January 15th, 2012
Saying my goodbyes. @ 07:30 am
Nine days short of one year since my mom had her stroke. My childhood home has been on the market for six months, I've had to pay all the utilities, taxes, insurance, and upkeep - I should be relieved to let it go. But I'm so deeply sad.
Today I pack. Tomorrow morning I leave for Chicago, from which I will drive to Galesburg, Illinois. I'm going to walk through the house my parents owned for 61 years one last time, then on Wednesday is the sale closing. I want to go put flowers on my parents' grave - hope I can find it in the snow. I want to eat at Steak 'n Shake. Wednesday night I have dinner with my nieces. At least they are on Facebook, so I won't totally lose them forever. But aside from them, there is no reason I should ever visit Galesburg again. There's nothing for me there but all the memories.
My childhood wasn't particularly happy, as such things go, but I lived the first 20 years of my life in that house, and it's so hard to let go. The restaurants I ate at a thousand times, the church where I was baptized and where I met and married my first husband, the schools I attended.
My mother believed she would be with my dad again when she died (he passed away in 1989). I hope she's right. We were so different, but she loved me unconditionally. I miss her.
I knew I would have to do this someday. My mother was 94 when she died, so I should be well prepared. But I hate this.
July 22nd, 2011
I think I've reached my breaking point. @ 06:51 pm
When I left Illinois, there was a player piano to go to Elizabeth's house, a huge, messy pile of stuff to be packed and to come to my house, and a ceder chess filled with fragile china to go to Elizabeth niece, JoLee.
The movers showed up in Illinois today. My niece Melissa was there to meet them. Somehow the deadbolt had been locked, so Melissa had to get a locksmith out to make a key for it. The movers had the order for JoLee correct. But they had just the furniture (dining room table with chairs, chaste lounge, and hutch) coming to my house. According to their paperwork, everything else was to be already packed and going with the piano to Elizabeth's house.
So Mellisa went out and bought boxes from U-Haul and they packed all the loose stuff - an there was a lot of it - which was supposed to come to my house. They took the furniture that comes to me and the piano that goes to Elizabeth as well. AND they took the ceder chest, with all the fragiles packed.
I don't know what would have happened if my niece Melissa hadn't been there. I really don't. It would have been a disaster.
But now my mother's house in Illinois is totally empty. Which is wonderful. I just don't know when the stuff is going to arrive. Faeon isn't planning on moving the old furniture out of my house until Tuesday, so if it comes before then we will have a real problem.
I have two paintings I shipped to my cousin in Minnesota, but they were returned to me. I got a voice mail from her daughter that they just happened to arrive when Phyllis was out of town. So now I am trying to call the daughter, Juliette, to make sure Phyllis is home before I pay another $75 for shipping. But I just keep getting a recording that she is not available. I miss my mother. Somewhere she would have Juliette's home phone rather than her cell phone. But I can't find it. There are so many addresses and phone numbers I can't find, and I think it is because they are in the pile that is being shipped here by the movers.
I get to take Alex and Justice to see HP&DH2 on Tuesday. Except that I forgot that is the day that Faeon is planning to do most of the moving out. So now there is really nothing I can do until I get an approximate delivery date from the mover. But my contact only works Monday through Friday.
In the mean time I keep falling further and further behind on the work I'm supposed to do for the Worldcon in Reno in a month.
I started drinking about six hours ago and haven't stopped. I've never been so drunk when I was alone.
I think I've just about hit rock bottom.
June 8th, 2011
I just can't do this alone. @ 08:06 am
Over the weekend and on to Monday I had to concentrate on the Reno Worldcon, and there's still work there that must be done. Unfortunately, I haven't heard from Dave Ratti, my Deputy, in over a month, which is very unusual. The fellow recruited for purchasing is kinda filling in the vacuum, but not entirely.
But since then, my mind is and must be focused on the trip to Galesburg to clean out my mother's house. Seven of us leave on June 23rd, counting two children. Faeon and his roommate, our only "muscle," can only stay a couple days because of Faeon's work. The rest of us come home on July 2, although now it looks like I may stay longer, because I am having trouble booking a moving van before July 5.
There are so many details, so much to arrange. It's hard enough to plan cleaning, selling or giving away everything including furniture - but on top of it, I have become more and more nervous about the fact that Elizabeth is coming with us. After all this time without seeing her and after the way she has treated me, this feels like it's going to be super-awkward. And Elizabeth's niece and two great-nieces, whom I barely know, are joining us when we get there. Also a friend of Kathy's, whose primary purpose seems to see Kathy and to babysit.
It's going to be such a circus just getting these people through the day-long trip to my mother's house, much less what faces us when we get there.
Garbage bin, estate sale ads and signs, packing up my cousin's artwork that has to be shipped, contacting the rescue mission, arranging moving vans...
And then there is the fact that before the new furniture can be moved in here some of the old furniture has be be moved out and the dining room floor has to be repaired.
I have pushed about as much responsibility onto Faeon as I think he can take. Now I have to contact my own nieces to help with preparations.
I've fallen into a flexible daily routine lately, which is good. Unfortunately it includes a two hour nap and a four hour anxiety attack during which I can't come out of my bedroom.
April 17th, 2011
More trouble than it's worth? @ 11:21 am
I knew Kathy was going to help clean out mom's house. I was moved when Elizabeth said she would keep her promise to help me like I helped her when her mother died, and overjoyed when she said the girls could come. Not real surprised that Memphis has to come. Was not expecting Mandalynn. Sean wants to see the house one last time, and he and Lee will be there to do heavy lifting (How much of that will there be to be done the first two days? That's as long as Sean can stay.) Now Elizabeth's niece and her two grown daughters are going to join us, driving in from Michigan, and also a dear friend of Kathy's just to babysit. Everyone thinks it's going to be a great party. We have nine days to get that house totally empty - totally - and cleaned. Almost 2,000 square feet plus a three car garage with workshop. This is no party, folks.( Cut for those who don't want to know the details. )
Good gods, why didn't I just rely on my own nieces and a good cleaning service? I mean, like I don't have enough on my mind without playing travel agent and hostess?!
April 3rd, 2011
Home @ 08:05 am
I'm back home in Seattle after 9 days in Galesburg, Illinois. I made the arrangements for my mother's funeral, which went very well. I emptied and closed a useless safe deposit box, notified the bank there of my mother's death, and talked briefly to my lawyer (who said the estate doesn't have to go into probate and the only tricky thing will be getting my name on the house title).I got extra keys made for the back door (the front door needs to be re-keyed because no one can find a key to it) and got a locked briefcase open (which didn't have anything but outdated papers in it.) I donated the clothes mom had at the nursing home and signed all those papers. Based on a high recommendation from someone who should know, I now have a realator who has at least looked over the house and measured it.
But there's so much more to do. It's overwhelming even if I don't think about trying to empty the house where my mother, a woman who hated to throw away anything, lived for 60 years. And perhaps even more pressing is all the work that needs to be done because I suddenly left my home for 1½ weeks.
The nursing home has adopted mom's little Pomeranian Tiffy. That is a fabulous thing, but I cried so hard when I had to say goodbye to her the last time. Of course I cried at the funeral - I think that was required etiquette. But the only time I have actually broken down and let myself feel the pain was sitting alone in mom's house. My house now. I will never get used to that. I thought I was all prepared for mom's death, but I was wrong. Not sure you can really be prepared for a loss like that.
My weight is up almost 30 pounds from what it was while I was on Nutrisystem. I know that should be the least of my worries, but it bothers me tremendously. I feel like a blimp. I'm afraid someone will ask when the baby is due.
Okay, that is enough
with the whining. Everybody has rough patches in their lives. I have to concentrate hard on putting one foot ahead of the other. One step at a time.
Thank you to all of you who have expressed sympathy. Please know that, even though I can't reply to each of you personally, your thoughts are deeply appreciated. You keep me from being alone.
February 28th, 2011
Things to feel positive about @ 06:01 pm
I'm feeling much better. Haven't puked for two days and the congestion now just feels like a cold. I'm coughing a little, but not bad. I have, however, lost my voice for now. I'm crazy weak, which is not surprising, but I have been out of bed most of today. I was even going to go out and get my nails done, but Faeon talked me into staying in the house one more day.
My best friend Dave, who lives in Orlando, is the person I usually call when I need someone to lean on or to talk to, but I haven't been able to reach him for a couple weeks. I kept leaving messages on his answering machine but he never returned my calls, which is SO unlike him. I have been horribly worried. But I got through to his roommate today and found out that he has just been working lots of overtime and forgetting to listen to the answering machine. He's fine, although I'm going to kill him for worrying me so.
I called the nursing home where my mother is today and found out that they have finally gotten the infection from the abrasion on her arm where she fell under control. Unfortunately that was the only good news. She is complaining so much of pain now that they are giving her Vicodin. That can't be doing her level of awareness any good. Aside from that, they say her condition is "unchanged." I wish I had remembered to ask how her dog is getting along there.
Tomorrow I'm getting my hair cut (having found out my girl has moved to a new parlor) and hopefully fit in getting my nails done, then I get to take Justice and Alex out to dinner. Alex's birthday is Wednesday and she wants clip-in hair extensions, plus I'll probably take her shopping at Hot Topic.
To be honest, I have several worries weighing on my mind that are anything but positive, but I'm trying to concentrate on the good stuff for now.
February 6th, 2011
No one person should have to do this alone. @ 07:59 am
It snowed this morning. Not very much, and it was pretty, but now I have to clean off the car.
I've got to find a cleaning service, and if there isn't one in the area, I have to work on the house myself. The biggest job is disposing of two dog poop encrusted large rugs. Don't know how to get rid of them, and they have to go. Going to the house, doing her last load of dishes, cleaning up the spot where Neil found my mom lying unconscious... it's all very hard and I wish like hell I didn't have to do it alone. I just wish I had someone to be with me.
I have got to make a decision about mom's dog. Looking at her now, I find it hard to think mom will ever go home again. And every day the dog is in the kennel is one more day of boarding costs. But I haven't been able to tell them to take her to the Humane Society. It would crush mom's heart if she knew I did that. And I don't know anyone who wants a badly house broken ten year old Pomeranian that occasionally bites if you get between her and food.
I need to buy a snow shovel and a warm winter hat. But it's Sunday. The mall doesn't open for another two hours and then will be busy because it's Sunday. Maybe it would be better if I did that tomorrow.
My dad's son is out of town on business this week. The housekeeper Doris is in the hospital with pneumonia and nearly died. I have no one to turn to
February 4th, 2011
Too exhausted to properly update @ 12:25 pm
Tuesday: Nearly won the race with the snow storm driving from Chicago to Galesburg. At hospital, discharge nurse was waiting to know what nursing home I wanted to send mom to! Had no idea I'd need to make immediate decision, had to do so from some word-of-mouth that I've heard. Mom recognized me, asked reasonable questions about how things are going. Then they took her away in the ambulance. I discovered my car was buried in snow. Took two husky males with snow shovels to get me out of the parking lot. Very scary drive to my hotel.
Wednesday: I didn't dare leave the hotel. Car buried in snow again, everything closed for the day. Wind whipping snow into 5 foot tall drifts.
Thursday: Spent all day at nursing home. Mom sometimes pretty coherent, sometimes not. Worst part was when she wouldn't stop calling for water no matter how much I gave her. Filled out tons of paperwork.
Today: Slept lousy, bone tired when I got up. Want to visit mom's housekeeper Doris in the hospital, but can't reach her family. Went to mom's house and was nearly sick; it's so filthy I don't know where to start. Snow is too deep to take out garbage. Turned down thermostats, brought in mail and newspapers, canceled newspaper subscription, called vet and told him to keep Tiffy for now, called my sister-in-law in Las Vegas. Got stuck in driveway trying to leave until finally a neighbor rescued me. Drove back here to hotel, where they decided to test the fire alarm without informing me first. Need to leave for nursing home soon.
January 31st, 2011
Guardedly good news @ 05:42 am
Yesterday my mother told the nurse she had to call her housekeeper to get the batteries for her hearing aid, and she knew her own name and the housekeeper's name. And last night she, with prompting, told the nurse that her daughter Becky would be there any day now and she was looking forward to it! This is 1000% more coherent than she's been since the stroke. Now I'm really anxious to get there. My flight gets into Chicago tonight and it's a four hour drive to Galesburg, but there's a big snow storm with lots of snow predicted. All I can do is drive when I feel safe enough, but pull over if the blowing snow gets too thick for me to see the road.
Thank you, everyone, for all the hugs and comforting words.