June 26, 2021 – In the nick of time.

Someone must be looking out for me because the timing of everything taking place couldn’t be more perfect. For the last two weeks, my husband and I have been preparing our house to get it ready to go on the market, and it officially listed today. But it’s what happened yesterday that’s much more newsworthy and it involves a family member, my sister Cactus Annie, to be specific. Two separate times, she tried to reach me by phone yesterday. Neither time I answered because I was busily working on the house and didn’t have time to talk. When I finally got an opportunity to listen to her long-winded messages, she sounded very excited. She had ‘big news’ and wanted to share it with me. My friends, she had big news, indeed! But not the kind of news I wanted to hear! From her perspective it was ‘good’, and from my perspective it was ‘terrible’. Frightening, actually.

What was this ‘big news’? Oh my gosh, I knew she had plans to move, but when she mentioned them earlier, she indicated that she and her husband were moving to Hawaii (near her eldest daughter). That was perfectly fine with me. It would take her 5 1/2 hours (by plane) + 2 1/2 hours (by car) to reach us if she lived there, which would give us plenty of ‘notice’ and plenty of time to ‘get out of dodge’. However, true to form, her/their plans changed. Apparently, after some heart-to-hearts with her husband, they decided to move ‘here’. And when I say ‘here’, I mean the same state, not the same city. Still, that’s way too close for comfort. Waaaaaaaaay too close! If she lived only 2 1/2 hours away (by car), she would be able to pull a ‘sneak attack’ far too easily. I can just imagine waking up one morning to a knock at the door, and upon opening it, discovering my sister standing on the other side with a big sh*t eating grin on her face!! Ack!!

No, no, no! Not in this lifetime! First, it was my nutty brother Wily Coyote who was pressuring me to get together, and now it’s my crazy sister Cactus Annie. And her plans to move here involve lots of ‘get togethers’. When I finally called her back, she went on and on about how she and her husband could come and stay with us and how my husband and I could come over and stay with her, and how much ‘fun’ we’ll have! And that’s not all! She also told me that they had already found an affordable apartment in a retirement community that would be available to move into in the early fall and her husband had even applied online for a job as a bus driver at the local school district. I also got an earful about how, after taking a laxative, she ‘pooped like a dog’ while in the hospital. What does that even mean? Did she go stand out on the lawn and squat? She also confessed to losing 35 pounds during her hospital stay (rather than the original 150 in ‘water weight’ that she told me earlier) because ‘they starved her to death’.

What else did she tell me? Oh, Lord, so many things! But one particular ‘revelation’ required my input because it seemed so demeaning and demoralizing. “Guess what I’m using to summon my husband when I need something?” she asked me. As I searched my brain for possibilities, she blurted out the answer, “A cow bell!!” She then rung it loudly. “No, don’t do that,” I responded, “Not a cow bell.” Do you have any idea how my husband would react if I started ringing a cow bell to get his attention? He would probably pack his bags and walk out the front door, never to return. However, that’s not the case with her husband. The poor guy is basically broken. He’s been putting up with her shenanigans for over 40 years and I don’t think he has a shred of self respect left. While she sits on her fanny and makes constant demands, he’s at her beck and call, running to and fro and taking care of her every need. It’s one of the most bizarre relationships I’ve ever witnessed.

I’m pretty sure her husband no longer produces testosterone because he lost his cajones years ago (I couldn’t say where but they’re long gone). I feel slightly sorry for him and the predicament he’s gotten himself into. I used the word ‘slightly’ because I’ve always found him to be rather creepy, so I feel less sorry for him than I would if he weren’t someone who made me feel uneasy all of the time. I can’t explain it, it’s just a feeling I get. Anyway, suffice to say, she shared a lot of stuff that only proved to me that moving as far and as fast away from ‘here’ was my best option. As much as I love her, I can only take her in small doses. Of course, once she finally finished talking about all of her intentions, I got an opportunity to reveal my ‘big news’. “We’re moving,” I said, “Our house is going on the market tomorrow morning.” I wasn’t sure how she was going to respond but she seemed genuinely happy for me and my husband, especially if we’re able to get what we’re hoping for for our home.

Once we finally got off the phone (I still had to Mop ‘n’ Glo the slate in our entryway and it was well after midnight), I immediately sent a text to my brother Clover and warned him about our sister’s plans. “Have you heard the news about Cactus Annie?” I wrote. I heard from him late the following morning. Ordinarily, he would simply write back, but on this particular occasion he called. According to him, he’d been on the phone with Cactus Annie all morning and she’d made her plans very clear, including her plans to live with him until an apartment in the senior living community became available. With just about everything, my brother Clover is pretty agreeable, but he actually told her that that living situation would not work for him or his wife. “All we can tolerate with guests is 2-3 nights max,” he firmly stated, “We’re just too light of sleepers.” He then mentioned our other brother Dapper Dan (DD). But she’d already reached out to DD and he had indicated that my sister living with him and his wife was also a no-go.

“I guess I could live with Anonymous (yours truly),” she then told my brother. Ummm, excuse me?! Don’t I get a say in this? “That’s not going to work,” he explained, “She is moving away and will probably be gone within 6 weeks.” “Oh,” she replied rather meekly. Yes! I’m moving away…and thank God I am (just in the nick of time)!! Trying to imagine what life would be like with Cactus Annie and her creepy husband living a mere 2 1/2 hours away is the stuff of nightmares!! There’s a reason I only make an effort to visit her about once every 4 years. Believe me, if you met her, you’d understand. She is an anomaly. The things she says and the way she behaves is so bizarre that it’s difficult to give you a clear picture of what I have to deal with when I engage with her. It’s one of those, ‘you’d have to see it to believe it’ sort of scenarios. I love her but she tries my patience (despite her efforts to ‘be on her best behavior’) as she does with most people. My mother always referred to her as ‘impetuous’, among other things.

Last I heard, since she was essentially rejected by most of the siblings she gets along with, Cactus Annie is now reconsidering a move to Hawaii. Yep, just like that, her plans changed. Today, it’s Hawaii. Tomorrow? Who knows. If I know her as well as I think I do, she’ll never move. But she could prove me wrong. She claims she is allergic to the entire state she’s living in (which she has lived in since 1975) and that’s why moving back ‘here’ would be a good idea (because she was born and raised ‘here’ and should have developed resistance). I suspect she’ll suffer from allergies no matter where she lives, especially if she moves back ‘here’. I was born and raised in this state and I still suffer from allergies. I don’t know. I think she’s searching for something else, something greater, that she’ll never find here, there, or anywhere. I can’t provide it and I don’t want to provide it, nor do any of my other family members. Sad to say, but it’s true. Sigh. Alright, I’d better go. I keep falling asleep and forgetting where I left off. Have a lovely weekend and I’ll hopefully see you again tomorrow.

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