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Posts Tagged ‘#relatives’

I should’t write today because I’m so beside myself. But that is precisely why I’m doing it. I was going to bake. I found the recipe and most of the ingredients. It calls for semi-sweet chocolate chips. I have every chip known to man except those. I have peanut butter chips, butterscotch chips, white chocolate chips and milk chocolate chips. But no semi-sweet. If I had a running car, it wouldn’t be a big deal. IF. My life is surrounded by IFs. Due to staying home so much with Mom, I hardly drove my car. On the weekends, I’d go out with hubby to get groceries and whatever other errands we did. Now that Mom’s gone, my battery is dead and won’t stay charged. It’s only a year and a half old, if that. I’ve even had the alternator replaced. It doesn’t help to keep it on the trickle charger either. I’ll have to spring for a new battery but am wondering if this cold spell we’re having will kill it anyway. We’re going away for Christmas so it won’t be run until the New Year. I feel like a prisoner and a child. I can’t even take the dog to the vet alone without a car. On the one hand, I could get rid of my car (it would kill me) but I like being able to run to the store or post office if need be. I would like to take a solo trip to Target which hubby doesn’t enjoy. Nothing is happening. I could buy a new car but why? To just let it sit most of the time? Hubby is racking up miles on his Jeep driving so far to work now that he’ll need a new vehicle soon. There seems to be no simple solution to anything…

So it snowed heavily on Sunday and the Directv satellite went out. So we haven’t had tv in 2 days. We’ll have to call and get them to come out on Friday when Greg is home. We can see the entire face of the satellite is covered in snow and we’re in the deep freeze. It’s too cold to even take the dogs for a walk. I had been doing really well with taking them for a walk daily until the temperature tanked. I guess it makes sense that I would go stir crazy. We’ve been having trouble with our Directv for months. It constantly shows lost satellite signal. It wants us to check the cables and cords for the connection. We do and it keeps happening. We’ve rebooted the system too many times. We both hate calling Directv because they are so unhelpful. That’s how we want to tie up one of 2 off days this week with having a service technician here or waiting for one to come. Oy vey.

Trying to get Mom’s estate cleared up. She had stock which I am trying to transfer to my name and it is turning into a nightmare. Years ago, they had demanded she mail in the stock certificates and they’d keep them online. Well she did and now they are asking for the certificates. When I told them they were mailed in, they act like I’m crazy. Greg remembers her mailing them in also. But they are saying they are lost and I have to pay $182.94 for each stock to replace them. Plus go to the bank and get some type of guarantee seal (insurance for the value of the stock). Greg is too busy to help me and this shit is so far over my head. So I’ll have to hire someone to help me do all that paperwork. I know that will cost a lot but I don’t have a choice. It is worrying me to no end.

I wanted to write a post about how I’m dealing with things since Mom died. That will have to wait. I have other things that I’m alarmed about. Right before we left for Thanksgiving, Greg needed a refill on one of his prescriptions that had no refills. I called the doctor’s office and found out that our doctor was out on medical leave and they didn’t think he’d be coming back. At all. EVER. This floored me. I asked if a different doctor could call in the refill. It was a lot of rigamaroll with them having to call back. Finally the nurse said none of the other doctors there knew him so wouldn’t authorize the refill. We were leaving in 2 days and he’d have to come in to see a different doctor after working a full day. It made no sense to me. We’ve had the same doctor (Dr. J) for over 20 years and he had given us his home phone number (cell) but we’d never used it. We didn’t want to abuse it. I hated to call him when he was out sick but did it anyway. He answered the phone and sounded quieter than usual. I said hi and told him my name. He asked if I’d heard what happened to him. I said no. He told me the end of May (we’d seen him earlier that month) he’d gotten very ill. He ended up having a heart attack. This kind of freaked me out. He’s only 6 years older than me, 5 older than Greg and 60 years old! Then he told me that he had another heart attack in June. Whoa! He said he was later diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis. Of course, I didn’t know what exactly that was until I looked it up later. I knew it sounded serious and pretty darn bad. He said he’d had surgery to take one of his lungs out and was going to be having another surgery soon. He said he wouldn’t be back to work ever. I told him what a great doctor he was and how we’ll miss him. He said maybe down the line we could get together. We are more like friends after all these years. After talking a bit he was like, “What can I do for you?” I felt terrible bothering him with the refill but he was glad to take care of it for us. He said he still had access to the files online and I could tell he was sitting at the computer already. He texted me back that it was sent through and I called the pharmacy and it was! Since Mom was his patient too, I mentioned that she had died a week ago. We had always talked about our mothers since they were the same age (95). Then he said his mother had died a week ago! I asked him when and he said Tuesday morning and he asked when mine passed. I said 10:40 pm on Monday night. So they passed within a few hours of each other. He said he’d just gotten back from her funeral in PA (where he grew up) a few days ago. We talked a bit more and he told me of a friend of his who’s a doctor in our area that we can go to for our new doctor. I don’t want a new doctor but will definitely go to the guy he recommended in Jan. or Feb. Ever since I got off the phone with him, I can’t get Dr. J out of my head. That he is so seriously ill at such a young age and he’s a doctor!! It was a real wakeup call for me and Greg to try to keep our health for as long as we can.

Last Thurs. we took 6 hours of our day off to call relatives and tell them that Mom died. You’d think we would’ve done that sooner but you’d be wrong. Greg didn’t want to tell his siblings and mother for fear that they would descend on us. We wanted a month to grieve privately. We were also pretty broken up and didn’t want to have to get into details with people. We kept trying to call Greg’s mother but the calls kept failing. We found out later that she’d been having problems with her phone for a few days. She’d had the receiver off the hook! We started with Greg’s older sister Linda but she was at work. So we talked to her husband Ken and told him. He had Linda call us when she got home and we filled her in. Then we called his brother John, then we got ahold of his mother who promptly started with, “Now that Irene has passed, maybe you can come for Christmas this year.” Hubby told her no, we’re actually going back to Tunica, MS for the holidays. Then we called his brother Dan and talked to him and his wife Kris. Last we called his little sister Colleen. The only sibling we didn’t call was his brother Brian who had the brain injury a few years back. I finally emailed 2 of my half sibling who were Mom’s stepchildren. My brother Gary and sister Dianne. It was good to have that over with.

I’ve been working on Christmas cards this week. We just got some cheapies at Menards. I sent them to Greg’s mother and siblings and some of the friends I got sympathy cards from. I had to watch it since I only had so many stamps (not even Christmas ones) and knew I would’t get to the PO. I haven’t done any Christmas decorating which isn’t unusual. Since we’ll be gone, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. On Saturday we went to Randolph Street Market for the first time. It’s a once a month market in Chicago that carries antiques and handmade goods. Someone on Instagram told me she’d put us on the guest list but they couldn’t find us. (Turns out she thought we were coming on Sunday so hadn’t put us on.) I dropped her name and we got in for free anyway. Admission is like $8-10 each so that was great. It was a ton of jewelry and clothes which isn’t my bag. Not much Christmas items which surprised me. Only one book vendor and I ended up getting 4 old books and paid more than I normally would. Greg also got an old crucifix with the skull and cross bones on it. It took us just under 2 hours to make it though. We went to one estate sale after and it sucked. Lately the estate sales are not even worth going to. The weekend before last we skipped them the entire weekend. We finally got rid of our gigantic couch (took apart in 6 pieces and put it at the curb) and brought in the formica tabletop we found curbside and mounted it to the Singer treadle sewing machine base. We put the table in the LR which look odd. I wanted it to work on projects and write cards at. We’ve got the wrong chairs at it which makes it suck. Nothing is turning out the way I’d hoped. So it’s looking like we’re going to give up estate sales so we can pare down our hoard. After the new year, I’m going to get up and running again with selling things. Might even do eBay again. We’d like to get the house where we could entertain again. I don’t know how long that will take. Possibly years but I doubt we’ve got that much time. By summer, his family will be making excuses to stop by.

On a sad note, I had 3 loyal followers to my blog. THREE. That makes each one incredibly precious to me! I have about 100 subscribers to the blog but only those 3 were regular readers and commenters. One was in Australia, one in Canada and one in the US. The one in Australia has disappeared and I fear illness or worse. I’ve tried contacting her via email many times with no answer. I am quite worried but doubt I will ever find out the true story. The one in Canada had a major life event a few years ago and her blog was wiped out. She hasn’t started up again and for the most part has given up reading blogs. My US friend (Hi Heather!) is still with me which makes me happy. I grew to really care about the people who bother to read my blog. I don’t know if others do this. Maybe if they have a ton of followers, they can’t.

Blogs seem to be obsolete. I still see the value in them. I’m so glad I have this safe place to come and vent my feelings and share what’s going on in my life with those I know have open arms, ears and hearts.

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The more I want to sit down and write, the more things get in the way. I was literally fantasizing about being able to blog the other day. Writing is something that costs me nothing but time and makes me so happy. Yet time is in great demand in my life. So much happens from one day to the next, I’d easily have enough for a blog post daily but I have to just hit a few of the highlights of the past several weeks when I’m able to get on here.

My husband doesn’t hear from his family very much except when someone dies. Even then, they don’t always tell him. I’m not kidding. The entire family “forgot” to tell him one of his Aunts died. That went over well. Last Friday, he got a phone call that the younger brother of one of his closest childhood friends had died suddenly. His brother told him Paul was only 48 and it was a massive heart attack. Paul had been a meteorologist in Milwaukee for many years and about 10 years ago started working in the financial planning field. That’s quite a jump in occupations but I’m all for whatever makes people happy. Paul was in great physical shape, was married with 3 kids. Later that day, one of Greg’s other brothers called to see if he’d heard the news. This time he was told that Paul was 50 and had a massive stroke. Of course, now we don’t know what to believe. I guess the details don’t matter when the outcome is the same. It’s typical for him to get conflicting information from different family members.

We saw online that the wake and funeral are on Friday. It’s really unusual for Catholics to have it all in one day. At least in WI. All of the ones we’ve gone to have the wake the night before and funeral the next morning. Having it all in one day works out more conveniently for people like us who are coming from out of town. I know my hubby’s first reaction was to attend the funeral. I hate funerals but if hubby decides he needs to go, I will try to support him.

On Mother’s Day, hubby was at work and got a phone call from his older sister. Their cousin Bernie was found dead at his mother’s house that afternoon. He was only about 49 yrs. old. We don’t know what he’d died of but he’d led a troubled life. He was a felon and couldn’t find a job. Now we have to wait and see when the funeral will be. I can’t see going up to WI twice in one week or even 2 days in a row. Maybe we’ll luck out and both will be on Friday so we can pay our respects at both.

So much of my blog feels like it’s about death or dying. I never wanted it to be that way. May 3rd, one of my slam friends I’ve known since 1993 passed away. She had been plagued with health problems on and off for years. She’d had back problems and various skin cancers that kept growing back. April 3rd she’d sent out a group email to everyone in slams that she now had liver cancer and only had a few weeks to live. She told everyone not to send her any cards because “Get well soon” doesn’t quite cover it. I never knew exactly how old Shirley was since she’d never wanted to give her age. Now I’d guess she was about 25 years older than me. It was still shocking. Even though I didn’t  have time to blog, I took the time to write her a really nice email. I told her what she meant to me. I didn’t want to have any regrets. I wanted to let her know she made a difference and would be missed. Not to speak ill of the dead but I’m going to. I didn’t know if she was in a ton of pain or was bedridden or not. I didn’t know if she was spending her last weeks doing things she loved or was confined to her bedroom. She told me the pain hadn’t started coming yet but didn’t elaborate further. I knew she was angry and had an attitude about being in an impossible situation with the only way out being death. I offered her a chance to write a post on my blog about anything she wanted. How she felt about dying, what she wanted to be remembered for, memorable moments from her life, etc. She basically answered with “No need to email me anymore. I’ll be closing my AOL account this week.” Ok, I know when to let something go. I had simply made an offer which I’m assuming only another writer could appreciate. If someone offered me that opportunity now, I’d be euphoric. I get that everybody’s different. She either didn’t want to vent or didn’t see the need to do it publicly. I was closer to Shirley than anyone in slams or so I thought. The way I found out she had died was getting a forward of a group email from someone else in slams. Apparently, she had kept emailing this one person up until her death. Good for her. But then this person (who I’ve known well) didn’t even bother to send me the email that she’d died. Ok, so I’m not in slams anymore. But I was a big part of them for 30 years. I know I shouldn’t be bringing this stuff up but I need to get it out of my system. I have so many conflicting emotions about people and relationships, I don’t know where to turn.

Over our vacation, on my Mom’s birthday, I got a nasty email from one of my half-sisters. I have 3 half-sisters (S, J & D) and one half brother. My mom helped raise all but the oldest girl (D) who introduced my parents to each other. The middle girl (J) who was 14 when my parents got married, has always hated my mother. All the kids had a seething anger that their mother had died of brain cancer when they were young. They resented my mother trying to replace her. They couldn’t have treated her worse if she had stabbed the woman to death in front of them. They would’ve resented anyone that came into the house that still held their mother’s presence. My mother bent over backwards for those children, was generous to them but tried to discipline them as well. My father stayed neutral and didn’t back my mom up. He didn’t want to get involved in a dispute of any kind. It was just a horrible situation. In addition to working as a long distance telephone operator, she did all of the cooking, cleaning and laundry for the entire household. She also had to help my father “handle” S who was diagnosed as schizophrenic in her early teens. Not much was known about the mental illness in the early ’70’s but it was a nightmare to say the least. Anyone else might have crumbled under the pressure. To say it was a thankless job was an understatement. She had to host holiday dinners, buy gifts, sew clothes, you name it. To add to her stress, she had me when she least expected it. To give you an example of what her life was like, she had to walk to the hospital to be induced to deliver me. I was 2 weeks late. She had to walk to the hospital which was at least 10 blocks away. The 2 youngest girls walked with her but she (at 9 mos. & 2 wks pregnant.), had to carry her own suitcase to the hospital!!! A decent human being would offer to carry it. Or just carry it without offering. But no. They wouldn’t do a thing for her, it was all for them. There is so much more to this story but I’m only telling this for background. This middle sister (J) badmouths my mom at every turn, even though she hasn’t seen her in over 30 years. Talk about not letting something go!! We have emailed jokes but I would really rather not be in contact with her. She is pure evil. The worst thing is she calls herself a Christian. She is a bible banger. She has been my main inspiration for being turned off of organized religion. She spouts bible verses but leads a life filled with hate and has a tongue that spews venom. She has never forgiven anyone for anything in her entire life. I get how hard forgiveness is. It has taken me decades to forgive some things. She lashes out at everyone she’s ever known. She regularly attacks her oldest sister for her weak moral character & sins of the past. This oldest sister is very religious too and repeatedly forgives J for her viciousness.

This time, out of the blue, J sent this scathing email about what a horrible person my mother is. She did this simply because it was her birthday and she couldn’t forget that. She couldn’t just move on with her life and be glad she hasn’t seen Mom in 30 years. Instead she feels the need to inflict pain on me, probably hoping I tell my mother what she said. Obviously, I’m not about to do that but it did ruin my day. It was just so sudden and unnecessary. I’m not going to repeat the vile things she said (which were untrue). My first reaction was to forward the email to my older half-sister and half-brother and tell them because of this I want nothing more to do with any of them ever again. I had it written out and decided to wait and not hit send. I decided to do nothing. I wasn’t about to email J back because she wanted to get a rise out of me and I didn’t want to give her the satisfaction.

I would like nothing more than to cut off all these half relatives from my life. Is it the right thing to do though? My happiest years were when I had no contact whatsoever with them. I don’t have other relatives though. It’s not like I have so many relatives that I can disown some and still have a bunch of others. Aside from them, I  have 3 cousins and that’s IT. I don’t hear from the cousins either. My mom gets a Christmas card from the 2 girl cousins. I’ve tried to keep in touch via email with them but they don’t hold up their end of it. So I gave up.

J is the type that if I blocked her email, she would make it her life’s mission to track me down and heaven help me if she ever found my blog. I shouldn’t have to defend a 93 yr. old woman to someone who has no concept of what life was like then for her or what life is like now for her. In the throws of Alzheimer’s. I’m not about to tell J that Mom even has that. It would probably delight her to no end. There are many people who I feel have wronged me over the years and no matter what, I’ve never wished them ill. I just don’t want them anywhere near me. I don’t sit around thinking of ways to extract revenge or poking pins into a voodoo doll in their likeness. I try to enjoy what life has to offer because if you’re busy hating, you’re wasting time and missing out on some really good stuff. Stuff is the technical term. 😉

Which brings me to the matter of in-laws. My hubby has a huge family as I’ve said before. I have FEELINGS about most of them. Some good, some not good. I’m not going into detail at this time. I wrote this 2 days ago and debated even posting this stuff. I really don’t want to make things worse (none of them read the blog or even know about it as far as I know) but these feelings keep surfacing over and over. Maybe if I exorcise my demons by writing about them, they will go away?  I’d really like advice on how you reconcile when you try but the other person doesn’t or maybe you both try and the relationship isn’t what you want. How do you live with it not being the way you want? I can’t control how others act or how they treat me. I have to either take it or not associate. Or is there a middle ground that adults who aren’t me can deal with?! I assume I have high expectations of people but other times I think it’s not me at all.  I don’t think I’m being overly sensitive but I hate to sit by and watch them treat my husband differently from his siblings. I have to pretend I don’t know we were shunned from a party or some event. I’m not saying we would go, I’m saying we are treated differently. Well, we are very different. We like to give presents to his family which they never refuse. Yet, I don’t think I’ve gotten a single thing from any of them in over 20 years. Obviously I don’t need anything and that’s not the point. I guess what it comes down to is they don’t think of us. Which on some level, I think we like. We like living removed from the hometown most of them still live in. We like having a life away from them but I know that even if we lived in town, we wouldn’t be treated the same. Does everyone have these complex family relationships? Do you feel ill at ease around some relatives? I know it’s hard to get a grasp on what I’m talking about without being told actual specifics. I used to have high hopes that the weird relationship dynamic with the in-laws would resolve itself over time. I’m not that naive anymore. It will always either be like this or maybe worse.

Maybe I should carry a pie bird around in my pocket. So at least when I’m venting, it will look pretty…Thanks for hanging in there with what was basically a gripe session. I don’t want it to sound like I’m that unhappy, I’m not. Just a whole bunch of things culminated at once to bring these thoughts into my head.

 

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