Where’s a Tsunami when you need it?

On Monday, i took Mom to see her smokin’ hot cardiologist for a routine check up.  One of the reasons i continue to have a potentially life-altering mild girl-crush on Dr. M is that she will fuss over my mother like she’s the only patient since the beginning of all time. 

Before entering the exam room, she had familiarized herself with every single detail of Mom’s lung cancer diagnosis, which was provided in an update to her medical records.  She also flashed me a Hollywood smile and asked where i’d gotten the tan*.  The good news?  Heart doctor says Mom is doing great on the cardiology front.  One less thing…

Mom has now had two of the four scheduled radiation treatments.  She’s chipper and enjoying the frequent doctor visits – each of which means a breakfast, lunch or dinner OUT.  i asked about any discomfort or side effects.  She said “Well, at first I thought I felt it burning – but I realized that was just my imagination.  It doesn’t hurt, I just get stiff staying in one place for so long…”.

As we wrapped up the cardiology appointment, it was off for lunch at our “usual” restaurant.  i had noticed that Mom has lost a couple of pounds – but at 4″9″ tall and 196 pounds, she’s not the picture of fitness.  The name “Short Round” comes to mind.  She’s never exercised, and “fried” is her favorite food group.  At 82?  It’s a miracle she’s able to walk under her own power at all…

She shuffled from the car to the door of the restaurant – huffing and puffing the short distance from the reserved “handicapped” parking space.  Once inside?  She was off like a rocket** to read the ‘daily specials’ board, and followed on the heels of the restaurant hostess like a tracking hound. 

Waiting for lunch, Mom mentioned that things are going pretty well in the trailer park.  Seems the run of stomach flu has passed.  Steady progress on the renovated homestead.  They’ve gotten rid of one dog, and bought another – a puppy who is yet to be house trained, making late night visits to the bathroom like walking a minefield.

My niece’s youngest daughter, DQ III, is quite a handful at three years old.  Such a spunky little thing that she must have her own bedroom – separate from the bedroom of DQ, Jr., who is fifteen and “needs her space”.  It has rankled me for over a year that while Mom sleeps on a bed in DQ’s living room during renovations, the two kids have their own PRIVATE bedrooms.

But when Mom informed me that little DQ III is “going through a phase” where she sleeps with DQ and BJ every night?  i about choked on my bourbon barrel ale***.  “You mean that the little shit isn’t even USING that bedroom while you’re on display in the living room like a zoo animal?  Seriously, Mom, do you want me to say something?  This is bullshit!”

“Oh, no… Don’t rock the boat…”

lovely photo found here.

* It was a tan, and not just blushing…

** If i really want to see her move?  Put her within 20 yards of an “all you can eat” buffet trough and watch her go!  Oh, and for someone who can’t read because of eye troubles?  Stick a menu in her hands and she’s worked through the fine print in seconds…

*** Shut. Up.  It was a late lunch.  And it’s a lovely beer…

Could have been worse…

As far as family gatherings go, it wasn’t bad.  Certainly not the disaster that i hosted last year. 

My sister-in-law, K,  invited us for the Trailer Park Thanksgiving yesterday, and as always, she was a gracious and tolerant hostess.  My niece, DQ, brought Mom, along with her two daughters (DQ Junior, 14 and DQ III, 2).   My ridiculously self-absorbed oldest sister, S, was fairly quiet.  A small and laid back gathering.  Promise of a pleasant meal…

Invariably, we listened to DQ’s shopping adventures from Black Friday.  Blowing cash she doesn’t have on things she doesn’t need.  My brother shared tales of his three elder-boys (20, 16, 14) and the latest travails with his ex-wife*.  Mom didn’t have much to say, as she was concentrating on shoveling a couple plates of food down her gullet. 

And it was a fine meal…

Afterwards, DQ III started to squawk, having missed her afternoon nap.  DQ took her and DQ Junior home to spare us all the racket, and let the kid get some rest.  This left Mom, three of her children, and my brother’s wife for after dinner conversation.

The subject of Mom’s living arrangements came up.  She has been living on a bed in DQ’s living room since July, a waiting the renovation of her house, which is now planned for Spring.  Given the option of staying in the house alone, moving to an assisted living apartment, or living with DQ and her clan?  This was Mom’s choice.

We are all quite thankful that my niece is willing and able to care for Mom.  Granted, she’s cleaning out the bank accounts along the way, but she’s earning it, at least to some degree.  Mom shared her concerns that after she’s gone, she doesn’t want to see DQ and her family “thrown out on the streets” if we all contest the will…  DQ is apparently worried that we’re all going to “cause trouble” after Mom dies.

My brother laughed and said “We don’t want it, Mom.  Stop underestimating your children.”, followed by my “Seriously, we don’t give a shit…”.  But the best line of the day goes to my sister-in-law, K, for her innocent question “What has DQ done to make her feel so guilty?”

So we just sort of left it there…. me grinning madly at K, Mom scratching her head trying to figure out how to answer it, and my sister, S  (DQ’s mother) deciding that it was time to go…

i headed out shortly after.  Got in some ridiculous dance/drum therapy at a post-Thanksgiving houseparty.  This year?  Three hours of dancing, but it was the drumming that provided therapy…  Primal, and absolutely good for the soul.

The Holidays... They're BAAAAAAACK!

 From the fine folks at Awkward Family Photos

* His second wife, mother of the three boys, became an evangelical Christian when she re-married.  Shelling out two additional kids with her new husband, she decided that home-schooling would be good to raise the children properly.  Turns out?  Last month she was busted by her husband for having an extramarital affair.  And before he took her back?  Sent her to rehab for her alcohol problem… Makes for nice “Springer-esque” dinner talk!