Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sandwich Anyone?

The Sandwich Generation is a relatively recent catchphrase to describe people who are pressed between caring for aging parents and raising children.  I didn't think it would every apply to us - my parents are mid-seventies but in very good health, and Dave's parents just turned seventy.  Our youngest child is now twenty.  In two more years, God willing, both kids will graduate from college (on the same day from colleges 125 miles apart - but we'll figure that out later).  I believed that by the time we needed to care for parents, our children would be self-sufficient.  But this week I'm feeling a bit "pinched".

I've written before about Dave's mother's battle with Alzheimer's for the last ten-plus years. For most of that time we lived seven hours away so we weren't involved in the daily care.  Now she has moved to a nursing home and again, her daily care is provided by others. Without her at home, there is no need for Dave's dad to maintain a 3 bed, 3 bath home, so he is moving into an apartment.  Obviously, this requires major downsizing, cleaning, sorting, packing, hauling...  We need to be down there helping, but life gets in the way.  Jobs and other obligations fill days.  We live closer now, but it's still a four hour trip, which means it's difficult to do for one day, but we've done it several times.  Staying over means two days off work, boarding the dogs, yada, yada, yada...

On the children side of this sandwich, at 20 and 21, most of the time they are independent.  We go visit, we talk by phone and computer, we send money and advice, but on a day-to-day basis they handle their own lives. I'm certainly not complaining - they're wonderful!  It's the university and the IRS who are teaming up to flatten me a bit this week.

We have been "selected" (I love how they try to make this sound like a prize) to have to prove that our kids are really our kids and that the income we reported to the IRS is actually our income.  It's just paperwork and would be simple, if stupid, to complete - BUT the IRS has decided we don't really live where we live.  They also don't think we live at our old address.  Don't know where they think we went, but it's going to require a phone call to untangle and the wait times to speak to a person are phenomenal.  So - - - I can't make the phone call until I have a day off with plenty of time to sit on hold.  I don't have a day off till late next week because I rearranged my work schedule to make time for trips to take Amanda a new bed, another trip to accompany her to a doctor appointment, and a trip to help the father-in-law move.  (How do people with inflexible, full-time jobs get anything done?)

And in the middle, I'm trying to be a wife, keep house, garden ... have a life.  

Lest you think I'm whining - well, I AM whining, but lest you think I'm doing it disproportionately - I give all kinds of kudos, pats on the back, high fives and bows in awe to my sister-in-law, Steph, who has done the hands on stuff with her parents for the last five years, while raising two kids - one who is only 7 now.  She has a very special crown waiting in heaven for the way she has honored her parents. (I'll be wearing a plastic Barbie tiara from Wal-mart.)

We'll get through the next couple weeks, the father-in-law will get settled in his new spot and the house sale will close, school will start and somehow it'll all get paid for, and life will return to normal just in time for the next "crisis".

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 
- 2 Corinthians 4:8-9


  1. This is a very good example of why the United States needs to have more vacation days! In most other countries, you'd at least have the stress of trying to figure out where you're going to find all of that time taken off your shoulders. Hope everything gets settled soon for you. The Bible verse is perfect!

  2. Oh gosh I feel for you Tami. Lots on your plate, but there will be an end in sight with your FIL's move and house closure (unlike us still living in clutter 18 months later........definitely whining here :) I admire those who can take care of their parents in their elderly years; it is an act of love I do believe. I was fortunate that my mom lived with my sister and up until my mom's last six weeks of life, she was still pretty functional at 85 years old, helping around the house, taking care of her needs. All I know is it is making me really plan how I want my final years (if I live that long) and how to get rid of my stuff, take care of health needs, etc.

    I hope you get it worked out with the IRS. They are a strange bunch to sometimes deal with. I used to pay quarterly taxes when I was self employed since I was responsible for all the taxes and didn't want to have to pay a lot at the end of the year. One year I got a refund check from them for the exact amount I had paid in quarterlies for the year. It was real tempting not to cash the check (I knew they would catch it eventually) but the red tape to try to send back a check they had cut by their mistake was such a hassle and at the end they were trying to place the blame on me for what they had done wrong.

    Hang int here!


  3. I feel for you Tami! My mom in particular takes up so much of my time. Off to pick up my handicap brother from the hospital now. I guess it's just the rhythm of life.

  4. Hmmm - how did the IRS find you if you're living in the wrong place?

  5. What is it with the prove-you-are-you crap going on? Just teeth-gnashing that obviously people who have defrauded the good people and the companies that are commissioned to 'fix' this are the only ones making out like bandits, I'm sure. (Sorry, felt like joining in on the whining, I guess.)

    BEST to you as it all gets 'done'.