On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

ListFreelance writing is an interesting hobby. I won’t call it a vocation – it doesn’t pay enough – there are too many of us and too few paying jobs. But that doesn’t keep me from pursuing it.

Last week I found a new site that promised lots of exposure and even a little money for lists. Lists are really popular now, lists about anything and everything. In fact, last week Christian Piatt published a list about why he publishes so many lists.

So, I checked out the submission guidelines for the new list site, and although it asked for original material – in fact, what it said was “Don’t steal someone else’s stuff” – it didn’t say it had to be previously unpublished. That sounded good to me, so I went through my previously published lists and pulled out a couple about how to know if you’re a caregiver.

Another guideline a freelance writer has to look for is word count. This site had a minimum of 1,000 words. My lists, even combined, were only about 600 words, so I called on my Muse and my caregiving experience and expanded the list and submitted it.

I was pretty upset when I got an e-mail politely telling me my list was composed of plagiarized material. I politely replied that the other Internet sources they had found were probably me. After a couple more polite exchanges, they agreed that I was right, but that they did, in fact, require previously unpublished material.

So here I am with a perfectly good list, some of which has not been previously published, so I thought I’d share it with you. Actually, since it’s so long, I’m going to share half of it with you today. I’ll share the rest of it on Wednesday.

You might be a caregiver if…

  1. You can answer the same question truthfully seventeen times in thirty minutes and never give the same answer twice.
  2. You know more about your parents’ finances than they do.
  3. You know the logical place to look for a lost item is between the mattress and box springs.
  4. You can open the trunk, pull out the walker and get it open, and get back around to the car door before your dad gets his seatbelt undone.
  5. You’ve resorted to hiding the car keys.
  6. You plan your errands around doctor’s visits.
  7. You’ve helped your mom secure a urine specimen.
  8. You’ve forged your mom’s signature on more than one healthcare document.
  9. Your trips to Wal-Mart always include a visit to the pharmacy and the incontinence aisle.
  10. You arrange to sit next to your mom at dinner so you can cut up her food.
  11. Other adults cover their plates protectively when you sit next to them.
  12. You’ve crawled under the door of a bathroom stall because your mom couldn’t figure out how to unlock the door.
  13. You use plastic dishes, and you NEVER eat in the dining room with its light colored carpet and white chairs.
  14. You always feel guilty about something.
  15. You’ve done an Internet search on why old people smell bad.
  16. You check the toilets in their bathroom several times a day to be sure they have been flushed.
  17. You have several doctors and several insurance companies on speed dial.
  18. You’ve seriously considered running away from home.
  19. You’ve argued with your Dad about whether he needs to use his walker to take a stroll to the corner and back.
  20. You’ve bitten your tongue to keep from saying “I told you so” when he stops to sit on the walker seat and rest 3 times between the house and the corner.
  21. You know more than you want to about powers of attorney, physicians’ directives, and living wills.
  22. You’ve misplaced your loved one at church or the mall or the movie theater.
  23. You’ve wondered if you could talk your loved one into using a sippy cup.
  24. You’ve wondered why it is so hot in the house and discovered the thermostat is set on 90 degrees.
  25. Your Mom has adopted the Madonna look and sometimes wears her underwear on the outside.



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