Lawd children. Buckle up, its been a bumpy week.
I’m in the midst of changing jobs. While the company I own has grown quite a bit over the past two years, I’m not quite ready to unlock the golden handcuffs of a regular paycheck and benefits. So when an opportunity arose for a new “day job” that paid a lot more and gave me a lot more flexibility, I felt I had to take it.
This, of course, means that since returning from vacation I have been in overdrive trying to wrap up projects and get them to a point where they can transition to a new project manager. So while being busy is nothing new to me (In fact, since the economy started to recover, busy has been a way of life, thankfully.), these past couple of weeks have been “OH MY GOD, I NEED SLEEP” busy.
And naturally, this is when Mama has a meltdown. If you tuned in last week, you know that she was laid up in the nursing and rehab hospital and that the owners of her land were threatening eviction. I put a call in to the land company to see if I could learn when exactly Mama needed to be out of there. I was told that she just needed to pay her damn rent and get the grass cut. One of the things Mama spent her Fruit Cocktail Settlement on was a new riding lawnmower. A big ole $2000 one. And she had never used it. I use the past tense because last week, at some point, thieves returned for the FOURTH time to her abandoned trailer house and made off with it. I always questioned why she bought the damn thing to begin with, as before the FIRST thieves stole the OLD lawnmower, it had been ages since she had used it anyway. (She confided in one of my aunts that she had been advised to spend that settlement as quick as possible before the government found out and cut off her benefits. God forbid she be self sustaining.) Anyway, maybe thieves took the new one, maybe Kenny did, and maybe Mama sold it for two oxycontin and a hair doodle, but its gone. I’d briefly considered paying the past due amount on the land for Mama (because it was only $200 bucks, and I recently got a check in from an old client that I had long since written off–enough to pay off my cruise charges and bring Mama’s rent current.) But this newest “theft” reminded me what a folly it would be to throw another red cent her way.
And, it turns out, it would have been a lost cause, as the land company has decided, current or not, she’s outta there.
But let me back up a bit.
I’ve gotten, quite literally, over 100 barely coherent text messages from Mama this week. Some as simple as “Help me!” and others several paragraphs long that wax eloquent about how she never should have left MY father, from whom she has been divorced for three and a half decades. (Wait, how old would that make me? Uh…maybe its only been 25 years. Yeah thats it.), how she should have held on to Rogers, one of her almost-husbands from the early 90s, how she should have married Scott, another almost-husband who died the same day my sister did. If even one of her “shoulda, woulda, coulda” texts had said “I SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN A DAMN JOB” I might have felt sorry for her. But they just underlined her total, lifelong, refusal to take care of herself. So, I have ignored most of her texts. (Why on Earth would you text someone 350 miles away to say “help, Im out of cigarettes”??
Then there was the call this morning. Just as I was pulling into the office, and five minutes after I had hung up with Mama, I got a call from a strange number that began with her area code. I have a client up there who frequently calls from different offices, and I answered thinking that was who it was. But, alas, it was the social worker from the nursing home, calling to discuss Mama. In not so many words, she said that she wasn’t even sure why Mama was there, and that she had been on vacation when she was admitted, but at any rate, her admission papers allowed for 30 days, and it was almost up. This poor social worker had also called the land company and been told that they were sending Mama a certified letter letting her know that her time there was up, regardless of any last minute efforts to save it. I explained to the social worker that Mama had not lived there for years, that she had spent most of the last three years living with Kenny, her on again, off again “Friend” and that for the past year, she had spent a lot of time at my grandmothers when they were “off” again. The social work gal said that she understood Mama was not able to go back to her Mama’s house because “her brothers and sisters thought there were some housekeeping issues.” I corrected her that two dozen bags of clothes and hair doodles piled up in a bedroom was not a housekeeping issue but a hazard, but NO, going back to Grandma’s was not in the cards. The social worker asked if Mama could come stay with me, and I told her it was quite out of the question.
She asked if there was another family member who might have a place for her. I told her I really doubted it. And outlined the various reasons that I really doubted it, the top of the list being that Mama has spent her entire life making one bad decision after the other and we are all frankly done with helping her out of them. The social worker sympathized with me, saying she had sensed in their meetings that Mama just refused to take care of anything and had no sense for what was important. (In their meeting that morning, as the lady was trying to help mom find a solution to her housing issue, Mama instead wanted to talk about how she couldn’t find her drivers license. Yes, the same drivers license she lost before Christmas. The same drivers license that could have been replaced at any point these past eight months if she had bothered to do it.)
Just in the time I’ve spent writing this she has called twice. She goes on ahead and has whatever conversation she had planned with my voicemail. The first was to talk about some picture of me with my sister when she was a baby. The second was to say that she had gotten some papers from the Neurologist to fill out, complete with a pretty logo that should be green, but was printed in black and white. (if you’re saying “HUH?” don’t worry, I don’t know what the hell that was about either. And two text messages. One that says “tell your daddy I wish I never divorced him I would do his laundry.” (pretty sure he won’t have to give that offer much thought.) and another that was just my name.