Monday, June 27, 2011

Ready, Set...

Our holidays are almost upon us.

Alexander has finished his grade 9 classes, and Kathleen has only a couple more days of grade 7 to go. Then, we head off on adventure.

My mother will be staying in a posh seniors residence while we come and go throughout the summer. She's to return to us mid-August.

Helping her prepare for this change has been as irritating as I predicted, although I've tried  a new tack this year. Every time she obsessively asks me the same questions over and over, day in and day out, instead of answering her, I just say: "You don't need to worry about that. We'll take care of everything."

It calms her for perhaps an hour. Then she starts again:

"I need to put these GICs in the safe deposit box."
"Are you sure there is enough money in my chequing account?"
"What about towels? Will this place have towels?"

Every little detail that enters her head becomes a mountain. She was up "all night" last night (according to her) thinking about all the details. And in truth, all she need do is place a few items of clothing of her choice, into a suitcase. That's it.

Anthony and I have and will do all the rest. We got cash for her. We topped up her chequing account. We picked up all sorts of yummy goodies for her to munch on while at the residence. We've left all our contact numbers with the staff there. We will fetch her suitcase tomorrow and I've done all her laundry, which can be placed into it. We will get her a few bottles of good wine as well.

She need not think about a thing. But that's all she does. Thinks, over thinks, obsesses and becomes shaky and confused. She won't stop. It makes me quite sad.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Why Our Health Care System is Gone to Hell

A couple of days ago:

Sally: "I have a podiatrist appointment coming up..."

Me: Sigh. (this means I must get my mother to the local hospital. Yes, you read that right. She gets her toenails clipped, courtesy of our lovely medical system, for nothing. Every month. In a hospital. Since 1943, if you ask her, but I think that's the kookiness talking. I figure it's more like 1973).

Anthony: "Again?"

Sally: "Of course. They need it. Delia, you will take me there?"

Me: "Sigh."

Long pause.

Anthony: "Boy, I wish someone would cut my toenails." (so do I, actually, but I digress)

I know he said it to make light of the topic. But Sal took it to heart, of course.

Sally: "Anthony! You should call my podiatrist! It will be free! Your insurance will cover it, I'm sure!"

Anthony: "Mrlghelwrhf;sdljf......"

Anthony had really done it. Sally is nothing if totally obsessive, these days. Once mentioned, she won't drop it.

Sal: "Really! Call your insurer! You should go! They'll cut your toenails! For free!"

Sally's version of "for free" actually means "everyone else who has actually worked hard and paid a lot of taxes will pay into this system and then I will get my toenails clipped, for no apparent reason, for free. Wheeeee!!!!!"

My mother isn't obese (well, OK she is). But she's not really obese. Just borderline obese. She's always been like that. She doesn't have diabetes. But she's had her toenails clipped at the hospital, for the last 40 years, because she whined about having to bend over, for so long, to a bunch of medical people who couldn't take her whining anymore (I'm guessing here, but why else would she be able to get a prescription for a free pedi every month, without a valid medical reason?), that they gave in and wrote her a ticket to ride. Or a ticket to clip, more appropriately, I guess.

Only in Canada, I say.

Anyway, Sal was on a roll, and kept urging Anthony. He kept trying to convince her that his insurance would NOT pay for him to get his toenails clipped at the hospital.

They finally separated, by mutual consent, after each realized the other would never believe the point(s) trying to be made.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

June: Can We Just Get This Over With, Please?

June is the busiest month, just as September is the sickest/suckiest.

Here's why we will all be exhausted by the time June is over (and luckily, holidays will follow:)

-School is wrapping up, with all the tests, parties, ceremonies and general year-end busy-ness that entails;

-Kathleen, who is scheduled to the hilt with extra-curricular activities, must also wind-down with events like THREE days in a row (WHY, I ask?)of dance dress rehearsals and performances, and a Royal Conservatory piano exam to really add to the load;

-Anthony's  workplace is on strike. As Anthony is part of the non-unionized staff, he is crossing picket-lines and gritting his teeth. Stress, anyone?

-both kids have caught the flu. Who gets the flu in June? That's supposed to happen in Sicktember, not now;

-I've made arrangements for Sal to stay in a luxurious retirement residence over the summer. But the hard part awaits: getting her ready, and then getting her there. And making her stay. Lord help me.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Bed. Again.

My mother asked me about her bed again. She wants that double bed back in her room.

I honestly feel like I'm going to go insane over this issue.

Before she moved here, I told her she'd need a single bed because her room wasn't large. She agreed to trade beds with my daughter. So when she arrived here we (and by "we" I mean Anthony) placed my daughter's single bed in my mother's room. The mattress was almost new, nicely firm but not rock hard, and in almost pristine shape.

"This works out wonderfully," I thought, foolish twit that I was.

My mother's double bed arrived from Winnipeg about a week later, and went into Kathleen's room. Kathleen slept here-and-there during that week. We all bent over backwards to accomodate Sally.

A week after Sally's bed had arrived, my mother said she wanted it back. So we switched the beds. And again, by "we," I mean Anthony. He hauled the  8000-tonne teak headboard (read "ugly") and double bed from room to room. Kathleen was miffed, and I don't blame her.

You can't "give" something to an 11-year-old girl and expect that she'll happily give it back because you "changed your mind" about the gift.

After two days, my mother announced that we were right: the double bed was far too big for the room. "Move it back," she commanded imperiously.

Anthony obeyed. By now, his back seemed permanently broken by all the moving and the %$**& teak headboard.

Kathleen was over-joyed and rearranged her room accordingly for the presence of the double bed.

Since then,  like clock-work, my mother has demanded her bed back every month or so. She looks surprised when I tell her we (and by "we," I'm pretty sure you know I mean Anthony) isn't interested in playing the "moving man" game another time.

She uses excuses such as:
(1) we moved it out of her room one night when she was asleep (missing the point that she would have been asleep on said bed at the time, and if Anthony thought the teak headboard was heavy, it would have been nothing compared to the whole ensemble including my mother's snoring, reposed body), and that was sneaky and not very nice, and she wants it back, thank-you-very-much.
(2) the quilt she brought from Winnipeg fits a double bed. When I suggest that we can easily buy a smaller quilt to fit the single bed, if that's what she wants, she loses eye contact and repeats the fact that she needs her bed back.
(3) her bed is her "life." That's a direct quote, folks.
(4) even though Kathleen has been sleeping on the bed for over two years now, that shouldn't be seen as a hindrance to taking the bed back. Kathleen should just suck it up. 

Since I refuse to yank the bed away from Kathleen yet again, Anthony and I priced double beds yesterday. For the kind of quality my mother wants, it's going to cost at least $1500. That's quite a bit of cash, considering the fact that I know Sally will sleep on it for around two to three days before announcing it's too big, and that she wants the single bed back in her room.

Did I mention the fact that this issue is slowly but surely driving me insane?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What Do You Do?

What do you do when:
(1) you have no place to go where you can be alone?
(2) you don't want to be where you're stuck with everyone?
(3) you don't know what else to do?

Oops. I guess I just described the lot of most mothers and wives.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Which Way the Wind Blows

 It turned hot recently in Kookytown, a blessed relief from the crummy cold spring weather we've been experiencing.

My thoughts fly to summer. We're almost there. I can't believe another year has zoomed by.

Dealing with my mother is almost becoming routine. To that end, I recently booked a 6-week stint for her in a local seniors residence, over July and half of August. I'm drooling just thinking about it.

So here's today's top ten of thoughts occupying the uppermost space in my brain:

(1) the weather is downright weird. Freezing cold one day, sweltering the next. It's so windy today, I'm worried that Kathleen will get blown away walking home from school.
(2) weather weirdness or not, summer is almost here! We've booked ten days of travel, a further week of cottage time, and a long weekend of camping.
(3) THEN, Anthony and I will more-or-less get two weeks of  "alone-time" in August, while the kids are with their father, and my mother is still at the residence (hopefully, unless she hitchhikes home, which I wouldn't put past her).
(4) Did I mention I'm drooling?
(5) My work contract is done, and I'm free, more-or-less, for the summer, from the constraints of slogging somewhere to labour for the man (actually, it was a woman in this case, but it's a saying, right?).
(6) Ergo, I am likewise income-free, but not too worried about that for now. Did I mention it's summer!? I'm content to let the wind blow me around, willy-nilly, wherever it pleases for the next few months.
(7) An old Winnipeg friend recently contacted me. She is the only person I know, other than myself, who's been married three times. Maybe it's something in the water there.
(8) she has reminded me what an incredibly difficult task it is to remarry and try to combine households. She had a daughter from her second marriage. Her third husband has two boys from his first marriage. Together, they had another girl. So there are four kids with them, plus two really miserable, mean exes. Whew.
(9) I will have to break the news to my mother about staying in the retirement residence. It won't be easy. I'm going to put it off as long as I can.
(10) I just sat down and reread this entire blog. Boy, do I ever talk a lot about (a) my mother and (b) drinking. You'd think I was stressed out or something.