Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Part 3 - The Beginning of The End

Old Sister had taken over all the funeral arrangements. Just as she did when our dad died when I was 18. At that time, she arranged for a priest from the Greek Orthodox church to conduct his service. This was despite the fact my dad also wasn't particularly religious but did have leanings toward either A) the Mormon church or B) Garner Ted Armstrong's Worldwide Church of God. . The airport was snowed in, so no one from Alberta could make it to B.C. where the funeral was held. She had him buried, although he had hated the thought of rotting in a box and had always said he wanted to be cremated. The priest had no real clue who he was talking about as evidenced by his request we all "bow our heads in a moment of silent prayer for Mr. Mixed-Up-Name". Yes, he completely jumbled the 3 syllables of our surname.

It was an interesting service though. I'm torn between the eulogy for a man he was completely unfamiliar with or Old Sister's impromptu speech about Hallowe'en pranks Dad pulled as a kid for my favourite part. It was a nice service though. The casket was a bit elaborate in my humble opinion, but maybe I'm just bitter because the very first thing the Nameless Man and I did when we got married at age 19 was assume the debt to pay off the thousands still owed for dad's service. Yep. that's right. She staged an elaborate service and then stiffed the funeral home for the bill. It took us several years at $325 per month to pay it all off. Great way to start married life together doncha think?

.....Okay, here's the deal. I had this huge post drafted and then Wonderful Daughter, a.k.a. Jiminy Cricket pointed out it was very bitter. Caustically bitter.

However, that's not the post you are going to get. Suffice it to say, Old Sister opened the funeral with a joke. And it went rapidly downhill from there. Apparently her and her live-in have contests over My Mom is Crazier Than Your Mom. So, we got to hear all about the roving bands of lesbians that supposedly pursued my mom around in later years. Erm, ???... This is a funeral talk?

When we got back to "normal" later much, much later...My mom was lauded for her generosity and kindness.

Funny, when I got pregnant as an unwed teen (a situation both her and my Old Sister had found themselves in) she said, "Don't even think about coming home." Funnily enough, Old Sis got support and help. Mom drove an hour into town every week to provide her with anything she needed.

She only offered support to accompany me into the delivery room when I confessed how terrified I was of the birthing process. She was a nursing aide and I don't know nuthin' about birthing no babies.... The day I went into labour, I called to tell her it was Go Time. Alas, she couldn't drive in from the ranch that day. She had "floors to wash". So I, at age 17 gave birth completely alone with a little Vietnamese girl shrieking out her own terror in the very next bed. This was March 10th. My best girlfriend stood by my side as I signed the adoption papers a week later. My dad had died February 23rd, (3 weeks before I gave birth) and I was on. my. own.

Better, when we celebrated Christmas with them, one year there was gifts, mountains of gifts for my niece and not one thing for my two kids. They were 5 and 3 at the time. It was an awkward drive home to say the least. Oh, and our last Christmas with them.

My niece was always at my mom's. She would stay for days on end. Old Sis needed a break doncha know? When I had my youngest, he weighed 10lb 4 oz (ouch right?!) and I had over 100 stitches. She promised when I was released, Wonderful Daughter (who was 2 1/2 yrs old) and I could come and stay a few days with her until the Nameless Man finished the night shift rotation he was currently on. Guess what happened? She was "too tired" so I packed up my kids and went home to do it all on my own.

Lastly, when Old Sis had any kind of medical procedure or even just a serious test, my dear, kind and generous Mom would put everything else on hold and rush to sit by her side until the crisis had passed. I, on the other hand, had a total hysterectomy at age 28 and she couldn't even come visit me, let alone sit any kind of vigil at my side. Oh, and she lived in the same city as we did by this time... I guess it should have been no big surprise, she hadn't come to see me during any of the 4 or 5 surgeries that led up to the hysterectomy.

To sit there at her service while she was held up as some shining example of kindness and generosity*...puhleeze!

Proofreading this, it occurs to me, Wonderful Daughter seems to have been right, but also oh, so wrong.... Bitter? Bitter doesn't even scratch the surface.

* All of these events happened to me before she was considered mentally ill

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Part 2 - Where I am Contacted and Reach Out

So, my son and daughter in law have gone home now and I have time to post again. Today I slept nearly 14 hours and awoke with a migraine. Over the past week I haven't been averaging more than 5 hours of sleep a night. Possibly it's stress... I'm sure I'll survive.

Back to the saga... I was away from home all day Tuesday, getting Tikki groomed and working from WD's house. When I arrived at her home, she shamefacedly told me my Great Aunt had, in fact, left a voice mail for me on Sunday, but with all the drama the Soon to Be Ex caused on Friday it had slipped her mind. The way things were left on Friday, we thought we had to be in family court at 8:30 a.m. Monday to thwart his latest court move for no rules involved access to the grandboys. Since he didn't see them for 18 months after the judge decided he needed rules to prevent him from leaving the country with Dom, we need to make sure there is structure and it is followed.

Wonderful Daughter doesn't have free long distance in her new place so I wasn't able to call back my Great Aunt until that evening. She had been trying to reach me, as had Long Lost Little Sister who had come by my condo but couldn't get in. You can't leave a message if you ring the buzzer and she had mislaid my unlisted number. Great Aunt (did I mention I adore her?!) wouldn't give out my number to her just in case I didn't want her contacting me again. So, they did try to reach me and the "hurt on my behalf" tone my Heinous Mother In Law had adopted was unwarranted after all.

By the time I was able to talk to my family, they had cremated Mom that afternoon. Outside the funeral home, my oldest sister who is MEGA HEINOUS asked one of my single, Mormon cousins if she "was still Mormon?". When assured yes, Girl Cousin was still Mormon, Old Sister said, "Oh I just wondered since I see your picture on FaceBook in bars all over the world." Um, and this is your concern why? Older Sister is also a baptised Mormon but hasn't lived up to her dedication in any way, shape or form.

I guess Old Sister is under the impression one cannot obtain soda or virgin cocktails in bars. Girl Cousin has travelled all over and has quite enjoyed getting to meet and socialize with people in various settings, including bars. Whether she drinks demon rum or other spirits is of no interest to me. I have my own dedication to try and live up to.

Old Sister then moved on in her conversation and informed all those present she was now employed at an STD clinic and could give Girl Cousin a discount if she said the code word Zorro when calling in. WTH?! They cremated Mom not 20 minutes ago and she's shilling for business?

She also proudly related how she had cleverly entered into the computer the information of a new patient with the surname of Bates as "Master" _____ Bates.
How droll! I wonder just how long it took her to come up with that one? She also filled in the blank first name herself by wittily substituting my Long Lost Sister's husband's name into the blank. This was in front of my Little Sister. I'm glad I missed it since I would have been tempted to smack her. I see she hasn't improved with age.

Back at the teeny tiny condo, I decided I would let my son know about the passing of his grandmother and her funeral even though I was sure he wouldn't want to come down from St. Albert for it. He had a right to know, of course. There have been many, many deaths in my family where I didn't find out until well after the fact. My step father's mom, my mother's grandma (who raised her until age least I assume she is dead since she would now be over 100) and I'm pretty sure my great uncle Frank to name just a few. I didn't see great aunt Rita at Mom's funeral but didn't want to ask what could have been an awkward question.

Ah yes, you say, but you have been in quasi-hiding for all these years. How were they to contact you? carrier pigeon? Well, guess what? Several relatives died back when we were all still trying to have a relationship and they still didn't bother to let me know. It's fairly humiliating to ask, "How's Grandma?" only to be informed she died 8 months ago. I can only imagine what the rest of the family thought when I was a no-show at so many services. Also, everyone knows my in-laws, particularly since they have all been friends at least since the Nameless Man and I attended Grade One together and the in-laws have kept the same listed phone number for over 30 years. So, if they did wish to reach me, it wasn't really all that hard. I just maintained the illusion I was hidden away to disguise the pain of their rejection. My Heinous MIL has visited my mom many times over the past 5 years.

To my surprise, my son and his wife and baby decided to drive down and stay with us. I was so touched and pleased they came to support me. It was nice to have all my immediate family by my side as I renewed aquaintances with my extended family.
Their little girl is 14 months old and she's a cutie. I quite enjoyed getting a chance to bond with her. After a rocky beginning, her and Tikki became such good friends that when her own daddy tried to get after her, Tikki growled his displeasure his little buddy was being spoken to. At one point, Wonderful Daughter leaned over to stop her from doing something bad and Tikki leapt at her! I'm sure the baby loved me for me though, and not just because I have (the illusion) of control over the dog. Uh huh, sure...that's it.

Next (and final) installment: The Service

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Part 1: Where I Renounce My Luddite Faith

Many who know me in real life are aware of my hatred of the phone. I own a great cell phone, but it (hopefully) lies in a drawer somewhere in the teeny tiny condo, gathering dust. I never carry it. Mainly because I never charge it. Which is mainly because then I might lose my focus and accidentally answer it and I'm convinced if I did, it would inevitably be my Heinous MIL asking the same irritating question she always goes right up my nose with, "Where are you?"

Um, "Busy?"

I also have been in quasi-hiding (don't ya love the way I keep making up words?) from my own family for about 15 years or so. After the recent failed attempt to start a relationship with my Long Lost Little Sister, I felt that decision had been justified.

My home phone has always been unlisted. They had no idea where I worked or what I did for a living. Let's face it, they had no interest in finding me but anytime I had dealings with them, there was always so much DRAMA involved it just wasn't worth it. The roles were always cast the same way. I was the Villan and they must band together to thwart my evil machinations.

My mother (who will we discuss later) once decided I had stolen a horse head brooch she got as a gift from a dear friend. Despite my assertations I had no clue what she was talking about, she accused me for years of having stolen this brooch. Don't misunderstand, most of my family are such thieves they would make Ali Baba and his 40 cohorts look like rank amateurs but I am not a thief. When I asked about the brooch approximately 15 years later, she said she had found it in the pocket of a suitcase. No word of an apology to me mind you, but it had been found.

Back to the phones. Although we run our cleaning business out of the teeny tiny condo, I love to forward the phones on the weekend to Wonderful Daughter so she can deal with, well, everything. I also live in a security building, so unless I buzz you in, you can`t come knock on my door. This is not a great neighbourhood so you usually can`t even follow someone through the door without being asked to wait to be properly buzzed in.

Last weekend, I forwarded the phones to WD. Truth be told, I probably forwarded them on Thursday. So I was pretty much inaccessible. Which was the way I like it. Which is what came back to bite me in the butt... big time.

My mother died Sunday. And no one could reach me. Until Tuesday. Because of other weekend drama involving Wonderful Daughter, my GrandBoys and WD`s soon to be Ex.

Tuesday morning, my now unforwarded home phone rang first thing in the morning. I was sleeping. My Heinous MIL was at the other end. When I asked,`What`s up?`She said she had just called to tell me she was sorry to hear about my mom. She had just read her obituary in the paper.

I was a little hurt my Long Lost Little Sister hadn`t called to tell me but wasn`t too concerned. I mean, what could I do about it? No matter what the situation, I wasn`t going to be called on to help make arrangements so really, did it matter no one called? I assumed the one great aunt, (who I ADORE!!) I talk to was on holidays because I knew she would have called me.

I left a message for Wonderful Daughter to tell her and inexplicably, when I said `My mom is dead.`I began to cry on her voice mail.

Then, I left to drive Tikki across town to his new groomers. Of course I got hopelessly lost and was 1- 1/4 hours late getting him there. And, since I don`t carry a cell phone I couldn`t even call her to let her know I was lost (and possibly get some directions). BTW, Luddites believe Tom-Tom and GPS are the work of the Devil.

To Be Continued

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Hi guys, I didn't forget about you. I have been busy and I have been bummed out.

After we didn't need her to help move, I never heard from my long-lost little sister again.

I left a message regarding the change in plan for the move and then in the following 10 days, left 2 or 3 more messages.

And I heard back... Nada. That was May 18th.

So, here I am again, heart hanging out, feelings royally hurt, crapped all over by my "family".

On the positive side, my new medication is working out quite well !! So, who knows, maybe I will become a mentally healthy, world-famous blogger who seeks out a new loving family. Nyah, Nyah! Don't worry, I'll never forget the little people...tee hee hee.

On that note, Leah gave me a cool award that totally lifted my spirits. I need to update the blogs I follow since hers is a great one. If you like uplifting photography and intriguing fiction...this is a must see.

Thanks Leah! I needed that!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Nervous, Pussycat? YEP!

That is a little inside joke in our family.
It's from the Tweety cartoons I think... the sweet little bird has pushed every last one of the evil puddy tat's buttons and then, when he is ready toliterally jump outof his skin, sweetly inquires, "Nervous Pussycat?" and he yelps, "YEP!"
Although... I can't be remembering this correctly or the question would be, "Nervous PuddyTat?"
Great, now this will drive me crazy...wonder if I can look up the answer on Wiki?

Anyhoo, the point of this post, yes, there is a point... is that I am on yet another antidepressant as part of my never-ending search for the right one.

This one doesn't sedate you though. And how sad is it I had no clue I was being sedated?
This one makes you more anxious (high-strung thankyouverymuch). More aniety I certainly don't need but it seems there is always a trade-off. The best drug I was ever on, the one that worked the best for me was pulled from the market due to liver toxicity.

So, this latest one, I began 2 weeks ago and just had a follow-up visit with the doctor on Friday.

I told him it seems a bit better but I am struggling a bit. I'm pretty snappy and quick on the lip. My poor family has been bearing the brunt. Them and other drivers on the road.

As an interesting side effect, I get the feeling I am being bitten by insects, like a spider bite, as I try to fall asleep.
He assured me this is because of prior liver damage from hepatitis and drug interaction and not because my home has been overun with bugs. He has ordered a bunch of tests.

Should be interesting. I sure hope he knows what he is doing since the last scrip gave me such bad chest pains I was scared out of my remaining wits. It would be nice to feel good for a change...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Thousand Apologies! A Moving Tale.

I didn't mean to duck out on you all.

Wonderful Daughter was scheduled to move house on the 22nd of May. However, she got really really sick in the weeks leading up to it so I ended up going to stay with her to help out with the boys and her overall life.

Her internet had been cut off too early so I had no way to post and no time or energy either, truth be told. I really don't know how she does it all. More on that later...

She is now staying with her grandparents for the short term while trying to get into more affordable housing. Yes, that's right...she is living in the home of the Heinous MIL. The good news is, MIL is still in Saskatchewan, or back in Saskatchewan, depending on how you look at it.

However, her Heinousness did phone home earlier this week and inform WD she must insist WD answer the house phone. Which she declined since A) she is not a secretary, B) is already usually busy answering our business line and C) reserves the right to screen calls, mainly from guess who?

Then, the Royal Heinosity informed WD she would like her to go choose some nice earth tones and paint all the interior walls in her home. Why not, right? I mean all Wonderful Daughter has to do with her life is raise two little boys, drive one child across the city each morning to be in school for 8 a.m., run our business, work at some cleaning jobs, plan and cook all the meals, clean the house for herself, her kids and her grandfather while also maintaining her attendance at 5 meetings for worship each week and having a semblance of a social life. Painting an entire house isn't really too much to ask now, is it? BTW, Wonderful Daughter also is paying rent and buying her own groceries while she is in residence so it's not a free loading type of arrangement.

Back to the Move:

The packing and moving went well and we accomplished a lot in between her bouts of nausea and other stuff I am probably not supposed to mention. She has never been so ill in all her life though. We had all our plans carefully laid and lots of people lined up to help out. Penelope was even going to bring some of her fabulous baking for a coffee break.

Then... Grandpa got involved in the move. First, he decided he and the Nameless Man should take all the stuff WD and the boys needed at his house over there on Thursday evening. No problem, makes sense.
Then, he decided the two of them should take all her boxes to the storage facility on Friday morning, instead of leaving them for the 4 strong young university students WD had hired for Saturday morning. So, they did.
However, once they got to the storage facility, they decided the unit WD had booked was too small so they upgraded to the largest unit (at twice the price).

Then Grandpa decided they really needed to put her furniture in first, so they must move everything on Friday, during the day without the huge moving truck and also, without any strong young helpers.
Did I mention he is well over 70 years old and although the Nameless Man works out and is pretty strong, there is NO WAY we wanted him to move all her stuff. Not to mention, those students had been booked weeks in advance and given up Long Weekend plans to make some extra money. WD and I LOATHE it when people cancel on us at the last minute and now, we were about to do it to them.

We quickly made some calls, looking for last minute help to come and load the pickup truck and van we had but funnily enough, everyone we know was working on a Friday. Desperately, we tried to come up with an alternate plan since Grandpa would not take "No" for an answer.
Wonderful Daughter and her friend quickly threw the last items into any available box while I quickly went down to our local Cash Corner where all the city's great unwashed and unemployed hang out hoping to pick up a day's labour.
It was nearly 1 pm by this time but I was "lucky" enough to get two smelly, toothless, practically homeless men to jump into WD's car with me and come back to move furniture. While I was gone getting help, Grandpa managed to fall backwards off the front porch while carrying furniture.

It was the most interesting move we have ever been involved in.

Now that the dust has settled we keep telling ourselves the important thing to bear in mind is, "we are done".
I woke up Saturday morning with a strain of WD's illness that kept me in bed for the rest of the long weekend. However, today we finished the move out cleaning and on a brighter note, the weather has been nice enough for WD to keep the car windows unrolled so, 5 days later, the smell of the Cash Corner Gentlemen is nearly gone.

Final Tally:

We lost out on Penelope's baking, having my little sister come to help and WD's boys getting to play with her youngest son who we had asked to come and babysit while we worked.
The student movers got stiffed since there was nothing left for them to move. The Cash Corner guys got a slap-dash lunch and one kept his second sandwich for dinner that night. (We offered to make him more, he declined) Grandpa got a bruised hip but also the pleasure of knowing he saved WD nearly $50 by not having to hire movers. Too bad the larger storage unit will cost an extra $100 each month.

But, "we are done" and from all accounts, WD and her little boys are settled in and Grandpa loves having them there. We'll see what happens when the Heinous MIL comes back to town in mid June.

I'm certain I will have much more material for some great rants, erm, posts.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Promise

She was so beautiful. 17 years old with clear skin, white blonde hair,bluer than blue eyes and an infectious giggle. She had many friends at school but none too close. They couldn't get too close.

She was the first of the family to graduate high school. The first of the three girls to do right and fly straight. No silliness from her. She knew who she was and where she was going.

As I watched her stand before the mirror in her bedroom and apply a last coat of mascara I was flushed with pride. I can still see her in my mind's eye. She was small and blonde and beautiful.

She wasn't pregnant before Grade 12. She didn't drop out to raise a kid. She didn't mess up, drop out, run away. She didn't always manage to draw rage and or indifference alternated with disdain down on her head. She was the one who beat the odds.

She worked hard to get along, go along, hang on.

And she had a wish.

She wished for a trinket to commemorate her graduation. She wanted a ring. A high school ring. Hesitantly she waited for her moment and broached her request. Of course there was no money for a small gold ring. In that household, there was never any money for extras. No money for swimming lessons. Skating lessons. Girl Guides. Camp. Band. Gymnastics. Ringette. Movies? Vacations? No money for any of that!

Money for booze could always be found. Money for cigarettes, of course. Money to travel back to the hometown and visit with their friends. That was another matter entirely. A trip to Australia for the father? Sure! A trip to Mexico for the mother? No problemo! But, no money for a beautiful 17 year old who only wished for a small gold ring.

She was disappointed but tried again. Perhaps a small silver ring? Oh, well, that was different! Of course. Of course. They would make sure she got it. She wasn't to worry. And definitely not to feel she had to ask again. It was hers, they would make sure of it!

Except they didn't. Like so many other broken promises all throughout her childhood, the last one, made as she began her transistion to adulthood was also broken.

I can't make up for leaving her. I honestly didn't even know she needed me, she seemed to have it all together. I didn't see the need in her. I would have stayed and endured if I had know. For this, she has forgiven me.

The first week of July 2010 will mark her 25th high school reunion. How I wish I could get her that ring.