Fixing a hole…

The exterior excavations at Mom’s house are now underway – the interior excavations happened last January.  Over a year in planning, and preparation of the inside of the main house, and there is now a giant hole in the back where the addition for Mom’s “apartment” and the master suite for my niece DQ and her husband BJ will be built.

Mom’s been living on a bed in DQ’s living room for fifteen months.  BJ insists on doing the work himself, and Mom has already paid him for his labor, in the form of trees and dirt.  There is a massive Catch-22 on the construction side – BJ can only work on Mom’s place when he’s laid off, and collecting unemployment.  Since he’s been earning money since March, he hasn’t been able to do much with the renovation – it’s surprising that he was able to get this much done.

A photo collage of the outdoor renovations so far…

at the beginning… the view of the back.

Here comes the Tonka toys!

Putting in the forms for the footers – complete with rebar.  BJ does good work.

Cement mixer delivers and pours.

…and Mom watches the workers.  i went down to visit this weekend, and we walked the back yard.  She continued to lament that it just doesn’t seem like her house anymore.  i reminded her “It will be nicer!  Certainly nicer than a bed in DQs living room!”

Over lunch she expressed her continued concerns that it won’t be done before she dies.  BJ, after starting the work this week, has a full time job for at least the next three weeks, maybe longer.  This means that the work on the addition will have to happen at night.  But it’s deer season, so there’s that, too.

As always, i reminded her that she has options.  If the work doesn’t progress quickly enough to suit her interests, she can always offer to hire a crew to speed things up – and pay for the crew with funds received from the sale of BJ’s Huntin; and Four-Wheelin’ Paradise the land she will be giving them as payment.  Reminding them of this may be sufficient motivation to keep the work moving forward.

While we were talking, she mentioned – again – that she knows that she’s put her self in this predicament.  She then said “After I had that pacemaker put in, I was scared!  I didn’t know what I was going to do, and none of you were really paying much attention.  No one was stepping up to offer help…”

i cut her off before she could throw that little guilt-nugget across the table at Frisch’s Big Boy, and spoil my onion rings.  “Mom, we can’t read minds.  If you don’t tell us that you’re scared, that you don’t know what to do, that you need help?  We might not catch it… All i can do is try to help you sort options from where you are now.  It’s easier now that you’re telling me more of what’s going on in your head.”

We finished lunch, and i dropped her back at the Trailer Park.  She spends her days and nights on a bed in DQ’s living room.  Listens to audio books.  Watches reruns of “The Andy Griffith Show”.  Thinks about the last meal she ate.  Looks forward to her next meal.  And wonders how she ever got herself in this position…

“I’m fixing a hole where the rain gets in and stops my mind from wandering…” – Lennon and McCartney

And you wait…

You take the highway this morning, hoping that the 65 mph air will blow the tears on your face dry before you get to the office.  You can’t do anything but wait for the call.  Will it be from The Self-Destructive One, the hospital or law enforcement this time?  No way to know.  So you drive…
 
Another night of sleep interrupted, as you learn of the latest incident.  Nothing to do but wait.  Helplessness.  You go over everything you could have done differently.  Should you have been tougher on the first infraction?  Could you have worked a little harder at the marriage?  Or are you simply unfit as a mother?  
 
What do you do when one of your children has The Rage?  Where did it come from?  Will it be there forever or will it mellow?  Will he survive long enough for you to find out? 
 
Not long ago, you read in “Freakonomics” that peer influence is far greater than parental influence as we develop as humans.  Should you have intervened when he stopped playing softball and took up skateboarding? Was it the peer influence that launched this, or is it simply how he’s wired?  And where did all that fucking anger come from?  He was such a laid back kid…
 
You’ve taken away everything from him that you can take away.  Cash.  Access to your home.  Everything but love.  And you will never do that. 
 
So you drive.  Let the wind blow against your face and dry it, hoping your swollen eyes can stay hidden behind the sunglasses when you get to the office.  And you wait for the call…