Saturday, July 25, 2009

The circle of life

I picked up Mom early and took her to breakfast at McDonald's. Next we headed out to her old apartment. She sat and read her mail in her wheelchair while I did all the final cleaning. Got the ok from the Apt. Manager and then took off for IKEA.

I must have been out of my mind. IKEA on a Saturday? Mom was looking for a cabinet for her towels and a small table and chairs for her dining area. We didn't really find anything that she liked, but we did have a nice lunch there.

She wanted to go to WalMart even worse idea on a Saturday. I pushed her around in her wheelchair while we picked up a few items..a dish pan, laundry soap, bleach and fabric softener. I finally convinced her to buy a 5 drawer plastic shelf unit. So there we pushing her while she holds stuff on her lap and I am carrying the unit over my shoulder. Did I mention that there were no motorized shopping carts anywhere...probably all in use. After we paid, I parked Mom with everything and made three trips to the car....twice for her purchases and once for her.

We stopped at Safeway. Mom stayed in the car and I raced around the store picking up her requests and adding a few that I thought she really did need. More and more Mom forgets what she needs, what something is called, the name of the store she wants to go to. So...I have learned to fill in the blanks.

Finally got her home....again several trips to get her, all the cleaning supplies, the vacuum, her groceries and the storage unit up to her apartment. I put everything away and then tried to hang a few pictures. Of course, Mom was being totally dictatorial during this I hung 2 mirrors and 2 pictures and just took off.

Mom appreciates all that I do, but I find being with her for 8 hours exhausting. She has this high pitched whiny voice that just drives me up the wall. She is so focused on herself that I get exasperated with her sometimes.

She told me today that she had done something bad. Not knowing what to expect, I asked her what she had done. Apparently, she had told Dad near the end of his life that the only reason she had remarried him in 1986 was for his Social Security benefits. This happened before they knew he had pancreatic cancer. She felt bad about what she had done and had no idea why she had said something so mean to Dad. She insisted that she loved Dad and that he loved her. I have no idea what they felt for each other. No wonder he called her a bitch during one of our last conversations five days before he died.

So...the circle of life...their lives, my life, the things we say and do to each other...all wrapped up in one big ball of contradictions.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Movin on down the road

So...I and a group of loyal and helpful friends managed to move Mom to her new apartment in West Seattle today. As expected she was a bit of a handful when we got to her apartment. She wanted to stage manage the entire move. Pamela and I had already come up with a strategy to head her off at the pass. Pamela took Mom to breakfast and then to the house to sit out the transition.

Of course the first bad thing that happened was breaking the tail lights off the truck next to the parking place for the truck. The guy came down, we exchanged numbers and moved on. He was really cool about it. Note to more thing to deal with.

Dan and I got moving on the boxes while we waited for Brad to arrive. Dan and I got stuff in his car and the truck. Once Brad got there, the big and heavy furniture went into the truck. We were all sweating like pigs..but at least it wasn't raining. After about a hour and half we all headed off for West Seattle caravan style.

I knew there was a Seafair parade happening...but thought we would be able to get through the police barricade as Mom's place is at the far end of the parade. No way..the police turned us back...necessitating a 3 point turn in a Uhaul truck. We took side streets...with cars on both sides and other drivers trying to navigate around the parade. It was stressful ...but we all finally got to the back of the building by the garage door entrance. The whole atmosphere felt a little Fellini to me...drill teams in skin tight dresses with spangles and wild hats...fancy cars with fancy Seafair princesses, floats...

Unloading boxes, furniture, TV...dressers...all the detritus of a person's life. Luckily, Anne and Jay showed up at this point, so we had five pairs of hands loading the stuff into the service elevator. I fell over a parking curb twice...gray on gray garage cement....landed on my hands and face....ready just to lay there and cry. I swear...this is the last time I move Mom. She has moved three times in three years...and I have just reached my limit.

While we were moving I kept getting update calls from Pamela. Mom was being a full tilt bitch. Saying that I have been so mean to her. Hitting our dog Macy with her cane because Macy licked her leg. Telling Pamela that we should get rid of all our junky furniture and use the nice things she has given us. All the while I am trying to manage the move.

We dropped off all the stuff we couldn't get into the new smaller apartment back at the house. We headed back to apartment to pick up the Uhaul dolly we forgot when we left. All the while Jay and Anne are putting the bed frame and the new mattress and low profile boxspring together.

Once I got to Uhaul I had to turn around and go back to fill up the tank at the gas station. Finally got the truck dropped off and the right bill...after the guy incorrectly charged me for a extra day.

Dan dropped me back at the apartment. Jay and Anne left and I headed up the street to the hardware store to make two more apartment keys. One for me and one for my brother.

Finally called Pamela and told her to bring Mom over. She got some lunch for all of us on the way. We all ate and then we moved stuff around and unpacked enough boxes so that Mom could walk around. Pamela made her bed and then we took most of the boxes to the basement for recycling.

We started at 7:00a.m. this morning and finally got home after 5pm. My hands and right big toe are scrapped and bruised. I am totally exhausted.

The good news is...the move is over...and I have a wonderful partner and wonderful friends who all played a part in making this event successful.

Tomorrow I go back and take Mom to the store. I will have to go back to her old apartment sometime this week to clean it up and turn in the keys.

All day, I really missed Dad.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The train is leaving the station

I have taken a month off from blogging...exhausted by all the things I have been doing to change her situation. For myself...I am exhausted with driving to the other end of the city. We have been talking every day, twice a the morning as I wait for my bus for work..and at night as I stand downtown waiting for my bus.

In the meantime I finally found a studio apartment in West Seattle that had a washer and dryer in the of her main requests. I did an advance visit and then took her there later in the day. The thing I like about the apartment is that you can see Puget Sound when you open the door of her place. There is a bank of windows that looks directly onto the water. For me, that has always been a soothing experience. I have no idea if she will appreciate it. She tends to barricade herself....but I wanted it to give her small view.

She has been packing for the last two weeks. There are boxes all over her apartment. She doesn't move until July 18th, but it gives her something to do. I have hauled things out and stored a chair in the basement.

My brother was supposed to help with the move, but now had something more important to do that day. I am trying to round up a group of male friends to help.

I am exhausted just thinking about the next two weeks. Mom wants Mark to take her living room furniture. He doesn't want it at all. He is basically worthless as far as I am concerned.

Again, I am managing everything...doing most of everything that needs to be done. I know what Dad felt like now with all their moving over the years. I find it hard to believe that they were able to manage a move up here in 2006 when Dad no doubt had cancer. He must have really wanted to get here so that I could help him.