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poor judgment means stress
Posted: Monday, October 14, 2019 1:00 PM
Joined: 9/12/2013
Posts: 3608

My judgment is off track, delayed, and so is my care partner's.

 he has always been reckless and his poor vision makes for lots of falls and breakage. He gets mad if I question what he is doing so I tell myself to "let him work it out" which usually isn't too expensive.

today woke up 6am smelled smoke in house and I DID NOT REACT. We have a woodburner for heat and partner promised me he would not light it until rain started - we just had a million people without power to prevent a spark starting another fire, he understood the danger.

anyway after smelling smoke for 5 - 10 minutes (!!!) I opened my bedroom door and a wall of smoke hit me. He had fire fallen out of wood burner onto floors, smoke clouds stinking stench smoke in the whole house. He had doors open and he kept yelling "I made a mistake! I'm taking care of this!" I went back in my room with my dog.  (!!!) Went back out in 2 minutes thinking no way, I got containers of water and threw it on the fire on floor. I had to throw water on flaming stuff on floor and smoke still coming from stove (blocked pipe end) and argued for 5 minutes to douse the freakin fire and finally I just did it myself.

 no way I can clean stink out of house. We hadjust gone over fire extinguishers and he did not think to use it. He can not smell anything, so he thinks no problem. I tried to wipe ash off furniture and got sick to my stomach and came back in my room.

There is not 1 fire alert thing in the house. I have nowhere to go. I walked my dog and when I got back HE HAD BUILT ANOTHER FIRE IN THE WOODSTOVE, POINTING TO IT with big smile, see? not smoking now!

the bathroom kitchen living room are not useable. He could have burned down the county.  He is now sitting outside relaxing. Unconcerned since "nothing happened"

If I had gotten up at first smell, if I had poured water right away - this after another event last week which I am too sick to describe that happened while on a walk.

we have electric wall heaters from 1970 that work. he refuses.

lucky to not have set the neighborhood on fire. ordering smoke detectors and will ahev nieghbor install them. just sick. Daughter coming thursday. 

he used my new towels to wipe up ash water. my brain is sapped of energy from being careful and watchful.  really angry and feel very sick, the smell is seeping into my bedroom and I have air cleaner on door shut towel at bottom of door.

my house has not sold. I am going to have a good cry. I am homesick.

Michael Ellenbogen
Posted: Monday, October 14, 2019 1:30 PM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 4244

I am so sorry for what you are going thru. It sounds like he may be having some brain issue also. Please call the red cross in your arae and tell them you need some detectors installed and tell them what happened. They may install them for free as I use to work for them and they do this all the time at no cost to you. If you need help, I can help you with that. Just let me know. The next time you may not be so lucky with out one. As afar as the damage does he have insurance. You may consider putting in a claim if it is serious damage. 

Jo C.
Posted: Thursday, October 17, 2019 8:47 AM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 12714

Dear alz+, I am so very sorry for what has happened; I certainly understand your upset and dismay.  That was a very harrowing experience to say the least. 

 So glad your daughter will be there today.  Basically, I rather hope she decides to have the wood burner removed completely.  Because of the lack of insight, judgment and reasoning involved in what happened, this could possibly be an ongoing danger from fire as well as CO2 issues.

In most areas in California, fire departments will assist in providing smoke detectors and install them in the house at no charge.  If your daughter has no time to do this, it may be a good idea to call the local fire department; perhaps she could do this for you as I know you are not comfortable talking on the phone. 

Also, it would be wise for your daughter to obtain CO2 detectors for the house.  They simply plug into electric outlets near the floor and are necessary to alert folks to dangerous CO2 levels in the house that our noses cannot detect but can be fatal.

We have multiples of both smoke detectors and CO2 detectors in various areas in our house, but made sure we especially had them in the hall right outside the bedrooms so they could be easily heard at night if something happened.

I can also understand how alone you feel after this happened and how much you wish for Michigan.  Big winter is coming to the U.P. soon and it is expected to be a very bad one; I am so glad you are not going to have to suffer through those horrible and dangerous many months again. 

Your daughter can get that wood burner out of there with a little help from a worker knowedgable about such removals and eliminate that danger and put that worry at rest. 

 I send warmest thoughts to you and so hope all settles down soon.  Please let us know how you are, we care.


Posted: Saturday, October 19, 2019 2:19 PM
Joined: 9/12/2013
Posts: 3608

checking in

my daughter came.

you never know, brain just not sparking as much, could improve in a day or so or not

i did work wiping walls, smell gone. have no say about heating.

weepy.  daughter took me out to thrift store and lunch, very nice day.

have to get smoke things up, someone is moving into my house, leased it for winter.

incredibly tired. 

love you all so much

Jo C.
Posted: Saturday, October 19, 2019 3:31 PM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 12714

So glad you had a nice day with your daughter, that was lovely.   Income from rented house for winter will help with expenses, so that is good. 

 Keep us posted on how you are and how things are going; we truly do care.

 You are being sent,  ((((((alz+)))))).


Posted: Saturday, October 19, 2019 5:18 PM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 20707

You may not have the last word about the wood stove but you can see that you are safe with alarms. Please install both fire and carbon monoxide!


Iris L.
Posted: Sunday, October 20, 2019 1:43 AM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 17894

Stay safe, Alz+!  We look forward to your posts!


Jo C.
Posted: Sunday, October 20, 2019 4:39 PM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 12714

Judith is so right regarding smoke and carbon monoxide detectorsGood idea to put that on a priority list.

Have your ex, Mr. H., or a neighbor contact the fire department for you to see if they still provide and install these. 

If they do, you can have an appointment for them to come out.  If they do not provide those sensors, they may be willing to install any that are purchased or a neighbor may put them up.

 As said, the carbon monoxide detectors go plugged into a wall outlet near the floor in various areas in the house.  The smoke alarms in various areas will need to be mounted up at ceiling height; neither you nor Mr. H. should even attempt that.  The firemen or a neighbor will do that for you.      

You really need these especially with the wood burning stove, etc., and it is easily done.

NOTE:  By the way, one can buy fire proof hearth rugs to go in front of a wood burning stove or fireplace.  If you had that in front of the wood stove, Mr. H. would not be such a danger as that would protect the floors.  No curtains hanging near the stove I hope.

The highest protection fireproof  hearth rugs are fiberglass but they are loomed to look like ordinary very nice rugs.   There are also fire proof hearth rugs made of out of other fibers.  All can be either in plain colors or in designs.

 One can look up, fire proof hearth rugs online on Google and read about them.   I would imagine that the larger Hardware Stores also carry them.


Iris L.
Posted: Monday, October 21, 2019 12:17 AM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 17894

Habib sounds like he should not have access to any incendiaries.


Posted: Monday, October 21, 2019 9:00 AM
Joined: 9/12/2013
Posts: 3608

fire proof rug!

order smoke monocxide sensore s amazon

no one acknowledges i am homeless. the rent income might cover some of taxes on my house and the guy trying to get loan to buy it. his dog knows it ia cool.

fire control - Habib is going to have wood heat no matter what I think because it is part of his life and proves to him he is not helpless.

my daughter let us know she and my son can not be daily babysitters and we need local help. yesterday daughter of an old friend had said she would be by, never called, never showed up. I too confsed to cook and the stove sparked, so want new stove. all up to me.

my cooking ability was a 4 month surprise, now seems to be fading . 

my brain processes so s l o w l y .... tried to buy new walking shoes online, none fit, daughter helped me return .

Habib and I laughed so hard yesterday, we are having fun but if others would look in they would say "NO! stop that!"

Dogs are comforting, our day and night is on dog schedule and works good.

i lost over 20 pounds. do yoga in bed and listening to free audiobooks on youtube - all the old detective novels, i fall asleep and start over. listen to same one 3 times and hear different story every time. raymond chandler was very funny, short sentences, short chapters. 

was going to do thanksgiving dinner make ahead and invite some people to dropin, 2 men lost wives  recently and i was giving them casserole or soup etc to take home when they visit habib.

oh well. can't seem to make a lsit anymroe either. oh well.

love and courage

Lane Simonian
Posted: Monday, October 21, 2019 1:20 PM
Joined: 12/12/2011
Posts: 5085

These days I read your posts with a bit of wistfulness, alz+.  Life throws us both good and bad, and you have dealt with the latter as well as anyone I know and you can still find joy (thank goodness for dogs in that regard).
Posted: Tuesday, October 22, 2019 11:30 AM
Joined: 9/12/2013
Posts: 3608

how did I miss 2 comments from Iris? oh, dementia. 


realized my kids helped me by moving me here. Driving me out here with my dog, time off work, going back and cleaning repairing my house and emptying my stuff.

they can not help with day to day stuff. they can visit every few months for a couple days but those visits are for family time, not fixning this or repairs or stuff. they expect us to find someone we like close by to help us.

this mrongin realized Habib can give me a room in his house and a yard, take care of my dog, grocery shop, clean up, fix small things but he is dealing with ... new person in house = less brain space available for him.

since I got here he has come back to life and played tennis yesterday. He has not played in years. He gained weight and when he goes to his job babysitting dogs he knows his old dog is safe with me and my dog. I cook and can clean up when he is out of house. He does our laundry. i do my own meds but not sure some days nights what I took when

feeling fear clouds on horizon of ??? had weepy talk this morning, he afraid of being responsible for me, me afraid of him being responsible for me.  Right?

how do we find someone when we don't know yet what they are supposed to do?

so I left my home because I didn't have anyone I trusted to "help me" and now am I in same situation? we don't want to pester kids who do long distance daily texting, and financial, etc  plus they are working 7 days a week anyway.

everyone is giving all they have.  no idea how to begin - ask nieghbors? private person? some things i figure out months later was nothing like I thought, everything has gotten slow like walking through water. slept all night last night and not wet my pants since on B12!

how do I do 1 day at a time? is there some emergency plan standard. also good at grocery I walk to - the people who work there smile  when I come in like they welcome me and pack my bags even weight for me to cary home anddo my credit card. other dog walkers speak to me some days now, very gentley but cheerful normal.

still a lot of fear - anyone know of what? (Habib just came in my room and said he called our son and our son is going to fix a tv thing for us! we still need local help)

love and courage


Posted: Tuesday, October 22, 2019 1:33 PM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 20707

You do need to find help. Some for right now and you need to look toward the future.There is a limited amount we can help you with like telling you to call the fire dept about the alarms. We are happy to do that. 

Have you done that yet?????

Do you and Habib have all of your legal work in order?


Iris L.
Posted: Wednesday, October 23, 2019 12:09 AM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 17894

The matter of living alone in a compromised, disabled state, is one I have been pondering for years.  I gained much wisdom from members here and from people I know and also from my older relatives.  All that I learned brought me to a decision.  I will do whatever it takes to maintain my independence!  


What it takes is to change my way of living so that I am able to handle everything on my own.  I won't rely on family or friends.  I will rely on myself, technology and outside workers and services on occasion.  Basically, this means to simplify and to automate.  Much I learned from a good friend whose birthday is tomorrow.  


When I was at my worst, I realized I could only focus on three things: feeding myself, feeding my cats, and paying my bills.  Everything else had to be set aside.  I thought at first that I would eventually find someone to help me.  The people I found didn't work out, for various reasons.  I realized I was on my own.  But I could do this!  It takes changing my mindset so that I accept that my old life of struggle and confusion is gone, and that I have a new life of freedom and order and being comfortable.  


My life is different from yours, Alz+, because you do have children who are available long distance.  My suggestion to you now is the same as last winter.  Focus on getting food into your house and utilities (heat).  Focus on your dog and your personal care (bathing, dressing).  Let your daughter or son make arrangements for everything else.  


Write down a list of what you might need, and have them arrange it online or by telephone.  I hope they can set up a schedule of regular visits, such as every week or every two weeks.  This can last you for a while.  At the same time, plans must be in the process for the future.  At some point, you might want to sit with your daughter and son and discuss long term plans for both you and Habib, if he is willing.  Life is progressive and dementia is progressive.  That's just how it is.


I feel a bit uncomfortable making suggestions because I know what lengths I am willing to go for myself and my animals.  I know I can't make decisions for other people.  My ideas may be way off base for you and your extended family.  I have no one to answer to.  Whatever I say, goes for me.


It's getting late.  Take care, Alz+.



Posted: Wednesday, October 23, 2019 10:05 AM
Joined: 9/12/2013
Posts: 3608


jfkoc - I did not call fire department (forgot) but habib got smoke detector alarm and is putting it up. got super hot again so don't need heat this week. I don't think I have legal work in order since move and divorce! yikes. thank you!

Iris - thank you for spending time writing about your life and how you handle things. The technology part is hard for me now. focus on keeping myself clean and fed and out of emergency room!

must be at transition part - can still walk dog but slow, and can go to store even while confused. some days i make my bed with clean sheets. when day comes I can do something half the time I do it then.

no counting on people. best plans fail too often but ??? forgot what i was saying.

ok, about my kids - not much more going to come from them but son will probably do legal stuff, I will remind him, as going to do it year ago.

animals give so much stability and comfort. yesterday I met a big great dane on road and got down on ground to let him kiss me and nudge me around. his name is Scooter. neighbor has been leaving her puppy with Habib every other day, changes the mood when he shows up. My dog is not real affectionate but she is so polite and gentle and she will bark when someone comes to gate - I deaf a big deal for everything

there is no way I can find someone to do stuff. mean, effort is beyond me.

wish a company assigned a Get It Done agent, they have all your info and you just call with a help request and they "take care of it". Habib and I both cried thinking we had to call tv provider for change in service, was thinking i will just watch tv all winter.

when ican no longer go into store and buy 2 months of food to sotck pile, icky.

so if i figure out anything or someone else steps up i wi ll sahre how it goes.

Posted: Wednesday, October 23, 2019 10:12 AM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 20707

Lists.....I have never been a list maker but have found they are really helpful. You might try a white board, they are not easily important thing around my house


Iris L.
Posted: Wednesday, October 23, 2019 12:50 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 17894

People don't understand that if we say we can't do something, it's because we can't do it.  Pushing what we can't do only makes us feel horrible and feel like failures.  Overwhelming anxiety results, which further decreases ability. It can get to the point that remaining silent is preferable to constant defending why you need what you need or why you do what you do.


Alz+, what I am trying to say is that, IMHO, you are already doing too much.  I say this based on what you are posting about how overwhelmed you feel.  The tasks around your home that need doing, other people should be doing, be they family or outside community or church volunteers or paid workers.  Some churches have a Steven's Ministry that helps seniors and the disabled.

By technology, I mean tasks that are done for me by machines or computer.  For example, I have several recurring bills paid by automatic payment from my account by my bank.

Even though winters are mild in CA, preparations still need to be made.  On the radio they just said to have fireplaces checked out by a professional before use.


Posted: Wednesday, October 23, 2019 1:25 PM
Joined: 1/28/2013
Posts: 2659

Alz, does the house even have central heat?  That is, a furnace or boiler.  We have heat pumps at our house in addition to our gas boiler and radiant heat.  We use the heat pumps in transitional weatber like spring and fall.  I know that some houses in moderate climate areas have no central heat and rely on wood stoves for heat in chilly weather.  We have a natural fireplace and a forest outside the door, but I worry about the chimney at this point.

Edit:  I just reread your initial post.  You do have electric heat, which may be very expensive or not entirely safe because of age.  I' m not sure what goes into Habib's thinking, but I am married to a former energy conservation engineer who has strong views on what form of heat will be used when.  It can be frustrating.

It sounds as if you and Mr. Habib need an au pair.  Someone who comes in daily, does necessary housework and shopping, and checks on your general welfare.  I don't know what this costs or if there are any senior services in your area to help you with this.

I know you are used to having your own house that is under your complete control and that is why you are feeling helpless.  But living with family and paying rent is surely preferable to sleeping outside with your belongings in a cart.  You aren't really homeless if you have a place to live.  Don't sweat the smsll stuff like cleaning or minor repairs.  The dust will be there tomorrow.  If it keeps the rain off, who cares if the woodwork is scratched or the house needs painting?  About chimneys, our fireplace has a damper that can either be closed or open, depending on weather.  Once in a blue moon I have been known to start a fire only to discover that someone has closed the damper and smoke comes into the room.  There follows much bad language and poking the damper with our fire tools to open it.  It happens to the best of us.  I've learned to look before striking my first match.  It's closed now because a squirrel fell down it during the summer.  Most normal people would freak out about that, but we just shrugged and tried to kerp it safe from the cats.

Edit: Read again and it is rather troubling that Mr. H did not prioritize putting out the flames.  That's the first thing you do when a log rolls out.  Fireproof hearth rug is a necessity.  But clearing the chimney comes right after.

I like it that you both can laugh about doing forbidden things.  It's that way during your teen years too.  I'm beginning to have people who don't know me very well express alarm about me climbing ladders and doing my own roof work.  The calendar belies the biological age, and I have a built in fear of heights that reminds me of my limits.

Posted: Thursday, October 24, 2019 12:32 PM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 20707

"People don't understand that if we say we can't do something, it's because we can't do it.  "

Additionally they tell you "just push through or look on the bright side or blah, blah, blah" 

Why don't they just believe what we say and be helpful. At least acknowledge me and how I am before pushing.