Sunday, August 10, 2008

"I feel like a crackhead..."

"...I'm walking around the house looking at everything, going, 'Ooh, I wonder how much I could get for this?'" - Girlchild, yesterday.

She is selling off much of her old life, mostly her old clothes, but also books and such. Did I mention that she lost somewhere between 30 and 40 pounds over the last year - which is truly amazing to me because she never looked truly overweight, just the kind of girl described as curvy and Sophia Loren-like. It is true that "tall girls carry it better," but it's also true that underneath "it" was a really amazing figure. So she's now still curvy but 5'9" and a size 6, and her old wardrobe is now useless to her, and is going to consignment. This is inspiring to me. She did it via SparkPeople and honest lifestyle change. Exercise, portion control, watching calories - so un-faddish, so un-instant gratification, so effective. I am, as I've said, SparkPeople addicted - I track calories, exercise, and a host of other things. I don't participate in message boards much, just browse them occasionally, but their articles are quite good.

So my daughter is in crackhead mode, looking for shit to sell to make cash, and packing and getting ready to get out of the house.

The funny thing is that I spent yesterday in a similar mode - identifying and applying price stickers to many things I Do Not Need. I am prepping for One Bigass Garage Sale. The homeowners' association has a fall sale in October. I'd toyed with the idea of an earlier sale of my own, but there is so much to do to get ready if I'm gonna do it right, and I do have a lot going on in the rest of my life (to put it mildly). I'll stick with the October date to take advantage of the free advertising and impressive traffic the community sale generates, and work a little every weekend to prepare for it.

We both marveled and grew depressed at how much Stuff we have that we don't really need. Nothing like a financial blow that leaves one in reduced circumstances to make that point ever so clear.

Visited mother. Not pleasant. She has declared war on her roommate, who is a sweet, pleasant lady - used to be a nurse, she told me today. She does seem to have the filters off but is otherwise with it. She told me she is frustrated because she tries to be kind to my mother, she used to be a nurse and always loved working with the elderly and did little extra things for them. I don't know why she's in the nursing home but she said she has no family nearby to visit, and she appears to be quite a bit younger than my mother. Her area is full of photos, and she shows them off proudly, they do care but apparently live elsewhere. So, we are talking while my mother sits and says nothing, and my mother gets mad.


Yes, she really was pissed, and really did say this. And, I don't care how old and sick she is or how crazy she is, I am not going to let this go. Because this is how she is - in her paranoid jealousy, I can't SPEAK to anyone else or it is something taken away from her. In her mind, she OWNS me and it's only cruel, cruel fate that has prevented me from fulfilling her every wish by sacrificing my life for her.

I told her she was nuts and I was not going to refuse to speak to her roommate. I am an adult having a conversation with another adult, a woman who gets no visitors, and you would have me NOT speak to her? What the hell is WRONG with you? And she didn't back down or apologize, just told me that I didn't understand how she was neglected and mistreated and today her lunch wasn't hot enough. I tried to change the subject to her grandkids, asked if she'd called her brother, did what I could, and unless I wanted to hear about how she wanted to wash her hair....

So we had the discussion about hair washing. I said, don't they help you take a shower? You can wash your hair in the shower! And she launched into a nonsensical explanation about how that will not work, and "they" expect her to wash her body and her (short, and very thin, wispy hair) in the shower at the same time! That's crazy! She can't do it! That's NOT RIGHT! I pointed out that this is how normal people take showers, and that she used to do it all her life. And she said, she won't do it that way now. Even with a shower chair and an aide who will wash it for her, no, she won't do that.

So now I know why her hair appears unwashed today. She, of course, blames them.

And they won't let her get up on her own. And she is afraid of falling. And I asked if she has been doing PT, and she said no, she's not. Why not? Doesn't want to.

Enormous, heavy, windy sigh.... Then we passed one of the aides I hadn't met yet, and she introduced me to her, and we had a lovely conversation. Then she bitched at me about something else. Then she turned it off to greet another resident. And I know how some caregivers lose it and beat up the "helpless" little old lady in the wheelchair, because I'm pushing her down the hall and hearing this nasty, crazy shit from someone I know full well is capable of turning it on and off, because I just watched her do it over and over, and I'm looking down at the wispy hair on her little skull, and I had a really strong urge to just haul off and punch her in the head and scream at her to just knock it the fuck off. Of course I didn't, but at what cost to my own blood pressure? We walked, she bitched. And so it went.

Then, after an hour of pissing and moaning, she was tired and wanted a nap. And I wanted a beer.

I'm actually knitting something new, nearly finished with something else, and, uh, let's get real, by next weekend maybe, I will have photos of knitting and dogs.

Dudley is hanging here for a couple of weeks, he is of course welcome.

Knitting - remember, oh few and faithful readers, how I made that seafoam stitch scarf in Regal Silk for Cousin C's birthday, and said at the time that it would be so fab in blues and greens? Well, part of the Joy of Reduced Circumstances is repurposing that which you already have. (It's really as much fun as shopping!) At least 3 years ago I bought yarn at MDS&W - a luscious handpainted silk from Spirit Trail Fiberworks. It was sinfully expensive for me (I had not yet discovered Lorna's Laces so had no standards about when it's worth it to spend on the Good Stuff.*) and I thought I would make a tank. And yet it has sat in the stash for years, because honestly, a worsted silk tank in FL? Sweaty. So I was moving stuff around yesterday and found that yarn, and slapped self in head, and said Self? You already got yourself your Dream Scarf! With enough left over for either another scarf, or maybe Maine Morning Mitts to Match. The yarn is to die for - so soft, so glowing, and the colors are so saturated and rich, I now need to think about a nice black or charcoal belted coat with a zip-out lining, to replace my Michelin Man down coat bought when Girl was in middle school. She's 25. I think I can justify a new coat this winter. Because yeah, I will find reasons to travel and wear it.

And because I'm 50 years old and really should replace the stuff I'm garage sale-ing and donating with nice grownup things.

*edited - meant to say that Spirit Trail's silk is totally Artfibers and Lorna's Laces in quality but I had not learned to appreciate that standard of "you get what you pay for" yet. Damn, re-read what I wrote at first and realized it sounded totally backassward. To be clear: Spirit Trail is high class stuff, and Worth It.


Anonymous said...

I really feel sorry for you! I went through much of the same with my mother and I lived 2000 miles away and would visit every two weeks or so. I accumulated so many miles. The visits were bad but the phone calls everyday were really horrible. I just pray everyday that I don't become my mother in my old age -- god forbid! I hope you do take some time for yourself you definitely deserve it. Jackie

Shawn said...

Oh, bless your heart, Honey. And I think you have more readers than you know. I've been reading your blog for some time. I'm amazed at your life and all that you go through.

Its good that you have this venue to vent.

Jan B. said...

Aw crap! Do you mean to tell me that just because I'm over 50, I have to have grown-up things? Boo! :-) Do I have to act like a grown-up too??

Anonymous said...

Your mamma is the quintiscential game player. And you need some tiny device that hides in your ears and plays YOUR favorite music, stereo, when she goes off on you. If it exists it should be on the web somewhere.

Good luck at the Garage Sale..and I love it when you talk like that about your yarns..


ikate said...

Aw, man...this is playing out like my grandmother/mother - almost word for word. Just hope that she keeps playing the good patient/bad patient because when my grandma went into full-time bad patient mode she refused to even leave her room or talk to anyone and went further downhill very fast. Visits got to be awful because all she would do was cry and ask when she could go home which she clearly could not do. And I just watched it from a generation removed - can't imagine how you're dealing with it.