August 11, 2021 – Ups and Downs

It’s been a difficult day today, I’ve really struggled emotionally. A fair amount of bad news came my way yesterday and it didn’t seem to really sink in until today. After everything my brother and I (and our respective families) went through to ensure my mom was placed in the best possible home, it didn’t seem to make the slightest difference. The happiness she initially experienced was extremely short-lived (less than 24 hours). I also received a call from my nephrologist who had more unpleasant news. Nothing grave, mind you, but not the news I had hoped to hear. In addition to that, my husband and I have been sweating the home inspection because the sale of our house is/was contingent upon it, and the inspection took place yesterday. Even though our realtor told us that we’d have the results back by day’s end, it didn’t happen. We did hear back from another individual regarding our home (and its contents), but it wasn’t our realtor. The lady from the moving company finally got back to me (via email) with an estimate on what it would cost to move our household goods. I nearly choked (and had to do a double take) when I read the amount!

In a previous post, I referred to my mother as ‘Goldilocks’, but I think I was being far too generous. My mother is much like Goldilocks as they both are a bit on the finicky side, however, Goldilocks (without fail) is able to reach a state or place of satisfaction within a short amount of time. The term ‘third time’s a charm’ describes Goldilocks to a ‘t’. With my mom, there is no telling what it’ll take to reach that elusive place. I could promise her the moon and she’d complain that she requested the ‘full moon’ and I only gave her the ‘crescent moon’. I’ve taken her out for ice cream and she complained that her cone didn’t look like the one on the poster. One time she ordered salad and then complained because it was ‘too big’. I’ve learned dining in at a restaurant is a risky move because she usually summons one of the wait staff and complains. I’ve also learned that at the end of the day, the only food she really likes is the food she’s prepared herself. Of course, that was when she still had her wits about her. Since the onset of dementia, she is no longer able to prepare a meal. She used to cook and bake and do daily crossword puzzles and even paint. Now? She does none of those things.

The problem is, she still thinks she can. And I guess what abruptly ended her ‘happy streak’ yesterday was hearing the word ‘no’ when she offered to cook breakfast for herself as well as all of the other residents in the adult family home where she lives. When my mother’s unhappy, my brother ‘Clover’ will surely hear about it. True to form, when she didn’t get her way in the kitchen, she called my brother. I hadn’t realized there was a problem until I received a text from him which read, “The honeymoon’s over.” It was followed by a ‘sad’ emoji. “Are you kidding?” I wrote back, “What the heck happened?!” He didn’t respond right away because he was still on the phone with my mom, but once their conversation ended, he called with ‘the latest’. He said he felt like Dan Aykroyd’s character in ‘Driving Ms. Daisy’ before sharing what my mother had told him. It was extremely dramatic but it usually is. Are you ready for this? According to my brother, while on the phone with my mom, she suggested, “How about I sneak out the front door, walk to the beach, and drown myself?”

If I didn’t know my mother as well as I do, I would have thought my brother was telling a ‘tall tale’, but it was the god’s honest truth. There is no doubt in my mind because my mother has said some pretty fantastical things to me as well. When my sister ‘Cactus Annie’ offered to move in and take care of her, my mom said she’d rather ‘walk onto the highway and into traffic’. She also proposed we dig a grave in her backyard and she’d climb into it. On several separate occasions before we moved her into the assisted living facility, she suggested that I take her to the nearest bridge and throw her over the side. I have to admit, it was a bit tempting at the time. In fact, I know it’s rather dark (and insensitive), but when she made the comment to my brother about drowning herself, I asked whether he’d offered her some concrete shoes. It’s just so frustrating because I don’t think my mom is capable of being ‘happy’ or even slightly ‘content’. Needless to say, I told my brother to ‘let her complain’ and urged him not to go racing over to ‘fix the situation’. “No matter what you do, she’s going to complain,” I reminded him. “I won’t,” he assured me. She was upset about something completely different today, but at least she exercised. That’s a step in the right direction.

Another bit of news that put a wrinkle in my day (and forehead) was electronically delivered via AOL (when I heard back from one of the local moving companies). The owner of the moving company came out last week and wrote up a list of all of the things we planned to take. My husband and I didn’t think it’d be much because we’re getting rid of nearly every stitch of furniture we have. Boy, were we wrong! The figure we had in our head was around $7,000 but we were off by a long shot. The packing alone was going to cost $4,600 (which we could save if we did it ourselves), and the shipping/transport was either $26,000 (and some change) or $35,000!!! I did not expect that at all and neither did my husband. When I read the email aloud, he was certain he’d misheard me. “Forget that!” he balked, “We’ll just do it ourselves!” Sigh. Just like my mom, my husband often forgets that he’s not 20 anymore. We’re still beat up from working on the house all weekend. The idea of renting a 26′ U-Haul truck and all that a ‘self move’ entails makes me want to walk over to a bridge and throw myself off.

I spent several hours on the roof on Saturday (sanding and painting some wood trim) and managed to mess up my back as well as get a damn splinter lodged in the nail bed of my right thumb. It is now infected. My husband ‘bested’ me somehow. While climbing down a ladder (after making repairs in the attic), he missed one of the lower rungs (which expedited his descent), and ultimately wound up in the blackberry bushes (messing up his back, ankles, wrists, and shoulders in the process). I tell you, we’re quite the pair! A ‘self move’ is not a ‘wise move’ in my opinion. We’d have to have everything loaded onto the truck, drive it across several states, unload it at a storage facility, and return it within 7 days (or pay significant additional costs). If we were in our 20s maybe it would be possible, but we’re not. It’s just the two of us and we’re in our mid-50s. I’m a realist and I’m telling you, it’s not happening! Fortunately, there is a slightly better option which is going to cost about twice as much as a ‘self move’, but I think it’s much more doable, and it involves ‘U-Boxes’ (a product of U-Haul).

With U-Boxes, we would be responsible for filling/packing them, and somebody else would be responsible for transporting them and dropping them off. It isn’t cheap but it’s cheaper than hiring a moving company. After my husband went to bed yesterday, I contacted U-Haul and arranged for 4 U-Boxes to be dropped off in front of our house. They’re supposed to be delivered on the 20th. If everything goes as planned, we’ll load them up once they arrive, and on the 3rd of September, somebody else will pick them up and haul them off (hopefully someone affiliated with the company). The whole thing makes me tired but there’s no getting around it. I imagine it’ll be quite satisfying to watch that truck with our household goods drive off because that’ll mean we’re nearing the end of ‘this chapter’, but there’s so much to do between now and then. For one, I have a whole household of furniture to sell. Because I don’t have any social media accounts (with good reason), I am primarily limited to ‘Craigslist’. Whenever I use it, rest assured, I’ll get several opportunities to deal with scammers/spammers. Within 5 minutes of placing an ad for my dining room table and chairs today, someone tried to bait me.

Word of advice? If you use Craigslist and someone sends an email or text and asks you to contact them via their G-Mail account, don’t do it. Please, don’t. Just delete the message and save yourself a whole lot of trouble. I’m going to be posting dozens of ads so I’m sure I’ll receive plenty more. At least I know not to take the bait (any longer), just like I no longer take the bait when I get those ridiculous spam messages on WordPress from ‘extraproxies’. Oh gosh, I just realized that I’m 8 paragraphs in and I still haven’t mentioned the news from my nephrologist. As I said, it’s nothing grave, but it’s still a bummer. My kidney’s doing great, by the way. It’s happy and healthy and doing what it’s supposed to, filtering out the ‘bad stuff’ and directing it to the nearest exit. The ‘bummer’ part is that even though I was vaccinated with both the Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson vaccines, I still didn’t develop any antibodies. The test results finally came back yesterday and ‘zero’ were detected. My doctor recommended I get the Moderna vaccine but I’m losing hope that anything’s going to work. With all of the new strains/variants of the virus, it looks like leisurely travel is off the table.

As much as I’d hoped to visit my son in Spain, just like performing a ‘self move’ in my mid-50s, ‘leisurely travel’ in the near future just isn’t happening. I shouldn’t be surprised though, there’s a lot ‘not happening’ these days. Life just isn’t what it used to be. Oh, well. What do you do? For me, I guess I’ll keep taking each day as it comes and will hopefully find some joy along the way before that looming figure (wearing the dark cape) with the scythe shows up, taps me on the shoulder with his bony finger, and lets me know ‘it’s time’.

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