Saturday, September 27, 2014

I wonder if we can do a Hoarding Show that is a spoof of the Twilight Zone?

My conversation with my hoarding mother was a hodge-podge of all her usual strategies and manufactured drama, but she has some new scenarios but same old modus operandi.  The highlights of this conversation included:

She finally had the test she was scheduled for the day she hit the deer.  Or according to her, the day the deer hit HER.  Anyway, apparently she needs a stress test as it appears she has a blockage.  She has been complaining of symptoms that appear vascular in nature for years... edema, more pronounced in the left leg, shortness of breath, the list goes on... But she has successfully blocked any opportunity to diagnose the source of her concerns.  It also hit me that after all the drama she hyped about temporal arteritis, she has not mentioned it for weeks, and I believe she never did have the test.  She was started on treatment, but I am not clear if she is still taking the antibiotics.  It is only her eyesight, cognition, etc. that is at risk!  So with this potential heart blockage, it is hard to tell what the deal truly is.  She has a significant family history of it, and already the denial is beginning.  She states that she does not understand how this is possible since she 'does not eat junk' and 'never adds table salt.  

Seriously?  Most everything this woman eats comes through a drive through window or is some highly processed crap from a box or a can.  I am just gobsmacked.  And not to make this about me, but it also hit me that with my father dying of heart disease as most if not all of his family has, and with her potentially have heart disease, I will need to continue to work to eat healthy and to exercise as I am post menopausal, and this also has impact for my estranged 1/2 sister.  But I digress...  

Her conversation moves on to a two women with several foster kids moving into the large house across the street.  She is continuing her assault on at least 3 other neighbors who have the misfortune of living near her/moving near her, and now she has another person or family to antagonize and obsess over.  Another group of folks to add to the list to send flowers to!  

She is also obsessing about being on an antiretroviral medication to help avoid another outbreak of the shingles, and is less than thrilled that it is a medication that is advertised heavily on TV to treat herpes simplex infections.  God forbid anyone think she had herpes!  The horror!  I gleefully advised her that shingles, chicken pox, etc. was a form of the herpes virus.  I just gave her something to think about...

There is much more, but I will save that for the next episode of 'From the Mouth of a Hoarder'... Coming soon!

As always, thanks for reading. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Serendipity... Back to where we started

The first blog on NotMyHoardingMother was about the events of the June 2012 Derecho that impacted much of the region where my hoarding mother lives.  If you would like to read this entry without going back 130 entries, you can find it here.  

Yesterday I was returning home from a long work day, and I called my mother.  She sounded tired, and stated that she decided to clean the upright freezer.  The same one that had food ruin in it 27 months ago when she was without power for over a week in 90+ degree temperatures and over 90% humidity.  

Her statement?  "Well, it is down there... I might as well use it!"

After all her discussion of having it and the chest freezer hauled away (or totally hoardy, cutting off the cord and using them as storage).  I can only imagine how utterly disgusting that was, and how gross the freezer still is.  She was not listening to anything I had to say about the risk to her cleaning it now, much less storing food she intends to consume in it?

I give up.  She will do as she wants.  

Hoarding... No one wins.  No one.

Thank you for reading!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Yes... It is that time again... From the Mouth of a Hoarder!

Bang.  Bang.  Bang.

That is the sound on my head on the steering wheel when I call my hoarding mother and she takes a left turn into absolute... Well, judge for yourself...
________
Let me set the stage for this one.  Last Friday night I attended a Gala in a town 50 minutes away from my home.  I left early 10:30pm as I had a bit of a drive and had been up since 4:30am that morning.  My phone rang and it was my hoarding mother.  She had just picked up her 20 year old Honda from the autobody/collision center in her town (see the previous 2 blogs for THAT story if you are interested) and she had only had the car home 6 hours and was already starting her stuff.

"What is a fender skirt?  Why I am asking is when I look in the wheel well I see a circular rod and..."
That is your strut.  It is fine.  [Explain what a fender skirt is, how it attaches, and what she would see if it were not there...]  "Well, I have NEVER seen that round thing before behind the tire... All I could think is 'here we go again!' and I ..."  Gotta go.  Goodnight.

The next day...
"I found a rubber... well, let me try to describe this... [awkward and useless description of a rubber square with a hole in the center]... What is that to?"  Um... shove it through the phone and perhaps I can tell you...  

Today...
"Is there supposed to be a rubber gasket all the way around the hood?"  No.  "Well why not?"  Because it doesn't need it.  "Well I think it should have it!  I think..."

Also today, but a brief respite from the car drama...

"I saw in Dear Abby that it is insulting to call the partner of a gay person their 'friend'.  What is wrong with it?"  <<headsteeringwheel>>

Thanks for reading!  Have a great week!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Yep. I just had to call this morning. Update to yesterday's post.

Oh. Dear. God.

For a moment there, I apparently forgot that the universe revolves around my hoarding mother.  How dare I forget that!

In my 9/1/2014 post I blogged about her inability to get out of her own way to deal with a minor car accident involving a deer.

Also, this weekend was a holiday, a 3 day weekend for me since it was Labor Day.  A lovely weekend spent with friends, good food, and running/training for a half marathon.  I ran a total of 21 1/2 miles in three days, and 9.5 of that was yesterday.  Where this is relevant is my iPhone 5 picked mile 7.5 to die.  And it really died, not just ran out of battery power.  I took a slightly shorter way home, and found it would not charge.  After a quick shower I took the phone to the phone carrier's store in the local mall, and they confirmed that it was done for. 

"He's dead, Jim!"  <Sorry for the Star Trek reference.>

Anyway, I was incommunicado from 12 noon until after 6:30pm, and I broke out my little back up TracPhone.  No data, no hotspot, and since it is a flip phone, I am NOT texting.  My new phone arrives Wednesday.

So this morning I checked my iPhone VM remotely.  I had a rather pissy sounding message from my mother just dripping with condescension.  "Lisabeth, I know you have company this weekend but I need 5 minutes of your time- I have a question that needs an immediate answer.  Call me when you get this."  She called at 6:20pm, and I retrieved it at 7am when I came back in from my run/workout.  

I called her on my way in to work.  She was PISSED when she answered the phone.  I explained my phone was dead, and asked her what she needed.  She began to go off on how she will never ask the acquaintance with a husband with late stage Alzheimer's for anything again, and she is not helping her again, and how the neighbor down back (the one I spoke to on Friday who did not know about the deer strike) told her that she was busy and was leaving to go out of town that weekend (when she talked to her and DID NOT TELL HER she did not have her car).  So we are firmly within the halls of petty grudges and overblown misunderstandings.  They are supposed to READ HER MIND and understand that she might want them to drop everything at an inconvenient time and take her to the rental car place on a holiday weekend.

I switched the conversation back to what she needed, and heard the whole chapter and verse about how worthless her insurance company and the rental car place is, how she is calling the insurance commissioner to make a complaint, how she is finding new car insurance immediately, how she has a call into the regional manager of the rental car place and wants all involved fired, yadda yadda yadda.

Oy vey.  

She simply cannot get out of her own way to be part of her own solution, and her lack of empathy/inability to see any perspective other than her own is absolutely GOBSMACKING.

This is not going to end well.  Right now she is heralding the body shop owner as the hero, and the person is on a pretty high pedestal.  I suspect that fall will be hard and dramatic when mother goes to pick up her car and discovers that there is no way to make the repairs invisible on a 20 year old, three stage metallic paint job on an old Honda.

Thank you for reading!


Monday, September 1, 2014

She is going to drive me as crazy as she is...

Sorry I have been away for a bit!  I have a good one for you.  Just as a bit of background for those new to the blog, my mother is very firmly on the hoarding scale, and demonstrates the characteristics and lack of boundaries inherent to Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  Due to this, I have been keeping her on a 'low contact' schedule to keep my sanity and my health intact.  I live 7 hours away, so I do not see her often at all.

Last Tuesday we had an event at work, an open house.  I decided to make one of my calls to her as I drove home that night.  When I called, she had a story to tell.  And with her, all stories must be told in the most climatic, drama filled manner possible.  

I will spare you the 1/2 hour build up.  She hit a deer in what passes for town in her area.  She was enroute to the mall area, and a deer came out of a housing development, went over the hood of the car, shattered her windshield, and went on its way.  Luckily she was unhurt, just riled up and angry.  Other drivers stopped, so she had lots of 'Wonderful Strangers' and narcissistic supply.

She apparently did not know what happened, just that her windshield exploded in on her.  She said she saw a 'flash of orange'.  She also had on her glasses, so thankfully none of that glass came back and hit her eyes.  She was on her way to have a medical test on the swelling on her feet and legs.  She went into where she was going, and the glass exploding inward, her stopping, the conversations with the folks who stopped, the cop's attitude that responded... before she finally told me it was a deer.  Yeesh.  The salient points (I am being facetious) of this conversation were:

  1. That 'someone' was watching out for her... She could have been killed!!!! (True, and thankfully she was not, but that was allegedly said to her 14 times- I exaggerate only slightly).  
  2. That a DEER was out during the DAY!  She doesn't drive at night!  What was it doing out during the DAY?  They don't move around during the DAY!  (Says who?  Maybe the deer heard about the sale at Walmart...)
  3. She was furious that someone had asked for an EMT when the collision occurred.
  4. She was furious at the police officer, he had the nerve to ask her if she was wearing a seatbelt!  (I explained this was a common procedure question, not an assumption).  Her response set the tone for the rest of the interaction, which she did not share, however she did say at one point he said to her, "Look lady, all I want to do is get this scene cleaned up and cleared..." before retreating to the sanctity of his cruiser.  (Another person I should send flowers to...)  She kept demanding to drive the car and he told her no, she would be ticketed.
  5. The tow truck driver brought a flatbed (yay... as he should have) and recommended a collision center, ironically, one that used to be owned by my dad's friend years ago.  (Add these folks to the flower list too.)
  6. He took her home, but had to help her in and out of the truck, and all the people were commenting on her feet and shocked she was driving herself and no one was with her.  (Direct guilt poke at her partially estranged, neglectful daughter).
  7. She called the insurance company, and was insulted that they asked her if she was wearing her seatbelt, and if she was ticketed (again, SOP for those calls) and they initially approved a rental for 5 days, she has a max coverage of 30 days/$400. She did not call to get a car.
  8. She called the bank, who told her the car is worth $5,200.  I called 'bullshit'.  I estimated it is a $1,600 car.  It is a 20 year old Honda Accord LX wagon.  It is NOT a classic as she insists, and she also crowed that they said she could get $8400 for it if she sold it privately.  My advice was if anyone was going to pay $5200 or $8400... Take it and RUN.  I just checked Kelley Blue Book, for its actual condition in her area, it is worth an average trade in of $1,720.  Um.  Yeah. 
  9. She was already obsessing about them totaling the car, she wanted it back, and the craziness has already begun.  She also demanded to know if they would take her dash apart to replace the windshield (what??? really?) and asserted SHE DID NOT WANT THAT because NO ONE puts it back right.  <<<deep sigh>>>
Now, as I have mentioned before, I ran an autobody shop for Honda, Nissan and Mercedes back in the early 90's.  I also worked at the rental car company that she is dealing with, and have extensive insurance experience.  (This was my first career out of college.) Normally I do not offer advice, but unfortunately I attempted to offer some guidance.  I did not call on Wednesday, but did on Thursday, only to be regaled with all the Wonderful Stranger stories, and that she called 2 banks and they told her the car was worth $5,200!  I told her to take it and RUN.  She stated the body shop called at the end of the day and the estimate was ... drum roll... $1,600.  Now, even with a $1,700 car and it exceeding the 80% ACV, I was confident they would not total it.  She got very angry when I again refused to engage in speculation of worst case scenario.  She stated the adjusted needed a picture of the car, and she was told to wait on the rental.  I advised her that she did not have to wait, and worst case, secure it with a credit card and get a car, time was running out since tomorrow is the eve of a 3 day weekend, and calling on Friday will most likely result in the car place being rented out.  

Friday I called her as I was returning from a consulting job.  She was in rare form... She was angry that the adjuster had not called right back, and still had not arranged a rental.  I again had the discussion, and urged her to call.  She rather sourly advised me that the car would not be totaled, and went off on the dash board craziness again.  I would not engage.  The adjuster beeped in, and she said he got what he needed.  I advised her to call the rental, and that I thought it was unlikely at an hour before closing on a travel holiday that she would get a car, but to try/put in a reservation.  She claimed the insurance guy had told her the car was between $5200 and $8400.  Um... Whatever.  That made her mad that I would not argue.

She hung up, and I got a pissed off call... similar to the howlers of Hogwarts/Harry Potter fame.  They were rented out, there were only two people there right now, and they were only open 3 hours tomorrow.  I asked if she made a reservation.  She said she did not know what they did, and did not care.  I advised she call and make the reservation for Tuesday, and ask they call her if a car is available tomorrow.  She very sarcastically retorted that if she had a way there she would not need a car.  She also started to obsess how she would get her car when it was done.  Um... drop the car at the shop, and get yours, or drop it at the rental place, and they will take you over.  She has done this before.  She made sarcastic comment about getting there again and I outlined the following as her choices:
  1. She could call her neighbor.  She immediately started yelling that 'she does not have time with work and with all the things she does with that GUY'. She further stated that another neighbor has as a hubby with dementia and she cannot and she is not asking!
  2. I continued without reacting to her interjection that she could call a cab (she again began screaming that would be at least $20-$30!  She was not paying it!)
  3. And my final suggestion was that she would just have to wait until Tuesday since she allowed this situation to evolve to what it is with her choices.  She icily asked how she could have got a car when she was told to wait.  I civilly called BS on that, and advised her she could have called Wednesday when she was first approved, and could have secured the car with her card.  
She was not happy, grumbled something and hung up.  I immediately texted the neighbor to give her a heads up that I would recommend NOT calling her.  Turns out that despite talking to my mother on Wednesday, mother did not say a word.  Apparently the deer/car situation is a SECRET!  GAH!

It is Monday, and I have not called all weekend, and if she has tried to call, unfortunately my smart phone is dead, and the insurance replacement will not be here until Wednesday at the earliest. 

Unfortunate, but not the end of the world.  I may check in on Tuesday...  Maybe.  Maybe I will not.  I am sure I am the most awful daughter ever since I did not fix this, or rush to her assistance.  Um... I had friends coming in from out of town, and lack of planning on her part does not constitute an emergency on mine.  

To be continued... I am sure.

Hoarding... no one wins.  NO ONE.  Have a great week everyone, and thank you for reading.


Friday, July 25, 2014

It has been too long since the last episode of ... FROM THE MOUTH OF A HOARDER!!!!

Been a bit too serious for a bit too long... don't you think?  Just in the last 2 conversations I have gathered the following 'gems' for you.  Without further delay... this installment of FTMOAH!

I had not spoken to my hoarding mother in a few days, so I gave her a call in the later afternoon after leaving a board meeting.  I have returned to work part time this week from medical leave, and thought since she was having her car serviced that morning (a boot on the axle needed replaced) that I would just check in.  

When I called two things were immediately clear.  She thought I was calling back because she had called my office (which is a NO-NO/boundary I have set with her) and she was in high drama mode.  Low, dramatic voice.

"Oh... I did not expect you to call back this soon.  The woman who answered said you were in a meeting and would not be back at the office until Monday... Anyway... I have a MESS HERE AND I NEED HELP!"

To make a long story short?  Her 'mess'?  She took her 21 year old Honda station wagon to the dealer, and they offered to take her home since it would be a couple of hours.  This was at 9 or 10am.  It was now 2:30pm, and she had worked herself into a dither and called, and was told that due to the age of the car, that there was a bit of rust, etc. and it was not as easy as flagged, and it would take a bit more time, and they would call when it was done.  

She was flipping out.  Speculating all kinds of crazy scenarios, such as they had damaged her car and were trying to cover it up, and going on how she will never leave it again... I stopped her and laid it out.  I worked in a dealership for a few years prior to my nonprofit career, and explained that since she was no longer waiting, her car was not the scheduling priority and nothing was wrong, she would most likely hear from them any moment.  Explained they did nothing wrong, and to chill out.  And shocker, they beeped in and informed her that her car was done, and they were coming to pick her up.  She seemed somewhat mollified.  

Next call- checked in the next day to see if I needed to intervene on the 'final act of Carmen' in regards to the Honda service.  She seemed satisfied with that, but she returned home and her neighbor had leaned plywood up against her 40-something year old fence, and she walked over and with her cane, pushed each sheet over onto the ground.  She positively crowed with glee when she talked about it.  That should do a lot to improve relations with this neighbor, who she has called the police on already and had an argument because he used weed killer to kill all the crap growing on the fence. <Headdesk>... Lather, rinse, repeat.

The third was relayed in a martyred whisper.  "I am so tired of being tired all the time.  I do not know what causes it... any time I sit down I go to sleep.  I am not going to say anything to the doctor, before you say it, because they take your license for that kind of thing, and it only happens at home.  I guess it could not be gas or poison gas because the cats are fine and they are so much smaller..."

What do you say to that level of crazy?  Ai yi yi.  Hoarding.  No one wins.  No one.  This is not going to end well.  It just is not.

Thank you for reading! 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

10 days post op... just a few musings

So today I seem to have turned a bit of a corner, and this has been the longest I have been able to sit at my computer since surgery on 7/10.  For those who have not read previously, I had major emergency surgery less than a year ago, and late this June I herniated my mid-line incision, necessitating a hernia repair operation with mesh and all the party favors... ugh.

First of all, all kidding and snarky, self-deprecating humor aside... I am so thankful for a number of things.  These things would include:

  • My friends who are my family
  • My wonderful staff and coworkers
  • My employer benefits that include fantastic health insurance and sick leave
  • That I was in top notch physical shape going into this
My best friend's mother (who is like family as well) took me and stayed with me the entire time.  I am sure she did not expect me to be held up in the Recovery Department for over 6 hours as they waited for a hospital bed.  I awoke to 13 'poke holes' and 3 1/2 inches of my previous incision opened... and a blinding migraine... but they did not open me back up as they feared they might have to, although it was close.  Apparently 13 holes verses 4, 6 or 8 is a lot, and scar tissue was a significant challenge to my surgeon.  Thankfully he persevered.  
Due to the level of invasiveness, he kept me overnight, and I came close to getting another day tacked on.  This also was a tough, tough hospitalization.  I was in a semiprivate room with a lovely, lady that would be horrified to know that her husband staying until midnight and her television viewing ensured that I did not sleep.  I could have said something, but as sore and miserable as I was, I doubted I would sleep under optimal conditions, and my speaking up would only ensure that both of us were miserable.  As it were, she slept a good portion of the night.  I had a lot of pain, and had to have my bladder drained twice by straight catheter after my foley was pulled.  I 'managed' my situation and ensured that I was released at noon the next day, and again, thank you to all my friends who shopped, drove, stayed, and visited.  I was well, well, WELL taken care of.  This week I hope to return to work for 2 half days, then I hope to return to work in a more full fashion after my follow up with the surgeon on the 28th, and I hope to be running again soon.  Each day I get better.

Now to my hoarding mother in all this.  During my surgery last August she was a serious problem, calling the land-line, being narcissistic, being demanding, and the like.  This time?  She did not answer her home phone or her cell phone when my friend called her to give her an update on my surgery progress, and although she called from my phone, she did not call back.  She did not call the room (thank goodness), my phone, my work, or anyone else that I am aware of.  I have talked to her 2 or 3 times since surgery, and a few calls have gone unanswered and she did not call back.  

She is up to something, and granted... this is not the horrific and life threatening emergency that the surgery 11 months ago was (again... THANK GOODNESS!) but as a friend pointed out... I did have major surgery 11 months after the massive tumor removal last summer.  

Several of my friends are annoyed at her... but all I can say is I am simply relieved.  I did not need drama from 6 1/2 hours away during this, and this is a very difficult time at my organization, and we are dealing with 2 crises that threaten the existence of the agency.  It is end of year time, and I have several projects and grants due.  When I return to work in the next week or so, it is going to be nonstop for about 3 weeks.  

Wonder what has her preoccupied that her morbid curiosity is sated?  Her neighbor has called to check in and has stated she is not answering calls from her either.

She is up to something.  I guess time will tell what it is, or not.  But again, at this point, I am just overjoyed to not have to deal with the crazy...

I am still in the place of... if this type of thing is what I have to experience in lieu of what could have happened last August... Cancer, colostomy, death during surgery, rupture of the 11 pound tumor... Then so be it.  I am still treating every day as a gift.  
Thank you for reading.  Have a great week!