Eroded

I know I’m not the only one dealing with a parent with senile dementia bordering on Alzheimer’s. So how is it done? How do I keep my own sanity?

My mother has forgotten I sold her car. And she’s mad at me.

Back up to three years ago when she was admitted to hospital for pneumonia. When she came out, it was decided by the doctor that she should no longer be driving. She was 83. According to our laws she needed to go for a road test and she didn’t feel up to it. So she let her license go. We all thought it was for the best.

I hung on to her car for a year and then sold it. I didn’t need it and neither did she.

For the past three days I’ve been getting calls from her, asking:

What happened to my car?

Why didn’t you tell me you sold it?

Is nothing that’s mine, mine?

Why didn’t I have any say in the matter?

If I’d known, I wouldn’t have let you sell it.

Am I a non-person now?

Do you have anything else of mine you can sell [out from underneath me]?

I may as well die and get it over and done with…

Where’s my car?

Four or five phone calls a day, every day. Each call lasts half an hour or so and and goes around in the same circle. Same questions over and over. There’s nothing I can say to convince her she knew and agreed at the time. The logic that she didn’t need it is met with, “I wouldn’t have given up my license. I’ll just get it again, then I’ll get my car back. I want my car back.”

A couple of times I’ve managed to distract her from the cycle of questions, but she just phones back and starts again.

I’m worn out. I’m an only child and I have no other family here, so I’m on my own with her care.

I’m at a loss.

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An update on the ex thing

When I got home the other day (how long has it been now? Five days?) I decided to go ahead and answer my ex’s mother about the graduation pictures she’s been waiting for, and my ex’s girlfriend about the Christmas present. I had mixed results.

I sent my ex-mother-in-law a zip file of a bunch of photos I had. I’m not sure whether or not she opened the zip file – she never answered me back. Payback maybe? Whatever.

As for the ex’s girlfriend, I wrote back and told her that my son has been asking for a Nintendo 3DS for ages, and “it would be great if you could get him that – thanks!” She replied that she talked to my son on the weekend, and he said he wanted clothes and books. Not to be outdone, I replied, “Great! You can get him the 3DS for his birthday (in two weeks) then! ūüėÄ ” She sent back a note to say she thought he already had a DS. I said he does, but they don’t make games for it anymore. She never answered me back.

My only regret is that I’ve already bought him a laptop. The 3DS will be less than half the price. Then again, I’m not holding my breath that they’ll buy it for him.

After all that, I texted my ex and asked him for an apology. The answer I got back was, “Sorry!”

Was that, I’m so sorry I feel like I need to put an exclamation on it? Or was that, I’m sorry! Now shut up and leave me alone!? Probably the latter. You’ve just gotta laugh.

Time

I went to an interesting writer’s workshop today, during which the presenter asked us whether or not we give ourselves permission to make time to write. Because one thing that is true for almost every writer, writing isn’t all we do, and other things often take precedence over our writing. She said that if our writing is meaningful to us, we must take the time. It’s important.

I wanted to say something about our families and that THEY don’t always allow us the time to write but, ironically, we ran out of time. Now I wish I’d said something.

Skip to the present.

My ex has two of our kids right now. I’m having a weekend off. I just got a text from him to say that because I didn’t answer messages from his mother about graduation pictures, and his girlfriend about what our youngest son wants for Christmas (yes, she’s already thinking about Christmas) that he has no faith in me. I answered, “I’m still waiting for graduation pictures (care to pay for them?) and I have no idea what he wants for Xmas. Why don’t you ask him? And what do you mean you have no faith in me? Who the fuck looks after them 90% of the time? I’m sorry I forgot to reply. I was busy looking after YOUR kids. All three of them.”

To which he replied, “You were busy doing nothing but you think you were doing something. Wake up and smell the fucking life.”

I have soooo had it with him. I’m trying to get a career going, between writing and taking editing courses, but from the outside it looks like a time-wasting hobby. I know that. I already feel as guilty as fuck that I’m not doing more. But what can I do when I’m looking after two disabled kids, alone, one of which is home 24/7 since he graduated? I have no support other than a babysitter and my eldest son. I can’t go out and work. I have a hard time making decisions for my kids who can’t. And where is my ex? He moved and bought a house 3 hours’ drive away from us and he’s taken the kids this weekend for the first time in 5 weeks. Normally, when he does have them, he stays home and I have to move out of my own fucking house! Spend money on hotels and meals just so I can get a break… and he has no faith in me? In me?

I’m fucking livid.

My dilemma

Okay, so here’s the deal: My ex moved three hours’ drive out of town a couple of years ago. His job requires him to work way too much, and so he can’t see the kids every other weekend like he’s supposed to. Add to this the fact that he doesn’t want to drive 12 hours every weekend that he does have them, so he moves into my house and I have to move out. At my cost. As my mother so eloquently put it, I have to pay to leave my own home. When their dad does take them to his place (actually, only one of them because he doesn’t have room for both) he expects me to drive half way to meet him. At my cost.

From the time he had the kids last, to the time he has them next, I will have had them for 5 weeks (four weekends). My dilemma is this: do I start drinking wine now? And if so, should I try to have any of the 20 bottles I have in my basement left by the time I get another weekend off (at my cost)? Or should I just throw up my hands and drink the lot?

My life seriously fucking sucks sometimes.

Is your son at home?

Gotta love it when the school calls to say your kid is missing. That apparently the last person to see him, spotted him outside 45 minutes ago in his jacket and with his backpack. And this from an acting temporary principal who, to his credit, sounded legitimately nervous when he apologized for losing my son. He, then, sounded a bit relieved when I told him I could contact the miscreant via cell phone. Which I did. He’s back at school now.

That he’s an Autistic 20 year old makes things difficult in regards to disciplinary actions. But hey, rules are rules. He’s probably facing the consequences as I write this.

Thank god for cell phones.

What I should have said was…

Are you ever so stunned by the things people do – so taken off-guard – that you don’t say anything?

Yesterday I went to the grocery store to buy some of my favourite pasta and arugula salad from the deli counter. I stood there being ignored for a while by the two ladies behind the counter and was about to give up when a young guy in a baseball cap and t-shirt, with nothing to indicate that he worked there, walked behind the glass-fronted display and asked me if he could help me. Since the ladies didn’t kick him out, I assumed he did in fact work there so I asked for a medium. He scooped my salad into the container with a plastic serving spoon, which was all fine, but then when he saw there were bits of arugula hanging over the side, he shoved them in with his bare hand and put the lid on.

And I didn’t say anything.

Now as I sit here enjoying my questionably diseased salad I feel as though the time has come to get my word in edgewise…

If I turn up dead of the plague, you’ll know who to blame.

Yeah, me.

N is for Neurosis and Noonan’s Syndrome

A creative writing teacher once told me to be careful about diagnosing my characters. Be sure, she said, that you know exactly what you’re talking about before you do. In that particular case I was writing about a woman with OCD – something I strongly suspect my son to be afflicted with, though he has never been diagnosed.

I can say with every bit of authority that my professor’s advice is valid, having seen an episode of¬†Law and Order: SVU¬†entitled Bullseye,¬†in which they included a character who had “Noonan’s Syndrome.” ¬†I was enraged. The¬†show¬†went about explaining the character’s mental retardation by passing¬†it off with a diagnosis the writers quite obviously didn’t research. Yes, some of the people with Noonan’s Syndrome are mentally delayed. My youngest son is one of them. But through the extensive research I did when my son was a baby, in order to find out what his life might be like, I met some fantastic people with university degrees who were inflicted with the same genetic disease, which is most often characterized by its physical symptoms. Not its mental ones.

There are many ways to piss off a reader by not thoroughly researching an element in a work of fiction. The more emotionally driven the subject, the more it will affect the audience.

Have you ever been enraged over an author’s lack of research? I doubt there are many of us who haven’t, at some point or another.

 

On the heels of EM the Merciful

I hate the feeling that my goodwill and compassion is being taken advantage of. Without any word of a lie, as much of the time I spend looking after myself, equal to or more time is spent on looking after everyone else. I’m always the first one to say, “don’t worry about it. I’ll do it.” And so I take on everyone else’s burdens. I have a hard time delegating. Especially when I can do most of the things that need to be done faster and more efficiently than those around me can.

I’m exhausted. Both physically and mentally. My frozen shoulder won’t let me sleep during the 5 hours I night I manage to be in bed. The pain is inhuman. When I am awake I’m being pulled in a thousand directions at once: have you done this for me yet? Have you called this doctor for him? That doctor for her? Can you come with me to this or that appointment? Sorry, I’m too busy to help you. Maybe next month… You want the money I owe you? Fuck you.¬† This is what I listen to every day. And yeah, I allow it. But the truth is, I’m the only one who CAN do three quarters of what I do. It’s why I don’t have a job. Pfft. Like I sit around watching soaps all day.

And then everyone wonders why I go away on vacation alone.

I need a vacation. Again.

EM is for Menstruation

My A-Z Challenge this year contains posts¬†about writing adult content in fiction ‚Äď you will not find any adult fiction within the parameters of the challenge, except for illustration purposes.

People are going to hate me for¬†this, but I gotta say it. The “controversy” all started with the “iconic” scene in¬†50 Shades of Grey¬†where *gasp* Christian Grey removed a tampon from Ana’s¬†down there before he mounted her. And women all over the world tittered or threw up. What. The. Fuck.

Oh but it’s so sickening!¬†they cry. To remove a foreign object from¬†the place¬†a man is going to stick his dick -so what?! Is your blood diseased?¬†Are you not clean¬†down there? If not you might want to reconsider those tampons in the first place, ‘coz it ain’t getting any better! And guys¬†–¬†feeling uneasy about the idea of fucking her during her period? Consider this: get her pregnant and your kid’s comin’ outta that same hole with even MORE blood — head-first! Is that sick or what?¬†If you can’t handle the anatomy, get the hell out of the twat!

And grow the fuck up already!

 

Daily Post – Food Bites

The Daily Post asks us to write about ” Food for the Soul (and the Stomach)”.

I have a love/hate relationship with food. I love it, it hates me. Or so it seems. Conditioned from an early age that it’s of the utmost importance to have an eighteen inch waist (thanks Mom) I’ve been struggling with my waistline since I was a teenager. I would eat all the time if I could. But I can’t. My low metabolism doesn’t do me any favours either. As far as I’m concerned, food bites.

Nah, food for my soul is language. Words. They float through my mind, calorie free and I breathe them back out onto the page. Yes, okay, sometimes they resemble vomit more than the whisper of a breath, but that’s what polishing is for, right?

Tell us about your favorite meal, either to eat or to prepare. Does it just taste great, or does it have other associations? – the daily post

Though I’m also very fond of Japanese, my favourite meal is English. British English, in particular. (You may notice my spelling of the word “favourite.”) I like to prepare it in the form of fiction; the longer it takes to make, the better. For me there’s nothing better than the smorgasbord of a novel, laid out on a vast table of white and just waiting to be devoured. In one sitting, if it’s delicious enough. I strive to be a master chef, though there are a few masters to whose work I shall never live up.

Words satisfy my hunger for knowledge and for passion; they fill the tastebuds of my emotions with joy.

Oh, and wine is good too.