14 November 2011

I’ve had a miserable day. Maybe better to say, I’ve been miserable all day. And some bad, not terrible, awful, but sad and bad things have happened, but . . . But what? I made decisions? Yes. I have. At least one. And bad things happen and sometimes it is all in the way you look at those events that make them awful, bad, even sad. I need to start this in bullet points to get through all of it.

  • (Added the morning after I published this post) Claire -- the woman I have always described as David's father's second wife -- died on Sunday morning. She was 96, and although it is rather rude to say less than glowing things about the dead -- she was not a nice woman. At all. Ever. She was more selfish than any person I have ever met. And yet, she lived 96 years. She had a loving husband who took care of her always even to his own detriment. She has a wonderful daughter and granddaughter who loved and cared for her. Essential Claire? When David was in the hospital during transplant times, I would call his father to give him the latest updates. Claire did not usually answer the phone, her hearing was very bad and she did not care to do much to ease a speaker's difficulty when they spoke to her. When Dad was out, however, she did occasionally pick up the phone. One day when I called with an update -- and they were upbeat on most days -- she answered and I asked if I could leave the update with her. She listened and then without asking a question about David, or me, or the girls or expressing any concern for us, launched into her worries that David would take a turn for the worst and that Dad would be so heart sick that he would die and she would have no one to take care of her. And she said it all sure that I would sympathize with her. Such stunning selfishness. And she lived so long and thrived. Was she the other side of the equation of how the good die young? Where is karma? What was her path? But armed with these observations, I did channel the inner Claire yesterday as I was doing what I needed to do. For me. For me.

  • So, yesterday. Julia and I went to IKEA in Chicago. Two plus hours of driving and walking around a warehouse of a store that I can’t tolerate for too long. I went for folding stools that I could find no where else. Not on line, no in a store. IKEA had what I wanted. But would not ship. In store only. I check the website on Saturday night and they were in stock. But by the time I got to the store, they were gone. Or the website in not accurate. Doesn’t matter.

I was 20 minutes away from IKEA on the road home when I remembered that there were floor models of the chairs that I wanted. There were four on the floor and I only needed two. We turned around, went back, pleaded with the kitchen manager (apparently the store policy is not to sell what is on the floor), and left with the two stools that I wanted for my kitchen. But there was no feeling of victory or accomplishment. And I have no idea why not.

  • The remaining work on the Bloomfield house is the masonry for the front steps, the front walk and side walk in front of the drive way, and half of the drive way. It needs to be finished before winter sets in or be done next spring. The house is on the market but the idea of buying a house without front steps is not that appealing to me. My contractor can do the work but the town of Bloomfield has one part-time inspector who works half days three days a week and we are on the bottom of his pile. I spent the morning begging, pleading, appealing to the town and my contractor spent part of his morning in the office. No go. They have 7 weeks to decide on any permit or inspection. (For comparison, my contractor in Madison had two electrical inspections done in one week, and the building guy and the plumbing guy have been at the house as well. Usually, Ed calls the town office in the morning and within a day or two the inspection is done.)

And then it dawned on me that it is November. In July, I had thought about giving up the estate work, as I was intent on giving up as much responsibility as I could for this year. The estate lawyer persuaded me to “hang on” a bit longer. See it though. But now, it may be that to do that, I will have the estate work for another 6 months or more.

Yes, of course, the house is on the market, may sell next week, and some pleading with a seller and a closing date (and something under a table somewhere??) could get this done with. But, but, but, there is no buyer right now. There is a second looker but no word at all of an offer. Even a buyer and a closing date would not insure an inspector. And who knows where that table is, let alone how to pass anything under it.

So, I made the decision to give it up. All of it. Let my brother take over the work of taking care of the estate. The lawyer was not pleased, and I dare say, neither was my brother. But why should they. More work for them. In fact, as I was explaining the work to my brother on the phone tonight, he told me the task sounded like a "piece of cake." I hope that it is. I have not found it so, but I hope that it is for him. (What kind of cake, I wonder? Certainly nothing that I would want to munch on.) And I hope that if it is easy, I get my check for my part of the estate quickly, and totally without further work.

This is not an easy decision for me. I have hated giving up on anything once I’ve committed. I have stayed on in bad plays and worked far too long at jobs that I did not like. Too responsible and too scared and ego driven to give up when I was at the end of my rope. But I am at the end now, and I am giving up. A few days ago, I wrote and thought that there was something that I had to do to break the string of bad news, bad luck that I have had with my mother’s estate. Maybe this is it. Maybe just handing it over to someone else is the lesson before the end can happen. Gosh, I hope so.

  • Today, I upped the consequences for Julia at home. Although she is managing not to scratch at school, she does not feel as compelled at home. In front of me and her therapists she is fine, but give her a moment alone, and even with incredibly watchful eyes, she has moments alone, she picks off scabs and still have bloody wounds. And so, the new consequence is that for every bloody bandaid I remove at night, and for every scab that has been scratched, she will lose one dinosaur. She cried about this last night. The very idea of it. And I feel like a monster for doing it, but tonight she did not lose one dinosaur. We will see how it goes tomorrow.
  • The countertop for my kitchen has not arrived as of yet and so the almost kitchen sits. Nothing to do about this either. Except feign patience. I want to move back in and move on with what I’ve planned to do. And all I can do is wait.
  • I did managed to rake for the last time today. And this is really the perfect week to clean out the garage so that I can start putting the car away at night. How I love a garage in snowy weather and that is coming as well. I think I need to make a few trips to St. Vinnie’s, put away bikes, scooters and garden equipment and make space. I’ll get the snow blower tuned up when I get back from Maryland.


Anonymous said...

Suz, sounds like you're just plain tired. I think it's a great idea to pull in your sibling for some help on your mom's house.

Re: Julia. Suggestion to redirect OCD scratching -- ice! When the itching/scratching impulse hits, a local application of ice might help to ease the itching and give the hands something to do. I use this method for poison ivy -- freeze the water in small plastic water bottles, wrap with a washcloth (to absorb condensation) and take it to bed . . .



Traci said...

Sharyn may have something there.

So glad that you handed over to your brother. I also hope that it's a piece of cake for him. Either way though, it's not your concern anymore.

We have been very involved with another member of our family of late. Lainey, Rich, Angela, and their foster daughter, Kari have spent a good amount of time with us and we have enjoyed it. It does make me miss the rest of the family very much though!!

We love and miss all of you!!