Hiring Help for the Unhelpable

It all started several months ago. My father-in-law lives alone in Florida. He needed someone to help him do his daily tasks. If you're a fan of the Big Bang Theory and you can picture when they were looking for someone to help take care of Howard's mother, it was like that: Every day, a different woman of various ages, sizes and ethnicities, representing twelve countries on three continents came flying through the front door looking disheveled. If you didn't know better, you'd think my father-in-law had turned his bonus room into a den of iniquity and was supplementing his social security by running either an escort service or a specialty crack house that catered only to females. ...Not that they'd allow that in his over 55 community. You can't even have a pet. (Where my father lived, you could move in with a dog but once the dog died you couldn't get a new one. So everyone just kept buying the same breed over and over in an effort to convince management they had the same dog for thirty years.) Some of my father-in-law's prospective -I don't know what you want to call them- assistants, helpers, foster parents...just couldn't take his constant kvetching. While I sympathize, because I can't take it either, I'm also thinking they're in the wrong line of work. You'd think that would be a major part of the job description. "Enjoys cooking, cleaning and working in a suffocatingly negative environment."

But, get this: In most cases, it was he who did not find them suitable. In one instance he told us: "She didn't get me breakfast". We asked: "Have you ever, by chance, mentioned to her that one of the things you'd like her to do each day is to get your breakfast?" To which he responded: "Of course not. She should know. Why should I have to tell her anything?"

One woman, he didn't like the way she looked. She was ugly. I told him: "This isn't The Bachelor and who are you, Matt Damon?" (I had to pick a cutie he'd heard of.) Anyway he was embarrassed to be seen in public with her. What? Embarrassed in front of whom? Wal-Mart shoppers? Or the other 85 years olds around the pool and the women who take care of them?

I hate to say, but even at his age, embarrassment is still a driving force in his life. He won't eat anything with his hands in public: No ribs, no fried chicken, no chips and dip. I can't relate to this. My father was the polar opposite: We would order spinach artichoke dip for all of us to share. He would dip, double dip, triple dip... Dive wristwatch-deep to rescue his sinking taco chip if necessary. And the magic by no means ended with dips. He would not only eat an ice cream cone in public, he would catch the dripping ice cream with his tongue as it headed down his arm. So if you're an Odd Couple aficionado, I grew up with Oscar Madison and married into Felix Unger.

As for my father-in-laws roomie situation-  He still retains the final rose as he continues to "interview/abuse" his prospective, caretaker, groundskeeper, soul-mate- whatever you want to call her.  Stay tuned..