Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sunday, December 14, 2014

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

The only sentiment I can start this off with is ... WOW.  She has been on a roll lately... and not a particularly positive one at that.  I would advise if you are eating or drinking that you return at a time when you are not... Consider yourself warned!

And now to the next episode of FTMOAH!

"Are your feet rough?  Mine are so rough.  I have sharp crusts on my heels, and for the last two nights I cut and ruined two new pair of socks!"

After getting a recommendation from her general care practitioner re a cream for her feet...

"I cannot believe the difference!  After only using the cream a couple of days I can just roll the skin off my feet in layers!"


"...And I bought a sports bra thingie, and I use tape to attach to the ends of the tag plastic things so they do not flip away or hit the floor and one of the cats get it, those things could puncture their esophagus just like Mr. Dimwiddy [who died of sepsis after a fish bone punctured his esophagus in the mid 50's...]"

I will keep this one short and sweet, or short and nauseating...  You get the idea.  Her other comments have focused on her obsession with whether folks decorate for Christmas or not, her criticism of their lack of taste in decorations, and her speculation as why folks would decorate without having small children in the home.  She has also been focused on the behavior of a couple of acquaintances who are struggling with dementia/Alzheimer's disease, asking questions that start with "Do all people like that...[insert the behavior she finds aberrant]"...  Her amazing leaps of assumption and medically incorrect causality continues, all while she continues to live in the museum of long held grudges, petty misunderstandings, and simmering resentment.  

Have to find some humor from this, because if I did not laugh, I fear I would start screaming.  

Thank you for reading, and have a great week!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

This and that... Thanksgiving 2014

Hard to believe the holiday season is upon us again!  I understand the biochemical changes that occur as we age that changes our perception of time, but when you experience it first hand... WOW:-)

This Thanksgiving I did something different.  I did not make plans with other folks, I decided to have a quiet holiday home with my cats, one who is quite elderly and is becoming more and more frail as that days go on.  (I am not much of a fan of the Thanksgiving Day fairy story promulgated by schools to hide genocide and other atrocities... But I honor the desire of folks to come together to show thanks... Ahem).  These past few weeks have been full of interaction, socialization, and crazy work schedules, and I wanted just a few days of solitude, not in a self pitying or self isolating way, but just time to enjoy my own company and that of my furry family.

I took off the day before Thanksgiving, and the day after, so I had a 5 day weekend.  Really, I should have worked, but I was determined to not let the 'shoulds' intrude.  And for the most part, I have not.  I had a few invitations to share Thanksgiving with friends, but I politely declined, for the most part without a lot of explanation... and none was required.

And how has it been?  It has been FANTASTIC!  I have gone shopping with a friend once, and treated myself to a handbag that has been on my wishlist for the past 2-3 years.  Other than that, my only interaction has been the Turkey Trot I ran Thanksgiving morning, and I set my own personal record.  10 minute and one 9 minute miles.  It was cold, but it was absolutely perfect.  I had purchased wonderful organic, fresh food and my favorite wine, and a friend gave me a pie from my favorite bakery.  I was lazy around my apartment, and ran when I felt like it, often midday instead of early morning.  These past few days have been ones of quiet indulgence, and I will get back on track on Monday.  I purchased cold weather run gear online, and am planning my marathon training.  (And hoping I have not herniated around my mesh screen... more on that later, if it is indeed an issue...)

I am not planning on repeating this planned solitude at this Christmas/New Year holiday.  I will visit my family of choice, and then something new... For Christmas or perhaps New Year's eve, a friend and I are planning a quick trip to a beach, just to see the sand and surf, and although it will be cold, I look forward to running on the beach and on the boardwalk.  Just an overnight trip. I already have a schedule filling up with social/holiday mixers, parties and engagements, and I am glad I took this time for myself, for the cats.  I strongly fear that my almost 18 year kitty may not be here at Christmas time.  

How does this relate to hoarding?  I called my hoarding mother as I was leaving the grounds of the state complex that hosted the Turkey Trot.  Oh my.  Oh MY.  

The comparison could not be more definitive.  She was MISERABLE.  She has 2 folks/separate families bring her plates each year, and she compares them to what she could have/would have/has done in the past.  (I do not object to her fantasy of her cooking ability... but having eaten her food for too many years... um... NO- she once again revises history...) She has resentfully watched the neighbors, and found most sadly lacking.  She has disgusting names for each that she openly despises, things like "the village idiot"  and "trailer trash" and other names that serve her to depersonalize and dehumanize these folks, which is a common mechanism that those with power and control issues utilize.  She also speculates endlessly on the couple of neighbors she does not out-and-out hate, but they always come up lacking, wasteful, or some other judgement.  She could have made her day special.  She just had to buy a new TV, she could have done something to enjoy it- movies, got her favorite food in, something.  She did none of that.  She called her cable provider and railed about how she does not want the 'On-Demand' part at all, despite having the fact that many of the movies are free.  She railed about paying over $100 a month for cable and 'NOTHING IS ON".  She carped about the magazines she receives (over 20 subscriptions!) and how they are 'nothing but ads' and how she does not care about fashion, because, seriously... all older folks who do not work do not care about that stuff...  Really?  <<Headdesk>>   Or in this case, thumping my head against the steering wheel.  She ranted about her TMJ appliance.  She complained about not eating out because people will stare at her... Of course, everyone is looking at her.  She just was on a negative roll.  She criticises those with pride in their appearance, and pride in their home's appearance, outside and inside.

I asked her... "What nice thing can you do for yourself today?  What would you enjoy?"  That started another rant of how the holidays were miserable for her as a child, etc.  I hate to tell her, mine were no picnic... But it is not the oppression olympics, and no one wins that type of discussion.  She just can't do it.  She cannot do anything to enjoy herself.  It is heartbreaking.  She finally asked what I was doing, and I told her.  She started her crap on my running, running in the cold, etc.  I changed the subject.  She then asked, "What are you doing today?  I thought you would be somewhere with a bunch of people like you usually are..."  I reminded her that I had planned this this way, and what my plans were.  She responded with "Oh- did everyone else have something to do, or have gotten tired of you?"

ARGH.  She misses the point.  In her mind, I am doing the holiday alone because I could not attach myself to another group/family.  The saddest thing?  I may have misread her comment- she might have meant to be humorous- which I doubt, but she seemed to derive a bit of pleasure from that assumption.  How sad, she wants me to be as, if not more, miserable that she is.  

I ended the call because I just could not let her attempt to pull me into a negative space.  I had talked to her neighbor two days before, and she again talked about how increasingly negative, and nutty, my hoarding mother was becoming.  Today is my final day before I return to work and a nonstop schedule for the next few weeks.  The blogging of this is the only headspace I will allow her to have, and I have not talked to her since Thursday.  I am sure she will be surly and pouting when I do call her next week.  

<Sigh>  I cannot wait.  Hoarding... No one wins.  NO ONE.  Hope everyone had a lovely week.  Thank you for reading.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Sharing a blog from the Huffington Post that resonated... 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A call I have been dreading...

Oh ye gods.  I got a phone call I have been dreading.  Nothing imminent for my hoarding mother, but still a call no one wants to get.

My hoarding mother's neighbor called me today.  Asked if I have spoken to my mother recently, and proceeded to tell me that she has concerns regarding my mother's deteriorating mental health, outlook, and has concerns that she may be in early stage dementia.  My mother will be... 78?  79?  For the sake of conversation let's say 79 on Christmas Day.  

I have noticed the decline, the increase in revisionist history, and what seems to be increasing forgetfulness in our 3 or so phone calls a week.  

I also know that there is nothing that I can, or she will allow me to do, that will help this situation.  It is simply heartbreaking.

The neighbor stated, "I hate to say this, but it would be easier on you, on her, on EVERYONE if she just drops over dead rather than requiring placement in a facility for care."  

No pressure.  Ugh.  I cannot do anything, and I will not be sucked into this.  Unfortunately my mother made many decisions years ago that will adversely impact her now.  Decisions like:

  • Driving everyone away who has ever cared about her or tried to help
  • Isolating herself behind a level 5 hoard and time after time, choosing the stuff and her need for power and control over addressing her issues
  • Using me for narcissistic supply if I would allow her to- she sees me only as an extension of herself, not as the individual with rights and feelings that I am
Sorry for such a downer after my happy blog...  Onward I go.  I choose to protect myself, and to ensure my quality of life is what I deserve.  I cannot want it more than she wants it for herself, and I cannot fix this for her.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, October 27, 2014

What did I expect?

Hard to believe that it has been a month since my last post!  In that month, not much as changed, other than I have been focusing on work (and working too damn much), doing some consulting, trying to have a social life after what is often 60-75 hour (or more) workweeks, and a bit of running... oh... and sleeping.  A little bit of that too.

My hoarding mother is still in her self created world of limited experiences, drama, and petty annoyances overblown to huge crises.  Nothing new there.  

What is new is October heralded two major life events for me.  One is the eight year anniversary at a job that I love (most days) and the other is the completion of a major personal goal, one that has eluded me for 2 years.  I ran a 1/2 marathon this weekend.  And I rocked it, if I say so myself.  Over 32 hours later and I am still in my happy spot, and I am proud of myself... something I cannot say I have ever experienced before.  

Now some folks may be saying to themselves, "So you ran 13.1 miles.  So what?"  And I can understand if you are.  This is a personal, personal goal.  Me against myself, I was not racing the other runners, I was racing ME.  In the past 4-5 years I have slowly lost over 100 pounds and resumed running, an activity I abandoned when I was in my early 20's.  Recently, (2013 and 2014) I have missed 3 half marathons that I have trained for due to a badly scarred Achilles tendon injury, a life threatening and nearly 11 pound tumor 3 months later, and 11 months after that, rupturing my mid line incision.  

Just 11 weeks after a second abdominal surgery, I ran my first 1/2.  I had hoped to run one in September, but it was too soon, as the one 3 weeks earlier was as well.  I had been thinking about this race and was concerned I was not ready.  As is my way, I am either full go or full stop, and in September when I was cleared to run on hills and outside, I hit the road with a vengeance,  logging in 112 miles in a month (and not even a full month, more like just over 2 1/2 weeks).  Predictably to everyone but me, I over trained... And I hit the wall in early October.  My Achilles tendon injury flared again, and I feared that I would have to try a race in November as it looked unlikely I was going to meet my goal.  I did a lot of figurative self-flagellation, and was really frustrated.  

At the last minute, I registered anyway and decided to give it all that I had.  It would be for the experience if not for the likelihood of success. And by registering that late, there was little chance of backing out without losing my registration fee.  Then reality set in.  I had been adding lifting and weight work back into my routine, eating a bit differently, and mixing in other cardio with my runs, but doing frequent but short runs.  WHAT WAS I DOING?  There was a 3 hour sweep, but in my researching races I mistakenly thought this race had a 2:45 sweep.  I am not a fast runner.  My personal record recently is under an 11 mile minute, but my usual is in the mid 12 range.  There was NO WAY I believed I would finish this race before they packed it up.  

Now, several friends had said they wanted to support me in this, cheer me on and cheer me at the finish.  I was honestly touched, appreciative, and also determined that I was not going to have my imminent failure be witnessed by those I hold in such high regard.  I also felt this race, this particular race... Well, it was personal.  This was me against me.  This was me against the medical crises of the past year.  This was me against my own body... or me WITH my own body.  

Long story short, I did it.  I beat 2:45 by 50 seconds. I did it!  I realized the night before that all the negative self talk was going to ensure that I did not succeed, and I was engaging in 'all or nothing' thinking, and hoarder think.  Going to the worst and most hopeless scenario.  The day before I focused on eating and resting, and changing the commentary feedback loop in my head.  The day of, driving to the race, I focused on thoughts of consistency, being strong, and failure was not an option.  I set the goal of between 2:30 and 2:45 to finish.  I was READY.  I was going to do this.  And do it I did.  Was it easy?  NO.  Was it challenging?  Yes.  And I reveled in every mile, and although I would not be able to run a marathon, I felt I could have continued another 5-7 miles.  I had been fighting the injury and the extreme pelvic pain from my surgeries for the final 5 miles, but I was doing okay, and I powered past the pack I was running in the last few hundred yards.  I was so happy and overjoyed.  I DID IT!!!!!  

For me, it was NOT an empty success because I was alone, but that much more striking because of it.  I raced me, and I won.  And I was there to celebrate it at the finish line and to cheer others as they finished. I ran slowly, steadily, and I did it.

Now, this is where hoarding comes in.  I was so happy with my pictures, my medal, my prize, and most of all, the knowledge that I actually did this, that I called my hoarding mother to tell her the next day, which is today.  (I let my friends know via Facebook, and the celebrations are continuing throughout the week... some folks were a bit disappointed I did this on my own, but they understood it.  And I love them for that!)

Ugh.  Why do I do this to myself!?!?  She has no concept of how big a damn deal this was to me.  NONE.  She immediately started with how my father had heart disease an I should be careful... Basically intimating that I was going to die.  I was gobsmacked.  I figured she would find some way to turn the conversation about her, or minimize my achievement, or focus on how crazy she thinks it is, or how dangerous (a woman running alone on the highways... GASP!) but this?  Really?  And she knows how freaking important this is to me.  She cannot even step out of her own stuff for a moment to be proud that I succeeded in completing something that did not come easily.

To my credit, I did not let her steal my pride in overcoming so much, and in achieving one of my goals.  Just five years ago if you would have told me I would be running a half marathon and getting a finisher's medal I would have laughed myself silly. I got off the phone quickly, and my response was one of incredulity.  

I got home and got out of my little car, and as I grabbed my handbag out of the back seat, I noticed the 13.1 sticker I put on my car the day before.  Not to brag, but to remind myself of my ability to overcome, and to never flood myself with self-doubt again.  That 13.1 sticker represents so much.  I did it.  I DID IT.  Before writing this blog, I was looking at full races for the spring.  I hope to do 26.2 before the end of next summer.  And I will do it.  My time frame may be different, and it may take many tries before I achieve it, but I will do it.  The silver lining I took from growing up in the dysfunction and abuse of a hoarding household is dogged persistence and resilience.  It has served me well thus far... And the next race, whether it be a 5K, a 10K, a 13.1 or a 26.2... I will let whomever wishes to come support me and cheer me on do so.  It does not matter if I finish before the race is over, all that matters is that I try, and keep trying.  Not only with running, with letting others be there for me.  That is a lesson that I have to keep learning, but I will get it. 

And my mother?  Her response is just another example of her illness, and her dogged refusal to see anything other than her own limited view of the world.  

Hoarding... no one wins.  But, maybe I can make the best of the challenges I have faced.  I honestly do have little other choice, as I believe life is meant to be lived at full volume.

Thank you for reading!

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 having 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...  

"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!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The date is set, and I told her... Anticlimactic thus far...

In my last post I shared that I have an incisional hernia from my major surgery last August.  I was upset, discouraged, you-name-it... but I am also grateful that I squeaked by with no cancer, no colostomy, and I survived the tumor and its removal.  If this is the continued price I pay, so be it.

I had my surgeon's consult on the 26th of June, and my surgery is set for July 10th.  As in next Thursday.  The surgeon hopes he can do it laparoscopically, but previous surgeries and endometriosis scarring may make this impossible.  If they can insert the mesh behind the muscle and close the hole, I will be off work 2 weeks and on restriction for 3-5 weeks.  If they have to open me up, then it is 6-8 weeks out with another 2-3 months of recuperation.  It is going to be anyone's guess whether I will be able to run the 1/2 marathon (13.1 miles) in mid September.  I will not push myself too much (again) but I will give it my all.  I do not want to be knocked out of this yet a third time.  I am so damn disappointed.  The surgeon did grudgingly allow me to resume the stair climber, flat running, and cautioned me to not do anything core that would risk incarceration/strangulation of the lump.  I am feeling tired, sore, and I have to keep pushing 'George' back in.  I hope they do not have to do a resection as much as George likes to show himself!  I am not as upset/freaked as I was, I just want this over, OVER and I have so much work stuff to get done.  I know recovery will be painful, and I will need to take care of myself and actually accept help.  Another life lesson...

So late last week I decided to tell my hoarding mother.  Based on the uncertainty of the surgery and hospitalization (day to a few days) and the recovery time at home, I felt I had to in order to make my life a bit easier.  So I just told her.  She sputtered a bit, asked a few questions on the order of "Did your belly [do this or that]" and immediately began to talk about her stomach and abdominal woes.  Not unsurprising, and when she attempted to engage in story time for the 549,349,227th time about her umbilical hernia repair in 1976 I got off the phone.  We are on the low contact (for her) plan of 3-5 times per week, so I did not talk to her for a few days, and when I have, she has not mentioned it all.  

Has not asked how I am feeling.  Has not asked how work is progressing since this is a horrible time to be out with the end of the fiscal year here.  Reporting, budget woes, and it has been extremely stressful and demanding at work.  Has not asked where my surgery will be, has not asked who will take me.  I am not saying anything else, as the less detail the better, but I am sure she is gearing up for the interrogatories and the inappropriate and dire medical pronouncements.

I am not a child.  I do not need a 'Mommy' and truthfully, I never had one.  It just is sad.  Very sad, and I know that, based on her last behavior when I was hospitalized and the fact that I do not have a significant other to run interference, she will repeat it in some form.  That behavior will not go well for her, not at all.  

I might be off the grid for a while, as I suspect I will not be up to spending a lot of time at the computer.  Thank you for reading, and I will be back online with an update just as soon as possible.  

Thank you for reading!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The gift that keeps on giving when you are the daughter of a narcissistic mother, a hoarder, or both...

Yesterday was NOT a good day for me.  For those of you who read regularly, a year ago I had a life threatening medical emergency.  The post on that is here- August 7, 2013 Entry - and I knew that with surgery that invasive, that complications would most likely result, especially since I have been training at a crazy level to get ready for the 1/2 marathon I missed last September.  I get a little fixed on target and a whole lot obsessed... Lifting, cardio, running, and I was participating in an Ab Challenge with several friends... and I had taken it to an extreme degree as only I can.  

Yesterday my intent was to complete 2 minutes and 30 seconds of planking, 400 crunches, 300 leg lifts, and 350 sit ups.  The actual challenge?  70 second plank, 110 crunches, 48 leg lifts and 80 sit ups.  For the next week I planned to break out kettle bells.  My only defense is I work out constantly, 4 to 5 times a week, and I am in pretty good shape, despite a pesky 18 lbs I gained when I had to gain weight as part of my surgery recovery.  So, I completed my planking... no shaking or trembling... YAY!  I started leg lifts, and I felt my shirt pull tight in a weird way.  I looked down, and had a 'tower' the height of a soda can rising from my abdomen under my rib cage.  GAH!  

Needless to say I stopped.  And my denial that possibly, quite possibly, I had a hernia stopped at that moment as well.  And I called my doctor and got an appointment for that afternoon.  And then I sobbed like my world was ending.  And I picked myself up, got ready for work, and conducted a board meeting.  The doctor confirmed a hernia that afternoon, and I am now awaiting a call from the person that handles the referrals and the consults, and I just want to get this surgical consult DONE and the CAT scan DONE so I know what I am dealing with.  I am also benched from lifting anything heavier than 20 lbs, activity/exercise engaging my core, and running.  I have a race this weekend, and obviously that is not happening.  I immediately started to obsess on the 1/2 marathon, and figure out if A, B and C happens, I might be able to...

Then it hit me.  That is hoarder think, and how I have been groomed to think... all or nothing.  And I again had a life lesson.  One I thought I learned last summer, but apparently I needed a 'refresher lesson'.  I was told at the time of surgery that I was in such fragile shape, and my tissues were so thin, that a hernia was likely.  I was also not supposed to work at all, but do to many circumstances that I could not change and would have caused my organization to fail, I spent many hours at the computer the first days home working on EOY reporting.  In recent months, I have been struggling a bit with energy level, being tired, and some of the issues caused by the tumor and the damage and nerve damage.  I have pushed on.  Now, I realize some of that was the hernia most likely, and I once again put on blinders because I wanted this half marathon so badly.  No matter what.  I noticed my resting BP is really low, and my pulse rate has not wanted to get to my 'happy endorphin place' of 175, some days I can barely get it into the 140s or 150s.  That is ALWAYS an indication in me that something is drastically, drastically wrong.  And I intellectually processed it, and put it aside under the 'isn't that interesting' file and moved on, pushing myself harder.  Harder.  

Again, I put work, the race, and many other things ahead of me.  That is going to be the legacy of my childhood that I will continue to fight.  I know sometimes I lose battles, but I will not lose this war.  Failure is simply not an option.  But this sucks.  One battle that is not mine, and has been lost is having any type of so-called-normal, reciprocal mother-daughter relationship.  I did call her later in the day, and when she answered her first response was, "What's wrong?  What is wrong with you?"  I asked why she asked, and she said I sounded funny.  I just said that it had "not been a good day and I was glad it was over, that was pretty much it."  And thankfully, I guess, she launched into all her complaints and her battle with the folks who own the trailer next door.  I kept the call short, and will not be talking to her for a day or two thank goodness.  

But... there seems to always to be a but...  I have great support from lovely friends, and I have long ago given up hope for any type of a mother.  For Father's Day I posted a few pictures of my dad on social media, and I only have 5 or 6 total, and only 2 with him.  One was of me and him at an amusement park, and I would have been 10 years old or possibly 11.  I was a small, waif-like child, and I am looking up at the camera as he looks down at me, and we are both smiling.  My smile is so tremulous and vulnerable, I look every bit the small fragile girl I was, and it that picture hits me like a physical blow.  I suspect my grandmother is taking the photo, but I have so few memories prior to that age, and my memories are not the most integrated until I am older, that I cannot tell you who was there with us.  

But anyway- I digress.  Even as an adult, sometimes it would nice to have a mother.  But mental illness and her personal choice to not address any of it did that long ago.  And although this is a road bump, I will adjust my goals, and move on.  I will meet them, and exceed them, just perhaps not in the time frame I had set for myself.  There are much worse things, and I am keeping the perspective that I have always had that a bad day, a bad experience, or even a series of them does not constitute a bad a life.  One is as happy or unhappy as they choose to be.  And I choose happiness... I have a shining example of what happens when you do not.  Life is not an all-or-nothing experience... day by day or in totality.  

Onward and upward.  

Have a great week everyone, and thank you for reading.  

M&Ms, the candy that melts in your bra, not in your hands...

Called my hoarding mother on the way home tonight.  Amongst her monologue there was one gem....

"Did you know M&Ms melt?"

Um... Yeah, figured that in elementary school or so.  Why?

"...[Sparing you, the reader of the obsessive detail of her eating  candy, why she chose to eat candy, why she chose to eat THAT candy, what she was wearing, where she was, and what interrupted the task of eating candy- you are welcome!] ...And I dropped the stupid thing, and after searching everywhere for it, I finally decided the HELL with it, it will show up some day, and I went back to clipping coupons.  Later I found it!  Guess where it was?  In my bra!  And it had completely melted and I did not feel it and did not notice it.  Now I have my new sports bra with a bit chocolate and candy coating colored stain, and it was expensive!  Why I paid $12 at Walmart for that!  And I had a mess all over me, and stuck to my chest... [again sparing you the description of the chocolate mess on her breast and nipple... GAH!] 

How is it possible?  And... Ewww.  She was very offended when she learned I did not want to discuss her boob.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Mean as a snake...

Wow.  For those who have not read previous blogs on NotMyHoardingMother, in addition to her compulsive hoarding and mental illness, my mother is quite mean spirited and has no issue with going from 0 to scorched earth in under 10 seconds.  

The other day she went shopping at Walmart, an experience that she complains about sourly each time she goes.  "Where do they get these people that work there?  The idiot farm?"  "You should have seen this HUGE woman, easily 400 pounds and..." You get the idea.

She went to Walmart, and has a handicapped placard for her car (that she keeps in her hoardy purse until she is parked, which is technically the correct way to do it) and for the past 2 years has walked with a cane.  She found a handicap accessible space, and started to swing in as a young mother was approaching her car.  She had the cart either near, or somewhat in, the handicapped space my mother was getting ready to turn into.  According to my mother, she took her time, was talking to her child, having her child hand her things, placing things carefully in the car, and in my mother's vernacular, "just pissing around, taking her sweet time."  Again, according to my mother, at one point she looks up, and sees the traffic backing up behind my mother's 20 year old Honda, and motions for her to roll down her window, and informs her that she is holding up traffic.

My mother's reaction?  She went ballistic.  Screaming and yelling at her, and called her "FAT-ASS" and proudly/smugly stated that she "probably did not like being called a name, but she [sic] did not care since it was true, and besides that tub of lard knew better to open her fat mouth because she [sic] knew that I would get out and hit her."  Then she proudly recounts the other drivers looking at her, and felt their stares were those of approval and support.  

She says this to her formally FAT daughter.  Who has struggled with my weight since I was in my mid twenties, and I am now 45.  She knows I do not tolerate body or fat shaming.  So it should not have been a surprise when I told her that I did not want to hear this story, she was simply cruel and it was totally unnecessary.  She immediately started pontificating about how this 'cow' with her child inconvenienced her and the others...  And she most definitely did not appreciate my commentary on how she could have resolved that differently...

  1. Politely asked the woman to re-position her cart so she was comfortable pulling in.
  2. Waited a moment or two more and go about her business.
  3. Drive past, and find another handicapped space, (there are usually MANY to be had at that particular store) or run one of her other errands in the same plaza and come back in a few minutes.
And my questions were even more annoying to her...
  1. Did you have your turn indicator on? If she asked you to roll down your window and said that it appears that she was unaware that you intended to turn in.  She got all huffy, but I have seen her turn her signal off and sit, stewing, looking straight ahead in such situations in the past.
  2. What potential positive impact did you think being intentionally cruel was going to have in this particular situation?  Even if this woman was being inconsiderate or slow, what does her body type or size have to do with anything other than your own bias?
  3. What makes you think you know someone is a 'greedy, lazy, slob' from their weight?  Oh- that is right ... YOU DON'T.  
She most generally uses cruelty as her go-to response when she is irritated, annoyed, embarrassed, etc.  She is intentionally condescending and hurtful.  I know this comes from her mental illness, but she is very calculated in it, and has an awareness that she is doing it.  

It makes me sick.  Not only is her home toxic, and is she toxic to anyone that attempts to have any sort of friendship or relationship with her, but she is absolutely vile to everyone else, unless she perceives there to be transactional, not a reciprocal, benefit to her.

That poor woman.  She did not deserve what she got from my mother.  And I also realize that there may be much more to this story than I was told, if it happened at all.  But... this says volumes about her character.

This week I have seen two articles on the death of hoarders.  One was a woman in CA that was found dead in her hoarded back yard of her hoarded home with a kitten in a carrier on her lap, and she was a cat hoarder as well.  The second was in Columbus (Ohio) where a person hoarded their house to the point the floor joists gave away, and they died in the crush of the hoard.  And the comments were a mix, but plenty of blame for the awful family that abandoned the poor person to squalor.  You cannot help someone that does not want it, and you cannot want something more than someone wants it for themselves.  I am sure when my mother passes, if I outlive her, that I will be blamed in similar fashion.  I am already by many in her neighborhood and in her town.  That is unfortunate, but she has actively and deliberately chosen, ratified, and reaffirmed on many occasions that this is what she wants, and she has chosen her illness over everything, including me.  Especially me.  

Hoarding... no one wins, NO ONE.  Thank you for reading. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Update on medical.... well, not really....

The craziness continues with the temporal arteritis concern with my hoarding mother.  In the post previous to the last, my mother's doctors suspect TA, not a mastoid bone infection, is the reason for her issues.  If that is the case, time is of the essence... but my mother is dragging her feet and doing her normal routine of being controlling, oppositional, and unable to get out of her own way to be part of the solution.

The stakes are high if this is the case.  Blindness, strokes, all kinds of things can happen.  Her response?  Dragging her feet.  Engaging in scorched earth and inappropriate behavior with those trying to help her.  She went to her specialist, who was going to schedule a biopsy with the one doctor by the end of the week last week.  She heard from their office on Thursday, after deciding the doctor was 'mad' and all kinds of inappropriate and unfounded assumptions.

Her response?  She went to the library, had the librarian Google the biopsy, and has decided to NOT do it.  She has the prescription for the steroids she would need to take for a number of years, and she does not want to take those either.... (And what a lovely impact they will have on her mental health...) 

I am not advising, commenting, or giving her any reaction or reinforcement one way or the other.  

Maybe I should develop a drinking game to play when on the phone with her?  

Have a great week.  Thank you for reading.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Ahhhh. Narcissism and hoarding. The gifts that keep on giving... Or is it taking?

She drives me insane.  

Absolutely flipping insane.  

Her amazing abilities at denial, rewriting history, and being an ethnocentric and racist old woman defy my ability to understand at times.  

I called her on Thursday of this week.  (She remains on the 3 times a week plan for phone calls for my emotional well being, and honestly, it is too much/too many times...)  I reminded her that I was not working on Friday, and that I might be going bowling with friends that night if I felt up to it and my eye appointment on Friday went okay.  She immediately asked about my eye appointment, wanting to know why would it NOT go well?

Ugh.  I know I should expect no different, but two years ago I was diagnosed with an eye condition that can, potentially, lead to reduced vision/blindness, painful surgeries that can go up to and include corneal transplants.  The type of disorder I have is similar to one that many folks have, but mine has a bit of a twist, it is found predominately in folks with specific ethnic heritage, in my case, Native American.  A fact that my mother has attempted to deny, to feign ignorance, and has reactions that run the gauntlet from surprise to out right racism... "Does your [then fiance'] know?  He will not think you are white!"  Um... that is because I am not. 

I told her the day I was diagnosed.  She immediately went into denial mode, and then started talking about her own vision woes.  Last year she again used it as a springboard to talk about herself.  This time, she again seemed to have zero memory and this was new information to her.  I again reminded her of my Native American heritage, how that came about, who in Dad's family, and why it did not appear on birth certificates.  Basically it was a cultural accommodation, and a response to racism and genocide.  In the state my father's family comes from, if the indigenous person's name was left off the birth certificate, they were 'white'.  Also, it was 1969 before a law preventing First Nation people from owning property was struck from the books.  She was more interested in minimizing and denying, and demanding to know how I found out, who knows, etc.  She also immediately launched into her eye problems, and focused the conversation on her.  I ended the call quickly, and anyone seeing me drive down the highway might think I have lost my mind.  I did a little primal scream therapy as I drove the 4 lane home.  If anyone noticed, and I am sure they did not, I was most likely quite the picture driving along in my little sedan, looking straight ahead, and screaming my fool head off.

I have not spoke to her since, it is only 3 days later.  I doubt that she will ask, and I do not intend to tell her anything about my appointment.  It did not go well.  The condition I was diagnosed with has not progressed much in the past two years, which is good, but I have another concern.  It appears that my eye pressure is elevated, and glaucoma does run in the family, with devastating results.  I have to return every few months for the next year to monitor this, and the treatment options are yet to be determined... but this can reduce or eliminate options for the first condition.  The good news is I am being monitored, and both are being caught early, if glaucoma is truly an issue here.

Most folks with relatively normal interaction and relationships with their families, their mothers, could seek support for this.  Due to the extreme narcissism and mental illness of my remaining family, support is something they are simply unable to give.  As with most other things, I will seek support from my friends, or I will walk alone with this.  Either way, I am better off than anything she has to offer.

And I am not keeping this secret.  I have already shared it with a friend or two when I went bowling that night... so thankful for the friend that came an picked me up so I could go since I was still effected by the dilation medication administered.  I had a lovely weekend of friends, food, wine and fun...  Whatever this yields, I will deal with it in its time and its place.  Worrying about it now only spoils the 'now' and does little to improve the 'then'.  I have little time or patience for hand wringing.  Life goes on. 

I am not usually one for smug little sayings and memes... okay, maybe I am... but I believe in the one that talks about being as happy as you choose to be.  Life is too short to be spent on the safe side of the street, and always looking to the worst case scenario.  

Thank you for reading... Have a great week.

Hoarding...  No one wins. NO ONE.

Update:  Spoke to her briefly on my way into work.  She did not ask about my eye appointment, or anything about my weekend, just began her normal hoardy monologue.  I am relieved, and the smallest part annoyed.  I spoke to a friend who I had not talked to in a few days that knew this was coming up, and called to check in.  A friend... and my friends are my family of choice, but someone who heard this mentioned in passing made note of it and followed up.  But my mother?  ::Fail buzzer::  And honestly- to be fair to her, if she did ask, I would most likely not tell her anything because I do not want the rapid fire 1,000,000 question interrogation and the resultant craziness and inappropriate assumptions.

<Sigh>  And so it goes.