REPORT A PROBLEM
Today is my dad's first full day with us. I'm so glad Mom called him from San Jose. His day is made up of eating meals I prepare for him, watching football, wobbly walking outside for a minute and visiting Geof as he works on his car. This is a fuller life than what he has in Hawthorne - I must remember that. But it seems so lacking in life to me. But his answer to anything I suggest is No. So there you go. I'm off the hook, if only I would let that happen. End of the day.
My big idea for today was to bring him home a crossword puzzle book with bigger type in it. He waved it away. This is too painful! I'm running away as soon as I can. Looks like tomorrow afternoon he'll be gone back to Hawthorne, and I'll be free to concentrate on my job again. I don't want to do that – it seems all the things I've put in place over the last few years in building this new life of mine are not interesting anymore or just too big to do. School? I should be worrying about my parents.
Oh boy, let's run away. Not for sex or adventure, but get away from our lives. There's no where I'd rather be than somewhere else. I know he'll leave without getting care for my mom and I don't want to face it. I don't want the late night or early morning calls, nor the frantic call from April who can't say no to them. I want to run away from it all. Want to divorce this dysfunctional family that always thought I was a bit foolish with weird ideas and ways of doing things. Seems I'm the only sane one.
I got up on time. No time for stretching. Carefully scheduled my time to include hair washing and drying. Put on makeup and leapt into my clothes. Had a minute to wash my apple and get a banana. Geof took another of my minutes to dry the car windows and I was off. Got to the bus stop right on time. But no other people waited, no bus arrived. Stood for 15 minutes in the cold – could have cleaned the litter boxes out, gone to the bathroom myself, driven more slowly. But no – I waited for the fucking bus instead.
Oh my stomach is hurting. The start of an ulcer? My mother's pigheaded stubbornness is causing this. I'm so worried about what's gonna happen to she and dad if they don't accept help. She is now claiming that it's too expensive to get the help she needs. Bullshit. Just another excuse to keep us on her string. I am so angry at her, I wish I could leave. But I never would do that. Unlike my brother who left them alone today. He's off my speed dial. A retirement home in England is sounding better – with an unlisted phone number!
I feel a bit better today. I can see some light at the end of the tunnel. Visiting with Nan and getting all the resources and hearing her ideas for helping my parents seem doable.I feel much better than I have in weeks. Seeing Meg this evening was a help too. She's on my side! And so is Cathy. She's a gem - what a good friend to us all over the years. It's an eye opener to see who is a friend willing to help and who doesn't return my phone calls or visit my parents, etc. It's sad.
I slept in today until 9am. It felt so good to do that. No guilt! I took a long walk and lifted some weights. I watched my ER tapes. And only made one phone call on behalf of Mom and Dad. I didn't get a call back, but that's OK. I feel more underwhelemd that I have in ages. Maybe we'll even have a nice Thanksgiving! The evening was spent with our friend Ada, drinking excellent margaritias and eating excellent Mexican food. She's a good person to be around - very amusing. Looks like we'll even be meeting Mr. Yoga!
I'm debating whether to go over to Mom's today. Marilyn is there and wants the company, but I don't want to go. We'll be over there tomorrow afternoon, doing chores and cooking, and I don't want to go today. I feel selfish and want to help Marilyn by being there. But, I don't want to go there ever, plus I don't want to make this soemthing that's going to become expected every weekend. Mom insists she can take care of herself and Dad and she rejects all my help, so it's hard for me to see her "care" in action.
It's a rainy day. A time to reflect on what I do with my free time. I had time on my hands today – don't want to take a walk or go to the gym. Waited in line at Ralph's for a while. I think I may have to cross the striker's line. I'm feeling real ripped off at Ralph's. Get to see Mom and Dad today. Yippee. I wish it was more fun to visit them. But it's not. It's a chore and a worry to see how much worse they are each week and how much she controls him.
Got a call from Johnny today. His message was "How you both doin'?" No questions or concern about Mom and Dad. No concern or apology for the hell he's put me through by abandoning them. So I do what my mother taught me to do. Withdraw, ignore. I need a new way of dealing with these situations. I want to break the chain my mother has used over the years to bind us to her. But I ignore his call. Have I lost a brother too? Used to call him John – he's 55 after all. But no, he's a Johnny.
I seem to wait in lots of lines. Going to WalMart today was a chore. Dueling shopping carts. Clogged aisles and a lady cynically singing Christmas carols. At least the clerk I waited in line 20 minutes for was pleasant. What motivates her? Dashing round the town spending money is tiring, hard work. I need a nap when I get home. Well I can't. I've got to go see Mom and Dad and bring them all the stuff they've asked me to buy. Cook their dinner and run up and down the stairs doing her little chores – my knees hurt!
Another showdown. One of the last. Now I must insist. I don't – no I do know what I will do if Dad backs out. I'll get another caregiver in there. Doesn't Mom realize what a fool she appears to be? Crying at dinner. Ignored by Dad and I. Too bad. Her tears and manipulation have held back help for Dad. He can't do anything anymore. So if that means round the clock help, so be it! He'll get it. And she can worry about herself, I won't anymore. And I won't react to any of the illogical shit she spews.
I was told to get out of her house. "I not worth the problems I bring in to her house." And Dad just sat there. Well – I'm done. This is the end for now. We all must stay away so she can see how helpless she is. It's very sad. My caseworker, therapists and minister agree that something will have to happen to force the decision. I feel free, like a big burden is off my shoulders. I warned everyone – I am not like Susie. I won't support denial of reality. But I'm not powerful enough to do anything more.
I slept through the night. Worked out today. Finished up the loose ends of putting things in place for them. I am so angry at her. Without my help they wouldn't have the conveniences and security they have. But she views me as a problem. I am seeing the past clearly now. How cowed I was. How we all considered her first before ourselves. I would try to buck this and be ostracized not only by her, but by Dad too. I am waiting for her apology, but it will never come. I never got one when she was sane.
How odd to go to Torrance, but not stop to see Mom and Dad. They're in good hands today. Johnny came down. She had Dad call and ask and he said yes. As long as someone says yes, nothing will change. Maybe that's the way it'll be. Well – we'll see. So who am I through this? A caring daughter. I don't want to force her to assisted living but cant stand the thought of them on their own. I hear I'm cut out of the will. Funny – that money is to go to her care. What is she thinking of?
I can't change how people treat me. I have no power over others. Yesterday Geof was mean to me. Instead of arguing, pouting, storming into the house and sulking, I left. I took a six hour drive alone. I felt so free. The day, the ocean, the sky were beautiful. It felt so clean and uncluttered. I cried and drove. At Pismo I took a break. No one home in San Luis so I headed home. The scenery was so beautiful in the sunset. The drive over the pass from Fillmore to Moorpark was a surprise, especially in the dark.
So life goes on. I feel really good about taking the drive by myself yesterday. I've been married almost 5 years and I still crave my alone time. Being alone for 6 hours to do whatever I wanted, go wherever I wanted, listen to whatever I wanted, eat/drink whatever I wanted was a blessing. I didn't give G the silent treatment when I got home either. I explained why I left and he accepted it, as he should have. I am untying the strings to Mom; calling her doctor for the last time. Maybe not the last time, I'll see.
Although the pressure feels off, I'm still stressed. Went to a new doctor today, but didn't bring her address with me. There's no bigger nightmare than being stuck in crazy Hollywood traffic and not know where I'm supposed to be going. Thank God for cell phones – I found her, she told me how to get there and I made it on time. Hate to be late, especially for therapy. Had a little fun today – chose watermelon slices for my retainer. I could have had one be a watermelon and the other an apple, but I decided on a matched set.
Yeah, the pressure's off. Right. Mom called April last night and asked if she would take them to the doctor in the morning. Right Grandma – she'll leave at 4 a.m. tomorrow to drive three hours down the coast and take you to the doctor. Mom has several people she can ask to take her, but she's pulling the shit again. It is very hard for April to say no, but she did. Should I take them to the doctor? I hung tough – if she had called me and asked I would have. But I decided not to volunteer. More guilt!
Hm – the doctor who'll do my lasik procedure at the Jules Stein clinic is a new resident! By the time I have my procedure done, he'll have done only twelve! I wanted a person who has done hundreds. I'm not going to worry, he is overseen by the director of the clinic who I trust completely. Part of me wants to pay the extra thousand dollars so the director will do it – it's my only pair of eyes after all. But the procedure is not that complicated. The biggest problem is infection and I'm convinced they don't cut corners there.
Went to a workshop presented by Michael Josephson on ethics in the workplace. It was interesting to hear his take on lying. If you are lying to avoid hurting someone, it could be OK. But if it's to avoid confrontation or to hurt someone or something, then it's wrong. After the discussion, my group tidied up the room and considered the fact that we'd "borrowed" a table a few years back from another group and had not returned it. We laughed about it when we realized how unethical that was. Don't know if the table will be returned or not.
Usually I consider myself unable to trust easily. Today I trusted initially, but quickly resumed my true nature. At the car dealership, I gave a complete stranger my car keys so he could check the mileage. As he walked away with my keys, I realized I didn't know if the guy was a employee at the dealership or if he was just off the street. I realized what had happened as he headed for my car. My nervous checking on him revealed that he was a legitimate employee – how easy it could be to lose my car though! Interesting scam.
Loverly day. Took G shopping for his Christmas present. We got such a good deal on the clothes he chose! Watched a man try to return Jerry Garcia neckties that he'd just picked up off the display table. Interesting scam. He gave himself away when he wouldn't take the ties with him after being refused a refund due to lack of a receipt. Went to a Taize service at church. Incredible. Mostly singing simple chant songs, personal meditation, reflection, and healing towards my mom. I feel more able to face her at Thanksgiving this week. Hope she speaks to me.
Only have to work today and that's it for the week! Kind of excited about Thanksgiving, and a little worried too. I hope Mom speaks to me and that the kids don't hold this conflict against me. I feel strong though. Went to the crazy market tonight, thinking I'd beat the crowd – alas, not to be. The supermarket strike is becoming a pain in the butt. G and I pay $180 per month for health insurance and they're striking because they have to pay $20, after it being free for years. Don't know if I can support that much longer.
Whew – spent the day getting ready for our trip up north. Got all the ingredients for the pies together. I sure hope four pumpkin, two chocolate and one mince are going to be enough. How will they be refrigerated? Won't worry about it – got other things to consider. Like my sore left knee. It's hurting again, like the right knee hurt last spring. I doubt we'll go to San Francisco if my knee is hurting – all those hills make it impossible to walk around! Can't imagine us driving the car around, searching for parking, fighting traffic. Not an ideal vacation.
We left on time today, after packing the car in the garage so the mob of guys working on the driveway directly across the street couldn't see that we were packing up and leaving. I'm paranoid, but not overly so. I was surprised when G agreed with me that we should pack up in the closed garage. Got to Marilyn's a bit nervous, but Mom acted like she used to, like nothing happened between us. I'm holding her at arms length though. Am not expecting an apology from her, and am being extra careful about what I say around her.
Thanksgiving – what are we thankful for? My sister is dead, my brother is unemployed, my mom and I don't trust each other, my dad has fallen twice so far in the last 3 days, and Bush "leads" the country. This has been the worst year of my life. I usually want to do the prayer before we eat Thanksgiving, but this year, I pick at the turkey as people sit down at the table. Mom's traditional prayer is so hollow to me. I think God is here, but am not sure what that means anymore. I'm working my way back.
Did a few of my favorite things today. We saw Master and Commander. It was better than I expected. After reading all the books in the series, I feel I know Jack and Stephan. Jack was kind of there in the movie, Stephan needed to be uglier, but I still liked him. Had a Starbucks afterward and a cranberry scone. Oh, but seeing my dad fall right before my eyes was not a favorite thing to see. I'm so angry at my mother for not allowing him to move to a safer place! There's a truce, but an uneasy one.
Left for San Francisco. My knee is ok as long as it's in a brace, but I'm nervous. This will be the last Thanksgiving trip to S.F. There're just too many people, I get overwhelmed. cranky. I was struck at how cruel G and G were about my dad. It's heartbreaking when I think of it although I try to suppress it so I can stay in this marriage. I was distant from them all, especially when they pooh poohed flu shots and treated me like an idiot because I got one. Why can't people just live and let live?
What a gloomy day. I fought to stay positive. Raining forced us to the car. We drove over the Golden Gate to Sausalito and Tiburon, did a little shopping, drank at Buena Vista and ate at the Wharf – how touristy! Never mind. I felt like we were just filling time. Didn't really enjoy it. I want to walk a city, not drive through it. I've got to get this knee fixed. Or else get a motorized wheelchair! I'm too young for that. It's so depressing to think of all the things I can't do because my knee is acting up.
The Tip Jar