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8:27 p.m. - 2005-03-11
In My Mother's House
In my mother's house, everything is organized and in its place. You will not find books on every available surface. Her furniture has no cat hair...even though we have a very old cat that sheds a lot.

Everything is put away neatly. It is somewhere logical. There is a lot of open space. Her bills are on the desk, her magazines are in the magazine rack, the towels are in the bathroom cabinet, the scissors are in the sewing machine drawer, and all of her bathroom supplies are stowed in baskets hidden out of sight.

The guest room/sewing room is always clean. There are clean sheets on the bed. The extra blankets are neatly stored in the closet with her sewing supplies. The milk and fruit in the refrigerator are safe to consume. There are no stray crumbs on the table or the countertops. About the only stray thing you'll ever find is her coffee cup.

My mother wonders how she ended up with me, sometimes.

I spent a week cleaning, and it still makes her edgy. There is always cat hair on my furniture. The scissors are in the kitchen, the stapler is in my dressing room, and my bills are usually either by the computer or in the mail rack on the door. Unopened.

Despite my best efforts, there are still a few dust bunnies. Random objects dot my apartment at intervals. My "guest room" is called your choice of couch or inflatable bed. Books line the windowsills by my bed, and are stacked on shelves and in various other places around my house.

The fridge is scary. I didn't have time to deal with that.

My mother throws things away. She married one pack rat, then another. I inherited that tendency. Even though I have downsized and thrown things away, even though I'm better than I used to be, I still have a storage unit full of boxes. Haphazardly arranged boxes.

However different we may be, though, there are still some things she taught me.

I always wear my seatbelt.

We're both picky about food.

My sheets and blankets are usually clean.

We both are frustrated by people who don't know how to drive.

And, when we are confronted with anger and bitterness, we clam up and don't always know what to say.

My stepfather has a disease which is similar to Lou Gehrig's, but is not fatal. As a result, he is becoming progressively weaker, and uses a wheelchair most of the time. He sometimes has trouble talking and swallowing, and has a hard time getting around.

However, he was a dickhead before he ever got sick...and my mother was about to dump his ass. About the time she started looking at apartments, he developed health problems, and she felt like she couldn't leave.

Unfortunately, he is still a dickhead.

He has always wanted the world (or at least our household) to revolve around him. He always had a specific routine..right down to what chair he sat in at the dinner table and what coffee mug he used for his hot beverage of choice. Woe be unto thee who disrupted the routine...even if the routine-disruptor was the cat. (She made the mistake of sitting in his chair once. He ranted and raved and practically threw her across the room.) He is very intelligent...does crosswords in ink with no scratch-outs, is an engineer, has a grasp on current events, etc.

Now, however, his excuse for all of his asshole behavior is that he's sick.

This presents a moral dilemma. You want to feel sorry for him. And at some level, I do. The problem is, he never leaves the house...and never really wants to....and never did before. He expects everyone to cater to his ass.

Obviously, my mom is under a great deal of stress.

You see, when she comes home from working all day (she teaches 6th grade science), he starts with the bitching and moaning as soon as she walks in the door. His current complaints revolve around some neighbors that have a barking dog and a windchime.

Granted, the dog is annoying. But it's not that freakin' bad. And the windchimes are barely noticeable. But he is making a complete pest of himself with the Community Association and is threatening to get a lawyer and sue them for selling homes under "false pretenses" because the deed restrictions are not being enforced. One of them does concern barking dogs. Other neighbors have complained. The people may very well be inconsiderate fuckwads. And sure, they are paying dues to the community association. But if it wasn't the dog, it would be someone's kids. Or a car. Or something. He's managed to piss off the neighbors everywhere he has ever lived.

My mom is annoyed about the dog....but she's more annoyed by his eternal kvetching.

And that's where this part about clamming up comes in. She doesn't know how to respond to his complaints. So she just sits there, silent.

I needed to get away, so I went there for a few days. But instead of being clearer, my head is only more cloudy. Being under this kind of stress is changing my mom into a different person. See, my mom is the one I always counted on to make me feel safe. Going to her house, even if it's not the place I call "home", usually helps me restore some order to my chaotic mind. However, it's not working this time. Because I see that the surface may be clear, but the depths are murky, and things come up from them from time to time. She gets mad about little shit that never used to bother her. It's scary. It's scary because it's not like her, and it's scary because I know it's due to the stress she's under.

Of course, I've come back home to the mess I left. My apartment may be cleaner, but my mind is a disaster area.

I'm having no luck whatsoever on the job front.

GID is acting all weird. I e-mailed to tell him I was going to my mom's for a few days, because he was at work while the decision was made and I can't really call him there. He didn't answer the e-mail. He also didn't answer his cell or his land line when I called this afternoon. He did call back, but the conversation was strained. We did make plans, sort of, but nothing specific. If the relationship is over, fine, or if he has a problem, fine; but let's discuss instead of playing mind games. He's just going to lose.

And, on top of this, my car is fucked up.

It's a convertible. It doesn't even have 35,000 miles on it. And it's sure as fuck nowhere near paid for. It's about time for some routine maintenance, which is expected. What it's NOT time for is the fucking back windshield to come loose from the convertible top. It's also not time for this to not be covered under my extended warranty (the factory one is gone because of elapsed 3 years were up). Apparently, they can't just glue the shit, because, according to the glue guy, it won't stick. Which means that it has to be REPLACED.

Did we catch the part about no job?

And about gaping hole between windshield and top of car?


So, according to my good old buddy at the Chevy dealership, I'm apparently going to have to call customer service and whine like hell, and then if I can get some kind of magic "case number," he can likely get the problem fixed at a reduced rate. Or something.




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