Nothing in this post is likely to surprise my longtime reader(s?)…but a brief recap for those who might just be tuning in:
My crazy mama has a mobile home on 10 acres of land that she technically does not own. This land was once home to my great grandparents, some of my favorite cousins, and a handful of nice families. But over the 30 years she has lived there, the neighborhood has changed dramatically. The family members are long gone, the nice families too. Much of the property that was once small farms has been developed now–there’s a golf course, two schools, a business park, and most recently–a highway that bisects the neighborhood, leaving mama rather isolated on her property. One doesn’t need to call the Lady Cleo to predict that it is only a matter of time before this piece of property is called upon to be used for something more valuable, situated as it is now between the business park and the highway. The few families that remain are, to be kind, not the sort likely to win neighbor of the year. And because mama’s pocket of land is reasonably secluded it is a favored place for lovers, druggies, and others who need a little privacy. I’ve advised mother for years to move. The property is too much upkeep, too unstable, and frankly, not terribly safe anymore.
But for someone on mother’s gubment provided income, the expense of moving a modular home has been out of reach. Until last year. Do to a windfall from her insurance company after her home was burgled, mama had the princely sum of 20,000 (the full limits of the policy were given for the theft of a bunch of crap and a few cans of fruit cocktail.) Once mama knew that money was coming, I advised her time and again to not spend one dime of it until she had moved her house off of the property. Perhaps its because she hasn’t actually lived there for two years (she shacks up with Kenny at his trailer house in one of the finer mobile home courts in the county), but more than likely its just because she can’t make a good decision if her life depends on it, but at any rate–the money is gone. Spent on a used Subaru (8 grand or so), a new refrigerator (another 600), and God knows what else. Now, mother hadn’t even made inquiries into moving until most of the money was spent, and the numbers she got back were already in excess of what she had remaining in her account. She was indignant at the time that none of our family members would pony up the 4 grand she was short. Rather than look for less expensive bids, sell her Subaru to make up the difference, or God forbid, get off her lazy ass and get a job, she did nothing.
And I mean just that. NOTHING. The house sat empty, with the heat set at 72 or the air set at 68, this past year. Mama had a storage building moved onto the property so she could “clean up” her piles of hoarded garbage, but never did one thing towards that goal. She plunked down money on a new riding lawnmower that still sits at the lawn and garden shop, because in nearly a year’s time, she hasn’t bothered to make arrangements for its delivery. And she dropped more money to have an alarm system installed. So the house sat there, weeds grown past waist height, near as I can tell, she might have gone out to check on it once a month or so.
Then sometime this week, she and Kenny were “over”. This is at least the third time this year they’ve been “over.” It usually lasts a weekend or a night or two before returning to business as usual. But when mama returned to her overgrown trailer in the woods, she discovered that someone had pried open the back door and made off with ALL of the appliances. The new fridge. The washer and dryer, even the stove. She further claims they rifled through the house and took pictures of my sister, but truth be told, that’s probably just an addition for dramatic effect.
According to mama, her new alarm system was armed and ready, but the smart money says it wasn’t. To hear her tell it, in the three days since she discovered the break in, she has not been able to get anyone at the alarm company or any police station to answer the phone. (Information that would take any normal person five minutes and one phone call to obtain takes mama at least a week, including two days in bed from the shear stress of it all.) It was a similar story when she was making inquiries to having the trailer moved. I was able to pick up the phone and in two minutes time not only speak to someone who could have done the work, but who was able to give me a ballpark figure on the cost. She, on the other hand, literally spent a month “plumb wore out trying to track these people down!” It’s not that she’s a complete moron, though I’m beginning to wonder, it’s just that the simplest tasks must be made into high drama, you see.
Now, any rational person would see the latest burglary for just what it was–a crime of opportunity. Someone obviously thought the house was abandoned, or at least, realized that no one was going to be coming along as they cleared out four major appliances. But, to mama, its a personal vendetta. “Someones out to kill me! Yer gonna be buryin yer mama if I stay out here unarmed!”
“So someone put out a hit on you, but instead they took the stove, is that it?”
“Yer uncles gonna give me a gun. And once I git it, Im gonna sit up all night with it cocked and just dare ‘em to come back!”
“Why would they? There’s nothing left to steal?”
“I don’t know what I’m gonna do! You know I caint live without a washer!”
“I don’t either mom, but if you called here looking for pity, I just don’t have much to offer. I’ve told you for years that you need to move, and this can’t come as much of a shock when you’ve just left the house looking abandoned out there.”
“Don’t fuss at me! I caint take that right now.”
A bit later, she wanted the number of the Econo Lodge nearby, and further, wanted me to call them and “explain the circumstances.” I guess she expected the Econo Lodge has a special rate for drama queens whose filthy trailers have been burgled. I texted her the number and told her to deal with it herself. Shock of shocks “they was too high!”
Now, for whatever reason, she had my uncle call to give me a report of what happened. He was as confused as I was as to why he needed to call and tell me what I already knew. Then, a few hours later, a call came from “Delores”, mama’s friend from Kenny’s trailer park. With mama in the background, the conversation quickly devolved into why mama’s bad luck with men ought to have her looking at the fairer sex for companionship “Although I aint never eat no pussy but my own, before I broke my tailbone I could bend like a worm.” Mama admitted to smoking a few joints and then expressed her great umbrage that none of the family had offered her to come stay with them. (I’m confused, as they no doubt are, as to why the burglary of a house she hasn’t slept in for years is a reason for them to play host.) When I suggested she should just go stay with her mother, the one person who, God bless her, can still tolerate the woman, mama said her nerves just couldn’t handle that, and it might just push her over the edge. During one of the handoffs of the phone between Delores and mama, Delores asked if I could help, and if I had room. “I couldn’t possibly.” I said definitely. Our three guest rooms are vacant, but I’ve made quite a point of mother never coming to visit because I know she wouldn’t leave.
“I guess I’ll just go spend the night with your sister!” she said at last.
“Why on Earth would you do that?” (My sister, rest her soul, is more than four years deceased, and mama’s plan was to just sleep in the cemetery.)
“I done it before! Won’t nobody bother me there. Except people comin in at night to fuck! Why on earth would people come to the cemetery to fuck? Nobody in there at night but people wantin some nookie.”
“And crazy people. Go stay with Grandma.”
“I am crazy! Call up there to the hospital and have me committed!”
“You can check yourself in if you think you need to be there.”
“You can call ‘em and tell ‘em I’m crazy.”
“A call from you would probably be more convincing.”
Delores got back on the phone. “I’d let her stay here if I had room.”
“That’s awfully nice of you. Tell her to go to her mother’s.”
“Your mom is just too much…”
“She is a character…”
“And sometimes too much is just…well, too much, you know what I mean?”
“I certainly do.”
With that, we hung up, and I heard no more of mama for the night. Then today, as I came out of a string of meetings, there was a voicemail from Kenny. Mama was at the hospital. (She’s there so often, I imagine they have a room set aside just for her.)
I tried to call Kenny back, but got no answer. A call to Granny revealed that mama had, after all, spent the night there, but then got up this morning and called herself an ambulance. (The taxpayers have furnished an ambulance for mama about six times over the past year–the dramatic effect of a hospital visit is much diminished if one drives themselves or has a friend take them, you know.) Granny didn’t know what was wrong with Mama, but she did find out that they were going to admit her as soon as they had a bed free. (No doubt to the mental health unit.)
So there you have it. The latest and greatest on my crazy mama.