This is my life

Friday, 2 December 2016 05:15 pm
carose59: adulthood (without being supervised)
"Well, A Person Who Thinks He Has Walls Is Infinitely More Interesting Than One Who Does."*

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Two weeks ago, I finally got around to seeing a lawyer to deal with the house. I called and left a message, he called back, and we made an appointment.

I had gotten his name from the AFSCME website (that's the union I belong to, and union members get a discount). His address was listed as being on Alabama Street.

I saw that he had his own website, so I thought I'd check it out—I like to get my information from as close to the source as possible. On his website, his address was listed as being on Market Street.

So the day of the appointment, I drove downtown, parked, and walked over to the address on Market. I went to sign in and found someone had spilled coffee all over the sign-in sheet. I found this by sticking my hand in it. They'd also spilled it all over the lobby and there was a trail of it going to one of the elevators. Right about then someone who apparently worked there showed up, noticed the coffee, and went to get it cleaned up. I went upstairs and washed my hands in the ladies' room.

It was an interesting building. Built in 1955 (according to the cornerstone), it had been renovated and decorated with non-fuctioning clocks. I've never seen so many clocks with the wrong time on them. It was, as I say, interesting.

I waited until ten—my appointment time—nervous because there was no-one to check-in with and I couldn't figure out where his office was. I played out the worst-case scenario: I didn't get to see the lawyer today and had to come back. Oh, no! The world would come to an end. Or, I'd just have to come back at a different time. Anyway, at ten I called and left a message saying who I was, what time it was, and where I was, and that if either the time or place were wrong, I'd really appreciate him calling me back.

In a few minutes he called back. Right time, wrong place. He'd moved to an office on—you guessed it—Market. I told him I'd gotten the address from his own website, and he was quite embarrassed. He asked if I'd like to meet him at the City Market—a block away from where I was—and get some food. I thought that sounded good, so that's what we did.

We talked about the whole thing—which is really just probate vs no probate, depending on the value of the estate. His wife is in real estate and said the house looked to be between forty and sixty thousand dollars; fifty is the cut-off for not having to go through probate, and he said that with me being an only child (meaning nobody contesting my inheritance), we could squeeze by with the house being worth under fifty. I told him that the house was built just after WWII and the plumbing and electric has never been updated, and he laughed. "Definitely under fifty then," he said.

He outlined what he was going to do and I gave him a check for a thousand dollars, but I should be getting money back. It's all really easy.

I'm really glad to be getting this taken care of, but I'm particularly glad that I was able to handle the whole wrong-place thing so calmly. It was a little adventure. I got to see a cool building.

*Lillian Carlson
carose59: the past (today's music ain't got the same soul)
I'm Going To Memorize Your Name And Throw My Head Away.*

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(That subject line is a metaphor.)

A couple of weeks ago, on my way home from work, I found that the first building where Pat and I lived was being torn down.

I'd been expecting that for a while; it was condemned some years ago. It's only a few blocks from my house and I pass it every day to and from work, so I'd been watching it decay and dilapidate. We only lived there a year, but it was our first year and it was special. On the ground floor were little stores—a grocery, I remember, and on the corner, a flower shop. The man who owned the building was the florist Up a flight of stairs were apartments—eight altogether, I think, four to a section.

Today it was nothing but dirt, a tiny field.

Yesterday, I bought a new phone.

It wasn't a choice, exactly; it was necessary. The screen of my old phone died, and with everything going on right now, I need a reliable phone.

It took four hours, and I'm planning on writing about that later. But while I was at AT&T I threw away part of my past.

Pat had a cellphone first, because of her falling. A couple of them in succession: first a big, brick-like thing, then a smaller brick-like thing, then a nice silver flip phone. She got the last one the year she died, and I got one just like it at the same time. I think it was sometime in the early spring. We played with them a lot; we'd call each other from the same room and answer saying things like, "I can't talk now, I'm busy," or "What do you want?" or "You have the wrong number," or "Why do you keep calling me?" We had fun.

(This is the thing I miss most, the frivolity, the having a confidante. I've got this bluetooth thing that I'd like to experiment with and if Pat were alive I would ask her to call me so I could see what happens when I get a call, so I could practice using the silly thing. Even just answering the phone is complicated and I have to keep telling people, "I got a smart phone but it didn't make me any smarter." Pat would like that. Pat would help me, and she'd enjoy it.)

We were on a family plan, and we had talked about getting my mother a phone. But Pat died. So I just gave my mother Pat's phone.

And she doesn't use it. The only time she's ever used it is when I was taking her to Coumadin Clinic; she'd call to come pick her up. I've been paying for it every month for twelve years for it to live in a drawer, but I'm a very good daughter. I can't make my mother carry a cellphone, but I can make sure she has a cellphone even if she won't carry it.

It's been annoying and frustrating, and expensive when you consider it was completely going to waste, but it kept me from having to do something I really didn't want to do: releasing Pat's phone number. I really wanted to keep Pat's number.

Yesterday I cancelled that line. A woman who can't talk doesn't need a cellphone. If a phone rings in the forest and there's no-one to answer it, what difference does it make?

Pieces of my life are falling off or drifting away and there's really nothing I can do about it. All I can do is let go so I don't go with them.

*Oscar Levant
carose59: PLS (moses supposes his toeses are roses)
"I Can't Believe You're Going To Keep A Few Little Letters Of The Alphabet Keep Us Apart!"*

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Pat and I had some rules in our relationship. Don't worry about other people's secrets. Don't bring other people into our arguments—or even let other people know we were arguing. Go to bed angry.

The other-people's-secrets thing came from years of watching sitcoms. Practically every show had an episode where a friend would have a secret that one half of a couple finds out about. Then the other half finds out, and is angry that their espoused didn't confide in them.

It made Pat and me angry. "It's not her secret to share!" we'd yell at the TV.

This actually came up in our relationship. A close friend called up, distraught, and talked about things from her marriage. I assured her with great confidence that I would not repeat anything to anyone, including Pat. When I got off the phone, I reported that our friend was upset and told me a bunch of stuff in confidence. Pat didn't even ask what was said. It had nothing to do with her; it was our friend's secret, not mine. I believe this is called being an adult.

The not-bringing-other-people-into-our-arguments thing came from a couple of things. One was watching my cousin inflame the family's dislike of her husband by calling her mother every single time she had an argument with him. My aunt would tell my mother (and who knows who else), my mother would tell me, we'd all be angry at the husband. Half the time, by the time anybody else even heard about the argument, my cousin and her husband had made up, but we were still pissed.

I wanted my family to like Pat—and this was before we'd come out. The very most I would do was a casual "Pat and I had an argument last night," kind of thing, but never details, and always very lightly, amusedly, and in the past tense. It's over, it doesn't matter. (I think I once answered the phone, "Pat and I are having a fight," but we'd been together ten years by that time.) I never tried to make Pat the heavy with anyone, and she didn't do that with me.

That was the other part: we presented a united front. We were together, period.

A long time ago, I had a friend who was always talking about her husband in very disturbing terms. My friend had health issues, and she'd talk about her husband "making" her work (they worked together) when she was unwell. Pretty much everything she said about him made it sound like, at the very least, a borderline abusive relationship. A mutual friend really thought she should leave her husband because of the way she talked about him. If you want your friends and family to like your spouse, you have to act like you do. If all you ever tell about are the bad things, your friends are going to think you're married to a creep.

Going to bed angry is just common sense. When has being exhausted ever made a situation better? How many arguments have you ever been in just because you were so tired you wanted to cry? My feeling is that there are two things people fight about: important things and unimportant things. Unimportant things will look unimportant after a good night's sleep. Important things shouldn't be discussed when you're exhausted.

So we'd go to bed not speaking to each other, lying with our backs to each other, not touching. Then one of us would reach out a foot and touch, and everything would be fine. You can't do that with words.

*Peter Wright
carose59: doctors (they understand matter not spirit)
"Trust Me. I'm In A Lab Coat."*

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I talked to the second neurologist to see my mother. (I was there when the first one saw her.) I should have been getting her to her Coumadin clinic appointments. This might not have happened if I had done that. But is in no way the fault of the two sets of paramedics who didn't see any stroke symptoms—not even the ones who came after I called 911 and said, "I think she's having a stroke." Because they can't be expected to know everything. I, of course, can, because I'm not part of the Perfect Doctor Club.

And my mother has been telling people that the reason she hasn't been going to the doctor is that it's so hard to work around other people's schedules!!! I got her to admit (to me) that this is not, in fact, the case. We were supposed to go . . . somewhere last month. I took the day off work. She (predictably) cancelled at the last minute. But I was there, ready and waiting. Between her agoraphobia, her depression, her physical problems, and my depression and PTSD, we haven't been doing a good job getting her out of the house. I admit that. But just like with Pat, I don't know how you force an adult in her right mind to leave the house when she doesn't want to, or to allow strangers in when she doesn't want them there. I wish I was better at this stuff, and the ironic thing is, I'm just like her about this stuff.

The second neurologist also said that "there was probably some dementia before the stroke." He bases this on his years of knowing my mother and—no, wait. I don't know what he bases this on. Her making bad decisions? If people making bad decisions = dementia, we might as well throw out the word dementia, because everybody makes bad decisions. I've clearly made bad decisions here, am I demented? (I like "demented" better than "suffering from dementia." Call a fucking spade a spade.)

He seemed utterly disinterested in her vision problems—wouldn't even let me finish talking about them. Doctors tend to be classically pro-life: we want to keep people alive forever, but we don't give a shit what kind of life that is. Casually tells me she won't be living at home anymore, like that's no big deal. Asshole.

She's going into rehab this week, maybe. I'm fighting them on sending her to rehab until they figure out just what's causing the nausea she's been having. The last time we came to the ER, it was about that and they shuffled it off to the side in favor of some other problem she had. The woman's eighty-six; point to any part of her, you'll find some kind of problem. But I see no point having her transported to rehab, only to have her unable to do the rehab because of her nausea. I've fought with doctors and hospitals and rehab people before; I'm not afraid to get back in the ring. I'm the Tiger Daughter. I'm the one who forced the first rehab center to send her to the hospital when she was having intestinal blockage that could have killed her. I'm the one who went completely apeshit on the woman who claimed vital information wasn't in the chart—and who asked the doctor who defended her, "Are you telling me she can't read? Because if she can't, I think she needs a different line of work."

Don't mess with depressed people. Sometimes being angry is the best we feel, so if you piss us off, we will lean into it and enjoy the energy rush.

I want my mother back. I suspect that's only going to happen in very small pips** from now on. I have to remember that I'm her sword and I'm her shield; I fight the battles and I take the blows that she can't.

*Julian, SoulPancake
**You know how Hershey bars can be broken into neat little rectangles? Those rectangles are called pips.

July 2017

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