Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I am sure Jahteh is taking an increasing delight in our Mother troubles.

It is slowly dawning on Mother that she may have to downsize. At this point she is thinking of a grannie flat in ABI Brother's backyard. We just sow seeds of thought and she lies awake at night worrying about her circumstances. Her house and furniture are deteriorating and she has no money for repairs.

Quite a few years ago a nearby pizza shop burnt down. The pizza man used to feed a couple of cats. Ohhhhh, poor cats, no one to feed them. So Step Father and Mother started to feed them. Cats did as cats do and the numbers increased. There has been one clean out at a neighbour's insistence via the council but a few could not be caught. The number is back up to fourteen. She knows they will have to go at some time. They are all quite wild. They get a mix of dry food and expensive canned food, twice a day, plus special cat milk.

Ok, we are up to two problems, housing and the cats.

How about medical to make three. Wildly fluctuating blood pressure, obstructed carotid artery, goiter, arthritis, allergies, weight loss. I am sure there are more and if you met my Mother, you would hear about them all, over several hours if she could. She has always been somewhat prone to discussing her medical problems, but she is now much worse. Step Father's teenage grand daughter rang to wish Mother a happy easter, and she received a long recitation of Mother's illnesses. I doubt she will call again. It is fine for us. We are used to it. But you can't inflict that on teenage kids.

Mother talking endlessly about her medical problems is making her a person to socially avoid.

One matter I have decided, in consultation with my brothers and sister, is to pay private health insurance for her. Top hospital cover will be $24 a week, not much split four ways. About the same amount of money she spends a week feeding the cats. My comment about such to her did not go down well.

You want another? Mother used to have a couple of garage sales each year. She stopped about four years ago, but the collecting of items for a sale did not. There is a shed, a garage and bedroom overflowing with items for a sale. Both she and my Step Father were hoarders. We will have to organise and run it soon.

Mother has a few friends and they have been very kind by making sure she gets out, taking her to medical appointments, fixing minor matters around the house when none of us children are available. But Mother using them like a taxi service cannot last. I printed the forms out to get a subsidised taxi fare, but she has lost the forms the doctor has to sign.

But the biggest problem is her introspection. Every thing in the world is about her. While never very interested in public affairs, she seldom watches any tv news, barely reads a newspaper, has no interests other than herself and to a lesser degree her friends a family. She has never had any hobbies except for gardening and she still does this at least, but without the enthusiasm that she used to have.

She can't go out before twelve noon, as she has her jobs to do. What jobs? She is a widow living alone? How much can there be to do? She won't be flexible to fit in with other people who are doing her favours.

That brings me to the latest problem, water. Our government wants us to use no more than 155 litres per person to conserve our water supply. R and I come in under this, but then we don't have a garden.

Sister was at Mother's when her water bill arrived. She has averaged 724 litres of water per day. I can't imagine how she can use so much. Clearly quite a lot goes on the garden, but she has to hand water within restricted times. Sister also says Mother is inclined to wash very few items of clothes per washing machine load, but then I know she can adjust the water level on her washing machine. (I have since learnt from R when he took Little Jo to the park today, that she uses full load setting regardless of what is in the machine).

Then there is the ashes, my Step Fathers. Mother's friend picked them up from the funeral parlour. I am not sure how this is allowed, but the friend said to Mother one day when driving her home, I have L in the boot. Mother was highly amused but refused to have the ashes in the house. The friend took the ashes to her home and they are now sitting on her husband's filing cabinet. At some point we are going to scatter them at Rose Avenue, Cowes, Phillip Island, a quiet beach both Mother and Step Father loved. Actually, I kind of agree with Mother on this. Ashes around the home would be a bit creepy for me.

While her life as she knew it came to an end with the death of my Step Father, Mother used to be fun to be with and at times interesting, but she has becoming a tedious self obsessed bore. Are you allowed to say that about a mother who you love and consider has been a good mother? We'll get there. It will just take some time.


  1. "...she has becoming a tedious self obsessed bore."

    The priviledge of old age. It goes with a pension and free bus pass. I'm already practising the art of tedious self obsession so that I'll have it down to a fine art by the time I turn sixty.

  2. Fair enough Brian. But none of her children are push overs, so she needs to tread carefully.

  3. I thought talking about medical problems was a Jewish thing....

    I have a hard enough time dealing with my parents when they're young. Yikes. I can't imagine how I'm going to handle it when they're old.

    You have my empathy.

  4. Of course you're allowed to say it. It sounds very tough for you all - she's very lucky to have you looking out for her.

  5. I laughed out loud when you wrote that your Mum has jobs to do before midday..did you consider she might have "jobby jobs" to do? LOL, bowels are the cruxt of many people's conversations, believe you me! TMI..moving on...
    My Mum (who I adopted and she adopted me- long story) has her husband's ashes at home. Her Grand children put him on the table when it is his birthday or some such thing. He is to be scattered up Northern Territory..looks like another trip for us to do in our Pathdfinder, behind her Land Cruiser :)

  6. LOL @ Cazzie's comment!
    Yes, you're allowed to state that she's become a tedious self-obsessed bore - have you tried telling her that?
    She needs to be dragged out, kicking and screaming. Don't take "No" for an answer, sign her up to a cruise or packaged holiday with your ABI brother or you'll be faced with a diagnosis of depression and dementia.

  7. Sorry about the comment deletion, I could hear Lady Bracknell saying
    "one typo is unfortunate, but 2 typos is just carelessness"

    If this is a Potty-Parent Pissing Contest, well it's a heavy field with fierce odds. Just wait till Our Vice-Regal Correspondent logs in - his is as bad as mine, and yours.

  8. Dina, in spite of her medical problems, I think she will live to be very old. I guess we just get on with it.

    Yep Jackie. We need to remind ourselves of that at times.

    Correct Cazzie. TMI. I am sure she talk about that too. I am not sure if I would keep someone's ashes around. Have to wait and see.

    I pretty well leave that to my sister Jayne. She gives her a hard time and cuts through her nonsense.

    I await his tale with interest Ann.

  9. Anonymous2:20 pm

    From observation of the elderly people in my street, they are WATER TERRORISTS!! No 2 hours twice a week for them- oh no! I think there's an entitlement thing going on "I went through the Depression, World War II blah blah, and no-one's going to tell ME not to water!!" Either that, or they're all closet anarchists.

  10. Dearest Andrew, may I just copy and paste this to my blog, it'll save me writing about my vicious, bitching, whining bloody old bat of a mother.

    I went shopping for her today. She now has a new torch,(whined that someone stole the other)a new fan heater, (didn't like the colour of the old one so wouldn't turn it on)18 rolls of toilet paper (says BrickOutHouse is taking it to work for his friends to use) and a large can of insect spray (someone is letting spiders into the house and they walk on her in the night).

    Currently I am not on speaking terms with any of my family.

  11. Jahtehs mother at least has entertainment value.
    You could get her a spot on the Comedy Festival.

    Nothing funny about my father's entire conversation being on how much he spends on petrol, and the number of kms he does in a week, aimlessly driving all over Victoria "for something to do". But wait there's more:
    He drives in the right-hand lane with his right indicator on all the time so nobody will pass him.
    He is on the Mornington Peninsula, but ranges far and wide - Olinda, Reservoir, nobody is safe.

  12. Judge, they will probably plead ignorance if challenged and just act dumb.

    Jahteh, surely you aren't not speaking to your sister?

    Scary FG. Hope he is not Mr Magoo like and leaving a trail of destruction behind him.

  13. Just a small indication of what me Cuz'n Bwca Brownie said - from an email I'd sent to a dear tolerant friend who patted me on the head and said "I'll be right on the night - of the funeral". Phone call from Ballarat after we returned on Good (?!)Friday.

    "You didn't pick up my wallet when you were packing up to leave?" "NO!" "Well I can't find it." As of now and many other phone calls it remains missing.

    She can't remember me giving her the change from lunch. She can't remember cutting off the petrol docket - the petrol docket which Joyce was given and has. She can't remember taking the wallet off the kitchen bench though "I must have because I always do that after shopping and put it in my handbag which I put between the 2 lounge room chairs."

    She has looked everywhere. Her "everywhere' is where should would always put things. "Have you looked here and here?" "No, because I'd never put it there."

    "Jesus wept!" (Well, it's his Easter and he'll cry if he wants to.)

    Wallet would have had at least $500 in it - probably more. And all her cards.
    Yes Shirl, it's a highly competitive field in the autumn carnival weight for age Matron Stakes.

  14. Although all in very different ways LS. And don't call me Shirley. If it was my mother LS, I would have kept the change as mine never gives any back.

  15. I knew the Vice-Regal parent would win, although the Jahteh parent has many many one-liners of this calibre:

    What channel is channel 2 on?

  16. Assuming she doesn't have a digital tv. Otherwise, it could be anywhere now.

  17. Its a hard one and I don't envy you. My mum was so outgoing and seldom complained although she had a lot she could have complained about. We used to talk ourselves stupid and then siome. She had a fatal heart attack at 66 and I miss her still... sorry about your mum

  18. That is a bit too young to die MC. Guess I am lucky mine is still around.