Honor Your Mother and Father

July 16th, 2018 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Mama

It’s been 5 years since I regularly posted my blog. To be radically honest I had so much life hitting me in “real time” I just didn’t have the time or energy to do so. At the behest of one of my students Dad I am going to get back to posting regularly. I find writing to be therapeutic and if it helps others in some way that brings me joy and peace.

I had no idea what I was getting into when I entered into the arena of arranging to care for aging parents. I am very close to my parents so I knew what their wishes where. That had been explained in detail decades ago by my Mother. She always made it clear when the time came that she wanted me to oversee their care. She always wanted me to buy a home with a guesthouse on the property for her and my Dad. A family member upset my mother several times by offering solutions that upset her very much. One was putting my parents in a trailer home and another was splitting my Mom and Dad up. I am not throwing anyone under the bus. It’s just the truth. It upset my Mother vehemently and she called me several times asking me to come to Houston. When I did she assigned Power of Attorney Medically and Financially and so began the process of figuring out all of this. The reality of their aging hit me at the worst possible time. I had a deranged person come to my home in Denton Texas and attempt to murder me on July 2 of 2012. While that was awful in itself I can tell you this from experience. When you get shot the first person you think of is your Mother. I had heard of and read about this phenomena from Soldiers in War and from accounts of shooting victims. The first person I called when my assistant Melissa brought me my cell phone in the ER was my Mom. I told her I loved her and that I was going to survive. The bullet missed my heart by 1 millimeter and lodged in my left arm after exiting my chest cavity.

My Dad went across the street to my Uncle Sylvester’s house and told him what happened. The point I want to to get to
here is that my Mom & Dad were no longer capable of making the drive from Houston to Dallas to see me at the hospital. I know that was tough on them wondering and waiting. My Mom could not see well due to Glaucoma and my Dad had been diagnosed with Dementia. There was some talk of sending a friend to drive to Houston and get my parents. But with me being in the hospital for a week and a collapsed lung and broken ribs and a bullet in me that was not possible. My close friend Trey Smith dropped what he was doing and cared for me for 2 weeks. Just a great friend.

Once I mended up I sold my home in Denton. I was done with Bible Belt lunatics and small town thinking and gossip.
I got an apartment in Dallas at a beautiful quaint place of Lovers Lane called The Cedar Lodge Apartments. It was divine intervention to live in the nicest neighborhood in Dallas for $400 a month. I had several friends tell me the minute they stepped into my Apartment “Don’t ever get rid of this place”. I used it as a hub and for 2 years I personally drove back and forth from Dallas to Houston to care for my Mom & Dad. I found a kind caring lady named Socorro Banda to help. That was divine intervention as well. Her name even means helper in Spanish. Mom had me put 23 acres she bought before we were born on the market so that we could have money for their care. We got a lot of offers and decided to try a different route. My Mom is probably one of the most astute persons with finances I have ever met. She had taken a liking to a Jewish friend of mine named Moische Rosenbaum. She had me call him and ask his advice. I told him what we were facing and he said something no one else though of. Not my CPA, not our Realtor, me or any of my family thought of this, not even my Mom. He said, “I love your Mother. She is a very wise person. However it’s your turn to take the reigns and manage the estate on their behalf. That is why she appointed you. She trust you”. Here is what he said to do:

“Don’t sell the land, you never sell land. They aren’t making any more of it. Go to your Mortgage Company. I know what a great relationship you have with them. You have never missed a payment. Take out a mortgage against the land and use that to take care of your parents.” It was a brilliant solution and I did just that. I mortgaged $150,000
and that was a God send for us. It allowed me to hire Socorro as a full time caregiver for my parents. She bathed them, prepared their meals, fed them, took them to church and on walks. I would drive down once a week to do the big stuff, Dr. Appointments, Hospital stays and surgeries and to pay Socorro. It was great and we did this for 2 years. After that point my Dad’s dementia worsened to where he was a fall risk and a risk to wander and get lost. One weekend when I was not there my Dad accidentally shot out their sliding glass doors with a Pellet gun. Another day my Dad got upset and ran out into the street and fell and broke his arm. Socorro did the best she could do considering the circumstances. She called 911 and the police and ambulance came. The police would have to put my Dad in a jail hospital and that was not good. So Socorro had the ambulance take him to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Houston. Ironically the hospital I was born at. I drove down that Sunday and went to get my Dad out of there. It saddened me deeply to see him there. it was just like the movie “One Who Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” You go through $150,000 very quickly paying for full time care for 2 elderly persons. After 2 years of this we were back on the edge of what to do at this point. My Mom was very lucid still and Dad was along for the ride even though we were seeing the dementia worsen.

We had a few different options but I knew ultimately what my Mother wanted. I put their home on the market for $350,000 with a realtor friend of my Mom’s. We had no offer for 3 months and I was sleeping on my parent’s couch during that time stressed to the max. We almost lost everything a couple of times. Finally my brilliant Mother had one last hurrah up her sleeve. My Mom’s instincts kicked in and she had heard the neighbor they had so much trouble with talking with a realtor. She sensed that the neighbor was sniffing around about buying the property. She had me call a friend of hers son and hire him and fire our realtor. My Mom then had me list the house at $415,000?

A little counter-intuitive eh? That’s the brilliance of my Mother. Within 1 week we had an offer of $400,000 which we accepted. It takes savvy and moxie to raise the price of a house for sale at $350K by $65K to $415,000. Especially after not one person looked at it at the previous price. It ended up being the neighbor that did not like my parents that bought the house. At first under a pseudonym, I think he was worried I wouldn’t sell to them. I also think my Mom raising the price forced his hand. He was scared she might even raise it more. She probably would have. The lesson here:

Don’t sell yourself short. My Mom brilliantly utilized this tactic her entire life. I learned this from her.

We sold the house and had and estate sale and put plans into place to grant my Mom’s wishes. My Mom had a friend who was in an assisted living facility in Houston called The Conservatory. She had called and offered to buy my Mom and Dad lunch so that they could see the place. My Mom was reluctant to go because she had already made it clear 20 years ago she did not want anything to do with Nursing Homes and Assisted Living. I knew that but wanted to get clear on all options and give her a chance to see her friend before she moved. We went and toured the place. The staff gave me a hard sell and it was a nice clean place. I could tell my Mom’s friend wanted them to be there. I felt like there must have been a referral fee or something. That Conservatory called me for months and months after I declined on my Mother’s behalf. Extremely annoying and the cost of the place was against everything my Mom wanted and believed in.

After lunch I took Mom and Dad out to the car. Once I got them in the car safely. I got in to drive and asked my Mom “What did you think of the place?” She immediately said “Please don’t put us in there” I said Mom what do you want?

She said “I want to go with you Eric” I said “all the way to Dallas?” She said “yes honey”

That was it, decision made and it was such an honor and relief to be able to grant her wishes. I got a great Realtor in Dallas named Sandy Luedke. She has a ton of moxie and after we found the perfect house together we found out it just went under contract 15 minutes before we saw it. It had that guest house Momma always wanted. I told the Realtor
that we had the cash and to let the seller’s realtor know we wanted it and would pull the trigger immediately. I told
her do everything you can. I got a text from my Rabbi Dan Lewin the next night saying “Hang in there Eric”

Sandy called the next day and said the buyers got cold feet and we were in. I could not believe it, it had to be divine intervention. I took Mom and Dad to Dallas with me. While we got the house ready I put them up at my little $400 a month apartment. I cried a little watching my Mom at 81 and my Dad at 85 slowly climbing those stairs. They were tears of joy. To know that I could do for them what they had done for me. I slept on the floor that night and gave them my bed. It was the best night of sleep I ever had in my life and I will never forget it as long as I live.

Stay tuned for the 3 year tale of living in Dallas and caring for them here.

Have a great week

Everyone Knows My Drinking, No One Knows My Thirst

August 7th, 2015 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

I remember when I was 17 driving my Red
Toyota pickup down Ella Boulevard in
Houston, TX. I had a track by the great
guitarist Allan Holdsworth blaring on my
Sony radio. My friend Alex was with me.
The track was called ‘The Devil Takes
The Hindmost’ I just loved the sound of
Allan’s guitar, the floating chords, and
then that guitar solo. That incredible
guitar solo. Years later as I pursued my
dream in music I met Allan
professionally. We hit it off instantly
and became friends.

We are lucky in life and often when you
are ready in your life to take it to the
next level you will meet the perfect
person to help you do so. It has
happened to me so many time I know
anticipate it. If your dream is big
enough where you can accomplish it by
yourself it’s probably not big enough. A
few years ago I was working with Jimi
Tunnell on a track that ended up being
my track ‘Words of a Song’

We had this drum beat that was upbeat
and catchy but Jimi felt it was just
‘too cute’ for the original track. You
never know where you will end up using
something. So I saved it. A friend of
mine was going through a crazy challenge
with addiction. I had never seen
anything like it up close and it made me
think of an old Irish saying ‘Every One
Knows My Drinking No One Knows My
Thirst’ I got out a pen and paper and
within minutes I had a song in the
works. I like to work with the best. So
I had the great bassist Mikel Combs lay
down a fat bass track. Then Jimi added
keys and I put down the vocals. I then
mailed the track to Allan Holdsworth and
he blew me away with one of his most
incredible solos when he sent it back to
me. I then had the one and only Bernie
Grundman Master it. As a final touch we
had my long time artistic collaborater
Aaron Pendland animate the music video
for us. It’s fun and funky but there is
a message a little deeper there as well.
Here it is:

https://youtu.be/27kYosWNs-8

It’s just in time to jam to as we wrap
up this hot summer and head towards the
fall. Please share with all of your
friends and family. We went with a fun
nod to Japanimation and my beloved Ford
Crown Victoria. There are also a few
other clever surprises in the video if
you watch very closely.

All the best and make aand download it
on iTunes, buy the CD at Amazon, friend
us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and
subscribe on YouTube.

Wow social media is such a part of our
lives these days. I look forward to
seeing you in person at a show this
Fall. Much Love and stay cool.

All the best,

Eric
http://www.erickeyes.com

Drones

January 27th, 2015 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

I love working with mavericks and movers and shakers.
This is one of my favorite shots from the set of our
music video shoot in 2011.

DSC_0573

Mick Cevallos is on for sure. We were using drones
when we shot “Words of a Song” in Austin way ahead
of the curve. You did not even have to get a permit
yet the technology was so new. In just a few more
years these things will be dropping off Pizzas at
our homes.

All the best,

Eric