Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What Did I Tell You?

If you have been a loyal reader of this blog, you will know that one of my mother's enduring obsessions is about her bed. In the almost 4 years she lived with us, we moved her bed, accompanied by her extremely heavy, extremely ugly, teak headboard, in and out of her room at least 4 times.

I should say, Anthony moved it.

She gave her bed to my daughter, then took it back.

She dreamt about it (often involving men entering her room in the middle of the night, tee hee), talked endlessly about it, and caused me unending grief, moving it around, getting appropriate pillows for it, and fending off her monthly attacks about how it needed fixing of this or that.

We moved said bed to her new abode in the the retirement residence. She's been sleeping on it there, for about a month now, on the same pillows she had been sleeping on here, for the past few years.

I should have known it was too good to last.

A couple of days ago, the phone started ringing. I didn't answer it. It was my mother.

She called over and over, about 20 times in a row, refusing to leave a message. Finally, in what must have amounted to a fit of frustration, she left a whispered, desperate-sounding message.

"Delia, I need my bed. I need my bed, you HAVE to bring it here, with my headboard. And I need my pillows. I had them just last night, but now they're gone" (I guess she figured that same pesky man had slipped into her room in the middle of the night and stole them).

"You may have to hire moving men, but go ahead and do it, I have to have my bed. And the pillows too. I think Alexander is currently sleeping on my pillows."

Oh, I see. I guess my SON crept into her room and took them!

Can it get any kookier?

Well, yes, it can.

Last night, Anthony and I moved more of her clap-trap from our house to the retirement residence. I took two feather pillows for her...not the ones she'd been sleeping on for the past four years (she already had those), but a couple of old ones I wasn't using any more.

She accepted them, but reluctantly. She insisted Alexander was sleeping on her old pillows. This despite my repeated assertions that Alexander is deathly allergic to feathers and has never slept on a down pillow.

Then, the really kooky stuff came out.

In the same breath that she accused my son of having the pillows, she blithely told us she'd been "shopping" about 3 weeks ago, and had bought two new pillows. She'd had them on her bed, until suddenly, POOF, they disappeared. So, which was it, I wondered? Did she want the old pillows she thought she'd been sleeping on for the last 4 years, the ones my son apparently had stolen to sleep upon? Or did she want the new pillows she'd mysteriously purchased without a word to me, and that had now apparently also disappeared.

I looked at the two pillows on the bed, the ones she'd had all along, her pillows. Who could dream two such innocent objects could cause such a  kerfuffle?

My jaw was swinging in the wind, I'm sure, I was so surprised by her pronouncement.

Shopping? My mother doesn't shop anymore. She has no way of getting anywhere, would instantly get lost, and besides, she's hardly capable of walking to the end of the hall in her new abode, never mind through a mall or department store, without almost crashing to the ground.

I asked her who she'd gone shopping with.

"I can't remember."

I asked how she got there, and where she went to buy the pillows.

"I can't remember." Her voice was getting shrill. She doesn't like being crossed, even in the mildest of manners.

I asked how she paid. Nothing had shown up on her credit statement (other than the usual myriad of drug charges and hair appointments).

"Oh, I DON'T remember! she cried.

"But I DO remember reaching out and taking two pillows..." Her voice trailed off. "I bought new pillows, I'm certain of it." You can't imagine the smug look on her face as she insisted upon this "fact."

Apparently, this fragment of a dream was what convinced her she'd gone shopping.

For pillows, of all things.

But as I've said, Sally's most enduring obsession is with her bed, and all its accoutrements.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

When's It Gonna End?

In my last post, I complained about how much I had to do this week. It irritates me that so much on the "to do" list is not about me, my husband, or my children. I wonder how all of you out there feel about this issue?

Do you enjoy doing selfless acts? Do you volunteer your time for charities? Do you spend dozens, even hundreds, of hours every month helping your parents and/or in-laws?

Anyway, looking back on the list, I see that I've finished #s 2, 4, 7, and 9.

We have partially finished #s 1, 3, 8, and 10.

Numbers 5 and 6 still await. Gack.

I forgot to mention in my last post that the back door to Dori's house was kicked in when we arrived last weekend to begin cleaning. Didn't look like anything had been stolen, but then again, it's really hard to tell because of the insane clutter. I suspect it was either John, or one of his druggie friends, though he denied it to Anthony.

We left the place with a dining room chair propped against the door handle in a rather pathetic attempt to bar further entry.

Next week, I have my book club meeting, and I have absolutely no time to pick up the book and try to finish it. I haven't gone to a movie in years. The last trip I took anywhere, big or small, was over a year ago. Both Anthony and I gained weight over the summer (too much easy living!), but are struggling mightily to find time to exercise.

I recently listened to some women complaining that they are busy and that they don't have enough time for themselves. Boy, I know that feeling.

But these same gals had just announced they were taking the day off to go see a movie (one of them had already seen it but wanted to see it again) and fill the day with pleasant things they wanted to do. Hey, the kids are back in school, they said. This day is for us, and us alone. An entire day. I can't remember the last time I had an entire day to do what I wanted (except for our two weeks of family time this past summer, at a near-by rented cottage). 

One of these women seems to constantly go away for the weekend, every month or two, to "relax and recharge." She and her husband do this several times a year, little trips to Montreal for shopping and eating, etc, etc. The also take big trips to places like Paris.

One of them even complained just the other day that she needs to retrain, because she didn't like her old career. This posed no real problem for her, in that she could afford to retrain, was accepted into the program of her choosing, and had the liberty to take the time to do it. But she complained about it.

I find it hard to listen, sometimes.

On the other hand, I realize that I usually fill this blog with complaining!

I guess everyone feels like they have no time to themselves. It's all a matter of degree, and for example, even the women I mention above feel badly done-by, though in fact they are remarkably privileged. They just don't realize it, they've been so sheltered all their lives.

So my new (I should say renewed) goal is to complain less and recall just how privileged I am.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

This Week

To do list this week:

(1) Respond to an RFP (request for proposals) for a writing/editing contract. This is a huge job that I'll have to tackle with my business partner and some associates we're bringing on board for this proposal;

(2) Meet with the editor of a prestigious publication to discuss the possibility of snagging a six-month writing gig with the Kookytown-based organization that puts out this journal;

(3) Rent a van and load said van with my mother's furniture. Deliver same to her.

(4) Before that, pick up the items on a list of things she wants (face cream, goodies, etc.) and drop off at the same time we deliver her furniture. Also, give her her God-damned elastic stockings, which she continues to harass me and the staff at the residence about, every day.

(5) Continue bagging garbage and sorting through the incredible mess at Anthony's mother's house. We started on the weekend, but only got 2 bedrooms more or less emptied. We will try to put everything we can curbside on every successive garbage disposal day to gradually empty the place. Last weekend, I placed a Kijiji ad that invited people to come and haul off furniture for free (most of it is junk, or broken-down). That worked well and we got rid of the dining table, several chairs and a sideboard.

(6) Try to find the time and energy to go through over a year's worth of my mother's medical receipts, in order to claim on her insurance. She had always done this for herself, but apparently she stopped about 18 months ago, never saying a word to anyone, until we found the piles of receipts. It's a significant amount of money, so I'll have to try to tackle it sooner or later. She is too confused to do it any more.

(7) Find a podiatrist who will go to my mother every month to tend to her tootsies. This may be easier said than done.

(8) Continue to develop a plan around organizing a 25-year reunion for next spring. Why did I decide to do this? It will mean meeting university officials who will help plan the event, tracking down lost colleagues, and undoubtedly endless hours on the computer. Luckily I have a former class-mate willing to help out.

(9) Haul myself and my son to the clinic for our monthly allergy shot. 

(10) Deal with the usual household stuff. You know: groceries, laundry, cleaning, dog-walking, back-to-school details for the kids, relating to the contractors who showed up last week, painted half-the-front-of-the-house, and then left, much to the amusement of our neighbors, banking (on my own, and my mother's behalf), meal preparation....................AAGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sigh.