots of people have tense relationships with their fathers. I am so lucky that I do not. He has always been my fiercest cheerleader. When I was learning a back handspring in high school to make the cheer squad he was out in the yard spotting me on a daily basis, even when I was knocking off his glasses with my huge feet and crying over the fact that I hated going backwards. He taught me how to clean a fish, how to sail, how to make a mean scotch drink, to never give up, to be loyal, to treat all people the way you should be treated, to not sweat the small stuff. He instilled in me a love for reading, for travel, the arts and most of all, how to laugh.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

MIckler's landing @Cal Tuggle
Mickler’s Landing                 @Cal Tuggle


This is a BLOG HOP! Check out other posts from the Generation Fabulous Ladies below!



It’s Time we get a Fake ID … again….


I am halfway to 54. One year away from the brass ring –  The SENIOR DISCOUNT!! It’s been a journey and since any day on this side of the dirt is a good day for anyone over 50, I think there are some perks that we need to have brought back that we enjoyed in our late teen years. I just got my first one.


If you are somewhere in this awesome demographic (without a personal relationship with a fabulous plastic surgeon), you are probably getting that proverbial question (of course when you don’t have on makeup…)when you shop at the local grocery store, the mall and for me, slumming at GOODWILL:  Would you like the Senior discount????

At first, I was offended when I was asked this question. Being the insecure girl that I am, I started looking into cheap plastic surgery options and expensive face creams. Exfoliating 20 years off my face manually is going to take some time. LifeStyle Lift, anyone?

But then I thought, Hey wait a minute, I need a fake ID, and I bet I could make a quick buck selling these babies!

And Wednesday is a very special day in our world now.  Most stores offer special discounts on Wednesdays to seniors, and many stores are starting to CARD us to see if we qualify.

I mean REALLY????

Girlfriend, if you have the cojones to ask me for my ID for a Senior Discount then I should get the discount just be cause you ASKED!

Hey singlefriends in my demo–did you know that on Wednesdays, at many Costco’s (at least here, anyway) many single over 50’s hang out at lunch in the little food court and mingle. YES, Costco on Wednesdays. Time to pack up my coupons and  go catch me a little strange in the sample aisle….

There are benefits to making it over the 50 hump.  Many of which are widely known and discussed around the interwebs all day long.

But I think, until we are 60 plus, we should be just like our teen counterparts and carry a Fake ID – that way we get the 25% discount on our booze at Costco, the early bird special at Applebees, buy one get one Fiber Plus at the grocery,  and that bag of 16 troll dolls I just purchased at Goodwill…

giggle @F51
giggle @F51

We deserve it.

Happy House, Happy Life

Me and Mom
Me and Mom

I grew up and now live in what my sisters and cousins call a “Happy House”. And by Happy House I don’t mean everything was/is always perfect and wonderful. I live in a riot of color. And for that, I thank my mother.

My mom is a firm believer in the old ‘surround yourself with beautiful things’ way of life and she instilled that love of ‘happy’ decorating on me and my sisters as well. It’s hard to be down in bright open colorful homes and she knows that.

Let me get this out of the way first-we did not grow up wealthy in the financial sense of things. But Mom sure can make her home feel like it is richly loved and I try to bring that happy feel in my home too.

I remember our house in New Jersey was a tired traditional when mom and dad bought it in 1973. She was raised in North Florida by a single mom who had much flair and an intense dislike of the dull and boring (in people, mostly), and the dominating color mom bought to every home she lived in was the color yellow.

Bright, shiny, Florida yellow.

So in that cramped avocado and beige kitchen in New Jersey, she proceeded to wallpaper the walls in a 70s green, yellow, orange, brown plaid, and then wallpaper the ceiling in the same colors of  mod flowers. It gave new meaning to the phrase ‘dazed and confused’ but it was the trend at the time and it was the hit of the ‘hood.

So design forward…

I remember a worn copy of Billy Baldwin’s Decorating book on our living room coffee table and resting on the gold and yellow couches nestled by the bay window watching the snow fall on cold wintry days.  Dog eared copies of House Beautiful, Southern Living and Better Homes and Gardens magazines are still a staple in her home (mine too)

She loved in toile fabrics at that time purchasing red and white toile side chairs to complete the look.  At the time I just rolled my eyes, but  I would kill for what is now vintage toile and put those chairs in my house.

After a move back South, her home was featured in Southern Accents magazine in 1984 – a riot of Waverly florals and plaids in yellow, red, pink, green and blue.  She even had a pink dining room. Wallpaper everywhere. Blue and white thrift store china on the walls. And hydrangeas, and zinnias in pots inside and out.

Color is such an important part of her life. Back in Florida, she still has a bright blue kitchen, yellow and blue sofas in the family room, and all in a tidy bright yellow stucco home near the intercoastal.

This love of color was passed to me and my sisters. My house is not Pottery Barn boring. I have a lime green couch in my great room, a gold settee (rescued from a garage sale) in my living room, red plaid chairs in my kitchen. I had an eggplant (ok, purple) color in the bathroom, but BC deemed it too ‘Vegas” and paid for a redo.And a Chinese inspired dining room.  The original color I painted this home was called star magnolia (light yellow). Then I got caught up in the neutral phase and went khaki. Snore. I am currently eying yellow again. Because it’s back IN –  happy happy joy joy.

A little faded, but the green machine...
A little faded, but the green machine…

Mom has always lived in an alternate ‘positive’ reality. And in today’s world, that’s a good thing. Our love of ‘Pollyanna’ houses is a kinship we share.

Oh, and always have a lit candle on the table when you dine. And a tube of lipstick in your purse. And your makeup on when you go to the grocery store. And  never talk about bodily functions at her dinner table, unless you’re at Applebees…

Mom insists.

Happy Mother’s Day! This post is part of this month’s Generation Fabulous Blog Hop on things our mothers taught us–enjoy the rest below!

Did YOU Carry a John?

I have never seen something as simple as a handbag that can make a woman of a certain age stop, do a double take, and say, “Is THAT what I think it is??”

And I reply, “No, it’s LIKE what you think it is, a close copy, but unfortunately, not the real thing…”

And then I get the same comments over and over with such enthusiasm:

“I BEGGED my parents for one in high school!”

“All the girls had them, I had to baby sit for a year to afford one…”

“These bring back such memories!”

“And I carried it with my Aigner shoes, and had on my Villager dress, I was quite the 1970’s fashion statement…”

What am I talking about? A John Romain handbag of course.  In my other life, I am an organized hoarder – read antique and collectibles dealer – and have a booth at a large once a month market here in North Georgia, Lakewood 400.  I have been collecting vintage over the years, in particular English china, cream ware, ironstone, majolica,  mid-century tablecloths and vintage pins and necklaces.  If I could justify a way to become rich doing this I would.

In the last two years or so, I have also been collecting and selling vintage handbags. I love the old alligator bags, box-shaped handbags, and evening bags. I have always been obsessed with handbags, the epitome owning an Hermes Kelly bag  one day, or maybe just a nice Louis Vuitton.  I have found one or two John Romain bags and out of ALL of the comments I get on my handbags, these evoke the most emotion.

They were the It bags of the late 60’s and 70s. Well made of all-leather, leather and tweed or woven straw, they were the status symbols of the time. It has a shield symbol some of the time and you could order them with your initials in brass (you can still find them in thrift shops sometimes, but mostly on eBay and Etsy). This was one of the first times there was a desired brand name for teens and young women in the 70’s that they could kind of afford. Mostly popular with the preppy crowd, they were lusted over just like the teens lust for a Juicy Couture or Tory Burch bag today.

I understand the emotion. No matter what the era, there is always a symbol, brand, item that us girls always want to wear, carry or own. Go back through history and see what the trends were. Fans and corsets in the Victorian era, flapper dresses in the 20’s, poodle skirts in the 50’s, hippie couture in the 60’s and more.  So the fact that our teens want Juicy or Tory shouldn’t be a huge surprise.

Except the for the price. . .

Here’s the thing – handbags (and shoes) do not judge. You carry them on good days and bad days. Fat days and skinny days. They are that best friend that makes you happy all of the time. When you carry a loved handbag, especially with a terrific label, you feel great about yourself.

At least I do.

I never could afford a John. I did carry an Aigner after my first job in high school, then a Papagallo wooden bag with the interchangeable covers in college. With my Levi’s cords and my Earth Shoes. I was quite the fashionista of the late 70’s….

Let me know if you carried a John, or an Etienne, or, maybe today a Louis!





Hot Flash Friday-The Miracle Edition

Spring break is here. Yeeeeehaaaw.

And you know what THAT means? BATHING SUIT SEASON!

I have been waiting since last year for this to arrive. Yes, I am so excited I can hardly stand it. Cough.

I can NOT wait to parade my middle-aged muffin over to the local mall and try on one item of death-defying lycra apparatus after another.

So, before I do that I will be getting a spray tan.

Because tan fat is waaaay better looking than pasty white fat.

As I pass by those oh so teeny push up bikinis I remember the days of laying in the sun in my 20’s, dousing myself with baby oil mixed with iodine and using that silver car reflector thing as a face tanner. Little did I know that was a one way ticket to skin cancer in my 40s.

Oh, and wrinkles.

So me and my tan body will go into the large department store and start searching, frantically, for the holy grail of bathing suits for women of a certain age.

The Cougar Rita Tankini Top at Miraclesuit -$120.00

The Miracle Suit!

Whomever invented this needs a Nobel Peace Prize. The engineering one.

Because however you can get that much spandex to stretch, make you look like you lost 10 lbs and get it on your body is a freekin miracle worker.

Trying them on is one thing. Make sure you have on nylon bikini underwear because cotton grannies do not do spandex. At all.

Make sure you buy oh, maybe two sizes bigger than you really think you are – and you know that is hard, don’t lie to yourself – and pull that baby on.

Buying them is another. Be sure you call your local mortgage banker because you are going to have to take out a second on your home if you want more than one. And you will. These babies are great and they do hold it all in.

Just make sure you don’t eat or drink anything while wearing them.

Oh, and the tankini’s are nice too.

Especially if you tend to drink a six-pack or two in one sitting with the girls at the beach. If you know what I mean…

Happy Spring Break everyone!

I’m Not Aging, I’m Marinating

Did you know that if you lie down flat on the bed or floor, that is what your face could look like after a  facelift?
Wow-neither did I, until I tried it.CartoonOld05

And let this forever be known-I am going to take aging laying down on a nice chaise on my screened in porch with a glass of sweet tea and Wild Turkey Bourbon-every single day of it!

As part of a blog hop on Generation Fabulous our writing assignment was Aging Gracefully.

I’m not sure I know what that means because I AM NOT AGING.

I’m marinating.

In my wee little ADD addled brain I am still a 22-year-old hot thang with perky boobs and a flat stomach.  Which is why I avoid mirrors.  That is how I choose to live.

Don’t judge.

Lots of people live in another reality. My reality is designed to protect me from all the horrors of life, like running on treadmills and eating celery at parties. You know that treadmills can kill. So can improperly washed celery.

Now, you must think I am bat shit crazy.

I am.

And I’ll tell you why.

I hate dieting. I hate exercise. I really hate sweating. Southern women don’t sweat. We get the vapors.

The only running I do is to the bathroom. I hate putting on makeup. I hate coloring my hair. I hate SITTING to have the highlights applied. I hate dressing rooms. I hate retail salespeople that lie to me. Which is often. I sell real estate, if I lied that much I would have been in the lockup for oh, about 10 years now.

I hate skimpy underwear. I hate thong underwear. The only time I wear decent underwear is when I leave the house. Because, you know what Mom says: “What if you get in an accident?????

And don’t even get me started about bras or trying on Miracle Suits. . .

18 Hours of pleasure….

My former passion was riding horses. That was, until I came off my horse at one horse show quite ungracefully and left the HUGEST ass print EVER at the far end of the ring.

I do play tennis. In fact yesterday, in wind, flurries and 30 degree weather my girlfriend and I put a serious ass whooping on two younger skinny chicks. Both of which had, I found out later, those 13.1 stickers on the back of their cars. Half marathon 7-5, 6-3 THIS,  BITCHES!

And nary a sweat bead anywhere. Dressed like the Michelin Man.

I am counting on good genetics. My grandmother lived to the ripe age of 93. She never exercised. She worked at various jobs until she was in her early 90’s. She drank vodka martini’s until about a month before she died.  She ate what ever she wanted as long as it was not from a can, or from a box in the freezer. She made sure she went on a trip to Manhattan every year with her daughters and friends. She had a Micheal Jackson poster in her extra bedroom. She was obsessed with The Young and the Restless. She hated hanging around ‘old’ people. She lived in her own home until she was 90.

Sign me up.

So I am marinating in 1 cup crazy, one half cup delusion, and a couple of tablespoons of Xanax for now.

Oh, don’t get your proverbial thongs in a wad. That will be me lurking in the back row at the local Weight Watchers meeting next week. And using my Groupon for Botox…

Enjoy our Blog Hop Below!




Hot Flash Fridays – It’s Meno-STOP, seriously. . .

Why do they call it MenoPAUSE??????

Ain’t nothing taking a break when this happens. It’s not like it comes back in 3 years after a mental health trip to India and begins again….

From my experience, this is what is happening to me:

  • My periods decided to Stop
  • My brain decided to Stop making rational decisions
  • My joints began to Stop working
  • The sweating will not Stop
  • The Kegels have Stopped working as efficiently
  • The waistline will not Stop growing
  • Mood swings will not Stop
  • Libido has Stopped (I think it’s in India too, or maybe South Beach)
  • Sleeping through the night has Stopped
  • My vagina has gone on strike – okay, Stopped
  • When I watch a great movie, the tears will not Stop
  • I can’t Stop using lotions – when they see me coming at Target the stock price soars
  • Too much caffeine and the heart palpitations will not Stop
  • My teenager will not Stop driving me crazy – Never before have I felt a Lizzie Borden moment coming on more than when she does something to piss me off – even little things like NOT FLUSHING THE TOILET will send me over the edge
  • The Hubs (BC) will not Stop trying to make me drink those green smoothies..I think he secretly is  putting anti-freeze in them to try to kill me.
  • I can’t Stop refilling the Xanax…

Like, when do they STOP?

They certainly aren’t on PAUSE…..


Have a great weekend!

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When It’s Time For THE TALK… With Your Aging Parents


Daad! (I turn my mouth towards his ear as he is driving)


Your blinker’s still on. No, the blinker for turning in your car. You know, the one you put on 10 minutes ago to merge in to the left lane? Yeah, that one…

My middle sister called me today in a bit of a panic because we are now in our 50’s and both of us are starting to experience losing elderly family members. One of her in law’s just recently experienced the sudden death of a family member. And she lives the closest to our mom and dad. I reminded her that we did have The Talk last year, and she took a deep breath.

For the most part, many of us in the Boomer Generation have one or both parents that are still alive. And kicking, like mine. Dad is 80 and Mom is 76 and they still live in their own home, drive, go out to dinner, go to parties, and have a cocktail on the beach once a week at the local club. They are healthy and happy, we are very lucky.

So last year, Sister and I decided it was time to have The Talk with Mom and Dad.

No, not THAT one (unless they were living in The Villages, then I probably would have a word with them). It was time to find out all the dirty details for their future. You know which one…

The Dreaded OHMYGOD Financial Discussion With Your Parents

We talked and prepared a list so we made sure we would cover the most important things that could come up. We had heard so many horror stories from friends who lost parents and did not know what they had financially. There were fights, misunderstandings and miscommunication during a trying time in their lives.

So, one afternoon we sat down with Dad and Mom and asked the following questions:

  • How much income comes in monthly and from where?
  • What are your monthly expenses?
  • Does your retirement cease at a certain period of time and if not, what happens when the retiree passes-does the retirement continue for the spouse? (Sometimes this ends, or they only send half the amount, surprise surprise)
  • Does the health insurance you retained as a part of those retirement benefits have a finite date or do they continue until the retiree passes? (once again check what happens to the health benefits for the remaining spouse)
  • If you were in the military, have you looked in to your veterans benefits? (If you have these USE them,they are good)
  • How much do you have in savings?
  • How many bank accounts do you have, including checking, savings and money market accounts?
  • What are your insurance policies? Who are they with, what is covered?
  • If you OWN your home, where is the warranty deed and can I have a copy?
  • How is the home deeded? If it is just in one spouses name and that spouse passes make sure there are provisions that the remaining spouse gets the home in some kind of deed claim or the original will. Any questions about the home’s ownership should be directed to an attorney.
  • If you still have a mortgage, who is the mortgagor and can we have a copy of that payment book and warranty deed?
  • If there is mortgage insurance on the home, what does that cover-get a copy of that policy
  • Have you made a living will?
  • Do you have a regular will?
  • Have you decided on what type of funeral you want and where?
  • What are your prescription medicines and their costs per month?
  • Who are your doctors and their phone numbers?
  • Is there ANY debt we need to know about?
  • Can we have access and see all of this information? (See blue notebook below)
  • Can we put one of us on all of your bank accounts?
  • Do you have a list of all of your passwords, logins (my parents are very computer literate) and where are they?
  • Is there anything else important we need to know?
  • What kind of longer-term living solution do you think you want and is there any provision for that?

Talk to your parents about gaining access to their email accounts as well-they can be the targets of scams and identity theft. If they have a home computer  that they use, make sure the security software is up to date and repeatedly talk to them about not clicking on those Pop Ups – this may be your hardest part of the conversation!

My husband was in the military and they tell you to put all of this information and more in a blue spiral notebook and let those closest to you know where that is so it can be accessed in time of need. This is a great practice and we use it in our house and our parents did one too.

We are by no means experts on this situation and there are many articles here on the web that can help you figure out how to approach this. This was an easy talk for us to have and we did not wait until our parents were more incapacitated, mentally or otherwise, to have it.

When the day came that we went to mom and dad’s house, it was a little weird. It’s a grown up conversation and even though I am 52, I still feel like their 15 year old band nerd daughter. But they welcomed the discussion and were active participants in this meeting. Sister and I were a little nervous, since talking about finances, death, insurance and all that other stuff is not always a fun topic. But, after we got done, we had clarity of their situation and how we can help them.

Then we all went out and had a cocktail beach side.

Because, believe me, and lucky for us, they will be around a long, long time…