Saturday, September 26, 2015

The personal

I haven't mentioned family for a while. Ex Sis in Law was on national commercial tv last week, showing her and her husband's prize winning pies made at the bakery they run in a small Gippsland country town.

Hippie Niece has booked a Contiki Euro trip next year, beginning with her own free time in London and at some point staying with a friend in Amsterdam and another friend in Poland. It is pointless to ask her details. She has no idea of geography. She is hopeless in some ways but can charm her way through any situation. I have no fear for her safety if she is captured by The Taliban. They will be glad to be rid of this lass who mostly chatters incomprehensibly. But of course, I do adore her and love her for how she is.

It is school holidays but no sign of Little Jo visiting. Sister and Little Jo have taken Mother to Phillip Island to stay for a few nights. How bloody awful the weather has been for the first couple of days of their visit. Mother said, I just know my daughter is going to bully me. They are quite different personalities. Mother goes to bed late and gets up late. Sister goes to bed early and gets up early. Mother likes a two hour afternoon nap. Waste of time, says Sister. Mother likes to be warm when it is cold. Sister doesn't feel the cold much. Dearest Mother, she bullies everyone. Occasionally, if I can be bothered, I will stand up to her. We siblings don't take too much notice of Sister but R being a sensitive soul gets quite offended by her at times. The problem between them is that he is quick to find fault with her, and she walks on tenterhooks and so is always wishy washy with him, when he wishes she would be more direct. But at least once she did really wrong by R in my opinion. Me saying, that is just how Sister is. She is family. What can I do? does not help.

Oh yes, I remember the impetus behind this post. Jacqueline making me think of shredded letters. Conversations in your head.

A few weeks ago R was asked by Mother when he as usual took her out on a Thursday to ask me to organise her children to contribute $30 each for some pointless medical treatment. I think it was for an osteopath visit. Somehow along the line it changed to a cortisone injection for her arthritis. I decided I will not be Mother's tax collector and she must ask each of her children individually if she wants money for something. I don't mind doing the collection. R supported me and I said I will tell mother so. R said, don't worry about it. She will be focused on something else next week. But no, she asked R if he had mentioned it to me. Once again I decided to ignore it, with R's support. I should have called her, but I thought she would give up on it.

No, a third time she mentioned it to R and R was getting a bit stressed and I left it until the last minute before calling her before his next visit. "Have you spoken to your sister about this and what is she doing?". Bone Doctor suggest osteoarthritis practitioners are quacks, so Sister relayed. Now Mother is focused on the cortisone injection, which has to be guided by an expensive scan. Nonsense, Bone Doctor relayed via Sister. I do them all the time. You need to know using examination where the problem area is that is where you inject. Now Mother has become scared about cortisone injections and decided not to have one.

The shredded letter. I am getting there.

I spoke to Sister on the phone. She was frustrated with Mother although the money is not really an issue for Sister, she was frustrated. R was yelling at me to sort it out.

I was so over it. I stuck $40 in an envelope, wrote on the envelope, Mum Cortisone. Of course the money will just go into her purse and be spent any old how. "What's this?" R asked. "Give the $40 to Mother tomorrow please".  I was so annoyed. Annoyed with everyone but primarily with Mother. I typed her a note at a time that was getting quite late at night.

"Dear Mother, if you want money for something special, you know your children will be forthcoming. But you caused quite a bit of trouble between R and myself, so thanks for that Mother. In the future please ask your children directly and not through R and I am not going to ask my siblings for money for you." The italicised  bit was left out but as for over a month and I did nothing about it, I think she may get the idea.

"Your loving son,
Andrew."

I furtively took the money from the envelope, wrote a new envelope and included the note with the money before I went to bed.

5am and up for work and I wrote another envelope and left the note out and just put in the cash.

Meanwhile Mother's chemist has changed hands. She has had an account there for nearly 40 years but always with an unpaid fluctuating balance. Mind, I expect she played her part in making the chemist owner a very rich man. She has to pay it in full now, around $300, so she went to Social Security and received a loan which will be deducted from her pension. Maybe when she turns 85 she will become responsible with money? No?

Sorry if this is a bit all over the place and difficult to read. I could fix it, but I might miss reading your latest post.

Later: Mother rang this Friday night and as we passed the phone back and forth to each other before one of us answered, I got the short straw. She was at her most fabulous best as she kept me entertained about her mini holiday for more than half an hour on the phone. I paint such a negative image of her, but she is quite wonderful at times. She must be to have so many people at her beck and call. She is such a good talker. I have her seen her charm a tram load of sullen Melbourne passengers with my own eyes. Getting a grudging grin on a Melbourne tram passenger's face is quite an achievement. I am so not like my mother yet R reminds me that in many ways I am.

23 comments:

  1. Seems your mother causes heaps of troubles for you and her family. It's wonderful at then end you tell of how you enjoyed her conversation. She is your mother, thus you can always find something lovely to say..

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    1. Margaret, at times I think about when I write her obituary for her funeral. I won't be able to read it out, Sister will, but I really hope I can focus on the positive, but at times lately there seems to be so little.

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  2. It would probably be much healthier if I did something similar; writing letters to my mother and then tearing them up. Instead, I stew...

    Sounds as though your mother is quite the raconteur however, and it's nice you appreciate that about her.

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    1. Jac, I find writing to be so therapeutic even if not sent or published. Give it a shot.

      As long as Mother is kept off her own problems and medical issues, she is quite entertaining. I have noted she does not moan to her grandchildren, which is good because they have good memories of her from earlier times.

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  3. There's a lot I could say about my own sister but I shall refrain, though 99% of it has nothing to do with her, it is her partner. I'm just over it. In some ways that is a good thing I think. Right now I am deciding whether or not I wish her a happy birthday on FB or whether I just pretend like I did not notice when the day arrives.

    Toxic people, who needs them! :/

    (I probably will do the birthday thing, because I am a sucker..)

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    1. Snoskred, probably the worst thing you could do to her is ring her and wish her happy birthday. FB birthday wishes is the second worst.

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    2. I mean you won't be the one who is accused as you made the effort.

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  4. I love that you recognise your mama's strengths as well as her weaknesses. And that you celebrate her charm, and manage the difficult parts. I wish I had been able to do the same.

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    1. EC, she wasn't always like she now is. Old age and self inflicted loneliness can make people difficult. C'mon, there must have been some merits about your mother?

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    2. Oh there were. For a very long time she was some one I aspired to become. Then she dived into the bottle and became a manipulative stranger to the truth. I did a lot for her, but I didn't do so with a good grace.

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  5. Wow your mother sounds great but only in small doses, she reminds me of my mother in law, she often spent time living with us, I really enjoyed these visits, the beer fairy not so much.
    I gather she is not too good with her finances.
    Merle...............

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    1. Pretty well on the money, Merle. Small doses. Good that you got along with your MIL. I hope the BF remembers some good things about his mum.

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  6. "...charm a tram load of sullen Melbourne passengers.." there's a skill I wish I had. I can barely say hello. I tend to sit on buses hoping no one will sit next t me in case they want to talk and I don't know what to say. Oddly enough, when someone does begin a conversation, I manage to chat until one of us gets off the bus. the problem seems to be I cannot begin a conversation.
    Conversations in your head? I do that all the time.

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    1. River, I am the same. At one point I used to wear earphones not plugged into anything to pretend I could not hear anyone on public transport. Yet I am a bit relaxed about such things now. In Kamloops, Canada on the street after dinner and a couple of glasses of wine, I asked a guy about his really nice monster car, and when he answered in a perfunctory manner, I thought oops. I have just made a fool of myself. But as he climbed into his car, he said thanks man and gave me a little wave.

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  7. Bone Doctor's right about the cortisone. The needle has to go into the exact spot for it to do any good and it hurts. Does she get PBS medications from the pharmacy for the safety net?

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    1. Jah Teh, Mother and Bone Doctor are both right about the placement, but Bone Doctor does it by spinal knowledge whereas Mother's previous injections have been guided by scan as the injection is done. Yes, she has reached the annual safety net and so pays nothing. She also uses Chemist Warehouse, so she is not so faithful to her chemist of years. Her bills are for mostly non prescribed medication.

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  8. Maybe its good I have no family. Sounds like hell.

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    1. C'mon Strayer, you have brother who is kind enough?

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  9. As they say, you can't chose your family. I'm off to Manchester tomorrow on my usual trip to see Mum. She is doing well for her age (almost 95) but conversation must always be centred around her and her problems which frustrates me no end but I do try and keep my mouth shut.

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    1. Marie, I didn't realise your mum was so old, but I suppose she would be given your age. Oh, sorry. She could be much younger. Yes, becoming really old makes people difficult. But do we think we will be exceptions? I at times think of blurting out inappropriate family secrets when I am old.

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  10. Andrew it is nice to visit Poland.Having family is nice but not always definitely. I have not any family only mum dad, husband and daughter... ant 3 cousins...

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    1. Gosia, that is a big enough family. It only takes two people to argue.

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