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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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.

Help wanted: woman on the edge

I think I may have figured out what my problem is of late. Yes, menopause is a bitch on ‘roids and I’m sure part of it has to do with my hormones. But I’ve been on edge for so long, stressed out, unsure whether I want to race a car around the block on foot or sleep for a week, and I think some of it at least has to do with the fact that I haven’t written anything substantial in about six months. I thought writing a fiction post every day might help, but it doesn’t. All it really does is add to my workload of editing two novels, keeping up with my main blog, as well as caring for my kids and my mother… and my house. I really should vacuum one of these years.

My little guy is going away to his dad’s for the weekend, so I’ll have time (hopefully) to get at least one editing project finished. Speaking of that, if any of you would like to volunteer to proofread a 10K romantic comedy novelette, that’d be fantastic. It’s a quick read. I should be finished my own final edit by the weekend. I’ll get it to you after that. I’m hoping to get it published in June. Once that’s out of the way, I’ll get back to working on one of the two novels I’ve started. With any luck it will lead to a happier, more pleasant, Izzy. And maybe some of the hair I’ve been yanking out by the roots can start to grow back.

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.

Epic Parenting on Thanksgiving Day

My eldest son, whilst hugging me: Thanks for an awesome dinner, Mom. You’re a good shit.
Me: You’re a good shit too, Fred. You’re welcome.

True story.

This post is part of One-Liner Wednesday. Give it a try! Just click the link to find out more: http://lindaghill.com/2015/10/14/one-liner-wednesday-im-driving-here/

X is for X-Rated

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

Depending on where you are in the world, your country’s rating system may go up to NC-17, (U.S.) R, (Canada), 18, (U.K.) etc., but for the purposes of the A-Z Challenge I’m using the outdated rating because, well, “X.”  I’m purposely not including pornography ratings since this post relates to mainstream movie theatres. Perhaps not regardless of where you are–admittedly I haven’t done a lot of research–at least in North America, the highest ratings are normally placed on movies with sexual content. So while our Bugs Bunny is being censored all to hell, our children are encouraged to watch widespread violence but denied the act of love.

I have mixed feelings about this. Intellectually it makes little sense to me to limit the viewing of sexual acts but show willful acts of violence. On the other hand, emotionally I have issues that stem from childhood which I won’t go into. Suffice to say that I had very mixed messages growing up. On the OTHER hand, (because yes, I have three hands on this subject) there is also the question of what viewing sexual acts in the theatre will lead to at home.

With widespread (pun unintentional) access on the internet to the types of porn that isn’t even shown in adult theatres and the fact that it’s difficult to supervise our children’s internet access 24/7, the ideas they get from movies is equivalent to the concept of gateway drugs. Give ’em a taste and they’ll want an even better high.

With that in mind, I’m thinking what if they just put all the violence AND all the sex under the highest rating? What do you think?

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.

G is for General-Rated Movies with Adult-Oriented Content

Ah, going to the movies with the kids. You take a mortgage out on the house to pay for the tickets and the popcorn just to sit down and watch a film that you figure is going to feel only slightly better than stabbing yourself in the temple with a fork. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? The filmmakers fortunately understand this. They know that if they don’t put at least something in a children’s movie for us adults to appreciate, we’d never take our kids to watch them.

And so in some cases you can find brilliant humour. Disney and Pixar have it down to a science, as well as Dreamworks with the Shrek series. I mean seriously, how can you not laugh at this?

What are some of your favourite “adult” moments in movies made for kids?

 

A real conversation in my house Pt. 3

Well that went downhill fast ~~~~

Chris: Did you eat an egg?

Me: Yes.

Chris: Why did you eat an egg?

Me: Because I like them.

Chris: Did I used to be an egg in your tummy?

Me: Yes.

Chris: Did you have sex with my dad so I could be an egg in your tummy?

Me: Yes.

Chris: Ok.