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Posts Tagged ‘mom’

My “Master’s Daughter” lives in South Bend, Indiana, approximately 125 miles north of us. We only stayed one night but wanted to see her Army son, who was home on leave.

We visited her from our home, which is about thirty miles south of Indianapolis, a couple of weeks ago. My mother is experiencing some memory loss, especially when she is really tired and nothing tires her out more than a road trip. By the second day of being away from mom’s home, our drive conversation went like this.

Five minutes after leaving daughter’s home, and with another 3 hours plus to go, mom apparently recognized something and said, “Oh, that drive was shorter than I thought, we’re almost home.”

Then, this was the discussion just outside of Indianapolis.
Mom: “Someone’s barbecuing. Can you smell it? Which house is it?”
Five heads crane around looking at a field and a gas station, and wondering why anyone really cares which house is barbecuing. But, a minute later there is a house with smoke coming from the yard. The woman has a super sniffer.

Mom: “What’s that noise? What’s wrong with the car?”
Me: “It’s the road, Mom. The surface is different.”
Five minutes later: Mom: “What’s wrong with the car? There’s that noise, again.”
Me: “No, it’s just the road mom. They had to repair the surface.”
Next time we go over a different surface.
Mom: “There it is again. They do it at every intersection. It’s for safety.”
Needless to say, the surfaces were random.

As we are beginning to enter the Indianapolis area:
Mom, “Oh, there is the Hardees. I wondered where it was.”
Me, “Ah, mom, that is the Hardees in Indianapolis. The one where you live is across from the Arby’s, which is by CVS, right around from your apartment.”
Mom, “We have an Arbys?”

Mom, “This road is like the Dan Ryan.”
Me, “It is an expressway, so, it is a lot like the Dan Ryan only with less traffic. There are empty spaces.”
Mom, “Who was Dan Ryan. Don’t you wonder who Dan Ryan was?”
Me, Silence. I have never once wondered who Dan Ryan was. I have sworn at him a couple of times, but I have never wondered who he was.

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For many years, probably most of her life, mom has been on a search for the “perfect” stuff.  She loves stuff and is a salesman’s dream come true.  Show her an advertisement for a new sandwich at a restaurant, or new snack food, or new Foreman cooker, or any other new thing and mom is in line to get it.

 

And, whether she is looking for curtains, or sheets, or walkers or George Foreman grills, mom wants what she wants and it better be right.  Workers at Customer Service desks all over the city cringe when she walks in the store.  They know she has taken home their best, found it wanting and is back to return it.

 

Although, she does not always return it because sometimes she takes too long to decide, or it is just not worth the effort and she gives it to members of the family.  When my kids were young, I rarely left her house without an arm load of goodies and neither does anyone else.

 

Now, I do understand her wanting the “perfect” of something. I mean, why spend your hard earned money on less?  But, mom is very particular on what she wants, and sometimes you just have to accept that they do not make it in that “color/style/fabric/size or quality.”

 

I am afraid she is on a quest for the perfect whatever that does not exist.

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Today, I have a bruise.  No, that is not a joy of aging, that is a natural result of being clumsy, and it is an integral part of our story for today. 

 

Before my mother moved into an apartment, she stayed with us in our finished walk-out downstairs.  I don’t like to admit my mother lived in the basement, so I say downstairs.  It sounds cruel.  However, the first family (no, not the Obamas) the family who built on this property, lived in that basement, as a house the whole time they lived here.  It wasn’t until they sold the property, that the next owner built an upstairs to the finished walk-out basement. 

 

While mom was living here, she had her dog (Irritating Little Chihuahua) with her.  Chihuahua weighed about eight pounds at that time and is definitely a lap dog.  She would rather walk on your legs and lap than on the floor.  Now, mom’s skin is getting thin and she is very sensitive to touch and I would constantly hear mom yelling at Chihuahua about stepping on her legs and hurting her.

When mom moved to her apartment, she decided it was best to leave Chihuahua here.

 

Lesson for today:  

Do not judge another person’s pain until you have walked a mile in their shoes.  Or, in this case, had a 7.2 lb Irritating little Chihuahua walk on your bruises.   

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Poor mom is still in the hospital tonight.  She has several infections, double pneumonia and walking pneumonia.  She was dehydrated and is so unstable that they are transferring her to a rehab facility to try to help her.  And, Indiana has snow over ice on the roads and I cannot get out to get there.  But, at least I know she is being taken care of. 

JRock has gotten home from his guitar lesson tonight with the offer, by his teacher, to give him lessons once a week, for only $10 over what the twice a month lessons are.  He is also working with him on harmonizing, so that JRock can sing and play with him at the Muddy Boots Cafe, in Nashville, Indiana, twice a month.  So, he is on a natural high right now.

On another note, EMT boy has finally had the “homework” slam.  For the three years he has been with us, I have seen him do homework about three times.  This is his final semester, of his senior year and he came home with two hours of homework.  He maintains a 3.1 to 3.5 GPA, so I can not complain, but he was not a happy camper tonight.  Welcome to the real world, boy.

Next week, he starts doing RN training at the local nursing home.  This is not the same home that mom is being transferred to, unfortunately or fortunately.  It is hard to know which way it is.  She seems to have taken a liking to her IV monitor machine.  The nurses say she talks to it and that it calls her Mom.  What will technology think of next?

So, that is mostly my day.  Hope yours has gone well.

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I do not do spring cleaning.  Frankly, I think that spring is a time to be outside; cleaning up broken limbs, tilling, planning, plotting and getting ready for all those unspoken promises your yard has for you, but your time and energy fail to finish.  Okay, maybe I’m just talking about me here, but I start spring with big plans and finish with some tomatoes.

 

This is fall and holidays and visitors and time for the fall “de-clutter” cleaning.  I have unchained myself from my computer.  My final book edit is in Chapter 6 and while I do remind myself, daily, that the last two chapters are but a shadow of their selves-to-be, I am taking time to get my muscles moving again to de-clutter and clean.   Before I get back and figure out how to make my homepage be what I envision.  Then there is my writing blog, MySpace, and something called Twitter.  All of which must match the look of the website. Will I ever catch up?

 

Where does all this crap come from, anyway?  I mean the junk in my house, not all the stuff on the internet, although that is a good question.  I still have things mom left here, for me to go through, when she moved into her apartment three years ago.  Since she is talking about coming back, she is very ill, with all four of her heart valves leaking and her veins giving way from the pressure, she will need some help. I think I had better make some room around here.  EMT boy will be moving on to college or the military come spring, so we might just use that as a time to move mom back here.  It’s up to her.

 

But, first, I have clutter to evaporate.  Just why do we need two monopoly games?  Actually three if we count the wall of stuff Gaffer has stored here yet.  Or, an antique, ripped satiny sleeping bag?  Or three scanners?  Or these antique computer towers?  No one watches the VHS tapes anymore.  And, I literally have 10 Rubbermaid’s of paperwork that I have swept off my desk to attend to later.  Most of that will probably be burnt.  And, then there is that irksome visiting rabbit. 

 

Just when I was getting attached to her, she up and bit me.  She likes to do her own interior decorating and had worked tirelessly to put her blanket in the ceramic bowl she likes to sit in. Ceramic bowls are cold on rabbit’s butts..  I imagine they would be cold on anyone’s bare butt.  Stupid me, I was going to give her some lettuce, carrots and alfalfa, so I took the blanket out of the bowl and got bit.  I think a simple sneeze, like irritating little Chihuahua does when she is irritated with you, would have sufficed.

 

So, we shall let the rabbit have her clutter and I will concentrate on the human’s clutter. 

 

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Mom used to sit in the window, even if I was outside all day, and watch me. I knew I was under her watchful eye and I was used to it.  But, I was also sure, that she was convinced that someone was going to kidnap me.  Hence, she was on alert. There had been Romany’s camped at the edge of their property occasionally, when she was a girl.  They came to her mother and purchased chickens and even paid mom’s little sisters to sing and dance for them. 

 

Now, from what I have read, in the fifties, when I was little, most people felt safe and secure, except from nuclear fall-out.  They still seemed to have some faith in their fellow Americans, but not my family.  Dad’s credo was, “If it happened once to someone, somewhere in the world, it will happen to us.”  This led to a lot of fear of—well, of everything.

 

For this reason, it became a joke between my brother and I that we had actually been stolen from a Romany camp.  The reason mom watched out the window was her fear that they would come and take us back one day.  After all, we did seem to have different politics from our parents, and neither of us seemed to have much of the Obsessive Compulsive gene.  But, we certainly inherited their “not so good” health genes.

 

I am sure mom agreed that I did not belong to her when I went through my “late hippy” period. 

 

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I did forget a story mom told Master’s daughter and myself, before she fell asleep in the motel. 

 

She and dad were visiting a relative many, many years ago and dad was very upset because their shaggy dog was drinking from the toilet

 

Picturing the state of the toilet, I could see this might seem gross to him. Our dog’s dish was washed regularly.  And, dogs like to lick their owners. So, I can see where that might gross out my obsessive parents.

 

But, mom said that was not it.  The truth, she told us, was:

 

“He was afraid to get dog hair on his butt.”

 

 

I shall leave you there with all sorts of visions in your head, as Master’s daughter and I dissolved into laughter at the possibilities.

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When my mother’s essential tremor started developing, she went to the doctor. Since she is a poet, it caused her quite a bit of frustration. She could not make notes, when she got ideas, at least not so she could read them back.  If you remember something that was marketed for kids (I think in the 60s), and I think it was called a “crazy writer” then you have an idea what her handwriting looks like.  It was a pen that you put batteries in and it vibrated back and forth. That’s mom’s handwriting.

 

She decided it was time to go to the doctor and find out what was wrong, and hopefully get something to fix it.  After explaining the situation to the doctor, he examined her and then said: (Note, the line spacing designates the pauses the doctor took, in his story.)

 

“You know, this reminds me of my grandmother.

 

“She started to get a tremor, like yours.

 

“And, then it got a little worse,

 

“And, then it got a lot worse.

 

“And, then it got real bad.

 

“And, then,

 

 

She died.”

 

What a bedside manner!

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I came from a television family, my dad had the first television on our rural block and then studied, evenings, to become the local repairman. TV has been the background of my life.

 

Mom has a debilitating heart condition now and spends a ton of her day in front of the television. She cannot walk very far on her own and that has, needless to say, slowed her down considerably.  She has an electric buggy but does not use it much unless I am around, because mom never learned to drive. GASP!

 

Yes, children, there are people in the world who have never learned to drive.

 

When she was sixteen, her brother took her out in the farm yard to teach her. He later declared she had sideswiped a cow and was hopeless and never took her out again.

 

My dad acted like he was teaching her to drive, but only actually offered to teach her when she 1. Had a cake in the oven and couldn’t leave or 2. It was Christmas Eve and snowing; thus making sure she never learned. 

 

NO ONE drove my dad’s car (my brother and I were both taught to drive by our mates) and he was not going to make an exception for her. Beside, dad was rather of the belief that women are to be taken care of and not allowed to learn to think for their selves. Yes, a chauvinist extreme.

 

What does all this have to do with TV, you ask? Well, if mom was comfortable driving, she would be tooling all over Martinsville, Indiana in her scooter. She wouldn’t be afraid to enter the elevator with it. Getting in and out of the elevator is kind of scary yet and we work on that every time I am over. It is a tight turn.

 

But, for now, she sits and watches tv. She likes to watch “Little People, Big World” and “Some obnoxious woman and her beaten husband and their twin daughters, one of whom is an obnoxious child and the other who is ignored, and their sextuplets, many of which are brats.”  And, apparently, the whole family likes to hit each other on the head. I do not watch it, so I’m not as up on it as she is.

 

Secretly, I think mom likes it because the children are so out of control, and maybe the families are dysfunctional. The husband on “Little People…” overextends and leaves projects unfinished; thus reminding mom of my father, who measured shelves every year for twenty years and never did get the shelves put in until they were ready to sell the house.

 

I’m not sure why she enjoys bratty children? I plead the fifth.

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I was killing time this morning, like I have so much extra to kill, well, I really do, I just don’t want to do what I should be doing with it.  Somehow, I think this sentence has way too many commas in it.  I copied and pasted it to MSWord and they are not offering any corrections, so any editor/agents out there, just pretend I meant to do that—Stream of consciousness thing and all.

 

 

 

Anyway, in killing time this morning reading all the neat blogs about Sarah Palin and now I have added an Alaskan blog *Mudflats* to my daily read.  Who could resist this information?   Okay, now that’s another thing you agents/editors need to ignore—my politics.  I was actually going to write about an email I received from a friend, who is so stressed out about the state of politics, I fear for his sanity, but then I remembered that I am not supposed to write about anything controversial.  Ooppps!! Too late for that.

 

 

 

Anyway, again, I only got as far as C’s, in my daily blog troll.  *Cranky Fitness* provided this morning’s blog inspiration with her list.  First, I have to say, who can resist a blog with cupcakes as its banner?  Okay, a nice piece of wedding cake might be better for us cake connoisseurs.  Since her blog is about fitness, I’d say this whole cake thing is off limits; except on your birthday.  Or when you go to a wedding.  Or on the Ides of March. Or—–

 

 

 

This, cakes and lists, is something I have in common with *Pollyanna Rainbow Sunshine and the Needles of Doom*.  This is the team who has a whole blog, nearly  (I haven’t read the whole thing yet) made up of lists; and, I know for a fact that one of them would join me in my cake quest or possibly in doing many unmentionable things to Viggo Mortensen.  

 

 

Back to the lists: I find I do get more things done when I make lists. When I was doing Body for Life faithfully, I think it was the fact of having a chart to fill out for exercise and also for what I ate. Those were lists that kept me on track; and away from cake.

 

 

 

Now-a-days though, my lists look something like this.

 

1. Six am  do dishes- no room for dishwasher in this blasted house.

2. Seven am wake boys

3. Feed visiting rabbit and clean the poop out of her food and water dishes.  What is her problem?

4. Water dog, then take her for a walk in the yard and to water the garden.  Talk lovingly to baby watermelons. We will be so drowning in watermelons at some point.  Tomatoes are just starting to get red.  I may go on a tomato and watermelon diet.

5. Call the class ring company and order a replacement for JRockGuitarMan’s class ring.

6. Remind JRock that I will have his hide if it ever disappears from his finger again.

7. Tell EMT Boy he looks good in suit of visiting son, Starky

8. Tell Starky he looks good in cowboy hat, boots, shirts and jeans of EMT boy.  (Hey, they get worse as Halloween gets near.  One year we gave them a box of costumes for Christmas and it was their favorite gift.)

9. Go to mom’s town tomorrow: see vet (for dog pills, not for me), go to license bureau (for mom’s handicapped tag), help her with pacemaker check by phone (which she can do on her own), out to eat (always) grocery store, farm stand for tomatoes and watermelon since mine aren’t ready to pick yet. (never buy a watermelon at Marsh — worse one I ever had). 

 

 

 

I have stretched my limits of punctuation and patience in this blog, so am off to work on my novel to bed.  I shall put my headphones on and listen to Harry Potter yet again.  I have been listening to the CD’s for three years now.  Since memoiries from my last visit in Wyoming roll around in my head too often at night.  The CD’s only put me to sleep because I have them memorized by now. So, new books on tape only work when I am painting or throwing pottery and want to be reading.  Music doesn’t work either.  Both of them just make me stay awake to hear more.  But, my brain calms right down with the soothing voice of Jim Dale.

 

 

 

Sleep well!

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