Saturday, March 26, 2016

My Social Life in America (Or: You Can Run, But You Can't Hide)

Somebody asked about my social life in America. 

I'll just go ahead and let this video of Valentines Day 2016 speak for itself:  

To sum up, my father has been suffering from Parkinson's since around the turn of the Millenium, and now, at age 75, has pretty much lost the ability to walk. He is married to a woman 20 years his junior, but she burned out very quickly with becoming a caregiver, in addition to having a drinking problem, so this led to him being placed in an assisted living facility. 

He moved into the assisted living place last August, right about the time I started this job, and it's sort of like an all-inclusive hotel for old people, rather than a hospital, so he actually kind of likes it.  (The food is actually very good, and he improved notably when taken off the diet of ice cream and bologna sandwiches that his wife was giving him.) 

The activities that they arrange tend to be a bit depressing, though. 

(That video is actually from a different place, a rehab hospital that he was in due to a urinary tract infection, but the general flavor of them is not much different.) 

So I've been making the 9-hour drive to visit him every month, during every 3-day weekend that I had. (You get a lot of those in America, if not much else vacation time.) The other weekends have consisted mainly of hikes in the national parks and trails around here and obsessively writing porn thrillers to get my income up. 

 (Get one FREE here on Amazon for the next couple days. A pretty good little thriller if I do say so myself. With Russian girls!)

The most exciting weekend I've had recently 

 My father gets $2200 a month in Social Security, but otherwise blew all his money; the rent at the assisted living place is $2600 a month and he has various other expenses such as medication which mean my brother and I are paying between $300 - $500 a month each for him.

So basically, here in my birth country, I have less of a social life even than when I was in Saudi. 

Vodakberg? No, this was in the parking lot of my apartment.
I did take a vacation this month, a trip to the Dominican Republic with the Girlfriend. (I have offered to bring her here on a fiance visa, but she is also kind of a full-time caregiver for her mother. More on that later. I also send her $100 a month following the current devastation of the Russian economy.) 

 Let's see, other than that?  I went to a city a couple hours away after Christmas to visit this girl, who I used to know in Vodkaberg. 

But that's about it.

In fact, some of my female colleagues are not unattractive (especially if you don't compare them to teenage Russian girls) and several of them have expressed enough interest in me that I could probably ask them out. But they're all single moms, and I really dread the idea of adding any more stress to my life.

Bars? Clubs? Drinking? Drugs?

Give me a fucking break. A shot of Nyquil before bed at 10:00pm, that's  my jam. 

Every national park needs a good recreation of Golgotha
So that's the more-than-a-little-depressing state of X. You'd think I'd be seriously depressed or angry, or both, but in fact I feel pretty calm and resigned. 

Quite frankly, at age 46, it seems like my Just Desserts. You can run but you can't hide. 


Anonymous said...

The comic would be PREACHER, if I'm not mistaken, and that page depicts the Saint of Killers. Sorry about your dad btw. Sounds like you're doing what you need to do.

englishteacherx said...

Got it in 1.

Anonymous said...

so've basically given up on having a love life except for when you have a vacation with the russian girl? what are you hobbies now? netflix? walks? board games? coffee? you can't tell me you've gone from the thrills of vodkaberg to....senior center bingo! (no offense)
- An old fan

englishteacherx said...

Read it and believe it.

Anonymous said...

Did you skip over the part about his sick father, anonymous? Fuck that's some rude shit.

Anonymous said...

How do you send money to the devushka? Western Union?

englishteacherx said...

Yeah. Pricey but quick. It's like 70 rubles to the dollar now. Highest I ever saw when I was there as about 36.

Anonymous said...

didn't mean to be rude - been following ETx for years and have always enjoyed his honest account of life. I understand he has additional things to worry about given his family situation. perhaps i was prying too much but was curious. i am rooting for him (and his dad) fyi.

Anonymous said...

depression can manifest itself in a lot of different ways, X; can i respectfully suggest that perhaps not wanting to have a social life is a symptom?

englishteacherx said...

Yes, I've considered that.

Anonymous said...

I was the one who asked about social life/dating life. Thanks for the updates, glad to hear them. Holding down a job, doing what you have to do, that's probably where a lot of us are at. Glad you've managed the odd vacation and some hiking. Best of luck out there!

Anonymous said...

So she's fucking other dudes while you're sending her cash? LOL.

Anonymous said...

Different anonymous poster here. Been following your blog for a couple of years now.

Is it because you are coming back from the highs of living abroad, and your home country just seems boring? You think its a long term consequence of being an expat? The need to feel like a foreigner?

englishteacherx said...

I'm also 46 years old, which is not an age for socializing.

Believe me, she's home at 9:00pm every night on Skype. She's no party girl.

Anonymous said...

I finally had enough of delivering mail and getting nowhere with job apps in my own country. As soon as I reached out to some ESL recruiters I got responses. Heading to a job in a country I've always fancied. Sure I won't get rich...but hell you think one does in a blue collar job back home? Feel isolated as an ex-pat?...that's just life I've figured out - been that way since they broke up the guilds. Hiking? Yea - past age 35 it's way better than getting drunk.

englishteacherx said...

I don't mean to suggest i never do anything; I actually do a lot of productive stuff. I'm in my second class towards a master's degree, and I take martial arts lessons twice a week.

Chris said...

I feel compelled to make an unsolicited suggestion, assuming you haven't already considered it.

We just put my grandfather is assisted living, and more specifically in the nursing care unit. My grandmother is in an assisted living apartment about 50 feet away.

Although their bank accounts and income won't cover their stay long term, no one has to come out of pocket.

The apparent key to this is twofold:

First, it's important that it is a non-profit facility. This means that they can't / won't (not sure which) kick anyone out once their funds are depleted.

Second, the social worker and financial people at the facility apply for a state grant that pays for any shortcoming after the "pay down" period of their bank account (they drain their account to around $5k). This is probably a state-to-state benefit and you may want to look closely at moving him to a state that provides it.

Just trying to get you out of that payment of indeterminate length. No one ever suggested that we pay for anything. A good resource for information will be a geriatric social worker. We had access to ours through the hospital, though admittedly we found this place on our own and it is much nicer than her suggestions. She was mostly good for informing us of the financing possibilities. In the end, you'll do the most important legwork. Good luck.

englishteacherx said...

Man, I have researched, and we have a social worker, and she just advises paying as long as we can because the care at non-profit places isn't great and there are often long waiting lists to get in.

englishteacherx said...

And does your grandfather have Medicaid? My father makes too much social security to be eligible, and Medicare does not pay for assisted living unless required by a doctor, which he doesn't quite qualify for yet.