auntbijou: (Golden-eyed Weasley)
Most of the time, I deal pretty well with my mother having Alzheimer's. If dealing pretty well means living 150 some odd miles away and not having to deal with it every day, and avoiding calling sometimes because we have the same conversation every single time.

Some times, I feel like the worst daughter on the planet, and the worst sister.

Other times, I'm realistic about it. My sisters' kids are all grown up and mostly married with kids of their own, or at least independent. I still have teenagers at home, and though one will be starting college soon, the other still needs a lot of time and attention. I remember very well what it was like to have my mother caring for an elderly relative and babysitting a grandchild. Something had to give, and a lot of times, that thing was me. I won't do that to my son.

Every once in a while, though, it'll hit me, and hit me hard. Talking with my mom is an exercise in patience, because her short term memory is non-existent, so she forgets what she's talking about in the middle of a sentence sometimes. Her memories are compressed, so now, instead of my sisters growing up in the fifties and being teenagers when I was arrived as a surprise, now, we all grew up together and are only a few years apart. Then she sees my kids and corrects, but I can tell it bothers her and she can't reconcile it in her mind. That frustrates her and makes her unreasonably angry.

Well, actually, she does have a reason. She knows something is wrong with her memory, but she's not sure what it is. It frustrates her. And it scares her.

Flaky Sister has told me about times that Mom has attacked her or acted out with her, and I've tried to point out that it isn't personal, because it isn't. Mom will be furious with her and sulk... and three minutes later, she's completely forgotten about it. But Flaky Sister, who still has not dealt with her childhood the way the Blonde Sister and I have, can only see Mom through the lens of those years. So everything Mom does is deliberate and personal.

This worries me.

For now, though, there is nothing we can do about it.

This can't go on, though. We're going to have to put Mom in a home. She is already starting to exceed the Flaky Sister's abilities to take care of her. At first, Flaky wanted me to take Mom and put her in a home here, but I find the fact that our doctor refused to give me any kind of clues about what the home was like to be... ominous, and further research convinced me it wasn't exactly the best place for her. Plus, they don't handle Alzheimer's patients. This fact was confirmed for me when pleas went up on our local discussion board for places that do handle Alz. patients when the local home refused to deal with several patients who had reached the combative stage of their illness and wanted them placed elsewhere.

I have taken Mom for weekends, and I've told my sisters that three days is about my limit (they always want four or five). Three days is my limit, because I can't deal with the demand of taking care of my mom and my kids, and deal with my own issues.

Which my sisters conveniently forget, mostly because they don't see me all that much anymore.

I have Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, which is an autoimmune disease, and while at first, it just made me really tired all the time, now if I get a little virus or infection, it's like getting slammed with a brick wall. Seriously. Christmas 2013, we got the flu. My husband was up and about in two to three weeks. Me? I was down for nearly six months! I got over it and started getting better, and thought, well, I'm back to normal now, okay, yay, life!

Then I got a flu shot. And had an infection in my gums.

I'm still recovering.

It's like my immune system has turned into this hyper overprotective mother who has to completely overdo things and then turns around and punches my thyroid for reasons.

Where my mom is concerned, you have to be completely on your game. Seriously, her memory may be spotty, but that woman was sharp in her prime, and she still has her moments. The only difference is now, when she's angrily laying down the law or ranting about something, I can nod, and then say, "Look, Mom, DUCKS!" and it completely derails her.

It helps that we actually have ducks.

I once sat and watched I Was A Male War Bride on Netflix with her four times in a row. Why? Because every time the movie ended and the screen returned to the title page, she'd get excited and say, "Oh, let's watch this one! I've never seen this one before!"

The first two times, I tried to remind her we'd just watched it, but she had no memory of it, and I'd gamely start it back up again. After the fourth time, my daughter took pity on me and distracted Grandma with her art.

Oh, and I can't leave her sight. She'll look for me, so this makes going to the bathroom tricky. She's a fall risk now, and my sisters would absolutely kill me if Mom fell while in my custody and broke herself.

So my limit is three days. Three days on a weekend, because let's face it, we have to tag-team Mom. So that means two adults and two teenagers, plus three cats and three ducks, to manage one little old frail 87 year old woman who may not have her memory, but still has no trouble getting in trouble.

I still, however, am determined to find a group of willing bikers for a prank photo op. I want to take a photo of my mom astride a Harley, or some similar huge machine, with a big burly biker sitting behind her, grinning, and the rest of the gang around them, grinning. I want her hands on the handlebars, and maybe a bandanna around her forehead. Maybe a leather jacket on, too. And I'll send it to the Flaky Sister. And wait for the incipient heart attack.

That should pay her back for the four and a half days she left Mom with me nicely!

No, I'm not vindictive at all!

Shining through...

Thursday, October 17th, 2013 10:42 pm
auntbijou: (Steven Fry LOL)
Every once in a while, little glimpses of the woman my mom used to be comes peeking through...

So, I was talking to her today, and while we were talking, Flaky Sister walks in to show her something. The first I hear of it is Mom saying, "What's that?"

"It's broccoli, Mom," I hear my sister say.

"Huh," says Mom thoughtfully. "Okay." Then after a long pause, she says, "Is it supposed to be brown???"

I nearly fell out of my chair, but managed not to laugh out loud, because I was dying to know the answer, you know?

"It's dehydrated," I heard Flaky Sister say with exasperation in her voice.

"I see," Mom said politely. "That's... interesting."

"I'm gonna take it back to the kitchen and put it on a plate so you can eat it after you get off the phone," my sister said.

"Okay," Mom said. "That's fine." And then, after a moment, when she was sure the Flaky Sister was gone, she leaned close to the phone and said, quite emphatically, "I'm not gonna eat that."

Yeah, I completely lost it at that point. And I don't blame her one bit!! Brown broccoli??? WTF?????
auntbijou: (Default)
So, what has Auntie been up to lately?

Coping, mostly.

The Impertinent Daughter has recovered from her concussion and is back playing soccer. In fact, her final game is next week.

The Impossible Son is also playing soccer, and is doing well. School-wise, however, math continues to be his Achilles heel, and I have gotten to the point of throwing up my hands. Seriously, his math problems are not going to improve without outside intervention, because he is being confused between what the school is trying to teach him (and I'm using the word "teach" very lightly here) and what we're trying to teach him. Getting his teacher to send home homework has been like pulling hen's teeth. It's frustrating and excruciating watching him try to do what little gets sent home.

He's making A's and B's in all his other subjects. He's got a really high grade in science! But he's making D's and F's in math.


And then there's my mom.

Okay, so... Mom is in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's. Yeah, I didn't see that one coming at all. But then, we know almost nothing about her mother's family, because she was raised by her father's family, and they couldn't stand her mother's family. So, for all we know, there are people in her mom's family who had Alzheimer's. People in her dad's family tended to be as sharp as a tack up until the day they died. Some of them had strokes, but even paralyzed and unable to talk, their minds were still sharp and clear.

Mom is getting vague and dithery, and forgets what she's said half the time. Her short term memory is going. I already knew that. This, though... yeah, really caught me off guard. It's really difficult to accept that this bright, intelligent, sassy woman is going to... fade away.

Okay, I can't write about that any more.

Anyhow, she gave us a scare earlier this week. Got up and didn't feel right, went to call the Flaky Sister, and by the time my sister got to her, Mom couldn't talk and was glassy eyed. Flaky called 911 after getting her back in the bed, and she was rushed to the hospital with a suspected stroke.

After some tests, however, they determined she had a Transient Ischemic Attack, also known as a T.I.A. or mini-stroke. They gave her some medication and within the hour, she was back to her normal self. Or, as normal as she gets these days. They kept her, though, because she needed to be checked over, and decided to go ahead and run some tests she's been needing, but been avoiding (because she hates hospitals). She should be coming home today, though.

I've been staying in contact with the Blonde Sister through all this, because we decided after an event earlier this month that the Flaky Sister is simply not allowed to call me and "let Auntie know" what's going on with Mom. Why? Because the Flaky Sister is simply incapable of telling me, "Mom has bronchitis and they put her on antibiotics, oh, and when they did a chest x-ray, they figured out she has very light emphysema."

No, it's more like, "Mom's been feeling pretty bad, she's been coughing so hard she shakes and so we took her to the doctor and after an x-ray, they found spots on her lungs, and she now has emphysema, so her smoking when we were kids is coming back to bite her in the ass, and the doctor wants to put her on a bronchodilator, but I said no because it will make her heart work to hard, and she'll freak out, and we won't have her with us much longer, so you need to start accepting that now."


The Blonde Sister's version? "Mom's been coughing, so we got her in to see the doctor. She has bronchitis, and while he was listening to her chest, he heard some extra wheezing, so he sent her for x-rays. The x-ray came back clear, but there are signs of mild emphysema. However, two days of antibiotics and the wheezing has cleared, so it's not affecting her too badly. Funny thing is, when she saw the doctor last week about the cough, the doctor wanted her to take Mucinex to loosen the phlegm, but for some reason, she heard it as "Benadryl." And so she was taking that, but not only that, she'd forget she'd taken it, and would take more, so that's why she was all woozy and dizzy and sleepy all the time. I've hidden the Benadryl so she can't take it any more. Other than that, she's fine!"

Yeah, I'm not liking Flaky Sister so much lately. If she doesn't watch it, I'm going to give her a good whack upside the head with a Clue by Four.


And I am soooooo not looking forward to next week. The Impossible Son will be taking the S.T.A.A.R. tests, which have taken place of the TAKS testing that has been the bane of our existence over the last few years. He'll probably do just fine in science and reading, but math?


It's hard not to feel like I'm failing him in this. It's hard seeing him struggle like I struggled. And it's hard to feel helpless. Dammit.
auntbijou: (Golden-eyed Weasley)
Okay, first... Friday night, I was on-line chatting, something I don't do often because (1) don't really have the time because of my Little Interruptions and (2) sleeping, I really like doing that when I can! But, I was chatting and really enjoying it when I heard something very large crashing around in the bushes outside my side-yard window.

Now, this is something we hear frequently, and it usually turns out to be a cat, a raccoon, a possum, or a lost dog. If it's a cat, we shoo it, if it's a raccoon or possum, we leave them alone. If it's a lost dog, we check for tags and either leave the gate open, or call the owner to come get it.

However, this was... large. Like... sounding like a drunk elephant large. And seconds later, the Impertinent Daughter texted me frantically that there was something outside her window and it was freaking Calcifer out to the point of hissing.

Well. That's new. So, being a brave and intrepid Auntie, I grabbed a flashlight, yanked on some shoes, and went out into the night to beard the Dragon, so to speak. And realized a few things.

(1) We have no lights whatsoever on that side of the house.

(2) It's really dark over there, because we have very little in the way of street lights in our town.

(3) I am 5' 3", didn't grab a baseball bat like I usually do, and was only armed with a mini Mag-light.

I shone the light into the bushes and started to stomp my way into the side yard, and... didn't, because it suddenly occurred to me what would happen if the critter in the bushes was on two legs instead of four. Already had the phone in my hand pre-dialed to 911, but you know, that just isn't enough, right? I shouted out for any person possibly there to come out, and nothing. Tossed a ball into the bushes to startle any four-legged creature into sprinting out.. and nothing.

That's when I decided to tell the daughter it was a possum and to go back to sleep.

So, yesterday, I was telling the Husbandly One about it when we heard a ruckus outside in the bushes again, except it was daylight and... we went outside to see what was going on.

This time, it was a squirrel hung up in a window screen, but it got itself sorted and took off into the bushes. Fine. So, THO and I went to look in the side yard, because we'd speculated about the big noise the previous night being a dog (a month ago, we'd had a stray dog settle himself in the bushes of the side yard quite happily). And... found something we had not expected at all.

Item One: Two milk crates shoved into place behind the bushes under the Impertinent Daughter's windows, convenient for standing on for viewing purposes through said windows.

Item Two: The wooden fence on that side is leaning INTO the yard.

Item Three: A nice little path through the grass and plants from the leaning in portion of the fence straight to the milk crates under ID's windows.


Then THO said, "Oh, the fence has been leaning in for a while..."

I said, "You know, a path that established takes a while to pound out."

It was rather startling to see the amount of fury building in my husband's eyes. And for a little while there, I was all for pounding down the door of the creepy neighbor's house in order to strangle one or more of their sons.

I am speaking, of course, of the Fireman and the Coffee Lady. However, upon further thought, I'm not convinced it was necessarily them. Why? Because, unlike our yard, theirs is open to the street behind us by expedient of having a large cattle gate in their fence, rather than a wooden one, and it has openings large enough for someone to just bend down and slip through. Plus there are handy garbage cans and barrels to stand on in that corner of their yard to use to climb the fence.

We've decided it would be worth it to install motion sensitive lights on that side of the house. And heavy shades for Miss Impertinent's windows.


The second thing to happen this weekend is that my mother called Friday afternoon and said she and the Flaky Sister were coming to visit on Saturday. Oh, well, at least I got 24 hours of notice this time, and not a call from my mom after they were already on the road!!

It was most fortunate that THO and I had already made a start on playing catchup, after two weeks of everyone being sick, because last week, the house looked like goblins had invaded and trashed the place. So there wasn't a lot to do other than cleaning the kids' bathroom, cleaning the kitchen, and tidying up in general. However, it was at some point Friday night, before I started chatting with [personal profile] keiramarcos and her minions, that I stopped myself from doing the manic "OMG-I-have-to-OCD-clean-EVERYTHING!!!" and said to myself, "Why am I doing this?"

Yeah, it was one of those moments. You know, the self-epiphany thing? And it all came about because of something I had said to my mother a few weeks ago, after Mom had gotten upset because the Flaky Sister had gotten sarcastic after a rather heated exchange between the two of them. I had said, "Mom, Flaky is 62 years old. She's more than an adult now, and you don't have to raise her anymore. Plus, Flaky, Blondie, and I all inherited Daddy's Smart-Ass Gene™, and you can't hold it against us. It's our sacred right to be sarcastic, especially when we're mentally exhausted, tired, or just plain cranky."

And Mom agreed.

Well, I was about to drive my family nuts with a frantic need to spotlessly clean my house when I thought, "Wait a minute... what am I doing? Why am I working so damn hard for approval I am never going to get from my sister??"

See, I had gone through this sort of epiphany about my dad back in my mid-twenties, so you could say I was sort of overdue this with my sister. The Flaky sister has a tendency, like my dad, to be hyper-critical, and to set impossible standards, and expect me to live up to them, and to withdraw affection and approval when I don't live up to them.

I started wondering when that became so important to me, when it hadn't really mattered before.

I have never been a model housekeeper. I never will be. My house will never, ever be spotlessly clean, nor would I want it to be. It will always be, at most, organized chaos, because I will always prefer spending time with my husband and children to spending time cleaning my house. Unless they're helping. And really, the only people I need to please are the three people who live with me. It's their opinion that matters to me, and if they don't have a problem with the way I do things, then... that's all that matters to me.

My husband loves me very, very much. And I love him very, very much. He pretty much knew what he was getting when he married me. He knew that I'm an indifferent cook, but I'm one WHEEE!! of a baker. And he's pretty okay with that. He loves me for my wit, my sly sense of humor, my fierce loyalty, my thinking abilities, and my extreme mattress-dancing skills. If my kitchen skills aren't quite the match of his, that's fine with him, and that's all that matters.

I had to remind myself of all of that. Because the Flaky Sister has the ability to make me doubt all of that, and I had to wonder when I gave her that power over me. Because it never mattered before.

That's some pretty stunning realizations to make about oneself, you know? Which is probably why I went online for chat, to distract myself from it, because believe me, the stress was incredible.

And Saturday, it was just worse. I actually asked the Tall Blonde to come hang out for the duration as a buffer because if there is one thing I know about my sister, she won't misbehave in front of company. She'll work at tearing me to shreds in front of my husband and children... but not in front of strangers! And while I realized that her opinion doesn't matter a hill of beans to me any more, I kind of need some time and distance to absorb it, and let it sink in, so I can parry her shots with indifference.

I love the Tall Blonde, by the way. She is... awesome. Period.

Had a good visit with my mom, who is looking better. Actually, she looks pretty darn cute, to tell you the truth, with her fluffy silvery-white hair and big smile! It gives me a pang to hug her now and feel how small she is. She's 84 now, and every time I hug her, I wonder how much longer.

So, Flaky was reasonably well behaved, and when they were gone, the Husbandly One made his awesome margaritas and poured one down my throat to combat the Killer Stress Migraine that hit me afterwards. I love his margaritas, they are delicious, and with my low alcohol tolerance, they knock me out pretty fast.

So, that was my weekend! How was yours?
auntbijou: (Death)
I am TIRED, and I can tell you that I have done absolutely nothing to get that way. Except, you know... breathe. Or try to, at least.

And my mother yelled at me. Twice. TWICE!! Yesterday, and today!! Let me tell you something, my mother may be 84 years old and getting a bit dithery, but the woman can still verbally dress you down like a six year old caught with a hand in the cookie jar!! Oy!!

She ripped me a new one yesterday for not wearing a face mask when I went out to pick up the kids from school, "I know you hate wearing them, Auntie, I know you don't like them, but you can't afford to get sick! Not with the crap insurance you have now!! You put that mask on, young lady, or I'll come up there and make you wish you had!!"

Then she called me late this morning: "Do you have a face mask? Do you have it nearby? Do you have your inhaler?? Do you have your nebulizer and meds ready? What? You don't have medicine for your nebulizer? Auntie. WHY DON'T YOU HAVE MEDICINE FOR YOUR NEBULIZER???"

"Um... b-because we have crap insurance?" I ventured tentatively.

It's a good thing we were on the phone, because I'm pretty sure she would have been hitting me with it. In fact, I'm fairly certain she was reenacting that scene from "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" where the mother and the daughter hang up on each other and start banging the phone receivers against the furniture.

I know, it frustrates her greatly, and I know she's worried. I mean, she actually threatened to come up here and take care of me!!

I made sure, when it was time to pick the Impossible Son up, that I texted the Flaky Sister with, "Tell Mom I have my filter mask on," and I sent her a photo as proof.

And yeah, I hate wearing them, though I do admit the necessity, especially now. When I was first diagnosed with asthma twenty years ago, I had to wear the damn things every time I wanted to go outside, because I was that sick. I had just recovered from a nearly fatal bout of pneumonia, and I was basically allergic to the planet. I hated the mask because of the assumptions people made. Didn't help that I had lost a great deal of weight, too. *sighs*

Anyhow, I wore my mask, and... yeah, didn't help much. Because the smoke is everywhere. And so is the ash. Very, very, very fine particles. You see it as a faint haze in the air, and you taste it as a bitter tang at the back of your throat. My inhaler? Yeah, not helping.

I am keeping my fingers crossed and hoping like anything they get that fire put out! Because seriously, nearly 800 houses destroyed?? Way to go, Governor Good-Hair!! Still thinking that cutting the state volunteer fire department budget by 75 percent was a good Idea?? NOW I know why he wanted everyone to pray for rain! With all the cuts, the only hope of putting out these damn fires would be a rainstorm!!

I swear, if any of you, ANY of you vote for that man, I will hunt you down and make you wear extremely lurid and hideous crocheted accessories for the next five years!! And eat zucchini. Lots and lots of zucchini!! WITHOUT SALT!!

Do. Not. Like.

Friday, July 8th, 2011 11:52 am
auntbijou: (Angry Chibi Auntie!!)
Dear Mr. Hopcraft,

Your emails have been a constant source of stress and worry for my mother. You send her the stupidest shit it is possible to find on the internet, which she then forwards to me with the plaintive refrain of "is this true???" Which means I then have to use my Google-fu and Snopes-kwon-do skills to prove to her that it isn't true and is just a silly internet rumor/lie/whatever.

Last week's was particularly fun. Along with your usual OMG, THE PRESIDENT IS A SCARY BLACK MAN WE MUST DO SOMETHING TO GET RID OF HIM HE WASN'T EVEN BORN HERE, you had to send something claiming that Obama had gotten rid of all the flags in the Oval Office and decorated it Muslim-Style!, or something stupid along those lines.

*insert eye-roll here*

However, last night's takes the cake, and it wasn't even really your fault except you probably don't have a firewall on your computer, or any sort of protection, and probably open every attachment you get. So somebody has hacked your email account, copied your entire address book, and probably sent identical emails to the one my mother got to everyone on your list. The thing is, it took forever for me to get my mother to see that an 86 year old man in poor health who can't make the drive or take a flight from Oklahoma to Texas is unlikely, therefore, to take a plane halfway across the country, and then across the Atlantic Ocean to London all by himself.

And if he gets mugged and has his wallet and cellphone taken, and then robbed so that he only has the clothes on his back and (miraculously) his plane ticket (no mention of the passport, by the way), he is more likely to call one of his sons, both of whom are employed and very well off, for help than he is the widow of one of his oil-field buddies who is on a fixed income and unlikely to have the funds needed to "tide him over" until he can fly home. I pointed out that you are a proud, stubborn man who would rather starve than ask for a handout like that. If you wouldn't ask my dad for help, you certainly wouldn't ask his widow for help. And that if you are able to get access to a computer for email with no money, no credit cards, no phone, then something is definitely fishy.

I finally convinced her that it was all a scam, somewhat, but I know she still had doubts. I'll probably have to call the police department in your town and have them do a health and welfare check on you to prove that you're at home and okay before I can be sure she doesn't worry herself into a swivet and decide to wire you that money.

I don't like you very much, Mr. Hopcraft. Before last night, if you were on fire and I had a glass of water, I'd drink it all. But now? You know what? I don't even care. In fact, I'm only bothering about this because you, once again, have upset my mother. And I have a very big problem with that.

So after we get this current crisis solved, I'm going to recommend she change her email address and, if necessary, block you. You're not worth the hassle. Seriously.

no love,

auntbijou: (Angry Chibi Auntie!!)
I love my mother dearly, y'all know that, right?

I think I upset her today, though. Sometimes, it's not just my kids who try my patience.


Poor Mom. Okay, there's this old friend of my dad's, a guy who he used to work in the oilfields with, and he keeps in contact with Mom basically by forwarding a lot of crap to her. You know, the "there's no such thing as global warming, it's a CONSPIRACY!!" and "Bush was a GREAT president, it's all a CONSPIRACY!!" and "universal healthcare is socialism in disguise, we'll all end up communist, IT'S A CONSPIRACY!!" and my personal favorite, "Obama's really a Muslim, and he's not American, IT'S A CONSPIRACY!!"


I used to kind of like him, in a distant, you're-a-friend-of-my-dad-so-I'll-be-polite-and-keep-my-real-opinion-to-myself sort of way, but now? I wouldn't spit on him if he were on fire. Seriously.

Anyhow, Mom and I were chatting, and were about to get off the phone when Mom says, "Oh, Mr. Hopcraft (yes, that's how much I dislike him, I'm using his name) sent me this interesting email about Michelle Obama, want me to send it to you?"

I hesitated, then said, "Mom, if it's bigoted, or says they're not Americans, or says she's stealing milk money from kids or something, then no, I don't want to see it."

"Well, okay," she said, sounding amused, "but it's pretty funny, though I admit, I don't like it. It has me kind of upset, I mean, it's about her clothes, and if it's true, well... I just don't approve of it."

This didn't sound good, so I said, "Mom, I'm sure it's funny, but really, I'm not interested."

"Well, it's just, it shows her in these clothes, and they don't fit right, and they don't look good. I mean, she's in pants and they show her butt, and they show the crease and all, and it's just... not decent. Not proper. And... I don't think she should do that. I mean, she's representing our country..."

I rolled my eyes and said, "Mom, have you looked around to see how people dress now? I'm sure she's just reflecting styles of the people around her."

"She should have more dignity!"

"Mom, if they're pictures of her with her kids, then she can dress how she wants..."

"No, she's with foreign dignitaries! It's just not right!"

I sighed, then said, "Mom, if Mr. Hopcraft sent it, then you have to consider the source. He doesn't like President Obama. He's very conservative. And he's a bigot. I am sure that the person who cobbled that email together found all the shots of Michelle Obama's off-days, or the days where she was having a wardrobe malfunction, or those days that every woman has where she goes, omg, I can't believe I wore THESE pants, I wanted the OTHER navy pants, these are too tight, or oh, no, this skirt shrank in the wash, look, the hem is uneven now, and it won't lay right, and what the hell happened to the zipper?" I sighed. "I am sure there are a lot of photos like that, because the woman can't take two steps without cameras going off. If you take a bunch of those types of shots and throw them together, you can make the case that this is the way it is all the time. And the thing is, I've seen a lot of photos of Michelle Obama where she looked absolutely fabulous and was well put together."

"Well, the news certainly wouldn't show the bad shots, they might get in trouble," Mom said doubtfully.

"Or they might be too decent to do it," I countered. "Mom, I don't want to see that email. It's just going to make me cranky."

"You're already cranky," she said, sounding tearful, and of course that made me feel 2 inches tall.

"I'm sorry, Mom," I said finally. "Look, anything he sends you, you take it with a grain of salt. You already know how he feels, so you already know what slant he's going to put on things. Let's just take it as read that anything he sends you, you should not forward on to me unless you want me to write him back and set him straight."

"No, I don't want you to do that," she said. We talked for a few minutes more, then I had to get off the phone because I was so... frustrated and just wanted to... well, I'm sure you can guess. The man is 86 or 87 years old, and pretty set in his ways, and you know what? What he thinks doesn't matter a hill of beans to me. It only matters that it upsets my mom enough that she wants me to see it, too, and I personally don't want to clutter up my mental hard drive with his drivel. And I don't want it making me snap at my mom when the person who really and truly deserves it is two states away and unable to hear my snarls.

Mr. Hopcraft? Take your hate mails, fold 'em into sharp corners, and stuff them up your rectal oubliette!!

That's my mom!!

Friday, September 3rd, 2010 10:36 pm
auntbijou: (Default)
My mom is soooo much cooler than your mom. Totally.


Because this is the photo she's using on her Facebook profile...

Heh... my mom, flashing signs... *dies of the snickers*

Actually, this was part of a larger photo that was taken at my niece A's 22nd birthday party...

That's Mom, A, and the Blonde Sister. And the crossed hands with two fingers are for "22." *rolls eyes at how dorky her family is sometimes* My mom, though, is teh awesome.

You have all been informed.
auntbijou: made by <lj comm=lvlwings_icons> (Delicious Hot Schmoes!)
Don't know if I've mentioned it, but today is not only the Summer Solstice, but it is also my mother's birthday. She's 83 years old today.

I know I haven't been posting about my family lately, except for the Husbandly One and the kids, mostly because, well... it's been sorta hard to write. And because there's just so much crazy and drama in my family, thanks to Oldest Niece, that sometimes, hell, even I don't want to think about it, so... I don't post.

But I can post about Mom. We went to visit some friends of the Husbandly One in Houston who were having a combination birthday party for their son/movie night thing, and since they live just a hop, skip, and a jump from where Mom lives now, we sort of combine visits. I finally saw "Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-Long Blog."


All I can say is WOW, and why the hell didn't I download this when it was offered for free??

It was all fun, and we really enjoyed ourselves, and the next morning, off we went to visit Mom.

Y'all... Mom looks so much better now. I wish I had taken my camera so I could show you! I mean... she's standing up so much straighter, and she's so much more with it!! She's actually taking daily walks around the neighborhood now, and taking an interest in gardening again!


She looked so cute yesterday, wearing a purple suit with a white shirt, and her silver hair gleaming!! She brought out a dress she wore to my cousin's son's wedding on Saturday, and was so excited, in a way I haven't seen in a long time. It was wonderful!!

It's like I'm getting my mom back!

And the Flaky Sister has improved, too!! Now that she's not getting sucked into the daily stress of her daughter's drama, she's almost turning back into the Practical Sister!! Her color is better, she's feisty again, she's actively working in the garden, and losing weight (it's a good thing, trust me). This move was definitely a Good Thing for both of them! I'm so happy!!

It is a HUGE weight off my heart, I tell you that true! And you know, that house suits them to a tee. I had to laugh, because Mom and Flaky definitely have their own areas. Mom has the living room and her bedroom, which is definitely her territory. And then the Flaky Sister has the upstairs, where she has her crafting things set up on the sunny landing/loft, as well as her computer and TV, and she can just lean over the banister to talk to Mom. Her bedroom is upstairs, so she has her own territory.

The kitchen is open and airy, with room for both of them to work without crowding each other. It's the ultimate in Alpha Female comfort!!!


So... they're happy, I'm relieved, and it was wonderful to have both of my sisters happy to see me and sorry to see me leave!! It was such a nice change.

But mostly... I'm happy that Mom seems to be recovering and getting better again!
auntbijou: (Calcifer)
So, the Husbandly One took the van in to our local fix-it place, which we love because things actually get fixed rather than made worse... and no, it wasn't a thrown rod, thank goodness!

Sounded like one, but no...

The serpentine belt had come loose, as well as a second, and a bearing casing had fallen into the wheel well, and the entire pulley structure had just... come completely apart. Thank the gods and little green fishes that I was in the driveway when this happened, and not on the road, least of all with my son in the car with me!

It's all been fixed, which has made us wildly happy because really, guys, we were so not looking forward to a second car note! Not right now!! Of course, it wasn't making us wildly happy finding out how little trade-in value our Kia minivan has, either. The damn thing is only six years old!!

Oh, well, that's been sorted, and today, THO has driven into Houston to help with the monumental Get Mom All Packed Up for the Big Move project. I've already told Mom that she is simply not allowed to have a stroke, heart-attack, or any other catastrophic sort of reaction to moving. She sort of laughed helplessly and said, "Well, Auntie, I don't know if I could stop it!"

And I said, "No. You're not allowed. I forbid it. Don't even think about it."

She ulped and said, "All right!"

*sigh* I know, I know, it's wishful thinking. She's 83, and she's lived in that house for 60 years. She's sunk her roots in deep and it's going to hurt to yank them up. But... she can't live there alone any more. For one thing, the neighborhood is awful. I mean, she has really good neighbors, but... it's not the neighbors that are the problem. It's the gangs of teenage and twenty-somethings who break into people's houses and beat them up while robbing them. It's the loud, drunken parties who like to take guns outside and shoot up at the sky (when they're sober enough to hold their arms up straight) or in whatever direction their fancies take them.

It's not unusual to find spent bullets in the front and backyards of my mom's neighborhood. Or on the street.

Not to mention the things she's done, like forgetting that she's running a tub and finding the bathroom and hall flooding, or leaving a chicken in the oven to burn to a crisp. So, she and the Flaky Sister have bought a house together, and have sold Mom's house, and they are moving to live closer to the Blonde Sister, which will make it much easier for me to come visit, because that means no longer driving through downtown Houston, AND no longer having to visit one of the more toxic parts of Houston just to see my mom.

I hope those of my f-listers currently living in the Deep Freeze part of the U.S. are staying safe and warm, and have heat where they are. And aren't doing a lot of unnecessary heavy lifting (glares pointedly at Alex). And I am hoping to have something much more cheerful to post, because it seems that lately, my posts have been full of teh suck.

And I am hoping to get back into the groove of writing soon. As usual, the hard drive crash of December has sort of knocked me for a loop, writing wise, but I'm still working at it, still trying to get my groove back. And I've been doodling and sketching, to keep myself distracted from the writing that doesn't work. And thank you, dear [profile] potion_lady for your comment, but you have to admit, only one comment when you make an art post is discouraging to say the least, and tells one that perhaps the art isn't as good as one hoped, at the most! So, I'll leave it up, but I don't think I'll be posting it anywhere else!

And now, I must call THO and see how things are going at Mom's. Everyone have a good Saturday!

You go, Mom!!

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009 05:48 pm
auntbijou: (Voldie Santa)
So, my old hometown, Houston, became the largest city to elect an openly gay mayor last week. Believe me, I was extremely surprised, but very, very pleased when Annise Parker won (YAY!!). 'Bout time we got the good ol' boys OUT.

Anyhow, I was talking to my mom and she said the Brotherly One (who is married to the Blonde Sister) is a little "peturbed" with her at the moment. I asked why, and she said, "Well, he asked me who I voted for and I said Annise Parker, of course, and he got pretty bent out of shape about it."

I said, "Whatever for?"

And Mom said, "Well, he felt that being homosexual was immoral and that she shouldn't be allowed to run for office, and I said I wasn't changing my mind and that he was being narrow-minded and pig-headed!"

"Wow," I said with great admiration. "Don't hold back, Mom, tell me how you really feel!"

She laughed merrily, then said, "Well, you know, if he snarks at me one more time about Annise Parker and her sexuality, I'm going to say, well, we've had presidents, and governors, and congressmen, and mayors who couldn't keep their pants zipped, so I don't see how a lesbian could possibly do any worse!! And then I'll just tell him to shut up about it and get over it!!"

*dies from the awesomeness that is Mom*

That's my mom, folks. I'm so proud!!!


Wednesday, November 25th, 2009 09:17 am
auntbijou: (Dancing Snape)
I just had to say that, because I will be baking myself into oblivion today. Mom has taken over the reins for Thanksgiving this year, because the Salt-Encrusted Ham of Doom convinced her that the Flaky Sister just... should not cook for Thanksgiving. I mean, it wasn't just the ham, it was many, many other things, mostly... it's because after cooking since she was old enough to stand at the stove and stir a pot for our mom... the Flaky Sister just... can't cook. Mom and I were chatting about it a few weeks ago, and reliving last Thanksgiving, and then went on to talking about other meals we've had at the Flaky Sister's, and... *shakes head*
Cut because of length and pictures, omg! )
auntbijou: (icon by <lj user="odyssey">)
Especially for those of you familiar with U.S. tax law.

I was chattin' with my mom today, and she told me something that has me pretty much frothing at the mouth. Now, Mom is closing in on 82, and while she may be dithery about a few things here and there, one thing she is sharp as a tack on is her finances. So, when she said she had something worrying her about her savings account, I sat up and paid attention.

Seems she noticed a couple of charges on her savings account, 12 cents here, 14 cents there, just since March I think she said. This worried her, so she immediately called the bank to find out what was going on.

Hold on to your hats, you're going to love this.

She managed to get a hold of a flesh-and-blood type and asked why she was getting hit with these little charges. The bank employee told Mom that she had undeclared income, and the IRS was charging her by taking those little 12 to 14 cent charges out of her savings account.

Mom said, "What undeclared income??? I'm 81 years old, I'm on Social Security and my retirement from the retail store I worked for, and I don't really make enough to actually file taxes, but I did this year because of my husband's death, so... what are you talking about??"

Well, my dad used to work in the oil fields back in the fifties and sixties. Back then, sometimes the oil company who was hiring my dad's company to drill wells couldn't necessarily afford to pay their bill, so they'd compromise by offering the workers shares in the output of the well when it came through. And for a while, my dad actually got enough of a supplementary income from those wells to make the difference whenever any of us got sick or needed shoes, etc. But by the late seventies, that petered out until it cost more to mail the checks than my parents actually got in the checks. I mean, can you imagine getting a check for 4 cents??

They sold most of their shares in those wells over the years, and by last year, had only one left. It started paying them a whopping ten bucks every quarter. Thing is, they still had to declare all those shares on their taxes, even though they weren't producing much, and they did that faithfully every year.

Okay, so this year, my mom finally got tired of dealing with it, even though the Flaky Sister told her to hang on to that last well, because "It might pay off, Mother, you never know!!" And Mom said, "Oh, honey, that well is almost completely played out! And even if it wasn't, I'm kinda sick of it, you know?" So... she sold it. This year. For $75, because... that was all it was worth. Barely.

That's the undeclared income she's supposedly being taxed on. The $75 that she made this year from selling that well.

Auntie smells a big, fat rat.

So I started asking Mom a ton of questions. Did she get any letters from the IRS?


Did the bank notify her of these charges?

No. She had to call them to find out what was going on.

Has she heard from anyone from the IRS, period?


Now, 12 cents sounds like a piddlin' little amount, right? A small amount no one will really fuss about or even blink at, or maybe not even notice or pay attention to. That's part of what bothers me about it. Why would the IRS, of all people, only charge such a tiny amount, most specifically without notifying her? Oh, and she's called the bank multiple times on this issue, talking to different folks each time and they all tell her the same damn thing.


I thought the IRS has to notify you in writing if they are going to garnish your wages/income, etc, before they take action. This whole situation just sounds... off.

Mom said she is going to go to the bank, and I said, "Whatever you do, do not go alone."

"Well, Auntie, since I can't drive, I'll have to have someone take me, so I won't be alone..." she said with amusement.

"No," I said. "I mean, don't go into the bank alone, don't let them separate you from whoever takes you..."

"Oh, no, no, no," she said calmly. "I have no intention of doing that, believe me. I plan to ask the Flaky Sister..."

"Mom, I'd much rather you take the Brotherly One, please," I said, referring to the Blonde Sister's husband. Mainly because if the Flaky Sister goes, she won't challenge them, she'll just nod and go along with what they say, especially if they make the explanation complicated enough. I would also like for her to get the family lawyer involved. Just because.

So... any of you have any clue what this might be? Because really, I'm at a loss. It's bad enough she's only going to get half of what little was left of Dad's retirement and half of his Social Security benefits without some screwball bank charges being thrown at her to devour what is left of their savings. And she can't sell the house until the will finishes going through probate.

AARGH!!! *rips out hair* Maybe one day, I'll tell you about the royal reaming the oil company Dad worked for pulled on its retirees, but not right now. I"m too... cranky.
auntbijou: (Default)
Talking to my mom can be an adventure. Every time I get on the phone with her, it's a real toss-up. I never know if I'm going to get stories from her childhood...

"I failed English 6 in high school. Why? Well, you see, we were taking a test, and the girl sitting behind me tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around and she asked me a question about something on the test, and I automatically answered it without thinking about it, because I was concentrating on the test. Only problem was, I was sitting right in front of the teacher's desk, and when I turned back around, she was glaring at me. I failed that test, and failed the class, all in one fell swoop. And when I told my homeroom teacher that I needed to talk to my English teacher about that grade, he said, 'Good luck with that, because she's gone.' My English teacher had left right after the test. She had joined the WACS and just got her orders to go. It was 1943."

... or stories from mine...

"You're always fixing things! You've been fixing things since you were a baby! I remember when you were barely two years old... oh... maybe you were almost three... I'm not so sure now, but you were very small, and I had been after your daddy to fix your high chair, because it had a wobble, and he kept putting it off and putting it off, and finally, you decided to take matters into your own hands and you started shaking your high chair and looking at the legs, and I couldn't imagine what you were trying to do! I told you to stop it, and I was folding towels into a basket, and got up to take them to the bathroom. It only took me about three minutes to put them away, and when I came back to the kitchen, you were crouched in front of the high chair with a screw driver in your hand! Scared me half out of my wits! You stood up, you were so proud of yourself, and you said, "Fix-ded it, Maman! I fix-ded it!" And when I checked, sure enough, the high chair didn't wobble any more!"

... then there's the oddball things...

"And when I got up this morning and went out to get the paper, I found out the city had installed a fire hydrant in the front yard!! I can't imagine why they put a fire hydrant in my front yard!! I mean... there's a fire hydrant across the street!! And when I went out to look at it, I saw there was another one three houses down!!! What is the city thinking??? Are they expecting a lot of fires around here? Should I be concerned??? Or are they suffering from a massive brain fart?? I tell you, Auntie, I don't know what to think!!! I think somebody screwed up some orders somewhere, and I can't help but think this is not going to end well!!"

...or the worries...

"Here's D and her husband, and they're supposed to be getting a divorce. I mean, he's filed the papers and everything and then the Flaky Sister gets home and what does she find?? They went out and bought a brand new $2000 television. With the income tax return. And they owe her money!! I don't think they're going to get divorced, I mean... who would get the TV??"

... and let's not forget, the just plain puzzling!!

"But, what I don't understand is all the people disappearing!! It's on the news every night, people are disappearing, being kidnapped, and no one knows where they're going!! It's terrible! Maybe you shouldn't come to Houston, I'd be so worried about the kids!! What if they disappeared?? Oh, Auntie, you have no idea, and the news every night!! The crime rate, and then this recession... it's so hard! I really don't understand all of it, and I'm just glad no one is going to try to kidnap a little old lady and her dog!! Oh, did I tell you, I found your drum major uniform from the drum corps... do you want me to have it cleaned? Maybe the Impertinent Daughter would like to wear it and play drum major or princess or something, do you think??"


...along with the occasional non-sequiter...


... followed immediately by another non-sequiter...

"Did I tell you that there's a new flavor of ice cream at the store? I forget what it's called, but I had a sample, and it was delicious!! I sure wish I could remember what it was, because I would like to buy some, but I'd probably put on fifty pounds just by looking at the carton! Yes, I know I lost too much weight. But... it's a really good ice cream!!"

...and the odd unsolicited family history...

"My mother was Irish, did I tell you? Her family had emigrated from Ireland just before she was born, so she was the first child born in America in her family. They were Brannons, but I don't know where they were from, your Aunt Jewel didn't tell me. You look just like her, though. You have her eye-shape, and your hair is the same color. I wonder if one of the reasons her family didn't want to have much to do with her was because she married my father, who was as far from being Irish as you could get! His father was French and his mother was Cherokee! Can you imagine that? It must have really stuck in their craw, especially with all the stories about my father's family. Did you know people were always trying to break into the cellar of the house, because Jean Lafitte was a family friend, and people were convinced he'd buried his treasure in the cellar? I'm sure that didn't help, either!!"

My mother is 81 years old, and her life is still an adventure. I hope when I'm her age, things are still as interesting to me as they are to her! And I hope I entertain my kids just as much as she entertains me!!
auntbijou: (Default)
You know it's been a lousy Christmas break when the Husbandly One wants to go back to work!

Mom got out of the hospital on Wednesday, but had to come back here to stay with us rather than going back to Houston as my two older sisters had planned between themselves. They had planned it because I was recovering very slowly, and they knew THO had his hands full, and because they felt Mom would feel better in her own bed if the Flaky Sister stayed with her.

That isn't how it worked out.

First, the Blonde Sister's daughter, A, got it, and the Blonde Sister, who works at a doctor's office, found herself having to work overtime because this virus is making the rounds where she lives. Then my oldest niece, D, got it, and had to be hospitalized because she got severely dehydrated very quickly, so the Flaky Sister had to stay with her kids.

Mom didn't mind, really, and neither did we, though it did mean giving up our bed (and just after we'd gotten used to being back in it, too!), and since our appetites were as sparse as Mom's, that meant no one pressuring her to eat, and eat, and eat!

The Blonde Sister and the Brotherly One came to pick Mom up today and take her back home. I am glad, because truthfully, none of us are up to a drive to Houston and back today. Well, the kids are more energetic than we are, but they still aren't eating all that much.

If you'll excuse me, I'm going to go take a nap now.


Tuesday, December 30th, 2008 05:44 am
auntbijou: (Default)
It has been the Weekend from Hell. Literally.

It all started Christmas Eve. I know that was on Thursday, just... bear with me.

Christmas Eve, the Impossible Son started throwing up around 5:30 p.m. or so. My best friend and her family were due to come over at 6, and I figured they were already on the road, so I didn't call them. In retrospect, I should have, whether or not they were on the way, but it had been so long since I had last seen her...

The Husbandly One was doing most of the food prep (I had made baked beans earlier in the day, so he only had to take them out), so I handled Mr. Manzie and washed my hands constantly and touched no one if I could help it.

The Impossible Son was feeling much better by the time they were ready to leave. It had lasted only five hours for him.

Christmas day, we were due to go to Houston to have Christmas dinner with the Blonde Sister and the rest of the family, and my mother would come back with us to stay until Sunday, which I was thrilled about. She even brought her little dog, Katie. But, by Christmas night, the Impertinent Daughter was throwing up, and had escalated things by running a fever as well. As close to 103 as you can get. Friday morning, I called our doctor, who turned out to be on vacation until Monday. Great. So I took her to the local walk-in clinic. And waited two hours. The Impertinent Daughter was miserable and finally turned to me and said, "Mom, I need to go home. I just... I just can't sit here any more."

I said, "Let's wait just fifteen more minutes, sweetie."

She said, "Mom, now."

She was so pale. And I could tell she was at the end of her endurance, so I went up to the receptionist and told her not to bother, that we were leaving. She looked up from her computer and I started grinding my teeth. She was only just then starting on our paperwork. After two friggin' hours!

We went home.

The daughter went to bed, and I contemplated a nap. Everyone was tired. You could call this the calm before the storm. The daughter improved, and Saturday, we contemplated taking Mom to San Marcos or maybe to Austin. But we didn't, because the Impertinent One was still not up to it. In the meantime, Mom and Katie both were astonishing me by being far more active than I'd seen either of them in a long while. Katie is a little Corgie mix... I think. Actually, she looks like a miniature German Shepherd with short legs. Anyhow, she's 13 years old, and very stiff, and when my mom lets her out at home, she only wanders in a very specified small circle in the backyard. Here, she astonished us by wandering through the entire backyard, and actually running from time to time. She became rather playful, too, to my mom's delight.

I wish it could have lasted.

Saturday night, Mom felt like she had indigestion, and asked if we had anything for it. Well... we don't get indigestion much, so we pretty much only have Tums on hand. Which wasn't what she wanted or needed. I asked if she wanted me to run to the store and she said no, she was okay, and she went to bed.

I was pretty tired. I hadn't slept very well, and I woke up early, and it was close to midnight, so when I got settled on the couch (we had given Mom our room), it was a relief. I was just drifting so sleep when I heard Mom say, "Auntie? I'm not feeling very well. I think something's wrong."

I sat up and found my mom standing in the doorway, trembling and shuddering in her pajamas. I was up instantly, and wrapped my arm around her to help her back to bed. I thought she was going to collapse on me twice. She was shuddering so hard, and shaking, and when I finally got her to the bed, she nearly slipped out! Once I got her settled, I went and got THO, who was cuddling the Impossible Son to sleep and had fallen asleep himself. And after that... oh geez, y'all.

Mom was so sick. She's always had the hardest time throwing up, and this was no different. She couldn't stand to have either myself or THO out of her sight, and when I had to go empty the slop bowl, she'd whimper, "Where's Auntie?" and THO would say, "She's just in the bathroom, Mom, she'll be right back."

By this time, my hands were raw from so much hand-washing.

She got bad enough that I said, "Mom, do you want me to call 911?" Because she was getting very dehydrated, very fast.

We called 911. She was so dehydrated, the EMT had a hard time finding a vein just so he could hook up an I.V. and give her a little Phenargin for nausea to give her a little break during her ambulance ride. After they left, I gave THO a list of family phone numbers to call, but advised him to call the Blonde Sister and let her spread the news, and drove after the ambulance to the hospital in San Marcos.

It was around 3 a.m. by this time. And I sat in that emergency room with Mom with nothing but a chair to sit next to her. I was so sleep-deprived by this point that nothing seemed real. I helped the nurses turn Mom to treat her, to clean her, to change her bedclothes, because she had diarrhea at this point, and I called them when she needed help. I spoke to two doctors coherently, how I don't know, but I did, and finally got her into a room well after 10 a.m. I remember several times staring longingly at the floor, wondering if anyone would notice if I just curled up on it and went to sleep.

Mom kept staring at me when she was lucid and saying, "You're staying here with me. You're such a good girl, Auntie." When she wasn't lucid, she said things like, "They're testing me by making me cook vegetables in the microwave to make sure I cook them all the way through."


I love my mom, even when she's out of her head.

So, we got her into a room, the doctor came to tell me that she was dangerously dehydrated, that this same virus that my kids got over so quickly was dangerous in a person Mom's age (81), and she'd probably be there for 24 hours.


Introduce guilt here.

I comforted Mom, got her settled, and promised to be back later that evening after I'd gotten some rest. I left, stopped to get some caffeine to keep me awake on the long drive home, and stupidly picked up some french fries to nibble as well (if I never see another french fry in my life, I shall die happy). Got home a little after noon, told THO everything so he could report to the Blonde Sister, and went to bed to crash.

And woke up five hours later, asking the Impertinent Daughter for a 7-Up (something we keep in the house when there's lots of throwing up, because it's soothing) and promptly lost my cookies.

I had it.

Needless to say, I did not keep my promise to my mother. And I spent the next 12 hours not really coherent, tossing my cookies and getting dehydrated from vomiting and diarrhea, but not enough for THO to call 911. I'm only just now getting the strength to sit up. THO had his own bout this morning, but he only got the diarrhea. The poor man has had his hands full, I am telling you!

The doctor at the hospital diagnosed this as acute gastroenteritis with dehydration, which really covers a multitude of sins. All I know is, this is apparently making the rounds and we are merely the latest victims. Oh, and my best friend's son got it, and one of my nieces got it.

Mom is still in hospital, still throwing up at the last report I got from my sisters, who drove in to check on her, and that they suspect she may have pneumonia. If she doesn't, she'll be released this evening. If she does, they'll be keeping her.

I hope I'll be able to drive in to see her later this afternoon. Her little dog has been wandering around the house, looking for her. My kids have been petting her and making much of her, trying to comfort her.

Okay, I have to go lay down again. I just... wanted y'all to know, I'm still alive.


Saturday, December 27th, 2008 09:43 am
auntbijou: (Default)
My mom is visiting!!

I'm so glad to have her here, and you know, she's been more active since she's been here than I've seen her in an age.

Not even the fact that Miss Priss is sick and was throwing up her toenails, along with a fever, can get me down!

The Impertinent Daughter is feeling much better today, by the way.

Anyway, my access will be a bit sporadic for a couple of days, so forgive me for not being around much, because... I'm hanging out with my mom!!

auntbijou: (Default)
You know what sucks worse than having cold flashes?

Having cold flashes when you're standing outside, it's 34, and the windchill is 25, and you couldn't find your thermal underwear, so you're bundled up as best you can , but you had to give your hat to your son because his ears are the only part of him that are cold, so you're in your jacket, your scarf wrapped around your neck, and your gloves are on your hands... and then you get a cold flash.

We went to see a lighted display in Wimberley, one of those ones you walk through, and it was pretty cool. But I was freezing my butt off, I tell you true! Thank heavens, I found the wool socks I was issued way back when in boot camp, and I think my feet were the warmest part of me!! Most of it was pretty sheltered from the wind, and I was okay, but then... a cold flash hit me.

You know, most women my age get HOT flashes. No, not Auntie. It starts on my back and I start shivering. Then my arms start crawling, and the next thing I know, I'm FREEZING!!

And this is even when I'm sitting in a warm room! So you can imagine what it was like for me last night!

My kids TAUNTED me, I swear. Miss Priss was wearing a light jacket (the same one she wore for Halloween) and a hooded sweater over that. And that's it. She wasn't even wearing socks under her boots!!

And the Impossible Son was wearing a jacket, but... the only real concession to cold that he made was that his ears were cold. So... in a fit of motherly sacrifice... I gave him my hat.


There was a really cool section where a series of pipes of different sizes had been set up for kids to bang on and make music. Mallets had been made with old golf balls on dowels, and the kids had a fine old time making music. There was also a group of different sizes of wooden planks strung up, marimba-style, that were surprisingly musical and in scale, too! And another wall of different sizes of tire rims that made a steel drum sort of sound. It reminded me of how my dad used to make wind chimes out of old bits of metal pipe and tubing he had around the garage and hang them in the back hard with ringers made of nuts, bolts, and bits of wood. They were unexpectedly sweet sounding, and his favorite way of recycling those bits from his projects that he couldn't otherwise use.

Right now, I'm contemplating what gifts I need to finish making (if the kids will let me), which I might take pictures of and show you later. Well... some of them at least. Sweets, I'm afraid you'll be getting your bracelets AFTER Christmas, but you will get them, I promise!

I am also thinking what I housecleaning I need to finish. My mother is coming to stay for a few days after Christmas, which I am looking forward to. It's lonely for her in that house alone, so my sisters and I are trying to be sure to have her come visit as much as possible. However, she's not ready to leave her house yet, and I do completely understand. It's where her memories are, and she and Dad spent most of their married lives in that house. They moved there in 1950 or 1951, I think. They were married for 61 years, which I find all kinds of amazing. So, you could say she's grieving, and she's dealing with it best by staying where her memories are.

I have to say this for my mom. She is not the sort to walk into your house and judge you because it's messy, especially if you have kids. She used to say, "No one ever died from having a messy house. As long as your kitchen and bathroom are clean, what's a few scattered books and toys?" She's also said, "You can have a clean house, or happy kids. You can't have both, unless you're lucky enough to have a maid. In which case, I want to come live with you."

*dimples* See why I love my mom?

She KNOWS... she's BEEN THERE!

Well, I'd better get busy. Soon as I get over my cold flash. Don't worry, the doctor assured me it's my thyroid, and it should improve as we get my dosage adjusted. I'm already doing a lot better energy wise!!

In case I don't get to post again, Merry Christmas, and for my fellow pagans, even though it's already past, Happy Solstice!
auntbijou: (Default)

Note to self:

Do not engage in political arguments with my mother any more.  She is not herself, and getting in a political wrangle with her right now is like sinking into a morass of frustration that will surely give me ulcers.  Or turn all my hair grey.  Or cause me to spontaneously combust.  Or something.

It's hard when the person who taught me to think for myself, and to question, to look for answers on my own, to come to my own conclusions... *sigh.*  It's hard when that person suddenly starts agreeing with everything she hears on tv, or reads in the papers, or spouts out the urban legends one of their friends or family sent as truth... it's very hard to take. I want to grab her, shake her, and shout, "Who are you, and what have you done with MY mother??"

She can't help it, really.  The stress and worry she went through when Dad was fighting his cancer took a toll on her, and recently, she's been having health problems, the most recent of which was a mini-stroke.  She's fine, as far as that goes, but still... and I'm here, she's in Houston, and it's not easy to confront how frail she suddenly seems to be.  I almost dread Thanksgiving, when I will see her and have to smile, and pretend I don't notice how thin her hands are, or how small she suddenly seems to be.  And how some of the things she says don't always make sense.  Well, geez, a lot of the things I say don't always make sense.  

Last month, I made a mistake and broke a personal rule, which was to never discuss politics or religion with a family member.  I did it with her, and was stunned to find myself in one of the strangest arguments I've ever been in, which resulted in my saying, "I respect your opinion, Mom, but I can't agree with you."  She wanted me so badly to agree with her, and I could tell she was greatly upset by this.  But I couldn't do it, not even to give her a little peace of mind, one, because I am a simply horrible liar.  Really.  I am the worst.  I have no poker face, and can't lie to save my life.  Someone else's life maybe, but not mine.  And two, the woman has known me my entire life, she KNOWS when I'm trying to fib, or save her feelings, and she hates that.  So...I just kept saying it over and over, "I respect your opinion, but I don't share it.  I can't agree with it.  I just can't."  We hung up the phone, both of us very upset, and I went and had a bit of a sniffle over it, then went and shot hoops for about an hour, trying to work my feelings out.  It was awful.  And we didn't speak for two weeks.  I think she was waiting for me to apologize.  I couldn't. I had nothing to be sorry for, and I wasn't going to apologize for doing what she raised me to do, which was to have my own opinion and speak my own mind.  I finally called her just to chat.  Neither of us mentioned the painful discussion of two weeks earlier.  It just wasn't worth it.

So, today, I again forgot that rule.  Mom was always exempt from that rule anyway.  She's a lively debator, and one of those people who makes you examine your opinions and figure out the flaws in your own arguments without trying to change them.  "Believe what you wish," she used to say, "But know WHY you believe it, and be able to support your beliefs without shame or confusion."

Today was a painful reminder of why Mom is no longer an exception to my rule.  I'm sure there are many of you who see nothing wrong with getting into philosophical debates with family.  That's great for y'all, but for us... oh, no, we don't wanna go there.  You see, we LIKE each other, and we want to KEEP ON liking each other.  So religion and politics are verboten.  We're thinking of including sports in the ban as well.  Discussions get rather lively around our dinner tables when we get together as it is without throwing such volatile subjects into the mix.  It was rather a shock to find myself getting into it with Mom, and realizing I had to take a step back, because she wasn't backing down one inch, and neither was I.  There are at least seven generations of stubborn bred into the women of my family.  No... it wasn't pretty, though this time, we managed to not offend each other to the point where we won't speak for another two weeks.  But we were both pretty rattled.  And from now on, I will natter on to my mom about the kids... and about my sisters... and about the Husbandly One's new job... and about my garden.  But I won't talk to her about the war, or about our government, or about what was on the news tonight, or anything like that.  

I've been very lucky, and very blessed that my mother became one of my best friends after I grew up.  It wasn't easy.  Our relationship when I was a teenager was rocky, and fraught with peril, and oh, so over-soaked in hormones.  While I was going through puberty, she was going through menopause.  And while I was adjusting to the surge of all these new hormones, she was adjusting to their ebb.  But after it all stabilized, and I matured, and turned into a person in my own right, it got better, and I rediscovered what a funny, loyal, extremely intelligent, and daring person she is.  She was always more daring than me.  When I was dating in my twenties, she'd wait up for me for an entirely different reason than when I was a teenager, and many times, I'd walk in to find her sitting on the couch, an old movie on, and a bowl of popcorn ready and she'd look up and say, "Well, how'd it go?"  I'd flop down next to her, pick up a handful of popcorn and either say, "It was brutal.  I'm not going out with that loser again," or, "Well... it was better than being smacked upside the head with a cold, wet fish."  She'd laugh, and we'd proceed to dissect the date while watching Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, or Judy Garland do their thing on the screen.

I guess that's what makes this so hard.  I'm used to being able to talk about anything with Mom.  And now, for her peace of mind, and my own, I can't.  My mother is 79 years old.  To tell you the truth, the way things have been going, I don't know how much longer I'm going to have her around.  So... I'd rather not spend that time arguing and being miserable.

Note to self:  Next time I see Mom, take her in my arms and hug her gently.  Tell her that she looks great.  Take a deep breath and memorize her smell.  And tell her she did a great job.

September 2015

6789 101112
202122 23242526


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags