I had the medical PoA!!!
I mean, it wasn’t notarized or anything, but that was going to be done tomorrow, so no worries. And (bonus!) Dad was now hella suspicious of Mark and wanting to look into his shenanigans with the money. Hell, even if he turned out to be squeaky clean (which… come on. The man spent his days in the garage my daddy built, drinking beer and smoking pot; what were the odds he was paying for it himself every time?) the shadow of doubt had been cast.
I left the hospital in high spirits, a triumphant bounce in my step and the song of victory in my heart. I texted Liz to report my easy win; I called Husband to complain that Dad was trying to pawn financial stuff off on me; I drove to Bath and Body Works, determined to bring my father something nicer to bathe with than hospital soap (yuck).
ME: Mark can keep it, that’s all I’m saying.
HIM: What about Kenny?
ME: Doesn’t want it.
HIM: That’s the first smart thing he’s ever said.
ME: I know, right?
HIM: Well, you should consider taking it anyway.
ME: Baby, you know me and numbers!
HIM: Sure, but to be able to audit…
ME: (checks phone, sees similar advice from Liz) Liz is saying the same thing. (texts Liz reminder that I’m crap with numbers)
HIM: I’d take it, for audit only.
ME: You would, or you think I should?
HIM: I would.
ME: You would do that for me?
HIM: Yeah. I mean, it’s your dad.
ME: Awww… (checks new text, sees similar offer from Liz) Liz just offered the same. Haha!
HIM: Even better; neutral party.
HIM: What objection could he have—
ME: The fact that she’s neutral? That she’s not family? He’s already on about how he should be in charge of everything because he’s next of kin.
HIM: But… he’s not. You are.
ME: Try telling him that.
HIM: (sighs) No thank you?
ME: (laughs) Right?
Compounding all my successes, I found a shampoo+body wash that smelled like his cologne.
Then I made some horrible food choices and drove them home.
ME: (entering friends’ home) DO NOT JUDGE THE CONTENTS OF THIS BAG!
JEN: Why would we…?
ADAM: Whatcha got there? Wendy’s?
ME: (eyeballs health nuts) I saw my father’s penis today and I will describe it to you if you judge my dinner!
JEN: Oh my god… (giggles into pillow)
ADAM: What the…
ME: (points at Jen) And you know who I blame?
ADAM: (looks around) I’m not even in this.
JEN: (innocently) Me?! What did I—
ME: WE WERE TALKING ABOUT IT LAST NIGHT!
JEN: Oh my god we were!
ADAM: WHY WOULD YOU TALK ABOUT THAT?!
JEN: I WAS TELLING HER ABOUT THIS AMAZING DAUGHTER WHO—
ADAM: No. Nope. (to me) Double bacon cheeseburger? That’s what I’d get. If I had… (shudders)
ME: (considers bag) (quietly) Guacamole chicken thing. Without ranch or cheese, because those things don’t go with guac.
JEN: (eager for a subject change) No, they do not.
I breezed into Dad’s hospital room ready for an excellent day—I even stopped off at the nurses’ station and asked them to have a notary pop by to finish off our paperwork. No rush, I said, just… whenever they get a moment. Everyone had, by then, heard that he’d chosen me after all and I got extra smiles all around. Eddie, our favorite CNA, was just coming down the hall as I got dressed and I showed him the soap; he declared my timing perfect, since he’d been planning to get Dad a full shower today anyway.
Yup, everything was coming up Chase.
ME: Good morning, Daddy!
DAD: (peers at me) I’m gonna need you to clear out ‘round eleven o’clock.
ME: (falters) O-kay…
DAD: (scowls) Mark is coming.
DAD: With the lawyer.
ME: Oh… Hmm… Well, not gonna lie—I would’ve liked to meet her. Or at least see her. (schemes) If I pick just the right spot in the family room, I can probably spot her coming off the elevator without being visible to them…?
DAD: (smiles) Thank you.
ME: (shrugs) No big.
DAD: He’s being ridiculous.
ME: Sure, but… he’s not punishing me by avoiding me. I’m a-ok with not hanging out with people who don’t like me. Their loss.
DAD: Well. That’s more mature than his attitude.
ME: (shrugs) (sits down) I got you this (shows soap) last night. Figured it’s better than that nasty ol’ hospital soap. Eddie says he’ll come in later and give you a proper shower. I think there was even some mention of a shave… so you’ll look sharp for the lawyer. (winks)
ME: (concerned) You okay, Daddy?
HIM: Mark told the lawyer he came by yesterday to show me the financials.
ME: (sets soap aside) Oh, did he come by after I left?
HIM: (stares hard at me) No. He did not.
HIM: Yeah. Oh.
ME: Umm… okay. Is it possible—
HIM: (raises eyebrows)
ME: (recalls I was right here all fucking day) No. Right. (sighs) Wow.
ME: Well, so you’ll audit. Like you were planning to do.
ME: And I’m sure everything will be fine.
ME: I don’t know why he said that to the lawyer—that was weird, I’ll admit—but I’m sure everything’s fine. You’ll look it over—you’re checking that bills are paid (ticks off on fingers) and that there are no cash withdrawals or new lines of credit opened, and when everything checks out you ask him why he said that. And why he’s not checking in with you more.
HIM: He’s supposed—
ME: Yes, he is. So you ask him. And he’ll probably say he was just quietly taking care of things and figured as long as it was all going smoothly there was nothing to report. No harm, no foul. But it’s never a bad idea to check up, right?
ME: Would you like me to have a social worker or someone in here for you?
ME: To make sure you’ve got backup? Someone who’s just on your side?
HIM: That lawyer works for me!
ME: Sure, sure… but, you know… if you’re worried about anything, it should be the lawyer.
HIM: (waves me off) She could be disbarred.
ME: (carefully) Agreed. But… and follow my logic here…
ME: Lawyers would never get disbarred unless they sometimes did things that could get them disbarred.
HIM: (chuckles) True.
HIM: But she’s young. And young lawyers have spent too much time, effort, and money getting to where they are—and the road ahead is too long—for them to blow it all on something stupid. It’s older lawyers who cut corners.
ME: (unconvinced) If you’re sure. But know I’m right out there, and I’ll have my phone on me. If you don’t like what’s happening, you call me and I’ll (swooping gesture)
HIM: (chuckles, pats my hand) I know you would.
I went and sat in the family area, setting up early enough to scope out which were the busiest elevators here on the top floor and positioning myself strategically to hide from the view of anyone stepping off them while still giving myself a clear view of everyone turning left to my father’s wing.
So naturally, Kenny and Mark stepped off the one elevator that faced directly opposite my chair, giving them a clear view of me and only me.
P E R F E C T.
Kenny waved (awkwardly) as Mark hurried him along. I did wonder at the lack of lawyer as I scurried into the bathroom, (retroactive hiding—I just invented it, but I really think it’s going to catch on) but the boys were carrying loads of files and papers and I told myself I had nothing to worry about.
Husband said it too.
HIM: You’ve got the PoA.
ME: It’s not notarized yet…
HIM: Yeah, but you’re doing that today. And he’s questioning Mark. He’s been caught in two lies now.
ME: Well, Dad didn’t really seem to care all that much about my evidence, so…
HIM: Whatever. You proved one, he witnessed another. That should be plenty.
ME: You’d think…
HIM: It’s fine. I’m sure.
I managed a slightly better hiding spot when they came back (of course, Kenny was watching for me so…) and was absolutely certain there’d been no lawyer with or before them. I waited a few more minutes to be sure she wasn’t trailing behind, then returned to my father.
Who was watching a Star Wars like nothing had happened.
And you know… I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out a tactful way to ask, “so did you catch that lying cockwomble stealing, or merely put him on notice that he’s being watched?” I considered every innocuous variant, but they all felt contrived:
“Did you have a nice chat, or did the lies get too thick for even him to wade through?”
“So… why was Kenny here? Has he been borrowing the card?”
“I didn’t see the lawyer; is she tiny? Like really small? Like… Mark had her in his pocket?”
Okay, that last one had something—I actually giggled a little when I thought of it, which caused Dad to look at me like I was nuts and I had to fake a choking attack—but I still couldn’t seem to get it out.
So we sat.
And watched the second worst Star Wars movie ever made.
Eventually I glanced at the clock and realized it was ridiculously late.
ME: Huh… Looks like they’re not going to get a notary in here by the end of the day after all.
DAD: (tears his eyes away from the screen) I sent her away.
ME: You… uhh… what?
DAD: (sighs) I know what I told you yesterday, but—
ME: What we discussed yesterday. What you told the social workers yesterday.
DAD: (earnestly) I’m not gonna take it away from Mark.
ME: (bites tongue very hard)
DAD: I jumped the gun yesterday.
DAD: I looked at the bank records. Everything’s in order.
ME: Okay, cool. That’s exactly what I said. I still don’t see what the fuck it has to do with your medical.
ME: I still feel—have always felt—that it’s a conflict of interest for one person to hold both medical and financial powers of attorney.
ME: I don’t care about the money. Mark can do whatever. You watch over it, or don’t, whatever. I’m not interested in the money. Make millions or spend it all—it’s nothing to me. But your health? Your care? These things are very important to me.
DAD: (sighs) I know.
ME: … But…?
DAD: But… I’m not going to take it away from him.
ME: (thinks very hard)
DAD: Please understand
ME: (tries to stay classy, fails) ‘Kay.
I sat with him a while longer, but he was irritable and I couldn’t seem to do anything right—if I asked if his pillow was in the right spot he’d snap that he didn’t know and I should leave him alone. If I moved away he would glare at me for abandoning him.
But he didn’t hold out his hand to me again that day, and eventually I gave up and left, spirits crushed.
ME: You home?
JEN: Just got out of the shower… Oh my gawd, I had the worst day!
ME: Bet I’ve got it beat!
JEN: (coming down hall) Oh no… penis again?
ME: Meh, you get over it.
ME: By the way, I lied to the restaurant.
JEN: What? Why?
ME: Well, after I over-ordered I realized it was a ridiculous amount of food for two women—
CAT: (jumps on counter)
ME: …And a cat.
ME: So I asked, do you think that’s enough for the five of us?
JEN: (eyeballs wine bottle) I don’t even know if we have a bottle opener.
ME: Beesh, you think I can’t improvise? (opens wine)
JEN: Oof. Okay, what happened? I thought you got the PoA?
ME: Ah, but my father is playing medieval king, you see. (drains glass)
ME: (cheerily) What he giveth, he can taketh away; and having taken away, he can give right back again!
JEN: Oh no…
ME: Yuuuup. He’s decided (pops nigiri) fuck that’s good—he’s decided that since Mark wasn’t cooking the books—
JEN: Wait, what’s that got to do with anything?
JEN: (rolls eyes) Okay, which one’s are cooked and which are raw?
ME: (points) Cooked, (points) raw.
JEN: Okay. (grabs crunchy roll) Go.
ME: He’s decided he won’t “take it away from Mark.”
JEN: The financial? You didn’t want it, right?
ME: (shakes head) Not that. Well, that.
JEN: I’m confused.
ME: The medical PoA. He says he won’t take it away from Mark.
JEN: But… Sorry, did he sign one?
ME: Nope! (second glass down the hatch)
ME: Mark says he inherited it. When Marsha died.
ME: (waggles eyebrows)
JEN: … That’s… not… how that… works.
ME: I know.
Chase McCann, miracle worker…
 Yes, fine, it’s totally legal in Colorado. I swear, I have no problem with that. What I have a giant fucking problem with is someone who’s meant to be in a home for the sole purpose of helping the family spending all of their time watching their homemade mouse trap in the garage, getting high as fuck. (Yes, seriously on the mouse trap; it’s a box tied to a string, like in the cartoons, and it’s baited with cat food and he’s ridiculously proud of it. YOU CAN’T MAKE THIS SHIT UP, PEOPLE!)
 Jen is a nurse. She had a cancer patient who had really gross stuff going on in his crotch region; he also had an amazing daughter who would smear medicinal creams all over his junk. We decided we do not love our fathers enough to do this.
 Yeah, fine, I’m an idiot. Shut up; like you’ve never continued to expect the best from someone who showed themselves to be an actual demon’s curse wearing a human suit?
 You know the one.
 Have you figured it out yet?