Thursday, November 13, 2014

What Next?

It doesn't rain here, it pours.

B, my sibling, called me to let me know that our mother has been diagnosed with dementia.

In addition to everything else, I must now make a quick trip back to the UK before the spouse's surgery.  I plan to stay for no more than 7 days.  I will probably miss the Thanksgiving holiday here this year in order to fit this trip into the schedule.

My road is suddenly becoming bumpier.  Stress levels soaring.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Spouse Spells It Out

Last night, while cooking dinner with the spouse, he asked me how I was doing.

I told him I was doing OK, but that I (and the rest of the family) will be extremely happy once his surgery is over and he is on the road to recovery.

The spouse said that my moods have definitely been 'off' the past week or so and that he was concerned that I was becoming depressed.  It's true .... I have been thinking a lot about the surgery to come but also (again) about some of the things that I have done in the past that will cause me regret until the day I die.  I guess it all gets mixed up and one thought leads into another.  I count my blessings daily but in so doing I sometimes remind myself of how differently things could've turned out had those 'things' gone off on another tangent.  My life could be so different now .... and probably not in a good way either.

Like most people, I go through periods of introspection.  I think about the way certain things have turned out (for the good, luckily) but how those very same things could also have turned out way way way for the bad.  Then I think about the reasons behind why I behaved the way I did in my younger years and I totally know the answers behind the reasons: my parents.

I'm not making excuses for myself (as I've stated many times before) because I take full responsibility for my behavior but I DO blame my parents for instilling such rage and recklessness within me beginning in very early childhood with the way that they behaved.  Their judgmental attitudes and the physical, mental, emotional abuse.  As I've said before, I am scarred for life.

As we were talking while making our dinner, the spouse suddenly said, "You know, even if something were to happen to me, I don't think it's a good idea for you to go back to the UK permanently.  In fact, you need to rethink this whole idea of living with your parents, even for the short term like we were talking about.  It's not going to work."

I thought that was such a coincidence, seeing as how I've been thinking the same thing but really not saying anything to the spouse.  I wanted to keep an open mind, see how things work out. I also don't want to burden the spouse with anything more to think about, seeing as how he has a lot on his mind right now.  Yes, we talked about moving in with my parents after the spouse retires so that we could help them out in their extreme old age.  Perhaps find them a better place to live, help with bills, sort out their hoard and so on.

"Has your mother called you lately?" he asked.
"No, not for a few weeks."
"What's going on there?"
"Well, I opened my great big gob and told my dear mother's friend that my parents' house isn't up for guests."
Pause.
"Why did you do that?"
"I wish I hadn't."
"It wasn't your business.  You should've just let the chips fall.  Look, you have to know by now that there's nothing you can do for your parents.  Look at your dad.  He received an inheritance and he has gone completely off the radar.  Even B (my sibling) has said the same thing.  B has had enough of it too but ...... they are all birds of a feather.  They stick together and they gang up on you at the slightest provocation."
I acknowledged the spouse: "I know."
"So why are you still worrying about this?  It's time to stop it.  Way past time.  I'm gonna break it down for you.  Your mother is going to die soon, so is your father.  If, at this stage of their lives, they are still going to hold you responsible for the way their lives have turned out, don't you see?  I know we've joked before about you being shotgun but that was years ago.  And if they haven't made their lives work by this time, if they are still angry about you, my little shotgun, then you are just going to have to face the facts.  They are incapable of ever really being 'there' for you.  There is no such thing as unconditional love as far as they are concerned ..... I doubt they even know what that is.  I know they're elderly and all that, but they have never been there for us.  Even when we had the kids.  We were totally on our own."
I acknowledged again: "I know."
"Your dad inherited who knows how much money?  but B says that they are still acting like broke asses ....the roof leaks, they need a new car, B says your mother is wearing shoes with holes in the sole .... what the hell is going on?  We have enough on our plate right now and I want you to stop worrying about your mother and father.  If they can't talk to you like grown adults about what was said and the intent behind it, if they want to sit and stew like they always do ....then leave them to get on with it.  It's done.  It's over.  It will soon all be over.  I'm sorry to say this, but perhaps then you'll be able to move on."

My parents cast a shadow over my life to this day.  No wonder I ran 6000 miles to get away from them.  I knew even then that our relationship could never and would never work.  I could never please them, no matter what I did.  No wonder I started drinking at 9 and smoking at 11.  No wonder B developed a personality disorder.  No wonder I broke out in hives daily for years.  Funny that.  As soon as I moved out of their house and moved in with the spouse, the hives went away and never returned.

"I wanted resolution," I said.  "I wanted to feel that I had forgiven them, which I have, but that they had forgiven me too for whatever it is they are holding against me.  I've just always had to deal with this stonewalling from them.  All the time.  Even now.  I didn't want them to die with our issues unresolved."

"I don't think they care," said the spouse.  "They are wrapped up in their little lives, just as they've always been.  I think you are beating a dead dog now, especially now that your mother seems to be losing it in her old age.  You are going to have to accept things for what they are.  Just as I had to."

The spouse grinned and then ... so did I.  What did I do to deserve this man?!  We both shook our heads in resignation.

"Let's eat.  Crack open that bottle of wine and let's get pissed."

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Why Can't We Just Get Along?

I used to have so much to say but, these days, I feel as though I have said it all and re-runs get boring.

Right now, I am in the dog house (what else is new) with the UK family.  I mean, honestly, there has really never been a time when I haven't been in the dog house with them.  I always have to watch myself around my parents, and watch what I say and what I don't say.  They are extremely thin skinned and touchy.  My sibling is no better and apparently continues to live life as an extension of our parents.  No wonder there's such misery.  No wonder I left.  And no wonder I will never return.

I have made a firm decision regarding my parents:  I cannot live with them, despite the fact that I am older and wiser.  I will not make an exception to this decision no matter what.  I was kidding myself when I wrote that I would be moving in with them for a few years ..... there is no way on earth that is going to happen.  I hoped that my decades away from the family hearth would change things, that time and age would change us all for the better but, alas, recent developments dictate otherwise.

It is no secret on this blog that my parents live in an old dump.  It's not their fault.  My mother in her old age has made the place as comfortable as possible but the water damage from constant rain and a landlord who will not fix anything have wreaked havoc over the years on the structure.  The house is damp and smelly and moldy.  It is a health hazard and dangerous.  When the spouse and I visited last, we both became very sick and it took us weeks to recover from the visit when we returned home ..... I am convinced that we were exposed to high levels of toxic mold.

Cut to the chase.  An old friend of my mother's, who lives in one of the Southern states, called me up to find out if it would be a good idea to stay at my mother's house while she visited next year.  Of course, me (wanting to be straightforward and honest) told her that it probably would not be a good idea because of the lack of proper facilities, like a functional bathroom for example, and the fact that my mother has a lot of worry in her life right now because of my father.  I just figured that I'd be doing my mother a favor as well as the friend.  The friend has money and lives a luxe life .... my mother's house would absolutely be a house of horrors for the friend.  I know the friendship would not survive and I already know that the friend would check into a hotel after just one night at my parents' house tout de suite.

Well, word got back.

My mother is furious with me and the comments I made and I have once again been given the cold shoulder.  Really, I should've just kept my trap shut and let the friend and my parents duke it out.  Instead of that, my parents have taken great offense to my comments despite the fact that every word I said to the friend was true.  If I was about to stay in a house that was full of mold, I would want to know.  That's me.

I have such a chequered past with my family.  I have to finally, finally accept that their dislike of me is greater than any love they may have for me.   I mean, that's totally true of my father anyway, given the way he used to beat the tar out of us as if we were punching bags.  I am at that place in my life now that I want to just divest myself of anything that doesn't work for me.  And my relationship with my parents just doesn't work.  I can't be around my father for any length of time before he starts jibing and antagonizing me and I can't be around my mother when she behaves like a petulant spoiled child.

Was I wrong to have said what I did?  It was never supposed to have been repeated to my parents as they would've been none the wiser.  As for the friend, should I have just kept my nose out of it and let her do what she wanted to do?  From now on, I think I will keep my opinions to myself.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

De-Hoarding Day

I had a very productive day today. 

Took 2 carloads of stuff to Goodwill and sold a bunch of furniture on Craigslist.

I was sorry to see the furniture go .... the items were not those that I really wanted to sell but, given the current situation, there is nowhere else for me to put them.  I still have some furniture in the garage that needs to go and I advertised those things on CL this afternoon.  I'm sure those items will soon be gone, and again it is stuff that I don't really want to part with.  Expensive furniture, still looks very good, still has a ton of life left in it.  Bah.

Here is how a hoarder operates from my perspective:

I will sort out closets and boxes and rooms and put back the stuff I absolutely want to keep.  The stuff that I know needs to go will then get put in bags or back in boxes and then I will store it sealed up in my closet or out in the garage or in little piles somewhere throughout the house.  Then, the stuff will stay there for days, weeks, months, years sometimes.  Because I think I'll need it.  After time passes and I am back sorting again, the stuff will probably make it into the garage and there it will stay for days, weeks, months, years while I look at it every day and while it gets in the way, pisses the spouse off and generally falls underfoot.  Eventually, I will get hit with a real cleaning bug and that is when stuff makes its way to Goodwill or on to Craigslist.  Mind you, I might take the ad off and change my mind about selling .... or just bite the bullet and pray for the stuff to sell.  Which it does.

This morning, I blew a kiss after my office desk as it left out of my garage and down the street, along with a hammock and a gorgeous lamp that I really, really wanted to keep.  This lamp had the most elaborate red velvet pouffy beaded shade EVER .... with tassels!  And embroidery.  I didn't want to sell it at all but I have/had nowhere for it.

A friend is buying some more stuff from me and that will leave out of here tomorrow.

The place continues to empty out .... I'm getting rid of anything and everything that we don't use.  Some of this stuff has been with me for decades.  Since childhood, some of it.

You might think that I couldn't possibly have anything left to get rid of, seeing as how I started dehoarding back in 2008.  But.  I brought too much of the old hoard with me when I moved from the ex-custom house and this is the stuff that I am still trying to part with.  But I will tell you ...... I am really coming to the end of it, to the bottom of that endless barrel.

My house is ever more streamlined and clutter free and I love it.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tuesday

The spouse took off by himself on Sunday and came home with a shaved head.

He said that, seeing as how everything is out of his control, at least there's one thing he has some control over.  When he presents himself for surgery, there will be one less thing for the nursing staff to do.

No word yet on a surgery date.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Surgeon, Wills, Home Improvement and Mortgage Update

The spouse is waiting for his referral to The Surgeon.  In the meantime, we are going to be busy turning our downstairs 'bedroom' back into ..... an actual bedroom.  Out will go the office desks, exercise bikes and random clutter.  In will come a new king sized bed.  The spouse is going to be on bed rest anywhere from 3 to 6 months and I have already had family members ask if they can spend the night with us and I really don't have anywhere to put them because all the other bedrooms are occupied .... so, it's time for an accessible bedroom/guest room.  Plus we have the holidays coming up and I already know that we will have guests.  So, that's that.

The room will have to be painted, stripped and upgraded.  That means new windows because the ones that are in there are old and leaky, letting in cold air in winter and hot in summer.  The carpet is coming out too, being replaced with tile.

Mortgage update: we have paid almost $10,000 off in principal on this loan.  That's a first.  We have never paid $10,000 down on a home loan before.  Mortgages are a good thing .... when one can afford them.  Having been on both sides of that particular fence, I can say that our mortgage is very manageable, even if the spouse can no longer work.  I have no plans to return to the work force.  I will rent out rooms before I do that.  Not being lazy.  It's just that I have been down this road many times in the past, earning high incomes that were blown on bullshyte.  My goal in life is to manage what I own and live strictly within my means, whatever those means turn out to be.  I'm fine with it.  The spouse is fine with it.  We have a finite number of days left on this planet and that has never been more apparent than right NOW.

We are working on a basic will to be notarized ..... I see now why so many people die intestate.  It's difficult, doing this stuff.  But I'm sure we will be relieved when we are done with it.  At the very least, there are instructions that we both know the other would want.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Uncertainty

So now we are beginning a whole new battery of tests this week.  One would think that an expensive CT scan would be the ultimate medical test, the one that tells what is going on inside the human body like no other test available.  Apparently, however, this is not the case and the spouse needs one more definitive test before being referred to The Surgeon .... just to make sure that the route ahead is the only one to take ... and our insurance company is already balking at the foreseeable future medical costs involved in this surgery and rehabilitation.

This next test has been marked 'pending' in the insurance company's files, while 'they' decide whether or not to pay for it.  No matter, the spouse will be going ahead with the test anyway because it is absolutely necessary to do so and I guess we will end up paying the entire bill ourselves should it come to that.  We are not going to wait around while the insurance company plays with lives.

We are lucky to be in the position of not having to worry too much at this time about medical bills although, let me tell you, the costs incurred with this medical issue are going to be in the six figures.  THAT is worrysome.

I can see all the headway we've made in setting ourselves up for an early retirement disappearing down the Suwannee.  Every single darn cent we've saved could very possibly be spent on medical bills and then what?  We won't have anything to live on.

Our plan is for the spouse to take a medical LOA while dealing with this medical issue so that, should it come to it and he is deemed healthy enough to return to work, he can go back for a year or two longer than planned.  It sucks but there is no other recourse.  It would be foolish to quit a high paying job when the future now looks so uncertain financially.  We are going to have to be very careful here.

Either that, or we can take in roomies.  Our house is certainly big enough for a few roomies, paying rent and living under our roof.  We might have to do this for a couple of years .......

And this is what happens when you live life without a thought for the future, as we did for decades.  It's all coming home to roost now.  We sure could use some of that 7-figure income we pissed away.