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Money Matters



Hubby has been irritated with me all morning. I am not compliant enough. His personal aide, is off for the day and he is stuck with me. A review of his pill and activity chart brought with it accusations that I had changed the chart. Thus, it was my fault that the chart is confusing today. My denials were met with aggravation and accusations. The conversation spiraled toward “This is not working anymore!” He is referring to our 48 years of marriage of course. This is so delightful!

Old “grumbles” are pulled from his magic hat in lieu of a bunny rabbit. My dad was a magician, so I love the analogies that magic affords. Next complaint: I keep him penniless. If he wants to go out and get a cab to have a cup of coffee, he has no money in his pocket. Of course, the fact that we are in total lock-down because of Covid-19 restrictions is irrelevant. The fact that he has never conquered the cellphone in order to call the taxi is not a consideration. We live on a walking street, no taxis at this front door!

As a businessman with three retails stores in southern California for 21 years, Hubby always walked around with a substantial amount of cash on his person. The fact that he now walks nowhere unassisted does – not daunt his imagination with its delusions of freedom.

Hubby has not paid a bill in the past twenty years, and always found a pin number too much to deal with, so credit cards rarely work for him. Even before pin numbers existed, he would pull out an international Visa to pay for a cup of coffee. The surcharge was more than the bill. Of course, I realize that I am digressing…

“I need to have money on me!’ he demands.

“Fine. How much would you like?” I reply.

“Forty-thousand!” he exclaims.

I choke back a laugh. Just a little pin money. That is a nice even number which should buy a few coffees indeed.

It is true that I have his wallet locked up. When it was not, the fear of someone thieving from him was his focus. I always had Hubby write a note to himself with the amount of money he should have in the wallet, so he could check it… again… and again… and again. In the past, Hubby coerced me to arrange that his wallet should be within reach, but hidden. Henceforth, placed into a well disguised pocket of a favorite garment for safekeeping. Having done that, it was inevitably forgotten for eternity. It is once again locked away, out of his reach. He has now demanded to see his stash. In that wallet, Hubby has both 200 shekel bills and 100 shekel bills. He has been counting them for over an hour. First, he had to make sure they were all facing the same direction. He asked me to help. I counted them, wrote down how many of each denomination he has in his stack, showed him the math on paper for him to keep, and gave him the final figure. That was not sufficient. He began re-counting again as I have somehow confused him and he is quite sure I am intentionally misleading him.

Numbers do that now. Hubby spends a tremendous amount of time analyzing when he was born, what year we are in at present, and his age. It is just too complicated and extremely upsetting for him not to be able to resolve the equation.

When frustration looms, anger is the result. Four letter words abound. He is counting the small stack for at least the 8th time, as I sit here writing down these thoughts. (FYI: The small stack does not contain forty thousand of anything!) I will distract him with hot blintzes and hope another topic will soon take his fancy.

I cannot wait to see where he wants to put the wallet this time. If it is to go into his pants pocket, we will undoubtedly wash the wallet and its contents by mistake. He once slipped a 100 Euro note into his white terrycloth bathrobe in France. We could not understand where the money had gone. It re-appeared in the newly-washed robe. My project for the next week was to try to get a limp, damaged, 100 euro note replaced with a fresh one. No store or taxi driver would accept it. You would have thought I was a criminal looking to undermine the empire. Many trips to the Banque de France and a three month wait to get a fresh 100 Euro bill was a matter of principal, but with no human beings to talk with in their banks, it was absurdly challenging. When the 100 euro credit finally arrived on my bank statement, it was almost a disappointment. I wanted them to hand me the bill in person after all that effort!

Perhaps this time we should hide his treasured wallet inside his favorite shoes?


Six Months Later…

So here I am, full of frustration. It is very stressful to predict the future, and when it comes true… how stupid does that make me?

Hubby was again demanding his wallet full of a substantial number of bank notes. It is quite absurd… as he never has to pay for anything, but it makes him feel empowered to think he has the wherewithal to walk out of the house, get a taxi and go to a restaurant on his own. His demands would not cease and I, the weakling, succumbed. A week ago, I gave his wallet to him, to keep on his person. He immediately put it into his pants pocket that he was wearing.

An hour ago, six months after the first entry on this subject, Hubby announced that his wallet and money were gone. He was right. His aide had washed his pants without checking the pockets. The aggravation of knowing what will happen, and then it coming to fruition… is quite overwhelming. I have just spent at least an hour prying the bills apart, soaked with water, soap, and fabric softener, and then laying out each one individually in hopes that they will dry and still be valid currency. His lovely wallet is pretty much in shreds. Hubby is now issuing orders right and left, instructing me how to dry the money properly. Salt in the very fresh wound.

“The trays you put the bills on are wet! The money will never dry!”

“It will be fine!”

“Put them on towels not on the trays!”

“Leave me alone!”

Hubby will not stop barking orders. I will not respond nor will I do as he asks. My back and shoulder muscles are taut, and he is making me feel unhinged. There is no limit to how many ways he can order me around. It is the dementia; I keep reminding myself. Hubby gets what he wants, because even in his compromised state, he is quite capable of badgering me until I give in.

That, in addition to predicting that his wallet would end up in the washing machine, make me feel like a total fool indeed. In spite of what hubby believes, I actually hate being right.

On reflection, one must admit that these experiences give an entirely new meaning to the term money laundering!

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Barbara Diamond is a journalist living in Jerusalem, Israel. She has been a political activist on behalf of Israel and the Jewish people for over fifty years, having participated in political and humanitarian missions to Ethiopia, the former Soviet Union, China, and Europe to meet with world leaders on matters of concern. She has written over 100 articles for the Jerusalem Post and on her blog at The Times of Israel, hosted an English radio talk show in Jerusalem and continues mentoring others to pass on the torch of responsibility. You can reach her at [email protected] and visit her site at