Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Endings and beginnings

It's my last day at work. Well, one job at least. I will still have the other two part-time jobs.

So I'm leaving one thing and moving onto another.

Guy said I shouldn't tell too many people yet because you never know what will happen. Good thing we are a small circle of friends here I guess.

Friday, October 27, 2006

October isn't over yet

Breast cancer awareness month. Yes, thank you. I'm quite aware of breast cancer. If you would like to visit a site that supports breast cancer research all year long, you can visit the fine folks at Bringr.

There has been a lot of talk on this blog about ovarian cancer, but I can't ignore the fact that this all started with breast cancer in 1980.

My mother was just a few years older than me when she was told that her odds were not good and that she needed to "get her house in order." She fought. She won. She is still here.

This is my youngest niece featured on my awareness poster. Myself, my little clone niece, and MerMer here all have to be extra careful. Cancer is a part of our genes.

On my 30th birthday, I had my first mammogram. I had some cake too, but first I had my first mammogram. Might I humbly suggest that you schedule your annual in the month of your birthday every year. It will help you remember, and catching breast cancer early will make every birthday that much more important.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The house is not a home

When we got married, Guy had a house, and I had a house. Guy's house is bigger. My house is older. His house won. So I am left with this little house in a great neighborhood that I have to say goodbye to. I don't want to, but I also don't want to own it and let someone else live in it. I am far too much the control freak to be a landlord.

In 2000, I had not realized that I would leave my first husband. What I had realized was that he would never make a living and that we were spending everything we made. I talked to my granddaddy who said, "Buy a house." Sage advice, but strange advice for a couple of poor musicians.

However, my friend Boo had just bought a townhome. She was single and also a musician. I was in awe and inspired.

The market was good, a mortgage was relatively easy to get, and I did want to buy a house. I started looking in an area of the city where the homes we could afford would be old and small, but that I felt like would increase in value. It was my only plan for getting ahead in life. Plus, it was my own little piece of the planet.

Once we bought that house, things began to change. I began feeling the burden of responsibility financially and at the same time wanted to start a family. Instead of being able to start a family, I had to put my Ex through more school. To feel that mothering connection with somebody, I started fostering dogs. My Ex was home less and less and I was home more and more. When it came time to split, it didn't take either of us much time to figure out that I was staying home with the dogs, and he was moving out.

The things he took were unimportant. It was the things he left behind that have mattered.

A sack full of letters from when I lived in London.

A tiny tux from before he hit his mid 20's growth spurt.

All the grunge cd's including the Singles soundtrack.

The four track recorder.

And in a drawer that I must have opened 3 dozen times before I learned my lesson, he left a broken keychain. It was pewter; an abstract naked man and woman. It was wrapped in a note from him that talked about how he would always love me even when it wasn't easy.

I would open the drawer and then shut the drawer. A few weeks later, I would go to clean out the secretary again, open that drawer and then just shut it again.

He also left a piece of hardwood flooring. A random piece of hardwood flooring that he was going to do a home repair with. It sat in a corner in the bathroom for years. Our house, like our marriage, was never tended to or cared for and the plans my Ex always had were never completed.

My little house has had a facelift in honor of its future owners. Years of vinyl flooring has been removed and replaced with tile. There is fresh paint. New gravel has been spread on the gravel.

Guy and I have done it ourselves, together. Each tile we have laid is part of the foundation for the rest of our lives. Each repair that he and his father make brings me closer to being able to let go of the past. Each load of my belongings that leaves that little house, making it a little more empty, has me feeling more confident about where we are moving.

We are moving forward.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Kids:0, Lewy bodies:1

All of the blogging issues aside, I should try to start writing about my time in California. It was quite the scene.

After the issue with the Nose, I boarded a plane and headed to Sacramento. GPS in hand, I rented a car and struck out for my parents' house with no warning from me. Guy did call Daddy that morning and told him, "Sir, I've just put my wife and your daughter on a plane to come see you." To that, Daddy chuckled and replied, "I wish you hadn't done that." Oh boy.

I took a piece of advice from my incredible sister-in-law and stopped at a grocery store. At the local BelAir, I purchased flour, sugar, eggs, vanilla, butter, and sour cream. I was stocked and ready to go with ingredients for a pound cake. When I pulled into the driveway of their house, my cell phone rang. It was Daddy. He wanted to know where I was. When I told him that I was in his driveway, all possibility of animosity melted away. He sounded just like my nephew when he said, "Really? You wouldn't tease me, would you?" I told him to come outside and met him at the end of the sidewalk with a big hug. The pound cake turned out to be secondary to just holding each other for 60 seconds.

As much as I would like to hit publish post right there and forget about it, I can't. That night, I got 90 minutes of sleep. Daddy was up and down all night long. He had accidents in the bathroom, needed his pj's changed, needed help getting in the bed, and needed me to remind him that Momma was in the hospital. The next morning, he was banging on my door at 6:00 AM to get up for the day and help him get dressed.

It is hard to shield your eyes from your naked father while trying to help him put on clean boxers. The dignity lost is from both of you, and I can honestly say that I wished I didn't ever have to do that and so did he.

There was an open wound on his leg. The open part was the size of a quarter. The infection spread to at least the circumference of a baseball. He insisted that it was not infection. I got a Q-tip and wiped off some of the puss to show him. He screamed at the pain, looked at the Q-tip and said that it didn't come from him. Oh boy.

He wouldn't let me take him to the doctor, but (if my ex-husband ever laughs at anything I say again, it will be this statement) he let me put Neosporin and a Band-aid on it. So I did. Twice a day. By the time I left it was beginning to grow some new healthy skin and had quit oozing through the Band-aid within the hour. Nasty.

The next day at the hospital, Daddy got lost trying to find the ICU where Momma was. He introduced me as his sister and told the nice lady that we were trying to find his mother. When the doctor came in the room, he fell asleep in the chair while the nice doctor explained that my mother would have to be moved to a nursing home for rehab. For those of you just joining us, my mother is only 65. Yep. 65.

At this point, we are going on about 40 hours of me being separated from Guy with about 90 minutes of sleep under my belt. I was not stellar.

The doctor pulled me into the hallway away from my father and asked if I had power of attorney for my parents. In my sleep and schmoopie deprived state, I just laughed. If I had known that there were power of attorney papers in the very room where I attempted to sleep the night before, things would have been very different. I explained to the doctor that my father was sick and he and my mother refused to accept the ramifications of that disease. Hell, they refuse to accept the actual disease and just call it Parkinson's. He would just have to try and communicate with them as best he could.

Sure, the doctor told us that Momma would have to go into a nursing home for rehab. Unfortunately, my daddy was asleep and drooling on a chair in the corner. The next day, he turned on me. It became my idea to separate them and to put Momma in a nursing home. I couldn't make him understand that she would come back to him once she was strong. I couldn't convince him that the doctor had talked openly in front of both of us and I just happened to be the one that remained awake. This started the children conspiracy theory. The theory in which his son and daughter were out to strip him of his dignity and keep our mother away from him.

This was the next day, when I had gotten just another 130 minutes of sleep that night. The week was not going to go well.

Advice of the day: Never suggest to your daddy who is only congnitavely challenged 90% of the time that he wear Depends to bed. I guaran-freaking-tee you that you will suggest it to him in the 10% of the time that he is all there. Sheesh.

The golden blogging rules

Updated below.

My dear friend at
Toddler Planet emailed this morning. She always knows just what to say. I guess that is what happens when you have been friends for 20 years.

She sent me to a post by Dooce in which she talks about being outed by her brother to her parents. There is an accompanying newspaper article to go with it, and I have just read the whole thing with the same urgency that I guzzle my first Diet Coke of the day.

There was also an article in the News & Observer yesterday about blogging. After pondering all the information overnight, and now adding in the article about Dooce, I think what I find most helpful today is from Anton Zuiker. Mr. Zuiker basically said to blog unto others as you would have them blog unto you.

That has really got me thinking. Before, I was boldly spewing my feelings and opinions out through this keyboard. It didn't matter to me if what I said was nice or not, it was simply how I felt. If I play by those rules, then I really don't have any right to ever be upset with Guy's Ex for the things she says or writes about me.

I had this feeling that since she felt no shame or remorse in completely bashing me, fabricating all kinds of nonsense about me, and stalking me for over a year, that I had license to let loose on her through my anonymous blog. Am I the pot or the kettle?

The golden rule is a good one to follow I think. If I say that the things she says about me are not fair because she doesn't know me, then oops. All I know about her is what Guy has told me and what I have learned about her through the hundreds of voicemails she leaves at our house. I believe him of course, but from a larger perspective, it is not exactly a fair and accurate depiction.

All this to say, I guess I'm not so worried about anonymity today. Maybe tomorrow I will be. Today, I would like to just blog unto others.

Izzymom also had some rad blogging rules to follow here: Be good to yourself.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

New name, new game

That's it. The old blog is in place. I did some editing and will work to remain more anonymous. Do not confuse anonymity with shame. Don't confuse me wanting anonymity equaling having something to hide.

I have nothing to hide.

In my blog though, I would like to be able to write openly and freely. I would like for it to be an outlet. A place that I can rant if I choose to rant. A place where I can discuss with myself the unpleasant conversation of what would be easier, for Momma or Daddy to die first. There are things that I don't want to share with my friends over coffee. I want to share them here. If I get too morbid, you can always click away from me and try again tomorrow. I have good days and bad days, just like you.

There is at least one person though, who wishes me harm. I think we all have at least one person in our lives that would choose to hurt us over choosing to turn away. For this person, I will remain anonymous.

Anonymity doesn't mean that you can't connect with other people I don't think. It also doesn't mean that you won't hurt the people you write about if they find out. It does mean though, that you won't know who I'm hurting if I rant. Anonymity for them as well. I suppose it's only fair in a world that is far from fair.

There is too much to write about my trip to CA and my parents right now. I've been reposting for about 3 hours, and I'm ready to put the pc to sleep.

Thanks for hanging in there with me.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

De-blogging was a sad thing. I started my blog in May 2006 in order to have a journal outlet to mainly talk about my parents. It was a hugely cathartic experience, and in the venture, I also found several bloggers who I enjoy reading. I had no idea there was this huge blogosphere out there.

Since May, I have gotten married, become a stepmom, watched my parents' health ride a fast and downward spiral, and had to do some major growing up of my own.

Along with my new marriage came a very unstable ex-wife. Last week, she found my blog and left a voicemail after each entry she read. Most of them were unintelligible screaming, but regardless, the message was clear. She was really mad. I guess I don't blame her on the one hand. Some of the things I had said about her were not nice. Warranted, but not nice. It never occurred to me that she would read it. It was my outlet. Had I wanted to hurt her, I would have just emailed her the posts and had her read them for herself.

The blog was anonymous. If you didn't know it existed and weren't part of the story, you would have no idea who these people I write about are. The one thing I did recently was to create a link to a real life blog about my mom, and I suppose that is how the Ex found it. It wasn't very smart on my end, but if the Ex had a hobby besides being my internet stalker then it wouldn't have mattered. She is always looking for information about me to have fodder to put me down to other people and compare herself. It is quite sad really. She is technically old enough to be my mother, but is really quite emotionally immature.

I tried not blogging for a bit. That wasn't fun. I got pent up. I wrote to one of the bloggers I really like and asked for advice. Zoot said to start again. So I return to the blogosphere, this time with new pseudonyms and no pictures of faces. I am going to repost all the old posts with the correct date on the post even though the blog date will be different.

Thanks to those of you who encouraged me to start again. Although I won't quote the name of the last blog just in case the Ex remembers it and searches for the phrase, but if you were with me before, then you know that it only makes sense to give it another go. Granddaddy would have agreed. Today is now tomorrow when I get to start again.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

My mother was awake today. She was mostly coherent and able to carry on a conversation. I am so glad. When she was moved into her new room, the first thing she asked me was, "Do I get to see your ring?"

I had almost forgotten that I hadn't seen her since Guy and I ran off and got married.

Before she moved though, and in her ICU fog, she looked at me, who was there in person, and asked, "Is Bro coming?"

My brother. I was standing there with her and the second thing she asks is where my brother was. There are some people who would be offended I think. Me, I'm just glad she is still herself. She assumed I was there to take care of Daddy, and she was looking for her momma's boy. There is comfort in familiarity.

And he's coming on Thursday. Good boy.

Oh my dear god. I can't believe who I'm sitting next to at this very moment.

Her name is Elsie. No pseudonyms here, she is really Elsie. She is my dad's new home health care provider. I don't know if he will keep her or not, but if not, I'm going to try and get her to come to North Carolina.

I could not have asked for a more perfect person to come into my parents home and attempt to take care of the most proud man in the world. She is, and I kid you not, from Mississippi. Even though my dad tried to push her off on me and have nothing to do with her, it only took 90 seconds after I told him she was from Mississippi to have them sitting in the same room and chatting it up.

Thank god.

I still had to get him ready for bed and put on his pj's and such, but people, I'm getting ready to go to bed and sleep all night. For real.

In the past 72 hours, I have had about 4 hours of sleep. I'm at my physical and emotional wits end, and I'm so excited to be sitting next to Elsie. I wish you could meet her. She is my new most favorite person.

The exhaustion I feel is what my mother must have been feeling for the past two years. I am a wimp compared to her.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Today my mother woke up. One of the first things she said to us when we got to the hospital was, "How do I get out of here." Rock on, Reverend Mother. Rock on.

I was so excited to hear her want to get out. Want to not be sick anymore. That was before the tears started.

I had to ask, when Daddy left the room, I had to ask, "Momma, can you tell me why you are crying?"

She opened her eyes and said, "I'm tired of fighting. I wanted so much for you and Bro, but I'm tired of fighting, and I need to go now."

I asked her what she could possibly give us that she hadn't already given, and she said,


What in god's name do you say to that? Has she been sneaking onto my blog, into my brain, and knows that what I mourn now, before her death, are the memories that won't be made. I sob when I think of how Lovely won't get to know her. I weep when I think about going through pregnancy without her. And I completely shut down when I consider the fact that she won't be here to baptize any of my babies like she has my nieces and nephews.

Or then, there is the explanation that she really is my momma. My nearest and dearest. Not a best friend, because she is, more importantly, a momma. You can't be both, you know. But she knows me better than anyone else. And she hit the nail on the head with,


I've got to get out of the future. There is plenty I won't be able to share with my momma. But if I'm 100% honest with myself, I have to remember that I should have lost her when I was 7 and she battled late-stage breast cancer. So I have 26 years of memories that she fought her ass off to give me.

Thank you, Momma. No matter what, I promise that I will stop being angry that I will lose you soon. Thank you for staying as long as you did. I do not take that for granted. I'm sorry that it only made me want to have you forever.

My brother and I made a pact. We would not go to California unless it was going to produce final results. We would take care of everything over the phone, staying in complete contact with each other and standing together on all decisions. So why am I in California all alone?

Guy and I cancelled our vacation to stay in TN with my brother so that he and I could make a plan. Implement a plan. Stand firm. Mom and Dad needed home health care months ago. Even before Mom's diagnosis and chemo. We told them this repeatedly. They declined to do anything about it.

Dad doesn't sleep well at night. I'm one to talk, but that's another story. He gets up during the night, but then he can't get back down. The bed is too tall. My mother loves the bed and the hand knotted canopy that hangs above it. Which itself is probably dust and germ laden, and I could go on, but you get the point I'm sure.

There are things about their lives that they have been unwilling to change. Can I blame them really? They aren't supposed to have to yet. They aren't supposed to be old.

This past week, Bro and I made great strides with Dad. We even got him to agree to home health care overnight for himself. Then there was the Nose.

The Nose is a "friend" of my parents. She presented herself to me during this episode of the soap opera that is my parents' life by calling to ask me for my aunt's phone number. "You know, the one who lives in Georgia?"

Yes, I know my aunt that lives in Georgia, thank you. No, you may not have her phone number. She is my aunt, I'll call her. Why are you trying to call our family members anyway?

Turns out, she's been calling my parents' friends back in Mississippi, talking to doctors, nurses, and basically deciding that she was in charge of this family.

Wrong. She made a big mistake Saturday. Bro and I had asked the one person that we both trust to be at the meeting with Daddy and the home health lady. The Nose called and said she was going to be staying with my dad anyway, so why didn't she just tell our person not to come. I said fine. I thought it was fine. We only wanted there to be an extra set of ears so that they could help Dad remember what was said.

Only the Nose took it upon herself to say to the home health person, "He has a lot of his plate right now," and "We really have this under control, you know. He is going to come and stay with us at our house."

WHAT????? I specifically told the Nose earlier in the week that Daddy needed to be at home. Staying in other houses is terrible on him. He falls. He gets confused. He doesn't rest. It is not an option. And there she was, completely sabotaging every effort Bro and I had made. Every bit of progress. Daddy sent the home health people away. All because of the Nose.

The kicker is that I told the Nose that she was only to listen, and that we needed to make sure that she was going to support this decision if she was to be present. Looking back, I realize what she said was this, "I agree that someone needs to be with your dad at night."

Manipulative bitch.

By the way, I ripped her a new one over the phone and then got in lots of trouble with my dad. I actually was quite pleased that he was lucid enough to be completely and totally pissed at me and tell me to apologize. So pleased that I actually did apologize to the Nose. I apologized for the tone of voice that I used and then stated that I didn't apologize for anything I said, which included several "how dare you's" and "what gives you the right's" and "you are to keep your opinions and control issues out of our family's."

Is there a point? Yes, a couple.

I'm now in California. Yesterday, I spent 12 hours in a car driving across I-40 to get home. Then, the Nose caused me to have to get on a plane less than 12 hours after I got home and fly across the country to try and salvage what little progress we had made with Dad in the past week. Plus, I thought I had better get my sorry ass out here and make him a pound cake before he decided to hold a marathon grudge against me for putting the Nose in her place and thereby embarrassing him in the process.

The second point is a really just a thought. Someone else from my mom's church tried to explain the Nose's inappropriate behavior by telling me how much she loved my parents and that it scared her to see them slipping away. Therefore, the control freak in her came out and took over.

Am I the only one that is appalled by this? She is scared of losing them? Aren't they my parents? Hasn't she known them for 7 years to my 33? Am I supposed to care? Am I supposed to help her feel better by letting her run the show? Ummmm, NO.

Then it hit me. When my parents die, or when just one of them dies, all the needy people they collected in their lives are going to come to me and suck me dry. It hit me that when my grandfather died, I couldn't stand to be in the room with all those sad people. Visitation was torture. I wanted to be sad, and I didn't want anyone else being sad around me, making me feel like I had to make them feel better. I don't know how I'm going to deal with my parents' funerals. I've got to get a handle on that, because it can't be a repeat of Granddaddy's funeral. That was just a disaster, but good material to write about someday.

Lucky for me, there was no grudge. He was happy to see me and I was happy to see him. I don't know what will happen this week, but I know that Bro and I have now taken back control of our family and we ain't ever letting it slip away again. They are our parents. We love them, and we will take care of them. So there.

Friday, October 06, 2006

I sit now feeling old. I sit with an ice pack on my right ankle, a welt on my left knee, my right wrist is swollen, and my left shoulder aches.

When you are an adult, you fall further and harder on skates. No matter how fast and smooth you can skate on your own, if a flailing 6 year old pulls you down 3 times on roller skates, you will hurt.

And I do.


And it was fun. Great big loads of fun.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

So a big hell yeah goes to Zoot. Miss Zoot has a very enjoyable blog. I don't remember how I found her, but I'm sure it was through a blog roll. She was blogging about Blingo and I signed up as one of her Blingo friends. Now I'm officially a blog stalker I guess.

She also is a way cool designer. There are multiple blog designs that she lets you download for free. I'm trying to decide what to send her. Money or baked goods. I think money would be far less scary, but I don't know how much? Too little would be insulting and too much would again, be scary.

So for now, thanks to Zoot. My blog envy is on the way to being culled. Now I just have to learn what to do with all the links above and to the side. I'll get there.

I have learned a valuable lesson. If you put your only child in a house with four children ages 9 months to 10 years who all attend school and/or day care, the only child will soon get sick.

After a trip to the urgent care and then to the local Kroger pharmacy where the pharmacist took it upon himself to alter the prescription to read "substitute" and give us a generic drug, we have a Lovely without clouds.

Even with all the snot, Lovely has announced that Guy and I are boring. I have never been so happy to be boring. I was beginning to think that she was just an adult trapped in the body of a 10 year old. This week I have discovered that in fact, she is a normal 10 year old. She enjoys bowling with other kids, playing video games with other kids, and all sorts of normal kid things. She only hangs out with us 24/7 because there are no kids to play with.

Tonight, we are taking them skating. Guy and I are supposed to stay out of the way and let her be a kid with her cousins. I make no promises. I am a mad woman on skates.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The past week has been hell on earth. Momma is in the ICU on a ventilator. The people from her church have let her down. They have been completely hypocritical.

For over a year, my brother and I have been trying to get help for my parents in their home. They have pushed it away over and over again. Every time my mother goes in the hospital, the church folk ask us what we need. We always say, "Someone please stay with my father." Then he sends them away, saying that he doesn't need help. They turn around, go home, and think they've done their churchly duty.

This week has been different.

The Reverend Mother is gone. She is out of commission. She is on a ventilator, and those people who go to see my mother, instead see my father, shaking in the corner, unable to form a sentence.

They decided to listen to us. They decided to stay with my father all night. Then they decided to begin to call my brother and myself and tell us how much we needed to come out there and stay with my father.

We said no.




Thanks for keeping them out there for so long that now she has the possibility of dying across the country from us. So sorry that my father kept you up all night and peed on your floor while trying to get to your bathroom.

We told you. I came to you. I went multiple times and bared my soul, telling you that my father was weak and needed help.

You decided instead of listening to me and realizing that it was HARD to admit that my father, my daddy, the lawyer, the kicker-of-ass in the courtroom, NEEDED help to get to the bathroom at night, that it was okay to dismiss me.

Now, you issue me a deadline. You tell me that it is too hard to find people to stay with my dad at night. They are too tired in the morning. He can't make it to the bathroom. He is confused and disoriented at night. You tell me that I have to find someone by tomorrow night.

Screw you.

So I thought about going back to church one time. I went. The air conditioner was broken. People I didn't know tried to hug me. We sang insincere songs about Jesus being my boyfriend. It sucked.

Then, these lovely church people at my parents church are as supportive as their Bissell steam cleaner will take them. So my daddy pees on himself at night. No shit. We have been telling you that for months.

Now, you have to deal with it.

We are coming to move them. No sooner. We are not coming to wipe up after him. We are only coming to move them. You will have to step up and deal with them until then.

Good luck. You will need it. We have tried everything but luck, and every time, we come up short.

Tonight, I sat and listened to my brother try to convince my father to call his doctor and order his own home health care. Please, Daddy, call your doctor and admit to him that you need someone to stay with you so that you can get up in the night and make it to the bathroom in time. No, Daddy, we still respect you. Yes, Daddy, we want you to still have your dignity.

We are so sorry, church folk, that you have had to clean up piss. I would give anything to have him close enough to me to clean up his piss. Why don't you get a life? Leave my parents alone and let them go. You obviously can't handle it. We can.

I'm ready for people to actually help me help them instead of running around talking about helping them.

I'm so tired.

Oh, and by the way, I'm on "vacation" this week. Translated, I cancelled all plans and am hanging out at my brother's house trying to be an adult and make plans for my parents who haven't transferred power of attorney to us.

I'm so tired.