Hospital-ity

Renovation to Mom’s house is nearly complete, an occupancy permit has been granted, and after over four years, there is a glimmer of hope that she will get to live in her own home again before she dies! (Plot synopsis here, if you’re new!)

Why, after fourfuckingyears, has this become a priority for my niece, DQ, and her husband, BJ? Progress was sporadic from the start, since BJ needed time off for vacations, deer hunting – not to mention his paying jobs. I had considered several options to increase his motivation over the past few years, but Mom didn’t want to make anyone mad.

The motivation came from an unexpected source – BJ’s parents. When DQ and BJ first married, BJ’s parents bought the house out of foreclosure, offering to rent the house back to them. This arrangement worked fairly well – until September, when BJ’s parents announced their plans to get a divorce. The house must be sold. By Christmas. Essentially, they’re being evicted!

Taking Mom to the cardiologist when this was breaking news, she let me know that DQ had been putting pressure on to change the deed to the house before moving in. For her protection. My reaction was a bit less than enthusiastic…

daisyfae: FUCK THAT!

Mom: I know. I don’t see any reason it can’t wait until after we move in, but she’s worried that the rest of the family will cause trouble and she’ll be homeless.

daisyfae: She has earned compensation for taking care of you!  No one is arguing that! She can always sell the land you gave them. [grinding teeth] You just tell me what you want to do and i’ll make it happen…

Mom: She’s putting pressure on me to set up an appointment with the attorney.

daisyfae: Under no circumstances are you to go to see the attorney to change your will, or the deed to the house, without me present. This will not only protect you, but it will protect DQ should anyone ever think there was coercion.

Mom: That makes sense. I just don’t want her to get upset with me…

daisyfae: Tell her it’s my schedule. i really am busy at work, so taking a day off is going to be tough.

And that’s where we left it…

The message was apparently delivered. A few days later i started getting passive-aggressive pings from DQ about setting up an appointment with the attorney. i was polite – and my schedule really has gotten tough.

This is unpleasant and stressful.  i became engaged in another round of “Trailer Park Mexican Standoff” via e-mail. Trying to take the heat for Mom, without causing any trouble. My instinct is to call bullshit, and be a far more direct, but Mom requested the sideways approach.

It didn’t surprise me to get a call from DQ as i was leaving work last Thursday. Because i was driving, i let it go to voicemail. Just not in the mood to deal with the bullshit. Retrieved the voicemail when i got home.

DQ: Took Granny to the doctor today because her cough has gotten worse, and she’s been very weak. Doctor sent us directly to ER. They’re going to admit her – probable pneumonia. I’ll keep you posted.

Well.

So much for my righteous indignation. When shit hits the fan, DQ does an excellent job taking care of Mom. All squabbles set aside. Priorities firm. We’ll sort out the legal stuff later.

Visited Mom over the weekend, and she took a few minutes to write a note to The Boy. Wished him a happy birthday. Told him she’s proud of him. Didn’t mention her troubles.

hospital-ity

She’s home now, and is doing much better. We came up with a new plan of attack.  We’ll get back to the regularly scheduled bullshit later…

Advertisements

Vignettes

Steam rolled my way through the month of October.  As the dust settles, i am somewhat surprised to find myself in mid-November.  Beyond the obvious plot twist launching my son on a new path, there have been a metric ton of other things happening… A brief update seems in order until i can catch my breath and organize my thoughts.  This isn’t a full list – far from it.  Just pixels and snippets and nuggets and slices… a reminder that i remain a very lucky woman.

– Since returning from the trip to Florida to visit my sister, a ‘sprained’ finger has failed to heal quickly.  Aggravating as hell, the sprain wouldn’t quit hurting, stop swelling and get better.  That’s because it isn’t a sprain, it’s broken.  Had to put on a splint, which gets in the way of… well… everything.  It also draws a bit of attention, and has started a few conversations with strangers.  “What happened?”  “Well, the short version is ‘i broke it’.  The long version is a tale that must be told over a pint or two…”  A tale that ends with me proving my machismo and winning a bet…

???????????????????????????????

– After two weeks, i got a call from The Boy Sunday night.  Ninety entire seconds of talk time, with the sound of a barking drill instructor in the background.  Now that he is settled in ‘downrange’, he can get letters.  Wrote up two pages last night.  Not typed.  Hand written.  This is not trivial, given the broken finger on my right hand.  It felt weird.  It felt good.  When was the last time i wrote a letter?  Can’t remember.  Once i started writing – it came back to me.  Downright enjoyable…

– Had some strange weather recently.  Powerful thunderstorms, with almost a hundred tornadoes, rumbled across the midwest on Sunday.  Bad things happened across the region.  Looking for storm damage the next morning, i was greeted with this catastrophe on my front porch!  The horror!  The carnage!  One friend summed it up nicely – “If your Christmas Tree falls over and smashes your Pink Flamingo…You might be a redneck.”

redneck

– Studley and i continue our horseback riding lessons – with an added element of adventure.  Our instructor has introduced a new game to our weekly lessons – Hoofball.  The object is to work in teams of two, getting the horses to move a large ball toward a goal line.  Horses are not particularly smart animals, so they have to be slowly socialized to the ball.  Over the course of the past few weeks, we’ve been part of that training process.  Last night?  We played our first hoofball match!  Very fun, and very scary – turns out, it takes a long time for a horse to get used to having a giant ball rolling around the arena!  They’re getting better, though.  And we’re getting better at staying on spooked horses!

hoofball

image found here

– A year ago, i got involved with an ad hoc group of nutjobs artists and musicians to bring the first “Dia de los Muertos” event to our lovely city.  This year?  Bigger and better.  They needed a parade vehicle – something that could tow a flatbed trailer carrying a dozen musicians.  My Jeep was the perfect solution.  Rather than just tow the parade float, i got it in my head that i was going to have one of the giant skeleton puppets that were created last year “drive”…

parade

There were some unexpected challenges, but we pulled it off!  Not content to have the skelly just ride along, i also decided that he needed to wave to the crowd.  In the detailed photo below, you can see that Studley had duct taped the left arm of the puppet to my arm… which could explain why i’ve had a rather severe bout with tendonitis in my left shoulder and elbow for the past few weeks… We’re already planning for next year – i will have a fully animated skeleton, shooting fire from his nostrils!

skelly

– Another entry in the “What the fuck was i thinking?” binder…  Last March, i started a project to modify an upright piano into… something else.  Taking most of the summer off for travel, i’ve recently re-tackled the project.  The past two weekends have found me up to my arse in sawdust and power tools… but it’s coming along nicely.  This will get a full post when it’s done – which should be by Christmas.  Unless i perform an accidental amputation…

sawzall motherfucker

– What’s up in The Trailer Park?  Lots.  Good news and bad news, and “are you fucking kidding me?” news.  There may be an end in sight – and Mom may get to move back into her own home after four years of endless promises and threats.  A little afraid to say anything because i don’t want to jinx it….

Message in a Bottle

On Sunday, Studley and i drove The Boy to Capital City, where he was to spend the night prior to shipping out for Army training on Monday. He had to be checked in by 3:00pm, but didn’t need to be back until much later, so we took him out for dinner.  Resourceful as ever, i found an upscale establishment featuring acres of football on flat screen TVs, and scantily-clad lovelies delivering beer.

The Boy demonstrated great restraint – ordering a grilled chicken salad and coke, while Studley and i worked our way through the autumn beer menu, bashed a variety of deep fried appetizers and shared a hamburger the size of a watermelon. At Basic Training, The Boy will certainly have to demonstrate discipline in the face of temptation. We figured it would be good for his training. It was the least we could do.

We discussed the timing of Christmas break, and speculated as to whether i’d be able to send him a small gift box. With only a few weeks into his training, i wasn’t even sure i’d have a mailing address for him by then.

Studley: Used to be that all recruits were forced to write a ‘safe and sound’ letter upon arrival. [in his best Drill Instructor voice] “YOU MAGGOTS GET OUT A PEN! YOU WILL TELL YOUR FAMILY YOU HAVE ARRIVED SAFE AND SOUND. MAKE IT SHORT AND SWEET! THIS IS NOT SUMMER CAMP! DO YOU UNDERSTAND?” That was right before you disappeared off the face of the earth…

The Boy: They might still do something like that. Another way to let us know they own our asses…

daisyfae: But you also might have a chance to write sometime when it’s not forced! i want to know whether your communications are voluntary or directed! We should figure out a code word to add… something that lets me know if you were forced to write it!

The Boy: A word I would never use. “Refreshing?” “Delightful?” Yeah, they’re words I wouldn’t use, but if the DI reads the letter, I’m liable to get beat up…

We went back to inhaling food and drinking beer, while The Boy picked at his salad. It still seemed important to develop a code. It finally hit me…

From the time he could write his name, The Boy made it a point to sign every birthday or Mother’s Day card with both his first and last names, as if i need to know which Boy Fae is offering his kind regards on my days of recognition.

daisyfae: i’ve got it! If you are forced to write a letter, just sign your first name – “Boy”! It will look completely normal to anyone screening the letter, and i’ll immediately know that you were directed to write! If you have some downtime, and they give you the opportunity to scratch out a few lines, sign as you normally would, “Boy Fae”. It’s perfect!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My daily alarm startled me at 0600 Tuesday. i grabbed my phone from the bedside table to silence the beast, and was surprised to find a text from The Boy, time stamped just past midnight.

“It’s me letting you know that I arrived safe and sound – Boy”

text message in a bottle

image found here

Of all the words of mice and men…

When The Boy was small, he liked to be carried in front of me, with his arms wrapped around my neck, and his legs around my waist. “Baby Monkey” is what we called it… i had to stop this when he was around 6 years old, as the flying leaps he’d take from the sofa into “Baby Monkey Position” nearly broke my neck.

bad little hombre

It was also around this time that he declared his intention to become a bird. Spending hours on the swing set in the back yard, he’d race into the house, excited to tell us that he’d swung high enough to almost fly. “I think my feet are starting to become claws!”

kinder

Eventually, he gave up his dream to become a bird. Coming home from work one evening, i was surprised to find a Ken doll swinging from a shoelace – one end attached to his neck, the other anchored on the stair railing. An audience of GI Joe dolls action figures watched in stoic silence.

daisyfae:  “What’s this?”

The Boy (at 9 years old):  “War criminal.”

i continued upstairs to the kitchen to start dinner. After abandoning his dreams of feathered flight, my son wanted to be “An Army Guy”, and was now apparently in training to serve as Judge Advocate General.

futbol ruffian

He held to this career choice into his early teens, but a combination of the politics of war and his entry into The Wilderness Years* pulled him in other directions. He started working at the age of 16, and found a transient niche in the pizza industry – which carried him through most of his academic years.

Last year, he started his first “grown up” job, working as a field auditor supporting the electrical power industry. With a few weeks training, he was sent into a hurricane in preparation for storm damage management. He got good at this job, earned a promotion and banked a shitload of money. He lived on the road – hiking through meth labs in the Ozarks, and urban war zones in the south.

powerman

It was just interesting enough. Money and benefits were good, but it wasn’t satisfying.  The work was of no consequence… had no meaning.  We’d discussed motivation during one of his visits home between work assignments. He read a lot. All the time, in fact. History. Philosophy. Bukowski, Hemingway, Vonnegut among many others. He made the best use of his time on the road.

???????????????????????????????

The Boy stopped in at the homestead on his way to an assignment in Oregon. i was a bit surprised to find him in residence when i returned from my dive trip to Saba in September.

daisyfae: Aren’t you supposed to be headed out west?

The Boy: Got a different assignment. Heading to Georgia.

daisyfae: Cool! Less driving, i guess. Where in Georgia?

The Boy: Fort Benning.

daisyfae: That’s weird… Counting shit on power poles on an Army Base?

The Boy: Not exactly…

Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are ‘It might have been.’ – K. Vonnegut, Jr.

As he approached his 25th birthday, he realized that the window of opportunity to pursue such a grand challenge would be short.  No regrets.

This afternoon, his father and i watched as he boarded a plane for Georgia.  He is An Army Guy.  He earned a direct accession slot for Special Forces. He’ll be damn good at it.

swearing

* “The Wilderness Years” – an unregistered trademark from a man who kept me off meds and ledges while my son was wrangling the demons.  Thanks, kono