email: cavebear2118 AT verizon DOT com

Monday, August 27, 2012

Ack. Roof Problem!

You never know when you will discover a house problem.  I happened to reach for a book on the top shelf of the bookcase, and a "wrong" image caught my eye.  You live in a house for 26 years and you know every square inch of it...

There was a slightly off-color spot on the living room ceiling.  I looked at it a few minutes, then backed away across the room.  A 3' area sagged about an inch.  I got up into the attic...

The attic is not my favorite area.  I always expect that hornets will have moved in, or squirrels, or knife-wielding people with masks.  Its been a year at least since I was up there.  Its "The Land of Old Boxes and Junk".  Ayla loves to climb ladders, and even she won't go up there!

Years ago, I put plywood sheets down on the center of the attic.  I meant to do the other half, but there were problems with wiring going over the joists and I put it off.  I should have finished the work. 

Because when I got up there and crab-walked over the joists to where the possible leak was, I found one!  One drop per minute while it was raining yesterday.  When the rain stopped, so did the drips.

So I looked around for a wide pan to catch the drips so they wouldn't soak the plaster ceiling any more.  I found an unused cat litter pan in the basement and went back in the attic with a piece of plywood scrap to span the joists to support the pan to collect the drips. 

You know how, any time you find a good solution, a better comes to mind after?  I was looking around for a large wide container to catch drips and settled on a kitty litty pan.  Well, when I went to bed that night, I was staring at a HUGE plastic storage bin that would hold about 20 gallons! 

I'm usually smarter than that about thinking of the best things to use.  But fortunately the rain is stopped for a week, so the need to get back up into the attic with the larger container is delayed.

I had a roofing expert come to the house today.  He was REALLY NICE!  He got up on the roof, examined the spot, and saw that a tree branch had fallen onto the roof and punctured the plywood slightly.  Small hole, slow leak.  Ans his best guess that even a hurricane (like Isaac) coming up through  the Southeast US IF it hit maryland on the way east, wouldn't fill the pan.  So I'm OK.

But that means a roof job.  It's 26 years old.  I had been planning to replace it anyway.  20 year guarantee and lasting 26 years is "OK".

But the roof isn't the only problem.  The cheap vinyl siding is about worn out.  It was "builders grade", and that is about as poor as it gets.  But I didn't know anything about that stuff 26 years ago.  It needs to be replaced too.  It is so abraded by weather that the surface is rough and grows mold and mildew rampantly.  It stayed clean for 13 years, so I cleaned it.  Then it only stayed clean for 3 years and I cleaned it.  Then it only stayed clean 1 years.  Then 6 months.  Now it can't stay clean of mold and mildew on the north side of the house at all.  So I need new vinyl siding.

So I have added new siding to the roof job (he does both).  I'm not going to be "the blue house" anymore.  We are changing to a slightly greyish green  with darker green trim and "heather" shingles.

I couldn't expect it all to last forever.  Well, actually, I didn't expect to live in this "starter house" for 26 years.  But here I am and I don't plan to move just yet.

I'm glad I have savings, I can write a check for the whole work...  On the other hand, that's 80% of the  checking account.  But the house is going to look a WHOLE lot better in a couple weeks and I'm not touching the savings account at all..  Happily, the inside is in great condition.

Its time to have some work done on the house...

Things are going to be VERY NOISY here for 3 days in a week from now...

Computer Games

I love playing people at board/card games.  And the only way to do it these days is by computer.  My favorite games are Risk, Scrabble, Hearts, and Backgammon.

A place to play is pogo.com.  Not a recommendation, just where I play.  You get an avatar to represent you, and I got it uo to 800,000 points.  And got really annoyed that I was staying up late at nights to play.

So I cancelled my account.

Oh was I regretful...  And I couldn't get it back.  So a few months ago, I started again from ZERO!

This week, I reached 1,000,000 points.

Just before...
And just after...
Yeah, that's my avatar.  Indiana Jones hat and camo outfit.   Suits me just fine, and I actually wear that stuff IRL.  LOL!
 I think that "84%" means percentile of all scores.  Which is good I suppose for a casual player.   The serious players play every night for a few hours.  I'm not obsessed; I just like to play once a week.

Now that I have my million (and lots of players have WAY more than that), I want to earn enough points to add a cat to my avatar and stay above 1M!  I mean, what am I without a cat?  So I better go play more now.  I think I need 25,000 to get my cat.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Dadisms

I hope it is alright to find some slight humor in the Dadisms I get day-to-day.  I don't mean great laughs; sometimes humor is the better alternative to crying. 

1.  Dad has been seeing the progress of Tropical Storm (possibly to be Hurricane) Isaac down around Cuba via the TV reports.  WHILE I was trying to finish cooking dinner (of course, his timing is always wretched), he suddenly had urgent concerns that we should prepare for power outages.

Dad:  We need to get ready for power outages.

Mark:  Why?

Dad:  The Hurricane...

Mark:  We are not threatened by a hurricane.

Dad:  No, it will be here tonight, we have to get ready.

[Ok, now I could have gone 2 ways here, and I actually did think about it.  I could have said, "yes, I will get the candles out and and fill clean bottles with fresh water".  But I'm obsessed with reality.  So it progressed like this]...

Mark:  Dad, the hurricane isn't a hurricane yet, it is about a week away from us if it even comes NEAR us, we won't lose power, and if we DO, the food is good for a day in the freezer, and I will cook the fresh meat on the grill to save it.

Dad:  You're not listening to me, the hurricane is coming tonight and the power will be out for days.

Mark:  I'm listening to you but you're wrong.  1.  The power doesn't go out here because the cables are underground.  2.  I've lived here for 26 years and the power has never gone off for more than 2 hours, a one-off equipment failure in non-storm times.  3.  The storm is 1500 miles away, 5 days, and IF it comes through here it will only be a day of steady drizzle, which I would VERY much like.  4.  If the absolutely bizarre worst happened, I would simply put you in the front seat of the car and the cats (in PTUs) in the car and we would stay a few days out of state on our credit cards...

Dad:  But...

Mark:  Get out of the kitchen and let me finish cooking dinner!  I will deal with the Hurricane problem RIGHT after dinner!!!

Dad is getting more uncertain about where he is living.  I suppose he thinks he was in Florida for some of the discussion (but he knows Maryland for other parts).  It seems the concept of geographical distance is becoming harder for him to recall.  He really thinks the Tropical Storm Isaac is very close to us (in Maryland).  

I don't want to ignore his concerns, but when they are non-sensical and I'm trying to get all the parts of dinner cooked at the same time, I just don't HAVE time for his confusions.

2.  The groundhog sightings...  I caged a groundhog on July 17th and relocated it.  Since that time, Dad has claimed to see a groundhog in the back yard every single day.  It is always a pile of dead leaves or a dark spot on the shed foundation.  Every day, I have to walk outside and point to the spot he is convinced there is a groundhog and show him that there isn't one. 

Repeated errors in seeing groundhogs every day doesn't bother him a bit.  So when he stated AGAIN that there was a groundhog out back, I hesitated to even look.  But he said there was one running around, no doubt this time, I looked.  Yes there was. 

I set up the live cage, trapped it in an hour and relocated it later.

But here's the thing.  He said it was weird to get one just 2  days after the last one.  Um, it was 4 weeks ago.  Dad insisted it was only 2 days.  I showed him the picture from the last time (July 17/18).  He said that was the first one this year.  Dad wasn't even HERE then. 

His time-memory of current events is completely shot.  He can't remember simple things one day to the next.  I have a really hard time dealing with this.  I have a better-than-average memory for events than most people.  I have a worse-than-average about "people-things", so I'm not claiming anything special.  Meaning, I can remember buying things better than I can who I was talking to when I bought the item.  Many people have the opposite memory, and I envy them in that quite often. 

But Dad insisted I relocated a groundhog only 2 days before the last one, and it was 4 weeks...

3.  Dad gives me instructions befitting a child more and more often these last couple of weeks.  I'm not sure how to say he is "reverting to adulthood".  Parenthood of a child, I guess...  I announced the other night that I was going to bed early because I had stayed up late the night before.  He told me to make sure I "used the facilities" before I went to bed.  You tell a 5 year old that. 

When I make a meal, he sometimes asks "do you have enough for yourself"?  Well, considering the fact that I make dinners and divide them with what my grandmother used to call "the miking eye" (meaning micrometer precision) IN HIS PRESENCE, that is always a bit disturbing.

Every single night, we eat dinner and he eats at the table (because it doesn't wobble when he cuts his meat ineptly) and I eat on a TV tray so I can (briefly) watch a science DVD in peace and no "they can't know THAT" comments from Dad.  Every meal, toward the END of the meal, he always asks "Do you want more salt or more butter"?  Next week, he may be asking me if I need help cutting up my food. 

He clearly thinks of me as a child needing help.  I wouldn't mind so much if it wasn't for the fact that he has always treated me that way, and I've always been the independent one of the kids...  I DO NOT understand this particular oddity on Dad's part.

*SIGH*

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Day In The Life...

I had a busy day.  Now, I'm not trying to compare MY busy to others.  I'm retired and until Dad moved in 3 months ago today, I lived alone.  So some people are busy 25 hours a day, 8 days a week and I wasn't one of them.

But, for me, it was busy.  I got up at 10 am.  That would seem luxurious, but it was only 7 hours sleep because I was up late on the computer.  The only "me" time I get is after Dad goes to bed at 11:30.  So I stay up late a lot more often than I used to.  After the usual getting showered and dressed stuff:
1.  Fed the cats.
2.  Made lunch (fancy sandwiches with crudites, as usual).
3.  Read the whole newspaper.
4.  Took the newest captured groundhog to a relocation site.
5.  Grocery-shopped
6.  Farm market-shopped.
7.  Let the cats outside for 30 minutes while accompanying them around the yard.
8.  Brushed the sticky-seeds out of their fur after coming in.
9.  Mixed dough in the bread machine for making dinner rolls.
10.  Marinated pork chops in minced fresh garlic/ginger/basil/sage leaves.
11.  Pressed down dinner roll dough lightly on silpat to even thickness and allow rising.
12.  Started breadloaf in breadmachine.
13.  Played with cats 15 minutes.
14.  Prepared dinner.  Cut tops of green beans, made salad, cooked potato, cooked corn.  All fresh.  Coated pork chops with home-made "shake&bake".
15.  Just as everything is almost cooked, Dad insists he must fill up the salt and pepper shakers which I do not realize yet).  Typical confusing conversation ensues:  D:  Where is the salt and pepper?  Me:  On the table.  D: I can see that!  Me: What???  D: I need the salt!  Me:  (I check the table, there is salt and pepper there), its right there.  D:  Where is YOUR salt?  Me:  Its in the grinders, but don't ask me this NOW, I'm cooking.

He likes salt and pepper shakers, I like grinders.  His salt and pepper shakers were only 25% full and it distressed him, so he "needed to get then refilled at once".  I was busy trying to get everything out of the oven and stovetop pans and he has to worry about that RIGHT THEN?

This is a habit of his I am discovering.  He bothers people with time-consuming trivial matters when they are most busy.  I guess that is "passive-aggressive".  Thinking back, I see that has been a lifelong habit of minor manipulation.  When I was a teen, I enjoyed the process of making meals.  I used to send time with Mom in the kitchen being useful at small stuff (peeling carrots, chopping lettuce for salads, etc).  I recall Dad coming in and asking odd questions even then. 

I have always had a fine relationship with both my parents, in their own special ways, but now I have more sympathy for Mom at those times.  Of course, each had their own individual ways to annoy too, but I learned to deal with those.  But I've got Dad's all day these days...

I ordered him OUT OF THE KITCHEN and told him I would deal with the salt&pepper crisis later.  He is not used to that.  Well, we are BOTH on a learning curve...

16.  We had a fine dinner of baked breaded pork chops, salad, corn on the cob, baked potato (OK, M/V potato, but there's not much difference) and green beans overcooked as he likes them.
17.  Cut the risen dinner roll dough into squares and set them in the oven to bake.  Recipe says 30 minutes, but they came out hard last time.  Made it 25 minutes.
18.  Took the bread machine dough out to remove the mixer handle before baking.  This really helps.  If I take the loaf out with the handle in it, it tears a chunk of bread out of the bottom.  More timing effort, but better results. 
19.  Put the dough back in the breadmachine to finish "loafing".  Dad loves my bread (so does everyone).  Adding garlic powder, onion powder and a lot of oregano, and using beer in place of water really makes great bread! 

Oops, be right back, I just heard the TV go to a color signal, which means that Dad is losing the nightly struggle with the remote control... 

OK, I fixed that (again). 

20.  Took the breadloaf out to cool and started the mixer going for more chocolate chip cookies.  Dad has both a sweet tooth and a starch tooth.  Cookies, coffeecake, potatoes, bread.  He can eat spaghetti with bread and a potato, and cookies for dessert.  I suppose that, at his age, it doesn't really matter.
21.  Played "toss mousies" with Iza while I ate dinner.  She loves that.  She attacks them fiercely, and often fetches them back to me. 
22.  Dad can't stay away from Fox News.
23.  Put half the dinner rolls in a plastic food bag on the counter, the other half in a okastic food bag in the freezer.
24.  Dad will be wanting a bowl of ice cream soon.  I try to get him to eat fresh fruit, but that was never something he got used to.
25.  Cleaned the litter boxes.
26.  The rest of the night: Visit cat blog friends, make tomorrow's post, email those who have written, listen unhapily to Fox News on the TV from 3 rooms away (Dad is hard of hearing).
27.  Just before going to bed, feed the cats.
28.  After going to bed, sleep with cats...

Tomorrow, repeat again and again and again...

Friday, August 17, 2012

Dad, Claiming He Is COLD!

This is the clothes that Dad wears.

This is the clothes that Dad wears when he says he is "TOO COLD" in the house.
Note the thin top shirt, not even with an undershirt.  Note the thin shorts.  Note the socks even pushed down to the shoes!

This is the thermostat in the house in the house that Dad claims is TOO COLD.
And it is 80 in his bedroom and in the TV room...  And he complains about THAT.  But wait, when it is 80 in his bedroom he is happy, and when it is 80 in the TV room, it is "too cold?!


This is what I have to wear every day to keep from melting to death...  Short pants...
 Short sleeves...
And I sweat in bed every night...

This is no way to live...  But the alternative is to walk around nekkid, an no one wants THAT!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

August Meteor Showers!

And I can't see them AGAIN this year.  Its all overcast.  I'm a bit conflicted by that.  First, the clouds are there because we got a decent rainfall this evening, and we sure needed THAT!  1 1/4" of rain in the past 2 days, and that's about the best since April.  Second, the temperature dropped to 70 (briefly) during the daylight, and I haven't felt THAT outside for months.

But I love astronomy.  When I moved here 26 years ago, I could occasionally see the milky way, and seeing the constellations was routine.  Over the years, light pollution and general haze has eliminated the milky way from home "seeing" (astronomese for "good viewing) , and it is a rare night when the constellations are clear.  About 2 months ago, I was taking the recycling bins to the street when I realized that the stars were quite visible.  I don't know "why", just one of those things.

I stayed out for an hour just "seeing".  I even noticed one star that shouldn't have been there in a constellation.  I went to the computer to see if there was a new nova star, and discovered it was Jupiter.  So I went back out and looked around a bit.  Sure enough, I found Mars and another planet (Saturn I suppose, because Venus would have been closer to the sun).

It made me think back to a camping trip to Canada in 1980 (or thereabouts).  The first night, the stars shone madly and the milky way was vivid.  The other nights were overcast.  Well, at least I saw that one night.

Can you imagine what the night sky must have looked like "only" a few centuries ago?  Absolutely ablaze with stars!  No wonder our ancestors saw images among them, there were SO MANY more stars visible.  I envy that so much.

But to get back to the beginning (meteor showers, remember?), tonight was the night to see the Perseid meteor shower.  And it is predicted to be one of the better years for it (about 100 meteors per hour).  I won't see it, and it is probably near it peak about know.  I am covered with clouds...

There are only a few major meteor showers each year, and even those have really good years only every few/many years. 

Sorry, that's a bit confusing.  We see meteor showers at the same times every year because the Earth passes through the same point as some cometary debris orbit at the same time every year.  Meaning that the cometary debris that we call meteors intersects Earth orbit the same time every year, but the debris is not spread out along the orbit uniformly.  So some years, we hit denser patches of debris than in other years.  Those times can be spectacular.  But you can't see them if there are clouds; and this year, for me, there are clouds.

You know what frustrates me most?  MOST years, the sky is overcast here on the best meteor nights.  I feel cursed sometimes.  Its all random, of course, but I still fell unlucky about meteor showers.  I'll have to go look at OTHER people's images of the meteors tomorrow on websites.  Well, at least there is that.  But it's not the same as real seeing.  And I miss real seeing...

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Living With Dad, 14

First, my thanks to all who offerred suggestions on good elder-friendly TV/Cable remote control devices.  I ordered one I found through Amazon and it arrived today.  I haven't tried it out yet because it needs 4 AAA baterries and I need to buy more recharageable ones (rechargeable batteries are the way to go these days).  But everytime I think I have "too many", I get another device and need more.  I've looked at the control, and it has nice big buttons without too many of them, so I think it may serve well (if it works as advertised).  But now that I have your good list of suggestions, I may get a 2nd one.  I like Verizon FiOS cable/internet/phone service, but their remote controls even frustrate ME.  I wish Verizon would use the same remote control that Comcast used - it never gave me any trouble.  I don't need a remote with bigger buttons for myself (yet) but I need one that actually registers the buttons I push firmly and at a normal speed.  So I will get a 2nd from the list of suggestions.

Second, I'm concerned by changes in Dad's preferences and understandings.  10 weeks ago, Dad liked the way I steamed vegetables.  "Cooked, but still firm".   Now, suddenly, he wants them soft.  He used to like to tell how a former-co-worker-turned-chinese-restaurant-owner said the secret of veggies was to "cook until crisp". Now they must be soft enough to separate with the edge of a fork.  He can still use a knife well enough.  It occurs to me that that is the way his mother cooked vegetables...

I considered dental problems.  Dad had a twinge from a tooth infection when he first came here.  The dentist couldn't decide between 2 teeth, so he prescribed anti-biotics, then a root canal operation on the infected tooth ("because the infection will return").  The estimate was $950, and Dad is miserly.  So he might be hiding a tooth problem.  But he happily eats the raw carrots and celery I give him with his lunch sandwich.  So I think it isn't the "raw veggie" that is bothering him.  It has to be some sudden preference change.  Do old folks change that fast?

I've mentioned before that Dad likes to watch Fox News all day.  He asked today why I won't sit and watch TV with him.  Well, I don't watch much TV to start with (things to do, I like to stay active).  But you don't have to be a communist to not love Fox News.  They raise the hair on the back of my neck.  And it is hard to be in hearing range of the TV (which of course has to be loud because Dad's hearing is fading).  So I try to stay usefully busy "elsewhere".

Third, he is having greater difficulties with mechanical things.  The TV remote is one example (see above), but its not JUST manipulating the buttons.  He is worse at understanding what the buttons on the remote and the screens on the TV even MEAN than just a few weeks ago.

Take the program grid.  It shows the time along the top and channels down the side.  He used to have difficulty remembering how to scroll up and down the list.  Now he doesn't understand what it IS.  On the remote, I have tried to reduce the explanations to simple "Channel Up or Down" and "Volume".  He is losing the understanding of that.

Fourth, he is dozing off more often during the day.  He doesn't believe me when I tell him he dozes off a dozen times a day (that I know of).

Fifth, I catch him standing in place for minutes at a time, hunched over and unmoving.

Sixth, every hot day, he complains that the kitchen ceiling light is broken.  Every day, I explain that the fluorescent light ballast doesn't work well in hot weather (hot attic exposure) and needs to be left on when he leaves the room.  Every day, he turns it off every time he leaves the room.

Seventh, Fox "News" has been his channel of choice for decades.  Today, as I left to go grocery shopping, he was stuck on the TV listing screen.  I asked him if he wanted me to change it to Fox News.  He asked what that was.  Quite frankly, if he forgets about Fox News, I will be delighted.  But that he forgot it is a concern.

Eighth, I allow Iza out with me sometimes.  I let Marley out with me (as a test) last week.  Today I let all 3 cats out with me.  I did it with Dad watching, and I told him that I was doing so.  He watched me let them out.  10 minutes later, Dad was on the deck asking me if I knew there was a cat outside.  Never mind that he was seeing me standing next to 2 of them and taking pictures.  His memory was not 10 minutes long.

There is more, but that's sufficient.  Dad is getting worse (in some ways) quickly.  In other ways, he is doing fine.  If Dad's brain is a house, some rooms are staying relatively clean and functional.  Others are completely falling apart.  It's hard to watch.  I can adjust to most of the changes.  If he wants his brocolli boiled to mush, fine.  If he needs help with the TV, fine.  If he thinks I don't get a newspaper each day, when I set it on the middle on the dining room table, thats fine.

But there is a day coming when he won't be able to manage his personal hygiene.  I'll have to give up at that point.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Dad, Walking

I love it when Dad walks around the yard.  He stops to look at the flowers.
 And he goes back to look where the groundhogs burrow.  He remembers things about groundhogs.  Like how they sit up when you whistle at them.  That's from a long way in his past, but he DOES know that groundhogs annoy my around my garden, so he thinks to look for them out back often. 
 Not that he could sneak up on one and see it, but its the thought that counts...
He likes this chair in the shade of the saucer magnolia tree.  I missed him sitting in it, but you can see that he is just getting up from it.  
I don't want to be too obvious taking pictures of him.  He doesn't like being seen hunched over, but that is his reality these days.  I just accept it.
Love you, Dad...

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Hmm...

I don't want it to sound all negative.  There are good points.  Dad appreciates my cooking.  I make him laugh with my rather casual references to his age and infirmities.  Yes, that can be funny.  We both know that neither of us will live forever, and when I make a joke about it, he can smile.

I don't mean that getting very old and staring death in the face is funny, but there are small things he can accept when I make light of them. 

He falls, and I say that I set the gravity meter wrong again.  When he struggles to sign his name on a check, I tell him I gave him the trick pen again.  When the cats get in the way of his feet, I say they just want him on the floor so he can give them scritchies.  When he sees his annuity check on the monthly bank statement, sometimes I ask him how long he thinks I can get away with it going in there after the Caddies take him to that great golf course in the sky.

Dad knows he is old and fading.  I know he is old and fading.  There isn't a way around that.  Perhaps the best thing I can do is just make things easier for him as long as I can.  A little humor helps.  And I am a bit surprised he smiles at my jokes.  I know what I am doing, and HE knows what I am doing.  He's not stupid, just old.

He is fading.  He's walking worse than when he arrived here 10 weeks ago.  He knows it is harder for him to even sign a check when I even write it out for him.  He knows he is sleeping in the chair in front of the TV (but not how much more often than 2 months ago).  He knows what being 90 means.

For the first time, he is examining the walker.  He asked if I would carry it outside for him to use.  "Would I" is almost insulting, but I know he doesn't mean it that way.  What he means is "I need this, and I know you will help me. WHEN I finally ask you."  I understand that.

I record some of his strangest statements, I take the few pictures I can.  I'm only trying to record his last days for family.  And hekp him the best I can.

I'm lucky in this.  I lived alone.  I was retired.  I was well-off myself.  I had free time.  I was the obvious right place for Dad to be in his final years until he needs professional assistance.  And that time is not yet.

That doesn't mean that Dad isn't often confused (and CONFUSING) a lot of times.  Helping him pay his bills is maddening sometimes.  But we get through it.  That doesn't mean that I wouldn't rather live alone again.  That doesn't mean that the cats wouldn't rather have just ME around.  I don't have to shove at them with a foot in order to get them out of my way like Dad does.  I mean, they really DO get in his way deliberately to seek attention.  THEY don't know he can't just walk around them like I do.

Dad has his brighter moments.  Today, he remembered the speed of light while I had an astronomy CD on, and I was surprised.  Sometimes, he sees the flaws in political arguments of his favored side (Republican).  Not often, but sometimes.  When he asked how I "monitored the deck for failure" (which confused me at first), he also understood that my 16" joists (every other joist double thick) made it less likely that the deck would fail and he felt easier about walking out on the deck.  I love those bright moments when he is still analytic...  There are thoughts in the old brain yet.  And I will keep engaging him in any areas he can still think about.

We continue, two aging guys living together as long as I can manage it...  Him seeing his past in me, and me seeing my future in him.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Frustrated!

I just spent 2 hours online with Verizon agents trying to find a simple device that would help my 90 year old dad change TV FIOS channels, with no success.

There SHOULD be a simple device with big easy buttons that will let Dad change channels. All it has to be is a number pad with big buttons and with a “YES” button. Do you know of any such device?

Even the few BIG BUTTON remotes I found have too many buttons on them.  Dad can't handle that.  He needs something that only has 0-9 and "YES".

Mark