Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Payoff

Good news!
I applied for my Widow’s Benefits! Everything went smoothly, I had all the information they needed, and I was out of the office within 25 minutes after only a 10 minute wait.

My monthly benefits will start in November. My 60th birthday is the last week of October so that’s why the wait. The amount is well over anything I made during my working years so I will be able to live comfortably for the rest of my life.

All those years of living with an alcoholic/drug using abuser has finally paid off. I feel that justice has been served. That awful man will be supporting me quite nicely!

Of course, I’m still taking care of Mom and she’s doing quite well. I will continue living with her and saving money for my own place in the near future if all stays well. I’ve been with her for a year and have discovered there is no reason for anyone to stay with her round the clock. She doesn’t physically need any help. The main things I do for her are putting in her glaucoma eye drops twice a day, clean the house, and cook dinner. She doesn’t want a fresh meal every night. Lately, she prefers to just have a sandwich and salad or some soup -- something light. I’ve been cooking full meat, potatoes, and vegetable meals and she’s tired of those.

I’d like to get my own mobile home here, in the park, nearby so I will still be able to do things for her and be close enough to run over if she needs something extra done. Sis J is across the street and brother N is next door, so she’s pretty well covered for anything imaginable. This way, I would have my own space, my alone time that I’ve been craving so badly!

Here, I have no time to myself. Mom and I have nice quiet mornings, then Sis J comes over to get something to eat and hang out for a bit. Mom takes her afternoon naps and that would give me a nice break except that J comes over again to watch an hour-long soap opera together. It does make for nice ‘sister time’ when the 2 of us can talk about things we don’t talk about when Mom is around but we could just as easily talk at her house if we need to. When I lived alone, I used to time-tape the show and watch it in the evenings when I was finished doing all I needed to do around the house and I’ve kinda hinted at going back to doing it that way but she didn’t seem to get it.

Then an hour after the show is over, when Mom is up from her nap, J comes back over to play cards with us. We have a good time together for another hour or so. After card playing is over, it’s time to fix dinner. Mom and I eat then settle in the living room to watch TV. J comes over, again, to say goodnight to us for a few minutes. Soon after is bedtime. Precious, quiet bedtime.

Mom goes to her room and I go to mine and I emit a huge sigh-- alone at last! I read whatever novel I have on hand at the time until I quiet down enough to sleep.

I miss playing my music and dancing around the house, and watching funny TV shows (Mom won’t watch comedy shows-- she thinks they’re very UNfunny) and laughing out loud!

I miss being ME!

SS Siggy

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Visit With TJ

Mom, Sis J, and I drove out to big Sis TJ’s house Sunday for an afternoon visit. I had only been there once and that was when TJ drove Mom and I out there, in February, to see her new house. I remember it had been a very long drive of nearly 30 minutes (I‘m used to getting where I need to go in 10 minutes or less). TJ gave me the directions on how to get there except she told me the wrong exit to get off on.

There’s a Loop that goes all the way around our city. She told me to look for the Clovis Highway exit. Well, I drove, and drove, and drove until I realized we were half way back to our exit to our house! I called her and told her where we were and she felt so bad. It turns out that we needed to take the Littlefield exit which would then take us to Clovis Highway!

So, I turned around and drove the many miles back to that exit, found the Clovis Highway, turned onto that, then turned onto her County Road and it was 8 miles down that before we finally spied the house-- 50 minutes after leaving our house!!

When TJ had bought the house it needed a lot of work! New paint inside, new carpet/counters/doors, etc. They are not quite finished but it looked so-o-o gorgeous! She has it decorated in an Old West decor and lots of horse memorabilia. Her daughter rides for the rodeo doing barrel-jumping and has won many competitions.

We visited for a couple hours, then TJ served us a wonderful, light meal that was enjoyed by all. A delicious roasted whole chicken with a fruit platter and a raw vegetable platter with dip and, also, potato chips. It was different for us as we are used to meat, potatoes and gravy with biscuits. I kept waiting for Mom to say “What’s this crap?!” But she was on her best behavior.

After dinner, we sat out on the patio where a cool breeze kept us comfortable. Mom and TJ visited there while Sis J and I walked out to the horse stalls and petted the horse. Fancy is the only horse there, for now, they have 5 more coming out later that are still boarding at their old farm.

All in all, it was a great time and we all enjoyed each others company. There was a storm brewing to the North so we said our goodbyes and headed back home. We arrived, just ahead of the storm, 25 minutes later.

Now that I know how to get out there we plan on visiting more often. We hadn’t seen TJ since February when she came over for Mom’s 87th birthday, then 2 weeks later to go see her new house. That will change now and maybe TJ, Sis J, and I can build a good, solid sisterly relationship!

See older post on finding long, lost Sis TJ here.......

SS Siggy

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Pussy Galore!

No, not from the James Bond movie. It’s what is happening at Sis’ house!

Sis has always had cats but usually 6 or 8 at a time. When she moved out here in the country, 20 years ago, she started feeding the stray cats that hung around. Then she started bringing them inside during the winter months so they eventually became housecats. When I came here, back in August, she had 47 cats!! I couldn’t believe it!

As of 2 months ago, 5 of her females gave birth to a total of 15 kittens plus her boyfriend found 2 stray babies and brought them to her. So, now the total is 64 cats/kittens.

Amazingly, her house does not smell bad! She is very diligent about keeping it clean and cleans out the litter boxes several times a day. Many of the cats stay outside most of the time but they are all in at night. She has a 3 bedroom double-wide mobile home and there are litter boxes, cat beds, cat stands, cat toys everywhere! Several of them sleep with her at night. It’s insane!

Not Sis' house but it could be!!
 Is she a hoarder? Yes, she is. She plans her day around the cats ‘schedule’. She must be home at certain times to feed all of them. In the evening, she feeds them all cat treats. They must have those, you know!

Three weeks ago, Sis lost her unemployment benefits. She’d been getting them for 2 years and reached her limit. She was told she could re-apply the first of August and see if she qualifies for it again then. Now, she is panicking! How will she feed her cats? She spends $150 a week on their food and litter!! Shocking! She will only buy the best-- no generic for her cats!
She has a vet bill of over $300 that she pays out as she can but as soon as she gets it paid down, another cat becomes ill so the bill is pretty much ongoing. They’ve known her for years and have gotten a lot of business from her over those years, so they are willing to work with her.

Brothers N and D are basically supporting her now plus she started receiving Food Stamps but she can’t buy cat food with those.
Brother D wanted to sit her down and have an intervention with her. All of us were willing to go along with it. Something needed to be done about this cat hoarding. Well, it did no good. She is adamant about having her cats. She did agree there were about 25 of them that she’d try to find homes for. We told her that wasn’t going to work. For every cat she found a home for, another would come along and she’d take it in. There are so many ads for free cats/kittens that she would get a small response. She put up ads online and in the paper 3 weeks ago and she has never gotten a single call about them.

D and I offered to put them in the car and take them out to neighboring farms, where they would be gladly accepted as mousers by the farmers, but she said she wouldn’t know what happened to them while they were out at the farms so she declined our offer. She will not take them to the local Humane Society as she knows they will be killed there. They are so full and have to euthanize up to 25 animals per day.

So, a week ago, she finally confessed that she is overwhelmed with all the cats and is so tired from taking care of all of them and trying to keep up with all these new kittens and really wants to find homes for them.
Again, we explained that was going to be very difficult since there are so many cats! She is unrelenting. The ONLY way she’ll get rid of them is to find good homes for them and be able to stay in contact with the new owners so she can know how the cats are doing! She refuses to consider any other way out. Since her financial situation is so dire, she needs a quick solution, not something that could take months and months.

I don’t know how to help with this dilemma. Every idea I come up with, she rejects it. Yesterday, she came over and complained again, “What am I going to do about all these cats?”  I simply looked at her, said “I don’t know”, and went to my room. I was so frustrated with her! I’m not trying anymore. It is pointless.

---What you have read is the God’s honest truth. Trust me, I couldn’t make this stuff up!---SS Siggy

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Day-to-Day Ditties

Most of what has happened around here has been a little of this, a little of that, but not enough for a very long post. So, I’m combining the little happenings into one post.......

One evening, Mom took her shower and washed her hair. She went to bed soon afterward.
The next morning, she came out of her bathroom and sat down in the kitchen where I was getting some coffee. She looked kind of bewildered.

What’s wrong, Mom?
My hair turned white!
Your hair turned white? What do you mean?
Look! My hair turned white when I washed it last night!
Oh my gosh! You’re right! It IS white! Wow!

I wasn’t going to argue and tell her that her hair has been white for nearly 20 years-- ya gotta pick your battles.

A few days ago, after 3 very dry and windy days, I decided to water the trees. One spindly tree had several dead limbs, from another old tree, laying on the ground near it.

Mom, I’m going out to water the trees.
Well, do me a favor. Those limbs that are laying out there-- will you take some string and tie the limbs to that little tree? That way they will grow onto it.
Mom, it doesn’t work that way. Those limbs belonged to another tree and they are dead, they won’t grow again.
Ok!! Whatever you think!
And she, angrily, stomped off to her room.

Mom had been very jumpy for a few days. Every sound-- the closing of a car door outside, a tree limb scratching the side of the house, a noise from the neighbors-- She would jump and loudly proclaim “What was that?” Sis or I would calmly tell her what each sound was. This went on for awhile.

Finally, I asked her, “Mom, why are you so jumpy and nervous lately?”
I don’t know! I think I’m going through menopause!”

(Yeh, Mom, that’s probably it.)

Which brings me to an incident that happened one afternoon between Sis and I.
She was fixing herself a ham sandwich and I was microwaving some hot tea.

She gets out the sandwich makings then, while putting it all away, she asked me why the tartar sauce was out? I told her “You got it out!” She just shook her head in exasperation.

In the meantime, I had put a teabag in a cup and popped in the microwave. When it beeped, I took it out of the microwave and discovered I hadn‘t put any water in it!

Jeesh! How can 2 menopausal maniacs, with memory lapses, take care of their Mom who has dementia? Blind leading the blind!

---What you have read is the God’s honest truth. Trust me, I couldn’t make this stuff up!---
SS Siggy

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Mouse Poop in the Lampshade!

When I had been here about a month, Mom told me she had mice in her bedroom walls and in the bed! WHAT? Yeh, they’re in the walls and in her mattress. They are also in the fold-out couch. I told Sis about it and she said she’s listened to that for years and no, there aren’t any mice anywhere.

Mom insisted there was, that she could hear them at night. So, I walked around the mobile home and looked for anything that might cause that kind of noise. Sure enough, there was a small bush that scraped against the side of the house and, underneath the house, there were thick stick-like weeds that would scrape under the house when it was windy --which is pretty much a daily occurrence here in good ol’ West Texas. I trimmed back the bush and pulled the weeds.

2 days later, I asked Mom if she still the heard the noises at night and she said the noises did stop but that didn’t mean the mice weren’t still there. I have found no droppings, no evidence of any kind of mice inhabitants. Besides that, with Goody here I’m sure the mice would leave or she’d get them. After all those years on the streets I’m sure she’s a great mouser!

When brother D stayed here for a month, he slept on the fold-out couch. Every day, when he folded it back up, he’d notice that it was farther from the wall than it was previously. Mom asked him what in the world was making that couch scoot out from the wall like that? While he knew it was because of the folding and unfolding every day, he told her that the mice had lived there for so long and had such a good supply of food that they were able to build up their muscles to the point they became strong enough to push the couch out from the wall.

Her reply ...”You’re NOT funny!”

We’ve had many a good laugh over that one.

Yesterday, while I was gone to the store, Sis J was with Mom. Mom asked her to dust the living room tables. While she was doing that, Mom asked her to take off the lampshades and clean them.
She said there was mouse poop in the shades.

Sis said, “Say what?”
“There’s mouse poop in the lampshades.”
“Mom, there isn’t any mouse poop in the lampshade.”
“Yes, there is! A whole bunch of it!”
“Mom, the mice are not going to climb up a lamp and poop in the lampshade.”
“You take off my lampshade and you’ll see them.”
J took off the lampshade and inspected it.
“Mom, these are dead bugs, the little gnats that fly around the light bulb at night.”
“No they’re not! Those are mouse poopings! Now, just clean it out and quit arguing with me!”

Fine! So, it has been established that mice poop in lampshades, live in the bed mattress, and live in the couch. Any of these scenarios are very possible as anyone with a mouse problem knows. But, in this case, there is no evidence or sightings whatsoever in the 8 months I’ve been here.

Next thing ya know, they’ll be nesting in her hair.

---What you have read is the God’s honest truth. Trust me, I couldn’t make this stuff up!---

SS Siggy

Saturday, April 3, 2010

I'm Melting!

I'm Melting!

And, yes, I’ve somehow become the Wicked Witch of the West!

This past Wednesday, the temperature had soared to 80 degrees! I would be fine with this for a day or 2 but checked the 10-day weather report and it was going to be HOT for a week with a little break for a couple days then HOT again for days and days.

This mobile home is the typical ‘metal box’ and heat absorbed into it in no time. We had the screen on the front door and that was all. None of the windows (old roll-out type) open in this house except for one in my bedroom. They are all rusted/corroded shut and haven’t been open in over 20 years. I just don’t ‘get that’! How can someone live without ever opening their windows for fresh air?

I told Mom the weather forecast and suggested we get the air conditioning going. She said it was way too early in the season and we always have snow on Easter so, no, we weren’t going to turn it on yet. I explained, again, the weather report --no more snow, just hot, hot, hot! She insisted it was going to snow and that’s the end of that!

I tried to just shut up and take the heat but by afternoon, I was pouring sweat. Add the occasional hot flash and I was miserable. I put the fan in the living room but all it did was stir around the hot air. Mom was sweating,  also, and changed into shorts and a sleeveless blouse but still sweating and uncomfortable and still adamant that there was no need for the AC yet. Sis came over later and said “My God! It feels like a furnace in here, why don’t you have the AC on?” I told her to ask Mom. She did, and got the same argument. She told Mom it didn’t matter if it was going to snow on Easter, it was hot NOW and she needed to get that AC on.

Sis called brother N to come down and do the yearly maintenance on the AC and get it turned on. He came in and exclaimed about how hot it was in here. Mom said nothing to him. But, while he was outside getting the AC ready, she told me and Sis and that he could do the maintenance on it but we were NOT going to turn it on! “I’ve never in my life ever turned on the AC in April! I never turn it on until June!” We argued that there was no way we were waiting until June, we’d have a heat stroke!

N came in later and said it was ready to go. Mom said, “Don’t you turn that on! It’s too early!” So, he had pretty much the same argument us girls had with her and she just sighed and clammed up. N turned on the AC and we had blessed relief within minutes.

Mom has always paid N for whatever work he does around the house but later, during a card game, she asked me how much I was going to pay him!!! I very calmly stated “Whatever he wants!!” I was not going to play her game!

She didn’t speak to me or Sis for 2 days and the atmosphere was very tense. We were evil beings who dared to defy her kingdom! But, all is well, now, and she is appreciating the cool air.

Tomorrow is Easter --- weather forecast is a high of 90 and sunny.

SS Siggy

Friday, March 26, 2010

Mom’s Shallow-minded Beauty Tips

Over these past few months, I have learned that Mom is very shallow-minded and judgmental. She is obsessed with people’s looks.

I wear my hair long. It is past my shoulders and it is straight and fine. I, occasionally, wear it in a ponytail or a bun. When I first arrived here, to take care of Mom, I’d worn my hair up in a bun due to the July heat. The next morning, I brushed it out and left it down. Later that day, Sis and I were going to the store. We were both wearing sweatpants and t-shirts. Sis’s shoulder length hair was in a ponytail --her usual style.

As we were ready to go out the door, Mom said to me, “Aren’t you going to wear your hair up or curl it? Where’s your makeup? You have no makeup on!” I told her no, it wasn’t hot enough to wear my hair up, I‘m not going to curl it when it‘ll be straight in another 5 minutes, and I don‘t wear makeup.

Then she commented on my style of dress. “You’re going to town dressed like that?” Like what?!!  I realized right then what was going on. I said, “Mom, this is who I am. This is how I dress. This is how I wear my hair. I am who I am and if people don’t like it, well, that’s too bad.”
She’s never brought it up to me again and Sis told me she had said the same to Mom years ago so that’s why Mom didn’t say anything to her.

Now, brother D is home for a few days and I have to listen to her complain about his looks constantly -- but never to him! D has longish hair kept back in a ponytail and he has a full beard and moustache --very hippie/70’s looking. He is 50 years old and not about to change.

Every single time, D has left to go somewhere, I get to hear:

“I wish he’d cut his hair!”
“I wish he’d shave that beard!”
“I wish he’d wear nice jeans and a shirt instead of those ratty jeans and t-shirts!”
“I wish he’d buy a decent coat instead of wearing that damn jean jacket!”

After months of hearing this, on and off, I’d had enough!

D left for town this morning and I got the endearing pleasure of listening to her tirade again!
Now, Mom has a way of avoiding discussions or arguments by always saying “OK” in a very sweet, little voice. That means she ‘agrees’ so no use to continue the conversation --it maddens me beyond belief!

So, after her little outburst, I said “Mom! Clothes do not make the person! Looks do not matter! It’s what is in a person’s heart that matters and the kind of person they are that counts!”


Gr-r-r-r! I want her to have a conversation with me about her shallow thinking and her prejudices
(that’s a whole other subject) so I can try to explain how crude her thinking is in this day and age. But, she cuts me off with that ‘OK’ so I end up feeling very frustrated!

So, if anyone comes to visit, I hope they’re dressed to the ‘nines’ or else I’ll be hearing how dreadful they are. Over and over again.

SS Siggy

Monday, March 15, 2010

It’s That TIME Again!

It doesn’t matter to me if we’re moving our clocks forward or backward--it messes me up! It takes me about 2 weeks to adjust to the time change. I feel groggy and out of sorts and have a low energy level.

When I get up in the morning, I think “Oh, it’s really an hour earlier than I’m used to getting up.” So, yeh, I feel sluggish.

Mom is adjusting better than I am, I don’t think she even notices the difference.

Goody Cat, however, refuses to wear her watch and adjust accordingly. She is used to going outside just before my bedtime. So, now she cries to be let out when I’ve been in bed for an hour. Gr-r-r-r!
I have to just suck it up and let her out because she doesn’t understand this time change crap. (Yes, she has a litter box, but prefers to go outdoors after being on the streets for so many years.)

Well! That’s all the energy I have to write with for now.


Me & Goody Dance

Monday, March 8, 2010

My Cheap Humidifier

I moved here, to West Texas, 7 months ago. Previously, I had lived in Northern Indiana for 12 years. The humidity in Indiana is very high--especially in the summertime. The air can be so heavy with moisture that you felt like you were breathing through a wet washrag. But it was wonderful for my hair and my skin. Both were always moisturized and smooth.

Since being here, I have noticed that my hair and my skin are very dry. My hair has so much static in it, when brushing it, that it practically stands on end!
Static Hair

I have been pricing humidifiers, for my room, and cannot afford those. They average anywhere from $35 to $60 and even higher than that. I went to Walmart to look at the humidifiers there and found the same high prices. As I was getting ready to leave, I walked past the cookware section and saw a small electric Crockpot for only $10. The light bulb went off over my head. Why not? Why wouldn’t that work?

I bought it, took it home, and put in my room. I filled it with water, set it on “High”, put the lid on it and let it get up to the high heat. They don’t boil, so there was no fear of it boiling dry. When it reached the high point, I took the lid off, then went to bed.

By morning, there was enough humidity in the air that my skin already felt better and I could brush my hair without it flying up into the air. There was still 2 inches of water left in the crockpot. I did have a small fear of it going dry and ruining the crockpot or possibly catching fire but all was well. Another added bonus was that there was no moisture collected on my dresser where it was sitting and humidifiers can cause that--which can make it a chore to keep wiping up the water or keeping a towel under them and possibly ruining the wood.

I use it every night and am very pleased with the results. I can even put scented oil or potpourri in it and have my room smell heavenly!

Great ‘humidifier’ for only 10 bucks!

SS Siggy

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The High Cost of Toilet Paper

The other day Mom and I was going over our grocery list to see what was needed. I told her we needed to add toilet paper to the list.
Toilet paper?! We just bought toilet paper 2 weeks ago!
I know, Mom, but there’s only 2 rolls left and that won’t last for another week.
Just how much toilet paper do you use?
Well, when I lived alone, I averaged using about 3 or 4 rolls per week.
3 or 4 ROLLS PER WEEK!!!!!!!! My god, Barbara! That is so wasteful!!
No it’s not, Mom. That is average for most women. Actually I know many women who use a lot more than that. I, also, use it for Kleenex to blow my nose you know. A 4-roll pack only costs 99 cents.
99 CENTS!! OUTRAGEOUS!!! Prices these days are ridiculous!!
Mom, that’s the cheap generic brand. Other brands are twice as expensive and, besides, I buy my own toilet paper. It doesn’t come out of your money.
That doesn’t matter. You shouldn’t spend your money like that, you know it doesn’t last forever!
Gee, Mom, you might want to think about that when you buy 2 puzzle books a week at $3 and $4 per book!
I need my puzzle books!
Well, I’m pretty sure I need my toilet paper!

(( Ok, readers, help me out here. How much toilet paper do you use per week?))
When we went to the eye doctor for Mom’s checkup on her Glaucoma, he said the drops weren’t lowering the pressure very much.

Mrs. P, I’m afraid I have to strongly suggest having surgery for the glaucoma. We can do a combined Glaucoma/Cataract surgery so you only have to do it one time.
I’m not having surgery at my age. I’m 87 years old.
Mrs. P, I have 4 patients who are over 100 and very thankful to be able to see clearly again.
I don’t care! I’m not having surgery!
Ok, Mrs. P, I’ll honor your wishes. I’m going to add 2 more eye drop medicines to your routine and see if those help to get your pressure down. But, if they don’t help, then I will press for surgery.
I’m not having surgery. Period.
Well, I will still press for it.

((Yeh. Good luck with that Doc!))

SS Siggy