It’s snowing which – in this historically warm and dry winter – is a boon. Except it means I’m not going to the last day of my pottery class. That in and of itself isn’t a big deal, I’m signed up for the next session and I didn’t have anything to work on today.
But the last day of class is always a potluck and Helene made deviled eggs just for me.
Loony took my car because it’s Thursday, the day he volunteers at the Presbyterian church’s clothing drive for the homeless. He usually takes his car but my mother-in-law likes to go with him and it is literally the only time she leaves the house all week.
Sign her up for some senior activities you say? She wants nothing to do with them, but she loves volunteering at the Deacon’s Closet which is essentially her rummaging around the clothes for something to “buy.” Once a thrifter, always a thrifter.
Loony sees nothing wrong with letting her get a bunch of stuff and then taking it back the next week. She has fun and nobody really wants old lady clothes anyway. Of course he gets all pissy with me when he brings home YET ANOTHER bbq utensil set and I order him to take it back.
Never mind that we already have several and haven’t BBQ’d in years. Noooo.
Where was I? Oh yeah, Loony takes my car to the church on Thursday because his car barely has room for the driver, let alone his mom. So he takes my car and I couldn’t find the scraper in his b/c everything is in giant piles.
No deviled eggs for me.
I boiled up some consolation eggs and had them on toast. And I ate one of the blueberry muffins I made for the potluck, and the rest of the 7-layer magic bars a nice person left for me when I gave him/her a huge bin of DVDs that I culled from Loony’s collection.
Who really needs three copies of Tropic Thunder, multiple copies of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the StarWars movies, and pretty much any DVD he comes across? Does he really think the boys want to watch the complete DVD set of Murder She Wrote?
The point is that if I don’t do something constructive, I’m going to keep eating and stress eating is pretty much my M.O. these days.
Loony’s family arrives on the 29th for a reunion which is great because:
- We get to see everyone
- A reunion in the winter means we won’t have to do one in the summer and these days my summers are so packed that it is one less thing to do
- I can spread the MIL duties out
- The MIL goes home with them and my “shift” is over for eight months
God, I hate to sound so negative about her. My MIL was such a sweet and funny and kind woman but now she’s been reduced to basically her bodily functions, simple pleasures like eating cookies with coffee in the afternoon, watching TV, and trying to keep a grip on the basics like who is home and if they aren’t home where are they, and what day is it, and what is the weather like?
All that is okay, it’s not her choice, but it is stressful. Every day I face mortality, every day I feel like I have failed to be the best person I can, every day I feel tender and sad and frustrated with her. Every day I have nothing left over for anyone.
The holiday season adds another layer because she insists on writing holiday cards. I did it for her last year and offered to do it this year as well. She wanted to do it herself so she spent two weeks writing nine cards.
That’s .64285714 cards a day and she’s at it from after breakfast until dinner, and sometimes until we tell her she has to go to bed.
Then she made a list (so she could keep track of who she sent cards to) and then forgets about the list and makes another list. And another. And another. For two weeks.
Yesterday I told Loony to end it. Take the cards away, put them in the mail, put away the stationary and make her stop. Be an asshole about it if he has to but make. it. stop. She needs to do something else for a change.
It was hard. We took pictures of the letters she sent as proof, kept her list on-hand, and assured her that she did her duty. She was so distressed about it nonetheless. All I could do was find her list and put it in her hands and watch her relax. “Oh, okay,” she’d say and then be back a minute later asking about the cards. Those fucking cards.
Did I tell you she fell? Yeah, she did.
Because Loony’s family is coming and because I want to put my best foot forward and have a complex about not being a doctor/overachiever, the least I want is an orderly house. Easier said than done because I’m married to a hoarder and this house is a hungry monster that eats time and effort.
So I made a list of all the stuff I want done before the family arrives.
Not on the list was prettying up the sunroom. Years ago I put Flor carpet tiles down thinking they’d be durable and easy to care for. Wrong.
Due to the weave of the tiles, black fibers come up when the cats scratch at them, but they are still attacked and look like shit.
They are basically velcro for all lint and really hard to vacuum even with my super-duper German engineered vacuum.
For all sorts of reasons tile was only option and I was able to get a crew in to bang the job out but only if I could do on only a day’s notice. You bet.
I cleared all the stuff out and pulled up the floor and shoved stuff in the dining room for a couple days.
But my MIL got used to doing her letters in the sunroom. I told her that she would have to do it at the counter where she has breakfast and lunch, no big deal. But she couldn’t wrap her head around it and wandered around the dining room (now full of stuff) because she wanted to work in there.
I begged her, gave her other options, and asked her nicely to please not go in there. The light is terrible and there is stuff everywhere. But she was stuck on it.
Enter two tilers, a temporary housemate who likes to talk about her cat, and a woman from Craigslist who showed up to buy a bunch of dishes I was getting rid of. Scheissehund was going bananas and barking at all the new people so to turn the volume down I grabbed him and put him in my room. Just as I came downstairs I heard her fall.
I don’t know what happened but there she was, face down on the dining room floor and moaning. While the tilers worked and the lady looked at dishes the housemate and I got Anita to an easy chair and assessed the damage.
I called Loony and he took her to the ER to have her eyebrow stitched up (5 sutures) and make sure she didn’t hurt anything else.
I turned my back for a second. A FUCKING SECOND!
For the next two days as the tilers finished up I kept finding her in that motherfucking dining room. Why? Why? It’s where she hurt herself. WHY?
The tilers finished, the room looks great.
She can go in there and be in the sun and obsess over cards until the futility of it crushes everyone’s spirits.
Moving down the list to the laundry room. Itchy wants to clear out the records and make it into his room. I’m cool with it but the last time I touched Loony’s records I almost blew up our marriage. Frankly, we are afraid to even see what is missing.
But it’s a shit hole down there and I am embarrassed to have my in-laws go down there. And it smells bad.
Bates keeps getting giardia and UTIs, so he pees and poops in random places, like on piles of clothes. So I cleaned it up as best I could and am nagging Loony to get rid of the last of the clothes on the floor.
Bates has been on several rounds of meds but still seems to be illin’ so I took him in.
The vet tested him for FIV (feline HIV) and he’s got it.
Tabby’s cat just died suddenly and she’s distraught. Irreverent humor seems to work on her so I offered her my AIDS cat to cheer her up. I guess it was too soon.
It’s not the end of the world, the other cats won’t get it from him but son-of-a-bitch, yet another thing.
And he peed in the carrier so I had to give him a bath. It was less violet than I feared it would be.
I tried to get video but I couldn’t swing it. I was impressed that unlike most cats, he isn’t smaller when wet.
But he’s still pissy. And now he’s an indoor cat whether he wants to be or not because I can’t risk him infecting another cat by fighting. I should have kept him in from the very start.
I guess what I’m getting at is that I’m stress eating. A lot.
I mean, not that I have anything to be stressed about, right?
I let myself go when the MIL is in town. I stop going to the gym, I eat breakfast even though it’s not my normal habit, instead of salads for lunch I have what I make for her because it’s easier, dinner is a shit show with the boys vying for attention, the MIL being confused and hey, pass the wine, and seconds, and thirds. Anyone want a DQ run?
This too shall pass. Until then I will try to avoid eating everything by attacking to-do lists and writing this ridiculously long post.
But I am really looking forward to having energy to take care of myself again, to having energy for my family, to having the mental space to have real conversations again, to getting back to my life.
I’ll start the new year with a clean slate (see the list) and steam cleaned carpets (I’m doing those today) and hopefully a potty trained puppy.
Do you know what I am doing in 2018? I’m going to LA with Sideboob and we are seeing this lady..
Ann Marie Davies, the self-proclaimed Queen of Sexy, and that she is. She stayed with me once and was so kind and sweet to the boys. I’m going to take a bunch of bills to Jumbo’s Clown Room on Hollywood Blvd where she rules the house, make it rain all over her and tear up the town with Nadia and Brynn and Sideboob and remember that life isn’t all about end of life. At least not for now.
Oh, and I’m having an open house on Christmas. Come on by.