Sunday, June 28, 2009

let's take a step back here . . .

Wow, six comments! The most I’ve ever had in my blogging life. I am thrilled. And so happy to welcome Miss ColleenQ whose blog I’ve been following for awhile and Susan. I need all the feedback I can get. David (I didn’t know responses were space limited either but I’m glad you kept going till you got it all in there); you are right—I have so few personal contacts that when one turns sour, it does indeed link together with every hurt from the past and become overwhelming to me.

My daughter and I are okay—she understands and babies me when she realizes I am on my last nerve. She and her husband know that the way to scare me silly is to hint jokingly that they might get divorced some day. They are both so busy with normal life—and she’s had to find time to be with my mother more since she got sick, so it has been a strain on them. But I guess what I meant by pressure was only her own desire to be in two different places at once.

Yesterday I did the chicken cooking thing. My daughter arrived at my mother’s house with my mother and her two best girlfriends for a girls’ weekend celebrating her birthday. One of the friends, in 15 minutes, attacked a part of the garden that was way overgrown, and cleaned it out—it looks fab. I was going to do that but when my mother sees it she always greets each plant and says things like “I know that’s a weed but it’s so cute . . .” that I figured well, she wants it there. And then my fear of snakes . . . I couldn’t find gloves long enough to make me feel safe digging around in there. Anyway, that’s DONE and it looks so good. More than once I have gone home from my mother’s house with my car trunk stuffed full of trashbags of weeds—I have yard waste pickup at my house—so this time, I did that again, but maybe for the last time.

I’ve been watching the cake guy on TV, and have been fascinated by how they do those fancy cakes, and meanwhile a great hunger has been building inside of me—a desire to dive into that frosting and filling in the middle, so I went to my regular grocery store and a rather small one (1/4 sheet cake—supposed to feed 20—if each person could be satisfied with a 2”x3” portion, but I don’t know anybody who would be satisfied with such a small piece). Anyway, we were so full of chicken and mashed potatoes/gravy, that we just took a picture of the cake and then split it between us to take home and eat later. I’m not going to reveal the measurements of the portion I brought home with me.

Oh my God!!! I just saw on my home page that Billy Mays was found dead—he was 50. I’m starting to feel like these reports are some horrible joke! I had to cry about Michael—because I felt he had so little happiness in his life. I remember in about 1990 I had a quote pasted to my typewriter (yes, typewriter) that said something like “talent does what it can; genius does what it must,” and it was Michael that I was thinking of when I cut it out. I picture him on Thursday hearing of Farrah’s death and feeling bad about that, popping another pill to combat that sadness and, ooops, that was the one that put him over the edge.

I’m going to mow the lawn. And think about everyone I love. And, if not pray, try to wish or channel some strength to those who are hurting. "We’re all in this together—keep your stick on the ice."

Sunday, June 21, 2009

World War III didn't work

You are correct, Miz Angie—I am the only constant in this story of continually being unceremoniously dumped by men for no reason at all (remember Lulu, the little cartoon girl who was constantly complaining that her mom spanked her for no reason at all—I always got a kick out of her). I’ve been thinking and thinking about your comment and thinking and thinking about well, what is it that I did or do to bring this about. I can’t think of nothin’. Except be me. The thing that bothers me the most—I made huge behavioral changes in my life and stuck to them because I didn’t want to be the floozy anymore. The changes were not easy to stick to, and the resulting and lonely life has not been easy to endure, but I did it, and to be STILL treated as if I were behaving floozyishly is very upsetting to say the least. However, if this is the worst that ever happens to me, I need to get a grip, don’t I, in spite of the fact that such things take me back to a very painful place in my mind and it’s hard to get out of there at times. I just now had the weirdest realization—I might be grateful for the buttload of irritation that I’m constantly getting from my sisters because it drug me out of that place. In my spare time though, I hope to think of some retribution for Mr. Faxman that will be quiet and invisible, but painful and untraceable back to me.

Meanwhile the adventures of my mother’s life continues although they are now mine to handle. Years and years ago we used to enjoy watching river otters tumbling down the brook to the beach near her house—they were like little boys repeatedly coming down a slide and then scrambling back up it to be washed down again. River otters—a name we gave them and I don’t know if it is a correct designation—are not like the darling fat ocean otters you see in a zoo, that float on their backs and crack clam shells on their stomach. River otters are more like weasels, but who loves weasels, so we refer to them as otters. While we were thinking that they were just enjoying the waterslide, we didn’t know they also took a liking to the underside of my mother’s house where they would gather and tear out insulation, using the area as a bathroom and a dining room, leaving empty oyster shells there. Tiny bits of muscle left on the shells can make a powerful stink as the summer temperatures rise, and then there’s the smell of the poop and pee. Of course, their point of entry was covered with strong metal screen many, many times, but these otters have talents like raccoons and always manage to remove the barriers eventually and get back in there.

A few years ago my mom and her neighbors jointly hired a trapper guy (who knew they even still existed—mountain trapper guys) who managed to catch and remove many of them from the area—billing her one time for six otters (and one possum but he didn’t charge her for the possum). Then he spread coyote urine all over the place and a couple of years did go by otter-free. How do they collect coyote urine, I wonder. And in the absent of coyote urine, will Black Lab urine do? But again, how does one get a quantity of it to spread around?

But I digress.

I recommend that everyone out there who has a daughter make sure she marries a carpenter. They are a necessity, believe me. Marry one yourself if you can, but you know, guys just don’t live forever . . . .

Anyway, my daughter and her husband stayed overnight at the house the other night to screen off the otter area again, and do some other small repairs. The next morning they were laying around in their jammies and who should show up bright and early except sisters #1 and #2, with a realtor in tow. All were shocked and surprised to see each other.

I guess my World War III flurry of e-mails didn’t open up the channels of communication because they had told me nothing about their plans to meet with the realtor so I could be there. My darling spitfire of a daughter—she held her tongue relatively. Sister #1 said “You’re mad because we didn’t tell your mom about this, aren’t you. Well, we’re going to, I promise.” As soon as they left my daughter called me at work and we discussed how awful they are for a few hours, and when I got home there was an e-mail from Sister #1 telling me about what she’d learned from the realtor. Nothing that I didn’t already know—they can’t estimate value because each property there is so unique, but based on the tax assessment . . . A nonanswer actually. And the house needs to be cleaned out of all but the most basic furniture—another thing we already knew but I wanted to wait until my mom dies to sell it because selling it will break her heart and mind completely and since I’m the only one who sees her regularly, well, that will be tough to watch.

Yesterday, Saturday, my mom and I discussed it as I told her what they were doing. I offered to make an appointment with her lawyer where, if he judged her competent enough, she could remove them from the POA. She read her POA for the first time since the stroke and was shocked to see that we are completely in control of everything about her. But, amazingly, at the end of our discussion she suddenly let go and said okay, let them sell the house (the money will go to her, of course, a fact I’m not sure the sisters understand). There are still things I can’t figure out like where are we going to put everything my mother wants out of the house into her studio-sized apartment where she now lives. That’s one of those things I just can’t think about right now. I will tell her to take it up with the sisters.

But when she said let them do it, a huge weight fell off me. My back and stomach stopped hurting. She knows. She didn’t die or go into a vegetative state. The worst is over. I will not assist with any more cleaning or repairing. I will let them do what they want to do. And I will let them do the work of it.

One more hurdle—I have to tell my daughter this. Not looking forward to that.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

my miasma

I wonder if anyone else has this occasionally, a malignant miasma settles upon me and my life becomes nothing but frustration.

I will be chugging along, minding my business, and suddenly all my contacts with other people become toxic, they take offense at anything I say, every project I attempt will contain invisible errors that result in great inconvenience to everyone and make me look stoopid, and friends all of a sudden do not like me.

I’ve once again been dumped at work by a man I had no relationship with (except outrageous flirting on his part while I continued to joke back with him). This has gone on for years. This guy is funny and I love funny, and so every time we saw each other, a lot of funny dialogue went on. All of a sudden though, when he had to come to my office to get faxes, instead of coming in and chatting while waiting for them to come in, I saw his arm snake around the door frame while the rest of his body remained outside the room. I laughed and said “what’s that all about,” and he curtly said “I’m in a hurry,” and ran off with his fax. Since then he has not spoken to me and most times sent other people from his section to pick up his faxes. I mean CONSPICUOUSLY not speaking with me. Once I realized he was not speaking with me, of course, I stopped speaking to him, and when we pass in the hall I look everywhere except at him (I don’t know what he does with his eyes, because I am not looking at him, you understand). This whole thing seems stupid and inconsequential but my old insecure self is hurt by this and wonders why people think it’s okay to treat me this way. It feels very grade school and hurtful and as usual, instead of wondering what’s wrong with him, I can only focus on what’s wrong with me that people treat me this way. My boss even noticed the change in this guy’s behavior and asked me what’s going on with him. I don’t know. But it hurts, and it’s embarrassing to be put in this position because it has caused several co-workers to look at me curiously.

Then my daughter and her family were planning to come to my mom’s house this weekend and help me entertain her. That got cancelled on Friday, as she was pressured instead to attend the graduation of her husband’s niece and a visit from her stepdaughter. This was all understandable and things I agreed she should do, but the thought of another lonely weekend killed me and I was on the verge of tears all day. In a later e-mail she joked she’d be down there next on her birthday weekend and she’d like me to fix her favorite fried chicken (Texas style—fried with lots of salt—I admit I do it well as I was taught by her father, the only downside is that one must stand there in the steam and heat of the stove and actually oversee the cooking). First I bravely e-mailed back that I was disappointed but I would live, but when she wrote me later about the chicken cooking, I couldn’t help but write back that no I don’t feel like jumping up to cook you chicken when I’m devastated about your cancellation and if you don’t watch it, you’re getting fried frog legs (I understand these are somewhat of a luxury item and fancy people actually like them, but my daughter would be horrified at the thought).

Even my boss seemed short with me—although truthfully his life right now is even worse than mine as he has two daughters trying to get married in the same short period, at different locations, and they need money, money, money, and will he call around and reserve all the venues for all the numerous get-togethers that will now happen at his expense in money and time.

Then the last phone call of the day at work on Friday—I was rude to someone who had no role in this whatever and with whom I often need to communicate and cooperate, and now of course he’s mad at me.

Then my barrista had the misfortune to ask me what I was doing this weekend and I could feel my face fall and tears nearly came out and I couldn’t think of a thing to say except nothin. My weekends SUCK. And I could tell she could tell and now she’ll probably be scared to be friendly with me again.

Here’s what saved me from completely disintegrating at work—one of our section chiefs came in to my boss’s office very upset because she had asked one of her employees (an old dude who is the only one left who’s worked there longer than I have) to do something different in a particular case, and he exploded into rage and told her among many things that she’s the worst boss he’s ever had to work with in all these years. She was very upset and hurt by that. And me, hearing her tell the story to my boss, immediately felt better about everything, as if his outburst defused my impending one. I mean, I saw crazy-stupid there and was able to decide not to go that route because I realize that my co-workers and boss would probably not understand my miasma problem. Close call though.

Luckily, I woke up Saturday morning feeling as if the miasma was gone. My mom and I got along fine and even had fun. But I’ll have to see how things are at work before I’ll know if it’s really lifted.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

the papers

A few days ago I got a hankering to hear Shawn Coombs tribute to Big—based on the Police’s “I’ll Be Watching You.” Now I was never a fan of Biggie Smalls, [in fact, I’d never really heard of him until he was shot]--I’m not much into rap except for Eminem and Kid Rock, but one day in the desert that my life had become after BABNDM (before-and-after-but-not-during-marriage boyfriend) and I broke up [well, truthfully, he left and I broke up], but back to the story, I opened my back door to find a CD laying on the porch and it was that one. So I threw it in the player, and there was that song “I’ll be missing you,” and I hoped it was from BABNDM and not from another guy who at the time liked me better than I liked him. This was just like BABNDM—to do something that would forever leave me wondering—was it him and chock full of meaning, or a nothing-to- get-excited-about thing.

Anyway, the other day, I found it amongst my somewhat alphabetically arranged CDs and played it in the car and then realized that as of June third this year, it has been 10 years since BABNDM died of a massive, sudden, fatal heart attack. And it was June third, the day that I found and played that CD. And hearing it gave me a only a completely manageable nostalgia to hear it—not crippling sorrow like before.

I’ve been busy, recovering from some dental crap that I allowed to happen against my better judgment. I had a bad feeling going into it and predictably it WAS tough to get over it and took much longer than it should have, has made me HATE yogurt although it’s the only thing that it doesn’t hurt to eat, and cost me a week away from work so last week was really tough, getting caught up. But normality is visible in the distance now, and I lost a few pounds and now have jeans I can wear even while sitting down which makes the whole thing almost worth it.

I also caused and conducted a World War III with my two sisty uglers—we exchanged many e-mails full of resentment (mine) and ignorance (theirs)—apparently they were not aware over the last 18 months that I needed help with errand-running and such having to do with maintenance of my mother’s house and garden and weekly visits to her in the assisted living place where she now resides. They felt it would be easier for my mother to adjust to her new life situation without them occasionally visiting her—wouldn’t that just remind her of all she’d lost and reopen the wound?—I was of the opinion that only interaction with people she loved would enable her to maintain her personality—if I have to be the only one involved, I wanted her to still be the mother I knew (and complained about for my entire life, to be sure, but still . . . ) and not the empty shell that some of the residents there appear to be. However, since they disagreed with that theory, and had resentments of their own against my mother—they ignored her and had not visited with her since November 2008.

They awoke from their stupor six months ago when I removed my mother’s important papers [property deeds, etc.] from a safety deposit box at a bank she no longer used, and since she didn’t have a safety deposit box at her new bank, and it was not open on weekends and I cannot get to her town on the weekdays because I am at work on those days, I put the papers into my safety deposit box at my bank and e-mailed them about that.

Oh my goodness, this woke them up, let me tell you. How dare I do such a thing, I was trying to keep these papers from them and that is ILLEGAL [we are all three named on a durable power of attorney]. I said fine, one of you open a safety deposit box in her new bank just to show you’re willing to do SOMETHING, and I’ll put the papers in there. I didn’t hear from them again, and I completely forgot about the papers until a week or so ago when they discovered I had not opened a safety deposit box in the new bank, and again they wrote me saying this is ILLEGAL and I’m trying to keep them out of her affairs.

So I took another day off work and opened a box in my mother’s new bank, put the papers there and e-mailed them when that was done so they could go there and sign for their keys to it [and if they had time, to please F themselves]. They got right on that and went there the very next morning [I doubt that they Fd themselves as instructed though]. And then in a flurry of e-mails, I completely emptied myself of all my resentment toward them and they responded with surprise at my anger. The final message from me was to let me know when they have questions or concerns and I will answer—but not to wait until I’m not angry anymore because that is a state I never expect to attain again. Our relationship as sisters is over but at its best, it was never good anyway. It is not a loss to me but a relief.