Wednesday, October 7, 2015

And Some Days, It Does Not Pay to Get Out of Bed

For every other Saturday, my children and I have been cleaning and going through stuff here.  This has been going on for over a month now. The personality conflicts and head butts have driven me nuts. But they are my children and grandchildren. They are trying to help old mom. But some days,  it doesn't pay to get out of bed.

There's a lot of stress involved on my part. I'm dealing with grief. I'm deciding what to pitch. What to donate. What to keep. What to yard sale. And, who wants what. Some of these are trips down memory lane that send me through the time machine twenty, thirty and forty years ago before I can decide. Other decisions are simple- if I haven't seen or worn it in five years- it goes. Some things I have to juggle back and forth between keep, sell, and pitch.

It didn't come as any big surprise that my oldest daughter could be difficult when asked to do something she deemed unimportant like cleaning my bathroom. I can't clean my tub. I won't say can't, but more like it would cause me too much hardship and pain to do it. It takes kneeling, or bending over in my tub to do it in an upside down fashion. Tubs get mighty slippery when using water and cleansers. Last time I tried, I pulled down the shower curtain on my head to avoid falling. I raised a nice goose egg on my forehead for my effort. I had to asked my oldest grandson to put the curtain back up. God love him. He's so special that he hung it back in place backwards. The pretty side (not waterproof) was on the inside. Anyhow, my daughter thought it was a menial task that wasn't as exciting as breaking down the spare bedroom so she took FIVE HOURS to clean it. It really took an hour, but all the complaining and griping filled the rest of the time. She does much better when it's just her and me. But this time her younger sisters were here too.

So I also had three of my grandchildren here. I thought one of the two that were not cutting the grass would help me empty my lower kitchen cabinets. Once again, getting into these takes squatting, sitting on the floor, or basically standing on my head to get anything out of them. I haven't opened them in over three years. I had gone out and gotten boxes just for this occasion. That didn't happen. My granddaughter and my #3 grandson saw a spider and that's all it took. They refused to even walk into my kitchen again. They comforted themselves by texting and FaceBooking themselves for the duration.

My #2 and #3 daughters tried to help me in the kitchen. But that pulled them away from what they were doing...breaking down the bedroom set in the spare bedroom. My #2 daughter mentioned the last time she cleaned my kitchen and how she was disappointed that I had let it get in such a state again. That was my limit for frustration. I told them both to go back to what they were doing.

Yes, the kitchen was messy and I knew it. The last time one of my children had even done anything to my kitchen was THREE YEARS AGO! I hadn't been doing anything in my kitchen except to cook meals, wash dishes I'd use, wipe down the counters, etc. I was only caring for my husband and doing everything I could do for a year and a half. Nah, that was nothing at all. I was sitting on my butt waiting for someone else to do it. Maybe my husband could have done what I couldn't. Yeah, right!

About that time, my #3 grandson came running into the kitchen, "Grandma, Grandma! Your water heater is leaking and your whole garage is flooded!" I sent my son-in-law out to check it out. Just what I needed, I thought. All those boxes in the garage are now soaked. It turned out not to be my water heater but a backed up drain to my washer machine, but I didn't know that at the time.

I went into my office and tears of frustration began welling up as I plopped into my chair. It really irritates me that I cry when I get over frustrated and mad because I really should yell and scream. It was frustration because of the limits my strokes have imposed on me. If I hadn't had my stroke I could do all of this myself. If I hadn't had my stroke I wouldn't be exhausted all the time. If my husband had not have gotten sick and died, I'd be happy wherever we were. If, if, if instead of the reality I'm faced with. Anything is better than reality when I get like this. Calgon take me away! Wait, my oldest is still cleaning my bathroom. So I sat at my desk reaching for tissues. Eventually they all went off to their respective homes. I was left walking around empty boxes that I had hoped to fill. My house is a minefield of fall hazards now. But I'll continue on one day at a time.

Finally, the spare bedroom is almost empty. This will be the staging area for the yard sale. I've got an air cycle, my NordicTrack, my neck traction device that was used twice before my husband couldn't help me any more and some really great items in there already.

I'm paying my youngest daughter's way home. Gas and miscellaneous expenses from Texas for her to help me full-time. Her husband is still waiting for his transfer to Alabama to come through. Ya gotta loved the Army. She'll be bringing my two youngest grandsons with her. She's already arranged for child care while she helps me. She's a whirlwind when she gets started. Her ADD/OCD behavior defaults from her traumatic brain injury works in her favor with tasks like this. Besides I win all the way around because I get to see her and my youngest grandchildren. Even though they were just here for my husband's death and funeral, we didn't spend much time together (not in the way we wanted to).

So soon all of this will be over. I'll be able to close on my property in November liked I'd planned. I feel like I've been standing still with a two-thousand square ft house sitting on my shoulders. But after this I'll be moving forward again. Worst comes to worst I'll buy a small RV and live in it until my house is finished so I can put this house on the market. It shouldn't take the painters and carpet people to do their jobs. The house down the street sold last week after being on the market a month. This is a very desirable neighborhood.

I've had some static from my older grandchildren about selling this house. It's the only place they've known as grandma and grandpa's place. I understand. I really do, but things change. Life is not stagnant. I've got to do what is best for me. They are mid to older teenagers now. One day when they have lived more of their lives, they will understand too. Whatever income I have left will have to see me through the rest of my life be it five years or thirty. All their dreams of coming back to live in this house may change too in twenty years. There are no guarantees. Do today what you can because you may not have a tomorrow. Take enjoyment and hug it close.

Don't get me wrong. I'm thankful for my children and grandchildren so I don't have to do this by myself. But sometimes, I'd rather stay in bed than deal with any of them.


  1. Family!
    My mother's neighbor asked why I was selling her house after she died. I helped clean that 6 bedroom, 3 and a half baths while I was growing up. Selling it meant someone else could clean it and heat it. I'm glad I did not spread her ashes on her flowers as she asked. The new owners ripped out all her perennials.

  2. We recently moved my mother-in-law into a senior community. Her new place is about one-third the size of the previous, so I had to break the news that she had to get rid of a LOT of stuff. No one else was able to do that, especially not her daughter in California, who did not lift a finger, and in fact made it worse by harassing my husband about why he packed away Mom's ceramic pitchers, silver, etc. In addition, when I was packing her china, etc, one-handed, I'd ask MIL what should be done with an item and she'd tell me to ask her daughter; then, when her daughter said her husband wouldn't let her take any of it, my MIL would cry and say, "This was Mother's and I always expected Helen (the daughter) to take it, and now no one wants it." SOB, sob. And I was the one to comfort her even though she had made it clear for 35 years that I was not a good enough (domestic enough) wife for her precious son. One week my son came with us - he's 30 and big and strong - strong enough to lift/carry heavy furniture that my husband is not. After he witnessed my MIL be particularly mean to me, my son hugged me and murmured, "No matter how hard it is for you, just remember that it's harder for her." I clutched that thought throughout the rest of the move.

    I'm hoping there's none of that kind of baggage involved in your packing up.

  3. {{{{{{{hugs}}}}}}} Amen, Jo! Take care of YOU first!

  4. Hi Jo - sounded like this was a post you needed to write ... I do hope all calms down, the move goes off ok, and your ADD/OCD with her sons are coming to help and make you laugh ... good to know - take care and cheers Hilary

  5. I'm sorry! So many people pulling in so many directions. I would be frustrated as well. And I'd gladly help you clean the kitchen. I don't mind spiders. I'm into catch and release.


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