Yeah, I'm so glad they gave my mother the 2 units of blood, it perked her right up so she can be a pain in the ass again. The above was delivered in two separate phone calls, and on the surface, it appears so reasonable and innocent, you must think I'm a bitch right now for even mentioning it.
But the first was the voicemail message at 9. The tissues, they are too scratchy. (My mother has a fixation about tissues and rubbing her nose, it's one of her many charming quirks.) I might have bought this one, except in my two visits over the weekend I actually had reason to sample one of the offending paper products, and they are name brand quality, not institutional sandpaper. But they don't say Kleenex on the box, so they are inferior. When are you bringing them? I need them? When are you coming over? I really do need them!
Oookay. That hit voicemail, I was working. Later I happened to see her name on caller ID (ringer is off) and figured I'll pick up, it's so much easier to get it over with at the office when I still have some energy. This time, her tone was pitiful - she needs not just Kleenex, but also Socks. She has, by my count, at least 9 pair on hand, all labeled with her name. This is like the phone charger that keeps going missing, and only I can find it for her. I know where it is, the staff carefully puts it in the drawer under the nice big TV (with the socks). It's like the phone that she dropped and it was broken and I had to come see it, even though she called me on it and it works just fine. Anyone else old enough to remember the original SNL, and the Landshark? Yeah, it's like that. I expect "Candygram," any day now.
I know she's sick, I know she's in a nursing home, I know I'm turning myself inside out to deal with it. I know she's getting really good care, I know they have activities she refuses to join in, the staff is nice, she is in spite of herself making friends with other residents, but her ultimate, true goal is to follow in her mother's footsteps and consume her daughter's life in her old age. Oh, cruel, cruel fate, that my husband died and I can't afford to drop everything and be available at her beck and call now! She has said as much - that it's so unfair that I am so overworked and stressed with other things that I can't do what I really want to do, which is devote myself to HER. (Even though I saw this coming when I was 10 years old and never, ever planned to play along, said as much, and never gave her any reason to hold onto these delusions.)
So I picked up, and said yeah, you have lots of socks, but if you need more I'll put them on your list. I didn't get pinned down to when I will visit, because I am not at her beck and call. (I'm sure I'll stop by this weekend, and I will bring socks, because I can humor her for $4 and Wal-Mart is right around the corner.) She promptly turned snotty and snippy and said, "Oh, okay, you just WORK then. I'll just hang up now!"
Uh, yeah, I've got somewhere around $300 million in project due diligence shit on my desk, and in my spare time I'm dealing with all the other issues, trying to figure out how to fix your finances that your sainted husband, my father, left inadequate and fucked up, and my own life is currently FUBAR, and my kids have problems not of their making too, and I'm sorry I can't drop everything and pretend to give a shit because the box of tissues doesn't say Kleenex. I'm a bitch. Bad daughter. But in the course of all the order-giving and attempts at manipulation, she did say lunch was delicious, and obviously she's feeling good if she has the strength to continue her ongoing quest to crawl up my ass and devour my internal organs.