Michele On August - 14 - 2010

Hello from Frederickburg, VA. Lots of excitement with us. As you may remember after we left NYC we were off to CT to see my MIL Betty. For those who’ve been with me for awhile  know that my relationship with her hasn’t always been wonderful. To be brutally honest I was looking forward to this visit about as much as root canal. As we arrived at the train station I looked, but did not see her.

Then Doug called me over. He’d found her. However, the hyper critical MIL I’d known for 28 years was gone. In her place was a doddering shell of little old lady. She stood there with her cane and her hair unbrushed- very un Betty. Although she hadn’t seen Brett in over 15 years, she didn’t  go to hug him or even smile. Nor did she really greet her only son, Doug. I didn’t expect-or get a greeting.

We let her drive us to dinner so we could observe her driving. She was blowing down the Boston Post Road like there was a fire and she was driving the fire truck. I sat in the back of her Volvo and hoped I’d live to see Houston again. I kept remembering all the Volvo ads I’d seen on TV. Doug drove us to her house after dinner.

She can barely get around by herself now. Even with the use of a cane, her mobility on a scale of 1-10 is about a 3.5.

I realized that the woman I’d quietly fought with for so many years was now gone. She has no fight left in her. Although my life will now be easier in so many ways, I still found it sad. When we got back from Best Buy yesterday she told me that she’d had an “accident.” I told her that was OK; It happened to everyone now and then. I remembered my own mom and was glad that although she died last October, she was spared that indignity.

Doug is devastated. Although he was witness to my mom’s decline and death I guess he just never expected to go through it himself with his own mom. So for now, we’re on the way back to Houston. We have to get back. The census called and they want him back for another phase of the operation. Doug’s sister is going to CT next week to see Betty for herself. Something has got to be done- soon.

Sorry to be so maudlin.On to other parts of the visit.

Some things there though were just as I expected. Some things never change it seems.

When we got to her house that night I realized she’d really gone round the bend. The house was over 80 degrees downstairs. Upstairs, where we were going to sleep, was hotter. Brett tried to open a window for me. They were unopenable, shut permanently with screws. There was only 1 ceiling fan in the entire house-in her bedroom. “Don’t touch that thermostat” we were admonished. There was no moving air. Doug, Brett and I were dripping with sweat. It was stifling.

I heard baby chicks in the next room. What is it with LOL’s and the temperature in their house? I just cannot imagine myself EVER getting this way.

I literally tore the house apart and finally found a small fan, just before telling Doug that we were going to have to go to a motel. I stripped everything off, put the small fan on the nightstand and went to lay on the bed in an attempt to cool off. I laid down and actually went “OW”. I believe it was a pillowcase covered brick or something she’d gotten on sale at the mortuary supply company’s “Going out of business sale.”  I mean, who’s going to complain there after all? These things were hard! Doug fell asleep right away. The bastard!

The next day she said “Michele, I’ve never seen your hair so long.” “No, you haven’t. I’ve been growing it out for awhile now.” “I guess you just don’t brush it anymore.” ZING!

“Here, I’ve got some things for you.” “Oh, you shouldn’t have.” I said. “I didn’t. This is how I clean out my out my closet.” ZING!

There were lots more zingers, but as you may surmise, it’s almost 2am here and we got up at 5am today to make the train, so we could make another train, so we could finally meet up with Evelyn in Philadelphia today.Lots of adventures today; but I’m too tired to go into them now. Thanks for hanging with me during this trip.

Back to the funny stuff manana. I promise.

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4 Responses so far.

  1. Liz C. says:

    Okay, I have snot running out my nose & I can’t stop laughing. I mean, I’m really sorry the MIL is in such decline but honestly, you can’t make this shit up.

    When I reach the stage of being a total ass who is unable to get around on her own, would someone please just shoot me? PLEASE?

    Yesterday I saw an old shrunken woman driving down the street in what would have been the middle lane, had there been one and thought, “OMG! Someone please kill me before I reach that stage.”

    But then, I might have had a few cocktails tonight too.

    ;-)
    Liz C. recently posted..Under The Scrutiny Of DragonfliesMy Profile

  2. Michele says:

    Glad I could give you a chuckle Liz. There’s plenty more zingers where those came from. I plan to become insanely rich in my old age and be attended to by glorious young men who live for my every word and lie effectively about my timeless beauty!

  3. Steel Magnolia says:

    Michele, I understand about the heat, the last time I went to visit my now ex MIL, her house, in south Georgia was like an oven, too. She and her daughter who lived with her both were taking blood thinners, so they “freeze” all of the time. It was like a sauna! Then we went to the oldest sister’s house 2 blocks away and it was like being at the North Pole, it was so cold! I can take the cold much better these days than I can the heat. It is said to see parents go down hill like that, even if you haven’t been on the best of terms. My ex MIL still communciates with me on FB. She and I always had a really good relationship, though.

    I identify with the hair comment! I don’t brush mine, just run my fingers through it, otherwise it looks like I have a really big fuzzy hat on! My oldest granddaughter told me one day last year that I really needed to brush my hair. She was 4 and hair stick straight baby fine hair like my ex, so I excused her as being a sweet yuong innocent baby. If I had told her that I did not brush my hair, I could just hear the conversation with my daughter…”I don’t want to brush my hair, Nana doesn’t brush her hair, so why do I have to?”

    Travel safely, my friend. Are you still going to be able to stop in Huntsville? Just let me know!

    Magnolia

  4. Michele says:

    IMHO hair brushing is a vastly overrated acitivity.

    Far as I know we are still planning on stopping by. Not sure exactly what time of day though. I’ll know tonight. What time of day is best for you kiddo?

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