Court is now in session.

Well, that was the vibe that shrouded today’s family meeting, otherwise dubbed "The Intervention" by my siblings and me. We have had our fill of Craigslist Cassie mincing around our parents' home doing the bare minimum and taking advantage of their kindness. Yes, we finally sat Robert and Ruby Whitmore down to put an end to this charade. We made some headway, thankfully. Not exactly the outcome I hoped for but, with my parents, you learn to sort of take what you can get.

The sit-down began as any other. Everyone hoarding a boatload of their own thoughts and ideas, secretly rejecting anyone else’s viewpoint before one word was even uttered - myself included I’ll admit. I was overly prepared. I had my notes - dates, examples and even my mother’s checkbook register. Which, by the way, was filled with more Cassie transactions than grocery, gas, and utility payments combined.

So, we all situated ourselves around the large antique table in my parents' formal dining room. I had already instructed my siblings on where to plant themselves for optimal cooperation from my parents. I sat to the left of my father and mother, respectively. The key to getting through to my mother is always through my father. I needed him to see evidence firsthand then present it to her rather than me doing the dirty work. My brother, Ben, who actually flew into town specifically for this meeting, and my sister Kitty, each flanked Cassie’s sides. The trio was seated directly across from us. It was perfect. Cassie needed to feel the heat. I needed her to know she was outnumbered and exposed. Until now, she had complete control of my parents. My siblings and I stayed out of their affairs despite our outrage at what was going on. Never do I want them to feel as though we are trying to strip them of their independence or take over their lives. There are definitely some spots that scream for our interference or should I say intervention but more than anything in this world, I want them to be happy.

Fast forward. I take the stance that as their accountant, there are some concerns with the rate at which money is being spent. This was an easy approach because I have always assisted my parents in managing their bank accounts, IRAs, and taxes. I first showcased the astronomical amount paid out to Cassie in the last month, noting that the bulk of the expenses are separate from the housekeeping payments paid to her bi-weekly. Now, if there is one thing we all know about my parents' generation - the Silent Generation: those that suffered the Great Depression, afflicted with poverty and instability - is that a penny saved is a penny earned. They grip their dollars with mighty fists no matter the amount they have nestled away. Which in their case is pretty substantial. However, they (especially my father) don't like to see those funds dip past a certain number.

Between the monthly expenses almost tripling since Cassie joined the family and my mother’s now necessary visits to the chiropractor for back pain, my father saw the light. It probably helped that I casually questioned my mother about why her back is getting so bad so rapidly. Her admission to helping Cassie with the housework was just icing on the cake. I already was privy to this fact but with my father, Ben and Kitty all perplexed as to why she’d be helping the “housekeeper,” my point was finally heard.

As a unit, we instructed Cassie that mom was not to do ANY housework, her children were not permitted in the home because it presented a fall risk and if childcare, transportation, or her own exhaustion were barriers going forward, Kitty would gladly take over a day or two.

My father was game! Score! This was but round one. Let’s see if we actually see any improvements.

Until Next Time,

Sleepless in Sun City

Cactus Sunset - Foundation For Senior Living