The Drunken Truth

Tuesday night at The Pub.  Just the regulars, out on the covered porch on a lovely evening.   It was very relaxed, and easy to work multiple conversations down and across the table as alcohol was consumed in mass quantities.  One of the conversations started with “So, daisyfae, what is your new job?  What is it you want to do?”

i explained that the job i’ve just accepted positions me to skip town in four years, heading either to Europe or Washington, DC.  There are three potential dream  jobs – and they all make me feel a little squishy inside.  Several things prevent me from taking off today – including being professionally burnt out atrophied technical skills.  i’ve been in management and advisory roles for so long, i’ve forgotten how to engineer.  Need to get my techie chops back… Which is where my new assignment comes in!

The other key factor is Mom.  Until she’s in a stable care-giving situation, i do not feel comfortable being too far away.  The entire family made collective trouser chili last spring when i was in Annapolis on business and Mom’s lung rudely collapsed after her bypass surgery.  “Sheeee-it, people.  She was in Intensive Care in a perfectly fine hospital!  You think i can do more for her than the staff there?”

Rather than skip off to do my thing, and be plagued by frantic phone calls and guilt, i’m helping orchestrate The Big Farmhouse build.  Mom foots the bill, and my niece DQ and her husband get a lovely, custom-built house built on 17 acres in the country – with an attached apartment for Mom.  In return for the financial backing for her dream home, DQ – who has perfected the art of laziness and self-serving manipulation – will take care of Mom.  Doing all of us a TREMENDOUS service…. Oh, and she’ll get to keep the house and land when Mom dies.

As i was relating this to my friends at The Pub, i mentioned that within four years, one of two things are highly likely.  Mom will either die, or will be on the farm with my niece as round-the-clock caretaker.  And it was then that i said something that even shocked me for the coldness my words revealed:

daisyfae [breath forming frozen clouds]:  Worms or my niece…  One parasite or the other — so long as Mom is taken care of — i can leave town.

i am one cold, cold woman...

i am one cold, cold woman...

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21 thoughts on “The Drunken Truth

  1. “collective trouser chili”

    I’m not sure if I’m amused or disgusted by that descriptor. Either way, it’s a new one for me.

    Congrats on the new gig and happy dance for the future possibilities!

    As to the final quote, I find it was simply the most pragmatic thing to say. And I see nothing wrong with it.

  2. I hope on of the new jobs works out…as for parents, between the two of us, we have three over 80–healthy, for the most part, but beginning to forget things, get things confused. I agree with Rob…the last line is golden.

  3. I understand this post more than you realize.
    Keep the understated humor that you exude flowing because sometimes
    that’s all you have . . . and nights at the pub
    Hang in there.
    I’m an email away should you feel the need to go ballistic.
    ~m

  4. not cruel, cold, or offensive, but ‘effing funny!

    as i’ve been known to say to my co-workers “if i had feelings, that would have hurt”.

  5. Perfectly true. And it may be that the worms are eminently to be wished for. Then you won’t have to worry about what DQ is or isn’t doing.

    Can you tell that after I spent a lifetime taking care of my own and everybody else’s grandparents, I moved 1500 miles away before my own parents started going downhill? You are a better woman than I.

  6. I actually think you’re being pretty well-adjusted. You could get bogged down with worry about your mom’s health, resentment at the niece. But instead, you’re dealing. Good on you.

  7. “so long as Mom is taken care of”

    Sounds like icy determination to me. I’d hate to get in the way of someone or something not taking care of your mom. I hope DQ is up to the task, for real.

  8. I’m with Rob. had never heard of “collective trouser chili” before. but it’s fuckin’ hilarious and I’m going to be using it from now on…..

  9. rob – not sure where the trouser chili came from…. um, the phrase, not actual trouser chili, but i’m sure i heard it somewhere years ago… Pragmatic sometimes sounds cold, i guess.

    here in franklin – i wish our culture were more practical about death and dying. if i live long enough to become a bit debilitated, i’m going to take care of myself (assisted living, whatever) so i DON’T dump it on my kids… seems fair…

    michael – thanks. i vent. i feel better. and when with mom, i try to be patient, not roll my eyes, and just listen and support until she says something that makes my head explode and then i try to gently bring her around to something more rational. (sigh)

    daisy mae – SWIPING that line! “if i had a heart, that might have hurt a little…” oh, yeah!

    silverstar – i still feel bad about not driving the 60 miles to “help” more often… one advantage to being further away would be less expectation for me to show up, i suppose…

    ginny – we’re all circling the drain, so i know she’s going to die. ummm… me too. as for my niece? “The Perils of Benefactors, The Blessings of Parasites” (Joni Mitchell)… i am ok with it…

    tigereyesal – i wonder sometimes. she does a good job with mom’s daily needs (grocery, bank, etc), but sleeps in til noon every day and stays up all night farting around on the internet… might have to get mom a ‘food taster’ once the farmhouse is built….

    Bb – a “win, win, win” is 50% better than your run-of-the-mill “win-win”, isn’t it?

    paisley – oh, i don’t feel very grown up most of the time… like the oldest kid in “Lord of the Flies”, maybe…

    unbearable banishment – i’m still trying to get mom to spend her money. that way, my job as executor becomes MUCH easier…

    pickles – yeah. it has to be at that magical point after my brain function is altered, but before i start slurring my speech and become unintelligible. i had KKR write it down for me in the iPhone just so i wouldn’t forget the line. he e-mailed it the next day… helpful…

    nursemyra – i really wonder where i heard it. vague memories of one of my drunken friends saying it at a party years ago… or it could have been The Boy…

    Stephanie – blunt, pragmatic, honest… and a bit emotionless. guess that’s better than squishy, maudlin, deceitful and underdamped…

  10. rassles – ah… the real reason that i never let the gentlemen callers spend the night….

    uncle keith – you may be right. conversation with my niece, i pointed out “she may live 2 years, she may live 20. a crapshoot, isn’t it?” and she said she’d stick it out for the duration. but i suspect she’d poison her after 10…

    jimmy – thanks for stopping by. thanks, babe… means a lot.

  11. Not icy, not scary, not at all. Just realistic. At my age, I recognise my own mortality, tomorrow, next month, next year – almost certainly within a couple of decades. The worms will be welcome to what’s left. I will have had my fun with these molecules. And the parasites I bred will be welcome to whatever I don’t get rid of in time 🙂 – actually, they’re not bad as kids go.

    Now see what you made me do? I’ve got all maudlin and I ain’t even had a beer!

  12. You’re doing what you can, and meanwhile you still have to go on living your own life. We can only put our lives on hold for so long. It’s a tough time, and you seem to be handling it pretty well. Not to barf platitudes you already know, but death is just part of life and that dream job can still be a reality whether you do it now or in four years or in ten. Never lose the faith!

  13. archie – good to be practical, i suppose… but it does make me feel a bit chilled in the heart department. my eldest sibling refuses to acknowledge that someday mom will die. she’s the one with the gun, so i’m afraid to try to push on her buttons more aggressively!

    fragrant liar – generally, i’ve not planned one damn thing in my life. this is the closest i’ve come – which is just charting a general course. like i did with my exit strategy for the marriage. not sure exactly how – or when – i’ll do it, but i’m headed toward the right quadrant!

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