The laudability of lifestyle clauses

We all know some aspects of aging are beyond our control. But not everything. So if Mom's wig frightens small children or Dad's throat clearing draws the stink eye from strangers, lay down the law before they move in with some well written lifestyle clauses.

We all know some aspects of aging are beyond our control. But not everything. So if Mom’s wig frightens small children or Dad’s throat clearing draws the stink eye from strangers, lay down the law before they move in with some well written lifestyle clauses.

Have you heard about “lifestyle clauses”? They’re the newest thing in pre-nups. From weight gain to who gets the dog, these agreements protect couples from the pitfalls of living together. Makes sense to me — in fact I think everyone should have one! Take Grandma and me. We’re not married, but we definitely live together, and there are several unsavory aspects of her lifestyle I would have nipped in the bud if only I’d known.

If I make it to old age, I’m crossing my fingers and toes that one of my three daughters will take me in when the time comes. Maybe they’ll be more likely to do that if I assure them living with me won’t be anything like living with Grandma … so here’s what I propose:

I. hairstyles
I will not leave the house with anything on my head that even vaguely resembles road kill.

II. technology
I will never forward emails with all-cap subject lines such as CHECK YOUR HOUSE FOR LETHAL CHINESE LIGHTBULBS or READ THIS BEFORE SOMEONE STEALS YOUR IDENTITY.

III. diet
I will not eat things that look or smell so gross you avoid the room when I eat them. Vegetable soup with hot tuna fish and ketchup comes to mind.

IV. manners
I will say excuse me when I burp. I will wait until you’re out of the room to expectorate, a.k.a. hock up loogies. And if my pucker string just plain wears out, I’ll politely suggest that you walk ahead of me so you’re not engulfed in my ever-present fart trail.

V. mobility
As long as I can get my own mail, take out my trash and reach the t.p. on the top shelf of the closet with my Grab-It, you’ll never have to wonder whether my butt and the couch are permanently fused.

VI. toilets
Even if I have to get one of those little square scooters we used in grade school gym class and paddle myself up and down the hall, I’ll do my business in the bathroom.

VII. sleeping
I will sleep in a bed, not my recliner, so when I nod off my mouth doesn’t hang open so wide that you’re sure I’m dead and you have to poke me just to see if I still have a pulse.

VIII. common sense
I may not be as sharp as I once was, but I will not act like electricity is a new concept or be surprised when my prescriptions come from the pharmacy.

IX. trust
I will not automatically assume you stole everything I misplace. Or interrogate you about credit card charges I don’t remember making. Or demand my card back before you’ve even finished hauling my 30 bags of groceries in from the car and down the stairs.

X. bodily functions
I will not feel compelled to share intimate details of pooping or peeing; their frequency, shape, texture or lack of; or speculation about what might cause said frequency or lack of. Ever.

I haven’t covered violations or future amendments, but it’s a start. Think about it — we could be pioneers in the caregiver lifestyle clause movement! And long after Grandma is gone, we’d still thank her for helping us realize marriages aren’t the only living situations that require some mutually agreed-upon guidelines.

Image credit: psphotography / 123RF Stock Photo

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4 thoughts on “The laudability of lifestyle clauses

  1. I found your blog through Freshly Pressed and this one should have been “Pressed” as well. Can we add a clause about not using our hearing impairment as a way of saying everything that pops in our head at 10 times the normal decibel in the doctor’s waiting room? And when I say everything, that includes calling people “colored”, commenting on how fat people are and pointing out every disability by saying “I’m so glad that I don’t have/look like…”

    I’m pretty sure that when I start down the road of aging and potential dementia, I’ll need a clause about cursing indiscriminately.

    • I agree. Old age give some people — definitely my Grandma — carte blanche to communicate via stream of consciousness. I used to lecture her about it, but as her dementia progresses I’ve pretty much given up. Now I blog instead. 🙂 Thanks for your comment.

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