So What’s New, Pussycats?

27 03 2016

I haven’t made a post here in so long that I had forgotten the password to log in with! Life is good, and work is busy, so in reality, there hasn’t been a whole lot to blog about anyway.

But mama gave us a little something to write about today, and I was sure that the three people who still drop by might want to hear it.

When we last left her, she was staying with my grandmother “taking care of her”. Now, I think she does as well as she can in that caretaker roll, but we all know that if she still had a home, or a husband, she would not be up there. Its a situation that benefits her more than anyone else, which is the only sort of situation she will stick with.

Grandma’s health is poor, her dementia is bad, and there have been several times over the past couple of years where she has had extended hospital stays. One such stay was to end yesterday.

And apparently, mama would only go back to “taking care of” Grandma if her siblings hired someone to do the cleaning and laundry. (Bare in mind, that Grandma sleeps much of the day now, and her house is 800 square feet tops.) But she also wanted her free room and board to continue, and also wanted to be paid herself. (No doubt “under the table” so as not to interfere with her benefits from Uncle Sam.)

Just before 2AM this morning, Mama called to wish us a Happy Easter.

But let me back up a bit…

About two weeks ago, she called one afternoon and revealed that she was at the Doc in a Box with Billy Bob (not his real name, but close enough) and his son, who had the flu. “You remember Billy Bob! Here, let me let you say hi!” It turns out that 20 years or so ago, after mom’s second divorce, when I was still in middle school, he had crashed on our couch for a number of days, and I threw all of his stuff out onto the lawn when I came home from school and smelled marijuana. He had been a bag boy at the Food For Less, and apparently lived near us years earlier when I was a baby.

Last week, literally as I was walking into the airport to fly across the country, Mama called with a desperate plea for money because she had locked her keys in the car while at a St. Patricks Day party (in a very unseemly part of town), and the people who had jimmied it open with a coat hanger had cut some sort of wires that made the key useless. (This was the story she told…so if it makes no sense to my readers, please understand it made no sense to me either.) She needed $75 for a locksmith, and could I please help. My questions (what could a locksmith do about cut wires? Can’t you just use the key the old fashioned way if the keyless buttons dont work?) were met with answers that made even less sense, so I told her there was nothing I could do, and I wouldn’t be getting off the plane until after midnight eastern time, so couldn’t help then if I wanted to. By the time I landed, she had left another message, that some random person had fixed her car, but she still needed cigarettes, so go ahead and wire some money.

But back to today…

She called at 2 AM to wish us a Happy Easter, and again at 8:30 AM. We exchanged a few pleasant texts later in the morning, then shortly after dinner, she texted again.

Do you have any money for a rental car til tomorrow my car was towed in for evidence insurance says that it totaled wal mart on eisenhower drive please”

“What? Were you in a wreck? What happened?” I replied.

“A girl by the name of Sherry busted the windshield and the back window and tail lights out the deputy took care of her and add felony charges against her headlight too”

“Well, I don’t think you can rent a car without a credit card in your name.”

I know that.”

Questions linger. Why would the police take a vandalized car into evidence? (Dear hubby suggests that maybe Mama was in no shape to drive, if you know what I mean, and it was impounded.) Who is Sherry? What story lies there? And if she knew you needed a credit card, what did she REALLY want my money for?

So, to recap: she’s hauling dope smoking losers to the doctor, partying in the ghetto, doing God knows what at 2 in the morning on Easter, and now has incited a girl named Sherry to total her Subaru. Just another page in the life of a complete train wreck.




The Diagnosis

11 06 2013

Last weekend, my grandmother (mama’s mama) had another stroke. She is miraculously recovering from it very well, and I’m very thankful, as it was not looking good initially. I think it was Friday that this happened (as an aside, Mama’s brother was at Granny’s house with mama as they waited on the ambulance to arrive, and he also had some sort of a stroke episode and had to be taken off in another ambulance.) Getting old sucks, folks.

Darling and I joked that Mama wasn’t about to let anyone else have the sickness spotlight and took bets on how long it would be before Mama checked herself in. (As Darling said, “I bet they’re getting her usual suite ready.”)

And, sure as a puppy will piddle on your favorite rug, the call came a few days later that Mama was being admitted with her usual litany of vague symptoms. It’s either a kidney infection, or a bladder malady, or a strangulated testicle. (If we knew which commercials she was watching before her admittance to the ER, we could probably narrow it down further.)

Despite complaints that the nurses were not “giving her her medication” (read: she wasn’t able to swallow her normal fistful of horse tranquilizers), she was chatty.

“I think I’ve figured out why I’m bi-polar.” (one of her many dubious diagnosis.)


When I was little, I got a “Hedda Get Bedda” doll for Christmas, and my brothers threw it on the roof.”

“And that made you bipolar?”

“Well, it had three or four faces you could turn around. One was happy. One was sad, and one had the measles I think.”

“So a three faced doll made you bipolar?”

Well, children work with what they’re given. Don’t you think that’s possible?”

“You’d really better ask a psychiatrist about that.” A friend of mine and I once threw one of my sister’s Barbie’s in the road, and buried it’s smashed corpse after a car ran over it. I suppose if she’d lived, she might have become an undertaker from that experience.

Anyway, while I was trying to wrap my head around this theory, she was going on about how she was aghast that she had not  been named medical power of attorney for her mother. (Why she thinks she would be a good candidate to take care of someone else’s affairs when she can’t handle her own could probably serve as a doctoral thesis topic.) Anxious not to have that conversation for the dozenth time, I told her I was considering taking a new job.

“Will you be makin’ more money?”

I told her I thought the potential was there to make a good bit more.

“Oh good. You can get me outta West Virginia.”

“You can get yourself out of West Virginia.”

“What am I supposed to do? Hitchhike?”

“You know how to drive.”


She hung up. I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt and say maybe her call was dropped. I’m nice like that.


Merry Friggin’ Christmas!

28 12 2012

I just got back from my annual Christmas trip to West Virginia. Its always hectic. I go from function to function, house to house, trying to see everyone I want to, and never getting to see anyone long enough to suit me.

My day job is at a small firm…and the senior members always take the week between Christmas and New Years off…leaving me to cover the office, meaning I have to rush home as soon as Christmas dinner is finished. Much as I love seeing everyone, it is exhausting! I drove 1100 miles in the past five days (in a dinky rental, mind you, as I didn’t want to risk my rear-wheel drive car on snowy roads.)

Anyhoodles…y’all no doubt want to hear about mama. My first stop once I got to town was to see her and my grandmother. (Mama has been staying with Granny, whose dementia seems to be worsening.)

Mama, bless her,  has gained a good 40 pounds over the past year or so. Only, she thinks she’s still a size six. (True story…she keeps buying clothes in her old size.) So, for the last couple of times I’ve visted Mama, I am greeted by her spare tire hanging out the bottom of a tank top. Mama’s first order of business is to drag out whatever clothes she happens to have picked up at the consignment store or the discount rack since I’ve seen  her last. I have never in my life known anyone with such consistently awful taste in clothes.

Her first piece was a lace t shirt emblazened with the words “You Can’t Handle This”.

“Ain’t that cute?”

“No. That’s awful. It looks like something a 12 year old girl in a trailer park would wear.”

Next up was a flowing multi colored pink thing that looked like the sort of thing Caribbean peasant women might wear. Granny piped up for that one. “Do you think that will fit you?”

“Well if it don’t, Ill give it to you.”

“I wouldn’t even wear that to bed!” Granny quipped. Either the stroke has removed some of her self-censor, or she is just fed up. Granny was calling it like it is.

Mom continues to labor under some delusion that her staying with Granny is a “full time job”. (To be fair, you’ll recall that this is the same woman who is exhausted by a walk to the mailbox.) With Christmas just around the corner, Mama was bemoaning that she just hadn’t found the time to do her Christmas shopping, or even been able to eek out a half an hour to get Granny to the bank to withdraw the ten dollar bills she puts in her grandchildren’s Christmas cards. It does take a lot of time and energy to carry that cross.

Mama had told me several times during the prior week that our usual Christmas plans (lunch with her side of the family at my aunt and uncle’s house, followed by a White Elephant exchange) was up in the air because the hosts were heading to the beach. A call to my aunt revealed that everything was scheduled as usual, but she was ordering lunch from an Italian restaurant rather than slave over the stove. I conveyed this to mom before I even drove  up to West Virginia, but she was determined to hold onto the idea that something was amiss.

Nobody knows whats going on! I guess me, you and, Granny will just have to find somewhere to eat out.”

“It’s lunch at Auntie and Uncles house like we always do. I just talked to her yesterday.”

This is the most dysfunctional family I ever saw! Don’t nobody know what anybodys doing!”

“I just told you what we’re doing.”

Ain’t nobody said a word to me.”

“Well have you asked?”


“Then in why in hell would you think it was anything other than the norm?”

This conversation came back to life the next day, when Mama called to say “Well, we’re eating down at Aunt and Uncles, but she’s ordering spaghetti.”

“No shit, Sherlock. That’s what I have been telling you for two days.”

Nobody knows what the hell is goin on.”

“Nobody but you apparently.”

Then, on Christmas Eve, once again, Mama was determined to create some kind of drama where none existed. “Everybody is sick as a dog. I don’t think they’re even gonna have Christmas lunch.”  Since I had see none of the people involved mention illness on Facebook, I sent out some messages to find out the story. Apparently, one of my cousin’s two kids had been sick the weekend before. No one had suggested canceling or changing our plans, and no one else was sick.

“Nobody is sick.” I texted Mama, “I will be there to pick you both up at one. If you aren’t dressed, or your hair isn’t fixed, or whatever other excuse you might have, I won’t accept it. You’ll go as you are.”

I later regretted not giving her an “out”.

I picked the ladies  up, and a scene from Steel Magnolias came to mind. Mama looked like two pigs fighting under a blanket. She’d poured 150 pounds of Mama into a 100 pound sweater dress. (Who the hell still wears a sweater dress??) The turquoise  jewelry I’d bought her in Aruba last year looked nice against the black dress…but it was way too short and wayyyyy too tight. Later, when we sat down, one of my aunts mentioned that she needed to be careful and keep her knees together, as little was left to the imagination when Mama sat down. This launched Mama into a lesson in world cultures.

“Did you know what they do for birth control in China? They put a penny between their knees, and they gotta hold ’em together to keep that penny from fallin’.”  Yeah, I’m sure that’s how they do it in China.

While we were in the middle of eating, Mama wanted a lesson in how to save pictures that people text her. I took her low tech smart phone and attempted to figure it out, when I came across a picture of someone passed out in a seated position.

“Who is that?” I asked

Oh that’s Kenny. I wanted him to see how damn stupid he looks drunk.”

My aunt overheard, and wanted to see Kenny (I guess they’ve never met.) My uncle asked what she was looking at and she answered “Mama’s boyfriend.”

Now, before Mama started overstaying her welcome at Granny’s, she and Kenny lived together for damn near three years. “He ain’t my boyfriend! He’s just a friend!”

“Oh, did you all break up?” auntie asked.

“He wasn’t never nothing but a friend. The dick don’t work! He drinks too much, so it just won’t work! Now tell me how we can be more than friends when the dick don’t work?”

No matter that my cousin’s young kids were in ear shot, or that we were all in the middle of Christmas dinner. Kenny’s flaccid noodle was announced at full voice.

Auntie said “Well you need to be more worried about your morals than that! Don’t you want to get into heaven?”

Granny, again out of character, chimed in “And you don’t want to get in there with the clap!” I died laughing, and couldn’t tell you what was said next.

A few minutes after dinner, Mama needed a cigarette. One of my aunts is a light smoker, and I was burning up in my seat near the fireplace, so we joined her outside. Mama was talking about her recent (bad) dye job. I don’t know where it went from there, but next thing I knew Mama was announcing that she decided to just shave her cootchie pop once her gray hair moved from her head to her crotch. I thought my aunt was going to puke. We changed the subject as quick as we could.

I mentioned that Darling and I are considering spending next Christmas on a cruise.

Well, I’ve got a year to save up my money, cause I’m going with you.” I think she missed the reason we were considering spending the holidays away from our families. “How much is it?”

“I don’t know exactly, but probably about $1800 plus airfare to get to Florida.”

“Well maybe you could set back a hundred dollars a month or something til then for me.”

“Me?” I said, stunned.

“Well I can’t come up with that kinda money. Im on a fixed income. “ (see my previous post.)

“Well get a damn job then.”

“I got one! Taking care of Granny.” she turned to my aunt, “I don’t think they realize  how much they’d have to spend to have someone look after her. And I do a good job too!” It’s only a matter of time before she hits up my aunts and uncles for a paycheck, or finds some government program to pay her for her “work”. Then she launched into just how hard she works. The extent of her duties seems to be getting the mail and the self-inflicted task of sticking her head out of her bedroom door anytime she hears Granny get up in the middle of the night.

Well, that’s enough to give you the gist of the holiday. Next time…Mama learns Facebook.


Mama’s Got Some New Neighbors

1 08 2012

I’ve not had my daily doses of crazy the past few weeks because Mama has been phone-less. To be honest, I tuned out as she told me the story of just why she had left her other carrier, but I did catch it when she said she “had almost got her credit rebuilt from the divorce” I chuckled to myself…the divorce mama has blamed for her basement level FICO score happened almost twenty years ago. She could have “rebuilt” from a few bankruptcies by now…whether she truly believes that items from 20 years back are still to blame or just hopes I will is neither here nor there I suppose, but in  her mind the repossessions, cut off notices, and write offs that have happened just in the past 5 years certainly couldn’t be the reason no one will extend her credit, now could it?

At any rate, she’s back with a new number, a new prepaid phone, and the usual litany of medical maladies.

But wait….there’s more.

Mama has got some new neighbors in the trailer park.

You won’t believe what’s moved in!” she said, with a child like glee.

This butch girl that lives down across the street has moved in two roommates. They’re…what do you call ’em? They dress like girls? Drag queens?”

Great, I thought, someone she can compare makeup and hair tips with.

They’ve opened up a bar, a gay bar, down here to the bottom of the hill. And they perform there. I wuddent real sure at first…but saw one of ’em come out all dressed up to sing and so I just asked “Are you the same person?” And he said yes he was a drag queen, and  he knew…what was it, Rupaul? Who is that?”

I told her as best I could who RuPaul was.

Ohhhh! “Supermodel! Go to work!” she butchered a few lines of the classic Ru song.

“That’s the one.”

Anyway, they’re real fun. I went in and saw ’em when I was getting ready. And he’s got a better ass than I got! And prettier legs! And kinda got little titties, but a hairy chest. I ain’t real sure if  he’s kinda fat or if he’s just got too much estrogen.”

The visual was certainly entertaining.

“I told ’em I don’t have no problem with it. Fact, I’d like to go down there and see what they do. You reckon  *insert name of one of MY friends* would go with me? I might find me a lesbian! This one they live with is real butch. Wears her hat backwards and dresses like a boy. But her names Stephanie or something.”

“I’m sure it would be entertaining.”

“I’d have a blast! Well, I better go, Delores and me might go shoppin’. I don’t really want to, but is she realizes this car don’t run on water I reckon I will.”

“Alright then. I’ll talk to you soon.”

The Origins of Oral Sex

9 01 2012

“Hi honey, can I ask you a question?”

Anytime a conversation with mama starts that way, hilarity is to follow.

Sure, shoot.”

“Who invented oral sex?”


“Who invented it? How long’s it been around?”

“I know I’ll regret asking, but why?”

“Kenny and I’s just havin’ a conversation. And he says that the feminists invented oral sex on a woman back in the 60s.”

I shudder to think what prompted this conversation.

“I’m pretty sure it’s been around since the beginning of time. ”

“You think?”

“Yes. I seem to remember paintings from prehistoric times that pictured people in all sorts of sexual activity. If it can be done, it was done 1000s of years ago.”

“On a woman too?”

“I’m sure…”

So Adam and Eve were probably going down on each other in the Garden of Eden.”

“You’d have to talk to someone more schooled in the Bible than me for that answer.”

“Ok honey, well I love ya.”

“Bye now.”

We All Grieve in Our Own Way

5 01 2012

A little recap for those who didn’t tune in yesterday: Mama’s former father-in-law passed away. (Former as in, she divorced the man’s son 20 years ago.) While Mama has been unable to take herself to a funeral since my sister passed, she simply HAD to go pay her last respects. (IE: the chance for drama was high, so of course she was there.) In attendance were her alcoholic ex-husband, his elderly schizophrenic common law wife, and an ex-mother-in-law who has always hated Mama and now suffers from dementia. A recipe for disaster, no doubt.

And Mama naturally did not disappoint.

She called around 8:30 last night, clearly drunk, high, or pilled up. “I’m lost!” she wailed. Although she had simply driven past her exit (some 20-odd miles past it) on the interstate, it never occurred to her to simply take the next exit and turn around. She’d already called Kenny to report she was lost, and now hoped I might “get on the computer” and help her find her way home.

“You aren’t lost. Just take the next exit and turn around.”

“Im at Green Sulphur Springs exit, way past Hinton. Where do I go from here?”

“Take the next exit. Turn left. Then turn left again.” I sighed.

“There’s the signs to Beckley! Thank God! Oh thank you!”

After the hysterical joy of turning around had subsided, she reported that my uncle and his wife had “left her alone at the funeral home.”

Any reasonable person realizes that my aunt and uncle, normal people, simply left after paying their respects. And anyone who knows Mama knows that she doubtless stayed well past the point where she was making everyone uncomfortable.

“I tole Mary she didn’t have no reason not to like me.” (Mary, the schizophrenic octogenarian my former stepfather has spent the last decade with, hates Mama with every one of her multiple personalities.)

“Why did you even speak to her?” I demanded, having advised mere hours before that she should avoid her at all costs.

Because I’m polite. I’m polite and I’ve got couth.”

“The polite thing would have been to just ignore her.”

No, I’ve got manners.”


“And now Kenny’s  mad at me. Fer gettin’ lost. I guess he thinks I banged David right there at the funeral home.” (David, the alcoholic ex husband whose father was being remembered.)

“You weren’t lost!”

“I always did like to just drive. They had all these pictures up there at the service of your sister. I just needed to drive.”

“Then why didn’t you just tell him that?” She didn’t answer, but we all know that “being lost” just sounds so much more dramatic than needing to take a drive.

He acts like they was something goin on with me and David just cause we smoked two bowls in the parkin lot.”

“Jesus Christ. I can’t blame him. You’d be upset if the roles were reversed.”

“Well me and David did have some good times. Yep, sure did, some good times. I bout fell and busted my ass. Broke a fingernail but David caught me in his arms while he’s walkin’ me to my car. You reckon they can put on a fake one? I’m getting my nails and toes did in the morning, cause I caint get in to see the podiatrist til March.”


That’s who usually cuts my toenails.”

Why?” My blood starts boiling at the thought that myself and every other taxpayer are footing the bill for this woman to get her toenails cut by the podiatrist.

I cain’t bend over like I used to.”

“They was so many people there!” Clearly, the social scene is alive and well at the Rose and Quesenberry Funeral Parlor. She went on to tell me who had gotten fat. Who had dyed their hair. And how one man had asked if she was Mary, and then “looked her from head to toe” when she told him no, she was David’s first wife.

Ain’t so-and-so a lesbian?”  So and so is a former step-cousin in her mid twenties. She is, in fact, a lesbian, but I doubt very much that she is out of the closet to  her family.

“I believe so…”

“I thought so. She kept lookin’ at me and lickin’ her lips.”

Mmmm…kay.” Yes, the charms of a nearly sixty year old woman unable to bend to cut her own toenails are too much for a young lesbian to pass up.

“Well I better get off here before I get lost again. I’ll call and let ya know I made it home ok.”

There’s Been a Death

4 01 2012

Mama called in near hysterics the other night. Between sobs, I made out that her former father-in-law (my sister’s grandfather) had finally lost a long battle with cancer. One might think that, given her reaction, mom and this former father-in-law had been close. That wasn’t the case even when she was married to the man’s son, and certainly hasn’t been the case in the over 20 years it has been since they divorced. But, careful readers may have picked up that Mama is given to the dramatic, and understand that she couldn’t help herself but to wail and moan as she “got off the phone so she could let the family know.”

Fast forward to last night. Arrangements have been made and announced in the local paper. “A big ole write up on him.” was mama’s assessment of the standard-issue obit that had been filed. “I don’t know whether I should go to the wake or the funeral…I just caint handle both.” Now let me interject here that Mama has not gone to any funeral since my sister’s unless it provides a stage for her or the potential for high drama. When a dear friend’s father passed recently, she “couldn’t handle it” when I asked her to stop by the wake. But a funeral where an ex husband, his jealous current wife, and gobs of old in-laws who always did hate her guts–well, you know she’s gonna be there with her good lipstick on.

“Then I would go to the wake. I think when there is both, the funeral is more for family anyway.”

“Yeah but it’s at seven o clock.”

“…as most wakes are.”

“That’s kinda late fur me to be out in the dark and cold.”

You’ll be fine.”

Then the phone calls began today.

“I reckon Ima go to the wake tonight. It’s the same funeral home where they had yer sister at.”

“Given that they picked and paid for her funeral, I might have guessed that.” It’s a small town, so it was better than a 50 percent chance that’s where it would be.

I just don’t know if I can handle it.”

“Then don’t go.”

“I have to go and pay my respects I guess. Yer uncles gonna meet me up there in the parkin lot and go with me.”


“I just wonder if Mary’s gonna try somethin.” Mary is the octogenarian schizophrenic that my former stepfather traded up to a decade or so ago.

“May I advise that you don’t sit around making small talk with all of them? If you feel the need to go pay your respects, do it and get out of there.”

“I’ll have to go through the line.”

“The less said the better though, no one expects or wants you to hang around like you’re still part of the family.”

Well I just hope this little Subaru’ll get me there. We got near eight inches a snow.”

They are highly regarded in bad weather, it will be fine.”

“Ya know, I found a life insurance policy from Gerber I had on yer sister. You reckon it’s still worth something?”

“I don’t know. Call them and find out.”

If it is, I can finally change that headstone out to something I like.”

“Why? There’s nothing wrong with her headstone.”

I didn’t pick it!”

And for that the grieving families near my sister’s final resting place are thankful. “What a waste of money! And you can’t just go uproot a headstone her grandparents paid for.”

I can now! He’s gone, and she’s so senile she don’t know she’s in the world.”

“Her headstone is perfectly lovely, and it would be a complete waste to buy another one.”

“I guess yer right…”

Should I wear pants or a dress?”

“Whatever you’re more comfortable in.”

The dress is black and gold, but it’s sleeveless. Might be too cold.”

“Sounds like a cocktail dress. I don’t think that sounds good for a funeral.”

I ain’t goin’ to the funeral. I caint take it. Just the wake tonight.”

Whatever. It still isn’t a party.”

“I guess I could wear black pants and a purple sweater. With that black and white coat I got at Kohl’s.”

That would be fine.”

And I aint bustin my ass in a pair of heels. I’ll wear tennashooz to the car and then put on these baby doll shoes once I git up there.”

“Wear whatever you’re comfortable in. Nobody is likely to notice.”

“Oh David’ll notice. ” (That’s the ex-husband.)

“Mom, he will probably be so drunk he won’t even know you’re there.”

“Probably will be. Hey, while you’re doin’ yer shoppin, let me know if you find any women’s handkerchiefs. Ima hafta borry one from yer aunt tonight. I’ve called ever place I can think of and aint nobody up here sells women’s handkerchiefs.”

“I will keep my eyes peeled.”

Now should I wear moonlight path or essence of night?”

“Mother, it’s a damn wake, not a first date. Nobody cares what perfume you wear!”

Oh! Did you know half of downtown burned to the ground at the first of the year?”

It’s true that several buildings in the downtown area where I grew up were destroyed by a fire. Not half of downtown, but she’s prone to hyperbole. “Yes, I heard.”

“I had all kinda things at that consignment store. Im probly out 4 or 5 hundred dollars.”

I laughed aloud. Everyone knows the woman has every stitch of clothing she has ever owned piled ceiling high in her double wide. I’ve suggested many times that she ought to take them to a consignor, but I would bet my last nickle that she didn’t have even one item among the inventory of the burned store. (I can further guarantee that in the coming months, Mama will have some dire financial need that would otherwise have been covered by her profits from the consigned items.)

“An awful shame.” I said, not even trying to hold back the mockery in my voice.

“It is. Well I better go get in the shower so my skin is good and dry by the time I got to leave.”  Don’t we all wish we had the luxury of allowing ourselves to dry for four hours before we had to leave the house?


I’ll call ya back later tonight and let ya know how it was.”

“Can’t wait.”