Friday, August 31, 2007

Mom called on Wednesday, crying hysterically. The cable guy must have left her door ajar and my cat got out. (She took one of my cats along with hers when she moved.) She couldn’t find him and panicked. I told her to put out some food and to go out every hour or so and call him. He’s done this several times at home and usually is back by dark or early the next morning. She phoned several more times during the day to tell me he wasn’t back. Hubby even drove through her neighborhood to look for the cat.

The cat turned up yesterday morning and was happy to see Mom. He most likely spent the night hiding under her trailer to avoid the local population of ferals.

I warned her several times about his sneakiness. She should have contained him before the cable guy arrived, but instead put full blame on the cable dude. That is why we don’t leave Peanut alone with her. He’s much more capable of sneaking out and she lives about 300 feet from a large lake with alligators. And she still hounds me to babysit him.


Today she called my work in tears. She claims she's as depressed/anxious now as she was in the hospital. Apparently her worry over the cat catalyzed her crash. I told her to call the outpatient clinic. G*d, I can't deal with this again. I thought she'd make for for a few months, at least.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Peanut and I saw a police car with its lights on this morning. As we got closer, I realized it was Hubby and he appeared to be writing a ticket. Peanut was excited to see the lights and asked where the fire truck and ambulance were. He didn’t recognize Hubby and didn’t ask to stop. Whew. Once he was ensconced at daycare, I called Hubby to make sure he was OK. The phone rang several times and was answered by someone definitely not Hubby. I know I dialed his number because it’s programmed into my phone and the number was correctly displayed. The poor guy probably thinks I’m insane.

I paged Hubby, but later realized I entered HIS phone number. I’m also not sure if it’s still his pager number. He lost one pager years ago and I don’t know if he kept the same number. Obviously I don’t page him very often.

We had the same problem over the weekend when I realized Hubby forgot his wallet in his hurry to pick up our friend and rent a moving truck. I called several times and each call either went to another voicemail or was answered by the other man. Hubby later called and spoke to the man, explained the situation, found out his phone number, and put in a work order with our cell company (which rhymes with SmallHell).

Hubby is in court this morning, so I called SmallHell. We have cool VOIP (or whatever they are) phones at work that display all sorts of neat info – directory, calls placed, calls received, calls missed, etc. It also displays how long each call lasts. It took me 2 friggin’ minutes to get through AllHell’s automated crap before putting me on hold to speak to a real person. WTF?

The rep was very helpful and nice. She had a record of Saturday’s service request, but nothing was done with it. She did some techie stuff and discovered Hubby’s phone has been set to forward to this other number when he doesn’t answer. My name is not on the account, so I could not authorize them to turn off the call forwarding (even though I could provide our names and the last 4 of Hubby’s social). Whatever. I explained that Hubby’s in court and won’t be answering his phone, so she sent a text message for him to call her…you know since voice mails go to the other guy. She had a great sense of humor.

She said he probably did an accidental forward, that it happens frequently. I’m not so sure, since Hubby is tech-savvy and I can’t see him accidentally forwarding to a stranger’s number. That’s more likely something I would do. He has used the forwarding service in the past without trouble. It’s possible that Peanut somehow did it, but he’s a genius toddler if he managed to push the correct sequence of buttons to forward to a functioning number. Option 3 is that AllHell somehow effed up our account. This would not be a surprise as it took Hubby 3 weeks to get our “Friends & Family Network” up and running. You’re supposed to enter the contacts in via their website, which gave error messages, even after 2 weeks’ worth of daily phone calls to reps and promises of “it’ll be fixed tomorrow”. A rep finally gave in and manually entered the numbers for him.

I’m amused by the whole thing and wonder if we’ll find out how it happened.


Update: Hubby called. He thought the page was someone at work pulling a prank and called dispatch to see if anyone was trying to contact him. I had to explain the text message because his display is cracked and has a huge dead spot. Which I knew about but forgot. I'm not running on all cylinders today.

I'm also having difficulty spelling. I need sleep.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Mom is officially moved into her new place. Hubby and a friend moved the heavy stuff while Peanut and I supervised (got in the way) and Mom told everyone what to do and also got in the way. As soon as the guys opened the truck door, Mom began complaining about the way they loaded the truck. She also expected them to haul some things to the dump, something I’m not even sure we’re allowed to do (permit needed?) She got pissed about that and I informed her that if she’s so unhappy with our moving skills, she can hire professionals next time. This is the third time we’ve moved her stuff in 7 months. I don’t want to hear any complaints.

Peanut fell/rolled down her stairs (only 2 of them, thank goodness) onto the driveway resulting in boo-boos on his nose and next to his eye. Much crying was involved. Again she jumped all over me, wanted to take him from me, offering him milk-soda-juice-water. I finally told her to back off. I don’t want food to become a necessary part of comfort and I hate having my parenting/comforting abilities messed with. (This is a BIG issue for me. When Peanut was a newborn, Hubby and his mom would jump in and hold him any time he cried. Hubby often would take him from me. Guess who Peanut wants for comfort 90% of the time. Hint: not me.)

We eventually got all the furniture crammed into her place, some of it relegated to the porch. While arranging the living room, Hubby’s friend discovered a soft spot in Mom’s floor. As in he nearly put a foot through her floor. Mom was not concerned and insisted on the recliner going in the spot. All three of us told her it was a BAD IDEA. She eventually conceded to moving it a few feet over. Her ceiling is a patchwork of watermarks, so the weakened floor is no big surprise. I guess the water damage wasn’t as minor as we originally thought. Knowing Mom, she’ll do nothing about it. There is staining along the baseboard along one of her spare bedroom walls. I didn’t think to check there, but it’s another potential weak spot.

As we were leaving, we got into an argument over a piece of furniture. Childish and stupid, I know, but I’m fed up with her condescending, righteous attitude.

Sunday was much better. We got up early and went to the zoo. We let Peanut run around and be the boss of where we went. We were disappointed that the new the bats are still under quarantine, but were able to see all the other animals including “his” rhino and manatees. The stingrays were a big hit and he was able to “pet” several of them. He remembered one of the restaurants and requested ice cream, resulting in an ice cream and french fry lunch for him and a somewhat healthier lunch for us grownups. He was a little sad when we left, but had such an active day, he was ready to go home.

We talked about our day at bedtime and asked what he liked/didn’t like at the zoo. His favorites where the rhinos and giraffes. Disliked were the bad gators with big teeth. I love those conversations.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I’m pretty sure Peanut has night terrors. He frequently “wakes up” crying hysterically – he opens his eyes, but seems unaware of us. When we talk to or pat him, it often stirs him up even more. Occasionally he will wake up and stop crying, but usually he’ll just slowly stop crying and fall back into calm sleep. One time, he woke up, told Hubby he had a bad dream, then fell back asleep. I wonder what his nightmares involve. I know he’s afraid of thunder, sharks, bad robots, Frank and Banshee (from the movie “Cars”), and our garage. We usually try to talk about happy things at bedtime with the hope he’ll fall asleep to happy thoughts.

He was so sweet Sunday morning. He woke up and snuggled with me (something he rarely does anymore). He put his arm around my neck, gave me kisses, and rubbed my arm to “keep Mommy warm” (he usually gets cold after a bath, so I wrap him in a towel and rub his arms and legs to warm him up).

After breakfast, we fed the ducks and went to the playground. He spent about half of the time on a swing. I pushed him so he went fast, then would tickle his legs or grab his ankles and jiggle him. He laughed and laughed. As he was swinging he told me he was Superman in a fast rocket and that he had good robots helping him.

This morning he (Superman) and Daddy (the bad guy) had an epic battle. Superman finally defeated the bad guy with his heat vision. Then he flew around the house and saved an airplane from crashing.

Toddler imaginations are awesome (when they're not creating terrifying dreams)!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Even though I gripe and moan about Mom and make fun of her, I’m very sad about the whole situation. Bitching and joking helps me to cope. But deep down, I mourn the loss of my mom as she used to be. You’d think that after these past 8 years (when things have really gone downhill with her) I’d be over it. I’m not.

Last night, Hubby and I lay in bed and talked. He vented about the past couple of days with Mom. He spent nearly 8 hours on Wednesday driving her all over town. Because of her oopsie with the key, he picked Peanut up 2 hours later than planned and it really bothered him (this is one of Hubby’s “long” weeks where he works 60 hours.) Mom’s response of “Well, it doesn’t matter” pissed him off and she has no clue. It may not have mattered to her, but Hubby wanted to spend a few precious extra hours with Peanut. Hubby was home again yesterday and although he did no chauffeuring, Mom couldn’t even help by watching Peanut for 30 minutes while Hubby cleaned out and filled the kiddie pool. She brought Peanut outside and claimed she needed to put her feet up because of the swelling (which didn’t impede her from taking a walk in the evening.)

Hubby and I are sick of her selfishness, her inability to see how her requests/demands put strains on us. Of her telling Hubby “not to be so sensitive” when he expresses anger at a day of futilely driving her back and forth across town.

While Hubby vented last night, I went from angry at her to sad. Sad that I’ll never again have a “normal” mother-daughter relationship. Although Mom is mostly able to take care of herself, I’m still, in many ways, responsible for her. I worry about her as a parent worries about their child.

I know I need to let go, but I wish so much that she could again be a mother to me. And be a grandparent to my child. I wish I could call her up when I had a problem and have her help me, hold me, bake a batch of cookies, or whatever she used to do. Instead, it turns around into what’s bad in her life and I feel guilty for dumping on her. She’s fragile and I’m afraid I’ll break her weak grasp on stability by loading my troubles on top of hers. I wish I could drop Peanut off for a few hours and go out with Hubby, get my hair cut, go to the bookstore, or take a nap. But I will not feel safe leaving him alone with her (for more than a 20 minute run to the store) until he is old enough to look out for himself.

Last night also got me thinking about Hubby’s mom and how I feel shorted by her. I know she loves us and does her best. She’s so worn out taking care of the rest of the family that she has little left for us, or herself. And I resent it. She’s been spending 2-3 weeks a month at one sister’s house to take care of the kids until SIL and BIL are again stationed in the same location. This has been going on for over a year and a half. When she’s home, she babysits various grandkids, great-grandkids, and extended family. I wish she would come and stay with us for a week or two and give Hubby and me some respite. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel she owes us this. She doesn’t. But it’s hard to sit back and see how much she does to help her other kids while we’re struggling.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

MSNBeeCee ran a story this week titled “High-Tech Abuse Worse Than Ever”. The article illustrates how spyware and GPS devices can be used by abusive partners to stalk and further abuse/terrorize their victims. One woman’s story is included: Leah was physically abused for years, her husband monitored her cell phone use, installed spyware on their computer, and hid a hidden GPS unit in her car. He claimed her visits to certain websites proved she was cheating and then beat her. She and her child eventually got away and are in hiding. She is very cautious about electronics and makes sure information about herself and her child are not easily tracked.

This story did not claim all abusers are men. It did not state that she was cheating and therefore deserved her husband’s mistrust (and even if she was cheating, she does not deserve to be beaten or stalked).

There are well over a 1000 comments on this story. I haven’t (and won’t) read all of them. But I saw a disturbing theme in the comments. Comments implying that she must have been cheating and therefore deserved what she got. That it was her fault for not leaving. That all women are cheaters. That the article is feminist propaganda. That women really run America and men are the victims. That women fake dv and their poor, innocent husbands end up arrested and lose their kids. The hatred for women was incredible.

I’m not saying all the comments are like this, because they aren’t. There are plenty that condemn violence and explain just how hard it is for a person to leave an abuser, especially if children are involved. Some comments pointed out the yes, men can fall victim to women abusers. Sometimes women do lie about abuse. But does that make all women lying cheaters? Nowhere in the article or comments did I see the implication that all men are abusive; just that men are more frequently the abuser than the abused.

The dynamics of the comments were fascinating to me in a horrifying way. I can’t believe how many people feel that Leah was playing the victim because she stayed or that she must have been cheating – why else would her ex have used spyware? The “women are all lying cheating whores” comments painted all women with the same brush. Meanwhile the “I/someone I know was a victim of similar abuse” generally did not pain all men as scumbags, although several did state they were now mistrustful or would not get involved in another relationship. Interesting and scary.
This from yesterday:

Poor dear Hubby is having another rough day with Mom. He got fed up with her rudeness and told her that demanding to be taken places wouldn’t get her very far and he would appreciate it if she would ask or at least say please. So she argued that she had in fact asked to go to the bank rather than the “take me to the bank now” that he heard.

She insisted on going to Taaaarget for a new phone even though she has one boxed away in her stuff. Her argument: the phone will be turned on this week and she’s been giving her number out. Hubby pointed out that a phone can’t take messages. She insisted she needed it TODAY.

Once they arrived at the store, Hubby said he needed to pick up some things while she shopped, but she asked him to stay with her and she would go with him after she finished. Several minutes later, he tells her he wants to go look at some things, she again asks him to stay. This happens AGAIN. Once she’s finished, she says she’s going to get in line to pay. Hubby nearly has an aneurism since he could have done all his shopping in the time she looked at things, put them back, looked again…. In the car she realized she hadn’t gotten a phone.

Once they made it to the trailer park, Mom informed Hubby she needed to get a key from the manager. Hubby asked where her key was. She decided to leave it at home since the manager always has a spare. The manager was busy with a visitor – Mom never bothered to make an appointment with him. She eventually got the spare and it didn’t fit. Mom got angry at the manager. Hubby begrudgingly took her back to our house, got the key, drove back, and brought a carload of stuff into her new place.

I talked with her for a few minutes after I got home. I wanted to make sure she wasn't going to pull another "you have no idea how badly Hubby treats me" dealies. She was fine. She made sure to tell me she still blames the manager for having the wrong spare key.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Hubby called after lunch yesterday. He and Mom supposedly had an understanding that his lunch break is his quiet time. She has forgotten that and was doing the manic fast-talk as soon as he got in the door. He responded by turning the tv up to ear drum rupturing loudness. She asked if it was necessary to put the tv up so loud. He responded that he couldn’t hear it otherwise. She took the hint and quieted down. For a little while, anyway.

Mom: “I want to make stuffed pork chops for dinner. Do you have any stale bread?”

Hubby: “No, only the fresh stuff.”

M “And you don’t have any breadcrumbs either. Will you be going by the store this afternoon? Will you be back by the house?”

H “I’m working. I can’t promise anything.”

M “How am I supposed to make the pork chops?”

H “Why don’t you make something with the ingredients we have.”

M “Do you have any potatoes.”

H “I’m not sure. We have instant ones that are pretty good.”

M “Oh, no. They have to be REAL.”

Last night: "I think I know why my leg is swelling. I have congestive heart failure."

Me: "Whatever, Mom. You're full of drama."

She repeatedly asks us to take her to look at a used bike (which I doubt she could even ride), take her to X store, or to Y location for some used furniture she doesn't need. We keep repeating that she should wait until she is moved in. She has some furniture in storage, the mobile home is partially furnished, and we have crap rapidly accumulating in our garage. One closet is packed with her stuff.

I'm sure she ask me again tonight when I get home.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Mom decided to buy the mobile home in her old park. The price sounds fair, although I don’t know much about the worth of mobile homes. She and I took a look at it the other night. It’s a bit smaller than her old place, but should suit her. There’s a really nice semi-enclosed screen porch that will be perfect in cooler weather.

I still wish she had waited. Summer is a slow time for sales, so there's no hurry. There are a ton of places for sale, many of them closer to our house. They would be in Hubby's patrol area and he could check on her. It would mean we could drop off meds or take her to the grocery store without a drive across town. I know she wants to be close to her friend in the old park, but he's older than her and has health problems as well. I don't know how much longer he has. If something happens to him, she'll lose a big source of transit.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that she’ll be happy
Another interesting weekend is over.

Hubby and I dropped the newer aka Bad Luck car off for alignment and balancing. Hubby recently had a little off-roading experience with it to avoid rear-ending another car. He went through a ditch and jumped a driveway. Luckily, he wasn’t hurt. The car got a couple of minor scratches and developed vibration issues, hence the re-alignment. It’s the same car I was driving when I rear-ended someone a few months ago. I don’t know why, but we’ve both had several other near misses with it as well.

On our way back to the house, I commented that our old car is due for a new battery. It’s been slow to start and sometimes does the dead battery click-click-click at startup.

I picked up Mom and took her out to look for house wares. We stopped at a couple of stores and when we were ready to leave…click-click-click…click-click-click. Yep, the battery died a little faster than anticipated, on a day hotter than Hades. We went back into the store and I called Hubby, who was home with Peanut while Bad Luck car was still at the shop. His patrol car is off limits to anyone who is not a cop or in the backseat being transported to lockup. It doesn’t have a carseat anyway. He called an on-duty cop buddy who was able to come and jump my car.

When we got home, Mom told us she “had an accident” while we were at the last store and needed to change her pants. Yes, my mom shit her pants, did nothing about it, and announced it to us. She officially is a crazy old lady.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

It’s only Day 4 of Mom staying with us and I’m ready to gouge my ears out.

She was annoyed with Hubby and me last night because we didn’t drive her across town (30 minutes) to see a mobile home in her old park. Hubby spent a good bit of yesterday shuttling her to doctor and lab appointments with cranky Peanut in tow while I was at work. He called me while they were waiting at the pharmacy – Peanut was in his carseat screaming for Gramma so they could go home. Twenty minutes later, Mom came out and informed Hubby they wouldn’t have her prescription until later in the day. I picked it up on my way home while Hubby escaped to the grocery store.

She “emptied the dishwasher” which involved putting away the flatware and glasses and putting just about everything else on the counters since she didn’t know the stuff went and looking in the cabinets was too difficult. We appreciate that she wants to help, but some things end up being more of a hassle than a help.

Last night she pulled her old passive aggressive crap on Hubby who was up late playing on the computer. “Don’t you think you should go to bed so you can get up early? I want to be at the lab first thing in the morning.” Because dropping his mother-in-law off at the blood lab at the ass-crack of dawn is exactly what Hubby wants to do on his freakin’ birthday. Once he dropped her off, she wanted him and Peanut to wait until she was finished and her friend came to meet her.

She’s been doling out lots of parenting advice. This morning’s gem to Hubby was “Do you really need to do that?” as he wrangled a screaming Peanut into position to brush his teeth. Did I mention she wears dentures?

She’s back to hounding us to babysit Peanut. (I have lost count of how many times we’ve beaten that dead horse.) This morning she admitted she’s rapid cycling, but that won’t stop her. Her physical limitations don’t instill confidence in her child caring capabilities, either. One minute she can barely move from the pain in her leg, and the next minute she wants to give Peanut a bath.

Monday, August 06, 2007

I’ve wanted to blog the past several days, but things suddenly got hectic.

Mom called Wednesday night with the news of her impending release on Saturday. So much for talking with the social worker before they let her out. So much for the list of affordable apartment complexes as well. Not that it really matters because I think she’d pull another freakout if she moved into an apartment. I have a feeling she’d have a repeat of her “move” to assisted living.

Peanut started running a low grade fever while home with Hubby on Thursday. It spiked to 103 at 4:30 am Friday when Hubby got up for work. We loaded him up with Motrin and I shuffled out to the kitchen to call the direct line to my boss’s voicemail. After an hour or so, Peanut and I got back to sleep. I hemmed and hawed and finally called the ped’s office in the afternoon. They decided to see him given his history of ear infections and strep. He had a MAJOR freakout at the doctor’s office. I had to hold him on the scale and the measuring device. He refused the oral thermometer, so he got stuck with a rectal one. (Amid screams of “No bummy! No my bum! I want Daddy!”) Once the nurse left, he begged to leave and said something about his bum. He was slimy from lube and insisted on having it wiped. Many repeats of “My bum slimy.” When the doctor came in, he had a freakout take 2 and was noncompliant with everything. He clamped both hands over his mouth and wouldn’t let her look in. His ears were fine and she ended up having to do a throat swab since he wouldn’t open/hold still for her to look. It took 3 of us to hold him down long enough for her to shove the swab in. It was negative, of course.

I continued alternating Motrin and Tylenol until bedtime when Peanut’s temp spiked to 104 - on Tylenol. Hubby and I got scared and he called the ped’s office. The on-call nurse was wonderful (on-call is handled by nearby Big City Children’s Hospital) and said to go ahead with Motrin, ditch the Tylenol and hang tight unless fever went up to 105. Motrin and a damp washcloth to the forehead worked, and Peanut’s temp went down to 102-103. We got some fitful sleep.

By morning, his fever was low again, so I held off on medicating him. We picked up Mom, got lunch, ran a few errands so she could pick up some stuff, then Peanut and I took a 3 hour nap. Bliss. Mom informed me she has painful edema on one leg and foot. The mental hospital staff were aware of it, but somehow the LPN never got around to seeing Mom. They told her to go to the ER if it got worse, otherwise to see her doctor as soon as she could. Thanks for the excellent medical care.

Hubby and I didn’t f*ck around and gave Peanut pre-emptive Motrin at bedtime. His temp had crept back up around 101 and we didn’t want a repeat of the previous night.

Hubby came home early on Sunday to burn up some overtime and we tried to get a nap with Peanut who talked, thrashed, bounced, sat up, and was otherwise very annoying for an hour until we gave up and put him in his room. Screaming/crying ensued and Mom started in on me. I told her to please not mess with our parenting.

“Let me go get him. He’s miserable.”

“No, Mom, we told him if he wouldn’t sleep in our bed he needed to go to his bed. He’s sick and needs a nap.”

“Well, he really should sleep in his own bed.”

“Yes, Mom, I know. But this is what we go through when we put him in his bed.”

She called around about some mobile homes and the owner of one place came to get her so she could see it. Hubby and I were too pooped to take her. It’s also in one of the worst parts of town, is very cheap, and we have a feeling it’s not the place for her. The super-low price doesn’t give a feeling of confidence in its structural integrity. She bugged us all evening to go see it. We compromised by driving her around to a couple of parks closer to our house. One is in the county, so we’re not sure if she can get transportation. The other is in the city limits, so she could definitely get transportation, but she wrote if off as “too expensive” without seeing any prices. I wrote several phone numbers down just in case. She’s all gung ho over a shithole in crank central, but won’t make any effort over a decent park that’s convenient to us, her pharmacy, and the bus.

Peanut fell asleep in the car, so Hubby stopped to feel his forehead. Just to make sure he wasn’t burning up. Mom got all on his shit “Can’t you just let him sleep?” Peanut didn’t even flinch. Gah, 36 hours and it’s started already…I’m sick of the freakin’ comments second-guessing our parenting skills.

Hubby has Mom at the doc's now. I hope the swelling isn't anything serious.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

At the playground